Monday, November 23, 2009

Positive Retail Experience

I've read a lot of blog posts lately where people are venting about negative retail experiences. I figure in all fairness, I should probably share my positive experience from today. In early October, we bought a London Fog coat from Bon-Ton. About a week ago, the zipper on the coat broke. I still had the receipt for some reason, so I took the coat in and requested an exchange. I felt it was warranted, but didn't really expect to get it. The coat, although only 6 weeks old, showed obvious wear and very little love. I expected to leave there with nothing to show for it, but at least know that I tried, and end up paying to have someone put a new zipper in it for me.

But I left with a new coat! It made my day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I recently had a conversation with a woman regarding adoption. She is in the position where she and her husband have been discussing it as a possible option. However, she is afraid to pursue it. What if after they adopt, she and her husband are able to conceive? She is afraid that she won't love the child the same. She's heard of it happening and wonders, "Does it make a difference?" She's decided for herself that it would surely have to make some sort of difference. She longs to share that bond with a child that you can only experience when you carry that child. She wonders how anything could compare to that bond. She doesn't doubt that you can love an adopted child. She even acknowledges that you can love the child just as "much" for all outward appearance, but surely you feel something different for a child that you carried and bore. How could the adopted child bear to grow up faced with that difference every day?

I found myself wanting to share my experiences with her. I wanted to shout that of course you love them just as much. Doubts as to whether she would really be interested in my story kept me from sharing. For you see, I haven't ever really been in that situation. I've never adopted a child. My circumstances are similar, but it's not the same. Then a mutual acquaintance suggested that I might have some insight.

I told her that she's right, she would love the children differently. I have three biological children and I love each of them in different ways and have different emotional responses to each, but I'm sure any mother with more than one child has told her the same thing. However, I also have another child. She isn't mine. She will most likely never be mine, but she feels like she is mine all the same. And I do love her. Oh, how I love her. I didn't love her the moment that I first saw her - I didn't know that I would have to. But the time came when I realized that she needed someone to love her. She was 3 weeks old, tiny, sick and needed someone to put her first, ignore the risks and just open their heart...and I was the only mother in the room. I can't say that I freely did so, it was terrifying, but I did it all the same. I was her mother for 18 months, then I had to give her back.

I said that the cold, hard truth is that with every child, natural or adopted, you have to decide to love them. You simply have more time to do that before you meet the child with the children that you carry. In some cases, that is truly lucky for the child! (Let me tell you about the first few weeks with my middle child sometime!) But whether it is a magical moment when you first see the child or a gradually growing bond, in the end, love is love is love.

That isn't to say that I don't feel incredibly blessed that I was able to have children naturally. I do acknowledge that it is different. I enjoy seeing my husband, myself and other relatives reflected in my children. I was a big believer in nurture over nature in that age old debate, but many of those beliefs have been turned on their head as I saw facial expressions and personality traits that had to be inherited making an appearance.

But in the end, I don't love "my" children because they remind me of someone. I love them for who they are. And I love the child that isn't really "mine" for the same reason.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Everyone else is jumping ahead to Christmas and completely skipping over Thanksgiving. I'm trying to live in the moment, but am also guilty of skipping ahead myself...but a little farther ahead. After losing weight, the most common New Year's Resolution that I hear from friends and acquaintances is to get organized. I've been in a mood lately to declutter and get things back on track. I tried to take it easy and let it go...and I think we've gone a little too far. I could procrastinate and put this off until the New Year, but that's what got me into this mess. So instead, if I get started now (even if it's out of necessity - where ARE we going to hide those Christmas gifts?), perhaps I'll be done with mine before the new year even starts.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer's Close

My kids have two more weeks of summer before it's time to head back to school. Seems like it flew by, it was so full of week-long events. (VBS, camp, vacation, surgery) And it rained so much! It seems like there was little time left for those little moments. The moments where they can just cut loose and be kids and let the sun warm them over. Moments where they just feel so happy and content. That's what I wish for my kids these last two weeks. More moments like this...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And Now We Can Breathe...

We made it through the procedure with flying colors. Two days later and our biggest problem is keeping the kid off of his bike and off of our ceiling. I think it will still be a few weeks before I can rest easy, assured that there aren't going to be any complications...there sure was a long list of them and all "less than 1 to 2 percent" and it seems like all those "less than 1 to 2 percents" sure add up to something higher! But God is faithful and I am trying to relax. Maybe if I get back to my neglected garden it will help! ;)

Here's the kiddo about 36 hours post-op...back to his usual self.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Prayer Request

6 years ago, an ultrasound tech was looking nervous and re-doing images, trying not to let on that anything seemed amiss. Two months later, we had our baby boy and about two weeks after that, we found out that there had been something amiss. He had a small hole in his heart. We're finally going to be closing that hole on Tuesday. While we'll be glad to get this behind us, we (or at least I) will be needing some prayers for the next few days. Because as if that wasn't enough to be going on, my allergies are acting up and the weather is all screwy trying to trigger my migraines...and I have to be better because my baby needs me...this baby....because in my mind he's still only this big.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First Veggies of the Season!

We got our first veggies from the CSA today. I can't believe how much we got!

6 radishes (or turnips, but we chose radishes)
small handful of pea shoots (mmmmm! who knew?)
bunch of kale
2 heads of bok choy
1 head broccoli
3 heads of leaf lettuce
1/2 lb broccoli rabe
1/2 lb mizuna?
1/2 lb spinach
1 lb mixed greens (choice of baby tatsoi, arugula and 2 others...)
7 sprigs savory
2 sprigs sage
we also could have a baby bok choy, but there weren't enough for everyone and we have some of those in our garden here at home.

It's a much more promising start than I was anticipating. And the pea shoots were such a surprise. Can't wait to see what other surprises are in store. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Daddy Day Care

The kids were off school today, but I had to work. So...they were stuck home with Daddy all day. What is a kid to do?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

There's a Baby in My Tummy!

That's the game that has been played constantly at our house the past week. I am refusing to participate - it's just the children. (Almost had you there, didn't I?) It started last Saturday at lunch when they all wanted to hear about when they were "a little baby in your tummy". So...we went through them all one by one. It's funny to hear their different takes on it as they reenact it...too varied and too precious to share in detail. But that half hour of conversation has provided a week of growing closer, sharing memories and finding myself remembering details long forgotten. If you haven't walked down that memory lane with your kids recently, I highly recommend it. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Beautiful Sight

I'm torn. I don't know which sight is more beautiful.

My son folding his own laundry:

My tomatoes growing strong and some peppers already re-potted?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Leprechauns are NOT real!

The conversation in the minivan on the way home today went something like this:

Anna: "...and then the leprechaun left DINOSAURS on my chair and he gave us suckers and sunglasses and...(more and more and oh so much about leprechauns!)"

Me: "What a fun day! It's nice that your teachers work so hard to make your day fun."

Anna: "The teachers didn't do it, the leprechaun did."

Me: "But you know that leprechauns aren't real - they're just pretend."

Anna: "Come on! Are you crazy? Miss Sandy found a real live one upstairs. He was so little. You've gotta be kidding me."

The last part is word-for-word - it really struck me. Not just because my almost 4 year old was sounding like a pre-teen, but because my daughter comes from a family that does not do Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. We celebrate those occassions, just without the mythical figures. I didn't even realize that Leprechauns were an integral part of St. Patrick's Day. But here she is, thinking that I am the one telling her stories, trying to make her believe that something that was so fun is not true. It really bugged her. She's asked me twice since we got home to confirm that leprechaun's really are real.

I like our daycare, but I really wish they didn't put me in these awkward situations where I have to choose between lying to my daughter and breaking her heart.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dinner Drag

I love cooking...but I hate preparing meals. I truly love cooking. I love looking for an interesting recipe, getting all the ingredients, preparing it and presenting it to my family. But weeknight dinners? Ugh. It's getting really bad. My poor husband has been working insane hours to provide for our family and I can't even manage to cook him a decent dinner most nights. It's terrible of me, I know. I find myself starting to say I can't help it, but that's not really true. I also have a long list of excuses ready - really good excuses. Things like:
  • I forgot to get the meat out to thaw.
  • The meat I got out 3 days ago and kept putting off cooking has now spoiled.
  • The produce that I needed has spoiled.
  • One of the 10 ingredients I need for that dish has been used for something else.
  • We just got home from (insert lesson here) and it's only 45 minutes until dinner.
  • The kids won't eat it anyway.
  • I think a migraine is coming on (happens about twice a month, but this one makes a more frequent appearance, I'm afraid!)
  • I'd hate for my favorite local restaurants to go under due to the economy.
  • (Nearest child) needs some "mommy time", and really, isn't that more important than a home cooked meal?
  • The kitchen is too dirty - I need to clean it first and there simply isn't time

All valid excuses...right? Regardless of the reasonable nature of the excuses, the fact of the matter is that I really SHOULD be cooking dinner rather than making the poor man pick up dinner on his way home after a very long day or just throwing something together that the kids will possibly eat and he will definitely not enjoy. I tell myself it will get better when summer comes and we have the fresh produce and the grill available. What a shame June is such a long way off. For the sake of our health, our budget and most importantly, portraying to my husband how loved he is, I am now on a journey to improve my stats in the kitchen. I'd give some hard figures here, but I'm just too ashamed to admit the current state of affairs. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gardening Season Has Officially Begun!

Or at least, I declare it has. For me, anyway. You can do what you want. :)

I have our chilis started, and I also jumped the gun on some Thai Basil...hoping I can get it going good indoors as it would surely add a lot to all the Thai cooking we've been doing lately. This week, I'll be starting the tomatoes and maybe getting the peas planted. One of the nice things about the raised bed gardening is being able to get a jump start, as they thaw pretty quickly.

But before I get going full steam on the seedlings in the basement, I need to CLEAN the basement. Too many spiders currently residing in there now for me to want to go down and check on things as often as I should. That's where shop vacs come in handy! :)

What does this say about me?

What kind of mother would leave her baby's arm stuck in a bus, just to catch a cute picture? After several minutes (and several photos), we were able to free his hand. I'm not a monster.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

How do my kids spend a Sunday afternoon? Playing in the street, of course. With all the snow we've had and temps too cold to melt any of it, the snow pile in the cul-de-sac is larger than usual. How could we resist?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Air Pollution

I think if I simply stopped cooking steaks inside, it would go far to reduce the air pollution in my neighborhood. I knew it was smoky inside, but didn't realize just how bad it really was until looking at the pictures I took while I was cooking. No, the camera wasn't off, it was working fine. There really was that much haze in the air!

By the way...don't you just LOVE her "Dwight bangs"?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gardening in January

OK, so maybe I'm doing more dreaming about gardening in January than actual gardening. Anything to get through these long, cold months. How my husband can love this time of year so much is beyond me! As I mentioned, we went to the meeting for the new CSA starting up just around the corner this year. Unfortunately, that merely whet my appetite to get in the dirt, but right now it is only about 9 degrees out. In the meantime, I've been looking over online seed catalogs, planning my garden grid and updating my spreadsheets.

I know you're all dying to see what we'll be growing this year, so here goes (in the number of "squares", since we do square foot gardening. Some are one plant per square, some 4, some 9...onions I just throw in and see what sticks):
3 Genovese Basil
2 Thai Basil
2 Cilantro
1 Chives
1 Garlic Chives
1 Sage
14 green beans
3 Bok Choy
7 Brussels Sprouts
4 Carrots (stubby round ones - for snacking while the kids are outside playing)
2 Chinese Cabbage
14 Peas
4 New Mexico Improved Chiles
4 Anaheim College Chiles
4 Mayo Chiletepine Chiles
2 Scallions
3 Shallots
2 Swiss Chard
2 Heirloom Beefsteak Tomatoes (Black from Tula)
2 Heirloom Beefsteak Tomatoes (Bloody Butcher)
2 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (Yellow Pear)
2 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (Koralik)
7 Heirloom Plum Tomatoes (Spitze)
1 Turnip Greens (for our bunny, Spy)
2 Butternut Squash
3 Delicata Squash
2 Autumn Cup Squash
2 Sunshine Squash
2 Acorn Squash
3 Spaghetti Squash
4 Sugar Baby Watermelon

31 different veggies. The CSA will hopefully be duplicating everything in one form or another, and perhaps I won't plant so much next year, but I'm just not ready to trust it entirely. We aren't planting any of the things that I can never keep up with - such as the greens that seem to bolt as soon as I've turned my back - or any sweet bell peppers (mine are always so tiny and slightly bitter). We'll just have to trust that all will go well and we'll have a steady supply of those. Even when the CSA we have selected has proven itself, there are some things I'm just not sure we'll get enough of to put up for the winter to provide for our family. I'll probably always grow tomatoes and peas and winter squash. We don't put up Brussell Sprouts, but we sure do eat quite a few, so now that we know how easy those are to grow, we'll probably always have a few of those going, too. We can eat the roasted sprouts like popcorn. :)

Now I just have to order the few seeds that I don't have leftover from last year and be patient until mid-February to get the chiles started and mid-March for the rest. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quick Update

Seems like life's been happening so quickly, I haven't had time to post. But that's not entirely true. I've still found time to play computer games in the wee hours, but by then I just don't feel like thinking to post. How sad is that?

Holidays were good - lots of family time and loads of snow!

One kid had pneumonia and another an asthma episode, so two out of three are on meds for the winter. But the asthma is under control now, so all is well.

Back to the snow - we had a BLAST last weekend. We invited 5 other families from church who all have kids the same ages as ours to go sledding at a nearby park. All totaled, there were 26 - 10 adults and 16 kids ages 2-11. After sledding, we all came back here for pizza, cocoa and popcorn. What a great way to spend the day. And what a blessing to have such a large group of friends with such well-behaved kids!

Yesterday evening, we went to a meeting about a local CSA that is starting up soon. (Mud Creek Farm - check it out!) We couldn't be more excited about this venture. And it is only 2.2 miles from our house, so we'll be able to be very involved if we choose to be. We'll still be growing our own garden, but we'll be able to focus our efforts on the things that we just HAVE to have and the things that I put up for the winter. Don't worry, I'll be posting on that effort as it gets under way. I've been poring over my spreadsheets and seed catalogs the past week or so getting ready to get started. I can't wait!

In the meantime, I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I didn't do great at putting up a lot to get us through the long winter, but we do have some. So about 1/4 of our vegetable consumption this winter will be from local produce. We still have plenty of winter squash just waiting to be gobbled up and bags upon bags of plum tomatoes in the freezer begging to be used or turned into sauce. Then some fruit, whole, diced or roasted peppers of several varieties and even a little bit of corn. Not to mention the jams, which aren't going down quite as quickly as I anticipated. Anyone need some Mulberry jam?