Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Not So Subtle hint

Last night my husband and I went to Marie Callendar's with his mom and dad. It was the first time I've seen her since we got the news of her tumor. She looks so healthy and beautiful and amazing! I mean, I was telling Josh afterward, she was even glowing. A pure, healthy, radiating glow. It did our hearts good to see our beloved mother looking well, even though we know she has the tumor.

It was so nice to sit together and chat and cry and tell each other how much love and thankfulness we have. The service, however, left a lot to be desired.

First of all, when we walked in, I about keeled over from the smell. It smelled like a very, very morbidly obese person who had become unable to wash themselves. It was so nasty; so sickening. I smelled it the whole time we were there.

Then, once we were seated, we got Dumbest Waiter of the Month. I mean, really. He smelled like cigarette smoke and had greasy, slicked back hair. He was twitchy and mousy. He asked us what we'd like to drink, and I ordered coffee. Mom wanted a glass of red wine.

The man actually suggests cabaret. That's not a typo. Instead of offering her Cabernet, he offered her this:

I mean, seriously.  The man should not have chosen a profession where he can mix up words like cabaret and Cabernet.

He then proceeds to ask us approximately every 45 seconds whether or not we're ready to order.  By now we're all looking at the guy like maybe he's got a screw loose somewhere.  I mean, CLEARLY we are sitting here with our menus open, perusing the selections.  NO! We aren't ready to order. 

I did ask for cream with my coffee, which he forgot to bring the first 3 times he came back to our table.  Finally my husband said, "My. Wife. Needs. Creamer." through gritted teeth. 

A while later he comes back with the wine.  In a champagne glass.  I couldn't make this stuff up, guys!  He says to us, "We were all out of wine glasses."  Um, what!? In the whole establishment you can't find one wine goblet!?  We didn't pay for a champagne flute of wine, we paid for a goblet of red wine.  Dummy.  Mom, being the gracious, forgiving, loving person she is just let it go and didn't make a big deal of it.

We order some pie, which he actually brings out amazingly fast.  He also adds ice cream to two of the pies.  We did request ice cream with one, but whatever.  We're just glad he didn't decide to serve our pie in a coffee cup with a side of cabaret.

Looking back, I think maybe he was in a hurry to leave?  We got there at 9pm and the place was open until 11pm, so there really shouldn't have been such a rush from greasy Neanderthal man.

Despite the service, it was a lovely, sweet time together with mom and dad and I'm glad we got to see each other.  Her surgery is Tuesday at 10a.m. PST, so if you think of her, please pray all goes well, they get as much as the tumor as humanly possible without messing up her brain/personality/speech/motor movements, and that the most skilled surgeon in the state does his absolute best work.  That's not too much to ask, right?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Romeo

So, here is a picture of my Romeo and I...

This man means the absolute world to me, and his mother is the one with the brain tumor.

I know that he is the man he is today in part because of how his mom raised him. She done good. Real good. She really is the most amazing woman. When Josh was telling his boss what was going on, he used this expression... "My mother is one of the most remarkable people I've ever met." And that, my friends, is the truth.

Her name is Kris and her brain surgery is on Tuesday. We'd all love it if you could send up a prayer on her behalf!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet Faces

Thank you so much to everyone for their prayers for my mother-in-law. I believe in the power of prayer!

I've been doing pretty good, for the most part. There are some things that help. Like my kiddos. I don't want to take them for granted, or hurry them to grow up, or be impatient with them when they do things that all kids do. I want to treasure them, and make every day count. They are so sweet; so precious.

Here's my little tomboy... the one who refuses to wear pants. ;-)

And my monkey boy. You should have seen him running and jumping the whole shoot. He has SO MUCH energy!

And my Sunshine. This picture cracks me up! It reminds me of those weird-angle pictures of cats and dogs that make their noses look huge. CHEEEEESE!

I'm so thankful for these sweet faces! It took my precious mother-in-law facing a life threatening brain tumor for my priorities to snap into place. It was just like that; the instant I heard the news it just clicked. So fast. How messed up my priorities had been up to this point. How I've been focusing on the negative instead of the positive.

My Family

I will make today count; I will be good to my children and my husband. I will pray. And I will be thankful and count my blessings.

Monday, October 18, 2010


On Friday night we had pizza for dinner, as is our tradition. The kids played a while after dinner, then we got them ready for bed and tucked them in. Josh and I were just settling in with some Almond Joys and the laptop to watch some episodes of Psych.

Then, the phone rang. It was 8:32p.m. Josh got a stricken look on his face and motioned me to come sit down with him. He put it on speaker phone.

On the other end was my father in law. He was sitting with my sister and brother in law, and his wife. He said he has serious news for us.

Mom has been having some problems with her memory for some time. We thought it was attributed to menopause, as this woman did birth sixteen children, and that has to take a toll at some point or other. But it had been getting progressively worse. We all noticed it, but didn't know what to do, and didn't want to embarrass her anymore than she already was. She couldn't remember simple words. She couldn't put her thoughts into words.

She tried some natural remedies first, but they didn't do much to help. Finally, it got to the point where we encouraged Dad to get her some medical help; see a neurologist. She did, and they did an MRI.

Mom has a brain tumor. It's not a small little ball in her brain; it has tentacles that are growing into her brain. It's not curable. If she doesn't have surgery, chemo and radiation, she has little chance of living more than a year. If she has all those things, she has a chance at 5-6 years, but we don't know what her quality of life would be like.

When I heard the news, I got sick. Literally, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Things like this don't happen to people in real life, especially to sweet, good, kind women like Mom. She has given up everything for her family. She has raised sixteen children, and still has time to bless me and her other children in law.

For example, a while back I had started looking for bed-skirts, as I decided our bed would look better with one. I didn't mention it to anyone, but a few days later Mom showed up and she had randomly seen one, thought of me, and bought it. And it matched perfectly. That's just one small example.

The first few days we were in total and complete shock. I cried a lot. I threw up a lot. I was sick to my stomach constantly. Waking up and remembering the news was torture.

But then, I got peace. I believe in God. Mom is a godly woman, and she has served and been blessed by God. We can pray. I don't know what God will do. I don't know if He'll perform a miracle or if He'll call her home. But I do know that He will take care of us. He will take care of every single one of her children and grandchildren. And He will take care of Dad.

The verse in my side bar, in Jeremiah about God knowing the thoughts He has for us, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope... I believe those words. My own mother received those words when she was widowed as a young woman in her twenties with 2 small girls. I know those words to be true.

So, I pray. With everything in me, I pray. For Mom, for Dad, for the kids, for my husband, for myself, that God will send the most excellent surgeon to do the surgery, that there will be little side effects, that she won't suffer.

I can't put into words how hard it is to be so far away during this. But at the same time, it removes the opportunity to "do" things and instead puts me in a position to call on God. To turn to Him in my need and anguish, instead of doing busy work.

See? This woman's life and now this trial she is going through is helping ME get a better connection with God. That speaks volumes.

If you are a Christian, we welcome any prayers you can send up on behalf of this dear woman.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just call me CatWoman

Today, I was CatWoman.

Or maybe just a cat burglar. Without the burglaring part.

Let me explain.

This morning the kids and I all bustled out the door to take my oldest to the bus stop. (HA! I just wrote BUST stop.  We most definitely did NOT go there.)  Anyway, I guess as a kindness to me, she locked the door on our way out.  Except, I didn't bring my keys with me.  And since we have a Stage 2/3 kidnapper/rapist living just a few houses down from us (lucky us, no?) I make sure the doors and windows are locked when we're home.

Now, if we were smart we'd have a key hidden somewhere.  But, we aren't smart.  Sorry, kids.

So I went around the whole house to see if just possibly we had left a door or window unlocked.  There are 3 doors and 2 windows that we have access to... the others are all on the second story and unless you have a long ladder or Inspector Gadget stretchy legs/arms, they are out of reach.

Everything was locked up tight. GO ME!  No rapist is gonna be harming MY babies anytime soon.  Except, I had also just as efficiently locked myself (and my babies) out of the house. Darn it.  I could have called Romeo, but he works a minimum of 45 minutes away; so that'd be at least 1.5 hours of wasted drive time for him, probably closer to 2 hours.

So, I got ingenious.  Our kitchen window is wonky.  We are privileged to live in a house with old aluminum windows.  Classy.  But in this case, it helped me out.  The kitchen window, as I said, is wonky.  One side of it always falls off; so the glass has aluminum on 3 sides but the 4th side is just the glass.

Well, I was desperately trying to get that window open because it doesn't lock properly.  I shimmied it and banged it and jiggled it.  The side fell down, effectively becoming a lock for the window, because it prevented the window from sliding at all.  I know I'm doing a horrible job of painting this picture for you.  I'm sorry.

Anyway, there was a gap between the windows, so I got a stick, hoping to push the frame that had fallen off out of the way so the window could slide open.  All I did was scrape the bark off the stick.  I needed something sturdier, stronger.  I looked around and saw an old hurricane lamp we had on the deck.  It had a metal handle.

I wrangled that thing off (feeling like somebody on Survivor or Man vs. Nature) and used it to push the fallen frame out of the way.  Then I simply slid open the window and climbed inside.  Into my kitchen sink, but whatev.  I was IN!

Here are some pictures to maybe help it make more sense:
Here is the window with the edge/frame that falls off.  It had fallen to the left, so it was blocking the window from sliding.

Here is the aftermath of the window frame falling in, with the wire still wrapped around it. 

I feel like this story was much better in my head, and I guarantee you would've been impressed if you saw me in action. 

Alas, this is all I've got for now.

But I won't be offended if you refer to me as Cat Woman in the future.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Wonderfuls

I love fall. Love it. It's so cozy and warm, filled with baked goodies and eggnog and spiced cider. What's not to love?

Here are a few other things I think are wonderful about fall:

I love socks. Knee highs are the best. Argyle is even better. So warm and cozy!!

Eggnog Lattes
So delicious and smooth and creamy. Yum.
My husband is an expert at making a roaring, crackling fire. We've gone through almost a whole truckload of wood in just a few weeks.
Challah Bread
I'm not Jewish, but I do love Challah bread. I'm making some today, in fact, from this recipe.

Sweater Boots
So cute and they keep my tootsies warm! Paired with argyle knee socks = HEAVEN
Bubble Baths
This picture is of an actual bath my dear Romeo drew for me when we first married. It wasn't the first or last time he's done it, either!

Potato Soup
I've made this 3 times in the last 2 weeks. It's cheap, easy and so scrumptious, especially when paired with homemade cheese bread!

And with that, I'm off to the store to buy my Challah ingredients.  Happy Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of sunshine

So. I have a two year old. He's almost three. He used to be all sunshiney and smiley and happy and a pure joy. But something has happened, and I just don't know what exactly.

What I do know is that now he's more of a thundercloud, dark and ominous.

Take today, for example. And this is QUITE the common occurrence lately. We had to go to the store for a few items. Wait, let me back up a bit. Yesterday Mr. Thundercloud was jumping on my bed. Is this allowed? No. Does he know it's not allowed? Yes. Was he doing it anyway? You betcha.

So he's jumping. And just like the little kiddie rhyme, he fell off the bed. And I think he sprained his ankle. He came out crying, but it was an odd cry. Almost like it hurt too bad to cry. And he's been hobbling around on it every since.

So today, we go to the store for a few items, and homeboy takes approximately 17 years to make it in from the parking lot. So I decide he's going in the cart, lest we have to wander the aisles of the store until I can collect Social Security, due to the fact that his foot hurts.

Well now. Apparently, and this is news to me, having to sit in the cart is pure, unadulterated, cruel and mean spirited torture. Almost as bad as having to get your hair washed, or your toenails clipped.

So he starts screaming. And kicking. And flailing. And thrashing. Now here's the thing. The last 5 or 6 times we've had to go to the store, he's pulled the same behavior. Probably when the store employees see us coming they call out a CODE and everyone is issued ear plugs. It's really very loud, these tantrums. And violent. I feel sorry for my fellow shoppers. And yeah, I feel sorry for myself too. I mean, the kid is OUT OF CONTROL.

So he's yelling like I've got him sitting on nails while shoving cayenne pepper in his eyes. Everyone is looking at me. It's super pleasant. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to get my few measly items and get the heck on out of there.

I finally make a deal with him; if he'll sit quietly in the cart for 1 minute then he can get out. He cries and fusses about that for 12 minutes or so and then finally is quiet. For 30 seconds. But, eh, I take it. He is only 2 after all. I take him out of the cart. And we spend the next 30 minutes walking to the cash register.

There went my morning plans.

But then, at the most unexpected moment, he'll come up to me, wrap his chubby little arms around my neck, kiss my cheek and say in his sweet little voice, "Mommy? I like you." Or he'll rub his fat cheeks against my... fat cheeks. And he's so little and smells good and can be quite charming when he wants to.

So I'll weather these storms with him, in hopes that one day his little sunbeam will overpower the storm clouds and I'll have my sunshine back. In the meantime, we won't venture far from the house. Thank God for Netflix and pizza delivery.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Talents and Follow Through

I've been thinking about talents lately. As in, "WOW! You're so talented!"

Truth is, I don't have any. Talents, that is. There is no one thing that I excel at. I'm not musical. I'm not artistic. I don't have an eye for fashion and design. I'm not athletic. I can't take good pictures, much less keep my camera from getting broken. I'm not crafty. I can't keep plants alive to save my life. I can bake, but not amazingly well. Same goes for cooking.

At first, I was really discouraged thinking about how blase' I am. How boring, uninspired, plain. But then, I immediately thought of this verse:

Psalm 139:14 "I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

So, basically, if I'm dissatisfied with myself, my talents (or lack thereof), then I'm telling God that He did a bad job.

Well, I'm not really willing to tell The Big Guy whether or not I feel his version of me is up to code. Instead, I want to try to hone a skill, or talent.

I'm not sure what to try my hand at. I know my limitations. I know that I can't take a blank room and make a masterpiece out of it. I know that in Home Ec I spent most of my time seam ripping as opposed to making actual sewing projects. I know better than to try out for American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance. I know I can't go out and be someone's personal shopper.

But I'm at a loss as to where to start; what skill should I try to perfect? Or, at least, improve? I do love baking and cooking; but there's only so much I can do with that. Besides, I don't want to end up as the 600 pound woman. I don't want my life to revolve around food. I can bake and cook adequately enough to bless my friends and family and whip up a nice dessert if need be.

That's just something I'm pondering on. I'll let you know if inspiration hits.

The other thing I've been thinking about is my incredible lack of follow through. I've got the attention span of a gnat. I get all fired up about something and then 20 minutes later, all my excitement about it is gone.

I was super gung-ho about eating clean. Bought the book and everything. Read the book, tried a recipe and now it's sitting collecting dust on my shelf. So are my expensive ingredients. Untouched. Unopened. Uninspired.

I received a sewing machine as a Christmas gift last year from my husband. I was SO excited about it; I really, really wanted it. And yet, it is sitting unopened in the box in the garage. I say it's because I don't have a place to set it up, and that's true. But if I really wanted to create something with it, by golly I'd take it out and make it work.

I've started going to the gym, but I can already feel myself pulling back from that. I couldn't go today because my little monkey boy is sick. And I felt relieved. It was a perfectly valid excuse to skip my 1 hour torture session.

Basically, this lack of follow through feeds into my feelings of inadequacy and unremarkable-ness. It's a vicious cycle, and one that I don't want to be caught up in.

For now, I'm trying to learn to love myself, just as I am. Imperfections and all. After all, what *I* can and can't do really doesn't matter in the big scheme of things. What is important is that I have 3 small children in my care. How is THEIR quality of life?

Maybe that's the skill I need to work on improving and perfecting: mothering. It doesn't come naturally to me, that's for sure. I was never the girl who longed for babies and kids. I was the tomboy, out on my horse or falling out of trees. I didn't play with dolls, I played with my dogs. I never planned out my wedding and house or had names for my kids picked out at the ripe old age of 7.

That's probably a good place to start; working to become a more loving, compassionate, kind and good mother. And it's definitely worth following through on this one.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Few Of My Favorite Things

There are some things in life that make me smile so much my eyes crinkle up. These are some of those things. And I don't worry about crow's feet.

My wedding dress.
It's Maggie Sottero and I got it for FREE. Yep, you read that right. I never thought I'd be one to borrow a wedding dress, but when the one I picked out came in... I didn't love it. So I started searching around and was talking to my co-worker about it. She'd just gotten married a few months before and when I described what I was looking for, her eyes got big and she said I'd just described her gown. I tried it on, it fit, I wore it down the aisle. =)

Gerbera Daisies
They are just such a cheerful flower, don't you think? I love them, they are hardy and they stay bright and pretty despite my black thumb.

I love candles. Ask my friends. I have them burning year round, almost every day. True story. I love the ambiance and the fragrance. I usually burn vanilla, but during the holidays I go for pumpkin spice or apple cider. Nothing overpowering, just something to make my nose happy. Sometimes, I'll even just put a pot of water with cinnamon and nutmeg on to simmer and that does the trick nicely, too.

Jack Vettriano Art
I love his work. Period. End of sentence.

I make these more often than I'd like to admit. I get graham crackers, milk chocolate chips (SO much better than semi-sweet, in my opinion) and dab bits of marshmallow on top then brown under the broiler. So good.

A good book.
I love to read. Love is an understatement. I don't watch TV; too much drama. But I could easily settle in with a book or seven and be content for the next 3 days.

It's shallow, I know. But I do love me some bling. This ring is the one that I'm currently in love with.

I have a little coffee with my creamer every morning and I wait all year for the Peppermint Mocha flavor to come out.

Sun rooms.
I just love the light, warmth and coziness of a sun room. I want one.

My favorite holiday of all. The food! The ambiance! The family! Love. It.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Beginning

So, here we are.  Day One.  I hope there will be many days that follow and that this blog takes on a life of it's own.  It's a place for me to bring my thoughts, collect them and turn them loose.

I have a weight loss blog, but I've lost the majority of the weight I wanted to lose and I'm at the point where if these last 10 pounds don't come off, eh.  No matter.

I want to be able to write about lots of other things besides diet and exercise.  Like, baking. Recipes. Books I've read or want to read.  Why my kids drive me bonkers and why I love them so much.  Images of things that make my heart sing.  I know nothing of design and fashion, but I do know when I see a picture and it brings a smile to my face.

I like things to be simple, clean and organized.  It makes me happy when my carpets are vacuumed and my dishes are done.  It makes me even happier if there is something yummy baking in my oven.

I hate doing laundry.  Despise it.  It's the folding.  No, it's the putting away.  I don't mind starting it, I don't mind moving it along, and I guess I don't really mind folding it.  Except for whites.  All those socks drive me batty.  But putting it away. Bleh.  I can live without that.

I wish I lived in South Carolina.  I am in love with Dorothea Benton Frank's work.  If I were to live in South Carolina, I picture myself living in something like this:

You know, just a little cozy cottage out there on the plantation. ;-)

My dream house has a front porch and a sunroom, both of which have turquoise blue ceilings to keep the haints away, and a fan to move the air.  Someplace to rock in the evenings and listen to the frogs and crickets or cozy up with a good book and a cup of tea.  Or coffee. With copious amounts of creamer.  And preferably a scone, too.

Which means I'd also need an amazing kitchen.  With an island and a rack over it to hold my top-of-the-line pots and pans.  And an herb garden.  Which would work out great, since S. Carolina is sunny enough that my herbs would actually flourish, instead of being either drowned or frozen, as is likely to happen where I live now.

And of course, I'd need a library. I have so many series of books I love that I'd need a place to store them all.  Series with characters such as Stephanie Plum, Hannah Swenson, Miss Marple, Sarah Boothe Delaney and of course all of Miss DBF's books.  The library would have a huge fireplace and comfy couches and chairs and lots of throw blankets that are plush chenille.

And since I'm living on a plantation and there's so much acreage, I'll have a tiny barnyard.  With a horse, a palomino named Siete's Oro.  Because I really did have a palomino once, named just that--it translates to Seven's Gold. What's that? You don't know what a palomino is?  Well, it's only one of the most beautiful horses EVER.  Here, I'll show you.

See? Purdy.

I'd also have some hens and I'd eat their fresh eggs every day.  Of COURSE there'd be a dog or three.  Mutts are good, and they'd be allowed inside, although not on the furniture.  Cats would be relegated to the barn, where both of them (I'd only have 2 cats) would keep Siete's Oro and Daisy the cow company.  They'd all have snug little stalls and I'd feed them hay and grain in the morning and they'd roam the pasture during the day.

Yeah, I have a very active imagination, as my REAL life is pretty much as opposite as you can get from that little daydream I just had.

Instead of cows and cats and ponies I have 3 kids.  They are cute, too. But they require lots of work and attention and aren't content to roam pastures during the day and chew hay at night.  They do give world class hugs and kisses and say some pretty hilarious things.  Sometimes they say not so hilarious things, but what's a girl to do?  Laugh and roll with it.  That works, mostly.

I did happen to marry one of the sweetest, kindest, most long suffering men on planet Earth.  He thinks I hung the moon and he looks at me with stars in his eyes.  Come February we'll have been married 7 years.  He has been my saving grace, has stood by me during times that were so tough I didn't know if I'd make it out the other side, and still brings me flowers for no reason.  He also smells really, really good.  Always.  He isn't afraid to help with housework and he is hands on with our children.  He allowed me to get a dog even though he hated the idea of a house dog, and then went so far as to even like her.  He is my Romeo.

Like I said before, we made three little human beings together.  Well, we actually made 5, but two of them returned to Heaven before we got a chance to meet them.  But I know I'll see those two little lovies again someday.

Our oldest child is a girl and she is very smart and very pretty and very honest.  She is also hilarious, which is a good thing because she and I are both as stubborn as they come and we tend to butt heads a lot.  But when I just step back and watch her, my heart swells with gratitude and pride that I get to call her my daughter.  She is sweet, and tender, loves to sing and has an imagination like you wouldn't believe.  She is my spunky tomboy who lives in skirts/dresses and refuses to wear pants.

Our middle boy is sensitive like his papa.  He had a tiny bit of a rough start in life, trying to come early twice.  He wears glasses to correct a lazy eye, and he's had specs since he was 4 months old.  Just try to imagine how tiny those glasses were and how irresistibly cute he was.  He wasn't born cute, though.  He came out scrawny, looking like a grumpy old man with Bozo the clown hair.  But he sure grew out of that phase quickly and now has the sweetest, most innocent face.  He is ALL boy.  Can't sit still and thinks everything is a climbing toy; the world is his own personal playground.  He has a heart of gold and he is my little monkey.

Our youngest boy... well now he started out life as a cherubic little angel.  The happiest, laid back and most mellow baby you ever saw.  He smiled at the nurses and doctors who poked and prodded him when he was hospitalized with RSV at 6 weeks old.  He had cheeks like a chipmunk and big, blue eyes.  He's almost 3 now and isn't quite as peaceful and angelic.  He does have the strongest attachment to me, and can melt my heart with his little lisp and extra enthusiastic hugs and kisses.  He is quick to apologize if he's done something wrong.  He is my sunshine.

I'm also blessed with wonderful, amazing, fabulous friends and family.  I am surrounded by people who love me, in word and deed.  We laugh together, we cry together and we love each other fiercely.  I have many, many, many things for which to be thankful.

That's not to say I haven't had my fair share of tribulations.  I lost my father in a boating accident when I was 4.  My mom married a man who turned out to be a crazy con man... Hollywood could buy the rights to that part of my life story.  Then my mother, a woman whom I have such respect and high esteem for, took her 5 children and moved across the country.  To protect us from said con man.  She single handedly raised us, living from month to month and trusting in God to meet our needs.  Which He did.  To this day I remain in awe of my mother and I just wish she knew how spectacular she really is.

After having my last baby I went into a deep, dark, downward spiral.  Postpartum Depression.  Maybe even so far as to call it Postpartum Psychosis.  I didn't know it at the time, but that's what I suffered from.  For seven long months I barely held onto life by the edge of my tattered fingernails, just trying to survive each day.  It's an ongoing battle, even to this day, but I've found some things that help.  The issue hasn't been resolved; it hasn't disappeared from my life like I'd hoped it would.  But God is on my side, and so are my friends and family, and of course my Romeo.  So I know I'll make it through.  And not just by the edge of my tattered fingernails, either. 

So.  Here we go.  Welcome to my Deliciously Disheveled Life.