Friday, October 5, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wonderful Pink Fun For a Good Cause And Sorely Needed Backup


Scoot on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and enter for your chance to win a cute new Dyson or a snazzy new Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I've Been Up To-Continued

Brian came home the second week of June, very weak and still very sick but improving daily. We were getting very frustrated with the deal on our house, but I was ecstatic that Brian seemed to be feeling better. The bigger struggle was for him. He had lost 50 pounds in one month, most of it muscle. He was barely strong enough to walk down the hall. Being unable to do even the simplest things made my usually active, go-getting husband grouchy and depressed.

Then during the last week of June, Brian began running fevers in the 103 range. The fluids in his still healing abdomen had become infected. It was back to the hospital. Our local hospital was unable to work out what was wrong, so they transferred him to the big city hospital 30 minutes away. Brian spent 10 more days in the hospital, less than happy with the situation.

When my husband came home, he had two drains and an IV line. We had to administer high doses of antibiotics intravenously every morning. He was also continuing to lose weight at the rate of about a pound a day, despite drinking nutritional supplements between every meal. And guess what was happening with our house during this time.

Nothing.

Still Nothing.

Every week there was a new excuse as to why things weren't closing. The new buyers couldn't find insurance, their broker was sick, a water line broke in the lender's office and they had to close for a week, the list was unending. And so was our frustration.

But at home (well, actually my in-laws' home) Brian was getting better. Slowly he was able to do more and more. He was still on a barrage of antibiotics and other medicines, and now has to take daily shots of insulin(his pancreas was irreparably damaged by the pancreatitus, so it no longer functions correctly), but he was getting stronger and better every day. And that leads to the here and now.

Brian is so much better. He has put back on 20 pounds of the 65 total that he lost. He's happily back to work and we are swinging into our normal routine. Well, as close as we can come while living in the back bedroom of my PIL's house. Because yes, you guessed it...

OUR HOUSE STILL HASN'T CLOSED!

We have been scheduled to sign paperwork 4 times now. Each time, we get within hours of the meeting and something goes awry on the buyers end. Mystery paperwork that has a 48 hour waiting period, emergency trip to the hospital, grandmother passes away, broker goes into the hospital, the lending bank's sister bank goes out of business. Unbelievable.

With all of our personal turmoil this summer, we have never once played the "sick card". The buyers seem to think there is nothing weird in taking 5 months to close a deal on a house that costs less than $100,000. They seem content to let this thing drag on to infinity. While I'm here pulling my hair out, waiting to buy a new house!


ARRRRGGGGGGGGG!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What I've Been Up To

I've been putting off this post for a long time and I'm not sure why.

We've had a very bad summer. It started out so promising. It looked like things were finally moving our way and that we were about to have quite a few dreams come true, and then...

Back on May 4th, we finally found a buyer for our house. Brian and I were euphoric. After years of unsuccessful on-again-off-again marketing of our house, it was going to be sold. The new owners wanted a quick closing, so we agreed to have everything wrapped up by June 12th.

Over the next seven days we happily began packing, rented storage space, and put in a bid on a new house with which we were very pleased and that also had the additional bonus of being about $70,000 less than the other houses we had been considering. We were finally going to have enough room and enough quiet.

In the early hours of May 12, my husband woke me up to say that he needed to go to the emergency room and that his parents were on their way to take care of our daughter. He had been vomiting for about an hour, and I hadn't heard anything.
So I rushed into clothes, stumbling around in the dark, worried and imagining the worst.

Our local hospital is only ten minutes away, but we still had to pull over several times so that Brian could be sick. The more we drove, the more afraid I became. I helped Brian inside and they lay him down on a gurney. By this time he was writhing in pain so the nurses took his info and started administering morphine.

The doctor who initially saw him was convinced it was just an acute appendicitis, and as they whisked Brian off for an ultrasound, he assured me that there was no reason to worry. So I sat there alone, ratty t-shirt, last night's skirt, no bra, grungy ER surroundings, trying to take comfort in the doctor's words but unable to get the sight of my husband's pale pain-filled face out of my mind.

After spending three hours in the ER, watching my husband's breathing get more and more shallow, they finally came back with a diagnosis of Pancreatitus. He was moved upstairs and yet again I was assured that everything would be fine. The vigil continued, the whole time listening to my husband's shallow breaths and moans.

After a few more hours, my husband seemed to quiet. It was nearly noon at this point and the nurses urged me to go home to rest and refresh. They assured me that the amount of pain meds they had given Brian would have him asleep for quite some time. So, thinking of my poor parents-in-law waiting at home with my daughter, I went home feeling a little relieved that Brian seemed to be doing better.

About 6 PM My MIL called to say that my FIL was coming to get Peanut and I was to come to the hospital immediately. At some point during the afternoon, they had moved my husband to intensive care and, because my PIL were there, the hospital hadn't notified me. I knew something was extremely wrong.

Pancreatitus is a disease that affects the pancreas (hence the name). Simply put, the pancreas has two functions, controlling insulin production and producing digestive enzymes. Though, unlike the liver, when these enzymes are produced they have nowhere to be stored. They must go immediately into the digestive system or they will damage the pancreas. With pancreatitus, the small ducts that transfer the enzymes become clogged and the digestive secretions, with nowhere to go start to digest the pancreas itself and the other surrounding organs. The disease is usually linked with a history of alcohol abuse but can also, in some rare cases, be cause by other factors. My husband was one of those rare cases. His high cholesterol was the cause and also why the attack was so sudden with no warning.

When I arrived at the hospital, my MIL led me into a small, darkened alcove that was my husband's room in the ICU. I did not recognise him. The man that I had left sleeping quietly only a few hours before was now attached to a myriad of machines and fighting through the pain for every breath. The nurses told me that some of his organs were shutting down due to shock because of the pain, which he was still feeling through the massive amounts of morphine they were giving him.

My strong, 32 year-old husband, who just the day before had been happily hefting boxes on to the moving truck and joking with his daughter, was dying. You could look at him and see him slipping away. I was horrified. How did this happen?

Why did this happen?

I stayed at the ICU waiting room until the wee hours of morning, unable to watch my husband fighting for every painful breath, but also unable to bear being more than a few steps away. "What if he died and I wasn't there? What would I tell my sweet little daughter if her Daddy died? How could our lives go on?" So there I sat, knitting blindly to the end of the skein of yarn in my purse, ripping it out, and starting all over, desperate to keep my hands and mind busy.

Brian made it through the night, but did not improve. In fact his condition stayed the same for nearly a week. He spent two weeks in Intensive Care before he was moved upstairs to the hospital proper. He then spent another two weeks on the noisy main floor with not only the usual hustle and bustle of a teaching hospital, but also the nuisance of renovation.(he was moved three times in two weeks, to accommodate the construction) All this time unable to eat anything.

Meanwhile, back at home, I was trying to keep things together. My PIL were such a help with the Peanut, but between caring for her and daily trips to the hospital and enough worry to give me a constant stomach ache, I couldn't really focus on packing and moving. Then I got a call...

The buyers wanted to take possession of the house early. They were renting an apartment and didn't want to have to pay for another month, so could we please be ready to close two weeks earlier than expected? Our realtor advised us to not mention Brian's illness, fearing they would use the info to leverage for a lower price, thinking we were desperate to sell.(which we were, lol) But speeding things up would give me NINE DAYS to move out of my house with a husband in the hospital and a three year old to care for. Unable to discuss things over with anyone, but knowing that Brian unequivocally wanted rid of this house, I agreed.

Let me just say that we are blessed with wonderful friends and helpful family, without whom, I would have ended up lying in a bed next to my husband, a babbling crazy-person. My MIL kept watch on Peanut while my FIL came daily to help pack up everything in my husband's garage and wood workshop. The guys that my husband works with and some of our friends from high school gave up their holiday weekend to clear out the house and put everything in storage (which they managed in an amazingly short few hours. THANK YOU GUYS!) We were all cleaned up and moved into my PIL's house with a day to spare. And then...

No word from the buyers or their broker. The title company had called to confirm some deed info and have a few documents faxed (the last thing I did before packing up the computer). We had a copy of the closing statement mailed to us that the buyer's bank had requested. We had all of our ducks in a row, in spite of some serious goings-on in our lives.

Nothing.

For three weeks.

These people who were so anxious to take possession of their new home that they forced me to pack up in nine days, this broker who ensured us that there would be no problem wrapping up the legal aspects of the deal before the first of June, would not return our agent's calls. June first came and went and we still heard nothing from their camp. The housing market in our state was going down the tubes and it looked like we were it's next victims.

(To Be Continued On Monday)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bikini Muffins


Peanut and I whipped up these muffins to while away a long, hot afternoon this week. She has dubbed them "Bikini Muffins" (I suppose 'zucchini' sounds like 'bikini' to a three year old, lol)


Peanut's Bikini Zucchini Muffins

(yields 24 muffins)

3 Eggs
1 c. Olive Oil
1 1/2 c. Granulated White Sugar
1 T. Vanilla
1 T. Cinnamon
1 1/2 t. Nutmeg
2 c. Shredded Zucchini, unpeeled
1 Medium Sized Apple, peeled and diced
2 c. unsifted all-purpose Flour
1 1/2 t. Baking Soda
1 1/4 t. Kosher Salt
1/4 t. Baking Powder
3/4 c. Unsalted. Shelled Sunflower Seeds
1/4 c. Flax Seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs and combine with oil and sugar. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg. Mix in zucchini and apple dice. In a separate bowl, mix soda, salt and baking powder with flour. Add flour mixture to wet mix and stir until just blended (it will be very lumpy). Stir in seeds. Fill standard muffin cups 2/3 full and Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Beautiful


Just wanted to post about a wonderful new artist that I have recently met.

Melissa Muir at Kelsi's Closet Jewelbox.

Her jewelry combinations are beautiful and the workmanship is meticulous. On top of all that, she is a wonderful woman! Do yourself a favor and go take a look. (you'll love her prices!)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I Asked...

Tonight's conversation during the post-bath, pre-bed melee:


Me: Peanut, what has gotten into you tonight?!


Peanut: I ate some boogers and it put me in a mood.



Sometimes there are questions you really don't want answered.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pie For Breakfast Anyone?



Blushing Peach Pie
My tribute to the newly arrived warm weather.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Visual DNA

The Ants Go Marching...

Warm weather has finally come to Ohio for good (I think). After a few teasing days, followed by Easter snow that killed all of my spring flowers, I think that it is becoming safe enough to put away the winter coats.

On the downside though, all of God's little creatures are waking up. Yellow Jackets are everywhere. Grubs are squishing along. I even had a spider swing down from the ceiling last night and land right in my lap. Generally, I don't mind buggy little things, but this time of year they make my skin crawl. They seem to be everywhere!

The worst of it is the ants. They have decided to move in. Completely ignoring the fact that we are trying to get someone to buy this house, and therefore would prefer that prospective buyers don't look down and see a corner full of their writhing little bodies. I hate the idea of any spray, but I'm becoming a little desperate. Anyone have a spare anteater they would lend me?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anyone Have a Basement To Rent?

With the house up for sale again, I've been trying to get to some of those little (and big) jobs that you tend to ignore during the day to day. Cleaning out the freezer, organizing the cabinets, etc., etc.
But the biggest job by far is cataloging all of our media (books, DVDs, magazines, and such). I've found a wonderful, easy to use, FREE site called GuruLib and a little :CueCat Scanner to help me on my way. I love that I can organize books and movies on to different digital "shelves", so that I can say, keep track of Peanut's books with out having to wade through everything we own.

This job has brought me to several realizations though.

1. We have A LOT OF BOOKS!!! and movies.

2. There are so many more books and movies that I want to own, lol.

While doing manual searches for things we do have, I was reminded of lots of great books that we don't. My wish list has quintupled tonight alone! Maybe I should just finish with a blindfold on, lol.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Books...Again!

I've just finished reading two books that I found very inspiring. The first, "Unbroken" by Tracy Elliot, is the story of Mrs. Elliot's struggles through life and her ability to keep her faith in God, even when she wasn't a 'perfect' person. She delivers, in very candid detail, the emotions and inside workings of her faith while dealing with abuse, despair, suicide, and addiction. She also shares her joy in her family and her joy in doing God's work and will. Even if you are not a Christian, you will respond to her strong, unwavering faith in a God who loves us and provides for us, even in the worst of times.

The next was Bono's "On the Move", a print copy of the speech he gave at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast, urging Americans, and the world at large, to take a stand and start changing policies and taking action to help the suffering people of Africa. The speech itself is moving and thought-provoking, and when coupled with the pictures taken by Bono himself on an earlier aid trip through Africa, you will find your mind stirring to think of things that you can do to aid relief. His call to action is strong and touching. A very emotional read!


As an aside, I know that this blog seems to be nothing but reviews of good books that I have read lately, and I apologize for that. I think I'm going to move my reviewing to a site of it's own (as that seems to be the only thing interesting enough to talk about in my mind lately, lol) and see if it doesn't jump start my posting here at Confessions. We'll see what happens. I promise to become better about more timely updates!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Randy Alcorn

I just had a chance to read two new books by Randy Alcorn and found them enjoyable. "Wait Until Then" is a lovely illustration filled book about a young boy with disabilities and his ailing Grandfather who both love baseball, and are not able to play. The Grandfather teaches the boy and his family about anticipating heaven and our new bodies and lives.

"Heaven for Kids" is a child-friendly version of his book "Heaven". It gives accessible answers and explanations for many of the questions that children (and adults) may have concerning what the bible has to say about heaven. Very easy to read and understand, he also uses many excerpts from C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" to illuminate his meaning.

All in all both were very enjoyable and very kid-centric. I would definitely recommend them, although, as with any book of faith, they are best enjoyed with someone who can help the child answer any questions that may arise while reading.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Snickerdoodles

Shishyboo from Australia wrote to ask what Snickerdoodles are and if they have something to do with the Snickers candy bar. Well, sadly no, Snickerdoodles have no chocolate, but are very delicious just the same. They are a cinnamon and sugar cookie created by the Dutch and German communities (like so many of our best desserts here in America, lol). The recipe is a very easy one and oftentimes is the first cookie that little bakers make on their own.

Snickerdoodles
(from Allrecipes)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup shortening (non hydrogenated), soft
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening, gradually adding the sugar until mixture is fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually mix in the flour at low speed until a dough is formed.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Roll 1-inch balls of dough in the mixture and place on baking sheet. Cookies will spread, so leave about 2-inches between cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.
Remove to a wire cooling rack immediately.
Store in an airtight container when cool.
Makes about 4-dozen.

But...

I do have a couple favorite recipes involving Snickers Bars.

One that is rather involved but worth the work:

Snickers Pie

Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Fudge Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (about 8 1/2 ounces) 1/2-inch pieces
of Snickers bars

Cream Cheese Layer:
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie pan.

Combine crumbs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add melted butter, stirring until well incorporated. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes, until crust is set. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees F.

For the fudge layer: Combine butter, semisweet and unsweetened chocolates in the top of a double boiler; set over simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove top insert and cool slightly.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat together sugar, egg and egg yolk in a large bowl for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into crust.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist batter still attached. If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Transfer pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Evenly arrange Snickers bars over the top.

For the cream cheese layer: Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Carefully spread mixture over the Snickers bars. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cream cheese is set. Transfer to a rack to cool.

For the topping: Combine chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and stir until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Dip a spoon into mixture and drizzle decoratively over the pie.

Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold. The pie may be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated.

Serves 12 to 16.


And one that is easy and a little bit different:

Snickers Salad recipe

6 Granny Smith apples (or any tart apple)
6 large Snickers bars
12 ounces Frozen Whipped Topping
Chocolate sprinkles

Chop the apples and Snickers bars into small bite-size pieces. Mix thoroughly into the whipped topping. Use the sprinkles for garnish over the top. For best flavor, refrigerate for several hours.


Needless to say, neither of these is low fat, but they are both oh-so-good!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The comic fangirl rears her ugly, nearsighted head

I'm going to interrupt the usual housewifely tone of this blog to geek out a little bit. I have always been a nerd. I did well in school, I dig comic books, I tend to salivate over good sci-fi/fantasy, I have very questionable fashion sense, etc. And throughout my marriage I have been slowly dragging my ultra-cool-guy husband over to the dark side, introducing him to the joys of graphic novels, Harry Potter fandom, and entertainment that doesn't involve cars, horses, or heavy metal. Now my husband is the one who tells me what happens on the TV shows that I miss and who drags me to every Marvel movie that is released. Which leads us to the actual topic of this post.

We went to see 'Ghost Rider' this weekend.


Squeeeeeeeee!

Can I just say that Nicholas Cage's eyebrows deserve their own credit at the end? I LOVED this movie! So well done. The shots and effects we're beautiful. The story was quick-paced and enjoyable. The characters well cast and developed. I couldn't have loved this movie more if I had written, directed, and produced it.

Admittedly, this isn't a book that I have more than a general knowledge of, so I'm not sure how well it stays true to the original story, but that hasn't effected my enjoyment of most other comic movies and definitely not this one. The story line is a bit scary for little ones, so no one under thirteen, but everyone else, go see it this weekend!

And now we return to posts about aprons and the funny things that kids say.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Snow

Finally, we received enough snow to sate even Peanut's desires for winter fun!





Sunday, February 11, 2007

Housekeeping Meme

I was tapped by the lovely thicketdweller over at Today's Lessons for this fun housekeeping meme. Read and be appalled at my daily habits, lol.


Aprons - Y/N? If yes, what does your favorite look like?

Yes. I tend to collect aprons at the same rate as dust bunnies. I had my husband install a coat hook on the wall next to the fridge, just so there was somewhere to keep them close by. My favorite is a small purple half apron that my grandmother made when she was a new bride. It has a large burn down the front that has a great story to go with it and I smile every time I see it. My everyday apron is a voluminous yellow striped affair that I made with leftover fabric from my sister's baby shower tableclothes.

Baking - Favorite thing to bake: Pies and cookies. Especially Apple Crumble and Snickerdoodles.

Clothesline - Y/N? NO! And I have been begging for nine years now. My husband always has some excuse as to why we can't have one. I've even drawn up plans for a removable version that we could attach to our deck so that he wouldn't have to mow around it and we could put it away when we were not using it, but still no dice.

Donuts - Have you ever made them? Not since I was a girl. My husband is diabetic, and that sort of thing is just too much temptation. But when I was little, I used to help my dad make them. He has this great bread dough recipe that has been passed down through the men in our family. There are no measurements, only a handful of this or that, and he has adapted it for other uses such as doughnuts and sweet rolls.

Every day - One homemaking thing you do every day: Put away mountains of toys and books.

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes, and it is indispensable. I would have several more if I had the room.

Garbage Disposal - Y/N? Yes, but I don't use it very often.

Handbook - Home Comforts, which has info on anything housekeeperly that you could ever need and my Betty Crocker Cookbook which reads like a textbook on basic cooking and has helped innumerable times.

Ironing - Love it or Hate it? I love ironing but there are so few things in our everyday wardrobe that need it. I do get excited when it's time to press napkins (sad,sad,sad)

Junk Drawer - Y/N? No, my husband has a thing about jumbled drawers, so our drawers are neatly organized and labeled with containers for every little screw, nail, and twist tie.

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme? Light oak cabinets with darker floors and periwinkle walls. I had the color made to exactly match the shade of twilight sky that we stood under when my husband first told me that he loved me. (I know, sickly romantic) It's a color that makes me feel so happy! There are lots of bottles and pitchers and cobalt glass sitting around. I like my decor to also be functional.

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking? I love organizing all of our household stuff and researching the best way to do something. I don't know why I don't do it more often.

Mop - Y/N? No, but I wish. With a three year old in the house, the old rag and knees is the only way to get all of the grime and miscellaneous food that gets scattered around.

Nylons - Maybe three time a year. I'm a long skirt and knee socks kinda gal.

Oven - Do you use the window or open the door to check?- I open the door due to the fact that there is a disgusting layer of burnt grime on the window that I inherited with the house and have never been able to remove.

Pizza - What do you put on yours?- We put on whatever happens to be in the fridge, but the favorite around here is the old mozzarella, pepperoni, bell peppers combo.

Quiet - Read, read, read and think.

Recipe card box - Y/N? Y What does it look like? I have three stacks of cookbooks on the kitchen shelves that I use most often, plus two large three ring binders of loose recipes and a small photo album to hold my hand-written recipe cards, AND two small index boxes of cards, one of which was a home-eco project in high school and I still use it to this day (thank you Ms. Stealle!). I also have half a shelf of what I call "fun, but not on a weekday" cookbooks in the livingroom.

Style of house - What is the style of your house? Eensy-weensy 1950's cookie-cutter Ranch.

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N? Yes, which my husband fought me on at first ("Can't we just use paper?") but I notice that now he can not eat without a napkin, even when he's eating in front of the television.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland? The front row of things that I use on a daily basis is beautiful, but behind that, scary.

Vacuum - Not much, most of our floors are wood.

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do per week? 4 0r 5

X's - Do you keep a list of things to do that you cross off?Always! Lists make me feel like I am accomplishing things.

Yard - Y/N? Who does what? My husband does the mowing and the heavy work, I do the planting, weeding, and planning.

Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task before going to bed? Making sure that the timer on the dishwasher is set and choosing what to thaw out for the next day's meal.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"The Yummy Mummy"

This past week I had a chance to review a new (to the US) book, being published by Hyperion this month; "The Yummy Mummy" by Polly Williams.

I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Most reader moms could tell you that "Mommy" fiction is all the rage right now; 1."Oh motherhood is so hard", 2."I'll try harder and apply myself to being better/prettier/thinner", 3."It worked and now my life is perfect!" is the usual rough format. And that is exactly what I expected going into this book. What I didn't expect was the true clear voice that Ms. Williams brings to her main character, Amy, and therefore motherhood itself.

Amy is a new mom of an adorable little daughter, Evie, but at six-months, she is fighting a major case of the baby blues, dissatisfied with herself, her looks, and her life in general. She also fears that Joe, Evie's father, is having an affair. So, when she meets Alice, a mom who seems to have it all together, she is inspired to make herself over, in Alice's and the other 'yummy mummy's' images.

She soon realizes though, that 'yummy mummy' life is not all it seems to be and not the answer that she thought it was. Life seems more complicated and problem filled, not less. And we, as readers, join her on her journey through the ins and outs of finding yourself after becoming a mother.

What struck me most about this book is the trueness and familiarity of Amy's thoughts and feelings. I found myself constantly saying "that sounds like me!" Amy's struggles could be the struggles of any new mom. And though most American moms would be thrilled at the idea of a year's worth maternity leave and a maternity stipend, the cultural differences are not off-putting or overly obvious. Amy is an 'any-mom'.

Some of my favorite bits:

"I change Evie into a fresh nappy, ready for her sleep. Her skin is soft and feels damp. Her eyes are locked into mine, following me around the room. Sometimes this dependancy makes me dizzy with love. Other times, like today, it brings on a strange, cloying claustriphobia. I have to push down the clawing desire to break free, to run, to dance, into the pit of my stomach. And there it stays, a silent creature spitting up disorienting vapors, tastes of freedom."
***********

On lying awake long after man and child have fallen asleep:

"I pretended I was asleep when he came to bed. Four hours later I'm still here, fiercely awake, thoughts rattling in my head: Mum, haven't phoned; Grandma, haven't written; Evie needs a teether. Why is it that I have a brain like a cocaine-fueled city boy yet I supposedly don't even "work"?"
**********

"Does motherhood really require a complete sublimation of self, or just the bits that are public?"
*********


In "The Yummy Mummy" you will find almost all kinds of middle-to-upper class mother represented. Whether it be in the yummy mummies, the local playgroup mums, Amy's own mother or in Amy herself. I guarantee you will find something that strikes a cord of your own 'mother's heart' in this book.


Polly Williams. com

Hyperion Books

Thursday, January 11, 2007

De-Lurking Week


Well, here it is, De-Lurking Week. I know that I am no one to complain about people being silent, but I'd love to hear from you guys! Leave a comment about yourself and a URL or email so that I can get back to you and thank you for de-lurking.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Yea!!

We are getting some snow!

It's very light and not sticking much, but it's snow just the same!

I'm sitting here on my beautiful new log bed (a wonderfully extravagant Christmas gift from my in-laws ), watching the flakes drift past the window, and feeling like I'm at a mountain lodge enjoying a vacation.

I love Winter!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Lack Of Snow

My daughter has been very disappointed in our unseasonably warm winter this year. She jumps out of bed in the morning and runs to the window to see if we have somehow had a miraculous blizzard in the night. She always looks so crestfallen at the sight of mud and rain.

I feel the same way. I've also been wishing for some cold. My husband tells me that I'm crazy to wish for bad weather, but I long for some snow and ice. I just don't feel normal without that change of the seasons.

So when Peanut called to me from across the house that she was having a snowball fight, my curiosity was piqued. I walked around the corner and there was one of the biggest messes she has made to date. Peanut had gotten into my sewing supplies and pulled out a huge bag of polyester fiberfill that I have on hand for stuffing soft toys and pillows. She had emptied the whole bag and spread it all over. The living room really did look as if it had seen a few inches of snow!

Peanut balled up a fistful of fluff and threw it at me. I didn't have the heart to scold her for the mess. We had a fluffball fight and made fluff angels on the rug and left the cleanup worries to later.

I guess the heart finds happiness where it can!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Of Cats and Kittens

My daughter has devised a new way of getting my attention.
One that makes me out of measure crazy!

When I was growing up, we had two cats. One was very playful and would curl up in your lap to purr and play anytime of the day. The other would not come near when you wanted him to, but let yourself get interested in a book or newspaper and he was there. In your face. Between the print and your eyes.

And now my daughter does this.

I am a stay at home mom. I am not an obsessive cleaner or cooker. I don't run around shopping or committee-ing all of the time. The lion's share of my effort and attention is invested in my daughter. Most of my days are spent in entertaining my very imaginative, very bossy, only child, princess. Whether it is directly, in the form of games, dress-up, or playing the paitent/king/shark/baby stand-in for her myriad of imaginings; or indirectly by choosing fun classes, playgroups, trips, or activities for us to do. I am there, being Mom, Sister, Brother, Cousin, and Friend all-in-one.

But I am also a grown-up person in my own right. I like to read. I like to knit. I like to occasionally browse my favorite internet sites. It is nice to think about something for more than three seconds.

Peanut doesn't think so.

The minute that I sit down with a book, or my knitting, or at the desk, she slithers up into my lap, between me and whatever it is that I am doing. It doesn't matter what she herself is doing or where in the house she may be. If she senses that my attention has wavered, she is there to break up the party. And it is starting to bother me.

I don't know why I find it so annoying. Most of the day I enjoy having her along, helping me cook or sweep, or empty the dryer. I try involve her in the workings of our household routine so she perceives all of us as a family and not "Peanut's Entourage". Still it seems she feels that she must be the center of MY attention.

When we are with groups of other children, she plays nicely and is part of the group. When my husband sits down to watch television, she sits quietly on his lap or at his feet and entertains herself. She is a pleasant, happy child who is a joy to have around. I think the problem lies with me.

The older I get, the more I tend to resent interruptions. Maybe it is because my thought processes seem to take so much longer than they once did. Maybe I am not quite the multi-tasker I once was. Maybe I'm just having a hard time getting through this phase of Peanut's development. I think it's a combination of everything.

Maybe we need to find more children to play with.

Maybe I need to take up drinking in the afternoon, lol!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A New Year

Here I am. 2007.

A new year full of possibilities.

I wonder what is in store for me and mine this year?

If my husband could choose, it would be a huge cash windfall, endless warm weather, and a wife who doesn't nag about all of his "Jeep time".

If my daughter could chose, it would be picnics every day, a large hole to dig in, and the human race suddenly developing the ability to do without sleep.

For me. I'm not sure what I would chose. There are so many good things about my life, that everyday I feel thankful just to be where I am. But, like everyone else, there are things that I wish would just disappear, never to bother my thoughts again. Sometimes the struggle seems as if it will overwhelm the "me" that resides inside this mother/wife, and I'll become a laundry washing, nose wiping, floor sweeping, food cooking, toy tidying automaton.

I also realize that the struggle is life. I wouldn't know I was alive if it weren't for the maddening ups and downs that make up my daily existence. I try to look at each of these crises as a whetstone that is honing my patience and kindness. Not that I am always successful at looking to the positive. I'm lucky if I manage a "glass half full" attitude even 30% of the time. But each new victory should be cause for celebration. In this instance the trying is just as beneficial as the achieving.

So what am I trying to say in this post that started out serious but has ended up sounding like an advert for some pharmicutical company? I guess it's that my new year's resolution this year is to continue to be human. No SuperMom or RoboWife. Just a woman who loves her family and friends, who is doing the best she can to leave this world a little better for her exsistence.