Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Is Helping...

I can breathe...normally now. You forget how absolutely good it is to feel normal. I've been sort of sick for a couple of weeks now. Nothing major--just a head cold/sinus thingy. I totally thought I was feeling better too. Then I woke up this morning and could actually breathe. This is what better is. So. much. better.

I woke up to my alarm clock singing Toto's, "Rosanna." Is that a good thing? Is that a good start to the day, along with the being able to breathe bit? I'm not sure if one negates the other. I'm used to waking up to Christmas music. Not sure if I'm ready not to wake up to Christmas music. I probably am. And I should totally still be sleeping in too! I have four days of Christmas vacation left. I just enjoy the quiet of the morning, so very much. I've already read about seven blogs, had a cup of coffee, done the checkbook, and wrote on my Wall on Facebook. This could be a good day. It could be bad too.

This is the one year anniversary of my 11-yr-old dog, Calvin, passing away. This was a very bad day a year ago. I don't want to get too into it, cuz it's so sad to me, but his passing was sudden, so very sudden. It started the day before New Year's Eve. In the morning he was in the backyard barking at the kiddos playing in the front. He was chewing on his bone that Santa gave him. He was eating. He was sleeping on my bed. O took a picture of him.

This was Christmas Eve. He really wanted to be a lap dog.

This was Christmas Day...Santa brought him a bone.

O took this of Calvin the morning of the day he got sick. I'm so glad she did.

That evening he came up to me, and leaned on my leg, panting heavily, his little chest caving in with deep, laboring breaths. Just like that. We raced him to the emergency vet. There was nothing we could do (okay, this is getting hard now). He was hemorrhaging around his heart. We took him home that night and I slept on the couch next to him and prayed and prayed. And cried. I wasn't ready for this. The next morning, New Year's Eve, we had to make that horrible decision. I don't think I would make it again. It was the worst. I regret it, I regret it, I regret it. I know there was nothing we could do for him, but it really hurts to know we had to do that. I wasn't ready. I question if he was. I know deep down he was, but that question lingers. I'm sorry...if you could see me right now, I'm a puddle of sadness typing this out. I needed to though. I need to talk about it. Remember my boy.

Last night we were talking about him. Funny Calvin moments. One of our favorite stories was how he honked the horn. The girls love to tell this one. We were going for a ride somewhere and as you fellow dog owners know, the phrase, "Go for a ride," is a big dealie to dogs. They know it. He looooved going for a ride and would excitedly jump in the car and go nuts, yellow hair flying everywhere.

Well this one time, the girls and Calvin were getting situated in the car...putting on their seat belts, etc...hubbs and I were still in the house getting things together and we hear the horn honk, followed by little girl laughter. Then we hear A-girl yell in to us from the garage, "Calvin honked the horn!" and then right after that, he honked the horn, again, to reemphasize. Hilarious. He was a big boy--a good 94 pounds-- and had been in the driver's seat, circling in excitement. In his circling, his bottom kept honking the horn. Again, hilarious. A good memory. There's a bunch of those. He was family. Yes, we are those people that talk to our dogs. Include them in family functions and such. Fly them across country for Christmas vacation. Take them to dog therapists. He was with us all the time. And when he wasn't, his hair was.

The girls cried last night for him. My 5-yr-old wept for an hour, in my arms. I hate to see that, but a small part of me is glad for it, as young as she is, I want her to remember him.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go see Marley & Me. Pretty sure I'm going to have lots of Kleenex in my pocket. Grief is a hard thing. I know some of you are reading and thinking, He's a dog...move on. But I've been through all kinds of grief. I know it well. I know it helps to talk about it. To have the good cry, over the blog entry. Writing has always been my therapy when it comes to grieving. It is my "moving on". And if you're still reading--thanks for helping me get through it.

To lighten the end up here...I've got a little song...cuz you know--I can't cry for long. Pretty soon, I have to laugh.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To Do: Catch Up On The Blog

I've got some catching up to do. Not just in blogland, now that I think about it. There's one more bathroom to clean. The wood floors. The taking down of the Christmas deco. Balancing the checkbook. Bills. Read AtHome America stuff and get organized there. Thank you's. Clean out the dress-up clothes bin. Take the dog in for the Parvo shot. Dentist appointments. Windex the glass, sliding door. Make the grocery list. Coupons. Dust the bedroom. Call great grandma. Get stuff to make bean dip for tomorrow. Wine. Watch Big Bang Theory, Season One. Change Hip Hop class to Jazz/Tap. Figure out who is reading my blog from Scappoose. Figure out where in Oregon Scappoose is. Miss Calvin. Work out. Play Operation with the girls. Figure out dinner. Eat an orange. To do, to do, to do...

You can get a lot done when you're snowed in for three weeks. You can also get a lot not done when you're snowed in for three weeks. I was good and laid back for about two and a half weeks, and then I had hit the limit of stuff that can pile up and not be done. I might've got a little crazy there for a minute. It lights a fire though. We took an entire day going through both of the girls' rooms before Christmas. Weeding out. Organizing. Throwing away. We filled up about four tubs for Goodwill. That felt really good. Less is more. Why can't I get that through my head? Their rooms are actually quite roomy without all that stuff getting in the way. The girls were good about it. I felt better. And then resumed my laid back position, at least until I tackle all the stuff in the first paragraph.

We had a very nice Christmas. We did, we did (I hope you did as well). It was for sure a White Christmas. It hasn't snowed like that here in Portland, since 1968. It was pretty huge for us. You might have like one snowy day here, not three weeks worth. Not like three weeks of snow and ice, not melting. When it does snow here, it's fleeting, exciting, here today, gone tomorrow. Not this time though. It kind of stopped everything. For three weeks.

We were relaxed though. We pretty much had to be relaxed, given the weather. Christmas came and we braved the roads, bumping in and out of icy ruts, and made it to everyone's house that we were supposed to. We ate well. Laughed a lot. Played Skip-Bo. Drank Hot Buttered Rum. Enjoyed the kids. Felt thankful that great grandma was out of the hospital and sitting in the rocking chair with us, in the middle of it all. Felt thankful the power stayed on.

After Christmas, we were happy to see the rain finally wash all the snow away. We were actually wishing for rain--in Oregon. It was good to be in jeans again, and out of the sweats. To drive. We certainly had a lot of quality time together, already reaching the quality time quota for January, I think. I'm pretty sure my hubby actually wanted to go back to work, rather than work from our dining room table for one more day (maybe that's just me). It was good while it lasted, it's just that sometimes rain and boring old routine, is a good thing.

For now, I want to wish you a very Happy New Year! I hope it's full of good things for you, for our country and for the world in which we live! And if you're from Scappoose, please leave a comment, I'm so curious!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We've Got Snow

Has it really been a week since I've been over here? I type that like I'm really shocked over it. You'd think literally being snowed and iced in for over a week now, I'd be writing like crazy. Everybody's doing it. I see how you guys are. But me? Not so much. Don't real writer's actually pay money to escape to situations like this, so that they CAN write? I am so not a real writer in real life. I think it's maybe, could be, probably is because I write about stuff we're doing and I've literally been living in my sweats for about nine days now, pretty much not doing much. At all.

I'm starting to get a little nuts over it too. Can you say cabin fever? I had a dream last night that we walked to Peet's Coffee from the house (about 1.3 miles, uphill). And I guess we left A-girl at home. She was napping. I guess we thought it was okay to do that in dreamland (I'm dreaming here, people). On the way back, we started freaking out that we had left A-girl home. In the dream, I'm ranting all the way home how I can't believe that neither one of us suggested that would be a bad idea. It was a looooong, panic-driven run/walk home--very, very slow in snow boots and two feet of snow, dragging our 7-yr-old along, trying not to spill our Peppermint Mocha's. We get home and the front door is open. I'm sure we've lost our daughter forever (or she's at the neighbor's). I even imagined her calling 911, cuz we've recently been going over how to do that (in case I fall down. It happens. A lot.). I imagined my Peppermint Mocha being the last luxury I'd have, given that I was going to jail.

But she's there, like she just woke up from her nap. Oblivious to the fact that we abandoned her for coffee. And we just pretend like we're good parents and all is right in dreamland again. And then I wake up. Oh and at some point, in this dream, we paid off the credit card. Such a mixture of emotions.

It has been stressful too. In the mix of all the weather obstacles, hubby's grandmother went into the hospital, for pneumonia. She's been there a week now. We've managed to brave the storm and the roads (snow tires and chains, our car is a champ) to get down and visit her. She's very frail and small in the hospital bed. Child-like. It's hard to see. She's depressed. Pissed. Being 84 and sick, stinks. I would be mad too. Especially at Christmas. It's her favorite. She's the one in the family who overdoes it. She is Santa's #1 side kick. We haven't been allowed to go to her house for weeks now, for fear the girls would figure it out.

With the weather, all of our church activities have been cancelled. O was supposed to have choir concerts on Saturday and Sunday, at church. She's been practicing for weeks. It was going to be a big deal. So every chance she gets, she sings for us. We took her to the hospital so she could sing for grandma. She sang "When Christmas Comes To Town" to grandma to try and cheer her up. Grandma seemed to enjoy it. She closed her eyes and listened. I can imagine it made her a little sad too.

We are ready for Christmas though. I feel like I'm forgetting something, because I'm never this organized. I'm never done with stuff. We've actually been able to enjoy the season. The togetherness. We've been together day in and and day out for over a week now. School was cancelled all of last week, beginning Christmas vacation a week early. The snow has made it that much more Christmasy. We've been taking walks at night. Everything looks so Norman Rockwell with the snow, and with the Christmas lights reflecting off of the snow.

We've been old man coughy--for weeks now. Totally fine, otherwise, but we sound--good. And I finally got sick with a head cold for the last few couple of days. I'm just gross, more than anything. The couch is my friend. Nothing's getting done. The house is a mess. The bathrooms are screaming to be cleaned. I mentioned I've been in sweats for nine days, right? The girls have been in their pj's for two days now and I haven't even thought about brushing their hair. They've been in and out of snow pants and hats and boots and eaten a lot of snow. We've got a little routine going on with all of that. Go potty, bundle up, play outside until they can't feel their cheeks, come in have hot cocoa, double noodle soup and go find something to get out, play with and not clean up. Rinse and repeat. They made an ice castle with the sheets of ice hubby broke off of our driveway. We've got food and wine and board games--I just don't think I could ask for more, except the ability to breath through my nose.

Just in case I don't get on here before Christmas, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I hope you are with people you love and feeling festive, maybe living in your sweats and dreaming you paid off your credit card too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Honest Scrap!

My blog has been awarded the Honest Scrap Award by Rena Jones . Thanks, Rena! Scrap means left over, fragments, discarded material. Many times truth and honesty are discarded material, considered fragments and left over. People like us need to tell it like it is, and let the scraps fall where they will. There are 2 guidelines for receiving this award. One, you are to list 10 honest things about yourself. Make them interesting, even if you have to dig deep. Two, present the award to 7 other bloggers.

1. I am a rule follower.
2. I don't like to curse anymore, but sometimes I still do (dammit).
3. I have been in a fist fight in a 7-11 parking lot (not proud of it, but it's the truth).
4. I am not very good with the long-distance stuff.
5. I broke a Santa at Goodwill. It was actually broken already, I just broke it...more.
6. Forever I thought I had a lot of patience. I admit now that I have negative patience.
7. I know I can't sing (but it doesn't stop me).
8. I need to do...more.
9. I love my step-mom.
10.I really do drive like a grandma

The following list are those I feel are deserving of this award. They're people who aren't afraid to say it how they see it, those who tell the Honest Scrap. I know a lot of people who deserve this, but I can only list 7 of them --

1. The Petersons Go Public

You can use the Honest Scrap Award logo on your blog, providing you follow the guidelines and list 10 honest things about yourself and nominate 7 other bloggers. Have fun, be honest and keep telling it like it is!

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Guess what I'm doing today? Not much (insert smiiiile). We are snowed, but mainly iced, in for the third day in a row. We got our first snow storm on Sunday and are expecting another one tomorrow. We may be starting Christmas break early. Tell me this is a good thing.

Baby, it's cold outside though. Not like -30 degrees, South Dakota cold (we used to live there), but pretty darn cold for Portland. We've spent the last couple of days playing in the 3 inches of snow in our front yard and the 3 inches of ice on the driveway and street. Last night, the grown-up neighbors were blaring Christmas music out of their garages and "sledding" down our street, that is not a hill. The goal was to get from one end of the street to the other. Completely doable.

I just said a prayer in my head right now, cuz the hubbs is off to work (I can hear the garage door going up). I had a dream last night there was a big ol' dent in the front of our car. Not good. After work, he's stopping on his way home to see about getting snow tires, "for the protection of his wife and kids." I know he's going to be "trying out the car" on his way to work, to see how it "likes" the snow. He's kind of a Mario Andretti wanna-be. It drives me crazy--a source of many arguments in the car. We never argue, until we get in the car together. I don't even recognize the boy in the car. And of course, I'm over there being the werewolf. I should really learn to not say anything too, and just pump my imaginary brake and pray in my head, but that's not really me. Hence, the arguing. He doesn't even want to get the snow tires either, the chains are "good enough". So yesterday, I told him he had to show me how to put them on. An hour and a half later...

Speaking of prayers. Guess what my 7-year-old is praying for now? Guess what she's asking from Santa? Guess, what is the #1 topic in her sweet little head? A baby brother. That's right. She has said the word, "pregnant" many times in the last couple days. I don't know where it came from either. She just asked me if I wanted to have a baby brother for her, "And please say, 'yes,' cuz 'maybe' and 'we'll see' means 'no.'--Junie B. says so." I don't know where this baby brother interest has come from, but she is determined. Last night I was tucking her in and she goes, "So I'm curious about this b-a-b-y stuff..." Ha ha, she has to spell it out. Oh man, time to change the subject...Goodnight, I love you...we'll talk about it (when you're 30) tomorrow...

The very good thing is, I'm finished Christmas shopping. I don't know how we did it without the credit card (Dave Ramsey). But it feels good. We draw names, and that helps out tremendously--I totally recommend this. There is something I want to throw out this year to my family though. I'm not sure how it's going to go over though. I don't want to be all bah-hum-bug, but I'm really to the point where I think the adults don't need to do the gift thing. I mean, I'm all about the kiddos presents (though not overboard) and the Santa and everything, but I really think I'm to that point where it's just about being together with the family (and the food) and enjoying the kiddos excitement and everything. And I'm all about the tree and the decorations, and the music, and all that comes with it, but I'm just kind of over the gifts--for me. I mean, hubbs and I don't really need anything. We want Wii games and Simple Folk goodies, but we don't need a thing. Thank God.

We've really noticed it this year too--the struggles, the real life struggles that others are going through. That there are people around us that really do need things and there is really no room for wanting things for them. They need a winter coat. They need to put gas in their car. We know people that are within our circle that are going through this right now. People that have been laid off. People that have just gotten out of rehab, that are literally starting completely over. People that are literally just trying to keep their house.

We pointed it out to the girls, in the back seat, the other night as we were driving past a homeless shelter. The line was long. It was cold out, and going to get much colder the next night. These people don't have homes. They don't have anything. They need. These are not just good lessons for the kids in the back seat to see. They are for the people in the front seat to see as well.

We have some friends who, instead of doing the gifts for themselves, adopt a family in need and make their holidays special, providing a Christmas meal and gifts. What wonderful things they are teaching their children. I love the giving trees and the toy drives, but I love how this takes it about ten steps further. You're looking people in the eye, telling them you care about them. I would hope that if we were in this situation, people would reach out to us. It could happen tomorrow.

I'm just saying...

Wow. Where did that come from.? I guess it's been on my mind.

So now, I'll leave you with two more (of course) and a recipe that I got from a recipe exchange. I made this last night and it was a real crowd pleaser. Easy too. Enjoy.

Cranberry Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can whole berry canned cranberry sauce
1 cup French dressing
1 package Lipton onion soup mix

Mix the cranberry sauce, French dressing and onion soup mix well in a bowl and pour over chicken breast placed in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for one hour. Serve with rice and a vegetable.

P.S. Here's a pic of the best socks ever!

Thanks for playing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Noisy Cat Named Star, A Flip, 50 Pics & An Espresso Truffle...

You know you're sleeping pretty hard when you call your cat your sister's name. For some reason our cat was quite the vocal little fella last night. He would not let up. Hubb's told me that I kept calling our cat, "Star", my sister's name. No wonder my cat wouldn't stop making so very much noise, when I'm telling him, Be quiet, Star! Which is just funny in itself, because my sister heard that phrase every single night, growing up with me. We shared a room forever and a day and she snored. A little chainsaw is what she was. It's amazing we are still talking.

Despite the cat, I slept good last night. I slept in. That never happens. Even on weekends. I usually get up before everyone, just for the quiet. Quiet has become increasingly vital to me the further into parenthood I get. I actually slept in until nine. Never happens. The day is half way gone now. Seriously. Do you know how much I knock out before nine a.m.? I might as well give up and just stay in my pj's all day. I think I will. Actually, that was the plan all along. I admit it, I really had nothing to do today. Shocking, isn't it? I mean, there is always something to do. I'm a mom. A human. There's always a running list. But today, I am staying at home. Engaging with the kiddos (looking them in the eye). Wrapping presents. Watching Christmas movies. And the Cat In The Hat.

We had movie night last night and the girls wanted to watch different movies. So we flipped for it. I guess "flipping for it" was a foreign concept to them, cuz they were amazed we could do such a thing. At first they liked the idea of flipping the coin. The heads and tails of it. Until O didn't win the flip. She wanted a do over. Yeah...that's the point of the flip. No do overs. Momma doesn't decide--the coin does. She didn't get it. It totally wasn't fair, and we had the tears. So, I told her she could go to bed or watch Elf with us. It worked out. We laughed. But the first thing she said as soon as my eyes popped open at nine a.m., was that it was time to watch her movie--Cat in the Hat, which she has declared the funniest movie on earth. So that's what we're doing.

I wanted to share a couple more pics from last weekend--the dance recital. It was actually held at an event called, Festival of Trees. It's put on by a local hospital and they basically have over thirty trees/scenes that sponsors decorate and they auction them off and give the proceeds to the hospital. O did her speech on this a couple weeks ago. It's very festive. They have something like fifty gingerbread houses too, face painting, Santa's there and they have this great Teddy Bear Hospital.

The Teddy Bear Hospital is kind of a big deal. We skipped it last year, cuz the line was looooooong, but this year I wanted to make an effort to do it for the kiddos, because I thought it would be good for our girls. See Flu Shot Shmooo Shots . They give all the kids a free teddy bear and they take their bears through the hospital, as if it was sick or hurt.

Real life doctor and nurses volunteered there and they would wrap the bears leg/head/arm/nose in a cast, and the kids could prepare their bears for surgery, have an x-ray and the doctor would suture a wound the bear had. The kiddos could participate in just about everything (giving the bears a shot, putting the oxygen mask on them, taking the bear's blood pressure, etc...). It was truly a great idea. The girls loved it. And while we waited in line for an hour, Starbuck's gave us free Espresso Truffle samples. That alone made it worth the wait. Go get yourself an Espresso Truffle right now.

If you're reading this, you're putting up with me. I thank you for that. You know I just can't leave anything out. I mean, you need to know all this, right? You need to see it in fifty pictures. Should I apologize you'll never get these five minutes back? Just in case...sorry. :)

Have a nice weekend. I'm serious about that Espresso Truffle.