Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I am thinking...about how I wish I didn't agree to work today. How I'd rather be home to plan, shop and start preparing for my girl's gathering this weekend. I'm such a creature of habit...I don't like deviation, let alone change. I think it's good to know these kinds of truths about myself. To accept them. To honor them.
I am thankful...that I am being conscious of my innerspeak and careful not to belittle myself or label myself.
In the kitchen...I have little inspiration when it comes to making breakfasts and lunches lately. My kids don't eat cereal. My daughter won't eat bread. It has become somewhat of a challenge to please their palettes, while also meeting nutritional needs. The whole dogged process leaves me feeling like a ragged short order cook.
I am wearing...my favorite sweatshirt and my favorite pair of lounge pants - they were my Mom's.
I am creating...a menu, a shopping list and an itinerary.
I am going...to throw in a load of laundry, feed the fish and make sure that my son is awake. I will make him breakfast, kiss him goodbye, hand my hubby his smoothie and kiss him too. I will wake my daughter, let her wear whatever she wants today because I don't have it in me to barter and negotiate this morning, dry my hair, fix her hair, make her breakfast, and make our lunches while she eats and we chat. I will get dressed, feed Little Red, give the cats a treat and drive her to school. I will bite my tongue when people skip the line of cars waiting to drop-off kids and sneak in front. I will kiss my girl and wait to wave not once but twice as she makes her way to the door.
I am wondering...what would it feel like to have nothing to do, and then if I'd really want to know?
I am reading...Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, a memoir by Alexandra Fuller. It's easy to pick up and to put down. I like books like that. I need books like that.
I am hoping...for a short, fast week and a long, lingering weekend, and yes it's only Tuesday.
I am looking forward to...tomorrow when it will be life as normal, a fun evening with the ladies this weekend and the paralyzing snowstorm I know is in our future.
I am hearing...the morning news. Frustrating stories of stupidity and senseless stories of sadness.
Around the house...there is much to do before a little soire, but I love this part.
I am pondering...getting from point a to point b. Today it's not daunting...there's no rocket science required...just simple connect the dots. No question, I can do this.
A favorite quote for the day...
But in the glow of love, in the heat of battle, in the cushioned denial of the present, how few have the wisdom to look forward with unclouded hindsight. - Alexandra Fuller
One of my favorite things...starting my day off with time to write.
A few plans for the rest of the week...just the ordinary...the extraordinary ordinary: walks, talks, time together and time alone.
Monday, January 30, 2012
we're in serious hibernation mode even though the air smells and feels suspiciously of spring.
that means coming together to play games and share meals, and then dispersing to read or lounge or veg.
hubby dutifully and thankfully kneaded, tossed and rolled crust after crust so we could make pizzas with aunt jess saturday evening.
we especially loved the margherita and buffalo chicken creations except the 11 and under crowd who stuck with tried and true sausage ronis.
so tasty they were that we simply decided to skip the salad and have another slice instead.
after church sunday, hubby and i almost walked only as far as the nearest cafe, but then we decided to change our route to account for the brutal wind and forge ahead bravely.
we walked around and around our deserted downtown streets...it was like a stroll down memory lane and being tourists in our own town at once.
t. bone joined friends to snowboard at a nearby hill and miss bit excitedly accepted the invitation to play at a friend's for the rest of the day.
i have never seen either one of my kids change out of their church clothes or scarf down lunch with such speed.
and what did we do with no kids for a whole afternoon to do whatever we wanted...watch an r rated movie, which is just what we wanted.
in tandem, we tweaked a new lasagna soup for dinner and were pleasantly surprised when both t. bone and miss bit licked their bowls completely clean.
and really what's not to love about fire roated tomatoes and garlic and fresh mozzarella, but with those 2 you just never know.
america's funniest videos had us all in stitches before bed.
so that even though we are a little sad to see the weekend end, we did so with smiles on our faces.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
I digress. So I was of the belief when I turned my light out, I'd see the world in a better light come morning light. It's true. My outlook is sunnier today even IF the skies are too. Snow was in our forecast overnight. Not a deluge, but a couple inches, and we're in the position to take what we can get. From what I can tell, we only got a paltry dusting and now the brilliant sun threatens to melt that too. I must confess that T. Bone and Miss Bit are not alone in their lamentation of this fact. We all feel robbed, cheated. At this point, I would be ever so happy with one shut down the schools storm that immobilizes us for an entire day so we can celebrate that freeing feeling of life at a complete standstill. At this rate though I'm not holding my breath.
Nor are my kids. T. Bone has been surfing sites for the necessary equipment to turn our backyard into a snowboard park. He shows me tubes and blocks...ramps and grinds...video after video...and then he says a little defeated, "Next year. There's next year." He had to write a persuasive paper on what bugs him most. He chose no snow in winter. He is so my kid, and thus didn't need to persuade me, but I think his arguments were swaying...convincing. Every day Miss Bit and I pass by the ice rink on the way to school, and she asks, "Do you think we'll ever be able to skate?" I have to tell her it's not likely because it's an icy, uneven puddle once again. I doubt the city will flood it a third time. I remind her there's always the indoor rink, but I firmly agree it's just not the same.
So it is that instead of dreaming of a warm, tropical escape, I can't get the snowy mountains off my winter wanting mind.
Friday, January 27, 2012
These two incredible kids and how much they teach me each and every day.
This week T. Bone had to write 3 paragraphs on 3 varying topics in addition to a great deal of other homework. That's a lot of writing for an active 11 year old. I was not always my best self in terms of being a model of patience or a muse of inspiration through this process. At one point my son looked at me, locked eyes and said, "You want me to write like I'm in college, but I'm only in 5th grade." I protested...I denied...and then I ruminated on his assertion. As I tucked him in last night, I told shared with him that writing has always been my preferred mode of expression and in a sense the written word has always come easily to me. It's what I've always been most passionate about in the same way that he loves and excells at any and every sport he has ever played. I confessed to him that he was right that perhaps my expectations were unreasonable and I assured him that he is a fine writer who makes me quite proud. I'll never forget the smile on his face when I spoke. And leave it to my 100%, all American athlete to spoil the sappy moment by saying ever so sweetly, "Yea Mom, what sport WERE you good at?"
Oh, and he can sing too.
Back on track this week...eating more veggies, only the wholest of whole grains and little to no refined sugar. We don't even miss our holiday vices with meals like southwest chicken soup with cilantro and lime or lettuce wraps.
This 7 year old mastered the art of division with the help of her math loving daddy and she was really deservedly proud of her accomplishments. No, she was not wearing my glasses during her studies, but she agrees that she looks "cute in a nerdy way" with them on. I agree too.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
When I finally did roll out of bed, I had only 20 minutes to make T. Bone breakfast and lunch.
I still managed to send him off with a full tummy after a warm meal proving that I perform best under pressure.
I'm trying to phase out 1 of my 2 cups of morning coffee with a cup of green tea.
It probably shouldn't be the first I forgo.
I didn't much enjoy my tea for the whole time I sat sipping it.
I was coveting my coffee.
Miss Bit is eating her breakfast and watching cartoons beside me.
I didn't mind that she changed the channel because I have little interest in the academy award nominations.
I find Curious George more endearing than Brangelina these days.
For the life of me, I'm trying to get to the bottom of a bowl of oatmeal.
I know breakfast is important, but I'm not much into it most mornings.
I made a list of what I need to make laundry soap and I'm a little giddy about doing that today.
And maybe just a little more excited to find the perfect container in which to store it.
Too bad I already stripped the beds and started a load.
Oh well, there's always more where that came from.
After I drop Miss Bit off at school, I am looking forward to a long walk.
It's a chilly, grey day so I'll bundle up and brave it.
When I return, I'll fix a bowl of last night's leftover minestrone to warm me from the inside out.
It was quite good with the layers of flavor: onion, garlic, fresh rosemary, bay, parsley and basil.
Not too mention a little freshly grated Parmesan on top of the crunchy veggies and nutty pasta.
Last week I committed to meeting a friend downtown tonight.
She needed a wing woman, and she asks little of me.
Regrettably, I bowed out on her yesterday.
I'm really grateful that she understands that right now I just don't feel up to meeting new people, being in a crowd or being on.
I'm rather off.
It's why I'm talking about sleep and soup and laundry, but at least I'm still talking.
Monday, January 23, 2012
The pathos and the gift of life is that we cannot know which will be our defining heartbreak, or our most victorious joy.
Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness
And I ask this: Would we really want to know if we even could?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
t. bone kept his snowboarding date friday and came home talking about grinds and getting air still clearly soaring after the totally awesome experience.
then he asked to skip basketball practice saturday morning and declined an invitation for sunday and so it is that there's a first for everything.
miss bit had a friend over both afternoons much to her delight.
my brother and sil joined us for an impromptu saturday night soire.
i made a deliciously easy 3 ingredient caprese dip and oooey, gooey salted caramel bars, and they kindly brought a tasty shephard's pie and also the wine.
leftovers became lunch the next day after church and a walk.
the wind along the lake was biting and brutal.
i couldn't shake the chill for the rest of the day.
but i tried by curling up on the couch under not 1, but 2 afghans with my book and numerous episodes of trash t.v. in cue.
And that's a wrap.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Waking up to flurries.
The yard is so eerily quiet and deserted as the critters seek cover.
Before we leave the house, the streets are slippery and snow covered, and the trees dusted in the flying flakes.
There is palpable energy in our midst despite the quiet in the yard because my kids sort of worship the white stuff, and maybe I do just a little bit too even if it means I have to drive white knuckled.
Of course, there is endless speculation on the number of inches and the likelihood of a snow day this week.
Me and Bit take T. Bone to school, come home, discover he left his shoes in the mudroom, dress, and are back out the door in 20 minutes.
In that time, he calls to ask me to deliver his shoes to which I reply, "Have you seen the roads? Wear your boots."
Miss Bit and all her oozing empathy somehow convinces me to save her brother from having to spend the day sporting soggy, rubber soles.
He owes her.
Have I told you lately how hugely this girl makes me want to do the right thing?
I make a quick trip to the grocery and because of the weather I have the store to myself always a bonus.
Once home, I cook and bake and clean before retiring under an afghan with a cat flanking my both sides.
I finally finish Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness.
This quote sticks with me all day: What my mother won't say - lost in all her talk of chemicals and pills - is that she knows not only the route grief takes through blood but also the route it takes through the heart's cracks. What she won't tell me is that recovering from the madness of grief wasn't just a matter of prescriptions, but of willpower.
I am so glad to have Fuller's first memoir: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and start it immediately.
Bam! Just like that and six hours have flown by so I leave to get my T. Bone.
Smart kid gets in the car and the first words out of his mouth are, "Thank you."
"For what?" I inquire testing him.
"Bringing my shoes," he says making the small sacrifice worth it big.
Then he carries on about what he calls "Two exciting things" about his day.
One: he lost his first molar...his eleventh tooth.
Two: ski club is planning an all day trip in February and now he's wishing the next four weeks away.
Have I said it here lately how much I L-O-V-E this kid and his enthusiasm???
He runs to retrieve his sister and they race back to the van like they always do only she wins today because he's wearing his tennis shoes instead of his boots (WTH) and therefore treading carefully.
She's almost more excited than he is with regard to the lost tooth.
He decides of his own free will and without the power of suggestion that he will shovel the driveway for his Dad before he calls his friend who he plans to snowboard with.
She keeps him company, but doesn't dig in.
They come in and declare my snowman cupcakes "too cute to eat."
But they do, and then decide that they are "THE best cupcakes" I have ever made!
Of course, this is one of the rare times I doctor up a cake mix and use a can of frosting so I'm a tad beside myself that they prefer the processed crap to homemade.
Then I eat one and realize that they taste just like Twinkies and if I worked out today I'd have two just like T. Bone cuz' I am a closet Twinkie lover even if I haven't had one in decades.
T. Bone does his homework with one eye on the clocks while he waits for his friend to finish his own assignments.
Miss Bit bundles up and waits for her friend in the fort they built the day before.
Hubby comes home and we have time to chat and chill.
I don't see the kids until we call them home for dinner.
It's dark outside, they both have cheeks that look like apples, they are soaked to the bone and starving.
They inhale their turkey burgers, naan and carrots hoping to get more time outside on the "totally awesome jump" they built.
The adults have tuna casserole that my hubby tells me is so good he has to have seconds when he doesn't usually even want firsts.
After I take a bite, I must humbly admit that he is right.
This polygamous marriage between my Mom's recipe and my paternal Grandma's recipe and my own recipe seems to take this casserole to a new level.
I have seconds too and eat my salad for dessert despite the fact that I would really like thirds.
We settle in our spots and someone queries, "Does Peanut really need two afghans?"
I don't answer because what kind of crazy question is this?
Of course he does, he's a cat and he has a fur coat, but he's too cute to deny or disturb.
We watch Celebrity Wife Swap, which is Miss Bit's new favorite show right up there with The Wild Man and Toddlers and Tiaras.
I go with it though because these moms make me look like June Cleaver (not that the kids know who she is or anything, but note to self...they should).
Soon as they're tucked in bed, hubby gets a phone call pertaining to little league, and another and another.
Yes, despite the fact that it's the middle of winter, we are already forging ahead to spring.
Hey...the draft is in 30 days I'll have you know!
I am half asleep for the news, but I hear enough to know that tomorrow is going to be cold and there will be more snow this week.
And that was today...ordinary and extraordinary all at once.
Monday, January 16, 2012
since t. bone was away with ski club, i took miss bit and her friend sledding.
they trudged up the hill and flew down until dusk descended upon the little mound.
then we retreated for the toasty warmth of cookies hot out of the oven and cocoa heaped with cream.
saturday we bundled up and met grandma and grandpa for a snowy hike in their neck of the woods.
it took us almost 2 hours to travel 2 miles, but then there were plenty of stops for snow angels and snowball ambushes.
bodi probably logged at least 4 miles because he didn't stand still for even a single, split second.
when we stopped to sled and snowboard after our hike, he curled up in a tight little ball on grandpa's seat in the sun and fell fast asleep.
t. bone built a jump and showed us some fancy footwork.
miss bit couldn't seem to stay put in her slippery sled.
the adults couldn't feel their fingers after 3 hours outside and temperatures dropping into the teens.
we stopped at a local establishment to warm up with some cold drinks.
i don't know what to tell ya...it worked.
then we made our way home for the perfect comfort food on a chilly night: homemade bread and hot stew.
the sore throat that was annoying me during the day became impossible to soothe or ignore come night.
i slept very little that night and then almost all day yesterday.
i missed church and basketball, but was thankful for my hubby for picking up my drugs and my slack, my kids for praying for me, and my neighbor for taking miss bit to rollerskate the afternoon away.
instead of homemade pizzas for the playoff game, we ordered in and that was just fine.
today i am feeling so much better...like i am swallowing rocks instead of glass, and instead of feeling sorry for myself that i am sick on this holiday, i am grateful that there is nowhere i need to be today and nothing i have to do.
Friday, January 13, 2012
SNOW. Our world is finally white. I took the kids to the hill after school yesterday despite the fact that we could still see grass and had only a short window of daylight left. I really didn't want to go out in the cold, wet wind after a long day, but I knew it would make their's and so I did. He tried to snowboard, but there really wasn't enough snow to maneuver, and before long they were both sledding.
I took Miss Bit and her friend again today. There was more snow and many more kids. The girls giggled, got rosy cheeks and decided it was hot cocoa time just as I could no longer feel my fingers.
T. Bone was just as stoked about ski club this week as last week with the fresh powder and all.
He asked me to take him to an area ski hill after school yesterday. When he saw the look on my face he said, "What? If I don't ask, I'll never know." He's got an opportunistic point there.
I scored major points with both kiddos this week when I made a pitcher of their favorite Starbuck's passion fruit lemonade. Homemade it's about $1 per glass, which is a savings of $3 per serving.
Reading the stack of T. Bone's thank yous before sending them today. I think he does such a great job of conveying his gratitude and excitement. Miss Bit is an impressive little writer for the 7 year old she is too.
I deChristmased. It was time.
My new Rickie Lee Jones anthology. It was a gift from my bil this Christmas. There are numerous tracks I do not have on other recordings and I am so swooning over it.
My girl and I are sitting here watching a tear jerking episode of Extreme Makeover Home as if there's any other kind...they are all sob fests. The losses these families endured made her miss her Nanny real bad. We had a good cry and a real, true heart to heart. She told me that she just feels so sad for me that I don't have my Mom and that just blows my mind for a 7 year old to embrace and express such empathy. Then she asked me if I thought that after we went to heaven we can come back as another person with a new life. I wasn't prepared to answer her question especially since I was just a tad verklempt after our exchange so I told her that some people believe that to be true. She claims to be a believer too. She brought up Alice and wanted to hear how she came to be her special friend. I told her she was a gift from Nanny so she would always be as close as a hug away from her best girl...that she was with Nanny until she went to heaven and then she gave her to my Bit. To that my amazing girl said, "And your gift was getting to be her daughter and getting to say goodbye." Wow I say..W.O.W.
Monday, January 9, 2012
plenty of fresh air logging double digit miles with my man...
ample free time to read and relax...
and quality moments shared with my family.
it was a treat to enjoy an impromptu lunch with just my hubby in the middle of the day saturday and then a spontaneous Italian spread with more family that night.
it was such fun to cheer t. bone on courtside sunday afternoon and then to experience the blue man group with my wide eyed kids at the wee end of the weekend.
weekends like this one refresh and restore thanks to goodness galore.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
T. Bone woke up this morning rather sore after breaking in his new totally awesomely rad new snowboard last night. After a pain pill and two perfectly grilled camel's eyes (egg in a hole), he was convinced he could do basketball practice after all. We dropped him downtown at the club and headed due east to walk along the lakefront for a change of pace. The minute we got out of the car I took a whiff of air and swore it smelled exactly like spring. It was another unseasonably nice day, but the wind out of the west was a little biting reminding us that indeed it is just now winter. Hubby and I walked around the lagoon and out along the breakwater for 4+ miles. It was just a great way to start the day. I never knew that they play music when they open the wings of the Calatrava. I do now.
On our way to get T. Bone, we got the call that he hooked up with Uncle B. Bone and wanted to stay and work out more and then go for lunch. I guess that was some pain pill! What that boy won't suffer through to spend time with his Uncle and to get himself some wings. Hubby and I meandered along the side streets finding ourselves at the city's best Italian market only a little by accident. I knew he would love it and I knew he was hungry so I took him in to explore. We bought some fresh pasta, homemade sauce, melt in your mouth Montamore cheese, a bottle of wine and lunch: a mufaletta for him and a meatball sandwich for me. His was better despite the fact that mine was quite delicious too, and thankfully he shared. After we ate, we found ourselves shopping again. We picked up some more sauce and pasta, a couple bottles of Chianti, artichoke fritters, fried ravioli and canolis hoping that my brother and sil will join us for Italian night. They said yes, thankfully.
I set the table, made my Italian vinaigrette and that brings me to here...now.
It brought me to there, but then the phone rang. It was Miss Bit from her sleepover at Aunt L and Uncle L's. She said, "Mom! I have to tell you Alice got surgery. You know that hole in her arm? Well, Aunt L sewed it all up." When I asked if she was OK, she happily reported, "Oh yeah. She used like the exact color thread and you cannot even tell that she ever had a hole. She's as good as new." And that is good news because Alice is very special to Miss Bit. It's her connection to her Nanny. I know the little hole bothered her. I know she was worried that someday Alice would be no more too just like Nanny and neither of us were prepared for that.
I sat back down prepared to muse some more when I heard a cat literally wailing. It sure sounded to be coming from outside. It couldn't be one of my boys I knew because they were cozy inside. But I had to be sure. Check...Tigger was in his favorite afternoon chair, but Peanut...he was nowhere to be found. Then I remembered that I was in the garage about an hour before. I opened the door, and in he ran. That'll teach him.
Just as I sat down again, T. Bone arrived home, asked for a pain pill and made off with my computer. He had very important business to attend to you see. It's called fantasy football.
I'll pardon those interruptions, and I really don't even mind them one bit despite the fact that the moon is on the rise and I am now out of lost time.
Friday, January 6, 2012
A much needed blog break. A respite from this forum. I've been a bit nostalgic and introspective. In looking in and back, I realized I needed to keep some of my thoughts just for myself.
Back to the routine. Monday morning came as a rather rude awakening here at Casa Wags. Both kiddos felt downright assaulted by their alarms, but we survived the battle. This week I discovered the very best way to wake my sleeping beaut is to whisper a little warning in her ear so she knows that soon she has to come unsnuggled. Whether I come back in 5, 10 or 15 minutes, she wakes with a smile. (And if she finds the day's outfit favorable, she may even have a slight spring in her step too.) This morning T. Bone was up before my alarm sounded singing and smiling because after school he has ski club. He was so over the rising sun to try out his awesome new snowboard that I imagine he's skipping through his day.
Ramping up the mileage this week. I even went out for a quick couple miles last night while the rest of my family ran an errand. Let me tell you it helps to have a good book to listen to. I finally finished The Room. It wasn't my favorite. It wasn't particularly well-written although it was interesting. Now I'm on to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I can already tell 4 chapters in that I am going to like this novel so much more.
Back to meal planning this week too. Crockpot bbq chicken and almost as good as Bruegger's breakfast sandwiches according to and inspired by T. Bone on this week's menu. The chicken was delish with the perfect baked taters. Here's how: Scrub Russet potato. Pierce 7 times with a fork. Rub with EVOO and then sea salt. Bake at 425 for 1 hour. You will eat the whole thing.
Mugs of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows and clouds of whipped cream even though we're still waiting for the cold and the snow in these parts.
Sharing crocks of sausage corn chowder and spicy tomato soup with friends during the Rose Bowl Monday night. It was a welcome start to the week. Of course, it could have been better with a Badger victory, but we are all still Bucky lovers here at Casa Wags as is evidenced by this Fathead that will soon adorn T. Bone's bedroom/locker room wall!
There's always room for two no matter how cozy the spot. We're seeing much more of this these days.
Even without her two front teeth, this girl can still tackle an ear of corn.
Resolve. I've really strayed from stating very specific resolutions at the start of the new year. Let's come clean...we all know that they usually aren't manifested. The minute we divide our wants, desires and dreams into shoulds and should nots we set ourselves up for inevitable failure. Instead I look at the big picture and try to come up with an inspiring mantra that is flexible and all encompassing of the many areas in my life that I wish to change or improve. In 2012, I will be more present. Amen.
A family movie date for the movies last weekend. The whole row of us gave We Bought A Zoo the big thumbs up. I cried through most of it...both the happy and the sad parts. It's just that kind of a film and I'm just that kind of a sap.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Miss Bit just warned, "The Packers are losing, but there's no need to panic."
T. Bone woke at 11:11 just in time to get his fantasy football team in order. Miss Bit didn't grace us with her presence until after noon. We didn't come home to bed until 2012. The party we all vowed we would stay at for only one hour proved much more festive and fun than we anticipated and none of us wanted to leave so we didn't. We cooked the pizza that was going to be supper for breakfast and will play games tonight after dinner. I made two pots of soup because it's just that kind of a day: lazy, cozy, warm, comforting. Hubby doesn't know it, but in 2:18 he'll be starting a fire, making me a hot toddy and letting me win at Scrabble.
This is exactly the kind of day we all needed and the perfect way to welcome the new year.
And Miss Bit was right. With 1:10 left in the game we are now up by 4.