Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving

This was the first Thanksgiving since I got married 15 years ago that I spent Thanksgiving without going to Dave's family's house for dinner.  His sister was going out of town so we went to her house the weekend before.  Julie has been hosting since she got married and got a house big enough for all of us to fit.  I am thankful that she is willing to do it since she has a great space and toys for the kids.  I am also thankful because she is a great cook.  She watches the cooking shows for fun.  I have to say that is not my favorite form of entertainment. 

Things were looking a bit dicey when Colin started to throw up on Sunday.  His throat was sore and he had a headache.  Classic strep throat symptoms.  I was horrified because Julie was getting ready to leave for Disney and I was sure I had infected her children.  Monday morning comes and we schlep down to the doctor.  Not only did Colin not have strep, it ends up that he has mono.  On the one hand I was relieved that I did not have to call Julie and break the news that her trip was doomed, but on the other hand I was so upset that Colin was going to be sick for an extended time.  I have had mono twice and have vivid memories of being so sick in a college final that one of my classmates since first grade filled in C for the last 10 questions and helped me get out of the classroom. I had put my head down on my desk to reach into my backpack and fell asleep.   It took me an hour to get back to my dorm room which was usually a 10 minute stroll, and I called Mary Beth to come get me.  She and my dad had to pack up my dorm room while I slept in the back seat of the car.  I slept for the next month. 

Colin laid low for the next few days and was able to rise to the occasion and even played some Wii with his cousins.  We were able to go to Mary Beth's house for dinner and had a lovely day.  I was thankful to have some of my favorite foods that we only eat on holidays.  We had yum yum salad, aka magic pudding, great rolls, and even the dreaded green jello.  You know the one that has shredded carrots and celery that seems to turn up at any pot luck dinner.  I didn't actually eat the green jello, but nothing says "holiday" better than veggies suspended in green goo. 

My favorite part of the holiday is Black Friday shopping with my mom and sisters.  Sometimes we have things we have to get, but this time I was along for the ride.  It is a great day without any kids and with the whole day spent with four of my favorite people.  Often times we buy more for ourselves than any gifts, but why not?  We are worth it.  We are not the crazy people that feel the need to pepper spray people to get a video game.  In fact, we are not usually there for that.  We start at 6a.m.  and literally shop till we drop.  There is lunch involved, and usually breakfast, too.  I had a Coke, and it was delicious. 

Colin is still not feeling well, but I hope he will be back in full swing by Christmas.  That is what I will be asking for.  Okay, that and a Kindle Fire.  And peace on earth and good will toward men. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Frustration

Lets review.  Almost eight weeks ago I stopped drinking soda.  (It is called pop here, but when I posted that I wanted a pop on Facebook, about 10 people thought I said I really wanted to poop, so, henceforth it will be called soda or a Coke.)  Two weeks ago I stopped eating dairy and wheat.  I have been exercising about twice a week.  I would not say that it is enough exercise to cause a huge build-up of muscle mass. 

Can someone please explain to me why I have not lost one pound?  I don't need to lose a lot of weigh.  Heck, if I could just redistribute where it sits, most notably on my waist, I would be happy.  I really just want to be healthy.  Mostly I am getting mad. 

That is all for now.  My paying gig is getting really busy so when I have a few minutes I will tell you how our Thanksgiving went with my crazy diet and my 11 year old son having mono.  It was better than it sounds. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

What to Eat Now...

I might have mentioned that I am going to a holistic chiropractor lately.  I have been feeling better, but I am still bitter about not drinking pop.  It has been six weeks and I have only faltered three times.  I really miss carbonation.  In the meantime, I saw they raised the price of a Polar Pop to $.69.   It is too rich for my blood now. 

So I went back to the chiropractor earlier this week and mentioned that my stomach was really hurting me.  She did this test to see what foods I am "sensitive" to.  Here was what she wants me to stop eating for three weeks.  Did I mention that Thanksgiving is in this time period?

Dairy
Wheat/flour
MSG
Sugar
Splenda
Garlic
Nightshades (?)
-tomato
-potato
-peppers
-eggplant
-acai
-tobacco

Short of eggplant, acai, and tobacco, this is pretty much all I eat.  Did I also mention that I am allergic to tree nuts?  A lot of the things that are substitutes for dairy or wheat are nuts. 

I have figured that I can eat carrots, celery, rice, meat and water.  There is a whole lifestyle diet called the Paleo diet.  That basically means that you eat like the cavemen did. If you want more information you can find it here.   I thought that eggs were considered dairy, but not in this diet.  Go figure. 

I am not sure this is a lifestyle I can embrace.  At least not during the week of Thanksgiving. I have been on it for two days now and I really miss Goldfish crackers and cereal.  I will keep you posted. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lights

Did any of you happen to catch Diane Sawyer's interview with Gabby Giffords?  I wish I had taped it.  I am, of course, amazed at the progress she has made in recovering from getting shot in the head at what is basically point blank range.  I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to know what you want to say but have something completely different come out. 

What impresses me more is the relationship she has with her husband.  I know that NASA looks for a few good men, but come on, not only can he drive a space shuttle, he can completely love and honor his wife who has been so injured.  I love the way he looks at her when she is talking.  I love the patience he has shown as she is going through her recovery.  I love the encouragement he is giving her.  I wonder what would happen if it was Dave that was injured. Lets face it.  I have never been known to possess this thing they call patience.   Would I be able to do the same for him?  I think I would fair better if he had to take care of me.

We also have some friends who had a baby that was born with a rare genetic disease that was not detected until she was born.  They have been a true example of working together in good times and bad.  Their baby is currently undergoing treatment to have a bone marrow transplant and she is not even four months old.  I continue to be amazed at how well they are working together under tremendous pressure.  It is like watching a diamond being born.  They were a good couple before, but now their relationship is sparkling.  Would Dave and I hold up under that pressure?  I hope to God that I never have to find out. 

Finally, we have some friends where the husband was suffering from kidney disease.  On Monday Trina donated a kidney to Kevin.  Not only are they a perfect match in marriage, but she was the perfect donor as well.  They are both doing well.  I would like to think that if someone needed my kidney that I would be brave enough to do it.  I worry that I am too selfish or cowardly to do it.  If it was for one of my kids it would be a no brainer, but they are part of me. 

All of these people are amazing in their own right.  Put them together and I have my own personal inspiration wall.  I like to think that I live my life doing the right thing.  I like to think that Dave and I are strong in our relationship and faith in each other, and  I like to think that I am willing to go the extra mile.  I think deep in my heart I have doubts.  Like I said before, I pray that I am never faced with these decisions. At the same time I am praying that I really am the person I think I am.  My thanks and continued hope for good outcomes for all of my examples.  You are all bright lights showing me the way. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Middle

Have any of you seen the TV show "The Middle"?  It comes on right before "Modern Family".  I swear that show could be about my life on so many levels that while it makes me laugh out loud every week, it also makes me cringe. 

Lets start with the daughter Sue.  She is a freshman in high school and has to be the dorkiest kid in America.  I was her 20 years ago.  I was trying so hard to find my place, and truthfully, I think my place was in college because I am not sure I ever fit in during High School.  I had a bad perm, braces, and the worst glasses known to man.  I am sure you remember the kind where the sides came out of the bottom of the frames a la Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie". 


In fact, if you made this perm frizzier, added some acne and braces, this could have been me.  I had a group of friends that made it livable, but it was not the best time in my life. 


Then you have Patricia Heaton that is the mom.  This is my life now.  She is at the end of her rope trying to hold it together but is clearly white knuckling it through by the skin of her teeth.  (I only wish I could have found a way to add one more cliche to that sentence.)  She is trying to make everything nice for everyone around her and is failing miserably, and in the process it is making her crazy.   


The rest of the family could represent my family now.  Two boys that are completely different and a husband that is trying his hardest to help the mom keep it together.  You have got to watch this show and let me know what you think.  If you have already watched it, tell me which episode is your favorite.  I would have a hard time picking.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Conversations

I asked Colin if he would play with Ryan this afternoon because he is driving me nuts.  This is the conversation that followed.  I have asked Colin's permission to post this.

Colin: I don't want to play with Ryan because he won't do the tutoral (TU-tor-al).

Me:  What is a tutoral?

Colin:  You know, the tutoral.

Me:  I have never heard of a tutoral.

Colin:  You know, like at the beginning of a game?

Me:  (Keep in mind that I do not play xbox and I wasn't really paying attention.)  No Colin, I don't know what you are talking about.

Colin:  you know, at the beginning of the game when they tell you how to play the game....

Me:  OOOOHHHH, you mean the tutorial?

Colin:  No, the TU - TOR - AL.  That is the right way to say it, at least it is in the dictionary. 

Me:  Honey, it is pronounced tu-TOR-eee-al. 

Colin:  no its not.

Me:  Go ask Daddy.

Dave confirmed that I was right. 

God bless Colin.  I am proud that he looked it up in the dictionary.   As long as he does not have to play with Ryan he is a great kid. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Really?

An Open Letter to the Lady Smoking at the Gas Station:

Have you ever read the warnings when you are pumping gas?  The very first one is "No smoking or open flames." Have you ever wondered why they put that on everything around a gas station?  It is that gas is highly flammable and is likely to EXPLODE!

I have worked very hard to attain my very boring life.  I have two kids that like having me for a mother, and a husband that likes having me as a wife.  I also have 20+ relatives that kind of enjoy having me in their life, and that is just my car.  There were five other cars at the pumps at what could easily have been at ground zero. 

Perhaps you could wait the five minutes it takes to pump your gas to light a new cigarette.  I know I would really appreciate not getting on the front page of the paper or the headline story on the news tonight. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

I like watching the Biggest Loser.  I hate that beeping noise when they are weighing the people.  I have to record it and fast forward to avoid 20 minutes of it.

Colin couldn't talk to our neighbor at school because she was surrounded by her "girl posse".  Sixth grade is so hard. 

Ryan had a project for school that was to disguise a turkey so it could make it through Thanksgiving.  It was supposed to reflect something about our family.  After much discussion we decided that it should be a leprechaun because we are Irish.  I was trying to convince him it needed a pot 'o gold and a rainbow and he wasn't hearing any of it.  Finally in exasperation I asked him why not.  He said he wanted him to be a ghost.  I realize that our home is guarded by the spirit of Uncle Joe, but I think that might be taking it too far.  Then again, it was his project, why did I care so much? 

I have a new guilty pleasure called Long Island Medium.  It is on TLC on Sunday night right after Sister Wives.  (That is another guilty pleasure.  I just can't look away from that.  I think the idea of Brother Husbands would be interesting.)  Long Island Medium is crazy.  She is the stereotypical Long Island woman with long nails, bleached blond hair and is sooooo loud.  On top of that, she is compelled to walk up to strangers and to give them a reading.  I am telling you, you have to take the time to check this out. 

Can you believe the Duggars are on #20?  I think Michelle thinks her body is a clown car.

A bottle of Pine Sol spilled under my kitchen sink.  The smell is overwhelming and is making my stomach hurt. 

Our school levy passed!  I am so excited for our city. 

I have switched from being a long time "Today" show watcher to being a GMA watcher.  I love Anne Currey, but she is not a great anchor.  I felt as if I was cheating on them when I switched, but Lara Spencer is great!

I am sad that Regis is moving on.  I enjoy the banter with Kelly and think that they have an amazing relationship.  That chemistry is going to be hard to replace. 

That is all for now.  Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Rant

Tonight I was cooking dinner when Kate and her friend Seth came to my door to tell me how horrible Ohio is with Coal Pollution and don't I think this is horrible?  She asked this as if she was asking if beating a child is horrible.  She then revealed that she is with the Ohio Citizen Action. 

I am all for a clean environment.  I am happy to sign your petition to pledge my support.  I am even happy to go as far write a letter to my senator if you only tell me which one you would like to target.  What I am not happy to do is to be bullied into giving you money.  This was our conversation. 

Me:  I am cooking dinner.  Can we please cut to the chase and tell me if I can sign your petition without giving a donation. 

Kate:  Would you like to do a check or credit card?

Me:  I am so sorry, we are very involved in Relay For Life and give all our monetary donations to them.

Kate:  We are looking for a household donation of $37.00.  Can you meet or beat that?

Me:  No

Kate:  My smallest donation yesterday was $2 in quarters.  Can you meet or beat that?

Me:  No

Kate:  It will really put some weight behind your signature if you contribute with a donation as well.

Me:  No

Kate:  Can I ask you to write a letter? 
Me:  Sure.  Do you have some information so I can send an intelligent letter?

Kate:  (as she hands me a paper)  It works the best if it is handwritten and put in an addressed envelope.

Me:  Doesn't it have to be in an addressed envelope to get to the Senator?

Kate:  If you have it written by 8:30 and tape it to your door, I will be back to pick it up so it can be sent in bulk.  Can you have it written by then?

Me: Sure

Kate:  How about that donation?

Me:  I shut the door. 

Here is my beef with this.  I did not have to justify my choice to not donate.  I did anyway.  Accept my decision and take what I am willing to give you.  We live in a city that is not willing to give an extra $5.00 a week to pass a school levy.  I sure as hell am not going to give my money to you.  Also, before I give you that much money, I want to make sure your organization is using the money wisely.  The American Cancer Society uses 93 cents of every dollar on research or programs to help the people affected by this disease.  Plus, how do I know that your lobbying efforts are in my best interest as we are looking at all alternate energy sources. 

In short, respect my time and answers or get the heck off my porch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Round-up

So Dave was sick last week which is really unusual.  He had all the symptoms of Strep Throat without actually having it.  He came home on Wednesday and looked horrible.  This put a damper on any plans we would have had since his throat was still sore on Saturday.  We most likely would not have done anything anyway because I had a dinner party with the girls on Saturday night.

This dinner party was rescheduled from when I had strep last month.  It is always so much fun to meet up with Kellie and Lynn from the 40th Birthday Trip.  The dinner club also has Mary who is Lynn's sister and Meg who was Lynn's friend, but is now friends with all of us.  These dinners are always so much fun and my face hurts from laughing when I go home.  It kind of leaves me with an identity crisis as these people remember me at my most horrifying self, but have now seen me at what I hope is getting to be closer to my best.  There is nothing quite like having someone tell you how great you are and then in the next sentence tell you that they remember when it seemed like your legs came out of your head which was capped with a really bad perm, glasses and a mouth full of braces. 

On Sunday we went to the Cleveland Legofest.  It was not what I expected, but I am not sure what I was expecting.  All it was was a bunch of Lego's.  If you were in the 12 and under set you enjoyed it.  For those of us in the 40 and over set, it was a big rip-off.  There was an area where you could make a car and then race it down a track.  There was a city that was built by the master builders where you could build other things to into it.  The boys both made a boat.  As soon as you walked away a woman would come by and take your creation away.  My favorite part was called the Mystery Mosaic.  They gave each of us a 2" x 2" tile that had different colors on it and then we had to match those up to the Lego's on the table.  Then you took your square and helped to place it in the big mosaic.  One of them was the landscape of Cleveland and the second one was the different characters in Lego video games. 

After we were done with the Logos we went to get something to eat at Bob Evans.  (Ryan insists that it should be called Bob Ebans.)  As we came out a man approached us and told us that he was out of gas and he forgot his wallet.  Could we please lend him some money to get some gas so he could get home.  I gave him some money and Dave thought I was crazy.  I ask you, would you have given him the money?  Incidentally, he did go to the gas station.  I feel like I paid into the Karma bank with it.  I hope one day if I need help someone will help me.  You know, the whole do unto others as you will have them do unto you. 

It was a fine weekend as far as they go.  We made some memories for the boys and spent time together as a family.  Really, what more can you ask for? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reaffirming Decisions

Ryan is in kindergarten and there are so many opportunities to volunteer in the classroom compared to the sixth grade.  In middle school they are just as happy that you aren't there.  Since I have some flexibility in my paying job I am helping out for one hour a week on Fridays.  There have been times in my life where I have wondered if I made a mistake by not being a teacher instead of going into sales.  Today I am confident that my decision to get a business degree was, in fact, a good one. 

It is not that the kids were bad.  A bit loud, but what does one expect when there are 20 kids in one room during snack time.  It is not that the kids weren't cute.  In fact, a few of them melted my heart.  The emotions they have are so genuine and on the surface.  They so want to have your attention and love that they will do almost anything to get it. 

I think the thing that makes me crazy is that there is constant motion and energy.  It is as if you are sitting on a bomb and if you make one false move it will erupt into a ball of chaos that will never be under control again.  Ryan's teacher has been teaching for 20+ years and was immune to it.  I could never be. 

Tonight Ryan and I went to the family dance and basket raffle at his school.  Dave is sick so he didn't have to endure the bedlam that ensued.  If I had any doubts after this morning they were shattered this evening.   Did you know that small kids equate dancing to running and tackling?  They also think that screaming is the only acceptable form of communication.  Combine that with the DJ and it was a recipe for pandemonium. 

There will be a special place in heaven for people that can be elementary school teachers, most of whom truly love what they do.  I am grateful for people that have that special talent and character.  I am also grateful that God saw fit to lead me down a different path.    I have faith that he knew I didn't have it in me. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How About Those Apples

As I have mentioned about 100 times, I have given up pop and most processed sugar.  Okay, except for the five candy bars I had today.  The kids shouldn't have left it on the kitchen counter if they didn't want me to eat it.  I had to sample one of each kind.  Can you believe that they hardly got any Reece's Peanut Butter Cups?  Anyway, in place of donuts and cookies I have been eating fruits, mainly apples, bananas and grapes. 

When we were little we lived in a neighborhood where most of the people that lived there built their houses.  There were three houses on the street that had kids, and the rest had grandkids that would come visit.  In one of those houses lived Mrs. Harmon.  How do I tell you what she meant to me?  First, she was the person that watched my sisters when my parents went to the hospital to have me. I have known her literally since the day I was born.   She was as close to a grandparent that I had after all of mine had passed away.  I could go down to her house to "talk politics" with her.  She would listen to me talk for however long I wanted, and she never once made me feel like I was wasting her time or that she had something better to do. 

If we had a problem, we could call her at any time and she would do her best to help us.  We called her once to find out how to get black grease out of our brand new carpet.  She found a way.  She would encourage us to drive her car when she would be out of town so the battery wouldn't die.  I am pretty sure it wouldn't have had a problem for the two weeks she was in Texas visiting her real grandkids. She knew the competition for a car in a house with four girls.   In short, she would have done just about anything for us.  She had an amazing laugh that I can still hear today.  Her smile was infectious and she had an energy that made anyone around her feel warm.  We were loved.

The other thing that Mrs. H had was an apple orchard in her back yard.  We would play outside all day in the summer and if we got hungry we would grab an apple or two.  We would run down to her house before the bus came and grab one for our lunch.  As I have been eating these apples the last few weeks I think of her every time.  I was so lucky to have her in my life, and I still feel loved every time I eat one.  Thanks Sherri and Melissa for sharing her with us.   She was loved very much.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Wrap-up

It is not a secret that I am not the biggest fan of Halloween.  When I was little it fell during the height of allergy season and I was usually too sick to go trick or treating, or one of my sisters were and we would carry an extra bag for her.  People that didn't know us really well would think we were just trying to get extra candy.  I am also the youngest of four kids so it seemed like I was always getting the costumes that were on the edge of death, and not in a good halloweeny way.  I am sure that this is not the case, but I had youngest kid syndrome. 

Since Halloween was a big deal for Dave's family growing up, and I want my kids to have all the experiences youth has to offer, I try to make the effort for the kids.  Each year I let the kids pick their ideal costumes, and if I can get it at a reasonable price I will do it. 

This year Colin decided he wanted to be a Tootsie Roll.  Have we established that I am not the crafty mom?  In case we haven't, I am not that mom, in fact, I am the antithesis of that mom, but I was up to the challenge. 

I went to the fabric store and scouted out my options and decided that felt was the way to go.  $7 later and I was on my way.  It might be a good time to point out that I went to the store right after the step class.  My face was as red as the red felt that I needed for the costume. 

I made the costume while Dave took the boys to get their hair cut.  I measured the black felt and made sure that it was not too long for Colin so he wouldn't step on it.  I sewed the white and red stripes together and then sewed them on the black.  Here is where it proves that I am not the crafty mom.  I didn't take into account that this would add about 10 total inches to the length of the costume making it about 4.5 feet tall.  Colin is around 5 feet tall and I hadn't sewn on the straps yet.  Heck, Dave would have been too short for it.  It would have fit Shaquille O'Neal.  I cut it apart and took out a big chunk and then took an inch off the top and the bottom and started again.  Some blood (I stuck my finger with a pin, and Max got in the way) sweat, and swearing later, and this is what we ended with:



After all that work I have to say that I am pretty happy with the result.  It is adjustable so Colin could wear his heavy coat.  (It was freezing here, as usual.) It will also be the go-to costume for any time I have to dress up in the future.  Maybe I should also take this time to tell you how much I hate to dress up.  You will have to take my word for it that Colin was cute since I am still resolved not to post any pictures of my kids faces on this blog. 


Now on to Thanksgiving.  Food and Family is a holiday I can get behind!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Step II

So, I went back to step aerobics class again, and again have lived to tell about it.  There is no question that I have little to no coordination.  This time we had a new teacher and I was kind of excited.  This woman did not look like someone that should be leading a step class because she had a little bit of heft to her.  I was wrong.  This woman had it going on.  Halfway through she said, "You in the back, you have to learn your feet before you learn your arms."  That wasn't one bit humiliating.

I missed Zumba class because of the Halloween parties and now I am volunteering on Fridays for Ryan's class so I am going to have to limit it to Tuesdays at 6:30.  Starting next week.