Monday, November 29, 2010

All in a Holiday Weekend

1 lost tooth. Miss Bit's loosey goosey tooth finally came out. Surprisingly, its extraction had nothing to do with her love of turkey legs or apples or gooey, chewy candy. She was beside herself anticipating her second visit from the tooth fairy all day yesterday. She made her a beautiful picture and wrote a little note that I failed to read. It said, to the Dear the Tooth Fariy: I love you. Pleas bring a small presit. from Lil Bit. Thank you. I found out that present did not mean dollars, as in $3, so upon waking this morning my girl was rather pouty and downright grumpy. I didn't make matters any better when I told her that I used to get 50 cents for my teeth.

2 days of yummy leftovers. I never tire of turkey sandwiches and although I'm not a gravy girl, I'm tempted to eat the rich dreamy dressed up drippings my Dad made by the spoonful. Last night the last of the turkey became the protein in a creamy chowder that my kids even ate happily. Overnight, the racoons devoured the tail end of the feast. Their spread included stuffing, pumpkin bars and sweet potatoes. I cut the tops off the last of our pumpkins so the squirrels could eat the seeds.

3 shopping trips. And I'm happy to report that I didn't step foot in a single store all weekend long. I did do my fair share of cyber shopping, hubby stepped out for a little black Friday madness, and he loves Woodman's so very much that he wanted to do the grocery shopping yesterday too!
4 miles around the neighborhood. It was warm enough yesterday that we were able to don baseball caps instead of woolen hats and really work up a sweat as the sun beat down on our faces and we worked off some of the leftovers.
5 days off to spend plenty of time with family and friends around the house. We shared bottles of wine with friends in the evenings, had some for an impromptu breakfast, others for a last minute pizza dinner and then sent our neighbors home last night with a warm dinner after a nice end of weekend visit. We all enjoyed playdates, and watching football and movies together. A friend of mine from college came to town for her annual visit. It was so nice to enjoy long overdue coffee talk while our 5 children had fun entertaining one another. We got 3 whole, mostly uninterrupted hours to catch up. The family settled in for a little quiet time Saturday night after everyone left. We watched Hachi and were all red eyed puddles after that tearjerker. Elf made its seasonal debut yesterday too.
Many naps.

Much down time. Yoga pants and fleece kinda days. Time to read and think and dream and talk...time to work on projects and chores, and to decorate for the holidays. My hubby got a good start on the outside lights. Miss Bit and I ornamented the little pink tree that lights up her room. Limited computer time, no blogging...just being.
5 days until it's the weekend again.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

T. Bone's Santa Claus debate with classmates at lunch the other day. His Jewish friends were telling him and his Christian friends that Santa is really Mom and Dad. I told him that was ridiculous and he readily agreed. He believes. He still believes.

I believe.

A quick window shopping trip with T. Bone and Miss Bit yields ideas to help us keep the magic alive.

On hold for me at the library: Katrina Kenison and Dani Shapiro. Just what I need to quiet my mind during this frenetic time of year.

This cake. Well, at least I think so. I'm still waiting for my hubby to come home from his parent's with a piece, but it took incredible resolve to keep from sending him with a cake missing a giant slice.

Oprah's favorite things despite the fact that I'll never get to be in the audience for that show since there won't be another one.

Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious and totally worth not eating all day for.

Leftovers. My Dad and Step-Mom sent us home with enough turkey and fixings for another whole feast. I made myself a turkey sandwich for linner (lunch + dinner = linner).

flash mobs.

This awesome choir.

When I reminded Miss Bit to say her prayers the other night, she replied, "Oh, I already prayed for you and my family here and in heaven and for my friends and for God too."

There's a new Focker flick coming out for the holidays. LOL!

The boys against the girls in a game of Pictionary last night. The girls won! Twice!

Watching Miss Bit devour a turkey leg last night decked out in her pilgrim bonnet.

Going to pick T. Bone up at a friend's this afternoon and staying for a glass of wine and conversation with his Mom. We found out that we went to the same elementary school and high school just a year apart. The funny thing is that they were in different districts. Small world.

Cybershopping today and finding the perfect gifts. I didn't step foot in a store, but I made plenty of progress.

Woodman's. All I can say is wow!

A hike at the Audubon with my hubby this week and then over the river and up and down the hills. I already logged 15 miles this week.

A date with my friend Pee tomorrow. She comes to town every Turkey day and we make it a point to get together for coffee or wine and always lots of chit chat. I don't see her as often as I'd like, but when I's like we haven't been apart.

A free and clear weekend.

Festive, fun, soulful Christmas music. On my wishlist this year...Glee's Christmas album.

Thyme's frasier fir.

Food you can taste the love in. My Dad's squash chowder and gravy. My Step-Mom's cranberry bread and sweet potatoes. Hubby's smoked turkey and salsa (no, we didn't serve it for Thanksgiving). My Mom's zucchini casserole and pumpkin bread.

So very much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a glimpse of gratitude

i woke up this morning in my cozy warm house to a chilly grey day.
thanksgiving is supposed to be cloudy and cool and the forecast should speak of snow flurries.
t. bone gave me a big happy thanksgiving hug first thing.
miss bit doled out sweet kisses.
i had time to get my first mug of morning coffee before joining lil bit for macy's parade.
i've never been a fan, but my mom was a faithful follower so i am doing this for my mom with my girl.
hubby's turkey is in the smoker.
my mom's zucchini casserole is made and i feel like i finally got it right...the right combination of onion to squash and seasoning.
the pumpkin bread (also her recipe) is plated.
there should be time for a walk...a brisk walk...this morning and my legs are feeling up to it despite the many miles logged with my man this week.
then we'll travel over the river and through the woods singing christmas carols to feast with family.
my dad's been cooking all week because it's what he loves and you can taste the love in his food.
he's made 5 kinds of bread for 6 people...with my loaf of pumpkin, we can each claim one.
we'll share what we are thankful for and toast loved ones we are missing with red or white or sparkling.
there is so much...there are so many.
after dinner we'll play uno and apples to apples and maybe some poker.
miss bit will read 'twas the night before thanksgiving for us all to show off that she can.
the kids will get jammied up and we'll drive home full.
full of turkey and stuffing and love and family and gratitude.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sugar Spice & Everything Nice

My girl causes me to take pause in absolute reverence at least a dozen times each day. She is the perfect combination of sweetness and sentiment all wrapped up with a bright colored, frilly bow. For the record, she has this same affect on others too always quick with an infectious smile, a genuine, "And how are you?" or some other pleasant aside for everyone from the florist at the grocery store, to the nail tech she had difficulty understanding to neighbors, teachers, friends and family. She simply radiates goodness for everyone in her presence to receive. Sometimes even her brother, much to his dismay. Or chagrin.

Miss Bit already has her very own sense of style and loves to get dressed up. She prefers pink and purple, but she sees the beauty in every color under the rainbow. Her signature items of the season include fashionable boots, sassy scarves, silly bands and flowery headbands. Take just one look at those baby blues and you can see for yourself that it doesn't matter what she's wearing though, she's always a breathtaking beaut!

Her eyes are not only bright and beautiful, but so is the world as seen through them. I had as much fun watching her amazed and undeniably awestruck during Cirque Dream Holidaze this weekend as I did watching the stage. She must have said all wide-eyed, "Come on. You're kidding me!" at least a dozen times. Her favorite act: the lithe aerialists who flew effortlessly through the air in tandem in their matching flowing skirts resembling birds more than women. The smile didn't leave her face nor the amazement her eyes for the duration of the performance. I could literally see her growing wings of her own, realizing the freedom to fly, sensing her ability to soar.
I cannot count how many times she thanked me for taking her to see the Cirque. She is so filled with gratitude. What a gift it is to realize those that are your's at the tender age of six. She has deep roots for such a young-sprung shoot and is tethered tightly to this family...this life. Her's is a heart tender and true. Often she asks if I'm OK if I sigh or fail to smile fast enough. Sometimes I'm sure she must be an empath so sensitive is she to other's, friends, animals, complete strangers. She was inconsolably stricken and sobbing at the end of Because of Winn-Dixie during this weekend's movie night. The story had a happy ending, but she couldn't shake the sadness. It had taken its hold of her and without warning she was grieving for every lost pet. Every motherless daughter.
Hearing her cry hurts my heavy heart. Her laugh...full bodied and infused with joy...makes me feel lighter. When she sings, it sounds like angels even if it's the likes of Lady Gaga or new favorite, Taio Cruz. Rare are the times I've heard her speak bitterly to others (and almost all of those terse exchanges involved her brother). She's a faithful friend, a loving little sister, a cherished child, our glorious girl...a gift from God.

100% GUY'S GUY

If there ever was a shadow of a doubt in the dusty catacombs of my mottled mind, there is no trace of it any longer. It was brought to my attention over and over and over this weekend loud and perfectly clear that my son is turning...or more accurately... has turned into a GUY.
His world has revolved around sports since he could walk. For the record, he skipped crawling and went straight to running at 9 months. Even as a wee one though, his talents were always strongest when playing the games not watching them, betting on them with the other GUYS in his life or exhaustively scouring and studying scads of stats. I discovered that Sports Center is 100 percent responsible for getting him out of bed in a timely manner most mornings. That's has absolutely nothing to do with my warm cooked meals.
When he agreed to dress in "handsome clothes" to escort the girls in the family to the Cirque Saturday afternoon, I knew better than to think I could ask for him to look poised and pleased while I took a picture of him with his sister. Geez...she is after all a girl. I certainly never thought to expect that he'd take off his team fleece in the theater. I knew it would be way too embarrassing to even think of being seen in public wearing something that didn't boast team logos or sayings like just do it. That would be almost as image shattering as having to pose with his arm around his sister. Get it! Got it!

I shouldn't have been the least bit surprised that my guy requested I snap a photo of him with one of his favorite Badger basketball legends. There was also no reason for surprise at the revelation that he was wearing the same Badger shirt he wears every football Saturday beneath his "handsome" shirt and sweater. He is nothing if not a die hard (fanatic) fan, except maybe a little superstitious.

Surely, I didn't expect him to sit at BW3 with his old Mom and little sister looking all nice. I get it...we're not Guys! I think he suggested carryout not wanting to risk being so uncool. But then we stepped inside and there were all those games on all those large screens, and all those orders of hot wings flying out of the kitchen, and all those GUYS cheering and he simply couldn't help himself! (He also couldn't bring himself to put his shirt and sweater on, and worked hard to convince me that it was wise not to given the mess he was about to become. He was 100% right.)
Now, I know he enjoyed the Cirque - especially the Chinese tumbling twins and the triple decker jump ropers even though he's pretty sure he could accomplish the same feats, but I also know that he maybe...just maybe...enjoyed the wings a little more because he couldn't stop singing their praises. From the moment he convinced me to make a stop at THE BW3, he extolled the virtues of the best wings ever. He talked about them all during the meal too. In fact, he's still talking about them. BW3 would be smart to put T. Bone on their pay roll. He's be one heck of a spokesGUY, and maybe I wouldn't begrudge listening to his carrying on if there was something to gain aside from high cholesterol and bad breath. He polished off 10 wings, soiled 10 napkins and sucked down 1 large Mellow Yellow (2 sips per wing he claims...he's got it down to a serious science), and he was happily covered in sauce from ear to ear. He offered me not 1, but 2 wings in exchange for my fries, and I must admit they were much better than my boring grilled chicken sandwich and worth the barter. For the record, Miss Bit was pleased as punch too with her predictable, plain chicken tenders.
Our waiter brought the bill. T. Bone suggested that we play the bill guessing game. (Another guy thing: everything is a guessing game, everything can and should be a competition.) He won. Actually he was almost right on the money while I was $3 over proving that he's pretty much memorized the menu even though this was only his second time eating at the establishment. Oh, and that fact means that he is seriously deprived and depraved because he has friends who eat there once a week. Just Sayin'!
On the way out, he initiated high 5s (don't worry he used the wet wipes) with several staff members. He ate 10 wings, you know! He was so excited and proud that he had to call his Dad in the middle of his north wood's retreat just to deliver the 4-1-1.

After working out with his Uncle the next morning, the two GUYS went out for some wings cuz' what do GUYS do after playing sports, but go cheer on their teams and eat more wings? Poor, poor T. Bone having to eat hot wings 2 days in a row! This time they frequented my brother's favorite haunt. T. Bone was not overly impressed, yet he managed to eat an entire order and get sauce down to his neck. Really, I saw the picture. They opted to go golfing over window shopping for Porsches, but it was a tough choice.
My T. Bone came home so happy after his GUY time with one of his favorite GUYS, his Uncle. (For the record, he was also quite pleased with his winnings from their bet on the weekend's Badger game.) Like uncle, like nephew. Two peas in a pod those GUYS: wings, Badgers, golf and sports cars.
The good thing about my GUY'S GUY though, is that deep inside he will always be this mama's little boy.
And if he grows up to be anything like his Uncle, or many of the other GUYS in his life, he'll be an amazing man. He's already one heck of a GUY!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

soaking in sunday

i woke today to my tigger alarm - the wet, cold nose of my warm, fuzzy feline against my resting hand.
i was up early enough to take in a little mary oliver with my morning coffee.
the quiet both inside and out is a welcome start to any day.
the kids stirred easily and there were zero sleepy early morning struggles.
on the way to church, joy to the world came on and i started crying as i almost always do the first time i hear it each holiday season.
within moments i was laughing though because t. bone led miss bit in their favorite version: barney's dead.
he's one erstwhile childhood obsession i'm not a bit nostalgic over.
despite the fact that the streets around our church were abuzz, we scored rockstar parking, a warm greeting from father t. whom we haven't seen in awhile, and "our" pew.
i strolled to starbucks while the littles had sunday school.
i sat sipping my first naughty egg nog latte of the season while admiring the city's christmas tree in the square all aglow.
it was nice.
i felt ready for the merriment and eager for it to be cold enough for the ice rink in front of the coffee shop to be flooded and filled with rosy cheeks, colorful knit hats and bright striped mittens.
i took out my journal and wrote with gratitude for the better part of an hour.
it's one of those days that my heart feels so full and my spirit is soaring.
we dropped an eager t. bone off at my brother's club to spend a few hours working out/hanging out with his uncle.
miss bit and i took the long way home along the lake so we could check out all the dogs and listen to more of the nora jones cd i just purchased.
my girl was feeling a little left out upon learning of her brother's date so we made our own.
we headed out to spend the gift certificate i've been saving since my birthday at my sil's store.
then we went next door to get her nails done.
she vacillated between witchy green and blueberry blue and finally settled on plain purple.
decisions... lofty decisions.
the nail tech topped her off with some sweet little flowers.
she was happy so i was happy too.
we baked a batch of cinnamon streusel muffins to look all pretty atop my new cake stand.
hubby came home from a weekend away hunting and played some football with t. bone.
my bit and i played a few hands of uno and enjoyed kiddie cocktails with extra cherries.
we sat down for a family dinner and then the evening's episode of amazing race.
miss bit was inspired by her afternoon visit to open her own salon in the family room.
we were treated to wonderful foot massages aveda lotion and all.
well...hubby and i enjoyed them- t. bone declined, which just meant longer ones for mom and dad.
now i'm ready for bed even though i'm not ready for monday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm feeling a little uninspired this morning, hence this meme I found somewhere sometime. Although, it may even be too meaty for my taste today.

What experiences most shaped you?

My parents divorce. I was 4 so I don't really remember them together. I never doubted their love for me or my brother, and now I truly believe they loved each other, but were too young and naive. I've always thought that as a family we were better off with them apart, but coming from a broken home always brings challenges and hardships.

A high school sweetheart who broke my heart too many times to count. Our exclusive relationship kept me on the fringe of high school, and it limited my experiences. In a moment of empowerment, I ended it, but the dynamics of my first love have affected every relationship I've had since.

Marrying my husband and making a new life together...a good life...a life I really like living.

The birth of my children who are the two brightest shining lights in my life. Being their mother is the perfect gift that gives my life its most meaning. They are my beautiful muses.

The death of my Mother. Watching my best friend fade from this life was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. Every day I miss her...I mourn her, but I also celebrate her and at times feel that she is so very close.

A day without commitments...what would you do?

Putter. I'd stay in my comfies at home lingering over my coffee while blogging just like this morning. I'd write a little, read a few pages of a book or an article in a magazine, bake something decadent, cook something comforting, work on projects and chores around the house, play games with my family, take a walk with my hubby and end the day with a hot shower, a fresh pair of pjs and a movie.

Food or drink you would never give up?

I'm pretty certain it would be near impossible for me to give up cheese or coffee.

Where would you travel and why?

Oh, there are many places stateside and abroad that I dream of visiting, but there really is only one answer to this question...Ireland. My Mom was intensely proud of her Irish heritage. She always talked about traveling there one day as a family, and when my Mom said something she meant it. I feel that I owe it to her to take my family there and sprinkle some of her ashes in the Celtic bring her home. I know that's what she'd want. After all, she had a bagpiper play Let Me Take You Home Again Kathleen as the recessional at her funeral. It was hauntingly beautiful.

An easy recipe without cheese?

There is no such thing...sorry.

What did you think you'd be when you grew up?

I always wanted to do something that involved reading and writing. At different points in my life, I envisioned working as an author, an editor, a journalist, a teacher and a professor. I've tried some of these out, and now I'm working on what I want to be now that I am grown up. Let me tell's daunting.

Who is your favorite woman writer? Why?

If we're talking about fiction...hands down my favorite author is Amy Tan. She's my first love if you will. Her style draws me in and so does her subject matter. She's always writing about relationships...particularly, mothers and daughters...and spirituality, which resonates with the old soul in me. Her novels impart such beautiful wisdom. I find reading her akin to a holy experience.

What is the character trait that inspires you the most?

Altruism. Quite simply I'm awed by selflessness, and I think it's the most difficult trait to behold. I'm not talking the Dalai Lama, but living with intentions of the heart.

What is your favorite kind of music?

My musical taste is eclectic, but if I have to choose a single style, I'd have to go with singer songwriters like Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon, Nora Jones, Ray LaMontagne and so many wonderful others.

What books have touched you most?

There are so many, but off the top of my head I can say...
Every one of Amy Tan's novels
Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides and Beach Music
Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible
Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
Kathryn Stockett's The Help
Jane Hamilton's The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World
Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone
Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine
Jean Rhy's Wide Sargasso Sea
The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet
Gibran's The Prophet
Toni Morrison's Beloved

What is your ideal wake-up time?

7:00, well rested and ready to start the day at least a half hour before the rest of my family.

What cd would you bring to a deserted island?

A mix cd with all my favorite singer songwriters!

What are 3 things you want to accomplish in this decade?

I want to continue to raise my children to be kind, caring, confident, charming, charismatic people.

I want to write and have my work published.

I want to travel with my family.

What is 1 thing you would change about yourself?

Hmmm...only 1. I would get over my aversion to risk so I could more comfortably put myself out there and take chances.

Has blogging changed you?

It has and it continues to do so.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...
My future Badgers (today is college day at school). During this trying week, I am most thankful for my children who remind me of the joy in life today and give me a reason to have hope for tomorrow. Something as simple as going out for breakfast mid-week can totally make their day. I admit it was the bright spot in my Wednesday as well. Pancakes with plenty of syrup served up with a side of sausage or bacon so good you cannot even eat lunch. I told them how my Great Grandma Pearl, often requested breakfast for our dinners out at this restaurant when I was a child. He paid the bill and made sure I left the right tip, no quarters...only dollars...just they way he'd want it. He's always so fair and just. They're both always appreciative saying "thank you" before we were buckled in the car. They make me laugh and they make me smile. Even a trip to the Laundromat to wash comforters is a fun occasion with them in tow. He brought out the Mad Libs, and asked for a body part. She said, "Bootymas maximus," with a smug, I know Latin smile. He said, "No, too long." She then offered, "Buttox." He wants to cuddle at the end of the day even though he no longer really fits in my lap. She barely does, but she still curls up in there any way. She and I take turns brushing each other's hair just like my Mom and I used to do as we all watch Survivor. She claims to know the bleeped out word (the "F" one), but she doesn't want to say it because it's a "Bad word." I tell her she can tell me. "Crud," she confesses. I'm just surprised she hasn't tattled on her brother for all the swearing he does on a daily basis. Crud is so one of his words.

I'm beyond thankful for my hubby too. When I'm feeling disconnected, it affects our relationship. He knows when to give me space to get out of my head. I'm so lucky that he's a kind, considerate, patient partner. He's off next week so we'll have lots of time for togetherness, walks and talks. He deserves it too because he's been working like a dog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the world has its ways to quiet us down

yes, the world has its ways to quiet us down

there's been a chill in the air the past couple days. the skies have been glossed over gray. for me... these are quintessential late autumn days heavily hinting of change in the air. i like them. this morning the last colorful leaves were being untethered from their sturdy almost barren branches and wafted to the cold ground. winter is just around the corner. i see it. i feel it. i don't like it.

my eyes were drawn to an array of still colorful mums in a yard as I made my way along the lakefront. the hired help was yanking the bold citrine, amber and pomegranite plants from their pots and piling them up like trash on the curb. i wanted to open my window and scream, "it's not even thanksgiving yet people!" why is human nature so prone to rush and scurry? i'm just not a fan of haste or hurry.

a little further down the road i watched an older couple walk with quite a jolly spring in their steps hand in hand wearing matching santa hats. really? christmas already? yet who am i fooling...i ordered my cards, have put a dent in my shopping, and made reserves for breakfast with santa and a date to trek to the tree farm.

i was stopped beside a swanky local hotel that is owned by a man whose children i once nannied. his ex-wife lives across the street from my kid's school in a neat tidy little house. it's a far cry from the homes they shared together with stables and elevators and maid's quarters. sometimes i see her working in her yard and i think she looks happy...happier a simpler life closer to the earth.

And today all I can tell myself is...
The world has it's ways to quiet us down comes rain
down goes our spirits again
down comes the strength
to lift us up and then...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Know What I Know aka Long, Rambling Rant

It's been a rough week, thus far and it's only Wednesday. I've been crying in my coffee and in the brownies my hubby will take to deer camp (so, sorry if they're salty love) and behind the sunglasses I'm wearing even though it's not at all sunny. My cats just look at me curiously and I'm just seriously thankful that their presence means I'm not ranting and raving to myself.

I was feeling fragile, as in wanting to be alone in my quiet house, so it was probably not a good week to decide to take on Picture Project 2010. But - then I was alone in my quiet house and that seemed like the perfect thing to do since we are fast approaching 2011. Well, I realized that I never completed Picture Projects 2008 or 2009 either. What that means is that I have approximately 1200 photos in albums that need captions and another 900 pictures that need to be organized in albums. What that means is going back to 2 years ago and chronicling what has happened in our lives month by month, milestone by milestone, memory by memory. I'm a linear person so I wanted to start with the oldest album and work forward. I wanted to, but the thing is that I couldn't.

It's no surprise where I left off. August 2008. Powers Lake. Family vacation. The last family vacation with my mom. Her life ended a month later. She's not in many of the pictures because she spent most of the week sleeping while the Olympics kept her company and the rest of us tried to have a "normal" vacation. Even before writing it in black and white, I realized how utterly ridiculous that was. There was no semblance of "normal." I didn't have the strength to put words next to those pictures, and I'm just not sure I ever will.

I picked up the next album. I opened it and I froze. As hard as it was to see my Mom frail and weak and bundled up in knit hats in the dog days of summer, it was even more terrifying not to see her where she would normally be. Holding hands with Miss Bit in her purple princess regalia making the trick or treat rounds, or wearing her reindeer antlers in the family picture beside the tree smiling with her eyes. I leafed through the album, and I felt like I was seeing so many of these shots for the first time, and feeling this loss like it was brand new. It's no surprise that I didn't make much progress.

And I guess that the impact of taking this on, made me question if I've really progressed at all in the grieving process. I feel like I'm right back at shock and denial, and that's stage 1. I know. I know. I may be a linear thinker, but grief is good at throwing curve balls often when we least expect it. The stages are not straight or undeviating or predictable. I can know this, but it still feels like stuck.

And so I made the executive decision to leave the last 2 years of my life sprawled out all over the dining room table while I lost myself in baking and daytime drama for a half hour. As I was mixing the brownies, I learned that the matriarch of this riveting show I sometimes tune out with has brain tumors. It is the week before Thanksgiving and Stephanie is going in for gamma knife surgery. I totally lose it. I lose it because exactly 3 years ago my Mom had the very same surgery the day...THE day...before Thanksgiving. I'm crying and laughing at the same time because this just seems like a rather cruel joke. The kind doctor puts the metal helmet on her head and tells her she will feel like herself the next day. Sure, that's true. My Mom was up stuffing the turkey the very next day. We were all so damn sure she was Superwoman and those damn tumors didn't stand a chance. Stephanie asks what they will do if the gamma knife doesn't work. The doctor tells her that there are many other options. To that I say bullshit! Not good ones.

All I know is that was the last turkey my Mom ever stuffed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scenes From The Weekend

It started with parties and plays.
He joined old friends for a birthday party sleepover.
She got dolled up to attend a high school production of Cinderella with Aunt Jess who swore that being pretty in pink scored them second row seats.
We went out to wish a friend a happy 45th.

Hubby was up before dawn for game day festivities after his ride finally rang the doorbell tired of waiting in the driveway.
I was up too since he swore rather loudly, clamored through his closet, left the light on in our dressing room and went barreling down the stairs.
It was OK since I had lots of cooking to do for the post game party: my Mom's pumpkin bars, better than crack brownies, Cook's Illustrated lasagna and Ina's herb infused garlic bread.
Tigger and Peanut were my sous chefs for the day always close by when there are so many smells in the kitchen.

T. Bone watched football until I finally shagged him outside no longer all droopy eyed and dragging thanks to THE BIG Badger win.
Miss Bit scored a play date with a friend and then all the kids scored a ride in the limo that brought the happy dads home.

The party continued into the night until we had to strongly suggest that the last guests leave as one of their children went from simply trashing the house to terrorizing Miss Bit. I handed them a half-eaten pan of lasagna, said "Ba bye" and took my daughter upstairs to wash their son's spit from her sweet, incredulous face.
The picture below is proof that a good night's sleep made everything all better... homemade waffles topped with ruby red raspberries and dollops of fresh whipped cream didn't hurt either.
The day carried on as Sundays usually do:
Some chores and projects, a bit of yard work, a little R&R, more play dates, a pot of soup simmering on the stove - chicken noodle, football, movie night - Toy Story 3, readying for the week ahead.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Celebrating this amazing father and husband on his birthday. Today he turns 43, but he's celebrating the rest of the month.

He's ready for the Badger game tomorrow. His annual trek to Camp Randall with the boys falls appropriately on his birthday weekend. (Better him than's supposed to be cold and rainy.)

A little light reading. I'm thinking this will take him through the long winter ahead.

Dance parties in the kitchen.

T. Bone and Miss Bit...cute and cuter in no particular order.

An anniversary getaway last weekend alone with my hubby.

Miss Bit sweetly singing her first solo, albeit also a little shyly.

T. Bone rocked his first guitar recital. He played Ode to Joy almost perfectly on his acoustic guitar and then he jammed out on the electric guitar.

Miss Bit saying she wants to play the guitar too.
Getting up for a walk this morning. It was dark and damp, but unseasonably warm for mid-November. I love starting my Friday pounding the pavement.
T. Bone realized he forgot his backpack this morning as he was getting out of the car. I told him he could just have hot lunch like his sister, which is fish fillet. Although he's not a fish fan, he acquiesced hesitantly, gave me knocks and ran off to get in the football game his friends were already well into. Miss Bit met me for a kiss with a quivering lip and said, "I just feel so bad for T. Bone." I was putty, and quickly back on my way home to pick up the forgotten backpack.
Family singathons on the way to school. This morning it was Soul Sister, loud and proud.
The scenic route. All week I've been moseying along the lakefront to get to work. It's actually faster than the freeway and much more enjoyable. Reminds me that it's not the destination that matters most, but the manner of traveling.
Hills and stairs at the Audubon this week.
Burning lungs and quads.
Easy, but delicious chicken marsala with a side of roasted zucchini.
Eventhough T. Bone was unable to attend a new friend's birthday party last weekend because he was at Grandma and Grandpa's, he asked me this week, "Mom, don't you think we should get J. a gift?" Normally we only bring gifts to the parties we attend, but how could I deny my boy's thoughtfulness.
Miss Bit's back in swimming lessons and once again fooling everyone that's she's a fish in the pool.
A weekend busy with play dates and parties.