Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I made Chicken Enchilada's last week. Right when we sat down at the table to eat, my husband said, "Only one thing, you made these all wrong."

The enchilada's aren't hard but they do take a little time to prepare. I was stunned. Perplexed, I looked up from my plate at my husband.

And then he said, "Next time, double the recipe so that we can have leftovers and I can take some to work for lunch."

Chicken Enchiladas

8 6 inch tortillas
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
2 cups chicken broth
1 or 2 canned jalapeno chili peppers, rinsed, seeded and chopped; or one 4 ounce can diced green chili peppers, drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
Sliced pitted ripe olives (optional)
Chopped tomatoes (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)

Wrap tortillas in foil. Heat in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or till softened [I didn't do this step. I think this would be more necessary with corn tortillas. We tried the recipe with corn tortillas once and we didn't like it as much.]

For sauce, in a saucepan cook onion, garlic, coriander, and pepper in margarine or butter till onion is tender. Stir in flour into sour cream; add to onion mixture. Stir in broth and chili peppers all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.

For filling, stir 1/2 cups of the sauce into chicken.

Place about 1/4 cup filling atop each tortilla; roll up.

Arrange rolls, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13 by 9 baking dish.

Top with remaining sauce.

Bake, covered, in at 350 degree oven about 35 minutes or till heated through.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or till cheese melts. If desired, sprinkle with olives, tomatoes, and green onions. Let stand 10 minutes. *Makes 4 servings.

*I did not realize that it made 4 servings. Luckily, we also had side salads, and refried beans and tortilla chips with dinner.

It wasn't all that long ago that my kids turned up their noses at this dish because they could see green stuff in it. We would make them try it and then make cheese quesadillas for them. Now, we had to divide up the portions. Everyone loved it. I will double it next time!

Check out other wonderful recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The organizing is coming along. We took a load of unusable stuff to the dump on Saturday. Change is in the air. My kids are saying goodbyes to friends.

We've moved many times. This moving stuff is hard.

Room by room, closet by closet, dresser by dresser, I am going through clothes and making piles of clothes that are not being worn. I am getting rid of clothes that are too small or not used.

I am cleaning out the kitchen. I put all of the plastic cups that we don't need in a box.

This morning, I even went through my jewelry box. I found broken necklace chains. I made a small pile of jewelry that I don't want to keep.

The hardest part is going to be the toys. We don't need all of the toys we have. I like thinking about how much space we will have once the toys are paired down.

Change is exciting. I am excited about all of the possibilities...

Oh wait, we aren't moving. We just know family after family that is moving. This week my kids are going to play with another friend that is moving. Let's see, 4 friends (from 2 separate families) moved last week. This week, another friend is moving. And, yep, all of these kids have parents that I will miss.

I am cleaning out. I am excited about the possibilities. I am even pretending that I am getting ready for a move. I never want to move with this much stuff again.

We've moved many times. This moving stuff is hard ~especially when we are the family left behind.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Change (TTT 132)

I am sitting by the computer, sipping on my morning coffee. It is 7:45 and I have been up for 2 hours. I am wide awake and happy and it's morning. I have already worked out and gone to the grocery store. It's shocking how good it feels. It is certainly shocking to my husband.

Change. I am thankful for change.

I am changing my routine. I am working out in the morning before my husband leaves for work. I was already waking up early quite often, anyway, due to the sunshine and my allergies. Now I am just putting the morning to good use. And, it feels good.

Don't hold your breath for me to become a morning person. That's not going to happen. But, since I have started this morning workout, I have started going to bed before midnight. That's a change.

I am changing my environment. Quick, anyone that has ever wanted to see my bedroom, come over now! No, really, I am not going to let it get messy or cluttered again. I've heard it takes 40 days to make a habit stick. I am going to make sure this is the new norm. My room is the cleanest it has been since we moved in this house. It feels wonderful. I smile when it's time to retire for the night. I like being in my room.

I mentioned this in a previous post: I have too much stuff. I am changing that. I am going from room to room cleaning out and organizing. The change feels fantastic. I know it will be amazing when it is all gone. I'll try not to write about this too much... but it will probably keep coming up for a while.

I'm changing my menu. I'm limiting soda intake and trying to eat healthier. I'm adding salads with many of our dinner meals. I am also cleaning my refrigerator regularly.

I am changing how I relate to my kids. A friend of mine mentioned yesterday that she was trying to hug her kids more. Immediately (as in, last night) I began hugging my kids more. I hugged them before but I am going to make sure to do it daily. I'm trying to change the way I encourage them, too. I realize that each of my children respond to different kinds of encouragement. I'm trying to recognize the differences and relate to them in an individual way. I don't have this figured out. I am being more aware (and that's a change).

I am changing the age of my house. What I mean is, I am taking down and putting up baby stuff. Since summer started, I took the baby gate off the stairs. This morning, I took down the baby swing outside. I don't know why, but it makes me smile. Maybe it's because my little girl is growing cuter each day.

Today I am thankful for change.

This is my Thursday Thanks Tank (TTT 132).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Tuesday Tidbits... what a crazy, lame title for a blog post. Ok, I guess it is, Random Thought Tuesday.

Yesterday my husband got his Oregon Driver's license. He also picked up my temporary Oregon tag (a real one will show up soon). Thank goodness, I can finally drive around town without praying that I don't get a ticket. I mean, I might still need to pray that...nah, I'm not talking on my phone while driving, anymore, and I am not a fast driver. I'm the lazy mom-in-the-mini-van driver. Or, sometimes, I am the crazy-screaming-at-her-kids-mom-in-the-mini-van driver. Either way, I am not a fast driver.

Back to Oregon... we're official. We both have Oregon driver's licenses and I have tags. Also, we finally switched from Merlot (great WA wine) to Pinot Noir (wonderful in Oregon). I guess we are Oregonians.

My husband is totally, 100%, addicted to his Ipad. He watches cartoons on it when he does dishes. Last night he was adjusting webcams (yes, there is an app for that!). With great excitement he showed me how he could adjust the webcam at Seaside. I haven't spent much time with the Ipad yet. Everytime I sit down to do it (on the rare occasion he leaves it at home), all of the kids come running over to me. I put it down and walk away. I don't need a kid magnet. Really.

I am working on a house purge. I hate all of my stuff. It's all too much. That's one of my favorite books: It's All Too Much. This summer, I am going to put the premise of that book into practice. Now, I am just trying to figure out how to get the rest of the family on board. Local peeps (as if I am cool enough to have "peeps"), get ready, sometime in August I am going to have a big garage sale. My husband is hoping for the end of July but I figure it will be August. (And, friends, if you are interested in my stuff, just call me and come get it. I'll give it to you for free.)

I have a new pet peeve. It's Facebook. It's a love hate thing. I find out things I don't want to know. I get information that I do need to know. I find people that I don't need to know. I reconnect with people that I missed. I... maybe I will just stop there.

I love summer. I love every minute of the lack of activities. This is making it hard to meet my goal of inviting people over and planning activities with friends. So far, I am hunkered down in my home, quietly making piles of things I don't want to keep. When the kids get restless, I give them an otter pop or two... or three. I love summer.

Back on being an Oregonian...My husband's truck still has WA tags. They aren't expired yet.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Priceless Gift: A Legacy of Love

Yesterday was Father's Day. I spent the day thinking about dads. I am still thinking about dads.

At church, we had a speaker from PAC (Pregnancy Alternatives Center). Her speech was timely. It reminded me that there are fathers that have done nothing more than father a child. I wonder what these father's think about on Father's day. Do they regret? Do they care? Do they imagine what they are missing?

My dad is a wonderful man who has always been there for me. He was at every event possible. He attended most all of my activities. He cheered me on, clapped for me and took tons of pictures. He was very involved in my life. He was present. He made his participation an outpouring of his love. He showed interest in what I was interested in. He knew me. Throughout my life, he has never changed. He has always been there. I live thousands of miles away from him. Still, he calls me. He is interested. He'd do anything to be with me and my family. He is a constant for me.

My husband is "Daddy" to my four kids. He plays hard, enforces the rules, and loves tenderly. I watch my daughter with him and I know he's on the way to becoming her hero. I watch my oldest mimic dad and I treasure how much he admires him. I watch my middle son beam when he is complimented by dad and I know that he esteems dad in the highest regard. I watch my youngest compete with dad (often for my attention) and I smile at his desire to be strong like his dad. My husband is more dad than I knew he would be before we had kids. I thought he would be fun dad. He is more than that. He is also disciplining dad. He is encouraging dad. He is loving and adoring dad. He is an amazing dad.

I have a friend that lost her dad this year. She has been on my mind and in my prayers this week. I imagine the pain that Father's Day brings. I imagine the emptiness that is made real during the dad celebration. I remember her dad. I remember her connection to him. I think about how he shaped her into the person she is today. I thank God for him and pray for her comfort.

I have multiple friends that don't live with their children. They are dads that are separated due split relationships. I have gotten a glimpse of their longing to be more connected. I cannot imagine the internal struggle the distance creates. Some of my friends got a chance to celebrate with their children this Father's Day. Some didn't.

I know dads that are not biological fathers. They father with heart and soul. Their children are not missing anything. They give. They love. They bring height and depth to the word dad.

I have dad friends that felt burdened by failures on Father's Day. I was touched yesterday by words from two of them. One of those dads wrote this post on Father Failure: Father's Day is for Failures

I keep thinking about Father's Day.

I realize that a dad's love is different from a mom's love. I love the difference.

I am thankful... for my dad, for my husband, for my friends, and for those that have gone before and left a legacy of love. Dads gift their children with love. It is priceless. It is powerful.

I appreciate all of the different dads that I know. They each give and love in unique ways. I am thankful they chose to be a dad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Safe School Year and Summer Break (TTT 131)

My loot upon picking up my son from his last day of Kindergarten:

Used medication: Inhaler, asthma medication, benedryl

Unused medication: 2 Epipen Jrs

The unused medication brought me overwhelming relief, feelings of triumph and thankfulness. The unused Epipens make me feel so happy.

I tear up when I think about it. He made it through Kindergarten! It sounds dramatic. I know how it sounds. The threat is real. The fear is real. The school year is long.


His teacher...his amazing teacher...told me that she was so relieved to make it through the year without any problems. She was not the only school staff member to admit to me that fearful tears were shed early in the year.

We did it.

We kept his classroom peanut free. His teacher sent note after note home to the parents about peanut free snacks. Snacks were left in the staff work room for me to check the labels. Party items were left in the staff work room for me to check labels. Parents bought items off of our peanut free snack list. Parents bought candy off of our peanut free candy list. Parents brought the snacks early for me to check out before the party celebration at school. Calls and emails came to me days before parties and sometimes the day of a party. My son sat at a peanut free table at lunch. Kids were so aware that they told on my son for having sunbutter at the peanut free table. My son questioned the treat left (not in a prepackaged box) by the Leprechans on St. Patrick's day. My son never sat alone at the peanut free table. Parents told me they went on special shopping trips so they could provide peanut free lunches for their child who desperately wanted to sit with my son.

And more- there's so much more that I am not thinking of...

Staff members emailed me or left me notes about concerns. I was called and texted about special school-wide parites or classroom celebrations. My son's teacher carried an Epipen with her daily- each and every day of the school year. At the beginning of the year, the aide that was on duty on the playground would stop by my son's room just to see what color shirt he was wearing so she could keep up with him. I heard parents at PTO events suggest to their child not to have a peanut filled candy bar so they could sit with my son. I saw children chose not to have peanut butter candy so they could be with my son.

So many people, children, parents, teachers, staff members, worked together to make sure that my son was safe at school.

I am thankful. I tried to express it in a note to a few staff members but it was impossible to find the words.

How do you thank someone for protecting your child's life? At the end of the year, I am proud of him for excelling in school. I am so proud. But, my relief and my thankfulness overshadow everything like a mountain over shadows a speed bump. I can't help it.

My son gets it, too. He understands. He said he wanted to draw a picture for his teacher for the last day of school. Then he changed his mind and asked if he could make her a card. He asked for help spelling out the words. It was heart warming and heart wrenching to help him spell out his thankfulness for safety. I wonder if this was his teacher's first thank you note for safety.

I thank God for the people that helped keep my son safe at school.

I thank God that he made it through Kindergarten without an allergic reaction to peanuts.

Along with my son's medication, I brought my son home for summer break.

There's no break from food allergies.

But, all the same, it's nice to be on summer break. It's nice to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my son. Call me overprotective. I know. It's true. I realize it won't get easier as he gets older and leaves home more often.

But, for me right now, it's all the more reason to cherish every moment this summer.

I am thankful for summer break.
I am thankful for a safe school year.
I am thankful for summer break.

This is my Thursday Thanks Tank (TTT 131).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Feasting at the Table

I thought yesterday would never end.

It was just a moment of exasperation. "Why don't my kids listen? Why don't they stop fighting for just a minute?"

It was a moment of frustration. "When will they play without ceasing to tattle on each other?"

It was a moment of hurt feelings. "Why does it hurt to hear my son tell me he is tired of me? After a talk about being kind, he still said, 'But, I am still tired of you, Momma.'"

It was a moment of exhaustion. "When will my husband get home?"

Finally, the day turned into evening.

We gathered together for dinner. One by one the children came to the table. They asked over and over if they could eat, as they waited on us to finished getting everything to the table.

We said Grace. We ate. We talked. We laughed. Together.

In a moment of hilarity, I laughed at my son joking with my husband.

In a moment of adoration, I smiled at my daughter as she imitated her brothers.

In a moment of clarity, my eyes met my son's eyes and I recognized that our bond is not broken.

In the moment that I finished eating, I looked from each of my children to my husband and realized my life is full. I am thankful for each one that sits around my table.

It was just dinner.

They say that eating together as a family is important. I believe it.

Last night at dinner, I feasted on the love, the happiness, the togetherness of my family.

The best dinners are the ones when I remember the real substance at my table.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Zesty Strawberry Bread

Each Sunday during the summer, my husband and I help cook breakfast at our church. It's more my husband than me. Anyway, this past Sunday morning, I decided to go to the store first thing before my husband was up and about. I am not sure which motivated me more, getting a cup of Starbucks or picking up the fruit for my husband. Anyway, I got both: my cup of joe and a few pounds of strawberries and some bananas. When I got home, I just left the fruit in my husband's truck. He leaves before me. He left in a hurry. I figured he'd see the fruit. I left it in the seat right behind his seat. He didn't see them. In fact, he stopped by the store on the way to church and picked up fruit. Apparently, it's more convenient to put items on the other side of the truck. We had a lot of fruit for Sunday's breakfast. We had a lot left over.

I love Strawberries and I could not let them go to waste. I searched online until I found a strawberry bread recipe that grabbed my attention. The reason this recipe caught my eye was the lemon zest. Oh boy, this is good bread!

Zesty Strawberry Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar (I use 1 brown and 1 white) any combo will work
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 cups chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. Stir. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, oil and lemon rind.

Spoon the strawberries into the liquid ingredients and stir gently to coat the fruit. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.

Fold (with spatula by hand) until all ingredients are blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. (The dough won't really pour into the pans. It's too thick. Just spread it evenly into 2 pans.)

Bake 50-60 minutes (took about 55 minutes in my oven) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool.

The bread was delicious warm. Inspired by the lemon zest and the sweet flavor of the bread, I decided to try a lemon glaze on the bread. I found a simple lemon glaze recipe, which even allowed me to use up the lemon I used with the bread. The lemon glaze turned the strawberry bread into a delightful dessert.

Lemon Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
juice from large lemon

GLAZE: Melt butter, and mix in powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Put glaze into Ziploc bag, and snip a tiny hole in one corner. Drizzle over bread. Let set.

You could just put light icing on the bread. However, if you husband is standing there taste testing the bread and the icing, you will be encouraged to coat one of the loaves with the icing. (As you can tell from the pictures, I tried the glaze out on the loaf we had already cut into. I wasn't sure how the combo would turn out. It was delightful.)

Without the glaze, the bread is wonderful. (I just had a piece for breakfast.) With the glaze, the bread is a sweet treat.

I still have more strawberries to use up. I'm off to try out a strawberry scone recipe. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Check out other wonderful recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.


People living in the red dot are miserable. Trust me. Don't visit.

Today's Allergy Forecast

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Begins

I just grabbed my coffee, slipped on my robe and came outside to the back patio to enjoy the quiet of the morning. The kids are still asleep. We kept them up late celebrating the advent of summer break. We enjoyed root beer floats and dancing to the Swagger Wagon song (yes, that was a funny site).

I have nowhere that I have to be today and I am embracing the lack of commitment. I got so caught up in family fun that I didn't make time for posting my Thursday Thanks Tank. I'm going to post it today, I think. I am very thankful. I spent my Thursday feeling extremely blessed.

I like sitting outside and soaking up the sounds of morning. It's new day and a new season (summer break season). I'm going to enjoy it, embrace it, and take advantage of it. I believe I am going to set some summer goals. First goal, set some summer goals. 2nd goal, get over the fact (this week?) that I am not going to the U2 concert this summer (yep, if you are clueless, it was postponed until next year due to Bono's injury. If you don't know who Bono is, then my goal means nothing to you, I'm sure.) In all seriousness, that 2nd goal is a hard one for me.

Truthfully, I am planning on a nice mix of relaxing and accomplishing this summer.

I am working on being more intentional in my relationships. One way I am doing that is by vocalizing gratitude. Another way I hope to do that is to be more inviting. For me, that means, being the person that instigates conversation or proposes getting together with someone. That challenges me because it requires me to plan ahead. I also want to be even more intentional in my relationships with my kids. They know (and dread) that I am going to work with them on workbooks throughout the summer. I'm doing that to keep their skills sharp. They don't know that I am looking forward to that one-on-one time. I am going to make this a summer of kitchen fun. We will cook (and clean?) together. I'm sure there will be pictures. I am going to plan time with my husband. We already spend tons of time together. Most of the time, we just talk or relax together (and it's wonderful) but this summer, I am going to make it a priority to plan some activities together as a couple.

Those are my summer goals off the top of my head. Do you have summer goals? Share with me! Plan now to enjoy your summer season.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Weird, the Baby Gate's Gone

The baby gate's gone. I took it down on Monday. Yesterday I kept catching myself staring at the bottom of the steps in amazement. The stairs look so different. Really, they do. Our entry way seems so open.

I imagine it will go up sometime again to limit access or impede mobility. Even so, the need is gone.

It's a small milestone.

Oh, I imagine some of you moms with older kids are laughing at my silliness.

But still... every time I go up and down the stairs, I pause and I think, "Weird, the gate's gone."

And, I wonder how long that feeling will last.

I like the change.

I like how the space makes me pause to notice that even though every day seems like another day doing the same thing, each day is different and my kids are growing.

They are changing.

Every day I lose a piece of the younger years (for them and me). Each loss is also a gain.

They are growing and changing but so am I.

I used to be a mom of preschoolers (at one time I had 3 age 4 and under *gasp*) and I now I am about to be a mom of 3 elementary school aged children.

Yes, this coming Fall I will be a mom to 3 elementary school boys. Wow, that causes me to pause... probably makes some teachers I know want to change schools (no, not because of my boys).

I want to be a mom that celebrates the passing of time and the growth of my children. I want to be a mom that says, "Wow, look at that!" instead of "Weird, where did the time go."

I want to grow as a mom as my children grow.

I'm smiling at the new space in front of my stairs. And, as soon as I think, "Weird, the baby gate's gone," I think, "Wow, look at all that space!"

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Grace Citation

I was running late. My husband left early. We volunteer to cook breakfast on Sunday mornings at church. My husband does most of the cooking. On Sunday, I opted to help by keeping the kids home and letting them sleep in. We had kept them up late the night before at the local, visiting carnival. I let the morning slip by. I was running late but I wasn't stressed about it. Tardiness isn't unusual for me. However, I was sure my husband was going stir crazy waiting for us.

With all 4 kids chattering away in the car, my thoughts were interrupted by a call from my husband. I answered the call. I told him I was on my way and would be there in a few minutes. Then, I hung up abruptly. My rear view mirror was yelling at me in colors of red and blue. I was being pulled over for talking on the phone while driving.

I pulled over and calmly explained to my questioning kids that I was going to get a ticket.

The officer approached and asked if I had any idea why he pulled me over. I told him that I was pretty sure I did. When he asked "Why?" I said "Because I was on my phone." He nodded. He asked me who I was talking to. I told him that I was talking to my husband, telling him I was on my way and almost there. He asked me where I was going.

Humbly I said, "Church."

He nodded and then asked for my licence, registration and proof of insurance. With lots of effort, I located my license, registration and insurance card. He took them and said he would be back.

I sat.
I waited.

I thought to myself: I should be thankful that he is doing his job. I should be thankful that he is keeping the streets safe. I know it isn't safe to talk and drive. I should be thankful. I should be thankful. I kept saying it to myself over and over.

My oldest asked, "How LONG does it take for him to write a ticket?"

After what felt like an eternity, the officer approached.

He said, "Ma'am, how long have you lived in Oregon?"

I thought, Oh Crap.

"A couple years." (As if saying 3 years would be worse.)

He told me that we were supposed to get Oregon tags 30 days after moving to Oregon. (This is something that my husband knows. This is just something he failed to do because Washington plates are cheaper.)

Then, he said, "Not only that, your tags expired in May."

I did not know that. Crap. Double Crap.

The officer told me that with charges for cell phone use while driving, expired tags, and failure to register my vehicle, my charges should be well over $500.

Should be.

And then, he said: "I am going to give you a warning on all three accounts. Get this taken care of right away. Consider this your lucky day."

I looked at him. My eyes locked with his. The moment was heavy.

I said, "Oh, thank you. Thank you very much."


That's what's been on my mind all day. Do you know I felt relieved, overwhelmed, extremely thankful and in disbelief? I didn't deserve the grace. I deserved a rather large ticket.


Hours later, I drove into my driveway. I noticed something stuck in my doorway. It was officer badge stickers, officer trading cards and the officer's business card with a hand written note: "For the Kiddos".

Grace: Doing what's not required for someone undeserving.

All day I've been stunned by the grace I received. I am full of gratitude. I am also hyper-aware of how much it affected me. This gift of grace had an impact on my whole day.

I couldn't help but remember: I am a child of grace.

I live my life believing I have been offered the greatest gift of grace possible. I am forgiven. I have received God's grace and gift of salvation. Grace is at the heart of my faith.

Too often, I forget that I have been given an amazing gift.

I am going to carry my warning ticket around with me long after my husband gets our tags registered in Oregon. It's a visual reminder of the feeling grace left me. It's a reminder that I am forgiven.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Peanut Allergy Fallout

Today is Field Day for my kids. They are super excited. There is also a school-wide celebration because the school met their goal for collecting box tops. They are having a school-wide ice cream party. I almost forgot to tell my son. I believe it's supposed to be a surprise for the kids. It works better for me to prepare him.

There is a good chance that the ice cream the school ordered through food services won't be safe for him to eat.

I remember right as he was walking out the door. I tell him about the ice cream. To which he says, "What if it isn't safe?" I tell him that I went to the store and bought safe ice cream. I tell him that I even made sure it is the kind of ice cream in a cup with a little spoon attached. I prepare him that it won't be the same kind as every one else. He nods. He's satisfied. He will have ice cream and it will be safe. Out the door they go. My oldest is armed with knowing ahead of time about the school surprise. My peanut allergy kid is prepared for another school celebration involving food.

I watched them leave for school. I walked back in the house wondering when I should head to the school. I couldn't help but think about how adaptable my son's food allergy has made my family. We do what we can, when we can. We try to explain to others as best as we can. Above all, we protect what my son eats.

On Wednesday, my son went to a birthday party. We got the invite late. It came home in his school folder on Tuesday. I didn't see it until Wednesday morning. I had a full day planned and no way to make alternate dessert preparations. I spent the day trying to get in touch with the kid's mom to no avail. My son had to make a choice. Did he want to go to the party, even if he couldn't have dessert? He did. He wanted to go celebrate with his school friend. I brought him a bunch of candy to enjoy while the other kids had cake. As it turned out, they had ice cream that was safe for him. He was delighted to be a part of the party and didn't mind missing out on cake.

My son constantly teaches me the value of being flexible.

He is teaching me.

I teach him about the necessity of reading food labels and how not everyone understands to look for allergy warnings. I teach about the seriousness of his food allergy.

He teaches me that it's possible to enjoy life being different. He shows me that you don't have to have what everyone else has to have a good time. He reminds me that just being people don't consider your circumstances that doesn't mean they don't care.

These lessons learned are a beautiful fallout from my son's peanut allergy. This is a silver lining on the gray cloud of food allergies.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Work (TTT #130)

There are clothes waiting to be folded and put away as I write this. I am thankful for the clothes, for my hands that can fold, and for the loved ones that wear the clothes. I grumble about laundry. It is a basic chore that challenges me. I am thankful for my laundry.

Toys are all over my living room. I didn't take the effort to put them away last night, or better yet, get the kids to put them away. That's unusual for me. I will clean up this morning. I am thankful for the well-loved items that get enjoyed each day by my children. I am thankful I get to take care of them.

Believe it or not, my kitchen isn't clean (what did I do last night?). I left a pot in the sink to be washed. Now the breakfast bowls are piled on that. My counter is littered with paperwork. I had to complete a project yesterday and I needed to be in the central living zone. So, my printer was temporarily moved to the kitchen counter along with my computer. My kitchen is a gathering place. I am thankful that it gets used daily. I am thankful for the food that I put in my kids lunches today. I am thankful that they like to bring lunch from home. I am thankful that I can provide food for my family.

There's more...

In moments, my son will stumble down the stairs. I heard him get up a few minutes ago and then go back to bed. I am thankful that I will be here to help him start his day. He will be needy. And, his sister will wake up rearing to go. I will be in-demand. I am thankful that they call me Mom (aka, Momma or Mommy, depending on the child). I am thankful for the little things throughout the day... those things that sometimes make me think, "Really? Can't I just have a sec?" I'm faced with constant mundane tasks that challenge me only because of the time demands and the noise levels. The challenge is outweighed by the joy the work provides. I love the hugs, the smiles, the, "I love you this much" arms open wide.

In these moments of my life, I am just a stay-at-home mom. I cringe when I write that on forms. That's work, too, recognizing my job and being comfortable in it.

I am thankful for the work within my days.

Here comes that thump, thump of little feet down the stairs...

"So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work..." Ecc. 3:22

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Gratitude Experiment: Day 1

First, no, I am not going to give you a daily update all month. That might get boring to read about every day on my blog.

Second, I want to appreciate those around me that I come in contact... but I said (and meant) people I don't know.

Hm, guess who got challenged to do something else on day 1?

Day 1 was a doozy. An hour and half after I woke up I was hit with a terrible migraine. I had impaired vision and a pounding head. I spent the morning entertaining the kids with PBS shows while I lay in bed. I eventually threw up. Hm, it was not a day for gratitude. Or was it?

My goal in this experiment is to be intentionally grateful to others. I want to go above and beyond and make a difference in someone's day. My focus has been on making a difference to the community -basically people I don't know. That way, I can bless other people and perhaps, build relationships. What about those days I don't have a connection with anyone? What about those days when I am not out and about in the world? What about those days when I can only thank my family?

Day 1, day of gratitude, was not what I expected. My husband showed up at home at 11:30. He told me to go to bed. He left work to come home and take care of me. He loved me and went out of his way (requesting to leave work) to show me.

Day 1 starts with a reminder: As important as it is to be kind to strangers, I must not forget to show appreciation to my family.

My husband often goes out of my way for me. How do I show him that I appreciate him?

Now that was not the challenge I was expecting to start with. I think this "Gratitude Experiment" is going to grow me in ways I don't expect.

If you missed the explanation of the Gratitude Experiment, go here: Gratitude Experiment.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Mom, I'm Bored Edition

When I saw that it was time for the "Mom, I'm Bored Summer Edition of Works-For-Me-Wednesday," I went into a bit of a panic. "What AM I going to do with my four kids all summer?" I couldn't think of a thing. So, I planned to just read the posts of all of the other smart people.

Then, as I was making Rice Krispie Treats at about 10:30 on Tuesday night (so my kids could have dessert tomorrow in their school lunch), I came up with a plan.

My plan: I am going to cook with my kids this summer.

The rice krispies brought back a memory. I was sleeping over at a friend's house and my friend's mom said we could make rice krispies. I had never made them. She had. My mom made them for me. Her mom let her make them.

I am going to make rice krispie treats with my kids and cookies and maybe even cupcakes.

I am also going to let them help make dinner.

I am going to do this a lot. (So, please, if you know me personally, ask me how I am doing with the goal.)

It takes more time to cook with kids than without them. They will love it. They will benefit from it. And, if I do it right (plan extra time for it) we will have a lot of fun spending time together cooking.

For more wonderful tips to combat summer boredom, go to We Are That Family. If you are like me, you can use all the help you can get.