Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This is what it looked liked as I arrived early for Morning Prayer.  Church.  Walking up the steps, I realized it felt like home: known, comfortable: welcoming.  During Lent our small parish has been gathering together to pray early in the morning.  I used to scoff at people who rose early and gave up those last delicious moments in a warm bed snuggled next to precious ones.   Now I'm one of them.  He has led me gently to the place of willingness to get up and go, and gratitude for the practice of praying with others.

Blessings on your Holy Week!


holy experience

Opportunity knocks: FREE date night

Friends, I mean real friends, reserve nothing. (Andromache)

A (talented) friend and neighbor approached us at church last week with an opportunity.  If we'd watch their children on Friday night, they would watch ours in 2 weeks.  With 4 boys, you know babysitting bills add up as fast as a 3 year old can ask questions.  Before you're even out of the driveway you've spent fifty bucks.  I know grandparents also offer free babysitting, but our friends aren't blessed to live close to theirs.

Bonus item #1: Mainbain and I were raised to super parent status because our boys saw it as an opportunity to spend Friday night with favorite friends.

Bonus item #2:  By agreeing we had an automatic Friday night date to look forward to - something it usually takes monumental effort to set up.  Why had we never thought of this? It took us about 2 seconds to agree.

Here's how it worked:  When we arrived, their children were fed and so were we - that eliminated kitchen duty.  While the older children reveled in the last rays of sunshine running through the woods, we took their babies and ours on a walk, chatting and pushing the stroller down the long driveway.  Simple, effective entertainment. We watched a movie, ate popcorn and munched on the fantastic homemade bread they'd left for us to gobble up sample. Bedtime was a breeze because they already have a fool proof system. We even got to give the baby a bottle, which was so sweet I was amazed at how quickly I felt the baby-mama in me spring back to life. (After only one teeny-tiny moment of panic when she wouldn't take it and I had to implore the 9 year old for instructions!)  Lots of silly conversations, chess playing and reading some choices from their unbelievable library took up the rest of the evening.  I thoroughly enjoyed observing the older kids interaction; watching the way their "play" is changing was delightful and provided some valuable insight. 

Put your thinking cap on.  There's got to be a family you and your kids get along with.  Try it out.  You might just find that friends, real friends, reserve the right to trade free date nights!


This post is linked to Kristen's Works for me Wednesday post.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 3-31-10 Worth It Part II

The thing is when you go out of town without your kids, the readjustment to The Real World - the one with diapers, homework, laundry and WITHOUT sand, cocktails and sleeping late- can be quite a shock to the system.

It's not that I didn't miss The Boys.  I did.  But I didn't worry about them. Not a single bit.  I knew they were well cared for (aka spoiled) at The Grands.  And could I have stayed longer in La-La Land?  Let me think, uh, yes!

Just like I learned to make dinner, talk on the phone, sign the field trip slip, check Facebook, make lunches and close the dishwasher with my foot all at the same time, I retrained myself remarkably fast to do absolutely nothing.  And nothing is exactly what I did for 4 days in a row (on the beach no less) with St. Joel on our first bona fide vacation alone since our honeymoon 13 years ago.  So re-entering reality this week requires a little juggling.  Dropping the frozen daiquiri and daily housekeeping balls and picking back up the grocery store, Easter basket prep and laundry balls.  

Again, it is without a doubt, 100% worth it.

What are you juggling this week?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pizza for Breakfast!

This morning's breakfast idea had such a positive response from the bains I hope you'll try it.  I even veered from my smoothie to have a bit.  Absolutely. Delicious.

Biscuit dough, enough for 10 biscuits (I used Pamela's)
 drizzle of olive oil
6 or 7 scrambled eggs
1 large clove garlic - chopped
Cheese - I used a cheddar blend, because it's what we had
Sliced salad peppers  (or your family favorite.  Mine would have loved some olives on it too!)

Prepare the biscuit dough according to package directions, and roll out on a pizza stone. Prick with a fork and bake at 400 -425 until light brown and a bit crispy.  I think it took mine about 15 minutes.  While it's baking,  scramble the eggs and get the garlic chopped.  

To assemble:  Drizzle olive oil and chopped garlic as evenly as possible over baked crust. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the warm crust.  Spoon on the prepared scrambled eggs and add pepperoni on top.  Finish with more cheese and salad peppers.  pop back in the oven for about 7 minutes.  

You know it's a success when they ask to have it the next day!

linked to Rachel jen and kirsten

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Baseball Saturday

::Warning: Slightly Snarky post::

Baseball season has officially started.  We are in the middle of a grueling practice schedule, partly due to storms and partly because there's no such thing as just having fun anymore.  You have to be part of a TEAM.  And that TEAM has to strive to be THE BEST.  What ever happened to doing your best and it being good enough?  Why do there have to be $30 per child batting clinics and gobs of gear and tons of stuff to haul around all in a supposed search for FUN?!  I have heard there are 12 year olds having surgery for the same elbow problem as major league pitchers.  Point me in the direction of the Sandlot - please.  

You may wonder why I sign them up at all if I take offense to a lot some modern day sports philosophy.  Because they absolutely capital L love it. Because I don't share my snarkiness with them, but use it instead to cheer them on as they bat:

I cannot even feel my snarky-bone as I watch mainbain join in, working on his pitching skills

And I will not allow my self to complain that the two and a half hour (!) practice gave me a lot of fun, uninterrupted time on the playground with butterbain. 

How insane would I be to not use the opportunity to prove my alien-mom-ness *once again* with a post-practice ice cream lunch

When I count my blessings, I will remember that miracles do happen, since stringbain and limabain ended up on the same TEAM.  As grueling as the practice schedule is, and whatever the game schedule ends up being, I will remember what pays off isn't noticing sports philosophy that's not my style, but how much more FUN it is to yell at umps and get thrown out of ball parks watch my boys do something they L.O.V.E.


(Partial) Reparation

I added it up.  My body was utilized as a mini-one-room-apartment for over 4 years. It's time for the reparation to begin.

Even though I experienced breaks in between tenants - that's still a long lease.  Even though I am overwhelmingly grateful for the baintrain, having them left it's mark.  If you've ever had rental property, you know that there's a lot of upkeep.  In between renters you usually have to patch holes in the wall, re-paint, re-caulk and hordes of other small tasks.

In between mexicanjumpingbain  and butterbain I developed - as heredity predicted -  varicose veins.  They weren't that bad, and since I wasn't done being pregnant I didn't see any reason to have them checked out or repaired.  I became a runner and they got worse.  Then I had butterbain and they throbbed on a regular basis, and looked awful.  I'm a big huge gigantic proponent of natural healing, but this is one thing no supplement or yoga class can help.  Once they appear, there isn't a non-invasive option.

Through a reliable source I found world renowned doctor just an hour and half from home.   He promised to have my varicosities (had to use that word) in just three sessions.  Best of all, it wouldn't interfere with my half-marathon training.  He insists his patients exercise 30-40 minutes twice a day immediately following the in-office surgery.  Price and timing dovetailed perfectly into my life, so I eagerly booked my appointments.  I would be running pain-free in time for the marathon!  I arrived right on time for my first appointment and was taken back immediately.   Everything about the procedure and post op was explained.  Then the shots began.  I really don't think I'm a wimp, but those lidocaine shots hurt like crazy. You know what's coming.  If the shots they use to numb your leg hurts, what do you think the treatment felt like?  The twelve lidocaine shots were effective, I felt no pain.  But it did feel like a c-section on my leg. All that pulling and tugging and poking and pressure.  Not. Fun.   And I had to do it two more times.

Stringbain took the picture at the top of this post that's evidence of my last treatment.  Not to get gory, but Dr. L said what he took out was like I-75 around Atlanta.  After the lidocaine wore off it felt like I was walking around on an empty straw.  Also not fun.

However, every day the pain gets less and I remember that once it's all healed up I won't have constant throbbing or any reason not to wear shorts.  (I was *actually* still wearing shorts, but very conscious of that vein.)

I want to end this post with a pithy statement about all the other work that could be needs to be done to complete the reparation project that is my body.  I think I'm too close to pain and bruising and limping on my morning runs to come up with anything good, though.  Definitely too close to even consider any other "projects."

I do know this: that one room was a great starter home for some darling boys.  This bit of renovation, whether you want to term it re-painting, caulking or patching is part of getting my apartment in the best shape possible -  renters or not!



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Field Observation

At the park today, I saw:

A mom yelling at her son for running.

A dad without a shirt walking around the lake with his bike-riding daughter.

A kid riding a Big Wheel with a bike helmet and knee pads.

A man fishing with 8 fishing poles.

Two of my boys throwing rock after rock into the water.

Another day, another story,

I'll take some more, please!

I wrote about our family gratitude project last week.  I've been astounded, humbled and awed at what's been recorded in less than 2 weeks. I received this quote yesterday:

When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that's present...we experience heaven on earth. (S. Breathnach) 

This morning mainbain and I rushed around to get everyone to Morning Prayer, and while there we participated in the canticle which reminded me again:

Be thankful unto Him and speak good of His name 

Even though we'd begun the day with prayer (you'd think a pretty sure fire way to get started), we ran late getting home. Which landed me in a massive pout because I didn't get to exercise, but I found myself washing dishes and craving more.  More gratitude. The image of a tipsy blackjack player exclaiming, hit me again even came to mind.  Not exactly the most upright, righteous or christian image, I know - but I'm being honest. Because being hit over the head again with varied reasons worthy of gratitude keeps my heart open.  It keeps me stable, sane and hopeful and best of all trusting.  Trusting, that He is stacking the deck in my favor.
Trusting that new life can Spring forth just when I least expect it. 

Trusting that a simple falling and catching example will make a lasting heart memory for Mexicanjumpingbain and cousin A.

How's your deck stacking up today?


holy experience

This Week's Juggling Act 3-24-10 Worth It

"It ain't bitching if you are doing it."
- Em

In preparation to go on a wonderful, much-needed and appreciated trip with St. Joel sans Numbers 1-4, one thing has become crystal clear.  It takes grand scale logistic and inventory control skills to coordinate details and pack for 4 people to stay at the Grands' house while simultaneously packing five days worth of maximum chicness and necessities for myself.  Thankfully and duly noted, St. Joel handles his own details.

To consider:
Two school days with 4 packed lunches, misc. homework assignments, 1 spelling test, 1 science test, 1 book fair.  Saturday with birthday party (gift wrapped and ready) and 1 play practice.  Hold mail and newspaper request.  A minimum amount of food in pantry and fridge for use upon return.

To pack (assuming completion of laundry):
12 pair of pants, 12 pair of shorts, 24 shirts, 18 pair of underwear, several decent sets of PJ's (as if!), 1 pack of diapers, 24 pair of socks, 8 pair of shoes, 2 lovies, 2 iTouch's, 2 Ninetendo DS's, 1 hockey helmet (don't ask!).  Plus my clothes which, at this moment, are pretty much in unorganized piles on my bedroom floor.

I am sure I am forgetting something.

It is without a doubt, 100% worth it.

What are you juggling this week?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mexican Monday Morning

On my quest to redeem breakfast once a week from the same old fare, I had a brainstorm.  Even though I am tethered to my smoothie,  I am always looking for ways to liven up breakfast.

So... Mexican Monday! What better way to begin the week than with something to really wake up their taste buds? Southwestern/mexcian fare is a favorite around our gluten free house (think beans, rice and corn), so it wasn't a huge leap to try it out for breakfast.

Mexican Monday breakfast stacks
Biscuits - I used Pamela's recipe on the back of the GF baking mix pkg
2 links chorizo
2 T  butter
6 or 7 eggs
1/3 cup milk
garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream & salsa (you can make your own in the blender with a can of fire roasted tomatoes, 2 cloves fresh garlic, a tablespoon of cumin, fresh cilantro and some fresh or pickled jalepenos).

Take chorizo out of casing and brown in butter.   
Mix eggs and milk while sausage browns. 
Add eggs to pan with browned chorizo and cook through. 

To assemble:
Split biscuit in half and top with egg/chorizo mixture. 
I used cheese, salsa and shredded cheese on top of the eggs and then put my biscuit top (which crumbled) back on. 
They loved it and asked for more.  


Monday, March 22, 2010

Barn Funwork

Ahhhh, Saturday.

The day of sleeping late and spending time with an extra cup of tea and a good book.  Or not.  Sometimes there's just too much on the list, and Saturday proved no exception.  We collectively groaned as the realization that Saturday morning was destined to be like any other weekday.  It only started off that way; by the afternoon we were able to relax a bit with everything that had to be done crossed off the list.  We were able to leisurely walk over to the barn and enjoy some funwork that included:

...helping out where necessary...

...smiling while posing working on moving the chicks from one octa-brooder to another.

...not being too busy to put our tools away...

Or unexpectedly finding a nesting duck hiding neatly behind the wall of necessary junk in the "pig pantry"

This is what organization on our farm looks like.  Believe me when I tell you it's a HUGE improvement!

There was even time for a terrifying to watch Nerf battle on the hay bales,

with their Uncle.
(You can see him up there in the corner)

Hope you enjoyed some funwork this weekend, no matter how packed your schedule was!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gratitude 2.0

Barely surviving the dark night of my soul a few years ago, I was blessed with a light bulb moment. If I could find things to be grateful for I felt better.  If I wrote them down they could be my own personal book of Psalms to look over when I was too low to come up with anything else to chronicle. It would be a record of all the miracles in my life - great and small - that I would otherwise forget.  If I kept looking for things to feel gratitude for, instead of focusing on the litany of disappointments I felt, my life was better overall.  I didn't know about any research.  The Happiness Project didn't exist then.  Even though those blogs are helpful, I was and continue to be my own guinea pig.  I still notice my mood is lighter and more playful on the days I make time to be grateful in the morning.   

I noticed I'm always asking the bains what they are thankful for, but not writing it down. I remedied that last week by purchasing the most basic moleskin I could find and starting our own family happiness project.  I can't stand the thought of missing the opportunity to remember:

That spring is on it's way - as evidenced by the blue sky you can just see above stringbain's bareback enthusiam.

 That pigs really are as cute in piglet form as Charlotte's Web suggests.

 That there are rainbows at the end of a lot of storms...

That the simple, sweet sight of a 12 year old writing a list for our family at the breakfast table is another entry for my personal journal...and it's changing us.

One line at a time. 
One day at a time. 
One blessing at a time. 

What are you grateful for today? 


holy experience

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Week's Juggling Act 3-17-10

This week is Spring Break or as I like to call it, Summer Dress Rehearsal.  So currently I'm juggling:

A 10 year old, an 8 year old, a 4 year old (who thinks he's a 9 year old), a 2 year old AND...MOM.  Mommy.  He's touching me.  Watch this.  Mama.  I'm hungry.  MOM.  It's Mine.  Mommy.  He's touching me.  Mama.  MOM.  I'm bored.  Mommy.  Watch this Mama.  I'm hungry.  MOM.  It's Mine.  Mommy.  Watch this.  AND...Video games.  TV.  Park.  One Near Duck/ Goose Attack.  Museum.  School of Rock.  Video games.  TV.  Star Wars Monopoly.  The Wild.  Video games.  TV.  Pet Store Field Trip.  Video games.  TV.  Zoo.  AND...Cereal.  Coffee.  Waffles.  Chips.  PBJ's.  Fruit snacks.  Pizza.  Coffee.  Apple juice.  Sippy cups.  Chicken nuggets.  Apple juice.  Pizza.  Cereal.  Waffles.  Chips.  PBJ's. Fruit snacks.  Apple juice.  Laundry.

What are you juggling?


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