Monday, July 27, 2009

New Series! Super Mom Mondays

I have a lot of really great, really spectacular friends and most of them are moms. They challenge me daily to be my best and I, suffering from impossible shyness, never tell them how they inspire me. I am changing that starting today. I hope to 'spotlight' a fellow mommy-blogger every Monday. I will only be posting fellow mom-bloggers with public blogs and only addressing them by the names they use for themselves on their blogs because I don't want to breech anyone's privacy. Later, I'll also 'showcase' bloggers who I don't necessarily know but who are as equally inspiring. (If you do NOT want to be included let me know.)

Now...without further ado...

Today's Super Mom Monday mom-blogger is...

Michelle over at Simply Blessed.

Michelle never fails to make me laugh daily. She is smart, witty and creative. But more than that, she understands what it is like to have a house full of kids because she has one more than I do! She's willing to share all of the ups and downs and crazy that goes along with having a big family and she does it with grace and humor.

Many times I feel like I stalk her blog because sometimes I read and then reread her posts thinking, "She totally gets it." A lot of her experiences are things I go through here...and she's providing a glimpse of things to come since her oldest is a bit older than my oldest.

Thank you for your blogging, Michelle! It truly is great to know someone out there can relate and is willing to share the good, bad and the ugly so honestly!


A Cry in the Dark

Late last night just as Jeff and I were settling down in bed we heard a frantic shout, "Mommy!"

We ran into the girls' room and found both girls awake. A had crawled up in bed with M. Though neither of them looked like they just shouted a panicked "Mommy" we got them settled back down in their bed.


The boys' room! I left Jeff in the girls' room and ran into see what was up with C. I opened the door and he was up in his bed crying, "My head just started hurting out of nowhere. It hurts really bad. It woke me up it's so bad."

I slowly began to go into panic mode. Now I should stop here and explain: I am not one to panic about illnesses. I fully understand kids get sick and not everything, in fact most things, are not cause for concern or even a doctor's appointment. Somehow, society has gotten really dependent on doctors and diagnoses and we've started going to them for simple things like colds or to see if the flu we have has an over-hyped name. But something about his voice, the way he was holding his head and rocking, the redness of his eyes, our family history of migraine headaches, and the fact that I was tired so things weren't registering properly set off alarm bells in my head.

I brought C to the living room and began taking his temperature though I already knew he had no fever. While I sat there with C waiting for the thermometer to beep my head began to clear. I realized he was not in the dire straights he pretended just minutes before.

"C, are you sure your head hurts really badly or did you wake up scared?" I ask.

C can't take the guilt and cracks, "I woke up and was all alone and the girls' have my nightlight because A needs it because of Thriller and my head only hurts a little bit and I'm sorry Mommy."

We had a long discussion about pretending to be sick rather than just being honest and telling us he was scared. We reminded him that because he told his his head hurt so badly we thought it was an emergency and we were scared for him. And that we are always here for him and he can call for us anytime but to be honest when he does it.

We tucked C safely into bed and then tucked ourselves in baffled by C's need to feign an illness to get our attention. (I will ask C about that today.)

Jeff fell asleep and I read for a little while to clear my head.

Just as I was about to flip off my lamp, Aly came running into my room...

It was a long eyes finally closed at 4:00AM.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Failure to be Thin


String bean.

All legs and arms.



Those were words and phrases I heard all my life. I was always the tall, thin, awkward one. I grew up but never out. Which, of course, was perfectly fine with me...except for the awkward part anyway. I happily remained a size zero through high school until I got pregnant and gained just under one hundred pounds! Yes, I packed on 97 total pounds during my first pregnancy.

I thought for sure that would all change after my first child was born. But when he was three months old people began asking me if I was sick because I was so thin. I had lost all of the weight. And that was great...except people started making odd comments about how I must have had an eating disorder and trying to shame me for being thin after having a baby. I quickly learned that when people asked me about my weight--and they did, a lot--I should just smile and change the subject because it brought out a strange passive hostility toward me.

I continued this for a while. Three more kids and I was still buying size two pants. My metabolism was just freakishly high and long and lean was my body type. I still got rude comments and people still tried to make me feel badly because I was thin after four thinness is the epitome of beauty. Trust me, I didn't need anyone to help me feel badly about myself...I had a horrible self-image already. My nose was too big. My complexion was awful. My hair was straw. I had no boobs or butt. My weight was the one thing I didn't have to hate about myself. It was as if people wished I would gain weight. I didn't get it.

Then two major things happened.

I quit a-not-so secret smoking habit and I turned 30.

That first year I gained around thirty pounds.

And then another twenty.

And, those who wished I would have gained weight all those years were suddenly giddy when the topic would come up. Like my extra weight was a big unspoken "told ya so". So my complexion still sucks. My nose is still too big. My hair is still straw. I still have no butt. Now, I get to add weight to the list--the one thing I thought I had going for me. (The bigger boobs are okay with me!)

My failure to be thin is another thing to figure out and I am slowly working on it. I am down from my heaviest weight. I don't want to be as thin as I was because, frankly, I hated how most people were passive aggressive toward me. I'm not ready for that again. Somewhere in the middle would be good.

I don't know how I'll end up. But I don't think that is the point really.

New words define me now...more important words like wife and mother and compassionate. I like those much better because no matter what, no matter what numbers pop up on my scale's display those kinder words will always be true.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wine Log

Jeff and I have have been trying to sample new wines lately. We've found some really great wines like a Chilean red, Ruyun, and some not-so-great wines like a red named Tin Roof. We wanted to keep track of our sampling because we just can't remember every detail of every wine anymore.

Jeff found a neat little website: WineLog

So we, of course, created accounts!

Hopefully we'll find some great new wines to sample.

My page: GoodByeGracie

His page: Jlagne1


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's My Summer and I'll be Lazy if I Want To

I do not take classes in the summer for two reasons.

Reason #1: All four kids are home and they make studying really difficult.

Reason #2: I want to be lazy!

Yes, lazy. I know in most of today's society "lazy" is a dirty word. No one wants to admit to being unproductive so we all multitask trying to optimize our time and energy. And I do optimize with the best of them...nine months out of the year.

During the school year, I study while doing just about every other household and parenting task possible. I spread myself thin every day making sure the kids are fed, bathed, have their homework completed, entertained, loved, and safe add in making sure the house is cleaned, organized and safe, not to mention: volunteering at their schools, working on homework, keeping up with friends and family, throwing birthday parties, hosting holiday gatherings, and figuring out how to take a minute every day to shower and eat. And I do most of these simultaneously while trying to remember to be a supportive, loving and affectionate wife because really, doing everything else would be impossible without Hubs.

So by the time summer rolls around I am really ready for some lazy. Don't get me wrong, the house and children are still clean and safe but I do not live by the calendar. The summer is my time to recharge and relax. And by the time the school year rolls around I am reluctantly ready to begin again knowing the chaos is coming. But for now, it's my summer and I'll be lazy if I want to.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Inside Her Head

I have put a lot of A's funny, sometimes strange comments on Facebook. I got to thinking that I really wanted to save them instead of let them fall away into internet garbage. So here they are most recent to oldest:

Age 4, July 2009

A insists that Candace on Finneus and Ferb is actually named Kansas.

A's compliment about dinner tonight: "Oooh! That paprika kicks the spot!"

On her dad giving her brother, C, a haircut: "This is way more exiting than tennising today because C might actually be bald!"

Explaining to A why newborns can't eat spaghetti. She said they don't need teeth and can just "swallow it down whole."

I asked why they don't call the "real" Jesus "Jesus" (with the H sound) was kind of a random thought spoken aloud because Jeff goes, "What?" And A repeated, "Why don't they call Jesus the real juice?"

A had a great time "whackin' balls" at the driving range today. She said she was "smokin'".

A picked out a brown dress and brown shoes to wear today. She came to me and pointed to her dress and said, "Brown." Then pointed to her shoes, "Brown," and said..."Matchin'."

#1 thing A wants MJ to know..."Always go potty before a bath...or else you would go potty in the bath...and that's bad." and "One more thing, if you are laying down and rinsing your hair in the bath and you accidentally peed then you would get your hair dirty and have to start all over again." In her own words, of course.

A's life goal her own words: "I am trying to cross my fingers for thirty or fifteen minutes but my thumbs are in the way."

Age 4, June 2009

A is discussing the comedic downfall of only having 10 fingers. She said she wants 11 because it "would be more funny". (channeling Spinal Tap makes me proud!)

A just said to me, "Mommy, you need to take me to the eye doctor because when I wake up stuff comes from behind my ear."

Watching the kids play golf on the Wii...after each stroke that A makes she shouts, "Chimichangas!"

A just woke up (at midnight) to ask me if she could "stay up for a couple more hours". I said, "No, Sweetie." She gave me a hug and a kiss and ran back to bed where she zonked right back to sleep.

A is wearing olive green pj pants with Tigger on them, a pink princess night gown and a (1) bunny slipper...this was her choice for today.

While watching Journey to the Center of the Earth with the kids. A said she wasn't watching the "lolly pop smooching" during the kissing scenes.

Age 4, May 2009

A is singing, "I am cleaning my best. Doing at very good job. Cleaning the table, I'm doing my best." to the tune of "Here Comes the Bride".

A just accidentally pants-ed M.

After telling A to be careful because her food may be hot. To that she replied, "Oh you know us girls mom...our science education is just fine. April Fool's."

I'll close this installment of Inside Her Head with this:

A's cuteness is my Kryptonite. Anytime she is in trouble she turns on the's all downhill from there.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?

Back in May I went to an interview to be a writing tutor in the writing lab at my college.

The interview, I thought, went horribly. The interviewer was rude...she spoke down to me and insulted me. It was really the strangest interview.

For example, she asked me what my favorite thing to write was and I replied, "monologues" which prompted her to ask, "Oh, so you love to bore people to death?" it was so uncomfortable. Then if telling me I was boring people to death because of my favored writing pieces, she went into an odd diatribe of how her husband bores her with his "monologues". I just laughed uncomfortably with a "WTF?" look on my face.

At one point she was discussing the mandatory training meetings every Friday at 2 and she got really snarky and said, "Every Friday your butt belongs to me so don't even think about making other plans" in this horrible catty tone (I wish I could play a clip of it for you). I just looked at her and said, "Wow, I won't even talk to my children that way." I had had it with the insulting tone and the way she talked down to me so I wrote the interview off...our personalities were just not meshing. She ended the interview with "I'll call you by Friday and let you know."

The Friday came and I received no phone call...I didn't expect to after getting snarky back with her and went on with the summer.

I just logged on to my student email account and found a couple very recent emails in there about scheduling and a tutor survey...apparently she FORGOT to call and offer the job to me?

Seriously? How does that happen?

Of course, I can't take the job...we have full on scheduling conflicts now that I could have avoided had I been notified she offered me the job.


The Memory of Water -- Karen White

The Memory of Water The Memory of Water by Karen White

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There is not much I can say about The Memory of Water. It is a Lifetime movie in pages rather than on the TV screen. It is predictable and the characters lack the depth Karen White was hoping to create. Some of the book was charming and White's story-telling was thorough, the predictability of the story just made it difficult to want to continue reading because the reader knows what is going to happen well before it happens.

View all my reviews >>


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thanks Rachel Ray

We made this for dinner tonight. Everyone loved it. I changed it a little by adding fresh cilantro and leaving out the chili powder and using a 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne and 2 tablespoons smoked paprika.

Mexican Lasagna


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 pounds ground chicken breast, available in the packaged meats case
* 2 tablespoons chili powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/2 red onion, chopped
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
* 1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
* 1 cup frozen corn kernels
* Salt
* 8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
* 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
* 2 scallions, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy Reading Batman!

I just scanned through my blog and no wonder I haven't been able to write a constructive post...I've filled all of my free time reading!

I love summer time...when I can read for fun and not for an assignment...

I do have something in mind for an upcoming blog post.


The Host -- Stephenie Meyer

The Host The Host by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Host was a quick, easy read. Through Stephenie Meyer's fast paced and uncomplicated writing she tells the story of Wanderer and Melanie...two beings who's lives intersect and simultaneously complicate and complete each other as they learn to live with each other and share those they love.

The writing is typical of Stephenie Meyer. She draws readers into the story with expressive language. Though in this novel, Meyer gets into the bad habit adding questions. The characters ask so many questions, outside of dialogue, that the story dulls as it tries to come though these weird questions. It is almost as if Meyer did not quite know how to form the thought with active language so she gave up and just inserted questions.

View all my reviews.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Listen To This 7/4

Eric Hutchinson's Rock & Roll