Friday, February 27, 2009

Helping The Helpless

Nothing tugs at a Mama's heart like a sick child.

We nurse them during ear infections, stomach bugs, sore throats and knee scrapes. No matter how sick they are or how big they think they are, that helpless, needful expression on their face hurts a mother's heart.

It's the getting through it all that hurts the most. Trips to the doctor are scary. Shots are painful. Medicine tastes terrible. Fevers can sometimes be frightening.

They call for you from the couch, "Mo-mmyyy. Can I have a drink?"

We bring them a glass of water for the tenth time this hour, a cool cloth freshly rinsed, a comforting blanket or stuffed animal. Feel their forehead again and kiss their sweaty hair, counting the hours from when we last gave them their yucky medicine.

This week was one of those sick times at our house. It wasn't a really terrible sickness. No buckets by the bed or trips to the ER, but painful just the same.

One afternoon I was tucking my daughter's comfortable blanket around her, the one we call "Comfy" and delivering her favorite animal from her room, the one we call "Bunny," and it was then that I really hurt.

What if, when she looked at me with those helpless, needful eyes I could not help her? What if there were no money for a doctor or no doctor at all? What if I could do nothing, give nothing?

As her mother I shudder to think how that would feel. Although I have felt helpless at times in the face of sickness or pain, I have never been without help. I have had access to a doctor, to medicine, to warmth, to food, to water. All things I often take for granted.

I just want to give thanks for the help I do have when I feel helpless. I give thanks for Comfy and Bunny, for yucky tasting pink medicines, for long waits at the doctor's office, for painful needles, and for chicken noodle soup.

I offer a prayer for the many mothers in the world who are feeling helpless, who cannot offer anything to their child when she cries, who look into those needful eyes and have nothing to give but their love.

I pray for you. I pray for your child. I pray that help will come.

Very soon.

In these times when we are all tightening our budgets, consider reaching out to mothers around you, to children in need or to families abroad. We can help the helpless.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ellen Sums Up The Bachelor

I'm not exactly a fan of The Bachelor. I've seen a few clips here and there but most of the time it just gets on my nerves, what with all the spaghetti strap dresses, stilettos and empty promises. Most of it just reminds me of high school and up to this point I have managed to stay out of therapy for that.

If you are a fan, do not be offended. I am sure that you do not comprehend my obsessions with Seinfeld. That's what is great about the blogosphere. We are a Melting Pot of useless television fascinations.

Yesterday I was watching Ellen DeGeneres, which is unusual because I don't normally watch Ellen. I mean, I think she is funny and quirky and did a great Dory and she is hugely popular.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

For whatever reason, I don't normally watch Ellen but yesterday I was channel surfing. My daughter was home sick from school and napping in the other room. I was finding something quiet to do while she rested because you really can't be running the vacuum with a sick kid sleeping in the house.

Yeah. Like I would have been doing that anyway.

So I found Ellen and it was a good thing because Ellen summed up my feelings about The Bachelor and fit it into a funny monologue. Which is why she has a hit TV show and I am at home blogging about Jerry and Newman.

Go here to watch the monologue. That Ellen. She is talented.

You will get a message which reads "0 Results." The video should load in a few seconds.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WFMW: Kid's Basket

My sweet niece is coming for a visit next month. She is almost two years old. We are just tickled to death to see her.

It's been a long time since I've had a two year old, although it still feels like yesterday. One thing I remember is that they love to explore.

So we've started a little treat for my niece when she arrives. I am totally spoiling it for her mom and grandparents. Heads up, family. When you read this, shhh.... don't tell. It will be a while before my niece reads my blog because, well, she can't read. She's two.

I have a basket on hand and we are filling it with goodies just for her. (To her grandparents: Don't worry. I am aware that you will be traveling back home via airplane.)

So far, I have only a few items for the basket-

A new book
A coloring book
Something soft to cuddle

I plan to add other things like small bath toys, crayons, etc. When she arrives I'll tell her that the basket is just for her. She can dig through it and string it all over the house until her little heart is content! Did I mention that I am the cool aunt?

You could do something like this for kids of any age. It is easy and a lot of fun. (For you and the kid!)

A few ideas for older kids:

Information about your town, maybe include something about the zoo if you plan to go to the zoo
Books, activity books are great
Kid's toothbrush
Fun soaps
Sidewalk chalk
Jump rope
Purchase or recycle a pillowcase. Let them use paint pens to decorate.

Be sure to visit Kristen for more tips. She is our new fabulous hostess of Works For Me!

Why I Love Blogging

So blogging won't make you rich, famous or thinner. But there are a lot of things about blogging that are good, stupendous, wonderful and lots of O'Reilly words I love.

1. Blogging helps me connect with people whom I otherwise would never meet. By meet, I mean learn their blog name or their first name or their spy name and email them about things we can't blog about or other people would just judge us.

2. Blogging is the only time that I can find out that people are following me and it is completely fine.

3. To blog is to live or to live is to blog. Either way, you can use a cute/lame phrase and turn it into a post because you are smack dab in the middle of writer's block.

4. Blogging makes you believe that you could actually write something because you have at least one or maybe two people who comment and like a dozen others following you.

Yep. That could send you soaring to the top of the New York Times best seller's list.

5. If I didn't blog, my family would be inundated with plain emails without cute cow pictures and snapshots of tea and biscuits.

Snooze. Ville.

With a life like mine, graphics and fancy font really make the story seem interesting.

6. Blogging helps me to partially live out my covert Ops dream of living two lives complete with another identity and a site meter.

7. The Blogosphere is the only place you can make a list and claim it as writing. Anywhere else, it's just a list.

What about you? What do you love about blogging? And what do you not love?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stimulating the economy one sirloin at a time.

This is what I read in my Inbox from a particular steak mail order company:

"Winter Clearance Sale: We're blowing off our freezer doors with savings"

I love a good steak like the best cowgirl, but something about mail order meat on sale just kills my appetite. Of course, I did just purchase two packs of pork chops because they were "buy one, get one free."

Even though Hubs doesn't really like pork chops because they are usually too dry. At least my pork chops are usually too dry.

In other Inbox news, I keep receiving lots of offers for free shipping. Somehow the spyware knows I live in Smalltown and 99% of everything I purchase arrives in a box on the doorstep. Free shipping. It is good.

Maybe all of the retailers are just flattering me for when I get that stimulus check.

I wonder how many jobs would be created if I ordered some winter clearance steaks. With the free shipping offers, maybe Newman would decide to work on Saturday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


My blog friend and real friend Roxanne has written an incredible post.

Her insight amazes me. And her writing? Good stuff.

Be sure to read her post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Norman's original painting illustrated a quirky family eating tacos.

You've seen all of the commercials encouraging families to return to the dinner table, come together around the pot roast and bond once again. After a few dinners of spaghetti leftovers, the family relationship blossoms into a beautiful Rockwell painting.

The producers of those sappy commercials never ate with us.

Our conversations are over tacos and macaroni. A typical discussion begins with homework and recess, then moves on to lessons on Hitler, Hussein and the fall of dictators. It ends with a story about how Hubs once ate an entire box of Bugles.

It's like a segment of FoxNews.

The Bugles conversation led to a discussion of gluttony which led to a question from my daughter.

"What's gluttony?"

"It's when you eat way too much of something," I offered, "like a whole box of Bugles."

"Or an entire bag of chocolate covered peanut clusters," said Hubs.

Wow. That one sure came out of nowhere.

This morning over breakfast, my daughter and I discussed her current social studies lesson. They have been learning about Ben Franklin (who is one of my favorite Americans of all time, by the way.)

She said that they learned about the many jobs of Ben Franklin. In addition to candle maker, inventor, writer and more, one job listed in the textbook was "Great American."

When tested, the class was asked to choose three of Franklin's many jobs. My daughter listed three jobs correctly on her test. She chose not to list "Great American."

She respectfully told her teacher that she believed being a great American was not really a job. It's "who you are."

Maybe our family dinners are more like Rockwell than I thought.

Tacos, Bugles and all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ten Things that should never have been invented.

I was craving some Brach's chocolate covered peanut clusters yesterday. They are difficult to find. Believe me. When I was pregnant, I craved this particular delectable in the last trimester, along with many other calorie-loaded foods like crab ragoon and spicy Mexican food. Oh, and Vlasic garlic pickles.

Yes, M'am. My digestive tract has never been the same.

We won't even discuss my girlish figure.

So yesterday I was looking for the Brach's chocolate covered peanut clusters and all I found was Bridge Mix.

I have never understood Bridge Mix. I mean, there is so much and so little going on in there. All you do is pick out what you like and leave the rest. This epiphany in Walgreens led me to write this post. It's a list of things I believe should never have been invented.

If your son or daughter invented this stuff, I apologize. I am sure your child is lovely. Just lovely.

In addition to Bridge Mix, here is my list.

1. Shredded wheat. Anything that you can use to clean the sink should not be considered a food item. And, the frosting? Puh-lease! I ain't falling for it.

2. Cottage cheese. Once something has gone bad you are supposed to throw it out, not add peaches to it.

3. Anchovies and sardines. Okay. I realize that God actually invented these and I have no problem with that at all.

Just so we are clear.

However, I am pretty sure God did not intend for us to put them on pizza or saltine crackers.

4. Home Gym Equipment. I already have somewhere to hang my clothes. It's called the closet.

5. Mommy Magazines. All of those projects for moms to do with their kids will just send you spiraling into depression. Never mind that the house isn't clean and the dishes are piled high. Now I am supposed to make cupcakes from scratch and pipe little clown faces on them.

Thanks, Martha. I suddenly feel like Mother Of The Year.

6. Letter openers. Let's be real. We all know they were just invented to be used as weapons in mystery novels.

7. Shoe horns. I have forever threatened to give my husband one of these. I honestly don't understand them. And why "horn?" Are you supposed to yell into it and announce that your shoes don't fit?

8. Low rise jeans.

No explanation needed.

9. Floam. I am convinced it was invented by a cruel person without children or carpet. It may even be featured in a Mommy Magazine.

10. Nutritional Information. Although that little chart is very helpful for people with heart disease, diabetes and a general sense of health responsibility, it just serves as a reminder to me that I can't eat all of the Brach's chocolate covered peanut clusters in one sitting.

So maybe Bridge Mix isn't so bad after all. At least I wouldn't eat the whole bag...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The real reason ski pants are padded.

Why is it that when you come home from a trip all the work you did before you left has to be done all over again?

Like laundry.

I know that I washed every piece of clothes we own before we left for our trip. And I know that we didn't wear every piece of clothes we own while we were on our trip. So how is it that it all got dirty in a matter of three days?

Dirty laundry multiplies when mixed together in a suitcase. (Thus the reason we keep laundry separated. Ahem.)

We just returned from a weekend trip to Santa Fe and let me say right here that I love Santa Fe. Love it. The mountains are beautiful. The food is fabulous. And then there is the best part.

It has Target and Starbucks.

Since living in Smalltown, I am shopping challenged. I have Wal-mart and dollar stores. On a fancy day out, I go to the mall and visit JCPenney or, as my grandmother would say, The JCPenney.

Yep. That's when I wear my good lipstick.

You can see that visiting a city with stores and all is quite exciting for me. So exciting that I had an agenda of retail activities.

Actually, the agenda looked something like this.

1. Go to Target.

2. Stay as long as possible.

3. Purchase spring shoes in the dead of winter because this could be your last Target visit until summer.

4. Ask Hubs to drive thru Starbucks.

5. Sip the Venti Mocha like it's your last meal.

I don't ask for much, really.

But even with all of the retail madness, the highlight of the trip was the snow. Real snow. It sticks and everything.

On our last day of the trip, we headed up the mountain one more time to find a fun place to sled and just play in the snow. We found a cute little spot where we joined a few other families.

Let me add here that we had been in the car a while and I had coffee earlier. Along with some bottled water.

Hubs and Daughter started sledding and I took lots of pictures. Then Hubs and I traded off and he took lots of pictures. I am sure that onlookers could spot us as tourists in a second. The Florida tag may have given it away.

After a while, I needed a little, ahem, break and started plodding through the snow towards what I thought was a standard state park restroom.

Hubs yelled,"You don't want to go in there."

I yelled,"Huh?"

"You don't want to go in there. Trrrussst Meeeee."

Well, one thing I've learned in nearly fifteen years of marriage is that trust is critical to the relationship. Especially when it involves the warning of a public restroom.

I returned to our little personal sledding hillside and Hubs explained that the little house that I thought was a standard state park restroom was really a building which held a porta potty.

Then he proceeded to describe it to me in detail. He had visited it earlier and had a clear description which I will spare you from now.

You're welcome.

I did what any normal person would do. I quit sledding and prayed that any unfortunate accident would not involve me having to dig through the suitcase for a fresh change of clothes.

Where two or more are gathered together on a hillside, there He is in the midst of them. I made it through our sledding session.

Later in the car, Hubs shared with me that he did not want me to get sick or be offended by the less-than-sanitary potty situation. More importantly, he didn't want me to break my porta potty record.

See, I told you. Trust in a marriage is crucial.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cafe Post- Introductions

I am just returning from a long weekend. Lots of blog material there...

Until then, be sure to visit with me at The Internet Cafe.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day- The Reality Version

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, The Big One. The day when men are at their wit's end trying to figure out what to buy so that they don't end up on the couch.

We put a lot of pressure on them, girls. Let's cut them some slack.

Valentine's Day isn't about Pajama Grams and Teddy Bears.

Sarah eloquently writes about it here. Her post is a must read this weekend.

Hat tip to Roxanne.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Green Chile Chicken

I made this recipe last night. It is one that I had tucked away for a while and decided to make it again. It is always a hit. It's also known as Jalapeno Chicken, but since it doesn't have any jalapenos, I changed the name!

Green Chile Chicken

1/2 stick of butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 can chopped green chiles
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz.) box chopped spinach, cooked and drained well (Be sure to squeeze out extra water)
6 cups of cooked chicken, chopped
tortilla chips (enough to cover bottom of dish)
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated

In a saucepan, saute onions in butter until onions are soft. Add chiles, sour cream, soups, and cooked spinach. Simmer until well blended (about 5 minutes.)

Grease a 9 x 13 dish. Layer tortilla chips on bottom of dish. Cover chips with cooked chicken. Cover the chicken with chile/spinach mixture. Top with cheese. Cook uncovered @ 350 for 1 hour.

Serve with extra tortilla chips.

This is so easy and yummy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Name, rank and serial number, M'am.

Over the years, I've become a connoisseur of field trips even though I am pretty sure a connoisseur is some kind of expert in food or the arts or fine wine. I don't really, you know, eat field trips. However, most of them have involved food of some kind, one involved a visit to an art museum, and most of them could have driven me to drink.

There should be some kind of field manual for the field trip, a little pocket-sized book that the teacher hands you when you sign up as a chaperon. Included in the manual are instructions for many emergency situations.

For example, the correct response to a child's sudden onset of the stomach yucks while you are smack dab in the middle of the post office. Never mind that your seriously warped anxiety concerning the location adds salt to the wound, fuel to the fire, heaves to the hurls.

Due to the mercy of God, the child makes it to the bathroom and another mother accompanies him. He feels better later and you are not left holding the bag. Literally.

However, you have participated in other field trip emergencies and would have been grateful for the field trip manual. The best you could do is wing it.

Like when you were forming a human shield against possible bullets from the drug thugs being frisked next to the McDonald's playground. You'll forever see a table with a booth as a bunker.

Or when the bratty kid in Kindergarten knocked another kid's tooth out at the pumpkin patch which was more than forty-five minutes away from a dentist or a doctor.

How about the time the five-year olds went to the rodeo and the entire class cried when the cowboy roped the calf?

Then there is the day that the little girl stepped in dog poo at the park and completely freaked out. She sat on the bench and sobbed while you scraped the poo from every. single. crook. and crevice of her shoe. Why does a child need that kind of tread?

Yes, the field trip manual would be packed full of survival tips and advice for the volunteer. In the very back there is a picture of a tired woman covered in pewk and poo and food stains with a caption that reads, "Friends Don't Let Friends Volunteer."

Monday, February 09, 2009

If only I had Jack Bauer to hold my hand.

If I should suddenly go missing from the blogosphere, please do not be alarmed.

My absence can be easily explained.

I will probably be in the hospital or the crazy ward because today is the day I go with my daughter's class on a field trip to The Post Office.

Please excuse me while I go start my Valium drip.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Uses For The Baptist Hymnal

Baptist hymnals in Southern Baptist churches all over this country are waiting for someone to pick them up, blow off the dust, and crack them open.

Replaced by the big screen, these musty books are feeling lonely and forgotten, tucked inside that little shelf pocket in the back of the pew, next to the golf pencils.

Let's join hands across the aisle and come up with innovative ways to use the baptist hymnal. After all, we spent months raising money for them. The names of our loved ones are inscribed inside the front cover on a cheap sticker which reads, "In Memory Of."

If we don't do it for the hymnals, let's do it for Grandpa Jones and his family who dedicated five hymn books in his memory.

1. The baptist hymnal is just the right size to hold in your lap whenever you need something to press down on. Like when you're making out that huge check for the offering. Or when your toddler needs to doodle on the bulletin.

2. Baptist hymnals are great for back pain relief. Until chiropractors design church pews, sitting in church will always cause terrible back strain. Tucking the hymnal in the small of the back gives temporary relief.

It won't do anything for the sermon that is making you squirm in your seat.

3. Hymnals are good for small children to sit on so that they can see. Just be sure not to confuse it with that King James Bible right next to it. (Not familiar with the King James? I'll save that for another post.)

4. Hymnals are helpful during funerals when the family of the deceased chooses a hymn that no one has ever heard of. In this situation, you can take the opportunity to learn something new and comfort those in mourning.

5. Baptist hymnals are a good stand-by when there is a rookie in the sound booth. This is only used as a last resort. Wait until there is total confusion and the new guy can't keep up with the verses or doesn't know when to go back to the chorus.

Bless his heart. He doesn't wear a tie.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Baby Harper Update

This just makes me smile.

Big miracles sometimes come in tiny packages.

Welcome Home to sweet Harper!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Exactly where is the fun in dysfunction?

I'm sitting here trying to concentrate on blogging when Maggie strolls in the room to tell me the news.

Let me say that again. Concentrate on blogging. Like it's calculus or something.

It is exactly 3:47 PM and Maggie thinks it is time for dinner. She is fed each day at 5:00 PM. Due to her addiction issues, she has begun to tremor and get a bit irritable between her regularly scheduled fixes... er meals.

I've said before that the canned cat food she eats must be laced with something. Normally I would get my husband to write a letter to the company, but that could start an ugly investigation which could lead to a recall.

Which would mean our supplier (in air quotes) would be gone.

Heaven forbid.

Let's just say, if that ever happened, I would thank the good Lord above that Maggie is declawed.

Every afternoon Maggie walks up to me and whines. She rubs her face on the furniture, paws at my leg, moans and belly-aches. She ate less than 8 hours before and there is dry cat food in her dish. Never mind that she hasn't done anything all day to burn any of the calories she has consumed.

And still, I love cats. I love this cat. She is nuts and needy and has a serious attitude.

Okay. Maybe I'm the one who is nuts.

You dog people have no idea how good you have it getting up in the night to take them out and picking up poo in used Wal-mart bags. Your lives are cake.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sleepy-eyed Mamas

I just rolled out of bed
and there's a convoy up ahead
made of sleepy-eyed mamas with their posse.

One of them waves me in
and I join the gang again
hauling precious cargo to class.

My hair is all a mess.
I've got the attitude of Ness
'cause the elastic in my sweats is shot.

Cruisin in the zone at less than 20,
I yell, "Do you have your lunch money?"
and I drop off the kid in the back.

Cranking up the Krauss
and headed to the house,
this mama's got loads of laundry on her list.

Every morning we hit the street
and the ride is always sweet
when we get the kids to school on time.

These ladies have a mission
so don't you be dissin'
the sleepy-eyed mamas on the road.

Peace out.