My 365

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Batten down the hatches...

In another addition of my childhood observations I am going to offer a little tidbit that crossed my mind the other day.

Children...are like hurricanes.  They start out as a Category 1 (newborn - 6 months), slightly disruptive, a little noisy but the damage is minimal.  Then when they start crawling they move up to a Category 2 (6 months - 1 year), still disruptive, a bit noisier and the disaster area has spread further out but is still fairly manageable.  Then there comes walking (1 - 2 years) which is a Category 3, where we have moved beyond disruptive to destructive, you attempt to contain the disaster area with a levy (or baby gate) but many times this barrier is tested.  Minor injuries have been reported.  Now we move on to talking and climbing (2 - 4 years) the noise level has reached that of a fighter jet and all logical thought flees the mind, evacuate all valuables, the levies have failed as the path of destruction widens and may be irreparable, injuries reported are serious but non-life threatening.  Category 5 (4 - beyond), hopefully you've checked your insurance policy lately, run for dear life and take cover, injuries are life threatening, disaster area is all encompassing and demolished beyond repair.  You can call FEMA but they won't come, it's too dangerous.  This category lasts until they move out...Good luck and Godspeed.

Note: Any additional child automatically multiplies the destruction by 50%.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One of those days

Well, I promised when I started this blogging journey that there would be good days and bad days.  Today, at least the first part of the day, falls under the bad category.  Nothing bad happened, just one of those days where certain things affect you.  At church I started noticing all the families, all the couples, mothers and fathers.  Everyone had a partner and I started to miss mine so badly it physically hurt.  I have actually had a string of good days.  As I said after a while, you get in a routine and you don't notice as often how much you miss him.  But every once in a while you are reminded and suddenly are thrown right back into the moment you had to say good bye.  Sometimes it's the strangest thing that will trigger you.  The other day I saw a Penske truck and for a split second I expected Mike to hop out, like he did whenever we took a break while driving out here and I could hold his hand or just hug him.  Of course he didn't hop out and I was slapped with the reality of our situation once again.  You go on and forget about those moments eventually, but they will keep happening and I will keep dealing with them.  At least they start to space themselves out after a while. 

On a different note.  A happier note.  I have been finally feeling better.  Being sick...well, it just sucks.  But, I'm glad it seems to be coming to an end, which means I'm back in action.  Gracie's room is getting painted on Friday so I can finally finish decorating her "Fairy Princess" room and I'm excited!  Then hopefully in a couple more weeks, I will be able to have my room painted.  I am FULL of ideas and have all kinds of things picked out to spruce it up.  It will have to be one thing at a time for a while...just because I have lots of ideas doesn't mean I have the funds to implement them all at once!  Although that would be nice.  I think it will do wonders for my mood to have my "space" all prettied up.  Dad also installed my closet system this weekend, so I can finally get my clothes off the floor!  YAY!!  So things are moving along and I am slowly chipping away at my to-do list.  I can't wait until I can post some "before and after" pics for everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

Well, I made this soup for church tonight and it was the first time I'd made it.  But it got RAVE reviews so I will share the recipe with all of you!  It's a Weight Watchers recipe so it's low in fat and high in flava...holla!  I'm a dork.

Baked Potato Soup

1 bulb garlic cloves, 1/4 inch slice off the top
3 lbs potatoes, rinsed and pierced with a fork
6 slices turkey bacon
4 cups low fat reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 Tbsp. reduced fat sour cream
6 Tbsp. low-fat shredded cheddar
6 Tbsp. scallions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap garlic bulb tightly in foil; place garlic and potatoes in oven (directly on rack).

Bake until garlic is soft, about 45 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.  Continue baking potatoes until tender when pierced, about 15 minutes more; remove potatoes and let cool.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 6 minutes.  Place bacon on paper towels to drain off any fat then chop.

Unwrap garlic and squeeze pulp from bulb into a large saucepan.  Peel potatoes and add to saucepan; mash with a potato masher until smooth.  Gradually stir in broth, salt, pepper and thyme until blended.  Place saucepan over medium heat and cook until hot, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese, bacon and scallions.  Enjoy!

6 Servings, 5 points per serving

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Things My Children Have Taught Me...

I started thinking of all things children tonight.  From the good things to the not so good things.  Then I started compiling a list of things my children have taught me and before I knew there were 15 things and counting.  So I will post what I have so far and periodically add to it.  It's amazing all the things you didn't know before having kids!

1. How to open a locked door with a credit card.
2. Little noggins are hard, kids in the lap may result in a black eye.
3. A cut on a little finger bleeds a lot.
4. Only band-aids with cartoon characters on them will make the owie feel better.
5. If you hear water running anywhere, at any time, start running...and grab a towel.
6. If you don't hear anything at all, be afraid...then run a bath because silence usually equals mess.
7. Tall fawcets that swivel are a great tool to make waterfalls off the counter (see running water reference in item #5)
8. Showering, going to the bathroom and getting dressed alone are all private luxuries of the past.
9. Baby kisses are more valuable than gold.
10. That corn is not the only vegetable that doesn't break down digestively...edamame comes out intact as well.
11. Pepper spray may incapacitate a hardened criminal, but it just makes a toddler more powerful...and angry.
12. The temper tantrums of a 3 year old can break sound barriers and this phenomenon almost always happens in the grocery store.
13. Flat screen TV's tip easily and do not bounce.
14. You will discover a brand new level of rage when your child tests the flat screen TV theory.
15. God made children cute for a you will forget your new level of rage 5 minutes after it happened.  Otherwise, the human race would cease to exist past the age of 2.
16. Strawberry milk does not come out of matter what you use to clean it.
17. My computer, blackberry, phone and every other piece of electronic equipment have settings and features I never knew existed until my toddler changed them and I could no longer use these items.
18. Tech support does not have a dialogue for children locking me out of said electronic devices.
19. Beware of naptime after a child is out of the crib...this is prime, unsupervised, sneaky, get-in-trouble time.  I have had a bottle of sand poured out on my carpet, a entire bottle of baby powder emptied into my bedroom and an impromtu haircut all during naptime.
20.  Baby powder when released from it's vessel in it's entirety, will resemble a Middle Eastern sandstorm and will cling to every surface like glue, you will sneeze white powder for a week so beware of curious glances from folks who think you "have a problem".  It will not come out of carpets for a long time and your vacuum will smell like a baby's butt for quite a while.
21.  Along the baby powder line...diaper rash cream when used as paint will be the bain of your existence for a while.  That stuff is made to stick to a baby's butt, so what do you think it will do to a wall?  That's right...beware.

Wow, I started with 15 and then they just kept this normal or do I just have really "special" kids???  :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


There are many things that I treasure, my husband, my children, my family and friends.  But what about the things we treasured as children?  How different were those things?  A doll, teddy bear, a special jewelry box?  As we grow up our lives and priorities change, as well as the things we treasure every day, but we hold on to the special things from our childhood for a reason.  We still cherish these items but for a different reason.  Now we tenderly hold them and carefully caress them as we are taken back to the time in our childhood when we loved them.  It was so much simpler then.  For most of us our childhoods hold happy memories of riding bikes, getting dirty and for some being a princess.  Our moms were always there with a kiss for a boo boo and all the bad would go away.  How nice is it to go back to those times where chicken noodle soup and a bandaid fixed everything.  You got ice cream when you were sick and cartoons every Saturday.  I still have one treasure that brings a smile to my face.  I've had it for as long as I can remember.  It's a small bamboo box my Aunt Jane gave me and I have long forgotten where it came from.  But inside the box are dozens of small crystals.  My mom used to collect crystal figurines for me and these were pretty much just for decoration.  But whenever I opened that box and saw all those little twinkling gems I was transported to my lavish palace and those were my diamonds.  I still open that box that's tucked away in a drawer and stare inside at my diamonds.  I stick my finger in and shuffle them around like no one is looking.  My secret treasure.  And for just a moment I don't have kids screaming, bills to pay, a house to clean, dinner to cook and a husband 8,000 miles away.  I have dozens of sparkling, shining diamonds winking at me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A touch of crazy...

Well, as most of you already know I have somehow contracted pneumonia and have been out of commission all week.  I am feeling a little out of touch with the world and let's face it, with reality.  I am also on some icky medicine that gives me some pretty wicked insomnia, which is contributing to the crazy.  So I'm here to give you a little taste of the crazy that lives inside me!  This confession goes back to days of childhood where I was scared of alligators and eventually gremlins (thanks to the 80s movie) coming out of the toilet and biting me.  These days it's not reptiles or fictional monsters that I's bugs.  All bugs, really, but especially spiders.  I hate 'em.  Yet another thing to add to the list of things I miss about Mike, is having to kill the creepy crawlies myself.  So usually after I squish the bug I pick it up with toilet paper and flush it.  I never throw them away, because I am convinced they will crawl out of the trash can and get me.  So after I flush a bug, then later go to use the facilities a crazy thought always crosses my mind.  I fear that the bug I flushed is not dead, but waiting.  Training, getting stronger and just waiting for the prime opportunity to exact it's revenge on my nether regions.  Logical?  No.  But a thought I always have nevertheless.  Does anyone else have a crazy, neurotic and completely unrealistic fear like that?  Maybe it's just me, then.  Oh, well.  On a side note, another danger of insomnia is internet shopping.  I just purchased a couple of headbands for myself and I personally think they're adorable.  Here is a picture of one of them!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Mayberry Philosophy

In my Benadryl induced haze I was sitting on the sofa watching t.v. in my Snuggie when I came across an old episode of "The Andy Griffith Show".  Feeling nostalgic I tuned in and this episode was about a guy from out of town traveling through Mayberry on his way to Charlotte, NC.  Well, his car breaks down and he is frustrated because it's Mayberry, where everything shuts down on Sunday.  He rants and raves and paces while trying to locate someone to fix his car.  All the while Andy, Barney and the rest of the gang go about their lazy Sunday having dinner, sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs singing quiet hymns and folk songs.  They just don't understand this guy's impatience and just overall antsy-ness, while he doesn't understand their laissez-faire.  Well, of course Mayberry wins in the end and Mr. Antsy-Pants settles down and joins in on their relaxation.  The point of this synopsis is to ask the question, how many of us would be the irritated out-of-towner and how many the small town concierge?  We have gotten so wrapped up in our busy, take-over-the-world lives that maybe we didn't notice that we are missing something.  Everyone in Mayberry had their role that they lived out and were happy.  How many of us can say that we are truly happy?  Is it because our roles have been multiplying over the years and now are at unmanageable levels?  We can't just be a wife and mother anymore, we have to have a career (most of us) either for financial reasons or because of this need for fulfillment we may feel.  Why do we have to fulfill this need, and what is it, where did it come from?  Did women 50 years ago feel the same way or were they happy because then they were only expected to be a wife and mother, therefore their expectations were met.  I have a hard time believing that, but something has changed.  Is life really better today?  Some technology is great, but everything comes with a price.  Is sanity our price?  Did the people of Mayberry need latte's to stay awake and sleeping pills to fall asleep?  We are overtaxing ourselves with this great desire of achievment.  Our children have greater opportunities than we ever did, but are we overwhelming them with the need to be exceptional?  I don't feel relaxed this Sunday evening...I feel pressure.  I always feel pressure to be better, do more, to be extraordinary.  It's not direct pressure, but it's there, always has been.  It's more of a personal pressure for me to stand out, be noticed, to do something noticeable.  Are there things about my world today that I love?  Of course.  Would I trade some modern conveniences for a taste of Mayberry?  You bet.   If we could look up from our Blackberry's for two seconds we would see that our lives are passing us by and our children are growing up and most of us are missing it.  I think we all could benefit by adopting the Mayberry Philosphy and slowing down, sitting on our front porch, backyard or wherever and just take a moment to enjoy the day, enjoy our children, spouses, family, friends or whatever it is that truly gives you joy.  We don't have to be extraordinary all the time.  Let's just be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Army Wife=Army Life

Five years ago after Mike and I got married he used to talk briefly about how he missed being in the Army.  I, of course, shot the idea down trying to put the kibash on any inklings he may have been having about rejoining.  We were living in the post 9-11 world and any thought of my new husband going over into that dangerous situation sent my mind reeling.  So a few years later after Mike lost his job (one that he hated, by the way) I found myself searching for a solution.  The only logical thing to do was for him to rejoin the Army and finish out his time for retirement, which was only about 4 years.  It was there, right in front of me, the solution to our problem, I just had to grasp it.  So it was me who sat Mike down and convinced him to see the recruiter.  Yes, it was my idea.  He came home from the recruiter uneasy, saying he didn't think it was a good idea.  I told him he just had cold feet and to suck it up and do it.  He will tell a more colorful version of this story as he loves to remind me that everything that has happened since then has been of my doing.  Whatever...he's just mad I made him finish what he started over 20 years ago. :)  And so we started our journey.  I was so excited at the possibilities.  I wanted to travel and see new places.  I couldn't wait to see where we were getting transfered.  When I found out it was Colorado it was bittersweet, mainly because I had already lived there and it wouldn't be new but my brother and favorite sister in law live in Denver and the opportunity to be closer to them was tantilizing.  When we took the plunge into the Army life, the first picture that came to mind was, well, of Mike in a uniform, but the second picture was of a perfect little house with a neatly manicured lawn on base, where we would be best friends with our neighbors and barbeque in the backyard.  I never said it was a realistic picture and it was far from realistic.  Life has been a roller coaster ever since and at times I have questioned my train of thought that led me here.  For instance the many, many...many nights that Mike would get home late from work I would sit there and think "I got to talk to him more when he was deployed".  What was the point of him being home at all?  But I believe that everything happens for a reason and we are in the Army for a reason.  I haven't done the traveling that I first thought I was going to do, but I have seen some places I probably wouldn't have otherwise.  And I've met some really great people, life long friends even, in the process.  The Army isn't always easy, but I think by the end of this journey we will both be glad we endured it.  As our 5 year anniversary just passed someone told me that a lot of people don't make it to the 5 year mark these days.  With that rolling around in my head, I concluded why we have made it at least this far....the Army!  Because the Army has separated us for a couple of years, collectively.  I believe those separations, as horrible as they are at the time, made our marriage stronger and proves the old adage to be true.  "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and my heart swells beyond capacity whenever I think of him now (swooning sigh).  

Homecoming last year

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will you go with me? Check yes, no or maybe.

I took the kids to McDonald's today for a treat and some playtime (which is a whole other blog).  As we were sitting there eating our lunch I glanced over at a table with a a girl and a guy sitting there.  They looked like they were in high school.  Well, I noticed that the guy is sitting there chowing down on a burger and the girl is demurely snacking on a fruit and yogurt parfait.  It was obvious they were on some sort of "date".  You know that poor girl was looking at that menu thinking "Dang, I really want the Big Mac", but not wanting to seem uncomely she picks the modest parfait.  So of course I start reminiscing about my dating experiences, limited as they were.  Starting with middle school and the vintage handwritten note stating "Will you go with me?  Check yes, no or maybe", with clever little boxes next to the answers.  I guess because we were so programmed in our short little lives that every decision is multiple choice, with a neat little box holding the answer.  Then on to the torture that is high school dating.  I don't have much to offer here.  I met my first boyfriend in band, he asked me to go with him and I said yes, regardless of whether I felt that way about him or not.  Simply because you were not much without a boyfriend to escort to all the school events.  But a month after we started going out, I chickened out and broke it off.  I just wasn't ready for that kind of attention.  It wasn't until a year later that I was asked out again and this time I was ready.  We met while doing a play together, coincidentally I played his mother.  I remember getting to school early for rehearsal and we were the only two there for a while.  We could cut up and laugh and it was comfortable.  He finally asked me out after the play was over and although I can't remember what we did, I do remember falling hard and fast for him.  There is truly nothing like your first love.  You feel invincible and a happiness that exceeds all other happy feelings you've ever had.  To finally have someone see you above all others for the first time, it's no wonder many think that your first love or teenage love is the most powerful.  Although I can remember one time being invited to have dinner with his parents at his house and they had chicken fingers.  I remember eating like one and a half chicken fingers and saying I was done, even though I was starving.  Silly girls.  Finally I will end with the last dating experience I had which was, of course, when I met Mike.  I was older (22, ha!) and had grown a bit since high school, although many insecurities were still there.  However, with Mike, I didn't feel the need to feed into a lot of those nagging self-criticisms.  On our first date I ordered a quesadilla, not a salad or a plate of steamed vegetables, a Godzilla sized, cheese filled tortilla of love.  It's funny how later in life you adopt a "take me as I am attitude" and how that really pays off in dating, especially when it comes to dinner!  Mike ordered the Captain's Platter, which was a plate piled high with every kind of seafood you can imagine.  By the time I got through one quarter of my quesadilla, I looked up and he had quite literally inhaled the whole plate.  Further proof that guys don't have the same qualms that girls do when it comes to eating in front of other people.  I could write a small novel on the experience of dating Mike, but the one thing I do want to say is that he made me feel like I was in high school all over again, in a good way, a euphoric way.  I suppose the comfort that we felt with each other on that first date is what led to many more and ultimately the best date of all...the wedding date.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone out there in cyber-land had a Happy Easter.  Ours was a little lackluster.  I wish we could have found an Easter Egg Hunt or something...we just stayed at home all day.  Boring!  We have all been fighting this cold or whatever it is, all I know is that it's miserable and sucking the life out of me!  I made the kids Easter Baskets last night and despite the tummy ache I got from eating WAY too many of the jelly beans while assembling them, I think they turned out good.  The kids enjoyed them at least.  I think next year we should do Easter at Aunt Beth's house (sorry, Aunt Beth, I'm totally throwing you under the bus).  We could do an Easter Egg hunt, dress up the mini's in Easter Egg colors and do pony rides!  It would (will) be GREAT!!  I can't wait.  We are doing it!  I'm pumped!  Too bad, it's a year away.
My crowing glory...

Gracie's Basket

Gabe's Basket

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Bathroom Blues...or Greens.

So I finally finished putting together my bathroom.  I know it's just one room and a small one at that's finished.  Unpacked, put away and decorated.  It feels so good that I just want to spend all my time in there.  I could move the computer and t.v. in there, lock the door so the kids can't get in and voila!  I'm in heaven.  Maybe that's a little extreme, considering the size of the bathroom, but a girl can dream right?  Someday I am going to have one of those giant spa bathrooms with chaise lounge, whirlpool tub, separate shower with dual shower heads (the kind that rain on you) and a separate vanity...ahhhh.  Someday.  But for today I will just be happy that the bathroom I have is finished.  Woo hoo!!

Laundry basket...with laundry in it for effect!

The potty parlor...I thought that sounded fancier than toilet.

The pictures that I smashed my thumb with a hammer putting up (it was something straight out of Looney Toons)

And this would be where the fairy tale ends...seconds before everything is destroyed.

Happy Spring!

So Autumn had come by yesterday to drop off my Pampered Chef order and asked if she could take some pictures of her kids in the cherry trees in our front yard.  So I told her yes then I told her I was going to steal the idea.  So here are some pictures of the kiddos in the cherry tree.  They weren't too keen on the idea of being in a tree, but Gracie sucked it up for me...I'm still working on Gabe.