Sunday, November 30, 2008

It all began with a segment on NPR

Almost 13 years ago, I was chatting with my boss about a document I needed to write regarding the latest system requirements. He, as always, had NPR softly playing in the background.

I'll admit I was pretty good at drowning out the dribble but then a segment began that captured my attention.

"Is your food hurting you?"

I paused and started to listen. I was suffering from IBS and woke up every morning tired and spent the entire day tired. I thought I might be depressed or maybe I hated my job. I never thought about my food.

The segment featured an relatively obscure doctor named Andrew Weil who believed the food we ate could affect every part of our body. He went on to claim eating the right food can actually 'fix' us. Suffering from IBS, I was desperate for any real fix. Taking 5 or 6 Tums was losing its effect.

Both my boss and I stopped what we were doing and listened to every word.

He proclaimed the hazards of partially hydrogenated oil, the danger of fake sugars and the need to stick with organic produce and eat more fish. 

I bought his book the next day. And I encouraged my now husband (then boyfriend) to read the book with me.

It was a plan to wellness. He suggested to take out every item in my kitchen with partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup and fake sugars. I pretty much emptied my kitchen. So we went to the grocery store and after finding almost nothing we could eat, I made my very first visit to my favorite store in the world, Whole Foods. I decided to try shopping there a few times and then go back to my other stores. This did not happen obviously ;)

The more I read the book, the more changes I made (all organic dairy products and meat, lots of fish, eating only food that was food 100 years ago, etc.--and then something happened. I was waking up with energy. I had the will and excitement to hit the gym. My stomach pains from IBS were disappearing. I began spending my lunches in the corporate gym and tacking my day with joy. I was not tired. And I felt great.

When I became pregnant, my zeal for the healthy life continued even though I could keep little down and some of the bad foods snuck by.

And then I vowed to make this diet a lifestyle for my children. No partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, fake sugar, fake flavors or even fake colors. I will admit this could be hard and we did bend on things like play group and snacks at other peoples' homes but for the most part I made sure the kids had 6-9 servings of organic fruit and veggies daily. And of course, no fast food ;)

Then we got thrown for a loop and I was pregnant with #4. The timing could not have been worse. We were strapped for cash already as Mike was just starting as a real estate agent. We had independent health care which by state law did not include maternity. We had to look for ways to save money.

So I did something I had not done in over 12 years. I shopped at a bulk grocery store and bought the cheaper alternatives to our diet. I bought lots of their fruit and veggies albeit not organic and was pleased we saved so much money.

Within two days of our new diet, my kids started getting more whiney than usual. They got angry quicker, they tended to sleep in and not jump to the table ready to start the day. They started getting acne (even the two year old) and they all experienced something they had never experienced in their lives--they were constipated ( I would love to share this story with you but my daughters would kill me--I'll just say they came to me worried their 'butts were broken') and had stomach pains. My oldest thought something was wrong with her brain--she had her first head ache.

Just from changing diet and nothing else, my kids were no longer the bright eyed, happy kids they once were. They were a mess :(

We bit the bullet. We went back to Whole Foods and never looked back. We were back to happy, awake vibrant folks who had no issues in the potty or even stomach pain.

So you'd think with all our healthy eating I would be that mom with the perfect body. Sigh--no, I need to lose 15 pounds. Healthy and organic still has calories. I can gush about how chemical free the panetone bread is all day but still has like 10 grams of fat per slice--all natural fat but still fat. And then there is bacon. I love bacon. I like veggies with bacon, fish with bacon and bacon on its own. But even my organic, free range bacon is still bacon.

I want to lose the weight. I want to look good again. I want to to be that skinny role model for my kids. I am joining this :

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Thanks Elaine for sharing this group with me. I cannot wait to be one of the hottest fittest moms in DFW!

Anybody care to join me?

Friday, November 28, 2008

How to Stay in Mommy and Daddy's Bed (a guide for toddlers)

Shhhhhh...mommy is off talking with daddy trying to figure out a Christmas clothing budget. Mommy wants more and daddy wants less. Mommy is wearing her cute shirt and pants so I know mommy is going to win very soon. This means I only have a few minutes to explain how you can stay with mommy and daddy all night.

Rule 1:
Your parents bring home the bed you picked out. Don't upset them. Spend naptime in there. Put animals in the bed. Roll in the covers. Let them know the money on a bed that looks like a car was well spent.

Rule 2:
Regarding naps. Yeah, they are a pain. You miss stuff going on in the house. You have to stop your cool game with your Little People, babies and your cars. But here me out--you need that nap so you can be alert when it comes to bedtime. And be sure you take that nap in the new bed--it's not so bad and beside why sleep in mommy and daddy's bed when they aren't there?!

Rule 3:
At bedtime, it is time to pull out all the stops. Do they like giggles? Give them a giggle feast! Kisses? Cover both of them with kisses and hugs--this is especially good if they are not next to each other--can you run back and forth (giggling) giving them kisses and hugs (aren't ya glad you took that nap now?). If they are the type of mommy and daddy that want a super smart kid, start pulling out books and pretend to read--say out loud something in the picture and they will be so busy gushing about their little Einstein, they won't notice it is bedtime.

Rule 4:
This one is big--do not and repeat do not cry. Ever. Crying wears you out and only gets mommy and daddy upset. You want them to want to be with you--not force it on them.

Rule 5:
If you see one of your parents yawn, kiss them and say night night. Then toddle (swish your butt for the cute factor) and climb in mommy and daddy's bed like you own it. Don't act like it is something special. Act like this is normal. Hopefully it is late enough they won't notice.

Rule 6:
When they approach you in bed, pull the covers up to your chin and smile--really really smile and then say 'I wuv you' even if you can say 'I love you' clearer than your oldest sister, say it with the slur. This will make mommy and daddy melt and figure--hey it's only one night. Let the baby stay with us.

Rule 7:
If mom and dad are still determined, go back to the giggling and kissing. If they try to lift you out of the bed, grab a pillow and say a very soft but firm 'NO' adding 'I wuv you' and don't forget to smile :)

Gotta go, mommy is coming back with a smile. Looks like I will soon be up to my neck in argyle!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


If you are reading this, odds are good you have both a computer and internet access--therefore electricity and a home. You are in better shape than 95% of the world.

You have much to be thankful for. We all have so much to be thankful for.

I don't know why the attached clip (actually the song) always makes me feel so grateful. It is truly one of my favorite songs of all time. I hope you have a few moments to listen. I pray the song will touch your heart and fill you with a true feeling of Thanksgiving.

And when the bird burns, your mother makes a comment about the house, or your kids are fighting--take a deep breath and give thanks. You have food, you have a home and your mother is here, you have been blessed with children.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the
Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday Tune--Are You Havin' Any Fun?

I am going to try to post a tune each Tuesday to hopefully bring a spring to your step and get you flying over hump day Wednesday.

Click play and I will tell you about my first choice.

Sarah loves this song. She loves to answer the questions--especially if mommy or daddy ask her.
It goes like this:

Mommy: Are you having any fun?

Sarah: No, I never have fun. (giggle)

Mommy: Are you having any laughs?

Sarah: No, everything is sad. (giggle)

Mommy: Are you gettin' any lovin' ?

Sarah: No, I never get love. (giggle)

Mommy: What ya getting for your living?

Sarah: Chili! (full blown laughter)

Oh and she usually looks like this:

The girl could live off chili ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

That Fine Line Between Sanity and Insanity

Looking at the blogs with pictures of snow is making me homesick.  I grew up with the perfect White Christmas living in a wooded area of Northeast Ohio. I loved the snow, the cold and the whole fairy tale feel of driving under tunnels of snow covered branches.

But I hated the black snow that seemed to plague the Cleveland area from January to April so I moved to Texas. And I enjoy my warm weather except at Christmas.

All four kids see the snow on TV, the pics on the blogs and beg to see snow, to go to Ohio for Christmas. I have to admit it would be fun. I'd love to go to Ohio; however, 6 plane tickets from Dallas to Cleveland plus a rental van is not in the cards for us (please don't feel bad here--we chose to spend money on groceries ;) ). So the only real option is driving.

Driving 18 hours (at least) with four children 10 and under. 18 hours. I'm betting this prospect would send a shiver down Super Nanny's spine.

The kids have promised they would be good; they would not fight. I know they will make a great attempt but I also know them. We are lucky to get out of the driveway without a fight.

But I want to go to Ohio to see my family too. So I want to believe it would be fun. An easy trip. We could stop by Graceland for a day and night to see the lights and pay tribute to the king. We could visit the Corvette museum in Kentucky. Dino loves cars. We could hang out at Ohio State in Columbus and run around German Village (1 pound cream puffs from Schmidt's anyone?).

And my kids would get to see Grandma and Grandpa, along with their cousins and their aunt and uncle. We don't have much family near us. Family is important, right?

But so is my sanity. 18 hours is a very long time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All That Matters--THE GAME

So what if my school, Ohio State,  lost twice this year--one in horrific unhappy valley?

Today we face the enemy, Michigan. I hate the University of Michigan. I. hate. Michigan. I remember seeing them come down to Columbus in my college days. I hated them.

If we beat Michigan today, we had an awesome season. Period. No other game is an important. 

This is all that matters.


(All my Michigan bloggie friends--I don't need to tell you this only a  rivalry and I do not hate the state. I still love y'all :) )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And What Face is Yours?

This is how I feel when I get the mail (bills), look at my 401 K or watch the news:

This is how I feel when I realize there is no coffee:

This is how I feel at 3 pm every day:

This is how I feel when I can fit in my jeans (without having to lie on my bed to zip):

This is how I feel when I hear a mom gush about how her two year can read and is fluent in 3 languages (and how her 5 year has cured cancer):

And this is how I feel right now:

How are YOU?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Mother of All Turkeys

Tattooed Minivan Mom is having a Thanksgiving Day recipe link.

I will gladly admit I love to cook and I will also admit I am pretty good in the kitchen. Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays simply because I get to spend hours (days really) in the kitchen planning my menu. Starting in October I try new stuffings, cranberry sauces, squash ideas, pies (!!) and my family tells me the favorites.

The one thing I don't mess is the bird. I tend to stick to this recipe adopted from Tyler Florence. I do not include the stuffing in my turkey because I have never had much luck baking stuffing in the bird (something is always off) and I also brine the turkey before.

I love this mainly because the bacon--what doesn't bacon improve?! I also think this is an easy way to prepare the 'guest of honor' for Thanksgiving but I strongly suggest you do a practice run with this recipe if you have never done a bird before. Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Turkey Covered in Bacon

Brine Mix:
- 1 c salt
-3/4 c sugar
-citrus peels
-dried woody herbs like rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
10 strips smoked bacon
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water

To brine the turkey, one day before Thanksgiving, take a large gallon container and fill with water and other ingredients and stir. Add turkey and cover. Place in a cool area until the Big Day.

Carefully remove turkey and dispose of the brine mix. Wash off turkey to make sure it is clean. Dry off with paper towels and liberally sprinkle and rub entire bird including cavity with salt and fresh black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird legs and tie with kitchen twine (butchers will give this to you for free). "Shingle" (think a rooftop) the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Press down on the bacon so it sticks. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and cover the turkey with foil. Bake.

In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Roast the turkey for 2-3 hours, basting with the maple glaze approximately every 30 minutes. You will want to baste different areas at different times so all gets the glaze. Cook until until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. The thigh juices should run clear too (this means it is done). Let rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Since he's so messy, I'll try making some money off it ;)

I am going to enter a photo contest :)

It's on Five Minutes for Mom for $500 in groceries (and yes, with 4 kids that is very important, esp. with the way Spanky eats).

This is typical Spanky with spaghetti sauce--note the forever stained white bench thanks to past meals:
Note:Please please click on the pic to see the entire image--for some reason Spanky is cut in half!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How One of My Middle Children Gets Quality Time

Thank you so much for kind thoughts yesterday. You have no idea how much they helped--esp. because yesterday Sarah still hurt and needed some intense narcotics for pain. A little child in pain is just the worst.

Sarah came home from school as talkative as ever. Happy and hungry.

She ate about two bites of food and suddenly declared she was no longer hungry.

Then she had a stomach ache.

Then she fell asleep at 5 in the afternoon.

Then she refused dinner.

Then started to cry in pain. I brought a trash can to her bed thinking she got a stomach bug.

Then she got a fever.

I ran through her symptoms. Severe pain on her lower right torso and a fever and nothing else. I knew it could be  a number of things but there was one thing it could be, her appendix. And at a little after 11 I was driving my shivering, reeling in pain, little girl to the ER. Just her and mommy.

We got to the ER and the poking and prodding began. They brought us straight to a room via a wheel chair--the pain was so bad she could no longer walk. Then the pricking began and Sarah begged to nurse to make it not hurt. She was given a weird dye to drink and the doctor took me aside and said he thought it was her appendix. 

I was horrified.

The nurse asked her to pee in a cup and Sarah got very upset. 

The nurse asked if it hurt to pee.

"Only a little, maybe more," Sarah paused. "Only one or two or three times."

I sighed, a bladder infection. All this pain and a fever from a bladder infection. I could only hope that was the real problem.

We did x-rays for possible walking pneumonia (I still don't get this since she did not have a cough or anything.) and she was getting weaker and harder to keep calm by the second.

And then some results came back. She did have a bladder infection and, thank the Lord, her white blood cell count was OK. They thought it was merely a bladder infection.

The doctor mentioned getting her antibiotics and then looked at Sarah.

"To be safe, you should take her to her doctor this afternoon," he looked at her again. "Actually I'd bring her in as soon as they open."

I looked at Sarah. She was in real pain. I had had bladder infections before. I was never in this type of pain.

I looked at the doctor and made that pricey decision, "Ya know, I'd sleep better if we could rule out her appendix with the cat scan. She's already forced herself to drink that dye (she could not eat or drink anything without feeling sick) and since we are already here...."

The doctor nodded, "Better safe than sorry."

I looked at my poor Sarah.

She was in real honest to goodness pain.

I asked the doctor if she could take anything for the pain. And almost never even give my kids Tylenol (the last time was last year during our chicken pox festival).

Both the nurse and doctor agreed. Our room was right in front of the main ER desk and they heard her crying and saw the tears rolling down her cheeks.

The nurse inserted morphine in the tube in her arm. Slowly, she was not hurting as bad.

"But I still hurt a little," she whispered as I pulled to front curtain and turned down the lights.

I pulled out my iphone and we watched 'Cars' as we waited for the cat scan.

The cat scan was weird. More injections in her tube and a tech who kept asking why I didn't take Sarah to a children's hospital.

Like a broken record I kept repeating 'because she was screaming in pain and I was not about to drive for 40 more minutes than I needed to so she could see a doctor' but by the fifth time he asked I just shrugged and agreed next time.

Back in the room, I turned on the TV and Sarah giggled at 'Good Eats'--she loves that goofy show.

And finally at almost 4, we got the final results. The appendix appeared normal and the final diagnosis was bladder infection. YAY! I asked if this much pain is normal and the nurse told me it can be even worse. So I'll say we were very lucky.

Driving home all I thought about was getting into bed. It was odd that if this was a normal night, I'd be getting up in half an hour for spin  class (not happening today or even this day!) and then Sarah asked if we could watch a movie together.

"We could watch Christmas because you love Christmas,"she smiled. The morphine was really kicked in!

So we dropped off the prescriptions and drove home to watch Elf.

I watched the baby climb into Santa's bag and suddenly Buddy is opening a present with maple syrup. I am guessing I slept through a bit of it ;)

But I looked over at Sarah and she was smiling.

"This is fun mommy."

I really need to spend more time with her without doctors and nurses :) 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running on Pure Java

A little girl with severe right side stomach pain
a fever
An ER  trip

An ER trip at 11 pm
half a dozen tests
Getting home at 4 am

Getting home at 4 am
A homeschool day
A messy home
More coffee than a Starbucks house floating in mommy's body

Details when I am back with the land of the living.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because I have a warped sense of humor--that's why!

I have a fantasy. I have friends over during the holiday season and put on what I like to call my 'favorite playlist'. I brag about how awesome the music is and how I have just the best taste in music in the world and then I turn on the music.

Then out blares "Last Christmas" by Wham--the absolute worst Christmas song ever. 

(Yes, my opinion  but have ya heard it? Reallly.) 

This follows with anything from the Jingle Cats.

And in the meantime, I will be dancing, smiling and singing (or meowing). 

I wonder--would my friends be polite and just nod their heads or would they tell me the truth--it was the worst music they ever heard. I'd like to think they would be honest but we are in the South so who knows. Regardless, I am betting their expressions would be priceless.

Warped? Yeah, I'll admit that :)

Anyway, I think I really want to make the 'worst Christmas music playlist' and carry out my fantasty. 

Any songs you think I need?

(I'd like to say "Christmas Shoes" is the worst song but for some reason people think a kid going to the store on Christmas Eve to buy his dying mom a pair of shoes on Christmas Eve and scamming another customer out of his money  is sweet--I call it sappy. I mean how do we know mama is really dying or did he just practice the little 'Sir I wanna buy these shoes' speech just so he could spend his money on some Transformer he had his eye on? And if even if the kid is telling the truth,  do you really want to hum a tune about a dying mama and a broken hearted poor boy while filling out Christmas cards for friends? Again--I'm warped but in my defense it was named in the 52 most depressing songs, "I Hate Myself and I Want To Die.")

Friday, November 7, 2008

Karl Rove, tex-mex, Super Mario and the Cleveland Browns--Can you get more random?!

So in spin class, there's this really short, muscular guy with a mustache and curly hair. When my legs are searing in pain, I watch short little guy and imagine he is Super Mario jumping over wood barrels and I hear the sound effects and everything. It helped me get through 60 minutes of biking to nowhere. Well this morning, he walks in the room and he has a go-tee (spelling?). My total distraction is ruined. I may very well have to drop a note in Super's  gym and tell him to go back to just his 'stash--and I'll address it Super M. Maybe he'll think it mean Super Man and someone has a crush on him and he'll listen. Right?!

Right now I'm eating some stuffed jalepenos Mike brought home. So yummy--it's time like these I wish everyone lived in Texas and could enjoy some Tex-Mex.

Most memorable moment of election night? Maybe not the most historic or most important but on Fox news (bet you can't guess who I vote for ;) ) Karl Rove, the political shark, brought cookies to share with the crew. I am not kidding. He passed out cookies and he was really excited to share the cookies. You just wonder did he go vote that day and think hey, I think I'll surprise my friends with cookies tonight while we cover the election. It will be so much fun--now should I go with chocolate or sugar? I wonder if it's on youtube.

Hey, ho--Kellan Winslow's got to GO! Seriously, you hate living in Cleveland and guess what? Cleveland hates you! We've got Brady Quinn--Spanky (my TWO year old) could catch his bullet passes. Yet, you--you blow simple school yard bread and butter plays. And cost us the game. The Browns aren't losers--YOU ARE.

Well folks--there's a green chili quesadilla calling my name.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

We are quite the political household

With the nonstop news of the election, my kids have picked up names and, the older ones, various issues. We have had great talks about who we support and why. (I have stayed strong from offering my viewpoints on this blog and I am not about to break this less than 24 hours before the election so I will not delve into my beliefs.)

But our great debaters are Spanky and Dino.

Dino loves to say "Obama" and who can blame him? It just rolls off the tongue and it's pretty fun to say.

So we are driving to yet another function and the radio is discussing the election.

Dino begins "O-bam-a,  o-bam-a."

And out of nowhere Spanky screams and I mean screams "MCCAIN!"

Dino, and the rest of the car, is stunned to silence and then Dino whispers "Mccain".

And our car is the site of another political bullying.

Regardless if agree with Dino or Spanky, be sure to vote tomorrow. Your vote matters and if you don't vote, don't complain ;)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Music to My Ears

(Press play to listen and enjoy.)

Now that the costumes are placed ever so loving in the dress up clothes and the Great Pumpkin has taken the candy, I can finally play my Christmas music!

Really I just love Christmas music. My very favorite Christmas song of all-time is the one you hear, " The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole. I don't know what it is about this song but it manages to give me chills and a warm fuzzy feeling all at the same time. It just pure perfection!

My favorite Christmas album/CD is "White Christmas" by Elvis Presley. Honestly, your Christmas collection is not complete with this one. Every song from the ever popular "Blue Christmas" to the gospel favorite "Peace in the Valley" is just heavenly. And let's face it--no one can sing like The King.

Then of course, I have lots of other must-haves (for me anyway) from  Sinatra's "Old Fashion Christmas" to the more modern Josh Groban and Michael Buble hits. Oh and absolutely every Christmas song from John  Denver--esp. the Muppets "Christmas Together" ones. 

To date I have 4 unique playlists on my iPhone--"Joy to the World"--breakfast playlist; "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"--daytime playlist; "A Christmas Dinner"--dinner playlist; and finally "Oh Holy Night"--relaxing night playlist.  The playlists equal close to 7 hours of music (and that is not all the music I have, trust me). To say I have a lot of Christmas music would be an understatement. Yet, I am always on the search for music I have never heard, music that brings the feeling of Christmas to my soul. So I'd like to know--What is the Christmas song that means Christmas to you?

I hope you enjoy the music on this post today. I hope it helps to lift your spirits and bring some joy in this rather frazzled time we live in. And if the music doesn't warm  your soul...perhaps you'd like some blurred warm coco with hand-made marshmallows we made today :)