November 24, 2010

my hormones are getting the best of me

yesterday, i went to visit my doctor.  while sitting in the waiting room, a newborn baby was crying.  it was crying that tiny little newborn cry that doesn't seem like much to us, but you know he's giving it all he's got.  next thing i know, tears start rolling down my face, my heart starts racing and i start shaking.  i was having a panic attack.  these thoughts started racing through my head and feeding my panic

"if that were my baby, i wouldn't know what to do",
"thank God that's not my baby",
"what do you do when a baby cries",
"what were we thinking to have a baby",
"i don't know how to take care of a baby".

i have no idea where this came from.  it was bizarre.  then, of course, the nurse came to get me and i had to explain why i was crying.  she told me that it's natural for a new mother to feel a little nervous and scared.  it's ok if it seems like i don't know these things now, because once i hold that baby, everything will click into place and i will know exactly what to do.  when i explained that this is my fourth baby, she looked at me like i'd lost my mind.  when ii got home and told steve what had happened, he interrupted me to tell me that he needs to get ingredients to make chili because he wants chili (like he could actually cook anything). 

so, i guess my mini-breakdown meant nothing and was unimportant.  it's possible that i have lost my mind. 

incidentally, i am a little over 17 weeks.  i really didn't know.  with the other three, i kept track, always knew what was going on with the baby.  it's not that i don't care or don't want to know this time, i just...haven't looked.  is that awful?

November 23, 2010

Treat Yourself Tuesday

this week, i am going to keep this simple.  thanksgiving in itself is hectic, not to mention this week kicks off an entire month of craziness, stress, lots of family and frantic money spending.  there is a good chance that your thanksgiving preparation will begin tomorrow night, followed by the actual event and, for some, that is followed by a day of shopping and crazy people.  so, my suggestion this week is to do NOTHING tonight.  put on a cozy pair of pajamas, pick out a movie, buy yourself a bottle of wine and relax.  drink the entire bottle.  i also suggest ordering your dinner.  you'll have enough cooking to do this week. 
later this week, i think you'll be happy that you took this time to yourself.  you may even thank me for suggesting it.  this may be the last time for a while that you are able to sit down and relax.  ENJOY! if i could, i would definitely be joining you for that bottle. 

are you going shopping friday?  do you have a routine you follow every year, do  you wing it, or is avoiding it your routine?

November 20, 2010


wow, seven years old, i'm not sure what to say.
it seems like just yesterday you were two, putting puzzles together on the floor. 

when you were 3, the doctor asked if you could count to 10, you gave it to her in english, spanish and french. 

when you were 4, you memorized whole books and made us believe you could read.

when you were 5, you picked up a magazine and read it to me.  sigourney weaver was on the cover and you pronounced it perfectly, proving to me that you can read.

when you were 6, you proved to us over and over than you weren't the typical kindergartner.

always my little know-it-all.  you amaze me with your intelligence everyday.
i only hope that i am succeeding in teaching you what is really important in life and that you exercise that knowledge.  that concept seems funny considering that it was you who taught me what is really important in life.

November 19, 2010

The house that love built

i may have mentioned before that for my daughter's birthday, i decided to fix up a tiny room in our house and make it her very own.

 we live in a very small house.  our upstairs bathroom is tiny and the room right next to it is just as tiny.  years ago, we had the bright idea to knock out the wall between the two and make the bathroom larger and add a linen closet to it.  we had no intentions of having other children, so we didn't care if we had a 2 bedroom house as long as i had a larger bathroom.  i'm almost positive that the minute we started seriously looking into this, we discovered that we were expecting a baby.  needless to say, the tiny room never became a bathroom extension, but a baby room.  it really is just big enough for a crib, a chair and a changing table.  it stayed that way until shortly after george was born.  she never slept in there, so it eventually became storage/toy room.  however, now it is corrina's very own bedroom.  it's not much, but she's so grateful to have it so she no longer has to share with both of her sisters and me most nights.

i remember panicking before kennedy was born because i couldn't see how we were going to fit in this house.  we did.  then came george and we still fit.  now, we're adding another member to our family and we will still fit (we'll fit longer if we have another girl). 

the size of our house no longer matters to me.  a whole lot of life is being lived in our house.  it's stained on our carpet and it's drawn on the walls in crayon.  there is a lot of fighting within these four walls, a lot of messes being made, there is sharing, debating, laughing, crying and more love than anything else.  i love this tiny house, not for what it is physically, but for everything that comes with living in it.

November 18, 2010

Our not-so-big night out

Last night was family reading night at corrina's school.  it's basically a book fair, but they are so good at making it so much more.  this year's theme was heroes.  we got to meet local heroes, color pictures, make crafts, pet service animals, play games and hear stories.

corrina tried on fire gear and george got cuffed by the state police (i had an eerie feeling this wouldn't be the last time).  we all had a pretty good time.  one thing i can say about the students and parents at corrina's school is that i'm impressed with the way everyone participates in events like this.  the school was packed.  i'm also impressed with the amount of work the faculty puts in to this night.  when we were ready to go home, we walked through the parking lot to see the live nativity complete with mules, camels and goats.  the kids loved it.

November 17, 2010

a change in the weather

Remember these two? the best of friends?

always so sweet to eachother?

do everything together?

so close in age, yet such different people?
all the sweetness has ended this week.  it seems that they can only play together for a couple minutes before they start fighting. 
yesterday, i developed a pretty heavy duty eye twitch because of it.
not to mention the clumps of hair i pulled out.
what happened?
when and why did things change?
how did i miss it?

they were so sweet to eachother.
emphasis on were

November 16, 2010

Treat Yourself Tuesday

I'm not sure than anything makes you feel like a better person than helping someone else.  i mentioned here that i started cleaning our toy room (what a task that was).  i also mentioned here my need to downsize.  this last week, i finally put both together and accomplished something.  i got rid of 6 bags of toys from our playroom (and 3 bags of trash, but that's not what is important).  

i mention this for a reason.  the first 2 bags, i gave to salvation army.  it wasn't anything big and the toys weren't in the best shape.  my husband suggested donating some toys to the local women's center for victims of domestic abuse.  that was something i had never considered, not for any particular reason, i just never thought of it.  so, i decided to pack up everything.  there were toys that have almost never been played with and toys that the kids have outgrown.  these toys were in great condition and i was saving them to sell at a yard sale...someday.  these are the toys i decided to bag up and send to the women's center.  i was amazed at how much they needed and appreciated these toys.  my husband took 2 bags in the morning and 2 in the afternoon  when he returned in the afternoon, she had already given away almost all of the toys we took that morning.  i can't tell you how good it felt to know that someone who really needed these toys were using them before i had even finished cleaning the room. 

so, what is the point of my story?  if you're looking for a place to donate items, maybe you should look up your local women's shelter.  most of these places aren't really obviously advertised, but i'm sure you can find a number listed or call your local police station, they can give you info on who to contact.

many of these women leave their home with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  many of them leave their jobs as well.  depending on the situation, a lot of these women basically are in hiding.  donations can be a wide variety of items from toys, women's clothing and children's clothing, personal items, furniture.  if you can imagine what you would need if you were starting your life over from scratch, you can come up with something someone needs. 

the upside for us: i feel as though i accomplished something good, i took care of a problem that has been bothering me for a while, i don't mind walking through that room anymore and our children are actually playing with the toys that are left.

this week (or month, or year), treat yourself by helping someone else.  donate something to your local women's shelter.

November 15, 2010

...and I'm feelin' good

I don't have a whole lot to say today.  i just want to mention (to anyone who will listen) that i got 8 whole hours of sleep last night.  it was good sleep, too.  i went to bed and my wonderful children (mostly george) let me sleep until 5:40am!  i only bring this up because i honestly don't remember the last time i slept so long.

this morning, i feel like i could conquer the world...maybe i will!

November 12, 2010

you capture: serenity

Yesterday was a day full of screaming, unhappy children who couldn't be calmed.  it was full of frustration because i feel like i have too much to do, because i have started jobs too big for me to finish alone and yet, i don't seem to be getting any help.  i felt panicky because i started a project with a deadline and i was pretty sure i'd never finish on time.  yesterday, i yelled, complained, cried, complained, worked, complained, shopped, complained. 
right in the middle of my complaining, my anger, my frustration and discontent, we took the kids to lunch on the river.  it was perfect, a break that was much needed.  it was almost...serene.

the weather was almost perfect and we were able to eat our meal outside
the kids were all so well behaved i thought maybe we have accidentally took the neighbor's kids

there was no complaining, yelling or crying
we watched the water, a few boats, a barge, some birds and skipped rocks
i think our new favorite thing to do on a nice day is to eat cheeseburgers on the river.

if i could truly have captured serenity, it would have been the way i felt when i came home from shopping and realized all the things my husband did while i was gone.  it was almost amazing and everything that i spent the day complaining about vanished.  that was truly the most serene moment of the day.

you can find more photos of serenity at

November 10, 2010

Wednesday morning ramblings.

I feel like i have a million things that i have to get done today, but i thought that i would take a minute to enjoy my morning caffeine and type a little something.  i haven't posted anything or done anything (the reason i have so much to do today) because i have been sick.  yesterday was the first day i was able to do anything in nearly a week.  i made it through my first trimester feeling pretty good.  i dealt with occasional nausea and never really felt any more tired than normal.  now, however, it's all hit me full force.  ok, maybe not full force, but i still fell pretty bad.  is this normal?  for this to start in the second trimester? anyway, i don't know if it's the beautiful weather we're having or maybe the sickness has just run it's course, but i feel much better today.

over the weekend, during a period when i could move, i started cleaning out the girls' playroom.  i got rid of 2 bags of toys and one bag of trash.  unfortunately, i wasn't able to finish it, so it's only about half done.  i can't seem to get in the mood to finish it.  it's amazing how the room feels so much bigger and more open just from the little bit that i did manage to accomplish.  i can't wait until it's finished.  it really is a room that i hate being in and really hate cleaning.  i'll feel so much better when it's done. 

the playroom isn't the only room i'm working on.  i promised my oldest daughter that we would turn a very small playroom/storage room upstairs into a bedroom before her birthday.  right now, she is sharing a bedroom with both of her sisters (our house is too small for the amount of children we have).  she decided that even a tiny bedroom of her own is better than sharing a big one with her sisters.  i can't blame her, really. 

in slightly related news (related only because it involves the above mentioned daughter), we have been dealing with the ear infection from hell.  we have been dealing with his for weeks.  it started with an ache that lasted a couple days. we treated with drops.  it went away.  a week later, it started draining.  we treated with drugs and a different kind of drops.  a week later, it turned into something i can't describe.  now, we're treating with stronger drugs until friday when i'm sure we'll be sent to a specialist.  the ear has flabbergasted the pediatrician.  for the second time in a year, i've heard her say "i don't know", "i've never seen this before", and "this is my first time".  i'm not complaining too much because they are two completely different situations.  i'm sure a lot of doctors haven't dealt with this, especially in the kind of area we live in.  the ear, though, has got me a little worried.  i think i will definitely welcome the referral to a specialist. 

now that my caffeine has kicked in i suppose i should get up and do something productive. perhaps i will write a post that actually has some substance later.  until then, you're stuck with this mess of ramblings.  sorry for that.  also, next week, i will make sure to post on take care of yourself tuesday.  i've slacked the last couple of weeks because of the election and being sick.

November 4, 2010

What Happened to the Rest of Fall?

I am amazed at the push toward Christmas already this year.  It seems to have started even before Halloween.  When I went to purchase a costume for my oldest (you know, at the last minute because I'm that kind of mother), I could have grabbed a costume with my left hand and Christmas cards with my right.  Many stores started having big sales to get rid of their old inventory and boost their Christmas sales.  The news is already abuzz with shopping tips and gift ideas.  I even saw commercials over the weekend involving snow and Santa Claus (i totally just had to google that because the spelling didn't look right. do you ever have those moments?). 

I don't really mind getting into the Christmas spirit a little early because for some reason this year, i just couldn't get into Halloween.  I have to wonder about how things will be when my children are grown.  Will the holiday season start the day after Halloween?  Will elves and reindeer become the popular Halloween costumes?  Will Thanksgiving lose it's meaning (or at least its marker as the beginning of the holiday season) and just become an extension of Christmas?  Will the day after Halloween become the biggest shopping day of the year?  Will we just forget the rest of fall and demand winter weather? 

These are the things I was thinking when I realized the only reason I am thinking them is because some company (or most companies) aren't making enough money.  This is when I became disgusted with the role advertising has in our lives.  These holidays are not about buying things, but that is what they've become.  Some advertising company has just decided that it is Christmastime for us.  It's only the day after election day, still almost 3 weeks until Thanksgiving, and I'm already walking around with that "warm Christmas feeling" that was handed to me by a commercial.   It has really turned me off.  I'm sure that if someone could actually speed up fall, make the red and orange leaves fall off the trees today, turn our golden afternoons into flurry-filled overcast evenings, they would because someone would make money from it.  I think I'll be giving fewer gifts this year.  I will definitely be giving more handmade gifts this year.  

I am getting a little anxious for winter and Christmas, but I'm not going to let that ruin the rest of fall for me.  I'm not going to speed up my life for the sake of someone else's wallet either.  Life flies by fast enough, my children are growing at an astronomical rate.  I'm going to slow down and enjoy it now, today, whatever the whether brings and without the television.

November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

Mix together: 
 2 cups flour
 3tbs brown sugar
 2tsp baking powder
 1tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
 1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger
1/2tsp salt
In a separate bowl, mix together
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2tbs oil
2tbs vinegar
Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients

pour batter (about 1/4 cup) onto warm griddle or skillet

cook for about 3 minutes per side or until browned
I strongly suggest serving with butter, pecans and maple syrup.
As you can see, I did not, but only because I made this particular pancake for a 2 year old.

How to Cook Pumpkin

When it comes to making recipes that require pumpkin this year, why not skip the can and try fresh?  Cooking and pureeing your own pumpkin really isn't that hard.  You can use any kind of pumpkin.  Pie pumpkins are smaller in size and are a little sweeter than larger pumpkins, but both will work.

First, cut your pumpkin in half

Next, Scoop out the insides.  An ice cream scoop works well for this.

Next, place the pumpkin halves face down in a baking dish or roasting pan and add about half an inch of water

Cook the pan in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until you can pierce the pumpkin easily with a fork

After they cool a bit, remove the skin.  If your pumpkins come out looking like this, don't worry, it makes the skin super easy to pull off. 

After peeling the skin off the pumpkin, run it through the food processor for a minute.

If you're not going to use your pumpkin right away, you can freeze it.  Do not try to can it and leave it on the shelf.  Pumpkin is a low in acidity and will spoil. 

It doesn't take a long time to cook and puree your own pumpkin and it tastes so much better than canned.  Over the next couple weeks, I'll be putting up recipes to give you ideas of what you can do with your pumpkin!


November 2, 2010

An Election Day Prayer

Please let things go our way today.  I believe we deserve it for many reasons which I won't go into here.  I really hope we win, partly because of the whole $20 we have in our savings account and I promise to be better at saving over the next 4 years.  I really hope we win because come December 1st, I would like to be signing my Christmas cards, not our application for food stamps. 
That is all, thank you.

November 1, 2010

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler

This month's Monthly Read was Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler.  The story takes place in New England where Delia, a wife and mother of three decides to run away from home.  Delia's children are practically all grown, her youngest is 15.  She begins to feel that no one needs her anymore and that she's really just a nuisance to her family.  While the family is on their annual vacation at the beach, Delia runs away.  She hops into an RV with a repair man and rides until something struck her and he had him drop her off in a town she had never been to.  Instead of calling a family member to come get her, she starts her life over in this town.  She starts over with nothing.  She has little money, no clothes (she wandered off wearing her bathing suit), no idea what she's doing.  She finds a job, a place to live and for a year and a half, lives the life of a "spinster".  Her sister visits her once, her children don't call, her husband makes no attempt (aside from a single letter) to bring her home.  She goes to work as a live in maid/nanny for a single father and his 12 year old boy.  She starts to have feelings for the man.  Just in time, she hears from her daughter, who is going to get married, and returns home for the wedding.  She swoops in and helps take care of a crisis, makes meals and never goes back to her new life.

I have heard wonderful things about Anne Tyler, her books and her writing.  I'm hoping that this book was not typical of her works.  I did enjoy the characters and all their flaws (and all of them are flawed).  However, they're almost flawed to the point that it drove me crazy that I wasn't able to smack some of them.

I can relate to wanting to run away.  I think that at some point, the thought crosses the minds of most mothers.  Most mothers, though, don't act on it.  If I were to run away, it would be to live a more exciting life.  Delia runs away to live the most boring, mundane life I've ever heard of.  She does the same thing every day, eats at the same places, and tries to avoid getting close to anyone.  I'm not sure how she managed to keep from running home screaming after the first week.  This goes on for almost a year and half.  Of course, after a while, she does break out of her shell a little, she talks to people and takes the job in a fairly normal household. 

For a year and a half, Delia's family makes very few attempts to see her or contact her at all.  She has one visit from her sister and one visit from one of her kids.  Her husband only writes her one letter and they only speak on the phone one time.  This was something I don't understand at all.  How could she, as a mother stay away that long and not even visit with her family?  How could her family not make a serious attempt to find out what is wrong, why she left and make an attempt to bring her home?  The sad thing about this is throughout this whole year and a half, she remarks several times about wanting to be asked to come home.  That's all it would have taken.  A single "I love you, I need you , I miss you" from her husband and things would have been back to normal.  It never happened.  I find this so unbelievable, that people can be this way.  I'm not an emotional person, but if my husband just wandered off one day without so much as a goodbye, at some point i think i could manage an i love you or i miss you. 

When Delia finally returns home for her daughter's wedding, a crisis occurs and she reluctantly helps out.  Her daughter's fiancee points out that he finds it bizarre the way the whole family never deals with anything, they just act like nothing ever happened.  I think this is when Delia decides to stay with her family.I think she realizes that this is how she taught her family to be, yet, this is the reason she stayed away so long, the one thing she didn't want them to do.

In the end, she just goes and crawls back into bed with her husband.  Nothing is resolved, nothing is discussed, they presumably  just go back to the way things were.  I find this so frustrating because while she was gone, she realized that there were all these problems with her marriage and her life, she discovered all these reasons she was so unhappy.  She walked away from everything she knew for a year and a half, even though she didn't know the reasons for it at the time she did it, she knew the reasons by the time she went home.  She just walked right back into her life without explaining this to anyone, asking for change from anyone.  What was the point?  Sure, she seemed to know herself a little better, perhaps that was the point, but it doesn't do much good if no one else understands her any better.  If you walk away from your life because you're unhappy, I would expect some kind of change, some kind of compromise before returning.

The book wasn't terrible.  It held my attention most of the time and was a pretty fast read.  I did enjoy it, even if it was frustrating.  I suppose the truth of the matter is that all humans are flawed and all humans are, at some point, frustrating.  I would recommend it for vacation reading or for a time when you just want a quick read.  If you are a mother, I reccommend it because it will make you think about your own life.

I realize this isn't the best book review and I appologise for that.  With all the stress we've had lately, I have had a hard time focusing on anything.  I promise that whether we win or lose tomorrow or whatever the next month brings, next month's review will be better!   If you read the book, please feel free to link to your discussion or leave your thoughts in the comments.

Next month's Monthly Read:  Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells


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