Sunday, November 23, 2008

And, what exactly did you do?

Thank goodness the Terrible Twos are almost over ... because I can tell already that the Thrilling Threes are going to be one big, fat Hair Pulling/Pinching/Spitting/Pushing/Screaming/Chattering Party. Who-hoo!!

And, I wanted to be a mother because ... ??? (It's a joke, folks. Really. Sort of.)

Despite the brilliance of how my almost-3-year-olds treat each other and us, their parents, we did manage to have a very good weekend that included starting to make our Advent calendar, which will hang on the wall on a string, their own holiday place mats and the cutest snowmen I've ever seen!

Not just that, I cleaned. I really cleaned, and that includes de-cluttering and tossing out stuff.

And then I baked. Granola. Pumpkin/Chocolate Chip muffins. Finally, I cooked risotto in the crock pot. I'm very impressed with myself. Perhaps this working-life-mother balance beam isn't so difficult after all.

I like weekends that result in some relaxing -- our second movie night went well but the movie was too old for the girls -- and productivity. In fact, I'm a results kinda girl in just about anything I do. So long as we have art work to display, I am cool with a morning of crying. Same goes for my weekends: I like to get things done. I consider relaxing one of those things.

This week's dinners will be super easy and ready instantly: Total working mom fare.

Sunday -- Risotto and salmon cakes (salmon, mayo, dried mustard, bread crumbs, cheese, egg)
Monday -- Quesadillas (beans and cheese served with salsa and sour cream) and salad, rice
Tuesday -- Burgers + Fries
Wednesday -- Butternut Squash soup, WHO bread and salad (leftovers for the girls)
Thursday -- Thanksgiving dinner -- Sweet potato casserole
Friday -- Homemade pizza (I plan to start making this and freezing)
Saturday -- Spaghetti with meatballs, salad and bread
Sunday -- Tuna casserole

I'm going with each breakfasts this week: muffins and yogurt with homemade granola, cereal and fruit bars and yogurt and eggs and toast. I'm growing quite tired of putting effort into meals for the almost-3-year-olds, frankly, and so as long as they eat a crumb of something, I feel I'm doing my job. Yes, the bar is THAT low.

For more menus, visit Menu Planning Monday. Please share a recipe of yours that's a no-brainer, on the table in under 15 minutes. Come on ... you know we all need new ideas.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Holiday Card Drama

I'm curious ... do you send out cards at the end of the year? What's your tradition? Read my holiday card saga here, which includes a review of Minted, a great online store where we got our cards this year. Thanks, Parent Blogger Network!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Simple things

I'm working from home today, which means I'm not working as much as I should. But, to my credit, I am TRYING to work through this terrible sinus infection that even on Day 3 of antibiotics doesn't seem to be budging out of my system.

I'm falling behind in everything blog related, even linking to those great In 8 Years posts that a few of you did. I will update your list very soon!

In the meantime, I've been thinking about money, and spending, and Christmas/holidays and what it means to me this year. There's much more to this year than before.

First, the economy in which our first thought it so save our money and stash it away, in case ... of something worse. To protect it. But, then there's this argument she made so boldly that has me thinking differently.

Secondly, unlike many Americans, we're actually doing better right now. We have money to spend, to save, and to cover our expenses, even the most frivolous. This does not mean I want to blow it all, frivolously. Rather, I'd love to spend it on some quality things that in the past has only been used to replace the cheaper things that fell apart.

Thirdly, there's Christmas, and being a mother of two very silly little girls who just get so amazed by just about anything and wanting to truly go overboard with wowing them this season. Not just with presents on Christmas morning, but with the joyous traditions of new and old that this time of the year can only bring.

Fourthly, it's about family and wanting to have those movie-like moments with all our family around, baking cookies and singing songs and breaking bread and knowing that that dream will be just that, again, this year as family ties are so broken and scattered about with disregard.

I felt this way last year, but the stakes were much higher last year, and the girls were less aware, less involved in our decisions and more just along for the ride. I was at my peak of money-management learning in which I learned not only how to be frugal, but to truly go without for many things. It's a balance beam to stay in that mindset, even when the checkbook -- or Chunky Purse -- isn't as tight.

This past Saturday we instituted our first Movie Night, which included their first-ever movie: The Polar Express. It was a very wise choice for a first movie, both in the timing of the year and in the nature of the film -- it's spirit and gentleness, and gift to all. Both, especially Liana, watched in awe as the characters and everything around them came to life in ways they had never seen before. It was the power of film unfolding before OUR eyes. Daddy Dan teared up, and still does just thinking about it. It was a night to remember.

Which leads me to my last thought: I want more of those moments. More gifts that wow and leaves us in awe. Passion and lust. I want to feel free to want. I want to feel free to live. I want to feel content with wanting it all, and then some.

And, I want to feel completely wowed by nothing at all.

If it's possible.

That's said, I saw this cute necklace on Etsy and just wanted to pass it along as a simple gift to you, too.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

In 8 years

I admit that I'm still tearing up, on occasion, about Obama's win, and our future. A lot of it has to do with the anti-racist part of me, knowing that a large part of that part of our history has been wiped clean.

But, more than that, it's that I haven't really known anything else as a president other than Dumb W. I used the bad analogy to Daddy Dan about feeling like an abused child, who doesn't know any thing better in life.

I think people will soon wake up and realize we haven't had a real president in eight years. For some older Americans, who have lived through other presidents, that might not feel like a lot of time.

But, for me, my world changed under the reign -- and chaos -- of Dumb W. In fact, looking at this list makes me wonder exactly how much damage he might have done over the last near decade that we don't even know about.

In the last eight years I ...

Moved to a different state
Worked three jobs
Met a man
Got engaged to that man
Learned to be a wife
Traveled out of the country
Suffered through infertility
Got pregnant
Learned to be a mother
Was a working mom
Was a stay-at-home mom
Was a work-at-home mom
Became a working mom again.
Changed careers -- twice
Sold a house
Bought a house
Tried selling another house, but could not (thanks, W!)
And, now, I'm watching well-known businesses collapse before my eyes.

And much more.

How about you? What has changed in your life in the last eight years? Pass it on and link back to me, if you want for a sweet little, spontaneous writing contest. I'll link to everyone's post at the end of the week. Or, just leave your notes in comments.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes we did!

My nose is stuffy. The tears keep coming. All I know is that we're going to be OK now. We're all going to be OK now.

It's a Dawning of a New Day.

I've never felt more proud to be a Democrat. Never.

Thanks to all who made this happen.

Hope is alive, again.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

November 4, 2008

Vote for hope.

Vote for change.

Vote for yourself.

Vote for our country.

Vote for the thousands of white, black and brown volunteers making this a campaign about YOU, AND ABOUT ME.

Vote for your neighbors.

Vote for my neighbors.

Vote for Mother Earth.

Vote for humanity.

Vote for the future.

Vote for that smile.

Vote for That One.

Vote for the next generation.

Vote like your life depends on it.

Vote like your job depends on it.

Because it does.

If it rains, call for a ride. If it pours, run to the polls. If the line is long, just wait -- wait minutes, wait hours, but please just wait.

Just vote.

And, in honor of Obama's grandmother, who died just one day before she would have learned his fate in American politics, I give you this quote from him, a man too kind for his own good. From the New York Times:

“She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard. They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing. In this crowd there are a lot of quiet heroes like that.”

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