Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bring in the New

I am so glad that Christmas is over. I know that it's the "most wonderful time of the year" and all that, but...I almost had a full-blown panic attack the first time I heard Christmas music on the PA at Wal-Mart. (The day after HALLOWEEN). I am easily overwhelmed by the hype, expectation, and frantic pace that has become associated with the holiday celebrating the quiet birth of our Savior.

I did enjoy my children's growing awareness of the true meaning of the season. We talked often of God's love for us and sending His son to earth as a baby to someday die for our sins. I also absorbed every second of the magic of Santa, and loved to see things through their eyes.

One night, as is our family's tradition, we rode around in our pajamas and looked at Christmas lights. There is a really spectacularly tacky one about 20 miles from here that we visit every year. When we passed a huge nativity display with a spotlight, Fat Baby surprised us by singing in his booming toddler voice, "Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed, the wittle Word Jesus lay down his sweet head..."
I didn't even know he knew the whole song! Those were the blessings of the season.

I enjoyed Christmas shopping and lunch out with my dad every Friday. (To be replaced in the new year with just lunch out!)

I bought a pre-lit Christmas tree last year, and it is just right. I love the way it looked, and made the room so cozy. The ornaments I collect each year tell our family's story. And I love that.

So, while I often felt like a total Scrooge, it was a great Christmas with many blessings. We were all healthy and happy, and got to see all our family.

In the new year, I have resolved to concentrate on living by the fruits of the spirit. They are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). I'm working with the boys on this, too.

Since things have slowed down, I have made it a point to take time to enjoy my boys while they are still "little boys." Of course, Fat Baby always has something to make me laugh (or cry, often both at the same time).

During breakfast one morning, he had MAN GAS. I mean, I could not believe this big poot came out of his little body. Of course, he and The President found it hysterically funny. When I composed myself enough to remind him to say, "Excuse me," Fat Baby told me, "that was my bubble poop."

And yesterday morning when he came to snuggle with me in my bed, he slipped as he was trying to climb in. He said, "Oh, I dropped me!"

Remember to take joy in the small things in this new year!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Cheer

We took the boys to visit The Jolly One a few weeks ago. That's the one part of holiday insanity that I checked off the list early. Wanna hear what's not done? Christmas cards, most of my shopping, any gift wrapping, house cleaning, online ordering, and magical moments of merriment. Whatever.

So we're waiting in line to visit St. Nick, about six people from the front of the line. Fat Baby waves his arms and yells with his booming voice, "HEY SANTA!!!!! IT'S US!!!! THE PRESIDENT AND FAT BABY!"

I think it's cool that my kids have never been frightened of Santa. I have great pictures of both of them every year. Of course, being the kind of mom I am--I would love the screaming in terror pictures, too. (Maybe even more).

Apparently the preschool is using the whole "most wonderful time of the year" thing to bribe the munchkins into behaving well. Who can blame them? If I had to be up there every day, I'd pull out every kind of bribery known to man. So, yeah Santa's watching, who's on the good list and all that...and here's proof.

I pick up the boys from school and it's an immediate and constant battle.

"He's touching me!"

"Make him be quiet!"

"That's MINE!"

So when I heard "Fat Baby won't let go of my ear!", I pulled down my rear-view mirror and said, "Put your hands in your lap. Do not touch your brother. I am watching you."

To which Fat Baby replied, "You're not Sanda Cwause and you're NOT watching me!"

And a bonus, since I missed the Halloween time frame:

Me: "What do you say when you ring the doorbell on Halloween, Fat Baby?"

FB: Dick or Treat!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008


We're just going to overlook the fact that it's been two months since I posted & pick up where we left off, okay? I want to tell you about the cute things Fat Baby has said, how The President makes me proud, how My Baby's Daddy drives me up the freaking wall, but I'm keeping him and how Pop keeps me on my toes...and I will. But today, it's all about Thanksgiving and I'm in the mood for a kind of sappy post. (That is so not me...maybe I'm PMSing or just falling into the holiday magic, I don't know).
I grew up in North Alabama. Actually, I'm from the same small town as the country group Alabama. Their music naturally makes me think of home. Yesterday, just after we passed the county line, the song "My Home's in Alabama" came on the radio. How cool is that?

As it was playing, I thought of growing up here and holidays past. (A little background: When I was in college, my grandmother remarried after having been widowed for 13 years. She lives in her husband's home nearby. My sister and her children live in my grandmother's house. This house was rebuilt in the 1950s after fire destroyed my mom's childhood home. It is on the farmland owned by my grandfather's family, where grew up. That's where we're having Thanksgiving dinner.)

I couldn't help but think how wonderful a blessing it is that my children can today watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in the living room of that house, just like I did every year. (My sister & I always spent the night with my grandparents the night before Thanksgiving. My grandmother cooked all day, and we could do whatever we wanted. Yay grandparents!)

I can still see the furniture in that room clearly in my mind. I can see my Nana in the kitchen, smiling and laughing. I can see the console sewing machine that I don't remember being used for sewing, ever. It sat underneath the black rotary dial phone (the only phone in the house), and the cabinet made a perfect size tabletop for the holiday sherbet and ginger-ale punch.

This year, my grandmother is 81 years old. Until I was 18 years old, my sister and I were the only two grandchildren she had. My uncle (who started his family late in life) lives in Virginia, so those cousins weren't just 10 minutes away like we were. My grandmother has spoiled us rotten our whole lives. Shamelessly, lovingly, and totally. She is awesome. Until recently, she has been spry and active. She now suffers from increasing dementia and doesn't get around as well as she used to. She is thin, and doesn't eat much. (I spent 8 hours baking because I know she will have the sweets, if nothing else).

This year, all her children and grandchildren will be in her home for Thanksgiving dinner. My children will hopefully have a Thanksgiving memory that overlaps with all my Thanksgiving memories.

Today we will have a huge holiday dinner with our whole family and some extra friends. (Thanksgiving is the best time to include people who need some family). We will pray, we will laugh, and we will eat massive quantities of the delicious food of my childhood. The same crazy relatives will do the same predictable things they do every year. (My mom & I thought it would make a great drinking game to predict the things people will do & say and then you have to drink when they do it! We don't drink at my family Thanksgiving festivities, but that's going to change when I'm in charge...) I will need my fat pants. There will be laughter of children, football games to watch, and naps to take. I will be a grown up who won't sit down and relax until the dishes are done, and everything is tidy. Fat Baby will sneak over to the dessert table and sneak a cookie when he thinks I'm not looking. My Baby's Daddy will pile his plate high and eat every bite. The President will entertain everyone with his wry sense of humor. And I am so thankful.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday...something old, something new

I really knocked it out of the park on Saturday & Sunday this week...I hope that doesn't mean it can only go downhill from here!

Saturday: fish fry--yummy,lightly breaded talapia, fresh-cut fries, and coleslaw

Sunday: Chicken Manicotti (my friend's recipe...actually, it's more a process than a recipe--see below for more info) salad with feta cheese & homemade vinaigrette, toasted garlic baguette

Monday: I'm tired of being in the kitchen. There are 15 pounds of chicken pasta in the fridge. Help yourself.

Tuesday: I'm working, and The President has karate at 6:15. I'll put a pot roast with veggies in the crock pot, so dinner will be ready when we get home.

Wednesday: (Unless I change my mind) baked pork chops, rice pilaf, green beans...zzzzz

Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas...maybe

Friday: Something fun & easy, preferably not cooked by me!

Chicken Manicotti

Manicotti is a pain in the butt to stuff, so my friend just uses bow tie or spiral pasta instead...unless she's really trying to impress someone. I used rotini noodles, and it worked great!

*Fry & crumble 6-7 slices bacon, set aside
*Slice 5-6 chicken breasts in strips/ bite size pieces. Season with salt & pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, etc. Saute in olive oil until browned. (I minced two cloves of fresh garlic and added that to the pan, as well.
*Boil noodles and drain.
*When chicken is cooked through, remove from pan. Melt down the following ingredients (in the pan with the chicken juices) until it "looks right." I didn't measure a single thing:
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*1 block cream cheese
*sour cream (some)
*shredded parmesan cheese
*thin and smooth with half & half, if needed

*Mix everything together, put in a casserole dish and top with more cheese. Even for my family of 5, we ate less than half of this. It's nice to have left-overs for tonight & lunch for work tomorrow.

We may save the chicken enchiladas for next week. Here's the recipe anyway:

· 1 ½ lb. flank steak OR 1 lb. Shrimp OR 3 c. shredded cooked chicken
· 2 c. shredded cheese (we use a Mexican blend)
· 1 8-oz. Can diced green chiles
· 1 c. sour cream
· ½ c. sliced green onions
· 1 small can sliced black olives (optional)
· 1 19-oz. Can enchilada sauce
· 1 package large corn or flour tortillas
Season flank steak to taste with salt & pepper. Bake in oven at 250° for 30 minutes (until thermometer reads 160°). Let stand for a few minutes, then slice across the grain into strips. (For shrimp enchiladas, we buy the shrimp steamed, then just peel & add to dish.) Combine beef, chicken, or shrimp with sour cream, diced chiles, onion, black olives, and 1 ½ c. of shredded cheese. Mix well. Place about 1/3 c. of the meat mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll to enclose filling and place enchiladas seam side down in 9x13 dish (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray). Pour sauce over the enchiladas. Cover the pan with foil and bake covered at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake uncovered until cheese melts.

Don't forget to visit Organizing Junkie for more menus!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday, Football & Labor Day...feels like fall!

I've been doing weekly menu planning for a few months now, and I'm amazed at how much time and money I end up saving by just taking time to plan. I love to make one major grocery shopping trip each week, and to know what's on hand for the evening meal...even if I sometimes have to modify the plan if something comes up.

Here's what's cooking this week:

Saturday: grilled ribeye steaks, homemade steak fries, salad with balsamic vinaigrette and feta cheese, strawberry shortcake

(Doesn't that sound like a holiday meal?'s the opening day of SEC football! Roll Tide, y'all. *Notice I made a dessert in our team's colors in honor of the first game of the season)

Sunday: slacker day--hot dogs & smoked sausage on the grill, chips, pickles, I might open a can of baked beans

Monday: Labor Day barbecue--ribs, corn on the cob, coleslaw, potato salad

Tuesday: baked chicken, macaroni & cheese, cucumber salad

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner--biscuits, gravy, thick cut peppered bacon, tomatoes, scrambled eggs

Thursday: fried cube steak, green beans, new potatoes

Friday: pizza night or dinner out

I'm getting in a rut! Help! I'd love some new ideas for dinner...I feel like we have the same things over & over again. I'll be checking out Organizing Junkie, and so should you!


Mr. Personality & More Not Politics

The President (my son, not the actual president of the United States) has been on a roll lately. I never know what he's going to say, but he always cracks me up. This morning, I was teaching Sunday School for the age group just above his. I let him sit in with me because many of his friends were moving up to that class for the first time. With several new children, I suggested everyone would have a chance to introduce and tell a little about themselves.

It was a pretty typical exercise. You know, one person mentions they have a new puppy and a everyone has a new puppy or they're getting a new puppy and a four-wheeler.

Until my kid. "My name is The President and I like cheese and sometimes I can point my eyes in two different directions."

I heart him.

Later, during our lesson we were to name examples of disasters our country has faced and how we can support others in their time of need.

My question: "Who can name a disaster that has happened in our country?"

My child's response: "When Clinton bought real estate?"

I can't make this stuff up.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Will He Think of Next?

I know everyone thinks their kids are the cutest, smartest, most-well behaved...and all that. So, it will come as no surprise when I share how funny, imaginative, and smart my children are.

Yesterday morning, the boys dressed and lined up their favorite animals from Build-a-Bear Workshop on the kid-sized sofa in their room. Then, The President informed me that since I had "nothing to do all day" it would be my job to teach his "sons" while he was away at school.

Sure, I'd be glad put on your shoes! Eat breakfast! Brush your teeth! Don't forget your backpack! And so another day begins.

When we'd been home from school for a couple of hours, he asked me "what the boys learned today?" Huh? Oh...I had forgotten my promise to mold the minds of his best pals.

"Ummm, uh, we sang the alphabet song, and counted, and then talked about how bees (the theme of The President's second grade classroom) gather nectar & make honey."

"What kind of pictures did you show them?"

You've got to be kidding me. I'm being held accountable for my lesson plans & use of visual aids for stuffed animals? Seriously.

I told him that we didn't have time to get to that.

"That's right," he said. "It is just the first day."

So, today I propped up a book about dinosaurs in front of the animals...maybe he'll be impressed that I remembered my teaching responsibilities.

This probably could be a second post, but it is kind of along the same lines....and I'm in a hurry to go pick up Fat Baby at preschool.

The President found a nice, smooth river rock that he named aptly, Rocky. We drew a face, hair & a moustache on Rocky with a sharpie, and he's been pretty popular around here lately.

School has been in session three weeks now, and My Baby's Daddy has not been at home at all in the mornings, and has missed the majority of meals served in the evening. He works in a sales job, but also does real estate part-time. The market is crappy right now, so if he's seeing clients and making deals I say, "Your plate will be in the microwave when you get home."

But it's harder for children to understand when a parent is "never home." The President wants to spend time with Dad (a.k.a. "the FUN parent"). Last night, My Baby's Daddy got home as I was orchestrating bath time for the boys. When The President put on his PJs, he collected Rocky, brought him to our room and announced, "Dad, Rocky wants to buy a house." (Smart kid to put together the way to get dad's attention). It was so cute to listen to them:

My Baby's Daddy: Has Rocky been to the bank?

The Pres: Oh, yeah...a couple of times.

MBD: So, he's prequalified. How much does he want to spend?

TP: Fifteen thousand or two hundred.

The finally drew up a contract, and had some great time together. I am looking forward to a long week-end of more moments like these. And help with bath time. And no lunches to pack. And no carpool line. And...

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Post Not About Politics

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that my 8 year old son is determined to be the President of the United States. He asked for a desk and a "world ball" (globe) from Santa when he was 5 years old. He's like Alex P. Keaton with attitude. This is not something we've pushed him to do at all, but we do love that our son has the confidence and intelligence to pursue lofty goals.

Now I feel compelled to say this: I do not like to discuss politics. I don't want you to judge my beliefs (that's why I keep them to myself), and I don't want to hear you preach yours (whether they are the same or different than mine). And many times, I've been in the worst possible situation--where someone is spouting their political beliefs, assuming yours are the same. That being said, this post does not necessarily reflect my own personal political opinions. I am open-minded and fair, and do not attempt to inflict my beliefs onto others--even my own child. His opinions are his alone. And while they are sometimes rooted in immature thinking (I'm voting for so-and-so because I like the way his name sounds, or he went to college at my favorite school), I'm teaching him to gather information, watch the news, and form his opinions accordingly. Keep in mind, however, that we do have an outspoken, "old school" grandparent who lives with us.

I'm often surprised at how much The Pres has learned about our country's government and current events. This was his reaction to the Democratic National Convention coverage this morning:

(News footage of Hillary Clinton on the Today show) "I thought Clinton got flushed down the toilet like a, what's she doing on the news?"

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