Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09

Looking back at a decade, it's been quite a ride.

I remember distinctly the night before this decade began.

I was 22 years old. Thin. Single. And out to party. PARTY! I also had a horrible cold and didn't consider how my tylenol cold tablet would mesh with champagne. I should have. It was a fun night overall, but let's just say I'm glad someone else drove us home.

Then that February, I met J. Graduated in May. Married J the next June. Of 2001.
2002 - Settled into and fixed up our first house. Got a dog.
2003 - Had a baby. Named her B.
2004 - Started grad school. Decided to become a teacher.
2005 - Got a job in Omaha on a provisional teaching certificate. Moved to O-Town. Found out I was   pregnant with #2, not planned but totally wonderful news.
2006 - Had the little man in April. Started my second teaching job at a different school. Graduated with my Masters in Special Education.
2007 - A horrible, horrible year that I may never speak of again.
2008 - My B started kindergarten! We all had a much better year.
2009 - Finally feel like a grown up. Or more like a grown up.

Still haven't figured out how to lose these last 25 lbs.
Still haven't figured out how to be everything to everyone.
Despite my best efforts.

What I have learned?
*How to pray.
*How to love.
*How to breathe, really breathe.
*How to stay calm, even when I don't feel calm.

Two thousand ten holds much promise, of that I am sure.

Happy New Year!

*This is my favorite time of year to read blogs. Can't wait to read everyone's reflections and resolutions. I may post mine tomorrow.*


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Merry

Our second big snowstorm of the year came just in time for Christmas Day. We were fortunate to be done with extended family celebrations by lunch time on Christmas Eve, so didn't have to stress over ruined plans. We've been snowed in for three days and that's just fine.

B enjoyed her new wizard book and decoder glasses. Note the ginormous drift in the window behind her.
Finally yesterday we were able to go outside and play. As long as he crawled on them, the drifts didn't swallow up our little guy. It felt great to get out!
Pretending to shovel! The piles are taller than her.

Come evening, it was a pile of homemade noodles to make some chicken soup.

Top it off with a glass of wine for me and it was a fine day.  Cabin fever or no, I'm so grateful for my family. For the time we've spent together. For an excuse to slow down a little. To relax. We are all rested up, just in time for new year. I love Christmas break.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Else Do You Do With a Snow Day?

First of all, you don't get dressed on snow days. Jammies only at our house!

We finally got out some window paints that B got for her birthday in July! Thanks Aunt Jami.

I painted the circles while the kids had a rest in the afternoon. I had them come down when the paints were dry and decorate them.

Later the kids got to go outside for about 10 minutes and were excited to stand behind their snowmen.
It was a fun little project for our third day spent snowed in!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009


He has said "Peace out suckers!" at least a thousand times. Only you don't say the /r/ sound and you must hold up two fingers. It is funny every time. And highly inappropriate.

Then he says, "Is 'what the heck' a bad word?". I say yes, because I guess it mostly is. And he says, "Eli said 'what the heck' a hundred times at school". Which is also funny, especially since we haven't been to school since Monday. What made him think of such a random thing now?

He wants to HOLD the gum. Being in charge of the gum makes him very, very happy. I find myself giving into him at least once an hour because I don't like doing things that make him sad. He is my baby after all, and won't be this little for much longer. I'm sure to have a very entitled-minded little man on my hands if I don't get that under control! But he's my BABY!

She does the best walk like an egyptian dance, only she doesn't know that's what she's doing. She's currently singing Frosty the Underwear. And he's laughing so hard he's falling over.

So I'm just amused.
I cannot imagine my life or this house or anything else without them.

Now they need some help with their snow pants. So I'm off.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What do you do with a snow day?

We (and by we, I mean they...I took pictures from inside!) were bundled up for our five minutes in the snow before 8 a.m.

Then it was time for geotrax in the hall. Why play with it in the bedroom when you can take over the entire upstairs hallway? I believe his goal was to make the BIGGEST TRAIN TRACK EVER! And the LONGEST TRAIN EVER! B and I helped him and it is pretty darn big. If we had more track we could keep going and going.

Then it's on to the nativity set. Sets. Of course we've added a few animals. Marty the zebra. And a Transformer. I think that's also a Littlest Pet Shop kitten there in the back. It's all good, our nativity sets are very inclusive.

What I'm most grateful for is a day at home. A little extra time to clean up from recent busyness. Time to spend with the kids. Time to listen to Christmas music and do laundry and maybe later, watch a Christmas movie. Looks like we'll probably spend tomorrow at home too because of all of the snow and cold, so I'm also very grateful for our warm home.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Dropped the Sugar Canister

Sugar in the grout. Sugar in the silverware drawer. Sugar in the little crevice between the stove and the cupboards.
It was certainly a new way to kick off Christmas baking. I may have said a tiny swear word, but I believe it was warranted.
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Across the Aisle

Seems like I've been writing a lot about my little man lately.
He's just in such a fun phase right now, at the ripe old age of three and a half.

For both of my kids, three has been a tough age at first.
The bigger body + bigger tantrums = bigger back and headaches for mama.

Then there is this magical shift, half way through that year, when the child realizes life is not a fight and that cute gets you what you want. So now he's all about smiling his coy smile and trying to win us over with his brilliant logic. For Example: Yes! Yes we do eat candy for breakfast! And no, no I didn't eat another candy cane off the tree (says a minty-breathed little man).

He's making comparisons and drawing conclusions. Lately I've discovered that he can even recognize numbers up to 10 (his preschool teacher deserves a medal) and some letters too. It's not that I'm bragging, it's just that I'm suddenly amazed at the leaps he's taking. I've been trying really hard to tune in and savor this moment in time.

This morning I bought him some jammies while I was out because when he got out of bed earlier I laughed at how short the pants and shirt on his current ones are on his growing arms and legs. They are a size 3T and he is three. Why are they so small?!

So I had to go across the aisle at the store. Into the bigger boys' clothes.
No more toddler section for my kids.

My heart aches a little, gazing across at the teeny tiny clothes. I take a deep breath and realize we are entering a new phase of life. He's already got on his new jammies. The ones with "Lego bad guys" as he calls them. The size 4 fitting perfectly.

No more toddler sized clothes for him. And he's not even a little sad about it.
I won't let on that maybe I am. Just a little.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

The best conversations are those just before they fall asleep. In the dark, we whisper sweet nothings. Things every child should hear. I'll always love you. I'm so glad you're my child. I'm so happy to be your mama.

Tonight I said - Hey Buddy, I've got a secret for you. When I pray, I thank God for sending you to me.

I could feel his smile, even if I couldn't see it.

So he leans in and says - Hey mama, I've got a secret for you. No, in your ear.

Is there anything better than the sound of a three-year old whispering?

Ok...mama...I'm gonna get you a present. It's gonna be a toy. A vacuum. And it's gonna go VROOM! And it's gonna be red...or purple. And I'm gonna get you another present and it's gonna by a real toy car! VROOM!!!

If he only knew what a gift he is to me.
Oh, My heart.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Catherine Newman happens to be the first blogger I ever followed, in the days that she was writing for Baby Center and I was awaiting the birth of my first baby. It's even the reason I started a blog of my own.

Since then, she's moved on to writing about cooking and is quite good. So good, in fact, that I can no longer say that I've never liked tofu. I've always wanted to like tofu and really had never enjoyed the stuff.

Then came Catherine's recipe for Soy Glazed Tofu. I've made it twice now, so can confidently say that it is delicious.

While you're at Dalai Mama Dishes, go ahead and also give her Soy Braised Chicken a try. I also HIGHLY recommend the Warm Smoky Potato salad. That stuff is so delicious that you may find yourself eating embarrassing amounts of it before it even makes it to the table.

I plan to try some of her other recipes. I like that they are different from the things I normally make and it takes me out of my culinary comfort zone. I have yet to be disappointed.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sticking to Tradition

I like to make pies. But just mostly do so once a year in November. Sometimes maybe a strawberry pie in the summer, but mostly just Thanksgiving.

I realize tonight I should really practice more than once a year. My crust tonight is less than perfect. Which makes me grumpy. I'm using them anyway because I don't have the heart (or time...or energy...) to make them again. So my pumpkin pie crusts are TOO crumbly, but hopefully the wonderful filling will make up for the crust dust.

Making the same pies as last year.

And this one here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Can't Say I'm Not Disappointed

I'm still very excited about the upcoming launch of the website

I think it's such a great idea. A way for moms to connect in a local site, I think it's going to be so much fun!

But I'm not going to be writing for them.

I had written a rough draft for what would have been my first post, possibly going up in February. I saw the editor's finishing touches and thought it was a pretty good post! Then I saw my name at the end. And my kids' names. And my husband's name...

And it hit me.

I can't do this.


So I wrote the editor a "WE NEED TO TALK" email and declined the offer to join the mom bloggers. I was bummed. Beyond bummed. I felt bad too, that I was leaving this editor, someone I had fun getting to know through emails, without one of her mom blog team members. I know how unexpected changes at work can create stress.

It just all came to me at once. I am a teacher. My husband is a school administrator. It occurred to me that I can't really be putting myself out there like that. Not really. What if I write something that ticks off someone off? What if someone creepy uses that public forum to "find us". What if, what if, what if. I know it stinks to think that way, but I have to think that way.

I have to maintain a certain objectivity and a very high level of professionalism in my career. The Hubs' too.

This tiny blog right here has been no problem, writing for a local site that is sponsored by our city's newspaper? Way too public for this mama.

So here is where I'll stay. Tiny. Non-monetized. Opinionated but semi-anonymous.

My future career as a famous blogger ended before it even began...

I'll leave you with my first post that will never be:
I tell people that being a mom is my very favorite thing I’ve ever done. And it is.

But it’s so much more than that, isn’t it?
There’s the wife part. The teacher part. The daughter-sister-aunt-cousin-friend-niece-granddaughter part.
The cooking, the cleaning, the driving, the planning.
It can be a lot at times.
Writing, for me, has been a great escape. A place to hide. Because where better to hide than on the Internet?!
Honestly, I find comfort in the company of others. But I don’t always have the time to actually spend WITH others. So if I can reach out — from home, in my jammies — why not?
I started blogging three years ago on a complete whim. I was completely hooked.
Blogging has been a constant for me over the past three years. It has been therapy. It has been a hobby, a distraction, an outlet. It’s been a way to catalog precious memories. Even sometimes to vent.
I am here to share those same moments.
Because sometimes there is just nothing better than being able to hear from someone else that they know exactly what you are going through, in good times or bad.
That’s my favorite part of blogging. And what excites me so much about What better place to connect with other Omaha moms?
So join me here. Join us here. It’s bound to be exactly what you’ve been missing.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our Library

This morning I spent some time taking the Halloween and autumn books off the shelves. Back into the fall decorations tote they go. Every year I pack up the seasonal books with the decorations, it's like getting new books every year when we bring them out. It's a little tradition I started with our Christmas books when B was a baby. And one of my favorite parts of our seasonal decorating.

I also set out our new books, a new addition to our Thanksgiving books (I noticed we don't have many of those), a winter book, and a wordless book that I've been wanting to get.

I also took some time to sort books, to get them back with their friends. I like to sort them by type, so we can find the ones we want to read easier.

It occurred to me that I may have a slight problem. An addiction, perhaps. So be it. I love books!

It all started with the gorgeous dollhouse bookcase my dad built and my mom painted for B and brought to my baby shower. It cried out to be filled with board books. I obliged. As she grew, so did our collection. She's got two shelves now in her room to hold the books. I couldn't leave out our second child, so our little guy got some shelves of his own, which we moved the board books to and also new boy-themed books.

I wonder what we'll do as the kids get older? When these particular books are not what they want in their rooms? I guess I'll have my own collection. I don't want to even think about that right now!

Books everywhere! I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Three-Year Old

One night recently we took a trip to the store while big sister and dad were at volleyball practice. I totally gave into his enthusiastic request and put two quarters into the Winnie the Pooh ride before even going into the store. It wasn't a bribe for good behavior. Not a reward for anything. Just some fun. Right there in the store entrance.

The time will come when he won't want to go on the log ride with Pooh. When the happy theme song and gentle rocking ride will not amuse him. That day looms large for me.

He still enjoys the preschool shows. Cartoons about super heroes frighten him. He finds Oscar the Grouch even just a bit frightening if he's being mean to Elmo.

The day will come when he's a GUY. A boy who's not scared of the bad guys on shows. A boy who won't pride himself of retelling the story of Adam and Eve after Sunday School and a boy who won't think that a bath is the funnest! thing! ever!
If there's any way to prolong the inevitable, I'm all for it. He's my little guy and I can't help it, I just want to keep it that way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Other Side of This Coin

I can't seem to ever find the balance. As I feel so good about being ahead of the game this year with holiday prep, my home seems to have exploded. Every toy, every wrapper, every piece of clothing - clean and/or dirty, is piled around my home. Messes, messes, everywhere.

So I feel great about the holidays in my mind, I have a great imagination...but the home in my reality?!

Is a dump at the current moment. Fit for a health dept shut down.

Off to do the laundry, dishes, pick up, wipe up. You name it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have you ever..

Poured the end of your bag of tortilla chips into a bowl with the rest of the jar of salsa? And eaten it with a spoon like a bowl of cereal and milk?

I can tell you that if ever ponder a good way to finish the tortilla chip pieces, this is it.

Not that I've ever done anything like that. Not me. I am much too much of a lady.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Inspiration Can Be EXPENSIVE

I have a goal to stay on it this year. To shop ahead, get things bought and wrapped and be ready for whatever party comes my way. That's right, I'm ditching my procrastinating ways this year for the holidays (she says boldly, trying to stay in character).

Last week, the kids' holiday outfits arrived that I ordered from Children's Place online. I used google to find a discount code so got a great deal. Their holiday line is super cute this year, just the kind of plaid, red, sparkley goodness that we like around here. No running around finding holiday outfits, they are already washed and waiting in the closet. I can't even link to our little guy's actual outfit because it's out of stock, I actually bought the stuff on time this year instead of being frustrated in December when I can't find the sizes!

This past weekend I ordered gifts for everyone in the family from and then emailed the Hubs, who was in Kansas cheering on our Huskers, and told him that both of our gifts are ordered and would be wrapped and under the tree as soon as the tree is up. Unorthodox? Yes. But very fun, I'm getting just what I asked for! Hubs said it's not much fun, that I bought my own gift. I told him he's more than welcome to go out and choose something to add to the pile if he would like. I'm generous like that.

Today I took a solo trip to a big box store and bought up the rest of our kids' gifts. Itunes gift cards for our $10 grab bag gifts. Simple and quick. Ready to go. The gifts are hidden away, to be wrapped on another day when I get another chunk of alone time. I've got tape and bags and wrapping paper already purchased.

I also bought flour, sugar, cans of the different milks, chocolate chips, chocolate squares, etc. I should be able to bake just about any recipe my heart desires. I already know I'm making lots of Beck's snickerdoodles this year. They're quick and best when eaten fresh, so I'll make 'em and take 'em all season long. Yum.

Tonight I had the kids do letters to Santa with images I'd found for them to glue on their letters, based on what they'd already told me they're going to ask for. Might be helpful for Santa, just in case maybe he's already finished shopping for what he knew they'd want.

I feel so on it. I'm not waiting until the perfect moment to get things done. No big long list of what to do. No waiting for the perfect price, or waiting in a one hour line for the perfect price. Just getting things done. I know this may be stuff that normal people do all the time, but it's so not me.

So it may have cost me a big chunk of change right now, but come December, I won't have much left to spend. It's exhilarating, this working ahead stuff.

My goal is to really be on break when our winter break starts, rather than running around like crazy for the first two days leading up to Christmas. This year I just want to sit back, watch snowflakes out the window, and sip cocoa. Maybe write some letters and remind people they are loved. Breathe. Pray. Be.

So it's resolutions come early this year, and so far, I think I'm getting it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


His sister is on a play date this evening and his dad is home with a strained back. I decided we'd go out to eat. Just the two of us. A date. The three-year old and me.

He was reluctant at first, when I called it a date. He said, "But I don't want to marry you." Not sure where he was going with that one, I assured him (with a very bruised ego, he used to always want to marry his mama...what happened?!) that we would not be getting married.

We went to our favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant, Bobo China, for crab rangoons, soup, and lo mein.

I cherish those moment when I get a little 1:1 time with my kids. Their personalities shine without the push/pull sibling communication going on.

There was no rush, we lingered and chatted.

My eyes wandered across the restaurant to a booth where another mother and son sat. He was about 14 and was passionately telling her a story about his day. How a teacher had wronged him in full detail.

My mind flashed forward 10 years. I wonder how my little guy will look. Sound. Will he tell me stories about his day? Will he still join me for crab rangoons after a long day?

I've said it before that it is my goal that he not be a jackass. Above all, I think keeping up with those dates and those talks will help him grow into the kind of young man I hope he will be.

I looked in the rear view mirror on the way home and thanked God for my son. For our relationship. It is those connections that make everything else worth it. To quote one of my favorite movies, my cup runneth over.

and over and over again...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just Drink Water

Coach used to tell us that pop dehydrated the muscles. He preferred if we didn't drink it at all. I drank clear soda in high school, but nothing caffeinated.

This article makes me want to recommit to a no soda policy. Seriously.
What Soft Drinks are Doing to your Body

I don't drink a ton of soda, but have been known to buy a can of Coke on a particularly sluggish afternoon. I also tend to order a Dr. Pepper when we have fast food.

How hard is it to order water? Or even iced tea? Apparently pretty tough because my default is SODA.

I gave up the diet stuff when I was pregnant with #2, convinced that aspartame is evil. I still pretty much think so.

What I love now is a real cola. Pepsi or Coke. Mmmmmmm.

If something so simple as cutting out pop can help with my brain, muscles, and bone? Count me in.

I know the article isn't rocket science. It isn't really all that new of information, just a reminder.

It's time to give up pop or Coke or soda or whatever you call it!

So what about you? Can you give up the good stuff?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our Pumpkins

Why did I think that by saying "No messes." that the three-year old would know to put a FINGER into the finger paints? B did much better, so I guess six is the magic age for understanding that concept. Although his blue pumpkin turned out just fine too.

While I cut up our jack-o-lantern, the kids painted theirs.

B likes to help scrape out the insides. Little man says "That smell makes me SICK" so he opted out of the pumpkin guts scraping activity.

As the kids get older, it's the little traditions that feel so right. That bind us as a family. We are approaching some of my favorite times of the year. And what means so much to me is that word. Family.

I've been feeling so crumby for well over two weeks now and I can still say with complete sincerity that I am blessed. So thankful for my family.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something fun!

Our local paper - the Omaha World Herald - is launching a new site for Omaha moms. It's going to be up and running by the end of the year, possibly as early as Thanksgiving, and it's called Momaha. Cool name, huh?!

An editor from the World Herald, Veronica Stickney, found me here and we started emailing about the site. I'm joining the blogging moms team. I have no idea yet what that may end up looking like, but am excited about the possibilities.

So you can find it here and if you are interested in applying to join the team, you can find more information here. I think it's really exciting because the information will be so specific to our local needs and will reflect our particular Nebraska flavor that I am so particularly fond of. Bland to many, yes, but what can I say, I am a Nebraska girl and always will be.

So check out You know you want to.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the Phone

Have you ever talked mean to the sweet computer-voice lady at the mortgage company?

Maybe called her a mean name?

Then pressed zero and zero and zero, desperately trying to talk to a REAL person?

Yeah. Me too.

Probably best not to handle these things in a feverish flu haze.

Maybe I'll write her a nice apology note while I wait to talk to that REAL person!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Creepy In a Good Way

We interrupt this fever and cough to share with you some fun Halloween reading. Beck has been writing this great Halloween series that twists popular children's tales. When Max & Ruby came on this evening, I am still creeped out!

Check it out!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

On to the Weekend!

It's conferences week here, so tomorrow is a comp day after having worked well over 40 hours already this week.

Tomorrow we are off to the pumpkin patch, weather permitting, for some well earned family fun.
Time to get the camera battery charged and comfy warm clothes laid out for the trip.

It all feels better today.

Time is a wonderful antidote for melancholy.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Day For Wallowing, Apparently

I wonder how many years it will take.
How many years until this time of year doesn't leaving me feeling sad.

The time of year that my friend found out her cancer had returned three years ago. The time of year that my nephew began his fight with leukemia two years ago. The time of year that the wheels fell off, almost literally when I crashed my van into a cement wall leaving the children's hospital. The time of year when I mourned the deaths of two really good friends, both having lost their fights with cancer. The time of year when chaos reigned and I had no choice but to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other. The time of year that I lost a student to a car accident.

The time of year when the weather turns and we are waiting again for spring.

There is so much good now. My nephew, he beat leukemia and is healthy! My kids are great.
We are doing well.

Yet this darkness swells in me. The tears flow.
I can't shake the sadness.

How long until I realize that I am okay. We are okay.
This time of year shouldn't leave me feeling so broken.

Yet it does.

It's times like these I am so grateful for my faith in God.
He is all that holds me up.

I will feel better tomorrow and am thankful for that too.

But tonight. Well tonight it's all a little too real.

Thank goodness tomorrow is another day.


It's so STRANGE. I just checked out October of last year, to see if I was feeling this way. And sheesh, I wrote this post on October 11th last year. I have goose bumps. It must be cyclical. Oddly enough, finding that post made me smile. Knowing I was in this boat last year and made it through just fine. Who knew my own blog could be my therapy. Oh wait, I did.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Making Her Blush

We pulled up a little early for volleyball practice. It's a school in our district, but not our neighborhood school. New playgrounds are so exciting! I told them they could play for a few minutes before going in.

The boys were there before us, playing basketball. They're older than mine, maybe fourth graders. One boy was standing up on the frame behind the backboard, 10 feet off the ground. I watched them for a while, then told the kids we needed to get going.

As I walked away, saying nothing, I pictured seeing a newspaper article the next day about a local boy getting smooshed after falling off the basketball hoop.

So I said bravely, looking up, "You know what. I'm a teacher and I need to tell you that you shouldn't be up there. If you would fall, it would kill you. I need to you come down safely now and do not get back up there." I wasn't angry. He didn't disagree. His friends laughed at him a little, but he got down. Safely.

I breathed a sigh of relief and felt so much better as we walked away.

I waited to celebrate with my B, she's always Ms. Safety Patrol.

Instead of the high five I was expecting, I got this, "You know what mom. That was actually pretty embarrassing. And you don't even work here!"

That last bit I think she said a little louder so they might hear her disapproval.


I'm still glad I did it.
My daughter just wasn't.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Loss

Goodbye Uncle Melvin.

You will be missed.

You made an impact on my life and for that I will always be grateful.

I will miss being your pen pal.

But I know that we will meet again one day.

Please save me a spot and a popcorn ball.



Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11: 25-26


Monday, September 21, 2009

The last day of summer...
The year is 3/4 over...

In January, I picked a word that would summarize the year ahead. A hopeful word. Optimism at its best. Energy.

Thought I'd give myself a progress report as we enter the fourth quarter. In three months, 2009 will be over.

Did I find energy? Was I energetic?

Yes and no.

I'd like to think I've been more tuned in, more conscious, more energetic this year. I've had my moments, my lazy, checked out moments. For the most part, this year was better than the past few.

Still...I want more. More energy. More of me. The me who gets out play-doh on a school night just because. The me who sits on the driveway to draw roads for the matchbox cars. The me that reads four books instead of two at bed time.

That me.

So as we head into fall, as we wrap up this great year, I will summon more energy. I will do more. To meet that goal that I set in January.


Starting now.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Think It's My Favorite Cake

If I had to pick a favorite, this cake would probably be it. My mom's best friend used to make it for birthdays and I have always liked it.

I don't know if this is her exact recipe, but I googled the ingredients and came up with this one. We called it Pig Cake. No, I don't know why.

I think it's a great way to send off summer. Before the heavy foods of fall and winter grace our ovens. A light and fruity treat, the perfect end to a grilled meal.


1 yellow cake mix
1 11 oz can mandarin oranges plus juice
2 T flour
3 eggs
3/4 C oil

1 8 oz carton cool whip
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple and juice
1 small pkg instant pudding (I use vanilla, recipe calls for coconut flavored)

1. Mix cake ingredients together, spread in lightly greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until it tests done. Let cool completely, then frost.

I made this for Memorial Day barbecues and as I am typing this, want to make it again!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So Grateful

The calendar tells a different story, but we are in full autumn mode here. Having been back to school for almost a full month now, enjoying the first weeks of football season, and loving the cool nights that have blessed us with their return.

I have always enjoyed fall the most. It was always my assumption that it's because I'm a Libra and was born in October. The air smells differently, the sky is bluer, everything around me seems to exhale ~ ahhhhhhh.

The leaves are not yet changing color, but as they do I feel a sense of peace wash over me. I enjoy a cup of hot tea, a fuzzy sweatshirt, and the sounds of my children playing outdoors in the perfect weather.

I hope to spend the long weekend enjoying this time of year in full force. My folks will be here for a visit. We'll cheer on our beloved Huskers. We will eat our traditional football food and toast the togetheness. I thank God for this wonderful time of year.

A three day weekend, plans with family, football on the t.v. and sunny weather. What could be better?!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My little man.

I tend to not get too stuck in my past as a mom. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my kids' as babies, except when I'm scrapbooking or blogging. I don't think back to their infancy, I don't mourn their growth. I get excited at each new milestone.

That would be why I was completely shocked the other day when it hit. I had picked up B's photo album. It's one she carries around and has us read to her like a picture book. It's a fabric covered photo book with little satin booties on the front. Inside, it holds her very first pictures. It tells of her beginning. It was laying on the couch where she had set it aside and I didn't really think much when I picked it up.

As I started looking through it, I got the strangest sensation. Almost as if I couldn't breathe. This ache. For something I couldn't even put my finger on.

Suddenly, I realized. I will never again see that baby face. That tiny little self. She is here now, six years old and on her way to fully grown. I let myself just wallow in it for a minute.

Then I had to think about the little man. And how quickly his own baby self has gone away. And took his toddler self with it.

In their place, I have these two active, funny, clever little children who fill our home with love, noise, and sometimes exhaustion (as I hear their creative play upstairs turn to shouts at this very minute).

I was telling my mom about this strange occurrence and she described to me how she sometimes gets that same ache, still. She knew exactly what I was talking about and could describe it perfectly. I am her baby. So I guess this may not be the last time I get this strange feeling. This oxygen stealing sappiness.

It also totally makes me see why people just keep on having babies. Having one to snuggle right now would sure help with that ache.

My gratitude for the growth and development of my kids is daily. We are blessed.

But there are moments. When the blur of the past six years comes into focus for a moment and I just have to sit. And breathe.


Mom wrote this as we were growing up, it just sums it all up so nicely. She's far more poetic than me...

They grow so
Tall, they
Get away,
And I just
Stand and
How can I ever
Have grown
So old in
So short a
If the clock
Will not slow
Itself, then
I must be
More selfish
With each
There must be
More time
For sharing
My children’s
I can never
Go back,
So then I shall
Savor more
Wholly, the
Growing forward.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grade 1

Learn –verb (used with object)
1. to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience: to learn French; to learn to ski.
2. to become informed of or acquainted with; ascertain: to learn the truth.
3. to memorize: He learned the poem so he could recite it at the dinner.
4. to gain (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to example, or the like; acquire: She learned patience from her father.


My B had her first day of first grade this week. Very exciting! She has a brand new teacher (new to the building, new to teaching).

She had to fill in the blanks on a first day of school project. Learn. What a great word! Her teacher told her how to spell it, the first of many experiences they will share this year.


Hubs and I discussed what the sketch represented (B was playing in her room at the time). My guess was a globe. Hubs said it was a brain. We called her down to find out. Her response, "Everyone thought is was the world, but it's a BRAIN!" Hubs: 1, Me: 0.

I envy my childrens' teachers a bit, the bonding that happens when you are helping someone expand their mind.

B, I can't wait for this year, for all that you are going to LEARN.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Really Want to Complain

The cyclical nature of my life is really starting to show right here on my blog.

I want to write a whiny August post about how tired I am and how hard my job is and how I just need to power through and I know I will feel better in a week or two.

Instead I went and read my August archives from the last couple of years and realize it's just part of the life I lead. Every year I feel this way, regardless of how much stress there is (this year there is extra, let me tell co-teachers, student teacher, new classroom, seven new students, new stitches in my finger from an unfortunate kitchen accident, new wrinkles on my face and a new zen perspective that keeps me from falling right over...) and it passes in a bit.

Right now life is a blur. We are all well and things are fine. It's just a little fuzzy from the dizzy rush that seems to be occurring.

All in all. . . life is good. September and October are my favorite months of the year. We are approaching a season change that makes me very happy.

I just need to get through the week. And next week.
And maybe even the next.

Then I can breathe.
Then I can see clearly.

For now. It's survival mode.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hitting the Pavement

We've had some good fun with chalk here as our summer break comes to an end. Two highlights were the day we completed a solar system on the driveway, complete with two rockets for the kids to ride in (why is it that I can't seem to draw a rocket that doesn't look like a sea creature?). They had fun traveling from planet to planet, even visiting the sun. B and I took turns labeling everything and pointing out a few characteristics of the planets. It wasn't drawn to scale and we definitely didn't have it all in the right order, but it was tons of fun.

Another day, we drew a road system on the sidewalk and the kids decided to bring out some small toys to live in the squares we pretended were houses. Also good fun. I'd like to think this is how I always parent, present and tuned in, playing with my kids. I honestly tend to leave them to their own devices during playtime, but this was a lot of fun and reminded me of how I liked to play when I was little. We had a big chalkboard and more than once my brother and I laid it on the floor and drew a matchbox car town. He's an artist, which made for a fantastic city sketch. I enjoyed this with my own kids and it was also a great way to talk shapes with our little man. B had fun expanding on it, forever drawn into her own imagination. We had dinosaurs, a small goat, a digi-penguin, and care bears all sharing the same community. Quite the diverse population!

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There goes the neighborhood! The goat is rooming with a pet rock!