Saturday, May 31, 2008

What to do...

Hmmmm. My husband is working tomorrow. I get moody when he has to work on Sundays. I feel like that should be our day for worship and together time. It usually is, but not so tomorrow. Of course, his "work" is taking a bunch of at-risk kids to a baseball game, followed by a meal at Medieval Times. The kids earned it--many of them will be going back to mainstream classes next school year.

But that's not the point. I'm going to be home all day with a cranky three year old. I don't know why she's been so cranky--although she did get bit by a classmate on Friday, and I'm sure it still hurts, which may be why she's crabby. She had a meltdown in Menard's today. That's unusual for her, but we let her scream it out for the whole forty seconds (thankfully, her tantrums are very brief) and then she was fine. But then she did something really weird this afternoon...she suddenly decided she didn't want to use the toilet. I suppose it's just the age; you know, sort of testing the waters of autonomy and rebellion. It's all good. Except that I really have no idea what to do with her tomorrow. The weather is going to be questionable, but I really don't want to keep her cooped up in the house all day. Gas prices are too high for me to take her the museums (or pretty much anywhere) and I'm not sure that lengthy car travel with a crabby three year old is smart anyway.

Ah well. Maybe we'll spend the day fingerpainting. Or reading. I think the library is still open on Sundays because school is in session. That'll easily take an hour or two. Oh, oh! We can make cupcakes! That's always fun--I have a divine recipe for chocolate pumpkin cupcakes. It sounds gross, but it's really good. Can't even taste the pumpkin. Hey, I'm looking forward to it already!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sleeping with the Enemy

Sometimes I think the biggest enemy I will ever face is...myself.


Do you ever think that? Do you ever prepare yourself for something that you think is going to be a huge deal, some kind of giant battle, only then it's not?


I do that a lot. I think it may have something to do with my personality. It's not so much that I'm always looking for a fight; it's really more that I'm always prepared for a fight. The worst part in all of it, at least for me, is that I work really hard to mentally prepare myself for the problem at hand, and when it turns out to be a relatively simple issue to solve, it's like a big letdown. I've taken the time to mentally prepare for it--gotten my thoughts in line, rehearsed what I thought I'd need to say, emotionally steeled myself for the worst. And then what? NOTHING. Nothing comes to pass and I end up frustrated with myself for not saying what I thought I needed to say and more upset by the fact that (probably at least a little related to my OCD) that I keep playing it over in my head.


It goes back to the whole concept of a "...one man army, fighting with the shadows in your head, living out the same old moments..." I live out a lot of same old moments and if there's one thing I know about that, it's that it becomes part of a vicious circle--a circle where I kick myself for not saying what I need to say, then I re-play it in my head, then get hung up on the details of the conversation, then get mad at myself for not saying it the way I planned. Does that even make sense? It makes perfect sense to me.


Maybe it just means that I'm not good at letting go of things. I mean, I'm good at letting go of general stuff. I definitely prefer for old issues just to be water under the bridge, but I have to admit that I'm terrible at letting go of things and getting over stuff when my feelings have been hurt. Then I hold a grudge. I know it's not nice and I know I shouldn't, but I do. And I do it even when it's something I bring upon myself! Like when I have questions/concerns about an issue and someone can't answer...if I'm left to my own devices and my very vivid imagination, I often imagine the worst before there's any element of truth that can be related to my thoughts. That means I'm upset before there's a good reason to be upset. Not good, right?

If the enemy is me, it's with me all the time, whether I'm asleep or awake, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. So, I wonder...how do you fight an enemy that has taken up residence in your head?

Gotta love mindless rambling, right?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Evening Musings

I think there comes a time in every person's life, when he or she begins to take stock, so to speak. Maybe it's something we're genetically wired with, but I think we all wonder if we've done a good job in life, whether the legacy we'll leave behind is something our children and our children's children will look at with pride, whether the things we've done will matter to anyone down the line.

I don't know the exact time for other people, but I've been asking myself these questions for years. It's been intensified in the past three years--this month marks not only the joy and celebration of my daughter's birth, but also the three year anniversary of the day my heart stopped. Ironically enough, the paramedic who saved my life was profiled in the local paper five days ago--which was the exact anniversary of my heart going haywire! Funny little things, huh?

Anyway, my point is that I do ask myself those tough questions, and mostly, I just try to live a life that I believe I can be satisfied with and that hopefully, God will be pleased with, too. That's not to say I've never done any wrong! I've done wrong. Plenty of wrong. More wrong than I'd care to admit. But I've made my peace with most of them, asked for forgiveness when warranted, and offered forgiveness, too, even on the occasions it may not have been warranted.

I work hard to tell people in my life what's on my mind, things I think they need to hear, things that I desperately want them to hear and heed. I tell my daughter I love her every single day. I probably tell her more than ten times each day. And she tells me that she loves me too. I do the same for my husband. A few years ago when we hit a particularly rocky point in our marriage, he stormed out the door one morning for work without a good-bye kiss, without an "I love you," (even though I DID say it) and without even a wave good-bye. I stood in the doorway screaming at him as he drove away, "If something happens to either one of us today, I can leave this world with a clean conscience because I've said what I need to say!" I then proceeded to wave at my neighbor who was gaping at my very loud display before going back into the house to care for my baby daughter.

My husband said something months ago that struck a chord deep within me. He said, "I hope someday I can be as good of a husband as I am a father." I didn't respond to him at the time, though a few weeks later, I brought it up to him. He is a good father. A goofy father who sometimes bends the rules too much, but the exact sort of daddy I want my daughter to have. Despite some of his troubles in years past, he strives to be a role model--the man to which our daughter will compare all future men. As we talked about it, I finally told him what I'd been wanting to say for a while. It went something like this:

There's a song by John Mayer called "Say" and whenever I listen to it, I think about us. I know I talk too much sometimes, but I think it's better to say too much than to end up in a position where I can't say anything ever again. I don't need you to be as good of a husband as you are a father. If you would just ask me what I want in a husband, I'd tell you that all I need is for you to be the man I married. I need you to be the husband you vowed to be on the day we swore our lives to each other. I don't need you to be anything other than you. Yeah, we've had some hard times and things could have ended very badly, but we have a rare opportunity to move forward. I believe with every fiber of my being that happiness--real happiness, true happiness, peaceful happiness--exists only in what's real and true. And I think that the hard times we've had are real and true, but the good times are what stand out. So, just be you.

My advice to the world? Just be you. And tell people what you need to tell them.



More ramblings later this weekend on "Walking like a one man army/Fighting with the shadows in your head/Living out the same old moments/Knowing you'd be better off instead/If you could only/Say what you need to say..."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Down Time

I woke up at 3:30am with a migraine. It hurt too much to move, so I waited until my husband woke up and asked him to get me some Advil, then went back to sleep for a few hours. The migraine was still there, so I took a sick day today. By about 10am, I was feeling much better, so I took my daughter out to buy birthday presents for her cousins and then we went out to lunch.

When we got home, she crawled into bed and fell asleep while I set to putting together a mini-workout trampoline. Um...the trampoline sucked. I'm really irritated that I spent my money on it--it's flimsy beyond words and the parts didn't even really hook together right, which now that I think about it, might be the reason it's flimsy. I stuffed it all back in the box and sat down to read instead. That was much more satisfying.

My little one will be waking up any minute and I promised her we'd play with her Play Doh before we make dinner. Pot roast with red potatoes tonight...yummy. After that, we'll probably just hang out until bedtime. In spite of the migraine, I think today has been some of the best down time I've had in a while. Nothing earth shaking or exciting, but still nice.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Art and Zen of a Birthday Cake

I snuck a quick break from my daughter's party to upload photos of the cake I made so it would be quick for me to post later. It was my first time making a more "complicated" cake, and other than a few glitches with the decorating, it wasn't too bad! I started out with a basic cake recipe and used a Wilton sheet cake pan. Here's what it looked like after it was done baking. Those little colors are candy melts baked into the cake.



I iced the whole thing with basic buttercream icing, tinted pink. While doing that, the other part of the cake was baking. I used the Wilton sports ball pan and made that part chocolate. And for the record, I don't work for Wilton. They just have really (REALLY!) good baking supplies. Anyway, I used a round tip for the lettering, outlining the stars, and adding the stitching on the baseball, then a star tip to pipe the icing on the half-baseball. I used the zig-zag tip to add the number three.

I used the zig-zag tip again to pipe white icing along the borders and finished off with a generous sprinkle of candy stars. It was a cute little cake for my cute little girl.

Someone at the party asked if it wouldn't have made more sense to order the cake from a bakery. Maybe. I mean, it was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. And other than the expense of the pans, which I probably would have bought at some point anyway, it only cost me about sixteen dollars to make it. I don't think I could have gotten a sheet cake at a bakery for sixteen dollars.

It was a fun day, but I'm wiped out. My poor hubby got hurt at work yesterday (he was breaking up a fight when a student's emotions sort of ran overboard and my husband took the brunt of it to protect the other student) and has a badly bruised eye socket and a sprained back. He was a trooper today, but he's in a lot of pain. The pain medicine made him really groggy and I kept waking him up because I want him to be able to sleep tonight. I'm getting ready to give the munchkin a bath and tuck her into bed--I think my husband and I will be close behind. I'm betting all of us are asleep by 8:30 tonight!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Blast Off! It's Friday!

I love the weekends. Especially when I take an unexpected vacation day to make it a long weekend. Today's going to be busy--I'm taking my daughter to the doctor this morning for her yearly checkup and to find out if we can do anything about the growing pains she's having in her legs, then it's on to the grocery store to buy the food for tomorrow's birthday party, and then completing the gargantuan task of getting the house cleaned up. The house isn't too bad, actually, it's more about getting things picked up and hanging the decorations. There was a bit of craziness on Wednesday when I found out a bunch of extra people were coming--after the food was already planned. I had a fit, a brief fit, but a fit nonetheless. It seems to me that when people call before the RSVP date and say they're not coming, they shouldn't be able to tell someone else to tell me that they changed their minds and are coming after all. So much for common courtesy. Ah well.

My only major concern at this point is that I need to adjust the size of the cake. Wish me luck...please! I'll make sure I post a picture of it (even if it turns out terrible), using my handy-dandy new digital camera that my husband and daughter got me for Mother's Day. I was playing with it a little bit last night and it's got all kinds of neat bells and whistles that my old one didn't--like face detection, picture stabilization, 12x optical zoom and more megapixels than I know what to do with!

I've gotta run for now, but I promise to continue rambling this weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Super (Busy) Tuesday

I'm making a mad dash to complete a brief post--I'm on my lunch break right now.

My husband and I made a deal that, starting tonight, he can't play video games and I can't blog until the our bedroom gets cleaned up. We (okay, HE) did a big-ish project over the weekend and moved around our bedroom furniture. It looks good--really, really good. Moving the bed and dresser onto opposite walls just opens up the room and makes it look bigger. I've slept better the past two night than I have since we moved into this house. Maybe there's something to the whole Feng Shui concept!

Anyway, in the process of furniture moving and cleaning, it turned into one of those situations where things start to look worse before they look better. It's still in the "worse" phase and with my daughter's birthday party this weekend, we've got some serious work ahead of us. I'm hoping to get it all taken care of tonight after we take our daughter out for her birthday dinner--mainly so that I can blog some more about the birthday cake I'm making for her. The theme is "Baseball" which was her choice. I made a practice cake a week ago and now I'm gearing up for the real thing...

More nonsense later...or tomorrow, depending on when the cleaning gets done!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Angels We Have Heard...

I was driving to the post office with my daughter this afternoon when she asked me to please put on "Rum Pum Pum Pum" which, in three-year-old speak is the equivalent of "The Little Drummer Boy."

To appreciate this story, you have to understand that I'm a fan of Josh Groban--ever since the first time I saw him on Ally McBeal--and I suppose I have kind of a little-girl-totally-in-love-with-him-itsy-bitsy crush. Anyway, I have a copy of his Christmas album in my car and every now and then, my daughter will ask to listen to it. It was torture (NOT! Tee-hee!) to put it in for her. You can listen to it below (sorry for the Oprah spot--it was the only video clip I could find). You'll also have to pause the "regular" music--just scroll down and the music box is on the right, where you can hit pause.



Anyway, my whole point in sharing this is just to tell everyone that my daughter sang along to the whole song. THE WHOLE SONG. She even did the backup vocals.

It was beautiful. Her voice was so clear and melodic--she had her head tilted back in her carseat, eyes closed, and belted out this song. I actually had to pull over for a minute because I was completely mesmerized. When she realized I was listening, she suddenly dropped her singing to a mere whisper, then just hummed along with it, giving me this knowing look all the while. Amazing.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Paging Dr. Mommy

I think I really traumatized my daughter last night. I'm still reeling. Of course, for that to make sense, you probably need to know what happened.

The "Reader's Digest" version is this: Rough wood inside a dresser drawer + Two little hands attached to my sweet (almost) three-year-old = Approximately two dozen splinters.

She shrieked and cried for a minute, then said, "Mommy, fix these boo-boos."

I did my best. Thank God most of the splinters barely pierced the skin and I was able to grasp them with my fingernails and just pull them out. She was fine with that. There were around eight that required more serious care. So...out came the razor-tip tweezers.

Bless her little heart, she sat perfectly still, watching intently as I poked around and pulled out a few. However, when I got to the two major ones--and I mean MAJOR, like buried deep in the center of her palms--she lost it. Clamped her fists shut, screamed, cried, gagged, cried some more, threw up because she was crying so hard. Oh, it was so awful. My husband and I literally had to hold her down, her crying and sweating all the while. These two little pieces of wood just refused to budge. We debated taking her to the emergency room. I didn't really want to, knowing full well the ER doctor would have no choice but to strap her down and immobilize her arms. I really didn't want to do that to her. But I also knew we couldn't leave the wood in her hands, festering, and risk an infection.

Plan B? Yes, I have a Plan B for just about everything. I resorted to a homemade remedy that I haven't used in years. My husband went and asked our neighbors for a piece of white bread (because we only eat wheat, and for the remedy to work, it has to be white bread), brought it home and I set about making a paste by mixing it with some milk. I plopped a piece of the milk-soaked bread into the center of each of her palms, put band-aids over them, then sealed them with waterproof tape and tucked her into bed. I've never done this on a kid, only myself, so I didn't know how long to leave it on for...we left it on for about four hours. She was asleep, and we took the bandages off, wiped down her hands with warm water, then slathered them in Bacitracin and re-bandaged them.

Today, one of the pieces of wood is out and the other is almost out. Score one for homemade remedies! I don't know why it works, I just know it does. Something about the combination of the bread and milk (maybe the yeast and lactic acid??) softens the skin and draws out any infection. I found out years ago that it will also draw out splinters. I don't know if that's exactly right--maybe it just softens the skin enough so that the wood pokes through and is easily removable--all I know is that this little homemade remedy saved us a trip to the ER and probably an $800 bill.

Oh, the part about her being traumatized? This morning when she woke up, she looked right at me and said, "You can't ever touch my hands ever again. Okay?"

Then at dinner, she pipes up with, "It's not nice for you to hurt my hands."

At bedtime, "I rock with daddy tonight. You hurt my hands."

*Sigh* She'll get over it eventually, right?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

It's Ma-a-a-a-y-y-y-y!

I wrote this post at the end of March, trying to figure out why in the heck I kept hearing this voice in my head not to fill out my desk calendar at work past the month of May. Even now, I can't flip the page. Anything for the month of June is contained in a bunch of scribbles on the bottom of the "May" page.

Yesterday, something very (VERY) strange happened.

Right at the end of the workday, my boss called me into her office to discuss some of my responsibilities, possibly adding a few more, and even negotiating a small raise. I told her I'd think about it over the weekend and get back to her Monday. Wow, I thought. This must be why I felt like I couldn't go past May. I can't very well schedule things in advance if my job duties are going to be changing.

Makes sense, right?

Not quite.

I got home, and on the answering machine is a message from my supervisor at the University where I teach part time in the graduate program. She wants to discuss the possibility of "a future employment opportunity beginning in the Fall." My heart paused for a minute. Could I be hearing this right? Really?

I called her back and we had a nice chat. The job isn't full-time--it's sort of like expanding on what I'm currently doing, plus adding a few meetings and other miscellaneous things. And adding more pay. It's only part-time and the pay isn't enough for me to leave my full-time job. She said that right away, but also said if I'd consider the job, she'd do everything she could to work around my schedule...including just working from home outside of when I'm teaching and attending two meetings a month. I have to let her know by Tuesday. I don't know if I can do it, because for the department meetings, I'd have to arrange my schedule at my full-time job, and I don't know how well that would go over. Plus, this job is only temporary, required for one school year. But it could be a huge stepping stone if I decide I want to move my career entirely into education.

In the middle of all of this--well, not in the middle, but really at the very top of the list--is my family. I do NOT want to sacrifice time with them. And yet the money is so tempting. We've been steadily digging ourselves out of a financial hole we got into because of some heavy-duty medical expenses and the thought of working like crazy for a year to make enough to pay it off seems so fantastic--but not at the expense of my daughter or husband.

I am so torn and I have less than 48 hours to come to a decision. I figure even if I turn both down, I have absolutely nothing to lose. Literally. Nothing will change for either job. If I negotiate one (or even both), I'm looking at a lot of changes in a short amount of time. And looking at the freedom that comes with no longer having any debt (except for the house, car and student loans).

I'm giving myself a headache, so I'm going to try not to think about it for a few hours. When it rains, it pours, huh?