Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Ugh

I don't know why I loathe New Year's so much. When I think back over the years, I can't pinpoint any one thing that would make me dislike the holiday. In fact I've enjoyed celebrations, both large and boisterous and intimate and mellow, with friends and family pretty much every year, but I absolutely have never understood the hoopla surrounding New Year's.

Maybe it's post-Christmas letdown or just staring down the barrel of a bleak January (my absolute least favorite month) that I project negativity onto New Year's. Either way, it's just another day as far as I'm concerned.

That said, I do sincerely hope that 2009 brings you every happiness.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things I Don't Understand

  • People who don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Serious ick.
  • People who smoke right before heading into the gym to workout. They smell bad to begin with and smell even worse once they start sweating. And, really, what's the point of working out if you're already trying to kill yourself?
  • The guy I overheard at Target tonight who said, "I mean why should I spend $3,000.00 for one when I can buy two of these for the same price and we can make a 64" TV out of the two of them?" Uhm...really?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Twin Love

First, a note: I had a fabulous dinner out with friends from middle school last night. It was so lovely to catch up and I hope we get together again soon!

************

It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be a "normal" day. No big meal to cook, no presents to wrap, no last minute groceries to run out and get. It seems as though the past two weeks have been crammed full of Christmas preparations and I'm only now just starting to feel the whirwind die down. J goes back to work in the morning (but only for two days, he's taking Wednesday and Friday off again) and Mom's coming down so I can hit the gym. I don't know as though I'll know what to do with myself!

I've noticed that the kids are crazier on days when both J and I are around. I've been running around a lot lately and he's been home with the Muffins and they've been pretty damn great for him. The moment I step through the door? Near insanity. It's the same thing during the week, if J' working in the office. The kids and I have a pretty good routine going on (a loose routine, granted, but we have our usual daily things that we do), and when J gets home from work they go nuts! It doesn't seem to happen when Mom or Cait is over, just when both J and I are around.

That said, they've had some sort of developmental spurt or something recently and they are very funny and mostly cooperative. I miss my tiny babies, but I love these toddlers who are hilarious, talkative, creative little jokesters. They enjoy each other's company more and love making the other laugh. Ella's very much a little mother and is always making sure that Liam has what he needs, especially if he's upset (actually, they both tell me when the other is upset and neither of them likes to be without the other for too long). If Liam and I are out without Ella, he only lasts so long before he "want to go see Ehya." I love how much they love each other.

Today, when I came home from church, she was pushing him in the baby doll stroller that Santa brought (for her new Cabbage Patch Preemie, mind you). She was even "feeding" him from the baby bottles intended for her doll. At one point Ella even said, "Oh, Liam, will you be my baby please?"


Oh! The cuteness!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lucky

Every night before they go to sleep, I sing to the Muffins. They each get four songs, with the first always being "I love Liam/Ella" sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques."

Ella sits in bed quietly and sways gently as I sing to her.

Liam lays down, pays attention and softly sings "I love Mommy" to me as I sing to him.

I am so, so blessed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Recap

Despite some last minute stress and attempts at emotional manipulation on the part of a couple family members, we had a lovely Christmas.

The low point was attempting to attend Christmas Eve Mass at Mom's church. This year, Liam and Ella didn't even make it beyond three measures into the opening hymn. In their defense, there weren't many people at the church (so it was a great big cavernous space to explore!), I had made the mistake of showing them the basket of "quiet toys" (mostly soft books) especially for children attending Mass (of course, they kept running back and forth between our pew and the back of the church wanting to have each and every toy), and the Muffins were excited to see Nana up in the choir loft...so it was pretty much a recipe for disaster and we just averted it by packing up and heading to Mom's house.

Once the kidlets were snuggled nicely in bed last night, I wrapped some last minute gifts and then headed out to Midnight Mass at my own church while J was left to assemble the train table for the kids. Mass was lovely and the train table was set up by the time I got home.

This morning was nice and relaxed. Santa didn't come until naptime (I think this is the only year I'll be able to get away with that) and the kids napped while we ate Christmas dinner (which everyone said was good, but I think was merely alright...seemed rather bland or something to me, not quite sure).

Present opening was a long process, but the kids got it this year and it was fun. Ella, especially, was a champ at ripping off the wrapping paper and, by the end, was offering to open other people's gifts for them ("Here, Nana! A present for you. I can open it for you!"). Liam was terrified of the toy vacuum while it was in the box, but once it was out was so very excited to play with it...even hugging it and telling us how much he loved it.

Mom made me a red velvet cake (yummy!) and gave me a lovely lavender and buckwheat hull pillow that smells so wonderful. J spoiled me with my usual Ansel Adams calendar and date book, the crocks from Bennington Potters that I was coveting, seriously good chocolates, the soundtrack to Love in the Time of Cholera and a Vera Bradley bag in my pattern (which is now retired). I'm a lucky chica.

When bringing Mom's gifts out to her car, I slipped and fell on our porch steps. My ass is broken. That kind of sucked. At least it was me, though, and not Mom who discovered the ice-coated stairs...that would have been disastrous.

J's family was supposed to come in tomorrow, but their plans have changed. I'm both relieved and annoyed, but that's life. At least I'll sort of have a relaxing day. I plan to hit the gym (man, have I been bad and eating pretty much whatever I want...I need to kick my ass hardcore at the gym from now on) and then go up to visit Mom by myself. Should be nice.

Here's hoping your Christmas was everything you wanted.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry And Bright

The cleaning's nearly all done. The cookies and biscuits are all baked and look delicious...the bread pudding's next! The wrapping's almost complete (gift bags, here I come!) and the turkey is thawed. We're happy and healthy (and maybe just a little tired, but I'm not complaining!).

We're together as a family and all is right within our little world.

Wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful, happy and joy-filled Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Since Sunday Night

Bake cookies. Wrap. Laundry. Dishes. Wrapping. Good Lord, the wrapping! Hit the gym for appointment with the trainer. Get ass kicked by trainer (in a great way!). Play with kids. Take them out for obligatory daily ride. Naptime! More laundry. Finish grocery list. Order pizza. Watch in amusement as kids feed themselves and make huge messes. Bathe kids. Hit grocery store (for the fourth time in less than two weeks and still manage to not get everything!). Unload groceries. More laundry. Play Clay Aiken's Christmas album so often that J refers to this as the "Clay Christmas." Wrapwrapwrapwrap! Organize gifts (into piles...who's coming for Christmas, who's coming for the 26th). Make sleepytime tea. Go to bed. Remember the turkey! Run downstairs, fill sink, begin to thaw turkey.

Sleeeeeeep.

Wake up! Sort more laundry. Change turkey water. Change Christmas CD. Wrap some more (at this point, seriously *almost* done). Unload dishwasher. Load dishwasher (especially since one sink in now taken up by the turkey, natch). Throw in another load of laundry. Go back to the Clay Christmas CD. Plan rest of day (to include, in no particular order, a trip to Target, a quick run into the grocery store to see if they've restocked what they were out of last night, a Diet Coke from McD's (oh how I need you, McD's Diet Coke!) and a naptime workout - J's working from home, yay!). Update blog.

Phew!

Gratuitous pictures...




Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rolling With It

I'm not entirely sure why, but even though I've got a to-do list that's two miles long, I'm not stressed in the slightest about everything that I have to do for Christmas.

It'll all get done, at the expense of precious sleep of course. But I'm not worried. I think it'll be a nice Holiday.

Now, for a completely random bit of base humor...Little Dog is curled up next to me and just surprised the hell out of himself (and woke himself up from a deep sleep) by farting. His little head shot up and he was looking all around trying to figure out what the hell just happened.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Such A Good Idea

I wouldn't advise going to the gym on an empty stomach. And then watching an episode of Top Chef while working out.

I'm starving!

Monday, December 15, 2008

96 Hours In Review

  • Lost power around 6:15 Friday morning. Ella freaked the hell out because her "mukic" was off (actually, the music wasn't playing at the time...but the fact that the stereo was off was sending her over the edge; now, though, their lullaby CD has to play on repeat all night long).
  • After nearly two hours, the power was restored and all was right with the Muffins' world again and much peace ensued. J worked from home on Friday and the power stayed on.
  • Saturday morning, my brother, P, who had been without power since 10 Thursday night, called and asked if we might be able to pick up some lamp oil if we were heading out. He also mentioned that he didn't have enough gas in his car to get anywhere and that all of the local gas stations weren't working. I decide to take it one step further and go in search of a gas, lamp oil and order some pizzas for my brother and his family. My sister, who is, shall we say, a very prepared person, happened to call me as we were out on our quest to find a gas can (since most of Concord wasn't hit as hard as other areas nearby, the big box stores were slammed with people looking for supplies) and told us to just go to her house to get the supplies P needed.
  • I was deemed my nephew's "favorite person ever" (at least for the time being) upon delivery of supplies. I'm sure the pizza had nothing to do with it.
  • Brother's power came back on within two hours of our expedition. Of course.
  • Yesterday started off well, but then deteriorated. I was supposed to meet some friends for dinner, but one of those friends is still without power so we postponed our plans.
  • I ended up napping while the kids took their nap and delayed my visit to the gym. All was still going well.
  • Grocery shopping was next on the agenda and let me just say that Sunday night is a fabulously quiet time to get your grocery shopping done. At least, around here it is.
  • I twisted my ankle in the meat department, while trying to get the largest turkey that I could find. That sucked.
  • THEN, just as my boatload of groceries was being rung up, I looked in my bag to see that my wallet was not there. *gasp* Thinking that I'd left it in my gym bag, I tried to use the one credit card that was in my backup wallet (which is really only good for holding my checkbook) that I was pretty sure I had cancelled, but thought I'd try it anyway.
  • Well...I wrote a check. Knowing that I didn't have my license on me, though, I anticipated this being a problem. I do, however, know my license number by heart and included that on the check. The cashier was skeptical about my confidence in recalling my license number and continually missed the first two numbers when entering it into the computer and insisted that it was invalid.
  • After calling the manager over TWICE and a huge line forming behind me, the issue was cleared up, and I resumed my silent freakout about where the hell my wallet could be.
  • I immediately call J and ask him to check my gym bag, and as I'm on the phone with him, two bags of groceries topple out of my cart and I run over a bag of chocolate chips and watch bottles of juice fly across the parking lot.
  • A very sweet girl, thinking, I'm sure, that I was about to totally lose my nut, helped me gather my groceries and I called J back (whom I had unceremoniously hung up on when the food stuffs went flying) to see if he had located my wallet.
  • He hadn't.
  • I pulled over on Main St. and searched the van, finally locating the wayward wallet on the center console. My bag had fallen on the floor as I pulled into the grocery store and, apparently, my wallet had flown out as I picked it up from the floor.
  • UGH!
  • Get home. Put kids in bed. Unload the bazillion groceries. Clean kitchen. Finish Christmas cards. Sleep.
  • Today was going swimmingly until we lost power again. Fortunately, Cait was here.
  • No nap for the kids (because no "mukic" natch).
  • No homemade spaghetti sauce made while the kids were supposed to be napping.
  • Started to light candles and spent a couple of hours keeping kidlets away from the open flames.
  • J gets home; power's still out.
  • We decide to head out to dinner and wait to see if the power comes back on. I realize the entire time that we're still so much more fortunate than a lot of people in New Hampshire, but am getting a little concerned that we may need to head to Mom's for the night which pretty much guarantees no sleep for anyone and cranky kids and Mumma tomorrow while J gets to go to work.
  • N calls to say that the power company told her that the power most likely won't be restored until morning and that we should "pack it in and head to Mom's."
  • Dinner sucked, but the kids were pretty great at the restaurant, at least.
  • We drove around and went to Sam's to kill time.
  • J was periodically calling the house to see if the answering machine kicked in, thereby indicating that the power was back.
  • It wasn't.
  • And it wasn't.
  • It was, however, very bizarre to see J so optimistic. He was convinced that the power would be back by 8 pm.
  • We drive around to kill more time.
  • More phone calls, no answering machine.
  • Just as we decided to head home and light some candles and wait it out a bit, J calls the house one last time.
  • And...the answering machine picks up!
  • Now, we're happily watching the Survivor finale, the heat is cranking, the kids are sleeping comfortably as their music plays and all is once again right with the world.
  • I can't believe how many people are still without power here and I fully recognize that our experience today was nothing in comparison to what they've been going through. My thoughts are with them certainly, but I'm ever so grateful that we're safe and warm and comfortable in our own home tonight.
  • My ankle still hurts, though.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Day In Pictures


We've had an interesting couple of days in New Hampshire. A massive ice storm moved through the state starting last night. We lost power for not quite two hours early this morning, and Ella freaked the hell out. We had a little party in the kids' room until the power came back on, and then the Muffins were tucked back into bed and slept for a few hours more.

We're among the lucky ones. More than 400,000 homes and businesses here are without power still, and the expectation is that it may still take a couple of days to get all of the power restored. Crews are coming in from as far away as Ohio, apparently.

Those trees? Completely covered in ice. And Concord isn't nearly the hardest hit part of the state.

This tree? I decorated it tonight. Isn't it pretty? Not sure if I'm going to do a tree skirt this year or not.

This ornament? My newest addition this year (it's tradition that I get an ornament for J's sister's family, J, the kids, Cait, JP, Mom and myself every year). I love it and it pretty much sums up how I feel about the season and life in general.

Cookies!

OK, so it's the Third Annual Virtual Cookie Exchange and I'm participating for the first time. I've been silently freaking trying to figure out what cookies to make. My usual (chocolate chip, oatmeal, craisin)? A new recipe? Something else (since Jenn said we could offer up something not necessarily cookie and I make killer bread pudding (with chocolate chips!) and coconut chocolate chip walnut bars)? I. just. didn't. know. Plus, I find it difficult to pass on recipes because I am a very spur of the moment baker and tend to eyeball a lot of what I do and find that giving someone a recipe leads to a lot of my saying, "oh I just kind of know how much vanilla" or, "use as many chocolate chips as you want!" I think this may frustrate some people.

I have very, very fond memories of butter crunch cookies from when I was a little girl and was recently reminded of my love for them so I thought BINGO! I'll find a recipe and make those! Well, I found a recipe (and the cookies look exactly like the ones I remember from childhood) and was very excited to try them. I did. And I failed. Pretty miserably. I think the general consensus is that I didn't let the toffee boil for long enough and I am definitely going to try to make the cookies again, but I will either boil the toffee for longer or try and make a different tofffee recipe altogether and just use the pieces in the cookies. Either way, I want butter crunch cookies!

Further down the butter crunch cookie recipe page, I noticed a link for 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. And I thought "oh that's too easy...that'd be a copout, wouldn't it?!" And then it dawned on me that, in all of my 33 years, I have never made peanut butter cookies. Eaten them, certainly. But I've never actually made them. And then I thought to myself, "who couldn't use a quick recipe? Who says that I have to contribute a complex cookie?"

Without further ado...





Modified 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. peanut butter, any kind (I used smooth)
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional)
1 t. vanilla

  • Mix peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until well incorporated (I used a hand mixer and wouldn't even think about trying to mix by hand).
  • If adding chocolate chips, stir in now.
  • Form dough into small balls (or use a handy, dandy small cookie scoop but I found using the scoop and then forming into balls was the best way to go) - the dough may be crumbly.
  • Place 12 balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet, evenly spaced. Use a fork to press down and make the traditional criss-cross pattern on the top of the cookies.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until lightly browned. (I found7-7 1/2 minutes to be ideal.)
  • Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies set for a couple of minutes. They will be very crumbly while still hot.
  • Slide parchment paper onto a cooling rack and allow cookies to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!
So...as you can see, I modified the original recipe. I did use vanilla, as one of the reviewers suggested (although she didn't say how much she used, so I opted for 1 t.). Also, I made a double batch and made half plain and added chocolate chips to the rest. I have to say that I didn't like the ones with the chocolate chips as much (J did, though). That said, the cookies are nearly all gone (Liam has been a big help in that department) and everyone, except for Ella, who despises all things peanut butter (totally weird child, I know!), has found them to be very tasty.


Final verdict: they were pretty damn tasty! I was a little skeeved out that that they didn't have "traditional" ingredients (flour, baking soda, etc.) and thought that there was no way that they could actually turn out alright..you know, like cookies. But they did! And, now I can say that I've made peanut butter cookies. I'll most likely try my hand at a more traditional peanut butter cookie recipe (anyone have one they'd like to share?), but these came together nicely and I was able to do them up while the kids napped yesterday.

Enjoy!


p.s. - I won another cookbook (or, cookie book, really)! Woohoo...thanks, Jenn! I'll have no excuse for not doing a kickass cookie next year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So Much Left To Do...

Again, got this from Rev. Dr. Mom.

As seen all over; things done in bold. Furthermore, I starred the stuff I want to do.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii*
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris*
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (quilting, even if it has been forever since I've been able to touch my sewing machine)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty*
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France*
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice*
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors*
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David*
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (if giving someone the money to buy themselves a meal counts, then yes)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person*
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris*
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business*
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching* (J gets seasick, but I can't wait to do this when Liam and Ella are older)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I should donate more often, actually)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp* (I think this would be immensely powerful)
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (my father tried to take me when I was very young and I freaked the hell out on him so we never took off)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (several)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar (NEVER!)
72. Pieced a quilt (and quilted them, too!)
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London*
77. Broken a bone (well, it was a toe, but it was still a broken bone!)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (no, thanks)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person*
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican*
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible*
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I'll leave the killing to someone else, thanks)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Name Meme

Got this from Rev. Dr. Mom...anyone else want to play along?

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names):

Lee Clement

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad):

Earl William

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name):

Waheat (I'm using my maiden name as my "first" last name, since I'm a hyphenated girl)

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):

Green Turtle

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live):

Leigh Concord

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning):

The Blue Strawberry Daiquiri (I don't drink alcohol, but this was my favorite drink when I did)

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of first name, last 2 letters of your last name):

Hewa

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):

Mint Chip Oatmeal

9.ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name):

Jack Middlebury

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on):

Sammy Sanborn

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Grossness And Goodness

Cait and I went downtown last night to check out Midnight Merriment (where the downtown merchants stay open later and there are all sorts of festive Holiday goings-on for those who brave the cold and crowds in support of local business).

We ended up running into my sister, N, and her children in one of the stores and they didn't really have an agenda for the evening (except for hitting the local toy store, which was insanely busy when they first tried to scope it out) so we chatted for a while before deciding to check out some stores together.

Before we headed out, my nephew noticed something on my sister's lapel. She instinctively reached out and managed to touch the spot exactly where whatever it was was. Well...wouldn't you know?! It was snot. Someone else's snot. And my sister had just rubbed it all into her coat! It was so amazingly nasty and she was freaked the hell out. She ordered her daughter to go get her some sanitizer, which I promptly pulled out of my bag. N then asked for a kleenex, but I did one better and pulled a package of wet wipes from my bag. My niece was amazed at my bag 'o tricks, but I assured her it was only because I'm the mother of small children that I am so prepared (even when out without said children) for seemingly any situation. Eventually, my sister calmed down and she and the kids recalled a man in another store sneezing in close proximity to them...so the assumption was that it was his little gift left behind on my sister's lapel.

Disgusting!

After all was cleaned up, we headed down Main Street and ended up in a wonderful little bistro that has only been open for a few months. Oh so good! We sampled the risotto balls (in love!), the lasagne (delicious!), and Cait tried the crab-stuffed mushrooms (she loved them...I don't do mushrooms or seafood, so I'll take her word for it). Cait and I even headed back there for a quick bit of lunch today. It's so exciting to find someplace new to grab a bite!

Now, I need to find a recipe for risotto balls...

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's The Little Things That Make Me Happy

Yesterday, as I was making a rather large dent in the guest room so that it's presentable when Cait and Jeeps sleep here for Christmas (and so I could sort through the copious Christmas gifts that seem to be multiplying of their own accord in there), I finally got around to hanging up some pieces of art that I hadn't yet found the time to find homes for (or, in some cases, hang pieces back up that had homes but Liam liked to play with them so we took them down for a while - here's hoping that phase is over).

I purchased a piece from a local New England artist back in late September and found the perfect spot for it yesterday.

Oh, how I love it! Just hanging the one small painting totally made me happy.

I'd like to take a trip down to her studio and select some other pieces at some point in the not too distant future - that'd be so fun!

Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cough, Cough

When I was meeting with the trainer last week, he said that it's good to take a week off every few months. I thought he was insane! The thought of not working out for a week just blew my mind...I couldn't not work out. I'm addicted, damnit!

And now I'm sick. I pushed it and worked out Monday night, but called it quits after only doing my weight routine (an hour workout in and of itself). And I haven't been back since.

I was going to try tonight, but I opted to try and rest instead. I went up to bed and let J take over the kids. Liam, however, spent most of the time that I was resting by sitting at the top of the stairs repeatedly saying, "I want to see Mommy." He also left the hall light on and, being the original Princess and the Pea, it bothered me to have that sliver of light coming through the door.

I did manage to rest, though, going in and out of sleep and having some funky dreams to boot.

When I emerged from my room a couple of hours later, Ella bounded up the stairs and asked me if I "waked up" and told me she was "so happy to see me." Dude, my kids rock.

I'm looking forward to returning to the gym, but I'll be smart about it and not push myself until I'm (close to) 100%.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up If I Tried

My day...

The scene: Liam's been sick for the past couple of days and has been having a particularly bad time with diarrhea. As I was changing his diaper, he was holding the Desitin for me and taunting me by telling me that he was going to eat it.

H: No, we don't eat that. If it's meant for your bum, it's most certainly not intended for your mouth.

(Really, I think that's advice we can all use.)

********

The scene: I'm standing in the kitchen dishing out some dinner and Liam is standing beside me.

L: You making dinner, Mommy?

H: Yes, go tell Daddy that we're having tofu casserole for dinner.

L (running off and in an adorable sing-song voice): Dad-dy! We're having tofu asshole for dinner!

********

The scene: I'm exhausted and worn out, sitting in the living room and listening to Liam play in the front room, wondering what's going on with the barrister bookcase.

H (to J): Can you go check on him, please?

J (walking into the kitchen and glancing at Liam): Whatcha doing? Trying to decapitate yourself?

Ella (running from my side into the front room to see what her brother's up to): Liam! You crapping yourself?

********

The scene: I'm holding Ella right before heading upstairs for bedtime.

H: Let Daddy wipe your face and hands before bed. You need to be all clean.

Ella: I want to be a dirty girl! I need to!

And such is my life...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Always Remember

Today is World AIDS Day.

Here's what I wrote last year about my brother, Danny, and his death.

It comes to me, now and again, all of the other memories that I could have shared in that original post...about how Danny looked so eerily similar to Tom Hanks' character in Philadelphia just before he died (and how that movie just reduces me to pretty much a sniveling ball of memories and tears), or how sometimes he would come home to visit without telling anyone and it wasn't uncommon to find him walking up the road to our house to surprise Mom. How he introduced me to chicken in peanut sauce (which I thought was just one of his quirky, fancy New York City recipes that I found utterly revolting at the time and now absolutely love) or, how I confided in my favorite teacher what was going on because I just needed someone to talk to about the insanity that was having a loved one die at home and he immediately went to "warn" the principal of the school and I had never, ever felt so betrayed or hurt before (it was 1988, people were still freaked the hell out about AIDS, but I was beyond devastated that someone I trusted could do such a thing).

Mostly, though, I remember the beauty, love and self-sacrifice that my family poured into Danny's care and, ultimately, his death.

I cannot believe that it has been over 20 years. The memories are still so sharp and his absence is still keenly felt, especially at this time of year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ugh

Ella wants a flashlight for Christmas and I told her Santa would bring one. Now, why is it so difficult to find a decent flashlight for a kid?

Ending NaBloPoMo With More Bullet Points

  • Had a wonderful, wonderful time meeting my former boss for lunch/dinner. Her mother's recently been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, on top already having other various ailments, and she desperately needed the time away. She's such a lovely person and I'm very glad that, even though we can go months without being in touch, we have such a good friendship. It was important for both of us to be able to catch up and for her to have a chance to vent about her situation. We definitely need to make time to catch up more frequently than once every 6 months.
  • Someone at Thanksgiving must've been sick. My poor little guy came down with a fever last night and we had our first middle-of-the-night toddler throwing up experience around 1 AM. Now, he seems to be almost back to normal but I'm coming down with something and feel rather cruddy. Ah, well. Such is life.
  • I'll be participating (for the first time) in the Third Annual Cookie Exchange, hosted by Jenn. I'm looking forward to it and now I just need to think of which recipe I want to share. Anyone else want to join? (Lorraine, I'm looking at you...)
  • We had snow today! The first storm of the season always sees people driving like assholes. On my way to meet Annie, the traffic was pretty steady and the snow/freezing rain mix was really picking up and there were some yahoos in SUVs acting as though the driving conditions were ideal. They'll smarten up...hopefully soon. I actually saw a pretty smashed up SUV on my way home.
  • And, now, a new week begins...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Bits

The other day, I took a break from baking and J and I were standing up and snuggling with each other in the front room. Ella came up to us and wrapped her arms around our legs and looked up at us with this glorious little smile and said, "best friends."

********

Twilight was fun. The movie itself was entertaining enough, but the company was great. My nephew ended up coming along, too, (more to get out of the house than anything else, I suspect), but we had a nice time. The obnoxious part about teen movies would be the teen audience. And we had the great misfortune to sit in front of a row of kids who had already seen the film so they had no compunctions about talking through most of it. Ah well, at least I've seen it now and, oh holy hell yes, Robert Pattinson is damn hot.

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I'm watching White Christmas and it just makes me so happy.

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I'm meeting my former boss for lunch tomorrow and am really looking forward to it. It's been months since we've gotten together and she's a dear friend. We very much need to catch up.

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I have tentative plans to meet up with two friends from middle school (oh that was sooo long ago!) for dinner in a few weeks. It should be a fun girls' night out. God knows I need one.

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There's still one more day left to the weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another Good Day

Hit the gym this AM, played with the kids and took them for their requisite ride to see the airplanes and helicopter (and, to get pumpkin pies). Today's a "Daddy Day" as I'm now up visiting at Mom's again and J's having some quality time with the kids.

Tonight, Cait, Nurse and Nurse's younger sister and I are going to see Twilight. Very much looking forward to it.

Fuller posts tomorrow, once family has gone back home and life is *sigh* back to routine.

Hope you're enjoying time with your friends and loved ones.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We're Pretty Awesome, If I Do Say So Myself


Hope you had a happy day!

Be Ever Thankful

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.
~Meister Eckhart

I am thankful for my loves, my family, my faith, my friends and my health.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Continued Success

Mood is much, much better today.

Met with Phil, the trainer, this morning and I'm down 6 pounds (which I knew not to freak about because I had a feeling the measurements would be worth it) and 11 inches. 5 from my abs alone!

Woohoo!

We switched up my workout and I love the new stuff. Doing more free weights and stability ball work.

I got to sleep in a little this morning and now the kids are napping, I'm starting in on the bread pudding and sweet potato casserole that I'm responsible for for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to visiting with family tonight.

I'm a happy girl.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sigh

Some days, I feel as though all I'm ever doing is laundry and dishes and sternly saying, "no...get down...you're scaring Mumma...don't touch..."

I'm hoping to go up to Mom's tomorrow night to visit with some family that are coming in ahead of Thanksgiving.

Maybe that'll be the recharge that I need.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Bits (Really, I Should Rename The Blog A Random Flea)

  • I really want to do yoga, but I feel very much at a loss about where to begin. For some reason, I'm kind of black and white about it. I feel as though there are two camps of people when it comes to yoga: those that already know how to do it, and those that don't. It's silly, I know, but I kind of have this mental stumbling block when it comes to finding a way to start practicing yoga. Add in the fact that I don't know where I'd ever find the time to take a class or try to teach myself and I think this may be something that I have to hold off on implementing in my life. One day.
  • I had to bring the turkeys up to Mom's today, so she could begin defrosting them and as I was getting ready to leave (warming up the van for the kids, etc.), I came back into the house and Ella was yelling that Liam had turned the "vacuum" on. I was confused, because I know the central vac scares him and he stays away from it (we never use the central vac, it's terribly unpowerful). I could hear a load whirring noise and became even more confused. When I got into the kitchen, I realized that the monkeyboy had climbed up onto the kitchen counter and turned on my KitchenAid mixer on full speed. He was simultaneously pleased with himself and scared because he'd never done that before. Did it stop him from trying to do it later, though? Oh no...he did again tonight while I was out grocery shopping. Apparently, the Muffins gave their father quite the run for his money tonight.
  • My hands are already all dry and starting to crack and it's only the end of November! It's going to be a long winter. I don't really recall it being this cold this early in the winter in a long time. There's already a thin layer of ice on the pond at Mom's and there's little icy patches in parking lots and on the street. Welcome, winter!
  • The Thanksgiving count has increased. We're up to 35 now. My sister, N, was supposed to be going to Pennslyvania to celebrate with her husband's family, but has decided to cancel their trip since the weather is supposed to be bad. Liam and Ella are going to have a blast getting loved up by the entire family.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slow Burn

Eldest Sister and A have decided that, considering all of the pre-Thanksgiving work I've been doing up at Mom's and the fact that I'm bringing loads of food, that I'm off the hook for the third turkey. Believe it or not I actually put up a damn fight about it, but finally relented.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed lately because there's so much that I want to do, not to mention all of the stuff that I have to do, and I just feel as though I'm treading water. J's only working two days this week, so I'm hoping that, even given all of the baking I need to do for Thursday and the whirlwind that will be Thanksgiving with my family, that I'll get a chance to recharge on some level.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Hair

I'm pleased with the new stylist; I had been very anxious prior to the appointment. I'll definitely be going back, most likely in January for a trim and some color and a brow wax (but we won't look at how huge they are, mmmmkay?). She flat ironed it, which I don't have the time to do (or, you know, even think of doing), but I like the length and the bangs are far more manageable. And, it's still long enough so I can pull it back when heading to the gym.

The Before


The After

Friday, November 21, 2008

Too Nice

My sister, K - a very unhappy sort of person (oh! How Winnie The Pooh!) - and her family have decided to grace us with their presence for Thanksgiving. So now, I've been asked to make a turkey. ("If it's not too much trouble.") A third turkey.

A turkey, stuffed and carved and with homemade gravy even, to go along with the pie and the bread pudding and the sweet potato casserole and, you know, taking care of my children and trying to keep my house relatively tidy and just everyday living.

Of course, I said yes.

Because I'm crazy like that.

Prayer

I think this is one of the best, most beautiful songs. EVER. If I had to choose, I'd say it was my all time favorite. This is an abbreviated performance, but it's great in its simplicity.

Bennington Potters, You Had Me Hello

I'm a little bit in love.

I Like The Description, At Least




You Are Checkers



You are very logical and rational. You are able to understand what is and isn't a factor.

You're able to compartmentalize and focus on the essentials.

You appreciate simplicity. You can see the layers of complexity and beauty in anything.

You are also playful and good natured. You don't take life too seriously!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanks Again, Lorriane

Welcome to the Christmas Edition of Getting To Know Your Family and Friends!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.
2. Real tree or Artificial? We caved and got an artificial tree a couple of years ago and I love it. It's beautiful and pre-lit and makes life so much easier. I can put it up and not have to stress about decorating it, but still enjoy it since it's already lit. (And, yes, I'm the only one who can decorate the tree...I'm a perfectionist. When Liam and Ella are older, I plan on getting them a little tree to decorate themselves.)
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the first weekend in December.
4. When do you take the tree down? Whenever. Usually by the end of January. It always kind of depresses me to take it down.
5. Do you like eggnog? D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Oh man, I was spoiled as a kid (but I didn't realize it at the time)...I don't know if I have a favorite, but I think my kitchen set was the most memorable. It was huge and took up half of the living room and had individual appliances. I loved that thing (and it was all metal with sharp corners and everything - imagine that for kids today!)
7. Hardest person to buy for? J, because he never wants anything.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Caitlin, Liam and Ella.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a few of them.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Always.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A CD of Irish Drinking Songs. Apparently, the logic was that, since I liked Celtic music, the CD should be right up my alley. I've never listened to it to this day.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? All throughout the year.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Pretty much everything. But, I make really yummy fudge around the Holidays.
16. Lights on the tree? Only white.
17. Favorite Christmas song? I'll Be Home for Christmas and O, Holy Night. I think George Winston's December is the most beautiful album ever.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Christmas Eve up at Mom's, celebrating Mass at her church and then dinner at her house. Christmas day at my home, where I make dinner and then we open gifts.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Most certainly. Would you like me to?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Nothing, actually. The tree goes pretty much right to the ceiling and I like it that way. I do have a rustic star, but haven't used it in a while.
21. Presents on Christmas Eve or morning? I grew up with the tradition of one gift on Christmas Eve and may reinstate that, but otherwise we do them late Christmas afternoon, after dinner (we wait for my Mom to come down, and she always needs to rest after playing the Christmas Masses). It makes the day more relaxing, I feel.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I don't know. I love this time of year and really practice the "good will towards men" thing. I find that I have more patience during this time of year, so nothing really gets to me.
23. Favorite Ornament theme or color? My tree is covered in special ornaments. I don't decorate with a theme. I buy J and the Muffins, among others, an ornament each year and I love looking through the ornaments and remembering Christmases past. I'm a huge sentimentalist.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? It's pretty much a repeat of Thanksgiving dinner for me. I get upset if someone wants to do something other than turkey and all of the trimmings.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Nothing really. But, I do keep dropping hints about an automatic car starter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's Talk About Food

I've had a little more time lately to cook (or I'm just a little better organized than I was before) and I've been enjoying my time in the kitchen (especially now that it's clean and set up in a much more logical way).

On Sunday, I made a new mac and cheese recipe. It went over very well with most of the family. J and Liam ate a ton of it, but Ella hardly touched it (not a huge surprise...she's a picky eater). Mine didn't come out as cheesey looking as Jenn's, but J swears it's his new favorite mac and cheese (for some reason, I'm always trying a new mac and cheese out) so it's a keeper.

I already told you about the tomato soup from the other night...which is awesome with blue chips, by the way.

So, onto tonight. I threw a cranberry pork roast into the crock pot before the kids woke up (I do believe that it is the easiest recipe I have - it just takes a minute, I swear) and then, while they were napping, tried out this mashed potato recipe. Now, mashed potatoes are the bane of my existence. I don't know why, but I just never seem to get them right. Sweet potatoes I don't have a problem with at all...but regular mashed potatoes I seem to massacre. Tonight's turned out alright. Overall, the potatoes were a bit runny, but were a huge hit with the kids, which was a bit of a surprise. The flavor was good, though, so I may try them again. Peeling potatoes is one of my all time least favorite things to do, I must say.

Friday will be tried and true tofu casserole, one of Liam and Ella's absolute favorites.

What about you? What are some of your favorites or what have you tried lately?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tidbits Of The Day

I finally called a new salon in town to make an appointment to do something about my hair. I'm a little nervous...but let's hope that it all works out and I end up loving my new haircut!

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I HATE people who hog machines at the gym. Now, I absolutely understand and respect someone's routine, but to sit on a machine for more than 25 minutes and really only use it for ~ 10 mins (if that!) and just take reallllllllly long breaks in between sets? That's just rude. Furthermore, don't have a longass conversation with a fellow gym-goer and take up not one, but two damn machines for more than half an hour (and, I know you weren't oblivious to the fact that other people wanted to use those machines).

*********

I should know better than to try and rest while the kids are napping. If I actually manage to fall asleep, I can never shake off the grogginess once I wake up and I end up being kind of crabby (but, no, it did not contribute at all to my gripe about machine hogs at the gym). I'm very tired lately, though. A nap seemed like a good idea at the time.

Possibly The Best. Line. Ever.

While running errands with the Muffins this morning, I stopped at McDonald's to get a Diet Coke (large, no ice, of course).

When I pulled up to the window to pay, the woman was taking another customer's order and all of a sudden she says, "we can do whatever you want as long as you're giving me money."

Hmmm...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quickie

Today was a very blah day. I was in a rather rotten mood for most of the day and was unable to either shake it off or determine the cause of the bad mood. I managed to be pretty productive, despite my mood, throwing together tomato soup before the kids woke up (this might be my new favorite recipe!) and even made cookies while they napped.

I hit the gym tonight, even though I had been planning on it being my night off (I go 6 days a week). I cheated last night and only did my weight routine, skipping out on the cardio, so I went tonight to do my penance. I think it helped to lift my mood a bit.

Now...to sleep! Let's hope tomorrow's a better day, eh?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Getting To Be That Time Of Year

For Christmas 2006, I - insane woman that I am - hand stamped over 60 cards. I was bound and determined to send out just the right picture of the Muffins to commemorate their first Christmas. Now, I'm not overly creative when it comes to the whole cardmaking/stamping thing, so I stamped "love" "joy" "peace" and "hope" around the perimeter of the outside of the card and then simply stamped "believe" on the inside. This may not sound like a lot...but I also did it in alternating red/green colors and would you believe how many times you have to use the letter "e" to do those words? (Yep, that's right...7, if I count correctly.) Add in the fact that I write personal messages in each card and it was a lot of work, but when we finally captured the most perfect photo of the kids and the cards turned out beautifully. I'd do it all over again (of course, that's when the kids were pretty much immobile, so I actually could do something like that).

Last year, it was a bit more difficult to get a good shot of the kids actually even remotely near one another and both looking at the camera at the same time so, after much internal debate, I opted for this. I'm generally not a fan of thattype of photo card, but the kids pretty much left me with no option (and look at how little hair Ella had! I thought she was going to be bald on top forever!). I had the photo cards printed up, but I still inserted them into a traditional Christmas card and wrote personal messages.

This year, I'm fairly confident that I've already got the perfect Christmas card photo. Now...the question is do I try to hand stamp another 60+ cards (with a saying more complex than '06's) or merely print the pictures and put them into the cards I'd already purchased (which can always be held for next year)?

Decisions, decisions.

This Is My 200th Post, Apparently

I'm making up my grocery list and scouring some of my favorite blogs for recipe ideas for the coming week.

Can I just say how much I wish we had a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods nearby? (Although, I'd prefer TJ's over WF...the closest TJ's is right over the MA border, near Nashua, not a killer trip, but not entirely convenient, either.)

Le sigh.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What's In A Name?

Growing up, my mother always expected our friends to call her "Mrs. Ourlastname." I never really thought much about it and always called my friends' parents "Mr. and Mrs. Theirlastname." ( The only exception being my former best friend's parents, whom I called "Mom" and "Dad," and she in turn called my mother "Mom.")

It took nearly a year of my going out with one boyfriend before I was comfortable calling his parents by their first names, which they pretty much had to insist that I do. Even my in-laws...whose own son calls them by their first names (which I'm still rather incredulous about)...after more than 12 years I still bristle at the familiarity of using their first names (although, I would feel even more uncomfortable calling them "Mom" or "Dad"...I've always felt that the people who married into my family got off lucky, because my mother's name is Nancy and she is Nana to all of the grandchildren...so the in-laws just get to call her "Nan" and it has a way of not seeming too familiar, but very familial - if that makes any sense).

Essentially, I was raised to be polite, but to also expect politeness in return.

Last week, J and I were watching an episode of Doctor Who and the crux of it was that a group of witches (who had been unwittingly summoned by Shakespeare in his grief over the death of his son) could only be banished if, initially, they were named and, ultimately, as Shakespeare found the right words to send them back into exile. It made me think about the power of names and how I absolutely hatehatehate it when someone I don't know uses my first name. It's so uncomfortable.

When I used to work in retail, and later in a bank, they encouraged us to use the customer's first name as often as possible. I had a hard time with it, I'll admit. At the bank, it was a little easier because we did have regulars who came in, sometimes on a daily basis, so it seemed more logical to be more familiar with them. In retail though? I just couldn't do it. Nothing like taking someone's check or credit card and awkwardly glancing at the person's name and trying to work it into "you have a nice day, enterfirstnamehere" without it seeming forced. Once, at Sam's Club, they had a little plastic sign hanging beneath the cash register that said something along the lines of "This dollar is yours if I fail to call you by your name!" I told the cashier that I would give him a dollar to not call me by my first name. He didn't quite know what to make of that, but he didn't use my name.

Call me "miss," call me "ma'am," hell, you can even call me crazy; but, unless you know me, please don't call me Heather.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Filled Up For Less Than $30!

$1.99 for gas tonight!

Woohoo!

Fragile

I got quite a bit done today during my assault on the kitchen. I have a lot more that I'd like to do, but am pleased with the result.

The kids had a blast up at Mom's and were even good enough that she was game when I asked if J and I could grab dinner before we picked the kids up. Needless to say, Mom will sleep very well tonight, but it's very important to me that she has as much time as possible so I was glad that she was able to watch them for so long. Now...if I can swing this once a month, wow would I be able to get a ton done!

*************

The kids are completely obsessed with Animusic 2 and often request to watch their "music robots." As we were driving up to Mom's this morning, the kids were watching the DVD and asked if they could watch it at Nana's. Now, my mother gets totally skeeved out by the DVD and has told me she thinks it's "creepy." I explained to the kids that Nana didn't like the music robots and that she was actually a little scared of them and that it was better not to watch the music robots at Nana's house.

Cut to tonight: the kids were excited when J and I went to get them and, while I was trying to cajole them into the car, I told them that their music robots were already playing in the van. Liam became very excited, but Ella walked up to my mother and said, "Oh, Nana. You can't watch music robots. It scare you. You very fragile."

My little Miss Smartypants took a concept I taught her about physical strength (actually, it was more like "don't hit Mommy in the head with that, heads are fragile" - I'm slightly more sensitive to the head thing since my bout with labyrinthitis), and extrapolated it to emotional strength. She understood that Mom didn't like the music robots on an emotional level and proceeded to tell Mom that it was alright.

I am in constant awe of my children.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Internal Conflict

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother. It would be untruthful to suggest that I never thought of a career, but motherhood was always my chief priority in life.

For a very long stretch, I wanted to be a lawyer, but eventually that plan kind of fizzled. Within a year after J and I were married, we moved to Minnesota and I just did...well, nothing for a year. Once we moved home, I did more nothing until I became fed up with the nothing that was doing nothing. So, I returned to school and, having previously worked in a college library, decided to see if there was any work in the library at the school. And...there was. So, for nearly 8 years, I climbed the library ladder and was damn good at what I did (doing everything someone with a Master's in Library Science would). But, my heart wasn't really in it. I enjoyed what I did for the most part, and I loved being in academia. I also tutored English for the Learning Center and helped teach ESOL for a summer program run by the school. I was a damn good tutor, too, and, as much as I flirted with the idea of getting my MLS, I was much more tempted to go for a PhD in English and try to become a professor. But, in all honestly, I was just biding my time until my dream of motherhood could come true.

And it did. I am a very hands-on mother and I love it. I can't imagine my life being any different. I am so very, very blessed with Liam and Ella that sometimes I feel as though my heart is going to explode with gratitude and awe. But sometimes, just sometimes, I have an occasional twinge of thinking about returning to school when the kids are older. And then I feel guilty for feeling as though I'm somehow betraying my dream of motherhood by potentially not being here all of the time. I worry that, if I get a graduate degree and start a new career, that I'm shortchanging my family. I also worry that Liam and Ella might one day be disappointed that I didn't have a career and maybe feel as though I squandered my potential or something.

Ugh.

Obviously, I'll be working this one out for quite a while.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Random Bullet Points

  • I'm psyched that Top Chef is back. I would never make most of the stuff that is done on the show (mostly because I'm a pretty picky eater), but it's so entertaining to watch the competition.
  • The Muffins will get a day at Nana's on Friday so that I can attack the kitchen and maybe rearrange the front room again. I need to make the kitchen more user-friendly as the Holidays are approaching and more kid-safe as the kidlets, Liam in particular, are getting better and better at reaching things. And..who knew a stove would be such a fun thing to climb?! On some level, my kids have got to be overachievers when it comes to troublemaking.
  • I am in desperate need of a haircut. Have I already mentioned this? This always happens. I start getting the urge for a cut and then ignore it. I end up liking what my hair is doing for a while and then it just all of a sudden becomes too much and too heavy and I hate how it looks. I've been seeing the same stylist for nearly 1o years, but I think it's time for a change. I'd like to find someone closer to home, but don't really know how to go about finding someone new.
  • Damn you, Chris Martin. I hate myself for loving the new coldplay. I cannot get enough of Viva La Vida (YouTube). I think it may be some kind of sickness or something.
  • Now, I must go load the dishwasher.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Manners And Quirks

Teaching children manners is an ongoing effort, but the Muffins are well on their way to being polite little people, if I have any say in the matter. We're good with "thank you" and "you're welcome" and we're working on "excuse me." I'm also trying to inculcate "passed gas" instead of the baser term.

The other night I was mindlessly playing with one of the little chairs that goes with the Muffins' tea party table set and my bare foot made a crude sound against the plastic of the chair. Ella's head shot up immediately and said, "You passed gas, Mommy!" I tried to explain to her that I had not, that it was my foot sliding at an awkward angle on the chair. She persisted, "No, Mama, you say 'excuse me' right now!"

OK, so that's a good sign, right? (We'll just pretend she didn't order me to do something, mmmkay?)

My son, on the other hand, is obsessed with vacuums. And, honestly, that's putting it mildly. Whenever we're out shopping, the boy must always be brought down the vacuum aisle of whatever store we happen to be in, usually more than once. He's forever doing things around the house in order to try and get me to have to use the vacuum (a behavior his sister is none too pleased with). Over the past week alone, he has managed to get the salt shaker (at least three times!), which actually has resulted in my needing to pull out the little vacuum (which is really more like an electric broom and doesn't freak Ella out as much as the Dyson does), the pepper mill (which, sadly for Liam, has not ended with my pulling out the vacuum because he has yet to figure out how to ) and he's pulled my empty soda cups and cans down from the counter in the hopes that I "need vacuum" (again, sadly not resulting in my making a trip to the closet).

Maybe he'll be a clean freak one day?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks For The Post Idea, Lorraine

10 YEARS AGO I . . .

1.) Turned 23 (since it's my birthday, natch)
2.) Had recently moved back from living in Minnesota (no offense to the Midwest, but that was pretty much the worst year of my life)
3.) Had already been married for 2 years (we were babies when we got together, I tell you!)
4.) Had just returned to school and gotten my job at the UNHM Library
5.) Would never have entertained the thought of joining a gym

5 THINGS ON TODAY'S TO-DO LIST (this is grossly unrepresentative of a typical day since I took it easy for my birthday)

1.) Go out to breakfast (which was delicious and the kids were great!)
2.) Play with the Muffins
3.) Take a nap
4.) Read
5.) Pick up a table at Target for Thanksgiving at Mom's

5 THINGS I WOULD DO IF I WERE A MILLIONAIRE

1.) Pay off my, my mother's and J's parents' mortgages
2.) Sock away a ton for the kids' college funds
3.) Buy a vacation home up North
4.) Go on a trip to England, Scotland and Ireland (and maybe never come back!)
5.) Set up a kickass quilt studio

5 PLACES I HAVE LIVED

1.) Tilton, NH
2.) Colchester, VT
3.) Rochester, MN
4.) Manchester, NH
5.) Concord, NH

5 JOBS I'VE HAD

1.) Tilton School: Waitress for the Gordon Summer Research Conferences
2.) Tilt'n Diner: Hostess and Soda Jerk (I make killer frappes!)
3.) NHCTC-Laconia: Library Assistant
4.) UNH Manchester: Library Assistant, Head of Interlibrary Lending and all-around Amazing Employee ;)
5.) Mom

A Thought On Aging

I love Post Secret and I thought this was the best, most optimistic secret ever.

I want the same thing.

What I Do When I Should Be Sleeping


I told you my day was not yet done...

In order for you to fully appreciate this photo, I should have taken a "before" shot but then you'd get to see just how cluttered I can allow life to get and then you'd think less of me, dear Internets. Suffice it to say that this is a huge improvement over what the dining area looked like just a mere 2 hours before I attacked it (if you're assuming that perhaps we must not always eat at the table in order for it to become cluttered, you'd be correct). If Caitlin ever catches up on her blog reading, she'd attest to the vast change.

Yes, there is a little pile of "to-do" things next to my computer, and there always will be (unless, you know, we're actually eating at the table...then the computer's not there), but it's much improved from what was there. That basket on the floor to the left? Was filled to overflowing with years worth of parenting magazines. Yes, there are still plenty of things within the kids' reach, but they're learning pretty quickly that this is "Mommy area" and to leave things be.

Anyway, now I'm really off to bed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Day In Review

We all enjoyed a little sleep-in, as it appears the effects of the end of Daylight Savings Time have run their course with the Muffins. I got up shortly before the kids and got them ready for the day once they were awake. I ended up missing the 8:30 Mass, but decided to check out the 11 service and think I may prefer it to the earlier service. The music was different, but the entire congregation sings and it's not quite as crowded. The thing that sucks about going to church by yourself (I was scoping out the service to see if it would work for the whole family next week) is Peace. You have to wait for all of the people around you to shake hands with/hug/kiss the people that they're with before they move onto those around them. Either way, though, it was a good experience and I may start going to that service on a regular basis.

After Mass, I popped into the (very crowded) Holiday Fair that the church was holding. I ended up running into friends of the family and had a quick catch-up with them. Now, I'm not a fan of real maple syrup (I know, blasphemy if you're from New England), but I felt compelled to purchase some of their products and the maple kettle corn was really good. The Muffins liked it, too.

When I came home, I was immediately informed by Ella that "Liam was taking a nap." I was a bit surprised, but he was obviously zonked and needed the rest. He ended up sleeping for a little over 3 hours. Ella, being the relatively self-entertaining child that she is, made it possible to just kind of hang out, periodically snuggle with the Muffin and relax for a good part of the early afternoon. I ended up watching The Tenth Circle on demand, but was disappointed for the most part. I know it had to be adapted for television, but they left out major parts of the book and it felt simultaneously rushed and dragged out, if that makes any sense.

Mom came down around 3:30 and as much as I asked her to not bring balloons (I am so not a balloon person, but she is), she brought a couple of balloons. I knew the kids would have a blast with them at least. She made me a delicious cake, with the best chocolate frosting that I've ever had. I'll definitely have to get the recipe from her, but it involved melting Hershey bars and, for some reason, this really tweaked J out. He was "psychologically thrown off" by that little tidbit and now can't eat the cake. Weirdo.

We did go to the Comman Man for dinner and it was a rather comical event. I didn't realize that J had taken a Tylenol PM last night. This may seem like an insignificant fact, but he's a bit of an alien. The dude can drink an entire pot of regular coffee and then go to sleep. So...1 measly Tylenol PM, while it makes me sleep well and feel completely refreshed in the morning, pretty much makes J an idiot for a few days. They have kerosene lamps on the tables and they don't light them until someone is seated (dinner begins at 4 on Sundays and we were there shortly thereafter, so we were the first to sit at our table). After we were seated, J tried to move the glass of the lamp and nearly broke the thing. Then he was a bit of a zombie when it came to ordering and having some bread. The highlight of dinner, though? As we were sharing a ginormous hot fudge sundae for dessert, the man decided he just had to have a napkin and ended up depositing his spoon into my Diet Coke. The movement was so deft and natural that it threw me off and I didn't even realize that it was my drink that the spoon was in. I laughed for a very long time after that and, yes, I did still drink the soda.

After dinner, we came home, said goodbye to Mom and I hit the gym where I banged out a great workout (today was a cardio-only day so 60 mins on the total body arc trainer). Came home, bathed the kids, played for a bit and then put the Muffins down. I did some vacuuming since the kids are getting into everything (and then some) lately and Liam actually brought me a little handful of dust earlier today.

Now, I'm showered and relaxed but the day is far from over. I still need to tidy the kitchen and do some other cleaning/organizing in the hopes that the kids will get into less tomorrow (fingers crossed!).

How was your day?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Couple Of Days Early

Even though it's not until Monday, it looks as though we'll be celebrating my birthday tomorrow. Mom's insisting on making me a cake, claiming that I simply cannot make my own birthday cake. Mom'll come down and watch the kids while J and I enjoy dinner at my favorite restaurant.

It's funny, I used to be all about birthdays. But now a quiet observation is all I want. On the actual day, I'd like to try and go out to breakfast if the Muffins cooperate and then hit the gym. Laying low and taking a moment to realize the many blessings in my life is the best way to mark the passage of time for me.

33, here I come!

Question Of The Morning

Is it right that it is November in New Hampshire and I actually opened a couple of windows this morning?

The heat's been off for quite a few days now, but the new windows are so efficient and it's been so mild that it feels as though the heat's cranked to 70 in here.

Bring on the cold, Mother Nature!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kitchen Dreams

First of all, I forgot to mention that I received my cookbook! Woohoo! The mailman actually delivered it on Election Day, but I've been too scatterbrained to blog about it. The recipes look amazing, and I can't wait until the kidlets give me more space in the kitchen so that I can cook more (I do a fair amount of crockpot cooking b/c I can usually get it put together before the kids wake up*). My sister, A, loves Ina Garten and I know that this cookbook is a great addition to my kitchen. Thanks again, Jenn!

Speaking of my kitchen...now that the siding is done and the windows have been replaced and the roof is new and we finally have a deck, my kitchen is really the only thing I'd like to change about the house. (Well, we won't talk about project: basement...that will happen one day!)

My kitchen is very small. It's pretty much a galley-style and there isn't much room for more than two people to comfortably work in (and even that's cutting it close, depending on what is going on). I have quaint visions of cooking and baking with the kids when they're a little bit older, but the smallness of my kitchen will make for cramped quarters. I know they'd love to help out in the kitchen, but I don't quite see how it could work with the setup I currently have. Aside from the basement (which is only a monumental task in that it will require clearing out/sorting through a ton and a half of stuff), the kitchen is the last major area of the house that I'd like to re-do. What I envision, though, would take time and lots of money and would be messy in the short run so it's not happening for quite a while...But I'll keep dreaming about it!

What would you change about your place if you could?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Snippets

  • While flipping through my most recent Everyday Food, I saw a recipe for a cheddar-crusted apple pie. Although I know that people combine cheese and apple pie, I have never tried it in my life. It just doesn't seem like a logical food combination to me (so says the chick who has been known to combine french fries and hot fudge sundaes and sour cream and onion potato chips and tomato soup). The recipe seems tempting, though, and I may just try it this year for Thanksgiving. Tell me, though, have you done the cheddar and apple pie thing? Is it really as good as everyone says?
  • The other day, while out for a drive, a large truck cut across 3 lanes of traffic and I was taken aback. I exclaimed, to no one in particular, "Dude, what up?" From the back seat I then heard, "Dude, what up little man?" Take a guess which kidlet it was (hint: she's quite the talker, just like her Mama).
  • Hey did you see this?
  • I honestly think that Sarah Palin is toast (certainly, the finger pointing is pretty much all aimed towards Alaska). Yes, she fired up the 'pub base and she is a solid conservative, but I don't think she's got much of a future beyond this point. I'd be shocked if she is reelected as governor of Alaska when the time comes. We'll see, I guess.
  • I'm jonesing for chinese food. Maybe Saturday night...
  • I'm a rather snarky people-watcher at the gym. If I see someone coming into the gym, say, when I'm getting on a machine for a 60-minute workout and then I see that same person leave before I'm through with my workout? I invariably think to myself, "why even bother coming in?" Bitchy, I know. I should put the spin on it that at least that person is coming in and moving at all and any exercise beats no exercise, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seeing The Blessing Through The Frustrations

The kids were INSANE yesterday and for most of the day today. Ella caught me under the chin twice today, headbutting me and causing me to bite my tongue both times. Liam has figured out how to silently move one of the dining chairs so that he can climb up and play with everything that he shouldn't. I'm rapidly running out of high surfaces to put things on. I went grocery shopping tonight (alone, bonus!), only to basically have to race to put the groceries away because I was essentially under attack by both kids and they were into everything - I mean everything. Ella decided to spit up some of her dinner and then proceeded to wipe it all over her face, hands and her brother's hair. If I were being honest on facebook, my status might read something like this: Heather sometimes feels like she's getting her ass kicked by motherhood.

But in the end, all of the frustrations instantly wash away when the Amazing Muffins grab each other's hands and dance around the living room or when they wrap their tiny arms around me and say, "I love you, Mama."

So, I'll amend it to say: Heather sometimes feels like she's getting her ass kicked by motherhood. But she wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Own Little Piece Of History

I don't know exactly where my fervor for voting comes from, but I distinctly remember my mother taking me along with her to vote. In fact, sitting in a polling place on a bright November morning as my mother disappeared behind a red, white and blue striped curtain for a few moments may be one of my earliest memories. So, I attribute my firm belief that voting is vital and that if you don't vote, I will refuse to listen to you complain about our governing officials to these early memories of participating in our political process.

Despite one of my sisters exhorting everyone she came in to even distant contact with to "bring water, bring lawn chairs, and dress in layers" when heading to the polls today (and my reminding her that, hey, we live in NEW HAMPSHIRE where uhm I can't honestly foresee any major voting issues arising), we had no issues at our polling location today (and neither did anyone I spoke with). In fact, we waited in line longer when voting in the primary in January (when it was pretty damn cold). She was adamant, too, that we not bring the kids with us because it would just be too much for them to take. Needless to say, she was wrong...sort of. But, even though they may not remember it, I was determined to have our children with us as we cast our votes for Barack Obama.

As we waited for all of two minutes in line to announce ourselves, Ella suddenly became possessed by evil Republican spirits or something and became nearly uncontrollable. I switched kids with J and he was strapped with wrangling the inexplicably insane one. Liam was pretty well behaved until he decided that he just had to touch the boot of the man in the booth next to me because he was convinced that it was Daddy's boot. I told him repeatedly that it wasn't in fact the foot of his father at all and hastily filled out the rest of my ballot (while also listening to Ella freak the hell out two booths over). Despite a complete stranger offering to hold Ella while J voted (hello? who would ever do that? offer and/or accept the offer?), we both placed our ballots into the machine and left the polling place, happy to have played our tiny roles in history.

Yes, we did.