Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 2: Love is kind

Daily Reading

"Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts... kindness is how love acts."

I like that.

Kindness is defined as gentleness, helpfulness, willingness, and initiative.

Gentleness- being mindful of how you treat your spouse, choosing to be sensitive to the recipient of your words and actions.

Helpfulness- meeting the needs of the moment.

Willingness- Compromise, accommodate, flexible, cooperate.

Initiative- Taking the first step. This one is big for me.

"Kindness thinks ahead, then takes the first step. It doesn't sit around waiting to be promoted or coerced before getting off the couch. The kind (spouse) will be the one who greets first, smiles first, serves first, forgives first. They don't require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need, then make your move. First."

I very often hear women complaining that they shouldn't have to do x, y, or z for their husband because he never does this, that or the other, either. So Initiative seems like an important step. Kind of like the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would others do unto you) but without focusing on what you could get out of it. Because you aren't being kind or helpful or gentle for your benefit but as a way of showing your love, of acting on your commitment, of honoring your partner.

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

" in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness."

Today's Dare

Another day of saying nothing negative, practicing patience. In addition, do at least one unexpected act of kindness.


"What discoveries about love did you make today? What specifically did you do in this dare? How did you show kindness?"

Liz's End of Day

More of a challenge today. Had some stressed moments this afternoon. I felt like I got snippy but was glad that I was able to recognize it. Mentioned it to Jeff and he hadn't felt snipped at.

I've invited him to participate in this and jump in here with his own observations- and maybe his own attempts at doing the Daily Dares...

Discoveries about love? Just that it can be hard to stay patient and kind when patience is being tested by kids.

My kindness was going out to pick up lunch. Jeff is usually the one who gets sent out to pick up (and pay for) food when I don't want to cook. We agreed on bringing food in and I picked it up!

A Snowy Day

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 1: Love is patient

Daily Reading

One of my favorite passages from the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13.

In fact, my senior quote in high school was:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Day One of the Love Dare is "Love is patient."

The reading says that there are 2 pillars for love and that everything else stems from these 2 pillars: patience and kindness.

It saddens me that so many are unkind to the one they love, the one they depend on.

I also know how easy it is to take things out on the person you love, on your soft place, to take advantage of the one who has promised to always be there.

Today's Dare

Resolve to say nothing negative to your spouse. "It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret."


"Did anything happen today to cause anger toward your mate? Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words?"

It's easy to say nothing negative when you aren't with your spouse all day! But there haven't been any moments of tension or arguing or snipping or anything like that in the time we have been together- not even when wrangling 2 kids in a restaurant! But I did find that I thought about it more and more. I found myself being more aware of the words I chose and the tone I used.

An Introduction

My marriage isn't in trouble. My husband and I don't really fight. We've been married just 5 years... we are still growing into this marriage and parenthood thing.

Sure, we snip at each other or get aggravated with one another.

My issue is that we tend to be this way in front of our kids.

I don't want to just make it look like we have a strong marriage, a strong foundation for our family. I want to really have that strong foundation, I want to be active in strengthening it as the years roll by. I want our marriage to be an example to my children of what they can have if they work hard and love openly.

So I'm going to be proactive and give this Love Dare a try. Journey with me... do the Love Dare and share your experiences!

The Love Dare

So there's this movie and this book... and I've wanted to not be interested. I've wanted to not see it. I've wanted to not think it has any merit. Dammit. Fireproof. I'll be the first to admit that I tend to automatically reject Christian entertainment. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe the cheese factor that usually lends itself is my issue. Maybe I feel like it's too "Bible beating" for my preferences. There is Christian music that I love. There are Christian comedians I've enjoyed. If I can count Jesus Christ Superstar as a favorite movie and musical... then I've got that covered. The premise of Fireproof captured my attention. "Firefighter" has that cheese factor and makes it feel a little heavy handed in the obviousness. But... something was there. Kirk Cameron, who I was madly in love with as a teen, stars in the movie. He faded from the radar a long time ago... but this is bringing him back a little. I heard people starting talking about "The Love Dare." It is apparently a thing from the movie. OK. Hadn't planned to see the movie, might see it someday but... I was at Target and the book "The Love Dare" was sitting there, calling to me. I picked it up and started to thumb through it. It's a 40 day challenge to do something specific, to reflect on something specific in regards to your relationship each day. I bought it. And I'm going to do it. I still feel hesitant about it. My marriage isn't in trouble or weak... but from the scanning I did, the suggestions seem to be good ones. And a lot could apply to my relationship with my kids or friends or other family members, too. Today is Day One. Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Therapy Thursday!

Today's subject: "If you really knew me, you would know..." If you, my readers, really knew me... you would know... - that I am a lazy parent on a day to day basis. I would prefer to spend my time sitting and napping and vegging out most days. I do the minimal amount of work necessary in my home because I just feel like I need to just sit for a while every day. I don't really get a lot of time to do the lazy thing, but I'm not a constantly active, constantly keeping my kids busy kind of parent. - that I cuss more than I should. Not so much in front of the kids. But definitely on the commute to and from work. And I get creative in my language pairings. - that my desk, at work, is a horrible mess. Mostly because I just don't put things away. I suppose I think that piles of paper make me appear busier? I work under a boss who is very focused on appearances so maybe that is where it comes from- gotta look busy so people think you are really valuable. For the first few years that I worked for this company, my workspace was always kept neat and tidy. Not any more. - that I really love television and I'm certain that most people would say that we, as a family, watch too much TV. Jeff and I have programs we enjoy and record and our down time each evening is watching TV together. Teagan has favorite shows and we use TV as a tool for downtime when the kids are wound up. I even have a small black and white TV on my desk at work, tucked into a little corner next to my computer... and that I will be lost once the digital age comes next month. - that I don't really shave my legs routinely. If I'm lucky, I will shave once a week. I shave my pits at every shower. But legs... I just don't care to take the time to do it. But I do like having freshly shaved legs. Go figure. - that I am truly content with my life and sometimes I feel guilty for it. Sometimes, I feel like I should hate my body or complain about my husband or kids or hate my job or want something different in my house or car... But I don't. Do I vent about my husband sometimes? Well sure! We are human, we annoy each other or have little fights. Do my kids irritate or frustrate or befuddle me? Absolutely! Does my body need improving? Yes! Could my house be bigger or cleaner? Sure. But I don't strive to change things that don't need to be changed. And I take control of the things that I can. I manage my way through frustration and annoyances and little fights as best I can. I like my house just fine the way it is and I look forward to the improvements we will make to it over the years. I am working on the healthy body thing by getting daily exercise. I accept life as it is and seek to make the best choices that I can. My life isn't perfect but I am content and happy. - that a big part of how I've gotten to this place is because I am a survivor of sexual abuse. The basics are that it started when I was 4 and it ended when I was 10. It got as bad as rape on a regular basis. It ended because we moved to a different city. I didn't confront it until the end of high school- I spent the 7 years in between severely acting out. I'm surprised my parents still let me in the house, honestly. I went through a lot of intense therapy at the end of high school and into college. Between the therapy, the love and support of my parents, and my faith... I came out better, stronger, and more whole. I know that the reason why I am content with my life as it is, with my self the way I am... is because I know how much worse life can be. I know how important it is to recognize the blessings, the good things, the haves. - that while I am dedicated to getting more physically fit, I am on day #3 of really not wanting to go to the gym. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. And my excuse is the same- I know that if I skip the gym, I'm still getting a workout at home on my Wii Fit. I've been doing 30 mins of cardio (step aerobics or a free run/walk) and also some yoga and strength training. - that I need to pee. - that while I really believe in attachment parenting and gentle discipline, I definitely struggle with it sometimes. I think I do better in my commitment when I am parenting alone, sometimes. But I wouldn't want Jeff to go away or anything- don't misunderstand. I just think I easily feed into his way of doing things. His mood really strongly impacts mine and if I perceive him as being cranky or down, I find myself stressed and yelling at the kids more. Having less patience, being less proactive. - that I've said plenty of stuff and none of it goes together! Feel free to hop over to the Therapy Thursday blog and leave your own therapy comment or a link to your own blog Therapy Thursday post. And feel free to comment on anything you've read here! I love comments!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prayers for Bobby

Prayers for Bobby is a Lifetime movie that was on this past weekend.

From the website:

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a 1970s religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her young son Bobby being gay. What happens to Bobby is tragic and causes Mary to question her faith; ultimately this mom changes her views in ways that she never could have imagined.

This is the story of Mary Griffith, who is an activist with the group PFLAG and is a strong proponent of getting programs into high schools to counsel gay, lesbian, bi, and transgendered youth (GLBT).

I watched the movie Saturday night when it first aired.

I was moved, I cried, I really felt for this mom, for this son.

2 moments stayed with me.

Mary tells Bobby, after his tireless efforts at changing who he is and her tireless efforts to pound out the gay and submerge him only in the God she believes in, "I won't have a gay son." His tragic choices certainly bring that sentence to truth.

And after many meetings with pastors and much soul searching and finally attending PFLAG meetings, Mary has an epiphany. A horrible epiphany. She runs, in the pouring rain (very poetic and dramatic) to the MCC (Metropolitan Community Church- a church founded in the GLBT community), to the pastor from whom she has gained much support and a lot of eye opening. And she says to him that at the PFLAG meeting, she kept hearing these other parents say that they knew their child was different from early on... and she realized that her Bobby was different, too, and that she had known it, felt it from the time he was conceived. She had known he was different, that he was born different, that God had made him different and she couldn't accept it or embrace it. And she realized her role in her son's tragic choice.

Very powerful.

I've read some reactions to the movie and many seem to be of the opinion that it's a good thing the story happened back in the 70's because people's opinions sure have changed since then.

Yeah. That's like saying that since Barack Obama is President, our country has lost all racism.

There are many, many, many families who would still be devastated if a child came out as being gay. Many families who would desert a child who "chose" to live a gay lifestyle.

I am beyond proud to say that I am not one of those families.

I am a Christian woman. I have a very strong relationship with God. I've had experiences in my life that have very firmly cemented and proven His existence and love. And I am also fiercely liberal, open minded, accepting... my heart bleeds all over the place.

And it is my faith, my spirituality, my certainty in my beliefs that tells me, without a doubt, that being gay is not wrong and is not a sin.

I'm not going to start dissecting Bible verses or history. That's been done. There are people whose minds cannot be changed or swayed. I'm one of them. So arguing the point is pointless. Which is the nice thing about a blog. I can just put my opinions and thoughts out there and you can agree or disagree- or maybe open your heart and mind to a new way of seeing things.

Mary Griffith is a hero to me, especially after seeing her story. She easily could have hardened her heart and placed all of the blame on her son. She could have listened to the pastors of her own church at her son's funeral, as they condemned him to having been too weak to fight off the demons that made him choose being gay over being a child of God.

But she opened her heart and her mind and found a different way of looking at things.

If one of my children were to come to me and say "Mom, I think I'm gay" or "Mom, I'm really confused. I think I'm attracted to women (or men)," I would weep. But not from sorrow. Pride. Joy, even. Because it would mean that I had raised a child who felt she could come to me with a subject that could be taboo in another home. Because it would mean I had raised a child who at least hoped that mom and dad would still love and accept him.

I wish I could say that I would then jump up and do all sorts of things to show my support. But honestly, I'd do what I do now. Follow their lead. Questions? I'll help you find answers. Concerns? I'll help you find someone to talk to if I can't calm those concerns myself.

But beyond that... it wouldn't change how I see my child. It wouldn't change how I feel about my child. It wouldn't change anything.

Because being gay doesn't mean being something not human, not loved, not accepted, not real. It isn't a disease or disorder. It isn't something that requires medical intervention or psychiatric diagnosis.

Should my child come to me and say "Mom, I'm gay," it would be the same to me if my child came to me and said "Mom, I'm straight."

"I have a crush on a girl..." same as "I have a crush on a boy."

God created us as we are. We are perfect in His plan, in His design.

Pastor Rusty's sermon this past Sunday was titled "Abundant Living: Expectant Living!" He talked about 3 ways in which faith is built and then had us evaluate where we currently are with that aspect of our faith.

1. My faith is built through difficulties. The idea is that we turn to God first when we are facing a problem- and we even thank Him for giving us this problem, thank Him for walking us through it, being by our sides. I rated myself a 6 out of 10. I often problem solve first, emote first, turn to God second or third.

2. My faith is built through demands. God calls us to act. How often do we listen and respond immediately? When we hear that little voice urging us to help or to speak or to reach out, do we listen or do we talk ourselves out of it? I gave myself an 8 out of 10.

3. My faith is built through delays. God's plan for us happens on His time, not ours. We may have plans and hopes and expectations, but we don't design when things will happen. We must be patient and willing to wait for the answers to come when the time is right. This one is pretty easy for me and I actually gave myself a 10.

So why do I share that in the midst of all this gay talk?

Because of number 2. I rated myself pretty high on that scale. I really do a lot of listening to that inner voice- some may call it a conscience, some may call it God. And I often choose to act on that little voice, too. I'm someone who gets involved when maybe I shouldn't. But if I see someone crying, I will offer a hug or an ear. If I see someone struggling, I will see if I can help. If there is something weighing on my heart, I will share it.

So this movie impacted me. And I felt called to share it. To share a Christian perspective that maybe you hadn't considered before.

If you have an opportunity to see this movie on Lifetime, please do. Watch it and place yourself in Mary's shoes, in Bobby's shoes.

And if you really want something long to read but that really delves into Biblical interpretation and so on... A Letter to Louise

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Like Tea

I go through phases where my morning beverage of choice is coffee. Then it's hot chocolate. Then it's a combination of the 2.
But lately, an old love has returned and won my heart and loyalty.
Hot tea, iced tea. My only requirement, at least for tea that I buy, is that it be some sort of herbal or fruit infusion.
I'm in second place for best tea stash in the office- Christy is the reigning champion.
Surrounding me, it colorful and pretty little boxes, are the following variety of teas.
Celestial Seasonings chocolate caramel enchantment chai (this one is in my mug right now)
Stash raspberry and white tea
Lipton herbal peppermint
Stash moroccan mint green tea
Celestial Seasonings gingerbread spice
Celestial Seasonings sugar cookie sleigh ride
Lipton herbal apple cinnamon
Lipton herbal orange
Celestial Seasonings acai mango zinger
Celestial Seasonings red zinger
Twinings Pure Peppermint herbal tea
And I have some individual tea bags or small sample packets of...
Tazo China Green Tips
Celestial Seasonings country peach passion
Celestial Seasonings raspberry gardens green tea
Celestial Seasonings chamomile
What is it about tea that is so wonderful? From Christy's plethora of options, I love the Tazo Wild Sweet Orange. She is enjoying a mug of it now and I stole the packet that the tea bag came in because the smell is so divine. "A juicy blend of lemongrass, citrus herbs, licorice root & orange essences." If I inhale slowly and deeply, I can sense each of those individual notes. It starts with the orange, moves to the subtle lemongrass and citrus herbs and then leaves a tiny little hint of licorice root. There is something so comforting and simple about a cup of tea. The warmth, the calm, the scent, the flavor. But I don't just drink my teas hot. I also enjoy them as iced tea. I will steep a tea bag in some sugar water (packets of sugar dissolved in hot water- just enough water to dissolve the sugar). Once the water has developed the intense color of the tea, I add in some cold water and then top off with ice. At home, I do this in a larger container. At work, it's in a 32 oz cup (souvenir from a summertime excursion to the local zoo). For Christmas, Christy gave me a flowering tea set. A cute little clear glass teapot and a series of various loose leaf teas that have been hand tied so that when the hot water combines with the tea, it opens up and blossoms and changes size and shape and such. It sounds more spectacular than it is but the tea is amazingly good (Numi brand), especially the jasmine tea.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

~ C.S. Lewis

May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, a tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart may desire

~ Irish Blessing

The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort, and refinement.

~ Arthur Gray

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Snack Tray

There are some days and evenings when the idea of cooking a meal just isn't in the cards. Today, our routine was slightly out of whack so instead of making dinner, I made a snack tray for the kids to munch on while playing and watching a movie. I took my snack tray- an egg carton that I'd rinsed and wiped out- and filled it with their favorite small snacks. Pepperoni, blueberries, cheddar cheese, and grapes.
They wolfed down the cheese and grapes before settling into individual favorites.
For Zach, the pepperoni was a hit.
For Teagan, nothing is better than blueberries.
I'd first heard this idea in a Dr. Sears book (I forget which one, honestly). My mom has mentioned it, too. Both recommended using a muffin tin... but a muffin tin is a lot harder to clean out than my little egg carton! Plus, if there are leftovers in the egg carton, I just close it up and pop it in the fridge until later!
From what I understand, there are plenty of picky eaters and too-busy-toddlers who eat well with this method. It avoids table time fights and battles and still gets healthy stuff into their little bodies. It's a grazing type of feeding- and it works perfectly for days like today!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Interview

This all started with this Interview meme reaching a blog I found through Blog of Note. Tangobaby. She’s wicked cool. She lives in my favorite city- San Francisco. She takes amazing photos, has a keen eye for art, an amazing wit, fantastic insight. So when she offered to do Interviews, I couldn’t resist!! She took the time to really delve into the blogs of every single person who wanted to be interviewed. So she’s been doing them in little groupings and giving props each time a blogger posts their interview. She’s really, really wicked cool. So let’s get started! I’ll answer Tangobaby’s “official” questions first. And then I will answer the questions that you, gentle readers, have left for me when I made up my own version of the game!! 1. I see that you have three blogs now (that's prodigious!). For someone who's now just being introduced to you, which blog would you recommend that they start reading first? My main blog is this one, Eternal Lizdom. In addition, back in November, I started a special project at Gratitude and Good Deeds. It ended up becoming a Christmas gift for my mom since she’s the one who taught me compassion and charitable giving. The idea was hatched on a day that I picked up part of the tab for a table of soldiers in a restaurant. From there, I challenged myself to doing a purposeful good deed or kind act every day through the rest of 2008. Sometimes it involved money, sometimes it didn’t. But it was about going beyond any normal niceties and pushing it to the next level. And my third blog just got started this past week and I don’t really know what I’m doing with it. I called it Therapy Thursday and the idea is to post a subject of discussion each week. Folks who participate can be light hearted or serious. 2. I know you are a busy mom taking care of the kiddies, not including your job outside the home. When are you able to carve out time to write your blog? As a mother, how much about your family and your children do you decide to share with your readers? Is privacy an issue for you when you are writing about family matters? Time… sometimes I blog from work. Posts that will take more time to put together (like this one) I work on in the evenings after bedtime and my workout or on the weekends during naptime. Sharing… I’m pretty open. Prior to becoming a blogger, I was very involved in message boards so I feel a certain familiarity with the internet already. Plus, I’d been involved in community theatre and my full name and picture has been published in the newspaper. I guess I just figure that if someone really wanted to stalk me or track me down, there are plenty of other ways. So I use my name, my husband’s name, my kids’ names. Taboo… I have no intentions to use my blog as a place to vent about my husband or complain about my in-laws. Because my husband reads this blog. But really because if I have an issue with my husband and I don’t take it to him but instead share it publicly about him, that just makes it worse and does nothing to fix the issue. As for the in-laws, I don’t really have anything to complain about and if I did, I would expect to talk to Jeff about it and have him handle it since they are his parents. Kinda like the whole “I can talk about my mom but you can’t talk about my mom” thing. 3. What do you think is the greatest challenge facing parents today? If you had been inaugurated on January 20, what would you do to first to help families raise their children? As someone who was very moved and touched by the inauguration last week, what will you say to your children about it when they ask you later in life? I’ve been really mulling over the first part of that question. And I’ve decided that I just can’t answer it! I don’t think there is a universal greatest challenge that can apply to everyone. Each family faces their own challenges and each personality within the family unit handles things uniquely. I do think that parenting is the absolute hardest job out there. There are 2 things that I felt least prepared for. The first was discovering that things that were previously strengths were gone now. For example, I used to work with kids with a wide range of emotional disabilities and issues. I was frequently complimented on my patience. Patience of Job, patience of a saint. Apparently, it only applies to other people's kids. Because I find my patience worn very thin sometimes... maybe because the parenting thing is a 24 hour a day, no days off job. Sometimes, I'm really ashamed of my lack of patience in the hard moments with my kids. The other thing that surprised me was the weight of Fear. I'm a survivor of sexual abuse so I was in tune with some of the things I would need to protect my children from. But once my daughter was born, the immense weight of the Fear of all the possibilities settled in and part of my job is to carry it. It goes so far beyond protecting them from predators or illness. This Fear goes into depths and pieces of my soul that I hadn't ever been aware of before. I also think that we are in the midst of a cultural shift in regards to working families. It seems that the norm is shifting to a 2 parent working family. Saying that, it was one of the reasons I supported President Obama. He is tuned in to that and made campaign promises, laid out a plan that encourages companies to be more family friendly, promotes better and more available quality childcare. So I don’t need to be inaugurated because my candidate, who stands up for the things I believe I need for my family and that is in touch with how families really work, is already in the office!! The Inauguration. It was more, it was beyond, it was everything. What will I tell my children? That I remember when my interest and passion for politics and the political process was reignited. That I remember the moment that my desire to stay involved and aware was awakened. That this Inauguration wasn’t just about our first black President or our first deeply multi-cultural First Family. That this Inauguration is the One that changed everything. That opened the political process again, that truly made government transparent, that focused on technology, that saw a President who lived up to his potential and promises. That this Inauguration was a pivotal moment in our history as a great nation. 4. You seem to have a very good sense of humor. What makes you laugh? This is one of the best compliments I can receive!! My kids make me laugh, my husband makes me laugh, stress makes me laugh, jokes make me laugh, my dog makes me laugh… I’m really pretty easily entertained, I suppose. I love witty humor, dry humor, sarcastic humor, silly humor, even potty humor. Joy make me laugh. Heck, I make myself laugh. I’m pretty damn funny out here in the not-typed world. 5. If you had the ability to speak another language fluently right now, which one would it be and why? American Sign Language. It’s one of the regrets I have from college and high school. I wish I’d pursued opportunities to learn ASL. It’s a life goal of mine, I suppose, to learn it someday. I can finger spell and I can sign “thank you.” I even tried to do baby sign with each kid but neither one took to it. THANK YOU, TANGOBABY!! Lynn asked: What is your favorite drawer in your house and why, and what is in it? Can we see a picture? A drawer in Zach’s dresser that holds baby blankets. Teagan was swaddled in those fleece blankets. Zach was swaddled in those blankets. I intend to someday make a quilt from them. Flartus asked: Well, actually, I came here to see if I could find out what state you live in! 'Cause you made a comment somewhere about living in Dixie. I currently live in Indiana by way of Ohio by way of Kentucky by way of California! More specifically… Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lexington, Palo Alto. Ok, here's a more reflective question, related to a recent post of yours. If, for some reason, you weren't able to be a Mommy (not even by adoption; no cheating!), what do you think you might do to try to fill that void? Or would you just become that crazy lady who talks to everybody in the store? :) If I didn’t have my babies and I couldn’t adopt or foster, I’d have a house full of animals. Prior to becoming a mommy, my dogs were my babies. Everything revolved around them and their needs and wants. Trips to the dog park, the store. Canned food and frequent treats and a bin full of toys and sweaters and snow booties… I really think I was prepping for parenthood on some level! Oh- and I'm already that crazy lady who talks to everybody in the store. Seriously. And an easy question: what made you decide to sit down one day and start a blog? Peer pressure. Seriously. Christy and Latifa made me. Anytime I’d tell a story or share thoughts, one of them would pipe up and tell me that I really needed to start a blog and share myself with the world! I didn’t believe them for the longest time… but am so glad I finally did! Alix asked: Which celebrity do you (or do you wish you) had sexy dreams about? And why. Gotta say that I don’t have sexy dreams about famous people. All of my sexy dreams since 2001 have been about my husband. I’ve never been one to really have crushes on Hollywood types. Not a very exciting answer, I know. Lynn F asked: If you could change one event in your past, what would that be....and how would you change it?

I really try to live my life without regrets. And I also believe that everything that happened in my past has brought me to where I am. I believe that I am more open to other people because I've been in places that others haven't. I share my story pretty openly- sexually abused, poor, divorced parents, absent father, step father, major moves, and so on. I wouldn't change any of those things.

But there is one incident I have deep regret for from high school. I said something truly horrible to a girl in my class. Something ignorant and stupid and hateful. I'm really still very ashamed of it. So much so, that I won't go into details on it. To be honest, I don't think it was a huge deal to her. But I look back on it and cannot believe the words that came out of my mouth. One sentence. If I were to even tell you what I said, it would be so completely out of character... you might not even believe me.

Joanie asked: You've mentioned a theater background before and I'm curious.... Did you want to pursue acting seriously, and why did you give it up?

I’ve never had any desire, at least not since 3rd grade, to grow up to become a famous movie star. My interest in theatre came solely from my passion for it as an art form. I don’t believe that I have any sort of great talent. I just have a love for it! I gave it up for mommyhood. The greatest production I’ve ever been involved in! Theatre takes up a lot of time. The community theatre circles around here typically put up a show after 6 weeks of rehearsals and then runs for 3 weekends. Given that I work full time during the work week, I really can’t imagine choosing to give up any additional time with my kids by being out of the house each evening and time on the weekends, too. Someday they will be busy with their own activities and friends… and that’s when I can look into getting back to it! Garret asked: If you had a song autoplay on your blog, what would it be? This would change all the time… right now, it would be… “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Other days… something from Chorus Line or maybe some Beyonce or maybe Natasha Bedingfield. Lori asked: Liz, I have to ask - where in upper MN did you sled??? I ask because my cousin is an Ititarod and Beargrease racer and ironically, I have met several people recently that tried their hand at racing with him!!!! I had the most fantastic opportunity my freshman year of high school… I went on a school sponsored trip with a small group of students and a couple of teachers to Ely, Minnesota. I forget the name of the group we mushed with… but it was a week long trip- the drive up there in the school van, a day or two of training, and then out in the wilderness with dog sleds, teams of dogs, and each other. So many stories from that trip!! And my darling Jeff… How / why do you put up with me? Insanity. Or love. Same difference. You are my best friend. I tell you everything and can tell you anything. You offer me everything I’ve so desperately sought throughout my life- love, acceptance, security, loyalty. You are the one person that I fully and completely trust. You make me laugh- most of the time. I love the feel of your hand on mine. I love the feel of your arms around me, as I lose myself in your embrace. I love watching you with your children, seeing you laugh with them, play with them. I love that we are on this parenting journey together. You support me in every aspect of life. I can see us being together from now until forever and ever. You define my eternity. And the sex is awesome. Really awesome. Really. *** So now you know! Maybe you want to know more? Maybe you know too much? Here’s the deal… if you want me to interview you, leave a comment and say “Interview me!” And feel free to borrow my twist on the game and invite your readers to go beyond my 5 questions and ask what they want to know. And from here forward, anything you want to know, just ask!

Butterfly Love!

Mim over at Mim's Muddle has graced me with an award!!
This one is special to me because of the butterfly, I have to admit. Butterflies are my symbol for Teagan- her room is done in butterflies and I have some pieces of butterfly jewelry that I wear for her.

And it is my honor to pass the award along to some of my favorite bloggers... the award doesn't seem to have any sort of criteria so it's more of a challenge to pass it along! These are some of the blogs I read as often as they post and I look forward to hearing what they will be sharing next!

C. Beth Blog

The Fourth Frog Blog

my thoughts exactly

Adopting M.E.

The Wise Young Mommy

Steele the day

Singing With My Heart

Dwell & Cultivate

Take the award, share it proudly, pass it on to whomever you'd like!!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Who knew??
Do you have any idea what today is??
I didn't know but I sure plan to CELEBRATE!!
It is the best and most fantastic holiday that ever could be. I might even have to rank this above Christmas. Because while Christmas and Thanksgiving generally include this... today is all about this!
It is...
This means that I have work to do this weekend!! I'm thinking that I need to come up with an entire day's menu of pies. A quiche of some sort for breakfast. A spaghetti pie for lunch. A mexican layered pie for dinner. Or chicken pot pie! And lots of the classics in between... pecan, lemon meringue, chocolate cream, key lime, cherry, apple, blueberry...
So I will be celebrating this most fantastic of holidays a little late. But with some planning and some prep work tonight, I really think I could make a day of pies!!
What's your favorite pie? Savory, sweet, fruity? Got any great recipes to share?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Interview Me!

So one of the many meme thingees floating about the blogosphere these days is this "Interview" game.
I'd signed up for it on someone's blog but it's taking some time and, like my almost 4 year old daughter, I have minimal patience waiting for things I'm excited about.
One of the many reasons we blog (We meaning bloggers in general) is so we can talk about ourselves, our lives, our thoughts.
So far, I've been blindly just tossing bits and pieces out there and ya'll seem to enjoy it enough so far.
But I want to go deeper. I want to know what you want to know. About me.
So I am changing the deal with this Interview thing. Instead of patiently waiting for my "official" invitation into the game, I'm starting it up on my own. When the time comes that I get my "official" interview, I'll still play along. But let's just jump start things, shall we?
In order to start our own Interview With A Blogger, please e-mail me questions that you want to know. Or leave a comment with your questions. Whatever. Just don't send them via Jedi mind trick because I won't get it. My e-mail addy is in my profile. Let me know if you want your question kept anonymous. Otherwise, I'll be linking up blogs to the questions asked.
And, to share that bloggy love, once I've got questions and have given answers, I'll invite ya'll to be interviewed by me. Or you can go and do your own version of Interview With A Blogger like I'm doing!
So... what do you want to know about me??

Therapy Thursday: Stress

I started a new blog! Therapy Thursday. Might be kinda fun, kinda intense. Never know where it might take us. Go check it out! *** Stress. I really try to manage my stress in positive ways but sometimes it is just easier to "give in" to it and let it pull me down a bit for the day. And sometimes stress can really spur me forward and get things done. Work stress. I've had situations where I feared getting in trouble. I've had situations where an urgent big problem pops up and I am able to fix it but the time crunch makes it a challenge. I've had situations where I'm dealing with other countries and cultures and different work ethics and values. Most of the time, work stress drives me into a more productive mode. And I often find that the thing that most helps with any of my work stress situations is to clean my desk. Home stress. Fighting with my husband, kids being cranky, bills to pay, housework to do... Sometimes organization and cleaning helps. Sometimes reconnecting helps. Sometimes doing something out of the ordinary helps. Home stress is harder on me than work stress because I can leave work stress behind at the end of the day. Home stress stays with me, no matter what. And it takes additional work to relieve it... keeping connected to husband and children takes effort and energy and creativity and interest and compassion. Housework requires energy and interest and time. Bills... money! That can be the hardest one. Because you only have so much money. The bills are what they are and the checking account balance is what it is. Social stress. I don't have much of this because I don't have much of a social life these days! But there can be conflict between friends sometimes. Sometimes, my expectations seem too high for the people who call themselves my friends. So I sometimes wind up in a funk because someone has disappointed or hurt me... even though I should have seen it coming. Not only do I set my expectations high, I tend to be pretty gullible and fully believe that others stick to their commitments, even when they prove that they can't. Managing stress. When I feel the tension increasing, I try to prioritize, organize, take action. I also remember the Serenity Prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. " Figuring out what I do have control over and what I can do to take action... that's a huge part of stress management for me. I'm a problem solver by nature. So being able to DO something makes me feel better. I work on leaving the stress behind as much as I can. No sense in bringing work stress home if it isn't a stress that impacts the home. And sometimes, I indulge. A glass of wine, a bubble bath in dim lights (or with a good book), going to bed early... those are things that can help me relieve the effects of any stress I've encountered. Your turn!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Lie About Parenting

I am, apparently, a liar. There is this message board that I am on and someone posted a link to this blog article that a woman wrote over the summer. I seem to recall hearing a lot of hoopla about it when it happened but I was too busy to really pay attention. But I did go and pull it up when it popped up this time. And it took me a few days and several readings to wrap my head around it. Here is a link so you can read the full entry: The Hardest Part of My Job Is That Everyone Lies About Parenting First let me say that there were only a few responses on this message board. A small handful of mommies who agreed. Perhaps there were others who just didn't want to speak up. Perhaps there were some like me who needed some time to figure it out for themselves. A couple of snippets: People are scared to admit that they would rather be at work than with their kids, because work is easier than parenting. If I have to read about how much someone loves their kids one more time, I'm gonna puke. Because we all know that parents love their kids. It's not interesting. It's not helpful. It's not even very relevant. For anyone. What's interesting is the part where parents love their kids but don't love being with them on a daily basis. It's very scary to write. But I'm telling you, if the feeling weren't ubiquitous then there would be no one to be in middle management working 9-5 because they'd all be home with their kids, doing freelance work after bedtime. First, I want to mention her idea about this "mommy porn" thing that she accuses the media of. I disagree. I don't look at any Hollywood anything and figure that they are any kind of example of motherhood. And I think the common sentiment is that I could easily take care of my kids and have a great body and a clean house and gorgeous clothes if I had a nanny, a housekeeper, a personal trainer, a personal chef and a stylist on my payroll, too. So while the paparazzi may be out there snapping these sentimental and sweet and happy moments with these stars and their babies... I don't take it as having anything to do with real life parenting. On to the parts I quoted above... People are scared to admit that they would rather be at work than with their kids, because work is easier than parenting. See, this doesn't match with me, either. Because I would adore staying at home with my children, doing activities and crafts with them, playing with them, watching them play. There is a reason why I love the weekends best of all. I don't hate my job so it isn't just because I don't want to be here... but it's because I want to be there. At home. With my kids. I'd love to be "that mom" who volunteers for school activities. I'd love to be "that mom" who bakes healthy treats and snacks. I'd love to be "that mom" who can chaperone field trips. I'd love to be "that mom" that other moms can rely on to pick up kids and host after school play dates. I'd love to be "that mom" who finds real joy and accomplishment and satisfaction and purpose in raising her children, maintaining a home, and supporting her husband. And I will be the first to step to the front of the line to tell you that there have definitely been days where I was thrilled to take my child and drop her off at Miss Lisa's house and run away from her. I also wonder how her behavior may or may not be different if I was a stay at home mom. I wonder how my patience and reactions might be different if my full time job were to be mothering and disciplining and creating and playing and cleaning and cooking and so on. If I have to read about how much someone loves their kids one more time, I'm gonna puke. Because we all know that parents love their kids. It's not interesting. It's not helpful. It's not even very relevant. For anyone. Gotta disagree on this one, too. I think that one of the most amazing and incredible and miraculous parts of becoming a parent is being introduced to this new level of feeling and experiencing that is so completely indescribable. You have to be part of the club to really get it. I loved kids and worked with kids and had a lot of involvement and investment in kids prior to becoming a mom. I was told often that I had a real gift and talent. My life was strongly impacted by many of the children that I encountered and I know that I left an impact on a few of them as well. But none of that mattered once I became a mommy. It was completely different from the instant I pushed that little girl out of my body. While I had loved her before I'd met her... that love changed once she was born. She came out of my body and this little scream tore through the room. She was laid on my belly and she was wet and red and crying. I was crying, Jeff was crying. And then her little hand shot up in air and clenched onto my finger and my love changed. In that one moment, it deepened and lengthened and widened and stretched and surrounded and encompassed. And with it came a slew of other depths of emotion I hadn't anticipated. The vastness and greatness of true responsibility. The darkness and terror of fear. Things I'd felt before but things that weren't a part of the core of my being. But that are now forever entrenched in me. So I think that hearing a parent talk about how much love they have for their child is interesting and helpful and relevant. Because it's a love that only a parent can understand. I hate to be exclusionary... but you have to be part of the club to understand the difference of a parent's love. You have to be a parent- through whatever means- to understand the difference between love and Love. What's interesting is the part where parents love their kids but don't love being with them on a daily basis. It's very scary to write. But I'm telling you, if the feeling weren't ubiquitous then there would be no one to be in middle management working 9-5 because they'd all be home with their kids, doing freelance work after bedtime. And at this point I just figure this woman is completely out of touch. She only recognizes her own reality. Because let me tell you... if there were truly a way that I could just snap my fingers and be doing freelance work after bedtime and still be able to support my family... I'd do it in a heartbeat. And I'll even go so far as to say that Jeff would do the same. If I had to choose between driving to work each morning, doing tasks and putting out "fires" and ordering materials and attending meetings and participating in conference calls, even the fun of getting a cup of hot tea with a friend, hitting the gym at lunch (heck, even just having a lunch hour), and being able to talk about politics and current events... I'd give it up. I'd give it up. I'd trade it all in for Tinkerbell and construction paper and play doh and trucks and dollhouses and applesauce and yogurt and ravioli and juice and Imagination Movers and living room dance parties and trips to the Children's Museum and snuggles and cuddles and time outs and talking back and mouthing off and stubbornness and diaper changes and nap time and Hullaballo and scrapes and bruises and potty training and accidents and sibling rivalry and fighting and loudness and not listening and... Being a parent is the hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had. I take it very seriously and am constantly impressed by the enormity of it. I work to improve myself and educate myself to the best of my ability. I chose to become a mother. I choose to strive to be the best mommy I can. Do I get tired? Hell yes. Do I lose my patience? Hell yes. Do I think that "work life mommy" balance is a fallacy? Hell yes. Finding myself defining who I am with the title of "Mommy" is the greatest honor I've ever lived. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I will fight with all that I have and all that I am to protect and defend my title. Does "Mommy" define me? Absolutely. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Will You Be My American Idol?

(or Canadian or Australian or British or whatever country you are from) I have to admit it. American Idol. I LOVE THIS SHOW. And I really only watch the auditions. Once they get past Hollywood, I lose interest. What is it about watching people fail that is so completely entertaining? I do enjoy it when I hear someone who is surprisingly better than anticipated based on their look. I fall completely for the touching, heart warming stories. This girl (Akeelah) just said "Irractitate me." Yeah. She means "irritate." This show isn't about singing. It's about mental illness. And the sorry state of our education system. Really. Now this blond chic (Annie) is in there and they ask her watch she's going to sing and she goes on for a while having no idea what song to sing. Really. How do you go to the BIGGEST audition of your life and NOT know what you are going to sing. Oh wait. She just "sang." There's that mental illness factor popping up. What next? A guy (Adam) with a serious musical theatre background... I'm intrigued since that speaks to my heart. And he's cute and has great eyes... he opens his mouth and... yeah! He can sing! Kinda different... but he's good! Uh oh... heartwarming story of a mother's illness and a son's love coming up. He better be able to sing since he will most likely be making me cry! (Kai) His mom has a seizure disorder and he takes care of her during the day. His personal life has taken a backseat... not dating anyone... his mom is the only woman in his life right now. What an amazing relationship. And they are playing one of the most awesome background songs, too. And then the son tears up talking about how much he loves his mom... So this is my evening. Now you know the truth. I've come clean. Wanna audition for me? I've watched every season (at least the auditions anyway) so I am basically a vocal expert. Really.

The Speech

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do. *** We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. *** As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. *** This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: "Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]." America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

The Bells Are Pealing!

From NPR: Twelve ringers will sound the bells at New York's Trinity Church for three hours in celebration of Barack Obama's inauguration. It's called a "full peal." Such an extensive and lengthy bell ringing performance is unusual in the U.S. Trinity is one of the oldest churches in the country. Anyone in NYC? Are you hearing the bells as they peal? I've always loved the sound of church bells. Can you imagine 3 hours of those bells ringing? Of ringing those bells?

January 20, 2009

Today, there is cheering. Today, there are tears of joy and triumph. Today, the people's voices are rising up and joining together. It must feel so amazing to be Barack Obama today. To be in the limo, hearing the cheers, the screams, the joy, the excitement. What a contrast from 4 years ago. Reports of the Inaugural Parade being met with protests and booing and hissing and back turning. I wonder how it feels to be in that limo with Obama, knowing and feeling the difference in reception from 4 years ago to now. To remember the expressions of dissatisfaction and even hate and to be witness to the excitement and acceptance and joy for this new President. *** Charlie Gibson's word of the day is "minutiae." The man can't stop saying it. Granted, the details he is sharing are mostly interesting. But find a synonym, man! Maybe detail or trivia? Mix it up a bit, please! *** I did find a bit of the minutiae interesting. Ronald Reagan started a tradition when he left the White House. He left a letter on the desk for George Bush, Sr. And it's been done by each President since. I would love to know what those "passing of the torch" letters say? Does it give details about how to flush the Oval Office toilet when the handle sticks? How to get that window in the kitchen to open on a humid day? What restaurants are the best in town? A map of the secret tunnels? Which Secret Service Agents have a good sense of humor?

January 20, 2009

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.


I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.


Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known.
My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out.
Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

There's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America.


No matter who you voted for, I believe that most citizens, and certainly most of the world, recognize the historical importance of today's Inauguration.

I've heard grumbling from Conservatives about the hoopla being made over this Inauguration. About the coverage and air time and the giddiness of the media.

I think it is well deserved. I think it is overdue.

I've got my little black and white TV on at my desk and am watching the coverage on ABC this morning. While I am awed by the tradition of the visit to St. John's and the final coffee with President Bush... I am moved to tears to see the crowds, to see people celebrating and crying and dancing and praying.

I am hearing stories of what it feels like to be in D.C. these past few weeks. Of changes in how Republicans and Democrats approach each other. Of the energy passing between people.

No matter what... change is upon us and the citizens of this nation are hungry for it.

This is impressive, awe-inspiring, history making, emotionally powerful happenings.

I will most likely post throughout the day as moments of the Inauguration impact me.

Bedtime is the Best Time

Don't you just love bedtime with little ones? Snuggling and reading bedtime stories and giggles and cuddling and hugs and kisses and nursing and the smell of freshly washed little people and kissing clean little toes and... It's all just so precious. Isn't it? Brings back memories, right? Yeah. About that. Doesn't happen that way in my house! The run down this evening... Dinner was on the table by 6. Zach wolfed down his food and a thing of applesauce. Jeff and I both ate heartily. Leftovers of what I had cooked the night before- just some tossed together stuff (ground chuck, green beans, pasta, can of tomato soup, can of cream of mushroom, some milk, some seasonings, dollop of sour cream on top). Teagan... spreads sour cream on her lips like lipstick. Teagan... dances. Teagan... watches TV (the new Electric Company- it sucks). Teagan... complains about green beans. We get to 6:15 and I tell her she has 15 minutes to finish her dinner. She can choose to eat or choose not to eat. She has the opportunity to have a cookie with icing and sprinkles, it is her responsibility to eat her dinner. Choosing not to eat tells me that she doesn't want a cookie. And I keep counting down, minute by minute. We hit 6:27 and the hysterics start. "I want someone to take out de gween beans!" "I don't wanna be hungwy!" "I wanna eat but not the gween beans!" 6:30. Don't ask for whom the bell doth toll... I quietly take her plate and put it in the sink. The real screaming begins. I pick her up and take her to her room. She is red faced, screeching. "BUT I'M HUNGWY! I'M HUNGWY!" I set her on her bed. She is screeching and screaming and hysterical. Get this. I stay TOTALLY calm. I'm still not sure how. She squawks and flaps and screeches and screams and I pick up her toys and get her nightgown and I change her into it. She is fighting me. Screaming at me. And I stay calm. I turn on her night light. She screams. I turn off her light. She screams. I walk out. She screams. I tell Jeff he can be the good guy- he can take her in a piece of bread and a cup of water. He goes in and tells her that Mommy says she can have the bread and water... she apparently SNATCHED it from him and proceeds to shove it down her throat, as though she'd been deprived of food for weeks. And eats less than half of the bread and is done. Potty. Bed. Asleep. Isn't bedtime wonderful?

Monday, January 19, 2009

BTW Blog Stuff

I added a little section off to the side there... about giveaways. When one of the blogs that I follow is doing a giveaway, instead of doing a post that will just get lost down the page, I'll add a link to that section over there on the right. *** I've been wondering... who are the really popular bloggers? And how do you know if someone is popular? Cake Wrecks- wildfire. Thousands of readers. Hilarious blog. When that day's cake wreck goes up around 9:30 a.m. EST, the comments pour in. I can only dream of a day that I would have so many comments on a post! And others... but I'd love to know more about the bloggers who have "made it big" and make money and have wild success and fame. Like Pioneer Woman. *** Like the connections made and strength built between Braja and Vodka Mom and Amy and Heinous and... Can you imagine having a blog where you constantly get well over 30 comments on each post? *** I so admire the bloggers who reply to every comment. I try, I really do. But from the time I approve a comment to the time that I click back to my own blog so I can reply to the comments... I sometimes get distracted. *** And the whole "Blogs of Note" thing that blogger does. I've found some great blogs that way- like Tangobaby. How cool to become a Blog of Note, recognized by someone at Blogger. I have dreams of someone being paid to sit and read through blog after blog after blog and find great ones, unique ones, interesting ones. Is it sad to admit that I lust after being a Blog of Note?? *** I also wonder about those popular blogs and how it feels to get negative comments. I've seen it happen and I've read bloggers write about getting a negative nellie popping up so they have to review comments first. I review comments only so I know I've got comments to read! Does getting negative or inappropriate comments mean you've "made it?" *** Guess that's enough of my blog-dom for now!

To Be Brutally Honest

If reading about a woman's menstruation makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading now. Seriously. Last warning. There may be some cussing in this post and I apologize for it ahead of time. I've got my fucking period. I really hate this monthly beast. If I could jump start menopause, I would. If having my reproductive organs removed weren't major surgery, I'd go for it. If I weren't totally eeked out at the idea of a permanent artificially made object being made to be part of my body, I'd go for that permanent sterilization thingee that can be done in your OB's office (that part eeks me out, too). Way back in high school, I'd bleed like a stuck pig for 7 solid days. Super heavy flow for 6 out of 7 days. Cramps and diarrhea and fever and achiness and mood swings like nobody's business. Ended up on the pill before ever having sex in order to control that flow. I was borderline anemic and the pill helped. Things looked up. The pill was magic. No cramps. No mood swings. None of the unpleasantness... well, except for dealing with the whole pad and tampon routine still. But in comparison to what it had been, life was easy! And then I discovered that I could safely SKIP a period if I wanted to! Just keep taking the pretty orange pills and skip the silly green pills and lalalalalalala! I started having a period every 3 months instead of every month. And it was still a breeze! Heaven! Menstruation Heaven! Then I got married and we decided that we wanted to have a baby. OK by me- that meant no period for 9 months! And then, silver lining, breastfeeding meant even LONGER with no period! Heaven! Menstruation Heaven! But now my baby days are done. I've birthed 2 children and my insides have changed. My cycles are very regular. And the symptoms are starting to creep back in... the cramping, the moodiness, the achiness. Last month, in order to get through the holidays, I even broke down and took... Midol. And now we are at today. And my period started last night. And I don't feel good. Lack of energy, major case of the blah's. And that whole bleeding thing. It just sucks. I wanna go home. I wanna take a nap. I wanna be whiney. Well, I got that one down! And one more thing. When I first got my period... oh, I remember being sooooo excited. I was a "woman" now! Whoopee. I was out to dinner with a friend and her family, went to the bathroom and- tada!! My friend was with me and she ran and got her mom. Her mom gave me a pad to put in my undies. I ran and called my mom. I was EXCITED. It was my own developmental milestone. Something all my friends had already done before me (I was a late bloomer). And now I was one of them. I was leaving my velveteen behind and becoming real. But you know what? When you get the big sit down to talk about your period thing... well, there was a lot no one told me. I got the big talk about how my cycle works and how it's this miraculous part of the amazing thing that my womanly body can do and blah blah blah. And that every 28 days, etc, etc, etc. The blood part? Glossed over. The clots? Skipped over. The symptoms? Minimized. So hopefully when the time comes for me to talk to Teagan about getting her period, I'll be able to be straight up and honest with her. And let her know that a lot of months, she might feel really crappy and sore and achey. And that she might be ridiculously moody and that she will hate feeling that way just as much as the people around her hate it. And that not only will there be blood coming out of her body, but also those dark blood clots that can make you want to pass out just from seeing them. And that it sucks. And I'll hand her a bottle of Midol and a heating pad and an eye mask and tell her to go take a nap. And I'll teach her about tampons early on and not make her learn about them from a druggie roommate from down the hall in her college dorm bathroom. And I'll let her know that I fully understand that during this week each month, she may feel like she isn't right in her own skin, she may feel deflated and defeated and irritable and tight and saggy and bitchy and moany and crampy and all that at once. And that there isn't a good way to let your loved ones understand what this thing called a period actually does to your body, to your emotions, to your mental well being. That you can absolutely feel out of control and unable to snap out of it, unable to feel better. And that if you can just be patient and get through the first 48 hours... it really does get better. And I will still teach her all of the miraculous mumbo jumbo stuff, too. And the cool medical stuff. Just like you can know a lot about your body by paying attention to your poop and pee, you can learn a lot about your body by paying attention to your monthly cycles. Yeah. That's the kind of cool mom I'm going to be. But only if she gets her period when I'm not bleeding and cramping and clotting and whining and... even better if she can wait until I'm well done with having one myself. I'm certain I can be a way hip, totally cool, open and honest mom if I'm not bleeding like a stuck pig.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baking Zen

I just whipped up some chocolate chip cookie dough. Different recipe this time- I'm trying the "chewy" Alton Brown recipe. Zach is napping. Teagan is watching TV- quiet time. I've been cleaning and did a little rearranging in the living room. And felt a... need... to bake. A real craving. Not for the finished product. But for the actual process of going through the recipe and measuring and mixing and such. It's relaxing. I get completely caught up in it. In 10 minutes or so, I am focused on this project and can ignore the stresses that have been pulling me down. Baking allows me to set aside my worries, my anger, my frustration. And gives me a great, sweet reward in the end! Zen- enlightenment attained through meditation, intuition, self-contemplation. I was meditating in the kitchen. Church was hard this morning. I hadn't planned on going, honestly. Zach was napping, Jeff isn't here to help out or keep Zach at home... but Teagan wanted to go to Sunday School. I couldn't refuse her. So, at 9:50, we start getting dressed, Zach wakes up, and we rush out the door by 10:07. Car is iced over. Crap. Scrape it down in 3 minutes flat. We make it to church on time... barely. Teagan was needy and hard to attend to because I had to deal with Zach. Once she went off to Sunday School, Zach was ok. Until the sermon. Halfway through, he discovered that his toy cars could fall out of the back of the row of seats. Greeeeaaaat. He kept trying and trying. And when I stopped him... he threw a car AT me. We spent the rest of the sermon, the prayers, the offering in the "lobby." I at least helped clean up from coffee and donut service while Z ran around. So I was DONE once we got into the car. 2 things changed it. 1. I was trying to decide what we would make for lunch when we got home. Saw the Golden Arches and said "Screw it." So we had McD's for lunch and life was simpler. 2. I knew I would bake. And now... I am in a calm, happy place. Cookies are baking the oven, my home smells homey and sweet. The children are calm and well behaved. This is a moment to preserve in time. To call upon when life gets wild and cars are being thrown at my head. I am in my moment of post-baking enlightenment... my baking zen.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

He Does What?

Jeff is out of town this weekend, off playing in a pretend dungeon with his friends. So the kids and I... What? Oh. No. I'm not kidding. Seriously. Stop laughing! Jeff and his adult friends- most of them over the age of 40- are part of a game called True Dungeon. It's Dungeons and Dragons brought to life. Jeff is part of the crew that brings the dungeon to the masses. He is part of the creative team and the building team and the techie team. He even gets a fancy title during the game... Dungeon Director. I think. While I totally don't get it... because I only played a role playing game twice ever in my life (freshman year of college, some vampire game... and another time that I won't go into on the internet)... I do have to admit that what they do is pretty cool. They take a ballroom in a hotel and build a dungeon. And the dungeon has rooms. And each room has puzzles or games or riddles to solve in order to get to the next room. There are wicked special effects- last year's dungeon had a moving giant. And oodles of volunteers who run the game, run the behind the scenes stuff, run the logistics, and so on. And there are tokens that people buy- and I have no clue what they do with them. I snagged this pic off Google. This is the Tavern- I think it's where gaming groups wait prior to starting the game. Note the ballroom carpet- adds to the dungeon ambiance, yes? I think that what he's doing this weekend is going through a preview of the game. Normally the game is part of this huge gaming convention that comes to Indianapolis each summer. This year, I think they are still doing that "Con" but that they are also doing a freestanding game out in Illinois this spring. So my children are fatherless this weekend. My mom was here yesterday to spend the day with the kids. She stayed the night and took Teagan to dance class this morning and made insulation curtains for Teagan's room and baked in Teagan's Easy Bake Oven with her and let me go to the grocery store kid-free. My mom was back to the mom and grandma I am used to. Slight chaos after she left. But then the kids and I got into a project- baking funfetti cookies. It's the Pillsbury cake mix but you only add oil and eggs (no water) and make a thicker dough and make cookies. They are really yummy. I'm craving chocolate chip cookies and trying to talk myself out of (or into) whipping up a batch before bed...

Oh... and all that nice stuff I wrote about my beloved Sassy poodle... I take it all back. She's been an absolute brat. She's mad that Dad's gone and she's mad that Grandma left. She's been getting into trash and even jumped up on the kids table and ate some food that had been left behind after dinner and then peed on the floor! She's lucky it's nasty cold and snowy out or else she'd STILL be outside.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

How to Make Banana Blueberry Muffins

I know it's been almost a week since Teagan and I actually made our Healthy Banana-Blueberry Muffins. Now you get to find out exactly how we made them! First, get an almost-four year old to put the papers in the muffin tin. This has been Teagan's expertise in the kitchen since she was 2. She's gifted that way. Next, assemble your ingredients and find a cute kid to stand next to them. Ingredients: 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled) 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 1/4 cup wheat germ 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar 2 large eggs 2 ripe bananas, (when mashed, about 3/4 cup) 1/3 cup reduced-fat (2 percent) milk (I used whole because that's what we buy) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup frozen blueberries Preheat your oven to 375. Whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugars.
It will look like this.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. In yet another bowl, mash up your banana. I use frozen bananas. Whenever I have banana on the counter that starts getting too brown for the people in my family to eat, I toss it in the freezer. Frozen bananas are great for baking. And for making baby food (sidebar- I made all of the food that both of my babies ate. Neither ever ate a jar of food, at least not from my hands! I didn't set out that way but it ended up being so stinkin' easy that I just kept going with it and suddenly... no more purees, just table food. I think making my own baby food made the transition to table food easier.).
Add your milk and vanilla to the mashed banana.
" With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. "
I forgot to take a picture of the frozen blueberries in the batter. Or even of the batter after all of that alternating of flour and banana mash... so skip right ahead to...
Fold blueberries into batter. (Fold them because they are delicate and if you just stir them, the berries and juices will just take over the batter and everything will be bluish-purple. If you don't know how to "fold," think of it like laying the blueberries on top in a strip and then tucking them into bed for the night. You just ease batter up and over, up and over and the blueberries will incorporate into the batter gently.)
Fill up those muffin cups! The recipe makes 12 so fill them pretty full.
"Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more. "
While waiting for those muffins, try on your big sister's winter coat. You will feel all special and stuff.
Look at that blueberry goodness!!
You want to run out and make some right now, don't you??