Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Special

Sometimes all it takes to remind me that it ain't that bad where we live is:

A walk down the lane with my four-legged friend,

while ignoring the museum that is somebody else's pride and joy,

a quick check of this year's wheat crop,

seeing old things in wild places,

stopping to appreciate the wonder,

from a view we don't typically take the time to see,

in a place that is always here,

for this old girl to run.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Been Missing

And where I've been I do not know. Maybe it is all these darn "end of the end of the" events I find myself at almost nightly. Soon, this will end too. Or possibly I am off coaching the t-ball team more nights than I realize. Really! I wasn't even supposed to coach. I was finally going to be one of those sideline parents in my comfy chair with my camera at the ready and bottle of beverage in hand. Maybe next sporting season.

Our beautiful, wonderful, exuberant dog has been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, it wasn't just a blob of Jello on her spleen, it was a nasty ball of cells gone awry. Needless to say for anyone that knows us well, she is even more spoiled now that we know our days are limited with her. I even purchased a new camera so we can have plenty of Buchta moments captured, not that it will be the same once she is gone but it will still be something to hold onto.

One more week of this hellish school business and I'll have the kiddies home every day. I can't wait! I am so much more of an extracurricular parent, I want them to do the things they enjoy and are interested in as opposed to counting pieces of pie on a ditto.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Think I Am, I Think Am

Good that is. Well at least a half-way decent parent anyway and here are 3 reasons why:

Ms. Sundays with Stretchy Pants tagged me a few days ago to do a meme about 3 things I do well as a mother. Five days later I've finally thought of three things! She was a little too on target when she presumed that I am a bit hard on myself as a mother. If only someone had told me how difficult this parenting thing was BEFORE I had kids. Of course I wouldn't have believed them and would have gone ahead and produced my flock of lovelies anyway. And it isn't as if I don't think I do anything well as a parent, it is just that I wonder if the things I deem important to their development and that I will go to the ends of the earth to ensure will really pay-off in the future. As I have read some of other blogs that were tagged by Ms. Stretchy it seems the focus is on changing the aspects of our own childhood where we feel our own parents let us down. That said, here I go:

1. I have always made my children feel welcome in my bed. I have too many memories of being scared at night and literally standing outside my parent's bedroom wondering if I should wake them up and bother them. I never did, I always went back to my own room, alone. My husband and I are seasoned co-sleepers, beginning with Daughter S and continuing still with Boy O. All of our kids are comfortable waking me up at any time, for any reason, even not so very important ones and I never turn them away (Even when they are very noisy about coming in the room and wake up Boy O in the process).

2. The reason it took so long for me to sit down and do this meme is that I have been in my usual role of bus driver for all of the activities we are involved in. When you live in a community that is limited in extracurricular resources you either find somewhere to provide those activities or leave your kids without those experiences. When Daughter S was a mere 2 1/2 years old we began driving 40 minutes away for art classes and haven't stopped since, she is now almost 9. To that we have added a copious amount of other activities that truly leaves me feeling like I should have a license to drive bus. I don't push the kids to select these activities but I offer them up like cookies on a platter and they choose what they want. They are learning about what like to do and sometimes what they have no interest in even if they thought they did. I have made it a priority in our schedule and our finances to make sure that they experience what each of them is interested in.

3. I don't make them clean their plate! Ugh, I can't tell you how many times I was forced to sit at the table until such and such was gone, even until the point of puking. I don't want my kids to have issues with food or their weight, I want them to enjoy food and see it as an adventure. We have a long way to go with the adventure part but I think my not pushing them to eat, eat, eat, especially foods that make them gag will promote this in the future. At every meal I have something that I know each child will eat and often times something that I know they may turn their nose up at. They are always encouraged to try the "something new" but the option to say "no thank-you". This is our policy even at friends and relatives homes where there is emotional pressure to please the hostess/host by eating something you don't enjoy. Just be polite and head to the dessert table if you wish.

4. Cause everyone else is doing a number 4 too! I bake lots of goodies. Sweet, terrible for you goodies and lots of them, sometimes we even eat them for breakfast.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thumbs Up!


1. Trader Joe's Marinated Fish Tacos

2. A clean chicken coop

3. Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds

4. Spring Beanies because it has been one cold spring!

5. Animal Health Care of Chesaning for saving the world's best dog from the ugliest tumor I have ever seen on a spleen (think black cherry Jello the size of a softball):

Every year on her birthday we a make a batch of buchtie (Kolache to most other Czechs) so Buchta can balance one on her nose!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Essential? Probably Not.

Every once in a while I come across some type of kitchen utensil that I think would be neat to have. Neat, as in it would be a handy thing to have around once a year while the other 364 days a year I would be cussing at it because it is hogging cherished drawer space. It is rare that I purchase such as item because I know that I will loathe it or never use it. Such is the donut pan I had my mother purchase for me when she was in Vermont. I don't know why I originally wanted it, but obviously I didn't want it enough to pay shipping on it. I've had it for 2 years now and it has never seen the inside of my oven. Because really now, if you're going to eat a donut you might as well go for it and eat the real, fried-in-fat, version.

My zester, on the other hand, holds a very high position in my kitchen. His only other drawer mate is my melon baller. It was years ago when I discovered that a zester even existed. A friend had received one as a wedding shower gift and couldn't fathom why anyone would want such an item. With my jaw agape I was drooling as I spewed forth at least 101 reasons. That someone had invented such a tool was beyond most of my wildest dreams. I received one for my own wedding from that very same friend and only now have I thought to ponder if it was re-gifted.

Unfortunately, useless kitchen utensils aren't something you can buy for yourself. You kind of just have to hope that someone you know and that owes you a gift might think that you can use a flower shaped bread pan tube (?!). (Never been used and mine gets in the way every time I open the drawer to retrieve the cookie sheets.) Luckily, I have a husband that does not do well in the gift purchasing category and would never consider such a pan, so I usually shop for myself on gift giving occasions. I figure I deserve something and why not an item I really want as opposed to something that can be found at the local ACE Hardware. Not that I don't love the hardware store, but my Christmas gift is purchased there every year 10 minutes before they close on Christmas Eve. On second thought, I do have a very nice retractable clothes line that is the envy of every housewife on the block and a washboard to keep our clothes clean if the end of the world should come.

Today, as I was blog-hopping, I found an ice cream scooper that creates a scoop so appealing I can't even write about it. I don't think I would like the mound on a cone but somehow I can imagine that pushing my spoon into that perfectly shaped cylinder would create shivers down my spine. You can see the texture of the ice cream, I can almost feel it it is so real. And for someone with an almost summer birthday, where it is pretty much a guarantee to be warm on cake day, I think an ice cream stack maker would be delectable.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You Can Tell Where My Brain Isn't

I was reading a blog the other day that I haven't read in a while, and that I actually took off my favorite blog list because I had lost interest in the topics explored, when I thought I would check and see how the author was doing with his running. I searched his topic list and didn't see a category for running but I did see one for "race" so logically I went there. None of the titles that popped up had anything to do with racing, in fact they seemed to have nothing to do with running at all. Duh, he wasn't writing about lacing up his shoes and racing, he was writing about that thing we sometimes think too much about that makes us all different, or so we think. I guess you can weed out the runners from the non-runners by a simple vocabulary test! Maybe instead of checking Caucasian on the next form I fill out I'll just write in the name of my next event.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Forget the Race!

A friend of mine recently started running and in an effort to keep herself motivated she has been pondering trying out a race of the 5k variety. I'm not much of a 5k runner because I seem to perform better at longer distances where my lack of natural speed is less of a hindrance. However, the 5k is nice because almost as soon as you get started it is over and you can hit the post-race food tables. It is especially nice if the race takes place in a major city where it is not unusual to find food donations from such places as Panera or Starbucks.

Anyway, the race my friend has selected happens to be on my birthday. My 35th birthday. To most people this is not a significant birthday like 18, 21 or 40, but to a runner this means a move to the next age division. A graduation you may say, not to faster times necessarily, or longer distances, but hopefully to more wisdom and appreciation. The last race I ran on my birthday was in June 98' and you gotta love the race t-shirt spouting your very own birthday. And although I'm a bit race-shy after my last attempt I'm certain a 5k ought to be a walk in the park and I've got a month to work on that lack of natural speed.

I was still pondering whether or not I really should commit to this event until I looked up the race info and there before my very eyes was my fantasy man, Frazz. According to the the race website he is going to be there in the flesh! Of course his fleshy self is not as appealing as his cartoon self, but still, I don't think there could be any other sign that this race is meant to be. Good food, birthday race t-shirt, Frazz!, graduation to new age-group. All I need now is a babysitter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Spaghetti Card

When I was first diagnosed with lupus I almost subconsciously decided that I would not be a crusader for the disease, I would take my daily medication and move about my life as if I didn't have this invisible purple ribbon on my shirt. I have told very few people about my autoimmune trouble and have attempted to keep it out of my blog except for a few occasions. But as I become more aware of the difficulties I will encounter because of lupus I don't think it is such a bad idea to write about it periodically. This may in turn help someone else. I am a runner and I have lupus, when I search for runners with lupus on the internet all I find is people running FOR lupus research, not people with lupus who are running. I have, in all my searching, found one person who has lupus and runs and I am looking forward to speaking with her.

It is very frustrating to have this bizarre disease that catches me off guard constantly. I like some predictability in my life and with four kids things rarely goes as planned, throw lupus in the mix and it is an unusual treat that the day goes as planned and that I am feeling well enough to handle the challenges. So, today is one of those days where I will play the spaghetti card for dinner because my appetite is shot and my hips can't stay in one place for long. I never thought my deep freezer would be one of my best friends but it sure is turning out that way. Still, don't look for the purple ribbon next to my runner girl, look for the girl running from the purple ribbon. Yeah, you call it denial, I call it coping.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Meet the Newest Family Members

They aren't Sonny and Cher or Adam and Eve.

Nor did she choose to call them Fred and Wilma.

Harold and Maude weren't on the list, and George and Barbara would have been disrespectful.

Romeo and Juliet was too romantic as well as Rhett and Scarlett, and she doesn't even know who Lucy and Desi are.

Instead, we have Fudge and Abigail:

Fudge is the wide stripe and Abigail the skinny.

When Daughter S told Vinnie and I the names of her 4-H pigs I tried oh so hard to change her mind to Fudge and Mudge but she would have nothing to do with it. Vinnie, with a sly smile on his face, thought the names were lovely and told her she could name the pigs whatever she wanted to. Abigail is just so tedious for me to say, but I can't bring myself to call her Abby, cause that would just be wrong. Abby ain't no pig.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Birthday Gone Good

Instead of having people bring Ollie toys when he turned one, we encouraged them to give him fall planting bulbs for his garden. Each of the kids has their own flower garden and they are very proud of their spaces. This year spring cooperated and his garden has been a beautiful sight.

Ollie just post first birthday thinking that dirt is a bit overrated.

Ollie at one walking away from his prepared garden.

We made him a stepping stone.

Two and a half years later and the gifts are still giving.