Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A letter from Mimi

Dear Santa,

Merry Christmas.  This Christmas I would really like a Whirl n’ Wear.  I would also like butterfly connectagons.  Thank you so much. 

Sincerely,
Mimi


A letter from Little

Dear Santa,

If I ask for a lot this year, Santa, you don't have to bring me everything.  So let me get started.  The first thing I would like is the Lego Harry Potter castle, please.  Second, the train.  Third, I'm really digging the Lego Hero Factory guys.  Stormer, Bulk and Stringer are my favorites.  The fourth thing I would like is two mechatars.  And fifth, a soulskate.

Sincerely,
Little

A letter from Middle

Dear Santa,

Every year I ask you a whole bunch of questions and this year I was planning to do the same except then I thought that you might not like questions.  So this year my first question is . . . do you like questions?  Second of all, my sister and I would like to know if you have an email address.  It would make sending you our letters one hundred times easier.  Okay now it's time to get to the point.  I really don't have much to ask for this year.  That Dairy Queen blizzard maker looks awesome, but my mom thinks it doesnt' work.  You decide and I will see what you think on Christmas morning :)  The other ting that really popped out was a Lego Volkswagen old time slug bug bus that I saw online.  The only other thing I can think of is a mini-ripstik.  Last summer I was at my friend's house and we went outside.  Her youngest brother had a mini one and it worked much better for me.  I guess my point is pretty much that i would rather have a mini rip-stick than a regular sized one.  I don't know why but your reindeer always puzzle me.  I can't seem to figure out their mystery.  You on the hand have to know them all.  Do you nickname them?  Do any of them have six points on their antlers?  Maybe this year I will figure a few things out.

Sincerely,
Middle

P.S. Chocolate chip is still your favorite, right?

Middle's letter is BEAUTIFULLY decorated with a border of holly & swirls, Christmas trees and a whole line of flying reindeer across the top of the page.

A letter from Big . . .

Dear Santa,

I trust your judgement.
I hope you have a safe Christmas and a happy new year.

Love,
Big

November 30th

Thankful for the birthday eve celebration.  It's one of our family traditions that's JUST ours.  No pressure, no company, no guests, no guessing.  It's a stable.  It's a staple.  We love the birthday eve.

Today is my birthday eve.
Today is also Mimi's birthday eve.

We're gonna rock this town tomorrow, my tiny little perfect piece of almost-four-year old.  We have a lunch date . . and it's going to be AMAZING!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good news and a testament of my love for him

Well, I can see that this is going to require some explanation.  And here's the short version:

As a kid, my family ate at buffets.  The Royal Fork was one of my dad's favorites.  I can still hear him saying that they named the place after him.  R.F. are his initials, and the sign, (do you remember it) was a big blue shield with RF inside it.


He also liked Furr's Cafeteria (where makin' up your mind . . is half the fun!  Do you remember the jingles?  I've a self-admitted jingle junkie!)  I remember those thick pleather seats with the giant padded buttons and how there was only one way in.  People lined up like cattle at a trough.

Anyway, I could go on and on and on.  It wasn't just The Royal Fork or Furr's.  It was Country Buffet, Ponderosa Steakhouse, any hotel with a breakfast buffet.  Buffets are something that I recall from my childhood.    We would gather as a family of four, go through the line, serve ourselves, sit down and eat.  My dad's plate would be piled three times as high as anyone else's with a sampling of everything from the buffet bowls.  He would eat and eat and eat . . . like the guys on Food Network.  Sometimes, he would go back for more.  A second trip.  Sometimes a third, of just something he really liked.  And then there was dessert.  My brother usually brought a book.  I colored in the time between when we (read: the rest of the family) had finished our meals and when my dad kept on eating and eating and eating.  

Sometime in my young teen years, when I became painfully aware of my body, I remember beginning to feel troubled about buffets.  I still am.   Let's just cut to the chase:  I despise buffets.  I hate, hate, hate buffet dining.  I don't like the choices.  I don't like how it's all mixed.  I don't like how things look sad and wilted and like they have had so many better days.  I don't like that so many people pick things up and put them back.  The food seems sad in buffets.  It's not bright.  Or beautiful.  I don't like the struggle to control portions.  I don't like the gluttony.  Insert disclaimer here:  I understand that it's good on the pocketbook, especially for large families.  I understand that the same things that I detest are actually what draw people to buffets . . . but this isn't about them, this is about me.

There are exceptions.  Sort of.  I love a good salad bar.  I really enjoy Jason's Deli salad bar.  And I also love Souper Salad.  But I stay away from all the extras and stick to the green stuff.  Wait, I'm having an internal epiphany.  Perhaps it's the word "buffet" that's my trigger.  Shoot, it's a good thing Jason's doesn't have a "salad buffet"; they would likely lose a customer.

Good news:  Today was my dad's post-treatment for bladder cancer follow-up appointment.  I met him at his urologist's office (this is the guy who is the biggest pompous ass on the planet). Envision monkeys doing cartwheels and tossing confetti here:  HE'S CANCER FREE!!!!   It's a big relief & I'm sure he feels great.  He understood the clear diagnosis well enough to exclaim, "Let's eat at the Asian Buffet."

Oh God, my stomach started to roll.  Cause if there's anything worse than regular old American food on a buffet . . . . fries mixed with greens mixed with chicken fried steak and gravy in all sorts, (and how about that guy that stands at the end armed with medieval hardware who points the jabber at you and says "beef or ham?")  then it has to be seeing the tiny tentacles of a baby squid floating in some sort of oily muck at an ASIAN buffet.

But, as a testament of my love for him, I went to the Asian buffet.  Not only did I go to the Asian buffet, I actually paid, good money, to EAT at the Asian buffet.  I paid for myself, my dad, and the driver from resident transport that was with him.  Two senior citizens.  And me.

My dad . . . well, he felt good enough and was excited enough about the buffet to leave his wheelchair in the transport van.  He shuffled in with just his cane.  A good sign?  I guess.  He piled a plate high with all kinds of unidentifiables.  Fried rice, some sort of noodle, at least one kind of chicken thing, some sort of beef thing.  I took it back to the table for him.  While holding on to the buffet bar for support, he spied oysters.  And some sort of seafood medley.  And the soups.  I found some salad.  Not that great at an Asian buffet but I'm okay with that.  We sat.  He ate.  And ate.  And ate.  I munched tiny lines into a big honkin' hunk of honeydew while he slurped oysters and chased them with egg drop soup.  He asked me, as he laughed at the same time & offered me an oyster, "did you go vegetarian?  He wanted more.  I took him up.  He gave me orders.  "Get a plate."  "One peach."  "One pear."  "One pineapple." And we returned to the table.  And he ate.  And ate.  And ate.  And when he was done, he said, "you didn't see any watermelon, did you?  I have a taste for watermelon."  That made me kind-of chuckle.  Sometimes when my dad holds his head just right, I can see my brother.  And sometimes, when he's giving me this ONE kind of look, I swear I see a glimpse of Middle.  

He asked a lot about Middle.  He's following her season.  He watched her You Tube video on my phone.  He looked at pictures of Mimi's maiden skiing mission.  He asks about all of them.  He knows and loves them all.  And this I know for certain:  his appetite has not diminished.  If his appetite is the gauge to his overall health, then I do declare, "he's just fine!"  

And, because I'm in the habit of taking a snapshot of dad every time I see him . . . . .  kind of a cool picture . . . can you see me, reflected in his eyes?

November 29th

Thankful for salad.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28th

Thankful for Cyber Monday.

iRant . . this hacks me off . . .

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up to pee.  When I got up, that old familiar electric pain shot up my right flank . . . and here I am . . . hobbling about in a medication induced stupor this morning.

Except that .  . . I was going back to the gym this morning.  Nearly 10 days of vacation, no food diary, not a lick of tracking, and I'm two pounds lighter.  Go me.  But the gym is not on my radar this morning.  I hurt.

And I was going to the grocery store.  I'm busy keeping my spine in stiff alignment.  No bending.  Squatting only.  No lifting heavy things.  Groceries are hell with this kind of back pain.   I could have used a 10 pound bag of sugar.  Five will have to do.  No dog food for the four-legged friends today.  It will have to wait.  I can't lift it.  Not onto the bottom of the cart, and certainly not from the cart to the back of my truckster.  Damn.

I'm off track.

Back to what hacks me off.  Okay, I realize this might be trivial.  I may be a pain in the ass right now, but it's me.  It's authentically me.


I came home with 26 bags from the grocery today.  Twenty-flippin-six bags.  Some of them were damn heavy.  Because I got the worst bagger/checker in the whole world.  See this one?  Super light.  Why?  Because it has five things in it.  All light things.  Hmm.  Why not just put ALL the bathroom stuff in this bag?  See, I also have one with Dora band-aids (stocking stuffers), a card of mini-jaw clips, and two tubes of hand lotion.  'Tis the season for chapped knuckles, it is.  This morning, I bought Carmex hand cream.  Yes, it's new.  Yes, I like it.  Go get some.  I also bought Blistex hand cream for Big's stocking.

I'm off topic again.

What's the cheese doing in there?   Hmm?

See, when I unload my buggy, I do kind of organize it on the belt . . . boxes with boxes, meat with meat, bags with bags, cleaning stuff with cleaning stuff.  And then I get these bags home, where tampons are in the same bag with pepperoni sticks, butter & lysol and I can't help but shake my head.

Crappy sackers hack me off.

November 27th

Thankful for Sunday.

I've already been thankful for a husband that tempers his bitching with troubled, brow-furrowed looks when I ask for movement of furniture.  I thought he was gonna kill me, but it appears to be okay.  Still thankful for the same thing, only more, since today's move involved two GIANT pieces of furniture.

Thankful for athletics.  Thankful for the movement.  Thankful for the high.

Thankful for friends.  Those that I hold dear.  There are a blessed few, and as I have proven again, I can't handle friendships.  They are too complicated and convoluted.  One person, see I use the term friend so, so loosely . . . told me that I don't know how to have girlfriends, because I wasn't raised with sisters.  I don't know how to talk to women.  I don't know how to take their criticisms of me.  I think she's right on the money.  I don't know shit about female friendships.  Except, of course, that I suck at them, and that I am indeed building a gigantic brick wall around myself in efforts to protect myself from more heartache.   I swear I'll learn my lesson this time.  I swear I will.

November 26th

Thankful for the hotel experience.  I love hotels.  Love spending a night somewhere else.  Love the perfect presentation.  Love the little triangle folded on the end of the toilet paper.  Love the extras.  Love the towel origami.





And, on that note, I think I might like this book . . .

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25th

Thankful for safe travels home.   Thankful for the family truckster.  Oh my gosh.  All of that gear and stuff would never have fit in the Saturn.

Thankful for a successful return to skiing . . .

I got back on skis for the first time in, um, about 10 years.  It was awesome.  It took me half of the first day to get comfortable.  It took me a run or two on the second day to re-learn to trust myself.  In the end, I skied three days with the family.  Mimi had her first experience.  She did a full day of ski-school AND skied with us one day.  The snow wasn't that great, but it's pre-season.  The time away more than made up for it.

Big, Middle and Yours Truly . . . after our first day on the mountain.   I look like I have a mustache. 


LOVE the lifts.  It's my favorite part.  Well, one of them.

And, thankful for family together time.  One day, we didn't ski . . . we dorked around in town, spent a long time at the pool, played a go-fish tournament.  We just spent the day together.  While we were in town, we fiddled around in a hat shop.  We tried on about a hundred hats and laughed at all of them.  To steal a phrase, I laughed until the tears ran down my legs.   Here's what I'm talking about:



This is my husband.  MOTH, as you know him.  And if you've seen a posted picture or nine, he's bald.  By choice. He actually has a luxurious head of thick, curly hair.  But in September of 2000, he asked me to shave it off.  It's been like that since.  It's how we know our daddy.  He's the bald guy.  So when Middle convinced him to put on this wig-hat, we all cut-it up!  It's my new contact tag and I laugh every time he calls me!!   It's BLUE and BLACK!!  And long . . he looked like a cross between a wanna be rocker & a skater  .  . . So funny!!   I guess right about now I should be thankful I was behind the camera instead of in front of it.  Nobody caught proof of ME in any of the crazy hats I tried on!!

November 24th

Thankful that I'm not cooking.
Thankful that I'm not eating turkey.
Thankful that I'm not stuck in a hot kitchen making a meal that nobody likes and feeling stressed out about the friggin' table linens.

It's a great Thanksgiving.  We're eating at Eric's, our favorite pizza joint, where the special treat is root beer in bottles.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 23rd

Thankful for a brave girl and a patient daddy  . . .

Okay.

I'm behind.  There was a crappy signal and I don't really love blogging from my phone.  The titles are screwed up, posts don't always make it and I feel compelled to go back and fix things. So, I decided mid-vacation to just stop.  Now, I'm backtracking.

So . . . Wednesday, November 23rd.  Thanks be to a patient daddy and a very brave little girl.  Mimi's first day of skiing (she says "key-ing") went really well.  We put her on a leash and the whole family made massive efforts to put the FUN in her first venture on sticks.  She took five runs and was a total rock star.  I expected far more complaining.  From gear to heat to boots and just getting stinkin' tired . . . . but she didn't fuss.  It took her one long run to figure out how to stand up.  She didn't get the idea of snowplowing and stopping.  It takes time.  Her young muscles have no memory for that.  But she did have a blast!  She laughed like a goon when she fell and she came cruising down the hill with the biggest, cheesiest grin on her face EVER!!

 There is something unbelievably cute about an itty peanut like Mimi on skis.  From the Dora helmet to the tiny little boots . . . the whole picture is just CUTE.


So, the second part . . . .

It's not an easy task for a skiier like MOTH (read, REALLY good) to take a day out of really rippin' it down the double black diamonds to spend an entire day doing short lifts and green slopes while he snowplows behind a beginner.  So, cheers to the spousal unit, who was very selfless today and did an absolute bang-up job of being uber-patient.  You go, daddy-o.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22nd

Thankful to have known a great lady. Thankful to have been a very tiny sliver in her life. Thankful that her passing was fast and painless. Here is a moment of silence of MOTH's grandma . . .

November 20th

Thankful for Onstar. Honest to goodness, I genuinely believe that Onstar is one of the best electronic thing-a-ma-jigs that I have ever had the pleasure of using. I would buy another GM vehicle just because of onstar.

November 19th

I wonder why this didn't post. Ironic. I posted that I was thankful for being able to blog from the road. Ha. And thankful for safe travels. Also, thankful and in awe of the champion's attitude in my daughter today. She fell off of the beam not once, but twice today. She fought tears and scored a season low score of 7.6. Then, she rocked the house on the rest of her events, scoring over 9.1 on everything. She came back from the worst beam routine of the season for a 6th place all-around finish. I am so proud of my tiny gymnast!!

November 21st

Thankful for good long underwear that keep me toasty warm on the slopes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November18th

Thankful for . . .  my jobs . . .

Being a nurse defines me, in many ways.  It's a constant that I like.

I took a part-time, second-job, I'm-the-most-unlikely-consultant-in-the-world sort of job just over a year ago with Thirty-One Gifts.  It's been just that  . . . Thirty-One Gifts.  Gifts for my family, gifts for me, the gift of extra cash, the gift of a fabulous social outlet.

Today, I'm thankful for my work. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17th

Thankful . . .

Thankful for Thursdays.  This year, Thursdays in our house are the "mommy day."  Every night at bedtime, Mimi says, "Do I have school tomorrow?  Do I have 'nastics tomorrow?"  On Wednesday nights, I love to say, "Nope, no school . . . no 'nastics . . . tomorrow's a MOMMY DAY!"  She always throws her hands in the air and then pulls that left elbow in while she says, "YES! I love mommy day."

It melts me.  Her genuine reaction to getting to spend one-on-one time with me is awesome.  It's a powerful thing to be loved like that, and it makes me want to love her and squeeze and take her home and call her George, to steal a phrase.   We don't always do anything exciting, but we do everything together.  Today, we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond.  We smelled candles.  We looked at stuff.  We touched pillows and compared their loft and softness.  We looked at the Christmas decorations.  We pushed buttons on blenders.  We went to lunch.  She ordered fries and she smiled a grin as wide as the sky when I wrote her name on her plate in ketchup (or check-up, as she calls it).  We went Christmas shopping at a little boutique named Gatherings.  It's like a home-interior-slash-home-made shop.  I went on the hunt for cool stocking stuffers for Big and Middle.  I ended up with an awesome few  . . . and the happiest customer of the day.  Mimi loves jingle bells.  Loves.  Jingle.  Bells.  She found a whole bin of those aged, tea-dipped, bells.  A whole section was the itty-teeniest little jingle bells I've ever seen.  She fell in love with them.  So I let her pick out ten.  I gave her fifty-cents and let her pay by herself.  The lady was so nice & gave her a receipt and her own itty-tiny fabric bag for her jingle bells.  Not the biggest purchase of the day at Gatherings, but certainly the happiest customer.  It was adorable.

We came home & wrapped presents.  And played with stickers.  And sorted socks.  We picked up dog poop and rounded up trash.  Nothing exciting, but time together.  Just time together.

So . . . . I'm super thankful today for a beautiful day with my tiny little perfect piece of three-year old.  She truly, absolutely, for-sure is the peanut butter to my jelly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th

Thankful for conversation.

I'm thankful for communication.  There are times when there's a gap for a while in productive conversation, but today, I'm truly, absolutely, 100% thankful for productive, problem solving, here's-how-I-feel-now-you-tell-me-what-we-can-do-to-fix-this-together kind of conversation.   Conversation  and communication are things (well, along with opposable thumbs) that separate us from the apes, so I'm very, very thankful today to be able to speak my mind to someone that pretends to care.  I'm thankful for a someone who doesn't threaten to walk away.  I'm thankful for a someone that is a rock and that is, at least from time-to-time, helpful.  I'm thankful for someone that is learning to speak my love language . . . . I'm thankful that I'm figuring out what that is.  (Read the book, you'll understand . . it's a couples-counseling thing that was recommended by one of everyone's favorite TV shrinks.)

I'm thankful for the gift of speech.  And the even bigger gift of free speech.  I'm so, so, so thankful for the gift of speech through the keyboard & expressing myself through written language.  I do believe there are many days that I would simply implode if I didn't have the simple outlet of writing on blogs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good and Bad . . .

Well, the good thing about a challenge is that it keeps the blog posts coming in steadily.  It makes you ponder things.  Like what you are thankful, or a variety of other things (as in the last challenge I did).  The bad thing is that it kinda pulls you (okay, not YOU . . but ME) away from thinking and typing about things that are still rattling around in the brain . . . maybe more valuable or deeper than a daily shot of generic, "I'm thankful".  

Well . . . not that any of this is more important that what I'm thankful for . . . but .  . . I'm still gonna write an alphabet of things I haven't mentioned . . .

a.  My brother visited last weekend.  I do believe it's good to see family.  He flew in on Friday, spent Saturday with our dad and flew out on Sunday.  He spent some good one-on-one time with mom.  He spent some good one-on-one time with dad.  Dad was thrilled to have him visit.  He thought dad looked and acted as healthy and well as a 92-year old man can.
b.   I did an annual open house as a bag-lady dealer on Saturday.   Bad planning with family in town, but I didn't know the dates at the time.
c.   Middle won an honorable mention in an art contest sponsored by PTA at her school.  She's advancing to the Council level with her painting.
d.  Big has taken to this line, "Mom, will you quiz me on ____________".   She likes it.   I'm reviewing basic chemistry.  She frequently has this math homework called study island.  It's computer generated quizzes.  It's like studying -- on an island -- with no one to help you.  I'd like to take a parental moment to sing the praises for The Khan Academy (khanacademy.org)   Wow.  Thank you so much, Khan Academy, for helping me to help her.
e.  Remember a few weeks ago when I made the painstaking decision to pull Middle out of the Gifted & Talented Program at school?  Well, come to find out, she still has this semester long project that is a requirement, so says the teacher, of being "identified" as gifted.  Huh?  I'm totally confused.  Sounds like another time eating project.  Sounds like she's "getting a grade" in a class that she's not even IN . . . which translates into being punished for having been identified as gifted.  Hmm.  You can bet your sweet red cherry tomato that I've contacted the GT director of the district with a few questions.
g.  Christmas budget.  I'm on task.  And on time.  Go me.
h.  Team Mom.  I'm Team Mom for Big's volleyball team.
i.  One more meet for Middle until state.
j.  We're going skiing.  Gone over Thanksgiving.  I'm so excited to go play in the snow.
k.  Family pictures . . . do you do this?  How?  When?
l.  Christmas cards . . . do you do this?  Who makes the cut?  I think I must blog about this every year.
m.  I reconnected with an old friend.  It's left me feeling nostalgic and appreciating the kind of relationships that pick right up where they left off . . . even though our last communication was in February.
n.  I sent some pretty hilarious pictures to Homestead today and I laughed right out loud, in the middle of an important meeting when I got her responses.   Does anyone need some pink elephant gifts for the holidays?  Or is it white elephant?  Pink or white . . . whatever.  I've got it.
o.  Holiday charity . . . . thinking, thinking, thinking.
p.  Flex care.  Shall I voice my frustrations?  That stupid law passed and no grandfathering is allowed.  I've gotta spend a sailboat full of cash in the next 45 days, and prove it to be a legitimate medical expense.  Or lose it.  Damnit.
q.  Dependent care.  Shall I voice my frustrations?  I'm a moron.  I underestimated.  Remind me to re-check my math at open enrollment this year.
r.  Paperclip chains.  Curses.  Which child is doing this to my paperclips?  Argh!!
s.  Guess what I did today?
t.  Hint:


u.  I'm hungry.
v.  Castle is on at 9.  What's your TV lineup?  Have I blogged recently about how much I love TV?  I just do.
w.  Ooh, I'm super proud of myself for busting out the sewing kit and fixing two things.  One was Big's favorite light pink ruffly cardigan sweater.  The hook was coming undone.  Go super mommy.  I fixed it after it hung on the doorknob of my room for only, um, like six weeks.  And second, the throw that lives in the front room.  It's had a hole in it that runs almost the entire length.  It's been there for about two years.  I fixed it today while Big was at piano.  I'm so impressed with myself.
x.  How fun are these?   Mimi and I washed our hands twice just so we could use this awesome new Dyson air-blade technology.  It was so fun!

y.  I'm just curious . . . . what do you sell?  What do you give?  What do you gift?  What's a charitable donation?   Do you Goodwill?  ARC?  Contribute to Healing Minds?  The Battered Women's Shelter?  Do you sell stuff?  Lots of clothes on ebay?  Books?  I just want a gauge of how other people deal with their stuff.
z.  Still going.  I must go pack ski stuff and write a note to Big's math teacher.  I need jammie pants.  And a mug of this wonderful hot chocolate that boasts 15 grams of protein.  It's practically guilt free.  I love it.

November 14th

Thankful . . . .

I'm thankful for lots of things today-slash-tonight.  Even with my fingers poised above the keyboard, I can't really decided which one to clink-on about tonight.  I'll jot some stickies for later posts, spin the dial . . . . and . . . land . . . on . . . . the beautiful world of internet shopping.

Hallelujah.  I've been Christmas shopping.  And it's not that I don't LIKE to go out and GO to stores, mill about, ponder the person I'm shopping for and pick out a lovely trinket that speaks to their heart, from my soul.  I do love, LOVE, LOVE to give a good gift.  I also love, love, love to RECEIVE a good gift.    I do, however, in times like these, when my time is a hot commodity and is oh, so valuable, really appreciate being about to check out Costco-dot-com, see that the digital camera I'm eye-balling for Big's big Santa gift is out of stock, think to myself, "oh, thank goodness, I just saved myself time and money", open a new tab, hop over to Best Buy, see that they do have it in stock, but for more money, print the Costco price, call the nearest Best Buy store, put a purple one on hold for price match, where I'll pick it up by Thursday at 11.  Ahh, getting things done.  I like the rich, satisfying feeling of being able to check off all of the Santa wish list in less than an hour of internet shopping.  Whirl-n-Wear.  Check.  Legos.  Check.  Kindle.  Check.    

So, today, I'm celebrating an amazing little thing called the internet.  Gawd, I love it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13th

Thankful . . . and hopeful, that the majority of our family has had the crud & recovered before we are scheduled to be gone for a piece of next week.   The only thing worse than being sick and feeling like hell warmed over is being SICK and feeling like hell warmed over AND being away from home.

Also . . . . whenever I get the crud, I'm reminded of my age.   It's 37, by the way.  Middle keeps track of my age.  I know, I know.  It doesn't really matter to me.  But seriously, a little bit of fever absolutely LEVELS me.  Whoa, Betty.   And having sickness coursing through me makes me feel fifty years older and fragile, fragile.  I feel like I could break into pieces in a stiff wind.

Only in Colorado . . . . or maybe Montana . . .






Fly fishing in Estes Park . . . . the photos are from an edited chain of email . . . . cool, huh?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12th

Thankful for countdowns.   I like countdowns.  I like anticipation to build and build and build.  I like to generate excitement among the youngsters.  I like providing them with a focus that's seasonal and fun.

I'm thankful for countdowns.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th

Isn't the date today cool.

Really.

Thankful.

Well, without going into too much gory detail, Mimi started vomiting last night at 3:53 am.  It happened like it always does with little people and bad aim.  How?  Well . . . sudden, violet onset, projectile vomiting.   As if the words "sudden", "violent" and "projectile" don't accurately describe the demons emitted, then suffice it to say that she was snuggly nestled between ME and MOTH when the urping began.  

On the bright side, MOTH and I spring into action like a well oiled machine when it comes to kids and yakking.  I grab the kid and airplane them to the bathtub, mostly because it's the closest easy clean-up location.  He assesses the damage and starts the mop-up.

On the downside, children vomiting in my bed alert me to the one (italicized, bold) bad thing about a king size bed.  It's a lot of damn laundry when you have to strip all the layers back and wash quilts and comforters one by one.  Even with a large capacity set-up, you're in for a day of wash.

The vomiting continued every hour until morning.  We were snuggling on the sofa watching Dora when Big came upstairs and said, "My stomach kind-of hurts."  The nurse in me said, "What kind of hurts . . . you're hungry hurts or you're gonna hurl hurts?"  She turned green and headed for the pot.  I guess that answered that question.  Between the two of them, they harfed and barfed their way into the 3 pm hour.  Sheesh.

So . . . .

Today and tonight, I am thankful for these bad boys:

I'm so, so, so, so (add a few more in your own mind, just for emphasis) SO very thankful for washing machines and the comforts of the modern world.  I'm so, so, so glad that I'm not down at a semi-frozen stream beating linens and furs and any applicable vomited-up clothing against a rock.  Holy cow, am I ever grateful for a washer and dryer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10th

Motherhood.  Thankful every day for the gift of motherhood.  Thankful and honored that God has trusted me with these little angels.  If that sounds too sappy sweet, it is.  Well, kind-of.  I am honored.  I love them.  I love them so much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

These are inching toward the top of my Christmas List . . . .

http://spoonerboards.com/ 

How fun does that look?  I can't wait to try it.

November 9th

Thankful for shoes.  Today I'm thankful for shoes.  

I'm also ever-in-awe of Soles for Souls, the charity organization that collects American's overabundance of shoes, and freecycles them to those in need of shoes.  

I'm thankful for my shoes.  I try really hard not to be a gluttonous shoe hoarder.  For the most part, it works.  I have several less pairs of shoes that my average female buddy.  Best, I love my runners, my Dansko clogs and my Ugg slip-ons.  Emu boots are a favorite, especially this time of year . . . .


So very me . . .

I set out to do some price comparing and internet shopping for the kids this morning.  Yea right.  Instead, I fell in love with this sweater dress.  I love, love, love a sweater dress, leggings and boots.  It's the power outfit of my choice.  I always feel great . . . .

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

November 8th

Thankful for medicine today.  I'm having an acute back flare-up-slash-incident-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-it.   Call it painful.  Call it crappy.   Post-surgery, my doc predicted this would happen three to four times per year.  This is number two for this calendar year.  It sucks.  Two more days of excruciating pain until some relief will start to creep in.  At least now I know there is an end in sight.

Thank God.

Monday, November 07, 2011

November 7th

Thankful for creativity.

Middle made the solar system last week . . . out of fruits & vegetables.


Tonight, I came into the kitchen to an odd smell of rubber cement and sage.   It was Little, doing homework that consisted of decorating a turkey with any materials other than crayons, markers or paint.  He was rubber cementing spices all over them.  I knew with certainty I'd lose at least a full jar of spices.  Only the rosemary fell victim . . and the best news of all . .  he didn't inhale pepper flakes or rub anything caustic in his eyes.  Whew.  Hooray for creativity.

Pumpkin Bread

This is an old favorite, first given to me by Dottie, my college boyfriend's mother.  She made it for him and he would bring it to the dorms.   It's lovely.  Don't freak out about the ingredients.  It makes a TON of bread . . . (so it seems like it's terrible but you get a very high yield!!) 

Mix: 

3 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil

Add: 

4 eggs (one at a time) 

Mix well, then add: 

2/3 cup water
2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
16 oz can of pumpkin
3 1/2 cups of flour 

Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes (for large loaves).  Small loaves bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Also makes fabulous muffins. 

Options: 
Top these guys with raw oats, or a packet of instant maple or brown sugar oatmeal.   Make dessert by adding cream cheese frosting.  Add nuts or raisins to the batter.  I've also done the method where you inject whipped cinnamon cream cheese into the center of these muffins.  It's lovely. 

This week's meal plan . . .

I've decided that when it comes to meal planning, the WHY is just as important as the WHAT and the HOW.  I think I knew that.  We mothers tend to think like that.  Three steps ahead of the general population.  I'm making a concentrated effort to explain myself lately . . . so that my son begins to understand the WHY instead of just taking orders.

Sunday . . . cheese, crackers & ham and/or turkey bits (Why?  Because I had a Silpada party and we had leftovers.  They supplemented with carrots, celery, a fabulous artichoke & jalepeno dip (get it from Costco), snap peas & ranch.)

Monday . . . taco night (Why?  Because it was a request from the troops.)

Tuesday . . . chicken caesar salads (Why?  Because MOTH will be gone, thus, chicken.  He doesn't eat chicken but I'm determined to use up what I've bought.  AND, because it's a light meal that everyone enjoys.)

Wednesday . . . grilled cheese & tomato soup (Why?  Because this is dinner in shifts night.  Big has volleyball and MOTH will be late.  The griddle is easy to leave out.  Soup is easy to heat up.  Everyone can have a hot meal from me, the short order cook between 5 and 9.)

Thursday . . . fend for yourself night (Why?  Because MOTH is out of town . . . this might translate into more chicken or something easy to pick up . . . )

Friday . . . . shepard's pie night (Why?  Because it was a request from the trooops, namely Middle.  She likes to make it . . . which means it can't be done on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday because of gymnastics.  Friday it is.)

Saturday . . . . company (Why?  My brother is coming into town on Friday night.   I'll plan for this one later based on how Saturday day shapes up.  We've got a bajillion things going that day, so it might just be a pizza night.)

Best news ever . . . . To complete this miraculous week of well planned nutrition for the family that I adore, I'll need (a) to not use all of the bread for lunch packing before Wednesday's grilled cheese night, (b) some croutons for Tuesday (which I will be making from the French bread left over from last Saturday) & a container of tomato soup, unless I can find one hiding in the back of the cabinet.  Yeah.  I'm super happy about the prospects of no grocery store this week.  Last week was a high-money week for me.  The dogs on Monday, gymnastics on Tuesday, copays, meds and comfort measures on Wednesday, a full tank of gas on Thursday.  By Friday I was in enough money shock that when the window guy came, I couldn't even make a decent decision.  I'm on a spending freeze until I can think straight.

Extras . . . .
* Mimi is on a noodle kick, so I'll make a bag of noodles and she can have noodles when she opts out of anything else.  Same with Little.  He might choose Kix or Chex on Shepard's pie night.
* I'm making zucchini bread this week.  The last batch of pumpkin bread is almost gone . .  . down to four mini loaves for breakfast, snacks and the like.   I WILL post that recipe.  I will, I will.
* Mimi might assist with applesauce chocolate chip muffins.  Her favorite and an easy old-faithful from my days as a live in nanny.

And on my to-do list this week:
*  Scan the pile that resulted from the great furniture move on Saturday.
*  Trim and bind the limerick books for Middle and her friend.  I've gotta get those off my desk.
*  Affiliate Big with the right volleyball club.
*  Get a copy of Big's immunizations & deliver it to school.
*  Finalize the missing orders from the elementary school fundraiser & get them delivered.
*  Find three more orders for the Silpada party.  I'm Christmas shopping with my hostess benefits and really want to get Big, Middle & myself all something fabulous.
*  Organize myself for Saturday . . . . a day that is sure to be HELL because of the timing of everything.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

November 6th

I'm thankful today for sibling love.   Most days, in our house, there's more sibling love than hate.  There's more help than hurt.  There's more good choices than bad.  Most days.  Don't get me wrong . . . we have fighting.  But it hovers under the radar and manifests as a short stint of mad.  (I really do sound like my mother when I say, "Well, you can just get glad in the same pants you got mad in!!")   Most days, we're full of warm fuzzies . . . .

These two are peas of a pod.  The look like twins born seven years apart.  They act alike, they look alike.  The same things float both boats.  And, most times, they really, really love each other . . .






Can't believe I almost forgot to blog about this one.  
It was fantastic.  
No. 
FAN-tas-tic!! 

Jodi Picoult gets me in a way that very few writers can.  She pushes all of my mommy buttons, all of my medical buttons, and any spiritual buttons that haven't rusted into un-push-able-ness.   

This is a great read for God-lovers, non-God-lovers and everyone in between. 


For the birds . . .

This flock is visiting this morning . . . .

So cool . . .

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A verse . . . .

Well, what do you know.  Hell must have frozen over.  For a long, long time, I've been the girl who doesn't ever post a Bible verse.  It just feels funny to me.   Funny from the perspective of a person who has had religion shoved down her throat.  Funny in the sort of way that makes me a terrible missionary.  So . . . in all truth, I've no trouble quoting the Bible in one post, the Koran in another, and teachings of Buddha in yet a third.   HOWEVER, I've been counseled my one of my favorite Catholics and I am, indeed, posting a verse from the Bible . . . .

" . . . And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."   -- Micah 6:8

November 5th

I'm thankful today for two things . . .

1.  A husband who is willing to help me move furniture with only moderate bitching when I get a wild hair to rearrange stuff.  This always forces a deep cleaning of some specific area, which, in large part is why I do it.  Today, the "bar" came up to the office.  The crap-ass table that's for garage sales, but which has been set up in the office for a catch-all, got folded and returned to its rightful spot in the garage.  (Do you say "GARE-ahh-ge" or "ger-adge"??  I'm just curious.  I like the first.)  I moved my work station to the bar, set up a homework island on my former work station . . . and cleaned and sorted a ton of stuff.  Craft stuff, old scrapbook junk, blah, blah, garbage.  I moved the piano.  And the apothecary desk.  And sorted Thirty-One Stuff for next week's open house.  It was productive.

2.  I'm thankful for baking therapy.  Just yum, that's all I have to say.  I'm on day 188 of my new lifestyle.  It's one of the mere handful of times I've baked.  And, it was just what the doctor ordered.  Those cookies hit the spot.  And . . . . I do believe my palate has changed.  I stopped well before I got a headache or felt sick.  I'm so proud of me.


Friday, November 04, 2011

November 4th

Thankful for snuggling . . .  especially under the hearty & faithful supervision of a furry, four-legged friend.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

November 3rd

Thankful . . . .

Today I'm thankful for fall.  Autumn, I mean.  My favorite season.  I'm thankful for the crispy crunch of leaves crackling underfoot.  I'm thankful I can walk, because I love to walk in the gutters and scuff leaves up.  I love to toss them in the air.  I love pumpkins.  There's something magical about those big orange globes.  I'm thankful for the nip in the morning air and frosty nights with a window cracked . . . they make for such good sleeping.  I'm glad to be wearing layers.  More clothes are comforting to me.   I'm thankful for time.  Having time and giving time.   Though it was last week, Mimi and I spent some time making a leaf house.  We played house in our house (see her laying down on her bed?) and waiting for the big kids to get home so we could spend time doing something with them, too.


More autumn-slash-leaf pictures coming soon . . . .

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November 2nd

Today I'm thankful for . . . . good health insurance and access to meds.  I'm also thankful for the $87.00 in disposable income that allowed for copays and antibiotics today.

This week's menu . . . a tad late.

Sunday . . . . we were just getting home . . . we had salad & breadsticks
Monday . . . annual Chili swap, pre-trick-or-treating with the G's
Tuesday (was that really just last night!!) . . . I planned chicken, MOTH boycotted.  We ended up with pizza & salad
Wednesday . . Zuppa Toscana with bread from the breadmaker.  It's snowing. The roads are icy.  It will be perfect.
Thursday . . . Chicken . . . from Tuesday; there will be rice and a veggie, too.
Friday . . . clean out the fridge night
Saturday . . . something with beef.  Likely taco night.
Sunday . . . I have a thing at our house in the afternoon.  There will be food.  Sunday night I think all family members will be required to help clean up leftovers from the thing.  It will be a finger-food-munchie extravaganza.

For Disney Redhead . . .

Dear Disney Redhead,

I didn't realize the similarity between Lucy and my old boy, Kori until your recent post.

Look . . .

He's eating a cracker.  He had a gentle mouth & liked to snatch things out of Big's lips.

Fat little guy, especially in this picture.