Archive - 2010

Looking Back
Getting Cleaned Up
Last Minute Links
Candy Cane Cookies
Gee, thanks
Candle Lighting 2010
Baby Thoughts 1.0
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Looking Back

As I sit here typing, the snow is coming down and our lows tonight are going to dip past 0 degrees. Wind chill will be -20. Negative twenty. Fortunately Philip came home early and he doesn’t have to go back to work until next year. We are stocked up with winter storm essentials – toilet paper and eggs. We haven’t had much snow this season at all, so we’re hoping for enough to sled.

Looking back at this last year is always fun, so here it goes.

In January I turned 40. I got some pretty good gifts!

In February I was happy to start baking bread again and Boo became a Boy Scout.

March brought two new family members – our kitties Mittens and Cinnamon.

We traveled to Tucson for Easter in April where we attended the vigil mass and were the godparents for my cousin’s son.

I finally admitted in May what I’d known since the end of February – that we were expecting another baby!

June found us sailing away to Mexico.

In July I reflected upon the things we learned during our first year of living in Colorado.

Pumpkin Girl auditioned for the Nutcracker in August.

I got brave in September and shared some pages out of my watercolor journal. Only one person commented (thank you, Jani!)!!! Ouch. 😉

As October came to an end, our little Pipsqueak arrived and Boo turned 12, all in the same week. Amazing.

Speaking of Pipsqueak, November was tough on him as he fought off jaundice and had kidney ultrasounds.

We wrapped up the year remembering Becca on her seventh birthday and celebrating Pumpkin Girl as she turned ten.

All in all, a good year! I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings.

Getting Cleaned Up

I slept through most of 2010. My pregnancy wiped me out and my house suffered for it. I actually started regretting the choice of home that we bought. I thought it was too small, which if you’ve seen my house in real life, you know is ridiculous. Our house isn’t huge, but it fits us all nicely with more than enough room to spare. But I wasn’t happy anymore. No need to smack me though, because I’m over it.

Turns out, with me sleeping most of the time and trying to school the children the rest of it, our home sweet home turned into a lovely depot of clutter. It wasn’t the house that I didn’t like – it was the way the house looked.

So now Pipsqueak is here and I’m much more awake, I desperately want to reclaim the home I love. And since January is a time for fresh starts, I’m not the only one wanting to get cleaned up.

Clean Mama has declared that January is Cleaning Month. She is going to get her house cleaned in 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week and she’d like us -the general internet public- to join her. Go to the link above and leave her a comment that you’re joining her and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate for Clean Mama printables. You don’t need a blog to participate.


Ten years ago I was pregnant. The fun and excitement of Christmas was over and we were enjoying the peace and quiet of the days that follow. Our baby was due during the first week of the new year and we were mostly ready.

I’d taken a walk with my mom that afternoon. It was a crisp, clear day in a Maryland suburb of DC. The baby felt really low. Really low.

I decided that it was as good a day as any to wash the cover on the infant car seat. I threw it in the washing machine with some other items. It was done drying by the time Phil got home so I had him install the car seat into the car. Just so we’d be ready.

In the meantime I sat on the floor, folding the rest of the laundry. My mom was in the kitchen with Boo. I felt two pops. My water broke!

We didn’t leave for the hospital for another hour. During the short ride to Andrews AFB, my contractions grew stronger. By the time we arrived it was clear that I was definitely in labor, but they put me in the labor and delivery triage room where I continued to labor.

I will spare you the details of the complete chaos and buffoonery that followed when they finally realized that not only was I really in labor, but that the baby was coming RIGHT NOW!

I did make it to the delivery room just fine before I pushed twice (please don’t hate me) and our little Pumpkin Girl was born.

All 5 pounds, 12 ounces of her. Thick black hair and big brown eyes. Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin Girl! You bless us every day with your beautiful smile, you dancing feet and your quiet, but funny sense of humor. You are a princess among the princes, the crown jewel of our little kingdom. Proof that every good and perfect gift comes from above.

Last Minute Links

Here we are, the day before the day before Christmas. I hope your Advent has been full of joy.

Don’t forget that on Christmas Eve you can track Santa with NORAD. Next year Boo will be old enough to volunteer with the NORAD folks, so he’s hoping that he and his dad can get a good time slot.
NORAD tracks Santa

You can also email Santa all the way up to Christmas morning, just in case you forgot. Santa is all high-tech, so he’ll be receiving his email while en route. He’ll even send you a personal reply.
Email Santa

This has nothing to do with Christmas, but it’s a freebie too good not to pass along. You can get a free Sweater Stone by requesting one before the end of the year. If you’ve got clothing that pills, this is a good way to get those pills off.
Free Sweater Stone

And lastly, you may have already seen the Social Network Christmas, but here it is again. I bet you’ll want to watch it again, or if you haven’t seen it, please take the time to see it now. It’s totally worth it. I get chills and teared up every time I see it. There is another version out there, but this one is the best.


Seven years ago I was pregnant. During that Advent season I was waiting not just for Christmas, but for the birth of my own baby. I wanted more than anything for the baby to come before Christmas so that I could be home on Christmas morning with my other children.

In my own head, December 21st was a good day. The Winter Solstice. Baby and I could be home well before Christmas.

So all that weekend I walked. Walked our neighborhood, one foot on the curb, the other in the street, trying to get labor going. I walked the halls of the hospital after my appointment. I walked all over the PX. Phil followed me the whole time.


So Monday, December 22 dawned crisp and cold, without any sign of labor. I snuggled deep into the blankets as Phil got ready for work. I heard him leave the house and then POP! My water broke!

I rushed – as best as a very pregnant woman can rush- down the stairs and out the front door to call him back. I caught him just in time. We got ready to go, bid Boo and Pumpkin Girl farewell and went off to have a baby.

At the hospital we waited and waited, with nary a contraction. Eventually our baby did arrive – our sweet little Rebecca!

It was a very good day.

As it turns out, Winter Solstice was December 22 that year – I’d gotten my wish. And Becca and I came home on Christmas Eve.

For all the pain of losing Rebecca, God showed so much mercy. The first was that she came before Christmas, the only Christmas we shared with her. I’m glad we had that time with her.

Candy Cane Cookies

I have enjoyed these holiday cookies for as long as I can remember, which makes the recipe at least 35 years old. They are a favorite of my children, too. If I could only make one Christmas cookie, this would be it.

    Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/2 cup flour
red food coloring

Beat butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint extract. Add flour.   Divide dough in half, color one half red. Wrap each half in wax paper and chill at least one hour. Form into balls. Roll a white ball and a red ball together to form one stick with the red and white entwined.* Place on a greased baking sheet, turning one end of the sticks to form a cane. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with eggnog.

Just kidding about the eggnog. Sort of.

*This is my personal candy cane forming technique, developed over years of practice. You might find it easier at first to roll the balls into logs, then twist them together. It takes the perfect touch to roll two balls together to form a twisted log without smashing them together into a mess.

Gee, thanks

Boo was a little angry with me over a school issue. A little while later I headed upstairs to nurse the baby and I asked Boo if he would make me a sandwich for lunch. He said yes, but rather grudgingly.

He brought me this.

Barely enough peanut butter to cover the bread and he clearly just plopped some jelly on without spreading it out.

A side view, to get the full effect of the blob of jelly.

Adolescence has clearly set in. Let the games begin!

Candle Lighting 2010

Tonight – Sunday, December 12 – is the annual Candle Lighting for children who have died.

At 7 PM in whatever time zone you are, light a candle for those children who have died, so that their light may always shine. As people around the world light a candle, a continuous wave of light is created for 24 hours. We usually place our candle next to a picture of Becca and say a prayer for all the other parents grieving for a child, especially those who do not have a faith to rely on.

This candle lighting is to honor and remember all children of any age, pre-born to adult. I will be praying especially for my real life and online friends who in recent days have been mourning babies they never got to meet on earth. Where there is love and loss, there is grief. (I feel a little awkward linking to their blogs as if to say, hey go gawk at their pain, but Charlotte and Sarah – I’m praying for you.)

Also, for today only, you may go to the Compassionate Friends website (click the graphic at the end of this post or the one in my sidebar) and leave a message of love in the Remembrance Book.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Baby Thoughts 1.0

Ah, the joy of sleepless nights!

Why don’t babies tell us what is wrong? Seriously, if they would just tell us what they need we’d get it for them. Of course, we all know that babies communicate by crying, but that is so last century! While the rest of us are busy emailing, texting, twittering (twitting?) and Skyping, those cute little babies are still relying on millenia old technology.

So you know what I was thinking? They need little emoticons that appear over their heads to tell us what’s on their mind. A diaper means “change me.” A bottle for “feed me”, a heart means “hold me.” Bubbles could indicate gas, and z’s let us know that they are sleepy.

Wouldn’t that be great? The software, which I’ve named Baby Thoughts 1.0, would wear off by age 2. We wouldn’t really want to know the thoughts of anyone older than that, would we?

My only obstacle at this point – how to install the software? Alas.

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