Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Shiny Chompers

Keegan started at his new school today. I was nervous because last week he had asked for more days at his old school before switching. We had a nice goodbye there and his friends made a little book for him with drawings and messages. And he had the whole weekend to get prepared. I think he was actually lured in by getting to wear slippers all day and also being able to eat snack whenever he chooses. I overcompensated by packing him tons of food. I have only ever had to pack a lunch so I had no idea how much snack food would be needed. He came home with one lone graham cracker. The drop off when great and he smiled and promised to learn something. I didn't get a call all day. When I went to pick him up in the aftercare room he came racing towards me with a huge smile. He said he had fun and liked it there. Huge relief. What did he learn? The shape of India. My big hope for him is to have a very supportive learning environment and room to explore. And he wouldn't hurt if he learned to like math.

In other news I went to the dentist. Fun. At least this was just a cleaning. I should really learn to lie when they ask if I floss. It's just sooooo boring. If only they could make it fun to do. I am guessing that avoiding the drill is supposed to be enough motivation.

Also I showed the townhouse to potential tenants today. I am way too trusting to be a landlady. I like someone, I want to rent to them. Plus I googled them. As soon as I hear back from my current tenants I will send out the lease and hopefully get everything locked in for March 1. Keep fingers crossed.

The Groundwork

Today was the day for Keegan to visit the Montessori for a half day. I am glad I clarified with him because he thought we were just looking not that he was staying there without me. By the time we got there he understood. He clung to my coat when we first arrived but let go a minute later and all he needed to see was the wooden pirate boat on the playground before he took off. I said goodbye and left him. Inside my head I was wishing over and over that I didn't barf or cry and he did okay. I did okay and when I went back for him three hours later he was disappointed to see me because he wanted to stay. I pried him out of there and checked with the teachers who said he did well. He really liked that they wear slippers inside and you can get your snack whenever you are hungry as long as there is space at the snack table. And my fiercely independent boy (where does he get that from?) turned down a classroom buddy to guide him around. I need to check in with the principal and see if he can start there in January. The bonus is that it is in the same part of town as Harper's daycare. That would make my commute much more pleasant. I took him to his regular school which looked even more chaotic after the Montessori atmosphere.

Tomorrow Keegan is going to head up to Maine with my parents and brother's family. They are going to stay in my parent's new house for the first time now that it is finished. They will all come back to NH on Wed. Keegan is very excited about getting to spend more time with his cousins. Jeff, Harper and I will still be going to work for the next two days.


I think we can all agree that parenting (done well) is the toughest gig out there. And they do get to an age when they can express their thanks and love. Then you're an idiot for ten years. Then they come back to liking you again. Having only been at this for almost four and a half years I still marvel at things that they absorb.

Keegan: I saw on TV about Sketchers. They put air under your feet.
Me: You understand that you don't need to buy or do things the TV tells you right.
K: Yes.
(This is why he only watches PBS because he saw this during the only network show we Tivo "Strawberry Shortcake.")

Comes inside after playing golf in the yard.
K: I lost a golf ball.
Me: Where?
K: It rolled across the street and under a truck.
Me: What? You didn't go after it did you?
K: No. You said I am not allowed to cross the street.
We went over together and retrieved it all the while I am having visions of disaster averted. This is why the kids are only allowed to play inside the fence.

My dad took Keegan out on the jet ski and while touring the lake they stopped to play with my dad's friend's granddaughter. When they came back he told me that Keegan was offered a chocolate donut hole. My dad said Keegan turned to him and said, "What would my mom say?" He said it several times before taking the donut hole. This one actually freaked me out a bit since I don't want him to only eat well because of me. I explained to him that when he is at other people's homes and adult says it is okay, he may eat something if he wants to. He apparently had no problem accepting a popsicle and then sharing it with my dad. I am guessing because we have them here at home. But I have never bought a donut hole.

Lesson Learned

This morning Keegan came downstairs wearing his medal from the Walk For Children's Hospital last year.  He cut me off saying he was just going to wear it until we got to school and not at school.  I asked if he remembered where it came from.  He didn't, so I reminded him of how we raised money so doctors can help babies and kids.  He said, "This is my special necklace."  Then looked down at it, "And I don't think it will fit in my nose."

I told you he was smart.

Worry Beads
Thanks to the oral antihistamines I slept through last night.  They make me feel dopey during the day but it is worth not to be completely exhausted.  Along with my appointment yesterday my midwife wanted me to have another ultrasound to check my fluid levels.  If my levels were down they would put me on bed rest.  Having PUPPP was probably one of the contributing factors to my problem last time.  They could not see me until 4pm so I went back to work instead of taking her advice to dope myself up and sleep.  I also took the opportunity to continue to take care of tasks before the baby is born.  I scheduled a tour of the hospital and finally switched Keegan's pediatrician to up here.  This will save me time and mileage just because I was sentimental about taking him to the place he had been going since he was born.  The baby will eventually go to the same new doctor up here as well.

Just as I was leaving work to head for the ultrasound I got a call from Keegan's school.  He had gotten bored during nap time and decided to shove a bead up his nose.  That's right, a bead.  He has never done anything like this before.  They said he appeared fine physically but was very distraught about where the bead would go from here.  I said I was glad he was distraught because now maybe he wouldn't shove things in his nose.  Then I got to make my first call to the new pediatrician a mere two hours after we became patients.  They said a nurse would call me back.  Which happened but cell phones are blocked in radiology so I had to wait until my ultrasound was over before finding out what to do.  My fluids levels were actually better than the last time.  And I told the tech not to be surprised to see the baby was breech.  I was the one surprised.  He had flipped and was head down!  I left there and consulted with the midwives office.  We decided to keep the procedure appointment for next week just in case and we will check the baby's position on Friday.  This kid is some kind of magician.  At this point we are cautiously optimistic that he will stay head down and everything else will go smoothly.

Back to the bead.  The pediatrician said I needed to get Keegan to put his head forward, hold his beadless nostril and have him blow his other nostril really hard.  If this did not work after several tries I had to take him to the ER where they have the right kind of instruments to remove the bead.  When I got to school there was the bead wrapped in a tissue.  Keegan was quite proud of having gotten it out himself.  I was thrilled to save a $50 co-pay and an evening in the ER.  After a day like that I didn't want to cook.  Jeff was out with the guys.  So Keegan and I went to the walk up window place down the street.  He had a hot dog and I had the taco special; 2 tacos, a coke, chips and a soft serve for :$4.50.  Keegan got my chips and ice cream.  I got to sit still and relax.
What better way to celebrate the first 78 degree day than by having ice cream for dinner?  Keegan was completely confused by the concept.  He must think I lost my mind.  I had a banana split which is sort of nutritious.  We walked around the corner and up the street to the local walk up window.  We said "hi" to neighbors and passed the fire station.  It was so "main street America."  Afterwards Keegan played on the wooden trains and then we headed home.  A bath was on the agenda as he was covered by both school playground dirt and ice cream at that point.  I let him soak and play for a long time.  Then I drained the tub and expecting it to be done in seconds I went down the hall.  As I was coming back he announced, "the water isn't gone yet!"  Which was weird because it the fastest draining tub in the world.  When I went to investigate it became clear why it was still full.  He had shoved a washcloth, a rubber fish, rubber whale, a dolphin and a plastic fishing boat over the drain.  And he turned to me and smiled and said, "it isn't done yet."  And as I took the items out he pleaded, "but the fish is trying to return to the sea."  A compelling animal rights argument, but one he lost.
Pink Eye
I knew when the note got sent home yesterday that it would only be a matter of time before Keegan got it.  He woke up this morning with the very beginnings in his right eye.  I took him to school and let them know I would probably be picking him up later.  Luckily the doctor's office took my word for it and called the prescription in without us having to be seen.  The good thing about pink eye is that it can be treated enough in one day to not be contagious and that means he'll be back to school tomorrow.  I have him resting right now to give the medicine a chance to kick in.  I am hoping to give him another dose tonight before we go out on our date night.  And I am furiously washing my hands.
Rock Me Hot Potatoes
On Sunday when we were driving home from the birthday party we passed through the Lakes Region.  I pointed out to Keegan the ice fishing houses.

Me: See those blocks on the ice?
K: Yes
M: They are ice fishing houses.  People go inside them to keep warm and then cut a hole in the ice for their fishing poles.
K: Like in Jingle Bells?
I am thinking, "what?"  So I started singing the lyrics.
M: Dashing through the snow...Oh wait do you think it's "fishing through the snow?"
K: Yup

He must get that from my mom who thought the song Amadeus was really "hot potatoes."
Old Man
Me:  What do you want for dessert?
Keegan: Can we explain this when I am out of the potty?
Me: You mean discuss it?
K: Yes, can we discuss this when I am done?
K: And can we discuss what I want for lunch in the morning.  It is night and I want to have time for dessert and a bath.

I hate when they get all logical on you.
Little Hares
Friday we went down to my grandparents for lunch and to give them their gifts.  My grandfather has not being doing well but he was in a wonderful mood and was able to come down to the apartment to see the kids.  Afterwards we took them sledding.  Jeff took them down the hill and I took video.  I could probably go sledding if I was careful but that hill was packed and I almost got run over just standing there.  The kids loved it and took the last run by themselves with Jeff running behind.  We were going to take the tree down on Saturday but we got a call for a showing Sat afternoon.  And since it is shedding like mad we didn't want to cope with the mess under a deadline.  We cleaned up all the wrapping paper and new toys and vacuumed before taking the kids to the movies to get out of the way.  We haven't heard anything more since the showing beyond the usual response of they liked it.  The kids got the new moon sand out when we got back.  I swear I keep finding it all over.  It appears magically.  Good thing it is easy to cleanup.  Isabelle also got out her new loom and she and Jeff made a pot holder.  That will take you back.  We have Keegan's fish tank all setup and we are hoping to go get fish this afternoon.  Right now the kids and Jeff are out snowshoeing.  The kids didn't know what they were when they unwrapped them and we tried to explain how you can walk on top of the snow.  Blue ones for Isabelle and orange ones for Keegan.  They get it now and are halfway across the field.  I love to snowshoe but I couldn't resist the chance to catchup on blogging and just enjoy the quiet. :)
Pirate Treasure
Guess who's back?  Back again?  Booty's back.  Tell a friend.

Keegan spotted it while I was looking for pita chips.  He had some with dinner and I packed some in his lunch for tomorrow.  That kid is nothing but loyal to his original obsessions.

We were on the way home from school today and I told Keegan his babysitter is coming to hang out with him on Sunday. I reminded him to be careful with her because she has a baby in her belly.

K: Why do babies grow in your belly?
Me: Because they are so little and they need time to grow before they come out. They are safe in your belly. That's where I grew you.
K: I liked it in there.
Me: You did?
K: Yes I was all cuddly and I played with your heart.
Me: You still do.

Little People

On Wednesday Keegan and I had a date night. I picked him up from school and went for a haircut. Even though we had to wait over a half hour he did great patiently playing with the pretend kitchen and grill. After that we had dinner at Pan*ra. He loves it there and so do I so it works out. I have to tell you we had a great dinner. I didn't have to remind of his manners and we chatted away. Every age I think I love the most because it is so cool to watch them become people. At one point he did tell me that one of the patrons looked like Santa. He didn't except for having a beard. But the guy was amused by it and asked Keegan what he wanted for Christmas.
His teachers describe him as always on the move. Very active and energetic but not agressive or rough and he is sweet and bubbly. He will stop briefly to do art projects or build with blocks but is not a sit still play a game kind of kid. Basically he is his father. And I know he has Tom's love of speed and heights. The only thing that he will sit still and do for a long period of time? Read. Just like his mommy. Oh and he is stubborn. And he loves to giggle, make funny faces and weird noises crack him up. He got that from both sides.

Reasonable Reasoning

Yesterday I was waiting for Keegan to put on his shoes to leave for school. He looks up at me and says, "I wish I could grow a baby in my tummy but I can't because I am not a girl." I had nothing to say to that. Looks like that is one less conversation we'll need to have.

My Endless Plague

Guess who is home sick again? Yup, we're going on day six of this virus. I really thought Keegan was finishing up with it yesterday. In fact he was so much better we did the Miles For Miracles walk. But in the evening after we dropped off Isabelle he deteriorated rapidly. Jeff and I were pretty tired too and were asleep by 9pm. This morning Keegan woke up at 99.9 and still no appetite. Jeff offered to stay home with him so I could go into work but I decided to stick it out one more day. So this morning has been filled with laundry, cleaning and making appointments (including a counseling one for next week). And also the unique behavior problems that come from your three year old being babied for six days.


Last night while Keegan was waiting his turn to brush his teeth he asked me to lay down on his bed and talk about babies. He likes to lay stomach to stomach facing me and chat. He talked about the long walk we are taking on Sunday and how we are raising lots of money to help the doctors fix the babies. I wonder if he thinks all babies are born with heart conditions.
Today he told me that he wants Jeff to stay round and watch him growup. And he wants to growup with Isabelle and Sammy and Jack. And also that everyone should have new babies too. I told him he has to take that up with our friends and they might want a break first.

On The Bench

We are out again today. Keegan's temperature hit 103 yesterday evening. The folks at school say this lasts five days and usually peaks in temperature the third day. He was at 101 a half an hour ago so hopefuly yesterday was the peak. Keegan is still energetic so getting him to rest is a challenge and involves a lot of PBS kid's shows. I am trying not to think about all the work I am putting on hold right now. It wouldn't be so bad except that I am taking off Thurs and Fri of next week because school is closed. It just makes it hard to plan around deadlines.


Keegan was sent home sick yesterday afternoon with a temp of 101. He is out again today and he was 101.3 this morning. No other symptoms and except for being extra cuddly he seems normal. Must be one of those weird viruses. Fluids and rest are the order of the day. My four meetings will just have to take care of themselves.

More Last Night

Keegan: I don't have Isabelle or Sammy here to keep me company.
Me: I will keep you company.
K: You have to be a kid.
K: How can I turn into a baby?
M: You are past that now, you're growing up.
K: Sammy is growing too so that he can talk to me.

Things To Remember

Last week the kids were playing music. Isabelle was dancing around with the maracas while Keegan played the harmonica. Suddenly he stopped and said to me, "Mom I have a lot of music in my mouth."

Today: "Mom, when I grow up I want to be a fireman and Isabelle will be one too. But I will let you wear my fire hat and ride in the engine."


Last Friday when we were leaving the restaurant Keegan noticed a cigarette butt on the ground.

"What's that orange thing mommy?"
"It's a cigarette."
"My daddy had those, he would put them in his mouth and blow out."
"He would kick the soccer ball with me and blow out on those."

Keegan would have been two and a half when he saw this. Kids recognize a lot more than you think they do. And then I had to find a way to explain that cigarettes are bad for you without making him feel badly about his daddy.


Mama where is the sun going?
It is going to bed.
Is it reading stories to itself?