Sunday, November 27, 2005

Andrew-ism: King of Reindeer

Tonight, in the car, I was singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the children. I remember singing Christmas songs in the car during the holidays when I was growing up. We always sang in the car for that matter... I'll have to post the "Dead Skunk" song sometime. But that's another story. I

Anyway. I want my children to have similar special memories of holidays songs with the family... looking at Christmas lights. All the goodies that go with the season. I was singing Rudolph and Andrew was singing along, but he makes up his own words. After Rudolph I moved on to Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Andrew stayed with Rudolph but tossed in a little of what I was singing. What resulted was a lyric that went something like, "The king of reindeer will clean you off." Don was driving and just hooted! He had tears of laughter in his eyes. Meanwhile I kept on with Hark...

Each day brings something great from Andrew. A new idea, a ridiculous song, a silly sound. Check back for more Andrew-isms in the future. Some things just beg to be blogged.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Pronunciation: 'tha[ng]k-f&l
Function: adjective
1 : conscious of benefit received
2 : expressive of thanks
3 : well pleased : GLAD
- thank·ful·ness noun

I am thankful for my salvation through what Jesus Christ did on the cross for me.

I am thankful for my husband. I waited a long time to be loved like he loves me. I can't even wrap my brain around what Don feels for me. There are no words for it.

I am thankful for my children. Their health and the incredible way they fulfill my life. That they are what wakes me up in the morning and what end my long and loving days.

I am thankful for my mother. All that she has done for me as a child and woman to show me great happiness. Her strength and love. For the healing that she is receiving and for God's grace in giving her the will to fight her cancer. And for my father, how he provided for us and how he is shouldering all of the weight of running the household right now. He is stronger than I realized.

I am thankful for all of my family, those related by blood and by marriage. For how they love and pray for us and look forward to seeing us as often as they can. And for those in my first marriage, though I don't see them now, they still mean the world to me. And how they love and help care for my precious MG is above and beyond what most people would consider convenient.

I am thankful for my best friend. How she knows me better than I know myself. For her kind and giving spirit. I've never met anyone else like her. What an incredible mother she is to her own children. For what a great role model she is for me.

I am thankful for all of my mommy friends. I would not be the woman I am because of the support network I have with my local playgroup and my online girlfriends.


What I Thought I Wanted
by Sara Groves

Tuxedo in the closet, gold band in a box
Two days from the altar she went and called the whole thing off
What he thought he wanted, what he got instead
Leaves him broken and grateful

I passed understanding a long, long time ago
And the simple home of systems and answers we all know
What I thought I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting you to be fair
But that’s not what you said
I want certain answers to these prayers
But that’s not what you said

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions,
I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful

What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted

Staring in the water like Esop's foolish dog
I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost
What it was I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and grateful

I’m broken and grateful
I want to be broken and grateful
I want to be broken,

I want to be broken,

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Its Snowing!

Its early, and just a little dusting. But it is enough to intrigue Andrew about what winter will bring. We were just peering out the front window and had a long discussion about what snow is and why this snow is not covering the grass. He's so excited for winter to come and bring "wots and wots of snow!"

I've also just been informed that he wants Spiderman snowboots. Now there is an idea for Santa Claus!

On the Road Again

I just spoke to mom. She and Dad are on their way to Birmingham for the 3rd chemotherapy treatment. There was some worry that her blood cell count would not be high enough to get this treatment because it was "fair" last week instead of "good," but the labwork came back just fine yesterday. Mom was concerned that IF she could not have chemo today it would throw her schedule off and she'd end up getting a treatment the day before we fly down for the Christmas/New Years holiday week. She wants to feel well for our visit and having it delayed by one week would have made it iffy. Thankfully that won't be the case for now. While I'd love to be there for her and nurse her back to health, giving Dad a break, I understand her need to do it without the help of 7 children in the house (my brother has 4). Hopefully her next one will go off as scheduled in middle December and she'll be feeling fine for Christmas. We would appreciate your prayers for that!

We are heading down to Alabama on the evening of December 22nd. We'll be there through New Years Day. I can't wait to see my family and share Christmas with my kiddos. Life is so precious. We'll certainly have a great deal to be thankful for this year.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

38 ounces

38ouncesGrowth spurt?
I don't know. But whoa!... we're going to have to take out a loan to feed this chubba wubba! I remember one day Mary Grace took about 40 ounces around this age as we were approaching the time to start cereal. I wasn't eager to start with Abi, but baby cereal is way cheaper than formula!! LOL (OK, H is going to nail me on that!)

I'm so eager to see what Abi weighs. She has her 4m check up next week so we'll see. Of course that means more bad old shots. Ugh, I hate the first year and all the poking. She had a rough go at 2m with the shots. I'm praying it won't be so traumatic this time.

Made By Me

bracelet2A mommy friend of mine, Kristin Martin, has started a new business. Its along the lines of Tupperware or Pampered Chef, where women gather in someone's home and buy things... but in her new and inventive spin, you actually buy your own piece of jewelry that you design and assemble.

I was so very excited when I got the invite for Kristin's inaugural party in her home and even more excited when I arrived to see the fabulous array of supplies she had to choose from. I had decided ahead of time to design and build a mother's bracelet and it was so much fun to choose my bead colors and styles, as well as the sterling accents and toggle closure. I hope to host a party for Kristin after the holidays are over with to spice up the cold weather. I am ready to make another something lovely already!

It was nice to have a bit of ME time, as we stay at home moms refer to it. It was only about 3 hours, but it was time spent doing something for myself with no little ones to keep up with. I am so thankful that my husband is willing to give me a few hours here and there, while he cares for the children, so I don't lose Wendy in the under all of the Mommy and Wife things that must be taken care of. It was nice to see Wendy again. ;)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Basil-Miso Pesto

¼ cups Walnuts 12 oz Spinach, washed & stemmed
½ cups Basil leaves
3 tablespoon Olive oil
2 tablespoon Miso, any variety (we used white)

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, or on a baking sheet at 350F for 3 minutes. Set aside. Steam spinach until just wilted. When cool enough to handle, remove excess moisture with paper towels or a salad spinner. Blend spinach, walnuts & remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender until the mixture resembles a rough paste. Your Spinach-Miso Pesto is ready. Serve tossed with hot pasta or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

The recipe yields enough for about 3 meals of tossed pasta.
"Vegetarian Gourmet" Summer, 1994
Bon appetit!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mom Stuff

The mom report...
Mom has been feeling pretty well toward the end of this last week, after getting a rough start to it, from her chemo. The aching in her legs is pretty severe for the first week post-chemo, but has started to subside now. She doesn't think her fluid has been building up again, or at least not enough for her to notice it. She has an appointment with the pulmonologist next week to see.

She had a
Bard Port surgically put in last Friday. It will help with the administering of the chemo for future treatments so that they don't have to do the "hunt-for-the-vein game" each time. She has small veins and they were having difficulty. This should be a big help.

Genetic counseling...
My doctor has been such a dear regarding mom's battle with Ovarian cancer and has been researching some things about the heredity. She recommended that mom be tested for two genetic markers,
BRCA1 & BRCA2. If tests positive for them, then my chances of inheriting the probability of Ovarian cancer are greatly increased. Mom talked to her oncology team and they are setting her up for the labwork in December while we are in Alabama for the holidays. When she goes for the labwork, I am going with her and we are seeing a genetic counselor together. I am so humbled by mom's willingness to do this for me and her oncology team for their quick response to her request. It should be an interesting and enlightening day. And if nothing else is fun about it, we'll have a girls day together and we can do lunch!

3 month portraits

Abi and I had a nice day running around the county. After lunchtime we struck out to Ephrata for a baby shower of a past coworker of mine. She is due in just 7 weeks. She looked wonderful and got loads of great gifts! It was nice to see her and her family, as well as my oldportraits1 boss.

After the shower we headed to the mall for portraits at Picture People. Abi is smiling all over herself these days and still has her baby look so I wanted to hurry up and get them made before she turns into a toddler. I move at a snail's pace these days. Click to enlarge and see other shots!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Cooking Co-Op Chronicles

So Monday was the big day. C and I met at E's house to cook our 4 meals for each family. E started the day out by putting one of the meals together in the crock pots early on before we arrived. That was a mexi-chicken chili. Chicken, salsa, northern beans, cheese...yum yum yum!

We got busy around noon and cooked until about 4pm. We made a basil miso pesto sauce with a tomato garlic topping for pasta. A veggie white lasagna and a delicious breakfast casserole.

There were times when all 3 babies were happy and watched us from the pallet, bouncey and swing. Then there were times when we weren't cooking and just feeding hungry bellies. Sometimes we sat and chopped while our babies slumbered in the slings on our chests. We let them set the pace and it worked like a charm. The big kiddos all played very well, up and downstairs, with some minor administrative assistance. Hehee. They were all troopers!

The most amazing news is that after E shopped on Sunday, the total was only about $90... or $30 for each family to have 4 meals. I think that's an amazing deal! We have enough, with leftovers, for the whole week actually. We won't have to cook anything else! Yahoo!

Today the girls are coming here for a playdate. I have 5 loads of clothes washed, dried and ready to fold. We will work on that together over coffee and make plans for next week's menus.

I'm giving this plan an A+... and giving C all the credit for the idea!

My Cheeky Monkey

Abi, intently watching her big brother. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Culinary Confessions

I saw another blogger do this and thought it was cute!

My Culinary Confessions....
1. I've had a George Foreman grill for 5 years and, while I think its a healthy idea, I've only used it probably 3 times.
2. I banished Don's rice steamer when we got together 6 years ago. I hate redundant appliances. That's what a stove is for, silly.
3. I haven't mopped the kitchen since before Abi was born. (gasp, my MIL is reading this)
4. My favorite chocolate chip cookies are Pillsbury Slice N Bakes... over home made even!
5. I cook with bacon fat to season veggies. Sometimes. Less since I moved to PA. But still sometimes.
6. When I first got engaged I rushed out to Sears to buy a small appliance. What did I buy?? An ice cream maker. I've used it twice since 1989.
7. I am a loud cook.
8. I use recipes about twice a year. I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of cook.
9. We bought sugar this week. I'd been out of it for about 3 months.
10. I love cold hot dogs out of the package.

The Bridge of Friendship

My dear friend Mel wrote this blurb in her daily journal for our mutual friend, Patricia, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. It made me cry and I just wanted to share the sentiment...

"Cancer that word that is so scary because we don’t know where it will take those affected. We’ve all heard stories that scare us shitless. But more often these days we hear of strength and will, a sheer determination to live. This is where our P is; she has survivor written all over her. No one I know is more mentally capable of handling this. While I don’t worry about the end of the road (much) I do worry about the journey. There will be days where the river to cross seems so wide and fast moving. Other days will be meadow days, flowers, picnics, glasses of wine. Remember P, we’re the flanks of the bridge. And we love to pick flowers and drink wine."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Seymour.... Sweet Memory

SeymoreA couple weeks back we dug out the infant activity gym (colorful blanket on the floor with dangly things above it) that we had purchased three years ago when Andrew was a newborn. Abi is beginning to notice her world and it was time to start stimulating her during awake times. When we pulled the toys out and put them on, the little seahorse that originally came with the gym was missing. We had always loved that little green seahorse with his pretty song. MG named him Seymour over that first Christmas after Andrew's birth. Don and I even made up a little song with his name over time.

I thought he'd gotten tossed because, by the time Andrew was mobile, he'd taken a shine to Seymour and kept his tail in his mouth all of the time. I remembered the little green guy being stained before finally disappearing during toddlerhood. So I assumed we'd just pitched him since his electronic noise maker was sewn in.

I was mopey about him being gone every time it crossed my mind over the last two weeks . But when I retrieved another bag of infant toys from the attic yesterday, there, in the bottom of the bag, was Seymour. He was mostly brown and icky, but just as happy to see me as I was him.

He sang his song for me, so pretty and just as loud as three years ago. I almost cried. I told Don we should just pitch him, but I couldn't bring myself to do so. Very delicately, I performed surgery on Seymour's striped belly to remove the music maker and pinned it back up so the stuffing would not come out during cleaning. I soaked him in Oxyclean for several hours then Don tossed him into a load of clothes he was washing late last night.

When I awoke this morning and made my way into the kitchen to warm a bottle for Abi, there he was. Don had laid Seymour on the granite kitchen island. He was bright and clean and green once more. Just a while ago, I sewed his music maker back into his striped belly and hung him up on the activity gym.

He's dangling there now. Waiting for Abi to notice him and fall in love. Just like the rest of the family has. I'm so glad to see our little friend. And so happy that he will be a part of Abi's childhood like he was for Andrew.

Autumn On Our Street

I took these today while everyone else was resting. I wish it had been sunny instead of overcast, but the colors are still amazing. Click to enlarge if you like.




Friday, November 04, 2005

Cooking/Cleaning Co-op

I'm so excited!

My good friend, C, cooked up a great idea. Since we already spend so much time together for playdates we are going to put it to good use and start cooking and cleaning for each of our families. We get together with another friend, E, several times a week as it is since none of us have jobs outside the home, so we are planning to make 2 of those days in our homes. The children will still play. We will still have coffee and chat. But while we visit, we can be working.

On one of the days we will do meal plans and some light cleaning or laundry for that day's host. The second day we gather, we'll cook. Because we don't work outside the home, we can move the days around as needed between appointments and obligations as our lives require. We have picked out 4 recipes for this coming Monday. I'm so eager to try this! The kids will play, we will tend to babies and cook. Hopefully when we all go home that afternoon we'll be taking 4 meals home for each of our 3 families.

If it works we hope to share the idea with our playgroup so others can hook up in their own groups of 2-3 and do the same. It will be a benefit to our entire families. The kids get playtime, the moms get mental health time with friends and the daddies get full bellies! Hahaha!

I'll report back after Monday's trial run.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Faces of Abigayle

Sweet Patricia - Calling For Prayers

Me and Patricia in 2004
during a trip to Philadelphia

One of my girlfriends has just been diagnosed with cancer. It seems the walls are falling down around me some days. Arrrgh! I could just swear. My mom, and now one of my strongest and dearest girlfriends has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. She had an ultrasound yesterday because of some pain in her back. It showed a mass so they did a CT. She has a cancerous 8cm tumor in one of her kidneys.

Patricia and I met online when we were pregnant in 2002. She has a 3 year old, Ava, and a 4 year old, Leo. Can you imagine facing cancer treatments with two preschoolers? Mind boggling. I've met her in person twice, spending girls weekends together with other girls who have October '02 babies. She is a tremendous source of strength for me. I only pray I can return the favor to her now.

No prognosis yet, she'll have lots of diagnostics going on over the next week. We would appreciate your prayers!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

2nd chemo treatment today

Mom is in Birmingham today getting her second chemo treatment. She's feeling much better going into this one, 6 weeks post surgery, having had more time to recover. And she knows more what to expect, so I think she's feeling positive about what is to come over the next 5 days or so.

Ahhh... I'm not the only one who had a haircut this week. Mom's hair began coming out this weekend so she had dad shave it off on Monday. She decided she didn't want to deal with waiting for it to come out little by little, or deal with the mess. They went out for bloodwork yesterday and she wore a baseball cap with a sash tied on the side. She said she was styling! Hehee!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Andrew came down the stairs the other day and said, "daddy, cucumber starts wiff Q!" We both smiled and Don said, "sounds like it!" Of course it doesn't, but he's starting to pay attention and we need to encourage his interest in reading.

Today he said, "mom, the number 8 starts wiff A!" Again, it surely sounds like it. So I said, "great, buddy!"

Its a wonder any of us ever learn to read and write the English language, isn't it?