Musings from some former inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is Prudhomme City

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Picture This

by CajunKate

So last week I went out to Molly and Ted's house to take some portraits of the boys. Somehow, Molly had come to believe that I had the ability to take portraits of her kids. No, not pictures. Pictures I am perfectly capable of. She wanted portraits. Like "Hey, let me hang these magnificent framed photos on my wall so that every person walking in will see them!" Yeah, PORTRAITS.

The poses and expressions of the kids were great. Most of my models were very, very well-behaved and pliable. Max was more than willing. He also made a fantastic assistant. He kept an eye on everything I shot. He made helpful suggestions like, "I think a little higher with the tripod," and "Oh, hurry! Get her while her arms are like that!" He's got a good eye. Gabe was complacent. It was obviously not his favorite thing in the world, but, hey, he was willing to play along. Sam steadfastly observed his brothers pose and preen and then, when it was his turn, he had the whole thing down pat. He knew exactly what to do. Much like me, his godmother, he seems to thrive on rules and direction in the sense of "If you tell me exactly what to do and how to do it, I will do my very best to get you the results you so desire." But John Thomas. Oh, John Thomas was NOT feeling it that day. He didn't want to pose or smile or have any part of that ridiculousness. Mary Grace just needed to be distracted by her brothers bouncing around behind me singing a little ditty dedicated to her. I have no idea who came up with the song, but she loves it. It makes her smile and giggle and clap her hands. Being a crazed picture snapping auntie, I even hung around afterward and snapped photo after photo of them eating lunch. Like these two pics:


I shall call this "Gabe and the See Food Diet."

And I shall call this "Oh, sure, NOW he cooperates!"

Needless to say, I managed to screw things up on my first attempt. I decided to get fancy with my camera and try all kinds of new settings, and quality-wise the pictures came out absolutely awful . The models, barring JT, were easy to work with and oh so professional, it was the photos themselves that sucked. I had to call Molly and break the news to her and beg her to give me another chance.

So yesterday I headed back to their place and tried again. However, I now realized that I would need some stealthy maneuvering to outwit John Thomas and procure for myself a more malleable model. Since the only method of child rearing with which I am familiar is bribery, I stopped off at Rite Aid and picked up four M&M candy containers with fans attached to them. They looked like this, but without the Easter motif.


Immediately upon my arrival, I let all the boys know that, if they behaved and were very good models, they would receive a treat. They were all properly excited by this news, but John Thomas in particular, much to my delight, responded quite well to my underhanded techniques. I ended up getting some really good shots. Like these:

Group shot

Max

Gabe


Sam


John Thomas


Mary Grace

And when we were all done and I was packing things up to leave, Sam said, "Aren't you going to stay and take pictures of us eating?!?" And so, my peeps, it appears I have finally achieved full indoctrination, and my nephews have come to terms with and accepted me as the crazy paparazzi aunt. Life is good!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ack! Attack of the Green Gene Cuteness!

by CajunKate

So the other day, after I posted the pic of Mary Grace, Lauren sent me some pics of her three GORGEOUS children along with an email reading:

You're welcome to boast about the cuteness of your cousins, too.... HA HA!

And I so will! The pictures she sent clearly show that, not only did I miss out on the best of the Daigle genes, I did not get one ounce of awesome Green genetic material.

I have yet to meet her youngest, but her two older girls are just the sweetest, yummiest delights EVER. When I visited three years ago Annie, the second oldest, would sit on my lap and have me read her book after book after book. Loved it! She stole my heart. Now, I just need to get back up there soon so I can gobble up all that baby Green gene cuteness. Take a look and tell me you can resist the urge to devour this :

And these girls? OMG, totally edible.


Be warned, Lauren and Chris. One day I will come and eat them up with hugs and kisses...and maybe kidnap them. In that case, I would allow you some visitation. I can be generous like that. That may be the only thing I can credit to my Green DNA.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Guileless Pandering

by Cajun Kate

So, Senator John McCain, you really think you can win my vote by eating MY bratwurst at MY favorite German restaurant? Clearly, securing my vote requires getting Schmidt's to airmail vanilla cream puffs to me. Think, man, think!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ack! Attack of the Mary Grace Cuteness!


Must. Control. Desire. To. Devour. Whole.
(Seriously, no really, seriously... how does one produce a baby this cute? )

Genetically Predisposed

by Cajun Kate

So last night I got an email from my oldest bro Charlie Roy totally taking issue with something I wrote on this here blog. Hmmmm, what could it be?

Could it be the fact that I called him out for not coming up with the idea of a surprise party for his wife? Nope! Could it be the fact that I basically made up totally exaggerated a phone conversation between us? Nope! Could it be the fact that I continuously poke fun at the city (and I use that word as loosely as possible- see? Still doing it!) of Baton Rouge in which he lives? Nope!

What COULD it possibly be?!? Check out the email with me:

I read your blog and wanted to help you get your facts correct. It was I, as well as Theodore, who ranted about the Southern Cobbler. In fact, I may have been telling Ted about it, and he said he had had some. I don't remember.
Anyway, it is freaking awesome!
Sincerely,
Charlie Daigle (KBS)

That's right! All the other s**t I've said about him? Meh. But NOT giving him proper credit for influencing my ice cream purchases? Failing to give him kudos for leading me to possibly the most delicious ice cream ever? NOT ACCEPTABLE! This proves once and for all that we Daigles have a recessive gene that makes us food whores. We eat it, we love it, we rave about it, we dream about it, we plan vacations and special events around it. It's genetic, I tell you!

And yet, somehow, I'm the only one who ended up looking like this for a quite a few years:

*Sigh* Yeah, 'cuz when it comes to the rest of the genes, you know, the ones that WON'T turn you into an obese troll, I totally got shafted! So ya know what, Chuck? Ye of the tan skin, perfectly sculpted nose, never needed braces teeth, can lose twenty pounds in a week genes? I want you to know that I failed to give you credit ON PURPOSE! Because I knew it would drive you nuts, and I wanted to get back at you for getting all the good DNA.

Not really. I was just too busy at the party stuffing jambalaya and chicken salad croissants in my face to pay exact attention to who said what. Forgive me, dear brother. Much like I've forgiven you for being able to read and subsequently reproduce to perfection John Folse recipes, you good Daigle gene inheriting f**ker! Oh, um... love you, bro!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mmmmmm, Heart Disease!

by CajunKate

So Sunday night was Southern Food Night at the Mottram hovel. Well, for me at least. And, really, who else matters? Oh, wait, there's that Alex guy to whom I'm married. Now, now, before you get all up in arms about me starving the boy, he got his southern food on, too.

Southern Food Night came about because, as we are all painfully aware of by now, I am obsessed with food. You see, a few weeks ago before I left for Columbus, I was going on and on to friends Clelie and Greg about how I was jonesin' for fried green tomatoes, and I was bitching about how it was impossible to find green tomatoes in the grocery store. Fast forward to this past Saturday, when I called them up and invited myself over. Hey, I brought crawfish. Granted, Greg actually cooked them up into an
etouffee, but at least I provided them.

Anyway, while I was on the horn with Greg, he said, "Oh, and Clelie has a surprise for you." And I was all, "I hope it's cheese from Fresh Market! No! I hope it's wine! No, wait! I hope it's some yummy baked good from Fresh Market!" (Clelie and I are a bit obsessed with all things Fresh Market lately.) But he wouldn't give anything away, so when I got there Clelie said,
(insert sing-song vocie here) "Look, what I got!" And it was green tomatoes! She had gone to the farmer's market in the Oil Center and saw them and picked them up for me. Is this not the sweetest thing? I love her! So that night she fried some up and served them with a delicious salsa (like seriously yummy, like bottle that s**t up and market it yummy) and ohhhhh, they were sooooo good. I also ate one with etouffee on top of it. Yum! Then she gave me the rest to take home with me.

On Sunday, I consulted my trusty go-to Southern cookbook,
Fannie Flagg's Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook. You may remember how I raved about this cookbook on the blog post for Alex's birthday. I adore it!


Now, Fannie Flagg is the author of the novel
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe which was eventually adapted into the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, both of which are fan-freaking-tastic. So who better than Fannie Flagg to consult when looking for a recipe for fried green tomatoes? No one, that's who!

There are actually three different recipe versions in the cookbook, but I chose the one that came with a recipe for milk gravy. That meant I had to fry up a bunch of bacon, which I did... in the oven. Sacrilege! BUT have you ever cooked bacon in the oven? It's a little tip I got from Ye Olde Internet. I love it, because it comes out just as crispy as frying it on the stove top but without all the slaving over a hot skillet. Technically, I did not have to have the bacon. What I had to have was the bacon FAT. That's right! Holiest of holies, ooohhhhhh, bacon fat! I needed the bacon fat to fry the tomatoes in...and to use to make a roux for the milk gravy and, not wanting all that bacon to go to waste, I crumpled up a bunch of it and threw it in the gravy. Then I fried those 'maters up and slathered them with that milk gravy and OH, BABY! Heaven on a plate! As God is my witness! I chose to pair my first massive coronary with a lovely ice cold adult beverage. Behold!

And, because I love Alex and because I know he's not a big fan of fried green tomatoes, I picked up a special surprise for him. I had heard Ted CHARLIE ROY (!!), at Aimee's birthday party, raving about a new flavor of Blue Bell ice cream. The Zandinator loves ice cream so, while I was picking up the ingredients for my massive coronary, I saw the new flavor and threw it into my basket as well. I mean, if you're going to do something bad, you might as well go all the way with it. At least that's my motto. And that's how I ended up with this:

Dude, get thee to a supermarket and buy this NOW! Hurry! Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars! Phenomenal, unsurpassed deliciousness. If you don't try this ice cream...well, I just feel sorry for you. You are going to hell because it is a sin to miss out on it. A MORTAL sin! So is eating it, but you can confess later.

In closing, I would like to say that I had intended to try my hand at a "Pioneer Woman Cooks!" type of post with step-by-step instructions and pics, but I figured bacon fat + fancy digital camera= nightmarish accident waiting to happen. Also, I am lazy. This fact is totally backed up by the fact that Southern Food Night happened on Sunday, and I am only now posting this...on Tuesday night. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I have some episodes of Good Times on Tivo I can watch, which will allow me to ignore the dirty laundry and bathrooms and revel in my laziness.

(P.S. Is it just me, or is it really, really apparent that there is absolutely nothing going on when I have to resort to posting about my food obsessions? Hmmmmm.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Surprise! It's Your 25th Birfday (again), Aimster!

by CajunKate

So last night we (Mom, Dad, Byron, and I) all traveled together to Baton Rouge to celebrate a very special occasion, Aimee's birthday! Now, normally, I try to live by my own personal eleventh addition to the Ten Commandments- "Though shalt not spend extended time in towns composed of refineries, strip malls, ghettos, and a large football stadium."- but, for Aimee, I gladly sin. Truth be told, about 19 years ago (s**t, I'm old!) when we were roommates, Aimee and I pretty much cemented our relationship by together endeavoring to break quite a few of the original ten. Good times, good times!

And 2008 may just go down as "The Year of the Surprise Party" in the Daigle family. First we surprised Burt on his 30th birthday, and last night we surprised Aimee for her 25th (*cough* 40th *cough*) birthday. We only need to have one more, and we'll have a trifecta!

Truth be told, I think Aimee's sisters, Katie and Mimi, were more the instigators behind this party, much like Melissa was for Burt's. It appears we Daigles, as a whole, are "surprise party planning deficient." That's okay. If it all goes wrong, we can just sit back and be all like, "Hey, I just showed up as told. I had nothing to do with the actual planning of pissing you off!"

Not that CRoy, once Aimee's sisters came up with the actual idea, wasn't excited about surprising Aimee. There were two major clues as to how excited he was. First off, he called me up on Monday to invite me. A whole FOUR days before the party. Usually if I get a call or an email from CRoy about BR Daigle events, it's like 3:30 PM on Wednesday, and the thing starts at 6:00 PM. Another huge clue that he was excited is this largely elaborated by me version original transcript of a conversation we had a few minutes before we got to the BR Daigles' compound:
*Ring! Ring!*
CRoy: Hello?
Me: Hey, Chuck! It's Katie...Katie Mottram... (s**t, does he even know what my married name is?)...uh, Katie Daigle...not Katie C****y...uh, not your sister-in-law. Ugh, it's your sister!
CRoy (fully cognizant of my R.S.S.D.): Yeah, I got it, since Katie C****y is standing right in front of me.
Me: Oh, right. (Self, are an idiot!)
CRoy: Man, Aimee's not gonna have a clue! She's out with Mimi shopping and then, when she gets here, I'm going to be out in the yard in my shorts and a t-shirt watering the plants like "There's nothing in the world going on here!" She's gonna be SO surprised!
Me: Uh-huh. Look, where should we park when we get to your house?
CRoy: Man, is she gonna be surprised! She's gonna be so surprised! I know she doesn't know! And then, when she gets here, I'm going to be out in the yard in my shorts and a t-shirt watering the plants like "Oh, just a normal day!" She's gonna be SO surprised!
Me: Uh-huh. Where should we park?
CRoy: Oh, man! This is so going to work! She's out shopping with Mimi, and Mimi is going to call us right before they get here. And then, when they get here, I'm just going to be out in the yard in my shorts and a t-shirt watering the plants like "La-di-dah. Just a regular old Friday." There's NO WAY she knows what's going on!
Me: DUDE! Just tell me where to park!

(Sidenote: When we got there, after safely parking, I was standing around in the kitchen talking to the other Katie, Aimee's sister, when her husband Fred said, "What is that? Is that... the "Good Times" music?!?" HA! My phone and its new ringtone. Love it!) Anyway, Mimi, not wanting to tip her off, had to let Aimee direct their shopping show. This meant extended trying on of bathing suits (ed. note: *shudder*) and an unscheduled stop at Dillard's. This worked out really well as it gave those running late a chance to actually be there for the surprise. Watch it all go down:

video

Yep, she sure was surprised! (To see an extended version with more clips and pics, go HERE.) She had to take a few minutes to recover. And, also, she said the EXACT same thing I would have said at my own surprise party in my own house. When I walked over to wish her happy birthday, she was laughingly saying to Charlie, "You invited all these people over to my dirty house?" The only difference is her house is NEVER dirty, whereas mine always is...and okay, I probably would have been more like wickedly hissing in Alex's ear, "Please tell me you cleaned the f***ing bathrooms!"

And here is a sampling of pics from the party. Lots more to see on Flickr.

Here we have gorgeous birthday girlie Aimee and Charlie Roy.

Here we have lovely birthday lady Aimee and Daddy.

Here we have the best of the bunch- birthday girl Aimee and daughter Emily.

Here we have Aimee with her sisters- Katie on the left and Mimi on the right. Katie is not only beautiful but a master party organizer. And Mimi, just as beautiful as her sisters, gave birth only a week and a half ago (!) to son Gabriel...in an hour...without an epidural. Can you say, "Whoa! Superwoman!" I am completely and utterly envious of this exquisite gene pool of loveliness.

Here we have...uh, I'm guessing complete goofballs.

Have I mentioned that Aimee is a wonderful, caring person with a heart of gold who deserves all the happiness in the world? Have I mentioned that a girl could not have a better sister-in-law? Have I mentioned that she was the original sister-in-law who set the bar really, really freaking high for all future sister-in-laws? Now, I can't go so far as to say she's my favorite sister-in-law 'cause I really, really like the others (Hi, Molly! Hi, Melissa!), BUT I will say that she was an extremely tough act to follow.

So happy 25th birthday, Aimee! You're the best! Saaaaay, let's do this next year when you turn 25 (again)!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crazy much?

by Cajun Kate

So I may have left Columbus, but Columbus refuses to be forgotten! Last night, while lolling around in bed like "The Beached Whale That Ate Columbus", I happened to be flipping through channels and paused on the first episode of the new season of Project Runway. They were introducing all the new designers when this one chick started talking about how she owns her own boutique. I was all yeah, whatever, until they threw up a picture of the storefront. And I lurched straight up in bed (not an easy task for a beached whale) and was all, "Heeeeeeyyyyy! I know that place! That place is in Columbus on High Street!" Sure enough, the chick, Kelli Martin, turned out to be from Columbus, and Black Market is the name of her boutique. I saw it when we were driving down to Jack and Benny's, which is also on High Street. (High Street is like Jefferson Street in Lafayette. Lots of cool restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, etc. )

Anyway, when I saw Black Market, I thought,
Man, that place looks cool! I wish we could walk down here and visit some of these places. I'd definitely like to go in there. Which is why last night I was all banging on my head and screaming, "D***it! I was right there! I could have met a pseudo-celebrity!" Until Alex was all, "Oh my God! You know you are insane, right?" And I was all, "And your point is? Let's keep it real here, mister. YOU decided to marry me. So, I ask you, who's crazier? The crazy person OR the dude who decides to marry the crazy person?" Then I rolled over and smirked in private victory celebrating the fact that I had proven that...we are both insane. Wait? What?

In other incredibly boring exciting news, my new obsession with
Good Times, the classic 1970s TV show, reached its zenith when, upon my return from Columbus, I watched ten episodes in a row on Tivo then promptly downloaded the theme song as my new ringtone. You remember the theme song, right?

To quote J.J. Walker, that ringtone is
Then I texted Byron to let him know that I had downloaded the ringtone. It seemed to be the right thing to do since I had tortured him the whole way up to and back from Columbus with episode recaps and really off-key singing of the theme song at the top of my lungs at regular intervals. See, I like to spread my crazy around evenly. Why should only Alex suffer when there are sooooo many others I can slowly drive around the bend, too? That's a warning to Seth. San Francisco in three weeks, buddy! You still have time to move.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Columbus Wrap-Up now with "Quinn and Colin Video Extravaganza!"

by CajunKate

So Bydee and I got home at about 12:30 Monday morning from Columbus. As we rolled out of town, the weather matched our shared mood. Boo-hoo! We did not want to leave!

Here are the top ten things I learned on our Columbus trip:
#10. Holiday Inn Express' breakfast bar is the shiznit.
#9. It is possible to gain ten pounds in five days.
#8. Schmidt's must figure out a way to ship their creampuffs.
#7. It's not easy to go from days with an 86 degree high temperature back to Louisiana where, on the night we returned, it was 86 degrees at 9:30 PM.
#6. A three year old who can do an eyebrow waggle is the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.
#5. All copies of
Scamper the Penguin should be torched immediately.
#4. A dad who buys his daughter a Garmin Nuvi, a portable GPS map system, is awesome because when his son takes the wrong exit, and his children end up on the way to Lexington, Kentucky, Garmin Nuvi will save their a**es by giving them new directions! Then his son will quit making fun of his daughter's Nuvi obsession, AND his kids will get to see the Bluegrass Parkway and a cool castle.


#3. I will forever regret not getting a picture of the billboard for a strip club that read "Big Jim's Boobie Bungalow- Exit NOW!"
#2. Dragging a laptop, cell phone, Garmin Nuvi, MP3 player, digital camera, and a video camera with you on a 1,034 mile journey is totally worth it!
AND....
#1. I want to see my nephews more often than once a year; therefore, I must devise a clever plan to spirit them away from their parents so that I may feast on their delicious cuteness EVERY DAY!

As promised, here's the "Quinn and Colin Video Extravaganza," which will totally back me up on my #1.



Monday, July 14, 2008

Columbus Day Five: Gluttony Schmuttony (or Just Give Up Already) and Bye-Byes (or Noooooooooooo!)

by Cajun Kate
(*ed. note: Though I did write this while in Columbus, I did not post it until I got home because Bydee's car sucks and does not have an internet connection.)

So on Day Five, our last day (BOOOO! and HIIISSSSS!), following the previous very late night, Byron and I finally roused ourselves around noon, and I forced Byron to take me to lunch at Red Robin. We do not have Red Robins in Louisiana, but Alex and I always see the commercials, and we have wanted to go to one forever. Perfect chance to harass Alex. I immediately took a pic of the Red Robin sign and text messaged him with the pic and the word “Jealous?” Then I took a pic of my burger and texted him “Red Robin! Yummmmmm!” HA! I’m such a b***h!

After our lunch, we went over to Jen and Tim’s. We had planned to go to the creek side in Olde Town Gahanna, but the weather was not cooperating. There were scattered storms, so we just stayed home and played outside with the boys. I took a lot more video on this day than pics, but here are a few:

Just before bedtime, Bydee and I took some pics with the boys.

Bedtime was the worst for Nanny Kate. Thankfully, the boys must have become accustomed to seeing us, so they did not ask us if we would be there the next day. If they had asked me that, I might have burst into tears. As it was, I had a hard time holding it together. I even peeked my head into their room one last time to say good night and tell them I loved them. Ugh! I did not want to leave those boys! Next time, I am just going to kidnap them. That’s all there is to it. Say goodbye to your children next year, Jen and Tim! Hey, you can always visit them in Louisiana.

Tim fired up the grill for ribs and sweet corn which we ate after the boys went to bed.




While we waited for Tim to finish up the food, we took some more family pics.


Then it was time for the final gluttony... and to figure out some place that was still open in Gahanna so I could pick up that muumuu for the ride home. Take a look at this deliciousness.


This corn was just OH MY GOD delicious. Check out the melted butter to slather on it and parmesan to roll it in. Heaven! I was in heaven!


The goodbyes with Jen and Tim much later that night were just as hard as the earlier ones with the boys. In fact, come to think of it, next year I am going to kidnap Jen, too. Say goodbye to your wife and kids next year, Tim! You can come visit them, though. Aren’t I so generous?

All in all, this trip was the best (minus the ten pounds of new cellulite on my thighs). We got to spend so much time with everyone, and Jen and Tim were so generous. Most importantly, we made some great memories. Now I’m off to begin formulating those kidnapping plans. Oh, and “The Colin and Quinn Video Extravaganza” will be coming soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Columbus Day Four: The Zoo Trip and the Ultimate Creampuff Gluttony

by CajunKate

(*ed. note: Though I did write this while in Columbus, I did not post it until I got home because Bydee's car sucks and does not have an internet connection.)

So on Day Four of Kate and Bydee’s excellent Columbus adventure, we actually got up before the crack of noon. Shocking, I know. We headed over to Jen and Tim’s to meet up with Jen and the boys. On the agenda was the Columbus Zoo. I tried my very best to put obsessive thoughts about the Schmidt’s cream puffs I would be having later in the back of my mind.

Colin and Quinn were so excited to go to the zoo! I asked them which animal they most wanted to see. Colin immediately said, “PENGUINS!!!” Of course. That d**n Scamper the Penguin video reared its ugly head again.

I will now present a photo essay of our zoo trip. Off we go!

First, we walked to the Asia section. We saw tigers and flying foxes and this elephant. We also quickly became aware that it was going to take a hell of a lot more than some dumb animals behind glass and/or fences to hold attention spans for more than 16 seconds.

We walked through the aviary on the way out of Asia, and the birds were a total hit...for 16 seconds. Shortly after this, the day began to get really hot, and we began hustling those kids through that zoo at a manic pace determined (determined, d***it!) that those kids were gonna see and do some s**t, dadgum it!

All over the zoo they have these animal statuaries which the kids can climb all over and which allow parents (and picture crazy aunts) to get their photo ops in with minimal whining. Quinn loved the tiger. Two seconds before I took this pic, while frantically waving his arms in excitement, Quinn said "I'm gonna ride dis big tiger, Nanny Kake!"

Finally, before leaving Asia, we got our jam on. The boys loooooved this drum. It is pretty cool. You know I had to get in a few thumps on it.

After a quick snack and hydration break, we dragged Colin and Quinn onward and forward. We stopped off at the hammerhead shark statuary where Quinn, genius that he is, eventually ran off all the other kids by saying, "Look, guys! A hammerhead shark!" NINE THOUSAND TIMES. Awesome. Also, I almost did not get this picture due to some old man who felt the need to tell me a long drawn out story about catching a shark on a charter fishing trip in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago that his son-in-law had set up. Yes, I know ALL of this about a complete stranger who never even introduced himself, but just launched into his opus while I maintained the polite Southern girl smile and exclamations of "Wow!"; "Huh!"; and the classic "Well, isn't that something!" while frantically keeping an eye on the kids and thinking I was going to have to elbow that old b*****d out of the way before I missed my photo op. Then it was Mush! mush! mush! To the CAROUSEL, squat-legged nephews, as fast as you can! Where Colin, upon catching sight of the carousel, let out a squeal that registered on the Richter scale and promptly abandoned all hand-holding to run toward it. I expected to hear the theme music from "Chariots of Fire" bust out. It was freaking hilarious!

While Uncle Bydee got tickets, the boys just sat there completely entranced. There was no whining, no bugging out, no incessant chorus of "When's mmmmyyyyy turn to ride?" Just pure, unadulterated ogling of fancy wooden horses. Awesome.

This was my first try at a pic. Do you have ANY idea of the difficulty in competing for attention with fancy wooden horses that go round and round? Well, I'll tell you that in this case it resulted in an almost middle-aged, childless woman standing behind a fence thundering out, "Colin! Quinn! Look at Nanny Kate!" until complete strangers were like, "B***h, shut the hell up and leave those kids alone!"

Success at last! And I just need to point out that Quinn had that horse picked out specifically and dragged Jenny over to it saying, "This is the one, Mommy!" All that earlier horse ogling really worked out for him.

I include this pic simply because of the looks on their faces which I happen to think are absolutely hysterical. They were waiting for the carousel to start spinning. After the carousel, the march was back on! Forward to the boat ride, rapidly tiring and increasingly sweaty nephews!

This is Quinn on the boat ride, which went through Australia and gave you the chance to see gibbons, various monkeys, and otters. Quinn loved the boat ride so much that, when I took him off at the end, he began wailing. I thought maybe he was hurt, but as I set him down on the bench and asked him what was wrong, he managed to tearfully gulp out, "But I wanted to go AGAIN, Nanny Kake!" Sorry, dude, time to march on.

And this is Colin on the boat ride; he just sat there and giggled the entire time. Love it.

Really, Bydee? Throwing gang signs on the boat ride? Inappropriate much? Friggin' Bydee, man!

Last stop of the day was the Wings and Things playground. I cannot even begin to tell you what a blast they had here. Though it could be a little confusing to be on a multi-level climbing apparatus. I know this because at one point, Quinn yelled out, "Oh, no! Nanny Kake, I'z trapped! I'z trapped!" It was my job to convince him that, no, he was not trapped.

This pic is the result of a concerted effort on my part that basically consisted of me bellowing out, "COOOOOLIIIIN! LOOOOOOOK AT NANNY KATE!" until the entire zoo crowd gathered to see what the big deal was.

This pretty much sums up how the day ended. Do you see how sweaty and red that kid is? Later, when Byron overheard Jenny and I talking about something that had happened at the zoo, Byron said, "What are y'all talking about? The Bataan Death March?" And we were both like, "What? No! We're talking about the zoo trip!" And he was all, "Yeah! The Bataan Death March!" At which point, Jenny and I busted out laughing because we totally did drag those kids through that zoo until they were exhausted, sweaty, thirsty, and hungry. The only thing missing was the jungle rotted feet.

At the end of the day, Jen and Bydee had to carry the boys, who were tuckered out and red as beets, on the long trek to the car. By the time we finally got to the car, everyone was dripping with sweat and red-faced. We made a quick stop for a late lunch at “Old McDonald’s," which is what Quinn and Colin call McDonald’s; it's OLD McDonald’s, like the farm. As a treat for being so good at the zoo, and in an effort to cool them off as quickly as possible, each of the boys got a small chocolate shake. Quinn was the most excited about his “chocolate ice cream.” But it was Colin who managed to drink the entire thing by the time we reached home. Quinn could not compete with that. He only drank half of his.

When we got back to Jen and Tim’s, everybody was whipped. I present to you Exhibit A: photo evidence of what a four hour trip to the zoo with two toddlers can do to an adult body. (Where those gang signs now, buddy?)


After naps, all of us, including family friend Paul, all headed down to meet Tim’s parents at Schmidt’s, home of the most glorious cream puff on planet Earth and object of my obsession.

We met Tim’s parents there. We had to wait to get a table, so I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Schmidt’s is located in an area called German Village. If I had to live in Columbus, this is where I would want to live. The streets are still cobblestone and all of the houses are cute little cottages. Here, look:

Just before we went inside, Colin found some old sunglasses in my purse and wanted to wear them.

Naturally, he had to wear them inside. As we walked into the foyer, there was a group of older ladies and gents walking out. Colin said to them, “Hey, guys! Look at me!” I cracked up. Those old people were totally charmed by him. One lady said, “Oh! You look just like a movie star!” As we continued into the actual restaurant, we had to traverse the area where a throng of people were waiting for tables. As we passed each group, Colin would yell out, “Hey guys! Look at me!” He was quite a hit.

Now on the important stuff- the FOOD! I had the buffet because I love variety and also I am a giant pig, and it is an all you can eat buffet. If you find yourself one day facing the buffet at Schmidt’s, here are the things you must get: garlic knockwurst, grilled bratwurst, Bahama Mama (Schmidt’s signature German sausage), German potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut, corned beef and cabbage, and sausage stew. These are my favorites. Did I really eat all that? Ya gosh darn right I did! Who knows when I will get back to Schmidt’s again? BUT, of course, the piece de resistance at Schmidt’s is the CREAM PUFF. (Do you hear those angels singing the Hallelujah chorus right now?) Now, there are two kind of fillings for the puffs- chocolate and vanilla. I usually get the vanilla because I consider it perfection, and why mess with perfection, right? But that night, I decided to try the chocolate. Oh my, my! Heavenly, people. Still, I like the vanilla best. As I told Jen and Tim the first time they brought me to Schmidt’s and ordered me a puff, “Oh my God! I wanna like throw myself in a vat of this and just bathe in it and eat my way to the bottom!” Needless to say, by the end I was thoroughly stuffed and waddling. At that moment an oompah band struck up in the front of the house. Colin and Quinn, of course, had to see that!

Well, may be Quinn actually didn't want to see that. But Colin sure did!

Notice Colin is still kicking it (with his sunglasses at the ready), and Quinn has now decided that, yeah, he might as well take a peek.

* The sweetest part of the evening was that Tim’s parents paid for our meal. Wasn’t that awesome of them? They’re the best! (Hi, Mrs. Elaine and Mr. Don!)

Back at the ranch, we tucked the boys in, drank waaaayyy too much beer, and played a card game called Uecker (named for Bob Uecker?) Finally, at two o’clock, Byron and I stumbled back to the hotel already lamenting the fact that tomorrow would be our last day. Boooooooooooooo and hiiiiiiissssssssssss to that, man!