Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad y Propspero Año

Merry Christmas from us to you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

5 Ingredients or Less

I've decided to give myself a food challenge. And what better way to keep me accountable than to blog about it?

It's a five ingredients or less challenge, for six months I will not buy anything that has more than five ingredients in it. I've mentioned my plan to a few people and have gotten a wide range of responses. Some people thinks it's awesome. Some people think I should probably be committed. There is a method to my madness though. I have food allergies, and luckily for me high fructose corn syrup is one of my allergies. I'm sure that even if you haven't seen the commercials promoting high fructose corn syrup, you know that it is put in seemingly, everything from bread to jam, spaghetti sauce to juices it is everywhere.

I'm not always successful at avoiding it. Sometimes a product changes their ingredients and I don't realize it until after the fact. I do read labels, but naively, I tend to think manufactures will not change their formulas.

I chose to go with five ingredients, so that I can still fuel my hot sauce addiction. I cannot imagine life without Tabasco sauce. The five ingredients limit also gives me a little leeway in buying a few ready to eat foods... Not many, but a few. I'm excited at the prospect of making my own sauces and breads.

Six months is my starting goal. I know that when Sweet Husband returns home, he'll want to go visit all of his favorite eating places, and I would like to go with him. Hopefully by the time he returns I'll have mastered bread and he'll look in disdain at conventional bread.... Hey, a girl can dream!

Of course, there are a few limitations. When traveling the five ingredient limit does not stand. I try to take bring travel foods along when we travel, but I've had better success in theory rather than practice so far. Return trips are the worst.

So watch out 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Box to Far Away

Sweet husband requested sheets and a pillow for Christmas.

How could I say to "no" to such a simple request? So the boys and I went shopping. We started with sheets. Alex found a set of High School Musical sheets.
"Mama, don't you think papa would like these sheets?"
I bit back a smile. I could almost picture Sweet husband's face opening a package f High School Musical sheets.
"Those are nice sheets. But papa really wants cotton sheets and those aren't cotton." Sweet husband could thank me later.
Alex put the sheets back. "Oh. How about these? Are they cotton?" he held up a package of Tinkerbell sheets.
"Not enough. Papa likes all cotton sheets."
"Oh here's Mickey Mouse! ....And some princesses..."
"Oh these one's are good." I held up a set of cream colored jersey sheets.
Alex looked at me expectantly "There's nothing on them..." he said hesitantly "Are you sure they're cotton?"

Then came the pillow. Alex tested each of them, before settling on a sweetly stripped damask pillow. Then his eyes fell on a solid red rectangle of fluff.
"Mama," he said reverently "it's a red pillow"
"Mmm-hmm," I grunted as I pushed aside a mountain of pillows in from me.
"What does the tag say?" he whispered.
I glanced over absently "It says "Allergy relief"."
Alex's eyes lit up. "Mama, I have allergies."
I raised an eyebrow "That's right."
Alex smiled sweetly, a halo appeared above his head and doves began singing.
"Mama, may I have a red allergy relief pillow?"

Now sheets and a pillow sound harmless enough. Wrap them up, throw them in a box and ship them out, right? Ha! I laugh at the idea of something so simple. First I had to wash the items, and of course, once laundered they grew bigger and puffier. Armed with a few bags, some packaging tape, the vacuum cleaner, and my own personal cheering/crying section (named Spain, for any of you who might be wondering), I attacked the fluffy pile of bedding. I spent more time than I care to admit (hours) folding, refolding, twisting, turning- essentially creating bedding origami. All so I could close the box enough to tape it closed. 25 yards of tape later, I had a box that slightly rocked when touched and was completely waterproof.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

There is one thing I never heard about before Sweet Husband deployed. It creeps upon you subtly. One day you're paying little attention to the clock as you run errands, and the next, you don't leave your house until you are sure your spouse is asleep or at work. It's taken me longer to adjust my schedule for Spain's napping habits (which always seem to change at this point), than it did for me to realize that I was always by the computer twice a day. Unfortunately for me, one of those times is past my bedtime.

The phone never seems to be more than a few inches away from my hands... Unless of course it rings. The law of the universe says that the more important the phone call, the harder it is to find my phone. If it's a telemarketer or appointment reminder the phone will be in my hand. If it's friends or family, the phone will be under a bed, or left on a dresser in another room. If it's Sweet Husband the phone will be in the refrigerator or hidden in the bowels of the couch.

And once in church. Our church family is amazing! I am just blown away by how thoughtful and caring our church family is. Sweet Husband called as our church service was starting one Sunday, One dear lady took Spain to the nursery for me, while one wonderful family kept an eye on Alex for me while I stood outside and talked with Sweet Husband. In just a few minutes I became completely refreshed from and exhausting, horrible week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Room for Rent

Alex was recently introduced to the world of Pokemon, which brings an extra layer of joy to my life, as I can't even type "Pokemon" without rolling my eyes.
Recently we traveled across the Earth to visit friends and family, and all the while Alex would randomly ask "When we get home can I watch Pokemon?"
We got home two hours after bedtime. I marched the boys inside and ordered Alex to bed.
"You mean I can't watch Pokemon now?" Alex wailed
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Alex, you have to go bed. You are not watching anything tonight."
Sullenly he obliged.

Imagine my surprise to be woken up the boy begging to watch Pokemon. "Alex, you may not watch Pokemon today. I'm not sure it's completely appropriate for you to watch."

If life were a cartoon, a thunder cloud would have appeared over Alex's head. He glowered at me for a moment, then stomped out of my bedroom. He poked his head back in and announced that he was moving out.

"Where will you go?" I asked, desperately wishing I was not the only parent on duty at the moment.
"I'll buy a house. And live in it by myself!" He huffed.
"Oh. Okay..... How will you get there?"
He pondered this for a moment before answering "I'll have someone drive me."
I nodded thoughtfully. "I'll miss you. You are my favorite Alex."
Alex harrumphed.
"Spain will miss you too. You're his favorite brother".
Alex slammed my bedroom door in response.

I mentally waved good-bye to the idea of sleeping in and crawled out of bed. A few minutes later I was in the kitchen starting on breakfast when Alex reappeared.
"I'm going to have someone drive me to look at houses. Then I'll move out on my own. Without you. AND I'll buy phone that doesn't work so you can't call me. You won't be able to find me."
I nodded thoughtfully "I understand. I will miss you a lot."
He darted off as I called after him "I will still love you Alex!"

When I called him to the table for breakfast he trudged slowly and sadly to his seat. A lone tear trickled down his cheek. "I just don't like it when people laugh at me" he sniffed.
"Who laughed at you sweetie?" More than a little bewildered by this turn of events.
"People just laugh at my jokes, and I don't like it!" he sobbed.
I hugged him close, biting back a smile.
"Sweetie, jokes are things that people say to make others laugh. If you don't want people to laugh at your jokes, don't tell them any jokes."
"I just don't like it!" Alex wailed.

Naively I thought Alex had moved passed his desire to move out. As soon as he finished eating, Alex pulled a suitcase out of my closet. He opened it on the living room floor and began to bring armfuls of clothing from his room and dump it into his suitcase. He folded up the dividers that were in his drawers and stuffed them into his suitcase as well. The entire time he worked he sang a song.

"I'm going to move out.
I'm going to move out.
I'm going to move out.
I'm just going to move out"

I typed a quick note to Sweet Husband to update him on the situation, while Alex was packing. "Did you get your toothbrush?" I asked, trying to be helpful.
Alex turned his glare onto me "Yes. I'm also taking my toothpaste.

A few minutes later Alex found me as I was nursing Spain. Exhaustion rimmed his eyes and he looked ready to weep at the drop of a wrong word. He crawled onto the couch next to me. "I'll wait until after we go to Oma's house to move out."
I smiled and dropped a kiss on his forehead.

He left his suitcase packed in case he changes his mind though.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's the little things. Literally

I know. I've been quiet on the blog front. I apologize. I have a decent excuse, I'm just not ready to share it with you quite yet. It's a post in the making.
When you have children you know that situations are going to arise that are unpleasant, unbelievable, and uncouth. It comes with the territory, and even though we know we should expect such things, they always come as a surprise.

When Alex lost his first two teeth, he convinced me to let him keep them in a small clear plastic container by his bed so he could look at them. I'll admit, it's a little odd for me, but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a deal. The stipulation was that the teeth were for looking at only. Not playing with or touching. This worked wonderfully for several months, then one day as I was folding laundry in the living room, Alex rushed in.
"Mama, my teeth are gone."
"I know sweetie. Remember what we talked about. That's what happens. Your baby teeth fall out so the big ones can grow"
"I know that. I mean my baby teeth are gone."
"You lost more teeth?"
"Yes the ones that fell out. I lost them."
"That's what is supposed to happen."
"No. Mama. My teeth in the container are missing. I don't know where they are."

Just when I start to assume the conversation is destined to be redundant, he throws a curve ball.

We powered through the rest of the day. The teeth long forgotten in the abyss that my mind has become. Alex finally went to bed. Spain finally went to sleep, and I decided to do a quick power sweep through the house before I went to bed. I got to Alex's room, and suddenly I remembered the teeth.

That is how I found myself kneeling on the floor is Alex's bedroom sifting through a pile of debris I had swept up. Dog hair, paper bits and ....was that popcorn? When was the last time we had popcorn? Believe it or not many things can look like baby teeth on the floor. And several of them I could not identify. *insert shudder*
I found one tooth easily, and then I found what I assumed was the other tooth. It looked like a piece had broken off of it, making it harder to identify. I went through the pile again, before reaching the conclusion that the unidentifiable object in my mind was tooth like, and so was probably the missing tooth. It joined the first tooth in it's plastic prison.
I scrubbed my hands and arms like I was prepping for surgery. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I had touched teeth, or that I had sifted through dirt and touched a lot of questionable items that my skin crawling.

After I was clean, I poured myself my into bed.

Then I remembered that he had lost two front teeth. I had found a front tooth and a "molar".

Oh Lord.