Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Snow Day

We had planned to go home today, but the snow started falling during church and just kept falling and falling and falling ... so instead we went sledding.

All bundled up ...

I love sledding with Dada!

And building snowmen with Grandpa ...

And we rounded out the weekend with some tickles from Mama. Here comes the tickle-monster!

He's gonna get you!

(And yes, my son is part piranha. Look at those teeth!)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Update on Prayer Requests

My friend Jeanette gave birth to Ahren Alexander yesterday afternoon. He was 19 inches long and 7 lbs 1 oz. So far, things look good. He's been eating well and has been making urine. Doctors will do some tests today and again later in the week to make sure everything is working well, but right now things look very positive.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Please keep praying for Ahren's continued health.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Product Review: Fabulous Snacks by Kashi

While many of my bloggy buddies are famous enough to be asked to review products, I just do it out of the goodness of my heart. No one's advertising department has contacted me for reviews, but when I find a product I love, I feel like I should tell my tens of readers about it.

So, without further ado, here's my new favorite portable kid feast and fabulous snack find: Kashi's TLC Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars. I tripped over these the other day at Wal-Mart, and decided to give them a try, even though they are slightly more expensive than their Quaker counterparts.

Tom loves granola bars, but I've always felt bad about filling him up with super-sugary snacks, even if they do come convienently wrapped. Enter Kashi. While the bars do still contain 8g of sugar, it's balanced with a healthy (but tasty) 4g of fiber and 5g of protein.

Plus, they taste great to adults, too. The cherry flavor is a great combination of sweet and tart, not at all cloying, the way I find other chewy granola bars to be. The bars include actual dried cherries, along with tasty, real dark chocolate chips. No artificial flavoring, nothing. Yum.

Kashi offers several flavors, but the others I saw contained big pieces of nuts, and I am not that confident in Tom's chewing ability. I do, however, plan to check out the trail mix variety for myself.

Kashi's Cherry Dark Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars get a big five-star rating from Wishful Thinking.

Nut-Free Streusel

Superhubby can't eat nuts, and I've been searching for a decent nut-free streusel recipe for years. Finally I found one that I could adapt, and I am so excited.

2/3 c. uncooked regular oatmeal, coarsely chopped in a food processor
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar or packed brown sugar
5 T melted butter
1 t cinnamon (or use 1/2 t each ginger and nutmeg)
1/4 t salt

Mix all ingredients together with a fork until crumbly. Top baked goods (coffee cake, muffins) and bake as directed. This recipe freezes well, too, if you end up with more streusel than you can use.

I made this with ginger and used them to top cherry muffins a few weeks ago. Delicious!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Need of Prayer


If you are the praying type, please take a moment and pray for two families who are experiencings serious emergencies right now.

My parents are volunteers at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Yesterday a 77-year-old visitor to the park went out to take pictures on the dunes. He never returned. Overnight temperatures in the desert dropped to the 30s, and he is without much food, water or warm clothing.

Resucers have been searching the 275-square-mile park for 12 hours, and they still haven't located him. He and his wife are visiting from Austrailia. Please pray for Lou's safe resuce.

**Lou has been found, alive and whole. He survived the night in the dunes by covering himself with dry grasses, and walked to safety this afternoon.**

The second request is for my neighbor's daughter, Jeanette. She is pregnant with her second child, and will be induced Thursday because her son's kidneys aren't forming properly. Fluid continues to build up around his kidneys, instead of being excreted in a normal manner. Because both kidneys are affected, this could be a very serious and life-threatening illness for him. Doctors say there is about a 25% chance the problem will "fix itself" after birth. Please pray for Jeanette and her family.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday, Indeed!

My blog is what you might call "out of the way." On good days, I like to think of it as a refreshing, but little-known, outpost on the mega-highway to bloggityville.

On a bad day, I call my lack of traffic depressing.

Well, let me tell you something. I participated in Works for Me Wednesday yesterday, and my traffic jumped 380% for the day. Three hundred eighty percent!

Now that REALLY works for me. (Thanks, Shannon!)

No, no!

The Tominator has learned the "N" word, and sad to say, I find it hilarious. Mostly because he uses such inflection when he demurs. It's never just "NO!" instead, he says "no, no, noooooo" with a long shake of the head.

Often it's in response to a question.
Mama: "Tom, do you want some juice?"
Tom: "No, no, nooooooo!"

Other times, it's in request for the book But No Elephants. This is a tricky one.
Mama: "Would you like to read a book?"
Tom: "Book! No, no, NOOOOOO!" as he runs to fetch above mentioned book.

Today, it was in response to some lyrics on a Veggie Tales CD.
Bob the Tomato: "God answers prayer, God answers prayer ..."
Tom: "No, no, NOOOOOO!"

I have no idea what this means, but it sure is funny. I think.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quick Kitchen Clean Up

A nice, home-cooked Valentine's Day meal is always better when you don't face a sink full of dirty dishes when you're done. My solution, as obvious as this seems, is to clean up as you go. If I wash as many dishes as possible while the main dish simmers or bakes, by the time dinner rolls around, I am left with only the dinner plates and glasses (these go in the dishwasher) and whatever pot the main dish cooked in. Cleanup takes mere minutes, and then we can enjoy our evening as a family.

Simple, but it works for me!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friendship and Joy

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds 'round my neck."
- Emma Goldman

Every girl remembers her first time, and sometimes her last.

The day after my son was born, a gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses found their way into my hospital room. They brightened up the dingy view of the alley quite nicely and soothed my exhausted shock at having brought this tiny, living, pooping thing into the world. That was the last time I received yellow roses.

But the first time, oh the first time.

On a clear Valentine’s Day nearly a decade ago, I woke up to find a yellow rose lying on the bed next to me, tucked in between the pages of my journal. Surprising, romantic, and extremely odd. This was not a farewell from the last night’s lover – I was 17, living at home with my parents, and quite chaste.

I pulled on my robe and hustled downstairs, where my mother was flipping pancakes. Another beautiful red-tipped yellow rose was lying by my breakfast plate. When I asked her about it, she was evasive. “I have no idea,” she said, smiling.

For the rest of the day, whenever I caught sight of the two roses nestled in a vase on the table, I wondered how they had gotten to my house. They had to be from my new boyfriend, who knew that yellow roses were my favorite. But he lived 20 minutes away, and I could not believe that he had driven out that morning, before I awoke, to make sure the rose would get tucked into my bed.

Later that evening, he picked me up for a special dinner date. Another rose popped out from behind his back. Yet another was waiting for me in the car. Back at his parents’ house, he had set up the formal dining room with candles and soft music. He carefully served spaghetti he had made himself, and we sat down to eat – at a table set with china, silver and six gorgeous yellow roses.

As we lingered over our farewell kiss outside the garage door of my parents’ house, he produced two more roses. An even dozen -- and he surprised me with every single one.

*This post is a shameless bid to win a box of Alaskan berry-filled chocolates from Scribbit, during this month's Write-Away Contest. I'm pregnant and I need them.

*This post was also submitted to Crunchable, and will appear in the February issue.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Take endless tantrums, fussing and an extremely snotty nose from one 18-month-old. Mix in one sick husband. Sprinkle liberally with a desire for a clean house, and continue sorting, organizing and vacuuming despite screaming toddler. Stir in 4 loads of laundry. Add a splash of barking, tissue-stealing dog. Chill at 66 degrees for 12 solid hours.

Then run screaming from the house with poorly-painted cardboard sign reading "Cancun or Bust."

Or, you could make these.

What I really wanted was a delicious pan of seven-layer bars, but I didn't have any sweetened condensed milk. So I made up my own recipe.

Therapy Bars

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1 T brown sugar
2 T melted butter

Mix together and press in the bottom of an 8-inch glass pan.

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 butter
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c raisins
3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c mini marshmallows

Melt brown sugar and butter in a sauce pan and boil gently one minute, until sugar and butter form a soft caramel.

Sprinkle white chocolate chips and raisins over crust. Top with caramel and bake for 15 minutes, or until caramel bubbles evenly. Pull out of oven, top with semi-sweet chips and marshmallows and return to oven until marshmallows are lightly brown, about 3 minutes.

Let cool at least 30 minutes and cut into bars. Makes 9 bars, or 16 if you cut them really small.

Nutritional information:
Who are you kidding? These are a heart attack and diabetic coma all rolled into one. But they are so much cheaper than Xanax, and you don't need a prescription.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tick Tock

In three months, give or take a week, I will welcome a new baby into my home. This is something that SuperHubby and I prayed about, and that we both wanted very badly. But as countdown to baby number two continues, I do not find myself rejoicing and longing to hold his tiny hands. Instead I am reduced to an inanimate lump of molten, abject terror.

Maybe it's because I have finally settled into something resembling a routine, after more than a year of sleeping, eating, cleaning, showering whenever I could. Maybe I've just become used to a child who sleeps 10 straight hours. I've become accustomed to a couple of uninterrupted hours of computer or TV time at night, no demands, no wailing, hungry, fretful children to keep me from taking time for myself. I hate that I am already fretting over giving that up once S. arrives.

I know, in reality, that three months is a very long time. I don't need to be worried that we are not even close to ready to move Tom into his big-boy room. I have time to accomplish all I have set out to do. But I am having misgivings over my decision to try to move him out of the crib and into a real bed before the baby is born. My mother reminds me regularly that she thinks moving him out of his crib is a terrible idea. I'm starting to believe her. If I don't move him, though, I will have to buy another crib. And I really don't want to do that.

Unlike with Tom, where I (falsely) had a sense of security bestowed on me by the dozens of baby-care books I devoured, I have no such comfort with this child. Even though I will have nearly two years of mothering experience under my belt by the time S. comes along, I am sure that I won't know what to do. I have no sense of security in my abilities to parent two children with such very different needs at the same time.

I want so badly to feel like this, but I don't.

I want to be glowing with the joy and wonder at the miracle that is happening every second inside my body, instead of sitting on hot packs because somehow I ended up with a shooting pain in my backside and left leg this time around. I want to be enjoying the baby's kicks, punches, jabs and rolls, not resenting the fact that putting on socks is already difficult for me.

It's sort of the way I felt about Christmas this year. I knew it was coming, the cheerful holiday presence loomed over my head and blasted from store speakers starting around mid-October. I had plenty of time and warning to prepare. But I dragged my feet. I didn't want to buy Christmas gifts before Halloween. I didn't want to plan menus and shopping lists and day trips and everything else to keep my family happy over the holidays. As a result, when I finally got around to completing these tasks, I was rushed and frustrated. Although the holidays went well, they were not the exciting family time I had anticipated. We spent a lot of time sitting around staring at our hands because I had not done a good job planning day trips and activities.

I feel like that's how it's going to go with this baby, too. I feel unprepared. And messing up Christmas is not nearly as bad as messing up my kids because I didn't know what to do.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Will He Ever Know?

Our house is full of pestilence. The Tominator is sick with a nasty cold, I have a (so far) less virulent version, plus some sort of itchy rash on the inside of my right knee. It looks like a poison ivy rash, only, well, it's February. I'm pretty darn certain I haven't been exposed to any rash-inducing vegetation.

As a result, our normal routines have been chucked, in favor of snuggling on the sofa while rotting our brains with too much TV.

Last night I found myself pinned to the couch under a 25-pound ball of snot and drool. He snuggled up to my chest and snaked his arm around my neck, fisting his little hand in my hair. My hair apparently holds some magical healing and calming powers. Tom has sought out a handful of my hair in times of stress, illness or fear since he was a tiny infant. I put Samson to shame. Oh the power.

As he slept on my chest, soaking through my shirt, I listened to his ragged breathing, and a sense of calm washed over me. I wonder if he will ever know this heart-shattering love?


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Winter has made herself known here lately, even though she has been stingy with her snow, hoarding it so that only children west of the Mississippi get to build forts and make snow angels.

Instead of glistening, glittering snow, she has sent icy cold winds that bite at your skin and freeze your nose. Cold so bitter it seeps through the cracks and wrinkles in our nonagenarian home, leaving a thin film of ice on the dog's water bowl as a breakfast greeting. Cold that freezes your fingers to the metal of the doorknob and the iron stair railing when you step outside so the dog can relieve himself.

I bury myself under blankets and those little packs full of beans that you stick in the microwave for two minutes to get toasty toe warmers. I fill my belly with hot tea, hot cocoa and more hot tea, but part of me is still frozen.


The Tominator has discovered hugs. Every once in a while I'll be washing dishes or cooking or otherwise occupied in the kitchen, and I'll feel a sudden attack on my legs, a 25-pound linebacker aimed right at my knees.

"Hugs, hugs, hugs!" he says, and then he's gone, and I hear him crash into his ball pit. "Boom!" he chuckles. "Boom!"


The Tominator has also discovered the potty, without any effort on the part of myself or SuperHubby. On Monday, Tom was having a fit trying to turn the doorknob on the bathroom door. I finally figured out what he wanted and opened the door for him. He walked over the toilet, lifted the lid and tried to sit down.

Being a bit slow, I had no idea why he was doing this. "Do you need to potty?" I asked, confused.

He stared at me with a look that clearly said "DUH!" and continued to try to sit on the toilet.

So off came his diaper, and I got into the age-old holding toddler over potty pose. And sure enough, he had to go.

I was pretty sure it was just a fluke, but when he asked to go again this morning, we headed out to the store to get him his own seat for the toilet. We'll see how this goes.

Monday, February 05, 2007


After a week of feeling like I am walking backwards through molasses, no matter how hard I try to make headway, I finally have something to report: despite the dastardly plans of the mini destructo-bot that lives in my house, I can now walk unmolested through my laundry room. This is a huge achievement, which involved giving boxes and boxes of crap lovely, gently used bed and table linens to the Goodwill.

Scary basement laundry room before:

Scary basement laundry room after:

My lovely just-created ironing nook. I am hoping this will inspire me to actually, you know, iron. My father, who admits to pressing his shoelaces as a child, will be so proud.