Friday, February 27, 2009

Veggie Tales

Hello, all.

It's Friday again, YAY! We're headed into the weekend, and I am pleased to be going to my writer's group tomorrow, and working on cleaning the house.

So, here is my update on going meatless for Lent:


Whew! I feel much better now. This is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

For starters, my brother and sister-in-law stopped by the other day. Which was great! We were glad to see them.

But . . . he was also kind enough to bring 2 pounds of deer jerky with him for me and my hubby.

Now, this was not done as a deliberate taunt, since he didn't know I had given up meat for the next few weeks. If he had known . . . he'd have done it anyway and laughed about it until he wet his pants.

My husband has already finished off one pound. I put the other in the freezer, and warned I'd carve him up and put him in the freezer if he touched that jerky!

On Fat Tuesday we had fajitas, and the next day, I had the leftovers, minus the steak: beans, cheese, salsa, peppers, onions, etc.

Then one night we had cheese pizza, breadsticks and marinara sauce. That wasn't so bad. Although the pepperoni pizza for my son and husband beckoned to me, practically calling my name, I was able to resist.

Last night we had Chinese food. I make a really good pork lo mein, and last night it was just as good, without the pork for me. Hubby still had it in his, I just didn't put it in mine.

And that was ridiculously difficult to ignore. The meat, the garlic, the crushed red pepper flakes . . . oh, my. It smelled heavenly. At one point I really did start to pray for the strength to just ignore all that yummy meat on the plate while I stir-fried all the (gulp) healthy veggies.

And it was still good. The noodles and vegetables tasted great. But it just wasn't the same.

So tonight my husband will be having steak, and I'll be having a baked potato. Again, I'm sure it will be fine, but it just won't be the same.

I have found some interesting vegetarian meals online, and I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes. I'll be trying Black Bean Mexican Pizza, Garbonzo Bean Burgers, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas, and a few others.

So I guess that's it for now. I'm off to the grocery store on my veggie quest.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Giant Leaps

Good Morning, all.

I hope your week is going well.

Well, my last post was about the baby steps I am taking on the road to getting healthy. I've been "off" Diet Cokes (my drug of choice) for a little over a month.

It has NOT been easy, but so far, so good.

Today I have embarked on a new quest (road to insanity): I am giving up meat for Lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and begins the 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in the Christian tradition. These days are meant to represent the 40 days Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil. But the current time frame excludes Sundays, and goes into a bunch of other explanations I really don't understand.

In recent years, or at least in our old church, we typically gave up something difficult: cokes, coffee, chocolate, fasting for a day, etc.

This year I faced a problem. I'd already given up cokes, so what else could I do?


I love my family far too much to subject them to the ghastly beast I would become if chocolate were ever taken away from me. I'm not saying I couldn't give up chocolate, I'm just saying I couldn't give it up and still be a decent human being to those around me.

So what else could I do?

I read through an article on Lent yesterday, and saw one of the things people used to give up was meat.

Well, that was a thought. Could I really give up meat? Steak? Chicken? Turkey? Ham?

Now, carnivore that I am, this decision was really hard to make. Could I really not eat meat for 6 weeks?

I decided to give it a try and see how it goes. I'm not going totally vegan. I'll still eat eggs and cheese, drink milk, and other foods that are cooked with meat. I just won't eat the meat itself.

Or fish.

My mom and I discussed it, and we both decided if it has a face (even beady little eyes like shrimp) and breaths oxygen (even through gills) then it counts as meat.

We'll see how long I last before I slip up and go devour a cow in a field somewhere.

Hopefully I'll make it longer than one of my former pastors. He gave up sweets for Lent one year, and that afternoon, we saw him walking down the hallway, slurping a Frosty from Wendy's.

Soooo, I guess I'll update you on my progress on Friday.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Baby Steps

Hello, hello.

It's Monday again, and I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

We got our sick child over the flu, and hopefully it hasn't spread. No one is showing any symptoms yet, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the quarantine and the liberal use of Lysol helped stop the spread.

And on to another topic we go.

Today marks one month of no Diet Cokes for me.

And OH, MY GOSH, it has been a long month.

I've been wanting to kick the habit for a while now, but never could do it. The headaches, the lethargy, and the crankiness all prevented me from sticking with the ability to give them up.

But last month, something changed. I ran out of the intoxicating brew, and decided okay, no more.

My husband thought I was nuts, and offered numerous time to, PLEASE, let him go buy me a Diet Coke before I hurt someone . . . mainly him. But I stuck with it.

And I gotta say, it's HARD!

I understand a little more why smokers have such a hard time quitting. Besides the addition to the nicotine, or the caffeine in my case, it's all about the habits.

For example: on Friday nights we've been ordering pizza from this great little place in the city. Hot, fresh and delicious pizza, two larges for the price of one at a national chain.

Anyway, I LOVE having a cold Diet Coke with a slice of pizza. It is my meal of choice, hands down. But I've been skipping the coke and drinking water instead.

And that's been hard. The urge for a soda is soooo strong when I smell that pizza, it takes every bit of will power I possess, and quite a bit of prayer too, to get me through it.

It's been tempting to just have one, just one with the pizza, or the popcorn when we're watching a movie at home with the kids, but I know if I give in and have one, it'll be that much harder to resist the next one.

But it's been worth it. The sense of accomplishment and empowerment has been wonderful. It feels like the first step on the road to getting healthy again, and I know this is a difficult journey I'm facing.

But I also know I'm determined to do this, and plan to continue working on this goal.

Have a great week, everyone.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Back on Top Again . . . Sort Of

Hey folks.

Hope you've all had a great week. And I hope you have a good weekend, too.

I have no idea how our weekend is going to go. We have a sick child, and I dread the spread of germs from one kid to the next until two weeks have disappeared from our lives in a blur of Tylenol, Sprite, dry toast and soup.

Hopefully no one else will get sick. One can always dream.

Hubby is out getting the "sick supplies" and I have a boy attached to my arm, asking for a new drink and a cold washcloth for his forehead every few minutes.

I guess I can take comfort in the fact that my last post was all about Daddy's world, but all it takes is the flu for Mommy to become important again.

Oh well. That's just the way mommy-hood goes.

So you all enjoy your weekend and I'll catch you next week.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Daddy's World

Hello, all.

It's Wednesday morning, and I am soooo late getting this posted. I should have done it last night, but I got really excited about a story idea and was trying to get the basics typed out before I lost my train of thought.

And I honestly don't have much to talk about today, which is unusual. I am my father's daughter. I can come up with an opinion and chat about most anything out there. But right now there's nothing but economic woes for the nation and overexcited children at home to talk about.

And since I don't really feel like talking about the depressing economy, I'll talk about the kids.

I picked my sons up from school yesterday while hubby was at a career counselor (paid for as part of his severance package), and got the riot act from my kids.

Where was daddy?

Why was I there?

Why didn't daddy come?

We don't want you to pick us up anymore . . . we want daddy!

When I explained that Daddy was talking to some people who were helping him get another job, they decided they didn't want daddy to work anymore so he could pick them up all the time.

Needless to say, this did not provide a boost to my ego, but Hubby thought it was pretty funny when I told him about it later.

And I guess that's it for us. It's Daddy's world now, and I'm just living in it.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Her Majesty's Loyal Subjects

Good morning, all.

It's Monday again, and we are all at home due to the boys being out of school for President's Day.

Oh, joy.

The Valentine's party at school was nice, and the twins had fun. Valentine's evening was relaxing for Hubby and I, at least it was once we got the kids in bed. For the full disclosure on the evening, check out tomorrow when I post about the ups and downs of the day.

I am hiding at the moment, just so I can get this post typed, because all the children are going crazy. And they are mostly going crazy for their Daddy.

I truly feel sorry for my husband right now, not because he was laid off and is looking for another job, but because the children are taking merciless advantage of his time at home.

Especially the Princess.

Oh, my goodness.

I was on the phone with my mother yesterday afternoon. She is on a ski trip in Colorado with my brother, my sister-in-law, and some of his friends. While we were talking I put the baby in her play-yard so she wouldn't get hurt while I was distracted.

Now, Her Majesty was just fine with this arrangement, reading her little books and playing with her toys . . . until her Daddy walked into the house.

He had been outside playing with the boys, but came in to get a drink. The moment she heard his voice all heck broke loose.

She was up, waving her chubby little arms over the sides of the play-pen, bouncing up and down, showing off to get his attention. He smiled at her, finished his drink, and headed back outside.

He was back in the house a few seconds later because he could hear the screeching all the way out in the yard.

The Princess was crying her eyes out; huge, fat crocodile tears rolling down her cheeks; head thrown back in abject sorrow; lungs pushed to capacity with her pitiful sobs; and her vocal cords were strained to the breaking point from her tormented wailing.

With my mom still on the phone, she makes the educated guess, "The baby wants her daddy?"


Mom laughed. "She sounds awful."


Hubby collected the Princess from baby-prison, bundled her up, and took her outside with him for a few minutes, then everyone came back in for a while, but her majesty refused to leave his side for even a moment.

So hubby is just a little frustrated with all this glorious attention, and I suspect he is more than anxious to get back to work, for multiple reasons.

Hope you all have a great week.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Hey folks.

Hope you're enjoying Friday, and looking forward to the weekend.

And also getting ready for Valentine's Day. This year will be pretty low-key for us. With money being extra tight right now, and our babysitting possibilities having previous plans, we are doing a late night, at home picnic after the kids are in bed.

Nothing extravagant, just food we already have in the house. I think the most important thing will be hanging out together in a quiet room, being able to hear ourselves talking in a normal voice, not screaming over the high-pitched whine of the children.

The twins have a Valentine's party at their school this afternoon that we'll be going to, and that should be it.

Not much happening.

So everyone have a great weekend, cuddle your sweetie, enjoy your friends and family, and stay safe.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tornado Tuesday

Hello, all.

Well, first of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Misty!

My sister-in-law is having her first 29th Birthday, and will not be having any other birthdays from this point forward.

We are also having a time today after the tornadoes yesterday.

When we realized the weather was getting bad, and were certain tornadoes would form, we got our important stuff together, some emergency supplies, and decided to go get the boys from school a little early. The way the weather-men were talking, it would be hitting right about the time we would be picking them up after school.

We thought we were doing a pre-emptive strike.

Not quite.

We got to the school right as the hail started to fall, and when we got inside, rotation had already started a few miles away, and was bearing down fast.

The kids were in lock-down in a safe-room at the school, and the principal wasn't releasing anybody. We were allowed to come into the room with them, but not to take them until the tornado warning expired.

Which was fine with me. I just wanted to be with my kids.

Finding them amongst the 500 other children took a little time, but since they had the youngest closest to the front, it wasn't too hard.

They stayed with us the whole time, and really thought the whole thing was a big game, but listening to the golf-ball sized hail pound the roof (and our car parked out front), and hearing the howling winds made the whole experience very real to me.

I guess it's one of those mother-bear things. I was ready to drag them against me and cover them with my body to protect them if the building started to come apart.

Not that they weren't in completely capable hands with their teachers and the school administrators, but I just felt like I could protect them better (I know, I know, there's no such thing in a disaster situation, but still . . . ).


It's over for now, and we only have the rest of the spring to get through. This is only the beginning of tornado season, unfortunately, and I hope and pray this is a very inactive season.

But we're all okay, our neighborhood is fine, and my heart and prayers go out to the families who've lost loved ones, have lost their homes, or lost their businesses. May God comfort them and help them through this difficult time.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Brother

Hello, all.

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell my baby brother HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I won't tell you which birthday it is, but since we're only 13 months apart I feel comfortable teasing him about how "old" he's getting, and he's only gonna get older!

And in a few days my sister-in-law will have her birthday, too! This will be her first 29th birthday, and she assured me she won't be getting any older after this one.

Last night we drove out to their house for fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, hot rolls, cake and ice cream. This would be my brother's favorite meal of all time, except for the cake and ice cream part. He's not a big sweets kind of guy. But the rest of us LOVED it.

My sons spent the whole time playing Mario Cart on Wii, with the other guys playing occasionally. The Princess wandered around the house, fighting her nap with all she had (and succeeding in her struggle), and flirting with everyone who entered the house.

It was nice getting to spend time with everyone, and then being able to come home in a quiet car since all three children had passed out the moment we hit the highway.

And with the three kids running loose in my brother's house, I was pleased we left it in a relatively clean and un-demolished state.

So now it's back to reality, and the job search. Hubby and I both hope it goes well.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Victims of the Economy . . . NOT!

Hey y'all.

Well, it's Friday again, and usually I applaud the gateway to the weekend, but this is a sad Friday for us.

Yesterday, dear Hubby was laid off from his job. Along with 30 other people at his company.

We've known for about 2 weeks that the lay offs were coming. Hubby was pretty sure he would be one of those losing their job, and began to make plans. Got his resume updated, started researching other job opportunities in the area (I helped with this), and worked on crunching some numbers to see how long we'd be okay before he finds other employment.

And yesterday was the day.

He called me in the middle of the morning to tell me he was coming home. We talked for a while, and though it might not have been the fiscally brightest move, we grabbed the baby and went to lunch.

I just thought he needed something "normal" to do. It was about that time of day, and if he had been at work, he would have been making plans for lunch, whether it was something he brought, or going out to grab a bite.

So we sat, ate, and talked. Had a sweet funny waiter, and contemplated the people around us, going about their day.

How many of them had just encountered a life-altering event? Were they trying to hang on to something normal, too? Like having lunch?

But we were both a little surprised as the day wore on, and evening fell. We weren't that freaked out. Hubby was getting calls from former co-workers expressing sympathy, and he was checking in on the other people who lost their jobs.

In this early stage of Life without a Job, we're pretty optimistic.

My concern is I know hubby will find work. He's got a Master's degree in Statistics. I know he'll get something, somewhere.

I'm only qualified to ask a customer if they want fries with that, without some additional training. And even then I still wouldn't be able to replace Hubby's entire income.

But we're going to be praying for guidance, and awaiting the changes God has in store for us.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

100's Day and A New Blog

Good morning, all.

Hope you're having a good week. This are typically crazy here at the casa.

The boys have pictures at school today, and their classes are also celebrating "100's Day".

Today is their one hundredth day of school (it would have been last Friday if we hadn't been out for three days with the ice storm), so they had to bring 100 items to show their class, ex. pennies, cereal, pasta, pencils, etc.

Now, this seems like a mundane chore; grab 100 little items from around the house and off to school we go.

But noooooooo . . . not my kids.

They have fought since Monday afternoon, right up until the moment they walked out the door this morning, about what they wanted to take, and who got to take it.

They both wanted to take the pennies. Well, I had two rolls of pennies in the house (yay, lucky coincidence), but I haven't had the chance to get to the store or bank to get a couple more rolls.

So only one could take the pennies.

That caused a fight.

Then we moved beyond the money to other items I knew we had in the house: a couple of decks of cards, cereal, pasta, brown paper bags (I had a new bag of 100 because I pack their lunches in the bags), ziploc sandwich bags, pencils (with the name of my book and my name printed on the side), crayons . . . we had a pretty decent list going.

Except they kept wanting to take things like cars, trucks, trains, animals, etc. Way too heavy, but they didn't appreciate that perspective.

And each item started a new fight.

I was ready to just say forget it, you're not taking anything.

But this morning I was finally able to negotiate a deal to every one's satisfaction. Twin A took the pencils (after counting each and every one to make sure he had 100) and Twin B took the pennies (he wanted to bust open the rolls and count them all, too).

So everyone is happy again, and I'm sure I'll hear all about 100's on the way home from school.

And on a personal note . . . I can't believe I forgot to tell everyone about the new blog I'm on with several of my writing friends.

It's called "Romance Your Spouse", and is about exactly what it says, stories and advice on romance in your marriage from many points of view; married with no children, married with young children, married with teens, and married with grown children. And we occasionally throw in the male point of view as well.

If you've got the time, drop by for a look:

I'll "talk" to you again on Friday.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Loungin' Around

Good morning, all.

It's Monday again. Hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. We just hung out around the house and did a whole lot of nothing. A little cleaning and playing, and that was basically it.

The boys are off to school, hubby is off to work, and the Princess is playing with her brothers' cars and one of their old farm sets that makes noises.

She has very little interest in her 'girl' toys, but she has stopped biting and throwing the dolls. Now she will hug them, and then throws them. Maybe as she gets older her interest in them will increase.

And . . . I guess that's it. Maybe I'll have something a little more interesting to share on Wednesday . . . but I kinda doubt it. Have a good week.