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Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010


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Yummy Yummy Goodness

October 20, 2007

If I needed a cure for my cleaning obsession, this was it.

Because, let me tell you, there was nothing that could be called “cleaned up” about my kitchen yesterday.
My cousin Tiffany and bestest friend Bethany came out Thursday night with the intention of filling our freezer with a bunch of scrumptious meals for after the baby is born… so we did.
After staying up, um, quite late on Thursday night–which was certainly not part of the plan, but couldn’t be helped, now, with three girls needing some girlie talking time, could it?–we started out the day on Friday appropriately.
With a nice McDonald’s breakfast, of course.

Then we got to work. A few hours later, that is.

A little after NOON, :cough:, we headed out to the grocery store, filling the cart with all sorts of goodness and tiring Troy out completely by the time we got home–perfect, because we needed his nap time to get started with our culinary endeavors.

Then we donned our aprons and WENT TO TOWN, peeps.

The whole shebang started out making two pans of enchiladas.

While we waited for the whole chicken to cook so we could use the chicken meat, save the broth and use the pan for the lasagna noodles…

We worked really, really hard on the uh, sweet stuff.

Lots and LOTS of sweet stuff.

Because what are good meals without a little dessert to finish them off?

We had to, of course, make two pans of each sweet thing, because we weren’t going to fool ourselves. If we only made one, none would end up in the freezer. That’s just the fact of the matter, peeps.

Never fear, though, me hearties… we did go back to regular food once the chicken was done cooking and we’d strained and saved the broth.

These chicken pot pies are the bestest. So we made two.

And then… we got kinda tired of taking pictures every two minutes, so we just cooked…. leaving out pictures of the lasagna. Many apologies. Because that one dish is probably the best one of any we made.

What with the loads and oodles of cheese, cheese and a little more cheese on every layer.

It makes my mouth water just thinking about it… ahh, remembering the first time I had this delectable treat at John’s home a few days after he proposed to me. I was glad I was marrying into such a family that night.

I’m tempted to bake one of those pans (we made two–shocking, isn’t it??) tonight. But I won’t.

After the lasagna, I started to make the sauce for, of course, TWO dishes of baked spaghetti. But I was a little tired.

Thus explaining the double amount of water put in the sauce.

Poor little Troy had come down with the cold I had last week, and we all had some aching feet from being ON them all day, so we just followed his example… cleaned up and decided to call it a night.

Then we sat in the living room and did what the three of us do best…
(besides making lots of food to clog the arteries and cause gall bladder surgeries. Ahem.)

I won’t tell you exactly what we were looking at, but just know that this wasn’t posed. I doubt if you even entertained the notion that it was, though.

And, for the record–and because I just realized with glee that in the above computer-y picture I could pass for not being pregnant–I hope this is the last of these that will be taken for a Very Long Time:

Any day now, peeps…. any day.

Today would be nice.

Anyway, here’s the list of the damage done:

  • Two pans beef, cheese and rice enchiladas
  • Two chicken pot pies
  • Two pans of the quite famous “John’s Mom’s Lasagna”
  • Fourteen cups chicken broth, stored and frozen in 2-cup “portions”
  • Two pans chocolaty fudge (a third of one pan has somehow disappeared, leaving us all quite baffled)
  • Two pans of “Grandma Lee’s Reese’s Pieces” (almost HALF of one of those pans is nowhere to be found–we are about ready to call the authorities on this one.)

And the two things we didn’t get to last night, but I’ll do myself in the next couple days:

  • Two casserole dishes of baked spaghetti, with the correct amount of water in the sauce
  • A batch of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough to be frozen in uncooked balls, ready to pop a couple in the oven as needed, for company and such. (Provided a certain man doesn’t eat them all raw… not that he’s ever been known to do such thing. Never. Ever.)

I think that between this and the meals the sweet ladies from church are planning to bring after the baby comes, we’ll be good to go. A few pounds heavier, perhaps, but VERY good to go. Thanks a bunch, my Tiffy and sissy!

Shhh… You just might disturb the quiet

October 18, 2007

It is completely quiet here.

Not a bit of noise.

Okay, well, a bird is chirping outside… but that’s it.

And guess what? I’m alone!

My sweet friend Rebeca is keeping Troy for a couple hours… we have a little system worked out in which I keep her son one afternoon a week and she keeps mine for a different morning.

Last time, I went to Starbucks for a couple hours–alone!–and read my Bible, wrote in my journal and read a book to my heart’s content.

But, today–ah! today!–I just ran happily along back home, where it is nice and restful and peaceful–and, um, clean, ahem. I have almost two whole hours to sit in the quiet and work on a little project I’ve been meaning to get done.

(This project is NOT of the cleaning sort. Don’t worry. It’s more along the lines of a Christmas gift for a person who shall remain unnamed because they do check this page from time to time. But no cleaning today. Maybe the ironing. But no cleaning.)

So I’m typing in a whisper and just enjoying this rare occasion of complete serenity.

Ah, the bliss.

And then hits reality:

Just after typing this up… a car drove by, honked its horn, thus prompting me to look out the window… just in time to see one of our poor doggies scared out of his wits by a sprinkler suddenly turning on. I looked around and noticed that the entire sprinkler system in the backyard had just activated, on full blast, and was quickly turning the yard into one massive lake.

The sprinklers are set to turn on during the middle of the night, not the middle of the day.

I ran outside–which instantly drenched me–tried to turn them off, called John, made a joint over-the-phone effort to figure out what had happened. But to no avail. The emergency shut-off switch seemed to be having its own emergency. It wasn’t working.

By the time we figured out that there was nothing LEFT to figure out, it was past time for me to pick up Troy from my friends’ house. I had to simply leave the lake to continue filling–and the dogs to continue looking pitiful in the sudden “rain storm”–throw on some dry clothes and hurry to go get my toddler. Thankfully it was almost John’s lunch break, so he could drive the half hour home to make another attempt at getting the geyser to stop geys-ing… eventually having to manually turn off the valve because nothing else was working.

And THAT, dear peeps, was my nice, relaxing, serene and oh-so-quiet hour and a half.

And so she decides to throw perfectionism and impatience out the window in one swoop

October 17, 2007

I tend to frequently eat my words.

I say things like, “I’m never again going to make negative comments about the way I look and thus frustrate my family–who are all sick of hearing it–yet again.”

Or, “There is no way I’m going to be so ridiculously impatient again during the last few weeks of THIS pregnancy.”

Or, “I’m not going to constantly expect myself to be perfect, starting TODAY.”

None of those are true statements. And yet I seem to say–or at least think–them often.

I don’t know why I think I can fool myself. But I do–all the time.

Shake your head and smile. I know, I know.

But today, I think I’ve just about completely worn out the perfectionist in me. Which–considering how often I mention it, you should know–is really saying something.

You would think that, having been pretty icky sickie since last Thursday, my life would look something like this: sick, not sleeping, nine months pregnant, caring for the toddler as best as I can, getting through each day by watching movies, reading lots of Little Golden Books, playing with sit-down toys and counting the hours till John gets home.

And then, today, the day I’m finally really feeling better (never mind the way I sound, though, due to the past couple days of hacking up a lung), I’d spend it cleaning up, getting the house back in order and life back on track.

That would make sense and seem logical.

But instead, I was sick, not sleeping, nine months preggie, caring for the toddler, etc. etc. etc., but I was also paranoid. Certain that at any time I’d go into labor and had to have everything in order and ready to go. Because, goodness gracious, I’d hate to have anyone come to my house the day I get home with the new baby and think that I’d been doing nothing the past few days. Or that, you know, I’d been SICK.

(Insert statements about not being a people-pleaser here.)

So not only have I been trying to get over a cold, but I’ve been running my little Dirt Devil vacuum/sweeper at least three times a day, mopping at least once, dusting every day (we have hardly any dust here–and on top of that, it’s been raining, thus, even less dust), cleaning the bathrooms (twice–since Thursday. And I’m fighting the urge not to do them again today. There are three bathrooms in our house. And only three of us…), doing laundry compulsively and not going to bed unless e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. is in order–ship shape and ready to go. Company-ready at any given moment.

And that brings us to today. All the hacking and wheezing and trying to breathe sent me to the doctor’s office this morning (something I haven’t done for a cold since… I don’t even remember… I was probably two years old or something) and was simply reassured that I don’t have a sinus infection, bronchitis, or an ear infection, but seem to have just a regular ol’ virus combined with seasonal allergies, both of which can hit twice as hard when pregnant. Double whammie. Fun, fun.

I am, in fact, feeling quite a bit better today… except for the fact that I’m completely exhausted from the past few days of ridiculousness. And when I look ahead and realize that there could very well still be another two or three weeks of this waiting (not likely, but possible), it wears me out even more.

I mean, who wants to live in an obsessively-cleaned spotless house for a month? When you’re the one doing the obsessive cleaning?

So right now, I’m sitting on the couch with the lap top (which, of course, is not sitting in my lap, being that, ahem, I don’t have one anymore) and enjoying Troy’s scattered toys…. not planning on cleaning them up as soon as I hop up from this position.

I kinda feel like making a mess and just leaving it for a little while. Because, um, we do LIVE here.

And, guess what? I have a medium sized pile of ironing sitting atop my washer right now from yesterday’s laundry, it’s after 4pm today, and I haven’t even set up my ironing board yet.

I’m telling myself it’ll be okay. Or, rather, the burning of my tired eyes is telling me it’ll be okay.

I’m also telling The Perfectionist In My Head to just sit back and CHILL OUT.

Further proof that a perfectionist can follow a pattern.

October 16, 2007

I’ve not been such a great posty-person the past few days, I know. And I’m afraid that my quietness will be attributed to the arrival of a particular little bebe, which, I may assure you, has certainly not happened yet.

It’s just that I’ve been so busy, what with, you know, all the waiting around.

Actually, I have been quite busy hacking and wheezing and trying to breathe since Thursday. You’d think that by Tuesday, I’d be on the upswing, wouldn’t you? Not the case. This morning I woke up feeling just as sick as I did the first bad day of this here cold.

I’m just hoping now that this baby decides to wait until the cold is all over, because I kinda don’t think that not being able to BREATHE and being in LABOR would go too good together. Maybe I’m wrong, but…

So while I’ve been busy convalescing (and going to a midwife visit, and having lunch at my friend’s house, and chasing a toddler, and keeping Troy’s hands washed and comparatively germ-free, and convincing John to drink Airborne, and praying they don’t get sick, and watching hours on end of Road to Avonlea, and, you know, Getting Locked Out of the House) I’ve been finishing my latest non-creative project.

There is a grey kitty, a black and brown doggie and two brothers–kinda like a certain little family we happen to know–little hand puppet mittens, now to be hidden away until Christmas for a certain little man.

Not that, of course, he hasn’t seen them worked on this entire time, and even tried them on his hand already…. but I’m banking on that short memory of his.
I feel I must point out to you, though, that I did, gasp!, switch the colors on the two boys so they don’t look exactly the same. I also changed the cat and dog colors completely, to match Troy’s real kitty and doggie. I deviated from the pattern! Shocking, I know. But I’m not fully convinced the second one turned out so well with the switched colors…. I think all that red makes him look like a Christmas elf.
Oh well.
And, truly, I am joking just slightly when I say that I NEVER take liberty with a pattern. I do. Sometimes. I even made a pinafore to go over my prairie dress when I was eleven–completely pattern-free. I’m still proud of that one. I wear it over my church dresses just to show it off.
Or not.
But, the thing is that I know I can do So Much More if I have a good pattern… which is why I don’t scrapbook. It scares me to death to have all those blank pieces of paper and pictures and ribbons and buttons and stickers and be told to do whatever I want with them. I break out in a sweat every time.
But, look, when I was twelve and had time for such things, I made this dress, WITH A PATTERN:
Now, just never mind the glasses, the curled-hair-in-the-face attempt at an Edwardian hair style–with bangs–or the half-smile that is meant to evoke a sense of sweetness, modesty and propriety, but instead looks pained. Remember, I was twelve. An age when all things should be forgiven in advance.
But, look, the dress! I made the dress! And wore it to my friend’s girls-only “Jane Austen Ball.” During which we had dance cards! And talked with, ahem, “English” accents! And danced with our very own dances modeled after that which we’d seen in our favorite Jane Austen movies, to sounds tracks from those very same movies! And played lady-like old-fashioned games! And played the piano and sang for each other! And admired each other’s dresses!
Oh, sorry. The dress was the point. Not the occasion.
So, we all know I’m not creative and could never be Little Miss Whip-Out-A-Wedding-Gown-By-Looking-At-A-Picture (like some talented peeps I know), but, hey, I can follow a pattern and make my little guy a Christmas present…. and alleviate the waiting-for-baby-while-warding-off-a-cold boredom while I’m at it.
Anyway… ramblings are over now. Back to the business of trying to breathe. Catch ya later, peeps.

And the adventure continues…

October 13, 2007

Sometimes, I think that if our days around here can be this eventful now, with one 18 month old boy, WHAT IS TO COME???

Maybe you all shouldn’t answer that question. My heart may not be able to handle it.

What, ask you, am I referring to?

Yesterday, peeps.

The morning began as most Friday mornings around here…the only difference of yesterday was that I’d come down with a cold the day before and had slept nary a wink the night before. I woke up to find my amniotic fluid leaking and the contractions that have come and gone with more regularity the past week continuing, a bit more definite. We’re in the “any time now” mode, but I wasn’t too worried at this point. With Troy, my water leaked for three days before it broke, and the contractions haven’t felt too “real” yet.

Troy and I had a whole list of errands to run, some shopping for labor supplies in there as well, so I figured we’d leave early and get them done and over with. Because, you know, I knew I’d be worn out in the afternoon, and was already looking forward to nap time.

We had a Mommy and Troysie breakfast date first, then hit Target, the little kids’ barber shop, Trader Joes, with a few little stops in between.

While I was unloading groceries at home, my next door neighbor–the only neighbor we really know and have a relationship with–pulled out of her driveway and we stopped to chat for a few minutes about them checking on our dog when the baby’s born. Then she drove away. Remember that, ‘kay? She was gone now.

I went inside and starting unloading the grocery bags while Troy played with his toys in the living room. The empty paper bags were all over the floor, toys strewn about and some full Target bags sitting in a pile.

I went out back to put a few things in the garbage can, leaving the sliding door open a few inches. On my way back in, I stooped over to pick up the dog’s water dish to fill…

And heard the door slide closed. And heard a click.

My heart stopped.

There was Troy, grinning at me from inside the door he had just closed and locked.

I pulled on the door, just in case. Please, Lord? It wouldn’t budge.

Trying not to panic, I went around to the front door, thinking that maybe since I’d just been unloading groceries, I’d left it unlocked.


Then I went ahead and started to panic.

I went back around to the slider door, only to peer in and find Troy standing on a kitchen table chair, dancing around. I called through the glass to “get down.” He smiled a wide smile at me and repeated, “Det doon! Det Doon!” Then he waved and sweetly called out, “Hiii!”

Once he was on the floor again, I ran next door, thinking that just maybe there would be someone home at our neighbors’.


I ran back to the back yard to check on Troy again. I didn’t see him. The sense that did kick in was my sense of smell as I looked down and saw that my brown flats had apparently landed in a fresh pile of dog poop. Ahem.

Troy appeared from around the corner. I cleaned off my shoe the best I could and saw that he was sitting on the floor playing with his See n’ Say.

This little man has just recently figured out how to turn on light switches, because he’s just barely tall enough to push them up. But he’s not tall enough to turn them back off. The back door lock is, SIGH, very similar to a light switch. I kept trying to coax him to open the door, tapping on the door and saying, “Open it, Troy… open the door.”

All this accomplished was to encourage him to bang on the door back at me and say, “Mama? Out’ide? Mama? Out’ide?”

I ran back to the front and went to the next door over. No answer. The next door. No answer.

NINE doors later and multiple trips into the back yard to check on Troy, a door finally opened.

I didn’t know what exactly the purpose of the hanging flowers above the front door were at that house, though it made a little more sense when the young woman who opened the door turned out to clearly be a devout Hindu…. who barely spoke English.

I asked if I could use her phone to call my husband… feeling a mixture of panic and ridiculousness as I explained that my toddler had locked me out of the house. She sweetly lent me her phone and I called John–whom I knew to be in the middle of some things he really couldn’t get out of that day and at least thirty minutes away from home. He suggested seeing if I’d locked the truck and could perhaps open the garage, and that MAYBE the garage-to-house door would be unlocked, too.

My Hindu neighbor assured me that I could use her phone again if this plan didn’t work, and I ran back across the street. The truck was unlocked…. the garage-to-house door wasn’t.

I checked on Troy again–by this time it was nearing forty minutes he’d been alone in the house. It is a very odd feeling looking inside one’s house through a window, seeing your child in there, and having no way of getting inside. Once again I couldn’t see him. I could hear his little voice through an open upstairs window. Then I saw, through the banister railing, his little blonde head, sitting half way up the stairs. He was crying pitifully. “Mama. Mama?? Mama? Out’ide? Mama?”

I was close to tears myself.

On my way running back to my neighbor’s house I realized that in my running back and forth, I’d done something again to the foot I’d hurt two weeks before. Now I was hobble-running with a big ol’ belly back and forth across the street. I’m sure to anyone watching from their own window, it was quite the comical sight. To me… not so much.

I called John again. He said he was on his way home, but that it would be close to a half hour before he was even here. He said I might have to call the fire department.

Oh, YES. That was JUST what I wanted. The fire department to show up at my house, arousing the curiosity of our whole little community (though it might seem me and my Hindu neighbor were the only ones HOME on this Friday afternoon) and tell them my toddler had locked me out of my house. I’m a fireman’s daughter. To me, this sounded as absurd as calling them to get a cat out of a tree.

I decided to run–er, uh, to hobble-run-limp–back to check on Troy again before calling 911. Ahem. I thought maybe I could think of some new brilliant idea in the meantime.

He was still crying on the stairs. I banged on the window to get his attention, finally convincing him to come downstairs and over to the door. I tapped on the door again, asking him to pleeeeease, Troy-Troy, open the door! See this switch? Pull it down!!

Suddenly he seemed to get the idea. He was pulling on the handle, then saw the lock. He started pulling… and pulled it down–then pushed it right back up again.

I thought I was going to die.

I applauded and praised. Try again!

This time I was also pulling on the door from my side. He pushed up… the door slid open.

A sigh of relief would be a HUGE understatement.

I scooped up Troy, called John to tell him all was well…

…and decided it was just. about. nap. time.

John decided it might be a good idea to have a hide-a-key somewhere on our property. I think I agree.

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