Wednesday, September 29, 2010


It's fall here and when fall starts rolling around I get in the mood to start cooking again.  Well I get in the mood to cook some I don't really believe in cooking every day.  Maybe I would cook more if I had a dishwasher.  I say that because sometimes I've done three loads of dishes by the time dinner rolls around and it seems like an absolute horrible waste of water and energy to dirty more dishes...

What was I talking about again?  Oh yes autumn and cooking.  Well I have this really beautiful basil plant that I am quite proud of so I decided to make spaghetti.  I love my spaghetti, that sounds rude doesn't it? But, this blog is all about being truthful.  I used to hate spaghetti for the same reason my grandpa and my husbands grandpa both hated it; it's depression food.  I did not live through THE depression but I have lived through some leaner times and I swear that once when I was a kid we ate spaghetti three nights in a row (my mom disputes this but I'm pretty sure I'm right as I have two sisters to back me up one of whom is actually old enough to remember).  Any way when I grew up and started cooking I began honing my pasta making skills (I do not mean I make my noodles that is something I want to do when I get a bigger kitchen, there just isn't enough counter space for that sort of tom foolery here) I began working on my signature spaghetti and it's quite yummy.  My good friend Megan said to me a while ago "you make the best spaghetti" and let me tell you that compliment got me through the week.  As the laundry piled up and my children became naughty I would smile to myself and say "yes, but I make the best spaghetti."

You see the thing about spaghetti is you can do so much with it.  Got italian sausage? Brown it up and throw it in.  Zuccinni and squash that need to be used up?  Throw them in.  Half a pound of hamburger in the freezer? Perfect. So I am going to give you my base recipe it can be altered a million ways though there are two key secret ingredients that I'll share with you by putting a little star next to. I do believe that I may have posted this before but that was before I learned about tagging so I'm not sure.
who doesn't love a spaghetti faced baby?

1 onion chopped
1/2- 1 lbs hamburger or italian sausage (I really like the sweet italian chicken sausage by the company Al Fresco)
2 cloves of garlic (or if you buy the minced stuff in the jar in the produce isle about a tsp not the dried stuff do NOT use that)
1 Jar of Prego (you can use something else but it really is the best unless something else is on sale for one dollar in which case I can't pass it up)
Basil (fresh if you can get it dry if you can't)
Oregano (fresh if you can get it dry if you can't)
1 palm full of parmesan cheese*
2-4 squirts of hot sauce *

Heat a couple tbs of olive oil in a fry pan with high sides and add the onion and garlic.  Saute for a minute or two and add the beef or sausage salt and pepper.  When cooked through add the jar of spaghetti sauce and basil and oregano (I use a lot of basil and oregano probably at least 1.5 tsp of each if not a little more) after it's simmered for a couple of minutes add the cheese and hot sauce and simmer for a good five minutes or while you make garlic bread or until ready.  It's those two ingredients that really give my sauce an extra depth of flavor, the hot sauce adds a little heat but not too much (though, just to be safe I take the kids sauce out of the pot before I add it).  Add your cooked pasta and viola you have a really easy and yummy dinner.  My favorite way to make this is to use the chicken sausage and during the sauteing part add half a chopped red pepper and an entire cubanelle pepper; oh my goodness that will make your kitchen smell AMAZING!!

"Aaah don't touch me with your scary spaghetti hands!" 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dearest Hunter,

Today you are four.  That means four years ago I was laying in a hospital bed scared to death of becoming a mom.  Your dad was trying not to pass out and your Nannie was driving across the country like a bat out of hell trying to get here in time.

Four years ago I became a mom, I became your mom.  At that instant I knew my life would never be the same.  That I was altered in a way that would change the way I live every moment of my life.  I held you in my arms and I knew I had been given a most incredible gift.

Today you are four, today I realize how bittersweet that gift is.  I try to cherish all the little moments and remember all the funny, sweet, cute things you say but no matter what you just keep on growing.  I look at you and I see both my tiny little baby and the grown man you'll become.  You're dad and I will try to raise you right but I know we'll make mistakes.  Those mistakes will become part of who you are; I'm sorry.  Then one day too soon you'll be all grown, you'll leave our home and start one of your own.

Along the way you'll have joys, and heart aches and all kinds of adventures.  Some of them will include me but the older you get the more of them won't.  The more I'll become an observer of your life.  You'll grow and change but my heart, the one that you already changed, it will still love you, it will still yearn to hold you and sing to you and tickle you.  My heart, the one you changed, will want to jump in and fix all your problems, even though I won't let it, it will break when yours breaks and it will rejoice when yours rejoices.

I don't know if it will feel this sad on your birthday every year, I have a feeling it will, even so I am so glad that you're my son, that I'm your mom.  I would never change it.  I love you Hunter, I always

Happy Birthday! What can I give you that equals what you already gave me?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Oldest Child Got a Hold Of My Camera...

I thought I'd share some of the images of a budding photographic genius with all of you.

My mom is wonderful and in the 29 years that I have known her I have never once seen a blemish upon her skin!

Hunter gets a big kick out of new shoes and these are his new school shoes, also avoid looking at how dirty the back of that seat is!!

Conner does not look amused.

In almost every picture I have of my Dad he is sticking out his tongue.

Stuff we pass on the way to church.

Oh so cute.

How contemplative and artsy.


Friday, September 24, 2010

My House Is Green!

Wait a minute it's not "green" it's Green.  I mean it's not completely environmentally friendly or built into a tree.  I do not have solar panels on my roof or any thing like that (which if we did we would have to cut down all our trees so how is that helpful to the environment?) although I do recycle and I occasionally hang my clothes out on the line and I do spend an awful lot of time wondering around behind the children and husband turning off lights.  But, what I meant was last week my dad and I painted my house from a very faded yellow to green.

Our garage really needed a paint job and even though the cheery yellow is what drew me to this home in the first place I was ready for a change and you wouldn't paint the garage but not the house because then they wouldn't match and that would be weird.  Picking out a color is so stressful to me because once you decide on a color, which is a big commitment, there are hundreds of shades to choose from!! It really gets to me so once I get it narrowed down to two or three I usually pick the one with the coolest name (I once painted a bedroom "Ruby Slippers" red).  And my husband had the great idea to fly my dad here to help.  My dad is an expert painter that's how he put food on the table many a summer while he was teaching (one of the best summers I had in college was the one where I worked for and with him painting a lake house) and you can now fly straight from Baltimore National Air port to Grand Rapids with no lay overs!! The ticket was cheap and it was way cheaper then hiring some one to paint the house plus he did a way better job.

Let me just say I would never have finished the project with out him!! He is an incredibly fast and hard worker.  Plus he did things I never would have done involving goo and special guns and tools.  Not only did we finish the house and garage while he was here for an extended weekend I also feel like our house is way more conditioned and weather proofed then it ever was.  Honestly, though, the best part of this entire project wasn't getting a house that looks totally different (which is nice) but was spending all that time together.  I mean I'm glad it's over and we definitely lost steam as the week went on but I don't get to be with my dad very much any more and we've always worked together very well.  Thank you Dad for being totally AWESOME, for doing so much work (people, I paid him in pies and home made ice cream that's probably illegal) and for loving me so much.  I love you but I doubt you could know how much.

Oh, one last thing; I don't understand how he can be such a clean painter.  When I am finished I have paint in my hair, on my shirt, all over my hands and on my butt from where I accidentally leaned over and stuck it to the side.  He has hardly a drop on him! I dumped over an almost full can of paint and then when I was washing out the yard I sprayed the side we had just finished causing the paint to run off!  Just letting you all know so that you see I am still me even though my house is green and so you don't all come ask me to help paint your homes.

doesn't the color look good with my gardens?  I used Valspar "Homestead Resort Olive" and cream for the trim.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas?

Well yes it is... However, if you like to make at least some of your gifts then it is an unfortunate necessity or you will be stuck in November trying to make a million things and not enjoying any of it.  This I have learned from several years of doing just that.  Of course I not only think I can make every one I know right down to the mail lady a home made gift I wait until it's snowing and I feel like it but then I'm swamped with all the other christmasy things one has to do during that time including but not limited to; baking lots and lots of yummy treats, shopping, going to special christmas events, the light walk, being too excited to sleep, being too tired to stay awake and getting fat.  So this year I have made a real effort to get things going, my first goal was to finish one project a week which has turned into finishing one project every two weeks.  Also I am trying to remind myself that I probably won't get it all done and it's better to enjoy the time making the gift then make something under so much stress I can't stand it.  I'm also making a real effort to make at least one gift for each of my children, they always seem to get left out and while I know they won't appreciate it that much I'm hoping they will eventually.

I have finished, an octopus an elephant a pair of gloves and half a scarf.  GO ME!!! I have to paint the garage and house so things may slow down a bit but I'm really going to try.

In that same vain here are some things I would like for Christmas.  Last year I didn't really want any thing but this year I do and I'm cool with that.

(I did not even know they came in this amazing color)

I would like a pair of Converse All Star High Tops.  In either Red or Green.  I know that's weird but I've wanted a pair since Jr. High and apparently it was not a passing fad for me because I still want a pair and they now sell them at Target.  Also Chuck wears them and I love Chuck he would be my number two pick for husbands after Brian.

I would like a dishwasher.  Now that we've had our house rewired (praise the Lord and Gonzales Electric) I want a dishwasher. It has to be small and will require removing some shelves but I am so sick and tired of doing dishes plus the hot hot water of a dish washer will kill more germs then what my wimpy hands can handle.

I would like a used sturdy computer Armoire so that I can antique it, have Megan paint birds on it and change it into my sewing station. That way my sewing machine will always be set up but I can close the doors on the mess; can I get a hallelujah?!

I would like a gift card to Mod Cloth to buy a dress

I would like a gift card to Super Buzzy Bee to buy awesomely cool fabric or Colette Patterns to buy an awesomely cool pattern and time to sew.

How about you, what do you want for Christmas?  I know it seems early but it's never to early to start dreaming and giving hints to your husband.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

When Your Children Are Mean to Their Babysitter...

You should crawl under a rock, then maybe you should move to a different city and find some new babysitters.

Ok maybe that's an extreme solution, or really no solution at all but that is what I'm contemplating doing right now.  For those of you who have been following this blog for a while you know that my children are not perfect, you know that my parenting is not perfect, you know that my husband is almost perfect, and that my dog is FAR from perfect.  But there is something you don't know, I have a person in my life who thinks my children are perfect... Or she did.

About six years ago my parents moved nine hours away and took my sisters with them.  About a year later we became pregnant with our first child and where in the midst of finding a new job. We found a new job and church family and house in the nick of time; before the boxes were even unpacked we found ourselves in the hospital (for way too long) holding our first son while realizing not only did we have no clue how to be parents we had no family living close enough to help us through.  Now as it almost always happens God brought people into our lives to fill that void and to support us in our new journey.  In this case there were many many people but one wonderful woman in particular who fell in love with our tiny little boy (she will from here on be referred to as Adopted Grandma).  She not only loved him she also loved watching him (for free) and keeping him at her home over night.  Let me repeat myself OVERNIGHT!!!  For those of you with parents near by and those of you who don't have children you may not understand the magnitude of this overnight thing.  You see no matter how much you love your kids there are time when you must get away from them.  Sometimes a simple dinner date with your husband does the trick but if you ever get an entire night to yourself you become a completely rejuvenated person.  You get to stay out late, go to the movies... play parcheesi with your husband... sleep all night with out waking up, and sleep in late.  You can linger over coffee or go out for breakfast the next morning.

To put it simply it is glorious.  Our angel and sanity keeper not only fell in love with our oldest child she fell in love with our second child as well.  I have prayed so many prayers of thanksgiving for this person.  A strange thing about this relationship is that she has believed for all these years that my children are perfect. (Score one for my vanity)  In all my years of parenting during the times I am watching my children turn from angels to green slime spewing monsters I chant to myself while hiding in my bedroom, "At least their good for A. Grandma, at least their good for A. Grandma." I have so far lived my life thinking that some how something I am doing is sinking in because their both so good for our sent from heaven adopted Grandma.

Until this weekend. Cue the dramatic music.  About twice a year two of my oldest and dearest friends and I get together for the weekend.  Trying to coordinate three schedules is difficult so when this weekend became the only weekend that would work I said yes even though Brian had to work an all-nighter because our A. Grandma said she would watch the kids.  This was the first time she had both kids all night at the same time.  I went to Grand Rapids, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and then I came home.  When my husband mentioned that things may have not gone so well I got a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach.  Later that evening I called our A. Grandma and, yes, things had not gone well.  They had spiraled quickly out of control with my oldest feeling strong feelings of jealousy at having to share time with his younger brother.  Now did A. Grandma lay the smack down on my bratty son?  Oh no she blamed herself and worried over it all weekend.  Not only did Hunter's jealousy show itself he was also stubborn and mean towards A. Grandma (NOOOOOO).

I want our A. Grandma to know it was NOT her.  This was a big week for Hunter full of change.  He started school, our schedule changed, Maddie is here less.  With everything we've really gotten lacks about making him tow the line.  It's been a lot and I was stupid to think that going out of town after all of this would work (to be honest I didn't really connect the two things happening at once which is how I live most of my life) I should have stayed home and had a quiet weekend getting Hunter back on task.  A. Grandma you should know that half an hour ago my son was laying in his bread screaming his head off.  I had to lift him screaming and kicking into bed, in a ten minute span of time he not only lost his story time privilege he has been grounded from video games and spent four minutes on the time out blanket plus our final disciplinary actions.

So what do I do?  Sigh, resign myself to the fact that there may be no more free nights?  Crawl to her on my knees with my repentant son in toe, or trade him in for a nicer model (just kidding)?  I suppose we all have bad days and I suppose my smug at-least-my-kids-are-good-for-others-unlike-some attitude needed to be shattered but how I long for those good ol' days, how I wish I could rewind the clock.  But alas such is life.
There was a time when Hunter was excited about his new baby brother.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today was the first day of preschool and I'm not sure if it actually counts because it was only an hour long and some of the other mom's and I stayed (easier then going home and coming back) but I like to think it was because I hate starting something new like this.  I hate not knowing what to expect and I hate being on some one else's schedule and I hate not knowing how my child is going to do.

I've been nervous for a month and sick to my stomach over it for days.  I cried on the way home from the open house and nearly died when Hunter took my hand as we walked into the school and said as excited as could be, "Mom are you ready for this?" No, I am not ready for this!!!  Of course I didn't let my son see any of this I don't want him to be hampered by any of my weirdness. So today when I tiptoed into his room, cursing the early morning time, and shook him gently I was happy to see him rip back his covers bolt out of bed and run to the table with a huge smile on his face.  I'm not sure how he managed to get his eggos down because I can't remember him not talking or taking a breath the entire time.  We dressed quickly and then undressed because the new pants that he tried on in the store were now miraculously too big for him.  Finally dressed and looking so handsome he immediately puts his back pack on and wears it until we leave.

I'm so nervous we leave too early and have to sit in the car because the doors aren't unlocked yet.  But soon it starts and he is good, so good, and he talks and plays and isn't scared or timid... Except the time the teacher gets out her guitar case and tells the kids her friend Gary is going to come out and play.  Hunter puts up his hands and says "no don't get him out!" practically crying "great" I think "they're gonna wonder what kid of horrible mom not only writes down the wrong birthday on her kids registration but also torments him with musical instruments." (FYI as soon as she got out the guitar he smiled a sheepish smile and sighed with relief,  and getting your kids birthday wrong could happen to any one, right?  RIGHT?)

And I made it home with out crying and with a feeling of pride and relief; Go me...  Then I walked in the door got a massive headache went in the bedroom and cried.

First day of school for two best friends was a SUCCESS!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things I wish I was vs Things I actually Am.

Most of us are one thing and wish we were another.  Even the Apostle Paul asked the question, "why don't I do what I want to do but do what I don't want to do?" (my paraphrasing obviously).  For some reason today on my walk (probably to keep myself from focusing on the sweat, and burn and terrible pace) I began to think about those things to make a list in my head.  What I wish I were vs. what I actually am.

I wish I were graceful vs. I am the least graceful person I know... You know the phrase "Bull in a china shop" that phrase was actually written about me, or at least it could have been.  I routinely break precious and non-precious items while doing normal things like dusting, walking, and breathing.  I seem to be much stronger then I realize and apparently have a magnetism toward the ridiculous situations.  I play "Mystery Bruise" in the shower most mornings but can never remember if I got the bruise from running into the corner of the kitchen counter or walking into the push mower when I mowed it into a hole.  Despite my apparent lack of light-footedness and the fact that it seems to be something you inherit (my sister suffers as well as my barely four year old son who sounds like a rhino whenever he walks anywhere) there is still a place inside me that really believes that I am holding onto an excessive amount of talent in the dancing and figure skating world if only I had the right venue in which to unleash my furry.

I wish I were dainty vs. I am sooooo not dainty... I know this goes right along with being graceful but this is more of an inward trait I'm missing.  My laughs do not "tinkle like crystal" or sound like "water splashing through a little brook" my laughs are not endearing or sweet; I sound like a flock of honking geese.  Wouldn't that be one for the Jane Austin books, "he looked her way when he heard her laugh sound across the room like a flock of geese honking there way south..." Boy is that romantic. I wish that when I was mad I could seethe with a quiet determination, or that when I was said I would shed a quiet solitary tear or that when I'm happy I could merely smile with a mysterious smile.  But no, when I'm mad I cry (stupid tears making me seam weak) when I'm said I cry, when I'm happy, yes sometimes I cry, and if I don't cry I dance, jump and yell.  And people, when I cry I don't weep like a fair maiden, oh no I bawl and tears flow and I make noise and my nose is like a faucet which doesn't only drip but gushes forth!  I wish that I were quiet and mysterious but I'm not I'm loud and when I get excited my voice raises a couple of pitches and my arms fling about me like I'm crazy.

I wish I were beautiful but at least I'm normal.  I wish I were thin, though I know I could be much plumper, I wish my hair was curly or straight instead of whatever it is in between.  I wish I were a perfect mother who never yells or looses her temper and that I was always innovative in the bedroom.  I wish I didn't accidentally spend too much money and that when I cook I didn't make so much of a mess. I wish, I wish, I wish...

On the other hand I know that God made me, and while I know there's plenty not perfect with me I think there's a lot that's good.  I know that while having a laugh that tinkles like a bell would be nice it's a lot nicer to be nice, to be generous and to love those around you.  I know that my husband is glad he married me (though I often wonder why), and I have never ever wanted to be with any one but him.  Our children make me laugh and cry and sigh and I would never want to change that.  I know that while I strive to loose 40 lbs what I really want is to become the woman that God wants me to be.  That some how God thinks my laugh is endearing and that the fact that I cry when I'm mad is sweet, so really I guess I don't want to be that Jane Austin Character, I'd rather be me; maybe a slightly thinner more peaceful me, but a me that people trust with their hurts and joys, a me that gives back and does the right thing.  Thanks God for making me me.

so if I weren't me he wouldn't be who he is... Oh fine I just put it in here because he's so darn cute!!