Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Likes and Dislikes

I like honesty.
I don't like when I find out someone misquoted me.

I like pita chips.
I don't like that I discovered this and have been eating them constantly.

I like going places.
I don't like (read that as, hate) packing.

I like cooking.
I don't like doing dishes. (Really, does anyone like doing dishes?)

I like my children.
I don't like it when they complain about stupid stuff. (It's the truth. It's getting on my nerves.)

I like to sleep.
I don't like going to bed.

I like the really nice coffee guy that flirts with my 3 year old.
I don't like feeling old.

I like my husband.
I don't like being separated from him. (That's for anyone that wonders if we are having marital problems. And, yes, I have been asked about that.)

I like playing Tooth Fairy.
I don't like pulling teeth.

I like that my 3 yr old daughter is excited about using the potty.
I don't like a zillion bathroom trips for a few drops at a time.

I like having alone time (me time).
I don't like being lonely.

I like how much my sons' adore my neighbor's new sports car (buy me a car like that one day, please).
I don't like how the car alarm on that car goes off constantly.

I like how my oldest is taking on new activities.
I don't like how I have more taxi responsibilities. (Yes, I should have seen this coming.)

I like that Trader Joes is in another town -about 30 minutes away.
I don't like that I am going to want to go there for the Trader Joe pita chips. (tasty, oh-so-tasty)

The Perfect Letter

Yesterday, my son brought this letter home from school. It is perfect.

Dear Families,

Valentine's Day is coming up.:) This year February 14 is on a Monday. That means you just may be looking for classroom Valentines the weekend before! I would urge you to look for your Valentines soon so your child can get started on writing them. You will be getting a class list home in the next couple of weeks. Look for it in the Friday Folder.

Valentine's Day is about Friendship. We will be writing friendly letters in the coming weeks. We will write to our principal, school secretaries and district personnel. Please look for a letter to you, also.

In the spirit of friendship, we will NOT be having food items come in from kids this year. David is our boy who is severely allergic to peanut butter and we want to be a good friend to him. (He can't even have products made in a plant that has peanuts.) However, if you would like to provide a fun "something" with your Valentine, I would suggest a party favor-type thing. Erasers, pencils, and party favors are great in lieu of candy. Your child will still get candy and treats at the party, just prearranged by room parents.

Thank you so much for encouraging FRIENDSHIP.

I would like to take this teacher with me for the rest of David's schooling! She suggested this approach for celebrating Valentine's day. She's an amazing teacher. Her attitude about his food allergy makes a tremendous difference in my comfort level and, most importantly, my son's safety.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A memory and a vision of strength

Some moments can define or reshape a person.

. . .

There are few moments I will never forget. I remember events and moments in time in spurts. Usually, my memories are sparked by feelings or a picture. Those few moments that powerfully lodged in my memory are associated with intense emotion.

. . . The Memory . . .

I have an image I cannot erase. It's so powerfully painful, I'd give most anything to forget.

In haste, I rushed into the emergency room. I wasn't functioning well enough to register much. I cannot remember now how I got where I needed to be. The people, the hospital equipment, the noises- it was all a blur of sounds and sights.

I managed to find my mom. We embraced. We talked about the events. I know we did. I just don't remember the conversation.

I remember the stillness.

My dad was laying on a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and monitoring devices, unresponsive and very still.

I felt lost.

I wasn't without hope. I was scared. But, more than anything, I felt lost. I was without my anchor. The man that meant strength to me lay motionless.

I wanted to look into his eyes. I wanted him to hear me say that I loved him. I wanted to tell him that he gave me wings to fly.

I cannot forget that pained feeling of despair. I cannot forget the fear I had of the future- the fear of the "what if".

I have a snapshot in my brain. A picture never captured by film or in pixels. It cannot be erased. The stillness. The despair. The fear of loss.

I remember how time seemed frozen as I looked into his emergency hospital room. I remember my heart melting.

. . . Strength. . .

My dad had a severe stroke. His stroke changed him. Sometimes he wonders who he is and why he is still around. I am grateful that he lived. I am grateful that he lives now. This 7 plus years after his stroke have been a mix of struggle and triumph. He has done amazing things. My relationship with my dad has grown, deepened, and strengthened in ways I could not foresee.

My dad's stroke changed me. I recognize the frailty of life. I notice the beauty of a smile. I respect those that are disabled. I realize that strength is not physical. Strength comes from within.

My dad is a pillar of strength.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moments of Hilarity (TTT 148)

We were landing. The long flight was finally over. It was the end of the trip and I was ready to be done with traveling.

As soon as the fasten seat belt sign turns off, my 5 year old jumps up from his seat, leans slightly over the edge of the seat in-front of him. He makes his hand into a fist and in one quick motion moves it back and forth over the very surprised passenger's head.

"Noogie, Noogie, Noogie!!!"

In a nanosecond, I scan passengers' faces, especially the innocent man's, for reaction. Everyone was laughing. The man was a good sport.

I said, "You cannot do that to someone you don't know!"

My oh-so-fun son said, "Momma! I didn't really do it. I just pretended."


Over Christmas break, we went with my parents to a Christmas light show. We drove through the amazing lights and then enjoyed a petting zoo at the end.

It was C-O-L-D.

There was a small figure outside the tents of animals. My 3 year old daughter apparently noticed the fire on the way in.

"I go to fire. I go to fire! I want to go to the fire!"

So, my dad and I took the little princess over to the fire. There were just a few people standing around it.

My daughter stood there for a minute, looked around and then said, "WHERE are the marshmallows?"


Today I went grocery shopping at Wal-mart. I had to walk back down part of an aisle that I missed. I left the cart and walked about 5 feet away. My daughter yelled, "MaaaaaMaaaaaa... MaaaaaaMaaaaaa... I'm OVER HERE."

During the same shopping trip she said with urgency in her voice, "Someone wants you!" To which I replied, "Why do you think that?" And she said, I heard someone calling "Momma".


I am thankful for the everyday little moments in life that make me laugh. I will remember some of the funny moments with my kids. I won't remember them all. But each funny conversation or silly exchange brightens my world.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes we have to wait

She was giving it her all.

Her face was scrunched up with determination.

The other night my daughter sat in the bathtub, ivory soap in hand washing her knee. She was desperately cleaning a dirty spot.

She said, "I get it off. I know how!"

And, on and on she went, scrubbing with all her might. She'd lather it up and then dip her leg in the water only to raise it up again with the same blemished spot.

She did not want to give up.

It was precious, humorous, and saddening to watch.

It didn't matter that I told her that it would take a few days for it to go away.

My princess was sure she could wash her bruise away.

The worst part was that she also had a rug burn next to the bruise. Periodically she'd say, "Oh, it hurts. It hurts!" And, it really hurt when she got out of the water. Even though there was sincere effort, the scrubbing caused her more pain.


How many times do I fail to give myself time to heal? When the actions or words of other people cause me pain, why do I react, believing I need to do something?

Sometimes a circumstance bends me way out of shape. And then I analyze everything- hurting myself even further.

Patience is often all I need.

Overtime, problems can disappear or seem insignificant. With time, my perspective can change, I can mature, or I can simply decide to let go.

Soap isn't bad. It just isn't always what's needed to be clean.

Healing takes time. There aren't quick fixes to everything.


"I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5

More Zucchini, Please?

I tried a new Zucchini recipe over the weekend. I got mixed results from the kids. One son had seconds. He also said it was his favorite part of the meal. That was super surprising. I had seconds myself. I thought the casserole was delicious.

Zucchini Corn Casserole

1 1/2 pounds small zucchini
One 8 ounce small can cream style corn
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 grated sharp cheddar cheese
Paprika to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook zucchini in boiling salted water to cover until just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, cut into chunks, and combine with corn and eggs. Meanwhile, saute' onion and bell pepper in butter until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add to zucchini and corn mixture; add salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a greased casserole. Sprinkle cheese on top, then sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

We had oven fried pork chops and roasted sweet potatoes with the casserole. Here's our colorful dinner:

Check out other wonderful recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This is the post where I say something brilliant about what I've been doing...

I'm writing a book.

Or not.

The truth is, I'm pulled in so many directions (I know, who isn't?) that I don't have much energy left for one of my favorite hobbies. Everyone is busy- I know. But, single parenting challenges me.

On the other hand, I get to be really, really silly any time I want without an another adult witness.

PS. This week I hab a terruble cold.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

It's Good to be Home

Yesterday I flew from Indiana to Colorado and then Colorado to Oregon. I flew with my four kids. One adult four kids...

Imagine that you have an hour and half once your plane lands until the next plane takes off. That sounds like enough time, right?

But, you need to get the motley crew dinner. And, you need to pee. Also, your second son is deathly allergic to peanuts so you don't want to try random airport food. You have to go to the food court.

First, you wait for your umbrella stroller to be brought up. It was gate checked. While you are waiting, you let your oldest son go to the bathroom. You really need to pee. The other 2 boys went to the bathroom on the first plane a total of 7 times. You make them wait.

Down the terminal you go, head turning, eyes darting back and forth between all three boys. You decide you H-A-T-E the moving walkways. They are made.for.boys. I mean, how can a boy under the age of 12 resist trying to walk backwards, run, stand, run, stand, walk fast (because walking really fast is not the same as running), dart in and out of other people, and stop directly in-front of someone walking fast? You have to navigate 2 of these moving pathways BEFORE you get to the elevator. After the kids fight over the elevator buttons... stop, okay, this will take forever if I recount every little moment...
Let's see, there are 4 more moving pathways before you get to the food court.

You gather your tribe and grab some grub. You scarf down food and slowly sip a coke (because you desperately need to pee and that's all you can think of as you drink). You explain as patiently as possible that you do not have to run to the gate (like on the trip 2 weeks ago) but you do need to get there as soon as you can because none of the seats are together.

It's an exhausting trip back, navigating those I'm-here-to-make-traveling-with-kids-frustrating sidewalks.

We make it safe and sound.
I tell the lady at the desk that I am traveling with 4 kids and none of us are seated together.
She says, "You've got to be kidding me."
The flight is over-booked.
Your 5 year old exclaims, "I have to POOP!"
You make him wait.
You wait.
The kids push on each other.
She works.
It is time for the flight to board.
The 3 year old screams.
Passengers are called to desk.
She works.
She begins to deal with other passengers about separate issues.
You decide that the desperate 5 year old cannot wait any more.

You tell the clerk that one of the kids has to go to the bathroom.
There isn't a family bathroom on that part of the terminal.
You make your 7 year old go with the 5 year old (and you wonder how long it will take the boy to wipe).
You decide it would be a good time to change the 3 year old.
You discover that it would have been a good time quite awhile ago.
She is soaked.
You make the 9 year old stand with all of the stuff and you take the three year old in to be changed.
You push past the ladies standing in line and make it to the far corner to change your daughter.
You are in the bathroom. You are dying to pee but you cannot.
There's no time.
The kids are scattered and the plane should be boarding.

You gather the over-tired kids and head back to the gate. A sweet lady sitting near the desk (that had been staring at your crew earlier) tells you that the clerk has been calling for you.

You get seat assignments.

Your 5 year old starts crying (I mean, melting: red-faced, slumped on the floor crying) that he doesn't get a window seat this time.

You force a smile and nod as someone asks, "Oh my, are you are flying with 4 under the age of 12?"

You board the plane, get the kids in their seats, switch two of the kids, buckle in, and pee in your pants.