Monthly Archives: December 2009

The long and winding road

I spent some time going through the blog archives last night to pull together a retrospective on 2009 and laughed and cried all over again at some of the places, emotionally and physically, that I visited this year.  Truth be told, this last year was a weird one for me.  It was a year where I look back and I don’t see a lot of change in my immediate surroundings – I’m in the same house, with the same husband and children, with the same stains on the carpet and the same box in the corner that I can’t seem to muster the energy to sort through and toss – but it was also a year in which I gained new maturity, new friends, new skills, and a newfound appreciation for my colorist.

Even though the growth has been welcome and I’m leaving the year a little more comfortable in my own skin, I’m also ending the year still wrestling with vines that have entangled themselves around my life and need to be pruned.  Pruning is painful, paradoxically cutting away things that are either alive or dead to enable vigorous new growth.   Pruning, in my case, requires opening a gate hinge that,truthfully, is a little rusty so the Gardener can come in and do what He does best.

As I’ve been cleaning house this week and ruminating over what my resolutions need to look like in the New Year, one theme has consistently resonated.

I want to take the extra step.

If I took the extra step, so many things would be different.  The platter from the dishwasher would go into the cabinet instead of sitting on the counter.  The thirty minutes on the treadmill would turn into 35, then 40. The boys would get more than an absent-minded mother; they would get my real attention. My friends would get a phone call, not just a passing thought in my mind wondering how they were. 

My Savior would get my time, not just my intention.

I cannot walk without the entangling vines being stripped away.  So I’m asking God to prune me.  That’s a dangerous prayer to pray and I hesitate putting it in print, but I don’t want to be in a chokehold any more.

I want to breathe.

I want to grow.

I want to become what He intends me to be.

I want to be used for His purpose.

I’m looking forward to the places God will lead my feet as I step out in faith to experience what He has for me. I’m grateful for your friendship along the path…you make the sketchy places a little less scary and the rest stops a lot more fun.

Are you ready?

Let’s hit the road.

Have a nice day.



Swing Lo Mein

This weekend, inspired by ImNotNed’s family tradition, we went to the Chinese buffet for a post-Christmas break from ham and green bean casserole and the celebratory Christmas taquito.  Mr. CPQ didn’t want to drive to our usual strip mall buffet, so we opted for one that’s recently opened a little closer to to our house.

This particular buffet seemed to cater to the native crowd as evidenced by the gelatinous mound of quivering chicken feet that graced the steam tray, as well as dishes identifiable only to those who read Mandarin.  The kids were disappointed by the lack of kid friendly food, and I tried to explain to them that the Chinese didn’t invent pizza OR the nugget, which started Baby A down a long and winding road about Marco Polo visiting China and he should have taught them how. Realizing his discourse was getting him nowhere closer to a slice of pepperoni, he ended up settling on lo mein and copious amounts of dessert, because nothing say authentic Asian cuisine like boatloads of banana pudding.

There was no koi pond from which to filch quarters, so the boys settled for absconding extra chopsticks so they could poke each other, whack each other over the head and generally use them for any other purpose other than intended.  I decided since they already had the chopsticks, I’d give them the chance to practice their skills and made some lo mein of my own last night using this recipe because it called for water chestnuts and I’ve had a can of them sitting in my pantry gathering dust because I didn’t know what to do with them.

Apparently, I haven’t known what to do with them since 2006.

When they expired.

I wasn’t quite ready for Jesus comin’ for to carry me home before I spent my birthday gift card to Michael’s, so I ditched the chestnuts in favor of snow peas.

They worked just fine, and we were all happy.

And alive.

The end.

Have a nice day.

Oh, the horror

Somewhere in the deep fog I heard it.

Loud, insistent.

Strangely familiar, yet unknown, like the lady you run into at the grocery store and you feel like you know her but can’t place her name.

I hurriedly grabbed Mr. CPQ’s arm.

“WHAT IS THAT?” I cried with desperation.

He gazed at me with a mixture of pity and tenderness, leaned in close and whispered….

“It’s called an alarm clock.”

Apparently someone thought I needed practice getting up early since I haven’t done so in six weeks.

Apparently, someone doesn’t value his life.

Have a nice day.

Haul down the holly

I started gathering the Christmas decorations late last night and putting them on the hearth in anticipation of putting them back in the attic today.  As much as I enjoy the holidays, once they’re over, I’m ready to move on to the next thing.

I think everyone in this house would agree that the next thing needs to be a hair appointment.  I’m three weeks overdue for color maintenance and the roots are, as my mother-in-law says,  “past cute”.

This year, our season was longer than usual since it began the day before Thanksgiving when the boys attended their last day of school for the year.  When I first saw the school calendar for the year, I wondered what we were going to do with such a long break, but now that it’s almost over, I find myself wishing we had two more weeks.  We fit a lot into this break – We saw penguins, ate at the Varsity, got peed on by a cow, were reprimanded by hotel management, consumed a wheel of brie, turned 40, and somehow managed to survive all of that without ending up as the lead story on the 6:00 news.

Now that the holidays are over, the boys are happy that they can return to the store (I banned all trips to Target/WalMart two weeks prior to Christmas.  It saved me the agony of hearing “But this is what I REALLY want for Christmas” after I had already bought their gifts).  They did get to accompany me on what seemed to be daily trips to the warehouse club to pick up milk, cream, butter, and brie (oh, that gym return in January is going to be a killer), but they didn’t argue because they quickly figured out they could ditch me for the game aisle while we were there.

I had to laugh at JJ who sat on the floor holding the Bakugan game that had been on his list for four months.   I called out to him as I walked past on my way to checkout and as he put the game back on the shelf I saw him whisper to it, “I’ll see you Christmas morning.”

While the boys look forward to a more normal schedule, I’m looking forward to the annual Purging of the Junk that we have going on right now.  I’m getting new carpet installed next week so everything has to be off the floor.  I spent most of yesterday hauling clothes out from under beds and emptying the closets and restacking the shelves to prep for this little project.

I spent most of last night popping Advil and laying on a heating pad. I ain’t 39 anymore.

We tackled our bedroom, the boys’ room, and the two hall closets and today’s agenda calls for the office, living room, and dining room.  I’m off work this week, so it’s a good time to be doing this, but I can think of a thousand different ways I’d rather spend the last week of my vacation.  Still, it’ll be a good way to start the new year and will free up my schedule in January to do important things like getting my eyebrows waxed.

And getting in shape for being in a swimsuit in front of my husband’s co-workers in mid-February.

Eek.

What are you doing this week?

Have a nice day.

Surprise!!

Did I say something yesterday about having deep and melancholic thoughts about my birthday?

By the way, it’s tomorrow, and I know you are all ready for it to be over so you won’t be subjected to my narcissism any longer.

Those thoughts have been banished after my very fun night last night. I was in a funk last week and Kellie called and asked if I had made birthday plans yet and, of course, I had no plans because HELLO, CHRISTMAS EVE BIRTHDAY?  ANYONE WANT TO LEAVE THEIR FAMILY FESTIVITIES AND GO TO ONE MORE PARTY?  Kellie informed me that her schedule had freed up and she wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate, and I jumped at the chance.

She showed up around 6 last night, said “hi” and “bye” to Mr. CPQ (that was the first time they had met – weird, huh?) and off we went.  Reservations weren’t until 7:30, so we stopped for a quick drink before heading over to the restaurant.  Kel didn’t waste any time totally throwing me under the bus by telling the server I was turning 40.

He didn’t even have a chance to say, “Good evening.”  She just blurted it right out.  Hmpphhhh….I’m totally going to pretend I saw admiration in his eyes instead of sympathy.

Kel said she was taking me to Winston’s for dinner and I was very excited about that because they have good Creme Brulee, and I think we can all agree that it speaks volumes that I know and can opine on every restaurant’s version of creme brulee.  It’s a sickness, I tell you, a SICKNESS that I cannot pass up creme brulee if it’s on the menu.

It’s my absolute favorite dessert and I never make it at home because I’m deathly afraid of the blow torch. Actually, let me rephrase that.  I’m not personally afraid of it.  I’m afraid of the ramifications of keeping a weapon of mass destruction in close proximity to my ten year old terrorists.

I started to get an inkling that something might be up when we arrived at the restaurant and Kel wanted to sit in the freezing cold car and tell me some random high school story that had NOTHING to do with creme brulee, and those suspicions were confirmed when I walked into the back room and there, at the table, were four of my precious friends, appropriately dressed in mourning clothes, waiting for me.

It was a party.

At Christmas.

For me.

Let’s not speak of my double chin or my flyaway hair.

And what appears to be gray in my hair is just reflecting light from the blazing candles.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Can you see the depths of my joy as I sat at the table with my people, laughing, sharing stories, eating shrimp and grits, and opening presents (yes, there was loot!)?

It was a great way to end my thirtiessurrounded by friends, smiling broadly, laughing loudly.

And eating creme brulee.

Have a nice day.

P.S. Thank you, Kellie, for pulling this all together.  You are an amazingly thoughtful friend.

Thank you, Heather, Gretchen, Amy, and Sandy for ditching your families to celebrate with me and for making it such a memorable evening.  I am so honored to know and share life with you.

Open Mic Tuesday

I’ve started four posts this morning and none of them are flowing.  I’ve got random bits of randomness about Starbucks, shopping, the inordinate amount of time that it took to prepare chicken and dumplings last night, my four successive bad hair days, and some rather deep and melancholic thoughts on turning 40.

What’s on your mind today?

The floor is yours.

Have a nice day.

Little Drummer Boy

My firstborn marches to his own drumbeat.

That beat can be quasi-erratic.

He loves to wax rhapsodic over skyscrapers, American presidents, the origin of the brussel sprout, and the optimal angle of trajectory when building a trebuchet.

By the way, discourse regarding the aforementioned can occur at any time, with little regard (or relevance, for that matter) to the subject at hand.

That’s just how he rolls.

My beloved Squash Blossom and I share many personality traits.  He’s hot-tempered and impulsive.  He’d rather read than play outside.  He has a head full of factoids that will never come in handy unless he’s playing Trivial Pursuit.  And, like me, he needs quiet space to regroup and recharge.  One of the frequent comments that I get from teachers is, “He doesn’t have a lot of friends”, or, “At recess, he plays a lot by himself.”  Every time I hear that, it makes me a little sad because his desire for solitude is sometimes misunderstood.

Poor kid.  Surrounded in the womb, surrounded in the NICU, surrounded by siblings, surrounded by children in his overcrowded classroom…it’s a wonder he hasn’t wound up in a special room surrounded by padded walls.

Still, every mom wants her kids to have friends, and I’d be lying if I said my thoughts didn’t turn to him a thousand times a day wondering if he was having fun at school and if someone, anyone, appreciated him in all his quirky gloriousness (which I swear Mastercard ripped off in this commercial).

But this weekend, the following picture, taken by a friend of mine on a recent field trip, appeared on my Facebook page.

I saw a contentment in his face that I don’t think had anything to do with the $10 his mama had given him and had everything to do with the priceless friends that surrounded him.

That’s a happy little drummer boy.

And he has a happy mama.

Have a nice day.