Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey & Penicilin

I used to get a lot of sore throats.  If someone had Strep Throat in a 100 mile radius, I got it.  I came down with a bad case of Strep right before Thanksgiving one year.  Since I hated shots, I opted for oral Penicillin.  This is strange because I also couldn't really swallow pills.  And these were serious meds - they were huge.  And my throat was, um... swollen.  (It took me years to achieve pill swallowing skillz, btw.)  So, this one Thanksgiving I stayed home from school all week and helped my mom get ready for the holiday.  And I had some serious difficulty getting those pills down three times a day.  My mother would crush them up in a spoonful of jam sometimes when she was tired of hearing me choke.  But on Thanksgiving Day I remember clearly shoveling in those pills with a mouthful of turkey.  (I don't know why - but for some reason I can totally picture Tyler doing this right now.)  Let me tell you there is nothing more disgusting to eat than turkey laced with Penicillin.  It has probably been 20 years since that day, but I can still taste it.  And unfortunately the memory returns at least once every year on Thanksgiving Day and a shudder of disgust runs through my body.

Looking forward to feasting (sans Penicillin) tomorrow! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Once upon a time ... something happened

Tyler came to me last week and told me he misses his friends in Minnesota.  Especially his friend, Rose.  Rose was a darling girl who lived a few houses down the street and was in Tyler's class.  They played together all the time and she was super cool because she had dogs and liked to play with swords and lightsabers.  One blustery day back in 2007, Tyler came home from school and informed me that something "serious" had happened at school that day.  He had the strangest, most severe look on his face at the time.   I asked him to tell me all about it 

"Well, Mom .... today at school... Rose kissed me.  And I kissed her.  And... well, I fell in love today.  That's what happened."

It's one of the sweetest memories I carry of him.  A "grown up" discussion about love in our old living room with my 6 year-old son.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One Man's Garbage is Another Man's Treasure

Yesterday, Chance's parents visited while the kids were out of school for Veteran's Day.  Jayne gave Emma a cute trash can covered in flowers and butterflies for her bedroom.

Emma:  "What's this?"
Grandma:  "A trash can for your bedroom."
Emma:  "For my very own?  It's so cute!  I have to show Mamma!"

Noah:  "I want a trash can of my very own..."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Back in the days before the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe on a tour with my history teacher, Mr. Preston, and a few classmates.  An interesting experience since I am certain it was an extravagance my family could not afford.  My mother found a way to make it happen and off I went to experience the wonders of the world as a young teen.  I traveled through England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.  I met beautiful people and lost myself in the enchanting scenery (well, sometimes .... sometimes I lost myself in the eyes of a cute boy in my tour group, too.  How could I help that?)  I realize now I was too young to fully appreciate the opportunity I was given back then, but my short time abroad forever changed my feelings about the blessed land we live in.

My group traveled to beautiful and safe places.  The most "dangerous" part of the journey occurred in Italy where I wasn't allowed as a young, blond, American girl to walk down the street without an adult male escort.  Seriously.  Those Italian heartthrobs trailed me everywhere and attempted to seduce me on the street, male chaperones notwithstanding.  My teenage brain didn't register danger, only excitement.  Mr. Preston threatened to lock me in the hotel.  How could I help being excited?  What with the "Ciao, baby!"s, the shoes, the cuisine and the gelato stands.  I was ready to become an Italian citizen forever.  The danger to a young girl was very real, but I failed to sense it. 

The end of the trip was spent in Germany.  Our tour guide, Trudy, shared stories of traveling into Eastern Germany and other Eastern Bloc countries.  Tourists who ventured there were not permitted to carry cameras and were jailed if they violated any number of rules.  She shared stories of depravity and suppression.  It terrified me.  I was safely on the West side of the Berlin Wall, but I felt the plight of those confined souls living beyond suffering in darkness that I did not want to get caught in. I was completely safe.  There was no danger to me, but nothing (not even gelato) would have induced me to give away my US citizenship then.  I was ready to go home.

When I stepped onto US soil again, I felt an immediate sense of security.  I was home again, where I understood the rules and I was free to live a life as I chose to live it.  I experienced a tangible warmth when I took that first step off the plane and have never forgotten it.  And I take a moment here to appreciate those who have sacrificed for this country and for the freedom and safety I enjoy.  While I appreciate our veterans, my heart is full of gratitude today for those - like my sister Nicole - who live knowing their husbands (or sons, fathers, daughters, brothers, uncles, sisters, etc.) may not come home tomorrow.  I honor her sacrifice just as much as I honor her husband's service in the Air Force.  Jason will be deploying to Iraq again next month. My brother-in-law, Kris, is stationed there again, too.  How does she do it?  How does she give him up so often for so long?  How does she survive the anxiety and the reality of the danger to him?  How does she sleep?  I don't know how, but I am grateful for it.  She is stronger than I.

Happy Veteran's Day.

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~ Miriam Beard

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am a Good Mother

Today was a day of affirmation.  I am a good mother.  I can prove it.  Two impartial people told me so today.

1. Mrs. Rizzo, Noah's Kindergarten teacher:
I phoned Mrs. Rizzo this afternoon about an upcoming field trip and we talked about Noah for a few minutes.  She expressed how much she enjoys him in class and praised me as a mother more than once.  I felt awesome.

2.  Lady at Fred Meyer's Playland:
I had to pick up groceries for dinner so Emma and Noah elected to hang out at Freddy's Playland this afternoon.  I signed them in and the lady gave them a quick rundown of the rules in her playland.  I went on my way and returned an hour later.  Playland lady praised me for a good 5 minutes about how well behaved both of them are.  And then she said ... "You're a good mother.  I can tell.  I've been doing this for a long time now, and I can always tell the good from the bad." 

Hmmmm....maybe I'm not doing everything wrong.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month of Gratitude

Happy November! Just wanted to share the project I've been slaving over for the last 10 days.  It's a gratitude calendar and filled with daily activities to promote an attitude of thanksgiving.  I sacrified a lot of sleep for this, but I hope we have some worthwhile experiences with it.  Each pocket holds a card with an activity surrounding various types of blessings. Some activities focus on families, some on faith, health, the arts, the Earth; I tried to come up with a variety of ways to count up at least 30 different blessings in my family's life this month. I'm hoping that my children will have fun, but also be reminded of our abundantly blessed life.

Today's card:  "Be Grateful for your siblings.  Be extra kind to them.  Do your best to avoid fighting and teasing each other." I considered using the "Be Grateful for your Mother" card, but I'm going to save that for the day after Thanksgiving, I think.  I also decided it was time to use the sibling card after a brief discussion with Emma yesterday:

Mom:  "Hey, your face is dirty."
Emma:  "Yeah, Noah made me kiss his shoe.  And Tyler, too."

A Month of Gratitude - Part 1

Happy November! Here is the big project I've been working on the last 10 days or so. I originally got this idea from Pottery Barn Kids last year. (See photos below), but I didn't want to pay their prices for it. I looked it over and thought "How hard could it be? Its a big rectangle with pockets. I can totally do that for about $20." Turns out, I spent about the same as PBK's cost, but I have enough materials to make at least 2 of them and a number of new tools that I can use over and over again. (I had to buy a few dies for my Big Shot). Since I didn't know exactly what I was doing at first, I bought extra fabric in case I needed it. Once I got started and realized how much excess I had, I considered making a 2nd one of these to give away. "Wouldn't that be cool of me? Wouldn't that just be the nicest thing ever?" I thought. And then I thought, "Hmmm....I could get some Christmas fabrics and make an advent calendar for Christmas like this." And then I started sewing and vowed never to do this again. Honestly, it wasn't too bad, once I figured out the design and managed to line up the pockets in a semi-straight grid. And if you have a week of your life to sacrifice, this is a nice way to do it. There are some things I would do differently, fabric choices I would change, etc. but I'm really pretty proud of this.
Each pocket has a card with an activity for gratitude. Some activities focus on families, some on faith, health, the arts, the Earth; but I tried to come up with a variety of ways to count up at least 30 different blessings in my family's life this month. I'm hoping that my children will have fun, but also be reminded of our abundantly blessed life.

Supplies: Big Shot Machine; Serif Essentials Alphabet Die; SU Simple Numbers Die; SU Scallop Square Die; fabric; various interfacings; ribbon; dowel; blood; sweat; tears.




PBK's Calendars (2008 & 2009):