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Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I meant to write something about that weeks ago, when I first put it up on the blog.
It's called My Lemonade Stand, and it was featured on the Today Show one morning. I tried to access it, but of course their server was freaking out because of the rush of traffic from the Today Show plug. A few days later, I got an email from them, saying, basically, "we're sorry, we weren't prepared, please try us again!" Who can resist that kind of humble plea?
So, I tried again, and it worked fine.
And the only reason I decided to put it on my blog was to let people know about that one little product, Shout Color Catchers.
Fellow Moms: If you ever do laundry -- I'm talking only to those of you who don't have private laundresses or who don't have your personal assistant take all the laundry to the cleaners -- you really, really want to have these things. They're little sheets that go in the washer, white as snow, and they come out completely black or red or blue or whatever the excess dye happens to be in that load.
Thus, your clothing stays the actual color it's supposed to.
I cannot tell you how many times a shirt or pair of shorts or whatever came out ruined because it picked up streaks or blotches of color from something else... even something I thought was safe because it wasn't brand new.
But no more! Honestly, this is a great product. I throw these sheets in with every single load, whether I think there will be dye loss or not, because you never know if somehow, someway, a bright red sock will have been accidentally tossed in with the whites. Pink undies, anyone?
Now I live in mortal fear that this product will be discontinued, perhaps because not enough people know how great it is.
So, I'm begging you, if you ever do laundry, please, please buy this, so that it never is discontinued.
And so that you, too, can know the joy that I know, two or three times a day, 6 days a week, when it's laundry time.
Yes, I'm being somewhat exaggeratory, as the kids say. But it does make doing the laundry a little bit nicer.
And I really don't care if you buy it from my Lemonade Stand, because I'm pretty sure I'd only get about 1/3 cent per box. Just buy it from your grocery store or whatever.
My sincerest thanks.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I'm not always as punchy as I appear to be from some of these posts.
So, to show more of my serious side, here's something I found very inspiring, from the catholic eye newsletter:
With Thanksgiving just a few days behind us, I'm going to try to remember "in all things, give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:18). Not just the good things, not just the easy things, but all things, including the bickering kids, the mountains of laundry, the people who annoy me through no fault of their own, the traffic snarls. Christ in distressing disguise.
Another wisely holy Theresa, Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, often referred to difficult or unpleasant people as "Christ in distressing disguise". The unwanted things that happen to us, the hardships we face, the disappointments we encounter are potentially concealed blessings, "Christ in distressing disguise". (catholic eye, October 31, 2007, #261)
This, too, was inspiring and appropos today, from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis. From Chapter 44, "On Not Drawing To Ourselves Exterior Things":
It is also more profitable for you to look the other way from things that displease you, leaving to everyone to hold the opinion that seems best, rather than enter into heated disputes. If you are concerned only with God's view in the matter and are pleasing in His sight, you will consider it a small thing to be worsted in an argument.There's been some discussion lately about fights in the blogosphere. I'm not sure I'm familiar with all the dust-ups that sparked those posts (though I know about some of them), but perhaps we just need to follow the advice above, and "leave everyone to hold the opinion that seems best", in order to avoid those heated disputes.
The problem, of course, is that one person's "heated dispute" is another person's "fraternal correction".
In that case, refer to the first quote above, and remember that those other people, the wrongheaded ones, the uncharitable, mean, loud, disputing ones, are actually Christ in distressing disguise.
Perhaps that will make it easier to smile at them. UPDATE: Or me, of course, should I be distressing to you!
Q. Did all those things really happen yesterday?
A. Yes, of course! With one small exception: I realized this morning that the call from the neighbor didn't actually happen during practice time; it happened during school time shortly before that. We live in a wonderful neighborhood where we all feel free to borrow things (the list of previously-borrowed items includes eggs, milk, sugar, molasses, zucchini, garden hoses, wheelbarrows, spades, and now keyboards) and they're always returned or replaced. The nicest neighbors in the world, really. We're blessed. (And I'm not just saying this in case the keyboard-borrowing-and-returning neighbor reads my blog, which he used to do sometimes.)
Q. Did you ever get another chance to practice last night, you poor thing?
A. Why, you are so sweet to be concerned, thank you! And yes, I was able to sit down at the piano after dinner. And guess what? I played the whole piece, start to finish, memorized. This may not seem like a big deal to you (OK, it's not a big deal, period), but I like to be able to prove to myself that I'm still capable of something like that, once in awhile.
Q. Do you really suffer from multiple personality syndrome, a.k.a. Dissociative Identity Disorder, as these goofy Q&A's would seem to indicate?
A. No. Yes! No! Yes!! No!!! OK, enough already. Um, the correct answer is no. But I do like to prove that I know the meaning of the above terms, as it's currently my only means of
showing off using my M.A. in Psychology. I hope that all my former Psych 101 students never forgot that schizophrenia is not the same thing as multiple personality disorder (which may or may not be a real phenomenon, by the way). < / digression > But maybe I do have two different personalities: My real-life one, and this one, which is a little bit goofier. Sort of.
Q. But why are you so .... goofy?
A. Because I believe that laughing at yourself is the first line of defense against insanity. And since I have kids, and since insanity is inherited from your kids, I need all the lines of defense I can scrounge up. 'Nuff said.
Q. You are a sad, strange little blogger, and you have my pity.
A. Yes, well, thanks for reading today's Q&A. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the long-promised, long-ignored Q&A about the name of this blog.
Bet you can't wait.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So, today, after school was over and before the carpooling started, I sat down at the piano to practice "White Christmas".
Why, you ask? Because a few years ago I decided I wanted to learn a new Christmas song every Advent that I could play to entertain my family and friends. HA! More likely that I drive them nuts while I practice it, over and over and over and over again...
But I digress.
Anyway, I sit down at the piano. I've looked forward to this all day. I really enjoy playing, and I almost have it memorized.
I'm dreaming.... of a White... Christma --
"Hey Mom! Do you know where the needle nose pliers is?"
"I need it to make some earrings for my friends for Christmas."
"OK, let's go look." Go to the basement, open husband's tool box, find the needle nose. The 15 yo daughter is happy; I'm happy.
Back to the piano...
I'm dreaming... of a White... Christma --
"MOM! THE TOILET'S PLUGGED!"
Run grab the plunger, unplug the toilet, put plunger away, wash hands.
Back to the piano....
Ring-ring ... the telephone... it's a neighbor who needs to borrow something. A cup of sugar? An egg?
No. He needs to borrow a computer keyboard. No, I am not kidding.
OK. No problem. Arrange to get it to him shortly.
Back to the piano...
"Mom, time to go!"
Sure enough, it's time for the carpooling and errands... guitar lesson, Tae Kwon Do lesson and work, the dry cleaner, the gas station....
Sigh. At this rate, maybe I'll have it memorized by next Christmas.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
One of my favorite holidays. There are no cards to be written. No gifts to be bought and wrapped. No menu planning or anxiety about what to serve. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is on in the morning. Stuffing (or dressing, if you call it that). Sweet potatoes. Pumpkin pie. What could be better?
I do love this day. It's a chance to enjoy our extended families, repeat traditions that grow richer and sweeter with the passing of time, and reflect on the many blessings God gives us.
Funny story -- wait, I shouldn't over-hype this. It's mildly amusing, to me, and has a certain personal embarrassment factor that might make it funny to you. Let's start over...
True story: This morning I got up early and started prepping the green beans that I'm bringing to my sister-in-law's house, and then left for 8:00 Mass. I even double-checked the bulletin on the parish website. Yep, 8:00 a.m., Thanksgiving Day.
On the way there, I reflected on how it seems that whenever you make the effort to get to daily Mass, God always somehow gives you that time back, no matter how busy you think you are.
I arrived at church just on time -- to discover that the bulletin was wrong. Mass had started at 7:30 and was just ending.
Several other people had been fooled, too. Turns out there was a separate note in the bulletin that had the correct schedule.
But, you see? I made the effort, and look how much time God gave me in return! Time enough to write this post.
So what am I thankful for this year?
- My dad is home from the hospital, after 24 days there.
- The wonderful people who work in hospitals and rehab centers.
- Of course, my husband and children and the myriad of blessings associated with having this wonderful family.
- The times of sadness and stress in my life which make me more aware of God's mercy, and which make the easy, happy times so much sweeter.
- Friends and relatives near and far (hello, Bayfield and Bay View and "Lake Country", WI, and Illinois, and South Dakota and Maryland and Pennsylvania and Texas.... )
- Immigrants, including my great-grandparents, the Scottish nurse and Indian doctors who cared for my dad, the young woman from Bosnia who helped me at Lenscrafters yesterday, the older woman from Argentina in the dress shop, my sister-in-law from Paraguay, my good friend from Argentina, all the young men and women from Eastern Europe who work in the Wisconsin Dells, the people from Mexico who work in our favorite pizza place, the Grand Master of our Tae Kwon Do school from Korea, all the immigrants who work hard to learn English at the literacy center where my aunt volunteers.... everyone who ever came to this beautiful country for freedom and opportunity.
May God bless all of us today and always. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Q: Is your life really that dull?
A: Oh yes, and then some. But, I love it. My favorite days are those when I can be home with my kids, teaching them, learning with them, playing games and laughing with them. The day I live-blogged was unusual because there was a trip to the copy shop and grocery store in the morning, and then the Bible class in the afternoon (it's only on Fridays).
Q: Do you always forget to say your prayers in the morning, you heathen?A: No, really and truly, I usually kneel down on the steps, facing the big wall crucifix we inherited from my dear mother-in-law, to say my morning prayers. But I posted that day as it happened, for better or worse, and that included waking up with my brain so tangled with ideas and plans and concerns and worries that I walked right downstairs without evening thinking to stop and kneel down for prayers. Obviously, I really could have used the prayer time, too. Sigh.
Q: Aren't you embarrassed posting the minutiae of your daily life to the world?
A: Well... as my daughters have pointed out, by the time you get to my age, you lose all sense of personal humiliation. I'm even thinking about posting a very silly YouTube video that my niece took of me last summer. Hmmmm.... maybe not.
Q. Are you going to live blog today? What's happened so far?
A. No, I'm not. But if I were, I'd write how I asked my Guardian Angel to wake me up in time for 6:45 a.m. Mass, but he was an over-achiever and woke me up at 4:30. Needless to say, I made it to Mass on time, and even had a chance to get some of my homeschool work done beforehand. Then I'd write about how I came home, poured myself a cup of coffee, got back to work on school prep, and now am taking a break to do this. But does anyone really need this many thrills per minute on this blog? I think not.
Q. Are any of these questions real questions from real people?
A. What do you think?
A. You would be correct, then. And that's all for this fascinating Q&A session with Stand in the Trenches. Tomorrow: "Just why is this blog called 'Stand in the Trenches', anyway?"
Friday, November 16, 2007
Made Dad a sandwich and drove down to the hospital with the two youngest. Ran into one brother as he was leaving, and another brother as he ran for the elevator we were on. Spent some time with Dad. Drove home, stopped at the grocery store on the way -- yes, I know I was there this morning, but now I knew I wanted to make this wonderful shrimp dish for dinner for Tom and me [Note: that's the only link I could find that was really accurate, and he says it's his "adaptation" of the dish, but honestly, it's word for word what I have from the Chicago Tribune!] --, ran into a neighbor and chatted for awhile, came home, made dinners for the kids (tuna melts and soup), made the shrimp dish for us, Tom poured a drink for each of us. Ate dinner. Cleaned up after dinner. Greeted 17 yo as she arrived from work (Tae Kwon Do instructor); Tom and I chatted with her during dinner [that should have read "her" dinner!]. Wonderful conversation about religion and how many people are out there who don't know Jesus. Or God the Father. At all. We need missionaries! (And I know, that means us.)
That brings us to right now. It's 9:40 p.m. Our 14 [Oops, that should have been 15!] yo is at her friend's house (next door); the younger kids will get ready for bed soon.
And so ends a typical day in my life.
And I have NO idea why I wanted to post this.
7:00 Wake up, shower, get dressed.
7:30 Answer a few emails, tidy up the computer desk, put away a half dozen items.
7:50 Grab overflowing laundry basket and head downstairs. Tom's already emptied the dishwasher and made the coffee: woo-hoo!
7:55 Throw a load of laundry in the washer.
8:00 Youngest is already up, watching Curious George. Get 10 yo son up; make breakfast for him and 8 yo daughter. (Yesterday was French Toast; today is just bagels.) Consider making a smoothie, but there's no juice and no fresh fruit in the house. Realization: Need to go to the grocery store before lunch.
8:10 Have a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal while catching up on a few blogs.
8:30 Gather "Mapping the World by Heart" materials to run to the copy shop.
8:35 Remember that I didn't pray this morning; try to pray even with very distracted mind. (Question for self: What is wrong with me that I would actually forget to say my morning prayers, other than a few thoughts directed toward God while waking up?? Muslims pray formally five times a day; shouldn't I aspire to that??)
8:40 Remind little kids to put their breakfast dishes in the sink and get ready for the day.
8:45 Start little kids on piano practice and school assignments.
8:46 Start dusting the family room, tidying up. Friends are coming today at 1:00 p.m. for the Jeff Cavins "Great Adventure" Bible Study.
8:50 Remember about grocery store; add items to the list. Polish the fingerprints off the end tables. Pick up afghans, pillows, and books from the floor. Make sure teens are up and getting ready for the day upstairs. (They are.)
9:00 Reply to an email from Mom about when I would visit Dad in the hospital. Help 1o yo son with piano. Get the idea for this silly blog post and start on it. Organize a few more school materials for the day. Get everyone on-task; write assignment lists.
9:10 Answer phone when the screening seems to indicate it's a legitimate call for Tom; alas, it's not. Spend a minute trying to politely disengage. Back to other tasks.
9:29 Make sure everyone is on-task with their stuff; leave for the copy shop and grocery store while all four kids get busy with their assignments.
10:30 Return from copy shop with 54 copies of maps and handouts (Note: these are NOT copyrighted materials! The program specifically allow for copies, just so ya know!), and a huge cart of groceries. Saved almost $50 on a net total of $132 -- another woo hoo for the day!
10:35 Get the kids to bring the 10 bags of groceries in from the car; unpack groceries, load fridge and basement freezer. Deal with one particular child who is being uncooperative and, shall we say, mouthy to me. Clean out fridge a bit. Finish putting away groceries.
10:50 Check on progress made on assignments while I was gone.
11:00 Everyone's hungry (note: this could explain attitude problem noted above!); start lunch prep while kids get out milk, chocolate syrup, cups, water, etc.
11:02 Wipe up coffee spill on counter (my fault; I left my half-full mug out on the counter next to the fridge).
11:05 Say grace together; have lunch together.
11:30 Start lunch cleanup; get kids to sweep and wash counters.
11:35 Reboot the laundry with another load.
11:38 Answer doorbell; it's the lawn mower guys. We're done for the year; "see you in spring!"
11:40 Get kids to sweep kitchen floor, put away food, wash counters.
11:41 Take phone call from friend about plans for tomorrow night; a double date, woo hoo!
11:45 Make sure kitchen table is clean and dry (check!); set up colored pencils and maps and globes and atlas for "Mapping the World by Heart" exercise (United States borders, states, rivers, mountains, lakes).
11:50 Settle outbreak of squabbles. Discuss charity, forgiveness, the power of good and bad examples.
12:10 Everybody's quietly working on the maps, absorbed in their work.
12:11 But this doesn't last long... "Mom, where is the Pee Dee River?" Golly, how should I know? I never heard of the Pee Dee River! Let's
look it up Google it. Wikipedia to the rescue.
12:14 Moderate lively discussion of Thanksgiving plans. Discuss how you don't choose your family; they are God's gift to you, for better or for worse. Discuss humility, charity, patience. Tell kids they can offer up missing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
12:22 Son discovers I'm live-blogging our day!! Much hilarity. "Mom, you're such a dork!" Said with a smile and affection. Yep. I can accept that. Dorkiness R Us.
12:23 Kids start singing "Oh wee O, O weeee O", from Wizard of Oz. OK then.
12:24 Answer questions about the Great Lakes. Explain meaning of "Adios". ("Dios means God, so it's like saying, "Go with or toward God". "Really? Cool!")
12:26 Tell little kids to wrap up the map exercise for today. The teens keep working, quietly talking and laughing together. (May I say again, "Woo-hoo!")
12:30 Google a question about the OK Corral during on-going map work and various conversations. "Was it in Oklahoma?" Nope, Arizona. 1881. Cool historical tidbit.
12:40 Go finish the tidying / dusting / vacuuming of the first floor.
12:55 Take call from friend; they'll be a little late for Bible study. Whew! Not quite ready here.
1:00 Finish tidying up from map exercise with older girls. Get a big glass of water for everyone. (Hydration is the key to domestic tranquility, husband believes. He's right.)
1:05 Give the powder room a quick once-over. Check on the laundry; toss clothes into dryer.
1:15 Friends arrive; the younger ones all play basketball outside while the teen girls and moms watch the Jeff Cavins DVD. Today's lesson: Exodus, the 10 Commandments, the Golden Calf ("Aaron, what were you thinking?!"), the Levites. Have a discussion about the lessons and then chat about Thanksgiving plans.
2:45 Friends leave. Teen girls scoot upstairs to get ready for Tae Kwon Do. I cut up an apple for the youngest. Me: Coffee break. Heat up a mug of coffee from this morning and sit doing this and catching up on some blogs for a few minutes. Email Mom about the plans for bringing Dad home from rehab tomorrow, after 25 days in the hospital. Whew.
3:00 15 yo daughter practices guitar; 17 yo practices piano. It's like music to my ears. Wait! Duh! It is music to my ears!
3:00 Make a list of what needs to be done yet today:
- Clean dining room (tidy up, dust, dry mop).
- Call to find out about drivers' ed for 15 yo.
- Call piano tuner; set up a date.
- Research steam cleaners for carpet.
- Make up a chore list for the kids for tomorrow, including bathrooms, bedrooms, and basement lodge.
- Figure out who needs to go where tomorrow: 15 yo has Demo Team practice; I need to be there when Dad and Mom arrive home from the hospital; date night with friends.
- Clean our bathroom
- Dust / vac our bedroom.
- Tackle the last of the laundry for today. Put away the approximately five loads that are folded and in a basket upstairs.
- Get after youngest ones to clean up their stuff this afternoon.
- Call sister-in-law to confirm what I'm bringing for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Make a run to Goodwill on the way to visit Dad.
- Visit Dad with the little kids for the dinner hour; make him a tuna fish sandwich for dinner as he said he was only going to order soup off the hospital menu.
- Add 10 yo's basketball schedule to my planner calendar.
Yeah, right. Like all that's going to happen.
3:17 Teens are picked up by their friend for a ride to Tae Kwon Do. "Bye! Love you! Do you have your key?? Run get it! Bye! See you later!"
3:18 Play dolls with 8 yo. Sweet! She got out my old Francie and Skipper dolls; we have a lot of fun playing with them together.
3:40 Play time's over for me. Back to work on that daunting list. First a little prayer break: Divine Mercy Chaplet.
So, that's my day so far.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I just spent about an hour in the garden, doing the last of the fall clean-up on this last beautiful day before the cold wind arrives tomorrow.
Now I could use a long soak in the tub, a massage, and a manicure.
On second thought, it might be cheaper to just hire a gardener.
HA! We all know none of those things are going to happen. Guess I'll have to settle for one of these tonight:
Purely medicinal purposes, you understand.
We just spotted a sleeping squirrel in our pear tree.
He was on a big lower branch, with his tail drawn up over his back to the top of his head, like this, but with his eyes completely closed, like this.
Said I to teen daughter, "You know what this means?"
Said she, "You're going to take a picture of it?"
"And blog about it?"
But alas. By the time I got the camera, he was gone. I still got a post out of it, though.
And who knew there were so many pictures, videos, and jokes about sleeping squirrels? Google knew. Google knows everything. In 0.17 seconds flat.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
When I was a "young mother" with my first two little ones, I used to feel sorry for moms whose children seemed so grown up to me. That is, anything older than six. I thought, surely, I was in the best season of life, and felt an almost smug sadness for those whose children were those big, gangly pre-teens, or, horrors, teens, or beyond.
Which was complete and utter nonsense, of course, because what was I thinking? Did I really think mine would stay little forever?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I was in the irrational throes of early motherhood, when I was pretty sure my life would stay the same, always and always.
I've learned a few things since then.
Back in those days, my life was filled with little children, toddlers, babies. My days were spent nursing, changing, and bathing little ones, preparing all the meals for everyone, cutting up meat at dinner, lifting sippy cups to little mouths, reading stories, playing board games, coloring and painting and making crafts. There was lots of laundry -- but all the outfits were little, and cute, and barely took up space in the laundry baskets.
Those were good days, and I loved them. I loved packing up the diaper bag and the babies and going for walks, or to the park, or to visit Grandma and Grandpa or friends for a play date. I loved the occasional time when I would lie down with them for a nap, all warm and snuggly and happy. I loved drying tears, doling out kisses for boo-boos, telling fairy tales and singing songs, back before anybody told me, "Mo-0om, Stop It!"
When I left for an errand, I was sent off with dozens of hugs and kisses good-bye and waves from the windows. When I returned, four small bodies hurled themselves at me as though I'd been gone for days -- even if it was just 20 minutes. Bedtime was sweet and mornings were sweeter. Many days I remember waking up feeling as though it was Christmas morning; what wonderful gifts of joy and cuddles and laughter would I receive from my children that day?
Of course, that doesn't last forever. I remember very distinctly the last time anyone waved good-bye to me from the upstairs window. I was driving away one Sunday night for my hour of Adoration at church, and I saw my two little ones waving good bye, silhouetted in the light of the upstairs hallway. I wondered, as I drove off, when would be the last time they did that, and would I know it?
Well -- that was it. They grew up in that very moment and ever since have been "too big" to wave good-bye to mom.
For the past couple of years, everyone has been old enough to make their own sandwiches, cut their own meat, pour their own milk. There are still mountains of laundry, but the clothes run more to jeans and sweatshirts and sports uniforms. They're bigger, and they require more care: the teenage girls' delicate sweaters that need gentle cycle and laying flat to dry, the soccer shorts that must be line dried.
Instead of spending my afternoons playing board games, helping with dress-up, or pushing little ones on the swing, I spend them carpooling, which makes me sometimes feel as though I'm living out of my van. But there's also uninterrupted time to talk, and the joy of hearing all about their lives outside the cozy world of our home.
Having teenage girls in the house brings a certain energy and excitement. They are on the cusp of adulthood, life is before them with all its uncertainty and anticipation and hopefulness. There are boys, and crushes, and good friends. There is the huge task of applying to colleges and then the harder task of waiting. There are hours spent writing in journals and just as many spent talking to each other -- talk which mysteriously and abruptly ends when I walk in the room. But I don't mind; I'm just so very happy they are good friends to each other. And besides, I know that there are plenty of nights when they pull me into their little circle and share with me all the latest news and problems and chatter.
Having pre-teens in the house is fun, too, with our boy growing taller and more athletic every day, with one sports season running right into the next; we no longer have summer, fall, and winter, we have baseball, soccer, and basketball. Our youngest daughter fills her days, and ours, with craft projects, stories, and poems, with sweet little letters that she types up in Word in a cacophony of fonts and then delivers to our pillows at bedtime. She leaves a paper trail everywhere she goes: little schnibbles of paper, big pieces of construction paper, plus capped or uncapped markers, crayons, and scissors. It drives me insane... but I know that there will be a day that I'll miss that paper trail that showed she was here.
So yes, my kids are growing up, but so am I. Finally, I know that each season of life with children brings its own joys and sorrows, all of which make one feel more alive, more grateful, more trusting in God's plan for us. Once in awhile, I indulge in mourning what is no longer here -- those little fuzzy footed sleepers, baby teeth, preciously mangled syntax and pronunciations, sticky kisses, baby toys -- but I don't do that very often.
Because if I did, I'd miss everything I have now, which is so much more wonderful than I ever thought it would be.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I tell the kids it's my Super Smoothie because it's soooooo good.
But my real motive is to get some fruits into my meat-and-potatoes boy. Really, it's ridiculous. He'll eat the tiniest bites of anything green only under protest, and any fruit other than apples is pretty much off his list.
But, thank goodness, he likes these smoothies! And so do the other kids. Even The Husband will ask for a go-cup of Smoothie for the commute.
Mom's Super Smoothie
Frozen strawberries (about a cupful or two)
Frozen banana (1 or 2)
V-8 Fusion Strawberry-Banana juice (if you're a food purist, I'm sure you can find something organic, but this works for me, and I love that it sneaks some veggies in there)
1 large scoop whey protein powder
2 tsps. natural psillium fiber (I use orange flavored)
Sneaky addition: 2 Tbsp. flax oil
Put in the blender and whirl away.
The flax oil was great when I started adding it last winter; the kids never noticed, and it was great for them to get those Omega oils. But then, I started to suspect that my son was allergic to it. His lips would get fiercely chapped and raw, which was counter-intuitive since I figured the oil would actually help with dry skin. Oh well. I'd try cod-liver oil but I'm pretty sure they'd notice the taste... ugh.
And the fiber... another sneaky addition! Can't hurt.
I buy big bags of frozen fruit (Nature's Blessed) from my local orchard but I've seen a few of their products at the grocery store, too. They are SO good, and not too expensive. I buy bananas on sale when they're just a little too ripe and they get bundled together and marked down, then stick them in the freezer as is. When I want to make a smoothie, I just slice off the frozen peel and cut them into chunks.
This morning we had a Peach-Mango smoothie, with the V8 juice of the same name, frozen peaches, and a few strawberries. Pretty darn good!
I've often wondered if it would be worth it to get a real juicer (all I have is a blender). A friend of mine insists they're great, but they're also big and bulky and expensive! So for now I stick with my trusty old blender.
"Pops", as my middle brother calls him, is finally out of ICU. After 12 days. Yikes.
So now he's up on the rehab floor, and NOT loving it. He's sick of the food (though if someone brought me food that I didn't have to plan for, shop for, prepare, cook, or clean up after, I would say nothing other than, "Thank you ma'am, may I have some more gruel, please?")
He's sick of the therapists, already. On the morning of the second day, I called. "So, Dad, what was therapy today?" "Oh, the same old stuff." Really, Dad? Second day on the ward and it's same old same old already? OK.
But, I take this for the good. The sooner he gets sick of them and they of him, the sooner he'll be motivated to do his doggone therapy and get out of Dodge.
He's doing pretty well, I'd say. Sharp as a tack, and moving like greased lightning with his cane, even faster with his wheeled walker. They're waiting on a culture from his cath site (and we're hoping against hope that it's NOT staph). I guess they're also still waiting to figure out if they need to do a permanent pacemaker or not.
So, each day when I visit, I look for signs that he's doing better, and so far, I've been getting them. The future is still a big unknown -- but then, it pretty much always is, right?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Kind of a blurry picture... and very belated... but I just had to load this pic of our little jack-0-lanterns.
Don't you love the ultra tall "handles"? That's what you get at the Swart Pumpkin Farm.
And isn't the pumpkin in the middle the happiest jack-o-lantern you ever saw in your life? He was designed and carved by our 2nd daughter.
The starry-eyed unibrow guy on the right was designed by The Boy, carved by yours truly, and the x-eyed one on the left was designed and carved by our youngest. (Using a very safe child's knife, don't worry.)
They look a whole lot more pathetic today. They're still sitting on the porch. Tomorrow, they go into the compost heap. Next year, they'll be fertile soil to feed the next crop of pumpkins.
Seems almost cannibalistic to me.
Here is his daughter's story; she would be 11 years old now.
There is some mystery here, I think, about trusting, but I can't put my finger on it, not this finger that has traced my child's name on her gravestone.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
A few things that I've picked up at the hospital (other than probably a few germs), where my Dad is still in the ICU:
- It's entirely possible to trust in God for everything, but still to have a big knot in your stomach as you walk into the hospital.
- Some of the greatest people in the world are nurses.
- It's a huge relief to see someone you love getting a little cranky about hospital food; that's a sure sign he's feeling better.
- Sometimes there are delightful surprises in the midst of worry, like when you find out that your favorite nurse, Don, was your favorite volunteer baseball coach for your son's team last year. Funny thing is that neither Don nor I made the connection ... but when said son came to visit Grandpa, he knew right away.
- Never, ever, EVER, let someone over the age of 70 be given an Ambien sleeping pill. Unless you want them to have hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and a really, really horrible night with virutally NO sleep at all.
OK, that's what I've learned so far. If I learn anything else, I'll be happy to "share".