Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday's Feast



Appetizer

What is your favorite kind of bread?

Any kind except the one with the nuts in it. Gag me with a spoon.

Soup

When was the last time you bought a new pillow?

I stole the two feather pillows that my sister had and refuse to give them back. Maybe the next pillow I buy will be for her.

Salad

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend surfing the 'net?

Too many. I surf while my son is doing his Language Arts papers in the morning. Like now.

Main Course

What's the highest you remember your temperature being?

Are you kidding? Moms aren't allowed to get sick.

Dessert

Fill in the blanks: When I _____________, I __________.

When I watch movies, I like to eat.

If you would like to participate in this meme, visit www.arewethereyetmom.com. Have fun!

Chocolate Cake With Caramel Icing

Washing the dishes with a white liquid soap one day, I get a whiff of the soap and immediately I think of her. On certain occasions, I will put a stick of spearmint gum in my mouth and instantly the smell and taste of the gum will bring her to my mind. The musky scent of my bath soap will trigger that certain part in my brain full of memories and again I think of her. She is my grandmother, my mother's mother. Whenever I watch Paula Deen on the food network, even though they don't live in the same state, she brings to mind my grandma's strong West Virginia twang. She is still there in those hills full of trees so thick it's hard to see your neighbor's house sometimes. She is a God-fearing woman who takes her faith very seriously. As a child, I would listen raptly to her many "miracle stories" as I call them. My favorite place to visit with her was the bathroom. She had a vanity with a mirror in there and a walk-in closet full of her clothes. She would often let me brush her hair and maybe put curlers in it. She always wears house slippers. It's her trademark. The one thing that I find hilarious about her is that she burps in public. Loud. Whenever she does it, she immediately follows it with, "Oh! Excuse me!" and then goes on about her business. It's kind of a running joke in our family. Even my husband was introduced to this quirk of hers very early on in our marriage. Me? I am not a burper. Well, not usually. Occasionally, a little peep will come out, but being me, I just can't bring myself to do it really loud. Except one night, I couldn't help it. Soda pop will do that, I guess. My husband was sitting on the floor watching TV and I was on the couch sipping my pop. Yes, that's right ya'll. I say pop. Soda is baking soda. Well, all of a sudden, the loudest burp you ever heard came out of me. My husband slowly turns his head and looks at me incredulously. He said, "Good one, Ethel!" I was surprised at myself, too. Someday, I will be able to cross her threshold again and have some of her famous chocolate cake with caramel icing. I will sit with her on her couch and talk about everything or just sit on her porch and look at her lovely garden. Then, we'll make more memories.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stuffed Animal Fetish

Since Caleb was very little, he has been crazy about stuffed animals. We already had a good amount when he was born thanks to his older brother, but after he joined our family, we have been bombarded by them. He particularly liked the beanie babies. He would always have an armful with him wherever we went. He couldn't take just one. Checking on him at night, I would have a hard time finding his little head among the ton of animals in bed with him. When my parents came to visit one day, they wanted to take the boys to Toys R Us so they could pick out whatever they wanted. Spoiling their grandchildren to death is a grandparent's prerogative, so we all went trooping to the store. Justin was very little at the time and had fallen asleep in the van. Opting to stay with the baby, everyone else went into the store, and I kicked off my shoes and basked in the quiet. So, I heard about what happened from my husband. I had told my parents beforehand that Caleb would enjoy a stuffed animal. I'm sure they believed me, but it was quite another thing to see it firsthand. They went directly to the stuffed animals section of the store and Caleb immediately spied the biggest stuffed alligator you've ever seen. It was taller than him. He took it and started rolling around on the floor with it. My parents asked, "Caleb, would you like to look around some more and see if there is anything else you would like better?" Looking at him rolling around on the floor having the time of his life, the answer was a definite no. Caleb is seven years old now and he still loves stuffed animals, but the craze has subsided a little. Now, he holds his live guinea pig while watching The Wonder Pets. I wouldn't be surprised if he became a veterinarian someday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday




My pregnancy hormones have kicked into gear with a vengeance. One minute, I'm perfectly fine and the next I'm a raving lunatic. I can probably attribute the madwoman nature coming out of me thanks to my six-month old puppy. That dang thing refuses to shut up. I will feed her and give her plenty of water. I will take her out at regular intervals. But, nooooo. Is that good enough for her? Of course not. Well, when I am particularly busy cleaning or homeschooling, I don't have time to hold her just so that she will shut up. So, in the midst of these activities the whole house will echo with her high-pitched wining, howling, and barking. She is chained up by the back door because I'm not stupid. That dog does not have the run of the house to do her business in every room. No way. So, she is a very unhappy puppy with only a chew bone for company unless Aidan takes pity on her and visits. Well, because of these crazy hormones I have worried about that dog's safety. I'm sure my husband has. I told him one of these days he's going to come home to a dead puppy. So, to protect the thing from being hanged by the neck, I have figured out a way to shut her up. I pull the van into the garage, put the puppy cage with her in it into the van, shut the van door, and then shut the garage door. Blessed silence. For some reason, that dang puppy likes the enclosed environment. I just don't get it, but it certainly keeps me sane. In a little while, I will let her out, but for now......ahhhhh. If you have any tips on keeping puppies quiet, please, please, please take pity on me.


Make sure to check out Rocks In My Dryer for more WFMW tips.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Homecoming Queen

I was sitting in a McDonald's sipping on my drink surrounded by teenagers. I was in my early 20s, so I wasn't at the point yet where teenagers drove me insane. My husband and I had been appointed to babysit the youth group during that time in our lives, and it struck me as funny since they were the same age as my youngest brother. They were good kids and liked to have a fun time as teenagers always do. As I'm sipping on my drink talking with them, one of them looks at me and says, "You were popular in high school, weren't you?" I almost spewed Sprite on the girl. "What gave you that impression?" I exclaimed. "You just seem like you were popular," she said. I stared off into space and shuddered as I remembered the horrific days of public high school. I was the one who took my diploma and waved good-bye to high school forever never to return. If I could have gone through it all with a magic invisibility cloak like Harry Potter, I definitely would have used it. My only escape was music. I played the most popular instrument in our band. You guessed it. The flute. There were close to 20 flute players in our band. Therefore, I was also labeled a band geek which didn't work for my image. As I am sitting in the stands during the football games, I look at the cheerleaders in their skimpy little skirts waving their pom-poms hating them and yet longing to be part of their group. Marching on the field in my masculine-like uniform and clunky black shoes, I look over at the flag girls in their twirly skirts and delicate shoes hoping they would get clunked in the face with their own pole and yet wanting to twirl right along with them. My freshman year, I was introduced to the great procession of the Homecoming Queen and her attendants. I would long to be nominated each year and yet know it was impossible. Coming out of my haze, I look back at the teenage girl and say, "No. I definitely was not popular." Ten years go by after that observation. Last Saturday morning, I lay in bed pretending to sleep because I don't want to get up just yet. I can hear Justin and Aidan in the other room chatting to each other in their baby talk and then soon the pitter-patter of their feet into our room. They both climb onto the bed and do their usual fighting over mommy. They both have to be the one who is closest to me, but since Aidan is the screamer, Justin ended up laying on my pillow. Then they do the usual, "My mom. No, MY mom. No, MY mom! No! MY mom!" So, to enforce who's mom I am they both put their hands on my head and rub it and all the while I'm pretending to be asleep. This ritual happens again as I am sitting on the couch. They both have to be right beside me and they both shove each other's arms off of me all the while saying, "MY mom!" As I look back at my high school days, I don't care anymore that I never got to be Homecoming Queen or an attendant. I don't care that I wasn't a cheerleader or a flag girl. I'm popular now and being fought over by the most handsome men in the world. I'm a mom and that means more to me than being Homecoming Queen any day.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Jingle Bells for Easter

It was sunrise on Easter morning. My bladder woke me up as usual, but before I went into the bathroom I wanted to look out the window. I blinked. I even squinted my eyes, but the snow kept coming down. I whispered, "Crap. It's snowing on Easter." I eventually stumbled back to bed only to realize that going back to sleep was a lost cause. I lay there remembering past Easters. All of my memories of Easter did not even come close to this wintery morning. As my husband and I are getting ready for church, I complain about the weather. I said, "They should put Easter later in the month to prevent this from happening! They changed the daylight savings time thingie!" My husband immediately puts on his "yeah, right" look and says something smart that I didn't take the time to wrap my brain around because I just wanted to complain for the sake of complaining. Anyway, I pull out our winter coats to cover all our pastel colors and trudge to church through the icky weather. After the service and some fellowship, we head outside to the still snowing day. Halfway home, Justin starts singing Jingle Bells and exclaiming how much he loves snow. I'm beginning to wonder if we skipped summer and fall all of a sudden. He continues to sing and then Caleb and Aidan join in, but it sounds like a children's choir warming up before the big performance. They sing at different pitches and at different times with different words. Finally, Nathanael couldn't take it anymore and yells, "Shut up!" After three more "shut ups" two seconds later, he forgot they were driving him nuts and started singing along with them. When we get home, I immediately start dinner preparations in the midst of my nausea and fatigue, but I was determined. We were going to have our traditional Easter dinner even if it was going to kill me. As the ham is heating up in the oven, the delicious smell started to spread through the house. Looking out the window, even Daddy couldn't resist singing Jingle Bells with the falling snow. After the egg hunt (indoors, of course), the plastic eggs full of candy mysteriously disappeared while the oblivious mom finished dinner in the kitchen. Finally, it's dinner time and the only one with an appetite is Dad. After our family movie, I trudge upstairs like walking through sand to my bed. Minutes later, the door bangs open and in walks Aidan. With a welcoming smile and hug, he lays down on the pillow next to mine. After much tossing and turning he finally settles down and falls asleep. Listening to my son's even breathing, I finally felt permission to completely zonk out for the rest of the night. My last thought was, "Happy Easter to all! And to all a good night!"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Sweater

As I am writing this post for my blog, all I want to do is go upstairs, climb into bed, and curl into a fetal position under the covers. I truly feel awful and I can only thank God for it. I know that sounds really weird considering I feel like throwing up. Eleven years ago, (gosh, was it that long ago?), I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I was elated. My long time dream of becoming a mother was about to happen. My own mother was also ecstatic and was absolutely certain it was a boy. She even had a baby blue knitted sweater waiting for me to put on my little baby. I felt really good for a pregnant woman. The only time I threw up was when I took those humongous pre-natal pills. Otherwise, I felt the same. When I was eleven weeks pregnant, I started spotting. I was finally able to see a doctor and she did some blood work. A few days later, she called me at home and told me I was going to have a miscarriage. The precious life inside me had already died four weeks before. The night I miscarried was a devastating experience for me. The physical pain was great, but the pain in my heart could not be assuaged. For a month, I laid in my bed feeling sorry for myself. I would add to my pain by going to the baby section of stores and silent tears would stream down my face as I looked at the baby clothes and toys. A month after my miscarriage, we went to visit my parents. My mother showed me the little sweater she had for the baby. There it was folded inside tissue paper like a promise waiting for me. I took the sweater home with me and soon I became pregnant again. I immediately knew this pregnancy was different because I was sick as a dog. For three months, I alternated between nausea and vomiting plus the devastating fatigue. We had an ultrasound and found out we had a boy and he was perfect. During the next months of waiting for my son to be born, I would take out the sweater my mother gave me. As I touched the soft yarn, I dreamed of the day I would be able to put it on my sweet baby boy. The day finally came. As my son was placed on my stomach, we looked into each other's eyes and were blissfully content. I realized then God's plan. I understand now why I had that miscarriage. Without it, I would not have my sweet Nathanael. I believe the baby I miscarried is waiting for me and I will meet him someday, but for now, God has given me babies to hold and love. I know now that God's will is perfect and even though I feel so sick and tired right now, I would feel this way over and over in order to hear that little voice say, "Thanks for making dinner, Mom!" When I'm puking into the toilet, I will rejoice because I get little arms wrapped around me squeezing me tight and little kisses on the cheek. When I'm lying in agony from headaches and nausea, I will thank God for my life and the life that is growing inside me. I was able to put that little blue sweater on my first baby and then his brothers. It's still waiting for this new baby, but, Mom, if it's a girl, maybe you can get a pink one?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mom, I'm In Love

One day, my 10-year-old son comes out of his school over to our van with a St. Patrick's Day clover leaf that he made clutched in his hand. I thought, "For me? Oh, how sweet!" He said, "It's for Brisa." I thought that was cute and told him how wonderful he is. Another day, he comes to the van with a tiny box that he painted by himself. Again I thought it was for his favorite woman in the world and again he said, "It's for Brisa." Of course, I was tickled pink since my son was showing some gallantry and told him I thought he was sweet. The special woman in my son's life is a 9-year-old redhead with a mind that can cure cancer someday. It's no wonder he has been stricken by the love bug. Yesterday, when I picked him up again he had something special for "his girl". I say that because my son confessed to me while I was driving us home that he was in love with her. I wasn't sure I heard him right, so I asked him to repeat himself. He said, "I'm in love with her." A million things went through my mind as I grasped for a good enough comment to my son's mind-blowing confession. Finally finding my tongue and smiling to hide the blockage in my brain, I said, "Well, that's very nice. We'll just see how it goes then." This conversation with my son brought on a whole slew of questions that I have for the woman he will meet someday and ask to become his wife. How much do you love my son? Will you cleave to him and be loyal to him from this day forward? Will you give him children? Will he come first in your life? Will you respect him as the head of your household? Will you still love him the next morning after he has trashed your bedroom looking for the perfect tie? What if he says something stupid like, "That dress makes you look fat"? What kind of life do you want? A career or a family? Will you be by his side when he loses a loved one? Will you support him in everything he does or drag him down because you think he's wrong? Will you call everyone you know and tell them the horrible things he said or did to you or will you keep quiet and pray for him? As I look at my son with his silky, blond hair and sweet smile, I realize that he is not the only one I need to be praying for. I need to pray for a woman that I have never met who will be his helpmeet and mother of his children. The woman who will be with him through everything.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My Own Mr. Knightley

I know. I'm so typical, but I can't help it. Jane Austen is my favorite author. What a surprise. The thing is...I can't decide which of her works is my favorite. I just love them all. Emma struck a cord within me, though. When I read it the first time a few years ago, I had a hard time getting through the beginning. I will now confess to something that would be considered blasphemy by those diehard Austen fans.....I didn't like Emma, the character. I realize now that I certainly needed to broaden my horizons, but at the time I was still a little stupid, so I just didn't get it. I was the kind of reader who believed that the main character should have no glaring faults. The kind of character that you agree with all the time and root for from beginning to end. How boring is that? I was determined to wade through the muddy waters to finally see that in the end Emma becomes the character I wanted to see from the beginning. I didn't realize that a good character needs to grow. I then found out something that confused me and made me think harder about this character. Emma was Jane Austen's favorite character. How could this be? Emma was a manipulative, prideful, and arrogant woman. How in the world could she be her favorite? A few years later, I read the book again and watched the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow. Since I had more experience with less than wonderful characters in other books, I began to see a connection between myself and the less than perfect Emma. I also began seeing a connection between Emma and Mr. Knightley. Without Mr. Knightley, would Emma have seen what she was doing and stopped herself in time? I'm not sure. He was a guiding hand and not always a gentle one. Emma needed to be shaken out of her own world. I didn't understand how they could come together in the end after so many arguments and it seemed to me that Mr. Knightley didn't like Emma and could not respect her ways. I then realized that indeed he had to have loved her greatly in order to help her understand that what she was doing was wrong indeed. He also knew she was capable of being a good woman and knew she had redeeming qualities. I realized how alike Emma and I are and if she can redeem herself in the end, then maybe there is hope for me with my own Mr. Knightley to guide me.