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

January 31, 2012

trust in love

maybe it's because it's almost valentine's day. or maybe it's because i know a bunch couples getting married over the next year, and i have been hearing all about it. or maybe it's because i know multiple people that are not in relationships, and i've been hearing about their single-hood. whatever the reason, i have been thinking a lot about my own romantic relationship. and so, i'd like to talk a bit about what i think the most important thing is in any relationship, hopefully without getting so personal that dear hubby gets upset.

if you've never realized it, we are very private people and don't like to over-share.

says the lady with a blog.

anyway, i guess i should mention, before i really get started, that maybe trust isn't the most most most important thing in a relationship, but i have come to realize over the years, it is what sets my and my hubby's relationship apart. it's simply that we trust each other. completely and without question.

i trust that he will always try his best. that he will put us first whenever he can. that, if we agree to do something, he will back me up 100%. i trust that he will never lie to me or hide things from me, that he will be open and honest. and that he will be understanding. i trust that he'll never cheat or deceive, and if something's wrong, he'll let me know.

and he trusts that i will do the same. which i always will.

because of this trust, i realize that i have an amazing amount of freedom in our relationship. which is really the main thing i've noticed that is different from some of our friends' relationships. i am free to have random friends, guy friends, guys that he's never met, because he knows that i would never do "anything stupid." i would never do anything that would jeopardize his trust in me. and so i am free to have friends and associates and he doesn't get jealous. which is a wonderful freedom.

and likewise, he is allowed and able to have random female friends. girls he sees at stores or meets at work. ones that might, and have, called or emailed him. and it honestly doesn't bother me at all. no, really is doesn't. because i know him and i know us and i am not worried about what he might do or could do. because i know what he won't do.

it also helps that i am secure in the knowledge that there isn't anybody else out there that would want either of us. we are both crazy nuts, it just so happens that our craziness compliments each other. we both know we'd never find anyone else that we'd fit with as well as we fit together. and from that trust is born.

whatever may happen in this world, in this life, i trust that my dear hubby will always be there for me. and i know that trust is not misplaced.

January 30, 2012

one pan of happy

i've talked about a lot of random stuff here over the years, but i don't think i ever spoke of my love of casseroles. and so, today, i shall rectify that oversight.

casseroles are one of the perfect foods. in my mind at least. they're usually really easy to throw together, and they bake all in one pan. and you can assemble them days in advance, freeze them, and bake them off later. they use up all sorts of random fridge ingredients, which helps get rid of leftovers and all those odds and ends i'm sure everybody has.

now, i do have to admit that my kids are not really big fans of casseroles. unlike me, they like to eat everything separately, and heaven help us if the food on their plates touch. i, on the other hand, really like to eat everything mixed together. to be able to get one perfect bite, the contrasts of flavors and textures all mixed together in your mouth, i think that is perfect.

the other thing i love casseroles for is they are a blank canvas of experimentation. i have so many basic recipes filed away, but i know i can pull one out and use it how i want. i can add chicken, or use pork instead. if it calls for cheese, i can use whatever i have. and it's so easy to throw extra veggies in the mix to trick the kids into eating more. and if it calls for bread crumbs on top, i can add cheese or spices, or even use crushed chips if i want an especially fun and crunchy top. as long as you keep the ratios of liquids to solids close, you're free to throw in whatever you want.

basically, i know that i could eat casserole every night for the rest of my life, and there would still be endless variety. casseroles are the perfect food.

right after chocolate cake.

January 27, 2012

another baking challenge

i'm thinking of entering another online baking recipe contest thing. yeah, i think i need to first think of a better thing to call it so when i explain to people what i'm doing, it doesn't take half the day.

and i do say another contest thingy, because i did enter one in the past. you can read all about it here. spoiler alert: i didn't win. also, fun fact: that post contains the only picture i've ever posted on my blog. check it out for that, if nothing else.

anyway, through twitter, i noticed that auntie anne's is having a recipe contest. you can read all about it on their site. i'm sure you must know that auntie anne's is just one of the most fabulous pretzel places ever, conveniently found in most malls. in this general area at least. i have come to realize that pennsylvania is kind of known for our love of pretzels in all varieties.

i've always had a soft spot for their pretzels. well, pretzels in general. but then for auntie anne's specifically when working for them became the second job i ever had. which was also super fun because i had to wear a name tag while working there. (in case you didn't know, my name is anne, spelled with an "e" and everything, very meta, no?)

so now they're having a contest to create a recipe using their pretzel dough that can be made with their take-home baking kits. and guess who just happened to get one of those kits for christmas? well of couse it was me, i wouldn't be mentioning it if it wasn't.

anyway, now i am thinking about how to use pretzel dough to make something other than pretzels. and something other than the other sample recipes they have listed on their site. i'm pretty sure i'll do something that falls into the dessert category, i'm just not sure what. when i do figure it out, i will let you all know.

January 26, 2012

i am me

i hate labels.

not post labels. once i figured out what i was doing and how they worked, i've found them most helpful. in fact, i'm probably the only one that uses the labels i've attached to my posts.

no, i hate how we feel the need to label ourselves and others. and i guess this is becoming an issue for me because i feel the need to define who i am and what i am doing, because i am trying to brand myself online. and i'm one of those people that, for the most part, wants to live label free.

i don't want people to come up to me and read any label or sign that's been attached and say, oh, you're a stay at home mom, which means that you are such and such and like so and so, and all this other stuff must also be true. when usually it's not. i am me, i am who i am. i might be like some other stay at home moms, but i am also very different. and i hate when people assume that i will think and act a certain way just because one thing is true.

the problem is that i feel like we all label people all the time. we look at them and label them in our minds, and then unless we keep an open mind about things, it's very hard to shake off that preconception. it's why everyone says first impressions are so important. and for me they are so difficult, mostly because i am so awkward i make a terrible first impression.

invariably i get labelled as a mother. and the fact i stay home all day means something too. it means i don't have a job and i don't go out much. i must know a lot about preschool tv but not so much about politics or the world of business. and some of that really is true, but not all of it. i've not always been a mother. and even though i am right now, i am also a lot of other things. it's not like i look at someone that works in a office and say that they are an office drone, so that must be their whole life and who they are and all they are.

yes, i understand that being a parent is a full time job. and staying at home with an especially little one really does make it the only full time job i have. and at the moment i don't even have a part time job, so in the eyes of most, this is all i do. i will admit, too, that there are times where i fall back and let the labels speak for me. i'll let people i've just met believe what they want to believe about me from only hearing a two minute introduction. because it's easier sometimes. it's easier to let people believe what they want then to try to change their preconceptions and break out of the mold they've put you in.

and sometimes, after a particularly hard day, i will look around and think that this is all there is. that this life is the only life i have. and that is terribly depressing. because even though i know i am doing very important work (i'm raising the next generation!), i want to be remember for something more.

i want to be remembered for being me.

January 24, 2012

thoughts on relationships

this is probably going to seem like a strange, rambling metaphor, but go with it.

a relationship, any relationship, is like a bridge crossing a ravine.

a superficial or casual relationship means a shallower valley and a shorter bridge. a relationship that is deep and meaningful would be like a immense canyon, and the corresponding bridge would also need strong supports and lots of maintenance to sustain it.

the other thing i like about thinking of a relationship as a bridge is that in a good and healthy relationship, you have to meet in the middle of the bridge. if one person has to go all the way over to the other side constantly, they will begin to get tired or resentful for doing all the work in preserving the bridge. people need to work together if they're going to build something strong and stable.

the other thing that is true with relationships and bridges is that they both require constant work. both need regular upkeep. if you ignore the health of your relationship, it could crumble into the chasm it's meant to get you safely across.

but my most favorite thing about describing relationships like bridges is when there are fights. when you fight or disagree or argue, or whatever polite term you might use, it's like standing on your side of the bridge and yelling at the other person. and chances are they are standing on their side yelling at you. usually you don't understand half of what they're trying to tell you, and unless you try to meet in the middle and compromise, you'll never understand.

and sometimes it's true that relationships fail. bridges can crumble and fall. and sometimes you have to think long and hard about whether or not it is worth trying to rebuild.

and sometimes it is.

January 23, 2012

a love letter to twitter

dearest twitter,

i just couldn't go on without telling you how much i adore you.

no really, i do. you allow me to be me. you bring out the best in me. and if by best i happen to mean most random and inane, then yes, totally, it is the best of me.

if not exactly the best, it's at least all of me. at my best. at my worst. i don't over think or over-analyze like to do with others (i'm looking at you, facebook). i just post. and post again. and again.

that is your most beautiful quality. i can post as much as i want, several times a day, and it seems so appropriate. it's what you were made for. where as it seems silly trying that other places. not that i have to be serious with them, but you get my quirkiness. you understand my randomness. you allow me to be silly and crazy. and best of all, you don't judge.

or if you do, but it's ok, because i know there are so many crazier and stranger than i. and it's ok if i come off as sounding like a 12 year old girl. no one really sounds super mature in 140 characters.

i'll save being a grownup for when i'm making "status updates." with you, i'll continue to be a tweeting twit.


ps~ just think how much more we'd see each other if i actually had a fancy phone that i could tweet from. one day, my love, one day.

January 21, 2012

"it was hot and dry"

i still have days where i wish i could write. not where really, but rather that i could write.

now that fish is older and able to entertain herself more independently, i'm reading again. not really anything on my list of things to read, or anything that i actually own, because unfortunately my library is still in boxes in my mother's garage. hundreds of books i really hope the mice don't eat.

no, i've going through project gutenberg and places like that and am reading on my computer. because even though he's wanted to get me one since they came out years ago, i've dissuaded my dear hubby from buying me an e-reader. i've always said i really don't have the time to make owning one practical.

though i am reading again. not like i used to, because i don't have the time to get that lost in books. it's good for me, i know. it keeps me out of my head so much if i'm lost in the world of words of others. it's just that it always makes me wish i had the time and abilities to actually finish writing something. i start things and get distracted and move onto other inetesting projects. or i have an idea, but i never flesh it out completely, and then i move onto the next "great idea" that pops into my head. or, perhaps my biggest hang-up, is that i start something, and i know where i want to go with it or how i want to end it, but i can never think what happens in the middle.

maybe one day, when i can get enough sleep and have less stress, i'll be able to focus again. or i'll get distracted by something shiny and move onto the next thing that pops up.

January 20, 2012

truly random

so i've had a lot going on this week. i've been given a lot to think about. and instead of writing a series of posts about everything, i'm just going to do a wrap-up post for the week right now. try to follow along and enjoy...

is it so bad that i don't like to wear clothes? during the summer, shoes and socks are the bane of my existance. and is it so bad that i don't make my children wear clothes? they're boys, and she's a little bit, so why can't shirts and pants be optional? when they get older, unfortunately i'm sure they'll get more insecure about themselves, more self conscious. and eventually it will be very innapropriate to let my little girl run around topless. but right now, they're kids, i want to let them enjoy the freedom that they have. and if we keep it confined to our own home, are we really hurting anyone?

underwear, by the way, is never optional, always mandatory.

speaking of freedoms, what right do people feel they have to censor what i do and say? i guess, really, this thinking comes from all the PIPA/SOPA talk that happened. and i'm very very glad there was talk. piracy is bad. blanket restrictions are too. piracy should be stopped, but these two bills are not the way to do it. prohibition never really stopped the people that wanted to drink, so i'm not sure how this'll stop the people that really want to do illegal things online.

also, i keep dreaming of houses. i dream of my kids in their rooms. or running around a yard i've never seen. i dream of being in a kitchen with all my things, every thing where i put them. and then, i always wake up.

now before i go too much further, i want to say that i am eternally grateful to both my moms for taking us in. we do have place to move and to breathe and to be here. i can't imagine what the alternative would have been, had they not opened their home and let us come. and there are days that i feel like my brood and i are a terrible inconvinience.

still, it's not quite the same. and i'm getting to the point where i'm looking for things and realize they're still in boxes somewhere. though when packing things up, i tried to think about what things i wouldn't miss being in storage. i guess i never realized that the storing would be this long.

so does that make me shallow? or petty? wanting things, physical things? all of my needs are met, and more. i am comfortable, i am taken care of. i am able to have all of my kids and hubby with me under one roof. and i know they are well taken care of, because i'm still here to take care of them. but i miss my things, my stuff, my books and movies and music. i miss looking at my curio of nicknacks. i miss my bed.

and this wondering and confusion in my brain has also lead to thoughts of guilt. with other things that i'm not going to talk about, i've also begun to wonder if i'm really that great of a mother. how much that is wrong with my kids is my fault? how much are they born with, and how many issues are created by what i have done or didn't do? and is it too late to fix things? though i'm not really sure if i'm able to, if i'm strong enough. so many people telling me so many different things, and all these things i'm supposed to do so that my kids are happy and mentally healthy. when am i supposed to find the time? time to spend one on one with each of them every day. and still do things together as a family. and still help them with their homework. and make dinner. and baths and bed and laundry and shopping. how many hours do these doctors think there are in a day? i know being a mom is a full time job, but i'm not sure i can do it for 24 hours a day with no time to myself. it's impossible.

i call shenanigans.

i will breath. and remember that they are doing ok. and no kid is perfect. and they are happy and healthy, most of the time. but in truth, they are normal kids. and i shouldn't worry as much as i am. as my dear hubby would say, i am a good mother. i'm the best mother my kids could ever have.

January 19, 2012

quick and easy and (hopefully) fabulous

my thoughts are a jumble. with everything that's happened over the past few days, i keep trying to write and my mind goes off in a million other directions. and i really want to talk about what's been going on with me and with my family. but, until i can get things straight in my own head, the posts i've tried to write have turned in to pages of rambling non sequitur mess.

and so, instead, i will talk about what i'm going to make for dinner. because food is something concrete i can focus on. concrete and hopefully delicious.

yesterday, in and amongst everything else, i went grocery shopping. and there, in the refrigerated dairy case, were tubes of discounted crescent rolls. i believe they were discounted because the store had stocked up for the holidays, with people buying them to make with dinner, and these poor tubes of dough were left over. they could've also been so cheap because they expire today.

in any case, i bought three tubes, and have been racking my brain as to what to make with them. now, i know any normal person would just pop them out and roll them up and bake them off as they are intended, but i think it has been long established that i am not any normal person.

so i've been searching through my recipe files and the interwebs, looking for a fun and tasty crescent roll based treat. something easy (partly because i'm feeling lazy today and partly because i have a million and one things to do), but mostly something that i can entice my kids into eating. and when i say "kids," i mean all four of them, especially the one that's older than i.

would you believe that the official pillsury site, the most famous makers of pop-tube dough products, does not have a good way to search through the recipes on their site by their product? i can search by main ingredient, like the kind of meat i want to use, or by meal, but i did not find a good way to search through all of their recipes by product. the closest thing i found was a quick search option that only brought up five or so recipes, and i know they have to have more than that.

and so, i was forced to fall back on one of my favorite generic recipe search sites, cooksrecipes.com. and there i found this recipe, which is technically for an appetizer. but i think i can make them pop tart sized and it'll still work. and of course i'll add extra cheese so there's less complaining from the kiddies. add a veg on the side and it's an easy dinner.

if only everything in life was this easy to figure out.

January 16, 2012

happy tummy brunch

i made brunch yesterday. honestly, i've always liked brunch, but i've never made it before.

well technically, i'm sure i've made brunch sometime in my life. it's just been so long it seems like never.

and so i made brunch. and it was delicious. it was how i would love to eat in the morning every day. in truth, i'd love to eat brunch for dinner every night, but dear hubby doesn't like breakfast food for dinner. which is really crazy because he works at night and eating at night is his breakfast. sometimes i don't know why i married him. at least he shares my love of bacon and real maple syrup.

anyway, i have all these great recipes for brunch foods, so i thought it might be hard to pick what to make. really, it was easy once i thought a bit about it.

i was making brunch because of my love of breakfast. want to know what else i love? casseroles! so i made an egg and sausage casserole with lots and lots of cheese. i left out the peppers and onions it called for, because i knew everyone else wouldn't be a fan, but i was able to sneak in some garlic. seriously, i use garlic in just about everything. it ranks right up there with cinnamon and cumin as my all time favorite spices.

every year for christmas, my moms get fun and fancy foods as gifts. a few months ago i found some well past their expiration date, forgotten in the back of the cupboard. this year they got an assortment of jellies. there was apple butter and pumpkin butter and sweet potato butter, and there was no way i was going to let those go bad, hidden in obscurity. so, to showcase their deliciousness, i made scones. i also happened to have some orange ginger marmalade. i keep thinking how i should have made clotted cream, but there's always next time.

i also made cinnamon rolls (from a pop-tube i'm ashamed to admit). and of course we had orange juice and coffee.

all in all it was a lovely meal. i can't say that i'll make brunch every weekend, because i know i won't always have the time. but i'm thinking i will try again sometime very soon.

January 15, 2012

cats vs. dogs

i might have talked about this before. and really, anyone that knows me should not be surprised. i like cats. i like cats and do not like dogs. and i personally believe that everyone has a preference.

sure, there are those out there that have both cats and dogs, but i really believe that most people, if forced to make a choice, could make one. and yes, i realize that there are those that would pick a pet rock over either, being the lowest maintenance of all.

in my mind, dogs are so high maintenance.  they're like little kids, they need care and attention multiple times a day. but cats, cats are so much easier. you can actually leave a cat for a day or two and know it'll still be ok when you get back. if it wants love and attention it will find you. dogs will wag for anyone, but it's something more special if you can get a cat to purr.

hence, i like cats. i always have. since i was a little girl, i always wanted a cat. my father, who hated cats, said we weren't allowed to have pets we couldn't keep in a small container, so i ended up with hamsters and goldfish. eventually we got a dog, but i was never a fan. i wanted a cat.

eventually i got one. rather, my hubby, before we were married, bribed me into moving in with him by promising me he'd buy me a kitten (yes, i was easy back in the day). so even though he is definitely a dog person, he bought me the cutest little kitten. she was all black with a little white spot on her belly. i named her isis, after the egyptian goddess. and she was the best kitten in the whole world.

she used to meet me at the door when i would come home from work. and she'd lay on her back so i could stratch her belly. and she'd even come when i called her. she was so much like a dog, even dear hubby fell in love with her.

we had isis for years. when i had bumble, she was jealous and became more of an outside cat. then when i had lumpy, she became a cat that didn't want to come back in. after dealing with fleas and worms and three litters of kittens, we just couldn't afford to take care of her. and i had to give up my dear isis.

a few years went by, and things settled down. eventually i got another cat, an unwanted stray that was born in a wood pile. i let the boys help me name him, and being the little boys they were, they named him percy, after the little green #6 engine from thomas and friends.

being a stray born outside, you'd think he'd want to be an outside cat, but no, he was the laziest cat i've ever seen. fat and content, he never went outside. he was so docile, the boys used to use him as a pillow and he never scratched or ran away.

but then, like with isis, our little fishie came along, and we couldn't handle percy. i think it would have been ok if he would have gone outside and amused himself, but no, he was a lap cat. my lap cat. which doesn't work so well when you're trying to feed a baby. and somehow, strangely enough, he had a problem with fleas. he had them and we couldn't get rid of them and yet he never went outside!

in the end, i was forced to make a choice, again. and i gave percy away.

and now i don't have any pets.  the kids have goldfish, and my moms have two dogs and a very old cat. and sometimes i look at her cat and think how i want one of my own. my own little kitten to cuddle.

but first we need a house so i have a place to put a kitten in.

January 14, 2012

irresponsible or pointless? an update and something new!

i realized that i had never shared an update to this post. go read it if you haven't, i'll wait.

done? good. moving on....

so in the end, i did get lumpy a flu shot. honestly, i was still debating it, but when i had to go to the doctor's anyway, i figured while i was there i might as well. let me tell you, to a six year old, having a tick dug out of your neck and getting a shot makes it the worst doctor's appointment ever.

this week i came to realize i am very glad i did get dear lump a flu shot. as you might remember, my hubby went down with the flu earlier in the week. and for all the close contact we have, none of the kids got it. my moms didn't even get sick. i count my not getting sick on the kindness of the universe, because i didn't get a flu shot either. but still, everyone that is especially susceptible to getting sick did not.

though i have a theory about the flu and lumpy. he doesn't get the kind that affects the tummy. he only gets the kind that affects the chest and head, flu shot or no flu shot. still, if getting a shot can prevent me from having to deal with vomiting children, they're all getting shots every year.

the other update i'd like to share is that, since i made the original post, we have gone to see his pulmonary specialists. they ran their tests and his numbers are good. unfortunately, because it hasn't been cold enough this winter, there hasn't been a good hard freeze. and so there is still mold and spores and all those fun things that trigger a reaction in lumpy. so even though it's january, i still have to give him some of his extra meds. the ones he hates the taste of. the ones that really wind him up.

the thing that just breaks my heart through all of this is that we're not going to be able to ween him off his meds any time soon. he had done so well over summer, been so normal, his doctors and i were talking about, if he had a good fall, stopping his medicine over the next few months. it's what i was hoping would happen. and then the wet and the rain and the flooding all happened, and it was a bad fall. so i had to use his rescue inhaler and give him his extra just-in-case medicine.

and now we have to wait until his follow-up in six months to see if we can take a break over the summer again. there was no talk at this appointment about being able to stop his medicine, only that if he can keep his numbers up and his condition controlled we'd be able to switch to once a year checks instead of every six months.

i love my boy, but it just kills me to watch him now and to know what he could be like. how calm and normal and focused he could be. he's all hyper and wound up and there are so many times where i wish he had an off button, or just a mute button from his unceasing rambling.

all i can do now is just hope that one day he'll be ok enough to live medicine free. but first we need twelve good months. and that just seems impossible.

January 12, 2012

i am otaku

maybe it's because there is so much crap going on in my life at the moment. or maybe it's i'm stressing about all the crap i have no control over, all the things i want to happen, or not to happen, or wish would stop happening. there are days i wake up and ask the fates to be kind. but they in their mystical wisdom continue to give me trials to overcome.

so i'm turning my mind to happy thoughts. to this summer and all the things to look forward to. much is planned, with family and friends, but the one great distraction that has always been an obsession is otakon.

obsession is a great way to describe my relationship with otakon, as it derives from "otaku convention." and for those that don't know, an otaku is a fan obsessed (used in this context) with anime and manga, to the point where it takes over their life. it was originally a derogatory term, but true otaku have embraced that term as a badge of honor, setting up MAL accounts to compare their watch lists with other fans. they find fansubs of the latest and greatest not a day after the show airs in japan. their playlists are filled with j-pop and OP's and ED's. they are passionate and proud and a little off in the eyes of the rest of the world.

i will admit, i am not so over the top as all that. i follow along with the culture, but i'm seasons behind. i prefer dubs over subs. i'll wait for an american release. i like the style but don't loli it up in public. i wish i had the time to watch everyday. or the money to buy all the manga and dvds and figures that i love.

still, the last weekend in july, it's a magic time. away from my kiddies, i get to make my hubby's head spin. he never thought he'd get into it, and only went along last year to see and try to understand what i kept babbling about. and i was smart, i introduced him slowly, getting him to watch shows i knew he'd like. sadly most of those shows are shonen, but at least it's something.

and we took friends along, to show and to share. because it's always more fun in a group. and even those that have never watched an episode loved it. (or they marathoned "hetalia" on netflix as a crash course to the genre, and then went to panels by themselves and had a wonderful time.) and one day i hope to take my boys, because they love it as much as me. even lumpy can recognize that johnny young bosh is the voice of ichigo and bumble bee, which makes me the most proud ota-mom ever.

so i'm not in it as deep as some. but i'm sharing my love of the culture with others. and they, in turn, are telling their friends. and hopefully we can eventually spread the word to the masses.

because anime isn't porn, it's old school "transformers." and it isn't all drawn out fights that last 30 episodes like "dragon ball," it's shows like "nana" that are slice-of-life. and just because some of the most popular shows to crossover are aimed at kids ("pokemon" and "bakugan" and "beyblades") it doesn't mean there aren't epically gar shows like "gurren lagann" and "cowboy bebop" for adults.

i guess the reason i look forward to otakon so much, the reason i think about it months before it happens, is because there i feel free to be me. walking into the baltimore convention center, surrounded by thousands of people, i feel home. those people, they're my people, strange and quirky and passionate. and i know i don't really have to hide my love of anime throughout the rest of the year, but after awhile i get tired of defending myself to people who only know what the mass media has portrayed. and so i just wish july would hurry up and get here already.

January 11, 2012

you can't be made redundant if you're indispensable

my hubby was sick with the flu for the past few days. luckily he actually has come to the realization that he is a bear when it comes to being sick. when he goes down, he goes down hard. so, instead of sitting in the living room with the rest of us, he hid in our room and all i had to do is keep him stocked with crackers and gatorade.

he's now feeling better, thankfully, but we had been talking about being sick. he kept saying, as i was making dinner and helping with homework and chasing fish around, how he would trade with me if i wanted. how he was totally willing to let me be sick so he could get back to his job.

it got me thinking about how lucky he his. while he was sick, he emailed his boss and said that he wasn't going to be able to go to work. i, on the other hand, don't have a boss. in point of fact, i am my own boss, and the boss of everyone else all at the same time. i can't just call in sick if i don't feel good. if i get sick, everything stops unless someone is there to pick up the slack.

not that i'm saying i want to get sick, but there are days i would like a day off. i don't get sick leave, i don't get vacations, i don't get time off, paid or otherwise.

on the plus side, i can't get fired, no matter how badly i mess up.

January 9, 2012

how much help is too much?

bumble is only in second grade, but he recently had to do a report on a famous american. now, he didn't have to write pages of a report, he just had to come up with 10 important facts and then do a speech about it with a visual aid. he's getting graded on facts, neatness, and being able to read loudly and clearly, among other things.

he was assigned thomas edison, which i think was a great person for him to have to study. thomas edison is all about genius being hard work and stick-to-it-iveness, which are all things that bumble really needs help with.

he has always struggled in school with various things. we held him back from starting kindergarten because he was lacking some of the social skills of other kids his age. now, he's slowly catching up socially, with much help from his guidance counsellor, but he still lacks some of the acedemic skills. he went through a special program in kindergarten to help with reading and phonics. now he works with a speech therapist and an occupational therapist (to help with his writing and fine motor skills) and a special reading teacher.

one thing all of people he works with have said, from his regular teachers to his "special helpers," is that he is a joy to work with. he always tries to hard, and he loves to learn new things. his difficulty has always been that he doesn't pick up new skills as quickly as other kids. school will always been something he has to work hard at, and i really hope that he doesn't lose his love of learning.

all of this brings me back to the report he had to do. the paper the teacher sent home explaining the  project specifically said that the kids were supposed to put the facts in their own words. they were supposed to complete it mostly by themselves, with minimal help from parents.

i have to admit, i did most of the research. i found and printed out a bunch of websites worth of facts, and then i read them over to bumble. if i hadn't, if i had made him read the information himself, he never would have finished. i did work with him to understand the information, and to pick out what he thought were the most important facts. then i made him write all of the facts out as sentences in his own words, though i had to help a lot with grammar and spelling and the direction of a 'b' versus a 'd'. for his visual aid, we made a poster of important inventions. as in, i drew everything in pencil and i let him trace it with a sharpie.

after all of that, i just made him practice over and over again. he got tired of reading over all of his facts constantly, but electricity and kinetoscope and phonograph are very difficult words for him to pronounce properly.

and now i sit here worrying how he did. i helped him as much as i thought i should, though i know i could have done more. i kept thinking how he lacks skills that his classmates possess, and he really needed the extra help. still, i think that maybe i helped him too much, that i should have made him try to do more himself, so when he does well, he really he gets a better sense of accomplishment.

i know, as he goes further in his scholastic career, i'll face these tough choices more often. and eventually i have an awful feeling that i'll have to explain to him why it's not a big deal when his younger brother passes him in abilities.

i love my bumble, just like i love all my children. but with him it's different. he's so sweet and innocent, i so want the best for him. i want him succeed and accomplish everything he sets out to do. but mostly i don't want him to be frustrated by failure or overwhelmed by neigh-sayers. i want to protect him but i want to watch him grow and thrive.

being a mommy is tough sometimes.

January 6, 2012

new years resolutions

first off, before some of you think that i'm a little late in jumping on the new years resolution band wagon, i'm not. yes, i know, everybody who's anybody has already talked about all the good they're going to do and all the things they're going to change. most people also did a year-end wrap up in december, but i don't really go in for that either.

personally, i wait to really talk about my resolutions until at least a week into the new year. sure, i think about them for awhile, all the things i didn't like about last year, and what i can do to change them, and that's how i come up with what my resolutions are going to be for the coming year. but i wait to actually talk about them for a little bit. that way, if i try and fail in the first week, no one else needs to know about it.

it makes it sound like i can actually stick to the things i set out to do, as opposed to what usually happens, which is that i come up with about fifty different things i really want to try and do and change, and then by the end of the first week i've given up on most of them.

this list is what remains, a hard boiled version of my new years resolutions, short, sweet, and (hopefully) do-able:

1. blog more... because i had been doing really well, then this place started looking pretty sad. so far so good.

2. tweet more... not that i have many (hardly any) followers. but tweeting gives me the freedom to ramble in manageable chunks without taking over facebook news feeds.

3. eat healthier... this is sort of the generic lose weight/get in shape resolution everybody makes. only i've decided to make baby steps. so more fruit and veg and less junk. i think i can do this.

4. be more sociable... i hope to get out more with people and do things. or at least start talking to the parents at lumpy's cubscout meeting, instead of pretending i'm invisible.

5. finish the things i start, and not give up half-way through just because things get hard... you know, like these resolutions.

really, that's it. yeah, there are a few personal resolutions i made, ones that i'm not going to talk about here. but really, for me, four is a manageable list. five is something i can accomplish. maybe i'll give updates throughout the year to let you know how i do.

unless i give up halfway through, again.

happy birthday with not-cake

so tuesday was my hubby's birthday. i'd say that he turned into an old man, but he's always been an old man in the eyes of most. even when we first met, he had the mindset of someone in their 40's, not 20's. and yet i still married him.

anyway, i always try to do something special for his birthday. i always try to do something special for all of my family on their birthdays. even if we have a real party for them someday, on their actual birth date i at least try to make them a favorite meal and special dessert. for my hubby that meant hard fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. hard fried chicken as in extra dark and crispy, not difficult. at this point in my life, i have made fried chicken so much that i can fry like any good southern lady. my biscuits aren't too bad either.

the fried chicken really was the easy part, because i knew that's exactly what he would want for his birthday meal. that or a pot roast, but i didn't feel like making him a special birthday dinner just to have the kids sit there and complain how gross it is. kind of makes it less special that way. so with dinner all set, i was left to figure out what i was going to make him for dessert.

my hubby is not a cake person. he'll eat it, and there are certain kinds i make he actually asks for, but by and large he enjoys pie much more. i considering making him a chocolate peanut butter pie, because if we're ever out that's what he'd order. or possible an apple, because that would have been the easiest, simply because this past fall i had made a bunch and they were stashed in the freezer. but instead i made him something i normally make at thanksgiving, something i didn't make this year because i had no hand in making any part of thanksgiving. something he hasn't had in a very long time, that i know he'd love but hasn't even thought to ask for.

i made him a pecan pie.

and it wasn't just any pecan pie. it was a twist on my mommom's most awesome pecan pie. the recipe i had to fight for. which is kind of sad considering she just uses the one printed on the karo syrup label.

of course, i add my own special touches. like i don't use all dark corn syrup, i always add in some molasses for something that's sweet and flavorful, not just super sweet. and i always chop the pecans, because i find that's it's too hard to cut the pie if they're left whole. and i usually add a little extra vanilla, because the molasses needs it.

one thing i did wrong this time around was i rolled the crust too thin. as the pie cooked, the syrup boiled through the crust and stuck to the pan. so the pie was delicious, but almost impossible to get out.

still, it was a great surprise for my hubby. and i know he enjoyed it. and he enjoyed the pumpkin pie i made for fun. it was especially fun because i wrote out "happy birthday" in homemade whipped cream on top. my boys thought that was a really nice touch.

all in all it was a very good meal. now i just need to start planning for the next big birthday party. my dear mother turns into a really old lady this year. but i think i've already figured out exactly what kind of cake to make for her. and it doesn't involve snickers this year.

January 5, 2012

onward ever onward

"i just don't want to do this anymore."

long long ago, in a far away place, that phrase was something i uttered all the time. and then thing got better. and stayed better, for awhile. now i find myself saying that phrase again. mostly under my breath.

though most did not know me then, and did not understand what i meant by that back then, today i mean something very different. still, then as now, even though i might say that often, it doesn't mean i'm going to give up.

i might sigh and shrug, but i'll keep going on and on. because i know my place. and i know my responsibilities. i know what i'm supposed to do to keep the great cog turning. i won't let people down, just because i hate this with an all-consuming passion. even though i feel like i'm dying inside some days, that this is all just breaking me down and turning me into something i hate, i will keep moving things forward. because this is life as i know it. and one thing i know for absolute certainty is that this is all temporary.

this will all get better. i just have to keep struggling forward, continue with the day to day grind, and eventually i will be able to come out the other side. sadly, it's not to say that i can do any more than what i am to help forward progress. or that there is anything i can change to affect the situation for the better. most of this is out of my control. which is why i'm forced to keep my head down and just keep plodding along.

and always keep in the back of my mind that this too shall pass.