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Saturday, December 22, 2007


This is the word I would use to describe my current state of mind. Wednesday, just three short days ago, was a completely different story. Life is funny. A co-worker and friend (Miss M) says this all the time (she's very wise). Wednesday was a bad day for me. I found out that we would not be settling on our new house the next day and moving that weekend (which would be today). I found out that, in fact, we wouldn't be settling until after Christmas and that we'd have to move the next weekend. This threw me for a loop because I have off work the week between Christmas and New Year's, so moving this weekend would have given me tons of time to get settled. Now, we only have 4 short days. I cried at work. I was so embarrassed for doing that, but it just sort of came out. Then I found out some other bad news that just depressed me, but that I have absolutely no control over. So that was Wednesday... So on Thursday night, I was watching Wednesday's episode of Dr. Phil. It was so ironic that this particular episode aired on Wednesday in the midst of my bad day. The show was about kids with Autism. The first couple had an older son with Autism and he was a handful to say the least. The next segment was about kids with Autism coming home from school with bruises, but becuase of their affliction, they could not tell their parents what was happening at school. I cried and cried about these poor people in these horrible situations. I wanted to help them, but knew that I couldn't.

I kept rewinding the show to watch again and again. I wasn't sure why, but I figured I just wanted to torture myself some more. But then I realized that I wasn't doing it to torture myself. Each time I watched these people, I grew more and more grateful for my own situation. Yes, I had some bad news the day before. But truly, this was nothing compared to what these people go through day in and day out. As I was crying for these people, I was also crying because I realized how big of an ass I was being. It was at this point that I went into Charlie's room and just sat there watching him sleep (I could never do this to Elizabeth because just another person's presence in the room wakes her up and it's nearly impossible to get her back to sleep after that) feeling so grateful that he is who he is. Yes, he can be rambunctious, yes he is emotional, but I am now grateful for these eccentricities instead of viewing them as flaws.

Writing this made me think of a fabulous book that my good friend Bob lent to me (which I promise I will return as soon as I have 10 minutes to finish it). The book is called The Secret and tells the secret to getting everything you want. One of the main ideas in the book is how you really cannot receive anything until you are thankful and grateful for everything. I thought that I had been thankful, however, now, I realize that I was not truly grateful for the things in my life. I know that I have a lot to be so thankful for and that I would not trade my life for anything in this world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Monday, la la la la la la

Monday again. The beginning of another week. Another week closer to Christmas. Only 14 more shopping days! That is not good for me. Considering we don't even know where we will be living come Christmas. We have no tree, no decorations...it doesn't even seem like Christmas because there is no sign of it in this house. We might end up being one of those families who puts up their Christmas tress on Christmas Eve. Heavens I hope not. That is just not good for my sanity. It's bad enough that we never end up wrapping the gifts until Christmas Eve. It never fails. I try so hard to get them wrapped before that, but Christmas Eve comes and there Doug and I are, wrapping the gifts and trying to do it quietly so the kids won't wake up. Then we're up really late and I am dragging all through Christmas day. And I'm so bummed that we still don't have a true Christmas tradition. I tried to start one last year with everyone at our house on Christmas day, but that was a bust. This year, we'll be down in York. While this is not necessarily a bad thing because then I don't have to clean up or anything, but Elizabeth is scared of the new puppy, so it's difficult to enjoy my day with having to keep the puppy away from her and keep her away from the un-gated steps and all of the knick knacks everywhere. And then we get to come home and change our clothes because we have pet hair all over and 3 out of 4 of us are having allergic reactions.

What I love about Christmas is guessing what kind of doozies we will get. Not trying to be mean here, but sometimes it's incredibly funny. One year, Doug's uncle received one of those calculators with the huge buttons (I won't name the giver of this gift, but some of you may be able to guess). As if that was not funny enough, but he got it AGAIN the next year from the same person!

I would love to hear about the doozy gifts you've received. Post a comment about your funny gifts!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

1 friend, 2 friend, old friend, new friend

Life is funny sometimes. People are even funnier. I, myself, have never had tons of friends. I actually have only ever had 1 real friend at any given time, though it's always someone different as time goes on. I've never been good in the "friend" department. My husband, on the other hand, made it clear when I met him that he had a group of friends that he would have forever and that if I didn't happen to like his friends then we would have a problem. As it turned out, I ended up LOVING his friends. What a fabulous group of guys. All with their own personalities and quirks, but all just sincerely nice guys. I still remember my first group experience. It was New Year's of 2000. Doug and I hadn't been dating too long, but he was ready to introduce me to the "group". I didn't know anyone but Doug and everyone else had been friends for years. Talk about being an outsider! And I was super shy, so I was so nervous, I literally felt like throwing up. But, you know how some people can just make you feel comfortable no matter what? Well, that's what this group of great people did. They made me feel like I had been part of the group all along. That's when I knew Doug had a great support system that I wanted to be a part of.

So, that was 8 years ago. We've all changed. We've all had children. We've all moved to different places. We've all grown up (a little)...well maybe not ALL of us, but most. The guys have all kept in touch via iChat and phone calls, but we haven't really seen each other too much. Some have a pretty good excuse...it's hard to visit PA often when you live in Florida. The rest have had OK excuses...we do all have small children and jobs and houses and blah, blah, blah. We finally ALL got together last night, kids and all. There were even some new faces (well new to me). Let me tell you...this group of people, though older and tired from much greater responsibilities, was still the same wonderful family it always had been.

This get together really made me think. Why has it taken so long for some of us to see each other? Is it really that burdensome to make time for best friends? Being a person who never had friends, I find it a difficult pill to swallow that these guys have these friends, but rarely see them and their families. If I had friends like that, I would want to be around them all of the time. I know that life has a way of flying by and screwing up even our best intentions of "keeping in touch", but isn't friendship, I mean this kind of friendship, worth making time for? We only go around this merry-go-round once....shouldn't we make it count?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How rude!

Why do people have to be so inconsiderate? I am amazed almost daily at the lack of consideration that most humans have for each other. But today really takes the cake. I do try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but with each passing day, this task grows harder and harder.

Now, if you've ever tried to sell a house, you know how stressful it can be. You have to jump when the realtor calls to say, "someone wants to see the house tonight". OK. So you clean the house 'til it sparkles. Then you make the kids sit still for an hour until it's time to leave the house. Then you have to find somewhere to go. This isn't hard if you are single or have no kids. But at 7pm, there are not many places where small children will behave for an hour. Then you get to come home and it's already past their bedtime, but they want to play, and they're very cranky because its late. So then you get to try to wrangle them into the tub and then to bed.

Well, this would all be worth it if the person who came to see your house put in an offer and bought your house. But when the people just don't show up at all, it is absolutely maddening!!! Especially when this has happened a few times in the last 3 months since the house when on the market. I mean, if you drive by and you don't like something about it enough that you don't want to even step inside, that's fine. But leave a card, a note, a dirty tissue...something...anything!

To all of the inconsiderate people out there, please try just once to think of the person on the other side and how your actions affect them. You may be on the other side someday...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who says you can't go home again?

My husband and I have moved quite a bit since we met. Our first apartment was cozy, but after only a few months there, we moved to a new apartment in a city 100 miles away. A year later, we bought our very first house for a steal. That was a nice little house. A great starter home. Then I got pregnant with Charlie and we decided it was best to move back home, closer to our families. We moved back into a brand new townhouse. But 2 years later when we got pregnant again, we realized we were growing out of the townhouse. So we moved into a ranch house, which has been nice, but not really our "home".

So we have finally found our "home", after all these years. This is our dream home. It is breathtaking and one that I am actually giddy over. We have been through it a few times (construction is still not done yet) and each time, we get more and more excited. We plan to raise our kids in this home and play with our grandkids in this home. It's funny how a house can have such an impact on such a practical person like me, but here I am, awestruck. We once called "home" the houses we grew up in. And now, we are ready to go "home" again.

Moving 6 times...hundreds of thousands of dollars
Never EVER giving up on your dreams...Priceless

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pasta with Trees

So, I just love Rachael Ray. I think she's just too cute. I was paging through her website of recipes last night, trying to come up with this week's menu, which would result in today's grocery shopping list. This is the only recipe I found on her site that sounded even remotely good to me (if you don't know me, I am pickier than any kid you'll ever meet). I made it tonight (with a few minor alterations, listed in red below) and it was so good, I couldn't stop eating it!! Yummy!!

1/2 pound pasta (penne rigate, corkscrew, cavatappi, elbows, or medium shells) (I used whole wheat pasta to bump up the nutrition)
2 pounds broccolini, ends trimmed about 1 inch from the bottom (since I have no clue what "broccolini" is, I used regular broccoli instead. VERY TASTY!!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 small onion, chopped (I stress SMALL, unless you are having a love affair with onion - I used too much and it was way too much)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half (I did not use these, gross)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (I did not use this, eeewwww)
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese (doubled up on this)

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once boiling, add some salt and cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions.

While the water for the pasta is coming up to a boil, start the broccolini: Place a large skillet with high sides with 1 to 2 inches of water over high heat and bring up to a boil. Add some salt and broccolini, using a spoon or tongs settle the broccolini into the water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, drain and reserve.

Return the skillet to the stovetop and place over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot, add onion and garlic, and season with some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes. Add the broccolini to the pan and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta and Parmigiano with a ladleful of the pasta cooking liquid, salt and pepper in a serving dish. Stir to combine.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and the pasta to the skillet with the broccolini.

Add broccolini and pasta to the serving bowl and toss with the ricotta/Parmigiano mixture. Season to taste. Top with the grape tomatoes and serve.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Kinkos Pasta...

We had such a nice, do-nothing day. I needed that. One trip to BJ's for the diapers we needed (and no I did not actually get to find out what would happen if we ran out of diapers...darn!), and the rest of the day was spent inside the house just lounging around. I normally love to be out at 5am with the rest of the crazy shoppers on Black Friday, but this year, I didn't want to deal with it. I think it's all the stress I've been under lately. I just needed a day to chill. Especially since I have a long week ahead.

Since we had lots of playtime with the kids, there was tons of laughter in the house. One thing the kids thing is just so cool is when I pick up Elizabeth's blanket and put it on my head. Then they come over and stand under it with me, like a tent. The blanket is not really big enough for all of us, so normally one or 2 of us fall out. In this game it is survival of the fittest, so Elizabeth is normally the first one out by default. She doesn't care. She just moves onto the next interesting thing, like eating a book. I think this is one reason why Charlie likes to play it. So we were playing this game today and, as usual, Elizabeth was "pushed" out of the tent. There I was with Charlie just smiling and laughing at each other. The words "Que pasa" came out of my mouth. I guess since I sound nothing like Dora the Explorer, Charlie did not understand what I was saying. So his answer was, "Kinkos pasta!" As I type this I find myself laughing again at his innocent hilarity.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you ate turkey or brisket, I hope it was tasty. And I hope it was full of thanks. Because, after all, that is what this holiday is all about. Charlie - he said he was thankful for turkey and then didn't even eat any. I, for one, have tons to be thankful for. Like family. Not the family I was born into (except you, Dad), because, well, talk about dysfunction-palooza. No, I'm talking about those people who actually act like family. Like my husband and kids. Now that's a family. Not a day goes by that doesn't include showers of "I love you's". And like friends. I have one close friend and she's as much a sister as I could have. My husband has a few very good friends. Everyone should have friends like these.

While those are all good things to be thankful for, there are some other things for which I am thankful this year. Like diapers. Could you imagine what it would be like if diapers did not exist? The reason this made my list is because we are down to our last few diapers and if we run out, I am not quite sure what we would do. I am also thankful for the nick jr. website. There is nothing else in this world that can quiet Charlie's otherwise rambunctious, hyperactive self. After a long day, that silence is music to my ears.

Time to go sleep off the turkey.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Running on Empty, But Still Running

So November has been a crazy month for me and my family. Some days it seems like there is no end in sight of the craziness we have been experiencing. Between lots of traveling, family deaths, attempting to sell the house in this crappy housing market, holidays, and family feuds, I'm suprised we are all still standing. The poor kids have been pulled in 20 different directions and Doug and I feel like we're about to fall over from exhaustion, both physically and mentally. But here we are, still going. I find myself amazed at what we can actually handle. I know a few years ago, I never would have even tried to do everything we have done this month, but my family seems to give me this strength, this drive and endurance that helps me push on. My family is certainly my life and I thank God every day for each of them.

Doug, my husband, is my rock. He's so strong. Very smart. And funny. He can take the saddest situation and make it comical, in an appropriate kind of way. I think this is what first attracted me to him. I love to laugh and he could always make me laugh. His family relies on him to be funny in bad situations too. I would think that this would create a lot of pressure for him, but he always appears to be cool. At his grandmother's funeral this week, his mom asked him to say something. Of course, he added humor, which is what the situation really needed. I actually find him so funny that it's one of my daily ambitions to make him laugh. I am one of those kind of people who is not really funny, but I try very hard. And every once in a while I come out with a gem. Although I think I'm becoming funnier by osmosis. I'm learning from the master.

And then there are my kids. My angels, well, more like clowns. Charlie and Elizabeth are funny too. And they don't even try, they are just naturally funny and don't even know it. Charlie is definitely the clown in the circus who is always unsuspectingly falling on the banana peel. The other night, for instance, I was putting this thick cream on a spot of eczema on Charlie's arm after his bath. He wanted to try, so he stuck his finger in the jar, pulled out some cream, and held it up. I could tell he was unsure of where to put this cream, so I told him just to rub it in anywhere. My assumption here was that he would put it on his hands or his stomach, or even his feet. Nope. He chose his nipple! Imagine this 4-year-old rubbing lotion on his nipples. So innocent! I was so caught off guard that I could not stop laughing, and then from laughing so hard, began to cry. He didn't quite get why I was laughing, but he was happy that he made me happy. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is the clown who plants the banana peel for someone to slip on. She knows how to get reactions from people, which for an older kid would not be amusing, but for a 16-month-old, this normally turns out to be very funny to Doug and I, but not so much Charlie because he is normally the butt of the "prank".

Laughter, it keeps me going and I am very grateful to be a part of this circus. I compare my family to a circus because a very wise (and also extremely funny) person once warned me that having a second child is like being in a circus. Now, Bob is probably one of the smartest people I know, but I didn't believe him for a second (no offense, Bob!). So, of course, I had to see for myself. It wasn't so bad until Elizabeth started walking this past summer. The day she started to walk, I heard in the distance the sound of circus music and the faint sound of Bob's laughter. That's when I knew. I knew Bob was right and we were doomed. And to this day, I hear that music when the bedroom doors open in the morning and the clowns emerge from their dressing rooms. I know a day of laughter and craziness is ahead.