Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seize the Day!!

This weekend, some wonderful people visited my brother's home. They were so kind to clean his place out for him. I, personally, have never had anyone clean my home like this. The people - who shall remain nameless, for now, went through every cupboard, every drawer (including his underwear drawer), every closet. You can't pay for cleaners like this, at least I don't think you can. Maybe you can.

The band of merry bandits must be some sort of electronics cleaning specialists, as they removed all of his electronics, computers, and game systems. Or maybe they are wine connoisseurs, as they removed his wine collection. But you know, their car must have broken down, because they took one of his cars that was in the garage. It's worth more than my first home, you know.  Apparently, there are less than 20 of those vehicles in all of Canada.

The moral of this story is to seize the day. The day. Not people's things they worked hard for. I should have seized the day and gotten a couple of bottles of my brother's fine wine the last time I was over there. I should have seized the day and driven that beautiful, specimen of fine and rare German engineering that was his vehicle.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything Is So Hard

I'm starting to get weary. Everything is just so much harder when you move to a new city. Especially a big new city. And it gets magnified when you have kids in tow.

When I moved to Tulsa, it was hard. But I had my mother-in-law (MIL) to guide me. I didn't have to think about where to shop for groceries. We lived with my in-laws so I just went along with my MIL. There was a mall, so that was where I shopped. It's a small city, so parking was ample - and free! When I needed a doctor or dentist, I just went to who my MIL went to. We were on the same insurance. 

When it came time to get a job, I didn't have to worry about who was going to watch my kids while I went for an interview. Or what jobs could I get to work around my husband's schedule. And what about when he has to work on his days off - who will watch the kids then?

Thanks to my in-laws, I never had to worry about childcare. Period. If the MIL couldn't do it, there was the FIL or one of my 2 sisters-in-law, or the kids' godparents, or their birth grandparents. Or a friend. Or a friend's daughter. I don't have these options here. And childcare is outrageously expensive (not as bad as New York, though).

Example One:
We all need fall and winter clothing. I didn't have the first clue as to where to shop for this stuff at reasonable rates that would give us truly warm clothing - not just fashionable freeze your butt off clothing. I've dragged the kids to at least 10 stores and we still don't have half of what we need. On top of that, J didn't like what I got the kids, so I have/had to return it and search more.

Example Two:
For groceries, I go to 3 different stores. One for fruits and vegetables, another for dry goods and milk, and a third for bulk items. They are all a 20-30 minute drive from our home, so it sucks that I forgot to get several items from 2 of the stores this weekend.

Example Three:
We knew I was going to need a part-time job in the fall. Fall is here. It's a good thing I didn't have a job with weekend ours in September, because between J being sick, recovering, making up for being sick, and a conference at church, either I would have been fired for not being able to work, or I might have been paying a babysitter what I would have been earning after taxes and travel.

I LOVE living in Chicago. I don't regret our move one bit. On my bad days, I am happier than when we lived in Tulsa. Right now, I'm feeling so overwhelmed with finding a part-time job, caring for the kids, homeschooling, and everything else.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pirate & Princess Party

The kiddos were invited to a 3rd birthday party with a
Pirate and Princess Theme
Decorating Treasure Boxes
Grabbing Treasure from the Treasure Box!
Blowing out the candles on the Princess cake
Mommy J did a great job!!
Our Little Pirate
Our Little Princess
The Gang's All There!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

That Time of Year Again

Last year, my doctor asked if I was ready to have a baseline mammogram done. He remembered how opposed I was the previous year. I knew I couldn't hold off any longer - 
I'm getting THAT old. 

I had heard how painful mammograms are. There is that e-mail floating around that says you can practice for a mammogram by letting the garage door slam on your girls. Yikes! But my experience was great and positive. 
No pain whatsoever.
That is, until 2 pm the afternoon before we left for vacation. My doctor's nurse told me they needed to have the mammogram redone. For the next 10 days, when I wasn't telling myself to not think about it, I was telling myself 
it was nothing. 

I thought I was having both breasts redone. Nope. Only one. Crap. That was bad. That means they found something. This time, it was a different lab and a different machine. It hurt like everyone had said. But all I had to do was get through the test, get dressed, and leave.

No. I had to wait to see if they needed to do an ultrasound as well. I was in the changing room. Alone. Oh, how I wished I had J with me. Or my mother-in-law. I should not have gone alone. It was all I could do to 
hold it together.

I had to have an ultrasound. After the ultrasound, I had to wait on the table, in this dark room, alone, while the radiologist decided if he needed to come in and do the ultrasound himself. I couldn't hold it in any longer. Tears streamed down my cheek, slipping into my ear. 
To calm myself, I started singing the Star Spangled Banner. When I am nervous or scared, I sing the American national anthem. It is something I have done for about 15 years. 
It calms me. I'm Canadian.

I thought I had cancer. I tried not to 'go there' but I really felt like with every test, I was getting closer and closer to being told I had to have a biopsy to determine if I had cancer. I tried not to think about my 4 yr old and 
my 1 yr old or my husband.
By the time the radiologist came in, I was beyond modesty. So many people had slammed and squeezed and pressed my breast that afternoon, I didn't care if this man was going to see me. I just wanted to know if I had a 
really long road ahead of me.

After about 10 minutes of poking and prodding, the radiologist determined it was a cyst. He told me right there it was a cyst and I didn't have to come back 
for another year. Whew!

It's that time of year again. I'm scared again. I don't want to go back. I want to live with my head in the sand. I don't want the test. This time, IF I go, I am going to have J come with me. I can't do any of it alone again. 

Rocking My World

sometimes, words speak louder than actions

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ikea Shout Out

Vi hade en Ikea dem middag.
We had an Ikea themed dinner.

Ikea Servett
Ikea Napkins
Unge Tallrikarna och Kopp
Kids Plates and Cups

Meatballs Ikea
Ikea Meatballs
Ikea Talrik och Glass
Ikea Plate and Glass

Ikea Meatballs och Grav
Ikea Meatballs and Gravy
J sa den sås smaksinne bättre när JAG gjord den.
J said the sauce tasted better when I made it.

Hmmm. Riktningen sa till använda halva och halva utom JAG använd 2%
Hmmm...Directions said to use half and half but I used 2%

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Family Fun Night - Goodbye to Summer!

The weather has been PERFECT!!
Perfect to hit our favorite places of the summer

Started at the car wash
Trip to the beach
Baby Girl got some sand boobies
And was buried up to her armpits in sand
Took a bus to Navy Pier
Snapping self-portraits
Mommy's view...
Our turn!
The jumping fountains in the greenhouse
View from the ferris wheel
LOVING the ferris wheel
5 people were taking pictures of this on the boardwalk
So I did too!
iChatting with Grandma & Grandpa at the Apple Store
Waiting for the bus to go home
Bye bye, Summer in Chicago! 
We've love every minute of our great city!!

Now, please visit the Queen of Family Nights

Damn It!!

Mini Me has found a new phrase!
As in:
Daddy: "Mini Me, no standing in the bathtub." 
Mini Me: "Damn it!"

Or as in:
Mommy: "Mini Me, bedtime."
Mini Me: "Awwwwwwww, DAMN IT!!" 

The girl knows how to use it and says it with the most guttural voice.

The first time she said it, I didn't believe I heard what I thought I heard. She repeated it several times that day and each time I wondered if I really heard what I thought I heard. 

Finally, I asked Motor Mouth to translate. 
Me: "Motor Mout, did she say DanG it, or DaRN it?" 
Motor Mouth: "No, Mommy. She said 'Damn it'." 
Me: "Where did she hear that, Motor Mouth?" 
Motor Mouth: "From a movie." 
Me: "What movie, Motor Mouth?"  
Motor Mouth: "I don't know."

NO J and I do NOT use this phrase. We honestly have NO IDEA where she heard it. I know I say 'dang it', like any good hick, but the other is not a phrase I use.

The thing is, ever since Mini Me began cussing last week, we've wanted to use that word as well. For example:
J: "Damn it, Widney Woman, you left hair all over the shower wall again!"

It's a great, universal kind of word that gets your feelings across clearly and succinctly. See, I do have a great command of the English language so use of such words would be a choice. 

Well, gotta take Mini Me to a playdate where I am going to have to warn the other mother of Mini Me's new phrase and PRAY my child stops saying it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday - Banana Nut Muffins

This fabulous recipe hails from www.elise.com.
Makes 12 muffins.

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup flour 
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)

No need for a mixer with this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
With a wooden spoon, mix butter into mashed bananas 
in a large mixing bowl

Mix the sugar, egg, espresso and vanilla.
Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.
Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated. Fold in walnuts.

Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center
of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it's done. Cool on rack.

I did NOT put in coffee or espresso.
I used a rolling pin to grind the walnuts finer.
I only filled muffin cups 1/2 way, which gave 18 muffins.

J was sad when the muffins were all gone. 
The kids loved it. Motor Mouth ate 4 muffins!!

What's Cooking Wednesday was born out of The Fairy Blogmother's desire to get out of the what's for dinner rut? Playing is easy, on Wednesday post a recipe that has been tried and tested by you and then pop over to link back here, the Home of What's Cooking Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Shack

I just finished reading 'The Shack' by William P. Young. Currently, The Shack is "THE" book to read among Christian circles. People seem to either love it or hate it. I'm going to tell you the basic premise of the book. Nothing I say will give away the ending. 
The Shack is a NOVEL. It is a story, written by a father for his kids, that got published. It is NOT a textbook. 

The Shack is a novel about a man, Mack, whose daughter is murdered. Her body is found in a shack. A few years after the murder, the family is still in midst of thick grief. Mack gets an invitation from God to return to the shack. Once there, Mack has an encounter with the Godhead - God the father, son, and holy spirit.  

Fine enough premise. Some people have had near death or out of body experiences in which they encountered the trinity or one of the three. Where this book takes you is not like any of the other stories. You have to remove your theological glasses and remove your personal lenses that tint the way you see and relate to God. If you don't, I think you will hate the book.
I believe the book is trying to make you think about God in terms of a relational being and not a stern task master that decrees and controls us little puppets down here. The book tries to get us to put aside the religiousness of our lives and live in the freedom God wants us to live in. It's not about the rules or the hierarchy. It's about having unique, two-way relationships with each member of the Godhead. 

Yeah, there were times in the book where I thought it was hokey. But you just have to put all of that aside and go with it. That's what the book is about. Putting aside what we humans think is right and wrong, black and white, and just going with it. Most of how we relate to God is based on an Earth to Heaven viewpoint. This book gives us the view from the top down. And it is a much easier view on the eyes.

Did I like the book? I'm not sure it is a question of liking. Did the book challenge me? Absolutely. Will I approach God and my life differently. I sure hope so.

The Truth Comes Out!

I have had a really challenging couple of weeks with MotorMouth. He has been....difficult.  If I say we are going to have mac & cheese for lunch, he throws a fit for hot dogs. The next day, I'll make hot dogs, because he wanted them the day before. Only this time, he says he wants mac & cheese. Arrrgh!

Saturday started off as MotorMouth day when, at 9 am, I made dinosaur pancakes for the boy and flower pancakes for the girl. MotorMouth's favorite things day continued to 4 pm. I lost it when he threw a fit because we had to go wait for Daddy to finish work. He said he wanted to do something 'fun'. I said he was an ungrateful child.
MiniMe was cry pot all day. She would just cry for no reason. I took to asking her if I had spanked her or if MotorMouth had hit her. When she'd say "No", I'd tell her to stop crying unless she had been hit. After 9x, I lost count on the total number of times I said that all day. Is that a girl thing? Crying for no reason? I'm about ready to put her on testosterone.

On Sunday, after church, I laid them down for a nap and I napped as well. I was tired, but I wanted to kill some time without having to engage.  When I awoke, I started thinking about what Orlando Juarez, our friend and former music minister said to us the day we found out MotorMouth was ours. "Don't pass up a blessing because it does not meet your criteria."  
MotorMouth is a blessing in my life. So is MiniMe. And I need to remember that, even when he is being a putz and she is a raging estrogen. They are blessings, even when they are not conforming to the perfect angels I want them to be.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Adventures of the 3 M's - A FUN Day!

The day started for Mommy & MiniMe 
by taking MotorMouth to karate
Afterwards, we walked and drank Coke
We stopped to check out some city wonders
Hiked up tall stairs
Showed off our high ledge walking skills
Checked for fishes on the sewer grate
Went to the BIG playground
Ate lunch at one of MotorMouth's fav pizza places
Took a CTA bus - MotorMouth LOVES CTA buses
Took the scenic route to Daddy's office
MotorMouth loves bridges and got to see kayakers
There are doors and hallways and stuff down there!!
Spontaneous Twirling
Making their way up some stairs
Taking a walk on the wild side
Spider watching
Such love
We were taking so long, Daddy came and met us
Playing in one of the nursery rooms
At the Christian bookstore
Bought a Bible for MotorMouth and for Daddy
Then MotorMouth asked Mommy what we were going to do for FUN!!
Mommy lost it and called him an ungrateful child.
That was the end of the fun day.