Saturday, December 28, 2013

Another journey around the sun...

As days go around here, yesterday was on the stressful side. It didn't help that it was my birthday. Because on birthdays, one typically has an expectation of being spoiled rotten. Or at least made a fairly big deal of. Or acknowledged.  And I was all of those things.  Just not at the times I needed it. Or thought I needed it.

And, really, it was the Things I Couldn't Control that were stressful.  Because everything else was just me being grumpy.

A friend's last day of work was yesterday and could her two children come spend the morning with us because her husband couldn't get off of work?

The Swiss buttercream I was whipping up for my birthday cake (yes, I was making my own. What?) never came together. I've been making this icing for years. Years.  Always came together beautifully. Until yesterday. Twice. The second time (after an unplanned trip to the grocery store for more butter) I was able to fix it. But only after banging my head on the counter a few times.

Himself is in the middle of finals this week. Great timing, that.

The four kiddos were running around upstairs, boys vs. girls. It's all fun and games until someone catches a nerf arrow with her nose.  I discovered today that blood washes out of her princess dress just fine.

At some point, our HVAC compressor decided to develop a horrendous whine. Not a clue what that was all about.

My sister and her family came in to celebrate Christmas and birthday with us.  Our original plan had been to order Thai take out. But the Thai restaurant never answered their phone. So we went with a Japanese place we'd never been to but had been recommended by a friend.  We should have just driven down to the Thai place and ordered.

Clearing plates away and his bat phone rings. At least it was a call that was resolved fairly quick. And there was still pie left when he got home.

But the company was delightful.  And the lemon pie made by my sister and the gluten free salted caramel chocolate cake were delicious!

So...anyway.  Another birthday come and gone.  Growing older doesn't bother me.  As many have pointed out, it certainly beats the alternative.  But I very much enjoyed my non-stressed-no-where-to-go and-no-one-anxious-about-it-just-us-day today.  Those are my favorites.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve musings...

Animals snoozing in the glow of the twinkle lights.  The last of the presents are wrapped.  Stockings are stuffed. One lone green construction paper link remains from our countdown to Christmas chain.

Eight years into it and it's still surreal to be the parent on Christmas Eve.  Because I still feel like the child.

For the first time in forever we headed out to the Christmas Eve service. As a family.  So very, very blessed.

A delightful dinner out and the long way home winding through neighborhoods, oohing and ahhing at the lights.

There are no plans for tomorrow.  Nowhere we need or even want to be.  Homemade, build-your-own, pizza is on the menu.  Next Christmas we will return to our normal holiday programming and traditional fare.  But this year? This is just for us.  And everyone is okay with that.

One more glass of wine.  Two short kiddos will have us up early!

Merry Christmas to all.  And to all, a good night!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Early Christmas...

Whole family field trip to the passport office this afternoon.  As we were leaving and getting into the car I wished the kiddos a Merry Christmas.


What? We just bought your Christmas presents. So there ya go. Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

On the drive home, the boy was working it all out in his head.  He asked us how much each one cost, plus the additional processing fee.

I get it now! And I'd rather have my passport than 2 or 3 new LEGO sets. 

Holy moly, I love that kid!

But two little voices couldn't help but ask if they were still getting a few more presents. Please?

The UPS truck wearing groves in our driveway should have answered that question for them!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crossing the streams...

So, I have this other other hobby and it keeps me rather busy.  It even has it's own blog devoted to it...mainly for my mom's benefit so she can see the pictures.  But, since there's little else right now I can post about (not that I don't want's just that I, well...can't since I'd really like for himself and I to remain employed), I thought I'd share, for those who are unaware of this other other hobby, on here.

I bake.  And then I play.

Sometimes I play whimsically...

Sometimes elegantly and princess-like...

Sometimes my inner cowgirl emerges...

Other times I simply go along with what was requested...

My favorites are when I get to decide...

Or sneak in a homage to my own favorite superhero...

I tell people that everything I've ever learned about working with modeling chocolate, fondant or gumpaste I learned whilst playing with play dough...

Then there was the time I had to add the warning about everyone's poop turning black...

And then there are the ones that stress me because I sincerely believe one of my super powers is the ability to complicate the simple! But once I go back to the Simple, it all works out...

There are also the cakes where the entire experience could be used as a Sunday morning object lesson.  Everything and anything that could possibly go wrong, did.  And then there was Gravity.  And Humidity. And yet, out of all of that...adorable perfection....

Then, sometimes...just sometimes...I actually listen to that inner voice and keep it all simple...

 There are also the ones that have taken me way out of my comfort zone and I've discovered that my comfort zone is far larger than originally thought...

I take it favorites are the ones I get to create for my own kiddos...

The son of a friend never ever said a single word to me in the year since I met him...until he asked me for a Spiderman birthday cake.  Like I'm going to deny that kind of adorableness?

The excited email I received from a sister of a friend who saw a cake I had done and she was wondering if I could possibly make one just like it for her son's 2nd birthday because he loves animals and it would perfect for the farm themed birthday party! Seriously, I don't think she took a single breath the entire time she was typing...

Actually, I still think it's pretty amazing that people pay me to play with my food, or rather, their food (even better!)  Pretty much the best "job" ever.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Returning guests...

In the quiet hours of the evening, if one stands at the base of the stairs in the dining room one can hear the faint sound of a child singing.

Both children are sound asleep and, should one choose to investigate, one would discover that the singing isn't coming from either of their rooms.

Sometimes, on a chilly autumn night, the smell of pipe tobacco smoke wisps by in the upstairs hallway.

Footsteps can be heard on the stairs when all creatures great, small, and furry are tucked in for the night.

I don't begrudge them coming in from the cold.  But I'm much more comfortable with them when there's another flesh and blood and, more importantly, fully on this side of the Wall, human in the house with me when they do choose to visit.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrating autumn...

Two large, old Hawthorn Maples in the front yard...
we put up with their intrusive roots for the shade in the summer 
and massive leaf piles in the fall.

Never even made it inside from the bus stop.

Pure childhood joy!

This face.  I adore it!

My sunshine girl.  Love her!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No child stolen by the fey this night...

The walls are thin on this all Hallows Eve...but we managed, once again, to fool the other side.

One delightfully adorable Miss Frankie Stein...

And her companion, Slenderman (who morphed into the Headless Horseman due to a costume malfunctioning and head loss...still awesome.)

Off to reap the rewards of a long walk around the neighborhood.

There's always a lot of "chit chat" every year regarding whether or not Christians should participate in halloween festivities. My viewpoint? Things only have the power we give them. To us? This night is about fun. We aren't "worshipping" any pagan gods or beliefs.  How many of our Christmas traditions have the same pagan beginnings?  Yet, how many Christians set up trees? These kiddos enjoyed dressing up and walking around with their friends.  We enjoy the time together planning out and creating costumes.  We've talked about some of the origins of the traditions.  Just as we've talked about the origins of Christmas.  Tonight? They got to enjoy being children.  They won't be young for long.    

*Both costumes are homemade with thrift store accessories...because have you seen the costumes marketed to little girls? Prosti-tots in the making! Eww. Besides, this is the one time of the year my two years as a costume design major get to kick in and shine.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Our wee girl is 6 today. 

Absolutely no clue where the years have gone. 
Seriously. Don't blink. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

On raising Calvin...again.

The wee girl gagged at tonight's dinner.  

But I don't like noodles! 

Those are rice noodles.  Made from rice.  You like rice.  Think of them as long strands of rice.

This is rice?!



And she quietly cleaned her plate. least that portion of her plate.  Because, after almost five years of devouring broccoli, she has recently declared it vegetable non simpatico.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Don't blink...

Still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I now have two children in elementary school.  Where did the years go?!

Where are you going

My little one, little one
Where are you going
My baby, my own

Turn around and you’re two
Turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door

Turn around, turn around

Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door

Where are you going

My little one, little one
Little pigtails, petticoats
Where have they gone
Turn around and you’re tiny
Turn around and you’re grown
Turn around and you’re a young wife
With babes of your own

~Harry Belefonte

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On blessings and gratefulness...

One week ago, I sat here in great anticipation of the coming morning.  Tonight, I sit here and all I feel extremely blessed.  And just a little bit shy of being spoiled rotten.

Gallbladder surgery wasn't something that was in our plans.  Or anyone's plans, really.  I've been dealing with gut issues for a while, the gallbladder ruled out as the culprit early on and it's been a long struggle finding answers.  An incident a few weeks ago landed me in the ER--for the very first time in my entire life.  Doctors tend to take notice once it's gone that far.  A date with the surgeon soon followed.

I have never doubted the presence of a higher power.  But every now and then, Things happen that make me all that more aware of that presence.

So tonight, I'm thankful.

Thankful for ER doctors who make phone calls to other doctors and refuse to back down.

Thankful for Other Doctors who let go of their pride and Listen.  And then Act.

Thankful for appointment cancelations that opened up a consulting slot with the surgeon.

Thankful for surgeons who use visual aids during their consultations.

Thankful for administration staff who know the right code words to use to expedite insurance approval.

Thankful for canceled trips that allowed my husband to be home.

Thankful for pre-op nurses who smile and tell me I can keep my warm, fuzzy socks on.

Thankful for the same nurse for bringing me extra warm blankets.

Thankful for an anesthesiology team that Listens when they're told a patient will most likely throw up in recovery.

Thankful for ultra modern surgical methods and glue that have left me with virtually indistinguishable scars.

Thankful for the medicine that makes the pain go away.

Thankful for healing.

Thankful for a family that has allowed me to Rest.

Thankful for a partner who fussed at me every time I got out of bed for the first two days.

Thankful for streaming video on my laptop and Kindle.

Thankful for a mother who has made a two-hour round trip every day for the past three days.

Thankful that she brought in the fixings for chicken and dumplings and made us supper tonight.

Thankful for a dad who has managed to get through on skype almost every day, just to check up on me.

Thankful for understanding friends and family who aren't offended by the fact my phone has been on Silent for the past week.

My list could fill a dozen pages.

Thankful. And so very, very blessed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summing up...

It's been an...interesting...year.  
Last week we took time away from all of the loony-ness.

A weekend taking in one more of our beautiful state parks...

 Not-quite-roughing-it camping...

Long walks in the woods with family...

And tomorrow morning, bright and early, I check myself in to outpatient for the lovely surgeon to remove my gallbladder.  

And that's how you "sum up" like a Boss. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Conversation just now...

Him:  I understand the British, but why is this baby all over our news?

::blink, blink::

Me: Because not everyone is intelligent enough to know they should be getting their news from the BBC.

Honestly.  It's like he doesn't even know me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer shenanigans...

The Boy, bored:  I want to build another LEGO mechanism.  But I don't know what...

Me:  Oh, about a trebuchet?*

Him, puzzled:  A tri-bu-what what?

Me: Get thee to the mighty Google and look it up.

Him, intrigued: Is that French? Because it sounds French.

Twenty minutes spent on google, google images and youtube...

Him, excited:  Dude!  It's like a catapult!  Sweet!

Off to his room he went...and came back down with this:

And demonstrations followed...

Very proud of he should be!

He's currently building a bigger model.  Because, apparently, this was merely the prototype.

And, yes, the clock reads 1:35 in the afternoon and he is still jammie clad.  It's summer.  It's raining.  What?

*I figured it would go well with the gallows his little sister built last week.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sometimes...the words aren't there.

But music always is.

I'm strong enough to hold you through the winter
Mean enough to stare your demons down.

I'm a riser
I'm a Get up off the ground
Don't Run and Hider.
Push comes to shovin' I'm a Fighter.
When darkness comes to town I'm a Lighter.
Get out Aliver of the fire.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Last Friday I took off for an overnight trip.  Alone.  Just me.  Solo.  A three and a half hour drive with no one asking how much farther, were we there yet, or having to stop for bathroom breaks.  Sheer bliss.   I adore my family.  I love them and am grateful every single day for these miracle children and their father.  But it's been a long year already and I didn't even look back as I drove away.

There was a purpose to my trip.  I was visiting an old friend and her 10-month-old baby boy.  Years ago, in another lifetime, we were co-workers.  In an "office attire" environment  She would tease me about my drab fashion sense and apparent lack of style.  She more than made up for my loathing of shopping.

In the 11 years we have been friends, she has divorced herself from an abusive marriage, pulled herself out of the depths of despair, put herself though college and graduate school, remarried (to a man who adores her), moved states, set up urban homesteading, had a baby and is working on simplifying their lives.  She's the poster child for How to Pull Yourself Up By the Bootstraps and Carry On.  And I love her for that!

Earlier in June she and her son spent the night with us on the way to visit her family elsewhere.  She was appalled at the fact I was pretty much living in my running shorts because they were the only pair of shorts I own that still fit me.  She had bins of clothes she was sorting through at home with the intent of consigning them.  The majority of sizes were what I currently wear.  She wanted to give me dibs.

The fun part wasn't so much gaining new summer clothes for myself.  It was watching her delight as she pulled out favorite pieces and realized she fit into them and could wear them again.  I came home with a bag full of non-running shorts.  Cute, fashionable shorts.  And she added a few more summer dresses and shorts back to her own closet.  With a bin or two of clothes left to take to the consignment store.

Twenty four hours of "girl time"...and I returned to a home still standing, kiddos peacefully playing together and a husband still sane (ish).

Blessings, indeed.