Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

I had big plans for this "extra" day. Getting my house cleaned, grocery shopping and organizing my closet while Grace napped were at the top of my list. None of it was to be.

Instead, we spent a large part of the day in the Emergency Room for yet another "head injury". Poor Grace. This time her brother crashed into her while running about 15 mph. She went straight down on her back and hit her head on a cement floor at the indoor soccer place. She landed hard, there was a horrible thump sound and she didn't cry. She was dazed, limp and silent. After about 10 minutes, I called the doctor and got sent to the ER.

She's fine. She perked up as soon as they attempted to check her heart rate and O2 levels. That scream of hers has never sounded so sweet....

I'm a pretty laid back parent. I believe that the best way to learn is through experience. I let my kids climb and run and jump. They play hard. When they fall or get hurt, I generally let them come to me rather than run to them. Not because I don't care, I love to comfort them. However, I have found that if I make a big deal about an "injury" they tend to get more upset. If left alone, they usually get up and keep playing, unscathed.

Let me tell you though, seeing your child on the ground and not moving is the scariest thing that I have ever experienced. It's such a good reminder to be thankful and not take one minute for granted. Life can change in an instant. It didn't today, but it could have.

So what are you doing on this extra day? I hope your kids are taking a Leap Year nap, 'cause mine are not.....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Suppose.....Part 2

Suppose you are about to turn 34 years old and the dentist informs you that because of how hard you grind your teeth and the fact that you have a pretty severe overbite, you need braces. Failure to get braces will result in you having crazy buck teeth that may actually break because your bottom front teeth are not only pushing your front top teeth forward, but also wearing away the back of them. Your teeth will continue to shift and it is also likely that your overbite will continue to get worse causing further TMJ issues. (I had TMJ surgery 10 years ago and was almost as painful as natural child birth.)

I came home and cried. I won't deny that I am a little vain. The thought of braces, even clear ones, does not thrill me. However, I am actually more upset about the cost. Do you have any idea how many things I would like to do with the money that we don't have, but will apparently be spending on braces?

I also need a crown on a tooth that had a root canal a few years back. By the time that tooth has been completely taken care of it will be worth (to me only) almost $3,000. The combined cost of my first and second cars was not that much. Maybe I should just get them all pulled and get dentures. Goodbye vanity!

To be continued.....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Winter Wonderland....

We got quite a bit of snow this weekend and (I can't believe that I am about to say this) it's actually been a lot of fun! We bundled up on both Saturday and Sunday and did some good old fashioned frolicking. The kids had a blast and I was ever so happy to be out of my house! Still counting the days till spring...

Saturday, February 23, 2008


"Mommy, why I don't have milk come out of my boo boo's?"-Sam

My first thought, "Boo boos"? Where the heck did he get that? Second thought, wouldn't it be great if my 3.5 year old COULD nurse my 16 month old? They'd both be busy and quiet for at least twenty minutes.....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nothing like a little sister love...

I know it looks like he's getting ready to kiss her back, but he's actually yelling "No Grace! Nooooo!"

A rare smile...

"Gracie Magoo, what will we do with you?" I find myself thinking this, a lot.

It's possible that Sam was exactly the same at her age and that I have blocked it all out, but I don't think so. Gracie is more stubborn than me and has a temper that's a little frightening. Have I mentioned that she screams, constantly?

I'm hoping and praying that as she gets more words she'll mellow out. At the moment, "Mommy", "No", "thank you", "this", "Ooh Aw, Ooh Aw" (from Lauri Burkner's River song) and "Happy, happy, happy" aren't enough to get her point across. The "Happy, happy, happy" is new and actually pretty funny. She walks around repeating it and every fourth time she screams. Guess she doesn't really know what "happy" means....

I love her to pieces but sometimes I feel a little guilty because she pushes me right to the edge of insanity and I wonder if she knows. Who's making who crazy? Who's making who so unhappy?

PS: Ye Haw! Spell check is working!!!!


Suppose someone hadn't been to the dentist in four years. Okay, that's not entirely true. Suppose someone had only been to the dentist once in the past four years.....for a root canal when she was five months pregnant. Suppose that person was really looking forward to going to the dentist because it meant an hour all by herself. Suppose that person is looking forward to going back next week to start extensive and probably expensive and painful dental work...all by herself.

Does that person need to get out more? (I was going to say get a life, but I happen to know that deep down, this person loves and is very thankful for the life she has.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Self Portrait

I went outside while Grace napped and atempted to take some pictures for my photography class. I was very cold and not very inspired by the dead plants and leafless trees that are my yard. Wonder if I'll get points for attempting to use the "Sunny 16 Rule" in those exact weather conditions? Good thing this is a class for fun and I don't have a degree riding on it.

As I headed back inside, I caught my reflection in the eggplant globe that hangs from my deck. Can you see me? Do you like the garbage cans and plastic wagon that I captured as well? I know, I am LAME. I am also screaming monkey is up after a mere 30 minutes of sleep. Another long day at Casa Twinkle...I see a glass of wine in my very near future.

Dinner's ready!

About a year and a half ago I started getting together with my friends Bex and Kathy to make freezer meals. At first, it was a little overwhelming. Have you ever cleaned, chopped and cooked 15 pounds of chicken at once? Let me tell you, it can make you not want to eat chicken for a while....

When we first started, we used the cook book Cooking Among Friends for inspiration. We primarily made meals that were completely cooked and just had to be heated. This method is fine for a lot of dishes; chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, most soups and lasagna all reheat very well. However, there were some disappointments. While all of the recipes we tried were tasty, meat tends to get a little tough after being cooked, frozen and then reheated.

In November, a group of my friends went to one of those meal assembly places, like Dream Dinners, but not. After spending close to $200, I went home with six different dishes, divided into 12 meals. It was a lot of fun. All the prep work was done and we didn’t have to clean. We drank wine and laughed while dumping ingredients into freezer bags. However, I can’t say that I have been overly impressed with my meals. Don’t get me wrong, nothing has been bad, it's just been very basic. For $200, I expected a lot more. We did learn a valuable lesson though…leaving the meat raw not only saves a tremendous amount of prep time, but also guarantees that it will be tender and juicy when you are ready to prepare it.

This weekend Bex, Kathy and I got together and cooked. We each chose two recipes from Dream Dinners and purchased ingredients to make six batches of each. From start to finish, it took 3.5 hours to prepare, package and clean up after making six different recipes and a total of 36 meals. It was just as much fun as the pricey meal assembly place and really not much more work. I now have twelve delicious meals in my freezer and best of all, it only cost $80. Works for me!

Here are the recipes for the two meals that I made:

Chicken Cordon Bleu (1 meal)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of ham, thinly sliced
6 slices Swiss cheese
½ c canned cream of chicken soup
¼ c white wine
¼ c sour cream
1 T Dijon mustard
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 t minced garlic
¼ t ground nutmeg
1 t kosher salt
½ t black pepper
2 scallions, chopped

Place each chicken breast on a cutting board. Arrange a slice of ham and Swiss cheese on top of each one. Roll each chicken breast tightly and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish.

In a bowl combine everything but the scallions. Mix thoroughly. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with scallions.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 375.

To freeze, cover with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in refrigerator before cooking as directed above.

Slow-Cooked Barbecued Beef (1 meal)

2 lbs beef chuck roast
1 c yellow onions, diced
1 t minced garlic
2 c ketchup
¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
¼ c packed brown sugar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper

Place roast in crockpot. In a bowl, combine other ingredients and mix well. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours, until the meat falls apart easily. Shred the meat with a fork and serve over hamburger buns or potatoes.

To freeze, place the roast in a freezer bag and pour sauce in. Thaw in refrigerator and cook as directed above.

I’ve already tried them both and they were delicious!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Little Fashionista...

The booties that we won during Bloggy Giveaways and poncho that I bought to match came this week. They are absolutley adorable, these pictures do not do them justice! The fleece is soft and very plush and the sage green trim just puts the entire outfit over the top.

Grace wears 18 month clothes, but I ordered it in a 2T so that we can use it next winter. It's a touch big and she gets a little frustrated because her hands are buried underneath. Mama doesn't care though! It's plenty warm for the trip to and from the car and the sleeveless design means no more struggling with car seat straps. You should get one, you should all get one!

Can you see the matching fringe on the boots? The booties are a steal at $15. They have suede bottoms and stay on every bit as well as Robeez booties. I wouldn't use them for outside play, but now that Grace is walking, we don't wear our Robeez outside either.
Thank you, thank you E2Designs!

Monday, February 18, 2008


More sweetness...

They lasted for about three minutes.

Thank you God

Sam had Lunch Bunch at school on Valentine's Day. They sing this cute song before they eat. Could he be any sweeter?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The nudge I needed

I've been meaning to write this post all week. I wanted it to be full of imagery and the emotion that I felt 13 years ago when I went on a short term missions trip to Honduras. I wanted to find pictures of the children that I met on that trip and post them. I wanted you to be able to see the two year old Garifuna boy with a belly round from malnourishment and yellow grey hair. I wanted to show you the mud hut that I brought him to and the bed made from a cardboard box that I put him on when he fell asleep on my lap.

It's been a crazy week here. I haven't had an opportunity to look for the photo album from that trip or the time to write the post that's in my head. Instead, I share this:

I came back from that trip with a different perspective on the world. It was life changing, or so I thought. For a while, I felt guilty about the fact that I had ten pairs of jeans and at least twenty sweaters in my dorm room closet. It seemed wrong that the room I shared with one other girl was larger and much more comfortable than the homes that I had seen on my trip. I vowed to be more socially conscious, to complain less, to want less, to not take my wealth for granted and to consider the global cost for all that I enjoy as an American.

At the time, I didn't think that the lessons I had learned would ever leave me. I couldn't imagine that the faces of the hungry children that I met would fade in my mind. They have though. In a lot of ways, it's like that trip never happened. I rarely think about it or the things that I learned.

Until this week.

Right now, there is a group of Christian bloggers visiting Uganda and writing about the work that Compassion does there. While reading their blogs and looking at their pictures, my memories of Honduras and the lessons learned have started to return. I've cried a lot.

As I read the stories and look at the beautiful faces of these African children, I'm struck by the fact that they are just as real as my own children and just as much a part of God's creation. I've asked God why. Why do I have so much when others have nothing? Why do children have to suffer? I quickly heard the answer in my heart. Know what it was? Loud and clear, "Why aren't you doing anything?" I cried some more.

Sponsoring a child through Compassion is something that I've been meaning to do for a while. I've put it off, telling myself that we really dont have any extra money. Yet, I spend freely and buy what I want (which is very different and very often much more than we actually need). I donate our old things to local charities and tell myself that giving away things I can't use and don't want is enough, that I'm doing my part to help those in need.

I'd also managed to convince myself that the small amount that I can give can't possibly make a real difference. I was wrong. Just $32 a month can change not just a child's life, but the lives of an entire family as well. $32, that's it. If you don't believe it, I would encourage you to spend some time reading the Uganda blogs. You will be amazed.

After reading this post by Shaun Groves I went to the Compassion site and our family began to sponsor a little boy in Uganda. His name is Aaron and he is one day older than Sam. We're already praying for him and looking forward to receiving his packet so that we can start getting to know this little one who already feels like a part of our family. Thanks for the nudge Shaun.

Shaun is asking people to share their Compassion stories. If you have a story to tell, or are interested in reading about other people's experiences, click here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Blogger, Why?

Spell check has not worked for the entire month of February, and now it seems that comment notification is no longer working either. How am I going to stay on top of the 100's I get each day? What is someone says something nice about an old post? I'll never know!

Okay, I'm not really that upset aout it, I just really wish this free blogging service would get it together. If we can put a man on the moon, I would think that the folks at Google could figure out how to fix spell check in less than two weeks.

Update: I added my google e mail address and am getting comment updates there but not on my primary, Comcast account. Any ideas? They're not going to spam and they are not blocked.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Part 1 of "When Brad met Sarah"

Happy Valentine's Day!

In the late 90's there was a local yocal type of bar that was not far from where I had gone to college. It had been our hangout of choice then and was still the place that my roommate and I went to most often. It was a dive. The floors were made out of planks of unfinished wood and the smell of smoke was so strong that when you showered after being there, the bathroom would smell like someone had just smoked a cigarette. It was the kind of place where you drank beer out of a bottle or ordered it by the pitcher. Bottled water was not available, just tap. The bar tender, "Juice" did not know how to make an apple martini. The juke box played Pink Floyd and not much else. It was not exactly the place that you would ever expect to meet a husband, but it's where I met mine.

I remember the night that I first saw Brad like it was yesterday. He was sitting across the room wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. He had amazing blue eyes. He looked older and I thought he looked like a J Crew model. I didn't think that there was a chance that he would ever be interested in me. He was with another very good looking guy. My roommate Bex and I spent the evening trying to get their attention.

At some point during the evening, I was talking to a guy who I had gone out with a few times. A guy who liked me way more than I liked him. A guy I found a little creepy. Brad came over and said hi. Turned out he had just moved in with the creepy guy. Awkward.

We talked a little bit and I learned that he was a lawyer. I thought this was an amazing coincidence because I was working as a paralegal for a top trial attorney at the time and thinking about applying to law school....something in common! He was working on a case that involved TMJ. Wow! I was also working on a TMJ case and I have TMJ and had had surgery the previous year! He asked if we could get together for lunch sometime and talk more about TMJ. romantic.

I remember going home that evening feeling so excited. I liked him a lot. He seemed kind and honest and quite frankly, he was the first guy in a long time who didn’t' look at me like he was trying to figure out the best way to quickly get down my pants. Did I mention he reminded me of a J Crew model? I couldn't wait for him to call.

I went to work on Monday and told the secretaries all about him. Then I waited for the call. He didn't call. A week went by and I was crushed. I wasn't used to guys not calling and I really wanted to call him, but it was 1997 and I had just read The Rules and Ten Stupid Things Women do to Mess up Their Lives....enough said?

I saw him out again that weekend and I played it cool. He mentioned lunch again and I think I said something like, "Sure, I have tons of research and sample demand letters I can show you. You know actually, I could even just fax them to you." (No email in 1997)

Then one day at work the phone rang. The secretary answered. She came to my desk and said, "Sarah, Brad ___________ is on the phone for you!" I stood up and squealed. I jumped up and down. I grinned like a lunatic and then I picked up the phone and said,

"Hello, this is Sarah, can I help you?"

"Hi Sarah, this is Brad _________."

"Um, who?"

Yes, I did. I pretended I didn't know who he was.

To be continued....Don't worry, there are at most two more parts to this love story. I could tell it now, but I want to get the dishes done before LOST starts. Plus, I want to dig out some old pictures...let me tell you, we were hot in 1997!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who knew....

that you can't buy little kids Valentine’s Day cards the day before Valentine’s Day?

I've been seeing Valentine’s Day cards at Target and everywhere else since the day after New Years. I didn't buy them because I was afraid that I'd lose them before Valentine’s Day and I also had this notion that Sam and I might actually make them. You know how crafty I am...

Needless to say, we never got around to making cards. Today I braved the miserable weather that we've been having and ventured out to Target. I checked the three aisles of Valentines candy, toys and clothing four times before asking for help. You would have thought that I asked where the fake Christmas trees were. The 19 year old girl looked at me like I was crazy and replied, "Valentine's Day cards? Oh no, those have been gone FOREVER.". Trips to the grocery store and CVS were also fruitless.

So here I am at nearly 7 o'clock helping Sam make and sign 15 cards. Grace is usually in bed, but she is awake, tugging my leg and screaming. Sam is melting down, slumped across the table and whimpering. His "signature" looks like...well, something a very tired three year old would do.
I'm so tired I just grabbed his pencil and forged the last four cards. Can you tell which signature is the forgery?

Good thing I've always loved Valentine’s Day so much. Whatever....

Monday, February 11, 2008

My very sophisticated sense of style....

I spend a lot of time poking around Etsy. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across an artist who has painted tributes to the characters of my two favorite shows, Lost and The Office. I'm telling you, if I had a bigger house with a designated home theatre room I would buy some of these in a heart beat.

Okay, so I probably wouldn't buy the Lost ones, they're fun but they don't have the same impact on me as these. I'm envisioning them on stretched canvas hanging over my couch...I think they would make me smile every time I walk into the room. Especially Dwight.

Check out Elloh's art on Etsy! If you don't think she's fun, I don't know if we can be friends.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Bloggy Makeover...

You may remember that back in November I won a blog makeover from Amy at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 during the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway. It took me forever to get Amy all of the information that she needed, but as you can see, it's done!

Amy was great to work with. Check out her other blog Split Desicionz. She's got lots of blogging tips and free templates for those of us who are technically challenged and can't do anything ourselves!

New, old friend.

Over a year ago I got an email from saying I could send one person an email for free. I had registered with the site six or seven years ago but have never used it. Unlike Facebook and My Space, Classmates makes you pay to see people's profiles or to contact them. I honestly don't know how they've managed to stay in business. I digress...I sent the free email to my friend Erica, whom I haven't spoken to in about twelve years. As soon as I hit send a message popped up saying that if Erica joined Classmates (as in paid money) she would be able to read my message. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky felt a little like a heal and was pretty sure that I'd never hear back from her.

A few weeks ago I got an email titled "Is this really you?" from "Chris C****". I almost deleted it, assuming it was spam. It wasn't. It was Erica. Since then, we've exchanged long emails and talked on the phone one Friday afternoon for about two hours. I learned that she was a nurse, lived in Florida, is married and has two little boys. One a bit older than Sam and one a little younger, and that she’s 13 weeks pregnant. This weekend she was visiting her mom in Connecticut. I drove down for the day and spent the afternoon with her family and a lot of old friends from high school that I haven’t seen in almost sixteen years (How is it possible that I have been out of high school for almost 16 years?). It was great.

Erica and I were inseparable, best friends my freshman, sophomore and junior year but not very close by the time we graduated. I honestly can't remember exactly what happened to change our friendship and I don't think it matters anymore. As I sat in her mom’s kitchen, all of the good memories came back and it felt like yesterday.

It took me three hours to drive home in the snow. Grace woke up as I was getting off the MASS Pike and didn't go back to bed until after 11 last night...but it was worth it. I'm so glad I went. I'm so glad I have a new, old friend.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Best seven bucks I ever spent....

I babysat for Andrew today. After lunch both boys started getting a little cranky. I remembered this little treasure that I picked up on clearance at Marshalls for $7. I was planning to give it to Sam as a reward for say, pooping on the potty SOMEDAY....Instead, I gave it to him right then, for being cranky....To say it was a hit would be the understatement of the year. They played with it peacefully for almost two hours.

Sam played with it for another hour after Andrew went home. After three hours straight he said, "Mommy, this isn't so much fun anymore." Ya think?