Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It happened yesterday. After stewing in my stubborn juices all day I actually started to crave some beef stew. And seeing how the cool fall weather has set in I thought it would be perfect timing. Well, that and it was also sort of a peace offering too, if I'm honest. I was kind of harsh when Todd came home at lunch and tried to hug my annoyance away so the least I could do was to make one of his favorite meals. So, beef stew it was.
I went about browning the meat in my huge cast iron pot, remembering how my mom had shown me when she made it for us after I brought Ben home from the hospital. I added the water and spices, tasting as I went. I peeled and cut the potatoes and carrots. Chopped the onions and celery. And as the aroma filled the kitchen I was transported back to my childhood where the same exact scenario played out. Only it was my mother at the stove. In my mind's eye I could see the way the light slanted in the dining room windows as I watched from the kitchen doorway. I could hear Ella, Frank, Nat, and Dean singing in the background with my mother's soprano accompanying them. The smell of my own stew takes me back so easily and I am coated in a blanket of warm fuzzies feeling the safety and love of my childhood.
Now I am the woman in front of the stove. I am the mom. It is my turn to nourish, care for, love, and protect. The meals I make now will be remembered when my boys get older. They'll have favorites they will request on their birthdays just as I did. They will come home from college crossing their fingers that a plate of cookies will be waiting on the counter and my crispy chicken in the oven.
Strange how smell can bring back such strong memories. And it really isn't about the food. It is about the love in the food. And the love of family sharing that food. When I think back on all the wonderful meals my mom has made I automatically think of our large family gathered around the table, talking, laughing, and eating together. With the food comes magic moments and memories you hang onto all your life.
I hope I am creating as many warm memories for my boys as my mother did for me. I hope when they look back at our family dinners around the table they remember the laughter and the stories, and maybe forget about all the, "Tommy eat!", "Joey sit down!", "You LIKE stew!", "You LIKE carrots!" I guess I am hoping that because I have all of my mother's best recipes, and the same delicious aromas are filling my kitchen as they did hers, that my boys will naturally have fond memories too. And maybe years down the road when they smell these same dinners again they will immediately warm with thoughts of their own happy, safe, fun, and loving childhood.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I'd love to tell you how our open house went but that would mean I would have to speak to the hubby and that just isn't happening right now. He was the one who stayed home to show the house while I made the boys scarce by taking them to the lake, McDonald's, a pet store, and their auntie's house. But seeing as how we still weren't talking once I did get home with the boys I have no idea how many people actually stopped for the open house. My guess is just a few.
I actually don't mind the silence. It is kinda nice. Me being an avoidance person and all I'd rather not discuss with him how I think he was being a total asshole and I certainly don't want to hear how he thinks I was being a complete bitch. So we'll just stew in our silent juices of asshole and bitchiness.
But don't worry about us too much. I'm sure the silent standoff will inevitably end once Todd needs me to help him find his wallet, or his watch, or his ass. That, or I'll need him to kill the massive centipede I will most certainly spot hiding out in a corner, walk me to the bathroom after I get too scared watching Paranormal State, or open a stuck-on jelly jar lid. Which ever comes first.
We may be stubborn and pigheaded but we have our breaking points.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I have read a ton of fabulous posts but these are the three that stick out in my mind.
Beck with Everything I Know About Being Married
Beck is a genius. If you don't already read her you'd better start immediately.
Octamom with Monday Musing...Is Eight Enough?...
This woman is so inspiring. This was the first post of hers I've ever read and it spoke right to my heart. I am truly grateful that I read this post.
Imbeingheldhostage with The Course Of True Love...
What can I say? I love this woman. I feel a kinship with her. I just KNOW we'd be good friends in real life if we weren't separated by oceans.
This post made me all misty eyed with thoughts of innocence, youth, growing up, and true love. I just loved this post.
Now go! Read! Enjoy! Comment! :)
Friday, September 26, 2008
- I am taking a mental health day today. What does that mean? I don't know. But I'm not running (cuz my knee is still sore), I took a super long shower this morning, I'm eating whatever I feel like eating, listening to soothing music, and I'm relaxing and taking it easy. Well, as much as one can with three young children. But you get the idea.
- Last night's season premieres? Eh. So-so. Of course I've yet to watch Grey's Anatomy because I DVRd it but haven't had the chance to see it. The Office was okay. I was a smidge disappointed but maybe I built it up in my mind too much. ER was completely devastating to me. WHY???? Why did they do that???? I was so mad, and sad. I bawled for a half an hour.
- I usually don't post on the weekends but I think I am going to start a regular post on Saturdays. I have just been reading so many awesome posts during the week and I always intend to mention them and then forget. So I am going to list a few of my favorite posts from the week every Saturday that I think everyone should check out. I figured Saturday is a good time to do it because there aren't tons of people posting over the weekend. Deal?
- I have been getting a lot of emails from y'all asking me about running. How I went from hating running to loving running. How to get started. All that kind of stuff. I'm in the process of writing a post for people who would like to try running. It will be a How to Begin Running kind of a thing. Since I'm hardly a professional runner it will be on a very basic level for those just curious or who would like to try it.
- I am eating a bag of popcorn for my lunch today. Mmmmm.
- I have never seen episode 2 of Fringe, which I hear is the scariest thing ever. I think I am going to watch it on the computer right now while the boys are sleeping. Did I mention that my computer is in the dark basement? I hope I don't pee myself.
- I've also gotten emails asking how my dad is doing. I've been trying not to write too much about dad because it is like opening Pandora's box. I can't shut up about it. He has been doing absolutely fabulous. I am just so proud of the way he is handling being in the nursing home. He is still really sleepy all the time (so many meds!) but he is so pleasant. He is always so excited to see me and the boys. We visit him once or twice a week and my mom is with him every morning. He has good days and bad, of course, but he actually called me by my name the other day. I hadn't heard that from him in a long time. Very cool.
Still, it is really difficult. Difficult to leave him there by himself (though the nurses are absolutely wonderful) and go do activities he always enjoyed. Whether we are having a cookout in the backyard, going to a football game, or getting together for a birthday party we all feel so badly (guilty) that he is not with us. Pretty heartbreaking stuff when I let myself think about it.
- Speaking of football games. We are going to my old high school tonight to watch the homecoming game that my niece is cheerleading for. So bizarre! I feel like I should be the one cheering. How did I get to be old enough to have a niece on the cheerleading squad? And she isn't even my oldest niece. I have a 22 year old niece that cheered at that same high school too! Man, I'm getting old.
- Okay. I'm off to watch episode 2 of Fringe. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Okay, that is a lie. I'm sure I will whine again, but at least I'll hold off for a while before I do it again. I have been so pathetic and whiny lately that I am even annoying myself. It has got to stop! Bah!!!
I have been in such a funk for the past month and I just couldn't get myself out of it. And the funk really didn't have much to do with moving and selling a house. Yes, that is a stressful thing, but so what? If being able to move to a bigger house that suits our family better is the most stressful thing in my life right now then I should shut my big, fat, whiny mouth and thank my lucky stars! End of story. I am very excited at the prospect of moving and that is that.
Still I was in this weird funk. I know we all get these but this just seemed to hang on for a while. But I think I am out of it now. And I'm ready to stop whining. You're welcome.
So, just to prove I am over my whining, my Thursday Thirteen will be 13 things I am grateful for and that make me happy.
1- After being gone from running for the past month (I pulled my ACL-painful) I started running again this week. AND WOW! What running does for my outlook and my attitude! They should bottle this stuff! Oh wait, they probably do. Anyway, since I've started running again I am so much more patient and kind and calm. The feeling I get after running is the best drug ever. I highly recommend it. And this from someone who used to say that running was my own personal hell.2- My new favorite show = Fringe. Please tell me you've seen it. I LOVE this show. I am so excited about it. And no, not just because my boyfriend is in it (joshua jackson). It is just such a thrill ride. And it is witty and captivating and well written. Loves it!
3- I've lost weight! Only 4 more pounds and I will be back to my goal weight. Which means I will probably get pregnant again soon. HA! It always seems to happen right when I hit my goal weight. Go figure! (pun intended)
4- Fall is here! I love fall. It makes me so happy. I have beautiful rustic-colored mums all over my yard and the maple tree out front is starting to turn color. The air is getting crisp and the nights are cool. The wind is picking up and the waves at the lake are getting bigger. It is almost time to head off to the pumpkin farm and pick up some pumpkins to put on display (like you all said, a few fall decorations won't hurt) and some apples to smash into applesauce. Oh fall, I love you.
5- The fall lineup has started on TV! Woohoo!! In fact there are so many good shows I don't want to miss that my DVR is going to have a nervous breakdown. Between The Office (YA-Hoo!!!!), 30 Rock, and Grey's Anatomy all starting tonight I really don't know what to do with myself. I won't even get into all the other shows I watch during the week. Like, Fringe (have I mentioned how much I love this show?), Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, ER (final season!!!!), Ghost Hunters, The Biggest Loser, The Hills (I know. Shut up.), Jon & Kate Plus 8, and oh my crap I could go on and on. But I won't even get into it!
6- The 1st showing of our house went really well last night. It was a young couple that wanted to see the house but unfortunately only the woman could make it. However, she LOVED the house and is bringing her hubby back to see it on Sunday for our open house. It sounds promising but we'll just have to wait and see.
7- Because I worked SO HARD yesterday (and reinjured my knee, thank you very much) and cleaned the house from top to bottom (this house looks seriously amazing) I have very little to do before the open house on Sunday.
8- I put up a few fall decorations yesterday and set out some spiced apple candles and now my house smells and looks all homey and cozy.
9- When Tommy goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays Ben and I get some real quality time together. I love it, and so does he. I thought he would really miss his brothers but he just loves having me all to himself.
10- My family has hardly even complained about what a bag I've been lately. I'm lucky they put up with me. Especially the hubby. He has been super patient and understanding with me during my major freak outs in the past few weeks. It is much appreciated.
11- Coffee. MmmmMmmm, coffee. I don't know how I would do mornings without coffee. And the funny thing is that I never even drank coffee before I married Todd. But he introduced me to FLAVORED coffees, and I was hooked. I must have been an extremely cranky morning person before Todd. I can't even remember.
The flavor of the week this week is pumpkin spice. Ohhhh yeah. And of course it always tastes even better in a funky mug. Of which I have far too many (according to Todd).
12- I'm thankful for all the millions of home improvement shows I've watched on HGTV in my life. It really helped us to stage our home and get it ready for the open house. I liked my house before but it looks even better now. The house shows really well.
13- I've been feeling super snuggly lately and I'm so grateful that all my boys are still willing to cuddle with me. Makes me so happy.
There see? A whole post with no whining! Well, almost. But close enough, right?
Find a happy place. Find a happy place. Find a happy place!
See photo below for said happy place.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Today is the first day of fall, and I barely noticed. I am antsy and distracted. I am busy cleaning and sorting. Checking real estate websites, setting up open houses, and stalking my home's web page for hits. The fall decorations were put in storage this past weekend along with all the other unnecessary personal items that everyone warns you about having in your home for an open house. My house is uncharacteristically bare of pumpkins, fall leaves, and scarecrows for this time of year. In short, it doesn't feel like fall.
But we are making progress. The inspection problem is being taken care of and things are moving forward. And maybe, just maybe, if we can accept an offer on this house sometime soon I will still be able to dig those decorations out of storage and set them up in my house one last time before we move. Perhaps then it would feel like fall. And maybe the changing leaves would be a kind of sign. Or a reminder. A reminder that change, even big, scary change can be beautiful and comforting.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
And once in a while I have to give the boys a little attention too. Ya know, just a little head nod here and there. Maybe toss some Cheerios on the floor for them so they don't starve.
Oh, and there may be a problem at the new house that was found during the inspection. It could quite possibly cause us to call off the whole deal. So that's great. I didn't really need sleep anyway. I'd much rather stay awake all night thinking about inspection problems.
And I don't really need food either. Who has time for that? I'll just drink my dinner. Great way to loose weight!
So excuse me if I'm not around much in the next "Oh God how long is this gonna take?" while. I'm busy becoming an alcoholic.
Moving is fun.
And yes, I WOULD like some whine with my cheese. And yes, I CAN hear the world's tiniest violin playing my sob story.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
Yesterday afternoon our final offer was accepted on the new house. We got the call at home and when Todd hung up we both just looked at each other. It finally felt real. I immediately got a sick, queasy, sinking feeling. We were really going to leave our house. Todd began to look around at our house and said, "I remember the first day..." and I said, "Stop it!" I just couldn't go there because I knew I'd start bawling. We both looked at each other again, this time with tears in our eyes. Yes, this is the right step for our family but it is hard to let go of our first home too.
"LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I continued on my way and arrived at the bank a few minutes later. As soon as I walked up to the back door of the bank I disarmed the alarm and began prepping the tellers, setting up the windows, and opening my office as usual. I went to the back room and turned on the oldies radio station for some calm mood music for the customers. I opened the vault and went back in to my office, turned on my computer, and then went out to the windows and threw my cash drawer in just in case we got busy. Just as I was locking my drawer the radio announcer told us that another plane had crashed into the other tower. I stood frozen to my spot. The hair on my arms stood up in full alert knowing now what I had not even thought about before. This was no accident.
The tellers, my manager, and I all rushed to the break room to turn on the television. What we saw was beyond. Beyond what I had imagined. Beyond what I ever could imagine. We stood there staring at the TV, speechless.
The rest of the day was much of the same. Though we tried to continue on with our work the only words we spoke were about the terrible, frightening events of the day. As more news came to us about another plane hitting the Pentagon, and then the collapse of the towers, it started to feel like the end of the world. I almost expected to look outside and see alien spacecrafts raining down from the sky. It was absolutely unreal.
Time seemed to stand still. Only a few clients ventured into the bank making the day even more surreal. Each one looked pale and dazed. Some had stories of loved ones they were trying to reach in D.C. or New York. Some just had no words at all. Emails were sent around to verify the whereabouts of those we knew were in the danger zone. My best friend emailed me to tell me she couldn't get in touch with her brother who was a police officer in Arlington. The president of the bank sent a mass email letting us know that the group of our coworkers who had been in New York for meetings were safe.
That evening when I climbed the steps to our tiny apartment and saw Todd sitting in the living room a wave of relief washed over me. I knew he was only 20 minutes away from me all day, and that he was obviously safe, but I still had such a nervous feeling. I felt as though the rug could get pulled out from underneath me at any moment. That on a day like that day anything could happen.
We sat glued to the TV all night and cried. We cried for the people experiencing this tragedy first hand. We cried for the people searching for their loved ones. We cried for our nation. We cried out of fear. We cried out of anger. And we cried for the people who live in countries where events like these are not unusual. It was hard to stop crying.
I will not forget what happened on September 11, 2001. I will not forget how many lost their lives. I will not forget the heroes that emerged from that tragedy. I will not forget how we held each other up as a nation. I will not forget how dangerous this world can really be. I will not forget how strong the human spirit is. And I will not forget those who continue to fight for our safety and our freedom.
Today and every day I will remember.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I guess I hadn't thought about the sellers keeping their house on the market until we actually sell our house. Basically that means that even if they accept our offer they can accept another offer if we haven't sold our house yet. Yipes! That is a scary thought. Could you imagine if we just sold our house and then they just accepted another offer? We'd be homeless! Fa-reaky! It seems that everything has to fall into place just right to make this work out. We'll see.
I suspect we will have this whole thing settled one way or the other by the end of the week. We'll either be staying put in our lovely but small house, or we'll be moving on up to the big and beautiful house in the "country". And then the real work would begin.
Whatever happens we'll be fine. Que Sara, Sara! Right? Still, I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
This day the boys were all being very well behaved. It was a pleasant surprise because I knew they were tired from getting to bed later than usual the night before. The people in the pews surrounding us nodded and smiled in approval of the boys' good behavior. I nodded my head and beamed back at them as my head swelled. Then, halfway through the mass Tommy began whining that he had to go potty.
"No you don't. You went potty right before we came to church." I reminded him.
"I have to go poop, ma!" Tommy whispered back.
"No you don't." I tested him.
"Yes I do!" Tommy insisted.
Seeing that he wasn't giving up as he usually does when he is faking a potty break I asked Todd to take him to the restroom. A few minutes later Todd and Tommy returned from the bathroom and during one of the most solemn parts of the mass Tommy announced in his NONchurch voice, "Mom! I had a honking huge trucker turd! You should have seen it!"
I blushed a few shades of red, patted Tommy's back as I told him to hush, and listened to the ripple of laughter that spread through the surrounding pews. Head swelling remedied.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The house we looked at has most of the things we want in a home. Still, the thought of leaving this house is hard. And I know I can't make this decision on emotions alone. Clearly our house is not everything that we need. It is small. Only 1500 square feet. It has a one car garage that I can't even fit the minivan in. It has a smallish yard, and only 2 and a half bedrooms (very, very small 3rd bedroom) with little closet space. Still, we made it our own. We updated the baths, the kitchen, and just about every other room too. We painted it the way we like it and it feels like home.
This other house, well, it's great. It has a massive yard, three car garage, FIVE bedrooms, a fireplace (which we've ALWAYS wanted), three full baths, a second floor laundry room, an obscene amount of closet space and storage, and a master suite with two big closets. The kitchen is just okay compared to ours. The family room is a bit small. And the basement is not finished which would have to be done.
My house right now is just a few short blocks to my beloved Lake Michigan. We take walks around the neighborhood, through the cemetery (don't be creeped out, it is really beautiful and peaceful and I have many relatives including my sis buried there, and grew up walking through it), and of course past the lake. My mom lives 4 blocks away. We have great neighbors. When the boys get older (if we could stay in the house that long) they could walk or bike to school it is so close. We are only 12 years away from paying off this house and the mortgage payment is far less than a new house would be. Obviously.
The new house is not even in the city. It is in the town. It is only about 8 minutes from where we live now but somehow it seems farther. Still, Iknow it would be a nice compromise to Todd wanting to live in the country and me wanting to live in the city. There is a nice bike trail half of a block from the house that leads to a lovely park so at least we would have a nice walking/biking path and a park to play at. And there are lovely cornfields (no more Children of the Corn movies for me!) surrounding the subdivision. It is quiet and serene. But my lake. Ugh. I know I would drive by the lake every time I dropped the boys off at school, and we could play there and swim there anytime, but the walks to the lake after dinner would be no more. *sniff, sniff*
What a complete spazz I am being. I do realize that, you know. I bet all the military families reading this right now are thinking, "Shut your freaking hole, you spoiled brat!" And they'd be right! It is not like I'd be moving to another country for heavens sake! Get a grip, right?
But, my house. Oh my house. The first year here it was just hubby and I. We started out with nothing here. We made this house our own. We learned how to be parents here. I brought my babies home from the hospital to this house. I rocked them to sleep upstairs. I lay on the floor in the sunroom with them and snuggled. I breastfed them in the living room. Their first baths were in the clawfoot tub upstairs. They took their first steps in our living room. They had their first solid foods in our kitchen. They had their first popsicles on our front porch. We've had 6 Christmases here. Blah, blah, blah....
Maybe I should think about this when I don't have PMS.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I was so proud of my boys today. Tommy acted like such a little grown up on his very first day of school ever. While all of the moms were busy putting their child's things in their cubbies Tommy went and did it all on his own. Every time I would try to help he insisted that he could do it. After he was done settling in he got busy playing and introducing himself to his classmates. He would walk right up to them and say, "Hi! I'm Tommy!" Such a dear.
Joey fell right back into the swing of things. He waved goodbye to me without so much of a look back. My big ole kindergartner. Always the big brother he kept promising Tommy that he would come and visit him (they are right across the hall from each other) if he had some spare time. They are such pals.
I guess I shouldn't feel too badly then that when Joey came running out of school towards us with his arms wide open he ran right past me to Tommy. He hugged him and patted him on the back and told him that he missed him. He then went to Ben, picked him up and swung him around. Ahh. Brotherly love. It was so sweet I almost didn't care that he completely forgot to say "hi" to me as he rushed off to the playground.
It all went very well in the end, and I can't complain. The boys did great for their first day school (and the hottest day of the year!) after having finished out the summer on a complete high. Ben had recovered from his nasty virus in less than 24 hours and was in full on party mode for the rest of the weekend. We toured the county fair, rode the rides, and ate the greasy food. The next day we spent all day on the boat and in the sun. The boys were overjoyed. Yesterday we spent our time playing at the park and getting our school supplies ready. We have been busy and the boys sleep schedule was way off from the norm, but they handled it really well.
We also took a look at a house that we have admired for a while. It has been for sale for a couple of months and we finally bit the bullet and scheduled a viewing. It is a great house. It has just about everything we want in a house. Now we are trying to decide if we put an offer in on the house and what we can afford. My mind has been in overload thinking of all the things that go into the possibility of moving. And the emotion of it too. I am trying to keep my mind off of it for the time being but it has been hard.
After this past weekend I feel like I am running on fumes. I'm already looking forward to this coming weekend so that I can maybe, just maybe, swing back into "summer time" again.
Words To Live By
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson