Monday, November 30, 2009

On The Seventh Day...

Yesterday was a much needed day of rest around here. Truth be told...I had more than my fair share of down time this weekend- emotional, physical, and spiritual in nature. I came home early from work on Friday and didn't leave my house again until it was time for Sunday mass. And as long as I'm telling the truth, I confess that I almost skipped church altogether this week. I realized that I wouldn't be setting a good example for my kids who had come home early and unhappily from their grandparent's solely for this obligation.
The holiday really took a toll on me this year. I just couldn't put my finger on it, but something was just not right. The food was delicious. In fact, hubby and I both agreed that my Dad's turkey was the best ever and my step mother's sweet potatoes good enough to take seconds. The fellowship was fun and festive. We stayed late into the night playing Trivial Pursuit (hubby and I won) and Poker with family and friends. Still at the end of the day (and all during the day too), I felt a lingering, nagging sadness. Feeling sad made me angry with myself. Angry because I know I have have so much, so many to be thankful for. Each holiday, every milestone celebrated without my Mom makes me feel like I am losing her as I move forward without her, and therein lies the sadness. But when I am dwelling in my sadness, I am not even present in the here and now let alone moving forward, and that makes me mad. These negative emotions just bring me down, paralyze me.
I woke up on Friday and I felt like I was being assailed by the turbo speed onslaught of Christmas. It's like someone flipped the switch during the few hours I slept Thanksgiving night and instead of feeling grateful, I was supposed to feel jolly and joyful. Pumpkins needed to be replaced with Poinsettias...cornucopias with Christmas trees, sales needed to be shopped and parties planned. I tried. I just couldn't do it. I failed to find my Christmas spirit and I shut down. I am so not a Scrooge either!
So I guess it's a good thing that my kids spent most of the weekend with their grandparents and cousins. They had so much fun that Miss Bit came home scarcely audible her little voice a gravely whisper, and T. Bone had dark bags under his droopy eyes. And it's also a good thing that I went to church. Father Brian urged us to celebrate this advent season spiritually. I plan to faithfully revel in the miracle that is Christmas as fervently as all of the other festivities. When I got home, I was actually able to get out a few decorations. Miss Bit helped me in between games on the computer, the boys watched football, and the cats slept. We all sat down for a family dinner, and as I looked around the table, I remembered just why I am so joyfully thankful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Backseat Driving

Conversation during drive home from church today:

T Bone: I prayed for Daddy to feel better during church. (He's a little under the weather today.)

Me: That's a nice thing to pray for...he'll appreciate that.

Miss Bit: What?! You can pray for WHATEVER you want?!?

Me: Well... yes. During your private prayers you can pray for what you want or need, or for other people who need your prayers.

Miss Bit: WELL, I didn't know THAT!

Me: So... What have you been praying for all these months?

Miss Bit: Da! Grandma Doe. (Clearly who recently went to heaven thanks in large part to Miss Bit and her plethora of prayers.)

Now I just pray that she doesn't start praying for Barbie Glamour Townhouses, Zhou Zhou Pets and Polly Pockets!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

I am finding it hard to believe that today is Thanksgiving. This fall has literally flown by, and now begins the countdown to Christmas. I want to freeze time and marinate in the spirit of the season...bask in the joy, revel in the hope, dream of the peace, and soak in the love. I need it. Last week I felt all of these beautiful things and I felt so light. This week has been a bit of a struggle and I feel rather heavy. I may be a bit blue, but I'm still filled with gratitude each and every day, and especially today. This Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for...

My family...simply put I am beyond blessed to share this journey with my loved ones.

My friends who guarantee that I am never alone, misunderstood or without reasons to celebrate.

T. Bone made a thankful turkey in art. Each feather details something for which he is thankful. Life, light, family, friends, teachers, pets, food, water, books and sports sums it up, and I couldn't agree more.

Traditions. Together we are bound by the traditions we share and the memories they help us create.


Lots of time with my hubby this week. We hung out, did some shopping, went for a hike, and we even did a craft together. He helped me make these corn crackers for our table today. I always get a kick out of shopping with him because he doesn't shop often so he's like a kid in a candy shop.
Getting my Mom's famous zucchini casserole right, finally. She didn't leave a recipe, and I didn't listen very closely when she told me the tricks. It came to me though, just when I needed it and we will be serving it tonight. I am so writing down my recipes for my kids.

Communion. When I called my Dad to ask if there was room for two more at the table, he didn't hesitate when he said and meant, "The more the merrier!" Miss Bit's friend and her Mom, my friend, cannot make the trip home to Colorado to be with family this year, but they will be making the trek over the river and through the woods to gather with our family. This may sound a little funny, but I prayed about extending this invitation because I'm still so fragile. Then Sunday Deacon Rob talked so poignantly of compassion and recognizing the needs of others during the homily. Of course, I heard my answer, and I'm feeling even more thankful to share the holiday with them.

It's a cloudy, cool day. Thanksgiving isn't supposed to be warm and sunny or cold and snowy.

I'm off for my annual Thanksgiving Day run. It's a tradition that started when I was a kid. My brother, Dad and I would bundle up and pound the pavement. Hubby and I carry on the tradition now, and someday T. Bone and Lil Bit will come along for the turkey trot too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Tom Turkey!

Gobble Gobble. "My name is Princess Emily and you cannot eat me because I am too beautiful." (Not to mention she's adorned with gems and covered in eye shadow and nail polish, or gobs and gobs of glue and glitter.)
There you have it. Public schools traumatizing our children. Making us seem like ruthless, heartless savages for serving up big fat hens. Telling the kindergartners to "disguise" their turkeys to keep them safe from the ensuing slaughter. I must say they turned out adorable, but really?

Now if the teacher reads Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving this week, I can guarantee that most of these impressionable little darlings will pass on the meat as "They feast on veggies with jelly and toast, and everyone was thankful (the turkeys were most!)"

Monday, November 23, 2009

On My Mind Monday

Because we don't know when we will die we get to think of life as an inexhaustable well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times and a very small number. Really how many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps, four or five times more? Perhaps, not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps, twenty, and yet, it all seems limitless.
The Sheltering Sky

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This Week

Watching: This entertaining and surprisingly touching tale of literally reaching for the skies and never giving up on dreams, love, life.

This raw and riveting unraveling of the "American dream," a marriage and 2 individuals. Kate Winslet earned her Oscar for this performance.

Listening to:
I'm still sufferring through New Moon. I've decided that I am far too far to not finish (like page 500 of 550), but I need a clean break before I move on. I am going finish it as soon as I get off the computer. Done!
Lots of comfort food. Pumpkin cream cheese and banana chocolate chip muffins, and ooey gooey, extra chocolately brownies. Popcorn at least 3 times this week...I never get sick of it. Pork chops with wild rice, roasted cauliflower and lasagna baked ziti.
1 pound ziti (or rigatoni)
1 T. olive oil
1 Large yellow onion, chopped
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 pound ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. chopped oregano (or T. Italian spices)
2 pound jar of marinara sauce
15 oz. container low fat ricotta
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan
2 c. shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 400.
Cook pasta according to directions.
Heat oil in large skillet, and add onion, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the turkey and cook until no trace of pink remains. About 7 minutes.
Add garlic, and spices and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sauce and heat through. Remove from heat. Add the ricotta and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Once mixed, add pasta and toss. Spread the mixture in a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with mozarella and 1/4 of Parmesan. Bake until cheese melts, about 15 minutes.
You can add a package of frozen spinach thawed and drained when you add the ricotta, but I don't because although my kids love spinach, they suddenly hate this casserole when I add it. So I serve up a side of fresh, steamed spinach and everyone is happy!
I'm Feeling rested and ready for the holiday season that is upon us...dare I even say, a little festive? And a lot frustrated with Blogger...formatting is a female dog!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for…

My new Christmas play list. I love, love, love Christmas music. I’m listening to it right now and it makes me feel light and hopeful. I wish I could post it here, but since I cannot, let me know if you want me to email the link to you.

Cashmere. I splurged and bought my very first cashmere twin set. Now I want to replace all of my fall and winter sweater sets. I better start playing the lottery…I own lots of them!

Next week is Thanksgiving. Even as I feel myself missing my Mom even more than last year, I am thankful for so much…so many. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday and it reminds me of many happy times…it reminds me of her. My Dad loves Thanksgiving too because he enjoys all of the cooking. He told me last night that he already made his delicious sausage and squash chowder. He has plans to try a Brussels sprout gratin. I love watching him in action in the kitchen because it makes him so happy to make good food for the people he loves…it reminds me so poignantly of his mother, my grandmother, who inspired so many family members in the heart of the house.

Daisies. There are 17 and counting in Miss Bit’s troop. We had our first meeting this week and the girls were beyond excited and incredibly sweet. I feel privileged to be one of the leaders even as I warn you that a snarky post on parents is certainly forthcoming soon.

My hubby is enjoying a weekend at the cabin with his Dad and 3 brothers and the only grandchild who is old enough. It is an annual tradition for them to converge on their Northwood’s cabin for hunting and cards and camaraderie.

Tonight the kids and I have a movie night. We will get in our pjs, make some popcorn and hunker down to watch Up.

My hair. Second time was a charm. I went to see Kevin again last night and I left there feeling like a million bucks, and it didn’t cost me another dollar.

Housewives of OC. Thanks to them I logged 10 miles on my treadmill so far this week!

Lego time. This week T. Bone has been hard at work building one of his Star Wars ships. He likes help and we have a little system. I supervise and help Lil Bit find the pieces for the next step and he puts them in their places. It has made me realize and appreciate how good he is at visualization. I so admire that because it is near impossible for me to look at a picture and recreate what I see.

Pizza lunch in the conference room today. It was a little morale booster planned by our resident "reverend."

Watching The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with Miss Bit Sunday morning. Now we are both really excited for our mother/daughter date with our friends next month to see the ballet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feed Them and They Will Come

Yesterday I threw a can of stale cashews on the patio for the animals to enjoy. I mean I know that the squirrels and chipmunks like nuts, but the real enjoyment is Tigger's and Peanut's. It's the equivalent of television for my boys. They stalked and stared and pounced and purred and then they curled up exhausted after an afternoon of entertainment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some Days Are Just...Well,


That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying
I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,
as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,
was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
"It's not the weight you carry
but how you carry it -
books, bricks, grief -
it's all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not,
put it down."
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
also troubled -
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Week in Walt's World

It's been awhile, but the fun and excitement we experienced during our time at Disney World has not yet begun to fade. It truly seems like only last week that we were soaking up the attractions and entertainment from sun up until long after sun down.

I have to say it again - this trip was such a beautiful blessing. Spending the 1 year anniversary of my Mom's passing in "The Happiest Place on Earth" made me well...mostly happy, but sometimes sad and often nostalgic too. I missed my Mom, but I really felt her smiling down on us. I had peace in my heart that this is just where she wanted us to be.

It was perfect timing for the kids...almost 9 and 5, that is. T. Bone was all about the thrill and adventure - no roller coaster too fast or ride too scary. Miss Bit was completely about the magic and wonder - spellbound (and often speechless) by the beauty of the princesses, and all the singing and dancing. Disney amazes me every time I go, and experiencing it all through the eyes of your children has the tendency to put parents in awe too.

We've never pulled the kids out of school for a vacation, but I'm glad that we did for this trip. We were all spoiled...we waited in very few lines. Late September is definitely the time to go. We've never stayed on the grounds either, but we are now firm believers that it's the only place to stay if you plan to maximize your time at the parks. Disney thinks of absolutely everything and they make it so convenient. All guests have to do is relax and enjoy thanks to the thousands of "cast members" (57,000 of them) who take their jobs - to make your stay pleasurable - very seriously.

Upon our arrival in Orlando, we hopped aboard the Magic Express and were shuttled to our resort. We were walking along the streets of Hollywood Studios by lunch time. (Our luggage was waiting for us when we returned later in the evening. I bet the staff would've unpacked for us if we had asked. 'No' is never uttered by cast mates. No...not ever!) We all enjoyed The Voyage of the Little Mermaid...the boys were probably more thankful for a cool reprieve than for a glimpse of Ariel's grotto. Miss Bit clapped loudly when it was over and said, "I want to see that again!" Toy Story Mania was good 4D fun for the whole family too. It was the only ride we waited in any sizable line for all week. T. Bone and I braved the Tower of is my personal favorite. It's true what they say...the free falling of the runaway elevator is random making it all the more thrilling or terrifying depending on one's mettle. The grown man next to me kept grabbing my hand...he was that scared, but not my T. Bone...he had both his hands in the air for the duration of his virgin ride. He loves roller coasters maybe even more than his Mom and Dad! His favorite at Hollywood Studios was Rock n' Roller Coaster, which takes you from launch to loop at 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. I admit, I closed my eyes. Miss Bit simply marveled at the coasters from afar with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I cannot blame her...she is only 5! A 5 year old trooper who spent hours traipsing around the park the first day only to crash on the bus on the way home. She woke up refreshed from her 5 minute cat nap and turned into a fish in the pool. (We ended everyday with a swim before bed. It was a welcome retreat from the heat as it was in the 90s everyday.) As we tucked the kids in that first night T.Bone said, "I think this is going to be the best week of my life!" Miss Bit said, "We get to go back tomorrow...yeah!" They were asleep every night in the SAME bed (with a pillow wedged between them) within moments of their heads hitting their pillows. All week long, they said "thank you" after 'thank you."

After a solid (albeit short) night's sleep and a quick breakfast we were off bright and early for day 2, or day 1 at Magic Kingdom. I've never been at the park waiting for the gates to open so I never even knew that a welcome parade starts the day. Where else on earth does everyday begin and end with a parade? Not to mention the numerous parades thrown in for good measure throughout each day. Miss Bit's eyes were as wide as saucers as a cast of characters, including Mickey and Minnie and several princesses, arrived on a welcome train. I admit that I even got teary eyed with excitement just like I was 5 years old again. After the countdown, we made our way up Main Street. Miss Bit went out of her way to hi 4 all of the cast members who were lining the streets wearing their Mickey hands. Daddy escorted his very own princess to Cinderella's Castle. All week long cast members would say, "Well, hello there princess," and Miss Bit would beam from ear to ear as if she was hearing her 'real' name for the first time. T. Bone and I made a mad dash far away from the castle to Space Mountain, which just happened to be closed for renovations. He was mildly disappointed to miss the opportunity to ride another roller coaster, but instead we opted to to take a turn on the Speedway. I had a heck of a time keeping a straight boy actually thought he was off-roading at death defying speeds of 7 mph! He thought he had maneuvered our race car off the track, and he was desperate to get it back on before someone saw that he was breaking the rules. Later in the day, we talked Miss Bit into taking a ride on Big Thunder Mountain, which proved to be a major mistake. The runaway mining car was way too much for her, and caused her to have anxiety over every single ride and show for the rest of our stay, and this was only day 2! I still have no clue how on earth we convinced her to get on Splash Mountain minutes later. She spent the entire 10 minute lazy river ride agonizing over the 52 foot drop at the end. Lil Bit conceded that it was a little better than Thunder Mountain, but she didn't want to ride either one again. We didn't score any more points when we told her that the Haunted Mansion was a fun house. She shared a doom buggy with her Daddy and I overheard her say, "This is the worst fun house E-V-E-R! Help me cover my eyes!"Thankfully, the afternoon parade of princes and princesses lightened things up a bit. Especially, when Eric spied Miss Bit's Little Mermaid doll and then motioned for Ariel to greet her little fan. Mickey's PhilharMagic, a mischievous 4D film that brought the magic of Disney to life, was something we all agreed we wanted to see again. The kids were all "Wow!" and "Cool!" and "Oh, my gosh!" We took the obligatory turn on It's a Small World. We almost skipped it, and I'm so thankful that we didn't because it was Nanny's favorite when we were here last. She probably liked it because it was cool and calm and Lil Bit sat in her arms for the duration dazzled by the sights and the sounds. This time the kids made us chuckle. When we were passing through Mexico, Miss Bit said, "I think this is Texas." T. Bone countered, "No, I'm pretty sure it's Egypt." Geography goes to the girls! We were starting to think about heading back...beating the crowds before closing... when the castle all alit started changing from gold to pink to purple to blue, and then all of the sudden Tinkerbelle aglow came from the tippy top of the castle and went soaring through the night's sky. I got serious chills and tears listening to When You Wish Upon A Star as the fireworks (some heart shaped, some star shaped) exploded all around us. It was worth having to wait a bit for our boat to get home.

Day 3, we rose even earlier than the day before to attend a character breakfast at Ohana. Ohana means hubby said this all week (too much Lilo and Stitch). It's still stuck in my head...just like It's A Small World otherwise known as It's a Long Ride! We "cousins" enjoyed a delicious, hearty meal. The kids were all about the Mickey shaped waffles until he showed up in person. They were both excited to see the characters, and Miss Bit was not the least bit disappointed that there were no princesses in waiting. T.Bone decided that he likes Donald, Huey, Fooey & Chewy (Donald's nephews, of course), Pluto, Goofy, Stitch, Chip and Dale and yes...Mickey. What do they all have in common? They are all boys and the are NOT princes! Lilo hand picked T. Bone to lead the parade around the restaurant after breakfast...needless to say, he turned as red as Mickey's Hawaiian shirt! We spent the scorching day at The Animal Kingdom. It's my least favorite of the parks because it's a lot like a zoo, and we have a very nice one in our proximity. Expedition Everest was our first stop. The torn and twisted track at the hands of the Yeti resulted in backwards spirals that made me thankful I didn't have to do it again so soon after breakfast. T. Bone, on the other hand, was excited to get right back in line with his Dad. (Gotta love the ride swap feature almost as much as the Fastpass.) After surviving Everest, we rode Kali River Rapids to cool off. Once was enough for me...I was soaked, but my family went again and were beyond soaked. I had to take Miss Bit in the bathroom to attempt and dry her clothes with the hand dryer. The safari through the savannah was our next stop. It's kind of like taking the zoo mobile through the zoo. How it scared Lil Bit, I still don't fully understand. T. Bone took lots of pictures mostly of mud and rocks and animals that were too far away to really turn out. Why people take pictures of animals at the zoo...I also never understand! It's Tough to be a Bug inside the impressive Tree of Life tested the limits of Miss Bits' imagination. Bugs were coming at us with giant fly swatters and big, furry spiders came plunging out of the ceiling. Festival of the Lion King was festive and well-done and not at all scary. Miss Bit picked out a sweet Nahla lion cub and still sleeps with her every night. She learned a new word on vacation...souvenir. We were going to keep it to 1 toy and 1 t shirt, and well, I just couldn't say 'no.' Somehow I rationalized it by telling myself that they (or more like, she cuz' T. Bone was very discriminating about his selections) would have been far more indulged if Nanny were with us. Finding Nemo may have been my favorite show of the trip. The puppetry was like nothing I have ever seen before. After a long, hot day, we retired to the Rain Forest Cafe for a little dinner. We were finally dry.

Epcot (Abcot according to the kiddos) was on the agenda for day 4. As the gates opened (yes, we were there ready and waiting once again), we raced to Soarin' and let me tell ya we were not alone. It seemed like the entire crowd made a mad dash, but we were lucky to get right on the hang gliding simulation. It felt like we were really flying just above mountain peaks and crashing pipelines so it was a little too realistic for Miss Bit, but she handled it. T.Bone and the hubby enjoyed the adrenaline rush of 50 degree turns and 60 mph speeds on Test Track and an 8,000 mile journey to Mars on Mission:Space. Miss Bit and I saw The Muppets 3D, took a twirl on a Nemo ride and engaged in a little awesome Turtle Talk with Crush, and I'm pretty sure that something scared her during each experience. We met up to see Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and that had Miss Bit worrying about whether or not they would "shrink us back up" when the show was over. We didn't make it to our first country until 3:00. We could definitely have used another day at Epcot, but something tells me that the next time we visit, the kids will be much more into other cultures and countries. Who am I was the opening weekend of The Food and Wine Festival...I could have spent my entire week there! We had a nice dinner in France. The highlight for T. Bone was getting buttered noodles with a side of french fries for dinner. Bit was pleased to have her 10th serving of chicken nuggets in 4 days and to get a visit from Remy during dessert. He was delivered to our table on a serving tray, and she found him quite adorable although not edible. I was happy with the Bordeaux. We caught most of the Illumination of the Earth show. The display of fireworks, lasers and water was very cool just like everything Disney. Disney takes everything to new levels - rides, movies, shows, parades - you name it...everything is an incredible experience.

Day 5 we returned to The Magic Kingdom to revisit favorites (tea cups, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Mickey's PhilharMagic) and tour the rest of the park (Mickey and Minnie's houses, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tom Sawyer's Island). It was Saturday, and therefore, a little more crowded. We had a real feast americana at the Liberty Tree and then caught a little bit of the spectacular SpectroMagic parade which was such an awesome display of lighted floats and costumes. We made it back to the hotel before it started to pour. The deluge lasted just long enough for us to change into our swimming suits. We shooed the ducks to the deep end, got in for our nightly swim, and watched family after family return home looking like drowned rats.

We spent our last day at Hollywood Studios and found ourselves fighting more crowds, but being veterans and having such a smart tour guide (hubby) we strategized to get our Fastpasses and maximize our time. We were all happy to ride Toy Story Mania again. T. Bone would have spent the whole day going from Tower of Terror to Rock n' Roller Coaster. Miss Bit very much enjoyed The Beauty and the Beast musical, and I did too. We had a yummy dinner at Mama Melrose's and made a final stop at The American Idol Experience before heading home. We swam in the volcano pool until 11:00 making the most of our last night of vacation.

I think we were all ready to come home for a little rest and relaxation.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Having Dreams is What Makes Life Tolerable"

I just finished watching Rudy with my kids. At the end of the movie, T. Bone was cheering, Miss Bit was sobbing and I was doing both...clapping and crying that is to say. She hit the nail on the head when she said, "This movie is just so happy that it's sad." Feelings as interpretted by a five year old...gotta love it. You also gotta love the shelves of old movies that you can get for free from the library.

Now we're watching America's Funniest Home Videos. We're trying to lighten things up a little around here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

nothing better to do

my hubby is long gone to the badger game.
t bone and lil bit are off playing the day away with friends.
i'm all alone in my clean, ever so quiet house.
so i'm gonna do what i do...and love best.
now my single dilemma is - where to begin?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I am grateful for…

The ability to laugh at myself and not take life, or my hair too seriously (see previous post). Incidentally, I’m up to 5 yeas now, but also 3 nays.

Stellan is SVT free! His risky ablation was a success and his story is literally God’s work unfolding.

A house that would pass the white glove test. I spent the whole day Wednesday scouring and scrubbing and singing. I was blasting the music and working the day away.

My hubby should have perfect football weather for his trip with neighbors and friends to the Badger game tomorrow. He deserves some male bonding time.

Lists and calendars.

A pizza celebration tonight for hubby’s birthday.
Homemade, with love (and sometimes humor), happy birthday cards.

This week’s Thanksgiving feast 2 weeks before the holiday. I roasted a turkey, smashed some potatoes and steamed some squash. Jess joined us.

Making plans for the upcoming holidays…tickets to the Nutcracker, reserves for breakfast with the big guy, plans for the first ever River’s Edge round robin.

A new driveway.

My friends.

Carte Blanche aka Blank Cheque

Ta Da! This is THE textbook definition of carte blanche. This is what happens when you have a glass of wine before your evening hair appointment. This is what happens when you want a little change and you tell your trusted hair dresser, "whatever you think." This is what happens when you agree to his experienced, professional suggestion to "warm it up." This is what happens when he disappears into the back room for 15 minutes to "concoct" colors to transform your look in less than 2 hours and for only $150 ($50 more than you usually shell out). This is what happens when the glaze he applies to your whole head is called "strawberry" and it is pink. This is what happens when your hairdresser is a new dad to a 4 month old who has rendered him severely sleep deprived and not quite himself.
And now...I am not quite myself. I am a red head, or as my hubby keeps lovingly reminding me, an orange head. I'm not quite sure I ever aspired to be a carrot top, but that is my destiny until Monday when I can get some magic rinse that will restore my natural color...almost. With my luck...I'll end up with pink hair. Miss Bit would love that. Her favorite book right now is Pinkalicious and well, pink is my favorite color...just not for my hair, although it just may be better than orange.
I keep telling myself that it's only hair, but I wasn't so sure I wanted to come to work today. So far I have 3 yeas and 1 nay and 1 if you like it. Guess who is smart enough to leave it up to me?
Miss Bit came into my bathroom this morning and said, "MOM! Like how did you get RED hair?" I asked her if she liked it. She honestly replied, "It's wacky! But how did you get RED hair?!" I gave up Kevin...I had no choice. She responded, "Well, he sure wasn't too smart!" Then I dried it and took the flat iron to it and came down dressed in black fearful that any color in my clothing would get me mistaken for a clown today, and Miss Bit said, "MOM, YOU REALLY LOOK BEAUTIFUL! YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR HAIR LIKE THAT FOREVER! I REALLY REALLY MEAN IT!" (It must have been the lipstick I got talked into buying last night, or the new skirt.) T. Bone asked very concerned, "You aren't going to have to pay to have this fixed are you?" By the way, he's the nay.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Love!

This very special man was born 42 years ago today so it is a day to be celebrated. This man is one in a million and I am so thankful that I met him 24 years ago.
42 reasons why I loooove the one I'm with...
1. He gets better looking every year...see above, and note that he was cute to begin with!
2. His glass is always half full.
3. He rarely says "I told you so," and almost always says, "I'm sorry" first.
4. Together we created our two beautiful children.
5. We share the same goals, dreams and aspirations for our family and our future.
6. He always makes me feel safe.
7. T. Bone and Miss Bit have great fun with their Daddy, but they also have great respect for him. He is a wonderful role model.
8. Family is important to him...his, mine, our's.
9. He never balks at the open door policy I have with family and friends.
10. He is forgiving and never holds grudges.
11. When we run together, he lets me set the pace, and he never complains that I'm slow.
12. He works hard to provide for our family, and after a full-time day on the job, he's a part-time student.
13. He is a great listener, and he always gives sound, thoughtful advice.
14. He almost always takes my side.
15. He is always putting others first. There isn't a selfish bone in his body (you do know there are 206 bones in the body...right?)
16. He kills spiders and centipedes for me.
17. He even watches reality t.v. with me, and almost always lets me pick the movie we watch despite my sketchy track record.
18. He waits until I'm in bed to watch his ultimate fighting shows.
19. We share mostly the same taste in music and both like to see live performances.
20. He never races to judgement. He is always fair and open minded.
21. He's the one that gets up with the kiddos in the middle of the night.
22. He likes to travel. Together we have experienced many places. We have plans and dreams to make our way to so many more.
23. He misses my Mom just like I do.
24. Sometimes...he reads my blog.
25. He's got spirit. He was Bucky Badger in college.
26. He likes to cook, and is the go-to grill guy in my family. He makes some mean salsa and ribs we all request numerous times a year.
27. He waits to put his fiery hot sauce and seasonings on his culinary creations until after I have served myself.
28. He is incredibly loyal to loved ones.
29. He is a great friend and still gets together with his group of friends from high school.
30. He hangs whatever I ask him to with only minimal grumbling.
31. He never says that I shop too much.
32. He usually cleans the toliets and the litter pans.
33. He always puts the toliet seat down!
34. He thinks (or at least he tells me) that I am the best baker.
35. He gets involved with the kids...scouts, name it.
36. He is level headed and always calm in a crisis.
37. He is goal oriented and always striving for his PB!
38. My kids have his dreamy baby blues.
39. You should see him in his Levis.
40. We share the same political views...religious views and goals and morals too.
41. I know that when my kids are grown and on their own that I will be excited to have him all to myself.
42. This list was easy...truly only the tip of the iceberg.
I hope you have a great brithday weekend Love! I love you...Me

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Now I wake me up to live,
I'll give life all I have to give.
If today I face a test,
I'll cope and pray and do my best.
With each breath and step I take,
Be with me LORD
For heaven's sake.

As I made my way downstairs this morning, the burn in my quads from running stairs at the Audubon yesterday made me cringe. Cringe again I sure did when I saw that my back yard was covered in frost. Miss Bit even thought it snowed. Neither one of these truths made me motivated to make my way to the Y. this morning for the single cardio class that is still a religious part of my weekly routine. I would have much preferred to make another cup of coffee and pass the day away reading and writing...not lesser options by any means...but my truth is that when I get my sweat on, I'm more prone to read and write more worthwhile material. I made a choice. One of many each and everyone of us makes everyday.

I thoroughly enjoyed my workout UNTIL the recovery(?) track that did not deliver relief as promised. It was all squats and lunges, and well, see the previous paragraph. My muscles were on fire, and I so badly wanted to get off my step and act like I had to go to the restroom. Instead, I played this little trick on myself that I keep up my sleeve for just such conflicts. I say, " are certainly strong enough to do 20 more lunges. What if your life depended on your ability to do 15 more lunges? What if the lives of the people you love depended on your doing 10 more lunges? Anybody can do 5 lunges wussy." It works, and before you know it you are done. Well, done with that leg anyway. It works even for my nemesis...tricep dips. I really had to dig deep today because there were two lunge/squat tracks. I made another choice...we all know - no pain, no gain. Hopefully, I can walk tomorrow.

It's mid morning as I write. The sun is out and the temperature has already creeped up to the mid 50's. I'm sitting here enjoying my second cup of coffee while I make choices for the rest of my day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alice the Mole

Lil Bit and I were sharing some girl talk in the locker room after her swimming lesson a little while ago. She was all ears as I filled her in on the animal encounters I had today during my Audubon adventure. I was telling her about the many moles, and I back tracked to give her a description thinking she had no idea what I was talking about. She stopped me mid stream of adjectives and reminded me that she knew what moles were. Dah! She sleeps with one every night...Alice. Alice kept my Mom company in her last days and now the little stuffed snuggly comforts Miss Bit every night...all night. Makes me wonder if it was mere coincidence that I was in the middle of mole mania today.

Good Day

I woke up at a little after 7:00 this morning and made a trip to the bano. Then I crawled back into the comfort of my bed thinking I might settle in for a little more slumber. I was resting for a few moments when I realized that I was ready to get up...I was rested...hear me Internet - I am saying that I had ENOUGH sleep, and so I got up. I knew then with absolute certainty that today was going to be a good day.

While the kids ate their breakfast, I threw together the ingredients for a little lentil soup (actually, there is little that is little about this is really very hearty), which some of us will have for dinner. Ahem! The rest of us will eat delicious soup out of a can. I was out the door soon after the bus pulled away and in route to the Audubon for a hike on this lovely fall morning. There were no school buses in the parking lot so I gratefully resigned myself to enjoy the solitude of the sanctuary. The Grassland Loop was a muddy mess, which explains why I had it to myself except for a lone buck and many moles. It was seriously mole mania today on the trails. As I finished the loop, I heard many small voices only to realize that they had children in mass, that is to say. I spent the rest of my time avoiding the chattering children in an attempt to preserve the peace. I finished my hike just in time to pick up my T. Bone from school for some pizza therapy before his orthodontist appointment.

Me and my growing boy headed to the mall for our lunch date at his favorite pizza place...Rocky's. I am always in the mood for a Garden of Eatin' slice so it was a win win. He ordered up a Superslice and ate me under the table. Nerves, I tell ya'. We had a little more time to kill before his appointment so we walked around the mall for awhile. We stopped to browse in a boutique I love and I saw a skirt I have been coveting since my birthday (months...that is). They had one left, and it was my size. Concidence? T. Bone convinced me to buy it, but he didn't have to work very hard. I welcomed a little retail therapy.

T. Bone's expander is in place and he isn't in pain, but he sure sounds funny. Apparently, for no charge, said expander comes with a lisp. I ended up at the library after I took him back to school. I settled in with a stack of magazines for a little lost time.

Today's a good day...and here's the's not even over yet. There's nothing at all to suggest that tomorrow won't be, cannot be...a good day too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All in a Weekend...

So far as weekends go…I’m all good with the last couple days. They really were THE perfect balance between down time and fun time, work and play, time to myself and time with others.
Thanks to birthday parties and play dates myself and the hubby were able to ease into the weekend. Friday evening we watched not one, but two movies filled with profanity, violence and nudity. I swear I was blushing...I'm so out of practice thanks to Disney and Pixar. We also ate pizza topped with all things green, red and grown in the ground.
Saturday we had to hit the ground running and we didn't much mind given that it was a balmy 70 degree day. T. Bone had back-to-back football games. Miss Bit made friends on the play ground while the hubby and I watched our star quarterback try his darnedest to save the games for his team, to no avail. He was down in the dumps and just plain tired until it was time to head out to celebrate Grandma's birthday and play yet more football with THE cousins who were in town for the occasion. He played so much football that he could barely walk the next day...he had the gait of an 80 year old man.
I stole a couple hours all by myself to go for a long walk on the beautiful day. I was cruising along when I spied a little black Miata with an IRL sticker on the bumper. It made me smile remembering how much my Mom loved her much she loved her Irish little she liked bumper stickers!
I caught up with the family in time for dinner...pasta that my mil made for her very own birthday celebration. I felt bad for only bringing the salad. She even bought her own cake. I guess them's the breaks when you are the mother of four boys! But I resolve to be a better daughter-in-law next year. She does so much for so many and deserves to be spoiled on her birthday.
Sunday was another very beautiful, very full day. We left the house by 8:30 for church and didn't return home until late in the afternoon. In between, the kids had Sunday school while the adults had Starbucks. I enjoyed my first egg nog latte of the season despite the fact in felt more like July than November. We convened for a leisurely lunch at a local brew pub, and then hubby went home to do a nasty combination of homework and yard work while T. Bone, Lil Bit and I met some friends for Junie B. Jones, A Little Monkey Business, at the children's theater. T. Bone was more embarrassed than chivalrous to be in the company of five women/girls and in the audience of a play about a punky kindergartner who also happens to be a G-I-R-L! He found kinship with Grandpa Miller, and I really must divulge that I did spy with my little eye a smile on his face more than once during the production. Miss Bit loved the show, and was only mildly disappointed that there were no real, live monkeys on stage as promised by the title of the show proving that she is very much on the same level as the title character, and just where she should be!
It was early to bed for the whole family, but hubby and I managed to scare ourselves just before lights out by watching Para*normal Activity in the comfort of our own family room (don't ask), thus ending the weekend the very same way it began. It's a good thing we were soooooo tired that even the thought of evil demons haunting our house couldn't keep us from sleeping.