my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

November 24, 2011


i feel like i have pressure all around me, people pushing in from all sides. all these tasks and responsibilities that i'm supposed to do, everything i need to take care of right now!

but i can't do it all, i know i can't. i can try, and i can drive myself crazy with the stress and the worry from trying. but i really don't want to do that. i've done that for so long, and i don't want to live like that anymore.

and i know that people aren't being mean about asking all of this from me. it's just they don't realize that their one more little favor that they want and need combines with somebody else's one quick little thing that they want me to do. and then there's somebody else and somebody else. add all of that on top of all the regular day to day things that i need to do to keep my family running and there just aren't enough hours in a day.

so i'm going to try and take a break. i'm going to step back and take a breather and let a few things slide. and i'm going to try to explain to everybody that i'm just one person, that i really can't be expected to get everything done on my own. i need help. or less to do. or a vacation. you know, something to help me destress.

i need to think about me for awhile. and in doing that, i'm going to have to let a few things fall until i can come back around and pick them all up. this blog will be one of those things.

because even if i don't update every other day, which has been my goal, or even every few days, it's no big deal. even if it turns into a post a week, it's not the end of the world. i mean, it's not like anybody will notice anyway.

November 16, 2011

happy cake day

on friday i made a cake for my mom. there was a reason for making it, but really, i was just in the mood to make a cake. had it not been a special day for my mom, i would have come up with some other excuse, like the fact that it was friday. and the weather was nice. and any excuse is a good excuse to make a cake.

this cake, though, was supposed to be for my mother. and so i wanted to make it especially for her. hence i decided to make a snickers cake, because snickers bars are one of her favorite candies. really though, i can't call it a snickers cake so much as a cake decorated with snickers.

it was a chocolate cake with caramel frosting, and i sprinkled chopped snickers bars on top. i used my favorite cake mix, pillsbury super moist chocolate, because unless i am serving the cake plain, i see no reason to make it from scratch. the pillsbury mix is always consistant, stays moist, and stands up to flipping and carving better than my favorite scratch recipe.

this time i also used a canned frosting. normally, i am totally against the icing that comes in those plastic tubs (icing, frosting, whatever you call it), because it usually has a processed flavor and a greasy finish that coats your mouth instead of melting on your tongue. but i found one that was caramel flavored, which is something i wanted to try. and to make caramel icing from scratch would have been way more work than i wanted on friday. i have to admit, i was pleasantly surprised, this frosting was not too bad, so i'll add it to the very short list of already made icings that i'm willing to use. the rest of the list is that coconut kind that goes on german chocolate cake, because whenever i've tried to make it from scratch i can never get the consistency right.

like i said, to make it a "snickers cake," i chopped up snickers bars and put them on top. had i really wanted to make it a "snickers cake," and had i thought about it ahead of time, i would have melted some snickers bars into the cake batter. or i would have put chopped snickers between the layers. or maybe threw some honey roasted peanuts into the cake batter, and spread caramel between the cake layers. so many variations, so many wasted opportunities.

still, it was a very yummy cake. and it made for a happy day. and of course, there's always next time.

November 15, 2011

it's candy time

every year, i make candy for the holidays. part of the reason behind it is because it's a cheap and easy gift. part of it is because some of the people on my holiday list are impossible to shop for, and candy is something that is a hit. a large part of the reason i make candy is because i truly enjoy making it, and this way i can make it and give it away to grateful people without having to worry about it hanging around the house for me to eat myself.

normally, at this time of year, i would be worrying and thinking about and obsessing over pie. for the past five years, i have been in charge of making pies for thanksgiving dinner, and so i start at the end of october thinking about the different variations of pies, what little tweaks i'll try, which crust recipe i'll use. the reason is because for the past five years, we have been going to my in-laws' for thanksgiving dinner, and though she is an amazing cook, my mother-in-law lacks some skill in the baking department.

this year things are all turned around. this year we will be doing thanksgiving with my extended family, because this year we will be doing christmas weekend with my in-laws. so instead of being able to use pies as a distraction, i have filled that hole with thoughts of candy.

yesterday, i started the process with a test batch of chocolate peanut butter fudge. it didn't come out how i hoped, but i have weeks yet to perfect it. i'm still drawing up my final list of types to make, and there are a few more test batches i want to try. i still need to get my list of recipes together so i can get my ingredients from the store, but i have time. i might not be in the mood to really count down to christmas this year, but i'm always in the mood for candy.

November 10, 2011

irresponsible or pointless?

as some of you may know, my dear lumpy has what is considered by his doctors to be a cronic condition. he takes medicine everyday, and has for years. and i dutifully dose it out to him, no matter how gross he says it tastes. but am i being irresponsible for not getting him some of the optional, but conisdered a good idea, medicine, or am i justified in sparing him the pain of a shot for something that seems totally pointless?

i suppose a bit of background information might make the situation a bit clearer.

in march of 2009, lumpy got sick. he was in preschool, his brother was in kindergarten, so i thought it was just the basic bug that gets passed around. it couldn't be the flu, because i had gotten him a flu shot that year, just like every year. he was listless and tired and stuffy, and he was running a low-grade fever that i was treating with tylenol, as per his doctor's instructions. well, while i was at bumble's swimming lesson, lumpy was home, watched by his bubba. she said he was walking through the living room and just collapsed, and when she tried to stand him up, he was confused and disoriented.

after my hubby and i rushed him to the e.r., after waiting in the waiting room, after they took us back to get his vitals, that's when the nightmare started. it went from one nurse with a stethoscope to a team of people, hooking up oxygen and a blood pressure cuff, bombarding me with questions about what meds i'd given him and how long he'd been like this. it turns out he had pneumonia, and the hospital we went to didn't have a pediatric unit, so we were shipped to a different one. after staying there 48 hours, they decided to ship us to the special children's hospital, because there was talk of having to intibate him because his blood oxygen level wasn't coming up and they didn't know what other treatments to try.

he was released a week later, and we were told that he had contracted the flu and the pneumonia was a complication from his body fighting the infection. it was left at that, and i was told that i just needed to watch him over the summer and make sure that he didn't develop asthma, as could happen in kids his age.

fast forward to october 2009, when he started getting sick again. this time i was more ready, i knew the symptoms to look for, and so i took him to his pediatrician right away.

that's when his pediatrician looked him over, pretty much laughed that i didn't take him straight to the hospital, and called an ambulance to transport us. it seems he had pneumonia again. and it was again thought to be a complication from him having the flu, even though i had gotten him a flu shot again. so the hospital did breathing treatments and we were released a week later. also, being that he had the same condition in a six month span, he was labelled "chronic" and "high-risk" and i was given a card to see a slew of specialists to figure out why my otherwise healthy boy kept getting so sick.

over the next two years, he has seen breathing specialists and asthma specialists and allergy specialists. we were told that he doesn't have asthma, because he doesn't have shortness of breathe or any of the other symptoms. though they have him on a daily inhaler. and he did not have a reaction to any of the allergines they tested, but he has high levels of immunoglobulin antibodies, so he is allergic to "something," and gets to take daily allergy medication. he also had many chest xrays done, and his lungs look perfect, so no malformations. and yet, because the doctors still can't figure out exactly what is wrong and why he gets sick, we also have a rescue inhaler and special procedures to follow and extra medicine to take if we think he might be getting sick again.

he has been doing very well, growing and thriving. he is larger than the average 6 year old, and he is very active with no ill-effects. in fact, he had been doing so well, his pulmonary specialist said we could take a break from his medicine this summer. so for the month of august, he didn't take any of his medicine. he had no breathing problems, but what's more, he was so calm, and he could focus, and he could sleep. the side effects of all of his medications are that they make him so hyper and high strung.

unfortunately, the summer isn't the hard time for him. it's when the seasons change, from winter to spring and from summer to fall, it's march and october that are still the hardest. and so now he is back on all his medication. and i miss my sweet little boy from the summer when staring in the face of his wound up, strung out twin. but the one thing i've latched onto in learning about his condition with no name is that most of the kids that have it eventually grow out of it. whatever happens in their bodies that cause it changes when they hit puberty. and especially since he never developed real asthma, he should eventually be able to live medicine free.

now, after all of that, i suppose i should get to the point of this post, which is that i did not get a flu shot for him this year. he has had flu shots every year before this, but he has contracted the flu before. twice which we are certain of, and once, before, that i'm pretty sure about. so i wonder, is it irresponsible not to get him vaccinated against an illness he has such problems with, or is it pointless to force him to get a shot that doesn't always do much good?

November 9, 2011

"happy" christmas

it's not even december yet, and i already want to be done with christmas. all the stores have drug out their holiday merchandise, all the toy catalogs are coming in the mail, not to mention the commercials and specials and music filling every aspect of my life. i am sick of it.

true, i get sick of christmas every year. the overwhelming holiday spirit always gets to be too much. and the commercialization seems to get shoved further down our throats every year. but this year, this year is especially hard.

i feel like christmas really won't be real, because i won't be able to give my kids the christmas that i want to give them. sure, i'll be able to do some of the special stuff that has become a tradition with us, but it just won't be the same. i can't bring myself to dig through the stack of boxes to find where our christmas stuff is packed, so i won't be bringing out any of our personal decorations. i even told the boys i would let them pick out new stockings this year so i don't have to dig for their old ones. the boys are thrilled, and obviously not as sentimental as i am.

so, besides all these new fun feelings of inadequacy, all the old feelings are coming to the surface also. there are always so many toys and games and presents that i want to get for the kids, but i feel the need to hold back so we don't break the bank. more-so this year, because in the next few months we hope to be buying a house. my husband, on the other hand, feels that, to make up for the lack of a home, he will buy out the store to give the kids the kind of christmas they deserve.

now, our kids are great and wonderful, and i'll be the first to say that i want the best for them, but they have so many toys they don't even play with, some sitting in boxes with the rest of their stuff that they don't even realize are missing, so i just don't feel like going out and buying them all this new stuff. especially since i know i'll be the one packing it up eventually. so i've been trying to rein in my hubby's spending, trying to explain my point of view while also getting him to understand that i totally see where he's coming from, but all of this has become a sore spot between us. which brings more stress that i just don't need.

and then of course are the logistics of planning for all the christmas celebrations, trying to find time to spend with all of the families, trying to make all the grandparents happy. this is an impossibility, one i have conceded to long ago. it's just a matter of sticking to the plans i have set and understanding that i will be upsetting some along the way. which just feels more and more like a fact of life.

November 8, 2011

green-eyed moster

i really don't like to be petty. i don't like be jealous of others, of what they have or what the get to do, or don't have to do as the case sometimes is. it's not that i don't feel these things, but i try to be above them, try not to let them bother me. i especially try not to let them dictate my actions toward others.

there will always be people that have more than me. there will always be people that will get the help with their responsibility that i wish i had. and there seems to be people that will ignore their responsibilities, and i will always feel the need to pick up the slack.

i understand that these are just facts of life, there will always be things that we want in this life, that we want better and more and what someone else has. and i really try not to let it bother me, but it's hard sometimes. really really hard.

especially when there are people that wave in front of your face what they have and you do not, because part of their enjoyment comes from knowing that people are jealous of what they have.

worse for me, though, are the people that do it without knowing. they are the people that have and do, and go around their life normally, but still i am forced to see it every day. and in most cases i am forced to act like it's not a big deal, like everything is normal, even though i wish that i was their shoes.

i know that most people have these feelings sometimes. that if we didn't want more in our lives, we wouldn't strive to do better and be better. and sometimes i have to stop all my self-pity and realize that i am lucky compared to some. i have things and do things that might make other people jealous.

still that is small comfort in the face of seeing all the things that i want and having to be happy for the people that have them. because some of them did work hard and sacrifice a lot to be where they are today, and i know the right thing is to be happy for them. even if i wish i was in their shoes.

November 3, 2011

a very sweet distraction

i have enough stress and drama in my life right now, and i'm getting worn out worrying about it all the time. so, for the moment, i've decided to focus my thoughts on the one constant happy in my life: my ability to make good cookies.

yeah, i know, it might seem trivial to some, but baking has always helped set my mind right. and i know i've talked about it before, but baking is where my mind always goes when i need to reduce the stress in my life. baking is the one constant, the one thing i can always count on. as long as i follow the recipe, i am guaranteed that good things will come.

even though i haven't been baking as much as i used to, just looking over recipes and planning future kitchen experiments helps to set things right in my head. maybe it's just that thinking about cookies gives me something to focus on. or maybe it's just that cookies are my ultimate comfort food, all warm and sweet, with soft centers and crispy edges. or that there are so many different kinds of cookies, usually no matter what i've got in my pantry, i can always make a cookie. i have recipes that are egg free or flour free or butter free, so make cookies doesn't mean stress about lack of ingredients, it just means getting a little creative. and getting creative in the kitchen in one of my personal pleasures.

i believe that everyone has something in their life that helps them de-stress. people talk about closing their eyes and finding their happy place in times of worry. baking in the kitchen is definitely my happy place. the act of baking is enough to calm me, but the cookies are a pretty sweet a bonus. and knowing that i can make others happy, just by sharing, helps too.

i know the saying goes that misery loves company, but for me, whenever i'm baking in the kitchen, i can't help but share the cookie love. i think if more people shared their happiness with others, the world would be a better place.

November 1, 2011

i corrupt my boys with music, but only let them watch preschool tv

i have always been careful what i let my boys watch on tv. for a while i wouldn't let them watch many movies because they scare easily and i was tired of dealing with them waking up screaming that something was going to get them. i can remember that even "finding nemo" would make lumpy hide behind the couch when the sharks came on. even when watching movies as a family, i used a very limited selection, because i really didn't feel like trying to explain what was happening in some of those "adult situations." some considered me over protective. i was even told that "a kid's got to learn sometime," which i suppose is technically the truth, but silly me wanting to be the one to teach them when i know they are ready to learn.

lately, i've been more careful about what tv shows they watch. adult sitcoms are out for the same reason most movies are, but i've had to start limiting some of the cartoon shows that they want to watch. yes, my kids understand what cartoon violence is, and that i really have no problem with. it's all the annoying jokes and catch phrases, the potty language and sound effects at the dinner table, the running around yelling and screaming at top volume, most of the shows today really get my kids wound up. a lot of the shows they want to watch are TV-Y7, which is supposed to be shows that they can handle for their age, but i just don't like how they act after watching them. honestly, i feel like they get enough bad influences from their friends at school, i don't feel the need to let them rot their brains at home.

now, for as careful as i am about tv and movies, you'd think i'd be just as selective with the music i let them listen to.

the truth is that i'm not. i let them listen to whatever i listen to, which is mostly alt rock. but somehow, with music, it's different. music doesn't make them act out. and they don't quote all the bad words that they hear in the song lyrics. we sing and dance along and have fun with music, but for whatever reason, it doesn't seem to have any ill effects on my boys.

and honestly, i never really gave the matter much thought until we made a cd for bumble to listen to on his player in his bed room. sitting down together, he was describing the songs he wanted and i had to supply my hubby with the titles and artists, because it's definitely more my music than his (though he did sneak a few country songs on there). bumble said he wanted the creepy one with kids singing about tearing the world down ("virgin" by manchester orchestra), the "faster than my bullet" song ("pumped up kicks" by foster the people), and few old green day songs that of course we couldn't find radio edited versions of.

it's definitely not the musical tastes of an average 8 year old, but, for as bad as some of those lyrics are, i don't think they're worse than a lot of the pop songs that other kids are into. and listening to this style of music is something my boys and i do together, which i think is the most important thing of all.