Friday, April 30, 2010

What we do eat.

    We may not eat bugs around here,
but we do eat...


and Gigantic Cinnamon Rolls.

Only a matter of time,

before we find out,

What these little taste buds will soon be about.

We'll just have to wait and see!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hello Madeline!

HI!!! My name is Hello Kitty. I am a Japanese bobtail cat, and I usually reside in London, England with my parents and twin sister, Mimmy. My hobbies include traveling, reading, music, eating yummy cookies that my sister Mimmy bakes, and making new friends. As I always like to say, you can never have too many friends.

Let me introduce you to my bestest friend, Madeline Day.

She lives in the United States, and her hobbies include playing with her siblings, solving puzzles, dancing, singing, dressing up as a princess, and, of course, playing with me! She likes me because I'm cute, wear a bow, and am fun to hold and sleep with at night. I don't remember when we first met, but we have become great friends. Here are some pictures of our journey together.

This is her Hello Kitty hat and gloves that she received from her Aunt Angie for her third birthday.

Here she is at her birthday party with her Hello Kitty cake that her mommy made.

Every Hello Kitty princess needs her crown.

Her Hello Kitty bike from Grandma P.

I even get to go to preschool with her!
I helped her to not be scared on her first day.

I have been with her through most of the past year, and it has been so much fun! There has been some Hello Kitty sadness in the house lately, though. Madeline's most beloved stuffed Hello Kitty that her mommy bought from the Dollar Spot at Target recently lost its bow (my signature accessory) and so every night for the past several weeks before bed, Madeline has diligently prayed for a new Hello Kitty doll. And last night, her prayer was answered!

I can't wait for all the adventures that lay ahead of us!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mommy Tips

Day to day living in my house is filled with funny preschooler lines ("Mommy, is kindergarten really a garden?), cleaning up messes ("Isaac, let me wipe the oranges out of your hair") and generally a whole lot of chaos. But in my world, if there's going to be chaos, I at least want it to be organized. So here are a few tips I've figured out along the way.

1. The coat/shoe solution.

I was tired of always picking up a trail of shoes and coats every time we came home, so I came up with this first idea. I decided to attatch hooks to the lower half of the door so the kids could easily hang up their own jackets. These are the same hooks advertised around holidays for temporary decorations.There is no damage left if you ever decide to remove the hooks.

It worked like a charm, but I was still left with a pile of shoes on the floor in the closet, and good luck finding your shoe's mate when it came time to go out the door. So I picked up a shoe rack at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for under $10. Here is the after picture. ( I could have dumped the shoes on the floor to show you a before, but sorry- I'm just not that dedicated today.)

The within-child's-reach philosophy has not stopped there. I leave a package of wipes in a basket in the living room so they can wipe their own hands and mouths after eating, and each of the girls have a basket of panties by their beds so they can reach them first thing in the morning. As each of them gets older, I plan to expand this philosophy. It makes them more independent and their mother less stressed.

2. Washing bibs

Any experienced mommy of an infant has figured out that washing bibs with velcro leads to other clothes in the wash being pricked and pulled. I usually would end up washing bibs by themselves or with a load of towels, but then I felt like I was always running out of bibs due to the limited number of wash cycles. So I came up with this next idea. I zip the bibs inside a lingerie bag before washing. (And if you have kids, you have owned lingerie, so there should be such a bag somewhere in your house. Otherwise, you can pick one up for a few dollars at your nearest Target.) This way the bibs can be washed with any load and not damage any clothes in the process.

3. Crumbs under the table. Several times a day. 

You would think I gave birth to calves the way my children graze all day long. So the best $40 I have ever spent thus far is on the Swiffer Sweep Vac. Sorry for the infomercial- I'm not even getting compensated for this promo- but this little piece of equipment has saved me countless hours of cleaning. It's like a dust buster with a long handle. It's much faster than a broom, lightweight, and child-labor worthy. They are excited to do it for me, and so it's a win/win situation.

Hope these tips can help you. I'll have more coming your way soon. So what is your best mommy/life tip that has helped you out?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Turning Fifty

My birthday is coming up in the next few months, and I am definitely dreading turning the big 5-0. Yes, I know I'm only 29, and yes, I can count, but here's my reasoning. About 10-15 years ago, all my older cousins on my dad's side of the family started turning 30, and a part of me felt bad for them. I remember thinking how they weren't too far from forty, and that definitely sounded old. You might be able to fool yourself at thirty about being young, but forty? No way. I even saw a patient around the same time who was depressed over her upcoming 40th birthday, and I didn't consider that to be surprising. I mean, let's face it, she wasn't a spring chicken anymore. I know, sad on my part- even a little pathetic as I look back on it, but it gives you a perspective of how I viewed the decade.

Now those same cousins are taking turns turning forty, when it seems just like yesterday that they turned thirty, which means- yep, you guessed it, before I know it, they will be turning fifty. And that definitely seems old. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) So as my thirtieth birthday approaches, I flash forward twenty years into the not so distant future, and see myself old, wrinkled, and not gray. (I'll always dye my hair.)

I was discussing all this with my cousin Kristie who will be turning forty this month. She laughed at me, then kindly put me in my place. We tragically lost a member of the family in a house fire on Monday of this week, and Kristie reminded me of how quickly our lives can be taken away.  It's one of those things that you "know", but sometimes it takes such a tragedy to make you stop and actually think about that. We really aren't guaranteed tomorrow. Not even the next hour. James 4:14 says, "...whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." 

So as my birthday approaches, I will still joke that it's really just the first anniversary of my 29th birthday.  But instead of dreading that day, I will keep kissing my husband, hugging my babies, and loving on my sister, parents, friends, and family. I truly thank God for every day He gives me with them, and I pray for the strength to do His will while I'm alive, looking forward to the day where there is no more pain, no more grief, no more hurt, and no more death. So bring it on, fifty- I ain't scared of you!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Grape Play

I've spent the past couple hours working on a summer course that I'll be teaching at a local college this summer, and I'm pretty much exhausted. So tonight's blog will be short and sweet. The following is from a cute scene I observed in November of 2008 by my then three old daughter Brooke. Here's a peek into that cute and imaginative mind of hers.

Scene: Brooke at the dinner table having a conversation with grapes while eating them.

Brooke, holding grape #1: oohh, a yummy grape.
Grape #1: wahh wahh! (crying noises)
Brooke eats grape #1.
Grape #2: Did you just eat her?
Brooke: yes I did.
Grape #2: was she crying?
Brooke: yes she was.
Grape #2: I will go get her.
Brooke: ok.
Brooke then eats Grape #2.

The End.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There's a Rooster in my Crockpot

Here is part two of the poultry saga just as I promised. If you missed the blog that day, here it is. It would have been brought to you yesterday, but Mr. Rooster decided to take an extra day to thaw in the fridge. He must have been as scared to be cooked as I was to cook him. Besides, I still hadn't decided on an exact recipe. I was unable to get a hold of my sister or brother in law for their input (who, now that I think about it, still have not returned my call...ahem.), so I decided on a lemon herb crockpot recipe. l could have put him in the oven, but that would have meant hauling out my turkey pan since he wouldn't have fit in anything else I had. So the crockpot it was.

Here is what I found after removing the bag from the fridge.

Notice the lovely bright red blood and greasy yellow fat. This didn't help my squeamishness at all. Step one was to get him out of the bag without touching him. Funny- my first job ever was at Chick fil A in which I touched raw chicken on a daily basis, and here I was terrified of this rooster. I'm proud to say I was able to accomplish the next several steps without ever touching him with my bare hands. And let me tell you, this was not easy.

Here we are post bag removal and the rinse cycle. Are you imagining him with a head and feet? I know I am. Next step- the spices. I used garlic powder (feeling too lazy to mince the real deal), oregano, lemon pepper, salt, and pepper. The oregano and and garlic powder are sprinkled into the cavity.

Down the hatch.

Next step was to sear the outside in a large pan on the cooktop. Using butter would have tasted better, but the health nut that I am, I opted for olive oil.

I'm not a chef, obviously. I couldn't get "all sides browned" when he was so bumpy. It must have been all that running after the girls that beefed up his legs and got him in this mess to begin with. Next was seasoning the outside. After placing him in the crockpot, I sprinkled lemon pepper, salt, freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice all over both sides.

I then added water to the pan that he browned in, and poured the heated juices into the crockpot.

Here we are four hours later.
Yum. It smelled so good at this point I felt like I could stop referring to it as "him".

Here it is ready for carving.

And whalah- the finished product.

Served with an apple spinach salad, green beans, baked potatoes, and buttered bread.

It tasted pretty good, and the ultimate test of success- the kids didn't even ask for ketchup! So sis, if another rooster decides to misbehave, send him up our way- after beheading and skinning of course.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We're Pregnant!!

When it comes to motherhood, there are three specific moments in time with each one of our four children that I will always remember: 1. first learning there is life inside me, 2. finding out the gender (always ASAP of course), and 3. the day of the birth. My first "moment" came on July 3rd, 2004. My hubby and I had decided a month before that we would casually try to get pregnant. No looking at calenders or counting days, just to go about it stress-free and see what happens. Yeah, right. He may have gone about it so casually, but not me.

Two days before my "womanly event" was to start, I got up at 6am sharp and placed my sample on a skinny white stick, then impatiently counted 120 seconds. As I peered over the back of the toilet, my heart sank as I saw just one line through the tiny window. Ah well, I should have known it wasn't going to be so easy. Who gets pregnant after just one month anyway? (wow, was I naive about my fertile capabilities.) I was throwing the stick in the trash when I got a glimpse of a faint second line. My heart started to pound. Could it be? Truly?? Really, really????

Now, at this point I should say that I'd had this next moment planned out since I met my sweet man 6 years prior. He would come home from a long day's work, and I'd be wearing a little black dress, heels, and a string of pearls around my neck. (Apparently I had a subconscious desire to emulate Donna Reed.) The table would be set for a candlelit dinner for two, and I'd serve baby carrots, baby lima beans, and eggs. He would ask "Why such an odd meal, sweetheart?" And then I would excitedly tell him that I was with child. He would then sweep me up in his arms and we would talk into the night about our sweet bundle of joy growing inside me.

Jolt back into reality. Wait til that evening? Are you kidding me?? I had to tell him now! I climbed back into bed and tried to gently wake him up. "BILL!!!!! WAKE UP!!!!" Ok, maybe not so gently. But it worked. "What??" He may have been just a tad annoyed. I thrust the stick in his face. "Look! How many lines do you see?" He squinted, and after a second said, "two." "Do you know what this means????" "No." (I'm thinking he didn't care this early in the morning either.) "It means we're pregnant!!" I waited for his response- to roll over, sit up excitedly, kiss me.... He replied, "Oh." And went. back. to. sleep.

I was too excited to care. I'd wanted my whole life to be a mommy, and now I was! A tiny life was growing inside me. What a miracle. The next two days involved six more pregnancy tests (yes, I said six), a call to the manufacturer of the pregnancy test (just to be sure I was using the test correctly) and telling excited friends and family the good news. Oh, and Bill did eventually wake up, in which I retold the news and he responded in cautious excitement. Little did we know that day how much we were soon to fall in love with this precious baby, and how much joy she would bring to our lives. All we knew then is that our love together with God made this life inside me, and our world would never be the same again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The (sometimes loud) Voice of God

Ever wish to yourself that God Himself would drop down from Heaven and tell you exactly what to do in certain situations? I usually have to dedicate a lot of time to prayer to figure things out, and occasionally I'll even get a little whisper in my head of which direction to take. I have had the privelage, though, of a few very rare times in which God has explicitly spoken to me in a voice so loud it cannot be ignored, and there is no question it was Him. One of those times was in college, a few weeks before my PA class was to leave for our rotation year. We were in the auditorium learning about the different rotaion sites, and would soon be turning in our three top choices. My decision had been made a year before. I wanted more than anything to be in City X where my fiance (future best hubby of the universe) would be living. We could see each other every day and together plan our upcoming wedding. It sounded like the perfect situation, so it never even occurred to me that I should be praying about this decision. To be perfectly honest, God's choice didn't even play a part in my mind.

As I was sitting in the auditorium, I scanned the room for my "competition". There were only so many slots available, and I didn't want anyone to boot me out. Out of nowhere, a very clear and loud voice said to me- "You aren't going to City X, you're going to City Y." I knew immediately who was speaking to me. I'd like to say my first reaction was "Wow, God just spoke to me!" and my second reaction as, "Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Yes, yes, Lord!" (Love that song.) Instead, my first reaction was "Wow, God just spoke to me!" and my second was, " I DON'T WANT TO GO TO CITY Y!!!" (Aren't we sinners predictable?) City Y was three hours from my hometown, and nearly 5 hours from my fiance. I didn't know a single soul there, and would be as lonely as all get-out. Why in the world would God want me there of all places? Did He WANT me to be completely miserable?? Because I would be. No doubt. I would be sad, and lonely, and miserable. But if that's what God wanted, I knew I'd be even more miserable if I chose against His will. So, despite my own desires, I put my number one choice as City Y. How was I going to explain this one to my fiance and family?

The next year was interesting. Was I lonely? Yes, most definitely. I cried myself to sleep every night for three months straight. Was I sad? Frequently. Was I miserable? No. I have many fond memories of that year. I leaned on God more than ever before to help me get through my loneliness and despair. I also had fun; I had great preceptors and learned so much more than just medicine. I wasn't distracted by the desire to hang out with my fiance, and learned that the heart really does grow fonder in absence. Most importantly, I gained boldness in witnessing to patients about my faith, and still pray for one man in particular every time I think of him.

I have frequently wondered why God chose to speak to me the way He did, and I think I've figured out why. He most likely whispered the answer to me so many times before, but in my stubbornness, I failed to hear Him. I'm so glad He didn't give up on me, and decided instead to shake me up and make me listen. Otherwise I would have missed out on so much growth as a person and as a Christian. What a loving Father we have. I'm so glad He never gives up on us, aren't you?

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pregnancy Warning

Warning: pregnancy brings out the worst in people. No, I'm not speaking about the pregnant mother. I'm referring to random strangers who feel the need to grope your belly, tell you horrific childbirth stories, and ask you whether you plan to use the milk in your breasts after delivery. This will happen from the moment you start to pooch out that adorable little belly of yours. So to help prepare new pregnant mothers navigating this occasionally awkward phase in life, here's a list of the top most rude comments I've ever received (and after four pregnancies I'm becoming somewhat of an expert.)

1."Are you having twins?" (No.) After looking me up and down a couple times- "Are you sure?" (Yes I'm sure, but thanks for letting me know how huge you really think I am.)

2. "How far along are you?" (30 weeks.) "Really? My daughter is due in a couple weeks and she is so much smaller than you!!" (Again, thanks for telling me I look like an elephant.)

3. After emerging from a bathroom stall at 24 weeks pregnant: "How did you fit in there??" (And yes, she was dead serious.)

4. "Are you planning to breastfeed?" From a friend: normal. From a complete stranger: yeah, a little wierd.

5. From a man behind me in a checkout line: "Pregnant women are so beautiful." (Hello, nice manager? Could you please escort me to my car? Thank you.)

6. "You're pregnant? Well let me tell you the bloody gorry details of when my own child was painfully ripped from my body while I lay there wailing and gnashing my teeth."

7. After observing my very pregnant self and my three other children with me: "You're having ANOTHER one?! Are you finally finished after this one?" This one was spoken aloud to me a few times, but on many other occasions I could see it just by the look in their eyes.

8. During my third pregnancy, due with my first boy: "Finally got your boy, huh? Guess you're finally done after this?" (Yep, we failed the first couple times, but we finally got a winner!! Where are we, China??)

9. Strangers rubbing my belly. This inevitably happens to every pregnant mother. I've always wanted to reach out and touch their belly as well, but never had the guts. Maybe one of you pregnant ladies reading this will decide to and tell me about it. That would make my day.

10. "Are all these kids yours? And you're having another? You know how this happens, right?" Ok, this one is a little cute, but after hearing it about 300 times, it starts to lose its funny.

So, what's the rudest comment you've ever had said to you during pregnancy?
Pictures courtesy of Heidi Mitchell Photography

Friday, April 9, 2010

Off with his head!!

I have a rooster in my freezer. Beheaded, plucked, and ready to be basted and roasted. But I can't bring myself to thaw him out. Him. Maybe that's part of the problem. I'm referring to the poultry like I know him on a personal level. Like he's a relative of mine. Well, he is in an odd sort of way. He came from my sister's house. She and her husband live in beautiful middle-of-nowhere, deep in the Appalachian mountains, where they have a dog, two cats, a couple bee hives, and of course, poultry. My frozen friend lost his head after he and a few of his buddies wouldn't leave the women in the coop alone. They were continually harassing the poor girls- chasing them around and plucking their feathers. So across the chopping block they went. Now that's what I call justice. Imagine if that's how it worked in our world. You are walking around the mall and an annoying member of the opposite sex starts heckling you and your feminine assets. "Umm, hello, mall cop? Yes, this man is harassing me. Could you please take him downtown for beheading now?" I think that sexual harrassment would immediately come to an end across the nation.

Back to my freezer dilemma. Mr. Rooster/domestic violence convict has been in my freezer for nearly a month now. I know he will be tasty once he's cooked, but I'm scared. If I mess up the dish, it's personal. I can't just chuck him in the trash- that would be wrong, and I'd see him in my nightmares. I have to get this right the first time. My brother in law has told me the best way to cook him- rub the outside with olive oil and herbs, and roast him- I mean it- in the oven. (This is wierd- I've never referred to my raw chicken as "her" before.) I think I'll set a date for the big thaw. Let's say---- next Wednesday. I'll work up the courage, and let you know how it turns out. Meanwhile, have a great weekend, and thank the little animals in your own freezer for their contribution to your next meal.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kindergarten- kicking and screaming.

I need to start a new hobby like I need another pregnancy. Yet here I am, creating a blog. I am a 29 year old SAHM (that's stay at home mom/homemaker/domestic diva/insert your own cute title here) to four beautiful babies, ages 5, 3, 2, and 3 months. Yep- that's four kids in four years. No, I'm not crazy, and yes, I'm glad it's me and not you. (That's not rude, is it? Because I do have people say that to me, and I have to agree with them- I wouldn't trade those cuties for anything!!) I spend my days playing, cleaning, teaching, nursing, cooking, transporting, and through it all keeping my sanity, or trying to, anyway. I'm also married to my first and only love who is putting the kids to bed as I write this. Oh how I love him.

You may be wondering about my blog title. This was my oldest child Brooke's favorite saying when she was three years old. Why, I'm not sure. But it sure was adorable every time she said it, as well as true-we don't eat bugs. (Not even touch them, for that matter.) My eldest daughter is a smart, thoughtful, beautiful, and inquisitive little girl, and it seems like yesterday she was a baby in my arms. Which makes it seem impossible that she is to start kindergarten this fall. I will be walking her through those school doors this coming September all the while kicking and screaming inside. It seems unnatural to put her into the hands of perfect strangers. I never considered myself a control freak until I received a letter from the school regarding kindergarten registration. The letter said that younger siblings should not attend as they would pose a distraction to the process. Mama bear inside of me started to growl. Someone telling me where I can and can't take my children?? Over the top, I know. But it was my gut reaction.

On the day of kindergarten registration, Brooke stood in front of the school and I had her pose for a picture. (I was obedient and left the youngins with my mom- it seemed like suicide to take them with me, anyway.) I held back tears as she gave a giant CHEESE for the picture. She showed no fear as the older grade schooler took her down the hall for testing while I was sequestered with the other crying parents to fill out a million registration forms- I'm guessing a ploy to distract us from the fact that our babies were growing up before our very eyes. As I filled out the forms, it was reassuring to see the other parents seemed relatively normal. No signs of meth addiction or murderering that I could see. Maybe my sheltered child could find some friends who wouldn't corrupt her after all.

Twenty minutes and a writer's cramp later, Brooke came bouncing back to me, happy and unharmed. She had a blast, and was ready to go home and play outside with her sister. I was glad to walk her out of the building, knowing she was still all mine for a few more months, and actually feeling somewhat reassured. No, I'm not ready to let go of her for several hours a day, but at least I know she will be in good hands. And I don't mean the school, though I do hope that's true. I am speaking about my Lord's hands. He loves her even more than I do, and has promised to watch over her. So it is into His hands that I will place her in September, knowing that He will never leave her. I may not be ready to let go, but I pray for her daily that she will love learning, have great friends, a loving teacher, and always remember that there is a Father above watching over her. I love you, Brooke- you made me a mother, and for that you will always have a special place in my heart.