Sunday, January 28, 2007

61 Odd Questions...

1.) Do you talk in your sleep?
yes. i can carry on a conversation in my sleep

2.) Red Jello or Blue Jello?

3.) Whats the song thats getting on your nerves right now?
honky tonk badonka donk

4.) Current Crush?
my hunka hunka burnin' love, Saulsy

5.) What is your favorite color(s)?
I can never choose just one...I basically love them all, in different contexts. The only color I don't like at all is orange

6.) Window seat or aisle seat?
I would rather not be in a plane at all, but if I must, just drug me and put me where ever

7.) Ever met anyone famous?
yes, but I can't think of who it was...must be the pregnancy brain

8.) Do you feel that you have had a truly successful life?

9.) Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
cut it

10.) Who do u like- Ricky Lake or Oprah Winfrey?

11.) Basketball or football?
neither, if they are on tv. I abhor televised sports

12.) How long do your showers last?
until there is no more hot water...i looooove hot showers and long baths

13.) Do you read blogs?
it is my new addiction

14.) Sleep in or wake up late?
ha!! that was funny....I think I vaguely remember what it feels like to sleep in...

15.) Are you self-conscious?
not often

16.) Have you ever given money to a bum?
yes, but I didn't want to. Matt is much more generous than me

17.) Lied about something you werent really good at?
probably...I like to talk a lot of schmack

18). Where do you wish you were?
right my jammies at my house with my hubby and boys

19. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

20.) Can you tango?
my dear hubby has asked me to never dance in public again, if that answers the question

21.) Last gift you received?
my sweet friend stacy brought me a big box of donuts on saturday...she knows how to get on my good side!!

22.) Last sport you played?
unfortunately, it has been awhile. maybe volleyball

23.) Things you spend a lot of money on?

24.) Something you want, but know you will never have?
I can't really think of anything...maybe a summer home?

25.) Most amount of money you have ever had in your hand?
I don't know, but I am guessing it wasn't much

26) Favorite FAST food restaurant?
as Caed says, Chicket fil-a

27) What food will you not eat?
sushi, liver, any organ meat...that is just wrong

28) Can you sing?
yes, I can hold a tune...but I wouldn't make it on American Idol

29.) Someone you wish was still alive?
matt's grandmother

30) What is your least fav. chore?
scrubbing the bath tub or the toilet

31.) Favorite Drink?
water- not neccessarily my fav but the one I drink the most of

32) Are you a vegetarian?

33) Do you believe in Heaven?

34) Do you miss someone?
no, not right now

35) Have you ever come close to dying?
a few times actually.

36.) Been pranked by a friend or family member?
not that I can remember

37) Are you eating?
Not at the moment. pick your jaw up off the floor.

38) Do you eat the stems of broccoli?
i guess, I don't eat broccoli that often

39) Do you wear makeup?

40) Whats your worst fear?
my children being abducted

41) Would you ever have plastic surgery?
maybe a tummy tuck after all these c-sections

42) What do you wear to bed?
long sleeve tee (the hubs), socks, pajama pants (hubs)...I know, I am soooo sexy

43) What is the last book you read?
an Alexandra Stoddard book

44) Which TV Show do you wish would come back?

45) What kind of shoes do you wear usually?
heels and flip flops

46) Do you want kids?
I sure hope so, since #3 is on the way!!!

47) Future childs name?
that is the burning question...

48.) Been videotaped doing something stupid, embarrassing or not proud of?
actually I don't think so. of course, any video from my early teens would qualify

49.) Hooked up with your friends brother/sister?

50) Do you snore?
when I am preggers

51) If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
NY City, Italy, home

52) Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
no...that would be a little weird at this age

53) If you won the lottery, what would you do?
pay off mortgage, invest, give to church, buy things for house

54) Gold or silver?

55) Hamburger or hot dog?

56) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be ?
fresh fruit

57) City, beach, country?

58) What was the last thing you touched?

59) What did you eat last?
brownies w/ butter, milk

60) When was the last time you cried?
a week ago

61) Pretzels or potato chips?
probably chips but depends on my mood

Thursday, January 25, 2007

People often ask me how I survive Landing. When it hasn't been a really hard day, I am able to say that Landing is the most fun person to ever enter my life, other than his daddy. That Landing's little twinkly sunshiney eyes make my heart sing. That seeing Landing and Caed together, interacting so sweetly (usually b/c my equally sweet Caed doesn't let any of Landing's antics bother him. Thank you, Dear Lord, for my patient Caed) soothes my soul. In truth, Landing has made me and keeps me humble. It was very easy to think I had this whole parenting thing figured out when I just had Caed. Caed has been text book and couldn't be a much more compliant, sensitive, thoughtful child. And he was probably the easiest baby I will ever have. Naturally, knowing nothing else, it was easy to be a little smug. What is the big deal about parenting anyway?

...Then there was Landing. I did all the same things with Landing that I did with Caed...with a MUCH different outcome. I assumed that if I did the bedtime routine thing with Landing, the result would be the same as it was with Caed: a baby that slept through the night at 6 weeks. Hah!!! Oh, it did work I guess. Landing did sleep through the 10 months!!!
Yes, my sweet little Landing has taught me many things in his short 15 months on earth. He has taught me that I reallly don't know what I am doing. I am just doing the best I can with what I have been given...thank goodness God is in control! I have learned that a child's personality plays a large role in the way your life plays out and the struggles that you deal with on a daily basis. I have learned that one of my biggest challenges as a parent is learning what my children's strengths and weaknesses are (yes, you can start to see them even when they are this little!!) and learning the best way to channel the weaknesses and highlight the strengths. Oh, the things I am learning!! But most of all, I am learning, on a daily basis, that I am not in control of this situation. I can't control who my children are, who they will be, often, I can't even control the way I feel!!! But thankfully, I have a sovereign God that is in control of it all. A God that knows my children, even down to the hairs of their heads. He knows exactly who they are, who they will be, and loves them even more than I do. What a comforting thought!!
I recently reread an article that I can really relate other mothers out there will appreciate it too, I am sure.

by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.

What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an
endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.

Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind ? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you
get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.

There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the
getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because o f what I' d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This blog is a little p.s. to my last post but I made something yummy last night that I thought I would share. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have had to adjust my cooking now that matt is adopting a healthier lifestyle. Last night, we made hamburgers out of deer meat, which is very lean. We used romaine lettuce instead of iceberg and wheat buns instead of white. On the side I made some homemade fries that were out of this world. Matt won't eat many b/c he is avoiding starchy foods but I thought they were great and other than being a starchy food, were completely healthy. Here is the recipe:

I used 6 yukon potatoes, peeled and sliced into large chunks (large fry sized)
I placed all the potatoes in a bowl and drizzled a generous helping of extra virgin olive oil (maybe 1/3 cup)
I sprinkled approximately 1 tsp. black pepper and maybe 2 T. SEA SALT (the type of salt makes a big difference. Sea Salt is delicious!). Then, I took two stems of fresh rosemary and pulled the leaves off and gave them a rough chop. I lightly tossed all these together until the potatoes were well coated. I lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and cooked them for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. They were so good. Very soft with a little crunch on the edges. Also, b/c I used olive oil and only salt, pepper, and rosemary for seasoning, they were healthy too!! Oh, and this is optional, but after I removed the fries from the oven, I did lightly sprinkle them with just a few teaspoons of freshly ground parmesan cheese. These would also be great with any italian dish. Anyway, hope you like them. I know I will make them again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I was recently reading one of Alexandra Stoddard's books, can't remember which one, but it was about living fully/simply/abundantly. Anyway, in one chapter she spoke specifically about smells. One smell in particular that struck a chord with me was the smell of breakfast cooking. She asks the reader to think back to a morning growing up when you woke up in your clean, fresh, warm bed to the smell of bacon, eggs, and biscuits cooking. I was immediately transported by her words back to many days from my adolescence. I can't count the number of times I woke up in my comfy bed to the smell of a delicious breakfast cooking downstairs. It is a feeling of comfort and warm expectation unlike many other. I still enjoy that experience from time to time when I visit my grandmother in Tennessee. It is a large part of the draw for me. I know that when I go up there, I will wake up in the morning, burrowed under my grandmother's homemade quilts, to the smell of biscuits and gravy cooking.

This is a memory I want my boys to have. Mostly now, I start breakfast after they are already up and very rarely is it anything as exciting as the breakfasts I used to wake up to. Another of my favorite memories are of the afternoon snacks my mom used to make for us. Especially during high school, it was such a pleasure to walk into the kitchen after a long day at school and see a hot plate of cookies, muffins, "apple sauce things", etc. on the table with glasses of milk for each of us. So many of my happy memories include food associations. It seems that food has a strong power over us...beside the fact that it keeps us alive!

I think this is why I have always enjoyed cooking so much. Mom and I have argued this point for years. She loves to sew and create things that last. Even though she is a great cook, it isn't something that she really enjoys. She views it more as a neccessity. I am the polar opposite. I don't enjoy sewing on any real level. But I love to cook. Maybe that is why I was given 3 (soon to be 4, including the hubbs) boys. People to cook for that will really enjoy it! I have always felt that food is the great equalizer. There are not many things that can not be worked out, sorted through, or comforted, through food. Think about it. Most of our society's gatherings are centered around food. We meet people for dinner or coffee or drinks. We have people over for dinner. If someone is sick or has a baby, you take them a casserole. It is a connecting thread in all of our lives. It feels awkward to NOT have food in most situations. What would people do with their hands if they don't have something to eat or drink?

Recently, I asked Matt what we were going to do when our sons were teenagers to make them want to be at home. Would having lots of fun activities make them want to be here with their friends? Would having a PS3, a pool table, a plasma tv, a basketball court, make them want to be here? Would having an open door policy with all their friends make them want to be here? Matt had a simple answer: Just keep cooking. I often think about the Stricklands, dear friends of ours. They have three boys, now teenagers and college students. Their boys are always there, usually with several friends. And they always have awesome food cooking. Every time I stop by their house, they are grilling, smoking, baking, etc. And the food is fabulous.

Lately, I have had to shift gears in regards to my cooking. Now that matt has discovered he has high blood pressure and is on a low sugar, low carb, low fat "life style change", cooking has become a challenge. I feel like I am starting all over and am having to abandon many of the great recipes of my childhood. I am learning to cook fish...tilapia, salmon. Growing up, the only fish we ever had was fried catfish. Now, I have to learn how to incorporate these new recipes, this new lifestyle, with the warm memories of my youth. I am going to begin to make a more concerted effort to create these warm associations. I am going to make delicious breakfasts that coax my sweet boys out of their sleepy state in the morning. I am going to have healthy, yummy snacks in the house (hummus, anyone?)...and I am going to make myself STAY AWAY FROM FAST FOOD, even though I am tired. I realize it is a process. I am not aiming for perfection. My goal is to make my home a more comforting, inviting sanctuary...with yummy smells coming from the kitchen that soothe tired little spirits...whether they be 3 or 35. :)