Thursday, December 31, 2009

While shopping at Target, Dwayne said something that made me mad, real mad. I said, "Let's go!" and just like, we were headed for the checkout at lightning speed. When Norah asked, "Why are we going so fast?!" I told her, "We're trying to outrun the fight."

...It didn't work.

Man's anger does not bring about the righteous action
that God desires.

James 1:20

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Norah's new favorite thing to draw.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look, Mom! No chins!

Just one chin. Singular.

No. Really, it has more to do with camera angle than anything else. But, I am loosing weight. I think. It's happening so slowly, I don't feel that surely about it at times.

I've been going to the trainer twice a week for months now. I've got four fitness classes on the schedule at work and I try to do at least three other cardio workouts during the week. I am eating better. My diet isn't perfect. I don't think it's ever going to be green enough and I still fall for french fries every so often, but its better than it was... So, I figure, it's about time I stop hating my photograph altogether.

Earlier this week, I was actually bent over in the isle at the store picking something out. Dwayne almost walked right by me. He didn't recognize me. When he realized it was me, he laughed so hard and said with visible relief that he had actually had a really hard time not checking me out as he was going by. He does this "eye bounce" thing when he finds it hard not to notice a woman who props her parts up for all to see. (I guess I need to bend at the knees more often myself.) But, I didn't know whether to be mad at him or to kiss him for saying what he did! After a lot of thought, however, I think I find it pretty romantic that if I were a stranger to him today, he'd still find me physically attractive, almost uncontrollably so. Growl!

And, I got my wedding ring off for the first time in years, literally, years. I promised myself that if it ever did come off again, I wouldn't put it back on until it was re-sized. So, off to a reputable jeweler I go, as soon as my poor, fatter-than-it-used-to-be finger is able to stretch out as far as it needs to to look normal again.

So, the scale is moving in the downward direction for now. The only trouble I can see is that I think we want to have another baby and soon! There is some hesitation for me, I have to admit. There is some small, selfish part of me that wants to withhold myself and save my body the trouble a new baby brings. But, ultimately, we're talking about a dress size or a child. I figure I'll have enough time to slim up when the kids are grown up, God willing.

I read somewhere that "life that mares the body makes the soul." And, when I think about the stretch marks on my belly from carrying my babies, I think it's true. Their lives have literally marred my body, but they have also made my soul. I also think to myself that there is "a time for every purpose under heaven." And, this portion of my life is meant for bearing children (and conversely, for me, meant for gaining weight and trying all over again to loose it). But, I say, "God, give me children!" I can bear the weight (and pain and suffering and...) they bring my body for the blessings they bring my spirit. Children are a reward!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I have some reservation about sharing this, since it is of a private nature. So, if you are under the age of eighteen, I'd simply ask that you have enough respect for my wishes and stop reading now. Come back to my blog on another day.

I will not to go into the kind of details that will make the rest of you embarrassed or the kind that will embarrass me, for that matter. But, I wanted to mention that I did this. I started on the fourteenth of this month and gave Dwayne a "gift" every day until Christmas. I asked Dwayne if I could share this on my blog. He chuckled and said, "Sure! I want the whole world to know!" ...Typical.

Dwayne said this came at an important time in his career, when he was moving into a new position at work. He had meetings, important ones almost everyday leading up to the holiday. They were the kind of meetings that required neck ties, where he was faced with questions and had to give presentations that required the perfect words said at just the right time with just the right tone. He said it was the kind of week that would define the atmosphere at his workplace for years to come.

And, Dwayne would be the first to tell you that it wasn't like he was suffering from a lack of anything in this regard. So, that's not what made the twelve days an obvious choice for me, but...

I had been noticing Dwayne was burdened by an unseen weight for some time. His shoulders seemed to get lower and lower in the weeks passing. And, in turn, I was more stressed and worried seeing him more stressed and worried. I was praying for some way to lift the burden. I would try and coax him into talking about work, so I could encourage him or I'd cook really nice meals. I even tried to give him free time at the end of a long day, keeping the kids away from him at times when I really needed a break, but still, nothing seemed to be working. He was just sinking further under the weight of this new position and it's overwhelming responsibilities.

My feelings about all this were varied and swung all over the place. I went from pity for him for having to carry so much pressure, to worry that he'd crack, to pride over his new success, to frustration that no matter how much I did, I couldn't seem to bring him out of from under his dark cloud, to anger because he was so distracted and unable to relax or invest in his family once he was home with us.

But, as the twelve days started, Dwayne said he went to work every day as if it were just a regular day. And, as I watched him go, I could tell that whatever unseen weight he was carrying was gone, as if it had dissipated right into thin air. I looked for it again in the evenings as he came home, figuring that his burden would be back having just returned from such a stressful day at work, but to my surprise, the burden wasn't there and it never came back. As I say this now, I realize how funny it sounds in context, but it was as if Dwayne was floating on a cloud the whole week!

At the beginning of the month, I thought this was just my idea, just another way I was trying all I could think of to bless him. But, in hindsight, and seeing how God used it to accomplish the ministry I was seeking for a way to accomplish in my his life, I am sure beyond all doubt that it was God who lead me to do this. I think God's love for my husband must have compelled Him to give me the extra grace I needed to even consider doing this, let alone pull it off. And, I realize now, the week could have been terrible and sleepless and stressful for me, too! But, seeing how well Dwayne managed under it all, I was then able to mange well, too.

And, if I have any gift of interpreting what it is that God's Holy Spirit says to me, I feel like He wants us to know that we dodged a ton of bullets this week. I shudder a little to think how things might have gone if I wasn't obedient, if my spirit had been different towards my husband, if I hadn't have done this.

His word says God has wisdom stored up for those who ask for it. And, I feel like He threw this down into my path so that I would stumble over it and when I got up to see what it was that knocked me over I'd think, "Oh. Huh. This might work." ...Well, it did!

I wasn't one to diminish the role a wife has in her husband's life. And, I was never one to say that sex wasn't really important. But, that said, until now, I had no idea how much the two combined and multiplied by twelve had the power to revolutionize a man's spirit.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My little Indian informed me she wants to be a "horse rider" when she grows up.

I don't know much about training horses. I have no real, practical experience. I only know what I've seen in the movies and read in the books. But, I've seen a lot of movies and read a lot of books ;) and from what I can gather, there are two ways to train a horse and there is an age-old debate about which way is better.

You can just break a horse in such a way that it submits without question. You can make the animal forget it's natural strength, weaken it's spirit, dull it's wit so much so that it will never be a threat to any rider, young or old, that straddles it's back. This horse will be very useful. It'll carry passengers to and fro and serve well enough and no one will ever, ever question how it was trained, since, in essence, it is no longer even capable of being dangerous.

But, there's another way. It's not attempted that often and most people say that is because it's impractical... or even impossible. But, if you ask others, the brave few, they will quietly explain that most people only say that because they don't have enough grace, patience, persistence, foresight or shall we say... faith to do it the right way.

There is supposed to be a way to take all that pure muscle, pure will, and pure wit and bend it just enough to make it compliant just enough so that it will be useful just enough. And, if you train a horse this way, when you need its strength or when you have to depend on its wit, it will still have its God-given spirit and it will be able to serve you better because it will, in essence, choose to serve you. When you really need it to, a horse like this is supposed to be able to run and think and even care and therefore, take its rider faster and farther and safer than other horses will. People who have seen a horse like this say it is a sight to see, a noble, awe-inspiring, breathtaking sight.

I've often thought that raising children must be a lot like training horses. ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009

We went to one of the Christmas Eve services at church yesterday.
When we got home, Norah posed with her gift in front of the tree.

Opening her Christmas pajamas...

She exclaimed, "They're pink!" with pure joy. Then she realized, "These are the ones I wanted!"

The night gown isn't Christmas colored or themed, which bothers me greatly and I personally think that it is tacky, but Norah won't ever know that (until she is old enough to read this blog and find out for herself).

She came across this gown several weeks ago when we were browsing through pajamas in a store and said, "Is this a night gown?!" She thought it had to be a princess dress misplaced in the racks. I thought that was really sweet. She also told me that if she had it, she would use it for "dress up." She didn't beg for it, because we don't allow that, but I saw the look in her eyes and I knew she really wanted it, so I went back a few days later when she wasn't with me and got it.

Avril wearing her new pajamas, too. They say, "Baby's First Christmas."

We did our Advent Book again this year, like last year.

I finished Norah's stocking! And after she went to bed, we filled it with the little gifts we got her. I didn't get to mine, Dwayne or Avril's stockings yet, but none of us have any stocking-stuffers this year anyway... Oh well. There's always next year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We made sugar cookies again this year. So far, we've kept it simple, with a basic star design, basic white icing and sugar sprinkles here and there. The cookies taste just as good without the colors, you know.

But, I have a few zip lock sandwich bags of dough left in the fridge, so we may yet get creative and add some shapes and colors, like last year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Festivus!

When I first heard about today's holiday, Festivus, and that it included a time to "air grievances," I assumed (wrongly) that it had some sort of historic tie to Martin Luther and his 95 Thesis. But, after a quick Google search, I was surprised to find out that the holiday is not at all that orthodox or legitimate even. In fact, Festivus got it's start on the television show Seinfeld, of all places, and has grown in popularity right along with the show!

Click here and here for more humorous information on Festivus.

It may not be official, but in the spirit of Festivus, I'd still like to air some grievances for your reading pleasure on this December 23rd. The "airing grievances" part is what peeked my interest in the "holiday" in the first place and it's the only part of the holiday I really wish to celebrate. To use Kramer's words, "This holiday... is scratching me where I itch," since I've been looking for an excuse, any excuse, really, to list my pet peeves in a public forum.

And, I feel like once I've dumped this list on you, here at the end of the year, I can start fresh next year. Any new annoyances that are bound to come my way in 2010 can just go on another list to be shared on December 23rd next year, perhaps.

So, here's my list of grievances, in no particular order.

1. Kept women. I'm a bit of a feminist in this way and I think this is because my mentors, the women who I respected the most as I was growing up, were all working moms. Generally, I have a hard time with women who call themselves "stay at home moms" but who aren't actually mothering for a large part of their day. Let's just say, I'm glad my husband isn't a stay at home engineer. You may know some of these "moms." They drop their kids off at school only to spend their school hours (and their husband's money) going to the gym, getting their nails done, watching daytime television on a flat screen, napping, decorating their homes, shopping for said decorations, doing nothing that pertains to being a mother, really, even being "too busy" at night to cook dinner. And when you ask them what they do, they have the nerve to say they are moms! As if their identity is a task! You've read the bumper sticker, "Anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a dad..." Well, that mentality applies to mothers and moms, too. Note: I have no problem with moms who send their kids to school, by the way, just women who use the titles of "wife" or "mom" for entitlements or to cover up their own superficiality and idleness.

2. Oprah. and how she is always on the cover of her own magazine and doesn't seem to be the least bit embarrassed about her obvious enthusiasm over herself. Now, I know other people are as self centered as she is, they just aren't rich enough to indulge it like she can. They have to keep blogs. And, I also realize that Rachel Ray poses on the cover of her own magazine, too, but for some reason, it doesn't bother me when she does it... Maybe that's because she's holding a plate of cookies??? Or maybe because she's so darn cute!!! Anyway, I think I just have a problem with Oprah and the version of success she represents and the ideologies she trumpets to our culture.

3. School buses. I resent getting stuck behind school buses now more than I did ten years ago when I started driving. They used to stop at the end of every street and I thought that was bad enough. But, now, buses stop in front of every... single... door. I resent having to pay taxes for the gas that idols them so much longer and for the maintenance required on the brakes that have to grind to a halt so many more times each day. Do kids really need to be seen all the way to their doorsteps?

4. Homeschoolers who don't brush their kids' hair. I am one of these and I am trying to desperately to reform myself.

5. Guys who wear "World's #1 Player" t-shirts.

6. Girls who are dumb enough to be on a date or in a relationship with #5.

7. Form fitting velour track suits.

8. Expensive brand-name coffees.

9. The perfect accessories. I've tried to "accessorize "and I've found that it takes too long to find the perfect jewelry to match every outfit and those little (or big) plastic beads often cost as much or more than the clothes they go with.

10. 7, 8 and 9 combined. Put these three together and they form the perfect trifecta of hatred for me. When I see someone in a track suit with a matching beaded necklace holding Starbucks, I have to turn my eyes away really quick, otherwise I will burn this person with the fire that shoots out of my eyes like that guy in X men.

11. People who pity us for living in Waterbury. Snobs, I call them. They don't ever come right out and say what forces their noses so high up in the air or their frowns so far down their faces, but I have a suspicion it's because of the minority people who live in the city here. This makes me furious. I often want to point out that your "area," as they so aptly call the place where I live, is also inundated with minority groups. I also want to point out that your superiority is usually just a form of advanced, racial hierarchy and it is just as shameful and ignorant as the more old, worn out version of racism. For these people, it seems to come down to which minority group they prefer over another or which group they don't mind their kids brushing elbows with as much. Have we really made so little progress since the 1960s?!

12. People, usually men, who try to teach me how to drive. They do this from the car in front of me. Example: To show me how close I am following and how dangerous this can be, various men like to slam on their brakes and glare at me through their rear view mirrors. At this point, I usually take the opportunity to speed around them since their foot is still pressed so far down on their brake pedal. What these kindly men don't realize is that I already have a man of my very own to advise me on my driving, so I don't need their charity.

13. Those who lord it over us because their home is "worth three times as much." Often the same people as #11. Correction: your home is not worth any more to you, your mortgage is just three times bigger than ours.

14. People who talk too loud in restaurants. Those who seem to think their opinions are so valuable, their jokes so funny, that everyone, even those who aren't in their party, really do want to hear what they have to say.

15. People who hurt my children. Example? Family members who tell my kids they will do something, then don't follow through. Other moms who, in one breath, make their kids apologize to another kid, but in the next breath, let their kids mistreat mine at the park just to stick it to me. Grrrr.

16. People who think they are valuable because they are beautiful. And, conversely, people who don't value you because they don't think you're beautiful enough.

17. Women, besides me, of course, who use their blogs to complain and make indirect criticisms.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

That's a portion of a note Dwayne and I once passed during a lecture on the Bible several years ago.
His answer to my question would be the same today and it still makes me smile.

I spent four hours cleaning out my laundry/storage room last weekend. It's that place in our house where we put everything to get it out of the way, but once something goes in there, it's usually forgotten and just stays and stays and stays there until I get around to cleaning out the whole room, which only happens once every few years or so.

Towards the end of the task, I asked Dwayne to come downstairs to help move some of the larger boxes around. We came across one box containing sermon notes, college tests and terms papers, etc. all dated from our early days together. We had a good time going through them. In those days, we were preparing to go into full-time Christian ministry, thinking of graduating with our four-year degrees in religion and then attending Seminary somewhere. I must have drawn the picture below in reference to how much information we would have to retain during graduate school.

We never ended up going to Seminary or into full-time Christian ministry, for that matter. But, neither one of us doubts we are in the center of God's will for our lives. Dwayne is an engineer and he loves it, most days. I stay at home and quite happily pour myself into building up our home and raising and educating our two little girls.

In the box, Dwayne found one of his religion papers and read it to himself and chuckled here and there. He said, "I was so full of zeal..." and then just kept reading. He was also, as is usual, interrupted by Norah, who yelled, "Daddy!!! Can I do my Webkins?!" from the top of the stairs. He took a second to answer her, too, then went back to reading silently. I was listening to all this, going through another box. I smiled to myself and thought it was interesting that he was reading something written by himself so long before he knew Norah, long before she even existed, but now, she's his whole world. When he was finished with the paper, he smiled, looked up and said one thing that summed it all up, "I am a very different person now."

We found the same to be true about me, too, from reading my notes. One, obviously written in a hurry on the back of a class handout said, "Dwayne, Thanks for bringing my keys! You have the key to my heart. Love, V." The way the note was weathered, it must have been left on his car under his windshield wiper. I remembered that I did that quite often back then, before he and I had cell phones, before most people had them. Later, we found a page of my sermon notes with the words, "Thanks for getting my keys for me." written in the margin. He must have been sitting next to me and I wrote the note so I could communicate with him while the sermon was going on. The two incidents were totally unrelated, so I must have misplaced my keys on two separate occasions! The second time, he must have found them before I even knew they were missing and held onto them until he saw me again. I laughed so hard at that. I was always misplacing my keys back then. I had a hard time keeping up with anything. Looking back, it's as if I was always working from behind, just struggling to stay awake let alone remember all that I had to bring along or get done. But, now, I seem to have all the energy in the world, so much so that I hardly even need to sleep. (I am writing this post well after midnight). And, these days, Dwayne could ask me about a screw he took out of the wall two years ago and I could tell him where it is, right down to what side of the junk drawer it is on. So, practically, I am a totally different person now, too.

We laughed and hugged and talked about how things had changed and that lead us to talking about some of the newly married couples we know now, the ones who remind us of how we were back then. We hear about some of their struggles and empathize, often with our teeth set on edge because the pain is still so real to us, it is like nails on a chalkboard. Yet, at the same time, and not to be rude, but we can hardly believe how insignificant those conflicts seem to us now, after eight years of marriage, two kids, a career, a mortgage... We often chuckle and ask, "Why are they fighting about that?!? Why did we ever fight about that?!?"

But, in reality, those things, however trivial, triggered hurt feelings in us, too, a long time ago. And dealing with the significant feelings the situations brought up helped us move on and grow closer and understand each other better for the next time we faced a challenge that was a little tougher.

We found another note, written during a training conference we attended together. We always had to find a way to communicate while we were listening to some sort of presentation. If this were happening today, I guess we'd just text each other on our cell phones or something, but we were doing all this back in the dark ages, you know. I laughed so hard when I read how sensitive I used to be anytime I felt he had wronged me or anytime I thought he might be displeased with me in any way. I could hardly believe we got into such a heated exchange over Dwayne's tone of voice at lunch! The idea seems so absurd to me now. When he gets an attitude with me these days, I don't take it personally at all. I usually just consider what stress he is under or already know what is going on in his head and so, I hardly even notice. Double click to enlarge the image below so you can read our exchange even better. You will be able to tell what I wrote because my handwriting is the neater of the two. At the bottom, I even drew lines that he filled in answers to. And, when I didn't like his answers, I wrote mine instead.

After we finished laughing over this one, I told him I was glad that even though we had grown so much, we had done so together. The unity and understanding and intimacy we have now has been maintained and built up through lots of interchanges like the one above, where we both got to be totally honest and vulnerable and where someone (or both of us) admitted that they were wrong (even over something as insignificant as the tone of his voice at lunch). God love Dwayne for putting up with me. And, God give him his reward in heaven for striving so well to live with and truly understand this weaker vessel he married.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sewing without a pattern can be tricky, you know, but it's just the way I roll... mainly because I find patterns too complicated or restrictive or expensive- take your pick. To use a phrase from English class, this is the "rough draft" of our Christmas stocking. I made this pattern with a piece of tissue paper (the kind you wrap gifts with) a few years ago. I bought the fabric and cut out the first stocking last year. And, this year, I think I'll go ahead and put everything together, even make enough for every member of the family to have one. Why not?! It would be nice if we could actually hang some up on Christmas Eve. I sewed the two good sides together a few days ago and I am slowly, slowly working out the ideas in my head... But, don't judge just yet. Remember my last rough draft came out alright in the end.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The day of the first heavy snow fall,
I took Norah sledding down our big hill.

I took a photo of the magnificent winter view from the top of the hill out over our reservoir.

And, when we got too cold, we came home for hot chocolate, of course.

I can hardly believe it's been exactly one year since the last snow day I blogged about!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avril's gnawing on biter biscuits now.

Not much has changed in one year,
but it was long enough for Norah to grow out of mittens and into gloves.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We made these adorable mice ornaments out of Hersey's Kisses the other day. The directions called for carpet tape, evidently stronger than poster tape, because that's what we used, because that's what we had, and our mice have been raining off the tree since we hung them up. I thought it was an exception when the first mouse fell apart and then down to the ground, so I told Norah, "You can have all the ones that fall..." Big mistake, since at least half a dozen mice fell off the tree within the first half hour they were hanging up! And every morning, Norah comes in with crazed eyes to glean any of the poor "dead" mice off the tree skirt. She's like the family cat checking traps in the attic. We're saving the ears and tails for next year. That way, I won't have to cut them out again. And, when we stick them together then, we will use carpet tape (or super glue, if necessary) to help hold our little mice together until Christmas.

P.S. Did you notice how colorful Norah's fingers are in the picture at the top? ...The kid loves to draw. And, I've given up trying to keep her hands stain-free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, you open doors for life to enter
You are winter.

- Even more lyrics from "Every Season" by Nichole Nordeman

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here's another color sheet to enjoy with your kids this winter. Click on the image above to enlarge it and then right click and "Save image as..." to have a print-friendly copy on your computer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recently, we made some repairs and improvements to Norah's Native American diorama, still one of her favorite toys. Some of her Indian people had come off their egg-carton stands and the grass around her hut was being uprooted. So, we used some serious craft glue and employed clothes pins to keep everything in place until the repairs took.

Norah asked for a larger tee pee, one for the whole family and she explained that she accidentally smashed the old one under her foot... so, after several failed attempts (and a few near-curses) using sheets of large construction paper, I thought to re-purpose this old, brown, paper bag. It's not exactly the right shape, but it stands on end and provides a large enough space for the whole family to fit inside, so Norah agreed to it, even though it isn't authentic.

And, of course, Norah wanted to decorate it. We found a collection of Native American symbols online. We copied some and made up several of our own. We both did the drawing and had a lot of fun being creative in this way. We did so much, in fact, that Norah will have to color and color and color for several afternoons before she can fill in all of the pictures.

We've gotten more mileage out of this homemade toy than just about any fancy, store-bought toy. That says something.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Norah had so many pine cones in her nature collection, I suggested we make a wreath. When I showed her the picture that I was basing my idea on, she got hysterical. She thought that was a terrible idea, since the pine cones would still be "ugly and brown" and through tears, suggested we do something, anything involving that dreaded word, "Glitter!" I thought this was a terrible idea, but went along with it anyway, for the sake of compromise. She obviously does not see the inherent beauty and design in simple, natural, brown pine cones. But, she is only five.

We used some glitter paint that I've had since ages ago. I think my sister gave it to me back when I was still teaching school, so like I said... ages ago. The colors weren't seasonal, but they were perfect in Norah's eyes. "Princess pink!" and "Ariel blue!" The only one I liked, the silver, she called "Boring." But, Norah had fun and they turned out all right. We tied some ribbon onto the stems and made them into Christmas ornaments.

We still have enough pine cones to cover a wreath, but I don't see it happening. Allowing a strong minded child the dignity of doing what she wants to with her own stuff is simply painful sometimes. A wreath would be so pretty... but, oh well, maybe next year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'll take a picture of the tree...

Hey, You can see my reflec-

Norah come see this!!!

Cool!!! Let me try!

Let me take a picture!!!

My nose looks big!

Mine too!


Look Mom, Uhhh!

Hysterical laughing, slapping thighs, closing eyes.

Wait! Let me get a picture. Okay, go!


More giggles.

You try, Mom.

Okay. Just give me a sec.


Ha! Ha!


Ha! Ha!


Let's try one together!


Sit on my lap.

That was fun, Mom!

It was.

Kisses and hugs.

Consider making an edible Christmas tree with your little ones.
Click here for directions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Here's a Christmas tree coloring sheet for you. Click to enlarge the image, right click and "Save image as..." to have a printable copy on your computer, then print and enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Norah actually wants to do handwriting these days. I've been having her write "Merry Christmas" on a sheet of her lined practice paper, fold it and then decorate it as a card for the neighbors. I think that I'm onto something here. Maybe I should just scrap the formal workbook and let her write notes to loved ones more often? I know the grandparents would love it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things.

Excerpt from "My Favorite Things" by Julie Andrews

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Norah was changing her panties the other day when something occurred to her and she asked, "Why do they even make panties so colorful if no one ever sees them anyway?!" We told her, "Good question, Norah. Good question."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I started recording Norah as she was finishing a page from her phonics book.

When she saw this video and that it was sideways, Norah said, "Mom! I wasn't laying down while I was reading... Why does the video look like that??!?" The older she gets, the more she points out my mistakes. Now I know what my parents meant when they said, "Just wait till you have kids..."
Avril loves her Jumperoo. (I bought it from another mom off Craigslist for $10, only a seventh the price of a new one.) And, Norah loves to sing the song "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." We got the DVD last year and she's been watching it at least once a day since we pulled it out of storage along with the other Christmas items earlier this week.

Why is this video sideways, you ask? Read the explanation here.
Avril's baby talk.

Avril is sitting up on her own, officially.

But, before you watch this, understand that you'll have to forgive my stupidity. I shot this and some other videos with my digital camera earlier this week. It was the first time I ever used my digital camera to capture video. I usually only ever take regular photographs with it. So, I am used to being able to hold my digital camera horizontally to take one photo, then turning it vertically to take the next, whatever works best to fit the subject matter into the screen. But, it turns out, when you are done taking video, you can't click "Edit" and "Rotate" to make it turn right side up like you can with pictures. Seems obvious to me now, but... Anyway, half of the time, this video taken with my digital camera is sideways. Lesson learned. I take hundreds of photos with this camera each month, so... old habits die hard! I don't do this with my video camera, just so you know. I'm not that stupid. But, this footage is just too good not to share and it is so easy to upload to the computer this way! I'll definitely do this again! But, for now, have a chuckle at my expense and just enjoy the baby's sweetness, even if it is sideways.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Once, during a college class discussion, I was asked to choose from four handicaps: blindness, deafness, being confined to a wheelchair or obesity. I was asked to tell which I would rather live with and why, which would I never want to live with and why.

Without hesitation, I chose being confined to a wheelchair over not seeing or hearing. Communication is vital to me and I'd rather see in order to read and hear in order to speak than be able to get around. And, I said that obesity would be the worst handicap of all, one I would never want to live with.

I remember someone getting defensive about this answer and asking me, "Why?!" I explained that people perceive the three other handicaps differently than obesity, especially in our culture. People have something that resembles grace for you if you are blind or deaf or in a wheel chair, but if you are fat, people automatically assume that it's your fault, that you are lazy or a glutton and they usually detest you for it.

This video is proof of what I said so long ago. A "fitness professional," buff and bronzed, speaking in the spirit of an evil Hans or Franz, expresses criticism of Obama's choice for surgeon general. His objections about her aren't academic, he just thinks she shouldn't have gotten the job because she is overweight. This man's boldness on national TV is evidence to me that as a culture, we generally don't respect fat people. Otherwise, this man wouldn't have the nerve to speak with so much arrogance in such a public forum about a woman's weight.

I imagine Obama's choice for surgeon general was just too busy getting her medical degree to worry about counting calories. She wouldn't be the first. Maybe this guy would have more respect for her if she had tighter abs and more of those fitness certifications or body building awards he has. (I'm am only assuming he isn't educated based on superficial evidence like his artificial looking tan and how much he points at the camera. I admit that I could be very wrong about this point. It seems like there are highly educated yet ignorant people nearly everywhere these days, especially on television.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Go here and sign up to win one of these adorable quilts.
(You will have to scroll down till you find the post for November 28.)
Chicken Salad

I get lots of compliments on my chicken salad. I love it. My family loves it. And they never hesitate to tell me if they don't like something I make. And I have to believe everyone else is being honest when they say they like it, too. So, if you're interested, here's the how to:

Use a large skillet with a lid to cover and boil the number of chicken breasts you want to use in shallow water. While the chicken cooks, boil one egg per chicken breast. You can do this by placing the eggs in a sauce pan with just enough water to cover their tops. Bring the water to boil, turn them down to simmer gently for eight more minutes. When the timer goes off, pour out the hot water as you run cold water over the eggs. Let them cool in cold water till you are done preparing the chicken. If you are in a bug hurry, you can add ice to the water. When the chicken is done boiling, remove the breasts from the water and tear them into pieces. Add chopped onions and chopped green pepper to suit your taste. I add approximately 1/4 cup of each for each chicken breast I used. Next, take the shells off the eggs and dispose of them. Chop the eggs and add them to the salad with salt, pepper and mayonnaise to taste. But, when you add the mayo, keep in mind that it is very easy to add too much to begin with and ruin the salad, so be careful to start with and add a very small amount, stir it in and then add more as needed. Sometimes I also sprinkle in some celery seed for more flavor. We often make this on weekends, store it in the fridge and eat it for lunch throughout the week on crackers or wheat toast. It also makes a great non-peanut butter and jelly-type food to pack in a basket to serve for adults on a picnic. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dwayne picked up a toy airplane at a trade show in NYC a few weeks ago. He didn't go to the trade show for it, just got it while he was there, you see. Anyway, he put it together and took Norah outside in the yard to play with it this last weekend. They came back less than five minutes later with Norah in tears. The plane had landed on the neighbor's roof. After knocking on her door and receiving the nice old lady's permission, Dwayne climbed up on her roof using one of his ladders to get it down. It was quite a sight to see him carrying a full sized ladder down the road, Norah trailing behind him, wiping her eyes but smiling again. After that, the two of them took the quick trip to the neighborhood park where they could fly it in the empty ball fields. That went much better.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Pumping sucks."

I usually say this to myself anytime I have to. Then, I laugh at the double truth in the statement. I usually also have to tell myself things like, "Nothing's wrong. It's normal. It's the only way to keep up supply. This will pass." and "It's worth it." And, when, God forbid, I have to explain what I am doing to someone who has never had to pump, explain that I have to do it on days when Avril's teething pain makes it too painful for her to suckle as necessary, those people usually say things like "Really?!" and "You could just wean her, couldn't you?" I usually say things like "Yes, I do have to." and "I know, but..." until I can just get away from them. I know these people are just trying to be helpful, just trying to get me to let myself off the hook, but it's no good. I want to nurse her and I want to do it badly enough to turn myself into the family cow to do so. I think breast milk is best. Everyone knows it's best. So, I reason, why wouldn't I do what is best as long as it is in my power to do so? So, for all you moms like me who just can't shake the desire to nurse no matter how inconvenient it is at times, this post's for you. You and I both know pumping sucks, but we also know this time will pass and until then, we believe it really is worth it.