Friday, December 30, 2011

I Hate Shopping

I hate trying on jeans.  I hate trying to find jeans that might possibly fit, and then I hate trying them on to discover they don't.  Trying on jeans today, when I could hear my toddler SCREAMING at the top of his lungs in Old Navy, was ever so much worse.

I swore I wasn't going to be one of those people that dragged their overtired, screaming kid around driving other shoppers nuts.  But there I was, in Old Navy, with a SCREECHING kid.  As we tried to get him out of the store as quickly as possible, I found myself clutching him by the front of his coat as he tried to fling himself backwards on the concrete, wondering when I had become "that" parent. 

We're home now, and my husband and I are both exhausted and annoyed.  Fortunately Ben is ridiculously adorable, so it's hard to stay mad at him.  But I know we are both thinking about the fact that the house is low on groceries and at some point, we're going to have to take him shopping again.

When Don and Ben finally left Old Navy and I took a deep breath getting ready to get in line with our purchases, I saw a mother pushing a stroller with a little bundle of blue blankets.  It was all I could do not to grab her by the shoulders and say "DON'T let him turn TWO!!!"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Setting Some Goals

Sixty-eight books.  That's how many books I've read this year.  Well, as of today anyway.  But since the rest of the week looks busy, I don't think I'll be able to squeeze in too many more.

Sixty-eight, that's a lot...right?  It averages out to one every five days or so, which is better than one per week.  And I suppose if you take into consideration the MASSIVE page count on the majority of those books, I've done alright.

As the new year is approaching, I'm trying to set some serious goals for myself.  Obviously, I want to set a reasonable, yet challenging reading goal for myself.  I could set a goal of 100 books for 2012, which is definitely do-able, especially if I read more "normal" sized books (ie around 300 pages instead of 800) and take advantage of the ease of access my new Kindle brings me.  So, sure, I don't think 100 books would be an unrealistic goal.  But is that it?  Is that the ONLY reading goal I want to set?

Today I was reading an article about reading challenges.  Reading Challenges can be simple, like reading 100 books in a year, or more complex, like reading a select number of Titanic related books in the course of the year, or a select number of romance novels, Jane Austen novels, vampire novels, etc...  There's even a challenge to read all the Stephen King Dark Tower novels.  For some you need to post reviews, for others you don't need to post at all. 

I'm planning on perusing the internet for some good ideas, and I might just sign up for a few challenges, you know, something to keep me focused next year.  Honestly, the Jane Austen one sounds tempting.  I actually haven't read all that much Austen and I feel like it's one of those things I should do at some point in time.  So maybe 2012 is that time.  We'll see I guess.

As well as reading goals for 2012, I'm determined to set some writing goals for myself as well.  And I'd like to find myself some kind of productive hobby that leaves me with something tangible when I'm finished.  Knitting, sewing, cooking, pottery, something like that.  Again, another thing I'll be thinking about over the next few days while waiting for 2012 to start.

Can you tell I'm looking forward to a productive 2012???

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Belated Christmas Blog

Oh dear.  I think this is the longest I have ever gone without blogging.  And while I'd like to say it was because I was soooo busy with the holidays, that's not exactly true.  I'm addicted to my Kindle.  That's the truth.  And because I'm so technologically impaired, I can't bring myself to type out a blog on the tiny little touch screen keypad.  So I've been putting it off.

But I'm back, and I'm determined to post more, and force myself to use this stupid old laptop.

So, we had a nice Christmas.  As expected, my son was spoiled rotten.  It took HOURS for him to open all his gifts, since he wanted to play with each one.  The rest of the family had a nice time as well, we had a nice breakfast together and spent the afternoon cleaning up and playing with Ben and his gazillion new toys.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the next morning when I get up and get to use all my new Christmas lotions, creams, soaps, makeup and clothes.  This year I noticed there was a bit more wrinkle cream thrown in the mix, but I suppose since I'm getting dangerously close to 30 I ought to start fighting back.  So I felt pretty good about myself that afternoon after a nice hot shower and layers of nice smelling lotions.  Until I went to put Ben down for a nap.  He started sniffing me and looked at me and said "Pew Mumma, that yucky."  Apparently wrinkle cream does not smell appealing to an almost-two-year-old.  (And yes, he says pew like church pew, not p-u.)

Now that things have calmed down a bit, and I've managed to pull myself away from my Kindle, I'm planning on spending the rest of the week making numerous trips to the dump with boxes and the crumpled up wrapping paper, and I'm going to put away the rest of the decorations and (hopefully) take down the outside lights while we have a little break in the weather.  (The Christmas tree got an early boot due to the overwhelming amount of Christmas toys the little dude received.)  While January should be a nice quiet month, I have a feeling things will be a bit hectic with four family birthdays to be celebrated (one of them being Ben's birthday number 2) and a slew of bookkeeping work to be done prior to tax season.  And, of course there's my Kindle addiction to contend with, and my New Year's resolutions I intend to make.  Yup, January looks like it's gonna be a busy one.  Bring it on 2012!

Spiderman Ball Pit was a huge success (and a great conductor of static electricity)

As was the new BBQ grill and accessories!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Early Christmas Gift

I was wrong.

There.  Are you happy?  I'm admitting it.

Kindles are the coolest things EVER. 

Last Christmas my mom received a Kindle as a Christmas gift and I thought it ridiculous.  Why would anyone replace the beauty of a book with a piece of electronic gadgetry?  Books have been around for so many years, I wanted (and still want) to take no part in their eventual demise.  But, books are expensive, and libraries are not always convenient to get to, nor do they always have what I'm looking for.  When Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire a few weeks ago, I did my research and decided now is the time.

The Kindle Fire can access Amazon's GIANT online bookstore with the touch of a button.  The books are downloaded in seconds, and sit on a little virtual shelf where they wait for me to read them.  Music is equally as accessible, as are apps.  And since there is a huge variety of apps, I can watch movies or tv shows nearly as easily.  The Kindle has a web browser, so all of the internet is at my fingertips, and facebook and my blog are also easily available.  It's small enough to fit in my purse, yet large enough so I don't have to squint to read or watch something on it, and it's simple enough for me to use.

Now, the Kindle Fire isn't cheap.  I've been saving up for quite sometime and have designated my new purchase as my one and only Christmas gift this year.  But, since I'm probably one of the few people in the world still using one of the original ipod nanos, and I have perhaps the oldest cellphone of anyone I know, this new piece of technology is going to last me awhile.  I'm having a ton of fun messing around with it, playing games, downloading things, and gloating to family and friends.  I do have to admit though, I haven't read a book on it yet.  I've got a massive library book to finish, once that's done...hello digital!

And, just so you know, this will not keep me from buying or borrowing books.  I'll still frequent bookstores, and my local library, but now, when I can't find what I'm looking for, or a new release comes out that I just HAVE to have, I'll put technology to use!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Holiday Coupon Success!

Man the holidays are a busy time!  I'm finding that my poor little blog is taking a backseat to cookie baking, present wrapping, and online gift shopping.  But I'm happy to say that the majority of my gifts are purchased and wrapped, so next week will hopefully be a little less nutty.

I've been pretty impressed with my budgeting abilities this holiday season.  I've always been one for looking for bargains, but this year I've REALLY been paying attention for great deals and coupons and online coupon codes.  As it stands now, if you combine my savings using coupons, coupon codes, and the Black Friday deals, I have saved $218.22.  I have also received $50 worth of gift cards for purchases that I made and was able to put towards additional holiday gifts.  And that does not include sales (other than Black Friday) or any other bargains, of which I've been able to find many.  So yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself.  This is the first year I've really tried to take advantage of coupons and coupon codes, and I think it's paid off.  I've been doing Black Friday for several years now, and that's one of the best ways to save on some great gifts.  You don't have to go at midnight to get those deals either, especially if you aren't looking for the high ticket electronics items.

And since my shopping is pretty much finished, and my gifts are nearly all wrapped (don't hate me!!) I'm looking forward to spending next week ENJOYING Christmas time for a change.  And by "enjoying" I mean baking a gazillion different foods and cleaning my house like a mad woman.  Ahhhh, the holidays....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Note to Family and Friends:

Dear Family and Friends that will be giving or getting presents to or from us:

I want to apologize for the crinkled or ripped paper.  The missing or deformed bows.  The bent or warped boxes.  The random puzzle pieces that may have fallen into your gift bag.  And, of course, any broken, damaged or otherwise destroyed Christmas gifts.

I have an (almost) two year old.

Sincerest Apologies,


As I finished writing this he grabbed a bat and started beating one of the boxes.  I'm really sorry guys....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Barbie Basics

I was shopping today, and while leaving the store with a few Christmas gifts in hand, I happened to see a table of Barbies as I was walking out of the store.  I caught them out of the corner of my eye, but I forced myself to pause, and take a better look.  They were a line of Barbies called Barbie Basics.  Barbie was wearing the perfect little black dress.

And I smiled. 

I had an Aunt that loved everything Barbie.  She worshipped Barbie.  She must have had a zillion Barbies in her collection before she passed away, all gently held and dressed, with hair and clothes in perfect condition.  Her face was the first thing that came to mind when I saw that Barbie.  She would have loved it.

My Aunt passed away a few years ago, she was young, but had lived surprisingly long life.  Both mentally and physically handicapped, she had a funny side, a spoiled side and a gentle side.  My sister and I loved to make her mad when we were younger, and tease her about boyfriends when we were older.  We were never mean spirited, and I think she liked the attention.  And her Barbie collection was legendary.

Thinking about her today, and that Barbie, made me smile.  A nice thoughtful moment to interrupt my Christmas shopping.

And I almost went back to buy the Barbie.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Fun Website!

So yesterday I came across the website  It appears to be the perfect website for me.  Basically, you set up an account, select your favorite genres, and rate books you've already read.  Once you have rated a big group of books, the website generates recommendations based on what you liked.


I'm always trying to figure out what to read and just looking at bookshelves in stores or the library can be overwhelming and time consuming.  While not every book the site recommended to me looks like something I would enjoy, it suggested quite a few that I'd forgotten I wanted to read, and many others that do look enjoyable.  And since the site saves my list of "To Reads" and "Recommendations", anytime I find myself in need of a recommendation I can just log in to my account and find something that appeals to me, and is available at the library.


I'm so excited to find this site.  So excited.  And while it will never be as good as, or as thoughtful as recommendations from friends and family that know me, this will be a wonderful tool when I'm in a pinch, and an even better tool for keeping my "to read" list organized.

Woohoo!  Bring on the books!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh...Christmas Tree

Well, I'm almost embarrassed to post a picture of our Christmas Tree.  But, because it's soooo ridiculous, I'm going to go ahead and share.

As always, we are trying to pinch pennies this holiday, and while I much prefer a live Christmas Tree to a fake one, the prices can be kind of ridiculous.  This year I saw an ad that the Limerick Fire Department was selling trees at a local tree farm, any size for $20.  It appeared to be a cut and carry arrangement, so we decided to give it a go.

As a note, there is a difference between a local tree farm and a local Christmas tree farm.

The trees at this farm were all 20-30 feet tall.  We were told to choose anyone we'd like and they top it and cut it to size and strap it to the car.  Determined to stick to our $20 Christmas tree budget, we decided to make the best of it and see what we could find.

Another note, the tops of trees look different when they are 20 feet in the air.

We picked out a tree top that was relatively straight, had only one tree top, and wasn't filled with pine cones.  The firemen cut it to size and tied it to the roof of our car.  They accidentally tied the doors shut at the same time, so I had to crawl in through the back, but that was minor.

When we got the tree home all we could do was laugh.  It is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.  The addition of lights and ornaments have not helped this poor tree.

So while everyone else is sharing beautiful pictures of their full trees with beautiful lights and decorative ornaments, I can contribute my scraggly, scrawny, unevenly lit, unevenly decorated, Christmas monstrosity.

Fortunately we all have a good sense of humor.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Polar Express!

Choo Choo!!!  Last night we took Ben on the Polar Express at Portland's Narrow Gauge Railroad.  I got the tickets a few weeks ago for 50% off, and was really excited about kicking off the Holiday season with a train ride.  Since this is Ben's first Christmas as a walking, talking, kiddo, I've been eager to get him involved in festive things so he can start to get excited!  And boy was he excited!

We met my mom at the train station and had a few minutes to play on the little wooden train inside.  For a kid who doesn't spend a lot of time around other kids, Ben did a really nice job playing, and didn't kick, punch or push any of the other little kids (phew!).

We boarded the train (coach tickets, we're not classy enough for first class) and found a seat on a not-too-packed car.  The Christmas music was blasting through the speakers and Ben was in heaven.  He had his coat off and was bouncing up and down within minutes.  I asked him if he was excited and he threw his arms in the air and went YAAAAAYYY!!! 

The train started to move but after only a few minutes we had a stop and were boarded by "elves" who brought us chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa.  Yum yum!  The conductors passed through collecting our tickets and gave the kiddos special golden tickets.  After the tickets were punched, the elves moved through with special jingle bells for everyone.  When the train started moving again, Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express was read to us through the speakers and we listened and ate and jingled our bells until the train stopped again at the North Pole and was boarded by Santa Claus!

Santa made his way through all the cars giving hugs to all the kids and wishing them a Merry Christmas.  Then Santa said his goodbyes and the train chugged back to the station.

It was short and sweet but very exciting to all the little kids on the train.  For an evening adventure with an almost two year old, it was perfect. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Not Very Crafty...

Plan:  Get Ben up from his nap, trace his hand onto some felt, cut it out, decorate it with googly eyes and ribbon and make a cute Christmas ornament for Auntie Kelsey.

Reality:  Get Ben up from nap, trace his hand onto some felt, discover that scissors can't cut felt, find new scissors, discover Ben would rather eat glue than touch glue, glue the googly eyes myself, discover that glue does not stick to felt, force glue and felt to form an unwholesome chemical bond, watch googly eyes fall off anyway, attach ribbon with glue, watch it fall off, attempt to punch a hole in felt to tie ribbon through, jam hole punch, rip felt ornament trying to un-jam hole punch, throw crafts away.

No, I'm NOT Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Did It!

I think a little fan fare is needed today, I successfully posted a blog everyday for the entire month of November.  I rock!

It was hard at first, to find not only the time, but something worth writing about.  While I know not every blog I've posted this month has been an excellent piece of writing, I'm still pleased that I was able to at least put something in writing everyday.  And it has become easier, I'm not sure if that's because I've lowered my standards, or if I've just become more comfortable with this.  Either way, I'm really glad I forced myself to do this.  I can't promise that I'll write everyday in December, but I do know that I will make an honest effort to do more than I had been.  Even if no one reads what I'm writing, I'm still happy to at least make this effort for myself to prove that I can write something.  It might not be the next great American novel, or even great, but at least it's a start.  And a start is all I need right now...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

La-La Bear

Ben and I started unpacking the Christmas decorations today.  Needless to say, the afternoon was filled with "Don't TOUCH that" and "Just LOOK at it."  I think it's going to be a long holiday season.

But the best part of today was bringing up my light up Christmas Bear.  I've had this thing since I was a baby and every year it is the one decoration that I have to have out to make it feel like Christmas.  It's not exactly the most beautiful of decorations, but it's been a part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember, and sharing it with Ben today was a pretty awesome experience.

He was mesmerized by the lights, and since he has just recently learned to say "light" (la-la) and bear (bear) he was able to put words to what he was seeing (la-la bear!), which was pretty amazing as well.  He spent about twenty minutes looking at it, and touching the little light bulbs and trying to be gentle with it.  Fortunately La-la Bear is still intact, and with a little luck, he will remain that way through the holidays.

Sharing my bear with Ben was a pretty great way to start the holidays, and I hope it will be a part of all of his Christmas memories.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thin Ice

My dog is walking on thin ice.  Seriously thin the ice I saw on the lake the other day...very, very thin...

She has taken up a new habit of peeing on the floor when she is mad at me.

I'm not enjoying it.

I think her problem is that she's jealous of Ben.  When I leave the house with Ben, she pees.  When I go upstairs and lock the baby gate so she can't join us, she pees.

And it's not just that she pees.  She pees on Ben's toys.  Which is a thousand times more annoying than just peeing on the floor.  Today I had to wash half a train set, a blankie, and the sit-n-spin because she peed on them.


She has about a million other annoying traits, including, but not limited to, barking during nap time. Our next step with her is actually to attempt prozac-ing the bejeezes out of her in hopes that her separation anxiety and stranger fears will calm down some.  She's extremely high maintenance and has some serious issues...but she is my dog, and I do love her.  It's not entirely her fault that she was hit by a car and has since become a nutcase...

But in the mean time...she's driving me BONKERS peeing on the floor.  BONKERS!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Spirit!

I think it's time for me to bust out the Christmas spirit.  And by that I mean the Christmas decorations.  It's really hard to feel Christmas until your house is sprinkled in glitter, tinsel and reindeer.  Since Ben will be more involved in Christmas this year, I'm trying to get things started early so it doesn't feel so rushed.  I want to make sure we have plenty of time to sing Christmas songs, make paper snowflakes and decorate Christmas cookies.  I remember the excitement of being a kid at Christmas, and I want Ben to start feeling some of that energy.  I know he's still little, but I think he can still enjoy the excitement.

Friday night we have tickets for the Polar Express on the Portland Narrow Gauge Railroad.  I'm very, very excited to do this with Ben.  I think it will be a great way to start the holiday season and a fun adventure for a Friday night.  I'm hoping to get some cute pictures of him in his Christmas jammies, and hopefully one of two with Santa, but we'll see.

So hopefully this week I'll be able to start cleaning and decorating so Friday can really be the kick-off to Christmas.  Since Ben's toys occupy 98% of my living room, I'm going to have to put things away to make room for a tree, I hope he doesn't mind...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maid Services

I've got a few hours left before I head back to the bar for another shift of waiting tables and serving drinks.  (Last night I practiced making Rum Punch and Blue Hawaiians...I'm going to be a bartender before you know it!)  I'd like to spend my last few hours of the day relaxing, maybe reading a book and sipping a cup of tea.  Unfortunately, there's still a massive amount of dirty laundry sitting around, a floor in need of serious vacuuming, and two bathrooms that are in desperate need of a thorough cleaning.  While I probably won't tackle all those projects before I leave, I suppose I'll have to do at least one or two more of them.

Some days I wonder what it would be like to have a maid.  Someone that would come in and do the dishes, pick up the dirty dishes and dirty socks left around the house by lazy teenagers, wash and fold my laundry, clean my floors and dust.  I'm pretty sure it would be amazing.  I'm also pretty sure that I would be one of those people that cleaned my house before the maid showed up.  I'm not convinced I could let anyone else see the "real" dirt that accumulates around here...

I've been a maid before.  I was "housekeeping" one summer on the island at the Inn.  Not the greatest job I've ever had, but I didn't hate it.  I also accompanied my grandmother when she went cleaning cottages.  And in the past I've worked with both my mother and grandmother maintaining one family's summer home on the island.  Needless to say, I'm pretty familiar with cleaning.  So while I grumble and complain about cleaning this house, I can honestly say I've seen worse.  And while it would be a great treat to have a maid's help with the mess around this house, I'm more than capable of handling it, and I think I would probably prefer it that way.

Although I wouldn't mind if someone volunteered to do the vacuuming today....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Zzzzzzs

I knew I would regret Black Friday shopping.  I tried to plan it so I could get as much sleep as possible, but it was still a no-go.  I woke up at midnight and couldn't get back to sleep.  When 3am rolled around I was still awake so I woke Don up and away we went.

To the deserted Wal-Mart and Target in Biddeford.  At 4am, there was no one there.  We both agreed, there were more employees than shoppers, which made our life soooo much easier.  We managed to get all the items on our list, with the exception of one item, and finished both stores in one hour of shopping.  It was very anti-climactic.  But I managed some serious savings on a few items we really wanted to get for over 50% savings on a few items.  Score!

And try as I might today, I have not been able to make up much of my lost sleep.  Which is really too bad, because in about 45 minutes I'm heading to work...for my 5-close shift.  Zzzzzzzz.  I'm usually tired by ten on a normal night, not sure how tonight's going to play out.

But going to work tonight does have one advantage...I don't have to be home when the over tired Benjamin goes into meltdown mode.  A busy Thanksgiving and overnight at Grandma's has left him tired and more than a little grumpy.

With a little luck, we can all sleep in tomorrow morning, and I'm looking forward to that!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thankful Thanksgiving

I have a lot of things to be thankful for, and I try on a daily basis to remember how lucky I am.  It's hard some days, when bills are piling up, cars are malfunctioning and my son is throwing yet another temper tantrum, to keep things in perspective.  So let me just take a minute to share what I am thankful for today and everyday, whether I remember I'm thankful for it or not.

I'm thankful for my family.  All of it.  Grandparents, parents, step-parents, step-children, step-siblings, my sister, cousins, etc.  I am thankful that I have a large extended family to spend time with because I think family, above everything, is important.  It's what makes us who we are, and influences who we become.  Even as nutty as my family can be at times, I love everyone in it.

I'm thankful for my marriage.  It sounds a little impersonal, I know, I should say I'm thankful for my husband.  And while I am thankful, very thankful for him, I think I can appreciate the difference between having a wonderful husband and a wonderful relationship that we have both worked on.  We've been through a lot together, and I know we will have a lot more to go through, but together I think we can handle an awful lot together, and I am so thankful to know that he has my back and that he loves me (almost) as much as I love him.

I'm thankful for my step-sons.  I've learned a lot from them about life, loving, and raising boys.  They've been patient with me and I've been patient with them (I think) as we've all learned how to get along as life changes.

I'm thankful for my son.  Everyday I am thankful for my son.  He is the best thing I've ever done, and ever will do, and no matter how frustrated I get with him, I can't help but be amazed that he's mine.  I know that there was a chance that I could never have had him, and everyday I am just so thankful that I did. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Turkey Coma...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Snowy Morning

I woke up this morning to the sound of snow.  Snow sliding off my roof.  Which my dog was barking at.  Good morning.  A few minutes later, the power flickered.  Not a good sign.  The baby promptly started screaming, because his white noise machine freaks when the power flickers and tends to start making a very scary "alien static" noise which is hard for him to sleep through.

And so my morning began.  Knowing that with 8ish inches of snow on the ground, and 8ish inches of snow on the trees, it would be highly likely that I would lose power.  So, first things first, I baked a pumpkin pie.  While the pie was baking, I took a shower.  Now, fully prepared for a power outage of epic proportions, I started in on the graham cracker pie crusts for the chocolate cream pie.  I like to make them from scratch, and while you can make them without baking them, I do like them better crisped up in the oven.  With a little help from Ben, I managed to get the crusts done and baked about 10 minutes before the power went out.

Perfect timing.

Fortunately, the power was only out for a few hours, so the house didn't get cold and the teenagers didn't go mad from boredom.  Ben and I played in the snow for a bit (he was not very pleased that his little car got covered in snow, so he shoveled his out while I shoveled mine) and came in for some snuggles on the couch with fresh popcorn and Dinosaur Train on PBS.  All in all, it was a great afternoon with my little goober.

So, with the pies done for tomorrow, and nothing to do for the rest of the night, I think I'm going to catch up on some sleep so I can be prepared for Black Friday shopping and holiday decorating this weekend.  I hope everyone else had a nice cozy snow day today, I know I enjoyed mine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Moving Text Message

I didn't have a good day today, and I'm not going to talk about it.

Instead, I'm going to talk about what was perhaps one of the most moving text messages ever sent to my husband from his son.  It said:

"Finished Hunger Games.  Need the next book."

It brought a tear to my eyes.  That's right people, Marcus willingly read all of The Hunger Games AND asked for the next book in the series.  I nearly dropped everything to run to the store to get a copy of the book, but I had a few days before he actually came home from his mom's house, so I picked up a copy Sunday afternoon.  One of the few times I would have been more than willing to pay full price for anything.

If this isn't the best endorsement of The Hunger Games I can give, I'm not sure what would be.  Seriously, would you take a recommendation from a random writer, or a celebrity, or a 16 year old who, 99% of the time, would rather stare at a wall than read??

While I could sit here and list more reasons why you should read the books, I'm in the middle of the last book in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, and I really want to get back to it.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cooking Day!

Today I decided I needed to clean out my refrigerator.  My solution was to cook things, using the ingredients in my fridge.  This plan backfired since none of the recipes used up all of the ingredients I had, and then produced more items that needed to be refrigerated.  Needless to say, my fridge is PACKED.

But I thought I would share the recipes of the things I made that came out well.  I decided to start by getting rid of the big pack of spinach in the fridge left over from the lasagna I made on Friday.  I made a Potato Spinach Soup that is pretty much out of this world.  Creamy and silky with the mild flavor of spinach, the soup was delicious and very filling.  Here's the recipe: Potato Spinach Soup

While that was simmering, I thought I'd try to get rid of some ricotta.  Since no one eats "spinach ricotta stuffed pasta" (well, other than me) I thought I'd try something different.  I found a recipe for Ricotta Scones that came out beautifully.  I've never made scones before, so I was a little confused, but it ended up being really easy and they came out nice and moist and cinnaminnie.  (That's right, cinnaminnie...try the scones, you will agree, they are cinnaminnie.)  The recipe is here: Ricotta Cheese Scones

While those are the only two things I made with recipes, I did make a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup, yum yum, and some homemade applesauce.  It was a food filled afternoon here!

Tomorrow  I have some plans that will keep me away from the house for a few hours, so I won't be doing much cooking.  Hopefully we have enough left over soup to get us through!

FYI-Today is 21 days of blogging everyday.  I'm finding it much easier now than it was at the beginning.  :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Rocking Chair Needs Lumbar Support

Inner Monologue During the 40 Minutes of Rocking My Son To Sleep

After 5 Minutes:

Man, he is so sweet, he should be out like a light in just a few more minutes.  Mmmm, and his hair smells so nice and babyish.

After 10 Minutes:

Ok, that's enough of playing with baby doll's eyes and ears.  Let's focus on sleeping.  Mommy wants to go get some cake.

After 20 Minutes:

Seriously, if you un-zip and re-zip your pajamas one more time I'm going to freak out.  Ok, I'm freaking out now, but in my head, quietly, in case you thought you were going to fall asleep.  Seriously stop ZIPPING the effing pajamas.

After 25 Minutes:

Who the hell designed this rocking chair?  Have they ever HEARD of lumbar support?  God, my lumbar is killing me.  Or, I think that's my lumbar anyway.  Just stop fidgeting Ben.  Seriously.  Mom wants cake.

After 27 Minutes:

Is that Don getting cake?  He's eating cake down there and I'm stuck here rocking the world champion pajama zipper who will not GO TO SLEEP.  This is NOT fair.  I want CAKE!!!

After 30 Minutes:

Ok, just lay here quietly, and I'll step away from the't roll over....NO!  DO NOT pick up your head.  Don't do it!  Noooooo, do not sit up!!!!  And I'm starting over....

After 35 Minutes:

Throw that blankie on the floor one more time and you're following it.  Mom is done.

After 40 Minutes:

Holy shit, I think he's finally asleep.....quiet....quiet.....quiet......((close door))  SUCCESS!!!!

*No, we don't rock him to sleep every night, but for the last week he has decided that he needs to have a complete melt down if he is alone in his crib.  He goes through phases like this every now and then...and it's really, really, annoying.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Time for Ben

Tonight Ben was in a reading mood, so we read a few books together.  It's not often that he will sit still long enough to get through a book, and even rarer to read three.  Usually he chooses the same books, over and over, but tonight he lugged over an oldie but goodie: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney illustrated by Anita Jeram.  We used to read this one a lot when he was a little baby, and wouldn't/couldn't wiggle away.

If you haven't read it, it's a sweet story of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare getting ready for bed.  Little Nutbrown Hare is having a hard time expressing how much he loves Big Nutbrown Hare, but every time he finally puts it in words, Big Nutbrown Hare tells him how much more he loves him.  It's really sweet and I love the illustrations and the story.

Here's a little excerpt from one of my favorite pages:

'I love you as high as I can hop!' laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down. 

'But I love you as high as I can hop,' smiled Big Nutbrown Hare-and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above. 

That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare.  I wish I could hop that high.

It's such a sweet little story, and I loved that Ben sat still and let me read it to him.  I'm pretty sure he loves me to the moon, but, like Big Nutbrown Hare, I love him to the moon and back...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anniversary Party Success!


The 40th Anniversary Party went amazingly well, but I'm beat.  Everything went very smoothly, between setting up, having enough food, Ben behaving himself, and cleaning up.  We were out of there with 2 minutes to spare!  (I rented a small event room down the street that has pretty strict time guidelines.)

It was really nice to see my in-laws spend time with family and friends and not have to worry about the minutiae that comes with big gatherings.  (What? Did I just use the word minutiae at 9:30 at night?  You can tell I'm tired.)

And I got to bring home a bunch of cake, cupcakes and brownies.  BONUS!

So a big thank you to everyone that attended (not that many will read this, since I highly doubt they even know what a blog is, never mind that I write one) and to everyone that brought food to share.  We couldn't have done it without the help we received from family and friends.

A special thank you to Don's cousin Jennifer who made this AMAZING cake for Bob and Mary Ann:

It was pretty amazing, and tasted just as good as it looked!  So, Happy 40th Anniversary to my in-laws, thank you for setting an amazing example for my family, and may you enjoy another 40 more years together.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One of Those Days...

Do you ever have those days when you have a list of about 400 things to do and you think, "Boy, this is gonna be a busy day,"  then you remember you have an almost-two-year-old and you cross half the things off the list because they're just going to be impossible, and then you hope you can get through half of your remaining list?  That's the kind of day I'm having.

My husband and I are throwing a 40th Anniversay Party for his parents tomorrow night.  And while I say my husband and I are doing it, I really mean I'm doing all the cooking, preparing, decorating and organizing while he "oks" things.  So I'm pretty busy.

And Ben has chosen the last two days to want to spend every second on my lap and "helping" me with things that really require no help.  I love the kid, and I love snuggling, but for pete's sake!  I've got a party for 50 people tomorrow and Mumma needs to get some things done!

Tomorrow night hopefully I can post a few pictures after the party and tell you how amazing everything turned out.  Or perhaps I will post a few pictures of the disasterous events and rant about how I'm never throwing another party again.  It could go either way....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Angry Laptop

My laptop is dying.  By dying I mean it starts flashing at me (in a very mean tone I might add) every time I accidentally jiggle it by doing something as silly as breathing, or typing.  At the moment, I have the lid 1/3 of the way open which is making it very hard to type.  If I open the lid any more it will start flashing and that will make me want to scream, so I'm going to leave it alone.

Needless to say, tonight's blog is going to be short.

With a little luck, we will find some sort of magic warranty that will fix this, or perhaps someone really handy with laptop repair.  Worse case scenario...I'm back to my 7 year old desktop.  That should be fun.  And by fun I mean horrible because that computer is practically an antique.

Oh I hate thee....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not Quite a Big Boy Yet...

Yesterday I had the brilliant idea to start potty training my child.  This idea was equally as brilliant as putting up the Christmas lights last weekend (see results here).

I thought since Ben now notifies me when he poops that he might possibly notify me before he goes so he could use the potty instead.  Two wet pairs of underpants and socks later, I have concluded that Ben cannot tell me that he needs to pee.

Today, while folding the laundry, Ben spyed his now clean underpants and immediately started stripping down for another go at potty training.  I was thinking that this time,  if I just sat with him on the potty longer he might accidentally pee on it.  Nope.  One episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates later (not a great show by the way) no pee.  Five minutes later on the dining room floor, pee.

So I think we're going to give up for now and try again in a few weeks.  When someone doesn't just say "No Mumma, No Pee" just to placate me.

But he does look mighty cute in his monkey underoos....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Practice Pies

A couple of years ago I offered to make the pies for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mom was cooking the rest of the meal, so I thought it would be nice for her not to have to worry about dessert.  I don't claim to be the best cook in the world, but my baking skills are passable.  I would have made the crust from scratch too, I am my mother's daughter after all.  But, a few days before Thanksgiving she called to say that she had decided to make the pumpkin pie and I could just make the chocolate pie.  The pie that does not require a traditional crust and is made with a box of pudding mix.  In other words..."You can make the idiot proof pie and I will make the delicious one that requires my special homemade crust." 

Grumbling, I made the chocolate pie and she upstaged me with her perfect pumpkin pie.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when mom asked me to make the pies for Thanksgiving.  WHAT?!?!  The pumpkin pie too???  At first I refused on the grounds that I didn't want her to call and change her mind and stick me with the can of cranberry sauce the day before Thanksgiving.  But she insisted she wouldn't do that and I've been allowed to supply the Thanksgiving pies.

Obviously, I'm going to screw them up.  Chocolate Cream Pie is a piece of cake, I'm not worried about that.  It really is an idiot proof pie, even when you make the graham cracker crust from scratch.  It's the Pumpkin Pie that has me terrified.  I have to make the crust from scratch.  Pillsbury has no place at my mom's Thanksgiving.  And since I make maybe one pie crust a year, I don't have a lot of faith in my crust skills.

Seriously, why does pie crust have to be so damn complicated.  For something with FOUR ingredients, it's absurdly challenging.

Which is why I made a practice pie today.  Apple.  If it sucks, I'll make a practice pumpkin tomorrow....and custard the day after....maybe cherry after that.  With luck, I'll be able to make a good pie by Thanksgiving, and I can hold my head up at the Thanksgiving table.

I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hanging Up the Christmas Lights

Today, I had the ridiculous idea to put up Christmas lights on the outside of the house.  Not with any intention of turning them on quite yet, but since the weather was nice, I thought it would be an easier task than trying to do it in a few weeks when snow may or may not be covering the ground and the weather may or may not be freezing cold.  It was still a stupid idea.

First, the outside lights we have (pretty white ones with the old school large glass bulbs) decided not to work.  Apparently when the cats tipped over the box marked "Christmas Lights" this summer, they did some irreparable damage.  Two strings in the trash.  Next I bring up 4 strands of multi-color indoor/outdoor lights.  Two more strings of lights go right to the trash, but since I was only looking for two working strands of lights, I'm ready to rock and roll.

Until I get the staple gun. 

I like to pride myself on being somewhat independent, and able to handle some basic tools.  But apparently putting the staples in the staple gun is just too much.  Fortunately Don was around to take the staples out, and properly fit them into the staple gun so they would come out and not slide around rattling inside.

I probably should have just given up here.

But, I got the rickety wooden ladder from the shed and somehow managed to hang lights around one of the bay windows all by myself.  Unfortunately, I didn't exactly plan my hanging strategy appropriately and the end of the string of lights I wanted at one end of the window ended up at the other end of the window, but with some quick thinking and an extension cord, I solved the problem.

The second bay window is partly covered by the ugliest rhododendron in the universe.  Every year I swear I'm going to cut it down, but then it flowers, and it's pretty, so I leave it, but by the end of summer it's back to looking like the plant equivalent of a moulting parakeet and I wonder why I don't just chop the stupid thing down.  But I digress.  With my husband holding the ladder (and being unhelpful by critiquing my stapling abilities) I get the last string of lights up.

I then go to connect the extension cord between the two sets of lights, only to discover that the extension cord has three prongs...and the lights two.  Who the HELL designs these things?  Seriously?  As I grumble around the house trying to find some magical device to convert three prongs to two, and ponder the wisdom of just "removing" a prong...I remember the lights in the trash can.  Technically half of the lights on each string were working, so they must be able to convey electricity from one end to the other...perhaps if I used the broken strand as a half-assed extension cord I could connect the strands without a trip to the hardware store with the knowing clerk giving me a look that says he knows women can't hang Christmas lights.

SUCCESS!  My broken Christmas light extension cord worked, and I hid the working portion behind the ugly rhododendron to obscure the fact that the half a string of lights dangling just above the ground is not supposed to be part of the decorations.

Next year I think I'll just get a light up snowman.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reading a Good Book

I read a really good book today.  (You can read more about it on my other blog.)  I've been trying to find time to read it all week, but I finally had the opportunity to spend the afternoon reading, and I'm really glad I did.  The book was The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman and it was a nice little slap in the face reminding me why I majored in English in the first place.  The book is partly based on a story told through sonnets and since the main character was an English professor, the story was filled with lots of stuff that I remember from college, but has been nearly forgotten since I have little need for those things since I graduated.

Partly it makes me sad, because I loved my English classes and reading books that were challenging and scholarly.  It reminds me that I'm really not using my education at all in my daily life, and I'm terrified that I'm going to start forgetting it all.

It also makes me sad that I probably won't ever have opportunities to go to far away places and study history and literature like the professor in the novel.  What I wouldn't give to have the opportunity to go abroad and learn.  I suppose it's not completely out of the question, but it's currently a financial impossibility, nevermind the impracticability of leaving my son for more than a day....

But, it is also a bit inspiring for me.  Reminding me that perhaps if I do pick up a book of sonnets, or a book about James Joyce or the Harlem Renaissance, I won't be completely clueless.  And perhaps someday I will find some inspiration and be able to apply my education to a piece of my own work.

I love that books make me think.  What would I do without them?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well I'm Ready for Bed!

It's almost eleven, and I'm beat.  I started my morning with a little yoga, had breakfast with Ben and Don and then we piled into the car to run errands.  And while I usually enjoy my weekly shopping trips, the stores were packed today and between fighting through the mobs of people and the whiny child we were dragging along, it was pretty trying on the patience.

Coming home to discover that the dogs decided to eat Ben's toys, pee on the floor, and burst an ink pen on the couch really didn't add to the afternoon.  And after being home for about 45 minutes, I was back out the door heading to work where we were surprisingly busy.  I showed off my amazing bartending skills (aka I pour Captain and Cokes all night) and ran around for several hours doing everything from washing dishes to pouring drinks.

Now that I'm finally home, and sitting down, I'm just going to spend the next few minutes watching the clock so I can say I was there for 11:11 11/11/11.  It's not much of a Friday night, but after the day I've had, it's just going to have to do.

Perhaps tomorrow will be a bit more inspiring...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ladies Night!

If you know me even a little bit, you know that I'm not a drinker.  Never have been, likely never will be.  So how on earth I've ended up working at a bar on Ladies Night is beyond me.  (Actually, I know exactly how it happened, just never saw it coming!)

I'm not one of those high and mighty teetotalers who believes alcohol is horrible and should be banned.  I just don't like it.  I know I'm a light weight, I know I can't handle booze, so I just stay away from it.  It's as simple as that. 

But it makes it quite tricky to work in a bar.  I know when I first started, I would take drink orders and just nod my head...sure...I'll be right back with your Bombay Martini, extra dry, olives on the side...because I know exactly what that means...Now that I've been serving drinks for a while, I've gotten the hang of it, or at least the hang of knowing what they're talking about anyway.  Working at the bar now, I'm starting to learn how to make the drinks, which is again pretty tricky when you don't actually drink.  I could start sampling them...but since I do have to drive home after my shift, and function as a human the following day, I tend to refrain from that.

Thus far, I've become a master of pouring all things mixed with coke, ginger ale or sprite.  Need some whiskey, neat?  I'm all over that too (and I can even do it on the rocks!)  Margarita?  No problem, as long as there's a bottle of margarita mix ready to go.  Above and beyond that, well, I have to ask for help.  But, Rome wasn't built in a day, so perhaps there's some hope for my bartending skills.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Budget Time!

Things do not appear to be as dire as they seemed last week.  We're still in a bit of a financial turmoil, and I'm very seriously looking at new jobs, but I've managed to remain on at the sports grille a few nights a week (also owned by the folks who owned the restaurant I worked for up until last week).  While this doesn't yet feel like a permanent solution to things, it will at least allow me to look around without putting us in financial crisis.

And since things are going to be up in the air for a bit, I've resolved to reign in my weekly spending.  I'm already a very budget conscious shopper, I buy generic brands where and when I can, I clip and use coupons, I shop the sales and the clearance racks, and yet I think I could do better.  I usually allow myself $100 a week for grocery items, and then extra for "non-edible" items like toilet paper, toothpaste, light bulbs, etc.  My plan now is to allow only $100 for all items we need during the week.  It's going to be tricky, and I'm sure I won't be able to do it every week, but I think if I focus on what we really do need and stock up on the items I can get for very cheap, I really think I might be able to do it.

Besides, who doesn't like the rush of getting a $3 tube of toothpaste for 8 cents?  Or a pack of $5 toothbrushes for $1.50?  And this week I'm going to score some couscous for free.  Free is good.  Free is real good...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Musical Night Out

Chorus concert tonight!  It's been a long time since we've had an extracurricular activity to attend, so tonight's chorus concert caught us off guard.  For his fine arts credit, Marcus decided to take chorus despite the fact that he's not known for his harmonious vocals.  I give him credit for getting all dressed up, participating in the concert and even doing the sign language accompaniment to "Imagine."  (Oh yeah, it was that type of concert.)  I'm pretty sure it won't be on his list of top ten awesome moments from high school...but it was nice time nonetheless.

Getting to the concert, well, that was nothing short of miraculous.  I knew the concert was at seven.  I did not know, until 4:30, that Marcus had to be there at six.  And not just at six, but before six.  So at 4:30, Marcus shows up at the house with pants that need to be hemmed and a shirt that needs to be ironed.  Ben is naked, and obviously needs to be clothed and fed before the concert.  And speaking of fed, I had to make something for dinner.

Because I'm super stepmom, the pants were hemmed, the shirt ironed, the baby fed and dressed and dinner was out of the oven just in time for Marcus to inhale a bowl of food before we ran out the door...and arrived at the school two minutes early.

And because I am so amazing, I managed to get my grocery shopping done during the hour between dropping Marcus off and the concert.

So we had a nice family outing listening to the sweet sounds of the Massabesic music program.  A note to other parents of almost two year olds attending music concerts:  bring two boxes of raisins, one just doesn't cut it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthday Cakes

Mmmmmm, chocolate cake.  I'm starting to get really tired of all these days of feeling angry/sad/apprehensive/frustrated.  Which is why I'm glad I have some chocolate cake.  I'm kind of an addict when it comes to cake.  I love cake.  Any type of cake (except carrot...because who puts vegetables in a cake?) any type of frosting.  If it's cake-I'm in.

When I was pregnant my only consistent craving was cake.  Every stop at the grocery store would find me drooling in the bakery section over the individual slices of cake.  And I admit it, I ate my fair share of grocery store cake slices.  Sure they aren't as tasty, and they're really sweet...but cake is cake.

Which is why I love birthdays so much.  This year I scored two different birthday cakes.  Coconut cream, from my stepmother, and chocolate decadent from my mom. Double yum....

Coconut Cream Cake is a lovely double layered yellow cake with coconut folded into the batter, frosted with an amazingly fluffy whipped cream frosting with, obviously, coconut folded in.  A little more coconut dusts the top of the cake and it's a seriously amazing cake.  I'm not even a huge coconut fan, but this cake is outstanding.  Moist and dense cake with the lightest, prettiest, fluffiest frosting ever.  It's soooo amazing.

Chocolate Decadent Cake is my mom's master piece.  She's been making it for years upon years and has it perfected.  It's an extremely dense and rich chocolate cake with a thick, fudgey chocolate glaze on top.  It's so rich you can only eat tiny slices...but they are tiny slices of heaven.  She makes it only for special occasions, or as a gift for someone.  It's rare to score a whole cake from her, and yet I scored one for birthday number 28.  Go me!

The coconut cake is nearly gone, but I've still got half a chocolate cake left.  I think it'll get me through the next few days...ahhhh...chocolate cake....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy 100!!

Yay!  Congratulations!  Way to go!

Today is my 100th blog post!

I decided to celebrate in style:

A dozen roses, candles, homemade lobster alfredo and a rich slice of chocolate decadent cake.  Nothing says 100 blog posts like gourmet....leftovers.

Yup, tonight for dinner I whipped up a quick alfredo sauce, dumped in some lobster left over from my birthday and enjoyed a slice of the left over chocolate birthday cake my mom made me.  Fancy-schmancy.

As much as I would like to write an amazing blog tonight, with life altering revelations, inspirational words and beautiful imagery, it just ain't happening.  It's been a long weekend, with a lot of traveling and a kiddo who is not adjusting well to the time change.

So I'm just going to say that this has been fun, I'm very pleased that I've been able to find enough stuff to write about, and that I have every intention to keep plugging away at this.  Thanks to everyone who reads this and keeps encouraging me, hopefully you'll continue to find this mildly interesting.

Happy 100 Posts to Me!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's Cake Time!!!

Happy Birthday to me!

Good grief I'm getting old.  (Don't yell at me, I know I'm not really that old.)  It's still hard to believe that I've somehow managed to become 28.  It just seems rather sudden is all.  Before you know it, I'm going to be 30!  Then 40!  Then I'll be going to Ben's high school graduation, college graduation, wedding....ahhhhh!!!  It's happening waaay too fast!

It's bad enough that I have the stepsons rushing through all this stuff.  (Just so you know there is an iron clad rule in the house that NO ONE makes me a grandmother before I'm 30.  And I'm thinking I need to up that to 35...)  I've already done one high school graduation and another one is fast approaching....

SLOW DOWN!  I'm pretty sure I don't need the next two years (or ten) to fly by quite so fast.  Plus I'd really like to keep the gray hair and wrinkles at bay for a few more years....

So I'll just take today very slow....maybe tomorrow will follow suit...and the day after...and the day after....

PS-Tomorrow is gonna be a big day for my Blog...stay tuned!!  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekend Plans

Yesterday I cleaned out my car.  Got all the trash and excess toys out, gave it a quick vacuum and wiped out some of the dust.  It's not spectacular, but it's better.

Today I'm going to be packing.  Ben requires about a zillion outfits, diapers and snacks.  I just need a change of clothes and a toothbrush.
The dog sitter (aka Jake) is lined up to stay at the house and keep the dogs from destryoing it.  (Easier said than done).

Tomorrow morning the three of us are hitting the road and driving up for a visit to Papa and Nana on the island.  Nice!

We don't get up there as often as we'd like.  It's a long drive with an almost-two-year-old.  It also requires the stars to align properly with me not working, us not having plans, and finding someone to dog sit.  But Don and I agreed we needed to get out of town this weekend, so away we go!

There is only one fatal flaw to this plan.  The library is closed today, so I won't be bringing a new book with me.  WHO CLOSES A LIBRARY ON A FRIDAY????  Ugh.  I'm pleading with my husband to go to the Portland library for me today, but I have a feeling he won't have time.  I suppose I could always spend my extra time writing while I'm up there.  Perhaps I could get a belated start on National Novel Writing Month?  Maybe.....or maybe I could just borrow a book from my stepmother...that sounds like a better plan to me.

So watch out Islesboro, I'm on my way up for the weekend, and I don't have a book with me.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Quote for Thought

"The English language lacks the words 'to mourn an absence.' For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I am sorry for your loss.' But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?" - Laura Bush

A facebook friend posted that on her status last night, and I really thought it was an excellent quote.  My husband and I struggled with infertility for three and a half years before Ben was conceived through IVF.  I've actually been thinking about it a lot lately because I had always been under the impression that once I had a kid, infertility would no longer haunt my life.  But that's not true, and not just for the fact that having a second child would be a major ordeal.  It leaves you with a lot of doubts about your ability to take on other tasks.  It's hard to describe exactly, but the doubt is there in the back of your mind. 

Despite the toll infertility takes on you both before and after conceiving, there is one thing you gain from it.  Strength.  I don't think anyone who has battled years of disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness can come away from it without an amazing perspective on their ability to withstand all that and still succeed.  It's a pretty big power trip, and I still rely on those feelings to get me through difficult things.  If I could conceive a child without lots of money, with endless shots and medications, despite constant disappointment and people asking me when I was ready to think about adopting, I'm pretty sure that I can get through anything.  Including a winter on a limited budget.

I know Laura Bush's quote doesn't really talk about strength, it talks about loss, and the inability to express a loss of something doesn't even exist yet.  I guess for me, just reading that, and remember my own feelings of loss, I can't help but think about the strength required to endure that and the lessons I learned about myself from experiencing that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Candy Induced Craziness...I think

So last night I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog for every day in November.  Sitting here at the computer now, I'm pretty sure I was delusional.  Or high on Halloween candy.  Perhaps both?

I haven't even the slightest clue what I'm going to write about this month.  My life really isn't as adventuresome as you might think.  I read, I clean, I cook, I work (well I did work) and I take care of my kiddo.  That's it.  The inspiration for interesting blog posts is a touch lacking.  (Case in point: I'm currently trying to talk myself out of writing a raving review of the Greek Yogurt I'm eating...)  BUT, I'm determined to do this.

Today has been a pretty up and down day.  I'm usually an emotional rock, but today if I let my thoughts run away I find myself tearing up or struggling to breathe.  Worrying about money is one of my least favorite past times, but is unfortunately one I can't seem to get away from.  All I can say is that I'm glad Ben is around to keep me smiling.  Yesterday he shared his stickers with me and today his cookie.  When I catch myself feeling miserable I try to remember how things felt before he was born to remind myself how far things have come.  I might not have money, but I do have Ben, and I know how lucky I am to have him.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be a better day.  In the meantime, I'll just grab a book (and some Halloween Candy) to keep my thoughts in check...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Well, this month is off to a rotten start.  Losing my part time job is a pretty miserable way to start a month, especially a month that happens to contain my birthday.  I've been in a funk all day.  BUT, I went online tonight and discovered that November is National Novel Writing Month.  That sounds pretty awesome, but a bit overwhelming to me.  50,000 words in one month, YIKES!  So I did a little more online messing around and discovered that November is ALSO National Blog Posting Month.  The goal being that you write a blog every day.  I've been pretty good about getting in a few entries a week, but never one a day.

Since I feel like I need something to occupy my mind and help with the overwhelming stress I'm feeling, I decided I'm going to participate...with BOTH of my blogs.  I entered this blog into a contest on for daily drawings for prizes, and (possibly) a larger audience through their large website.  So we'll see how that goes.  I'm going to focus on the new website a bit more privately, since I'm still struggling with that one. 

I'm kind of excited, and not sure I can do this, but I'm going to try.  So here's hoping I can come up with something mildly interesting everyday this month...wish me luck!

Now What?

This morning I woke up with a list a mile long of things I wanted to get done today.  Make laundry detergent, clean the house, get some groceries, etc....

Then I checked my email and discovered that as of Friday, I will no longer have a job. 

I'm having a bit of a panic attack at the moment.  I don't make that much money on a weekly basis, but it's enough to keep our heads above water and I don't have to send my son to daycare.  For that, I was thankful.  And I really liked my job, I liked that they worked with my schedule, I liked the owners, I liked my co-workers and I liked my customers.  And I liked that it was less than 15 minutes from my house.

As the initial devastation is wearing off, I'm trying to figure out just what kind of job I want to replace this.  Do I wait tables again?  Do I look for a part time "professional" job and put Ben in daycare?  Can I afford to put Ben in daycare?  I just don't know.

I'm not afraid of a change, I'm just afraid that we're unprepared for change.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Marcus Approved Music!

For years, it has been a known fact in this house that Don and I have terrible taste in music.  According to my stepsons anyway.  And while I can't vouch for Don (Guns N Roses doesn't really appeal to me either) I always found this ridiculous.  I have great taste in music.  I just happen to prefer music from the late 90s early 2000s.  Is that so wrong?  Doesn't everyone have a preference for the music they enjoyed in high school?  In any event, I've always maintained that the music I do enjoy from that time period is pretty dang good.

The other night I had my ipod on in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner.  I was listening to a playlist I made 5 years ago, and I still listen to frequently, that had some Chili Peppers, Weezer, Live, Tool, etc., on it.  Marcus was wandering in out of the kitchen while I cooked and every time would comment on what a "great song this is."  I rolled my eyes.  He concluded that at some point in time I have managed to "acquire" a good taste in music.  No, I informed him, you've finally managed to realize what GOOD music sounds like!  So I was quite flattered when he went into our itunes database to upload the songs from my playlist on to his ipod.

I may not be the "coolest" stepmom on the block, but I guess I can take a bit of solace knowing that my taste in music isn't entirely awful....though I must admit, he wasn't in the room when Salt n Peppa came on....seriously though, how can you NOT enjoy the song "Shoop"????

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time For a Few Flakes...

I hate snow.  And I hate being cold.  Why I live in Maine is just beyond me, but I'm here and I'm not leaving, so I deal with it.  Today, however, I'm looking forward to seeing the first few snowflakes of the season come down.

Mainly, I just want to take Ben outside and see his reaction to them fluttering against his face and catching a few on his tongue.  Obviously he doesn't remember the snow last winter, when he was one, so this will be a new experience for him, and I'm pretty excited to snap a few pictures of him.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will get snowflakes, not just gross sleet or something.

I'm also enjoying the weather because it gives me the opportunity to crank my pellet stove.  I love my pellet stove.  I love it a lot.  It's like a woodstove, only better.

Once a day one of us dumps a bag of pellets in it (well, right now I'm using a bag every 3 or 4 days, but when it gets cold we use a bag a day) and I set my thermostat and it does all the work.  I can keep my house at a roasty toasty 72 degrees without having to lift a finger.  And when it's burning, it's like a woodstove so I can go stand by it and warm up if I've caught a chill or hang wet mittens in front of it to dry.  It has to be cleaned, like a woodstove, but that's usually a 15 minute process once a week, a minor trade off for the wonderful heat it provides us.

Oh, and pellets are sooooo much cheaper and more efficient than oil, it's just not even funny.  I love my stove, it was one of the best investments we've ever made.

So while it's a gross, cold, dreary day today, I've got a couple things brightening it up.  Thank goodness for the little things...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ack! My Back!!

Ouch.  So apparently I've officially entered adulthood.  My back is KILLING me.  I'm not usually one to whine about pain (don't consult my husband on that one though) and I'm not usually in a lot of pain, but for the last few months, and specifically the last few weeks, I've been pretty uncomfortable.

Why does my back hurt, you might be wondering, well, I can list about forty reasons why, the number one being: Ben.  He weighs almost 25 pounds now and I carry him or pick him up, or push him in a stroller, every day.  And since he's now nearly two, he's not always "cooperative" when I'm trying to do those things.  Carrying a screeching squirming almost-two-year-old up the stairs for a diaper change would throw out anyone's back!  Add that to the physical demands of waitressing (NOT all the fun games people think it is...) and the other odds and ends of stuff I do on a daily basis, and voila my back hurts.

Anyway, since I'm not one for pain medications, my first order of business has been finding something to ease the pain and make it go away.  I figure exercise is a good place to start.  There is just one problem with this.  I HATE exercise.  I'm pretty sure those "endorphins" you're supposed to get from exercising are missing from my body,  I feel zero enjoyment, zero sense of accomplishment and zero satisfaction from anything even remotely resembling exercise.  And I hate sweating.  Gross. 

So what do you do when you need to exercise, and hate exercising?  Look for the wimpiest yoga video ever and hope for the best.  And that's just what I've done!  On a recommendation from facebook, I'm watching "Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains" on Netflix in the morning.  Since the 35 minute video SAYS I don't have to do the whole video if I don't want to, I don't.  (In my defense the last section involves rolling around on the floor and I have very delicate hips, so I think it's better that I just skip that for now.)  The yoga routine is done in and on a chair, takes me about 20 minutes, and has to be one of the corniest things I've ever witnessed.  (Seriously, I think there might be a Unicorn on the lady instructors yoga top.)  BUT, it feels really great on my hips and back and I don't break a sweat.  It's PERFECT!  Today will be day three and my goal is to do a week straight and see how I feel.  If I'm feeling better I'll try adding the third routine and maybe even considering a more "intense" video.

But someone please put me out of my misery if I start running around in a unicorn leotard with a sweatband.  That's not the kind of life I want to be living....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Project!

So I've been working on a little project.  It's a new blog.  It's been finished for a while now, and I've just been writing entries here and there while I figure out just what I want to do with it.

Don and I have been talking a lot about what our "dream" jobs would be, or what we might like to do when we "grow up."  The only answer that really ever rings true to me is reading.  I would LOVE to spend my days reading and sharing what I think about books and all things bookish.  Since I have yet to find a job listing for this fantastic position, I decided that perhaps I should just start doing it and see what happens.  I mean, worse case scenario, I have fun for a while reading and blogging for family and friends.  Best case scenario, someone finds my blog and offers me an awesome job.  Either way, it sounds like a win-win situation to me.

So here's the link to my new book blog:

The Reading Dork

(Book Nerd was taken, so this was the best I could some up with)

I've also got a facebook page for The Reading Dork, so you can like me there and see when I post blogs.  I'm also hoping to share other stuff, like lines from books that I'm reading, other book/dork/reading links and whatever else I find interesting.  So like me if you want, or just read my blog.  Or do none of that and just read this blog.  It's all good to me!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mission Possible

My day started at 6:10 am when Don entered the bedroom and announced he needed to take my car to work today.

Me: Wha?  Why?
Don: (sigh) When I was outside last night I took my keys, phone and wallet out of my pocket and left them on the hood of Jake's car.  Then Jake drove to Hannaford.  I can't find any of it.
Me: Oh crap.

Do we have a spare set of keys for Don's car?  No.  So the ONLY set of keys we had were somewhere between our road and Hannaford.  Excellent.  Needless to say, I wasn't going back to sleep.  Before Don left for work he was able to find his cell phone with a flashlight.  No keys or wallet in sight.  When it got light enough,  I went for a short walk down the road with the baby monitor in my pocket.  Still nothing.

At this point, Don and I were pretty upset.  Replacing the stuff in the wallet would be a pain, but not impossible.  The missing keys....THAT would be a problem  (Yes I KNOW we should have spares but it's one of those things you think about every now and again and then you completely forget to do anything about it.)

Ben woke up at 8:30.  I packed him cheerios and raisins in a snack cup, and a cup of juice.  I bundled him up head to toe and we set off on a walk in hopes of finding the keys somewhere on the road.

Key Finding Attire

FORTUNATELY, we live just down from a very sharp s-curve.  FORTUNATELY Jake drives like a teenager.  His speed, plus the sharp corner caused the keys and wallet to go flying off the hood on the s-curve where I found them this morning, jumping up and down with cars trying to avoid us on the aforementioned dangerous s-curve.  Ben and I did avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic (not that there's a lot of that at 8:30 in the morning in Waterboro) and everything in the wallet was safe and sound.

Today I'm going to Walmart for a spare set of keys.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reading to Write

From Sunday's Maine Sunday Telegram Q&A with Children's Author Tomie dePaola:

Q: What are some of the components that make a good children's book?

A: If I knew that, I'd be a billionaire.  I'd say if somebody wants to be an illustrator, go to art school to learn about techniques and colors.  If you want to be a writer, my first question would be, "Do you like to read?"  Because nobody can be a writer if they don't love reading.  Try to find your own voice and be as honest as possible.  Write about things you know or you feel deeply about.

Well said Mr. dePaola, well said.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Fun!

What an amazing autumn weekend!  The weather hasn't even felt like autumn, which makes it even more fun to be outside enjoying!  Friday my husband agreed to take the day off from work and we took Ben to the Fryeburg Fair!  Neither Don nor I had been in the last ten years or so, so we were excited to go as well.  It was especially enjoyable since we didn't have to deal with going on rides, playing games or even trying to fit in every activity or show.  We were able to walk around, enjoy some snacks, check out the animals and wait in line to play in the petting zoo.  The petting zoo was the highlight of the day, Ben got to pet and feed some goats, some baby goats, bunnies, chickens and sheep.  The goats were a bit aggressive and tended to plow him over in order to get some snacks, but it was still fun!

On Saturday, I took Ben to Grammy's house for the night.  While I was enjoying lunch with my mom and some friends Ben entertained himself with my mom's chickens and the toys she recently acquired for him.  The overstuffed mini-rocking chair was the highlight of his afternoon, and it now sits in our livingroom for Ben to read in.  While we were at Grammy's house, I snapped a few pictures of him playing in the leaves!  Fun fun!!!

Sunday we took Ben to the playground for a little while.  We are lucky enough to have two playgrounds just minutes from our house.  This one is about a 15 minute walk so we decided to enjoy yet another summer-like autumn day and walk to the playground! 

The best part about our weekend so far, is that it isn't over yet!  Monday's plans include a trip to Old Orchad Beach, so more fun for us!