26 October 2005

the quest

We spent this past weekend in the mountains I love so much. The leaves had not yet changed, but it was still crisp and cool and lovely and poetry ran through my mind the entire time. I had a relaxing time, to top it off (my parents were with us and helped with the childcare load). Lovely.

While there, my husband and I made an attempt get dessert within walking distance of where we were staying, but discovered it was by reservation only and we decided it was too much hassle for right then. This is the second failed attempt to "indulge" in less than a month. Now, we've mostly maintained our sugar free efforts, so to tantalize ourselves with the promise of a scrumptious dessert and have it fall through simply whets the appetite for the forbidden. And I have been craving chocolate in a big way for about a week (I was known to create my own with cocoa powder and honey last week--yes, I needed it!)

We rejoined my family (deciding to make reservations for brunch the next morning, which was delicious, by the way), and within about half an hour I became crabby...I was needing real chocolate and fast. I can only figure it's PMS but it was a big deal to me. So, we drove to the grocery store that would be closing in 30 minutes or so (the town shuts down around 10pm if not sooner, even on Saturday!). I searched for my tried and true chocolate and I swear they lacked the good stuff in every way! I need DARK chocolate (my only concession to milk chocolate would be almond m&m's which they did not have anyway).

There was no Dove dark--just the milk.

I looked for Special Dark with Almonds--they had no bag (or bar) of just that. There was a only a mixed bag of Hershey's Treasures--not worth the whole bag for a quarter of it to be dark (and Hershey's is only so-so anyway).

I considered just a Mouds candy bar, but there was only a Halloween-sized bag which was overkill (not for my usual preferences, but for Mounds, it was excessive).

At this point, I can honestly say I was getting close to tears. I know, I cannot believe I just admitted to that, but it's true. I'd have happily worked my way through most of a bag (of dark chocolate only) that night! I contemplated making brownies and while that might have worked, it would have been midnight before it was ready to eat, so I nixed that idea, too. The store was closing at this point and I was desparate to find something that would work.

So, I headed to the freezer and finally found some Godiva Dark Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream. I am amazed I didn't eat it with my fingers or at least buy a spoon. I managed to make it all the way back and ran for the silverware. When my husband got a spoon for a bite, I glared at him. Poor man--he'd helped in my desparate quest for real chocolate--I said, "At least let me finish the top layer, okay?"

I am not a person who can down a pint in one sitting, so I shared and there is still some left! The craving has only mildly abated, though, and I eat a little each day. (I'm breaking the no sugar rule until this is remedied.)

In fact, last night, I went to my favorite coffee shop and had a four layer piece of chocolate cake (that's a ton of cake for me).

I think I will be buying a bag of the good chocolate to get me through...

20 October 2005

dining disaster update

For those who have read my most recent blog, please allow me to fill you in on today's occurances in response to my "kind" email.

Before 10am this morning, I had two responses from various people at Golden Corral (I've already used their name on my site, so I'll carry through). At 11:30, I received a third. I was kind of impressed, since I'd only sent two emails out.

And, apparently, I have created a tiny uproar in that local joint. Fascinating coming from a woman who grows more wary of confrontation with each passing year (and I used to be GOOD at it!!). I responded to two of these emails, one which asked for my phone number so she could pass it along to an Area Director for that location.

Then the director called. I was asked to recap my experience (which I did, though I hate recapping when I know they've just read the email sitting in front of them!). This man apologized profusely. He stated more than once that this is not how they do business and that he was very embarassed. He told me he'd spent the day at that location and had handed out reprimands pertaining to this incident. Honestly, I liked him. He was nice, he was kind, he apologized multiple times, and was genuinely more than a little upset by how things had been handled. He asked if there is anything he could do. My answer: "No, I don't think so, and my liklihood of return is slim in spite of it being my son's favorite restaurant." (It is almost always Little B's first choice in dining locations, and, hey, it is fast to get hot food.)

All that said and done: I have some free meal coupons coming in the mail. I would not ask for them--my belief is that they needed to offer them on their own after that fiasco.

Will I use them? Eventually. I doubt it will be next week, and possibly not even next month. But, yes, eventually. Probably after I know better what Miss C is or is not allergic to. After all, it's long been a favorite Saturday morning breakfast spot (though for the sake of not eating out so much, we don't frequent it as often, and rather my two men make me breakfast on Saturdays. Gotta love it!)

Am I happy with the outcome? Yes. I believe I am. My point was made, the higher uppers quickly handled my complaint, and I was thanked for contacting them rather than simply walking away or badmouthing them. (Well, you guys are my friends, right? Not a newspaper. And, hey, who doesn't tell their friends about their experiences? Besides, I posted the outcome and good stuff along with the other. Okay, my conscience is clear.)

19 October 2005

yes, i actually sent this...moments ago

(A copy of this email has been sent to the Food & Beverage department as well as the specific Golden Corral Restaurant.)

This evening my family dined at our local Golden Corral--(location with-held). We have eaten there frequently in recent years and are generally pleased with what we find.
However, tonight I left unhappy and unlikely to return.
We believe my 8 month old baby had an allergic reaction your mashed potatoes (bear in mind, they are listed on your website as "made from scratch". . . .).

First of all, when it occurred, the only other things she'd eaten were broccoli and chicken. Our server was most helpful and offered to get the manager as I wanted to know any ingredients that might have been in the mashed to potatoes. Upon the return of the server--not the manager--we were told that the manager said there was "butter, milk, salt and pepper; maybe some kind of preservative." That was it. Needless to say, this was insufficient information considering my daughter had red welt-like hives around her mouth as well as a blister on her lip.

Our server was wonderful--I wish I still had her name, but I was a little preoccupied, needless to say. She very willingly retrieved the box of mix that goes into the mashed potatoes and allowed me to copy the MANY ingredients in it.
Milk, butter, salt and pepper--that just doesn't cut it, folks. My baby was having an allergic reaction. And, at NO TIME during the entire situation did the manager bother to come by our table to see if everything was okay.

I'm completely unimpressed.

And yes, my daughter is fine--in case you wondered.

What do I think you should do about it? Make it clear to all of your managers that they should personally check on situations like this. What else? I'll leave that up to you. Good companies usually rise to a challenge.

18 October 2005

those lessons must have paid off

Oh, I have a very proud little girl this week. On Friday evening, she finally figured it out! She usually gets around on her elbows, but moves her legs, so I suppose she's crossed crawling and army crawling--but, hey, whatever works, right? Her final motivator: a lovely pile of papers mommy was sorting on the living room floor with a cordless phone for dessert. Yum. I kept moving the items few feet further from her and she'd just pick up and go after them. I don't think she appreciated the fact I denied her the anticipated paper and plastic meal; however, it was an exciting moment for the rest of us.

The funniest part is when she forgets that she's learned to do this. She'll momentarily get frustrated, flail her limbs out once more and scream. But, when she remembers that she can indeed crawl, watch out!

13 October 2005

crawling lessons

Late yesterday afternoon, Miss C was in the hallway making serious attempts to crawl (even succeeding at rocking on all fours occasionally) but ending up belly-flopping and tensing each limb until her body looked like a rocking mechanism with her head and arms up at one end, body down, and legs up at the back. Quite cute except for the ensuing yell of frustration.

Her other method starts by sitting, then leaning forward on both arms (she is getting better and better at bearing weight on her left arm--something we still thrill at seeing), and kicking one leg back, leaving the other folded beneath her body as leverage. She is able to get back to sitting from this position, which she feels obviously pleased about.

Little B watched her do a few of these things and thought she was starting to crawl. In fact, she is deceptive about that by squirming enough to have moved around a bit after a few minutes, so I explained to him that she was actually just trying to learn still.

At which point he decided to give his sister crawling lessons. I am always looking for gentle ways for them to play together, and this proved a great idea (until the end when he was getting wound up and rowdy, of course). We shut the gate at the top of the stairs and he proceeded to crawl back and forth in the hallway "showing" her what to do. And don't you know she valianty attempted to imitate him! I finally pulled out my camera (non-digital, of course. . .), and once I did the hamming-it-up began. Hilarious to say the least since Little B kept saying "Take it now" as he passed me (I was in a doorway) and Miss C was trying to find a way to reach me to grab the camera. Her crawling efforts were precious, but I had to strip her down as the sweater-outfit she had on meant she was moving her legs inside the clothes. She really worked hard and wore herself out!

And, as my son got sillier and faster (which meant I got more nervous), my daughter got happier and happier! She was giggling each time he passed and her little body would squirm in delight wishing she could keep up with him.

They are going to be two peas in a pod in no time.
Mutual adoration society for sure.

11 October 2005

winds of change

At last, autumn is tip-toeing into our world (albeit slowly here in the south), and I am luxuriating in the milder temperatures, varying cast of shadows around my neighborhood and the crispness of the air. I find it quite invigorating.

However, far more lurks beneath the surface in our lives—a multitude of changes.

The first thing happened while I was on vacation, though being out of town, I did not hear until the afternoon we arrived home.

Prior to getting married, I lived in Seattle for one year—a space of time in my life to become more independent as a person, yet also more dependent upon God. While there, I lived in a house shared by several Christian women (not always an ideal thing, having so much estrogen under one roof, but. . .). However, a few of them became dear to my heart. One friend in particular was Janel. She was indeed a free spirit and a deep-hearted person who helped me maintain my sanity during the lower spots of that year (I “knew” I’d be getting married, but we were 3,000 miles apart and neither of us had email at the time). I spent many a lovely evening with Janel, trouncing around town in “L.C.”, her “Little Car”—an old Honda hatchback. (I recall that later she was sad to have to replace that car when its day was done!)

Once I moved home to get married, Janel and I infrequently stayed in touch. We emailed some, chatted some, and about six years ago she came for a visit. That visit was one stop of many on a trip she’d longed to go on for years. She had traveled part of the US by train and then went to Romania for a few weeks, spending time at an orphanage there. I remember that her heart longed to bring home one baby in particular and that parting was difficult for her.

The day I returned home from our vacation last month, I learned that Janel had died. It has been one month today. She and two friends were on their way home from a concert at 1 a.m. when a freak rockslide occurred and crushed their vehicle, roughly an hour from Seattle. It was so sudden and so shocking that it has taken me some time to process all of it.

A few other housemates and I have reconnected through this tragedy, and I felt our bonds grow a little tighter. Life is so uncertain. I believe that God knows the number of days we have here on earth. While Janel was only 28, and had not yet fulfilled her dream of marrying and having a family, her life was indeed complete. The news of her death has not rocked the core of my world as others have done, but losing a peer is very sobering to me and I certainly feel a deep loss.

The second big change that is just beginning for us is the desire to move. We have lived in this house for over seven years, and it has served us well. However, the area we are in is slowly going downhill and we do not want our children around what we are seeing as they grow up. Every once in a while we have considered moving, but never felt the peace that it was the right time.

The house we currently live in is now 23 years old, a split-level (which I adamantly wanted when we were house hunting), and has a considerably large yard—something we wanted for our kids someday (though parts are really steep, which is bad with toddlers). Over time, we have decided we absolutely want a ranch style home the next time, and a much smaller yard, as for us, taking care of it only takes away from the time we want to spend as a family on the weekends. Interesting how our two most important things in a house have completely changed. Confession: I actually hate taking my kids outside. I know, bad, bad mommy. I despise bugs and sunburn and sunscreen and sweating while watching to make sure my kids are safe. Ugh.

So, about two weeks ago, we were talking about some things and it began to occur to us that we felt a sudden, unexpected peace that now is the time to move. How or when or where had not yet begun to sink in. Just, “It’s time.” Yes, God—we will follow. There is a lot we will miss about this house—the one mile I drive to Little B's school, a “Teddy Bear Picnic” mural my husband painted when we were expecting Little B, the close proximity of certain friends, and knowing that our immediate neighbors are great people (we won’t mention what we see going deeper into the neighborhood. . .)

After a day or so, we began to grow quite excited—we have things we desperately need to do to make it more sellable, and originally planned to put it on the market at the beginning of spring. One thing we were determined to do is drive the areas we were thinking of to make sure we found a neighborhood we love, a reasonable drive for my husband to and from work, and either a school we are comfortable with or an acceptable distance from the current one (Little B is in a very small private Christian school that is moderately priced and goes from preschool to 6th grade—they have also been adding a grade a year for a while). We assumed this would take us a few months, while we got our house ready to sell, and we’d have zeroed in on where we want to go, whether we'd build or buy used.

However, God’s timing is not our own, is it? We narrowed things way, way, WAY down. When His peace hits, it lands perfectly and contentedly within and all there is to say is, “Oh,” and “Wow,” and “Amen.” Right? Right.

By way of explanation, my husband is a civil engineer in residential construction. Basically, he designs and lays out neighborhoods (I will spare you the nitty-gritty). There is one client he has been doing a lot of work for, and occasionally meets with. Last week (yes, last week), during a meeting with said client, he asked oh so nonchalantly, “Do you have any ranch plans in such-and-such subdivision?” Why, yes, they did. Let me insert here that “someday” in the far off future, our dreams included building “the house of our dreams”—some day way off, right? No, not way off, according to God.

The architect gave my husband two full sets of plans for himself, and my dear husband comes home that night jabbering on and on about this—he had a strange light in his eye and I was hell-bent on taming it—“Honey, we can talk about this, but you are acting like it’s a done deal—remember, we agreed to take some TIME.” I like spontaneity, but preferably with smaller decsions, not the big ones.

I finally agreed to sit down and look at it. One of them fits every single thing we’d ever wanted in a house. Except maybe the fact the yards are incredibly tiny and the homes are squished next to each other (it’s a “conservation subdivision”, therefore if they do not touch some surrounding areas they can make us spitting distance from one another’s homes—literally, my friends). Of course, we did say we wanted less yard to take care of—we could do our yard work in, oh, say, 20 minutes flat each week. It started to hold a bit of appeal. There are great parks nearby, and some open land that could not be built on, so playing is not an issue, if truth be told. Our current, huge backyard stays too neglected to be of much use anyway. OH—and a mere one mile away live my husband's aunt and uncle who have a massive amount of play area that we are always welcome to use. So, I won’t need goats to keep my grass short after all. Yes, we could see ourselves living here for twenty years.

Okay, that peace we were starting to feel? It grew stronger after we went through a model of the same home in a different subdivision (“our" neighborhood isn’t being built yet—a few more weeks). It grew even stronger when we drove through the actual site of “ours”.


By Saturday afternoon, we knew this is where we were supposed to go. We kept waiting for the apprehension that would indicate a wrong choice, or panic that our house wouldn’t sell, but all we received was peace. God is in the details.

I feel I am entering a new season in my life. Where it will take me, I do not know. The transition makes me curious but I intend to ride on this peace we have and try to go with the flow.

07 October 2005


MommyMaki tagged me with this, so . . .

Three Random Facts About My Closet:

  • I have a VERY SMALL closet space. In fact, my husband and I each have less space than either one of our kids. (Instead, my drawers are stuffed full, as is a blue storage bin in the laundry room!!
  • It used to be a wire “rack” straight across my half and my husband’s (it has two tiny doors on each side, not even a full sliding door!). After his side collapsed under the weight of stacked clothes, he now has two levels and I still have one level (but a more practical height than before). We share the middle shelving—very little of that is clothes.
  • My shoes refuse to stay organized. They must have a mind of their own.

Three Items I've Never Worn But Still Haven't Tossed:

  • A garage sale skirt that I thought would be similar to a favorite of mine. It wasn’t. (However, this has inspired me to put it in the donate pile today!)
  • A gorgeous white dressy-dress, long, simple, sleeveless. It fit SO perfectly (back before this last pregnancy, and while I wasn’t breastfeeding. . .) and was SO on sale at JCPenney (while shopping for a office Christmas party dress) that I HAD to get it. But, I’ve lacked the proper occasion ever since. I probably lack the body now, too.
  • A cream colored velvet-embossed sport-bra type thing-a-ma-bob I had NO idea what to do with. But, hey, it was less than $5 at Victoria’s Secret, and—irresistable. At least, I think it’s still around?
  • Bonus: brown suede skirt. Another JCPenney deal—they have rockin’ clearances! (But, WHAT do I wear it with and to where???)

Three Items I'll Never Get Rid Of, No Matter How Ugly They Get:

  • A plaid flannel hooded pull-over with a drawstring at the waist. I’ve had it for more than 15 years and still wear it at least once or twice every fall. I will probably mourn it when it decays one day.
  • Oversized navy college t-shirt from the Activities Board I was on. Great sleep shirt, even if the writing is almost faded. Sentiment and all that.
  • Long sleeve Camp Sunshine t-shirt from the days when my friend’s son was diagnosed with Leukemia. (He’s been fine for several years now.)

Three Items People Wouldn't Expect To Find In My Closet:

  • My baby quilt made by my grandma with my name and birthdate hand-embroidered.
  • Footie pajamas. My size from the women’s department at Target.
  • The modern Clue game that’s electronic. I LOVE Clue!

Three items that made me go, "Oh Lord, what was I thinking?":

  • I’ve been spending way too long (all day yesterday?) attempting to figure this one out. So, I will just say that if it’s in my closet, I’m still too stupid to know it, and if it’s gone, it’s forgotten. =p

Three things that I have a surprising number of:

  • Panty hose—and I loathe them, refusing to wear them except in dire circumstances.
  • Old, wrong-size bras. I spend way too much time pondering whether or not I will fit them someday again (after breastfeeding), if I should donate them, or if they just need to be chunked. Some are pretty good.
  • Shirts: Stretched out from breastfeeding, faded into nightshirt quality, wearable, recently wearable, too small but good condition, nursing tops, or I don’t know what to wear them with. Sheesh.

Three dominant colors in my wardrobe:

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Randomness (not always good for matching purposes!)

Three items that never fail to put me in a good mood whenever I wear them:

  • My new Gap cords (either pair). (The jeans have been a serious let-down.)
  • An Aussie T-shirt that has some blue water-color like flowers on the back with the words, “People who live in glass houses should grow flowers.”
  • Super soft pink striped pajama pants from Victoria’s Secret

Three people I will tag:

04 October 2005

to my love

I'm glad you're with me during the ups, the downs, the surprises, the routine.
You are my steadfast love, my true love, my best friend.
I can be sillier with you than any other person.
I am the most honest about myself with you.
You are an incredible daddy.
We have one of the the best marriages I've ever seen.
You listen to the still, quiet voice of God.
You listen me when I think something is important. Every time.
Kindness and patience with me: something I am still learning to do in return.
We compliment one another in so many small ways; you are my perfect match.
You are always willing to help around the house, even if I'm not overwhelmed.
You aren't perfect; you don't expect me to be perfect.

Thank you for marrying me eight wonderful years ago.

03 October 2005

sunburn in october!

Okay, I live in the south. It's not truly fall here and likely won't be for many weeks yet. The milder weather is only that--milder--it's still "hot" and apparently sunscreen is still necessary.

I made it the entire summer sans sunburn. Easily.
I even survived a whole week at Disney World in September (still summer temps, but no crowds) without a sunburn.

BUT. In OCTOBER. Oh yeah. Granted, it was the first day, but OCTOBER! Sigh.
We went to my parent's tiny town festival (I didn't know they came that small! I made my rounds in, say, fifteen minutes. So small, we went to the festival in the next town over for a bit more entertainment.)
Well, all said and done, we were out and about for a few hours midday, and I made myself a human sun shield for my sweet children's tender skin since we'd forgotten to bring sunscreen (the day started out cloudy and cool--I was easily persuaded in my longing for autumn, but it was a ruthless trick!).

And yes, I burned. At least it wasn't severe or I'd have been even more indignant. I think it will be totally gone by tomorrow (though I said that yesterday, too).