Tuesday, February 2

I remembered that I have a blog!

Yes, the baby has been born. Yes, I had a wonderful busy December. Yes, Christmas happened (that's about all I can say about that) Yes, we had some bad stuff happen too, but I just don't want to write about that at the moment. But most importantly, I have a few minutes alone and hands free, hooray! My husband stayed home from work yesterday and on Friday, framing the weekend when I usually get no alone time, so this is particularly sweet.

For anybody in the world that I haven't emailed or hasn't seen it on facebook, our little girl. Gaelyn Helene was born at 5:40 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2009. Today she is 5 weeks old. We've had a crazy few weeks. I honestly have to say she is a happy, easy baby with the exception that she is a bit colicky. I am hesitant to say that she actually has colic because I know so many babies have a much more difficult time, but she pretty consistently has intense intestinal distress each evening. Of course that's when we are all tired from our day, so it only makes it worse. However, I'm trying to keep things as simple and relaxed as possible so I can focus on her during this time and I think it's helping. Right now I'm banking on her internal systems maturing and that things will start getting easier soon. Unfortunately, I only have 3 more weeks of the 9 weeks I intended to take for maternity leave and I'm not so sure things will be much calmer by then. I work evenings, so by going back to work I'd be leaving my husband alone with both kids, gulp, after having worked a full day himself when he has neither the patience or the tools to settle her down at the moment. I'm more than a wee bit nervous about it and am having nightmares of returning home to a bloodbath. Lyn has been resisting the idea of me taking off any extra time, but I think I'm going to have to push him on this one and then convice work to accept the change in plans.

I do have to say it's absolutely wonderful having a girl. Liam is such a boy, boy and already she appears so much more feminine. I admit, I'm already tiring of pink, but since, thanks to good friends, I've managed to get her wardrobe for her first six months at practically no cost, I really can not complain if she's not always outfitted to my exact tastes. And I was a little shocked to find myself searching for little feminine touches like hairbands and bows, so maybe I'll sofen up on the pink thing. Plus she has the most delicate little feet. I was born with man feet so I am simply enchanted by her long skinny toes and metatarsals. I'm so happy my little girl got pretty feet.

Wednesday, December 2

35 Weeks and all is well

This past week has been incredibly busy, with lots of blogable moments that I'm not quite sure I'll ever get the time to write about.

What's on my mind at the moment is how delighted I am that I've made it to 35 weeks. This is a landmark because this is the point in pregnancy that I lost my first son, Ian. This loss still haunts me and I vividly remember just how anxious I was at his point in my pregnancy with Liam. This time I'm feeling more confident in the sustainability of this pregnancy and in my body's ability to handle it. And while I'm experiencing all that last trimester exhaustion and crankiness, I can't say I'm having anything, but a normal pregnancy. My blood pressure is a tiny high, it stepped up at about my 28th week, but it has remained steady since. I'm monitoring it and my weight, for water retention, daily. As long as I pace myself I'm feeling pretty good. However, as I drove in for my appointment today I did have to to actively still my mind, as I do for each of these check ups.

My reflective mood led me to do a little browsing at my posts from late pregnancy with Liam. Particularly, these that I wrote at 34 weeks and 37 weeks. I've been wondering recently how bad things really did get last time and how much I was just a victim of cya medicine. I can't say that I've reached a conclusion yet. I'm not sure if I ever will. For the moment, I am so glad that I am now more confident, better informed and able to advocate for myself and, of course, really do seem to be having a healthier pregnancy all around, whatever the reason.

Sunday, November 29

Sweet Routines

Today, Liam had one of those moments that was so darn sweet and loving that it made me feel like the best mom in the world, and the luckiest.

Between working late last night and waking up in the middle of the night with a headache, I didn't get as much sleep as I needed. So I took advantage of Lyn being home due to the weekend and took a much needed nap.

About fifteen minutes after I laid down, Liam came in to join me. Unlike his usual fidgety self, he laid down quietly for a few minutes and just watched me. After a little while he informed me that he needed to read me one of his books. He picked out a Thomas book on the shelf by our bed and looked through the pages while sitting next to me. Then he got down from our bed and fetched Taggie, his lovey, and tucked it in next to my head. Then he went back to his room and got the little dream catcher he made in a recent RE, religious education, class and told me it "So you not get scared." He gave me a kiss and quietly left the room.

In many ways he went through the bedtime routine we do with him every night. These are the little things we do to make him feel loved and safe and this is his way of letting me know that they do matter and he is paying attention. I hope that he feels as loved every night at bedtime as I did as he tucked me in for nap.

Thursday, November 26

Thanksgiving 2009

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving this year. Originally, I signed up to work, since I expect to be on maternity leave for both Christmas and New Years. However, they ended up being over staffed and gave me the opportunity to have the day off to spend with the family. My mother in law was cooking a small feast for Lyn and Liam, so I joined them, bringing our gathering to a boisterous 5 in number.

Since I was a last minute crasher, I managed to have no really obligations to contribute to the meal. That of course is completely against my nature, but was exactly what the doctor ordered. It certainly kept the pressure off and allowed me to enjoy the morning.

I invited Liam to help me in the kitchen in the morning. I really think that this is one of his favorite things to do with me. It was so nice to not be trying to set a meal on the table, so we could enjoy the process together without stressing about a timetable or another dish on the stove top. He helped me measure and combine all the cranberry sauce makings. Homemade cranberry sauce is the one thing I really insist on for Thanksgiving. It's so simple and quick to make, with such better results that I really have difficulties accepting any reason not have it. I don't think anybody else in the family cares that much, but it does seem to be enjoyed and disappears rather quickly.

Since my mother in law is normally very set on getting her pies from a place called Upper Crust Bakery and I didn't even offer to bring one. However, she decided to get one from Central Market instead this year and it was much better. She got a pecan pie, which is both her husband and Lyn's favorite. It was packed with pecans and not overly sweet as pecan pies can get, definitely the best store bought pie I recall.

I knew none of the pie would make it home, so I made a pumpkin pie to extend the holiday with. Liam was very excited about making pie and had a lot of difficulties accepting that we had to wait to eat it. He very thoroughly measured and combined ingredients with me and kept everything as neat as can be. The condensed milk can briefly challenged us. It seems all of my can openers were either not cooperating or MIA. So we called upon our friendliest neighbor, Betty Lou, to help us and she came through with a church key close at hand. Liam, my social butterfly really enjoyed visiting her. He walked himself right into their house, before we were invited, chatted at length to her 20 something son about motorcycles, after a close up look at the one in their driveway. We discovered their dog had the same name as ours, an item he found fascinating. He exuberated all the charm a three year old can them promply tried to throw a fit when I insisted he hold my hand to cross the street back home, but we made it back to finish making our pie without any love lost. Pie making was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.

After an early lunch we made up the vegetables together, just a nice simple roasted carrots, cauliflower and broccoli blend. He peeled the carrots for me and then wanted to cut them up. After somehow forcing himself through the tip of a thin carrot with a dull plastic knife I was able to get him excited about slicing bananas instead, which we of course had to pretend were carrots as we muched them.

I was exhausted by the time we arrived at my mother in law's house, as was Lyn. However, Liam always loves to visit with his Mimi which gave us a few minutes to sit down. We use to dine at their house very regularly, but I really can't even remember when the last time was. It was long enough for me to have forgotten where many things were in the kitchen. Liam had some wonderful time exploring talking a playing with his Mimi. It's always such a pleasure to sit back and watch somebody take delight in your child as you wish you always had the patients and energy to do.

Lyn was mainly quiet while at his mothers, but perked up just as I was beginng to fade. When we got home I got to rest and recuperate from what turned out to be a much busier day than I expected.

Sunday, November 22

Holiday Preparations

Ah, the joy of a quiet house. That's a rare treat these days. I took a brief nap this afternoon after Lyn returned from the flying field and woke to a sleeping husband and preschooler. They both normally take much longer naps then I, so I'm going to truly enjoy the moment and postpone preparing dinner to have some time for myself.

This past week, I have begun to shift my mode into holiday preparations. I really didn't think I'd be able to do much for the holidays this year. With a January 4th due date and my pregnancy past. I fully expected to be on all out bedrest before Thanksgiving. Some wonderful twist of health or fate has made this my easiest pregnancy yet. My doctor has gone from discussing inducing me at 36 weeks, something she mentioned the day my pregnancy was confirmed, to letting me go 38-39 weeks. Of course, I hit 39 weeks on Monday, December 28th, and my doctor happens to be leaving for vacation the next day. So my guess is that will be the day my little girl is born, unless of course my pregnancy goes South, as can happen with preclampsia, or she decides on her own to make an earlier entrance, which would ideal. I prepared all my baby things early, so I feel like anymore attention I spend in that direction is just a form of worry, which is exactly what I want to avoid. Dispite my grumbling about pregnancy timing, it really is nice to have something else to focus on as I reach those loooong final weeks.

I'm still planning on keeping things nice, simple and very low key for Christmas, but it's such a special time of year I'm glad I won't end up completely sidelined for it. It also looks like I'll be able to work right up to the holiday, so I don't have to begin my maternity leave early. As silly as it sounds, I'm happy about that, because I really enjoy trying to make the holiday special for the girls who are have to be at our treatment center and away from their family. Each year I've added a little bit to holiday crafts and fun program and I really think I get as much satisfaction out of it as the girls do. I think it helps keep me focused on what the holidays are about and out of the stores. Plus, this year is the first year that Liam really seems to remember Christmas from the year before and he is excited by the little signs of the approaching holidays in the stores and our home.

Of course, Thanksgiving happens between now and then and I really haven't done much, if anything, for it despite it being my favorite holiday. I'll be working Thanksgiving afternoon missing both Thanksgiving dinner at school and with the family. My mother-in-law thoughtfully suggested having Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, but as I work the following 2 days too it seemed somewhat pointless. Lyn will just bring Liam to their house with my homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

We just had a nice visit with my friend Gabriel who is both organized and crafty. My instinct is to always get out the cookie cutters and decorate cookies for the current holiday. It seems a little redundant these days, but that must have been what my mother did with me. Seeing the seasonal projects Gabriel's does with her son always inspires me to branch out a bit more. Since Liam seems to be enjoying these projects more and more, I have hope that someday we'll do more of them too.

Well, I'm hearing signs of stirring from the smaller of my sleeping boys and it's the time we usually eat dinner, so I am going to find something nice and simple to put on the table my the time they are both up. Wow, cooking dinner without multitasking another treat!

Thursday, November 19

The Sweet Smell of Success.

I received an email yesterday informing me that today is the Great American Smokeout, which encouraged me to stop by Quitnet and look up my stats.

I quit smoking 5/31/2003 at 2:00:00 AM. I've been smoke-free for 2364 days, 21 hours, 42 minutes and 46 seconds, basically 6 and a half years. I've saved $6,208.12 and added 9 months, 23 hours to my life by not smoking 35474 cigarettes.

It seems like such a lifetime ago. With how absolutely grossed out I am by smoking now, it's hard to remember that it was once very much a part of my life. I made the choice to start and to quit many times before I quit successfully. So glad I saw it through.

Wednesday, November 18


Please forgive the asterisks, I'm hoping to avoid getting picked up by undesirable searches.

Today, we had a comic moment that I don't think I'll ever be able to forget. We went to get some holiday pictures taken at Portrait Innovations and Liam was very comfortable and talkative with the photographer. Shortly into the session he made attempts at conversation in a way that only a three year old can.

First he told her, "I have a little butt." The photographer and I exchanged glances, chuckled and smiled.

Liam then turned to her, very seriously and with emphasis said, "I have a big p*n*s."

The shocked photographer looked at me to see if it was okay to laugh as I'm gasping for air. I don't know the last time I had a laugh that good. I just adore the unfiltered mind of young kiddos.

Liam just stood there watching the ripple of laughter go through the room and asked me, "You okay, Mommy?," which only made me laugh more.

Tuesday, November 17

Thanksgiving Play

This morning was highlighted by a mildly Thanksgiving themed playdate at my neighbor Jenny's house. So Liam and I made pumpkin muffins. The recipe is uber simple and inexpensive with quickly disappearing results. Liam always gets excited and wants to help when I bring out my mixer. He missed out on helping with measuring and mixing because, much to my aggravation, it took him over an hour to eat his breakfast before I just gave up and tossed it. However, he did a very through job of greasing the pan and sprinkling oats on the muffins.

This recipe was shared by a member of my O'mamas group, Elsa, before she moved North and I make it repeatedly and have adapted it a bit to my tastes.

Elsa's Pumpkin Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spices
1/2 cup canola oil
1 15 oz can of canned pumpkin
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes for 18 regular size muffins, or 12-15 minutes for 36 mini muffins. Accoring to Elsa these freeze very well. However, I wouldn't know. They usually disappear well before I get a chance to freeze them. There are now 2 mini muffins left.

We haven't actually been to an official playdate in a long time. Mainly, we just visit with one or two friends at a time. Liam had lots of fun and I really enjoyed being able to just sit and chat while he played. It was a nice change to talk to people outside my normal circle. He's been very talkative and energetic lately which is wonderful, but I'm just having a hard time keeping up these days.

Shaking out the Cobwebs

I've missed blogging. Really missed it. Sure facebook is fun and a nice way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances on a superficial level, but I miss writing and pondering and the open possibilities of blogging. I've actually been missing it for a while now.

Tonight's post really turned into me trying to get my template back to some semblance of what I find attractive and readable (It still has far to go). I'm back in the game, again.

Saturday, July 5

Emotions and Reason

I hate those days when I spend so much time setting limits that I'm just not sure if I'm being unreasonably or if my wards are. At least my coworkers seemed to think I know what I'm doing. I guess I'll just have to trust their judgement that I actually do.

On another note... I found this as I was cleaning up the desk that I share at work and thought that we could all use a little reminder of this stuff sometimes.
Top Ten Emotional Needs

Acceptance - deliberate and ready reception with a favorable positive response, even after failure.

Affection - to communicate care and closeness through physical touch and words.

Appreciation - to communicate with words and feelings a personal gratefulness for another.

Approval - expressed commendatio, to think and speak well of.

Attention - to take thought of another and convey appropriate interest and support, to enter into another's "world".

Comfort (empathy) - to come alongside with word, feeling, and touch; to give consolation with tenderness.

Encouragement - to urge forward and postively persuade toward a goal.

Respect - to value and regard highly; to convey great worth.

Security - confidence of harmony in relationships; free from harm.

Support - come alongside and gently help carry a load

Monday, June 30

Carbon Copy

In order to take advantage of Blogger's New Blog List feature, I was forced to upgrade my blog. Which means I need to actually take some time to fiddle around to make it pretty and my own again. I'm sure I'll have fun with it, but it will not be happening tonight. So for now my blog is just like each and every other minima blog out there. Blah!

I need sleep. I was a on edge all day and I'm sure a lack of sleep had something to do with it. Even a nap didn't help. However, I did manage to kick back this evening.

I actually got my husband to go out to eat dinner. No fussing, no whining, no pleading, no pouting or negotiating. At 5:25 I look at the clock and said "I feel like s***. We're going to Plucker's for dinner. Go get something on"

This is very significant because the last time Lyn and I ate out together it was at a sub shop over a year ago without Liam. The last time we ate out with Liam he was 3 months old and slept through the whole thing. This is a huge step. Before Liam was born we are out regularly, usually at some fairly nice restaurants. I can't say Plucker's is nice, it's a wing joint, but it's inexpensive, has a busy, kid friendly atmosphere and it's near by. This has been a huge anxiety issue for Lyn. He just hasn't been willing to go out to eat, there is always an excuse. He works up the worse case scenario in his head. However, tonight he didn't. He actually said that it was a good idea, that he enjoyed himself, and that he would be willing to go someplace family friendly again. Next time I'm going to try for a place that has vegetables on their menu.

And yes, I just posted 2 times in one day. Now that hasn't happen in quite some time.

Rain at Last

After what feels like months, although I'm sure it's only been weeks, it has finally rained. It seems ironic with the flooding that has been happening elsewhere, we've settled in for a long hot summer in Central Texas this year. I mean longer than usual.

I survived another work weekend and this is my lazy Monday. Well, it's not actually that lazy considering I was awoken my a little monster climbing into my bed at 6:15 this morning and now, three hours later, is the first chance I've had to sit down for more than a minute.

After converting Liam's crib to a toddler bed in March because he was threatening to climb out, we put a door knob cover on the inside doorknob of his room to keep him from wandering the house at night. However, now doorknob covers and just about every other child proofing device are useless in our household. He doesn't turn them. He takes them off the knob and then turns the knob. Simple enough...

Anyway, I worked a slightly different schedule this weekend and I think it may have been an overall win-win-win situation, for me, my husband, and for my employer, at least for our current needs. I worked Saturday and Sunday evening, instead of the morning shifts like I've been doing for the past month, or the 16 hour shifts on Sundays that was doing before. It was great for me because I was able to hang out with Liam and Lyn Saturday morning and Lyn was able to run off and take care of a few things. Then on Sunday I was able to sleep in and then I played with Liam while Lyn did some house cleaning. I didn't have to rush around and cook dinner when I returned for work and try to give Lyn a little down time, plus I got a little more down time myself. Lyn really appreciated being able to take care of things and not being stuck at home without adult company, since he can't transport anybody except himself in his work truck he can't drive places with Liam while I'm working. Pam, who does the scheduling at work, was thrilled when I told here I'd like to give this a try because she's had a hole on Saturday nights for a while. win-win-win.

My child is taking advantage of my diverted attention to get into mischeif, so I must go see if I can find a plunger. For some reason a full roll of TP just won't flush.

Wednesday, June 25


Before me, I have two whole hours of absolute me time. Ahhhh! There are so many things I'd love to do with it that I feel overwhelded and have no idea where to start. I'm sure in the end I'll end up just puttering it away on odds and ends, but that is fine by me. After all it's my time to putter.

Liam is at, my friend, Jenny's house playing with his buddy, Will. We have an arrangement that every Wednesday we alternate who gets the boys and who gets a few hours to themselves. Today is my day. It's like our own private, very flexible, MDO program. I'm much happier for getting some me time and Liam is much happier for getting some playtime in. Honestly, even on the days that I have the boys it's easier on me because they have each other to play with instead of Liam looking to me to entertain him all morning, I enjoy their company more and have fun planning special crafts and activies for us to do together.

It feels like it's been a while since I've had my turn though. Last week we went to Children's Day at the Art Park together and saw Joe McDermott, instead of swapping days and had a wonderful time despite loosing each other after the show. I was glad she was interested in going. I had training at work on Tuesday, again, and I work every Thursday. I can't stand the idea of dropping Liam at somebody else house on the days weeks that I'm going to be away from him extra. Then the last time it was my turn I used it for a chiropractor's appointment and errands. This is much better...

Anyway, back to planning my morning. Mainly, I have lots of cleaning and organizing to do, but just the thought of that makes me want to go hide in a book. I also need to spend a little time making some cards. Both my brother and one of my close friends are celebrating their birthday this tomorrow. While it's a little late to get anything in the mail to Jeffrey on time, Keitha is one of the friends who got me into card making and so I want it to do something extra special for her.

The other, probably more pressing, thing I need to do is reconstruct my pantry. This morning, with Liam's "assistance" I disassembled most of my pantry. I've been trying to make some dietary changes and have needed to do this for a while. Honestly, I'd like to completely redo the pantry including putting a new shelving system in it and knocking out a wall so that I can increase it's size. However, I guess that won't be happening in the next hour and a half and without discussing it with Lyn first. For now I'll have to live with a panrty that has noticelby less stuff that I don't want to be eating in it. I wonder if I'll be able to dump some of the "junk" on to Jenny?

Well, my coffee cup is empty. I need to press replay on my Midnight Oil CD and I feel motivated to get things done

One small task for me, one giant leap towards living a better life...

Friday, April 25

Headaches and Mommy Guilt

It's hard to be a good mommy when you have a headache. Actually, it pretty hard to be a good person in general when all you want to do is crawl under a rock.

I woke up with a lovely migraine this morning that took it's sweet ole time going away despite the ice, Excedrin and caffeine I fed it. I can't say it was horribly bad, but boy was it stubborn. It didn't go away until more than an hour after I took an Imitrex, which normally works right away for me.

Needless to say, I wasn't exactly my most patient and loving self this morning. Liam spent the whole morning asking to go out, but then run away when I try to dress him. Usually I am able to turn this into a fun game and we get out the door in a reasonable amount of time. However, this morning I just left the pile of clothes on his bedroom floor and walked away. Being dissatisfied by my lack of playfulness Liam decided to turn my morning routine into a game. Including shredding paper all over my office when I checked my email and the weather, unloading the dirty dishes from the dishwasher as I cleaned up from breakfast and tearing off covers of my bed as I tried to make it. Finally I felt like I was going to blow my lid and took a self-time out. I laid down for about 20 minutes after gating Liam into his room for he had some quiet playtime. Honestly, I think he benefitted from the quiet time as much as I did. It was enough chill time so that we could finally get out the door.

Once we were in the larger world which is obviously much more interesting than home, all went well. I got in a short trip for some card making supplies from Achievers and we met friends for a park playdate. We were a little late to do the hokey pokey and parachute play with our toddler buddies, but we still got to have fun. I love the park. I had not yet discovered this one and it's terrific for toddlers, and not to far from home.

Once home, we ate lunch and Liam's down for his nap and I'm feeling guilty for being such a grumpy this morning. Especially because now I feel perky and full of energy. Oh well, Liam didn't seem to mind too much. I'm so lucky to have such a resilient kid. Now on to make explore my new toys...

Monday, April 21

I "heart" the internet

More specifically, I love online shopping. While online shopping has been well and good for many years now, in recently it has taken off to a whole new level which, oh, so, improves my quality of life.

Have you ever tried swimsuit shopping with a 2 year old? Just the thought of it sends me screaming in the other direction. Now I'm not talking the perfect cute swimsuit to beach comb in, not really my style even when 50 pounds lighter. I'm talking the suit you can do some real laps in. I've been avoiding buying a swimsuit for quite a while now. The last swimsuit I bought been limping along for at least 3 years now. Finally, I could take it's shabby condition no more and I threw it out a couple months ago after a very self-conscious workout and haven't been swimming since.

I guess that I had the hopes this would motivate me to drag Liam and myself to the local sport or swim shop and sift through their sorry selection to find a brand, cut, and color that I can tolerate. My pre-child expeditions on this kind normally proved to be quite frustrating and I was having massive anxiety of doing it with child and in my now even larger and harder to find size.

Then in the wee hours of the morning I had one of those "Oh, duh!" moments. I thought "Why don't I just check out the Tyr website and see what they have?" Now I feel like a fool for not having thought of this sooner. Needless to say, I have a suit in my preferred brand, cut, and coming my in my favorite colors and I'm only half way through my coffee.

With all the new applications they have for viewing products online it's making it less and less necessary to deal with brick and mortars. Unless, of course, you actually like shopping. Yuck! Plus, with the price of gas lately my shipping was easily compensated for by the gas I didn't use and the tax I sales tax I didn't pay. Now I get to enjoy the morning chasing my son around the park instead of the store. Now that's stress management.

Monday, April 14

A Perfect Day

I am feeling totally, utterly happy and content.

The weather is beyond beautiful. I have the house open despite all the pollen exposure. I have dinner already made and nothing else that I feel must be done today. And I must say the past few weeks have been very emotionally satisfying.

I spent a glorious 10 whole days at my mom's house. It was the best and most relaxed trip home I've ever had. Instead of running around like a nut bar trying to visit everybody I actually put very few miles on the car. We did get to see many people, but somehow I managed to not over do it and kept my focus on quality rather then quantity.

Then I returned and immediately jumped back into our regular life, work and stuff, plus I had a Liam's party to get together. I had set a date and a theme, but done very little else before leaving for NY. Somehow it all fell together and he turned 2 despite my lack of planning. Yikes! How did that happen?

I find it hard to believe that my tiny little baby is now 2 and such a big boy. I haven't uploaded a single picture from my trip or from the party, although I sincerely intend to sometime millenium. However, the lovely Mia's Mama took some lovely shots while she was there.

This is my very favorite...

IMG_0862, originally uploaded by Mia's.Mama.

I don't have much more to say at the moment and I have a few more things I like to do while Liam finishes up his nap, but looking though Mia's Mama pictures had me longing for my online connections again and so I thought I'd post. In my surfing I did discover a delightful revolution which I think I may have joined.

Now I'm off to enjoy this perfect day.

Saturday, December 15

"You have a baby!"

These words were utter to me today by one of my teenage wards with her mouth agape. Honestly, teenage girls have such funny ideas about things.

When I assured them that yes indeed I do, although he's really more of a toddler now, she was equally astonished. When I asked her why, she stuttered, "I...I...just thought you were too old to have a baby. Aren't you in your 40's or something?"

Thanks kid. My visions of my youth are slowly starting to slip away. I guess the extra weight I'm carrying must make me look matronly, or something. Of course it doesn't help that I'm 3 years older then the poor girls mother.

Usually people think I'm younger then I am. Bummer. Of course, when I was younger I wanted them to think I was older and now that I'm older I want them to think that I'm younger. Isn't that the way life goes.

Tuesday, November 27

Thanksgiving 2007

It was a success!

I sort of followed the menu and cooking schedule in the Nov 2007 issue of Fine Cooking, with a few adaptations and simplifications. It spread the cooking and shopping out so that everything was produced without sweat or heartache and with enough room in the fridge. Plus, the results were terrific.

What was missing, could have been better?

I need my own carving knives. I borrowed Irene’s, which worked quite well too, but having my own would, of course, have been better.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.

The decor could have used improvement. I used a simple runner and everyday placemats with a vase of flowers with cranberries (thanks to Heather’s innovation) and a few mini pumpkins left out from Halloween. It still looked good and our new table was a huge improvement over what we would have been able to do otherwise. Unfortunately, I was unable to find holiday linen which I found attractive and at a price I was willing to pay. I am hoping to catch something on post season clearance to use for next year.

The sweet potatoes au gratin could really have used some improvement. I used ½ and ½, instead of heavy cream (I’m not sure why. Probably, to cut out some fat) and I soaked the sweet potatoes overnight because I was getting ahead of myself. This just made it too watery and not creamy and it never gratined properly. Plus, I added too many sweet potatoes for the liquid. Sometimes, less is more. It was the slowest moving dish on the table and in the leftovers. It was still tasty though and I’d make it again, but follow the recipe . Honestly, if I were to have made something else I’d like it to be something that is easier to pass around the table. My thoughts at the moment are mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of a cayenne kick and some pineapple chunks or something along those lines.

The rest of the food was fabulous. No really!

I will brine the turkey again, although I think I will be a little more stingy in how much I pay for the herbs to brine it in. I haven’t actually calculated it, but between the $5 brining bag and the fistfuls of fresh herbs I know the brining cost far more then it would have to use a fresh organic instead of the frozen unorganic turkey that I bought.

Making my own stock was great, but if I were crunched on time I would find this the best thing to skip. I wouldn't call it vital.

The herb butter was a wonderful move and I plan to do this again even it I don’t brine. It was cheaper and easier the brining, added flavor, sealed in moisturer and helped create a wonderfully browned skin.

The stuffing was terrific and, as always, the first of the leftovers to go. I made 1 and a half bags of cornbread stuffing for a 12 lb bird and 5 of us. I made Irene’s recipe using hot sausage and added a little fennel. I honestly can’t say the fennel added as much as I expected, but it wasn’t very fresh and Irene calls for more celery leaves then I used. Next time I may just make 2 bags.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.

My broccoli was yummy. I made the broiled broccoli which I frequently make and we always enjoy.

The cranberry sauce was great, but simple to make. I just added a generous amount of ground cloves, perhaps a little too generous, actually, and fresh orange zest. It looked fabulous in the glass dish Mom got me last Christmas.

Lyn even raved about my gravy, which I'm not very experienced with making. I little oversight from Irene and a good sized splash of sherry in it helped make it a success.

Fred and Irene brought some Toasted Head Pinot Grigio and a pumpkin pie from Sweetish Hill Bakery.

The pie was tasty and very attractive, despite not being homemade and it was made clear that both Fred and Lyn would have preferred pecan pie, but I thing my fresh whip cream made up for it. I had wanted Liam to be able to have pie with us, so asked her to bring pumpkin. Honestly, these men are so particular about having pecan pie on every single holiday that it almost makes me want to intentionally not serve what they demand, but then I am a difficult one.

I have no doubt that I will be asked to make the turkey again someday and I look forward to it.

If I host next year I’d like to invite a couple more people. I did reach out to others this year, trying to include others that I thought might not have family to spend it with, but they all had other plans. I guess I’ve reached a point in life where most of the people I spend time with have enough of a social network that I don’t have to save anybody, what a concept! I did manage to get a brief acknowledgement that it is thanksgiving from everybody before we began eating. Next year I’d like to have somebody who I can get to lead a short message of thanks or perhaps I’ll get brave enough to do so myself. Heck, I could always one of my fire and brimstone relatives, that would certainly liven things up.

November 22, 2007, originally uploaded by loralia.
Liam was a ham. He seemed to enjoy the specialness of the occasion and all the yummy food, except the turkey. He never even tried the turkey, but asked for more of the stuffing and the cranberries, as well as, the whip cream.

He was on very good behavior, but distant with his Mimi and Fred Fred. We timed dinner late at 3:30 so that we could serve it after he had had a full nap. That also allowed me time to set the table, shower, and run out to the store for those emergency items. Lyn was helpful, especially with getting the house cleaned up for company. I managed to not have to ask him to watch Liam for more then short bits throughout the day and still spent plenty of time playing with him, which I think added to his angelicness.

Of course, the mysterious stomach bug that knocked us out one by one over the next few days is another story and had nothing to do with my cooking.

Saturday, February 10


Earlier this week a friend confided in me that she had had yet another miscarriage. She’s a bit of a stoic type and not one to get overly emotional, but four lost babies are too much to ask any woman to handle. I think that this lost is made all the more potent because she was actually able to carry one to term. She has experienced the love and joy of he has brought into their lives and wants one more, just one. That really shouldn’t be too much to ask. I think that the real killer is that she now had hope. Hope that whatever thing was making it so that she couldn’t carry her babies had gone away and that perhaps, just perhaps, she wouldn’t have anymore problems. Hope is the real killer and now part of that hope is dead.

After I lost Ian, I found a great quote that still haunts me today:

With the lost of a spouse you lose your present,
With the lost of a parent you lose a part of your past,
But with the lost of a child you lose your hope for the future.

It’s not an exact quote and I’m not sure who to credit to, but 9 years later I remember it and so it obviously touched me. While I was so grateful that she choose to share this with me. I have to admit that our conversation definitely stirred things in my own heart and mind.

Lyn and I certainly are not ready to have another baby, yet. However, I’d like to get pregnant again about a year from now. My pregnancy with Liam confirmed that what happened to Ian was not just a fluke. The last trimester of pregnancy is tough for me and for my babies. I never let my breath out the whole time I pregnant with Liam. I was terrified when he didn’t move a lot that he was dead and when he moved a lot I was terrified that he was under stress and struggling for his life.

When my blood pressure went up my blood turned to ice. I really became a bit of a basket case. An over reaction? Yes or no, who is to say? My physical symptoms really weren’t that bad, but the mental issues were horrible.

Liam stirs from his nap. I hope to continue this entry later in the day. Suffice to say this is on my mind.

Wednesday, January 31

No More Drama Mama

It’s been a busy week and I found that while I have been sitting down to write, I haven’t managed to post any of it, time and interruptions have prevented me from completing my train of thought. Since my brain tends to wander and meander all over the place the train can get pretty long before I wrangle them into readable form. One of my favorite quotes that seems applicable to me is:

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

Mainly, I’ve just been busy trying to ease us into our new schedule, so that next week when I start doing a 16 hour day we’ve got the kinks out.

One major event for me this week is that I have left the mommy group that I was once the assistant organizer on. Of the 5 groups that I joined I now remain in 2 which is a much nicer balance for me. I know it sounds a little strange to say, but leaving this group was a difficult decision for me to make. I felt like it as the equivalent of breaking up with a boyfriend and I admit that ending this has never been something I was very good at. I always took the tacit of just disappearing without a word more then once, leaving me with more then one fellow scratching his head. Right now, I'm still missing it a bit, but think it was best. I do hope to maintain many of the friendships of made from the group, as I really came to rely on many of these women in my first few scary months of motherhood. However, enough drama had gone down that I was finding the group to be more stressful then fun.

Honestly, who would have thought that motherhood would have been such a boon to my social life? I haven’t been this social since I was in college. Actually, I don’t think I’ve been in any actual social organizations since college. I don’t know how long my activity in my current groups will last because I guess at some point in time one just moves on. I’ve always been one to tend to create longer lasting closer friendships and finds them most rewarding. However, I really enjoying have a circle of friends based on common interests. I’ll have to make sure that I stay involved with similar organizations in the future. As long as you don’t over do it, like I was, they really are a godsend.