Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At Dear Old Southside High...

My high school is being torn down this week.

I'm so glad we had some awesome pictures taken there in December!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Moms, Don't Carpe Diem

I came across this article this week and it really spoke to me and my need to enjoy every moment as I've been told to do by everyone with grown kids. 
Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:
An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."
At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"
My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here's what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and myGod -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.
Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What do you want for Christmas??

"What do you want for Christmas? What are you getting for Christmas? What's Santa bringing you?"

Sound familiar? I've said it to probably every kid I've come in contact with around Christmas for the past 10 years or more. Why? Because that's what people said to me when I was little.

This year, I have been very aware of and uncomfortable with the idea of secular Christmas traditions. I think at the heart of them, they are fun and harmless. It becomes harmful when Santa is the focus and not just a fun addition.

We are so very blessed  beyond our imagination. This year, we are really trying to focus on what we can do for others, how we can show Jesus to someone in need, and enjoy time with family and friends.

Over the past week I've been asking my pediatric patients "What is Christmas?". I was humbled that most of them said, "Christmas is Jesus's birthday!". Thank you parents for teaching your kids what it's really all about! I want to challenge you to ask kids what they are giving this year rather than what they are getting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pesto Orecchiette Italian Sausage Pasta

Recipe adapted from: RealSimple

Pesto Orecchiette Italian Sausage Pasta
Serves 4Hands-On Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour


  • 12 ounces orecchiette
  • 1 steamfresh bag of green beans or 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 steamfresh bag of english peas or 1 cup frozen peas
  • 5-6 Italian sausage links, bite sized slices.
  • 1 small jar pesto or 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place sausage in small, oven-safe dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 30 more minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. If using fresh green beans and frozen peas, add the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. If using steamfresh vegetables, heat as directed, then add to cooked pasta. Drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot. 
  4. Cut the sausage in to bite sized pieces. 
  5. Add the sausage, pesto, and Parmesan to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine.

Salt dough ornaments

For this project I used:

4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
Cookie sheet
Large mixing bowl
Rolling pin
Cookie cutter/glass
Ink pad

Preheat oven to 200. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water and mix slowly until dough is the consistency of pizza dough. Knead for about 10 minutes and roll out to desired thickness (I should have made mine thinner). Use glass/cookie cutter to cut out desired shape. Stamp image onto ornament. Use straw to create a hole for the hanger/ribbon. Coat the cookie sheet with oil (a little goes a long way). Bake ornaments for at least 1 hour. May take up to 3 hours for thicker ornaments. Take off cookie sheet to cool. May place on paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Mine turned out great on top but very soft on bottom because I left them on the cookie sheet all night.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I am most thankful for...

  • God's presence in my life and his never-ending pursuit of me.
  • My husband and his ever-growing love for me and our family.
  • Hudson - how did I ever live without this baby in my life?
  • My parents for everything they do and how they devote their time and attention to other's people's needs (right now... my needs :)
  • Dustin's family for a guaranteed good time full of laughter and love.
  • The hardest times in our marriage for making the good times great and the bad times bearable.
  • Rachel - where to start... I'm thankful for her struggles with infertility, which has made me more grateful for every minute with my baby (and hers), which has also allowed me to see her minister to so many women going through the same thing, and has opened the conversation for her to share the gospel through their adoption story. For her dedication, love and friendship in good times and bad. For her ability to see straight through me, comfort me, encourage me, and challenge me... and know when to do what. I pray that everyone has a friend like this!
  • Our jobs that provide for our lifestyle and enable us to help others where we can.
  • The internet for allowing me to stay connected with far-away family on a daily basis.
What are you thankful for?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crescent Roll Donuts

When cooking for 2 I usually end up with at least 4 left over crescent rolls that never get eaten.

What to do... make donuts!

Crescent rolls - UNCOOKED
Vegetable/Canola Oil (1/2 Bottle)
Sugar (approximately 1 1/2 cup)
Cinnamon (to taste)

Heat approximately 1/2 a bottle of vegetable/canola oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Put sugar & cinnamon in large bowl... mix evenly.
Test heat with small piece of dough or water.
Tear off small pieces of dough and roll into a loose ball. (2-3 from each triangle)
Place gently in grease.
If your grease is deep enough, the ball will turn itself. Mine wasn't so I made them flat (didn't roll) and flipped them myself. It didn't seem to make a difference. They do puff up and are hard to turn so you can use tongs to bathe grease over the top.
Fry till golden brown.
Remove donuts and place in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Use tongs to roll around to evenly coat.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

This weekend has been just short of terrible.

Our AC broke Saturday.[We had it fixed on Tuesday. Thankful it was a cheap and easy fix! Thankful for my parents who gladly opened their home to us for the weekend so we didn't have to pay extra for holiday labor.]

We had lots and lots of rain (7 inches in 2 days) so the laundry room and garage flooded(ish). [Thank goodness for built in drains]

The "bar tap" water filter under the kitchen sink broke loose and flooded the kitchen, which has hardwood floors. [Thankful the kitchen is located over the garage and not the finished part of the basement.]

I busted my tail in my parents garage Monday night. [So thankful I wasn't holding Hudson.]

The electric dog fence has not worked since we had trees cut Friday... we got a call Tuesday morning that Bronco had been on the country club golf course all morning (which is across Rainbow Drive from our house). [Thankful he was found and safe.]

Dustin and I were so looking forward to spending the weekend together, working on home projects and playing with Hudson. It didn't happen that way and was very disappointing. We really tried hard to see the positives. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


these are delicious!

Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Bleu

1 small jar dried beef
1 lb chicken (I use boneless)
1 pkg bacon bits (can use real bacon but I am lazy - lol)
1 can cream of chicken soup
6-8 oz sour cream
4 oz swiss cheese

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Line with dried beef. Top with chicken - top chicken with swiss cheese. Mix soup, sour cream and bacon bits; spoon over chicken. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Enough baking potatoes for your family
Sour Cream
Cheddar Cheese
Bacon bits

Bake potatoes. Scoop out insides (if you can keep them intact, you can use the shells to cook the mixture in - I never can - so I make it in a casserole instead - lol). Add butter, sour cream, bacon bits and 1/2 of cheese. Mix well. Put mixture in casserole dish or baking pan (or spoon into potato shells if you can). Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until cheese is melted. We like it browned, so we cook it longer :)