August 31, 2010

Dear oprah...

This week’s Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Entry. Today’s assignment, write an open letter to a celebrity…

Dear Oprah,

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch your show and frankly, can’t stand you. The fact that one woman has the ability to manipulate society is almost frightening. However, the truth is, you have a lot of power and money and seem to really enjoy helping people. I think it’s safe to assume that you don’t expect everyone to like you and surely not everyone you have ever helped was a fan. In fact, we’re both adults, I have full confidence that we can get past the disgust I have for your show and dive into the heart of the matter here…me.

I’m a new mom. I’m tired and stressed, I could use a manicure and I need to lose about 40 pounds. My house is clean right now but I can tell that it’s on the verge of utter disaster and I can’t seem to keep up on my laundry so I could really use a maid and possibly a stiff drink. I work full-time and my husband is a busy student so when I get home I still have another four hours of work ahead of me. You know, the kind of work that only a mom can do. I love my little girl very much but I find myself looking forward to her bedtime so I can sit down for a few minutes before I go to bed and do the whole thing all over again the next day.

I’m not asking for much. It’s not like I need a new house (we probably can’t afford the taxes anyway) or a new car (although I could use something a little newer than the 1998 SUV we drive). I just need my sanity back. I feel a little silly writing to you, almost like a kid who is writing to Santa Claus but you probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a trashy sleigh on a cold December night would you?

So anyway, if you decide to help me out then maybe, just maybe, my opinion of you might change. If not, that’s fine too. You would feel all warm and fuzzy from doing another good deed and I would benefit from your generosity. So, really it would be a win-win for both of us.


P.S. You probably don’t remember it but my friend ran into you on an elevator once in Chicago. She says hello.

August 30, 2010

Mom, i'm a mom...

A few days after Rachel was born Jake looked at himself and then at me and asked, "Does it mean that I truly am a father now? I have baby poop on my shirt and didn't even notice." Poor guy.

What an interesting thought though; at what point do you realize that you’re a parent?

1. When you see a little plus sign and immediately feel queasy from the joy (but mostly fear)?
2. When you start shopping for great deals on baby stuff instead of booking next year’s vacation?
3. When you clean out your office to make room for a crib?
4. When you buy an extra Christmas stocking to use next year?
5. When you’re thrilled to experience labor pains, needles and hospital food?
6. When you find yourself driving at a grand speed of 35 mph because you're carrying precious cargo?
7. When “date night” actually means grocery shopping?
8. When you realize that previously disgusting things like green poop and umbilical cord stumps are really quite exciting?
9. When you actually try to stifle obscenities from leaving your mouth after stepping on a toy that was carelessly tossed in the middle of your living room floor?
10. When you can’t wait to see a little toothless grin at the end of the day?

August 27, 2010

Sweet Caroline...

In loving memory of Caroline Jennifer
August 27, 2009

Thoughts and prayers are with Derek and Nici today.

August 26, 2010

Make em laugh…

I love to laugh. It’s one of my most favorite things to do and I love to surround myself with people who make me laugh or laugh with (or at) me.

What makes me laugh?

1. Myself. Sometimes I think I’m pretty funny. This is, of course, debatable.
2. Jake. Everyone should be married to a scientist or at least have access to their odd sense of humor. Sometimes Jake has to explain his jokes and that makes me laugh even harder… at myself.
3. Rachel. Sometimes I feel bad for the hamster that is working overtime in her developing mind.
4. Sarcastic witty remarks that include little bits of honesty.
5. Photos showing people or animals in a unique position that is virtually unexplainable.
6. Other people’s mistakes, strange goals or ridiculous ideas.
7. Cats. If only they knew how stupid they really are...
8. Infomercials selling truly unnecessary and outrageous merchandise.
9. Being able to cleverly slip quotes from Christmas Vacation into a conversation…“That's all part of the experience…”
10. Life. It's funny.

August 25, 2010

The foot-long noodle...

I remember reading a book last year that listed all of the different types of friends a new mother should have. At the time I thought it sounded outdated and ridiculous but I have been taking a mental inventory lately of my friends and have discovered that perhaps the author was right. Perhaps it is good to not only have a wide variety of friends but I think it’s also a good idea to acknowledge some of them. The list below is not all inclusive and I would love to recognize everyone, perhaps in future posts.

So, ladies, you know who you are…

1. The Single Friend- I have several of these and I love hanging out with them because it’s relaxing and they have a great perspective on life. Plus, they don’t ever have to compare schedules with their spouse or look for a babysitter.

2. The Childless Friend- I also have several of these but the first one that comes to mind lives far away. I’m not sure that she’ll ever have children and I love living vicariously through her and her stories. Her and her husband don’t do a lot of traveling or spend money like crazy so I think that if Jake and I didn’t have Rachel we would be a lot like them. She’s good for me because she makes me laugh, is well educated and is honest and open, but not too pushy, with her opinions.

3. The Possible Future Mom Friend- OK, this gal lives even further away. I love telling her horror stories about my pregnancy but I know that if she ever decides to have children she’s going to do just fine and will make a wonderful mommy. She puts ideas into my head and is great at thinking outside the box.

4. The Experienced Mom Friend- Thank God for these people. I am lucky enough to have surrounded myself with lots of experienced moms and am so glad that they encounter situations first and then pass the important stuff onto me. Having them around is like being covered by a union that doesn’t require me to pay fees but makes sure my paycheck keeps coming.

5. The “Seasoned” Friend- Because I entered the workforce at a fairly young age many of my coworkers have been a lot older than me. In fact, most of them have children my age. I can not stress enough how important these people have been in both my professional and personal growth.

6. The Work Friend- Out of all of the coworker friends I have ever had I can not imagine life without my current work friend. We have so much in common that it’s scary to compare our almost parallel lives, and in the fairly short amount of time that we have known each other we have been through a lot of work and non-work related stuff. If we ever get other jobs I hope we stay in contact because if I’m going to spend this much time away from my actual family I need her to always be a part of my work family.

7. The Best Friend- She lives far away and I miss her dearly (Am I seeing a pattern here, why do my friends feel the need to live so far away?) but she is always just a phone call away. She knows me better than anyone else, is very resourceful, has a great eye for deals, gives sound advice, is goal oriented and always seems to have the right words in every situation. And if you ever meet her you should ask her about the foot-long noodle….

August 24, 2010

A kodak moment...

My first Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Entry…

Our house has an enclosed front porch that would be used a lot more if it wasn’t always collecting junk. It has been turned into that space; you know the one….the place where you store stuff when you have no idea where else to put it or are too lazy to discard of it properly. Every time we clean it off it immediately starts filling up again, almost like it can only survive in a state of perpetual crappiness.

In July Jake painted the porch and for two whole days it was beautiful. Then, mom showed up. She had cleaned out the closets in my old room and since I didn’t have a place to store boxes of high school jeans and childhood toys they were quickly moved out to the porch. I finally sorted through them last weekend and was a little surprised at some of the things I found.

When I was 13 I spent the summer traveling with a musical ministry team called King’s Kids. That was quite an experience and I can’t believe how much it changed me. Last weekend I found all of my King’s Kids stuff and was reminded that I have almost no pictures from that life altering trip. Back in those days (how old do I sound?) you had to actually put film into a camera if you wanted to take pictures and my camera was particularly difficult to load. One night, at the very beginning of the trip, I was standing on a dock wrestling with my camera when a boy pulled me into the lake, camera and all (see, boys are nothing but trouble at that age). I tried to dry it out and hoped that it could be salvaged. It couldn't.

I may not have any pictures from that trip but I remember it like it was yesterday. Sorting through those old memories reminded me that if I continue to stand on the dock while everyone else is enjoying the water I can only hope that someone loves me enough to pull me in.

August 23, 2010

The countdown begins...

I can not believe summer is almost over and another school year has already started. The last time a semester (spring semester) had just begun we had a five-day-old baby and were living in a condo in town. By the time the school year was over we had moved to a house in the country, planted our garden and I had returned to work. And now here we are, our daughter is already able stand for long periods of time (while holding onto furniture), my garden is tilled and ready for winter hibernation and Jake is starting his junior year for a second time. huh?

Yep, that’s right. Jake is starting on his second junior year. The last time he made it to this point in his “professional student” career his conscience caught up with him and he realized that he could not continue studying accounting so he switched his major to physics and astronomy. And if you’re wondering, hardly any classes transferred from one degree to the other.

The only good thing about the start of another school year is that we’re making progress and Jake is just a little bit closer to being done with school. I know a lot of mothers love it when school starts but I’m not one of them. I hate it when classes start, no matter what time of year it is, because that means for the next 16 weeks I won’t see my husband and Rachel will be raised by one frazzled parent, except on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Those days are sacred to us because Jake works really hard to keep those designated days as “family only” time, which I really appreciate.

December 17 and the close of finals week can not come fast enough this year. In the mean time, I will continue blogging to keep my thoughts organized, Jake will keep on keeping on and Rachel, at the rate she’s growing, will probably get her driver’s license.

August 20, 2010

If at first you don’t succeed…

I was in labor with Rachel for over 34 hours. It was awful. And the nine months that preceded that were no picnic either. For being such a trooper I deemed myself worthy of a new purse and even found one on the clearance shelf. The first time I used it the zipper broke and I can still remember gasping in horror and disgust. Clearly a second attempt at a proper reward was necessary.

I had high hopes for yesterday. I planned to get a one-hour massage and then go home and do nothing or, if I so desired, work on a few fun projects. I envisioned myself sitting at the dining room table with a cat on my lap and another one at my feet while I typed away in an otherwise silent house…for two whole hours. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I think so.

Here’s how my afternoon went instead:

1:58 PM: My cell phone rings, it’s Jake. “Honey, I got off work early. Can you come get me when you’re done?”
Me: “ugggghhhhHHHHH. Really? Can’t you just wait and come home later as planned?”

A few choice words later I agreed to pick him up as long as he promised not to talk at all until 5:30. That didn’t actually happen but he tried his best to be extra sweet for the rest of the afternoon.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Pure bliss except, of course, for the two chatty ladies who were parked right outside the room for 30 minutes.

4:45 PM: After running some errands and collecting all of my supplies I finally sat down to enjoy what was left of my "reward" day.

The child came home 45 minutes later and my heart sank because my perfect afternoon was officially over. Perhaps my two semi-failed attempts equal the satisfaction receieved by one perfect one.


August 19, 2010

Stop to smell the roses...

This afternoon I’m getting a 60-minute stone massage. I have no idea what that is and honestly I don’t care. If it involves a massage over the period of an hour I can't imagine it won't be marvelous.

I will get home two hours earlier than usual and R and J will arrive at their normal time. Nice.

I love roses.

August 18, 2010

The auctioneer was going about a mile a minute…

Jake and I have moved three times in the five years we have been married. I hate moving. There is nothing worse than packing up our crap, moving it down the road and living out of boxes for a week. The long list of people I have to contact with our new address is almost revolting, and just when I think I have everyone crossed off we get another letter in the mail with that dreaded “forwarded address” sticker on it. Ugh.

The only good thing about moving is that it forced us to examine everything and determine whether or not it really needed to be packed, carried to and from a pickup and then unpacked. I was surprised to discover how unnecessary my extensive vase collection became after I realized the amount of weight they added to a box destined for an upstairs trek. Because of our recent move (and purge), I am comfortable with the amount of stuff we have. So far, everything has a place and almost everything has a use. I worked really hard for that hallowed status.

Last night, while rummaging through things at my grandma’s sale, I started thinking about all of the stuff Jake and I have accumulated. Will any of it be important to Rachel or anyone else in the family? Which memories will be sold to the highest bidder? Will our cherished items be grouped into boxes and sold for $1? Which pieces will be considered junk and end up not selling at all?

For the first time in my life I actually bid on things last night. As we got closer to the first item my knees got weak, my heart raced and my head spun. How high should I go? How do I know I’m bidding on the right piece? What if I accidently pick my nose and buy a $500 vase? All valid concerns. As it turns out I knew when to stop (thanks to my poker skills), I didn’t bid on anything I didn’t want and I left with my dignity.

August 17, 2010

It’s a mad mad mad mad world…

When I first began my college studies I was majoring in communications and hoped to go into public relations. I enjoyed my classes but one day it occurred to me that I really hate people. It’s not that I don’t like being around others or enjoy talking to them, but I can’t stand having to put up with the ridiculous actions of immature adults. So, I changed my major to accounting because I like working with numbers (they don’t say anything unintelligent) and the thought of turning into an office hermit was quite appealing.

Accounting seemed like a great idea until I realized that it is extremely boring. I eventually settled on management, which I think will probably work out okay if I ever get a chance to actually use my degree. Today is most certainly one of those days that I wish I had gone into accounting. I should be holed up in an office somewhere calculating numbers and smirking as I watch them turn red. Today I don’t like people.

Sometimes I look at my coworkers and wonder how they were able to figure out that pants go on the bottom. They might be brilliant thinkers but somewhere along the line common sense and decency eluded them, like the old children’s joke that declares, “When God handed out brains you thought he said trains so you didn’t take one.” I could never handle working in a daycare, but at least there you can point out poor behavior and punish it accordingly.

I don’t always make the best decisions and sometimes I make mistakes (gasp) but I hope to God that my actions never ever resemble that of a three-year-old child unless, of course, I’m playing with my daughter.

August 16, 2010

And the winner is....

Every month it gets more and more difficult to get a good bear picture. This month Rachel was either eating the sign or crawling away. So, what do you all think? Which one should be the official bear picture for R's seventh month?

Number 1

Number 2

Parenting 101...

I am a list maker. I can’t function without them. If I couldn’t make lists my house would never get cleaned, bills would never get paid and our cupboards would be empty. Lists keep me from losing my sanity and help put things into perspective. So, today’s entry is another list because I feel like I need one. I hope my two readers don’t mind (thank you whoever you are).

What the parenting classes we wasted our money on didn’t tell us…

1. Kids grow fast. Yes, we’ve been told this by just about everyone we know but what they didn’t tell us was that they’re not kidding. Yesterday, while holding a crying 7-month-old baby I felt like I was comforting a three-year-old child.

2. Parents become boring and uncool almost immediately. I was anticipating this to be a problem about 13 years from now. We think we’re still pretty cool but Rachel is only mildly amused by us old folks.

3. Toys are stupid. Don’t buy them unless they make noise or can be easily sucked on. Otherwise, an unused remote and a slow moving cat are really all that you need.

4. Get to church on time. We’ve been late a few times and the later we were the further up we got seated. This also happened to correspond with the amount of bouncing that Rachel felt was necessary during the service.

5. Always have a toy on hand when changing diapers. I was under the impression that you only need a clean safe surface and a diaper and wipes to get the job done. Not true. You should also have a toy or something else to distract the child.

6. Take advice from zoos. Children, like bears, should have signs requesting that visitors not feed them.

7. Don’t run out of dishwasher soap. You should never waste precious evening or weekend time hand washing dishes when you could be hanging out with your children (see #1).

8. Splurge a little and use salon-grade shampoo (this advice was given to me by a good friend). Showering could be your only time to relax and might be the closest you’ll get to a vacation for a long time.

9. Applesauce can be mixed with anything.

10. Children have amazing eyesight, long arms and the determination to succeed.

So, new and aspiring parents here is my advice….don’t waste your money on stupid classes or unnecessary books. Talk to your doctor and friends, listen to your labor & delivery and mother/baby unit nurses and buy a doll so daddy can learn how to change diapers.

August 14, 2010

My hero...

There are a lot of things I hate. I hate it when someone takes the stall next to mine in an otherwise empty public restroom (speaking of restrooms, I also hate it when people use their cell phones in public restrooms, and I have been known to flush the toilet continuously until they get the hint and either leave or hang up). I also can't stand it when I call a new phone number and get an answering machine that just says, "Thanks for calling 555-5555, please leave a message." Yes, I know that's the number I called, but is it the right person? People, please include your name on your answering machine. I am also in an ongoing battle against the world and have vowed to one day rid it not of evil but of stupidity, and when I'm President (please vote for me) I will require all parents to have a parenting license before they can take their children home from the hospital (including myself).

However, nothing can compete with the level of rage that is generated by weeds. If I ever get a chance to go back in time I would like the opportunity to have a few words with Adam, the idiot who ruined one of the best things he had going for him. I know that I have mentioned my pathetically weedy garden before but everyone expects weeds in a garden, especially mine. What I'm referring to here are the ones that are trying to surround and possibly destroy my sidewalks.

The lovely folks who lived in our home before us obviously had no desire to keep the sidewalks clear of weeds. In fact, I have to wonder if they even used them (I can’t wait to tell you more about the previous renters). I, however, am determined to keep our walks from disappearing. Every few weeks I clear the growth between each sorry concrete slab, and often wonder why they are so narrow. This morning I went out to pull just a few weeds, and an hour later I was sucking for air, dripping in sweat and feeling a small sense of pride....I have finally found the edges of the sidewalks! And, guess what....they're almost twice as wide as I thought! Can you imagine?

Jake claims that it looks like I destroyed part of the yard. I didn't. I went up against my arch enemy and defeated it. I believe some would refer to this as being a hero.

August 12, 2010

How does your garden grow...

I can’t believe I finally did it. I actually got all of my baby food made, for now anyway. Each bag of applesauce, zucchini and yellow squash, bananas, pears, peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots and peas is carefully marked and thrown into the freezer. Yes, unfortunately it truly is just tossed in there. A mountain has begun forming and I feel bad for the poor sap (probably me) who will be unlucky enough to open the door. At least we have an extra freezer that I can move some of the bags to, if I ever get the time or motivation. Plus, that freezer is full of garden produce.

Mom made the mistake of telling me that some people let their gardens go after the first of August. My garden was out of control this summer and the first of August didn’t come fast enough for me. I took what I wanted and by late July declared the garden “done” except, of course, for the abundance of tomatoes and potatoes that remain. We may have to mow over weeds to get to the potatoes when it’s time to dig them but I don’t even care. I’m thankful for this summer’s bountiful harvest but I won’t lie, I’m not looking forward to this much work again next summer and the next summer and the next summer…. I have decided that the only remaining weeds I will tackle are the ones in my flower beds. Rule number one when working in flower beds- don’t even think about it when the needle on the weatherman’s humidity meter is pointing to oppressive. It’s been sitting there for quite awhile now.

So, it was a very productive season. I learned a lot about gardening and I know that this winter I will appreciate all of our hard work. But for now I say, “Good riddance!” to that garden of mine.

August 11, 2010

Mommy, i’m sick…

In my expert opinion (expert only because I say so) children are the most vile creatures known to man. They are little germy tornadoes who destroy everything in their path and leave nothing but sickness behind. Okay, so maybe they’re not that bad but I think we can all agree that they spread contamination faster than the destruction of a hell-bound snowball. I only say this because I believe that’s how Jake got sick, from teaching 3rd graders at last week’s science camp. He then passed the snot onto our baby girl, and while taking care of her and daddy, mommy got sick.

It’s August, not January. Why in the name of all things decent do I have an awful cold? I can’t think straight, my house is a wreck because I haven’t had the energy to do anything for two days, my entire body aches and I could easily be mistaken for Rudolph with the schnauze I’m sporting (p.s. I won’t buy cheap kleenexes ever again).

Why is it that when any other family member is sick (including the two felines) everything stops? Plans are rearranged, the living room fills with tissues and the house is put on lock-down. But, when mommy is sick life continues virtually as usual for everyone else, except that piles of laundry begin accumulating, dishes go unwashed and random junk starts appearing on the dining room table.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, or at least not giving credit where it’s due. Jake has done a wonderful job trying to keep things together. I just wish…..sigh…..I wish I wasn’t sick anymore. I guess I should get used to this, or at least hope I build up my immune system before Rachel starts kindergarten.

Complaining about being sick might not make it possible to breathe through my nose again but it does make me feel better, at least a little bit anyway.

P.S. For those of you who like to see pictures on blogs you have come to the wrong place. I write this blog over my lunch hour. To post pictures requires that I actually:
1. Remember to bring my camera to work.
2. Remember that I brought my camera to work.
3. Remember to leave enough time after I’m done walking and heating up my lunch to sort through pictures on my camera.
4. Take the time to wait for my computer to upload everything.

That’s too much work folks. Sorry.

August 10, 2010

Take this job and shove it...

A few weeks ago, while at a routine doctor appointment, the nurse asked me how many hours I work. I replied that I work full-time so, 40 hours a week. Her next question was a bit surprising and caught me off guard. She asked me how many hours a week my daughter spends in daycare to which I replied, "...umm...ahhh....well......she's at daycare a lot more than she's at home so umm....let me think.....umm....(calculating in my head)...she's there at least 50 hours a week." Then the guilt set in (but that's a whole other blog post).

I have to wonder, why is it that Jake and I went to great lengths to find the perfect daycare but I'm willing to settle for a job that I'm really not that excited about, even though Rachel and I are both at our respective locations more than we're at home? I appreciate my job and am thankful for the people I work with. But, I didn't go to night classes for 5 years, while working two jobs, so that I can be a secretary for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a secretary. However, contrary to some people's beliefs, I really feel like I'm destined for bigger things.

I wish that I could figure out just how big these other things should be. I love the fact that I can leave work and actually leave know what I mean? Unless I had a particularly crappy day, I don't take my work home with me and I'm out the door by 5:02. I have to ask though, how much further can I climb up the corporate ladder before I can't make those claims anymore? Is it possible to enjoy work (at least the majority of the time) and still be home by 6:00? It must be because other people do it all the time. Why can't I?

Until I figure this out I will not be shoving anything job related, except the papers that I am currently paid to push.

August 9, 2010

A few of my (new) favorite things...

My original post for today discussed my "control issues" and how they relate to Rachel being sick for the first time (and long story, why I feel like she's afraid of me because I thought I needed to save her life yesterday). While proofreading my original entry it dawned on me that today has been cloudy enough, and this blog is supposed to be therapeutic, not depressing. So, I deleted everything and am instead listing a few of my newest favorite things. Yes, I love to make lists (by the way).

1. Crock pot liners
2. Envelopes that are big enough to mail pictures in but not so big that they require extra postage
3. Battery operated decongester things
4. Mr. Lion, Jerry Giraffe and a small plastic butterfly
5. Advice given to me by other mothers that is actually good enough to use
6. A dining room table big enough to seat 12
7. Upright freezers
8. Fitting into my old "fat" jeans, because they're not my maternity jeans
9. Time spent with my family (even if my to-do list is waiting to be done).
10. Rain...lots of rain. What else could I possibly use as an excuse as to why my garden is so weedy?

August 6, 2010

What I learned from summer camp…

Every day I look at my daughter and think, wow there are so many ways I could screw this up. Sometimes I wish that she would just stay a bouncing baby girl forever so I won't have the opportunity to accidentally shatter her dreams or forget to teach her the fundamentals of life. But then reality hits and I know that it’s only a matter of time before I get to attend dance recitals, t-ball games and back-to-school ice cream socials.

I remember this feeling; it was the same one I experienced every year while packing for summer camp. For the most part I knew what was coming but the anticipation of encountering so many unknowns was just about too much for me to handle. I learned a lot of valuable lessons while packing for camp and I think several of them still apply today.

1. Don’t let yourself be overcome with fear of the unknown.
2. Always plan for the unexpected.
3. Nothing compares to the comfort you get from your teddy bear (he has been with me through every hospital stay I’ve had since I was 15, including Labor/Delivery and the Mother/Baby units).
4. Always know where your address book is.
5. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
6. Buy nice bedding; it just makes you feel good.
7. Pack your Bible.
8. Remind yourself that even if a boy doesn’t ask you to be his date at the banquet you will still have fun (possibly more) with your girlfriends.
9. Kids will like you.
10. Too much fear, mixed with excitement, will make you sick. If this happens do not attend a family pizza party followed by a ride home in the backseat of a packed two-door car while driving on back roads. There is a good chance your previously consumed pizza will end up on your Uncle Dave’s bald head.

Ohhhh summer camp….

August 5, 2010

The recipe for success…

Lately I have been wrestling with this thing they call “success”. What is it? Where does it come from? Does it have a price tag? Once you have success, can you lose it? Does it exist in abundance or will we one day be going to war over it, like oil or food or even water?

For some reason, after we moved I developed a strange habit of inviting people over and cooking big meals, and Jake recently commented that my cooking has improved since Rachel was born. It's almost as if post-pregnancy hormones have awakened some kind of homemaker gene that is desperately trying to navigate to my fingers. I really wouldn’t be surprised if that's the case. After all, pregnancy hormones effected every single other part of my body right down to my nose holes (I swear they got bigger last year). Since we moved last spring I have hosted several big (for me) get-togethers, planned meals better, made way too much baby food (if I have to clean and cook and puree one more vegetable….) and watched enough cooking shows to earn an honorary culinary arts degree.

This cuisine inspired journey has renewed my appreciation for the importance of following recipes to-the-letter (turns out they’re not all just guidelines). My mother once advised me never to try a new recipe when taking a dish to a potluck. I must admit that, although this is good advice, I haven’t always listened to it. However, after choosing to throw caution to the wind I did have the sense to stick to the recipe like glue on a horse (huh?). By following the recipe my dish was a success.

Although I’m often right about almost everything (yep, pretty sure of it) I can honestly admit that I have no idea what the recipe for success is. I can’t even define "success"…yet.

August 4, 2010

Ironically enough…

Yesterday I was feeling particularly chubby so I got a haircut. What? A haircut? Yes, that is what I do when I’m feeling fat. I take the little bit of control I have over my weight and cut off as much hair as I can in hopes that the scale will cooperate. If it doesn’t that’s OK too; at least I look better. Oddly enough, the scale did not go down this morning.

What did go down was our power, again. We must live in a giant cesspool of perpetual electricity lossidness (yes, that’s a word in my world). Every time it rains during the night we lose power. Usually it’s only out for a few awkwardly quiet minutes and when I hear the fan come back on I get up and reset my alarm clock. However, this morning (at 2:00 AM) I was feeling particularly lazy so I didn’t bother getting up. The only thing that saved me from the consequences of this potentially poor decision was Norman, our giant cat.

It’s actually quite ironic that it was Norman who woke me up. He usually sleeps next to my face for a few hours and then retires downstairs where the rooms are cooler and there is less snoring. This week Norman and his sister Vera (those of you who watched Cheers might find these names mildly amusing) have been banished from downstairs for reasons that will remain unsaid. This means they have to spend all day and all night (which to them must feel like eternity) upstairs, usually hanging out on our bed. So, if the cats hadn’t been rotten Norman wouldn’t have been forced to sleep upstairs (mostly on my head) all night therefore waking me up on time (almost) to pronounce that he was, in deed, hungry for his regularly scheduled breakfast. What a blessing?

August 3, 2010

What about bob...

Rachel had her first haircut last night. It took five of us to do it: one to hold her (mommy), one to keep her occupied (Grandpa), one to actually cut her hair (Grandma), one to take the pictures (daddy) and one to get stuffed in her little pie hole (the plastic butterfly).

It’s not really in a “bob” style though.

August 2, 2010

Four-letter word...

I am a historian, not in the sense that I am a history buff (although I do enjoy learning about history but can never retain specifics) but more along the lines of remembering odd dates and reminiscing about them. This habit drives Jake nuts and I’m sure it will someday make Rachel crazy too. I can’t say that I blame my husband for hating it when I say things like, “Do you remember what we did a year ago today?” This usually generates a look of panic that flashes across his face as he goes through the calendar in his mind, trying to recall birthdays, our anniversary, holidays, etc. When he is absolutely positive that he hasn’t forgotten anything important he’ll finally admit that no, he has no idea what we were doing a year ago today. Then I usually spout off some obscure fact like, “A year ago today I bought my first maternity shirt. Don’t you know what that means honey?! Look how much has changed since then!”

I was pregnant and miserable last year at this time. I hated being pregnant. I knew something was amiss before I could even take a test to prove my suspicions because I was already having morning sickness…and it lasted more than half-way through my pregnancy. Plus, there was nothing “morning” about it. I was sick all day every day. And when I finally wasn’t sick anymore I was exhausted, sore, losing my voice, fattening up everywhere and freakin hot (even in the middle of winter). I often admitted that I was, in fact, probably missing the mommy gene because I hated being pregnant so much. I found it hard to believe that some women not only like being pregnant but they miss those days.

Yet, as much as I hated being pregnant, the blessing was worth it and I will probably do it again.

Last summer I thought of a four-letter word that I think may very well describe these women, including my own mother, who choose to go through pregnancy more than once; hero.