Saturday, March 29, 2008


On Monday, my 5 year old daughter, O, will be having surgery. She'll be having a pharyngeal flap surgery.

I don't even really know what to write about this except that every time we approach a surgery, it makes me rethink the day she was born and how terribly sad I was that she was born with a birth defect that would consume her life for many years.

Although she knows that she is having surgery, she is blissfully unaware of how much pain she'll probably be in afterwards. She is also unaware that this isn't the last surgery for her.

My wish for her is that she will have a normal life. We all want that for our children. We don't want them to be singled out for any reason, and so, this is why I look at each surgery with hope and dread at the same time. This surgery will hopefully help her speech and that will be great for her. People will be better able to understand her.

This hope is what will get me through the long hours of sitting in the waiting room praying that everything is going perfectly in the operating room.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Me Want Cookie...and a glass of cold milk

I took this quiz and was startled by the results. Obviously, I love cookies--remember my post around Christmas when I had devoured a couple dozen Snickerdoodles? Somehow I thought I'd end up being more like Bert--uptight, serious, but minus the unibrow.

The results are in:

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

What are you?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

So much for good intentions

I had such high hopes for the sugar content of our Easter.

I had purchased each child a small chocolate rabbit, a very small amount of candy to be put in eggs and then gave each child a big egg with a five dollar bill in it. Yeah, me!

Then "The attack of the sugared grandparents" happened.

Now we have so much chocolate that we're going to have to freeze it; otherwise, we'll all be sick.

So much for good intentions.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Growing up, St. Patrick's Day was the day my grandma made corned beef and cabbage and forced me to eat the vile concoction. As I got older, I never thought much about it. I always made sure I wore green in high school so I didn't get pinched, but that was about it. And then, I met my husband...

I didn't realize until I met Mike's dad what an EVENT!!!! March 17th was. Mike's family is Irish and his dad always took St. Patrick's Day very seriously. It seemed bigger than Christmas, or even his own birthday. He loved a good party, or a good reason to party, and therefore, St. Patrick's Day was perfect for him.

In January of 2006, my husband's step-mom gave us a call with news that my father-in-law wasn't doing well. He was in the hospital with pretty severe intestinal issues and wasn't expected to live. We rushed to Kansas City to see him, knowing that every minute things were getting worse and that we may very well never see him alive again.

However, when we arrived, he was still alive--unconscious, but alive. His liver and kidneys were failing due to the large amount of poisons that had spilled into his blood from the intestinal problems. The prognosis was grim, he was on life support, and after a couple of days, Mike and his step-mom were forced to make the decision to take him off life support.

You see, my father-in-law loved two things in his life: alcohol and his family. Unfortunately, he couldn't see that the alcohol was alienating him from his family and he missed out on a lot of things in my husband's life because of that. The alcohol that he loved so much ended up being his demise because it has damaged his liver so much, his body couldn't help him recover from the intestinal problems.

As we stood next to his bed watching his last breaths of life, I watched my husband sob as he grieved the loss of a man that he loved and wanted so much more from. Not more materially, but more in the area of a relationship. I prayed silently that God would spare my children the grief of ever having to watch me die and that he would take Mike's dad quickly because I wasn't sure if Mike could watch this for very long. And, within 10 minutes, with everyone he loved surrounding his bed, my father-in-law passed away.

My relationship with him was cordial, but not close. Until recently, I didn't realize how angry I was with him for letting his son down. All Mike ever wanted was a close relationship with his dad and he didn't have that.

I am a terrible packrat, which Mike hates, but the other day as I was going through old cards that I'd saved, I ran across the card his dad had given him when we graduated from college. I opened it and there was his precise, all capital lettered handwriting stating how proud he was of Mike and that even though he hadn't been the best dad, Mike was the best son in the world. My heart hurt as I read it and I was so thankful that it wasn't ever thrown away. Because that proclamation is all my husband has to know how his dad felt about him.

So, here I sit on a rainy St. Patrick's Day and I think of my silly, crazy, frustrating, but incredibly kind father-in-law. I want my children to know the good about their grandpa. I won't sugar coat his addiction because I want them to know that the need to be careful since it runs in both mine and Mike's families. But, today, on what was their grandpa's favorite day, we're having a party. I've made Irish stew (no corned beef for me, thanks), we're having green kool aid mixed with 7 up and mint-chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.

I think my father-in-law would be proud.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

God likes tacos!

We ate lunch in shifts today.

L ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a glass of milk after we dropped O off at speech and had exactly 29.2 minutes at home to do something productive before we had to go back and get her.

K nibbled on half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while we were at home for 29.2 minutes then declared, "Me done."

Once we picked O back up, arrived home, and I had throughly scoured her hands with soap and warm water so she doesn't contract some horrific disease before her surgery in the 31st, I settled into making lunch ROUND 2!

O sat happily munching on her lunch of leftover tacos while K sat and chatted with her then all of the sudden she stopped talking to her sister and said to me, "Mommy, L is here, O is here and you are here and so is God." She said "so is God" like she was sharing the most amazing news with me.

"That's right," I replied, "God is here. He's everywhere anytime you need Him."

"Uh, Mommy?" she asked.


"He's sitting right here next to me and He wants a taco."

Apparently, God's really into Mexican cuisine.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hurray for Paula Deen, y'all!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the fact that our food sources aren't reliably safe anymore. I hadn't had anything terrible happen to me with food, I was just appalled by what was being talked about on the news about sick cows. What is scary is that many times it isn't necessarily meat that is the problem; it can be anything.

Take, for example, what happened at our house last night.

Mike was gone around dinner time which means that we did what we often do when he's not here and had something he doesn't really care to eat for dinner--pancakes and bacon.

I grabbed my box of pancake mix out of the cabinet and I vaguely remembered hearing that there was a recall on Aunt Jemima pancake mix. I had two of these boxes in the cabinet (must've been on sale at some point) and so just on a whim, I decided to check online to see if I had any of the tainted mix. Well, sure enough, I had not only ONE salmonella tainted box, but TWO salmonella tainted boxes of pancake mix. What is this world coming to? Salmonella in our pancakes now?

Anyway, I trashed the boxes, and listened to the boys moan because they couldn't have pancakes. Then, I remembered that I could probably GASP! MAKE THEM FROM SCRATCH.

Having never done this before, I sought out my favorite television cook, Paula Deen. Her recipe for pancakes was online and let me tell you they were DELICIOUS! So, here's a challenge for actually making pancakes from scratch. You can do this. Here's the recipe. I slightly modified to with adding more milk because I like my batter a little more runny. And, I also added the vanilla--her recipe didn't include it, everything tastes better with vanilla, don't you think?

Paula Deen's Chocolate Chip Pancakes:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs separated (this is easy to do, just crack the egg over a bowl and pass the insides from one shell to the other until the white falls into the bowl)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg yolks, and melted butter. Gradually add to the flour mix and stir until smooth.

Beat egg whites in a small bowl with an electric mixer until they are fluffy and they form peaks when you dab at them with the mixer. Fold beaten whites into the other mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Use about 1/4 c. of batter for each pancake on a very hot, buttered pan or griddle. Cook about 1-2 minutes on each side or until they look done.

Prepare to eat the most delicious, fluffy, non-salmonella infected pancakes you've ever had.

My boys each ate seven a piece! I won't tell you how many I ate. It was less than seven, but let's just say I was very full.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The past three days

In the past three days, I have registered K for preschool and registered L and O for Kindergarten.

In the past three days, I have tried not to hyperventilate when I think about J going to Junior High next year while L and O enter the land of school and K leaves me for two and a half hours twice a week.

In the past three days, I've have teared up many times and grabbed my children to hug them and smell their heads and say a little prayer that God will slow the time down.

When I was in grad school, I became friends with a girl whose mother unexpectedly got pregnant late in life--with twins, no less. Since there was a rather large age gap between the twins and the other children in the family, the twins because the center of their mother's universe. Then, the day came for them to go to school.

People asked my friend's mom if she was sad to see them go and how much she cried on the first few days of school. Her answer is what is keeping me from turning into a complete puddle of mush who needs a Prozac cocktail to go on living. She said, "I see so many people who are heartbroken because either their children have died, or their children have such severe disabilities that their lives will never be what a parent dreams will happen for their children. I'm just happy that my girls are able to go to school. They have nothing wrong with them, and they are healthy. God has blessed me and for me to sit around crying because they're "normal" is just a slap in His face."


Now pass me a Kleenex, please.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Black Kitty

As many of you know, my house is Wild Kingdom because my backyard is filled with critters galore. In addition to the horrible skunks, we’ve had possums roaming around; raccoons that used our baby pool as their own personal play land, and we also have three cats who think the bushes around our deck are the PERFECT place in which to pee.

I’ve tried snapping pictures of these three stooges, but every time I try to run and get my camera, they’ve vanished. Instead you’ll have to use your imagination.

Culprit #1:
A.K.A. “Peeping Tom”
Favorite pastime: Looking at Molly (our cat) through the deck door. He’s a voyeur and it makes Molly very uncomfortable.

Culprit #2:
A.K.A. “Pee Cat”
Favorite pastimes: Urinating in our bushes at least 10 times a day, marking his territory on every tree in our yard. HELLO Stupid Pee Cat? Can you not tell that the ‘ol Moll-ster doesn’t have her baby making parts anymore? You are meowing up the wrong tree.

Culprit #3:
A.K.A. “Black Kitty”
Favorite pastimes: Sitting on our air conditioner outside the kitchen window, sitting on our front steps, sleeping in our driveway. He thinks he lives here.

Until this point, all three of these feline fools haven’t caused much of an issue around here other than the inconvenient odor they leave when they’ve peed in the bushes. They aren’t scroungy looking strays either. They’re obviously well fed cats who don’t wear collars which means that we can’t find their owners to tell them KEEP YOUR DUMB CATS INSIDE!

The other day; however, we were returning from getting J from school and as we pulled into the driveway Black Kitty sauntered out from behind a tree. Actually, he sort of limped and then he hopped on three legs and then my kids started in with, “WE MUST HELP BLACK KITTY! HE’S HURT! LET’S TAKE HIM TO THE VET AND PAY A SMALL FORTUNE TO HAVE HIM FIXED!!”

I pulled into the garage and told them absolutely not and then they all looked like they were about to cry. So, I got out of the van, pulled on my “Motherhood Cloak of Guilt” and proceeded to walk calmly to Black Kitty. My plan once I got to him? I don’t know. It didn’t matter because then he started to hobble away. I kept walking. He continued to hobble as he was looking over his shoulder at me in fear. So, I started in with a sing-songy voice, “Don’t worry Black Kitty. I won’t hurt you!!!”

At this point he started to run. So I began walking fast down the ice covered street. My children were in the driveway cheering me on. The cat ran faster and then he took off into my neighbor’s yard. I followed as the snow crushed into my Birkenstock clog wearing feet. This chase continued until he disappeared into the bushes. I wasn’t going there.

That evening when Mike got home, I told him about the plight of Black Kitty and how we needed to help him. My husband is a true animal lover. He will literally cry if he sees anything on t.v. about animal cruelty, so I figured he would totally agree with me that we needed to help Black Kitty. Our conversation went like this:

Me: We have to help Black Kitty. I think his paw is broken or something.

Mike: He’s fine.

Me: No, he’s not. He’s limping and it’s sad and I’m worried even though I hate that he thinks he lives here and takes naps in our driveway.

Mike: He’s faking.

Me: He’s FAKING? Are you serious?

Mike: Yes, he’s playing on your sympathy. He’s a con artist.

Me: You are nuts.

The next morning, he went into work later than usual and while the kids and I were upstairs doing our morning routine of straightening up which usually consists of me griping because my oldest son and Mike have both left their underwear behind the bathroom door after their morning showers, O shouts, “BLACK KITTY IS BACK!!! MOMMY GO GET HIM!”

Mike and I rushed into her room to look out her window and sure enough, there he was hobbling down the street and I kid you not, he was hobbling from the tree at the edge of our driveway, in front of our house and would stop at the corner. Then, he turned around and hobbled back in front of our house and stopped at the tree.

Mike said, “See I told you. He’s faking. He knows we’re watching. Ignore him.”

We haven’t seen him in days.

Either he has gone home where he belongs or he’s dead somewhere.

Poor Black Kitty