Sunday, January 18, 2009

Where is Everyone?!

Has anyone else noticed the absence of others in their lives? I blamed it on the Holidays, but am not so sure. Do we get so busy, so caught up, that keeping in touch is the first thing we set aside? I don't think it is just personal contact. People are blogging less, emailing less, writing has almost become obsolete. Even calling each other seems to take too much time. I know I slacked off some over Christmas. I wasn't in a very good mood and didn't have much to say.

So where is everyone?! My "other daughter" Brenda hasn't been seen or spoken to since near the end of October. I have left numerous messages, nada. My younger brother pulled his disappearing act back in September. Those are the ones that really worry me. The rest of you I worry about, but not about being dead or alive. I worry how you are, what's going on that has you so caught up. Is it good things or problems? Is it the worry that I have enough on my plate already? PUHLEASE! Knowing you are having tough times isn't going to stress me to my breaking point. I will worry and try to help in whatever way I can, but I think I can handle it. If it is just a matter of life being so busy it has you going at top speed with no time to breathe.. it would be a relief to know that. Trust me, I know how that is!

I know I asked for the gift of your time for Christmas, but it doesn't mean that if you can't give me your undivided attention I don't want to hear from you. It doesn't mean I only care about the ones who are right here around me. I have had most of my friends for many, many years. I have some I have only known a few. You are all important to me. So take care and keep in touch when you can. I miss you, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mexican Beef Casserole

I am part of a meal exchange group as part as the Jax parents of multiples. We get together once a month. We make 10 of an entree or, like this month, we make 5 of something and 5 of another. Then we get together and swap meals. It helps stretch the grocery bill and also gives us a break form our own cooking. I made Chicken tortilla Soup this month and also a Mexican Casserole. The Casserole originally called for Chicken, but there were already alot of chicken items listed, so I decided to make it with Beef. Then I noticed the other ingredients were meant for use with chicken. So I took the basic recipe idea and made it completely different. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't! This time it worked and actually turned out really good.. so here is is;

*1 pound of ground beef
*1 pkg taco seasoning
*3/4 cup water
*2 cans bean w/ bacon soup
*1 can rotel tomatoes (your choice of original, mild, or hot- there are green chiles in with the tomatoes) Do Not Drain.
*1 bag corn chips, crushed or broken up (I used regular, but the original recipe was with Doritos.)
*2 cups cheddar or cheese of your choice
*1 4.5 oz can green chiles (optional)
*sour cream (optional, amount based on your preference)

*Cook ground beef, drain off all fat.
*Add 3/4 cup water and 1 pkg. taco seasoning. Stir well, then cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
*Add 2 cans bean with bacon soup & 1 can (undrained) rotel tomatoes. Stir well until all ingredients are combined.

Use any medium - large casserole or baking dish. Layer items as follows;
*1/2 the bag of crushed corn chips
*1/2 the beef mixture
*remaining crushed corn chips
*remaining beef mixture
*spread 2 cups cheese of your choice over mixture
*sprinkle green chiles on top (optional)

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Can be served with sour cream (optional)

My family also enjoyed it as a dip using the chips to scoop it up rather than having them in the casserole.

Friday, January 16, 2009

He's in the Army Now!

Chad, Christmas Eve
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Chad left Jan. 6th for Basic Training. The first week was mostly in-processing. The hard stuff was supposed to start this week. He only gets to call on Sundays. Part of me would love to be a fly on the wall when they are in his face about making his bed right, or folding his clothes properly.. or better yet.. waking him up at dawn wether he wants to get up or not! The other part of me wants to sit on his shoulder and keep buzzing in his ear.. You can do this. You can make it. Just one more push-up, just one more mile.. You can do this!
It is hard to know your little bird, who is far from little now, has long ago sprouted wings but has yet to fly. Then one day, out of the blue, he takes flight and is gone. As crowded as the nest may be, it is hard to know he feels the need to fly away. It is a good thing, a very good thing. It was long overdue. I am proud of him.
The two parts of me will always be at odds about his leaving, about his need to leave. Hopefully he will, once in a while, feel the need to fly home again on his way to wherever he is going with his life. It was a beautiful thing to watch him spread his wings, and know he has the strength to fly wherever the wind takes him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A wonderful weekend..

My friends, Terry & Terri, have both given me the gift of their time recently. It was great! Terry came up from where she lives in South Florida and visited for a few days. We celebrated her birthday and spent New Year's together. It was good to spend time with her and talk. Then this past Saturday night Terri & her hubby, Dwight, and Brian & I all went out on a "Date Night". We saw the new Clint Eastwood movie, Gran Torino (very good movie!), and then went to a pub for a drink and a bite to eat. Then we went to St. George Street and stopped at a place there for a nightcap. Brian & Terri played a bowling video game.. I think he won. It was great to get out with grown-ups! Brian & I were able to enjoy an empty house with just the two of us for the night thanks to Brianne & Justin keeping the kids for a sleepover.. thank you, thank you!
Then Sunday Terri & I spent the day together. We went to an arts and crafts festival and out to lunch. We caught up on everyone & everything. Enjoyed walking, talking, wine & coffee.
So Thank You Terry, Terri, Dwight, Brian, Bri & Justin, for a wonderful weekend!

Alexa at Laurie's

Alexa at Laurie's
Originally uploaded by mommanana
There was a time when this little girl couldn't stand to get her hands dirty! I posted a couple pix sent to me by a friend who watches the kids sometimes. She has twin girl's about a year younger than Tristan & Alexa. Click on this pic to access the photo gallery to see them!

Do I "work"?

The time flys by and things happen, life happens and you don't know where it all went. I often think of when the older kids were little. I think about the kind of parent I was, how I handled things back then. I think about the choices we make in parenting and how even the smallest thing makes a difference in how we influence a child and what type of person they will become. I worry, as most parents do, if I make the right choices. We all know the definite right and wrongs. Yet there are so many little things that are so gray in color, it can be hard to know the "right" choice to make in parenting. I know I do not do things the way I did when the older kids were small. Life is different, it is a different time, I am different. But there are some things I do the same and feel strongly about that will not change. There is no rule book. There is no easy button. It doesn't matter how many children you raise, or have raised, they are all individuals and each have their own personalities. What works with one, may not work with another.
There is no perfect parent, and no perfect child. It is constantly a work in progress. I am still learning from them and learning with them. I have to remind myself sometimes that it is ok to make a choice others may not agree with. I am living this life, I am making the choices the best way I know how. No matter what you do or how you do it, there are days that being a parent will just plain suck. So you move forward and keep going and enjoy the good days when they come and appreciate that you have the ability to learn, to grow, to make a difference. Bad days are only as bad as you let them be. Dwell on it, or let it go. We can't go back and change it, so go forward and make changes as needed.
Everything in life is work. Marriage, parenting, family, jobs.. nothing is a cake walk. The rewards are as great as you let them be. There are times I see so much clearer what is good in my life. Other times it can be a bit foggy and harder to see. Grief can put blinders on you and limit your vision. It can block out so much light that everything becomes gray. It has been a long journey and there may still be times when the fog rolls in, but I refuse to let those blinders block my view.
Do I wish I could go back and erase the difficult times I had with Kierra? Or with any of my children? I can think I may have avoided that conflict/ confrontation, but I know there would have been another around the next corner. You can second guess yourself on every choice you have ever made.. and waste alot of time and energy. I will continue to make the choices I feel are right as a parent. I will not slack off on my convictions to avoid making a child unhappy or mad at me. They will get over it and so will I. Those unhappy moments will be slim compared to the happy ones. Again, I can dwell on them or let them go.
It is so important to have the support of the person parenting with you. A united front is so much stronger than standing divided. Kids are smart, and they know how to push your buttons and work any weakness in your defenses. Sounds like a tactical battle doesn't it? Well, sometimes, especially in the teen years, it can be. It helps to have someone on your side, who can balance you when you go off kilter, or when you are worn out from the emotional toll parenting can take form you.
I can be just as exhausted from a problem free, good day with the kids, as I can from a chaotic, problem ridden day. When even the simplest decision is more than I want to make. Having Brian there to take over or pick up the slack can really be a lifesaver for me. And for the kids too. It helps me look foward to the years ahead with more anticipation than hesitation. To look forward to the fun times, knowing I can handle it when it is not so fun to be a parent.
I am often asked the question.. "Do you work?" I usually say no, I stay at home with my children. But that isn't true. I have one of the hardest jobs on earth. It is a challenging job. A job worth having, worth sharing. It is a job I sometimes take for granted. A job with unlimited benefits. A job that even when I need a coffee break, I am ready, when it is over, to get back to it.
So with a smile, let me say.... Hi Ho, Hi Ho.. off to work I go!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

De-Christmasing Day

I have almost de-Christmased the whole house! My tree is down and boxed. I have all the decorations in the front dining room and am working on putting them all away. My furniture is back in place and my mantel is back to normal as well. It looks so clean and stark with all that stuff gone! I left it up a few extra days because my friend Terry always visits for her birthday, 12/31, and we celebrate Christmas again with her. So officially the holidays are now OVER!!
The kids will all be back in school on Monday, which will be a happy day for all of us! Everyone is feeling good so I hope that means the sickness has left our house for good, well at least until the next virus or stomach bug decides to invade!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jan 2009

Jan 2009
Originally uploaded by mommanana
OK, I was asked to post a more recent pic, here it is. (wearing size 14/16) I am looking for a "before" pic, I am posting one in the photo gallery, (wearing size 20) but I have tended to not let my picture be taken very often, so I don't think this really shows how heavy I was. If you have a "before" pic of me please email it to me. Don't be kind, I want a true pic so I can finally see the difference!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Top 40 for 2008

1.) What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Lost 40 lbs
2.) Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No I did not, and I probably won’t.
3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several people.. a very busy baby year!
4.) Did anyone close to you die?
Not close to me, but close to people I care about.
5.) What countries did you visit?
Bahamas, Honduras, Belize, Mexico (Cruise Oct. 2008)
6.) What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Better Financial stability and tolerance.
7.) What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Several, some happy, some sad, top of the list.. the week we spent on a cruise with my parents (and 2 of my sisters.) It was a once in a life time trip for them and memories that will last my lifetime.
8.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Quitting soda and losing 40 lbs (and still going)
9.) What was your biggest failure?
What failure, I survived another year!
10.) Did you suffer illness or injury?
Some illness, nothing serious.
11.) What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets for a cruise.
12.) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Many to be proud of, you know who you are.
13.) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Many who should not be proud, and they know who they are!
14.) Where did most of your money go?
House, kids
15.) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Losing 40 lbs! (and all the emotional and health benefits that go with it!)
16.)What song will always remind you of 2008?
All those on the CD Brian made me for our 25th anniversary.
17.) Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier?
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? Poorer
18.) What do you wish you'd done more of?
More time with my horses
19.) What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasted time & energy on unimportant things.
20.) How did you spend Christmas?
With my husband and children/grandchildren at home, coddling a sick and feverish child, & cooking Christmas dinner.
23.) What was your favorite TV program?
Desperate Housewives? Didn’t really stick on one show, watched what I could when I could.
27.) What did you want and get?
The twins into preschool
28.) What did you want and not get?
The twins in the same preschool
30.) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I survived the day and I turned 45
31.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
One thing? Satisfying? You asked for it.. more ---!
32.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Comfy, easy, able to disguise multiple children’s dirty handprints!
33.) What kept you sane?
Horses, reading, Brian (not always in that order!)
38.) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Remember then, appreciate now, take one step forward at a time.
39.) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Bring on the rain (by Jodi Messina)
Another day has almost come and gone

Cant imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes Id like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (cause)
Its almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but Im not dead
Tomorrows another day
And Im thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain
Im not gonna let it get me down
Im not gonna cry
And Im not gonna lose any sleep tonight
So bring on the rain

40.) Of all the influences, experiences you had in 2008, is there one that stands above the rest?
Marking my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband. For very personal reasons we did not celebrate it publicly, but will always share the precious memory of our wedding day. You're Still The One Brian!