Archive for ◊ December, 2007 ◊

29 Dec 2007 2007

will end in a flurry.  Just as life always is around here.  Family is coming by tomorrow, a little unexpectedly, so we’ll end up hosting a decent sized gathering at our house (even though I admit I’m desperate for peace, but not willing to say no on this one).  New Year’s Eve will be consumed with last minute things, running the girls to Grandma for THEIR date night so Eric and I can have one of our own and before I know it, it will be Wednesday and Eric will be back at work and the holiday season will be over.

Emily will still be off until Monday the 7th.  I’ll take down some Christmas things.  Our Tree will come down Sunday the 6th, the last day of Epiphany and I’ll probably be ready to do so.  Over the course of January, things will come down and go away, but slowly, leaving only the snow flakes that are hanging over our dining room table as a reminder of opulence of Christmas (and it should be a time of great celebration).

But now, 2007 is winding down.  Over the years, I’ve talked about our year Sometimes with fondness and sometimes without it I don’t know how I would rate this year, really, or know how to reflect on it. It’s been a REALLY confusing year for me. For me, I’ve somehow been able to separate, really, what has really become two facets of my life. My Mom and then all the rest of it.

The part with my Mom should be plainly obvious.

The rest though? What a ride. I’ve struggled, for sure, with the demands of parenthood. I’ve struggled to keep up with Emily while having to nurture a baby that sometimes demanded more of me than I felt at times I could give. I’ve felt torn so many times, trying to find the way to best divide myself amongst those who most needed me. I know people got the short end of the stick sometimes (and probably still are) and balance is often times difficult, but still a work in progress.

But despite all of that we had moments, these incredible, incredible moments that in the midst of them I stopped at thought this is IT. This is the stuff you WAIT for to happen, that you LONG for. Beautiful incredible moments with my girls that, I swear, you would see in a movie. Connections with my husband that took my breath away, great times with family and friends with so much laughter that I walked away with my stomach hurting and my cheeks sore. Despite the sadness of Spring, I still had so much good stuff this year that it’s just not possible to not be thankful for it.

Kindness

Friendship

Love

Generosity

Despite so much sadness, we were given, in my opinion just enough happiness to tip the balance and overall we’ve had a very good year. So, to all of you, I wish you a happy and peaceful 2008.

27 Dec 2007 I’m sorry…
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….if there were things I didn’t ask that I should have.  Things you wanted to say if I had just given you an invitation to do so.  Part of it just didn’t occur to me.  I just didn’t think you COULD die.  It wasn’t an option.  We had things to do and places to go.  You were too young and wasn’t there just one more thing they could do?  Wasn’t there something else?  Didn’t you feel just a little bit better?  Didn’t your appetite come back?  Weren’t you gaining weight?  Couldn’t they just do one more surgery?

Wasn’t there just anything else?

Some things, I just didn’t want to know.  I didn’t want to think of you fragile and vulnerable.  You were the one who always had the answers.  You were the one I would always call when things just weren’t working out.  You knew what to do and what to say and I just didn’t want to know what must have been inside of your head.  My mind wouldn’t go there.  It couldn’t go there.  Of course we’d had some rough times.  Of course you hurt, but wasn’t it possible that things would be better next month?  What about next year? 

I’m sorry if I missed something I should have caught.  I was wrapped in so many things; my life, my kids and the plain fact that I just didn’t want to believe that the worst was possible.  I was afraid to even let the thought form in my mind.  I didn’t want it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I wanted you to be better so much that I rejected ideas that indicated you weren’t going to be.  I refused to Google Melanoma because I didn’t want to know anything about it; the prognosis, the time, the progression.  I didn’t want to tick off stages on my fingers.  I wanted false hope.  I wanted to believe you’d just always be there because there was where you were supposed to be.  I couldn’t hear the implications that were being made because I didn’t want to hear them.

They’re sending me for a trail didn’t mean to me that they were out of conventional things to do for you, it meant they were trying something else.

The chemo isn’t working?  Can’t they try another one?

I wanted to believe, with child like fervor, that these were just bumps in the road and in no time (a week?  A month?  A year?  Another surgery? Another round of chemo?) that you’d be the same.  That you would recover.  Maybe you’d go back to work.  You could do that?  Right?  If you got better?  If you wanted to.  Maybe you could just go back part time?  Or on a casual basis?  As soon as you felt a little better.  It never occurred to me.  Never ever occurred to me that you’d never do that again.

I hope I didn’t appear insensitive.   It wasn’t my intention.  I wanted you to feel normal.  I wanted you to have hope.  To feel happy.  To feel like you used to.  I wanted your maladies to be due to normal things; colds, sinus drainage, stomach bugs.  Not cancer.  I didn’t want you to have cancer.  I loved you so much that I didn’t want that idea to enter my mind.  I didn’t want to label it cancer.  You couldn’t have cancer.  Tumor was easier.  Tumor could be a lot of things not related to cancer.  I liked that word better, accurate and denying, all at the same time.

I read this blog  tonight and I realize there are so much ways I might have been remiss, but I loved you so much I wouldn’t conceive of it.  If I denied things hard enough, they couldn’t over take you.  I’d put up my force field, I’d don my super hero cape.  I’d turn our backs to the things I didn’t want you to face and it would be enough.  We’d shun it.  Wouldn’t that make it go away?  If we said loud enough that we didn’t want it, that we didn’t have TIME for it or ROOM for it.  That we had Things To Do?

That didn’t work, though, and I’m in the unfortunate position of missing you.  I hope I did enough.  I hope you knew that the times I was denying wasn’t because I didn’t care, it was because I couldn’t accept them because of you.

24 Dec 2007 Merry Christmas!
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In about five minutes, I’ll be shutting the computer down.  I’ll be finishing up a little bit of cooking and loading my girls into their matching pajamas.  I’ll be spending time with my darling little family and some very dear friends who have grown exceedingly close to us over the year.

I just got back from church.  It was super crowded, but I’m so grateful that we were led there.  It felt like coming home and with it we are growing in faith.

I was afraid that I would meloncholoy about Christmas this year, missing my Mom and all, and aside from a total aversion to the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” which has gone from being an okay song to “oh dear God don’t play that song!”, I feel content.  Really.  My girls are so excited.  Cadence opened her first present this morning on her own; her Christmas pajamas and I have that happy feeling in my heart that everything is right with the world.

And in a bit, I’ll go upstairs and turn 24 hours of a Christmas Story on the t.v. because that’s a Christmas Eve tradition I have that no one else shares.  And I’ll read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and probably cry through The Polar Express, because that’s what I do.

There have been ups and downs this year and I miss my Mom every day, but I can state without adding anything else to the statement, that I am HAPPY.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  <3

19 Dec 2007 My Litte Faith
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I have this little Faith.  Don’t think I got one because the kids wanted one or because everyone else had a Faith. I picked this one out on my own.  It’s kind of like the Faith I had when I was a child, but I’m better at handling my Faith now, so while the Faith is sort of the same, our relationship is different.

Most of the time, my Faith and me get along fine.  I like having it around.  It’s warm and comforting.  It’s familiar.  It’s a nice companion.  It gets along great with the kids.  With my little Faith, I’m never lonely.

But, Faith isn’t perfect.  It refuses to walk nicely next to me like I think it should.

Sometimes, I don’t have a problem getting Faith to walk alongside me.  It seems to want to.  It holds it’s head up and wags it’s proverbial tale and I’m happy.  At those times I feel like saying to other people “Look at us!  Getting your Faith to walk alongside you isn’t so hard.  I mean, I’m a novice even and with a little hard work and patience you could do the same thing.”

But, a lot of the time, I have a Faith that does NOT obey my will or my wishes.  It likes to meander away from me, choosing different paths all the time.  I want to just take a quick walk around the block, but Faith wants to drag me  miles out of my way because it caught the scent of something it is sure we need to follow.  Sometimes I accept that Faith is just gonna do what Faith wants to do and I go along for the ride and sometimes I go, dragging at Faith the whole way.  I didn’t WANT to walk over there today.  What about what I want to do?  What about MY plans and MY life and MY to-do list.

Faith looks at me with its big puppy dog eyes and acknowledges, briefly, that I’m displeased, but it pretty much does what it wants to anyhow.  It’s sorry, it seems to say, but we need to go here now.  And I go, reluctant and petulant and exasperated.  Sometimes when I get there, I’m pleasantly surprised, and thankful that Faith wanted me to walk a different path that day and sometimes, I’m still petulant.  Faith usually forgives me though.

Sometimes, Faith is overjoyed.  Exuberent.  It bounds through snow and wags it’s proverbial tail and literally couldn’t be happier.  We interact, easily, running together, jumping into snow piles.  Sometimes Faith is demanding, snarling a little bit when I try to go against it’s wishes and sometimes, it seems like it’s just tired of dealing with me and it sits on the couch and sighs a lot.

Sometimes I get snippy with Faith.  I snarl at it a little bit as it forces me out of my comfort zone and makes me do things that I don’t want to do.  Sometimes I get tired of it, and ignore it as it shoves its nose under my arm to try and engage me.  Sometimes I’m desperate for its attention and follow it around like a a little puppy dog.

But despite our relationship, which seems to change by the minute, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Faith and I, for all our ups and downs, seem to need each other.  We like each other.  And we both long for the day when we can walk along, side by side, with no pretension or rouge meanderings.   That we can walk straight without tugging at the ties that bind us together.

16 Dec 2007 The Third Cookie of Christmas
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Snickerdoodles!

Okay, I know this list is evolving from what I wrote out yesterday, but that’s how it works, right?  I was paging through my Betty Crocker cookbook and found a recipe for chocolate crinkles and mixed the dough before I realized that it had to chill three hours before baking.

Gah!

So, I mixed up the next recipe instead,  you can find it here

My only additions were that I was out of shortening, which meant I did a little bit of research, I found I could just  substitue butter.  According to all recipes reviews, these cookies should be baked for ONLY eight minutes to ensure proper texture and consistency.

And are they EVER good. These were a favorite of Eric’s growing up and while I think a few different kinds may now take top honors, he still managed to find room for a couple after dinner. :o)

15 Dec 2007 The Second Cookie of Christmas-Norwegian Wreath Cookies
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This is a saga.

For some reason, I got the idea in my head that I would try to make twelve varieties of cookies for Christmas and it could turn into this cute, bloggy “12 Cookies of Christmas” thing.  I wanted to incorporate some cookies that reflected my and Eric’s heritage and I found recipe here for Norwegian wreath cookies.  The process seemed simple enough, calling to roll the dough into snakes and them forming them into wreath shapes. I  thought this would be a perfect project for Emily and I because everyone can make playdough snakes.

Well….most people can if they’re not using this shitty dough.

I make the dough as the reciep called for and I noticed it’s dry. Bone dry, man.  Freaking arid desert dry.  I give up with the mixer and try forming the dough with my hands and only have slightly more luck.  And when it came time to have Emily help form the dough?  Forget about it. It was a nightmare.  It took, get this, two minutes per cookie, to get a reasonable round shape.  Argh. Horrible.  I actually threw the last 1/4 of the dough away because I could FEEL my blood pressure going up as I tried to make them.

Waste of an evening, but here they are
DSC_0121.JPG

Next up, Norwegian Kringla.  Possibly I’m crazy.  Who knows.

14 Dec 2007 The first cookie of Christmas…

…spiced pumpkin softies from Woman’s Day. You can find the recipe here

Overall, these are pretty good. I skipped the pumpkin pie spice and just added some similar spices of my one (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves). Emily gave them a thumbs up and the baby and the dog liked them too. Oh, and if you drop them onto your cookie sheet you have to flatten them.

Mine looked nowhere NEAR like the one’s in my Woman’s Day (there’s were tiny and very flat and round). Mine were big and sort of ….bumpy? The recipe claimed to make 60 cookies and I made 48 so I didn’t grossly over do the size.

I also used a pastry bag to pipe on the icing. It was easier, IMO, then trying to spread a dollop on each cookie.

12 Dec 2007 Christmas To-Do List
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Here it is. All official and stuff

Gifts to Purchase
Eric-Done
Emily-Done
Cadence-Done
MIL-done
BIL/SIL-purcahse
FIL-Order tomorrow (too lazy to go find address)
Friends-Basket/container for purchased gifts
School-done
Family-Gift Cards (2)

Decoration
Finish garland in house
Put up ceramic tree
put up last few outdoor lights
hang stockings
Find safe place for nativity

Crafts
sewing-Finish Jammies, Put waistband and hem into Em’s skirt, put waistband and hem into my skirt
Knitting-Finish C’s stocking at least. Try to get to E’s stocking
Scrapbooking-Christmas cards now turning into New Year’s cards…
Gingerbread house
Terra cotta pot nativity set for Emily

Misc.
Wrap gifts
buy Santa paper
plan menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner and boxing day
grocery list for above

cookie baking

Outings
Take girls to see Santa in Fox Lake
Zoo Lights @ Zoo-postponed until after Christmas because of bad weather.

I think that’s it…

12 Dec 2007 What do you know?
 |  Category: Cadence, Emily, Kids  | Comments off

This morning, Cadence was playing near me. I held out my arms and she walked into them, snuggling up against my chest for a hug. I’m so glad that this is something that Cadence has already learned, that we’re here and willing give hugs and kisses and that hugs and kisses make you and others feel good.

But more than that, I love the little world that our girls have come to understand as babies; a place where there is just love and kindness and hugs and kisses.

Emily is nearly eight now (well, 7 years and 10 months) and she’s learned, you know, that life isn’t all hugs and happiness and security. She has learned that sometimes people are downright mean to you for no reason and I wish I could keep her in that little shell she was wrapped in when she was Cadence’s age where you got what you needed and the only people around you were people who loved you.

But that’s not how life works, is it?

I don’t want this post to be a downer. That was totally not my intention. My point was, I love the fact that as babies and toddlers and young children , my children just expect to be loved because that’s what they live.

When Emily was a young child, she was fearless. It used to scare Eric half to death,b ut we realized that Emily had no fear of falling because, well, we never let her fall. She could climb as high as she wanted, secure in the thought that she wouldn’t fall and if she did fall, we’d be standing there to catch her and cushion her fall.

And I’m glad that Cadence will feel this way. That she’ll only know love and contentment because that’s what we give her and she’ll feel free to climb to the tippy top of the playground equipment because she has no fear of falling because we’re there. :o)

09 Dec 2007 I am counting down
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My goal is to have nearly all of my Christmas tasks completed by a week from tomorrow: December 17th. My reasoning is very simple; I would like to take the week before Christmas to just ENJOY being in the middle of the season. So many times I’m working feverishly up until zero hour to get everything done and then I wake up on 12/26 so depressed because I hustled and bustled and missed the peace and beauty and joy.

So, for me, save a few things here and there (a little baking, a little wrapping, a little cooking and my daily cleaning, probably some sewing) zero hour for me is less than one week away.

what do I have left to do?

1) Finish shopping for Eric
2) Buy stocking stuffers for the girls
3) buy Christmas Present for The World’s Best Mother-In-Law*
4) buy gift card for SIL and BIL
5) buy something to present already purchased gift for friends in
6) buy gifts for Emily’s school
7) wrap all those gifts 8) bake
9) put up a few more decorations
10) finish up Christmas sewing.
11) Oh yeah…Christmas cards

Not much, but some of the things are pretty time consuming. I have a feeling I have a busy week ahead of me, but if I can meet my goal, it’s going to be worth it.

*I’m getting my dream camera for Christmas thanks to my wonderful MIL. In the past, we had a few rocky parts, but I am so thankful of her care and support and how MUCH she loves our little family. :o) And of course, for my wicked sweet camera that will be here tomorrow…