Friday, April 30, 2010

Tips and Tricks for Domestic Sanity - Cheese

We go through a lot of cheese in our house.  I got tired of grating my own cheese and/or buying expensive shredded cheese at the grocery store.  We started buying the big 5 lb.-bag of cheese at the warehouse club several years ago.  So what do I do with that huge bag of cheese?

This:

Gather your cheese (duh), scissors to cut open the bag, quart sized-freezer bags, and a permanent marker to label the bags.



Label 5-6 bags with the date - including the YEAR.  I used to just label the day and month, then would wonder what year I put them in the freezer.  Major duh.  So, lesson learned: label at least the month and year.  Mystery bags in the freezer are not ideal.



Open all the labeled bags and fold back the tops to keep them open.  



Slice open the cheese bag down the center and across the sides.  Then, holding the bad over the cheese, place handfuls of cheese in the bags.  (Learn from my mistake of getting shredded cheese all over the kitchen floor.)



Seal the bags, working out as much air as possible.  Then, place the cheese in your freezer.  Helpful hint: Try to keep all the cheese in the same general area in the freezer.  It's nice to be able to determine with a glance if you need to buy more cheese. 


~ G


Thursday, April 29, 2010

You've Sparked My Curiosity, Right Network

A new network is in the works.  The Right Network, slated to begin airing this summer, will feature programming from the Right-Wing perspective.  Imagine.  "Running" follows six candidates running for office - one seeking to replace Nancy Pelosi, another seeking to replace Henry Waxman.

Take a look:




Kelsey Grammer is also on board.



So, I'm curious to see more.  Take a look at their teaser page.  Anyone else curious?

~ G

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arizona Immigration Bill

If we're going to debate, defend, or decry it, we should at least know what's in it.  Here's the Arizona Immigration Bill.  (Thanks to Reaganite Republican for pointing it out.)

I just read the bill.  As I see it, Arizona is taking steps to enforce federal law by strengthening its state laws.  They are a state in a republic and have every right to do so.  I don't see elements within the law that are a slippery slope to other laws or that this law lends itself to civil rights violations any more than any other law.

What do you think?

~ G

Charmed, I'm Sure

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  - Ephesians 6:12

If you've read many of my posts in the "On Bended Knee" section, you already know I believe that God woos us.  He woos us.  Hold on, let's talk about the word "woo" first.  "To woo" means "to court, to solicit, to seek to gain or bring about."  

God woos us.  He woos us before we know who he is.  Even after we know who he is, God continues to woo us to pull us into a closer embrace with him.  It's a never-ending, never-ceasing, always-growing relationship.  In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge uses worldly examples to show how God loves us.  Clips from movies and snippets of songs - all from the secular world - offer concrete illustrations of how God loves us.  Through these illustrations, we learn more about the nature of God and our relationship with him.

Eldredge's method rocked the worlds of some of my Christian sisters during the Bible study.  They had spent their lives so immersed in the Christian media world that watching a scene from some secular movie and seeing it through God-loving eyes shocked them.  How could something as secular as a Hollywood movie be such an utterly effective teaching tool?  The answer is that God can - and does - use everything to reach us.

It wasn't shocking to me.  For me, Eldredge merely confirmed what I already knew: God speaks to us all the time, through everything - we just have to open our eyes and look for him.  Eldredge confirmed for me that when we are grounded in the Word and when we are rooted in the Lord, we can be in the world and still be of God.

Where I had trouble was understanding how we could be under attack.  It made no sense to me.  Principalities of darkness?  Rulers and authorities and powers of evil?  I hadn't quite embraced the idea that if there is good, there is evil. If there are angels, there are demons.  After all, if there is light, there must be darkness. I didn't quite get it.  And then, as Eldredge teaches, God used the secular to do a work in me.

The Scripture above, Ephesians 6:12, flummoxed me until a very silly, very secular, controversial Aaron Spelling show opened my eyes.  I'm talking about Charmed.  It's a show starring Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannen Doherty (who was then replaced by Rose McGowan).  The actresses play sisters, Phoebe, Piper, and Prue (and then Paige) who are each powerful witches, who together comprise the "Charmed Ones."  In the series, they are on the side of good and battle evil, often vanquishing demons while protecting innocents.

Now, as Christians, we know that witchcraft is no where close to the real power.  We know that it is a sadly misguided attempt at knowledge and purity.  After all, the way and the truth and the life is through Christ.  See how being grounded in the Word puts things in perspective?  There's nothing to fear when you're grounded in the Word.

That said, Charmed served and sometimes still serves, for me, as a powerful illustration of what Paul wrote.  We live in the United States of America.  For most of us, the idea of seeing witches wielding power or people succumbing to possession or worshiping golden idols seems remote and old-timey.  Yes, we still have versions of those things, but they aren't as apparent and public as they were when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians.

Episode after episode, Charmed shows me that when I read about being filled with a fear not of this world, I am not to be separated from God.  There are principalities of darkness, eager to pull me down.  When I see an episode about the sisters being given immense power and they must choose to use it for its designated purpose and not be consumed by the power, I see an example of how God has given me gifts and he expects me to use them for him and his benefit and not for my own gain.

When I see an episode, like the one in the clip below, where Piper is drowning and can't get free, I am reminded that God has angels everywhere who are working for him to guide me.  When Phoebe is trapped by her exterior, I am reminded that my trappings must be removed to be on hallowed ground.  When Paige leaves her job to focus on helping people with her magic, I am reminded that God doesn't want me to split my time between working for him and doing my own thing.  He wants me to keep my eyes on him in everything I do.

Yes, I can see how my interpretations might seem like a stretch.  After all, this is an Aaron Spelling creation.  That means there's a lot of skin and a lot of cheese.  The question is what eyes are you using to watch it?  Your worldly eyes or your godly eyes?  When we use our godly background, we can see God's message in the most unlikely places.  Take a look:




I'm not saying we should sit down with our small children or young Christians and have them watch Charmed.  I'm not even saying that it is something you have to watch to understand God.  I'm certainly not saying Aaron Spelling and his writers should be revered for the show.  I am saying that sometimes we need help understanding concepts and sometimes God uses the very unconventional to teach us.

For me, for my comprehension of Ephesians 6:12, that's Charmed.  Watching the show made it clear to me that there are powers of darkness I don't know and I don't want to know.  It gave me a visual for my struggle against the "rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  When we look at the world through God-loving eyes, He can teach us more than if we only keep our eyes on what we think is good.

I encourage you to use your godly eyes when you're enjoying or even when you're repelled by worldly things.  Is God showing you - personal you - something he wants YOU to learn?  God is the ultimate teacher.  He can use anything from a cheesy television show to a flat tire to a butterfly on a branch to a stubbed toe to teach us what we need to grow.  I would love to know what God has used to help you understand him better.  Maybe through sharing, we can help one another?  Let's use this secular internet to draw closer to God!  :-)

~ G

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trying New Pizza

The other day I ripped out an article that had Wolfgang Puck's All-Purpose Pizza Dough recipe and decided today was the day to try it.  The kids helped make the dough.  We set it to rise.  Then we divided the dough and let it rest.  Then they each got to put on their own toppings and eat their very own 8" pizza.  They loved it.  Ownership of one's food rocks!  Middle One even tried anchovies - and decided he likes them!  Darling is so proud.

Sadly, everyone's pizza was gobbled up before I could take a picture and I got all-efficient and cleaned the kitchen before realizing I didn't take a picture.  There's not even a plate with crumbs to prove how good it was.  Oh, well.  Surely, you'll believe me.  Right?

~ G

"We Need More Voices"

Andrew Klavan, a screenwriter, gives his perspective on the political climate in Hollywood.  He says some smart things - no wonder, he's a writer.  Enjoy!




~ G

A Parent's Perception of Perfection

I've been thinking lately about how we set our minds in terms of how we see our children.  Parents, you know what I mean.  We have a "creative" or an "energetic" or a "happy" or a "grumpy" child, right?  We all assign some kind of label to our kids, usually from years of experience with said child.  

This is on my mind today because I have a friend who swears her child would "never do anything to hurt someone's feelings."  Really?  This statement came after her child played at our house and I watched him deliberately tell Middle One he couldn't play with him and Big Kid.  Middle One got tears in his eyes because he wanted to play and begged to participate.  Guest child refused and told him he didn't know how to play "right."

At that point, I intervened and made it clear that in our house we are kind to one another and if we can't be kind, guests go home early.  That settled it rather quickly and all three boys went off to play.

So, when my friend said her child would never do anything to hurt anyone's feelings, I knew for a fact that she was wrong.  Is she delusional or is she blinded to her child's faults or does he have a dark side she doesn't get to see or was her son just trying on his big boy attitude at my house?  I don't know.  I do know that because she doesn't see it as an issue in her son, she likely doesn't feel the need to work to instill in him kindness and consideration for others.

I also know it reminds me to be careful when I declare things about my children.  They're kids.  They're learning about the world and who they are.  Between now (before now?) and the day they leave this earth, they will try on new ideas, experiment with new thoughts, and do things I never thought possible for them.  

Heck, on my wedding day, my mom said to my cousin that she'd "never seen [me] like that."  I was very serious and very focused and thinking very much that I was making a very permanent choice and the weight of that very important decision grounded me like nothing before.  Even my own mother had never seen me like that.  

If my mom, who knew my personality better than anyone and who had watched me closely for 20 some-odd years, saw something new about me on my wedding day, chances are good that as mothers of young children we don't know everything about our children's personalities.  

Maybe we should be open to that and not box our kids in with what we think we know about them?  What lessons are we omitting because we're sure our child will never cheat or lie or be ugly to someone?  Being blinded by our perceptions of our child's perfection doesn't help them.  I'm just sayin'.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Dan's Common Sense

There's a new blogger worth reading - Dan's Common Sense.  He says what I'm thinking in a very clear, logical way.  His latest post is about the new Arizona immigration law.  Here's a snippet, then go to his blog, read it, and become a follower.


Protection of the States
Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution states:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

On Friday, April 23, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into state law the toughest illegal alien law in the nation and was immediately berated by President Obama for doing so. The state of Arizona, acting well within its rights as a sovereign state, took action to control its borders and protect its citizens from invasion and domestic violence caused by illegal aliens from Mexico. For a state to take such action is shocking, not because it was done, but because the Federal Government failed to carry out its Constitutional responsibilities.

What is wrong with the United States Government when it cannot or will not act even ... click here to read more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Better Politician? An excellent piece on Paul Ryan

How do you train or raise up a better politician?  Brian J. Bolduc, an economics editorial writer for the Harvard Crimson, published a solid piece on the topic and Paul Ryan.  Read the following excerpts, then head to the Harvard Crimson to read the piece in its entirety.  Here are some excerpts:


- Mr. Ryan has proposed a “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which even the president considers “a serious proposal.”
- Individualism is far more pro-human than collectivism; I think Hayek did a great job of showing that,” Mr. Ryan said.
- “You shouldn’t be embarrassed by the tea parties. They are people fed up with big government. That is something that every conservative should be comfortable with…It’s more of a snobbish thing. If you’re trying not to be associated with tea parties, you’re not prepared to intellectually defend your ideas.”
- When I asked whether he should accept the fact that Democrats won the last election and stop writing bills that die in committee, he objected: “So we should surrender our principles? I think we owe it to people to give them an alternative. The reason my plan is not going anywhere is because Democrats control Washington. I’m not prepared to accept that as a permanent condition. You don’t get the climate of change without giving a principled detailed alternative.”
Want more?  Read the whole piece here

Friday, April 23, 2010

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Need delicious dough and a cookie with rich, buttery, crispy edges and a chewy interior?  Something perfect for when the kids walk in the door from school or for making with a bored preschooler?  This is your cookie.



Prep Time: 10 min.
Baking Time: 7-9 min.
Total Time: 20-30 min.
Makes ~2 dozen

What You Need:
1 Cup peanut butter
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 Cup flour
2 Tbsp. extra sugar

What You Use:
mixing bowl (or stand mixer)
parchment paper
spatula
spoon or small scoop for dropping cookies on sheet
fork
small plate
baking sheet

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Tear off a sheet of parchment paper that fits your pan.
3. Cream the peanut butter and 1 Cup sugar.
4. Thoroughly blend in egg, milk, vanilla.
5. Add salt and baking soda.  Mix well.
6. Gently stir in flour - do not over mix or you'll have a tough cookie.  hahahaha
7. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto baking sheet, 2" apart.
8. Pour 2 Tbsp sugar on small plate.
9. Dip fork into sugar, than smoosh it down onto one mound of cookie dough.  Lift off fork and dip back in sugar, repeat, making a criss-cross shape on the cookie.  Repeat on all the cookies.
10. Bake for 7-9 minutes or just until cookies are starting to brown.
11. Cool for a couple minutes, then eat!
12. Makes 2 dozen.  It's more like 1 dozen for us.  The dough tastes so good we only have enough left for 1 dozen cookies.

Who wants pics for a how-to?  Do they actually help you?  Please post a comment and let me know.

BHG Biscuits



If you have read my blog for long, you'll know my deep distaste for canned biscuits.  (If not, read this.)  This is my tried and true biscuit recipe.  It's never failed me.  These biscuits feed my family regularly.

Truth in advertising: This is not my recipe.  This is from the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook, published in 1978.  I've tested quite a few recipes and this is the one I prefer.  So, this darling little post is more about technique than about the recipe.

On pp. 210-211, you'll find the recipe for biscuits, plain and simple.

What You Need:
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C shortening
3/4 milk

What You Use:
mixing bowl
pastry blender
spatula
cutting board for kneading and cutting out dough
biscuit or cookie cutter
cookie sheet

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Place flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening in the bowl.
3. Use the pastry blender to work the shortening into the flour until it looks pea-sized.
4. Pour in the milk and quickly, but gently, stir in the milk until the dough just comes together.
5. Dump dough onto a lightly floured cutting board.
6. Knead very gently, just until it's all one mass.
7. Pat the dough out until it's about the same thickness all the way around, about 1/2".
8. Using your biscuit/cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and place them on the cookie sheet, ~1" apart.
9. Gently smoosh the remaining dough together and repeat.
10. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 until biscuits are golden brown and delicious.


Important bits - salt, flour, baking powder, shortening.



Get ready to use that pastry blender!


Just like bringing a pie crust together, you're looking for little pea-sized chunks.  When your dough looks like this, you're ready for the liquid. Pour it in, mix gently, dump it on a cutting board, knead it gently and it should look something like this:


Notice I didn't get crazy trying to make the dough flat and pretty.  The more this dough gets worked, the tougher the biscuits will be.  If you want tough biscuits, go ahead and work the dough.  If you want fluffy layers, go gently.  Cut out your biscuits and chuck them on a cookie sheet for baking.


When I make biscuits, I triple the batch.  I cut them out and place them closely on a pan like this. Then I put the whole pan in the freezer for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, they come out of the freezer hard enough to not stick to each other when put in a gallon-sized freezer bag.  Then, when the kids want biscuits and scrambled eggs for dinner, all I have to do is pull out some biscuits, let them sit on the pan for 20 minutes or so, and then bake them.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Stories


Two stories keep rattling around in my mind.  The first was on a poster in my high school geometry teacher's classroom.  Surely you've seen it, too:

The first: Once upon a time, there were four people; their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody.  Whenever there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Everybody's job.  Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Nobody realized that Nobody would do it. So, consequently, Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.


The second: A poem by Martin Nieller -

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

---------  --------  --------
Why are these on my mind so much?  I don't know, exactly.  I have this horrid, undercurrent-feeling of America changing and Nobody is doing anything about it and that by the time it truly affects Everybody, no one will be able to speak up.  Over the past 60 years, the American government has grown bloated.  The past 15 years have seen exponential growth.  
I keep hearing my liberal friends, who are indeed dear to me, saying that the health care law is the same as invading Iraq under false pretenses.  Going to war and changing how the government affects Americans' lives are two completely different things.  We've always gone to war amid protests.  As much as we hear  that WWII brought the nation together, there were protests and American cries against it.  Even the Revolutionary War wasn't a unanimously supported war. Going to war is nothing new.
Forcing people to buy insurance is new.  The federal government taking over 1/6 of the economy is new. Governmental takeover of huge chunks of the banking industry, the auto industry, and healthcare is new.  It fundamentally changes the nature of government in America. The Democrats in Congress have taken the decades' long trend of ignoring the 10th Amendment to new heights.  
I hope Americans wake up before casting their 2010 votes.  The only way to reclaim our country is to vote out every single Democrat and vote for candidates who pledge to repeal the health care bill and decrease the size of the federal government.  We have to repeal the health care law and write a new bill that will actually serve Americans, not the government.  
Anyway, those are the two stories rattling around in my head.  May they rattle around in your head, too.
~ G

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My First Blog - As a Sticker-Wearer

How did I get started blogging?  Well, it all started the night of Sarah Palin's RNC speech.  She spoke everything I was thinking and it mobilized me.  I started a blog on Townhall to chronicle my new-found political awareness.  Here's how it started:

Sarah Palin's RNC speech inspired me to take action.  I've never been demonstrative about my politics before, but this is the year I decided to settle in on the Right and be obvious.  The day after Sarah Palin's speech, I logged onto www.johnmccain.com and ordered 50 McCain/Palin stickers to wear.  My grand plan is to wear one sticker a day until the Election is over.  This blog will follow my adventure into being a politically obvious citizen.

The stickers arrived on Sept. 18, 2008.
Day one: Slapped one on my shirt and wore it around the house.  Feel a little ... go here to read more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Sheeples Here Says It Well

No Sheeples Here has an excellent post on why more than ever your vote counts.  Read it.  Learn it.  Pass it on.

Today's Lunch

My lunch today.  Leftover oven fries and leftover onion and garlic sausage with a sprinkle of cheese.  Heated up in a non-stick pan and tossed a few times. The oven fries make great test subjects for flipping the food in the skillet like the chefs.  They're big and lumpy and don't scatter or slop everywhere.  Darling and a bunch of his guy-friends made the sausage in January - all other sausage pales in comparison.  I don't feel good today and want comfort food.  My usual salad wasn't comforting enough.



Okay, it needed some ranch dressing.  See that touch of yellowy-orange in the top left corner.  I tried "Lite Avocado Ranch" first.  Nasty.  Lite.  What was I thinking when I bought it?  Lite ranch has a flat, powdery flavor to it.  Blech.  If I'm going for comfort, I'm going for comfort.

Excuse me, please.  My lunch is calling.

~ G

More on Paul Ryan


If you haven't already noticed, I really like Paul Ryan.  From the first time Darling and I saw him (on Election Night 2008 giving the Republican response to Obama's win), we liked him.  He's got the right ideas for the GOP.  He's a rising star and one to watch.  My hope and prayer is that he doesn't blow it.

Every time he gives a speech or is on the air, I think about posting, but manage not to do so.  I don't want to run into copyright infringement by reposting his speeches.  What I will say is if you are on Facebook, become a fan of Paul Ryan.  Every time he's on the air or gives a speech, he posts it.  If you become a fan, it'll pop up right on your feed.  I'm saying it here: He's one to watch.


Of course, while you're on FB, follow me!  

~ G

Tips and Tricks for Domestic Sanity - Kitchen Pt. 1

Periodically, I'll post some tips and tricks for domestic sanity.  No, it isn't crafty - but it is domestic.

Today I'm going to 'fess up and tell you that if you come to my house mid-morning, you'll see a dirty kitchen.  That's right.  It'll be dirty.  But, if you're here after lunch, you'll see that it's clean.  It'll (usually) be clean before bedtime again.

Somewhere in my journey to domestic bliss, I learned that if I became a slave to keeping my kitchen clean, I'd never sit down. I'm the mom in a family of five. We do a lot of eating and a lot of dish dirtying.  Now, instead of rushing in to clean the kitchen every time it gets dirty, I wait until the kids are eating.  We sit down and eat dinner as a family, but during breakfast and lunch I serve as a go-fer.  Who am I kidding?  I am a go-fer at dinner, too.  The only difference is that at dinner I make a concerted effort to SIT with the family and eat.

The rest of the time, I clean the kitchen and talk with the kids while they eat.  It serves a dual-purpose.  The kitchen gets clean and I visit with the kids while they eat.  Okay, really it's a triple purpose - I don't have to sit and look fascinated when the kids talk about legos for the gagillionth time.  Plus, it gives them a chance to talk without me interfering.  I'm in the room, I hear what's happening, I follow the conversation, interjecting when appropriate and I get the kitchen cleaned while they're eating.  I'm also already up on my feet when go-fer duty calls.  By the end of the meal, they're full, we've visited, I'm not insane from talking about Kung Fu Panda (again), and the kitchen's cleaned.

How often/when do you clean your kitchen?

~ G

When Is a Wipe More Than a Wipe?

Last night I had to make a mad dash quick run to the Target pharmacy. While racing in like a mad woman because the pharmacy was closing walking in with calm decorum, I scrolled through all the nonsense in my brain, trying to remember what on earth I'd written on the ever-renewing store list on the fridge.  Wipes.  We were almost out of baby wipes.

Paid-for prescription procured, I stood in the checkout line with my huge box of wipe refills.  740 wipes or something. Basically, it's 8 refill packs for the wipes box.  Chances are very good that Little One will be potty-trained before we run out.  I stared at that box, thinking how it represented  a huge milestone for Little One, for me, for our family.  She's our last baby and it was quite possibly the last package of baby wipes I'd ever buy for my babies.

So I stood there in line, really wanting to talk about it to someone.  Usually there's a mom or dad in line and comments about wipes and babies and babies growing up don't seem too weird.  Usually we can laugh or smile or encourage one another in a few seconds' exchange.  Alas, the muscle-bound, very single-looking dude behind me buying a single pillow (seriously, who goes to Target and buys ONE item???) didn't look like he wanted to talk about babies and how they grow.

Okay.  That's not quite true.  I made some kind of brilliant hysterical comment about how my big box of wipes didn't look like a whole lot of fun.  Now, had he been a parent, he would have had some kind of telling response.  He didn't.  He looked confused.  Clearly, he's not the guy to chat with about wipes and babies.

So I stood there in line, thinking how I'm not all broken up about getting close to the end of the baby chapter in my life. No sniffles.  Just peace.  I've been through plenty of therapy in my short little life and I found myself doing an emotions check.  Okay.  That's not quite true, either.  I've always been a navel-gazer introspective.  Just ask my mother.  I digress.

The point is I'm okay.  I'm sure I'll shed a quiet tear of acknowledgment when the day comes, like the day we converted her crib to a toddler bed and like the day she wanted to walk and hold my hand as we went into the grocery store, rather than being held.  But, I feel very differently than I did when Big Kid graduated from diapers and finally potty trained. My first baby was growing up and I wasn't ready to let go of those days.  I wasn't finished with babies.  I wasn't ready to be done.  I had more mothering-of-babies in me.  When Middle One got there, I felt more stoic - like it was something to bear and I would be just fine, thank you.  Of course, by the time Middle One got there, I'd miscarried twice in the past year and I was so-oh-oh sure God had finished blessing us with babies.

Before Little One arrived, I always believed women who said they were done with makin'-the-babies and were happy with the number of children they had were lying to themselves.  I didn't think it was ever possible to feel satisfied, that the desire to carry and birth and hold a new baby could never leave.  I was wrong.  I was very, very, naively wrong.  The minute Little One was placed in my arms, I felt such peace about being finished having babies, I don't think I can adequately explain it.  We were a complete family.  I felt satisfied and calm and... right with the world.  It didn't feel like anyone was missing anymore.  We were all present.  We are all present

So there I stood with my big 'ol box of wipes on the conveyor belt, the box that's still sitting in the kitchen, the box that will get moved to Little One's closet today.  And now I'm thinking about how much I love this journey, how thankful I am to be the mother of three children who are here and healthy, how thankful I am that God trusted me with life, how I relish watching my children grow, and how I'm excited for the next chapter of our lives, and curious to see who they become.  Dang.  And now I have tears brimming and threatening to tumble down my cheeks.

When is a wipe more than a wipe?  When there is a Mommy is attached to it.

~ G

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh, Wasabi Peas, How I Love Thee

I admit it.  I love wasabi peas. I do.  There. It's out.  I also love our local bulk food market, where wasabi peas and tasty bits can be had for a song.  Some wasabi peas, dried cranberries, raisins, and almonds make for snack heaven.  A small handful of each, mixed up in a little IKEA kid's bowl and the result looks like this:


I also love IKEA kid bowls, but that's another post.

~ G

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My New TV Addiction

Sarah's House.  Third Season. Love it.  I enjoyed the second season when she (Sarah Richardson) redid a suburban home, but the third season with the farmhouse is wonderful!  Have you seen the main bathroom?  OMG - loving it!

The house before she and Tommy get to work.  Seriously, how can you not trust a woman who wears those boots?  






I love this bathroom. I love the curtains and their cheery yellow.  Love the step and it's distressed look.  Can't you imagine luxuriating in a bubble bath with your glass of wine, several magazines at the ready on the step?  


I love those curtains.  The yellow makes me happy.  I'm not usually a fan of old tubs (I have a deep phobia of old bathrooms and old dirt.  Dumb, I know.  But that's a whole 'nother post), BUT, I could spend hours in this one.


And this vanity is gorgeous.  Love the mirror.  Love the sconces.  This bathroom caught my attention enough that I stood in my shower until the hot water threatened to run out for an extended amount of time, picturing new tile, a new tub, new drapes, new wall color, and searching for a vanity at a flea market.  I haven't been this inspired to redo rooms in my house in ages.  For now, I'll sit on the couch with the laptop, munching on wasabi peas and dream of projects to come.  Hmmm...  we have some paint, there's a garage sale next Friday, I wonder...

Sarah's House is on HGTV.  Sarah's House is also on Facebook.  Sarah Richardson's website.

~ G

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On My Mind Today

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  Romans 5:3-5

"Prosperity preaching" has bogged down my brain lately.  I don't know why, exactly.  Maybe because so many I love suffer right now?  Probably.  I reject the current practice of  "prosperity" teaching.  Being a Christian doesn't mean that life suddenly gets easy and if we believe enough our days become laced with bulging money bags and easy entry to all we desire.  Rather, part of being a Christian means we can better frame our days by keeping our eyes on God.

Paul wrote the above in a letter to the Roman believers.  First century Christians were savagely persecuted for their faith.  Most of us Americans have no clue what it means to be persecuted for our faith.  We can't truly appreciate what suffering for our faith means as Paul wrote it, unless we've spent enough time in a country where freedom of religion doesn't exist.

So how do we - how do I - apply the above Scripture to my life?  To me, it means I don't always get what I want.  I don't always get what I think I need.  Sometimes things are hard to allow me to get closer to God, to burrow deeper in his Word, to learn to trust him even when I have no tangible, material reason to trust.  How can I have faith or grow in faith if things are always easy?

We do suffer.  When we suffer, we grow.  The growth period may take days or years.  God has his own time table.  I am reminded of something my doula said to me.  She said, "God exercises the muscles that need strengthening."  I like that.  We suffer when we're being exercised and that exercise takes us through a progression from suffering to perseverance to character to hope.

Anyway, that's just what's on my mind today.

~ G

Lenten Commitment Review

Remember my Lenten Commitment?  (If not, go here.)  This was the first year God asked me to add something, rather than subtract something.  I'd gotten away from reading my Bible daily and that was what God asked me to embrace again.  So, I did.

An interesting thing happened.  Of course, after I say it, all my God-girls out there will nod and say they knew it all along.  I started craving the Word again.  Every morning I'd read a little before getting on with the day - usually before stepping out of bed.

Over the Lenten season, I read Acts, part of Romans, and some of Luke and Mark.  I'm still in Romans and will continue to read.  Mornings just don't feel right without a few words from the Lord, you know?  I'm not back to needing full-on, Beth Moore, in-depth, chewing on the Word, yet.  That's not where I need to be.  God's made it plain I am where He wants me.  It's a good place to be.

~ G

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Bullycide"

There's now a name combining two things that have been around from the beginning of mankind: bullying and suicide.  "Bullycide."  The term wasn't coined by a doctor or a scientist.  Nope, a journalist came up with the name.  "Bullycide."  It's the new "-gate."  Just add "-cide" to something to make your theory valid.


Here's the thing that rankles me: Since the beginning of mankind there have been bullies.  And there have been suicides.  Terrible, but true.  No one - and I mean no one - can make you kill yourself.  No one.  They can make your life a living hell, but they cannot make you kill yourself.  They can literally kill you, but they cannot make you kill yourself.  Frankly, calling it "bullycide" is the coward's way out.


Yes, we have more technology than cavemen.  They wrote on walls.  We sext.  But the truth is (as someone who was both the bullied and the bully), when you're humiliated, it doesn't matter if it's 2 people or 2 million people who witness it.  It feels like the whole world. The emotion is universal and the emotion is timeless.  There is nothing new about the emotion of humiliation.


Calling it "bullycide" takes all the blame off everyone involved and lays it squarely at the feet of the bullies.  Yes, bullying is despicable, but do bullies deserve the entire blame for a suicide?  Chances are good that if someone's gone to the extreme length to kill themselves, there's more going on than just bullying.  Where are the parents?  What's going on at home?  Where are the teachers?  The school counselors?  The friends? The relatives?  The bullied one has a whole story that only partially includes the bullies.  


Taking the blame from those who should have known something was amiss is part and parcel of where we're going wrong as a country.  No one is responsible anymore.  No one bears their own burdens anymore.  It's someone else's fault.  It had nothing to do with me.  I couldn't stop it.  I'm weak.  I'm a victim.  Someone save me and fix it for me.  "Bullycide" is emblematic of what's happening to our country.  


Extreme?  Probably.  But does it strike at some truth?  Probably.


~ G

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poor Duck

Remember me telling you about how it's important to drive safely in your neighborhood?  Remember me telling you that most accidents occur within 5 minutes of home?  Remember I told you I zoned out for a second driving morning carpool and almost hit a duck?  (If not, go here.)   Someone (not me) didn't snap out of it soon enough and hit one of the ducks.  Poor duck.

~ G

Confession: I Love (Some) Reality TV

I know, I know.  It's trite.  It's the bottom of the barrel.  Reality television has damaged American's abilities to recognize or even appreciate good writing.  It's all (mostly) true.  Another truth?  I love some of it.

Here are the Top 3 on the DVR:

3.  Kirstie Alley's Big Life.  Love.  It.  I didn't love her character on Cheers, but I love watching her.  I love her story.  And Team Kirstie?  What's not to love? And I love that she's willing to bring cameras into her home and honestly, she's funny as hell.  http://www.aetv.com/kirstie-alleys-big-life/


2. Gene Simmon's Family Jewels.  Love.  It.  Believe it or not, I'm not a huge KISS fan.  Couldn't pick one of their songs in a line-up.  It's sad, really.  I don't recall how or why I started watching GSFJ, but it's a keeper!  What do I love about it?  I love Gene and Shannon's connection.  I love, love how he loves her.  And I love how she loves him.  They aren't married, but have a stronger, healthier bond than many married couples I know.  While Gene would tell you it's because they aren't married, I simply think it's because they have a deep, mutual respect and genuinely like each other.  It's an excellent show.  Love it.



1.  Project Runway.  Really, what's not to love?  It's so good I got Darling to watch with me!  And, I know you don't know him, but that's saying something.  Most viewers love Tim Gunn.  And I do love Tim.  (Did not enjoy his show, but I heart him on Project Runway.)  But who do I really tune in to watch?  Michael Kors!  He's brilliant and hysterically funny, while appropriately irreverent and says the most outrageous things.  Last season felt dishonest and wrong because the judges weren't consistently on the show.  They had different judges on each episode and it made for inconsistent evaluations of designers' work.  When Michael Kors and Nina Garcia were both on an episode, my heart sang.  When they were on separately with other judges, the judging felt flat.  Oh, and it's hosted by Heidi Klum.  If only I'd looked that lovely when pregnant.

~ G

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Psychobabble on the Boy/Girl Thing

I've figured out part of what bothers me about the whole "it's a boy thing" or "girls do this" or "boys don't do that" nonsense.  It's the underlying message that if you're a girl and you like to do a "boy thing," like ride a skateboard or listen to loud heavy metal music, you must not be a "real" girl.  It's the underlying message that if you're a boy and cry or carry a favorite stuffed animal and you're told that it's a "girl thing," then you're not a "real" boy.

Most people who spout off about gender generalities don't necessarily intend to push a message that someone's Pinocchio.  But it's annoying.  And it hurts me.  Which is silly.  But it does.

I think it hurts me because when we were expecting Middle One and found out he was a boy, I was crushed.  How terrible is that?  I was crushed.  Cried for four days.  We were sure he would be our last one (dumbasses how naive were we?) and I so wanted a girl.  I wanted a girl because I was sure my boys wouldn't want to do the things that I liked to do: cook, bake, garden, make stuff, read, be interested in our genealogy, etc.  

It took months for me to get a grip and recognize men can do all those things.  Just because my house was dominated by guys didn't mean my boys wouldn't or couldn't learn to cook and bake and garden and make stuff and share books with me and be interested in our family history.  It just meant I had to get over myself and teach them the things that matter to me.

So it's a very soft spot for me.  Turns out when Middle One was born, I fell so deeply in love with him that thinking back to my first reaction astonishes me.  I adore him.  And he loves to cook.  And his older brother loves to bake.  Ironically, I completely mostly got over my desire to have a girl and wanted to have another baby - bring on another boy!  Three pregnancies later, we had a healthy baby - who happened to be a girl.  

But the "boy/girl thing" is still a soft spot.  So, chances are, if you meet me at the park and make some dumbass crack comment about something being a boy or girl thing, I will most likely turn myself inside out to prove you wrong.  And that's my psychobabble quota for the year month week now.

~ G

Faker Truffles




What's with a name like "Faker Truffles?"  Well, the original plan was to make truffles for girls' night.  Went to the store, forgot some got all the ingredients.  What's a girl to do when she forgets a key step wants to create a new treat?  She carries on and renames the dish!  Faker Truffles, indeed.


Faker Truffles


Prep time: 10 min
Cooling time: 60 min
Rolling time: 10 min
Total time: 80 min

What You Need:
1 11.5 or 12 oz bag of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 half pint heavy cream
1 tsp. rum, vanilla, bourbon, peppermint extract or whatever floats your fancy
1/3 Cup cocoa powder

What You Use:
double boiler
spatula
9 x 13 pan
space in the refrigerator for a 9x13 pan
melon baller or small scoop
parchment or wax paper
pie plate
slotted spoon
food storage container, with lid

What You Do:
1. Heat 1" of water to a simmer in the saucepan part of your double boiler.
2. Place the top of the double boiler, or a very clean bowl, on top of the saucepan.
3. Dump the cream and chocolate into the bowl.  Stir until smooth and melted.
4. Add 1 tsp. of rum, vanilla, or whatever booze or flavoring.  Stir until smooth.
5. Pour melted chocolate mixture, now called a ganache (pronounced guh-nosh) into the 9x13 pan.
6. Set pan in fridge - uncovered - for about an hour.
7. Before removing the ganache from the fridge, tear several sheets of wax paper that fit inside your food storage container.
8.  Remove the ganache from the fridge.  Working quickly so the ganache doesn't soften, use the melon baller to scoop out small balls of ganache.
9. Place them on a wax sheet, not touching, in the container.  Don't worry about making perfectly round balls, you'll have time for that later.  Layer the balls between the wax paper sheets.
10. Place back in the fridge for an hour or so.
11. Just before removing the ganache balls from the fridge, pour 1/3 C cocoa powder in the pie plate.
12. Remove ganache from the fridge.  Lift out the layers of wax paper with the ganache balls on them.  You're about to put truffles back in the container.  You can use the same wax paper.
13. Working quickly and with one at a time, roll the ganache ball in your palms to smooth it out into a better-looking ball. Then drop it in the cocoa.
13. Roll the ganache in the cocoa until it's completely covered.  Lift it out with a slotted spoon and jiggle to remove excess cocoa.  Place back in the storage container, not touching.  Place in the fridge to set.  Voila, you have truffles!

Optional step:  I didn't like the bitterness of the cocoa.  Seems the layer of chocolate I forgot omitted gives an extra boost of sweet.  Whoda thunk?  So, I dropped a few heaping cereal spoonfuls of powdered sugar on top of the truffles, lidded up (sans waxed paper), and shook vigorously.  The only drawback?  Too tasty.  Ate too many in one sitting.  Other ideas: dip in peanut butter, crushed nuts,  or whipped cream.

Seriously, how can you go wrong with rum, cream, and chocolate?
Oh, I'll just tell you.  You can't.  

Oh, and some cocoa.  


Melt and stir until smooth.  Not quite there, yet.


Ahhhh, nice and smooth - with rum mixed in for good measure.


Warm ganache poured into a 9x13.  
Do I have to make truffles?  Can't I just grab a spoon?
Must I send it to the fridge?


Self-control won out.  See the frosty glass?



Scoop!


Scoop as much as you can, then get a spoon.
...or a clean finger.

Nifty little orbs of ganache.  


Almost-truffles secure in their container, ready for the fridge.


Mmmm....



Cocoa in the pie plate, ready to cover the ganache.


Truffles!  Amazing amounts of self-control...


...mostly.

~ G

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Date Night Rules

Despite wanting to cancel the sitter and stay home to nurse a headache/go to bed early, we went on our date.  Date night makes all the difference in the world.  Darling and I had been snarling and snapping at each other most of the week day.  15 minutes into date night, the tension of the past few weeks fell away and we were holding hands and laughing again.  There is much to be said for getting a sitter and getting away to just be a couple for a few hours.  After all, our family started with the two of us and if the two of us aren't on the same page and working as a team, we run the risk of losing touch.  It never fails to amaze me how just a couple of hours alone with Darling reminds me why I love him so much, why I chose to spend my life with him, and why he's my best friend.

So the next time I say I'm too tired for date night, someone smack me.  ;-)

~ G

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lessons Our Mothers Omitted

As a mother on whom all ills will be blamed, I tend to tread very lightly when it comes to blaming my mother for my issues shortcomings.  It's dangerous ground.  Rest assured, I won't be going "there."

Where I am going is to question what lessons my mom repeated incessantly, but I ignored inadvertently missed teaching.  I ask this because I had a really cool conversation with a friend the other day.  She said her mother taught her that she needed to be kind to everyone and to keep her mouth shut if she didn't have something kind to say.

My mother never said anything of the sort.  But then, my mother never gossiped.  I've never heard her gossip, unless I drag her into it and then she's anxious to move to other topics.  Her sisters don't gossip.  My cousin and I... yeah, we gossip.  We try not to get ugly about it, but we gossip.  Now how is it my mother doesn't gossip, but I do?  Did her mother impress upon her to not gossip?  Is that why she might have said something I don't remember didn't make an impact on me to not gossip?

It makes me wonder what lessons I missed or what lessons she didn't think to impart.  There were lots of wonderful things my mom taught me.  Obviously.  It makes me wonder what lessons I'm failing to impart or not impressing enough upon my kids.

For instance, a very well-mannered friend visited us a few years ago and her son dismantled something one of my sons built.  He wanted to use the pieces to build something else.  When my son realized his creation had been obliterated, he was crushed.  In fact, he still talks about it.  Know what upsets him the most?  No, not that the other kid took apart his invention without asking.  He still notes that the boy didn't apologize!  He didn't apologize.  Now, how is it that my friend who is the epitome of proper has a son who doesn't apologize.  She was standing right there and she didn't instruct him to apologize.  How is that?

So again, I wonder what lessons our mothers omitted and what lessons we are omitting.  What is it in our brains that clicks on some things to impart and not others?  What do you think?

~ G

Friday, April 9, 2010

Save the Ducks!

I suspect the reason most accidents occur within five minutes of home has a great deal to do with complacency.  This morning I almost ran over the leader of the flock of seagulls ducks that live near our neighborhood lake.  I was driving along, listening to my car full of kids chattering, apparently zoned out in the monotony of my morning routine - when suddenly I realized there was a duck about to cross in front of me.

I slammed on the brakes!  (He really is a pretty duck.)  He stopped in the middle of the road.  His lady friends stopped in a little line behind him.  He glanced around, probably assuming my tire was in the way, then turned around and waddled back the way he and his ladies came.

Thank God no one was right behind me.  Thank God the kids were all in their booster seats, car seat, and securely buckled up.  Thank God I didn't squish a duck.

So that's my theory:  Accidents happen close to home because it's familiar territory and we zone out.  Just sayin'.

~ G

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who Is This About - Really?

Here it is.  The Attachment Parenting post.  Surely more will follow, but this is the one I've been thinking about and the one I started before Little One smashed her chin and drama ensued.

Knickers-in-a-wad warning: I'm approaching this from the traditional, married mother and father, healthy full-term baby perspective.  If you don't fall into that category, this post isn't for you, so don't get your knickers in a wad.

I have been a sometimes willing, other times reluctant, participant in the Mommy Wars for nine years.  The Wars start when you get pregnant and last until ... I don't know when.  From the moment you conceive, you're bombarded with opinions, solicited and otherwise.  Likewise, from many moments before you conceive, you have lots of your own opinions.  Admit it, you have opinions.  Chances are, you are like me and you read and ask tons of questions.

There's a lot out there about how we should mother our babies.  There's the Ezzo school of thought that babies are master manipulators and you must train them according to your schedule.  There's the Attachment Parenting school of thought that babies need to be physically attached to you via sling or co-sleeping, with nursing on demand.  The battle rages between the two and both sides get nasty.  Have you ever read comments on articles about parenting?  Have you read any message boards about mothering babies?  They get rabidly cruel.

My thought is that both sides are a little too sure of themselves.  Both sides do a dramatic disservice to mothers and babies alike.  One side thinks too much of their adult lives and the other side thinks too little about their adults lives.  So, who is this about - really?

It's easy to have one child and think you know everything about mothering.  Hello, I did it.  I was one of those mothers at the park who was sure she knew it all because I'd figured out my only child.  Well, congratulations to me.  I did.  I had.  But what worked for him and for me and for our family of three may not work for other families.  In fact, what worked for the three of us didn't work so well when there were four of us, and certainly not when there were five of us.  And that's the part missing from the discussion.

The part that's missing from the discussion is what's better for the specific family.  When a baby is born, that baby isn't the creation of the family.  When a man and woman get married, they are the beginning of the family.  The first baby is just the first addition.  While in the first few weeks the baby's needs should be met as needed, once the baby is past newborn stage (six weeks), the baby should be a part of the family - not the center of the family.

What I know about parenting after only nine years is that unless you're actively doing harm (not feeding your child and/or literally abusing your child), you need to lay down the guilt.  Just lay it down.

You are NOT a bad mother if you:


  • ...don't sleep with your baby.  That's why monitors were invented.  Get one with lights and maybe a vibrate feature.  Plainly, some of us can't sleep with little snorters and wheezers.  Those of us who punch our husband's shoulders when they're snoring are not good co-sleeping candidates.  Just sayin'.
  • ...don't wear your baby.  Unless you have a robot changing the baby, feeding the baby, burping the baby, or snuggling with the baby, your baby's getting plenty of loving touches.
  • ...don't nurse your baby.  Yes, breast milk is best; however, some of us can't nurse for various reasons.  Even if you just don't feel comfortable enough with your breasts to nurse or pump, it doesn't mean you're a bad mother.  Henri Nestle invented formula in 1867 to feed a baby who couldn't nurse.  The formula saved the baby's life.  Shame on the woman who makes you feel like less of a woman or mother because you don't feed your baby from your breast.
  • ...don't nurse your baby, part two.  Robot alert again.  Unless you have a robot feeding your baby while you're swilling martinis and getting a mani/pedi in the next room, you're holding your baby and snuggling plenty.  You're a mom. 
  • ...use a stroller.  Yes, you're "pushing away" your child - while holding onto the handlebar and going the same place as your child.  So, unless you're standing at the top of a hill and shoving your child-filled stroller down a steep incline, you're not a crap mom.
  • ...sleep-train your child.  Sleep is important.  Kids need good sleep.  Parents need good sleep.  Getting up multiple times in the night with a (healthy) ten month-old is ridiculous.  Crying it out does not mean putting your child in bed and going out for drinks while he screams himself into unconsciousness.  Crying it out means setting a timer for yourself so you don't rush in like the crazed-mother-that-you-are and saving him from himself.  Set the timer for 20 minutes.  Let the baby figure out how to calm himself down.  If he can't after 20 minutes, go in and help.  When he's calm and relaxed, do it all over again.  Believe me, a night of screaming that results in many nights of good sleep is preferable to no crying and many nights of broken sleep.  
  • ...allow your baby to use a pacifier.  If your baby is underweight and you're using a pacifier, you might want to reconsider how much you're (not) feeding your baby.  Otherwise, a pacifier won't wreck his his life.  Now, if your child has to remove the binky to have a conversation, I'd say you've let the binky-love go on a little long, but that's another post.  ;-)    
  • ...shun the notion that you need to teach your child that you'll "always be there."  The truth is that you won't.  You will not always be there when she's trying to figure out how to sit and smashes her face in the carpet.  You will not always be there when he's learning to walk and plops down on his bottom.  You will not always be there when he goes out to play and the other kids make fun of him for having a binky.  Unless you're planning on full-time helicopter parenting and plan on welcoming home your kid who flunked out of college because it's the first time she had to do anything without your express supervision and - gasp - failed, you won't always be there.  Little, bitty, baby steps of independence need to start fairly soon.  Learning to fall asleep without being held or without a boob in the mouth is a good start.  
~ G

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Am a Shallow, Horrible Woman

This is one of those posts that could possibly get me international attention as the worst mother in the world.  I promised I would say it like it is and be truthful.  This is an anonymous blog, so I should be able to lay it out there, right?  The following could possibly cause my comment box to be filled with nasty, vile declarations of how wretched I am.  I accept that.  Here goes:

I'm crushed by Little One's appearance sans three front teeth.  Darling says he can't tell a difference.  A dear friend who came over yesterday said she couldn't tell.  But I can.  I can tell.  She doesn't look the same to me.  Her upper lip caves in a little, like an old man who needs to put in his dentures.  I keep looking at her, trying to focus above her nose, hoping to see my little girl's face like I know her.  She doesn't look the same to me.  I don't think the lack of teeth makes her cute.  Her face looks like I've done something wrong, like I've failed.  This isn't like a broken limb or a cut that will heal in a few weeks or even a few months.  This is the way it is until her permanent teeth come in several years from now.

I'm afraid that because she doesn't look the same I will treat her differently and it'll affect how she grows and what kind of woman she becomes.  I'm afraid that because she isn't as impossibly cute to me without those top front teeth that I will subliminally treat her as if she's less than.  And she isn't.  She's still herself.  She's still hysterically funny and precious.  She just doesn't look the same.  I'm shocked at how much her appearance bothers me.  I'm shocked by my shallowness.  I've always been the one who doesn't care about clothing labels or hair styles or anything much beyond basic hygiene and comportment.  My reaction has stunned and shamed me.  How shallow and horrible am I?  How terrible am I that her appearance matters so much to me?  Or am I just saying what most mothers would feel and are too ashamed to say?

I keep imagining what the women at the park will say or ask or think.  It's a looped litany in my head: What a horrible mother for not paying close enough attention to her daughter that she got hurt enough that her baby teeth were so damaged three of them had to be removed.  What are they - white trash who can't afford a dentist?  What does she feed her that her teeth rotted out - nothing but sugar?  Do they not know to brush their kids' teeth?  What's the deal - three kids and by the third they don't care enough to keep close watch on them?  They shut down by the third?  Well, that's what happens when you have more kids than you can handle.  That's why you should only have two kids - one for each hand.  What trashy people.  What a bad mother.  And the worst: She'd be cute if only she had her front teeth.

Darling came home early last night.  Yesterday afternoon was rough and my wonderful husband came home early to alleviate some of the pressure.  While the kids were outside playing and out of ear shot, I fell apart in his arms and told him everything I was thinking and how horrible I feel that she doesn't look like herself and how I'm a terrible, shallow mother for being upset about her appearance and how I'm afraid it'll change our relationship.  He hugged me.  He held me.  And then he pointed out that Big Kid has a mouthful of weird-looking teeth because his face hasn't grown enough to accommodate his permanent teeth and we don't even notice anymore.  Big Kid's our son and we love him regardless and soon I'll forget how Little One has changed.  She's still our baby.  He reminded me that the surgeon looked at the x-rays and assured us she didn't damage her permanent teeth, as we'd been warned, and that she'll just have a toothless grin for a few years.  A few years in a long life is nothing.  My man is so smart.  God knew what he was doing when he matched us.

So here I sit, watching her play.  She ate lunch and is now drawing circles.  "Circie" she says.  She's happy.  She's not upset at all that she doesn't have her top front teeth.  It hasn't even phased her, except now she bites into food on the side of her mouth, not the front.  Today she ate more comfortably than she has since the accident.  I know I'm completely transferring my worries onto her.  She's healthy and she's happy.  And... she smells like herself again.  And she feels the same in my arms.  She snuggles into me the same way.

Eventually I'll forgive myself, right?

Clueless about this whole post?  Go here and then here.

~ G

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