Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are…
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect Tomorrow.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in my pillow,
or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky
and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Iron

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Update, Meal Plan August 13

Well, I did it.  One year without my dad.  I suppose that deserves a blog post all its own, and maybe one of these days I'll get to it, but what I will say is that it was harder than I ever could have known it would be.  There were changes that I never saw coming and I guess most of all this year has taught me to be grateful that we can't see too far down the road.  I'm not sure I'd always have the strength to keep on doing what I need to do with a positive attitude each day.

Next week I am back to work full-time and the kids start school Wednesday.  As always, that means an assessing of my life and I am tweaking some things.  I don't know why, but after the one-year anniversary of my dad's dying, I felt like it was time to look forward again.  Part of that looking forward is assessing.  I have started an exercise routine.  I have gained weight over this past year.  Honestly, I didn't really realize it, but I have, and I want it to be gone.  That's not really what the exercise is about though.  I find myself stiff and sore.  I look at people who are older and have mobility issues and I look at people who are older and have great mobility, are young in body, and I know which side of the coin I want to be on.  I also know it's not like you can wait until you get there (what? I'm not "older" yet, hush!) so I'm starting now.  Right now it's nothing major, nothing fancy, just walking, outside, enjoying the fresh air.  When that gets old I'll probably head to the gym.  I also ordered a cushier (ahem, wider) bike seat for my bike and I'm looking forward to getting that and breaking it in.  I just find myself wanting to move, so I'm going to go with it.

Always, our lives run smoother with a meal plan.  I'll leave you with this week's.  I'll be back, sooner rather than later, pinky swear.  I really do have a whole new mindset right now.  Hoping the Universe doesn't decide to smack me upside the head and change that. 

This week, here's what's on the menu:
Thursday:  Flounder w/lemon butter sauce, baby new potatoes, asparagus
Friday:  Potluck--I'm taking grilled chicken sliders
Saturday lunch:  potluck--meaning search the cabinets and figure it out
Saturday dinner:  London Broil, baked potatoes, mushrooms, salad
Sunday lunch:  “Summertime” panini--chicken, mozzarella, basil, tomato, bacon? on ciabatta, grilled, chips
Sunday dinner:  breakfast or out
Tuesday:  Navajo Fry Bread tacos, melon
Wednesday:  Brats, German Potato Salad, veggies
Thursday:  CPK Lettuce Wraps, sugar snaps

lunches:  Caesar chicken pasta salad, taco salad (me), Naan pizzas, refried bean & cheese burritos

Treats:  Brownie/Blondie/Oreo Bars (movie night Julianna), brownies (pool party Jacob), cookies for first day of school lunches


Monday, June 29, 2015

Meal Plan Monday 6/29 Lazy Pants Edition

Hope you had a good weekend.  We did. Mostly.  With an asterisk. We went to my mom's. Who am I kidding, we went to my mom and dad's.  Yeah.  That.  Lots and lots of tears and sadness.  Glad to see my mom, though a bit worried about her.  It was hard for all of us though.  I'm not sure at what point it stops feeling like our family is missing a limb, but clearly we're not there yet.

Anyway, when we go visit I take all our groceries and cook a lot of the meals.  It's just easier and much less expensive than trying to go our with a bunch of people.  Saturday I made a broccoli-lemon chicken pasta dish.  It turned out pretty good.  I wish I hadn't forgotten the white wine and garlic at home, that would have elevated it for sure, but still, it worked.  For lunch we took an assortment of lunchmeat and cheeses and breads with chips.  Very popular and very easy.

Sunday Mom took us out to breakfast before we left and we were all in such funky moods when we got back home we went out again for a quick burger--and ice cream in honor of my father who had one heck of a sweet tooth and fondness for ice cream.

The rest of the week is shaping up to be pretty easy meal wise, hence the title of the post, "Lazy Pants Edition".  Not apologizing.  It's summer and this fits the week perfectly:

Monday (flute):  Coney dogs with tater tots
Tuesday (dance):  Tuna melts and chips
Wednesday (dance):  chicken nuggets and mac and cheese
Thursday:  New England Clam Chowder and cornbread

See?  Lazy pants indeed.  Perfect!

Here's what's brewing for next week:

spaghetti w/meat sauce, bread
tacos, corn cake
Seafood Stew, salmon for Julianna, Italian bread
London broil, baking potatoes, asparagus
Naan pizzas
Tuna Melts, chips
Herbed grilled chicken breasts, corn on the cob, watermelon

You can not imagine how long it took me to come up with those.  Some days my meal planning mojo is intact, some days it's really missing in action.

Thank you for all the support.  I really appreciate it.  It makes things a lot easier.  I'm sorry I haven't replied to your wonderful comments, things have been crazy, but every one means a lot to me.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meal Plan Monday June 22

Whoops!  Did not even realize it's been that long!  Things have been good.  I love summer...not working is so restorative.  Love being home with my kids, even if summer has been running them here there and everywhere, which it has been.  We had dance recitals, Jacob volunteered at a local writing camp, Jacob and Julianna volunteered at VBS, Julianna had a dance camp.  Busy!  This week Julianna's at Girl Scout day camp.  Next week is full of lots of lovely nothing.

Didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth with my meal plans either.  This week we'll be having:
Taco Bar with all the fixings (beef, chicken fillings)
Meatball subs
Grilled chicken, cheddar chipotle mashed potatoes, salad
Bahama Mama's or hot dogs, chips, cucumber salad
spaghetti and meatballs

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. 
We recently acquired a cat, long story, but he was found in our neighborhood.  He's very, very friendly which makes it hard to believe he's been homeless, yet he's not fixed and that makes it hard to believe he was someone's pet. The vet thinks he's around 8 or 9 months old because he has terrible teeth.  I have a feeling that's going to come back to bite me (get it? lol)  Anyway, he's ours now and he's lovely, but he has a habit of walking through the house beginning about 4:15 AM and meowing over and over and over and over again.  I can not sleep through it.  Also, once I'm awake, I find it very difficult to go back to sleep.  Hence all the reading.

Some of  the better books I've read lately:  Gods in Alabama, Orphan Train, Glitter and Glue, Beach Town, Until the Real Thing Comes Along, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, The Nightingale, The Unexpected Consequences of Love.  Lots more too, as I said I've been doing a lot of reading.  :)

I've also been binge watching Netflix.  Orange is the New Black.  Loved it.  Didn't expect to, I really wasn't even sure I was going to watch it, but then I did and I was hooked.  I also really enjoyed Grace and Frankie.  It was very different, but so well acted.

Anyway, that's a snap shot of what's been going on around here. It's been good.  We've dodged a few bullets that would have been disasters, so I'm thankful.  Yesterday was Father's Day.  It was wonderful to have all four of our kids here, and Jason's family, but there was definitely a huge hole.  We all missed my dad very much. Jacob was really sick at the end of last week, Julianna had a last minute big deal doctor's appt. (spoiler: she's fine!) so it wasn't possible to have my mom here too.  We missed both of them, but it's a constant emptiness knowing that my dad is gone forever.  Forever is a long time y'all.  A long time.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Meal Plan Monday June 1

Oh my goodness, June! This year is zipping by.  We have finally reached the point where the end-of-the-year madness slows down.  Thank goodness!  Just in time for the beginning of summer madness.  :)  Just as busy, but less stressful, probably due in no part to the fact that I don't work full-time in the summer.  Bring on the bon bons!

Cluttered, but clean!
I am trying something new this summer.  So far, so good, though I suppose it's too early to tell.  It has been a
recurring theme around here that I hate to clean.  (Put that in all caps and add lots of exclamation points and you'd be closer to a true picture of how I feel about cleaning.)  Conversely, perversely perhaps, I also love a clean house.  What to do?  Well, I made a list of all the things that should be done daily around here.  Wiping down bathroom counters/cleaning toilets, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the wood, taking laundry downstairs, etc.  Then I made a list of all the things that need done on a weekly basis, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming (well, more like 2-3 times a week, but baby steps), mopping, etc.  I added a section of "bonus" things that need done as well as a section of a couple of things that need done that I will pay immediately for the completion of.  So, I made a big master chart and tacked it to the wall.  Do a chore, initial the chart.  At the end of the week, for every 5 "daily" chores you do you get 1 entry, for every weekly or bonus item you do you get 1 entry.  After the 7th weekly item you get 2 entries for every thing you do.  At the end of every week we'll have a drawing for a prize--$20, a gift card, whatever.  So far, so good.  It's motivating.  I'm crossing things off as I have time instead of feeling like I don't have the time or don't want to clean for hours and hours, the kids are helping, Mark's helping.  I'm hoping that it will not only make keeping the house clean a little bit fun, but that it will also help us develop good habits to keeping the house clean all the time.  I can tell you if you knocked on my door right this moment I would not be mortified to invite you in, and that's a win!

There's been a lot going on around here.  I am so looking forward to just enjoying and embracing summer.  Soaking in my kids, it's never far from my consciousness lately that there are precious few of these summers left with them.  Their summers are packed full of wonderful activities and our June schedule is the very definition of insanity, but I don't care.  I'm going to enjoy every crazy moment of it.

This week, here's what well be eating around here:

Sunday lunch:   BLTs, asparagus, watermelon
Sunday dinner:  hot dogs, chili sauce, tater tots
Monday:  Burgers, corn on the cob, Nancy’s chopped salad
Tuesday (dance, band potluck):   sliders
Wednesday (Mark at Muirfield, dance):  pot luck
Thursday:  mexican pizza

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meal Plan 5/26/15

We had a lovely weekend.  Rebekah (our oldest daughter who lives about an hour away where she is finishing up her first year teaching) unexpectedly came in for the weekend and we had a lot of fun hanging out all together.  Then, Sunday, our oldest, Jason, and his wife and kids came over to celebrate his birthday.  We were planning on ordering pizza, but our favorite pizza place turned out to be closed for lunch on Sundays.  Luckily I had been grocery shopping the day before and stocked up like crazy so I was able to pull together a cookout without another trip to the store.  We had so much fun together and it was wonderful to celebrate his birthday and get to soak up lots of family time. Being a mother is truly what fulfills me and I am so lucky to be my four kids mom.  Best thing ever. 

Monday, Jacob got to march in our local Memorial Day parade, at one time it was the biggest Memorial Day parade in the state, not sure if it still is, but it's definitely up there.  Eighth graders that are joining marching band march with the 9th, 10th and 11th graders as their first official marching band event.  Jacob's allergies have been crazy out of control this spring, but luckily he was able to march and he loved it. 

There's an awful lot going on this week.  Last week of school, my last full-time week of work until school starts again, Jacob's last musical recital, a quick visit with Rebekah, next to last week of get the picture.  Things are slowly winding down, but as they wind down they get a little crazy.  I'm sure it's the same everywhere.

One thing that helps me stay sane during crazy times is to have a good meal plan.  So, this week here's the plan:

Tuesday (dance, sax):  leftovers from the cookout.  Burgers or grilled chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, cut up veggies

Wednesday (dance, Rebekah):  [Dinner needs to be all make ahead this night.]  Crockpot chicken sandwiches, cheesy potato casserole (similar to this one, though I "only" use 1 cup of sour cream), cut up veggies, maybe broccoli salad just because I want to try it and I have no idea if any of us are going to like it.  One extra person here increases the hope it will actually get eaten.  ;)

Thursday (last day of school!!!):  Steak kebabs, rice, salad  I use this marinade from Serious Eats, but I cook my steak and veggies separately.  I'll have sicks of sirloin, sticks of mushrooms, sticks of yellow squash, sticks of onion and sticks of cherry tomatoes.  That way there's no worries about over/under cooking.

Friday (last day of work):  Not completely sure yet, maybe Nancy's chopped salad.  Looks and sounds delicious and if it doesn't work out for Friday night I'll make it later in the weekend.

I have no idea what the weekend will bring.  I will probably wait until it's closer to plan that out.  It's going to be more important than ever to stick to a plan though because much as I love going out for a quick bite, it's not healthy and it adds up fast.  Not working all summer obviously means no paycheck this summer so going out will definitely not be a good idea.

Hope you all have a good week.  I'm actually a bit sad to see school winding down.  My work situation which as been lovely this year will be a bit different next year.  I won't ever have an elementary age child again and my last two will be moving up to high school and middle school.  It makes me melancholy to think about the fact that in a precious few, very short years my last two will be gone.  Not ready to face that truth at all, but I'm already getting glimpses that ready or not the change is coming.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Meal Plan 5/18/15

I miss my blog.  I miss having my meal plans to refer back to, so I figure that's where I'm going to start.  I'll sit down later this week and do a post about what's been going on around here too, but for now, this is a start.

Busy, busy week.  Everything is being crammed into too short of time for the month of May and it is mucho busy around here.  This week:

Monday (Julianna flute lesson):  Linguini w/scampi.  Shrimp for us, salmon for Junie.  Roasted broccoli w/toasted gremolata
Tuesday (marching band practice, jazz, choir concert):  grilled chicken caesar salad w/ crouton 
Wednesday (hair appointment, dance):  Tuna Melts, chips
Thursday (piano): breakfast potatoes, breakfast sandwiches or Cashew Chicken, rice
Friday (marching band practice, piano recital):  wraps w/fried chicken fingers w/maple mustard sauce*,  fruit

1/3 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons honey
Whisk ingredients together and serve. 

I hope you have a good week.  I miss you too...and you.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Forgive me, this is going to be bits and pieces...that seems to be how my mind works lately.  Is there such a thing as PTSD after intense illness and death of a loved one?  I think that's what's going on here.  There are triggers and I'll come across one and my world is rocked for a time, sometimes a few hours, sometimes a few days, sometimes longer.

Tuesday I played phone tag with my mom throughout the day.  I was having  Two of the boys I watch were ill (boo!) but not too seriously, thank God, and I had an unexpected and, honestly, once-in-a-lifetime, day off.  What are the odds?  Jacob and Julianna were at school and both my full-time families were off sick, my part-timers were not scheduled for that day.  I was a bad mama and told Julianna no when she asked me to come to her school assembly (shh, I know, still feeling guilty over that one), and giddily planned my day.  What a day it was!  I got to lay in bed a bit before I had to get up, true luxury as I'm usually up by 5:00 or 5:30.  I made lunches in my ratty old bathrobe, had a nice slow morning.  I had a return to do at the mall and decided I wanted to get back into a skin care routine.  I'd noticed that morning when I went to put my makeup on that my skin was looking well, let's just say not its best.  At least I was certainly hoping it wasn't its best.  The woman at Clinique offered to do a whole makeover and I thought, why not?  I had all the time in the world.  How luxurious!  She did my skincare and makeup and indeed I was happy.  I bought all the skin care (and still pleased, a few days later) and a bit of makeup and headed off to the next thing on my list--Tarjay.  Did my shopping there, alone! fabulous! and headed out to lunch at my favorite French cafe. Lunch was wonderful!!  Onion soup, Caesar salad, baguette, strawberry tart.  Yum!  After lunch I headed out to get my hair cut and colored.  (I know!!! It had been months since I had that done.)  At this point I was literally skipping, I was so happy.  I came home, grabbed the pups (sometime I need to write about our pups, but that's a story for another day), and walked to Julianna's school to wait for school to get out.  We stayed at the playground a bit while Julianna played with Matthew and Lily and still, it was the best! day! ever!!  I took Julianna to dance and headed out to Whole Foods, trying my mom yet again.  It was getting ridiculous at this point, we just kept missing each other.  When I finally connected with her I ended up just sitting in the car sobbing.  (Mom, if you find this, and I hope you don't, please don't feel like the answer is for you to hide when you're not feeling well.  Not. the. answer.  Not at all.  I want to know, I want to help when I can.)  I felt so helpless, and scared and honestly, for a bit there, I was very afraid of losing her, and I think truly she was afraid of that too.  She thinks her blood sugar had crashed, and she says she's fine now, it's happened before, but when you live alone it's scary and very dangerous.  She has passed out from it before and if that happened and she was alone, well, it wouldn't be good. 

Since then, I've been off.  Down a bit, waiting for the shoe to drop. 

Yesterday I hadn't heard from Rebekah and I could tell she hadn't been online at all that day, which is a bit unusual for her, usually she would text and say hi, or check her FB or whatever.  Anyway, it hit me, as it does from time to time, that if something happened to her we wouldn't know.  I think, for me, that is the hardest part of her new life.  She has no roommates and it's scary to know that there are times something could happen to her and no one would know.  Still, I don't think it would have bothered me as much if I had been in a better place emotionally. 

I'm not always down.  Most of the time I'm okay.  I think it's all a normal part of the grieving process, but I do find myself with the "waiting for the shoe to drop" feeling more often than I did before my dad's illness and death.  Even as I was having my best! day! ever! I kept thinking to myself that something was going to happen, it couldn't be that good, I was going to pay.  Again, I think it's all within the bounds of normal, I just wish it wasn't a part of my process.

My sleep rhythms are all off.  They have been for a while now.  They were messed up before my dad died, they got really messed up after he died, and they're messed up again.  When I wake up in the middle of the night I give in and read.  If I lay in bed, trying to go back to sleep, I just think endlessly about his last two weeks.  The only way to avoid that is to think about something else intentionally, hence reading helps tremendously.

This too shall pass, and all that.  I guess it took me a bit by surprise because I (I know how ridiculous this sounds, it's okay, you can laugh at me, just don't think I'm horrible),  thought I had somewhat reconciled myself to the idea of losing my mom.  Definitely not.  (Mom, if you're reading this, you need to live a long, long time, m'kay?)

I thought I was going to write down some random bits about life in general right now, but it seems like this is what needed to come out, so I'm going to leave it at that.  Just another step in the grieving journey.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Heavy Heart

The title says it all.  My heart is just heavy right now.  Grief is overwhelming, all-encompassing, horrible.  It skews everything.  Any stress, and problem seems bigger, harder to deal with, exhausting...or, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, that's where I'm at.  I feel like I've taken a big step backward in the grieving process, the tears are never far away.  It's the forever-ness of it.  I struggle with feeling like I would love to have just one more conversation, one more time to tell him how much I love him, thank him for everything he did for me.

Life goes on, and it is, albeit with significantly less coping skills.  It's not pretty.  Not really looking forward to the holidays, but we'll get through it.  Here's hoping what's on the other side is more peaceful.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Been a While

I can not believe I haven't blogged since February.  What the what?  Then again, it's been quite a year.  Let's see, when we left off I was trying to put all the pegs back in their places after my dad had a heart attack, my mom had a mini stroke and our dog died.  Since then, my mom is doing very well, we've gotten two puppies, and my dad passed away.  Still struggling with that one.  Even just writing it makes me tear up, I haven't seemed to reach the milestone where I can talk about it without crying.  As I get back in the bloggy swing of things I'll probably write about it, but all I'll say here is that he started going down hill this summer, at the end of July he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and two weeks to the day later, he died.

I'm not young, my dad and I were close, but still it surprises me that I am having a horrible time trying to cope with it.  I miss my dad.  I feel like I don't know who I am without my dad in my life.  My dad was my biggest cheerleader, my biggest fan, a person who generously gave unconditional love, and it's shaken my foundation to lose that.  However, in life we don't get a choice, we have to sort of figure out how to pick up the pieces and move forward, so that's what I'm trying to do.

I discovered that I miss blogging.  I miss the connections to people that I made, though a lot of those may be long gone.  I hope not, but if they are I understand.  I also miss the written record, so, I'm trying to begin again.

I'll start nice and easy, with a meal plan.  That sounds like me, doesn't it?  The week ahead is busy, though tomorrow, gloriously, I have the day off.  Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Thursday (piano, Julianna home):  Crockpot chicken sandwiches, funeral potatoes, veggies
Friday (no school, band):  Flank steak, baked potatoes, asparagus
Saturday lunch:  Crockpot chicken sandwiches
Saturday dinner:  Apricot and Cheddar Chicken Melt, chips
Sunday lunch:  Mustard chicken, wild rice, fall salad or this fall salad
Sunday dinner (Nutcracker):  chili/coney dogs
Monday (boot camp, Julianna art):  Chicken Divan Casserole, salad, pumpkin rolls
Tuesday (mom, boot camp, dance):  Wedding soup, bread or this bread
Wednesday (boot camp, sax, dance):  leftovers or pot luck
Thursday (boot camp, girl scouts):  crockpot pepper steak, rice

I've missed you.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you've been up to.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meal Plan Feb. 27, 2014

Hello.  Finding it hard to blog.  Not enough time, but also struggling with where the lines are. What stories are mine to tell, what stories could inadvertently hurt someone I care about?  So, for now, we'll keep it nice and generic.  I do love being able to go back and look up what I was cooking, what recipes I used, so I thought I'd get my meal plan down. 

Thursday (robotics club, GS):  Pork chops, cheddar chive baked potatoes, "pot-stuck" Brussels sprouts
Friday:  Homemade pizza--I'll keep it simple, probably, though this fig, caramelized onion and sausage one is definitely calling my name.  
Saturday:  Cheesecake Factory Cashew Chicken*, rice, szechwan green beans
Sunday:  Vegetarian (I've always left out the meat, you never miss it) Lasagna-style Baked Ziti, bread, salad
Monday:  Grilled Chicken Club Panini, chips, cut up veggies
Tuesday (sax, dance, Mardi Gras):  Individual King Cakes for breakfast
Jambalaya, cornbread or make ahead garlic bread
Wednesday (Ash Wednesday):  Ice cream  (Julianna's having 2 teeth pulled.  I promised ice cream for dinner.  There'll be leftovers to have just in case.  :)
Thursday (Band concert):  Garlic Herb Oven-Fried Halibut, garlicky parslied new potatoes, skillet green beans

I might also make these fun pinwheel cookies in honor of Dr. Suess' birthday, March 2. 

**scaled down:  Cheesecake Factory Cashew Chicken--here's the scaled down sauce: 2 cups soy sauce (1c)* 24 oz hoisin (12)* 1/2c + 2T chili garlic sauce (1/4c + 1T)* 1 3/4 c sugar (3/4c +2T)* 1 c rice vinegar (1/2c)* 2c garlic (1c)* 1 1/2 c sherry (3/4c)* 1/4 oz chili flakes (1/8 oz)*

Hope you have a good week full of good things.


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