Monday, September 29, 2008

Inspired Bliss

Talk about challenging myself! Whew! When Robin at Penseive asked for contributors to a new faith channel of "Blissfully Domestic," I hesitated for a minute, and then said Yes. Why not? Why couldn't I challenge myself to write a short devotional once a week?

After all, my friend, Cheryl, does it, so why couldn't I?

So today I'm excited to announce that my first post on "Inspired Bliss" is up and running. I will usually be the Saturday contributor, but this week I'm Monday.

Hope you enjoy it!

We Have a Raccoon Problem

One of those "parent nightmares" happened this weekend. The one where you get a phone call from one of your kids who is babysitting.

Caller I.D. told us it was Abby calling from her babysitting job at the house of some of our friends.

"Um, hello, Dad?"

"Yeah, Abby. What's going on?"

"I, ah, stepped on a nail. Could someone come over?"

Before the words were even out of his mouth to tell me what had happened, I grabbed my keys and sped down the street. It probably took me 30 seconds to get to the house where, in the fading light, I could see Abby standing on one foot.

As I got closer I could see her other foot, the foot she was holding up, and from it was dangling a board. WHAT ON EARTH?!

"Abby, what happened?!"

"We were playing Ghost in the Graveyard, and I fell into the window well. The Smiths were having trouble with raccoons, so Mr. Smith put this board with a bunch of nails sticking out of it to catch the racoons."


At this point I realize I have to be a mom. I have to put my complete hatred of blood aside and conjure up any amount of courage I might have to even make some sense of the situation.

"Hey, Abby, let's try to get you to the car so we can get you to the hospital. That board can't just stay there, attached to your foot."

"NO MOM!! I don't want to go to the hospital. I'll just pull it out."

Any protestations on my part weren't going to do any good, so the boys Abby was babysitting, who were so sweetly trying to do whatever they could to help, got her a chair.

Within ten minutes my brave not-so-little-anymore girl had that nail (which we later figured out was actually a screw) pulled out of her foot. I was amazed as I watched my daughter valiantly take care of the situation without shedding even a single tear. At that moment I realized that she really has grown up. She didn't need me there . . . she wanted me there.

We got her home, soaked the foot, and packed it with Neosporin. But, poor thing, it's swollen now, and it hurts like crazy (gee, wonder why!), so we're heading to the doc to have it checked out . . . just in case.

So all weekend the nagging thought in the back of my mind has been what happens to the poor raccoons when they step on a nail? It's a question that will no longer have to be answered because our friend told us yesterday that the boards are already in the fire pit.

(Update: Abby ended up getting a prescription for an antibiotic for a week--"just in case." She wanted to go back to school, so she's there now, hobbling on crutches and trying to make the best of it. Just the other day B called her tenacious. I'll say!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good News, Bad News, and a Bonus

Well, the good news is that B and I weren't the oldest ones at the concert last night. Not by a longshot. Those guys up on stage? They were older than us by at least 15-20 years.

But I do have to say (and this is GREAT news) that good old Joe, Glen, and Don have still got it. What an amazing concert. (And I didn't even know I liked the Eagles!)

We heard songs we hadn't heard in years like "Witchy Woman" and "Life's Been Good To Me." And, of course, "Hotel California," which I still don't like but oh well.

Honestly, B and I kept looking at each other all night long, amazed that we knew almost every single song they sang (except, of course, the songs off their new album) and amazed at HOW GOOD they still sounded. It was like being in the studio with them--they were that good.

And now for the bad news. . . . The Eagles gave such a good concert, and such a LONG concert, that we didn't get home until about 12:45 . . . that's THIS morning. I slept so little last night that my eye cream didn't even have time to work.

I guess every adventure has its drawbacks.

And now for the bonus.

Earlier this week, Lysa TerKeurst asked for some Fall recipes, so it motivated me to get out one of my favorites and send it to Lysa. (The poor girl needs help.)

And while I was copying it down for Lysa I decided to make it myself. See?

So, in honor of Fall, which, in case you didn't know, visited us this week, here is my mom's recipe for Pumpkin Squares. These are so easy--you don't even need to use a mixer. I hope you'll give them a try.

Pumpkin Squares

4 eggs
1 2/3 C. sugar
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 C. vegetable oil
2 C. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
A dash of ginger, nutmeg, or cloves, if desired (I use the ginger and nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. In a second mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and other spices. Slowly mix the wet ingredietns into the dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour batter into an ungreased jelly roll pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Or pour batter into a 9x13 pan and bake for 25-35 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

1 (8 oz) cream cheese, very soft
1 stick butter, very soft
2 t. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla and blend. Add powdered sugar and blend. Add cinnamon and blend. Spread over cooled cake.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Never Too Old

Yesterday a friend of ours called B at worked and asked if we’d like to go to a concert with him and his wife tonight. His company had the “Penthouse Suite” at the United Center, so he thought it would be fun to get a group together.

Sure, we’re always up for an adventure!

So tonight we’re going to see The Eagles. Fun, right?

Yes, it’s going to be a blast, except I keep asking myself if we’re too old for this. Our friend and his wife are probably ten—maybe more—years younger than us and ten times cooler than us. (They were students of mine WAY back when they were in college. They met in my class—how strange is that?!)

Now wait a minute . . . too old to attend a concert? No way. Here’s the thing . . . once you think you’re too old, you are. Once you give in to the temptation to just sit on the couch and do nothing every night, you become nothing. I say ‘Go for it!’ Try something new, out of your comfort zone, and you just might be renewed, energized.

B and I have often talked about retirement (that long-way-off-“event” that might, hopefully, someday take place). We don’t want to sit on our butts then, so we really can’t sit on our butts now. When opportunities present themselves, we try to take the adventure.

Which is why we said yes to the concert. It’s not like we’re huge Eagles fans. (Heck, I thought the football team was coming to town when B asked me about it!)

So I asked our friend, when he dropped off the tickets yesterday, if he was sure he wanted to take us along. After all, we’ll probably know all the words to the songs!

He assured me that, yes, they were really looking forward to it.

I guess they need some chaperones.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Back, and I'm Better!

No, don't click the "X" in the corner! You're in the right place! I had my blog remodeled. Don't you just love it?!

Thanks so much to Shauna (who just happens to live in one of my favorite places--Dallas) who did the work for me. I love it!

Well, Aspen was beautiful. About five weeks ahead of us in weather so, I have to admit, I was happy to come home to degrees in the 80's.

But still, B and I had a great time exploring, hiking, driving, and gondola-riding. Aspen is just as charming as I had imagined. And just as "ritzy." Oh my. I couldn't hang out there too much longer or my kids wouldn't be able to go to college.

I think the highlight for both of us came yesterday, after B's meetings were finished. We hopped in the car and headed for the Maroon Bells--two mountain peaks, not far from Aspen, that are both over 14,000 in elevation. We took the beautiful drive to the parking area, then hiked for a little while, past Maroon Lake and on up toward the mountains.

Past flourescent yellow aspen trees in their peak color, over small wooden bridges, along a small mountain creek toward a dry creek bed. We imagined how huge this dry creek must be when the snow is melting in the spring. We contemplated the different colored ridges up high on the rocky peaks and wondered how those stripes of white were formed into such red rock. We talked about how small we are, really, and how all the "stuff" we worry about day-by-day is really insignificant in light of God's huge creation.

It was a marvelous hour or so.

But you know what we didn't do?

Take pictures.

[Note to self: real bloggers carry cameras. Always.]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life Just Gets In the Way

I was reminded by my two readers this week that, no, it ISN'T September 11th anymore and that they are looking for the rest of the Patricia Palaco story.

Well, sorry sistahs (literally), the story will have to wait. Life kind of got in the way.

As you well know, Mom and Dad came for a few days and, being the dutiful daughter that I am, I spent the better part of the past four days cooking and driving and sweeping dog hair off the floor because Dad can't stand the dog and it's just one little thing I can do to help him kind of not hate her so much. But I've enjoyed every minute of their visit, and now they're gone--on their way to Norway or Stockholm or Iceland--I don't know, somewhere cold.

I can't imagine.

Anyway, life continues to get in the way because in anticipation of the weekend ahead (in which B and I get away to Aspen for four days--whee!)I have a lot to do.

Like get the emissions tested on my car.

And actually think about leaving some food for my girls and their kid-sitter.

Oh, and pack a suitcase.

So, dear sistahs, Patricia will have to wait, but fear not--I am taking my laptop to Aspen with me and I plan to spend a lot of time writing while B is in meetings.

So, go ahead, live your life without me for a couple of days. You can do it. Heck, you've been doing it!

I'll be back.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today Really IS September 11, Isn't It?

You wouldn’t know by turning on the T.V. this morning. As I sometimes do, I turn on Good Morning America or The Today Show, depending on who has the most interesting story at the time, while I’m getting ready in the morning.

It’s important to be informed and beautiful at the same time.

But while I was putting on my makeup at 7:00 this morning I suddenly realized that it was 9/11. A day that should hold some fairly large significance to all of us in this country.

For some reason, ABC didn’t think the events of seven years ago were important enough to remember because they started off their morning with some story about Sarah Palin. I’m sorry, but today, WHO CARES???

Well, I thought, Maybe it’s just an oversight. I’m magnanimous that way.

So I switched over to NBC. Surely the Today Show would have some sort of commemoration of the event that took place literally DOWN THE STREET from them.

Nope. It was worse. Much worse. They had a story about a base jumper (for those of you not in-the-know, as I was not, a base jumper is basically a parachuter). Anyway, supposedly this guy crashed and lived to tell about it. Sorry, but WHO CARES???

So, let’s check CBS. Nope. They were more concerned with a solar taxi, being green and all as they are.

All three of the major networks led their 7:00 a.m. hour with stories other than the tragedy that took place on their doorstep seven years ago. Can we all say “incredulous”? Because that’s what I was this morning.

I finally turned to Fox News Channel and found not just basic coverage of 9/11, but a recounting of the minutes surrounding the main events of the day. Steve Doocy said that Fox only plays the footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center once a year—on 9/11—because, while Fox doesn’t want to exploit what happened and give the terrorists more coverage than they deserve, they also want us to remember.

Fox News Channel also played the various commemorative events that took place around the country from the World Trade Center where they read off every name of every victim who died there, to Shanksville, PA where United Flight 93 was crashed to the ground thanks to some extremely heroic efforts, to the Pentagon where the first 9/11 memorial was unveiled today.

(To be fair, other cable news outlets like MSNBC and CNN ran coverage of the day as well, but I didn’t watch those.)

Today I spent the morning with my dear friend, Amy, with whom I spent the morning seven years ago. After I dropped my older two at school on that day, I drove to Amy’s house. As soon as she answered the door, we fell into each other’s arms, just sobbing, not knowing what to do next. We spent a couple of hours glued to her television, fearful for the future, uncertain. Today we recalled that morning, as we do every year. It was a kind of stone of remembrance in our friendship.

I think often of that day seven years ago. Thankful that God provided someone special for me to be with that morning—He knew I would need that. And remorseful that that day would change everything, forever.

I’m glad Fox News decided to spend the day focusing on September 11. Really, we can live without election coverage for one day. Our world will not stop spinning if we don’t know what Barack Obama had for lunch or if John McCain took a nap this afternoon.

Tomorrow they can get back at it, but for today, let’s just remember.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Patricia Polacco - Part 1

You know how sometimes you’re going to do something, you have every intention of going to an event, but when the event actually happens you find it easier to just stay home? I do that sometimes. Just stay home. I can’t help it—I’m a homebody.

Well, today I almost did that. There was a “cultural arts” event at Maggie’s school—an author was speaking to the kids—and I told Maggie I would be there, but I almost didn’t go. Today it just would have been easier to not go.

My world would not be the same if I had decided to stay home.

I had the privilege of hearing Patricia Polacco at my daughter’s school this afternoon. She’s famous—hugely famous—in children’s literature circles.
Patricia Polacco wrote the Babushka books that I read to my children when they were little. She also wrote a book called “The Keeping Quilt” (more about that later).

This woman held me in the palm of her hand for the entire hour that I was in her presence. Being with her (even though I didn’t meet her) was what I imagine being with Paula Deen would be like—so fun, so comfortable, so warm and inviting. Only without the mac and cheese.

She started out talking about the very first book she wrote called “Meteor.” She said to the kids, “You guys,” (she talked just like that—“You guys”!) “This really happened!” From that point on, she had the kids right where she wanted them.

She told them about the meteor that actually did land in her grandparent’s yard. And about how her family legend told of people coming from all over the country just to touch the meteor in order to make a wish. And then she told the kids that her grandfather would let people make a wish on that rock, but that they could not wish these three things:

1. You cannot wish for money.

That one’s obvious.

2. You cannot wish to change someone else.

She told the kids that nobody can change another person; we only have the power to change ourselves. She then talked to the kids about how our words matter. She explained that when she was young she had learning disabilities—she couldn’t read until she was 14 years old! And how on the playground the other kids would call her “stupid,” and “fat.” She said, “You guys, I’m 64 years old and I still feel hurt about those words.” She encouraged the kids to use kind words with one another and to never, ever, use words to hurt another person. We may not be able to stop someone from being a bully, but we can respond in a kind way, she explained.

I had tears in my eyes at this point.

3. You cannot wish for toys (something that can be bought with money).

Patricia Polacco feels very strongly about this point. She explained to the kids that they spend too much time in front of the T.V. and that T.V. is destructive to their minds. (At this point I was doing a little Mommy-dance. Validation! Hooray!)

“You guys,” she said again, “T.V. is lying to you. Girls, T.V. is telling you that you have to be beautiful and thin. I mean, really, do you think a skeleton with skin on it is pretty?”

Preach it, sister!

“And boys, T.V. is lying to you, too, by telling you that the only important thing in life is winning. Whatever happened to just playing for the fun of it?”


So, for these reasons, her grandfather would not let anyone wish for toys on his meteor.

At the end of her talk, Patricia Polacco told the kids that they she would stand at the back of the room and that each one would have the chance to touch the rock and make a wish—as long as they followed the rules. So I watched as each child walked past Ms. Polacco, and as each one reached up to touch the rock in her hand, she would place her other hand over the top of the child’s hand. She did this with each and every child in the school.

At one point, a little boy stopped to ask her a couple of questions. I couldn’t see what he was asking her, but she took her time, answering him gently, kindly. When he seemed satisfied, he reached up to touch the rock while his lips moved quickly. He was making his wish, and it seemed like the most important thing in the world to him.

Now, please don’t get into a theological discussion on wishing with me. I don’t believe in wishes, but I do believe in hope. Today, Patricia Polacco gave 300 kids a moment of hope.

And that is priceless.

Yeah, but I Don't Have Eight Kids!

I distinctly remember the day the ground shifted beneath me.

It was last Christmas. My family was visiting from Texas and Arizona. One evening, out of the blue, my nieces, whom I (used to) adore, subtly asked me, “Aunt Shelly, have you ever seen the show ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’?”

“Oh, I think I’ve seen a part of one show one time.” And it was true—I had seen it once when my girls were watching, and I distinctly remember thinking ‘that woman is SOOOO obnoxious.’

“Why?” I asked.

“We think the mom on that show reminds us of you.”

Wait. Did anyone else feel that? The ground beneath us? It just shifted.

“What?! That woman is obnoxious! I’m not like her. Am I?”

So I asked my girls, who also count among the cult following that the show currently has. “Girls, I don’t remind you of Kate, do I?”

“Actually, Mom, you do.”

Then, last May, while walking across a street in Washington D.C. with my sister. . . I’ll never forget it, standing on the corner of M and Wisconsin . . . leaned over and said, “Hey, Shell, have you ever seen that show ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8?’”

“Yes, and I know what’s coming. I remind you of her. Kate, right?”

“Yeah! Every time we watch that show, we say, ‘She reminds us of Shelly!’”


So, of course, I set out to figure out this . . . paradigm shift . . . and I started to watch. Just a peek here and there, always wondering, ‘what is it about HER that reminds them about ME?’

Pretty soon I wasn’t peeking. I was sitting in the family room with my daughters, laughing at the funny antics of a very large family with very young children and two parents just trying to cope.

“Girls, really, tell me, what is it about her that reminds everyone of me?”

“We don’t know, Mom. Maybe it’s her hair.”

Her hair?! My hair looks nothing like her hair.

“Girls,” I chime in, “it can’t be her hair. My hair isn’t that short, and it isn’t that blonde. There must be something else.”

“We don’t know, Mom. It’s just something about her.”

And then, Abby, drops the bomb. “She’s just intense, Mom. Like you.”

Me?! Intense?! When?! Really, I mean it. When?!

So I’ve been watching the show for a few months now, trying to figure out what about Kate reminds everyone of me, and I’ve decided a couple of things about all of this.

First, I guess I am intense. I’m a down-to-business, no-nonsense, I-want-answers-and-I-want-them-NOW kind of person. Heck, I’ve been known to yell at toll booth collectors, much to my shame.

But then, my intensity can be a good thing, too. I have great kids, somewhat attributed to the fact, I think, that whenever they would throw temper tantrums when they were little, my attitude was, “I’m WAY more stubborn than you are, honey, so tantrum all you want. You’re not getting your way.”

One thing I’ve noticed about Kate, with all her idiosyncrasies, is that she intensely loves every single one of her eight children. She knows their strengths and how to use them. She knows their weaknesses and how to work with them. She really knows and loves those kids.

I hope that’s one thing my family knows about me—that I, too, intensely love every one of them (nieces included).

The second thing I’ve decided is that just because I remind people of someone, I am not that someone. I might be worse than her in a lot of ways. I might be better. Sure, we may share a lot (and there might be a lot) of the same mannerisms, but we’re still individuals. I don’t need to worry so much about her making me look bad. I don’t even know her!

I guess there’s a third thing I’ve decided. Even though Kate can be obnoxious, she’s my new hero because in tonight’s episode she admitted that she, just like me, hates camping. But she was a trooper and gave it a try (in the back yard, of course) for the kids.

So there’s a fourth thing: she’s a much better mom than I am.

Monday, September 8, 2008

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a . . .

I’m usually a very good cook—whatever I set out to make usually turns out pretty yummy.

(O.K., let’s not talk about the ribs I absolutely scorched on the grill when B and I were first married. So bad were they that our guests couldn’t even eat them. I’ve since learned how to cook ribs and made a most successful batch just a couple of weeks ago.)

I can bake. I can braise. I can even butterfly.

But there’s one area of my cooking that has been sorely lacking. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to make a good pie.

I’m an optimist though, and so, about once a year, usually around blueberry or peach season, I attempt to make a pie. From scratch.

I’m not talking pumpkin and pecan pies at Thanksgiving time—just-roll-out-the-Pillsbury-pie-crust-dump-in-the-filling-and-you’re-done kind of pie. I can do that. Heck, anybody can do that.

No, I’m talking a fruit pie made with homemade crust. Something always goes wrong, and that something is usually that my pie is either underdone and soggy, or (and this is more often the case) it’s runny. Basically fruit and juice. When you cut into my pie you get pie juice everywhere and then the top caves in and the whole thing is a mess. Yuck.

I’ve never been able to make one of those mile-high, tender-on-the-inside-crisp-on-the-outside kind of pies.

Until two weeks ago.

It’s peach season here in Illinois. Well, to be more accurate, it’s peach season in Michigan and our local Saturday morning market was filled with delicious peaches. So, optimistic me, I bought two boxes of peaches thinking I would try to make a pie.

I started with Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe. I love Ina. Everything she makes turns out wonderfully, and aesthetically beautiful, so her pie crust surely must be good.

Then I just googled “Peach Pie” and looked for a recipe for filling that seemed reasonable. I took the first one on the list.

That night, when the time came to have dessert, I was a little nervous. Even B admitted that I was “pie challenged.” Nice, huh? The sad thing is, he’s right. I’d never win a pie-baking contest, that’s for sure.

I think it’s God’s way of keeping me humble.

So, with great trepidation, I cut into the pie and, miracle of miracles, it did not run. Anywhere. It held together! And the crust was actually crisp on the outside and tender in the middle. Oh, heavenly pie-bliss.

I wanted to run outside and shout it in the streets, but I didn’t because that would be even more embarrassing than runny pie or charred ribs.

Instead, I’ll just show you a picture of what I made. And, yes, it did taste as good as it looked.

So, today, feeling my wild oats, I thought I’d try it again. I guess I wanted to see if lightning does indeed strike in the same place twice.

I’m here to tell you, it does not.

Here’s a picture of what I did today. Burned because I forgot to turn down the oven after the first 15 minutes.

I’m not ashamed to say I’m sad. (And duly humbled, God.)

But I’m not a quitter, and I will try again. And again. And again. Until I get it right. (Sorry, B!)

Because I love pie.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Check this out--it's amazing!

You have to check out Robin's post over the weekend about the conventions. I agree with her that this is Politicool!!

And, as the usually proud mama of a totally cool kid, Ihave to point you, once again to my daughter's blog. Not because it's so great (it is) but because she does a much better job than I ever could of describing why we love living where we live. Blog on, Kate!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Would you go back?

I went back to high school this week.

Just for a night—don’t get excited. I wouldn’t go back to high school no matter how much you offered to pay me.

B and I attended curriculum night this week. The biggest social event of the year here in town, after the “Cream”—a 5K run to benefit our local petting zoo (and, no, I’m REALLY not kidding!). All of the parents of high schoolers get dressed up and hit the hallways.

This year was kind of different because B and I had to split up. One of us became a junior for the night, and one of us became a freshman. B chose to be a junior because he wanted to go to AP Microeconomics. Geek.

So, for an evening this week, I got to be a freshman. No . . . better than that . . . I got to be the PARENT of a freshman.

I got to see a Smart Board in geometry class. For those of you who don’t know, a Smart Board is a big board in the front of the room that can be used to project the teacher’s computer on the screen. The cool thing about it, though, is that it’s interactive. The teacher only has to touch the screen and it does what she wants it to do. Truly amazing technology.

I also got to hear from the principal about the many activities that my kids can be involved in at school this year. And about how chaperones will be closely monitoring the Homecoming dance this year to make sure everyone dances “appropriately.” Yeah, right.

And best of all I got to hear about how to access my daughter’s grade online. Cool!

She, of course, doesn’t think that’s cool at all.

My favorite part of curriculum night, though, was observing the other parents. We saw nerdy parents, “cool” parents, parents holding hands in the hallway, parents who sat in the front row, and parents who sat in the back row. One parent was working on his Blackberry while the science teacher was giving her presentation (O.K., he is a doctor, but come on!).

Everyone had obviously given careful thought to their attire for the evening. Some moms wore skirts; some dads wore khakis. Other parents went with the more “casual” approach to the evening, donning jeans and sweaters. No matter what they wore, everyone had their own “look.” Just like high school.

B and I had a great time guessing what each parent’s kid was like. There’s the dad with the pocket protector—parent of the science geek, of course. The quiet dad wearing the baseball cap . . . parent of the basketball star. The over-tanned, over-dyed, over-processed mom with the skin-tight jeans and too-tight top was the parent of . . . well, she just wishes she were still in high school.

As for me, I’ll keep adulthood, thank-you-very-much. One time around in high school was enough for me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Today's the Day

People always say they love living in the Midwest because we get four seasons.

Lucky us.

Three of the seasons we have here are delightful. One, which shall remain nameless (cough, cough, winter, cough, cough), is absolutely dreadful. I hate it with a passion which will make itself known the longer you read these pages.

Every year, right around this time of year, the weather decides to change. In a day. It goes from fun, sunny, hot Summer to cool, crisp, wonderful Fall. All in one day.

And today's the day.

When I got back from my walk with Thunder the Wonder Dog this morning, here's what I saw in my back yard.

And it's suddenly much cooler than the 97 degrees we had yesterday.

Hello, Fall!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who, Moi?

Oh, the bloggy world. One I'm not completely familiar with, yet one I press through. It's difficult, at times. Like climbing a mountain or tackling that never-ending pile of ironing. I've wanted to give up, but, as my sister reminded me yesterday, I'm doing this for ME.

And mostly it's been fun.

Like the time a couple of weeks ago when, quite unexpectedly, Robin at PENSIEVE dropped this little goody into my lap. What a sweetheart.

She likes me. She really likes me!

I'll try to live up to this award and press on . . . till next week when I have my next crisis of conviction and threaten to quit. AARGH!!

Anyway, I'm supposed to share the love, so I'll pass on this award to a few bloggers I read regularly (whether they know it or not).

1. Kate at Effervescent Teenage Something (O.K. She's my daughter. Is that bad??)

2. Lysa TerKeurst just 'cause she's cool.

3. Jen at Conversion Diary (formerly "Et Tu?") because she makes me think.

4. Big Mama because she makes me laugh. Hard.

5. Kelly at Love Well because I think she has the best title.

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Labor" Day

In honor of Labor Day and in honor of my friend, Tammy, who will be having her first baby any minute now, I'm going to play a game. Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer introduced this meme in which we can talk about any mom's favorite subject . . . her labor!

How long were your labors?

Kid #1 - 12 hours
Kid #2 - 4 hours
Kid #3 - 30 hours

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1 - water breaking in the middle of the night
Kid #2 - membranes stripped in the doctor's office - I was in labor by the time I got home.
Kid #3 - I don't remember--I had two other kids.

Where did you deliver?

At a hospital, where the sane (and scared) people go.


Oh my yes! I was telling the woman in the ER who was checking me in, "I want you to know that I want an epidural." And then the girl who wheeled me to the labor/delivery wing. And then every nurse who came into my room. "I want you to know that I want an epidural!" My husband was mortified.


Not a one.

Who delivered?

Kid #1 - The most gorgeous, dark-haired, blue-eyed doctor in the very large practice I went to. Kid #1 was three weeks early, and I had not had a chance to meet him yet. I was slightly mortified when he walked into the room and said, "Hi. I'm Dr. X and it looks like I'll be doing your delivery today." All I remember is those beautiful blue eyes looking at me over the sheet.

Kid #2 - Dr. X's (see above) father. I ruined his new pair of shoes.

Kid #3 - My favorite doctor in the world--Dr. A. I had changed practices by now (too embarrassed to see Dr. X again) and found this amazing G.P. Unfortunately, Kid #3 was breech, so Dr. A. was not going to be able to deliver her (they thought I might have to have a c-section). He arranged for a surgeon who was able to perform a successful external cephalic version with about 10 of my closest friends in the room--a few new EMTs who had never seen such a thing before. So I went back to Dr. A--hooray! And many, MANY hours later (and lots of fainting and throwing up) she was born. Sometime around hour 24, my husband leaned over to me and whispered, "I don't think you can do this again." I just about kissed him.

Interesting side note: All three of my girls were born on a Tuesday. I think there's something significant there.