Wednesday, November 28, 2012

of love and vomit

I picked up my youngest child from his crib this morning. He was covered in vomit. I cleaned him off and then put him in the tub and cleaned some more.  The smell still lingered, though disguised pretty well by the Johnson & Johnson's with which he was scrubbed.

As I held him close today all I could think of was how much I loved him and how much I would clean the puke off every day if that is what I needed to do.

I did not stop loving him because of the mess, but I couldn't let him stay that way. To ignore it would have not been love.

Monday, November 26, 2012

out of the lunch rut - Money Shot Monday

This weekend I ate the most incredible fruity chicken salad sandwich at a cute little restaurant in my hometown.  Let it be known that I don't even LIKE chicken salad - everything about regular chicken salad grosses me out.  But I took a risk and ordered something that even with the label "chicken salad" sounded good because this restaurant only makes delicious food. The risk paid off.

Fast-forward to this morning. I was very productive. Two grocery stores. Laundry. Regular mommy-stuff. And my mission - to find a recipe for this chicken salad I had seven hours away.  Nothing on Pinterest seemed exactly like it. So I took aspects of two or three of them plus my memory of what else was in the dish and TA-DA - a new lunch alternative.

It is very tasty. The picture taken via my phone is not great. But trust me. It is delicious. Now if I could just find the recipe for the amazing wheat-berry bread, I'm in business. For now I will eat it on crackers.

Amanda MacB's spin on the Fruity Chicken Salad:

1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken - cut or shredded (I did not measure - just cooked up a few frozen boneless skinless chicken tenderloins)
large handful of red grapes - cut
1/3 cucumber - diced (not sure if what I think of as the difference between cut, diced, and chopped, is accurate, but oh well)
1/2 large granny smith apple - chopped
1 handful of dried cranberries
1/2 handful of pecans (I added these just before putting on crackers, but the choice is yours)
1/3 cup mayo (I hate mayo - hate it - but it is a necessary component it seems, and I don't hate it as much any more)
1-2 tablespoons honey (I'll be honest - I just drizzled this all over until it seemed sweet enough)

Mix all ingredients together in large-ish bowl.  Cover. Chill for a few hours.  This was great at lunch, but even better tonight once it had relaxed all day in my fridge.

Serve on crackers. Or a croissant. Or wheatberry bread if you are lucky enough to have some.

linking up with Shannan for Money Shot Monday.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

of footsteps, Play-doh, and thankfulness

We went home for Thanksgiving - and by home, I of course mean the house I grew up in from age eight on. It was a semi-last-minute decision. We avoided traffic by travelling on Tuesday and Saturday. Our youngest travelled fairly well - which meant we avoided the usual 6 out of 7 hours of crying in the car (one way).

I left my camera in Missouri. I was a bit stressed about the weekend because I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays that occur from Thanksgiving through Valentines. A big part of me wanted to stay home and clean out closets and toilets.  Another part of me wanted to fly to Arizona to relive my best Thanksgiving ever with an assortment of people who do not share my blood but feel like family.  But we made the trip, and I am glad we did.

I consumed half a pan of sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows in a thirty-six hour span of time. I slept in my mom's somewhat redone (but still waiting on Ty Pennington to finish the job since she was left in a lurch) basement where there are no windows. Therefore the boys and I slept till 8, 9, 9:30 every day. That alone was worth the drive. Sleep is my love language, if you didn't know.

My oldest chased his fur-cousin and was also introduced to CandyLand and Hi-Ho-Cherry-Oh.  My mother, lifetime hater of Play-doh, brought out a deluxe Veggie Tale Play-doh activity set. Apparently one's opinion of Play-doh changes when one transitions from Mom to Grandma. 

The rest of the weekend? We celebrated a second birthday a couple of weeks early. And we watched my sweet Bugaboo walk. He walked around my mom's house. He walked around Mimi's with his great-grandma and great-great-grandma watching.  He walked in his braces and special shoes, AND... he walked in his bare feet and in his footie jammies!!

Each lap around the living room reminded me how far he has come.

Each step made my heart beat thank-You. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

wild thing - Money Shot Monday

It is rumored that bath time calms most children. But not my boys. Perhaps it's because my oldest runs around naked for a few minutes afterwards. Perhaps it's the wrestling and zubba-ing that occurs once the footie pajamas are on. Whatever it is, it was wild around here for at least thirty minutes after bath tonight.

And Bugaboo's crazy hair - the hair that has done it's own thing since the day he was born?  Just as crazy right after bath. This hair, this stinkin' adorable hair, has made him almost-famous around these parts. Strangers at the grocery store want to touch it, older moms in elevators share their stories of their own grown-up-babies' hard to manage 'do's, and well-loved friends can't resist trying to snuggle our sweet boy with the wild hair.

By the time I go to bed it doesn't matter that Bugaboo cried for two hours this morning, and then goobered up my pajamas trying to settle into sleep tonight.  All I can think of right before I close up my computer and put my head on my pillow each night is that I love my crazy-haired-boy so much my heart overflows, and I love his opposite-haired-big brother just as much.

linking up with Shannan for Money Shot Monday

Thursday, November 15, 2012

for November 16

Dear Papa,
You have been gone for three years now. Sometimes it seems like longer, and sometimes I forget you are no longer here. Many things have changed, though some are the same, but I'm sure you know all about it from where you are.

There are times when I'm talking with Mimi on the phone when I almost ask to talk to you or ask how you are doing.  I miss our weekly phone calls. I miss the funny emails you would forward, even though I confess, I didn't read every joke one you sent. You sent a lot when I was in college. I did always read the ones where you wrote your own words.

I miss you asking me about Herman, and I miss you reminding me to check my oil. I miss the care packages filled with homemade Christmas cookies, and I miss the way you would sneakily hand me some gas money when I would be home for a visit.

In my garage I have three pieces of wood from your workshop. I still don't know what I want to do with them, but I know someday I will figure it out and be glad I said I'd take them.  Right now I just like the way that every once in awhile I catch their scent as I walk in the house, and I am instantly transported to the basement of your green house on 21st Avenue. I miss being a little kid watching you carve and getting to sweep up all the wood chips. And I confess that these days I am a little bit glad I have the scar on my left hand from the Thanksgiving when I played with your knives.

This week I painted Christmas cards with the boys.  There were some Santa pictures we made, and as I was painting on eyes and smiles, I remembered how you always had Mimi paint the eyes on your Santa carvings.  I sat at my kitchen table this week, once the boys were in bed, and I cried because I wish you could see your great-grandsons' Santas. You would love them. I wish you were here to play with Cole. Sometimes I can almost hear you laughing about the crazy things he does. I wish you were here to meet Grady.  You would say, "He's a beautiful boy, a handsome boy," just like you said about his big brother three years ago.

Tomorrow I will wear your Illini shirt, and I will once again make homemade chicken and noodles. Next week we will hang your ornaments on the tree, and I will keep missing you in those moments, too. 

In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
With love,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

crafty or crazy or a bit of both?

 This weekend was delightful, filled with just simple things that all weekends should have. Beautiful weather, a trip to the zoo, watching movies at night with my footie-pajama-wearing boys ... delightful.

 The beginning of this week, however, has been a bit rough due to my youngest's extreme crankiness for known and unknown reasons.  On Thursday my oldest has minor surgery. And I am prepping to facilitate a Sunday school lesson on "praying for our children." All of this amidst the normal stuff of laundry and meals and diapers and such.

So what did I do today?

I took my two young children to Hobby Lobby to purchase craft supplies (because I have none) for our advent projects coming up soon. Slightly crazy since Hobby Lobby has the smallest carts known to man, and Bubby was bit upset he could not ride in the basket.  (I am going to use Truth in the Tinsel this year with Bubby. I am pretty excited even though I am not a crafty person. Hence the lack of craft supplies in my home.)

Then I did something even crazier.

After nap and before dinner the boys and I made Christmas cards.  This involved paint and their handprints.  Have I mentioned they are three and one?  Did I mention I did this by myself at the kitchen table? Have I mentioned I don't craft?

And all three of us had fun. (Well, Bugaboo tolerated it.)

One might think I was mother of the year until I tell confess that I also fed my children Taco Bell for dinner. And the huge pile of laundry in the basket? It didn't get put away until almost bedtime. (And that laundry had been in the basket for two or three days.)

But I am happy, and I am already in the Christmas spirit much earlier than usual. I tend to lean more on the bah-hum-bug side of things. Perhaps, like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

five minute friday - quiet

Joining with Lisa-Jo's group for Five Minute Friday - where we all write for five minutes - just five - on a given topic. No editing.  Fun times! This week's topic is quiet.


He had a hard time settling down today.  I thought the fresh air from our zoo excursion would have worn him out. Up-down, up-down from my lap to the couch to the floor. This new found freedom of being able to climb with just a little assistance (and a lot of supervision) from mama.

But finally I was able to scoop him up, and hold him just right.  His body somehow nestled into my arm, his head with the crazy hair rested perfectly on my chest. And the sound of his breathing took over. He relaxed. He snuggled. He snored just lightly enough to be completely adorable.

This sound, this quiet sound, only lasts a few years. Soon he will be bigger, and his noises will be more manly. But right now, at naptime, he is still my toddler, my still-quiet-enough-at-the-right-moment-baby.  Something prompted me to get out my phone and record. Capture the quiet. Capture this moment that is fleeting.


Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

of hats and salsa and politics(but not really politics)

I was cranky until four o'clock today.  I stayed up too late last night watching people comment about the election because I have an addiction, I think. And then I decided to shower at midnight - which resulted in me sleeping with wet hair. Which resulted in a bad hair day and a ponytail is not an option for me at this time.  I wore a hat when I took Bugaboo to therapy.  I am not a hat girl. They do not like me. When I get to heaven if I am allowed to ask some frivolous questions I am going to ask God about the eyebrows He gave me and why couldn't He have made me a hat-girl?

I bet y'all thought I was going to post some political opinions today, right? Well, I thought about it, but anything I want to say has already been said by other people.  Instead I remembered this morning about two of my Facebook friends who were always kind in discussing opposite opinions with me, as well as in the other things they put online. We are fiercely opinionated, and they never demanded that I stop voicing my opinion. Instead they each gave me much to think about - beyond politics, too. They don't expect me to change my mind, but the dialogues I've had with each of these ladies over the miles have made me want to be a gentler (though still very opinionated) libertarian with a dash of conservatism. I know I said it on Facebook, but again, thank you, KB and MWG.

Tonight I also saw someone reconsider something, and I was so proud. Not because he changed his mind - he didn't, and that wasn't what I wanted. What I saw was empathy and the lack of hypocrisy - both very good things, the things that every human being struggles with in some way, if she is honest enough to admit it.  His action made me want to be better person.

And then this evening I sat at a table with a friend eating chips and salsa and chocolate chip cookies.  We didn't discuss politics much - though we knew we cancelled each other's votes yesterday. Instead we chatted about other things in life - work, the terrible 3's and 4's, small group.  I have known her for several years, but only in the last year or so have I gotten to become her friend. She is hospitable and funny, opinionated and giving. We are very different in a lot of ways, but we are very similar, too. I want to make the effort to get to know people, even people who seem different from me, better.

I'm not simplistic enough to say, "Let's just pray for the next four years." (I believe in the power of prayer - but there is a lot of work to be done, too.) I know there are people of all political persuasions that I would have a hard time sharing a meal with because they rub me the wrong way - just keepin' it real. I will still fight the good fight for what I believe is important. But maybe, just maybe, if we could just share more of our stories with each other, along with a chocolate chip cookie or two, we could find a way to come together and fix this country for the good of our children and the generations to follow.

Monday, November 5, 2012

a lovely question (Money Shot Monday)

True confession: I spent the entire day in the same yoga pants and t-shirt I wore to bed last night. I added a sweatshirt, and I did not wash my hair.

My day was filled with a morning of Bubby at preschool, which allowed me time to work one-on-one with Bugaboo - that is when he wasn't too busy asking for "Bubba?" and "Dadda?" We had terrible Campells'/Lipton soups for lunch, and my oldest spent way too much time with PBS while I put dinner in the crockpot, went through half a box of tissue, and tried to keep my coughing to a minimum.

When The Hubs got home early today (the one perk of exam days), one of the first things out of his mouth was, "How would you like a couple of hours to yourself?"

My yoga-pants-unwashed-hair-wearing-self got in the car before wasting any time on looks.  I had two books, a journal, and hot cup of coffee waiting for me on this rainy afternoon. The girl almost half my age at Panera looked at me with a puzzled but happy smile.  I wasn't sure if she was curious about my sweatshirt (which is for our local young adult community) or if there was some hidden food/snot/slobber remnant on my sleeve. For once I didn't care one bit what I looked like.

I made my way to a booth and enjoyed the almost-silence.  (There is always that one person talking loudly on her cell phone about personal things to disturb the silence. But even that didn't bother me this afternoon.)

(Join the link-up at Shannan's for Money Shot Monday.)