Friday, February 27, 2009

In Case of Emergency

At some point after Ben was born, I realized that life was a lot easier if I had a meal plan for the week. I didn't try to be hyper-organized - meals weren't necessarily designated for specific days. But grocery shopping was easier and less frequent, and I didn't end up with as much surplus in my pantry.

However. There were those weeks I forgot (or procrastinated) the planning, or an extra day of the week that I hadn't planned for at all...what to do on those days?

I realized that I had all kinds of go-to meals in my head that I had forgotten about. Like spaghetti. Seriously, for awhile there I think it had been months since we'd had that basic, kid-friendly meal. Well, kid friendly after we convinced Leah that it was okay to have her sauce ON TOP of the noodles.

Here are some more of my "Stand-By Meals":

Tacos - Aaron's favorite. I make the meat with beans in it, usually enough for at least 2 meals, then freeze the extra.

Enchiladas - My mom's recipe. I call them Norwegian enchiladas, since they have about zero heat.

Porcupine Meatballs with mashed potatoes - meatballs with rice in them, cooked with a tomato soup sauce. Mine is a microwave recipe (cooks in 15 min) which greatly increases the frequency with which we eat it. Also, the kids gobble it up like crazy.

Meatloaf - 2 favorite recipes, but one of them cooks in the microwave. Guess which one I make more?

Apricot BBQ'd Chicken with rice- cubed chicken, BBQ sauce, onion soup mix, and apricot preserves. Originally it baked in the oven - but guess what? Now I microwave it.

Chicken, Pasta, Veggie skillet - Yes, I do use my stovetop. A little rubbed sage makes this extra yummy.
Chicken Fried Rice - basically the same as above, but with a couple of scrambled eggs mixed in and a different starch.

Creamed Chicken (and Peas? Corn? whatever) on Biscuits - An old favorite from the farm days. I use Bisquik mix and make the drop biscuits. Leah is suspicious of the "creamed" part, but I'm wearing her down.

Stir Fry - The trick here is to have enough fresh veggies on hand. Easy in the summer, not so much in the winter. I don't like using frozen, as it gets too mushy.

Veggie Soup - I have about 4 different variations that I make frequently - all take about a half hour, start to finish.

Chili - Not a kid fav in our house, but I make it every once in awhile anyways, just to keep it in their heads. As with all soups, I usually make some kind of muffin or biscuit to go with it - but I've learned not to bring them to the table until the kids have eaten at least some of the soup.

Baked Mac & Cheese - Since mac & cheese is one of Aaron's favorite meals, I experimented with about 3 different recipes until I found my favorite. It's pretty rich, so we usually have steamed broccoli with it.

Mexican Ravioli - Cheese ravioli or tortellini, with a tomato sauce and black beans. If you really want to see Leah hit the roof, wilt some spinach in there like the recipe actually says. We usually just eat it on the side as salad.

Sweet & Sour Chicken - Hmm. It's a crockpot recipe, but I think I only made it once or twice before putting it on my list. Maybe I should try that one next week, huh?

Italian Deli Roll - Otherwise known as pizza roll-up. Homemade pizza dough, rolled out, topped with minced (in the food processor) pepperoni and deli ham along with shredded Cheddar & mozzarella. Roll it up, bake, eat with pizza sauce for dipping. Yum! I made it once after a long hiatus, and Aaron said, "This is good crap. You should make it more often." He has a way with words, doesn't he!

Pancakes - Leah's favorite. With either eggs or sausage for protein. Aaron has converted the kids to the dark side of putting peanut butter on their pancakes, also. And just because you are wondering, if you ask Ben what we should have for dinner, he'll say, "Chicken - Rice!" not that that means he'll actually eat the chicken.

Sloppy-Joes - I use Manwhich sauce. Just have to remember to also buy buns.

So there you have it. These meals are basically my equivalent of a box of Hamburger Helper - quick, easy, some not even needing an actual recipe. Just having them on paper makes me feel prepared for that 5pm frenzy of "What am I making for dinner?"

Because it's a very bad thing when your hungry husband gets home from work and you ask, "What do you want for dinner?" Warning sirens go off in his head that he won't be eating for at least another half hour or more. And now you have TWO desperate adults.

Great. Just great.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's a start, okay?

Yesterday I took on my very first solo painting project. And what room received this honor, you may ask?

My little craft room. In the basement - no windows, tile floor, drop tile ceiling, plywood walls. I figured no matter how badly I messed it up, I couldn't possibly make it more ugly than it already was. Also, there's no way I want to delay Aaron's own painting progress on much more visible parts of our house. Like, our entryway, for example. Slightly more important than my little cubby-hole.

I bought my paint at a nearby hardware store. Because I didn't have a specific color in mind, and wanted to keep Aaron on my good side during this project, I chose a color from their "reject" buckets - a light green called Balsam originally priced at $45, which I got for $10. Sweet!

The room was cleared of all my various boxes and bags of craft supplies, including my sewing machine desk and a bookshelf full of my Creative Memories stash. The night before painting, I nagged and nagged at Aaron to be sure I had the right paint tray, roller, paintbrush, etc - I didn't want to ruin his "good" tools.

And then just before starting the job, I tossed aside the paintbrush he had recommended and used another anyway. Nice, huh?
Mom came over to watch the kids so I could have some uninterrupted time to slop color on those pitiful walls. I made my first mess immediately after pouring the paint in the tray - a bunch slopped over the edge of the bucket and started pooling on my dropcloth. But other than a couple of roller marks on the ceiling and a drip or two on the floor, it didn't go too badly.

Aaron said I probably didn't have enough paint on the roller, so I had to press too hard, and that's why the roller head kept coming off. The lighting is so terrible in that room (one bulb in a fixture right in the middle) it was really hard to tell if everything was getting covered decently.

I did learn that the tile ceiling and vinyl edging on the floor make for very easy trim work. And, they wipe off easily, too. Mom has already volunteered to help me paint the ceiling tiles and the frame (?) white one of these days, so I'm not too worried about the slop up there.
Here's how it looked after Mom was done helping me touch up:

So, I'm not totally convinced that this color is an improvement, but I feel better knowing that I picked it out! Also, I'm going to have Aaron put up some white shelves for me on one end, and then I have some stuff to hang on the walls, so they'll be broken up a bit.
Photos at that point will surely be posted. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It Takes Three

The other day at lunch, Aaron and I were visiting after the kids had finished eating and run off to play. After a bit, I thought I'd better check on them, because, you know they're kids. And they were being suspiciously quiet.

I found them behind the couch in the living room and assumed they were looking at books together, since they'd been doing that for a while out in the open.

Foolish, optimistic mommy.

A few minutes later they both ran into the kitchen to "surprise" us with yells and mouthfuls of...

- WHAT are you eating?....Trail Mix!

I raced into the living room where I remembered seeing the bag the day before. Then checked behind the couch.

And there it was - the entire Sam's Club bag, poured out on the carpet, where the two little goblins had been picking out the M&M's, I'm sure, from the tell-tale blue in Ben's mouth.

Leah got one disciplinary action, even though she said, "Ben dumped it out without me knowing!". I briefly described 'passive disobedience' - wherein she got punished for not telling me right away what Ben had done. Yes, I am aware that this may sound like I'm encouraging her to tattle. However, there is a clear difference in the motivation, am I right?

Ben got two disciplinary actions, and had to help Daddy and I scoop up the mix and put it back in the bag. By the way, guess who left the bag there in the first place?

Last night, while again eating trail mix, he threatened to leave it there again. I said that was fine, as long as he wanted to increase the amount of carpet fuzz in the bag.

Somehow, that bag made its way into the cupboard before bedtime.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The 81st Oscars

I'm a fan of the Oscars. I may not watch the whole shebang, but I usually try to catch some of it. This year I was excited to see what Hugh Jackman would do. I was not disappointed! (If you want a more thorough and professional review, go here. And yes, I totally missed the intro, which according to this source, was awesome. Shucks.)

Here are some observations in no particular order - well, until the last section. Next year, I'll livebog it!

-Did anyone catch the closeup of Angelina Jolie while Jennifer Aniston was presenting? Meee-ow! Actually, she looked disappointingly normal. And also later, in another close up of Angie, her ginormous emerald? earrings and ring?

- I love the concept of the awards following the making of a movie. It actually made the sequence make sense.

- Where are the colorful dresses? The first several I saw were pale gold or silver...Thank you Amanda Seyfried for wearing red! Can't wait to see what the Fug Girls have to say about all this...

- Heath Ledger won for supporting actor. His parents and sister accepted the award, and while the camera panned the audience, there were an awful lot of tear-filled eyes. Tough act to follow.

- The musical is BACK! And that montage - live, onstage, starring Hugh and Beyonce, directed by my man Baz Luhrmann - was incredible. I love musicals. Have I mentioned that before?

- I am actually enjoying the presenters. They are goofy. Especially Will Smith. Also, I really liked Tina Fey and Steve Martin. Like, when she was looking at him, and he turned and said, "Do NOT fall in love with me." And she's all, "No, but, um..." and the clips roll. I tried really hard-for um, 20 seconds- to find a clip of their bit, but the only one was kinda crappy, so you'll have to take my word for it. Go look yourself in another day or so.

- I also love montages. Especially the one dedicated to the romances (on film) of 2008. Very cool. But then again, I'm a big sap. This we know.

- One of the subjects of a winning documentary not only made a coin disappear at the podium, but then followed it up by balancing an actual Oscar on his chin! Now THAT is show business, folks.

- Bill Maher bugs me. Way to use your 30 seconds of Oscar time to promote your own (non-nominated) film AND anti-religion views.

- The ads are even kind of great. The Coke ad - um, I watched every second of it. The Jimmy Kimmel live spot with Tom Cruise? Pretty genius. I missed all the Super Bowl ones, so this kind of makes up for it.

- Slumdog Millionaire seems to be sweeping so far, and they just got director! The guy just did a Tigger jump!

- I love how they are announcing the nominees for the top awards. Having past winners speak directly to the nominees makes each of them a winner. Especially Anne Hathaway, who was lucky enough to draw Shirley MacLain. Dude, I'm almost crying, sitting at home with my hand in the popcorn bowl.

- Kate Winslet's hair? Odd. Dress? Gorgeous. The shampoo bottle thing? Very cute. Also, her whistling dad!

- Nobody tell Dad that Sean Penn won an Oscar. At least he gave a funny self-depricating speech.

- Aaaand it's Slumdog! What an underdog (hehe!) on top story. Good grief, I think everyone involved in the movie is on stage!

What has Aaron been doing this whole time? For the last hour he's been watching with me, but most of the day he's been painting - ceilings in the entry, hallway, and Leah's room, and then two different options on the new door frame.

No, you can't have him. He's all mine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time for more snippets.

I have no good blog subject today.

- Yesterday was garbage day. We somehow missed it, even though I put out our 2 overflowing cans and pile of cardboard recycling at 10am when we left the house. Don't know how it happened, but we are going to have one heck of a pile next week. Thanks to the several parties of the last week, we had more than the normal amount for ONE week. There's no telling what size the mountain will be in another week.

- It's snowing today. I decided to wait and let Aaron shovel it.

- Figured our our digital antenna issues. The antenna in the attack works for the lower channels, and the rabbit ears work for the upper ones. So, to go from PBS to CBS we need to attach a different antenna to the digital converter box. Like my mom said, "Liz, this is 2009." Also, PBS comes in well sometimes, but not reliably so. All this still spells C-A-B-L-E to me.

- Had a baby doctor appointment yesterday, which predictably lasted 5 minutes. Measure, heartbeat, "Any questions?" and we were out of there.

- The OB asked, "Are you still feeling the baby move every day?" I said, "It's more like ALL DAY." This morning I swear Magnus was doing the hula in there.

- My kids are obsessed the DVD of photos and videos we put together of Leah's first year. Somehow I think it would be a treat to see the videos of BEN before there is another whole baby in the house.

- Leah got a watch in her Happy Meal today, and two hours later it was already not telling correct time. C'mon, McDonald's. If you're going to give the kids a watch, at least make sure it lasts longer than their interest in it.

- My darling daughter gently woke me up at an abominable time this morning to tell me, "All my stuff is on the floor!" So of course I oh-so-sympathetically informed her that she was already out of bed, and could just pick it up herself. Geez.

- Aaron has decided to reject every name suggestion for this child, solely because I am driving him crazy. I told him that won't help the issue at hand AT ALL.

- When my dear friend Tara redid my blog design (thanks again!) there were apparently some glitches. One was that my blogroll didn't make the transfer. Another was that my Google Analytics tracking missed that boat, also. As I quickly inferred when my report said I had ONE HIT the other day. My first thought was, "WHA-AT? Where WAS everyone?" Then I figured it out. Situation remedied.

- Scrapbooking progress has been lagging. More dedication and motivation needed. Maybe if I could watch CABLE while working on it...

- The CW is one of the few channels we get in well right now. Aaron and I are both slightly obsessed with Sex and the City, and are becoming able to place the random reruns in the general timeline. We are sooo with the times.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's no joke.

There are basically three stages (or trimesters, each being about 3 months long) of pregnancy:

The First: If you are so lucky to experience "morning" sickness, now is the time for it. Also, you are exhausted most of the time, from such excruciating tasks like folding a load of laundry. Bathroom breaks happen about every half hour.

The Third: You are huge, and tired of hauling your body around. You are eating small meals frequently, because that baby is making your stomach about the size of a walnut. Also, your bladder. So you are peeing a lot, too. Fun.

And now, the Golden Age of Pregnancy:

The Second: You start showing, eating more, and since the baby has moved off your bladder a bit, you don't need to pee as often. And best of all, you have this thing called ENERGY.

Folks, all of this is absolutely true. Even though my 2nd trimester started awhile ago, I have recently become very aware of the fact that I am able to accomplish multiple tasks in a day, and my trips to the toilet resemble more that of a normal human than of a dog on a neighborhood walk. Also, I feel that I am eating nonstop.

Let me expand further on the "tasks" part, rather than the natural body processes bit.

Yesterday, I spent the morning at my womens' Bible study group. Which means that I had a cup of coffee. This is one of the few regular times that I drink coffee, so pre-pregnancy I could usually count on a massive energy kick, leading to more chores being accomplished that afternoon than any other day of the week.

However, during my first trimester, I could come home from that cup of coffee, and immediately after lunch lay down and take a 1-2 hour nap. Even if I double-dosed on the caffeine and also had a Pepsi with lunch.

But. The 2nd trimester energy boost is nothing to be taken lightly. After the kids were settled in their nap/quiet time, I posted on my blog, folded a load of laundry or two, then headed downstairs. Our basement has been a mess of boxes of books and miscellaneous since we moved in. And it has been a thorn in my side. I went at it with fervor. I emptied several boxes of antique books into an empty bookshelf in our guest room, then did some shuffling and reorganizing of the leftover boxes so that it's easier to actually find what you are looking for.

At this point Ben woke up and required some post-nap cuddling. I was happy to oblige, since by that time my back was complaining. After he was up and moving, I decided to bring up some boxes marked "toys" and initiate the great toy swap I've been planning for awhile. To my delight, the first box was mostly smaller scrapbooks of various trips Aaron and I have gone on. The kids were thrilled to find new albums, so we spent some time looking at the photos.

Then I put a video on for them and went back to work on the other 3 boxes. Fortunately for my sense of guilt about overindulging the children, most of them contained puzzles or games. I did end up swapping some, including the Little People house for the barn, and put some aside right away for a garage sale.

Another box was retrieved from a "storage" room upstairs, and more sorting was done. Aaron was home for about 15 minutes before getting called back in to work, so I finished my job and put off making dinner. I finally did feed the kids, however, then finished laundry and cleaned up the kitchen after putting them to bed.

Folks, all this is more than I've done in one day in a long time. Here's hoping this is a trend and not a one-day occurrence.

Cause man, I'm not sure if my house can take more pregnancy exhaustion.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A first.

On Sunday, Aaron and I drove to see EJ and JJ and their new baby Madeline. Before going to their place, we stopped at SuperTarget (aka, my heaven on earth!) to pick up some food and baby stuff for them.

We walked in the door of the capitalistic haven with another shopper, a middle-aged, nicely dressed lady. Aaron stepped ahead to grab a basket, while the other lady took a cart and kind of cut me off a bit. It was very close, though - if I'd have gone on, I would have been cutting her no big deal.

Here's where the big deal came in. As she was pushing her cart forward, she glanced in my direction. Then immediately did a double-take, looking directly at my belly, and never at my face.

We were both shocked and completely amused by this lady's reaction. I have never had anyone, at any point in any of my pregnancies, have such a blatant reaction to my girth.

Now, folks, I was in fact wearing a non-maternity sweater that day. You know, one of those tops that makes anyone who wears it appear to be pregnant? I mean, you could be a twig, but while wearing one of these things, people may be wondering about your due date. I would avoid them at all costs...except for the fact that I AM expecting, so they are the next best thing to sliced bread.

My mom (when I told her about it later) immediately thought the lady was confused by my choice of top. HOWEVER. My grey wool coat was buttoned over the top of the sweater. Mom also thought that I might have been misreading her actions, or overreacting. HOWEVER. Aaron had turned back towards by that time, and clearly saw the entire situation. As willing as Mom is to believe that I may be oversensitive, she has never tried that argument with Aaron. To her, if he felt the same way, why, it must have been true.

I told Aaron I would probably dream that I was a whale again that night. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had a dream that I was in labor and running around crazy trying to make sure the kids were taken care of, etc...and then it wasn't me in labor anymore, it was a big white whale out in the harbor behind the house. So tell me what you think THAT means. You get one guess.

ps - thanks to Tara for the redesign - including the photos of the kids! You are awesome!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Funny Valentine..'s Day. I mean, Week.

The other day, I had Leah making Valentine's Day cards for my mom and dad. She dictated to me things she enjoyed doing with each of them, and then I wrote out on a separate piece of paper, "Happy Valentine's Day! I love you Grandma (and Grandpa, on a different line)." I let her get to decorating the cards, and told her where to copy the words on the actual Valentine themselves.

Then I got a call from sister Ruth. She was making a mango tart (yum!) and needed some reassurance, of which I had little to give, never having made a tart myself. But I digress.

While Ruth and I were visiting, Leah came up and started this routine, "Moooommmy! I neeeed heeeeelp! Can you heeeelllp meeee? Mooooommmy?"

So I asked her what was wrong. She said, "I can't write the woooooords!"
"But Leah, I wrote them all out for you. Just copy the letters!" (I'm still trying to communicate with Ruth through all of this.)

"But I can't seeeee the letterrrrs!"

"You can't see the letters? What, are you blind? Why can't you see the letters?"

At this point Ruth chimes in, "Did you just say, 'Are you blind?' !!!"

I said, "Yep. I did. And that's pretty much why I'm not going to homeschool." Also, thought to myself that Leah's informal "homeschooling" should have involved phone manners - about 2 years ago.
Speaking of Valentine's Day, here are some other things we did to celebrate:

* Made these little gifts for Leah's teachers at Awana (Wed night) and Sunday School. They are tubes of hand lotion, and on Leah's handprints is says, "You deserve a hand!":

* Put together these little snack bags for her Sunday School classmates. The tag reads "Bear Hugs for You!" and inside is a mix of Teddy Grahams and gummi bears. Credit to Family Fun magazine - as with the handprint idea.

*Had a new front door installed (finally! Door saga is finished! Let the painting begin!):

*Baked and decorated chocolate Valentine's cookies:

*Hosted a baby shower for Jess and baby David, which involved a game of drawing a baby (plus accessories) on top of your head. Fun photos!:

*Met our newest niece, baby Madeline Veronica! She was born to Erica and Josh on February 8th at 10:55pm. She was 4 weeks early, thanks to some health complications of Erica's. But, Maddie weighed 5 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces! She was very healthy and started nursing right away. Erica needed some extra care, but now everyone is home and doing really well. Because of Ben's cold and their 2 bedroom apartment, just Aaron and I went up to meet the little princess and left our two buggers with Grandma and Grandpa. We had a lovely time, and really enjoyed our time with the new family of three.

So, there were no roses and no chocolates, but it was a holiday filled with lots of family and lots of love. I can only hope your Valentine's Day was as well spent!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Now to lighten things up.

Sorry the last couple of posts have been rather heavy. So I'm going to rant about something totally random that's been bugging me for awhile.

These Jared jewelry ads. They drive me nuts.

First of all, you have the name. "Jared" does NOT speak to me about beautiful diamonds and gold. It's totally unconnected name, like calling your car dealership "Fred". And it's not "Jared'S" as in, "the jewelry store owned by Jared". Nope. Just "Jared".

AND, their ads are really annoying. I tried to find one on YouTube for you, but all I found were even MORE annoying parodies! Crazy, huh?

Anyway, my favorite Jared ad to hate is the one where the roommate asks the other, "How did last night go?"
And the lucky girl says, doing a crossword puzzle, "Just a minute. What's a 15 letter word for marriage proposal?"
"I don't know..."
"He went to Jared!"

That newly-engaged girl must have the stupidest roommate on the planet. Who would miss that HUGE hint of the puzzle clue?

Jared seems to be trying to build themselves as a big buzz word. It's not working on me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In which I become a hormonal mess.

Recently I've had a couple of things come up that have (or will) alter various relationships:

My lovely practically-a-real-sister EJ had her baby. A good friend told me that she and her family are leaving the area. Baby Magnus has been kicking the tar out of me.

Magnus decided to tear a blue streak around my uterus while I was trying to read Leah her Awana story for tonight. Of course, not helping the situation was the fact that we needed to leave for Awana as soon as we finished, Ben was jumping all over talking about trains and cars, and Leah was trying to look at art brought from a friend's house. I just wanted to tell all THREE of them to just settle already! Then I realized that as frustrated as I was, Magnus doesn't even have a voice to add to the mix yet, and already I'm getting irritated with him. That is such a wonderful sign of my ability to parent three small children.

Also, I find myself admiring the relationship that Leah and Ben have - they play so well together and really enjoy it, for the most part. With another baby, will they still be close? Or will the boys join forces, leaving Leah out in the cold? I kind of know how that feels, and really hope it doesn't happen to my baby girl.

This friend who told me she's moving: I pretty much was convinced they never would, although with her husband's career you just never know. She was surprised that I was pretty much speechless after a couple of verification questions. What was I supposed to say? That I can't even imagine our church without them? That she's been a moral and spiritual rock for me? That I can't imagine not talking to her every week? That she's been both a mentor and peer to me, unlike almost any other friendship?

So yeah. I was speechless.

Speaking of speechless! Sister-in-law EJ is a mommy! 4 weeks early! - everyone is fine, they are going home soon with no NICU for baby Madeline. I am so excited to see her as a momma, and daddy JJ has already pronounced Madeline as "awesome" so he's doing fine!

At the same time that I've been excited for this step in their lives, I've been a little selfish, too. EJ and JJ have always been the super-indulgent auntie & uncle - our kids see them the most of all the wonderful aunties & uncles they've been blessed with. EJ always has a little present for them, reads books endlessly, and actually enjoys game after game of Go Fish! and Crazy Eights, God bless her. And JJ wrestles and chases and generally contributes the wearing out of both kids.

In other words, they make our job as parents sooo much easier when they visit. And JJ even cooks dinner!

Now that they have their own baby, I wonder if they will redirect all that love and attention to their own child. I hope they do, actually.

Here's the selfish bit: But what about MY kids? What about Aaron and I? PAY ATTENTION TO USSSS!

Okay, I think I got it out of my system. EJ, I know I've talked to you about this before, so don't think I'm an evil witch. Just still come visit and be our friends, okay?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Internet, don't start with me.

The last few days have been like a cumulative argument for staying home and watching television. Shall I run through the main points for you?

- Ben has a nasty cough & runny nose, along with 75% of the kid population around here.
- The coughing and an accompanying obsessive fit caused him to gag & puke just before bed Sunday. Oranges and peach yogurt. At least it wasn't on me.
- The coughing also caused him to wake up FIVE times that night yelling for his blankie. Guess who was the lucky one to stumble down the hall to replace it? Oh, and Leah woke me up TWICE for flat-out stupid things.
- Yesterday I hosted the Valentine's Day potluck for MOMS Club.
-Last night we were left waiting for news about a certain mommy & baby.
- And, I ignored side twinges to have some much needed quality time with Crystal.
- Ben woke up only once last night. Leah woke up TWICE with bad dreams, which meant I had to lay with her for a bit till she fell asleep. Both times.
- Got good, good news about the mommy & baby! Yay!
- Thought we were going to get the door installed today! After three months of waiting! Hustled the kids out of church to be home in time!
- Got a voice mail from the door installer, then called him back...guess it'll be Thursday.
- Power struggle with Ben over eating candy before or after lunch. Guess which was his stance?
- Hosting an adoption celebration party for a friend tonight. Thank goodness I don't have to cook.
- Trying to clean bathrooms, do laundry, and finish treats for Leah's Sunday School class before dinner tonight.
- Awana at church tomorrow night, Bible study here Thursday night...
- Also trying to prepare for a baby shower I'm hosting on Saturday.

Needless to say, Aaron is NOT sympathetic to my stresses, seeing as how I brought most of upon myself. One of his greatest quotes: "Liz, some wives need encouraging, and some need tempering. You need tempering."

Or, as a friend said today, I'm over-committed. Or maybe just ready to be committed. Either way, I'm ready to spend some quality time with our sofa when all this is over.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Totally missing my opportunity.

Yesterday I got to enlighten no less than FOUR ladies to the fact that we are expecting a baby in - holy cramolies - 18 weeks. Although I see these ladies all fairly frequently, it has been a while, so I wasn't too surprised that they were just finding out. They, however, were fairly shocked.

One of them asked, outright, "Are you pregnant?"
I said, "Yes."
And she responded, "Oh, I would have been horrified if you'd have said no!" And then we chattered on about baby stuff.

But in the back of mind, it had dawned on me.
I was totally missing my chance to mess with people.

It's not too often that you truly can, especially if you and your crowd are the clean-living type. Pregnancy, and early pregnancy at that, is one of those few times in life that you can really catch people off guard.

So I'm going to try to do my best to remember, next time someone asks if I'm pregnant, to say "Oh, why do you ask?" I don't want to lie, of course. Just throw them off base for a bit.

There. You've been warned. And I think I have about 2 weeks to carry through with my dastardly plot before it becomes all too obvious what the answer will be.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Possibly the LAST 25 Random Things...

I have been enjoying reading all of your "25 Random Things About Me" notes on Facebook. Really, I have. The fact that I have not done my own yet should not be seen as a reflection of my interest.

Today, I am feeling uncreative in the blogging area, so I will make my list, finally.

1. I do not like ham, Sam I am. I mean, I'll eat it a couple of times a year, but if you give me a ham sandwich (esp. with non-deli sliced ham) I will politely nibble at it and then find something else to eat.

2. I have fantasies about a store manager walking up to me and offering me a job because of my attention to detail - like, putting items back on hangers, or putting them back in the correct size.

3. I like to picture faces in the taillights of cars. And I recently read an article that discussed how some cars have "friendly faces" and some have "aggressive faces" and how that affects who buys them!

4. I can't pack with newspaper because I end up reading it.

5. Competitiveness strikes me at odd times. Not, say, during a race, or a game of volleyball (neither of which I've participated in for years...maybe decades...)...

6. ...but I find myself getting rather competitive in the blogosphere - feeling great when I have more "followers" than someone else, for instance.

7. I usually make my bed just before getting in. Really bugs Aaron, who's usually already there.

8. Dusting is my all-time most avoided household chore.

9. For at least 2 years while living in Rochester, we only got NBC - I watched Law & Order about 3 times a week.

10. A guy just cross-country skied past our window - with no poles. Then turned around and went back - trying the skis out?

11. After having Leah, Law & Order (SVU esp.) was too disturbing, and I've watched it only a handful of times since then.

12. Sometimes I worry that if I got a flat tire I'd be helpless.

13. It's very hard for me to throw away certain things - like paper towel tubes, smallish plastic tubs, little boxes...I hoard them for craft projects.

14. I very rarely do craft projects with my kids that involve more than markers, scissors & glue.

15. I talk in my sleep, sometimes waking myself up, and then tell Aaron that I'm talking in my sleep. Duh.

16. I hate to sweat. For any reason, really.

17. There are very few days that I don't shower.

18. Sweatpants are not to be worn in public. Unless you are pregnant with your 3rd child - it seems this is the exception to my own rule.

19. My hair has gotten curlier with each pregnancy.

20. Sometimes I feel that my education and career choice have followed the road of mediocrity.

21. But, I would love to go back to my career someday, and still find myself thinking of fun lesson plan ideas.

22. I don't like touching poultry bones, cartilage, or tendons. I pretty much only buy the frozen boneless chicken breasts, except for the occasional rotisserie from the grocery store. Aaron has to take the meat off for me, though, and he has also taken care of the Thanksgiving turkey for me. Thanks, honey!

23. Although I am getting to be a bit of a princess, I have done some very, VERY gross jobs in my life.

24. I am NOT a dog person. I can get along with them, but really don't like me licked, jumped on, or having noses put on me. Gross.

25. I love cats - even their stuck-uppity-ness is interesting to me. I don't mind if they lick me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Relationships Made Easy

Leah had her friend Addie over to play this afternoon. Addie's mom and I have agreed that their conversations should be tape recorded for their entertainment value. Here are some small snippets of one such discussion:

They are getting ready to play wedding.

Leah: Can you help me pick out a dress to wear for the wedding?
Addie: How about this one? It is very beautiful.
L: No, that's a leotard that I'm going to wear for dance. And besides, it's not white, and wedding dresses are usually white. But this one of Ariel's is very pretty, too...

And then later...

A: Here are some necklaces for you to wear to the wedding.
L: You don't wear necklaces at a wedding!
A: Oh yes you do!
L: Well, my mommy didn't, so I'm not going to.
A: Well, my mommy DID, so I am too.

Still later....
L: Will you please be the prince? Cause I haven't found anyone to marry yet. Just for the wedding, and then you can be dead.
A: Okaaay. (Taking Leah's hands in her own) Will you marry me?
(Now they are holding hands and twirling)
A: What's your name?
L: Leah! Okay, now we dance. No, not fast. Slowly. Here. You put your head here, and I put my hand here. (They proceed with a good imitation of slow dancing.)

At this point they see me watching and Leah tells me the rules, "You don't watch me! I get all embarrassed!"

I was very impressed with Addie's willingness to play the lesser part of the husband (that is soo true to life, isn't it? At least for the wedding part.) We'll just have to work with Leah to understand that he has a role in the family AFTER the wedding - he doesn't just disappear. Well, not unless there is football on TV or something. And then it's mostly just temporary.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Antennas-R- Us

I propose the founding of a new support group: One for those of us who have avoided cable at all cost.

You may have various reasons for abstaining:
1) The extra expense.
2) Too many channels to choose from.
3) All the good shows would mean more time spent on your rear watching them.
4) Too many shows/channels that are inappropriate for kids...or adults, actually.
5) You don't believe in watching television.
6) You don't OWN a television.
7) You believe that aliens are using the television to reprogram our brains.

Aaron and I would claim numbers 1-4. In the nine years of our married life, we've had cable for exactly one, the year we lived in a campus apartment and got it for free. That year, I watched every episode of Real World: New Orleans - the first and only time I had ever watched the show, coincidentally. I was totally addicted to MTV, and I'm not too proud of it.

My propensity to television addiction is my main hesitation in getting cable.

The need for a support group comes from the pain bestowed by this infernal switch to digital TV. Folks, I don't know about you, but the government is doing us no favors on this one.

First of all, we have gotten our two digital boxes, at a greatly reduced price thanks to the government coupons available here. Initially we got NO channels when we connected our rabbit ears to the box. Then Aaron discovered a big ol' antenna in our attic, and hooked that sucker up. Yes! There were the channels - and more- that we'd regularly been getting.

Then things started getting a little weird. For PBS especially, some days we'd get it with the rabbit ears, sometimes with the big attic antenna, and sometimes with the digital box - but you'd have to try to plug in BOTH sets of antennas.

That gives us FOUR options, folks, and that is three too many when you have 2 preschoolers begging for their morning fix of Curious George.

I have done some research into the "lifeline" cable package, the one that would get us just the local stations plus the CW, a couple CSPAN channels and a shopping network. After February 17th, to get what we have for now been getting for free, would cost us $180 the first year, and then $240 per year after that. This my friends, completely stinks.

Aaron asks, "Is it worth it?"
and I say, "No! Of course not! BUT, I still want to watch my TV! So I guess it is."

He also brought up the other day, "Are you still going to give money to PBS if we have to pay to watch it?" Hmm. Good question - I guess you could divide the cable cost by the number of channels we'd receive, and then subtract the amount for one channel from the usual donation amount to pubic television. (Whew! That was a lot of math.)

Which isn't really fair to PBS, of course, because it's not their fault all this happening. But the rest of us have budgets too, and we don't get to use a week of air time each quarter asking for financial assistance.

Anyway, our final decision has been to wait and see what happens once all the stations switch over for good, and cross our fingers that the problems with reception (NBC, in addition to PBS) are temporary glitches. If not, we may be forced to put our money where our butts are.

Won't the rest of you needing support join me here on February 18th? Maybe, as a group, we can help each other through this major transition in our lives. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Box Room

We all have family idiosyncrasies that we continue in our own families...I mean, we do, right? Because I sure seem to have carefully packed up and moved several of ours into my adult life.


And I respond, in a voice filled with logic, "Well, you just never know when you might need a good box."

To explain this compulsion, I went all the way back to growing up on the farm. We had this amazing basement, full of somewhat finished rooms intended for various purposes: The Canning Room. The Pool Room (pool table - which had so many books in shelves around the room that it was difficult to get the correct shot, and the room could have just as well been called the Library). Dad's Office/pantry.

Then there were a couple of random spaces: The Way Back Closet (which seemed to be filled with mysterious remnants of past lives, including a huge bag of pine cones.) and The Big Room, the main room at the bottom of the steps. It contained 2 large chest freezers and innumerable bunches of dried flowers. At various times it also may have also had a calf being bottle fed and a sofa.

And then. Underneath those basement steps, just off of Dad's Office, there was The Box Room. The quantity of boxes seemed to fluctuate a bit, but the lowest point, when you could actually see the floor in some places, was just before Christmas. As we opened gifts, we were reunited with some of those old friend-type boxes - the ones that turned up every year. It was oddly comforting.

But that endless supply of boxes had other benefits, too. Need a Valentine's Day mailbox? Or a Halloween costume - like a robot? Or need to wrap an oddly- shaped birthday present? You could always find the exact box for your needs, whether it be a small white jewelry box, a check box, one from Schwan's man, or the box from Dad's newest pair of boots.

Part of my association of a warm, loving, household is that box room. Is it any wonder that I am trying to re-create that same feeling -albeit without my husband's complete knowledge or approval?

Because you just never know when you might need a box.