Wednesday, November 24, 2010

True Thanksgiving

As we head into the holiday weekend, it can be a difficult time encountering family and extended family (I know nothing about this-mind you) with years of hurt and past difficulties rising to the surface as you pull into the driveway.

I was reading this passage by Henri Nouwen this morning and thought it might be a nice reflection and give purpose to the weekend should you have a moment (and I would encourage you to) to pause, read this and ask God to let you have this as your worship to him this weekend.

"We spend countless hours making up our minds about others. An unceasing exchange of opinion about people close or far away keeps us distracted and allows us to ignore the truth that we ourselves are the first ones who need a change of heart and probably the only ones whose hearts can indeed change.

We always say again: "What about him? What about her? What Jesus says to us, as he said to Peter, who always wanted to know what would happen to John, "What does it matter to you? You are the follow me." (John 21:21-22)

Imagine your having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine your having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine your being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone's behavior. Imagine you could say, "I am judging no one!"

Imagine-wouldn't that be true inner freedom? The desert fathers from the fourth century said, "Judging others is a heavy burden." I have had a few moments in my life during which I felt free from all judgements about others. It felt as if a heavy burden had been taken away from me. At those moments I experienced a deep love for everyone I met, heard about, or read about. A deep solidarity with all people and a deep desire to love them broke down my inner walls and made my heart as wide as the universe...

We all have these moments if we are attentive to the movement of God's Spirit within us. They are like glimpses of heaven, glimpses of beauty and peace. It is easy to dismiss these moments as products of ours dreams or poetic imagination. But when we choose to claim them as God's way of tapping us on our shoulders and showing us the deepest truth of our existence, we can gradually step beyond our need to judge others and our inclination to evaluate everybody and everything. Then we can grow toward real inner freedom and real sanctity."
Here and Now: Living in the Spirit
pages 60-61

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I do believe that SAD is real.
And I do believe that it strikes people beginning in November.

And my son brought home a book today that he MADE in school, that perfectly illustrates all of the reasons why SAD kicks off its strains of "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" this month:

(In case you can't read it, I will translate)

No green grass.
No blue sky.

No bare feet walking by.

No birds. No Bees.

No leaves on trees.

No vember.

That's about how I feel about it too!

Moving on...
Bring back the summer!

Menu Planning

Our family, just like every family in America is busy wrapping up work today and tomorrow so that they can be free to enjoy the holiday week and gorge themselves on food.
I believe that we can put stack our menu up against anyone else's menu in a Food Network "Showdown Throwdown" if necessary in order to maintain our standing as the family that makes the most delicious amount of food possible.

The emails have been flying for about two weeks now and this is where we have landing most recently:

turkey & dressing & gravy - Linda

fried turkey - steve

ham - Buffy

appetizer - Leslie

brie/pecan/kahlua appetizer - Jeannie

oyster souflee - Linda

macaroni - Judy

sweet potatoes - Judy

green veggie - Judy

sour cream muffins - Judy

squash casserole - suzy

pea salad - suzy

side dish/casserole - Leslie

'healthy' sweet potatoes - Mary Lane

'healthy' collards - Mary Lane

cherry cream cheese pie - Buffy

nana's yellow cake/choc icing - Jeannie

nana pound cake - Leslie

pecan pie tarts - Judy

s'mores by the firepit - s & s

My most favorite lines have been highlighted in bold for you all to take delight in as well. My sister-in-law Mary Lane has a reputation for being "healthier" than the rest of us. Thus, her food has been labeled as "healthy" as opposed to artery clogging fat fest that the rest of us are bringing to the party.
Know what I say?
Belly up to the table people! Bring it on!

However, I do think for sake of the email and party planning sanity I think that we ought to transition to a Google Document for next year. Just my nerdy two cents :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soccer Season

Our families first soccer season has drawn to a close and we went out on a high note.
It snowed on our final game of the season.

I felt like I caught a glimpse of all those games that my mom endured wearing the ugliest clothing combinations that she could muster all in the name of warmth. And I understood.

We had the pleasure of not just one game but two games. An hour or so apart. In the snow. And sweet Amy Noll WANTED to watch three year old and five-eight year old soccer-why? I don't know. Because mainly it looks like this:
Yes. That kid is eating the soccer net.
The other kid is simply growling at the other team.
Not kicking the actual ball. Just growling.
This was the only time Lucy ran during her whole game.
But this is what Y soccer is all about.
1. The trophy.
2. The friendships.
Look how big my boy looks!
3. Learning patience. Waiting your turn.
5. Fundamentals of the game.
How to absolutely destroy a ball into the back of the net.
Look at that focus. Just like his mom.
6. Letting fans of other teams touch us. Until we destroy them in the Swamp.
7. Learning how to cheer on the count of THREE!
8. Perfect the art of the soccer boy stance.
9. We're back to the trophy.
It's all about the trophy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Goodbye Three Years Old

Today is the last day my girl is three years old.

I don't have anything profound to say except this,
I have loved this year with my Lucy.
She is hilarious. Quick witted, sharp, full of life and love. She says the most hilarious things that make me laugh every single day.
If I could bottle three years old and store it in a closet, I would.
She is a princess, a tomboy, a chef, an artist and dancer.
She can be anything she wants to be and truthfully...I want all of these things for her.

She can be sassy, mean, spiteful, frustrating...but one look at those dimples and her asking you endearingly, "Mommy, do you LIKE me?" "Yes, Lucy. I love you!" "No Mommy. Do you LIKE ME?" "Yes, Lucy. You are one of my most favorite people in the whole world."
I love that she understands that I have to love her.
But that I get to like her.
And I do.
Goodbye three years old.
I'm not ready. But four years old is here anyway.

Princes and Princesses

Why did my sister want to call me at 6am yesterday to discuss the engagement of William and Kate?

We all know why.
My daughter is living proof of why.

And this video (which makes me laugh and giddy at the same time) is all I have to share about it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Card Time

It's that time of the year kids.
Christmas card prep.

My sister just bulldozed my day today by even mentioning working on Christmas cards and I decided to get in the hunt too.

Last year, I ordered my cards from (shhh) Walgreens. Don't hate on it.
They have an agreement with Snapfish and their print quality is pretty decent. Not great. But you have your prints in an hour AND you can get a ton of coupons online to make it really cheap.

So this year, I checked out and I hated the cards. Like hated them.
Then I went to
Uploaded some pictures. I was happy. Here is a preview.
I made it ALL the way to check out.
Then I decided to check over at and see what they had.
The selection was way better. But WAY more expensive.
But instead of just printing on photo paper, I would be printing on stationary cards which is definitely a nice upgrade.
Plus, they are tied in with Boxtops for Education. So money I spend there, goes to my son's school. (for the record-I checked back in and Snapfish has a deal with as well and they give MORE money per $10 spent. So now I feel like a jerk. But here we are.)
ALSO, I used these codes:
SHIP30 (free shipping on items over $30)
FATWALLET5 (25% off entire order)
the 25% off expires on Nov. 17, so if you are going to order, you should do it ASAP.
All that involved, saved about $45 but still spent more money than at Snapfish. But I am SURE that I am going to be way happier with my cards because seriously take a look at this:
With Love Chartreuse Christmas Card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
This card is WAY better looking.

Thanks and Sharon Clark at Smitten Photography for making my family look like we belong in a magazine!

For other fun ideas, go check out these links at Shutterfly:

photo Christmas cards to

· holiday cards to

calendars to

Monday, November 8, 2010

NYC Marathon

I all talk and no action when it comes to the NYC Marathon. Obsessed with it but not to the point of running it. Yet.
Marathon Sunday was yesterday and like all good former New Yorkers, my mind and heart turned towards Central Park.

Well, not so much Central Park-just the Verrazano Narrows. The start line for the race is on Staten Island.
It was literally outside the front door of my house when I was in high school living on the base at Ft. Wadsworth.

Unfortunately, on Marathon Sunday I always had soccer games. So we had to get up before 6am and get across the bridge BEFORE they closed it. But my dad and brother would hang around watch the start and then collect all of warm-ups that everybody ditched at the start line. We would go through it all, find the good stuff and take the rest to Goodwill.

Weeks before the start of the marathon; port-a-pottys would arrive, a mile long urinal, and all kinds of supplies would get into place. The whole fort would be a buzz. The kids in my high school that were from other countries would be selected to record arrival/start instructions in their native languages for the loud speakers.
It gets in you.

I spent some time this morning on the NY Times Marathon Blog and I just saw this video. It shows in two minutes what the start of the marathon looks like from the top of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. While you watch, to the right of the bridge on the water is a fort. Just above it is the road I lived on.
We spent MANY MANY days in high school exploring that old spooky fort. It makes you all kinds of nostalgic.

Maybe next year.

Crafty Monday

It snowed in Asheville on Saturday.
You read that right.


That means it woke my brain up to the reality that not only is it getting dark earlier, it is going to be COLD again. Which means we are all going to be spending lots of quality time together.

I have made a command decision that this year is going to be the year of crafts.
Our house is going to look like preschoolers threw up scissors, glue and construction paper on the walls.
I'm not afraid.
You should be.
A little.

I found this blog ( that has me well on my way and so here is our first craft of the season:
I think it will be really sweet to see what my kids say that they are thankful for and it will be a good craft to save from season to season. Also, I think that we ALREADY have every part of this craft on hand. Which is even better.
Not hosting holidays makes me less inclined to decorate for the particular holiday at hand, but my kids are much more fun if they are engaged in an activity for a hour or so. Which makes me more fun!
We'll see how this goes!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rescue 911

Living the life of a mom of a preschooler and a kindergartner means that I have endless conversations about calling 911, fireman, police officers and getting arrested. Why?

Because this is all they talk about school and these "are the people in your neighborhood"

But there is a bit of a disconnect in my house about when exactly you should call 911.

Like, riding in the front seat of the car.
Or getting hit.
Or maybe they've got it just right. Like this:

Apparently, Asher has a lot of experience with people getting stabbed.

Now, I did a little bit of research and I don't know if you remember this particularly fantastic episode of Rescue 911, but I know I do:

And now I am little concerned that my kids would actually 1) stick their tongue out when going into the freezer and 2) then not be able to call 911 because we have no home phone.
Awesome. Thanks kids for totally freaking me out! (think his parents got sent a bill for the emergency workers coming to his house to pour water on his tongue?)

Now that there's no Rescue 911 on TV to teach you how to call 911, I have a real problem. I have to figure out how to teach you to call it on my cell phone without actually calling it. That should be a new adventure.
(not that there was no fear in filming my son while driving. That was fine. No problems at all.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Actual Halloween

Halloween has come and gone.
My kids woke up this morning with candy hangovers and said,
"I'm so GLAD we had Halloween last night. That's my favorite holiday!"
All of the kids our kids have grown up with. And that we have grown up with.
We are back!
Our family chose a theme again this year! YAY!
And was it easy. Charlie Brown.
Woohoo! Yes, I was Peppermint Patty, who my kids told me was a BOY. I had to keep telling them that she was a girl.
Awesome gender awkwardness in cartoons translating into real life.
Gotta love that.
Every family should do Charlie Brown at least once just for a break from working on costumes so hard.
Or you could just do this theme.
The little notes say, "we are lazy and have no $. So we pooped on your party."
Thank you for that Robin.
Chuck and Buzz were the real American heroes.
I mean, can she get any cuter?
Mrs. Potato Head about found herself in a carseat in my car going home with me last night.

While trick or treating, we ran into grown-up Charlie Brown crew. They were thrilled to see our family.
Lucy DID NOT want to take pictures with strangers. Harumph.
We hope you and yours had a great day.

Now that it's November 1st, you know that means we are simply in a retail deathmarch to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Crafters-ready, set, go!