Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wedding Bells

I've been wanting to post this video from Big and Rich for a while, but every time I try, I come up with an error message. So, even if you're not a country music fan, I hope you check it out. Anyway, the song is called "Lost in the Moment" and the video shows a series of clips from various weddings.

It makes me feel nostalgic. Makes me think about my own wedding day. But that's a story for another time. Maybe someday I'll tell everyone about how Shawn didn't look at me when I walked down the aisle...

Anyway, I went to a wedding on Saturday with Shawn and our little munchkin. I felt so honored to be a part of it all. See, the groom, Jason, was my very first "boyfriend." From kindergarten through fifth grade, we were an "item." Or, at least as much as kids can be items at that age. I remember him blowing kisses to me in first grade during lunch. He was the first boy to give me flowers--tulips, to be exact, for my tenth birthday. He was also the first boy to give me a piece of jewelry--a small silver rose on a thin silver chain, also for my tenth birthday. He gave me two books, too. I remember feeling kind of overwhelmed by it all.

Time passed, as it does, and as fifth graders, he decided he liked one of my friends. Bummer. We still hung out and talked at school, shared all the same classes until the day in sixth grade when his family moved. My family moved a year later. We lost touch for a brief time, finally re-connecting when we were in high school and staying in semi-regular contact through college. He came to my wedding six years ago, but I hadn't seen him since then. There were a few letters, holiday cards, and so on over the years. Then, this past spring, he wrote to say he was getting married and to save the date for his wedding. Of course, I did.

It was so nice to see him again this past weekend. His wife is beautiful and while I don't really know her at all, she seems like a genuinely nice person, and the two of them are obviously a wonderful match for each other. It's funny seeing people get married now when I've been married for six years. There's a part of me that wants to stand up and yell, "Don't do it! Turn back while you can! You don't know what things will be like three or four years down the road!" I said this to Shawn, and he gave a thoughtful reply..."I get it, but who knows what it'll be like three or four years after those three or four years." I grudgingly admit, he makes a good point. I've got a way to go before my faith in the institution of marriage is completely renewed. My issues, I know. *Sigh*

So, after the bride and groom set the dance floor on fire, Jason told me that they're heading off for a fairy-tale honeymoon in France. I told him that I'm appropriately jealous. I've never gotten to travel. Shawn is kind of a homebody, and that's okay. Shawn doesn't like to dance, either, which is harder. I haven't done any "real" dancing in over eight years, and that's something that I sorely miss. While contemplating my adorable daughter's face as she and I shared a slice of wedding cake later in the evening, I realized that I'm not really jealous. There's a tiny ping of envy, but the truth is, I don't wish for what Jason and Erin have. I just admire it.

I know the people in my life are valuable. Maybe I'll never glide across a ballroom floor or do any crazy swing dancing again. I'll probably never make my way overseas to experience the wonder of another culture. I might get wistful thinking about it, but the truth is, I've got a beautiful child who thinks I'm the best dancer in the world (you should check out my mad moves when I get down to The Wiggles singing about how we should shake our sillies out) and who thinks that going to the store with mommy is practically like visiting the wonders of the world.

It is, all in all, a beautiful life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Food For Thought

I didn't put up my Menu Plan on Monday, but I did have one in the works. Here's what's cookin' this week:

Monday~Egg salad, strawberry-banana smoothies (This was a last-minute, throw-together meal since I thought my bladder infection was killing me and I could hardly move off the sofa)

Tuesday~Slow cooker chicken, roasted potato wedges, green beans, homemade blueberry pie (This meal turned out FABULOUS!)

Wednesday~Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with sweet peppers and mango (Easy for the hubby to make since I'm teaching until 9pm and he's on his own with our munchkin)

Thursday~Slow cooker turkey-veggie chili, garlic bread (Have I told you how much I love my Crock Pot?)

Friday~Pork chops, brown rice, baked apples

Monday, September 24, 2007

Moaning Me

I am grumpy.

Why? Over the spring/summer, I had a kidney infection that lasted over 2 months. I just finished antibiotics at the end of July and thought I was free and clear. Last Thursday, I started getting that "yucky" feeling again. I didn't know it was humanly possible to pee lava. Even though I've been on antibiotics since Thursday. Gross? Yes. True? You bet. I feel like I need to carry around a fire extinguisher in my back pocket. Or, well, it would probably serve me better if I kept it in my front pocket. Hahahaha. Not.

Ah well. I think I'm going to gobble some Advil and go to bed early tonight.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

No, not the TV show.

Different kind of dancing. Different kind of stars.

Late at night, when the world is silent and I’m alone with my thoughts, I find my mind drifting…

Insomnia has been an unwelcome visitor this summer. There was a time when the summer storms were rolling through the Midwest, I sat on my bedroom floor, gazing out the window at the velvety black sky. Nighttime was made even darker by the ominous clouds. There was something achingly familiar about that darkness. No moon. No stars. Just an occasional flash of lightning, blazing across the sky, like the mighty sword of some demigod, slicing the heavens and earth open and momentarily transforming the raindrops into diamonds. The thunder would rumble, waves of sound shaking the earth, vibrating the floor where I sat.

In those hours, I would linger a while longer, a lone silhouette, watching the sky open and Mother Nature unleash her fury. I never grew tired of the fascinating display. I remember one night, over the steady sound of rainfall, I heard a clock ticking. Three thirty-four in the morning. My husband was sprawled across the bed, lost in slumber. A quick check on my daughter revealed that she was peacefully asleep, clutching her favorite pink bear. Her small round face reflected an innocence that was not of this world, a smile playing on the corners of her mouth, her hair slightly damp and curling in the humid night air.

I went back to my post at the window, watching the storms. I wondered what it would be like to ride on the rainclouds, to dance among the stars that I couldn't see, but I knew were hiding behind the clouds. Would it be like riding on the wispy, curled tails of dreams…dreams that have an odd, almost lifelike quality to them? Would I tumble into a deep abyss, a warm oblivion, through a misty fog, before lightly floating down and softly landing in an un-world?

In the distance, I hear another sound. Not thunder this time. Drums. A solid, steady rhythm. A heartbeat. A pulse. The pulse of the un-world that I landed in, pumping lifeblood into my dreams.

I had one of those moments where I realized I was asleep and dreaming, yet feeling completely awake and aware.

There were woodland fairies, flitting between flowers, tiny beams of ethereal light hovering and darting…the soft whinny of a horse, tethered somewhere nearby…a baby cooing in the still night air…and a man…a much older man with a benign smile on his face, wisdom in his deep-set eyes…a large pool of water that was so still, it reflected everything around and above it…and the drumbeat.

In that hazy place between being asleep and awake, I realized the drumbeat was, in fact, a heartbeat. My own heartbeat. In that moment of realization, there was a sense of falling, then silence.

I was still sitting in front of the window, my forehead pressed against the glass. The first beams of pale sunshine were beginning to break through the rainclouds, the last of the stars fading into the morning sky. The same rainclouds I had just been riding, the same stars that had just been hiding.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fun Monday

Mondays really aren't that much fun. I dragged myself into work this morning and walked into a pile 'o stuff that needs to get done before lunch. (It needs to get done before lunch, but I'm blogging. Hmmmm. Don't worry, I'm on my break!) I didn't plan my dinner menu for the week, which means things are getting off to a bumpy start. I think tonight will be fried chicken, but beyond that, I'm not sure yet. Maybe I'll get to the rest later.

But just in case you need a little chuckle this morning, I have something to share. While sorting through the "pile 'o stuff", I was doing some organizing, which is always a good thing. Except for the fact that I stapled the sleeve of my sweater to random stacks of papers. Notice I wrote "stacks." Yes, I actually stapled myself to my work more than once this morning. I finally rolled up my sleeves. It looks a little dorky, but at least my sleeves are out of harm's way.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Baaaaack!

I have been a busy little chickadee this past week. I haven't posted since Sunday!

Let's see...Monday, I had a chaotic day at work. Our agency had an unannounced survey from the state. Not my division, thankfully. But even when it does happen, I think I'll feel pretty confident. I run a pretty tight ship. Tuesday and Wednesday were my lo-o-o-ng days. I didn't get home until 9pm both nights--all because I'm working toward a career change and I teach two graduate classes after my regular workday. Ugh. Thursday was a good day, although my allergies went haywire and my nose and eyelids were about twice their normal size. Friday I worked from home, which was nice. I'm able to get a full day of work done in about a half-day because I have no other-work-stuff distractions. And my munchkin and I had a blast in the afternoon. We baked angel food cupcakes and frosted them. Well, she pretended to frost. Mostly, she licked the spatula. Then we spent an hour reading a variety of books and another hour after that dancing to her favorite CD--Sticky Bubble Gum. This morning, I went and got my allergy shots (never a good time), then spent the afternoon organizing my closet. While doing that, I found some letters I wrote to my daughter while I was still pregnant--we didn't know it was a girl, so they all started out "Dear Baby". Awwww. Sniff, sniff. She's certainly not a baby anymore.

Anyway, the evening is winding down. My husband just snuck out and got us milkshakes. Yummy. Milkshakes are not on my doctor-approved list of foods for controlling my insulin levels, so I'll just have to be extra-good tomorrow.

I don't know about anyone else, but it got down in the 40s last night here. I will never understand weather in the midwest. We had our air conditioner on a week ago because it was in the upper 90s. Sheesh. But I love the cooler weather. Gives me a good reason to snuggle under a bunch of warm blankets with a good book.

After I catch up on everyone else's blogs, of course!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bony Fingers

You know that old saying about "working your fingers to the bone"? I think that's me.

Hot tamale, I was busy this weekend. My sweet little girl was miserable beyond belief from Thursday morning until about midnight last night when her fever finally broke. Today, she was running around like I don't even know what. But it was so good to see her smiling and happy, for some pinkish color to be back in her little round cheeks.

Yesterday was long because my husband was working and my little one was sick. Today, with my sweetie feeling better and the hubby finally (blessedly) having a day off, I cleaned like a mad woman--like Martha Stewart, Merry Maids and the Tasmanian Devil all rolled into one. Did you see the movie There's Something About Mary? There's a crazy scene where Magda ingests *something* and is going crazy cleaning, lifting her couch and all other goofy stuff. Um, yeah. That was me. Minus the *something* of course.

I did six loads of laundry (the seventh is in the washer right now). It's amazing how fast laundry piles up when there's a sick kid in the house. It wasn't anything gross. Normal clothes and towels, which I usually do at least every other day, but I got behind with the whole up-at-2am-soothing-a-crying-toddler-until-7am thing. Anyway, her fever was so bad that she was sweating and just soaking through her sheets. Plus I had the regular loads of sheets to wash. Eeek. I also decided to clean up our bedroom. That took about 4 hours. It was just bad because our bedroom tends to come last and gets put off because my husband and I are the only people who see it. Then I cleaned out my closet. And the linen closets. After that, it was time to clean up the bathrooms. And the kitchen. And the living room. Thank goodness the dining room was already in pretty good shape. All I have left tonight is to fold the load of stuff in the dryer, transfer the stuff in the washer to the dryer (which, since it's only some blankets, can sit in the dryer over night--I hardly ever do that, though), and sweep the kitchen floor.

I will then take a super-long shower and collapse in a heap on the bed in my now very clean bedroom. I'm skipping my workout tonight, but getting up a little early tomorrow to squeeze it in. It's only Sunday night, but I already feel like it should be Friday.

Oh man, I just realized I didn't plan my dinners for the week. No Menu Plan Monday this week. I'll be flying by the seat of my pants this time around.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Long Days/Daze

I think being human is hard. I think being a woman is even harder. As a woman, I'm probably biased. I think of the women I know...single moms, married moms, non-moms (yet), non-moms (forever), full-time employees, full-time other stuff. And I think we're all full-time jugglers. Juggling our schedules, others' schedules, so on and so on.

I feel like I'm always trying to perfect this dance that I do on a daily basis. Little things build up (like today) and I'm spinning in circles, dazed, trying to be everything to everyone while still trying to be me, and I'm just...tired.

My poor little girl has, in the past 12 hours, come down with some kind of virus. Her tummy is not so good tonight, her cute li'l nose has turned into a faucet, and her body is just burning up with a fever. She's sleeping peacefully now, thank goodness. I curled up with her, keeping her warm--her little body is hot to the touch, but covered in goosebumps, poor kiddo--until she drifted off. And I said a prayer that she'll be feeling better tomorrow.

My husband had a very late night at work and is about ready to fall over from exhaustion. And I'm thinking about the bathrooms that need to be cleaned. I'm also thinking they can wait until tomorrow. Right now, a long hot shower and my soft bed are way more appealing.

Hopefully, the weekend will be relaxed and easy.

Hey, before I forget...can you believe that Autumn is almost here? It was in the 80s today, but as I was driving home earlier tonight, I noticed the number of yellow leaves drifting down off the trees...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I was so busy blogging about our zoo trip (see below for a cute pic) that I forgot to tell everyone what I'm cooking up this week!
Monday (Today)~Popcorn chicken, steamed mixed veggies, macaroni and cheese, baked apples (it'll be a miracle if anyone can actually move from the table after this meal)
Tuesday~Grilled cheese, mixed fruit (nothing fancy--I've got a late night for work)
Wednesday~Slow cooker turkey breast; green beans; nutted rice
Thursday~Spincach stuffed pork, seasoned whole grain pasta
Friday~Veggie-filled meatloaf, mashed potatoes
Weekend~not sure yet, but something spicy might be in the works

Zippity Zoo

We had a blast at the zoo this past weekend. Living in Illinois, we have access to all kinds of neat attractions--including the Brookfield Zoo! It was a lot of fun to just hang out, enjoy the phenomenal summer weather (not too hot, nice breeze), and look at everything through the eyes of a two year old. Her favorites include the giraffes (which were close enough to touch), the elephants (who were acting goofy and bumping into each other) and the apes (where she was dumbfounded by a large primate playing with its feet--she thought it was doing Little Piggies on its toes).

The most exciting part for all of us was the Stingray Bay exhibit. Now, stingrays have gotten a less than stellar reputation since the tragic and untimely death of Steve Irwin but they are truly amazing and from what we saw, very docile. And in this case, the poisonous barbs are trimmed off to avoid potential injuries for the visitors. For the low price of a dollar, we got to go into the tank area and put our hands in the water, and actually touch the stingrays as they swam around. We didn't even really have to reach out. The swam right up to us and brushed against our hands.

We went to the Safari Grill for lunch and had our first experience with Dippin' Dots, too. All in all, it was a peaceful day. And for your viewing pleasure...

I am one lucky lady!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Major Labor Day

Well, I certainly put the "Labor" into this Labor Day weekend. As planned, I spent most of the day outside doing yardwork. I'm completely exhausted, but I accomplished so much. I cut the grass (not usually my chore, but my poor hubby hurt his back and could barely move this morning, so I volunteered). After that, we went back to Home Depot to get more goodies for the front yard.

I planted five more shrubs and six flowering plants. I also planted 4 flowering plants that I'd had sitting in the garage. I'm sore, but in a good way, you know?

The only downfall today is that my husband's mother paid a visit. It wasn't her visit that messed things up. It was an unpleasant conversation that happened as a result. Before I could hit my personal "Edit button" or perhaps "Mute", I told her off. It was something that was a long time coming, and I think I shocked everyone when I told her she needed to quit speaking in the tone she was using in front of my daughter. I don't know who looked more shocked--her, my husband or me. It just finally came down to the fact that if I'm not going to let my own parents use that tone of voice in my home, I'm certainly not going to let anyone else get away with it.

The fallout was pretty mild, all things considered. Now, it's late, I'm tired--and itchy, no thanks to the dozen mosquito bites I got while digging in the dirt. Yowch!

Hopefully, I'll tell you tomorrow about our fun zoo visit!