Saturday, December 31, 2011

Half Cookery

Every once in a while for the past several months, I have thought about making some foodie type posts.  So I have pulled out my camera, set up some shots of questionable greatness and began to document some of the things I've made.

And then, as in so many aspects of my life, I get caught up in the actual doing and dealing with children who have *gasp* needs, and I never take a shot of the completed dish.

Oh, there was one exception.  These oven-dried tomatoes?  They were just a fantastic snack that came from the dozens of late blooming tomatoes I grew.

Um, yes, there are quite a few less in the "done" picture.  Odd.  (My mouth is watering right now just thinking about them.)

This is about half the blueberries I scored at the farmer's market last month.  They have become a fabulous jam.

But where the heck is the finished product?  Well, I still have seven unlabeled jars in the cupboard.

This?  This is the start of a fabulous apple pear cranberry sauce that I made at Thanksgiving.

And this is the garlic I roasted for the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.

I swear that I did finish making everything.  And more!  I am apparently not cut out to be a foodie blogger, though.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I Love Her

It's because of little notes like this:
Dearest Shannon, 
Dad and I just watched the girls and they are so beautiful, Dad actually had tears in his eyes. I can't believe how grown they are.  Nana needs an updated pic for my quilt on my bedroom wall.  Shannon, you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and know that I have loved you since the day I met you and now I love your children as I have loved you.  Sending you sugar with tears as I remember how little you were and now see your face in your children.  Love ya bunches,
The wicked step mom who loves you like a mom.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can You Keep It Straight?

Today my girls and I went to a cookie exchange.  We took cranberry pumpkin bread that I learned how to make because of Bossy Betty.  So yummy.  Especially if you realize you didn't add sugar before popping that last batch of mini loaves into the oven.  *In our oven, the cranberry pumpkin bread (second recipe in that link) took about 34 minutes for four mini loaves.  We're just under the 3000 feet above sea leave mark, so I'm not sure if that's the difference.

To avoid minimize potential problems, I didn't tell Madelyn that it was a cookie exchange or even that cookies would be involved.  I said we were going to see friends.

These friends?  They're from an online mommy group that I just couldn't bust into last year to save my life.  This year?  Not to brag (seriously, I'm just grateful and kind of in awe), but the cookie exchange was changed from yesterday to today so I could go.  I'd only met one of the women in real life before, but it wasn't at her house.  The rest were friends waiting to be made.

As far as Mad was concerned, she was already friends with everybody.

As I pulled her from the car seat, a woman came out to greet us and see if I needed help bringing everything in.  Mad went up to her and said, "Hi, can you call me Rocket?" and then ran into this house we've never been to before.  Went straight in and found the kids in a back room of the house.

Eventually she came back to the front, where another little girl was playing.  Mad walked over and said, "Hi.  I want to be called Rocket.  Can you call me Rocket and keep it straight, please?"

And then I was forced to reveal that Mad's real nickname is The Director.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inappropriate Baby Babble

In case you find yourself deep in conversation with one Fynnie Fynnie Coco Pop, here is a handy translation guide:

Day-iss = Dog
"Sheesh!" = What a day-iss says

Mmm-poop (also known as Mmm-poopf) = Winnie the Pooh

Guck = Duck (and most other birdlike animals)
"Gack!" = What a guck says, of course

Fynnie doesn't mention Santa by name, but over the past few days she has been telling us what he says.

A week ago, Santa gave a breathy, "Oh!"

This afternoon she told us Santa says, "Oh ha!"

And tonight?  Tonight she insisted that Santa shouts, "Ho!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tired. Sad. Happy. Eh.

It's been a few days.  No, I didn't skip a word there.  It's been all of them.

Friday marked one year since I removed Corey from our home.  He has lived with my mom this whole time, because the one alternative he's placing his energies in is a bureaucratic mess.

There is not an activity that I do with Tom and the girls that I am not fully aware that my son is missing.

While shopping with my mother-in-law recently we came across some adorable hand-painted ornaments.

"Why don't you pick one out for each of the girls?"

I did.  I did not blame her for not saying, "Why don't you pick one out for each of the kids?"  She does not ignore or disregard Corey.  He does not live at our house.  What sense does it make to get him an ornament for our tree?

It doesn't.  I know it.  Do I always have to make sense?

And again, the fact that he does not live here was a decision I made.  I stand by it as much as I hate it.  He is still, and will always be, my son.  I love him.  I want him to be part of our lives as much possible, and as much as he's able.

He and my mom spend holidays and birthdays with us, with the occasional "just because" day thrown in here and there.  Sometimes she offers to bring him up to see his sisters, but he declines.

It was a little surprising to me how he jumped at the chance to be in a family portrait.  If he weren't there, I'm not sure I could have done it.  A week ago when things were falling apart (pre-vomiting) as we tried to prepare for the photo shoot, I called to tell him I was thinking about scrapping the whole idea.  It was the disappointment in his voice that made me reconsider.

We had our do-over on Saturday morning.  Corey looked fabulous.  The girls were adorable.  For some reason I looked like Marie Osmond, pre-Weight Watchers.  (Ask me if I care.  G'ahead, ask.  No, I don't care.)

Tom, who had obsessed about what I wanted him to wear for the better part of 10 days, showed up wearing the burgundy shirt that was my first choice?


Well then, he definitely wore the black shirt, right?  I mean, everyone else was wearing shades of burgundy or pink and black or khaki, so he did, too.  Right?

Hell no.

Blue.  A blue T-shirt with a gray sweater vest... with a (small) stain on it.  What the hell?!

Since Fynnie and I had gone to get Corey while Tom and Mad went to get new tires, we met up at the photographer's locale about four miles out on unmarked dirt roads.  There wasn't really a chance of him going back to change.  And we're cutting it really close if we're going to use anything from this session for our Christmas cards, so rescheduling was out.

Did I mention that I got my period as we arrived at the photo shoot?  That helped explain the entirely new levels of unreasonable irritation I was inflicting... sharing experiencing that morning.

Our photographer, Gina, is such a relaxed, happy person.  It rubbed off.  We had a lovely time.  A happy time.  The photos look like it, too.  Even though I just knew I'd be annoyed when I saw that blue shirt, it wasn't the first thing I saw.  Not even close.

I saw a family.  My family.  With my husband and my son and my daughters.  Smiling.  At the camera.  We look good.  We look okay.

Could we submit a pose to  Yeah, probably.  One of my favorites does have both guys laying in the dirt.*

We drove away from the photo shoot with a slight change.  Fynn went with Daddy while Madelyn Baby Rocket rode in Mama's car with Brother.

Driving almost four miles on deeply rutted roads eventually caused Mad to stop talking.  Corey asked, "Are you okay, Madelyn?"

"I'm Baby Rocket."

"Are you okay, Baby Rocket?"

"Yes.  I'm just a little shaken."

Not to worry, she likes being a little shaken.

A few minutes later she asked him, "Are you coming home?"


"Are you going to my house, Brother?"


Corey did his best to continue the conversation as he wiped tears from his eyes.

He did end up coming home with us after lunch, where it was almost like old times.  Including the fact that we locked up doors to certain rooms.  Corey went into his old room and brought out the last two boxes of his belongings and took them with him.  There are a few books, his light up tambourine, a baby blanket and a shirt.  Little pieces of him here and there, but he takes more each time he leaves.

Yesterday was uneventful, emotionally.

Today... today was all over the map.

One of my fellow MomShare mamas had her second child, a beautiful little girl.

One of my blogging buddies stood by and waited for her beautiful four month old Elimy to come through open heart surgery.  Everything is going great!

And this evening, I learned that one of my colleagues got the results of a biopsy that was done Friday, after a year of battling two cancers and two days after making it through seven hard weeks of radiation.  One of the cancers is back.  In a bad place for some treatments.

I am spent.

I read most of today's news while nursing Fynnie to sleep tonight.  Crying in the dark for the good and the bad.  Feeling how grateful I am for what I have.

Apparently my emotions were too much for Fynn.  She became restless in that very rare way that means, Please put me down and leave me alone!

I didn't want to, but a mama's got to do what a mama's got to do.  So I put her in the crib and covered her up.  I rested my hands on her belly and told her, "I love you so much and so much."

And my girl, who would rather sleep in someone's arms than all alone any day or night... my girl, who has only slept through the night maybe a dozen times in her life... grabbed my hands and flung them away.  And went to sleep.

I took it as a little "Get over yourself!"  So that's what I'm going to do.  Tomorrow.

Good night, all.  Sleep sweet when you get there.

*If you have my personal email address and you'd like to see the photos, let me know and I'll send you a link.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hope We'll Be Ready for Our Do-Over

Family photo shoot scheduled for last Friday morning got derailed by two of us projectile vomiting.

And do you know why I am sort of grateful for all of that yuck and goo?  (Well, not for Mad's.  That's just sad.)  Because my eyebrows started growing long.

Not just long.  Curly and long.

And I, style maven that I am (not), decided to trim them myself.

Pawing my way through the beauty supply drawer in my lair bedroom that is pretty much all hair bands of varying sizes, a face file, the crappy nail clippers (what happened to the good ones?!) and a few brushes and combs.

Eyebrow brush?  Not on your life.

Special clippers or scissors or whatever the hell people use to accomplish this task?  Bah.  Ha.  Ha.

Just me, the scissors that Tom recently used for some nefarious purpose that apparently dulled the blades (a fact I didn't realize until trying to trim Mad's bangs last night), my eyebrows-gone-wild and a lot of tension.

What could go wrong?

Yeah, no.  I'm not including any photos.  I suck.  Whatever.

I will say that there are no unruly or long hairs on my face at this moment.

Okay, yes, there might be a shocking lack of hair in the middle of my right brow.  I'm telling myself that people will think I have a cool scar.

It's hard to maintain the delusion, though, when my Nancy saw it and laughed out loud this morning.  She tried to hold it in.  Couldn't.  Kind of loud.  May have created a different type of scar.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ode To the 10X Mirror

How do I love thee?
Let me count the blackheads,
The white heads,
The stray eyebrows that keep finding their way to my chin.

What kind of a fool leaves for five days and doesn’t take you with?
A hairy she-beast who, three days in, fondles her chin hairs in the manner of old time professors.

Upon returning home, She-Beast will silently call out for you while tending to other important duties.  Like taking a three year old (and herself) to the potty and then through the rest of the world’s fastest bedtime routine, unloading the car and notifying concerned friends and family members that we are all home again, home again, jiggity jig.

But then, oh then, she will steal up the stairs and into her lair, where she’ll search frantically for Grandma’s old tweezers. Finding them, she will push her face into you, beloved 10X mirror and gasp, “What the hell did you do to yourself?!”

Soon all will be well (plucked and squeezed) in her world and she will move onto other important tasks, like paying the mortgage and showering.

The end.

Dear Daughter,

You are adorable.  People smile at you and talk to you and about you as you pass by.  This happens whether we're in the store or you're on the soccer field, where you run with your hands by your face, looking only to the audience to make sure they’re watching you instead of watching the ball, your teammates or opponents. And when you speak, people listen.

So please do not tell the lovely restaurant hostess, “Mommy has to go the potty.  We’re going to the potty.  Me and Mama are gonna use the potty.  Fynnie doesn't use the potty.  I have my potty seat because I don't want to sit on the big one.”

Thank you.

Your onliest mother,

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