Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She screams...


"Mommy, can you have a brother for me?"

"I can try, but you don't get to pick what you have. If mommy has another baby, it could be another sister."

"Why can't you pick? I don't want another sister. I want a little brother."

"Well, it just doesn't work that way. God gives you the perfect person for your family. Sometimes it's a brother, sometimes it's another sister."

"Can I pray for a brother?"

"Sure, but God doesn't always give us what we want. Even if you pray, you might not get a brother."

"What if I pray a lot?"

"It certainly won't hurt."

He closed his eyes and offered up this sincere plea, "God, please give me a brother. Gracie screams a lot and I think we just need another boy around here. Not a girl. Amen."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Free Tutu!

This giveaway is now closed.
Once again, Shannon is hosting a Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. Be sure to go over and check it out. Be warned....Last fall, I spent countless hours checking out blogs and entering giveaways while my children watched PBS and ate cereal out of the box....It's addictive...I've been looking forward to this for weeks!

I will be giving away another custom made tutu. These are super cute (if I do say so myself). Each is made of at least 75 yards of super soft tulle. I have several colors to choose from (pinks, purples, orange, greens, blues and browns) and can make it to fit a baby or a big girl.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment by Sunday, February 3.

Good luck!

Note: I WILL send this to anyone, anywhere...cause I'm nice like that! However, nice as I am, I do not have super powers....please, please, please make sure that you leave a way for me to contact you! If your profile is private or does not have contact information and you win, I will have to pick someone else.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Today he said...

"Mommy, why is it taking so long for Christmas to get here?"

Do you remember when a year felt like an eternity and summer seemed to last forever?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm amazed

A few days ago I stumbled upon the story of the Stanfield family. I've spent hours reading their blog, crying and praying for them. I truly don't even have the words to express how I'm feeling right now, I just know that I want faith like this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

White Chicken Chili

A few weeks ago my good friend and old roommate Clancey called me. "Sarah, remember that Mexican casserole you use to make?" Silence. "You know the one with the corn bread topping?" Hmmm....."Do you remember it? You made it a lot!" It was gone, completely and totally gone. As she talked about it, I started to have a vague recollection...yeah, it was really yummy wasn't it? Was it like chili? Wasn't the corn bread on top kind of sweet? Do I have the recipe? No, I think I made it up, but let me look around...nope don't have it and I really have no idea how I made it. Sorry....

Before I had kids, I was a very good cook. I would have something in a restaurant and then go home and make it. I could look at a package of chicken and think of ten different ways to prepare it. Those days are gone. I'm in a culinary slump. We eat the same three or four meals over and over and over.... I don't even know what I use to make!

Thankfully, my little family isn't too hard to please. However, I'm the Hospitality Coordinator for our MOPS group. One of my responsibilities is to make sure that new mom's have at least a weeks worth of meals brought to them. This means that I usually drop off a meal myself. I find it stressful! I don't want to bring them a tray of burritos made with Old el Paso taco seasoning or hot dogs and Annie's mac and cheese! Fortunately, I rediscovered this recipe for white chicken chili. It's delicious and really easy to make.

White Chicken Chili

1 lb boneless chicken breast
2 c water
2 chicken or vegetable bullion cubes
1/4 c cilantro
2 15 oz. cans cannelloni beans
2 cans drained sweet corn or 1 16 oz bag frozen
1 tsp cumin
fresh jalapeno pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the chicken in 2 c water and bullion until almost cooked. Remove from water (save water) and cube. Return to the water. Add corn. Add drained and rinsed cannelloni beans. Simmer until chicken is finished cooking. Chop (or stick it in food processor) cilantro and jalapeno pepper (I often leave the jalapeno out or use only a tiny bit to make it kid and new mommy friendly) Add to the pot along with cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes.

If you are making it for yourself, it's yummy with tortilla chips, lime wedges, olives, cheese, sour cream and salsa. I don't give it to others with all this stuff, I usually just add a little lime juice to the chili and enclose a bag of cheddar or jack cheese and corn bread.

I never measure when I make this. If it seems too thick, I add a little more water and bullion. I love cilantro, so I usually add a lot more than 1/4 c. I also tend to use more cumin. If you have a Trader Joe's, their frozen white corn is THE BEST in this!

For more great tips to make your life easier, check out Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thanks Mom

My mom found out that she was pregnant five months after Roe v Wade made abortion legal. She was 19 years old and in school studying to be a dental hygienist. She and my father had recently broken up and she didn't want to get back together with him. I don't think that she had a lot of plans for her future, but I know a baby wasn't part of anything that she had imagined.

A few years ago I asked my mom if she had ever considered having an abortion. "No. Not once." was her reply. She admitted to being scared and even angry that this was happening to her. She didn't feel ready to be any one's mother. However, she knew in her heart that things happen for a reason. No matter how difficult becoming a mother was going to be she could not imagine ending the life inside of her.

My mom wasn't a Christian then. Her reason for keeping her baby had nothing to do with faith or with religion. It was a decision that she made because her heart told her that although a baby would change the course of her life forever, having me was the only real option.

My mom married my dad and I was born six months later. She never finished school. Life has not always been easy, in fact at times it's been really hard. Evenso, I know that she has no regrets. She would be the first to tell you that God used an unplanned and unwelcome pregnancy into something that changed her life for the good.

Thank you mom for never thinking of me as a problem, an inconvenience, a mass of cells, blob of tissue or a choice. Thank you for loving me and valuing the person that I was and would become more than your own hopes and dreams. Thank you for making a decision that made your life harder at the time but later, brought joy.

Today is the 35 th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Since 1973, more than 46 million unborn children have been killed in the United States. Please join me in praying that God would change the hearts of this nation. If you haven't, I would encourage you to look at the website, their button has been on my sidebar for a while. If you agree and you blog, I ask you to consider putting it on yours. I feel like we are at a point in history where it's never been more important for people to see and hear the truth about abortion. Too many blindly believe that the issue is about constitutional rights and choice rather than human life.

One of us is a peanut...

Gracie had her 15 month check up today. She flipped out when we walked into the doctors office. I think it was PTSD from having her blood drawn last week for lead testing. She wouldn't let go of me.

The doctor had the brilliant idea of weighing her while I held her. I argued. I did not want to get weighed. I suggested putting her on the baby scale and standing close by so that I could catch her if she tried to jump off. I l lost, the doctor insisted on his way. We got on the scale together and then I handed her to the doctor and weighed myself. The doctor then subtracted my weight from our weight to come up with a whopping 22.5 pounds , putting her in the 50th percentile for weight. Me? Well I discovered that my scale at home is 7 pounds off. That's right 7. In less than thirty seconds I went from someone who thought that they had 2-3 pounds and a lot of toning to do to be in pre baby shape, to someone who has 10 pounds to lose. Awesome.

This was the first time that they measured Grace standing up, so her height was actually the same as three months ago, 29.5 inches. Back then, it put her in the 50th percentile. Now, 29.5 inches puts her in the 10th.

Don't worry Gracie, what you lack in stature you make up for in spunk. I'm also praying that stocky makes a comeback....

Monday, January 21, 2008

First words

Grace doesn't have a whole lot of words. She pretty much says Mama and Da appropriately, that's it. Over the past week or so she has added "Me me me...." to her repertoire. She screams it whenever she wants something, which is most of the time. In fact, she says it so much that if I were to give my kids pseudonyms Grace's would without a doubt be, "Mimi".

Tonight my girl added two new words, "Target" and "shoes". I am not making this up. (I have it on video and if I can figure our how to upload files from my camcorder, I will post it later.) While I was making dinner I was talking to Brad about our big outing for the day, a trip to Target. A little voice chimed in, clear as a bell, "Darget". I was stunned.

"That's right sweetie, we went to Target. What did we buy?"


"That's right, did we get shoes at Target?"

I was answered with a big smile accompanied by the crazy full body shake that she does to indicate yes...and then a little "Shoes, shoes, shoes.." as she reached for her foot.

Remember these boots? They are now on clearance for $3! We rebought them along with two other adorable pairs that were less than $2 each. Gotta love clearance!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

National Sanctity of Life Day

For several weeks, each time I sit down in front of my computer a little voice in my heart tells me to write about abortion. I have not listened. After all, this isn't that kind of blog. It's not serious, or deep. Honestly, it's not really about much of anything. Not to mention, that for the most part, it's read by my good friends and family, people who feel the same way that I do about abortion.

Today in church our pastor talked about Joshua. A man who inspired faith, a man who didn't spend a lot of time thinking about what he should be doing, but acted instead. A man who had courage, not because he had a great army or arsenal of weapons, but because he knew he was carrying out God's work and had God on his side. We were encouraged to stop waiting for others to take the lead in areas that God has given us a burden for. As I sat and listened, I heard that little voice again. It said, "You need to write about abortion."

A few minutes ago I was eating lunch and looking at new posts on my reader....Quite by accident I stumbled across the story of Trisha and Nathan Lawrenson and discovered that today is "National Sanctity of Life Day".

Sometimes God's voice is so clear. I'm still reluctant to write about this issue and am praying that God will give me the words and wisdom to do it in a way that reflects his love and grace. In the mean time, please take the time to go over to Nathan's fathers blog and read what he wrote about the sanctity of life. I promise you will be both challenged and blessed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

These boots weren't made for walking....

I bought these boots for Gracie the other day with visions of doing a photo shoot with her wearing them and a bright pink tutu. I haven't gotten around to making the tutu yet (Kind of tutu'd out) but I couldn't resist putting them on her this morning.
She loved them. She couldn't walk in them, but she loved them. Here she is showing daddy.
After about 15 minutes, I took them off of her. She screamed at me and went right over and got them. She sat on the floor screaming and trying to put them back on her feet. Apparently the willingness to wear cute but very impractical or uncomfortable shoes starts much earlier than previously believed...
So I put them back on her and she fell...
and got right back up and fell again. My girl is determined. Lord help me.

The return of an old friend

An old friend showed up on Wednesday evening completely unannounced. I haven't seen her in two years and I wasn't entirely thrilled that she's decided to show up after so long. Our relationship wasn't always this way. I met her when I was 14 and I was so excited. Most of my friends had met her long before me and I had actually been jealous. I can remember checking several times a day to see if she had decided to befriend me too. In fact, now that I think about it, I lied when I was 13 and told everyone that I knew her too.

Back then, she never made me feel fat or tired me out. She didn't complicate my life or cause me to start keeping a calendar and a thermometer by my bed until I had a chance to get to the doctors. No, back then life went on as usual, only I was suddenly more sophisticated and worldly. Her friendship made me a woman, ROAR!

Okay, more seriously, I throw this question out to the blogosphere. Just about all of my friends use the pill for birth control. I can't take it. It makes me more of a lunatic than usual. I've been on every dose and version of it. I HATE THE PILL. So if the pill is not an option, what do you use?

Do you have any thought on IUD's? My midwife suggested one after Grace was born. When I told my mom that I was considering it, she freaked. She thinks that it causes spontaneous abortion. I did a lot of reading and this doesn't seem to be completely true. My interpretation of the literature is that IUD's prevent fertilization and if it fails to do this, it makes the uterus a "hostile" environment for the fertilized egg. I don't know how I feel about that. Thoughts?

I understand that some people may feel that this is too private to discuss here. If you're not comfortable leaving a comment but have any thoughts for me, please send me an email. I'd really appreciate it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

He makes me smile....a lot


"Sam, you're a nut."

"Yeah...but I'm mostly a boy. I'm just a little nut."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

All about pigs

Sam had homework this week. He had to draw a picture of his favorite animal and then learn three facts about it. He chose pigs.

Drawing the picture was easy and he was pretty into our pig research.

I was telling him that female pigs are called "sows" and males are called "boars". He looked at me blankly.

"Sam do you know what a female is?"

"Yeah, a female is a pig."

"No Sam. Female means girl. Mommy is a female and so is Gracie."


"Do you know what a male is?"

"Yeah, it's some kind of horse."


Dear Half and Half,

It hurts me to write this letter. It's not been an easy decision to make, but I'm afraid that it has to be done. We're done. Finished. Over forever. You will never grace the shelves of my fridge or make my morning cups of coffee sooooo delicious again.

You're sneaky. I think I always knew this, but for the last three years, I chose to turn a blind eye. You came into my life when I was vulnerable. I was a new mom. I was tired and emotional. My judgement was impaired. I had you at a friends house and I wanted more. You were so much more satisfying than skim milk. Such a simple pleasure. I loved you and I was willing to ignore how bad you are. What harm could come of it? Who would I hurt?

Three years later, I'm suffering. (I know that it's not entirely your fault, but I can't break up with brownies, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream all at the same time. I'm just not strong enough.) You are so good that I have you three times in the morning and once in the afternoon. Even worse, I use twice the suggested amount. It's reckless and it has to stop. It's time for me to take an honest look at myself and start making better choices.

Don't try to change my mind. I called you sneaky earlier, and I meant it. In one delicious 2 tablespoon serving, you pack a whopping 40 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. Let's face it, having only 2 tablespoons of you is like eating a half cup of ice cream, nobody does it. It's not possible!

By ending our relationship I discovered that I will be eliminating 320 calories and 28 grams of fat from my diet each day. Over the course of a week that's 2,240 calories and 196 grams of fat*. During a 30 day month? 9,600 calories and 840 grams of fat. In a year? 116,800 calories and 10,220 grams of fat. So you are gone. You're done. I don't think I can go back to skim milk just yet, but even if I use whole milk I'll still be saving 170 calories and 20 grams of fat every single day**.

It was fun while it lasted and I will miss you. Please don't be upset if we see each other at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and I ignore you. This is what works for me.


*These figures are based on a caffeine fiend like myself who drinks at least four cups of coffee a day with about 4 tablespoons of half and half in each cup. I know this is a lot. Even if you drink less, I would encourage you to pay attention to how much you pour (dump, if you're like me) into your mug. Play with the numbers, you might be surprised.

**I will not use fat free half and half because they put corn syrup solids (whatever that is), artificial color and sugar in it. Gross.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wish List

I was tagged by BLMOM over at Dandelion Dayz for this meme. I'm kind of excited because it's the first time that someone I don't know has asked me to do something like this (So now all ten of you who faithfully read this blog know how truly exciting my life is). I'm supposed to write two wish lists, one completely materialistic and just about stuff. The other more spiritual or altruistic. So here it goes....

Wish list number one....

1. I wish for a mud room. My house currently looks like this...

Don't you love all the little gloves sticking up on the tops of the chairs? Very Pottery Barn.

and will until the snow melts. There is just no place to put all the wet stuff. If you have a mud room, I hope you are thankful for it.

2. I wish for a lens for my new camera that's more powerful than the 18-55mm kit lens that I got. After spending hours on the phone with Bethany I decided to go with a cheap telephoto and splurged on a 50 mm 1.4 prime lens. I love it, it's fast and regrets. However, for the last 20 years I have been a point and shoot kind of girls and I'm missing my zoom...I have no idea which lens I'm wishing for, I was thinking 18-200 until the photographer I took a class with advised against it....Okay, I know you're more lens talk (bit if you have any suggestions, please let me know. Someday I may have money and be in the market.)

3. Okay, this isn't really a thing but I wish I could wear a bikini and look good in it again....and I wish that it could become possible by sitting on the couch watching tv and eating warm chocolate chip cookies.

4. I want a housekeeper. I want someone to do the laundry and put it away. I want my bathrooms cleaned, floors washed, vacuuming and dusting done and beds made daily. I want Alice.

5. I want a house at the beach with panoramic ocean views where I can sit on the beach in my bikini, drinking margaritas and reading whatever I want without interruption. I want to be able to go there whenever I want.

Believe it or not, this was harder than I thought. I really have just about everything that I want. I'm sure my wardrobe could use an updating (read this if you want to know how uncool I am), but there isn't much that I am really wanting. I. Am. Blessed.

Wish list number two...

1. I wish that people everywhere loved their neighbor as they love themselves.

2. I wish that people everywhere respected and valued human life.

3. I wish that I had more faith in hard times.

4. I wish that my children come to know and love Jesus Christ.

5. I wish that I was better at and more willing to take every opportunity that I have to share my faith.

So there you have it. I tag Bethany, Jenn, Beth, Michelle and Kiki.

She doesn't like snow either...

"Gracie, do you want to go outside?"

She nodded her head yes and started dancing around.

"Go get your coat."

Off she went. We got bundled up and headed out.

I put her down and she tipped over and couldn't get up. Then she screamed (while I took pictures) until we went back inside.

In her defense, I have to say that yesterday we went out while it was still snowing. I put the kids in the sled and pulled them up the street. Grace loved it. When Sam was her age he cried when we took him out in the snow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome back winter, I was missing you.

I got my hopes up. Snow was supposed to start at midnight. The first time Sam tried to sneak into my bed was midnight, no snow....when he returned at 2 a.m there was still no snow... at 5 a.m I was confident that the weather man was wrong...7 a.m, a little snow....9 a.m, 7" snow...1 p.m, about a foot. I hate when the weather man is right.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A good reminder...

I complain a lot about the weather in my little corner of the world and dream of moving someplace warm and a lot less expensive (where a half million dollars buys you your dream home and not an 1800 square foot cape). However today, chilly as it was, was a day that I was struck by the beauty of this place and remembered that yes, I really do love it here. I don't think any other place could feel so much like home.

In the summer, this harbor is dotted with sailboats. When Brad and I first met, he took me fishing for Stripers here. He and a friend shared a little boat with a little engine that was perfect for trolling around the harbor. Dressed in jeans and sweat shirts, we drank beer and ate sandwiches as the fish literally jumping out of the water around us. The night was clear and the sky filled with millions of stars. I caught nothing on my own, but he let me real a bunch in. The future was unknown and it was a wonderful night.

We got married in this town and had our pictures taken with this harbor as a back drop. My friends tell me that it was freezing cold (and from the pictures, I'd say it was), but I hardly noticed.

Now we are lucky enough to have this place to bring our kids to play. Even in the cold, they loved playing at the park. I think Sam summed it up best, "It sure is beautiful, huh?"

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm done, no I'm not, yes I am....

I've been thinking a lot lately about having another baby, or more accurately, not having another baby. Since I was a little girl, I thought that I'd have three...However, while I was pregnant with Grace, I swore that unless they discovered a way for Brad to carry our child, I was done. After delivering her, my resolve was even more babies, well, definitely no more babies without an epidural....okay, maybe I'll have another baby....

Two months ago I was feeling like I was ready...However because my children LOVE nursing (I've been lactating for 3.5 years...I know you are jealous...), I've been fortunate to have had only two periods in the last 51 months...though not impossible to get pregnant, this makes it kind of hard to try in any calculated, methodical way...

Over the last several weeks, I've started to feel like I'm done. Although I really love big families, I've never thought that I could handle more than three and certainly not more than four. I'm starting to realize that I really might not be able to handle more that two. I love my kids and I am so thankful that we were able to have them, but I want a piece of my former life back. I never thought that I would feel this way and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is where I am right now.

I want to do things for me. I want to get regular hair cuts and go to the gym. I want to go on vacation and be able to enjoy it. I want to go to CT to visit my family and have my kids sleep. I want to be able to go someplace other than The 99 for dinner. I want to be skinny again. I want to sleep for say 6 uninterrupted hours. I want to apply for The Amazing Race with my sister. Right now, these things are starting to seem possible (like 18 months away for everything other than the Amazing Race....that is probably 18 years away...), a new baby will delay them for three or four years. As I write this, I hear how selfish I sound. It's terrible, really not like me but exactly how I feel right now.

At the same time, the thought of never having another baby in the house makes me sad. I didn't think that Grace would be my last so I didn't treat each day with her like I would have if I'd been thinking, "You will never do this again." Do you know what I mean?

I keep going back and forth. On one hand, every day I think, "what if I'm possibly pregnant right now? I think I'd cry." But on the other, I can't seem to actually get rid of anything. Just yesterday I put outgrown clothes from both my kids into bins in the basement. I tell myself that it has nothing to do with saving it for another baby and more to do with being a pack rat and I almost believe it.

I fear that a third pregnancy will finish in wipe me out and remove any trace of the girl that once was. I don't know if my esophagus can handle throwing up every single night for nine months. I don't know if I can be a milk producing person for another two years. I'm really scared that a third pregnancy will remove any chance of ever reclaiming anything that resembles the body I once had.

I'm also afraid that I may someday regret not having another. Someday, when life is quiet and calm, when our children need us less, when we are well rested and don't have to wade through a sea of toys to get anywhere in our house, I will look back on these years and think, "That went too fast, it wasn't so bad, why didn't we have more..."

How did you know when you were done or that you wanted more? Any thoughts would be appreciated, cause this mommy is at a point where she needs to think about birth control or buying more nursing bras....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Watch out girls, he's got a way with words....

Over the last few months Sam has developed a really bad habit of climbing into bed with us. At first, he would go to Brad's side of the bed. Entrance was always denied. Then he started coming to my side. I'm a sucker, there's a part of me that really like cuddling with him. I'm also lazy. I hate getting out of bed. Do you know how many nights I get a lousy nights sleep because I really have to go to the bathroom but don't? It's gotten to the point that Sam doesn't even wake me up. He just climbs in and I don't notice until I have a numb arm or get elbowed in the head.

Last night he came in at midnight. I heard him and made some thing I knew it was 4:30. I slept horribly and felt so tired when I woke up.

Tonight as I was putting Sam to bed I told him that he really has to start sleeping in his own bed...

"But mommy, I get scared and you make me feel better. I like to snuggle you."

"I know buddy, I like to cuddle you too, but mommy doesn't sleep well with you next to me all night long. You have to stay in your own bed."

"But my bed's not comfortable."

"We'll get you a new bed tomorrow."

"No, I don't want a new bed. Mommy, I just love you so much."

"I love you too, but you have to stay in your own bed."

"But mommy, I just love how you smell. I love to smell you all night long..."

I'm pretty sure he won and will be making his way to my room in just a little while.

Happy Birthday Jack!

Last week Sam was invited to a bowling party for his friend Jack's 5th birthday. He's never been bowling and his excitement was over the top. For the last week, he has come into our room at 6 a.m. to ask, "Is today Jack's bowling party?" When I mumble no, his reply is always, "But I want to go bowling todaaaaaay..." Today was the big day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Another 60 degree day here in Massachusetts. Life is good! We played outside and had steak tips on the grill for dinner!

Compare this to the picture that I posted yesterday...NO SNOW!!!! Like how we never raked the backyard this fall and the kiddie pool is still out?

If you know Sam, you will recognize this as a classic Sam look. I think he was trying to talk me into climbing a very tall tree...Can you hear him? "Come on mom..."
Corona and steak....summer..."She likes it, she likes it!" That's my girl! **
**Please do not be alarmed... No (hardly any) beer was consumed by this very small 21 year old.