Monday, April 23, 2012

Letter to my Pink Hair

It was fun while you lasted. I'm sorry I fried you with a 25-year-old curling iron.
Dear Pink Hair Extensions,
I'm sorry the time has come to pass. You have spent the last month with me and it truly was a pleasure having you in my hair. Except for the little snafu when you came out while we were in Austin, you held up surprisingly well.
I'm not sure what I was thinking that day when I got my hair cut. I think I'm having an age crisis where I don't want to admit I'm getting old. My fabulous hairdresser had you dangling in front of me; a rainbow of non-committal hair color. "I want four!" I exclaimed. I wasn't sure if it was super-fun or super-trashy. I do know that I felt so fun and free with you in.
But the trouble came quickly when I realized that you did not match my hair texture at all. Suddenly, I was required to spend more than five minutes on my hair. I either had to curl you or straighten you. There was no in-between. I even had to dig out my curling iron, which my grandmother bought in 1983 at Service Merchandise. (I know this because the case still had the receipt in it.) Needless to say, after a few weeks you started to look ragged. And really, not too many people had noticed that I had you in.
So it's time to say good-bye. I'm sure I'll keep you in a drawer until the next time I feel sassy. Until then, thanks for the memories. (Of which I only have one crappy photo...and when three had come out and I just had one left. *sigh*)
xoxo,
Hip-Baby Mama

Next time I'm feeling sassy, I think I'll stick to hot-pink shoes instead of hair extensions...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tardy to the Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2012 Hi!
If you found me via the Ultimate Blog Party, then welcome!
I'm a bit late to the party. But I have Jen from one of my favorite blogs to thank for showing me this cool way to network.
My blog is about my life with my two-year-old daughter L.E. She was born with hip dysplasia, which is where the Hip-Baby Mama title comes from. I started this blog to hopefully network with other hip-baby parents. It's turned into a way for me to write about my life, give advice, share recipes and bitch a little.
I think writing is the best form of therapy.
I enjoy being honest about my experiences as a parent. I'm not perfect, nor do I pretend to be.
And thanks for stopping by!

2 – 29:40 – Turning Into THEM

After spending the last twelve days with my mom and dad, I have come to the conclusion that sometime in the last two years, I have turned into them.
How did this happen?
I truly thought that one of the reasons people decide to have kids is to right all of the wrongs their own parents did to them. I'm not saying my folks were terrible at raising me; nothing could be further from the truth. But there are so many things that I do with L.E. that come straight from that house in suburban Pittsburgh where I lived the first 19 years of my life.
I pick at her. I'm constantly pushing her hair out of her face and wiping her nose. After almost two weeks with my mom constantly saying, "Wipe her nose. Push her hair out of her face."I now know exactly where that comes from.
I try to have entire conversations with T from the opposite end of the house. While yelling. He hates it. But my dad, on the other hand, will encourage the yell-a-thons.
When L.E. cries, my immediate instinct is to get her to stop crying. This usually means bribery like a story or Yo Gabba Gabba episode. Boy did L.E. learn that her Mee-Maw and Pap-Pap were even more easily manipulated. They got her to stop crying by putting on a Disney movie or giving her M&Ms. I'm trying desperately to get her off the candy right now but she has turned into a chocolate junkie who is obsessed with Toy Story 3.
I grew up in a loving household where a show of affection meant putting each other down in a light-hearted way. Dad calls Mom "Flea-Brain." I've been called an air-head more than once.
My husband and I call each other "Dumbass" on occasion.

We didn't discuss our feelings. Unless we were angry. Then we yelled.
I yell a lot when my parents are around.
Dad has an uncanny ability to pretend he can't hear so he can tune us all out. Even with all the yelling.

I do this, too.
They still bring up my most embarrassing moments of my childhood like when I sat down while playing goalie during soccer because the game was at the other end. (Nobody bothered showing me how to play soccer before then. I was six.)
I use a photo of L.E. with underwear on her head as my Facebook profile pic. I exploited her to try to win free sandwiches for life. I'm sure if the internet was around when I was a kid, my dad would have tried to win free sandwiches by filming us dancing.
Of course,  there are really great things about my parents. My love of cooking comes from them. So does my inability to cook for just two people; every meal my mom made could have fed an army.
My mom's sense of style is amazing. The outfits she buys L.E. are unreal. I remember how well she dressed me when I was little and I know my innate sense of fashion comes from her.
My dad is hilarious. He can crack a joke without even batting an eye. I'd like to think I'm just has funny as he is. If I'm even close, I'm doing great.
We're way into sports. Watching a Pittsburgh sporting event with all of us is intimidating if you're new to the family. Have I mentioned how much we yell?
The funniest part about my parents being here is how different they are as grandparents compared to parent. L.E. does not know what the word "no" means if it's being uttered by Mee-Maw or Pap-Pap. I heard it plenty growing up.
They let her eat popcorn for dinner. I never could have even remotely suggested it.
But that's not to say I haven't made it for myself for dinner every now and then.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2 – 28:40 – 30 Things Movies & TVs Get Wrong About Parenting

So I've decided to keep up with naming my posts as if it's still Lent. I'll get to 40, then take a break, which may be a shorter break than any of the breaks I took while writing 40 Days of Posts.
Confused? Don't be. It's just blogger-math.
Meanwhile, since I haven't had time to produce original content because I'm just SO BUSY*, I'm posting a link to a pretty hilarious list over at Pajiba.com. I can agree with pretty much all of them. I've always said that "Up All Night" is about as close to reality as I've seen as far as sitcoms and babies. And I agree that your answer should always be "Fuck Off" to the question of whether or not you work or stay-at-home.



30 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising a Baby That You Will Never Learn from Movies and TV



*I get annoyed when people tell me how busy they are. We're all busy. You are not special for being busy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2 – 27:40 – Opening Day Revisited

My parents are in town.
I probably won't be posting much.

So to celebrate Baseball's Opening Day, I'm re-posting last year's blog on the subject. Since the Buccos went pretty close to 500 for the first time since I was in high school, I figured this post will bring them more good luck. Enjoy!
(Original post appeared March 31, 2011)


Let's Go Buccos!

Baseball season is here!
Being from Pittsburgh, that really has no meaning anymore. The Pirates are the laughingstock of professional sports, with their record-breaking consecutive losing seasons. But if I still lived there, I'm sure I would go to several games every year. I love live baseball! Being at the ballpark invokes all sorts of wonderful memories for me, pretty much all of them with my Pap.
Pap was a Pittsburgh sports fan in the truest sense. Even when Roethlisberger would engineer one of his famous last-second, game-winning drives Pap would rail about how it never should have come down to that. He was a Steelers season ticket holder all throughout the 70s Steel Curtain era and the much-maligned "rebuilding" years that was pretty much all of the 80s. He was actually there on that fateful late-December day in 1972, when Frenchy Fuqua collided with Jack Tatum causing Franco Harris to catch the deflected ball off his foot and score the touchdown which sealed the Steelers' first ever playoff victory. The Immaculate Reception was the foremost defining moment in Pittsburgh sports history and it was pure luck that Pap was still at the game to see it. He was always one to leave games early to "beat the crowd." But this particular game, he stayed till the very end and never once regretted it.
Pap and Grandma took me to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game when I was 3 or 4. I asked them when Terry Bradshaw and Jack Lambert were going to come out. Oh, the joys of dual sports in the same stadium.
Going to Pirate games were a regular thing for Pap and me. If there ever was a great promotion like a free cap, ball, pennant, Pirate Parrot doll...we were there. Buck Night was a monthly staple and there were a few seasons in which we didn't miss one. Your general admission was a buck and you got a hot dog and a coke for a buck. We always sat in Henry's section on the 200-level. (Henry was the usher who worked Pap's Steeler-ticket section.) Pap would slip him a few bucks and he'd give us the best seats he had until the real ticket holders showed up. We had to move around a lot.
The summer of 1986, Pap somehow had a connection in the Allegheny Club, which was the swanky restaurant/club inside Three Rivers Stadium. We went several times that year; the dessert buffet was legendary. I can still taste the chocolate mousse. We wouldn't watch much of the games from in there because it was enclosed in glass but it was still a real thrill. It was a who's-who of Pittsburgh celebrities, most notably the Chief himself, Art Rooney Sr. He sat right behind us one time and stopped Pap as we were leaving. He shook his hand and complimented him on his extremely well-behaved granddaughters. We were all completely starstruck.
Mr. Rooney died not long after that. I'm glad I got to see him in-person.
Another highlight of that year was the rookie phenom who joined the Pirates: Barry Bonds. Ok, half-his-current-size Barry Bonds. I'm pretty sure we saw his first homerun in Three Rivers.
I can name more players that were Pirates in my youth than I could right now. Andy Van Slyke, Jay Bell, Bobby Bonilla, Sammy Khalifa, Dave Parker, Jason Thompson, Omar Marino...all legends in my mind.
It's sad when we grow up. Even sadder when our heroes don't live forever. We lost Pap last September. I'm grateful for everything he ever did for me and I'm even happier he got to meet my daughter.
We're raising L.E. to appreciate sports the way we always have. She's been to three Reno Aces games and I'm sure there will be many more to come. I hope the first hot dog she ever has is at a ballpark. But I'm sure it cost more than a buck.


Monday, April 2, 2012

2 – 27:40 – Adorable Pygmy Hippo

This week's Cure for Your Case of the Mondays is quite possibly the most adorable thing I have every seen: Prince Harry the Pygmy Hippo.

I triple-dog-dare you to look at the rest of Harry's photos without squealing in delight.
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/harry-baby-pgymy-hippo-wows-adorable-pics-205210883.html

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2 – 26:40 – Meatless Friday on Sunday – Focaccia

A few posts ago, I professed my love for the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro. I promised I would document his focaccia recipe. I amazed myself because I've never made anything remotely bread-like before. It was super-delicious.



Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus leaves, for garnish
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 8 thinly sliced rounds beefsteak tomato
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Directions

Place the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it bloom until bubbly, 5 to 15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and wheat flours together with the salt and chopped rosemary. Gradually add the flour mixture to the bloomed yeast in the mixing bowl. Then add 1/2 cup of the olive oil.
Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be very loose.

Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and knead the dough by hand for 2 to 3 minutes.
Wipe out the bowl you mixed the dough in and then coat the bowl with some olive oil. Return the dough to the oiled bowl and let it rest in a warm place, covered with a dish towel, until doubled in size, 30 to 35 minutes.
Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking sheet with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Spread the dough into the pan using your fingertips to create dimples into the dough. The more dimples you make, the more texture the bread will have.
Using a pastry brush, oil the dough and place leaves of rosemary into some of the dimples. Top with the tomato slices and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cover the dough again with the towel and let rest in a warm spot until doubled in size, another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degree F and set a rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake the dough until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.



I would recommend adding the cheese after baking 15 minutes.

Sandwich build: Grilled chicken, pesto mayo, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers. Served with tater tots.