Thursday, December 31, 2009


For those of you who have made New Years Resolutions for weight loss or being healthier (or perhaps eating healthy just interests you) I ran across this great website called It's loaded with tons of articles and recipes. I have yet to try any of them but I have a whole stack of things that I intend to test on the family (much to Jay's dismay) in January. I've found lots of recipes that state the cooking time is 20-30 min which is doable in my life. Ingredients called for are fresh & whole. Different dietary needs are represented: heart healthy, weight loss, diabetic, vegetarian...
Some of the comments criticized the amount of sugar in some of the deserts. My thought is to reduce it to your taste.
However, I had to laugh at their Healthy Kids Lunch recipes. These are supposed to be things that we can pack in our kids lunch box: buffalo chicken wrap (ingredients, hot sauce, cayenne pepper). I dont know about your kids but WC would not appreciate this. Mini mushroom & sausage quiche- I think that would be thrown away. A peanut tofu wrap that used store bought Thai peanut sauce (again prob a bit spicy for the palate of a 6yr old). Also, most schools dont allow peanut foods w/ the prevalence and danger of peanut allergy. My own CJ can't eat processed peanut butter. Most of that section doesn't appear practical. There is one pizza wrap that I think would be a hit.
I'm excited to give this a whirl and see what happens.
Wishing everyone a safe New Year's Eve and a happy, healthy 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Like That...

Another Christmas has gone. My absolute favorite moment of the season occurred on Christmas Day. The presents had been opened and the kids played with their new toys. Jay put on the dvd UP, which had been a stocking stuffer for WC. We sat on the couch and both my little boys climbed up-one on each side of me. We snuggled under the blankets. I had an arm around each of them and leaned onto me. For the longest I didn't even pay attention to the movie but just watched their little faces watching the movie. I sat there feeling them curled into my arms. Nothing was better than that moment. The days of mad preparation so I wouldn't have much that I had to do for the Christmas dinner with my parents- so worth it. Just to sit and watch kids movie with my boys.
I'm ready to take the tree down- but I'm out voted by the man & boys. Funny, they aren't the ones who will end up taking the stuff down...Imagine that.
Over Christmas I didn't just fall off my healthy eating wagon- I lept off and fell down a mountain. From the wine to the cookies (my boys made them how could I not?) and gooey deserts. I stuffed myself silly. And managed to put back on the weight I lost in November. Oh well, I had a good time. Now it's back to the treadmill & workout dvd's and making healthier eating choices. Except for New Year's Eve- I'm having my "champagne." 
Two more days and wrap up the year, another decade in history books. Part of me mourns the time that has passed but then there's a whole new year coming. One in which we can start over and make this next year the one we want. I don't make resolutions; historically I've been pessimistic about them. This time, I'm going to make some goals for myself for 2010. I'm putting them out there, perhaps to fail publicly. Or maybe succeed:
My obvious goal is become healthier. It isn't about the number on scale or the size of the clothes anymore. It's about being fit and healthy.
Another goal (I'm putting it out there- here goes nothing): Finish the rough draft of my novel. I'm on chapter 65 and 86,000 words in. This goal is two parts. To finish the rough draft by the end of Feb (gulp) and to finish my revisions and begin shopping it by the end of 2010.
On the motherhood front: My goal is not to yell as much. I'm finding myself yelling at them more and more. I don't like it. I will find another way.
There they are...out there... for anyone to see. Bring on 2010...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Traditions

When I was a kid, on Christmas Eve, we'd spend the day cleaning the house. My mother would always tell me that we didn't want Santa to see a dirty house strewn with toys. She would put on Christmas music and we'd clean. Later, I'd come to realize it was simply a clever scheme to get to me help out around the house more. At the time, it was fun. It was a day of anticipation and "getting ready" for Santa. I'll probably use a similar tactic with my restless natives.
Then after a day of cleaning we'd go my maternal grandmother's house for Christmas Eve. The house would be busting at the seams. My mother is # 6 of 8 children. Her oldest sister also has 8 children. My aunt's oldest 4 are the same age as her mother's youngest 4. So my mother grew up w/ nieces and nephews the same age and a little older. My grandmother became a wife at 14 and a mother at 15. Her oldest daughter was teenager as well. When I was a kid most of my family had children very young 16-20 typical age for having your first kid. At one point in time we had 5 generations alive at the same time. Needless to say Christmas gathering yields 50 people and was wild. We'd cram into the house and eat our meal in any little nook or cranny we could find. My cousins and myself, it was usually lining the steep staircase. And we'd peek down into our stockings which hung off the side. We'd giggle and talk about things that I've long since forgotten. After my grandparents went into the nursing home and their home sold, Christmas' were moved to the rec room of the nursing home. After their passing we now hold the gathering in the activity center of a church. It's nice to have the room. But really nothing beats the fun and laughter of being crammed into their old run down home.
On Christmas morning, I'd be wide awake at the crack of dawn. Of course, they'd tell me not to go look before they were up...but who can resist? Once or twice I snuck into the living room at 3 am to peek- but not touch. Then I'd go back to bed and wait on the sun to rise. I'm 9 years older than my sister. These early childhood memories of Christmas when Santa is real, I didn't get to experience with anyone else. By the time my sister was old enough- I'd already figured it out. But just because I knew didn't mean I needed to ruin it for anyone else. Playing Santa made my mom so happy that I went along with the whole gag. It was 2-3 years later before my mom figured out that I didn't believe in Santa. I like seeing them happy, what can I say?
After presents, then we'd dress and head to my paternal grandparents home. In which my grandmother would always have her lunch ready to go by 11am. My dad's family is significantly smaller than mom's. It'd be us, his two brothers and one cousin. And there would always be a fight. My grandfather was a master at making one of his sons mad just for the fun of it. I'd show off a favorite new toy that I'd received. Football would be on tv. Over the years, the one cousin disappeared for a few years. My grandmothers mental health deteriorated. My grandfather began cooking. She said he wanted to learn. Now we know better. They'd hidden her diagnosis with dementia from the rest of the family for a long time. He kept her safe and themselves from being told they couldn't live in their house anymore-independently.
On Christmas Eve we will still go to the church for my moms side. For the past two years, I've picked up the Christmas Day tradition of making a meal like my grandmother did. Although I've made my own modification of moving it to 5 pm instead of 11 am. This year I will have the honor of using her china and silverware set for the meal.
I'm looking forward to paying homage to the old traditions but creating our own and blending with Jay's to make this special for my own two little boys.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where, where, where did I leave my...

It was bound to happen at some point. Three days a week CJ is at daycare and two days a week he stays with my mom. Two days a week WC goes to karate class. Most days, Cat, retrieves WC from school and shuttles him around to his activity and making sure he's fed and homework started. I pick up CJ and we all converge at home. Jay doesn't get home until seven, so the kids eat first then we make a dinner for the three of us. Cat has picked up a part-time job at a novelty gift shop because her job hunt for dental assisting has dried up like a bit of hot dog forgotten under the couch. And believe it or not tending to my kids provides her with food and shelter but not actual cash (except the occasional help towards her gasoline). Her work days are Thurs-Sunday.
On Tuesday afternoon, she called me at work and said she'd been called in to cover the shift of someone who'd called out I told her it was fine, I could pick up both kids. My brain devised my route, I'd run by the daycare first then over to the problem.
I was sitting at a red light, half way to the daycare when the realization slapped me. I'd left CJ at my mom's house that morning. And I was going in the complete opposite direction- she lives back near where I work. So then I had to call my mom and ask if she'd bring him home- otherwise I'd have to pick up WC then drive back into town for CJ.
"You forgot your child?" she exclaimed.
"No, I didn't forget him. I knew I had to pick him up. I just forgot from where." There is a difference.
Boy, I could use a day off.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santa for the Digital Age

This past weekend WC became angry at CJ and lashed out by pinching his brothers cheeks. I'm not sure what was going on when it happened. CJ ran up to me crying, red marks on both cheeks and saying 'WC' and 'cheeks.' Didn't take much to figure out something happened.
After the incident, WC, began to sob- uncontrollably at times.  Finally, we managed to get out of him that he was terrified that he'd gotten himself on Santa's infamous naughty list. And while I could have used this nugget to coerce extremely cooperative behavior out of him the next few days, we couldn't stand to see him that upset. Jay devised a plan in which he would text the North Pole and ask what list WC was on. How do you know the number, WC wanted to know. Jay explained he would type in North Pole & see what happened. Instead, he typed in my number. I was up and about putting away laundry, so WC never noticed that I slid my phone into my pocket. I shut off the ringer and retreated to the bedroom when the text came in. I replied, 'oh he's on the nice list. tell him to keep up the good work in school & karate,'
When the alert on Jay's phone went off, WC was giddy with anticipation. He was absolutely amazed at the message. Then there was a discussion as to whether it was really Santa or one of the elves. Surely, Santa was way too busy this time of year to respond to his own text messages. Then a reply text questioning if I were the big guy or an elf.
I said I was Roy and that Santa was busy working on the sleigh getting ready for the big night.  WC was delighted that he was right...It was an elf.
Then WC questioned which list CJ was on. And here we go again.
This time I explained that toddlers were on a different list. (I mean, after all how can someone who throws twelve temper tantrums a day be on Santa's nice list...right?) And by toddler standards CJ was on the nice list. That seemed to set well with WC and Jay declared they needed to leave Roy alone since he was probably getting tons of texts from all over the world.
And there we have it...even Santa has gone digital.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Dark List

Over the weekend, WC was playing Santa Claus. He sat in the floor with a piece of paper and a marker to make his list. Later he came up and presented me with a list of all our names but CJ's name was off all by itself. I asked about this. He told me that CJ is on "The Dark List."
"What's that," I ask.
"It's where you get nothin' for Christmas."
"Isn't that the naughty list?"
He shook his head. "On the naughty list you get coal. On the dark list you get nothin'."
Come to think of it, he might be right. CJ did get in trouble Friday for throwing his shoes at his teachers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Meditation

Taken from an email sent out by the pastor of our church:
The Friday of the Second Week in Advent

Collect (prayer) of the Day

 Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Reading:  Matthew 25:31-40

 Jesus said "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'


From Fr. T  

A few weeks ago, I took my girls to see Disney's film "A Christmas Carol."  It is a new animated version of the story shown in amazing 3-D.  Perhaps because Disney makes amusement park rides, part of the film felt like being on a roller coaster.  Speeding through the streets of Victorian England was pretty fun.  That wasn't what impressed me about the film, though.  What really stood out is how devoted the script was to Charles Dickens's original novella. 

Because most of the script of the film was taken word for word from Dickens, the point of that original story came loud and clear through this secular film: Christians are supposed to care for the poor.  That is the point Dickens was making, and the film pulled no punches.  While I would argue that a Christmas Carol suffers from a hefty dose of works-based salvation, it certainly made an impression on me and my kids. 

Advent is a season in which the Church looks ahead at the great Day of Judgment.  On that Day, you and I will not be saved or damned because of how we treat the poor.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone.  But the Lord will judge our works, including the way we treat the poor.  We will be answerable for our actions.

In this season of Advent, then, it is important to spend some of our time, energy, and money on those who are less fortunate.  Last week I suggested giving to or working at the Family Affair Christmas Store, and I still do.  Another way that I recommend is through World Vision's Christmas Catalog.  This catalog, available via mail an on-line, allows you to select gifts that will be given to the poor in the name of another person.  So, instead of buying a sweater for your sister, you could give a sheep or a goat to a family in Africa.  You could provide a month of education to an orphan, or a fish pond for a village, or clothing for the homeless, or a soccer ball for children in Latin America.  World Vision will then send your recipient a card, or you can print one off and send it yourself.  

You can visit the Christmas Catalog by going to

Gift giving is part of the tradition of Christmas; I am not suggesting otherwise.  I am suggesting that perhaps some of the gifts we give this year could be a blessing to both the recipient and to a person in need.  I especially think of those people who don't really need anything else, the man or woman "who has it all."  Maybe this would be a good time of the year to feed the hungry and clothe the naked in their name, and in the Name of Christ.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Year Older and Dead Phone

Yesterday I turned 33. It's taken some getting used to. I don't really feel any different. I'm in better shape than when I was 23. While I was pregnant with WC, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The Maternal Fetal Specialist I had to see told me that the diabetes should go away after birth. However, we know that my pancreas will quit working at a certain point. I would be a greater risk for developing Type II diabetes, if I didn't keep my weight in a healthy range. That and the knowledge that my maternal grandmother & her mother both passed away from the heart attacks/strokes that went along with heart disease. My grandmother spent the last ten or so years of her life laying a nursing home bed, eating from a tube- paralyzed on one side, having strangers change and wash her. Her mind completely fine. Trapped in her own body. It would be hell. Before I was pregnant I'd spent the early years of my marriage slowly putting on weight and becoming sedentary. After a trip to a nutritionist and being taught the guidelines for the diabetic diet I went home and followed it to a T. The only time I "cheated" was at my baby shower. Two weeks after WC was born I weighed 10 lbs less than I did the day he was conceived. After that I modified the diet some but basically still followed the pattern. I also added in exercise here and there. I didn't really start full on exercising until he was over a year old. It wasn't practical. I ended up losing 35 lbs off my pre-pregnancy weight with good old fashion eating healthy & exercise. And kept it off through CJ. I was 9 months pregnant w/ CJ before I hit my pre-WC weight. Fast Forward Life and I had put some of it back on. Early in November I stepped on the scale & screamed. It happens slowly and while I hadn't gained it all back. I was on that downhill slope getting ready to tumble.
I've rededicated myself to making healthier food choices & getting back to exercise. I'm down 3 lbs- even with eating whatever I wanted on Thanksgiving. I'm getting out of bed before everyone is awake most mornings and trudging myself across the hall to the treadmill. I've started leaving my work-out clothes on the floor next to the bed. I can get a half an hour in before getting myself ready for work. It isn't easy. But it's necessary. I'm beginning to feel good afterwards, instead of beat, so that's a plus.
Last night my family took me out to eat for my birthday. And anyone looking to eat healthy knows a restaurant isn't good for that. No one asked me if I actually wanted to go out...but I couldn't be a party pooper of my own party, now could I?
I think I did fairly well -food choice wise. A grilled chicken sandwich with salad greens and it did have some sort of sauce on it- but it wasnt dripping off.
And on an unpleasant note- my phone died yesterday. May it R.I.P. The screen just quit working and I couldn't call out. I had a conniption. I can't live without it. It's my only means of communication. CJ & I went over to the Verizon Store before my birthday dinner (it is so cold outside right now, a cold front came through & I hate cold weather). Long story short, I lost all my contacts, calendar, photos...But they did give me a "new" (read: refurbished) phone for free. They didn't have another one just like mine, so they replaced it with another one. The only other one w/ a full qwerty keyboard that they deemed comparable to mine. When it was new, it was definitely a more expensive model than mine, because I looked at this one before choosing mine because it was their cheapest one w/ the full qwerty keyboard. On the downside, I have to start all over again...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Light Update

Last night, one strand blinked while the other strand stayed on. What will tonight bring?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Mystery of the Lights

Our Christmas Tree has been trimmed along with my nerves. CJ had been awake about a half an hour Saturday morning and that was about all I could stand. He has a runny nose, which seems par for the course. Since starting daycare/preschool in August he's had swine flu, an ear infection, various colds and a goo perpetually sliding out of his nostrils. He's also teething in a set molars in the back- I assume. His hands spend most of their time shoved up to the wrists in his mouth with that slimy teething drool coating his chin and absorbing into his shirt. Saturday morning he added a bad mood, whining and clingy onto ooze. Which is not helpful when attempting to clean and haul boxes out of the attic. I'd given him one cold/allergy medicine for a couple days hoping to at least dry the goo out of the nose with no success. So I changed him over to good old fashioned benedryl. And no, it wasn't to make him sleep. Benedryl does not make him drowsy. I take one pill and I'm out. I have fallen asleep sitting upright on the couch in the middle of a conversation with Jay. I don't know if its something different with the liquid but he doesn't act any different on it. Once the boxes with the ornaments and Christmas decor came down from the attic his interest was piqued in something that wasn't me. The cow, dog and pig that sing jingle bells kept him occupied so I could help construct the tree. Jay cringed when he saw it but the kids like it. I tune it out, like I do most everything else.
Every year I always have the lights on the tree set on 'random.' They flash and run and twinkle and do whatever else a string of lights can. This year I opted for a simple- stay on. Just little glowing white lights. I set my dial settings before putting the lights on. I got everything set and they looked nice. The kids who have been conspicuously absent during the putting together phase of the project have now arrived full force at the mention it was time for ornaments. Together they placed all the (non-breakable) ornaments on the tree. WC relegated all the candy canes to the back of the tree. And the ginger bread men ornaments he hid in the tree- afraid that Santa would mistake them for real cookies. I attempted to convince him that Santa was smarter than that. No dice. CJ played with the Nutcracker ornaments like dolls ( I should say action figures since boys don't like when you call them dolls).
CJ didn't eat much of his lunch and I placed him in his bed for a nap. We were supposed to go to his Christmas Program Saturday afternoon. But I remained unconvinced that he'd cooperate and allow me to leave him with his class. I decided to see his mood after nap. He ended up sleeping until time we were supposed to be there. So we didn't go. I was in the office working on our Christmas Card when I heard him talking in his bed. I left him alone for a few minutes before I went in. He called out "mommy" and happily jumped out of bed and wanted to know where WC was. His nose was dry and he didn't sound stuffy. And he was in a good mood. He ran off to play with his brother. Later I discovered them and the cat laying under the tree,on the tree skirt. The boys were looking up at the lights- the cat simply found a new nap place until I fill it up.
Sunday morning WC plugged in the tree lights. A little while later when I came into the living room I saw it. They were flashing. How? I asked WC if he'd gotten up into the tree and changed the settings on the controls. He said he didn't. I honestly don't know how he could manage to change both controls to the exact same thing- there are 7 different options. I once had them set on the same setting and still wouldn't do the same thing. I accused Jay of doing it. He swears he didn't. He didn't even know where to change setting at. I believe him. As of last night, they are still flashing...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Missing Help and Time

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my sister went to spend the day with her new boyfriend. That afternoon she sent me a text that she had a fever and didn't feel well. I told her to stay put and I could pick up the kids.Then she didn't come home. She was sick through Thanksgiving weekend and when I spoke to our mom Monday morning, found out that she was still sick. I was surprised to receive a text that afternoon from her saying he would pick up WC. I asked if she was still sick and she confirmed that she still had a fever. I politely thanked her for her dedication but I really didn't need sick children. Right now any real illness would put me up "an excrement filled creek in a Native American vessel w/o means of propulsion." (to quote Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) with regards to my time left off work.
She went to the doctor on Tuesday and has an upper respiratory infection, sinus infection and if that wasn't enough- all the coughing as given her bruised ribs and a cracked sternum. The doctor told her it was best that she stay away from my house. WC is asthmatic, we don't the introduction of a respiratory infection.
Over the weekend I realized that the registration for my car expires Nov 30. Which meant I had to be late to work to get that taken care of. Here we have to go through emissions testing first then over to the county clerk office to hack off a leg and throw it up on the counter in order to get a "10" sticker for the license plate. So late on Monday.
On Tuesdays CJ goes to my moms house (he's in preschool/daycare 3 days a week) and I take him to moms. Aunt Cat usually takes WC to school because drop off is about 15 min later than I need to hit the interstate or suffer severe rush hour traffic syndrome. But w/o her home on Tuesday morning, I had to drop off both children and came into work on two tires 15 min late. Wednesday, Jay took CJ to preschool & I dropped WC off as early as possible. But it was raining! So again, 15 min late.
Thursday morning, mom drove out to pick up CJ and I dropped off WC & hit the parking lot again on two wheels and ran to my desk. Clocked in 7:30 on the dot.
I hate my commute. I wouldn't have to be so dependent on my sister to make life work if I didn't have to drive 45 min (on a good day) to work.
Today, in order to get in a 2nd karate class for the week, I have leave out early & hope I can make up my time next week. I miss her. I need her back.
I have no idea where this week has gone...It's December.
Tomorrow, we're putting up the tree. I love Christmas but I am sad that it's already here and in less than a month 2009 is gone. My children are going to get another year older, grow taller and larger. WC will lose more baby teeth and those will be replaced by Adult teeth and he will learn to read.  CJ speaks in sentences and no longer resembles a baby in appearance. He's grown into a little boy.  Spring will find him a 3 year old. I've been with them every day in 2009. I've held them, kissed them, loved them, disciplined them.  Yet I've still missed it Somehow, someway time has played a trick on me and shot into hyper drive. Back when WC was born, I didn't get it when older people told me to enjoy it because it goes fast. My thought was that I hadn't slept in 6 weeks. What the hell do you mean it goes by fast? It was like living in the Twilight Zone when I first brought my new baby home. Those hard months are such a drop in the bucket compared to the rest. Now, I know the bucket fills up much quicker than anticipated. I can't stop time from stealing my babies and turning them into children then teens then adults. But I can cherish every moment that I'm given- the good, bad and mundane.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Meditation

I'll get back to posting my family stories here shortly, perhaps later today if time permits. Right now I feel compelled to share this.
The Pastor of the church we attend decided this year to send out email Meditations for Advent. I have found that finding these in my inbox first thing in the morning have provided some calm in the hustle and bustle of the season. Also it is a gentle reminder of what Christmas is really about. Whether or not you're a believer in anything please take a moment to read and contemplate. Thank you.
Collect (prayer) of the Day
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Short Reading
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

From Fr. T
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.  On one hand, how is that even possible?  After all, Christ's coming has nothing to do with us.  He came the first time without our permission.  He likely won't wait for us before he comes the second time. 

On the other hand, Jesus teaches us to "stay alert" at all times for his coming. (Mark 13:35)  Yes, this means that his second coming might happen any time.  But it also means that he might show up in our life in new ways at any moment. 

During Advent, we are called to pay particular attention to his command to stay alert.  So, how will you stay alert for Christ today?  I suggest beginning with prayer.  Take a moment to ask the Lord to keep you on the alert for his presence.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you today so that you may be prepared for whatever God might do today.  And then watch.  Notice if the Lord points out something today.  Perhaps you hear him in a brief conversation, see him in an event, notice him in an unusual place.  If you don't notice him, that's OK.  Your task is to stay alert, he will do the rest.