Santa stop here

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

My country 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside, Let freedom ring!
Don't know why I'm feeling so patriotic these days. I really think that America at large has a deeper sense of patriotism ever since 9-11-01. For all of the devastation, heartache and fear caused on that day, love of country and one another seems heightened ever since.
Today in church my uncle who is a retired U.S. Navy veteran got a little choked up during the prayer of the faithful when he prayed, "Thank you for all of the men and women who lost their lives defending our country. Let us remember on this Memorial Day that freedom is not free. We pray to the Lord." The congregation responded, "Lord hear our prayer." The emotional outpouring of feeling in that simple prayer really brought home to me what Memorial Day is all about. I thought of the brother of one of my former students who lost his life about 2 years ago in Iraq. I wonder if his mother's heart breaks all over again remembering her son. I know mine does, and I didn't even know him personally. I thought of the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery and the rows and rows of uniform headstones which will be so gallantly decorated this weekend. And then there is always the majestic flag with 50 stars against a navy blue background in the upper lefthand corner framed with 13 stripes (7 red alternating with 6 white)
For all of her warts and bumps and shortcomings, America is an awesome country, and I am truly proud to be an American. Until next time...

I'm a schlumpadinka!

Who knew? I had never heard the term "schlumpadinka" until my friend Nicole used it to describe her daughter's attire for school pictures. Since its a fun word to say and it sounds cute and it pertained to elementary school-aged girls, I thought it was some "cool" (maybe that's not the latest acceptable terminology, but at least I didn't say "groovy") word meaning "casual but stylish." Then, this morning I log on to take care of some travel business for my niece and what do I see but the word "schlumpadinka" as it related to slouchy moms who had received makeovers on the Oprah Winfrey show. I saw nothing wrong with the drawstring plaid flannel pants and layered t-shirts. In fact, it looked an awful lot like my favorite winter outfit! I had to admit that the "new" look was rather nice with the crisp white blouse, khaki pants, light jacket and scarf to complete the look; not to mention the model's hair was actually combed and hanging down around her face in the makeover shot instead of pulled back in a hasty, scraggly ponytail.
No wonder Alisa was cutting her eyes at me in an accusatory manner as we watched her John & Kate Plus Eight DVD (yes, she's all into that mess enough to own a copy of season 5 on DVD). They were interviewing Kate about wearing high heals in every episode and her own fashion trends. Kate admitted that in the earlier seasons she wore nothing but sweat pants and t-shirts; after all, she had 6 infants/toddlers and 4-year-old to 6-year-old twins back then. Now that the kids are bigger her "look" has changed from her stylish hair (which I've seen on many a woman lately) to her stylish clothes. She said something would be very wrong if she was still living in sweats and t-shirts at this point in the game. Really, Kate? Very wrong? Alisa obviously agrees that because I only have 2 kids who are 11 and 13, I have no excuse to still be dressing in sweats and T's. Does that fact that I taught 18-month-olds at Parent's Day Out for eight years count for anything? That was kind of like having sextuplets at times, right? Okay, so how about the fact that I was in school for two years after that? It's hard to be a fashion plate when you're broke, unemployed, paying for tuition and you spend most of your waking ours studying, cooking & cleaning. I guess I could go back and watch some episodes of Leave It to Beaver and take some tips form June Cleaver with her pearls and pumps and dainty little apron around her waist.
Because the title of the article was "Don't be a Schlumpadinka" I got the idea right away that this is not a positive fashion trend, but instead a slouchy, kind of unkempt presentation of oneself, and I definitely fall into that category. In the winter I live in my flannel pants and sweatshirts. In the spring & fall, I migrate toward the flannel pants and t-shirts. In the summer, I live in Mike's "hand-me-down" shorts & t-shirts which he has not outgrown, mind you, but have "shrunk" in the wash. They don't exactly fit me, but they're something to jump into in a hurry to shuttle kids back and forth to school/other activities (God forbid I have to get out of the car for any reason!) or sweat in while I walk around the neighborhood for exercise. The fact that my closet is full of clothes yet I never have anything to wear should be another indication that schlumpadinka is bound to be my fashion trend tendency. So, what to do?
#1 Get a job
#2 Take up sister-in-law's offer to help clean out closet (If the rule to get rid of it if you haven't worn it in 3 years applies, I will have to start from square one! I'm not kidding, either).
#3 Find my fashion style. Part of my problem is I readily accept "hand-me-downs" from anyone who offers them (I only recently got rid of a couple of blouses from my grandmother's elderly neighbor. Yes, I admit that I was wearing Blair-mail-order-catalog-looking hand-me-downs from a 70-something-year-old which would probably make schlumpadinka look good!). If anyone were to ask me what type of style I like, I couldn't even begin to say...I remember a project back in 5th or 6th grade where I had to plan a trip to Ireland. You know the kind of project where you have to color a map using actual paper and map pencils, research the country (using the dewey decimal system at the school library and real, hardcopy Encylopedia Britannica-so, now this is sounding like a "you know you're old if you remember when..." type e-mail. Sorry, let me get back on track!) I'm almost certain I was looking in the "old lady" section of the Sears catalog to find comfortable polyester knit pants (with the seam sewn down the front of the leg of course) and matching "shell" with cardigan sets with sensible, comfy shoes for my trip. Not much has changed over the years.
#4 Go shopping for non-schlumpadinka clothes (torture of all tortures! Until now I have relied heavily (okay, solely) on the generosity of friends and family supplementing my wardrobe on birthdays and Christmas. I have found that my brother-in-law and my uncle are very good shoppers. It is no secret that I absolutely hate shopping (unless it's grocery shopping or craft-related).
Perhaps with a job and some the subsequent availability of resources, I can learn to like to shop and not be a schlumpadinka. Bye for now...until next time!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A wonderful life

I think this down time between not being in school and not yet having a job has given me a new lease on life. Sunday morning I awoke at around 7 a.m. (30 minutes before my alarm sounded) and went outside to greet the day. The song "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" filled my mind as I tended my "mother's day flowers," pulled up weeds and planted my pepper plant in the ground. The morning was absolutely glorious-cool, but not too much so, with a hint of the rising sun. All too soon, I had to abandon my leisure activity to hustle kids out of bed and prepare for church.
Yesterday, I stood at the sliding glass door leading outside and marveled at all of the wildlife right in my own backyard. There was my friend the small green lizard perched on the meter pole just above the ground cover for a quick get-away if needed. A huge bullfrog squatted on a damp spot beside the pool (which is his home for the time being-until one of us captures him and his friends and relocates them to the pond at the park down the street--you know the same one where our little ducklings now reside--and dumps a bunch of chlorine in the pool to turn it from Lake Arlington green back to Caribbean breeze blue). From under my brother-in-law's shell of a "fixer upper race-car" that lives in my backyard, a rodent scampered back and forth, probably collecting grass seed to feed her friends and family who apparently live in the car or wheel wells or somewhere. A mourning dove walked across my neighbor's roof. I felt like I was in the midst of a National Geographic moment, and it was awesome.
The Gunn Junior High Band had their concert at Levitt Pavillion (outdoor concert venue in downtown Arlington) Monday evening. The weather was just perfect! The bands sounded good, too. I wanted to have a picnic on the lawn and fully enjoy the moment, but alas, I didn't plan too well. About an hour before we were supposed to be at the Pavillion, I decided to do hot dogs and chips (Mike had requested burgers, but who had time to pat out hamburger patties let alone slice onion, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes?). I realized I had no hot dog buns and didn't have time to make another trip to the grocery store, even if it is just minutes from my house, so regular bread would have to do. I thew the hot dogs on my George Foreman and set out ripping off sheets of foil and wax paper. I found some little round sticker dots in my office the other day and thought they'd be perfect for labeling which hot dogs had which condiments: red dot-ketchup, yellow-mustard, green-pickle relish, and blue-onion. I squeezed ketchup and/or mustard on some and added onion and/or pickle relish to others. I had no idea who might show up or who wanted what on their dogs. Hopefully, with a variety to choose from everyone would be happy in the end. I wrapped the warm hot dogs in the squares of foil or wax paper, stuck on the appropriate dots and stored them in my insulated lunch bag which kept them surprisingly warm. I grabbed as many water bottles as would fit in my little cooler (and one mint iced tea for Mike), the bag of jalapeno cheddar Cheetos and an old comforter to spread on the ground. Those were the best hot dogs ever! I guess the heat from the hot dogs kind of steamed the bread and made it nice and soft but not too soggy (kind of like the "Weinerschnitzel" dogs we used to get for a quarter on Wednesday nights).
Yesterday, Mike and I paid his mother, Jessie, a visit at her nursing home. She has Alzheimer's disease, and it is quite a dreary place. I've always contended that the only thing worse than old people in nursing homes is young people in nursing homes. Jessie was having a good day. She called Mike by name at one point. We took her outdoors on the patio and enjoyed the nice breeze and rowdy birds flying overhead and in the trees.
Reinforced with "meal replacement" smoothies (which were mighty good, I might add) from Arlington Nutrition we returned home to tackle Alisa's room. It was a slow process, but by 10 p.m. we had the old dresser out, the floor vacuumed, the new dresser/mirror and bed in and set up. I dug around in the linen closet for full sized sheets and found a set that Mike & I had used before we moved up to a queen sized bed. I went to shake them out and put them on Alisa's bed and we could all hear the elastic just give completely out. It sounded kind of like a zipper as it "stretched" never to return to its "fitted" state again. Guess I'll have to be on the look out for sales on full sized sheets!
In between all of the cleaning and rearranging of furniture, and in keeping with our Tex-Mex Tuesday theme, I prepared "Layered Mexican Party Salad" for dinner. You can find the recipe at Everyone loved it. I used regular corkscrew pasta with a made-up combination of picante sauce, ranch dressing, freshly chopped cilantro, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and a touch of Creole seasoning in lieu of the Suddenly Salad the recipe calls for. I also added cubed chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken (a meal is not a meal without meat, in Mike's opinion). We finshed our meal with Edward's key lime pie, compliments of Tia who is trying to "be good" where sweets are concerned (even if the rest of us are steady gaining weight!) and so sent it our way.
Today has not been too eventful. I wrote out a few thank you notes for graduation gifts I've received (and prepared miscellaneous mailings that have been on my things to do list for some time). Barrett stopped by with some good news about which I will share in a subsequent entry once more informatin is known. I can't believe it's already after 2 o'clock. In another hour it will be time to pick up kids from school and begin the evening routine of figuring out what's for dinner, preparing it, tending to homework and so on. I would love to lie down and take a nap, but I know the doctor's office will call back as soon as I do. Mike is home from work today thinking he may have a hernia (probably overdid it yesterday moving furniture and what not). Oh well. What can I say? In spite of it all, mine is a wonderful life.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cake and more cake

Well, it's 11:15 p.m., do you know where your children are? Silly question, I know. Don't know what made me think of that nonsense. It is from some campaign back in the 70's. Anyway, I have to blog quickly because I have cakes in the oven and 2 more to bake. My cupcakes will have to wait until tomorrow since I've already made one "quick trip" to Wal-Mart tonight not realizing I was so low on cupcake wrappers. I've already started a whole new list...
Why all the baking you might ask? It's only because we have a ton of May birthdays in our family and this Saturday is the big bash to celebrate them. Shawn & Shannon were born May 19th, Lorenzo Jr. on May 22, and Leyla on May 23 (not to mention Sasha on the 10th and Aunt Faye on the 20th. Then there are the close family friends like Angie on the 23rd, too, and John-John on the 25th. Needless-to-say, the occasion requires lots of cake! I'm thinking I'll do a 2-layer 10-inch, a 2-layer 8-inch (both white cake, buttercream frosting) and a couple dozen each chocolate and strawberry soda cupcakes.
Now, it's 12:22 and all of the cakes are out of the oven and cooling on separate racks. The house smells yummy, but it's hot in here. So much for the "blog quickly" business :).
Today was nonstop busy. I got kids off to school; then, Mom, Lorenzo Jr. & I did some work at Grandmom's place in preparation of the painter coming early next week. We moved the bedroom furniture to my house for Alisa, and got it unloaded just in the nick of time before it poured down rain (for all of 10 minutes). That could have been quite a mess, but as usual God was watching out for us.
Lorenzo dug up some of the mint that took over my flower bed about two years ago; and he helped me cut down a weeping willow that is now taller than my house and growing in the same "flower" bed. I really thought Mike would be inspired that something had been done in the backyard and break out his lawnmower. Nothing doing. He napped from about 4:30 to 5:30-ish then got up and plopped on his big blue chair in the living room while I took my turn taking a nap from 6-7.
After we got the furniture unloaded and stacked in my living room it was time to shower, grab a bite to eat and head to Aaron's awards ceremony at 2 p.m. I picked up Tia and Leyla to accompany me, but we had to leave a few minutes early to pick up Alisa on time. I commissioned Mike to get Aaron since I had to drop Tia and Leyla back off at home after the awards. Aaron lettered in Pre-AP Math and Pre-AP Science. He also received the Rotary Award. Talk about make a Mama proud!
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. was a bit of a blur. I was tired and in "a zone"; that's why I just had to lay it down for a spell. We cleared out some leftovers from the frig for dinner. Alisa & I went for a 20-minute walk, and I've been baking and washing dishes ever since. Now, it's (past-)time for bed. Tomorrow will bring more of the same. A trip to the dollar store and grocery store, baking of cupcakes, making of buttercream frosting, helping Shannon clean in preparation of the fiesta at her house, Aaron's symphony orchestra concert at UTA and finally happy hour with Lorenzo Jr & some of his friends from high school. Somewhere in between I guess I need to frost and decorate the cakes & cupcakes and chop veggies for a veggie tray and cube cheese, too, for the reception after mass on Sunday *YAWN* I'm tired just thinking about it all (or maybe from doing it all all day long). Good night; until next time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Graduation Day

When I taught at Advent Lutheran Parent's Day Out, I always looked forward to the end of the year program when the preschoolers would proudly sing (or rather yell) to the tune of I've been working on the railroad: "I've been going to my pre-school all the whole year long. I've been going to my preschool, and I've learned a lot of songs. I can count and say my letters, I know my colors, too. I've been going to my preschool all the whole year through. Graduation day, graduation day, graduation day is finally here. Graduation day, graduation day, graduation day is finally here! The proud graduates would raise their rolled pieces of paper like the statue of liberty holds her torch. Though I haven't worked for PDO (now known as Advent Christian Preschool) for a couple of years, this is Sasha's year to graduate from the 4-year-old class and move on to kindergarten in the fall.
Unfortunately, I missed her ceremony because I was too busy singing the chorus to the diddy myself. Today I, also, sang, "Graduation Day, graduation day, graduation day is finally here! I was a little concerned that I was seat #1538 out of 1600 or so students. I asked the young graduates on either side of me to please nudge me should I fall asleep (spoken like a true rest-broken "nontraditional" student). It was extremely warm in the Fort Worth Convention Center, but we all survived.
Despite several calls back and forth between Barrett, I didn't see any of my family until I headed around the arena about to march across the stage. Two "kids" I used to babysit also graduated along with me (I say "kids", but they're grown with children of their own): Jonathan Cotter & Charyse Royal. Congrats to you guys! I'm awfully proud of you.
Now that my graduation is over and done with, it's time to celebrate all of the May birthdays this Saturday and to prepare for Alisa's graduation which is just 2 weeks away...Oi vey!(sp?)
Good night, until next time...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A day late...

...and a dollar short. That is my usual M.O. So, I'm a week late posting a picture of my mother's day cake, but as the caption reads, "Every day is mother's day in my world!" Aaron has been busy cleaning his room this weekend, so I've fielded a lot of "what do I do with this?" and "when are the Paralyzed Vets coming again?" type questions. Alisa is the one who needs to be doing some major work in her room because she is getting Grandmom's bedroom suit since Grandmom has moved in with my mom and dad. Mom is anxious to get the furntiture out of Grandmom's mobile home so a friend can paint and touch up the place to get it ready to sell. Naturally, we have to find somewhere to put the furniture that is currently in Alisa's room, and that, my friends, is more than a notion! (When are the Paralyzed vets coming again?) I want the twin bed in my office so that I have a sanctuary when Mike's snoring gets out of hand. I have no idea what to do with the huge cherrywood dresser that doesn't really go with anything in Alisa's room now anyway. It matches my bedroom furniture, but we don't have room for it. Mike wants to use it for scrapbook storage or something, but how country is that?! I might as well set it on the front porch with a plaid cloth-covered couch! In order to make room for the twin bed in my office, I need to get my "craft room" (formerly the "workout room" when there were a treadmill, and ab-something or other and a Nordic rider in there) together so I can put the craft shelf from my office out there. Are you getting the picture, here? Friends and family have offered their assistance, but I don't even know where to start or what to ask them to help me do! I wish I could blame all of this on the fact that I've been in school for the past 3 years, but alas, my house was already heading in this direction long before enrolling at TCC (sad but true). I would love to get it all "together" before joining the 40+ hours/week workforce. Everyday, though, I'm more overwhelmed with where to start...For now, I'll add this little poem that hangs on a miniature cutting board type plaque in my kitchen. When my grandmother first gave it to me with her cute little "I saw this and thought about you" chuckle, I admit my feelings were a little hurt (of course, it doesn't hold a candle to the "thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator" magnet she gave Mike). But, true is true, so here goes:
Although you'll find our house a mess
Come in, sit down, converse.
It doesn't always look like this;
Some days it's even worse.
Sorry, this was supposed to be all about Mother's Day, where was I. Oh yes, Aaron has been cleaning his room (without even being about make a mama proud!) and Alisa has been working diligently on her Invention Convention project this weekend (with much prodding and assistance). I need to run out and get a new ink cartridge tomorrow so she can print out her pages and organize her board and it will be finished just in the nick of time. Here's to mothers everywhere...Until next time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A day for parties

Today started around 7:30 a.m. (Well, my alarm sounded around that time. I'm sure I pressed the snooze a couple of times before my feet actually hit the ground). I was a woman on a mission. Saturdays are usually reserved for laundry, cooking and catching up on dishes...all of which were quite needed this weekend. However, today, we had the added occasions of Aaron's UIL solo contest, Sasha's 5th birthday party and Grandma Rose's 85th birthday (that's my sister's husband's grandmother) party. I had agreed to help the Band Booster Club sell concessions at the solo/ensemble contest, but I don't know why they even asked me because they appeared to have plenty of help. Maybe I was just there during a "slow" spell. I was able to bow out graciously about half an hour before I was supposed to.
After that was over and done with, I called Shannon to see if she needed help with anything since I was on her side of town. She was running around gathering stuff to put the finishing touches on G-ma Rose's decorations, but she was good. PaPa was responsible for getting Xavier to and from his baseball game, and Tia had charge of Leyla, so she was child-free. I called Mom with a newly devised plan of action. Instead of stopping by Sasha's party for a minute or two and then skedaddling all the way across town to get to G-ma Rose's party for a few minutes, I asked if Tia could take Leyla and Alisa to Sasha's party and I would take Grandmom to G-ma Rose's party. That plan worked out quite well. I think both "birthday girls" enjoyed their respective celebrations.
I then stopped by Mom's to exchange Grandmom for Alisa and we headed to Hobby Lobby to get the supplies Alisa needs to complete her "Invention Convention" project.
Even though I spent from 8 a.m. to 10:30 washing dishes & doing laundry there is still so much more to do. I also just remembered that we used our last booklet for C.C.E. class last week. So, this week will have to be whatever I come up with.
Alisa just got out of the shower, so I have her hair to tackle in addition to the mountain of laundry awaiting me on my bed. Since we plan to attend 8:00 mass tomorrow, the hair must be done tonight. Otherwise, I'll have to wake Alisa up at 5:30 a.m. (which means I, too, would have to be up at that hour) to do the hair and she will sleep through mass. (She may sleep thru mass anyway since it's currently 9:30 and past her bedtime.)
I wanted to see SNL tonight with Alec Baldwin hosting, but I'm afraid I will be otherwise occupied (as in doing hair or fast asleep) by 10:30.
When exactly am I supposed to find the time to find a job let alone fit a 40-hour work week into this schedule? I am truly concerned. I'd better get cracking while I still have 2 ounces (or would that be joules?) of energy left. Until next time...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Ahh, Mother's Day is here again. I can't help but wonder if this is the year my kids will surprise me with something I really want--like they've been making a list and checking it twice whenever I mention something I could use or would enjoy? Am I setting myself up for disappointment with such lofty expectations?
In my friend, Nicole's blog header she states, "In my mind, there is a world where my house is poshly decorated, my family is organized, my kids are occupied, and our meals nurture and amaze..." Well, in my mind there is a world where I'm briefly awakened in the wee hours of Mother's Day morning as Mike brushes a soft, sweet kiss on my lips just before heading off to work (he's never had Sundays off the whole time we've been married). I mumble for him to have a good day and fluff my pillow, roll over and snuggle under my covers and drift back to sleep with my feet cherishing the warmth of the spot he just left on his side of the bed. A few hours later, I awake to the smell of bacon and some yummy "lovin' from the oven" smells. My kids are working together to not only prepare breakfast but also to clean up the kitchen as they go along so as not to leave a big mess for me on Mother's Day. I tip across the living room and peer into the kitchen to see a lap tray complete with a bowl of yogurt topped with fresh fruit, a fried egg-over hard with a pinch of salt and pepper-just the way I like it, a couple of strips of chewy-crisp bacon (prepared in the microwave and drained on additional paper towels just like I've shown them on numerous occasions) and a spot for the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that are just about ready to come out of the oven. To think they've covered all of the basic food groups! There is a mug of steaming hot cafe con leche (probably instant coffee, but I have to cut them some slack even in my mind because I was almost 40 before I learned to "brew" a decent cup of joe) and a 4-ounce glass of orange juice. A & A are joking with one another and trying to keep it down so as not to awaken me before everything is done. I thank God for my wonderful children and gush over just how blessed I am to have such loving kids before I sneak back to my bedroom to be "surprised" by breakfast in bed. In all actuality I'd settle for a pop-tart or slice of toast and a leftover sausage patty with a glass of juice or water, just so long as my kids put forth the effort to treat me to something they thought I would like for Mother's Day. I really think I'm quite easy to please. For the time being, money is always an issue. The kids don't get an allowance, so they don't really have money of their own to allocate to different things like gifts for parents. Mike usually takes A & A shopping after school the week before Mother's Day and has them pick out something like bath sets or tools for relaxation (one year they bought me an electric fountain trickling over the smooth stones--did they not realize the fish tank makes that same trickling noise when the filter needs changing?). I think it was their way of telling me "politely" to chill out.
At any rate, all of that was in my mind. Now, let me tell you about how my actual Mother's Day went. I awoke and dragged kids out of bed to get ready for 8 o'clock mass followed by Sunday school (C.C.E.) at 9 a.m. We needed to leave by 7:30 to pick up Grandmom and make it to church on time. At 7:20 I walk into the kitchen. Alisa is dressed, but her hair isn't combed, her shoes are not on her feet, and she is "fixing me breakfast" of a boiled egg, a grapefruit half, and...she's rifling through the drawer to find the tulip-shaped cookie cutter to make me "flower toast." I thank her profusely for her thoughtfulness and ask if she could please just go finish getting ready. I attempted to explain that while I appreciated the effort, we'd be late to church for sure if she continued...We were late to church, but Fr. LeDoux was later making it to mass, so all was well. Mass ran over, but I wasn't even aware of that fact because I had my watch on upside down and didn't have on my glasses to read the tiny digits in the dim lighting of the sanctuary. That's another story in and of itself. C.C.E. lasted all of 15 minutes.
We made it home, and I was craving strawberry muffins. I knew I had strawberries in the frig that needed to be used up, so I went about emptying the dishwasher and drainboard and putting together my muffins. The weather was cool and damp, so I put on a pot of coffee as well. A & A made themselves quite scarce. My timing was all off. It was around 11:30 or so when the muffins and coffee were ready and dinner at PaPa & Tia's would not be until 5 p.m. There'd have to be some lunch somewhere in between. I put on a pot of water on the stove and started chopping veggies to make a pasta-tuna salad. When that was done, I frosted and decorated the cake I was to take to PaPa & Tia's house for dessert. Mike made it in from work. I ran by Kroger for more Blue Bell (I'd been bragging so much about the new Summer Berries flavor that I thought I'd better bring some to go with the cake), dropped Grandmom, the cake and ice cream by PaPa & Tia's then returned home to scoop up the rest of my gang and head to Trish's house to visit briefly with Mike's mom, Jessie. This mother's day felt an awful lot like every other day to me-busy. Let me backtrack for just a moment. On Saturday, A & A did buy me flowers to plant in my flower pots in the backyard at my own personal request for such. I just gave them the $5 bill I had in my purse, drove them to ACE Hardware and stayed in the car while they went in and made their selections. They did a great job--Aaron chose two shades of petunias, and Alisa chose a beautiful cream colored zinnia and a sweet pea plant.
Back to today...I spent most of my day wondering where in the world did I go wrong?! Here's what I came up with: should you find yourself washing your own dishes, folding your own laundry, or decorating your own cake on what's supposed to be your "special" day, rest assured that all is not in vain! You're a wonderful and capable mother who does such a great job of "doing it all" all the time that your kids just know they couldn't hold a candle to your dishes, laundry or cooking, so why should they even try? They think you're superwoman and why would they want to take away such an honor on Mother's Day? I'm just hoping that for a year or two between the wonder years and the "all grown up with a husband/wife and kids of their own" years I'll be duly pampered with affection and appreciation on Mother's Day at the very least! Whew, that was way longer than I ever intended it to be and I'm tuckered. Until next time...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Well, Cinco de Mayo finally arrived! I was in the mood for a fiesta, too. Got up and got the kids off to school then spent a good portion of the morning online e-mailing my sister Shannon back and forth about tickets to the Texas Rangers' game on Friday and doing a bit of searching on John Peter Smith's (aka JPS, the county hospital) website. My cousin Lyvonne informed me that there were 2 graduate nurse positions in Labor & Delivery, but no applications were being accepted--only previous applicants were being considered. The only way I'd have a chance at either position is if one of the graduate nurses they hire didn't pass the Board Exams. I wouldn't wish that on anyone because I sure wouldn't want someone hoping for my failure so they could have a chance at a job opening.
Anyway, I decided on the "Overnight Taco Bake" casserole, black bean salsa, and Mexican rice for our dinner. I went online to look for a cheese enchilada recipe (the kids have been asking for them) and I found a recipe for "avocado sauce" so I added that to the menu in lieu of traditional guacamole. I found a recipe for Strawberry Slush at to round out our festive meal. Naturally, as I was putting together the casserole I couldn't for the life of me find a kernel of corn anywhere in the pantry or freezer, so I had to make a quick run to Kroger. I also picked up the ingredients I needed for the strawberry drink.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur. I finished the casserole and stuck it in the frig by 1 p.m. (so it's be ready to take out and bake by 5 p.m.). I chopped cilantro and put together my black bean salsa and avocado sauce. I dreamed of a nap but opted to run a couple more errands first.
One such errand was a long overdue milkshake from Steak N Shake. I've been trying to time it just right to catch the half-priced shakes between 2 and 4 p.m. when I didn't have a husband or kids in tow. Then, I swung by Academy because Alisa needed athletic shorts for field day this Friday. By then it was 3 p.m. and time to pick up Alisa. We headed to Aldi for some fresh fruits & veggies then to Tom Thumb to pay our house note. Our third stop was Wal-Mart to pick up hamburger buns for the band banquet. At this point Alisa was begging for me to drop her by the house. The kids realize now that life with Mom on the run is not a picnic...they have figured out that there are always more errands than the one "stop by xxx store."
We made it home and invited Shannon & the kids over for our Cinco de Mayo celebration. Derrick usually works nights so I didn't expect he'd be in attendance. In the past Xavier has been here to celebrate with us since I used to watch him after school when he was a Shorthorn along with Aaron and Alisa, so it's kind of tradition for him to join us. Shannon declined saying Derrick had been under the weather and off work and she was tired. I was on the phone with my sister-in-law and extended the offer for her and my brother to join us. She was on her way home from work and said she'd check with Lo Jr but she doubted that they would stray far from home once they were in for the night. So we just celebrated and enjoyed the dinner ourselves. Everything turned out very tasty...the avocado sauce was even better the next day; and it didn't turn all brown like regular guacamole (maybe it was that I left the pit in the sauce or maybe it was just the sour cream, lemon juice and other ingredients helped preserve the color).
Grandmom came over as she usually does on Wednesday nights while Mom and Dad go to Bible Study, and she and Alisa and I went for a walk around the block after dinner. All in all it was a great night. I started this blog and couldn't eyes were so heavy! So now, three days later here you go, folks. Enjoy! Until next time...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah halle-e-lu-jah. That's my rendition of the hallelujah chorus just in case you couldn't hear the orchestra in the background. I took my final final exam of the Tarrant County College Nursing Program this morning! All that's left now is my Summative Evaluation with my clinical instructor tomorrow morning. Then the pinning ceremony on May 13th and Graduation Day on May 18th. Of course, I'll be studying for NCLEX until I register to take the exam some time soon after graduation. Once my final grades are in, the school will submit an affidavit saying that I passed and Pearson Vue will send me an "authorizaiton to test" at which time I can schedule my NCLEX exam. Keep those prayers coming.
Speaking of keeping prayers coming, I am now "actively" seeking employment. I have put applications in at a couple of hospitals, but not really followed up. Now that exams are over, my focus is on the job search. After all is said and done, my interest is still with labor and delivery. I've really waffled with taking any old job (several recruiters from long term acute care facilities have visited the campus) just to say I have one and waiting for what I'm looking for. The problem with LTAC facilities is there is no possibility of "transferring" to L&D after a year or two. They would invest their time and energy into training me on cardiac monitors and respirators, then I'd be ready to leave and pursue my real passion. That, to me, is unfair to us both. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me to just the right job.
Finally, I want to give a "shout out" to my cousin Barrett. Yes, the very one who often stands accused for one thing or another. Thanks for the random act of kindness. (To celebrate my completion of nursing school, he surprised me with a decadent slice of heaven in the form of chocolate cake layered with chocolate and vanilla mousse and covered with "tartufo" icing--all of which can be translated to "scrum-yump-tious".) You certainly didn't have to do that, but I'm honored that you did.
I mentioned the Pinning Ceremony (which I've only been talking about for at least the past 6 weeks) to Mike, and lo and behold, he has taken someone else's shift that evening. His coworker will be out of town guessed it-someone's graduation ceremony. Mike is only 90% to blame in this. I have recently diagnosed him with CRS syndrome (as Fr. LeDoux defines it "can't remember scripture" but you can guess Mike's diagnosis is a variation on that--he's not even trying to remember "scripture"). Mike was asking me last week what day the 14th was on, and I calculated that it was on a Friday. He mentioned working for someone on Thursday and Friday, but I guess I didn't really put together Thursday the 13th (i.e. Pinning Ceremony evening) and Friday the 14th in order to say, "Wait just a cotton picking minute!" Of course, he'd already signed up to work the days before he mentioned it to me, so now it's a matter of him finding someone else to take the Thursday shift.
Well, good people, my eyes are crossing and about to close on me, so I'll close for now. Until next time...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two days in a row?!

Back again, followers. Yep, I'm actually writing back to back entries just like in the olden days. This won't be long as it is already 10:30 (I'm missing SNL) and there are still dishes to do, laundry to finish and a Sunday school lesson to review before I can rest my head. I did get most of the grocery shopping done, even if I did forget my avocados at Aldi Grocery store.
I made my usual round robin to Aldi, Tom Thumb & Kroger before returning home to throw some burgers on the George Foreman grill. While at Tom Thumb I misplaced my keys. I didn't realize it until I had checked out and was headed to my car. I patted my jacket keys. I dug around in my purse for a moment (my cashier's lane was closed after me) keys. I searched the basket in the event that I had dropped them in there and they hadn't slipped through the keys. I started to feel just a little ancy. I went out to the van to see if by chance I had left them in the ignition with the doors unlocked. The van was there, thank heavens, but the doors were locked. Since I always use the remote access to lock the doors, I knew I had the keys in my possession upon entering the store. I marched my basket of groceries back into the store and asked if anyone had turned in keys to the customer service desk. No, but someone had just turned in a huge purse someone left in a shopping cart. I retraced my steps through the store. Did I set them down when I was digging for the supreme pizza with self-rising crust? No. Did I drop them in the aisle when I bent down to grab the second to last bag of Mission Tortilla chips? No. I'm thinking I probably would have heard/felt them if I had. Hmmm, I wondered where my keys could be. I was anxious to get back to the front of the store and make sure someone hadn't found them and was out there clicking the remote access about to ride off in my wheels. (After all, 6-year old Honda Odyssey minivans are a hot commodity amongst those of us with kids and extended family!) At this point, I'm ready to call mom and ask her to head to my house, retrieve my spare set of keys and meet me in front of Tom Thumb. I sauntered back to the front of the store trying my darndest not to look as rattled as I felt. I would call mom and get that ball rolling. Then, I'd have a seat in the "bistro" area and methodically remove everything from my purse and then from my bags of groceries. I had 3 or 4 reusable bags filled with groceries and a couple more that were not in use. So, I called Tia and began searching through the bags. The keys were in the "empty" reusable bag. I thanked Tia and told her I wouldn't be in need of her services after all. I'm sure she was as relieved to not have to come to my rescue as I was to have found my keys. Thanks, Saint Anthony, you're the best! Moral of the story: be consistent with where you put your keys. I normally drop them in my purse, but I don't know if I accidentally dropped them in the bag thinking it was my purse because I was distracted by the sale on the seedless watermelons or what. That's all for now; until next time...