Friday, August 28, 2009


Hoping to unplug today.

Big thunderstorms last night, I think our forecast is rainy today. Good day for just talking to my girls, looking into their eyes, playing ponies and reading books, reconnecting after days of busy and preoccupation. Oh, and making a cake. Two actually.

Drizzle run for snow balls down the road. Lanie takes after her dad: egg custard with marshmallow.


We watched a couple feed French fries to the gulls. Erin wanted to run and catch the birds, but she stopped short at their screeches and squawks. "Mommy! They're laughing!"

Ice cream on the boardwalk.

The boardwalk. French fries. Sea gulls. Sand sculptures. Ice cream. Cotton candy. Games and prizes. Erin "won" the first game, but didn't like the prize, so Lanie got it. Lanie won a different game and picked out a white lion, and gave it to her sister. Erin looked in love as she cuddled and kissed the lion. Lanie looked like butter--just ready to melt from doing something so nice. Her angel smile glowed.

Erin, "Ferris wheel!" A sliver of moon. Tea cup rides. Hot air balloons. The carousel. A caterpillar roller coaster for four. Magical--every second.

The water park and Lanie's thrill seeking instincts in high gear. "This was the best day of my life!" Lanie said. I think it was mine too. Each day. When so much goodness and sunshine and pizza and ice cream and water and waves and sand and family and smiles and laughter and awe get packed into moments till they are bursting at the seams. Joy overflowing.

Friday, August 21, 2009


The surprise that didn't happen. (The lake.)

Still, we enjoyed brownie cupcakes poolside with friends and were close enough to home that we didn't have to drive through thunderstorms to get there.

Kids both sun tired and cranky. I think we can all use the rest this afternoon.

Monday, August 17, 2009


It had the potential of being a bad day. Cranky kid. (Cranky mom.) Housebound schedule. Humidity and not much to do. It was slowly beginning to unravel. Plans to eat out with grandma were canceled and I relied on an old favorite dish which I didn't get to make last week because of my stomach virus (mmm, chicken penne pasta with two extra batches for giving away). Met with grumbling from my two kids in stereo over having to eat family food. Me wondering, why this battle? We didn't know what to do with ourselves.

Fortunately, earlier today I was reading over at Simple Mom who had some boredom busters. And me, with overflowing bag of toilet paper tubes. Enter foyer bowling. I set up tubes. I found a ball. I explained the rules and helped the kids enjoy taking turns. Soon, we were all cheering each other and clapping hands. Shane came to see the fun and became the official pin setter. Game after game. Lanie got a strike. And Erin got some down despite her distracted efforts.


"Who likes bowling? Raise your hand!" I challenged. Shane, Lanie and I immediately raised our hands. Erin looked around at us, confused at first, and then raised her hand high. Then time after time, she was the one to shout out, "Raise your hand!" and we all did and laughed.

Toilet paper tubes ... who knew? A strike and a score. Thanks, Simple Mom.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Erin has been lobbying for a McDonalds trip. Daily. Today, after finishing up baking cowboy cookies, she asked for ice cream, freezer pops, chocolate and got a no for each one. Then she goes for McDonalds.

"Not today, babe. McDonalds costs money and I don't have any money on me," I say. Of course, what does money mean to a two year old?

She wanders off. She gets my wallet and comes back to me saying, "Here's some money for you, Mama."

Then she got my purse, the diaper bag and her shoes (which she put on herself).


I've been spending some time over at The Pioneer Woman. I tried to resist her because she seemed to be so popular--I don't like following trends so much. But a recommendation about her Tasty Kitchen forum for readers to also post recipes had me curious. So I peeked a few times. I have to admit, I actually now enjoy reading her site and looking at her gorgeous photography. It's like Smitten Kitchen goes country.

After four days of overall yuck, and losing my head (which would be a total of 8 pounds--the hard way), I decided to do a fun project with my poor housebound children. Today we are making Cowboy Cookies, thanks to the Tasty Kitchen over at The Pioneer Woman. This is a kitchen-sink kind of recipe that calls to the innermost cravings of my heart: chocolate, coconut, cookie.

This is mostly just to get the kids involved in some kind of fun that they've been deprived of for four days. And to have some stash in the freezer because: 1. we like our cookies frozen and 2. you never know when a dear friend is going to need a cookie.

I am still committing to the YOU diet. Finding myself in a new number set has a very encouraging feel to it. So I'm going to go with it. Even with cookies in the house. I can do this.

So today's Super Surprise Friday: baking cookies together. I'm finding most of this year's super surprises have to do with food. Hmmm. Next week, we're actually doing stuff that isn't food focused.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I think I got ahead of myself, doing that grocery shopping. Later that night, felt bad. Then sick all day yesterday. Wanted to get something done beside lie on the couch all day. Cleaned lower level. Bathed children. But still couldn't bring myself to fix dinner. Or even look at food. By evening, I was covered in sweaters, socks and blankets to try to keep warm because the body aches and fever had returned with a vengeance. I felt worse yesterday than I had all week.

"You should go to bed when Erin does," Shane offered. I craved the rest.

I asked him, "Can you get some clean pajamas from the laundry room and get Erin ready for bed?"

He did.

"Can you fix her a drink and make sure her diaper is changed?"

He did.

"Can you take her upstairs and get her settled in bed?"

He did. I followed along, breathless, sweaty, shaking, dizzy.

"Can you get me the vomit bucket out of the hall closet?" I asked.

He did.

As he shut the door, I asked one last question, "Also, can you put the clothes in the washing machine into the dryer for me?"

"Yes. But I'm starting to feel like Cinderella," he said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to get vomit off a child's car seat

Erin was a bit of a Crankenfuss Sunday. Early Monday morning I awoke to her making vomit sounds. In the bed. Right next to me. I shot up fast and turned on the light. I didn't see anything, but grabbed a towel in case.

"Does your tummy hurt?" I asked her. It did. She fell back to sleep in my arms. At a saner time later, we got up and got ready for a grocery run. Since Erin didn't want breakfast at breakfast time, I packed a juice and Cheerios for her and loaded us up in the car. Halfway to the store, she starts crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Ew! Mommy! She's throwing up!" Lanie says. I pull over fast and open the door. The child and her car seat are covered in vomit. She's freaking out because, really, in all her life, she has never thrown up. I had no paper towels. No extra clothes. I grabbed the cloth shopping cart cover and placed it over her, did a u-turn and headed home. Note to self: keep a roll of paper towels in the car.

Once she was cleaned up, changed and comforted, I approached the car seat. I called Ann, my trusty and super-clean friend who can clean anything. She tells me what to do: squirt liquid dish soap all over the car seat. Then scrub and hose it down--well. Then take the cover off and all the belts and fasteners and clean them all. Let the fasteners soak in cleaner. Wash the belts and cover in the washing machine. Let the cover air dry. Reassemble.

"Pay attention to how you take it apart," she warns. I remember once trying to disassemble a car seat Lanie puked on years ago. We ended up throwing it away because we couldn't get it back together. This would not be good. I decided to call another friend. (Sorry, Ann.)

I prefer this other friend's advice. Just clean it up as best you can and then put it back in the car. The stink won't last forever.

So while I scrubbed and rinsed and scrubbed and rinsed what I could without taking it completely apart, I became aware that I was feeling sympathy nausea. At least, until the chills and aches hit me. I was down for the count. Fortunately, the car seat was finished and left to dry in the sun.

Erin was skipping and hopping around, famished, after a good and long afternoon nap. I, however, was not so skippy. Or hoppy. Or hungry. Woke up to more of the same today.

"How's the YOU diet going?" someone asked.

"Um. Good--considering I can't eat anything!"

By this afternoon, the car seat was dry. Assembled. Put back into the car. And not stinky. I was another pound lighter. And we finally got the grocery shopping done.

This week's menu:

Monday: fend for yourself, Mama's sick
Tuesday: Recession spaghetti (noodles and meatless sauce). I ate half a turkey sandwich and a dish of berries because pasta and sauce sounded gross to my tummy.
Wednesday: chicken penne pasta (dbl batch for giving away)
Thursday: shrimp and snow peas (a new favorite)
Friday: flank steak and salad
Saturday: no dinner, church night
Sunday: Mexican lasagna

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good things

Planning menus, playing ponies, goodnight hugs, baking cookies, licking fingers, summer sprinklers, reading books, calling friends, making cards, picking veggies, grilling chicken, teaching letters, colorful pictures, rationing marshmallows, feeling breezes, watching clouds, laughing hard, being silly, hearing Words, helping out, thinking fall, memories savored, looking forward, living life.

Good things.

Very good things.

Friday, August 7, 2009


It was a big day for Lanie: her best friend's birthday party. As morning ticked on, I mopped the floors, cleaned bathrooms, played with the kids. And then it was lunch time. I fixed lunch. Lanie wanted to go out to play.

"Ok," I said. "But I still need to squeeze in a shower, go to the library, stop at the vet's for cat food, all before Olivia's party."

Lanie reconsidered her options.

"Well, can we just go to the library ... NOW? I want to read a few books before the party," she said. "And don't shower. You look great."

I laughed. I did get cleaned up and we just switched some plans around to get library books and cat food after the party.

Great fun. Lots of water activities on a beautiful summer day. Happy kids. Fun stuff. Good memories.

There weren't any super surprises planned on my part, but lots of fun was had. And the point of SSF was to be thankful, which I can say for all of us: we are.

Thank you, God, for beautiful weather, fun water games, a birthday girl, friends, parties and strawberry cake. Amen.