Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Pictured

I had someone ask me about a month back how come I stopped inviting someone in Jon's family to things. They asked me if not inviting them made me a bad Christian and accused me of not forgiving them. I told that person that I was forgiving them but I wasn't allowing them to continue to ruin the family and friend events that I had other loved ones at.
I figured it was nicer to stop inviting someone than it was to invite twenty other people to an event where they had to feel slightly uncomfortable when that someone got angry or frustrated or whatever random over the top emotion they felt like having at my event. I think they have the right to have emotions but I don't think they have the right to inflict others with a bad time.
In other words, I love you but shut the heck up.
Recently, a member of Jon's family brought a person into the family dynamic who had past drama. Would I have done that? Nope. But you know what, she's a more forgiving and loving person than I am sometimes so I'm following her lead and I'm trying to be friendly and inviting. I'm trying to lead by example and it's not easy.
So tonight at the family dinner when the person not pictured refused to be in a family picture I felt bad for that new guy. I felt bad that for the people visiting from Canada who only wanted one silly picture to take home for them. But I didn't feel bad for the guy too stubborn to sit next to his wife and be seen with his family... because I'm a Christian... but I'm not perfect.


For Christmas this year, one of Jon's family members gave us a set of three reusable water cantenes from LL Bean and a list of reasons to drink more water. Although, I don't think the list of reasons is anything that really interests me... the containers interest my daughter to know end. She carries them around the living room like little lanterns and clinks them (they are metal) together. Everyone could use to drink more water, and I will actually use this gift. Having said that...
Drinking water isn't something I plan on making a New Year's Resolution about.
We had someone come by my new job (a monthly guest speaker) and he talked about how most people make New Year's Resolutions and fail. He talked about the reasons most people fail (unrealistic goals, vague promises, bad plans, no room for give in your resolution...stuff like that).
I've never really been big on making a New Year's Resolution...but since I've been an adult I try to keep myself always working on something. Right now I'm working on being more trusting about admitting when I feel hurt. Which is totally against my nature and my survival instincts. I'm also working on journaling my food intake and weight so that I can be aware of what I'm consuming. (Not so much fun during the Turkey and Sugar Cookie season)
My main resolution this year has been to actively pray for others DAILY. Sometimes I miss a day... or a person on my list... but it makes me feel like I am helping to change the world. If nothing else, I'm changing me... and I'm part of the world.
So here is my current resolved prayer list (names removed to protect the less than innocent) and I'm going to put it on the internet so that you can add to it. Need a prayer? Leave it in the comments. I'll put you on my list for January...or now really...because I'm starting tomorrow and going through January.
I pray for my daughter that she may learn patience and that she may always feel loved and supported.
I pray for my husband that he may feel loved, supported and that our marriage will grow stronger with time. I pray for his happiness, contentment in our relationship and for his job...which he loves even when it doesn't always do what we think it will.
I pray for ** that she may know God's true love and forgiveness in all things, even tragedy.
I pray for ** that he may find a job that gives him joy and allows him the social nature that makes him beautiful and for his girlfriends nerves that she doesn't kill him in the meantime.
I pray for my grandparents that they may enjoy old age instead of being burdened by it.
I pray for **'s and their families that the financial troubles and jobless woes they all have will help them to grow as people and that when they end (which I pray is soon) that they will serve in their testament as proof of the greatness of God's love.
I pray for the new baby I just found out one of our family members will be having in August.
I pray for ** and his new family that they develop a loving and strong bond with my daughter and that they know that we already love them.
I pray for **, that I can forgive her for hurting me (which is about me just as much as it is her but it's all I can muster at the moment) and that she may learn how to be the grandma that just invites herself over.
I pray for ** that while she is watching my child she feels the overwhelming love God has for her through my daughters overwhelming ability to love her...because she is loved by me, God and my daughter more than she knows.
I pray for ** that she doesn't go crazy in the snow and kill her significant other and that her relationship with God continues to grow, and that she know the value of her friendship for me and how much I love her, and that her son be always aware of the blindly beautiful love that God, ** and I have for him.
I pray for ** that he may find his soul mate because I know he wants it so much and for the high school group which he leads because there is no such thing as too much prayer for a man leading teenagers anywhere.
I pray for **, ** and ** that the relationships that God has put them in will make them happy and let them shine even if they are still working on creating them.
I pray for ** to feel proud of what he is because he's like my brother and a job isn't as important as a man's character.
I pray for **, **, ** and ** that they grow up to be loving, forgiving and intellegent human beings.
I pray for ** that they may know that they are not forgotten.
And usually at the end I say a blanket prayer for all the people I forgot to pray for...because I know I'm human and I probably forget people every day.
Got anyone you need to put on my ** prayer list ? You can put a ** for names if you don't feel comfortable.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Taking Layla to church the first couple of weeks after we decided to go back, broke my heart. She would cry and I would spend the entire service praying that she would be in one piece when I got back to the children's nursery after first service. It was a mess.
This week we took Layla to the church nursery and she didn't have to be held the whole time, she didn't even cry, she just played until we came back. In fact she was so happy we got to go to breakfast afterwards instead of having to run home for a calm down cuddle and a nap. It was exciting.
Just another sign that she's getting bigger every day. My mother and I were looking at videos of Layla from September. She was a baby in September. She's a toddler now. You can see it in her individuality and in everything about the way she currently is.
It makes me a little sad. She's so grown up. I know she's got a lot of growing to do still, a lot of firsts (like the first sugar cookie-shown above) but there is so much about her now that isn't that squishy little girl I gave birth to. She's changing, she's changing me, and someday...she just might change the world.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday and Crisis

This holiday season has been an odd one. Between bills piling up and family drama that won't matter in 50 years, there was plenty of stress to be had at our house. There were new jobs starting, old jobs changing and even a little unexpected visiting that clogged up the schedule in an unjoyable but random sort of way.

Then it happened. In a tear filled call, I found out from my mom that she had been in a car accident and while she and her car where unharmed (relatively speaking) the pedestrian she accidently hit (who ran in front of her car in the dark...and was not her fault in ANY way) died. It was two days before Christmas when I found out.

There isn't much you can do from over 100 miles away when tragety hits. I offered to make the trip but she decided against it. She suprised us by forcing herself into the car to drive here on Christmas day to see the baby...and she's been here ever since. Baby therapy... it cures all grandma's broken least a little.

And now I'm not so worried about how AT&T messed up my bill or how my car payment made us unreasonably tight... I'm worried about people feeling loved, about family being supportive and available...and about my mommy... because I'm a mommy too now... and I know sometimes love takes you a lot farther than you thought you could go.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

She went to bed on time and full of magic and wonder. We let her open one present this afternoon. A package of mini cars from the Disney Cars movie which is her favorite and then she spent a better part of the evening alternating from sticking Duplo Blocks together and pulling them apart and driving Mater over Daddy saying "va-roooooommmmmm". Daddy got her back later and drove Doc Hudson all over her, turns out being a racetrack for the Hudson Hornet tickles and she laughed and laughed.

We had patty melts for dinner and watched some old Christmas favorites with the baby before she headed of to slumber. She was pretty uninterested in the Garfield Christmas Special but liked Charlie Brown a lot...probably all the dancing... and she's seen The Grinch Who Stole Christmas before so half way through it she was ready for bed.

As soon as she was tucked away Santa made a quick appearance. Clever Santa...knew just when she went to bed. Santa put the new toy under the tree and tied it with a red and green bow, then placed an overflowing stocking and some Christmas books under it and slipped away to enjoy a store bought sugar cookie with red and green sprinkles.

It may not be her first Christmas. But with all the magic in the air over here... it sort of feels like Mommy's first Christmas all over again. By the time this posts it will be Christmas morning and then we'll all crawl out of bed and stumble down the stairs and she'll see it. My LaylaBug will see her magically wonderful new toy and while I make French Toast and sausage and curse the turkey that at this point is still frozen even though it's been to thaw for 2 days. And I might lose a little of the magic I'm feeling tonight as I write this. But then I'll look back at this post or the twinkle in her toddler eyes and I'll remember.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The "Official" Christmas Picture

This year we had a particularly low budget Christmas. We are giving each of the parents/grandparents this family photo and a handmade ornament from our LaylaBug. Because, after all, the most important part of modern Christmas is family and children and not money. At least that's what we're hoping to teach our daughter.

The picture itself isn't the best of any of us. But, being as we only got to choose from the 3 pictures we took before Layla FREAKED out and wouldn't hold's pretty good. I'm not that big, Jon's not that shiny and Layla's hair isn't that untamed. At least I'm going to keep telling myself that when I see that picture as I walk up the stairs.


Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

I suppose I should be honest with myself and say that when I finish one test from God I usually end up thrust right into another one. Times they are a changing...and I'm stuck in the rat race with everyone else. But, it's all in all a good life...the one in which I get to live.

I watch my daughter changing with every breath she takes and I wonder at what point I lost the ability to be that adaptive. I guess at some point when I wasn't looking I just woke up and felt like and adult. And with that adulthood came that struggle to remain stable and good. I miss it sometimes, the reckless abandon that comes with young life.

Responsible, predictable, grateful. These are the things you become when you grow mature. So why am I still holding on to the hope that some other people will do the right thing. Why am I still hurt by a woman who seems to think she could shrug something so hateful away with a two cent apology? Why am I still scared to trust things I do not understand?

Because resolutions and proclaimations don't change your heart. Because knowing something and feeling it like second nature takes time and practice. Because I am human. And I can change... if I just keep trying. Even if it's not as easy as it was when I was younger.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All at once

Christmas is here. I don't care what you say about the 4 days left... it's here.

I figure once you get to the point where you can't push things off until NEXT WEEK you can just start counting your blessings instead of sheep and deal with what you've got.

What have I got?

A head cold.

Yay me! *sigh*

I woke up this morning with a runny nose and a sore throat. I feel a lot less energized than normal and I'm not looking forward to having to lay down in bed tonight and dealing with a runny nose at bedtime. But I have blessings to count...

God loves me.
My family and friends are around for the holidays.
There are presents under my tree when I thought there wouldn't be.
My pantry is full.
I am not surrounded by horrible financial crisis (just mild) or three feet of snow in the door jam.
I have hope.
I have come to terms with my lack of good fitting jeans.
My daughter sings "what's this what's this there's magic everywhere..."
My husband and I can still say the exact same thing at the exact same time like we used to when we were dating.
I have a job.

Christmas is here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the do run run

As Christmas quickly approaches I find myself running behind more and more and things on my to do list either become urgent or forgotten depending on how much I loved the idea of doing them. How important are iced sugar cookies anyhow? Must not be too important because we're not doing it this year!

Some things had to be done so I'l still be squeezing in pics with Santa tomorrow and one last showing of a Christmas Carole next week! I'll make Christmas baskets and I'll beg Jon to give me one present on Christmas eve ...

But that's just busy little ole me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Layla's First Apple...and other News Worthy Events

This week Layla ate her first WHOLE apple. Not to say that she ate the whole thing but I gave it to her whole and she ate some of it. Which, is a monument I thought was video worthy for you all to see.

The new job is awesome but I feel like I am constantly slightly behind on things around the house, this is partially because I used to have all day every day to get things done and partially because I am ACTUALLY behind. *sigh* So imagine my suprise and overwhelming excitement when I arrived home from work today and discovered that Mr Mom had cleaned my entire kitchen and picked up the downstairs while the baby was down for her afternoon nap.

Tomorrow Layla stays home in the morning with Miss Erin and then spends the afternoon with Mr Mom (formerly known as the hubby) while I go off to work and it appears that now that we're in week TWO of mommy having a job that's a much less traumatic event. In fact today when she woke up from her nap and I was home...she pretty much could care less. I think she was over it by the time I took all day Saturday and Sunday cuddling her through the worst parts of her rash (which is almost gone now) *thank god*

I found out this week that I'll also have the 26th of December off (I'm taking a floating holiday along with the rest of the new hires at work). We'll all have a FIVE (yes I said 5) day weekend at the end of December followed by a THREE day work week and another FOUR day weekend. I love this job. I'm not just saying that because of the 2 minute commute (walking or driving). I'm not saying it because I'll have TWO health insurance plans which overlap either. I'm saying it because in general it's one of the nicest places I've ever worked (as far as making people feel wanted and important) and that's saying ALOT because I've worked a lot of nice places.

Lot's of CAPS LOCK in this post isn't there? Perhaps I need a few more *sighs* and *thanks gods* thrown in for good measure so I can really make this look like it was writen by a 16 year old girl.

Winners Winners Chicken Dinners (as Courtney says)

This weeks winner was Mel... she can get her prize when I see her on the 28th !! LOL

This weeks contest won't start until WEDNESDAY!! You'll see why on WEDNESDAY!!

For the record my favorite Christmas movie is actually the old "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" cartoon.

Also...unrelated but related... Janelle I finally got back to responding to your comment on this weeks contest entry so you'll want to go back and read that. I haven't gotten your email yet.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Up & Down

This week Layla came down with a viral's main symptoms were bi-polar baby mood swings, a full body rash and a mild fever. If you ever look that up on WebMD you'll know that we took her to Urgent Care because 129 different things come up as possible problems your child may be contagious or dying from. There were also 3 normal every day things...and of course one $25.00 co-pay later I now know my daughter had one of those. The viral infection...treated with nothing should be completely gone in 3-5 days but can be spread to other kids so we missed church today and Layla decided to be nice to us and sleep in until 8 am which NEVER happens here. Then an hour later she took a 2 and a half our nap but already she's gone from this....

to this...

in just 2 days. So that's something right? She's a little clingy in the morning and seems to frustrate easily but by today she's finally eating again and enjoying playing with her toys instead of just laying around in a puddle on the floor.

The Dr says she weighs 27 lbs now (which is probably a little off because she was fully dressed and had on tennis shoes) and I know she's well over 33 inches tall. That puts us in the 97% mark for hieght and the 80 % mark (ish) for weight. Yay us!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What a week

I hardly ever do a week recap post but let me tell you that I think this week probably needs one. Sunday I took a pregnancy test because I haven't had a cycle in a few months and found much to my suprise that I was NOT pregnant and while I was overwhelmingly relieved because financially this is not a good time for a baby...I was a little sad because babies are squishy and cute and I'd like a whole collection of them. Monday started off with my new job, our new sitter (Miss Erin) coming over and I was supposed to have a job interview after work but at the last minute they rescheduled me to Tuesday. We were also planning on going to see the Katina's in concert at our church for free but I was exhausted by the end of the day so we didn't. Tuesday was more work, Jon stayed home with Layla, and I had that interview at the college before coming home to make dinner. Wednesday, more work, and when I got home I found Jon who was at home watching the baby, hanging out with one of our friends so we got a nice visit and I made dinner. Some time after he left Jon and I had a marital issue (now resolved). Thursday Miss Erin was here all day while I worked and she (thanks alot by the way) cleaned up for me a little...when I got home I had a mildly sick kid to feed and then she (and I) went to bed pretty early (me not before I had a little drama at home with the hubby). Friday was a test and personal review day at work, and when I got home Layla had a head to toe rash which sent us to Urgent Care at 6 pm. Then I talked to Jon for awhile and went to bed...exhausted. I woke up this morning to a cranky kid who still has a head to toe rash and I need to clean house before my mother in law comes over for dinner. We canceled our Back in the Day party tomorrow because the baby is sick and now I have a 16 pound defrosted turkey I get to deal with for no reason...oh and I got an email from the landlord *sigh*. There will be no church tomorrow for us because the baby is especially contagious to other babies.

And to think... next week will be much of the same thing... just in a different order.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Sigh Heard Round the World

Today I got the mail and the bill in it wasn't in a pink envelope, it wasn't even written on pink paper. Maybe the end is in sight. I took it to my desk and put it next to another bill that's not past due in the no longer overflowing spot on the desk. It felt nice.

I've got bills, don't get me wrong but it's been awhile since I wasn't playing juggle that utility service. Starting this week the hubby and I will have alternating pay days. Which will be a nice change. It's when things get slightly normal that the weird shit bubbles up.

Last night the hubby and I had drama. Or I should say, I had drama and it was the hubby's fault and so he slept on he couch...because I asked him to. Today I'm feeling better about the situation... not so much so that I am over it but enough so that he might get to use his own pillow tonight.

It's the first time we've had real marital drama and it ended with 10 minutes of joking around before I sent him we'll survive...we always do.

Maybe it's that little white bill that's making me so optomistic... he should thank TID.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bah Humbug

You ever wish you never knew something... but you know it so now you have to deal with it. Why does this shit always happen when you least expect it... like during the holidays and your first week back at work.

Giveaway 3 weeks until Christmas

I can't believe there are only 3 weeks until Christmas and yet at the same time I feel compelled to say that it feels like Christmas is already here. It's craziness over here in the J house already. We're full swing in the Christmas movie watching, fudge making and tree lighting over here and I'm loving every minute I'm home for it.

Last week for our contest we talked about our most desired wish list item. Our winner was Courtney...who will have to email me which type of coffee she wants (she knows the address). Courtney wanted a lot of neat things but mostly she wanted a cute boy under her Christmas btw which she is dating and lives far far away and her blogs about him are things I love to read over on her blog Practicing Patience. So horray for Courtney and we'll be praying for you and that boy under the Christmas tree problem.

This week I want to talk about your favorite Christmas movie. Every year my husband and I (and just I before I had a husband) have had a Back in the Day party for our friends. Everyone comes over in their PJ's and we watch a collection of Christmas movies (classics, claymation, cartoon and even modern or musical) and we eat lots of cookies (everyone has to bring a dozen) and I make foods from our childhood. It's always good times.

This year in the effort to scale back some we made the party much smaller with fewer people and we are only going to show three movies on a Sunday afternoon but we'll still be having that Back in the Day feel everyone has grown to love.

We won't however be showing my favorite Christmas movie.

This week our giveaway has 2 parts. You get 1 entry if you post a comment with your favorite Christmas movie in it. You get 1 more entry if you can correctly guess my favorite Christmas movie. Enteries must be in before midnight on Sunday and the winner will get a Hot Chocolate Sampler. Yummy!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gotta Love It

Yesterday I started "the J O B" which I am happy and surprised to announce that I really liked. My daughter stayed a few hours with Miss Erin then Daddy came home and they had a grand time without me. She decided to reward me for going to work by sitting on daddy all night like she was mad at me, or perhaps she just likes him better now that he's the one home and she'll like me better on Saturday.

This weekend is another fun one for us. Saturday I am hoping to take Layla to Christmas Tree Lane to walk around and to see the mini train here in town. On Sunday we'll be having our Annual Back in the Day party where everyone wears PJs, eats food from their childhood, brings cookies and watches movies that were popular when we were younger.

Also this week, I'm expecting my Christmas cards to arrive and once those are here I'll be dropping off some gifts (homemade) for family members in the area...probably on Saturday as well...before dark.

The realization of much simpler life is with a smaller Christmas is settling in all around me. The smaller tree isn't overwhelming in the living room and the few presents under it are easy to keep the kids away from. Boy I am glad God forced me to take this route.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hi Ho Hi Ho

it's off to work I go...

If you are reading this, you are not on your way to work. I am not reading this...because I am.

Last week, the day after my job offer, my husband and I took another financial blow. But you know what... I have a job...and with that job comes a little hope.

So I'm off to work and I'll tell you all about it later.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Please watch this informative video which I saw on someone else's site and then went to YouTube to hunt down to share with you...

Hound of Heaven

I've always had a special place in my heart for the poem Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson the Catholic poet. Something about a God so loving that it would persue someone who ran in ignorant fear always felt real to me. Perhaps, that is why when I converted to Christianity, God stalked me in the quiet places and in the public places until I stopped fighting back. What does this poem remind you of?

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him down the nights and down the days

I fled Him down the arches of the years

I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears

I hid from him, and under running laughter.

Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated

Adown titanic glooms of chasmed hears

From those strong feet that followed, followed after

But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat, and a Voice beat,

More instant than the feet:

All things betray thee who betrayest me.

I pleaded, outlaw--wise by many a hearted casement,

curtained red, trellised with inter-twining charities,

For though I knew His love who followed,

Yet was I sore adread, lest having Him,

I should have nought beside.

But if one little casement parted wide,

The gust of his approach would clash it to.

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

Across the margent of the world I fled,

And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,

Smiting for shelter on their clange d bars,

Fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter

The pale ports of the moon.

I said to Dawn --- be sudden, to Eve --- be soon,

With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over

From this tremendous Lover.

Float thy vague veil about me lest He see.

I tempted all His servitors but to find

My own betrayal in their constancy,

In faith to Him, their fickleness to me,

Their traitorous trueness and their loyal deceit.

To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,

Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,

But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,

The long savannahs of the blue,

Or whether, thunder-driven,

They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,

Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet,

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat:

Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.

I sought no more that after which I strayed

In face of Man or Maid.

But still within the little childrens' eyes

Seems something, something that replies,

They at least are for me, surely for me.

But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair,

With dawning answers there,

Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.

Come then, ye other children, Nature's

Share with me, said I, your delicate fellowship.

Let me greet you lip to lip,

Let me twine with you caresses,

Wantoning with our Lady Mother's vagrant tresses,

Banqueting with her in her wind walled palace,

Underneath her azured dai:s,

Quaffing, as your taintless way is,

From a chalice, lucent weeping out of the dayspring.

So it was done.

I in their delicate fellowship was one.

Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies,

I knew all the swift importings on the wilful face of skies,

I knew how the clouds arise,

Spumed of the wild sea-snortings.

All that's born or dies,

Rose and drooped with,

Made them shapers of mine own moods, or wailful, or Divine.

With them joyed and was bereaven.

I was heavy with the Even,

when she lit her glimmering tapers round the day's dead sanctities.

I laughed in the morning's eyes.

I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,

Heaven and I wept together,

and its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine.

Against the red throb of its sunset heart,

I laid my own to beat

And share commingling heat.

But not by that, by that was eased my human smart.

In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.

For ah! we know what each other says,

these things and I; In sound I speak,

Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.

Nature, poor step-dame, cannot slake my drouth.

Let her, if she would owe me

Drop yon blue-bosomed veil of sky

And show me the breasts o' her tenderness.

Never did any milk of hers once bless my thirsting mouth.

Nigh and nigh draws the chase, with unperturbe d pace

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

And past those noise d feet, a Voice comes yet more fleet:

Lo, nought contentst thee who content'st nought Me.

Naked, I wait thy Love's uplifted stroke. My harness, piece by piece,

thou'st hewn from me

And smitten me to my knee,

I am defenceless, utterly.

I slept methinks, and awoke.

And slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.

In the rash lustihead of my young powers,

I shook the pillaring hours,

and pulled my life upon me.

Grimed with smears,

I stand amidst the dust o' the mounded years--

My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.

My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,

Have puffed and burst like sunstarts on a stream.

Yeah, faileth now even dream the dreamer

and the lute, the lutanist.

Even the linked fantasies in whose blossomy twist,

I swung the Earth, a trinket at my wrist,

Have yielded, cords of all too weak account,
For Earth, with heavy grief so overplussed.

Ah! is thy Love indeed a weed,

albeit an Amaranthine weed,

Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?

Ah! must, Designer Infinite,

Ah! must thou char the wood 'ere thou canst limn with it ?

My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust.

And now my heart is as a broken fount,

Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever

From the dank thoughts that shiver upon the sighful branches of my

Such is. What is to be ?

The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind ?

I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds,

Yet ever and anon, a trumpet sounds

From the hid battlements of Eternity.

Those shaken mists a space unsettle,

Then round the half-glimpse d turrets, slowly wash again.

But not 'ere Him who summoneth

I first have seen, enwound

With glooming robes purpureal; Cypress crowned.

His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.

Whether Man's Heart or Life it be that yield thee harvest,

Must thy harvest fields be dunged with rotten death ?

Now of that long pursuit,

Comes at hand the bruit.

That Voice is round me like a bursting Sea:

And is thy Earth so marred,

Shattered in shard on shard?

Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me.

Strange, piteous, futile thing;

Wherefore should any set thee love apart?

Seeing none but I makes much of Naught (He said).

And human love needs human meriting ---

How hast thou merited,

Of all Man's clotted clay, the dingiest clot.

Alack! Thou knowest not

How little worthy of any love thou art.

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,

Save me, save only me?

All which I took from thee, I did'st but take,

Not for thy harms,

But just that thou might'st seek it in my arms.

All which thy childs mistake fancies as lost,

I have stored for thee at Home.

Rise, clasp my hand, and come.

Halts by me that Footfall.

Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

Ah, Fondest, Blindest, Weakest,

I am He whom thou seekest.

Thou dravest Love from thee who dravest Me.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oh Fudge

The smell of it. That's what brought it on. That smell of warm butter, hot sugar and human love wafted up from my stove today and through my aching arm and my cluttered mind I found it, my past.

In an instant I was a flashback reel on an old black and white movie of my own life, small with cold feet standing on the linoleum floors of my grandmothers kitchen watching her fret over a pot of fudge being made behind her by my aunt who kept tisking her away when she started to interfere.

Waiting. Christmas felt like waiting back then. Wait for school to get out. Wait for Christmas eve to get a present, jammies and a book. Wait for the sound of Santa, but fall asleep before he comes. Wait for morning to open your stockings. Wait for Dad to FINALLY get up to open your stockings. Wait for time to go to Grandma's. Wait for Christmas dinner. Wait for presents when everyone's had pie. Wait till later until you have another piece of fudge.

I could smell it, all of December. It smelled like fudge, but it was just a simple sort of love.

A Simple Christmas- Home Tour- Living Room

My Willow Tree Nativity is a prized possession and sits on the piano this year in front of some white lights and pine cone garland. The Christmas cards are also on display here (for now) and a Santa tea light holder. The picture on the piano is from Layla's baby's always in the livingroom somewhere.
This is our tree. It has lights but you can't see them in this picture. The presents underneath are for Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews, and the LaylaBug (mostly her...she got 4). Our tree has an odd collection of family related ornaments. This year I didn't put on any garlands or Christmas Balls because I didn't have room...or the desire.

This is the TV stand. The Snowman lights up but I don't plug him in because he's cuter unlit. There are fake poinsettia's around our foutain and the same pine cone garland with lights around the TV.

Normally I do the bloggy tour of Christmas homes because I've decked my house out and I want to show it off. This year we took a simpler approach to Christmas... smaller tree, less presents, less lights. So this is the just of my living room decorations this year (we'll be doing other rooms another day).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Have you ever noticed?

Have you ever been close to someone and then they meet someone else through you and then the talk to that someone but they hardly ever ... no wait make that never... talk to you.

I've been leap frogged again...

and this time it was family.

The J O B

I got a job yesterday. I start Monday morning at 8 AM. It doesn't pay what I used to make (not even close) but it's close to home and it has good benefits so I am grateful. I need pants. Work pants are not something I enjoy buying but I'll make my way to the store tomorrow and get some so I'll be ready for Monday morning.

My faux sister-in-law (Dad's girlfriend's daughter) will be watching Layla. Layla loves her. She calls her name when we get to Dad's house. So that makes me hope she won't be crushed when I'm suddenly gone all day again.

So this weekend...we'll be living a little large so I can get lots of LaylaBug in before I head back into the working world.

Thank you Jesus

Things I am thankful for today...

I have a girlfriend who lets me talk about nothing for long periods of time.
I have a friend who brings over movies when the cable doesn't work.
I have a husband who makes me laugh and does the right thing.
I have a job.
I have internet that is working (finally).
I have plans to take my daughter the the Turlock Christmas Parade tonight.
I have hope.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Broken Lines of Communication

The phone service said I would have a working phone line Tuesday and working DSL by this AM, so I shouldn't be surprised that today I am still without so much as a dual dial tone! Instead I have a supervisor calling me back and an spot on Monday's calendar in case I can't talk someone into coming sooner. *sigh* just my rotten luck

I'd much rather be grocery shopping and getting a Christmas tree today. On the upside I have an unemployment extension for now while I look for a Job being as the J O. B hasn't bothered to call me back.

Tomorrow I have a city job test in a nearby town and it's the downtown Christmas lights parade parade I've never missed here in the little town we live in so at least I have things to worry about to distract me from the things I shouldn't be worried about.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Layla trying to "unlock" the door

4 weeks giveaway

First off let's talk about last weeks winner which is better late than never (pun intended)...

Teaseburger you won Words of Grace and a 1 lb bag of coffee from starbucks (email me what flavor-you know my email)! Congratulations!

This week tell me what item you desire most on your wishlist and get a chance to win a 1 lb bag of starbucks coffee and a copy of ygr party girl cookbook.

Leave a comment to enter or post on your blog and link in the comments! Contest ends Sunday Dec 7th at midnight!

Test photo

Rant for the EDD

I appreciate that you've extended benefits but for 6 days I've been calling 20 to 30 times a day and every time the phone disconnects me either as soon as I call or when I get to the "hold for a human".

I NEED an extension, I need to talk to a human, here's an idea how about you hire some unemployed people to answer the fucking phones!

This is ridiculus! No one should feel this sort of fear and anger over just trying to get help they qualify for! I suppose when I die of stress related causes my family can sue you, at least then they can eat and pay rent!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ho Oh Ho

My phone rings out singing a few lines of Santa baby and she is up and dancing before I answer. What does Santa say I ask her when her skewed little hop is done, "ho oh ho" she giggles with her hands on her belly which she tries to shake like jelly. Adorable and spunky my little girl!

At bedtime she asks for her cow which was supposed to stuff a stocking but instead is her new bedtime stuffy. I see it now, how alive Christmas is now that she is old enough to see it with her own magical eyes.

Baby Jesus, I show her in the manager on the piano surrounded by sparkling lights and at night I tell her "goodnight Baby, mommy loves you, daddy loves you, baby Jesus loves you." on the nights Jon works and can't say goodnight on his own. Someday that will be a comfort to her but now it's just words... Just like last year Santa was just a guy in a red suit and this year he is a visual reminder of joy and an emotional trigger to happiness.

It's evolving, my Christmas spirit, from a sense of obligation to new eyes watching with the wonder and excitement of a child. My child.

Monday, December 01, 2008


We're going to be without internet until Thursday which doesn't excite me at all. In the interim I'll be stick using mobile blogger to limp out daily posts from my cell phone. So a quick update... Layla taught herself to whistle, the Christmas lights are up inside and out, and I still haven't heard from the J O B

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Naughty or Nice

I whisper in the darkness "oh dear it's almost Christmas" and you mumble through your sleeping sounds something I can not comprehend. I glance back at the bedside clock and see that it is 3 am so I start to imagine Christmas day as I snuggle in my spot. There isn't much you could do for me, my mind racing instead of sleeping. So I listen to your heart and breath and wonder what you dream. And then as if you hear my thoughts you turn and mumble to me another thing I wish I heard between your tired lips. So I gaze at you in the darkened room when I know I should be resting for it's December dear and with holidays near I can hardly close my eyes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christianity Unsensored

In deuteronomy (11:18) there is a passage that haunts me sometimes, "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Notice anything?

Everytime I look at this passage I see God telling us what to be in our every day life to show our children religion. He doesn't talk about loading into the minivan and carting them off to the stepford women in the church nursery. He doesn't tell us where to send them on Wednesday nights to recite things over and over until their faith is trained in them like a soldier headed to battle.

God calls us to nurture our children. He calls us to see examples of him in every day life and to point them out to our children and then to talk to them about them when we are home and they feel safe. He calls us to teach them to pray, to love, to forgive, to worship... from our homes and from our day to day journeys.

Do you know why? I think I do. I sit in church and I look around me at a hundred faces. Some of them are really there, really listening but some of them are searching and some of them still are there blankly waiting for the time to pass. I see people who say 'but I'm a good Christian' just before they get in their car and cut someone off in the parking lot impatiently cursing the two second delay.

God knows we can fake it.

I think he calls out to us to be more than a Sunday sermon. He calls out to us to be his voice on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday and every other day of the week. He calls on each of us to be our own kind of Christian so that while you give your personal witness to the people who are just like you... I can give my sermon to someone who is just like me.

Because somewhere out there is someone who is lost, just like I once was, and they curse like a sailor but they love like a mother lion and they are waiting for someone to call them aside and tell them "it's ok to curse when you pray because God already knows you and loves you and he knows you curse... but he wants to hear from you anyhow".

So while he sends you to Raley's on Friday afternoons or to baseball games or to the opera or to where-ever God sends you, I'll be talking to the hippy chicks, the attachment parents, the library staff, the farmer's market vendor and the girl with the spider tattoo... because that's what he put me here for... and that's what he's asked me to show my daughter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

If anyone needs me I'll be defending my honor, protecting my checkbook and losing my sanity today in the battlefield of commercial demi-gods and morally corrupt housewives.
Is it a sin to pepper spray someone to get them away from the last good shopping cart?
It is?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving...the recap

I awoke at 6:15 am to the sound of whining over a baby monitor and tripped (literally- there were a pair of too small jeans from the day before in the dark hallway on the floor) into her bedroom mumbling "mommy's comin"
She got a clean diaper and we padded down the stairs in the dark to the living room where I turned on the Disney Channel and went to make a warm milk bottle but I had to fight the milk out of the fridge because it was wedged behind all the pies I had already made.
Then I read for awhile as my child danced around playing on the floor to the tunes of Johnny and the Sprites in the background. When I made her scrambled eggs for breakfast I also started my boiling eggs for deviled eggs and did the first of two loads of dishes.
After her breakfast we went upstairs to bug daddy and get another clean diaper. And then we watched the beginning of the Macy's parade on TV while I did some more cooking in the kitchen. When she got grumbly she got put down for a nap and I talked to Jon for awhile as we commented on the parade on TV.

By 11 Jon was showered, food was cooking and the baby was up so I got her dressed and then I took my shower. I finished up plating my share of Turkey Day for my Dad's house (garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, deviled eggs, cranberry relish and three pies-pumpkin, coconut cream and chocolate cream) and we loaded ourselves into the car.

We got to my Dad's at noon and visited, cooked, watched Jack's Big Music Show (we don't get it at home anymore) and then we ate... LOTS and the baby played inside and outside and with every person she could find (Pa, Papa, Teri, Erin, Red, Earl, Daddy, Mommy, Dustin, etc).
Then we ran back home for a change of clothing and to grab another pie and went to Jon's dad's at 3 pm where there was more food, more pie, more laughter, and in addition to playing with people my daughter chased around Doggies for awhile.

When she started to melt-down (around 6) we headed home and she got a quick wash off with a washclothe and put to bed because she was EXHAUSTED. I uploaded some pictures to her site and sent a couple emails to people about the pictures they took today (and thanking them for wonderful meals) and now it's 8 pm and I'm in my jammies already...thankful for a loving husband, great family time, good food...and the pillow I'm about to go lay on.

Encountering Thanks

Albert Schweitzer once said "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the people who taught me to live, love, laugh and keep learning even when I thought I knew it all.

I am thankful for the friends who called and stopped by even when my little light was dim. I am thankful for the family who taught me the value of loving people well and the work ethic to keep moving forward. I am thankful for my husband who waited patiently even when he wasn't sure what he was waiting for. I am thankful for my daughter who reminded me that life is brilliantly new and constantly changing every single day.

Mostly, I am thankful to God for giving me a set of everday angels to remind to love, to teach me to change, to be honest with their own weakness so that everyday we could find the strength to worship him a little better.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1 ~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Something that works incredibly well at our house is the Car Toddler Kit. The kit is just a freezer size ziploc bag with several useful toddler items in it. I keep it ALWAYS stocked and in the trunk that way if I have to run a quick errand I don't need a diaper bag and if I go someplace with a diaper bag I have extras in the car in case I run out of something.

The toddler kit includes:
a change of baby clothing including matching socks
a burp cloth (even though we don't normally need them)
diaper rash cream & sunscreen
4 diapers & a travel pack of wipes
1 toddler warm up meal (you know like a gerber graduate) & a couple packs of snacks
an empty sippy cup and an extra pacifier
1 bottle of water

We keep a blanket in the trunk too because you never know when you'll have to change a diaper in a parking lot or want to sit at a park or when someone will be cold in the back seat and want a snuggle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


She is everything I've ever done right & everything I've ever done wrong.

I always knew there were moments looking at my life that I'd look back on late and say "that made me who I am today" but now I look at her moments and think...

"for you I'd do it all again, a thousand times over then over again, to the moon and stars and back again"

Christmas Sparkle

The shower takes a moment to warm up so while it does I humm the tune under my breath and pick myself apart in the mirror
I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
I take a long glance at the age lines that found their way to my face this year and the single gray hair gracing the top of my head.
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
I trace the faint start of a laugh line along my right cheek and marvel at the three inch roots from my last highlights almost six months ago.
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
I sigh as I step into the second half of the bathroom. The door opening pours hot steamy air on to my naked body as I cough once adjusting to the moisture in the air.
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry well
Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour
As I step into the shower and as the warm water wraps around me like a womb the room fades into the sound of my own voice and a small steady rain of water on tile.
The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I start singing the words to my favorite flirty Christmas tune as I lather my body and rinse my hair, autopilot guides my hands from years of practice, I don't even have to think.
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Christmas used to be about romance, hidden potential would be noticed under the mistletoe, framed in the twinkling light of a fragrant pine tree, I'd be lovable to someone this Christmas.
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I used to cling to the romantic Christmas duets waiting for that ever popular Christmas wish come true kiss at the end of each Christmas special. It was Christmas, anything could happen.
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
C'mon babyI simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
I dressed the part the entire season back then. I'd put on my best red shirts and my sparkly green necklaces. I wore the best shoes and I gave the best gifts.
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm
I splashed the water gathering in the tub with my feet and noted my chipped toenail polish left over from Halloween even though it was almost Thanksgiving.
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My "Where are you Christmas" moment washed over me. I'm worried about money, I'm worried about work, I'm worried about being a good wife and a good mother. It was easier before...
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
It wasn't easier before, I remind myself in my best mom voice. Before you worried about different things but you still worried. You need to focus. I turn off the bath water and step back into the cold room to grab a towel.
Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
You used to sparkle, that evil little voice in the back of my head whispers. You used to shine like starlight. You still can.
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Stepping up to the mirror, focused again, I pick them out... my big eyes and my dark framing eyebrows... my complexion, clearer than most, my teeth straight and my smile bright... I'm still in there somewhere
Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby it's cold outside
Brr its cold….It's cold out there
Cant you stay awhile longer baby
I go back to humming and start the hair dryer for a change. Perhaps if I just put a little more effort it would all come back to me... my Christmas sparkle.
Well…..I really shouldn't...alright
Make it worth your while baby
Ahh, do that again….

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Beef Stew & Biscuits
Ham Fritatta with Mushrooms
Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes
Thanksgiving with family
Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice
Chicken & Cilantro Soup
Enchiladas & Green Salad

Must be Santa Monday

I skipped a Must be Santa Monday last week on accident so this week I'll be giving you two things from Layla's list that I know she'll be getting.
Baby Cakes! a board book by Karma Wilson (which by the way is a great name)
We got this book from the library and Layla loves the little song, it has a great rhythm to it and it talks about kissing people on the nose and wiggling toes and things that Layla loves to act out along with the book... so I'm going to buy it. You can get it from Amazon for under 5 bucks.
The other thing I know Layla will be getting this year for Christmas is a set of Alphabet fridge letters, they are good for kids learning their letters and learning to spell. I'll be putting hers on the fridge to keep her from playing in the dishwasher... but that's another subject all together about distracting your child as a style of parenting. *sigh*

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mt Erebus

There is a cross on Mt Erebus, it marks the site of a disaster and stands as a solemn reminder that there is always hope. The cross originally put there (shown here) eroded and was replaced with a metal one, a reminder that hope does not fade.
For me this picture has long been one that reminds me of the strength of God. God was on this mountain long before that disaster and the people there that day left this lonely cross to remind us that he will be there long after we've forgotten why it mattered.
I used to think having hope was a choice we made, as I grew up I changed my belief. Hope is not a choice we make. Hope is always there... our life is just about whether or not we choose to acknowledge it.
"So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth." ~Job 5:16~

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tag I'm it AGAIN

I got tagged for another writing prompt thingy. This one you list 10 random things about yourself and FOOD...

1. I won't eat brussel sprouts. When I was little my parents tried to make me and I reinacted the scene from Pultergiest with the split pea soup. No brussel sprouts.

2. I actually have dreams where I am eating garlic goat cheese on club crackers while drinking pepsi with ice and reading a book by the ocean. *Pathetic*

3. I'm allergic to citrus fruits so I have to watch what I eat. Not long ago I hugged a little kid and had a citrus burn hand print on my neck for 3 days.

4. I'd rather eat milk chocolate Hershey bars than expensive chocolate.

5. I buy organic when I can and when it's priced reasonably. When I go back to work we'll be going back to mostly organic like we were before I lost my job.

6. I love food so much I made a website called FatGirlEats to post recipes from my life and childhood on. My favorite recipe there right now is for Cranberry Relish like my Aunt Penny used to make on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

7. I remember times in my life by the things I ate during those times. I once catered a party back when I owned LadyWickedCatering and I served this salad that had a horseradish salad dressing with blue cheese in it. I remember the way it felt in my throat while I laughed flirting with a serving person.

8. I'm such a big girl that I think about what I'll be eating for dinner all day long. Sometimes I think about it so much I over-eat at dinner. If I have plans with someone and they cancel I'm bummer but if it was lunch or dinner plans which I have been thinking about all day I tend to take it personally.

9. I can't make good meatloaf. It frustrates me so much I won't even order meatloaf when I go out now. Stupid meatloaf.

10. I used to make homemade fudge with chilli pepper in it. I had to stop making it because when I did I would eat the whole pan, and then because I felt bad about eating the first pan I'd make another... and so on... until I was sick to my stomach.

Now I'm supposed to tag 5 people who like food...

I tag Lynn, Stacey, Courtney, Mel & Candace... (if they want)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tis the season

My friend Lynn just called me a Christmas Card Guru. I laughed pretty hard.

Truth be told this is the first year I feel like my Christmas cards aren't controlling my future. I'm not dreading it. I guess it's the married with children aspect of my life, I have something to write about and send a picture of.

This year, like last year, I'll be doing the photo card. Last year we did the family picture but this year it will just be Layla. And I'm typing up a little newsletter that will fit on half of a piece of paper. Broken down by month, listing things we did throughout the year.

I'm going to write something personal in each card. This year I really cut back our list which I am truly happy about.

I'll be sending my cards the first day of December and then I won't have to think about them again.

But, at the moment, I need to get that list typed into I'm off to the keyboard.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It had to be you

There are moments when you look at the man you married and think that's totally why I married you. They sometimes get lost in the oh god I wish I knew that before I married you moments. But most of the time they are so blatantly obvious that you can't believe they caught you off guard. You marvel at how you didn't notice them before. You wonder why you were so suprised... I mean shouldn't you expect it.

I mean afterall... men read stories to their kids all the time. They tuck people in bed and chase them around the living room floor on their hands and knees. Men make the baby giggle and men make you a soda while their in the kitchen.

But only MY MAN can make me laugh by making OUR DAUGHTER laugh just like he does when he's had too much to drink.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yes, I said 5 weeks. I know. I know. I can't believe it either.

This week we're talking about Christmas Music. We've had the Christmas Music Channel on our cable network since the day after Halloween. I didn't start listening to it until about a week ago, but we've listened to it everyday.

For this weeks contest you need to leave me your favorite Christmas song in the comments.

Only one entry per person.

The prize...


I'm giving away a copy of Words of Grace (which is a great book) and a 1 lb bag of coffee from Starbucks.

Good Luck. As usualy this contest ends Sunday night.

And last weeks winner?

Janelle.... you go girl!

Send an email to me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com with your address. Thanks!

Works for Me Wednesday!

It's Works for Me Wednesday and one thing that works for me at Christmas time is having the baby make Christmas Gifts for other people.

I know... she's 1 but I like crafts and she likes playing with me during my craft time so I thought it was time she did a craft of her own.

I'm going to purchase wooden ornaments from Michael's for around 50 cents each. Mommy will paint them all white. Then Layla will get a paintbrush with red or green paint that she can sprinkle, dab or smear to her hearts content. Then mommy is going to put some glue around the edges and let her dip them in glitter.

Total cost... less than 75 cents a piece. But, they are a priceless lesson. It's a lesson started very young about how a hand made gift is worth more than a store bought one. It's a lesson about how hard work can make something beautiful. It's a lesson for Mommy about how to not curse when glitter is all over the kitchen.

And it Works for Me and my BUDGET! For more WFMW posts click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Toddler Tuesday

Last Tuesday, Layla decided she wanted to empty every block in our house into one pile and sort them across the window siles, around the floor and under the chairs. She spent two hours of her Tuesday making piles, stacks and block ordered chaos all over the downstairs of our townhouse.

At first it was no big thing. Then I contemplated stopping her because it was messy. But after awhile I decided to see how long she'd play alone.

3 hours

Did you hear me internet people??


So I decided it will be a Tuesday thing around here. From now on during Toddler Tuesday I will not be following my child around trying to contain the chaos that threatens my sanity. Instead, I will let her do what she wishes (within reason) and see how her mind wraps around freedom.

Sometimes attachment parenting is about letting go...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots (as requested by the boys)

Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes with Green Peas

Beef Stew and Biscuits

Black Bean and Cheese Tostadas

Chili Dogs

Spanish Chicken and Courtney Corn Casserole

Grilled Cheese and Vampire Hunter Soup

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You can't snooze motherhood

Hi it's me Pavlov. My daughter slept in on Saturday until AFTER 7 am. First off...take that in for a second. The child that never sleeps, slept until 7.

I, on the otherhand, who BEG to sleep in every day for the last few months. I woke up at 6:15 that morning. I laid in bed after the sun came up, and I waited because she normally is up until around 6:30 am.

Then around 6:45 I started to worry. So I snuck into her room and checked to see that yes in fact she is still breathing.

And then I waited, because after over a year of being a mom I don't have the ability to sleep in past when the baby normally gets up. I contemplated how similar I felt to that dog that drooled when the bell rang in Pavlov's home. Then I tried to get comfortable again.

But nothing happened. You can't snooze being a mom. I just sat there willing her to sleep until she was happy to be awake. Willing myself to go back to sleep. And staring at the ceiling against my will because I just wanted to get up and start our day together.

What now?

I know some of you are still hanging on in suspense about my little job interview with the J O B on Friday. Well let me tell ya...

I'm done. There is nothing left for me to do... why you ask?

Because they are doing a background check and testing my references and if they come back normal (which they should) then they'll make me pee in a cup and I will start the first week of December.

They didn't give an offer letter but she told me "we'd like to hire you pending a background check and a drug screen". She told me about the benefits and the pay.

Funny thing... I have another job offer pending. Isn't that how it goes?

This offer is literally 2 blocks from my home and the hours are good and the pay is ok. It's literally just enough.

The other position is a 30 minute commute but they pay is a little better. The hours are a little better too but at a weird time of day.

So I'm going to take job 1 unless job 2 offers me untold amounts of money or PTO or something. Because...well job 1 is looking closer to a sure thing first AND it's 2 blocks from where my baby will be.

Lunches at home & what not are very appealing now that I'm a mother.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is this us?

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy

I find myself wondering often if I will ever have another baby. When infertility looms around you it doesn't matter how poor you are or how stressed you are you find yourself wondering... is this it? Is this the 1 chance I had to have another baby and I'm not even trying? Am I going to regret this?

I look at Layla, confident one moment and shy the next. I watch Jon, calm and playful while he teachs her how life should be. I see myself, comforting and nurturing in the early morning hours. And I wonder...

Is this us? Is this it? Is this what it is going to be forever. Will there be another? Could I really love another one the same? Is it perfect now...

Should I be doing more...less... differently...


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Preface...

She was pale and her face looked hollow and her eyes were vacant but on closer examination I could see she had a hidden strength inside her. Wet hair still warm from the shower made a halo of steam around her face. Battered arms peeked out from an oversized t-shirt and her body had a broken slump to it. It was visible that she was a product of a beating… both physical and mental. My heart poured out to her as I recognized the signs of a life abandoned in the pursuit of survival.

“Poor small town girl, what have you gotten yourself into.” I said to the face starring back at me.

She said nothing. Her exasperated face eyed me for something more. But there was nothing more to show her.

“You should stop doing this to yourself you know.” I said with an exhausted sigh of contempt.

I watched her sigh, still watching me, expecting something. But there was nothing to expect. I had given her all I could and I was walking away this time. She knew it, you could see it in her stance. Her body language said goodbye even when she said nothing.

I stole one last glance at her before I turned to leave. I half expected her to yell out to me, to tell me something to make me stay but she didn’t. She couldn’t she was frozen and powerless. This time I was stronger than her. I could feel it when I turned away, my back to her as I walked out the door.

Today I was gone. That shattered girl in the mirror might as well have watched me walk away, I don’t know if she did… I didn’t look back.

Twinkle Toes

They were the first part of you I ever saw. You were black and white and fuzzy and they couldn't locate you with the ultrasound so I pointed and said her feet are right here. At which point the tech said I couldn't know that because you were too little. But he stuck the thingy there anyhow and there you were. You were two tiny feet at the end of two very long legs. You were suddenly so much more real.
When you were first born I would sit and marvel at your tiny little feet. I wanted to eat them up. I held them in my hands and rubbed them like a worry stone when things got aggitated and broken in real life. They were tiny and perfect.
Now you're running from place to place, climbing the furniture like a tiny daredevil and dancing to your own little beat. Your feet have gone from proof of life to proof of a life being lived. You are constantly in motion, either running in circles around me or fidgeting while you drift to sleep on my lap.
Sometimes I flash back to your tiny feet which stayed tiny for so long when I am looking at your new toddler feet. They are so similar to those baby feet that I want to nibble them up and yet so different that I am perplexed in that moment by how big you've gotten. And then my mind skips forward to your first dance class on twinkle toes when you are 5 or your first prom.
And I cuddle harder while I still can because you aren't really that big girl yet... and I don't want to miss the chance while I still have it.

Testing 1...2...3...

Today I'm off to the land of the J O B to take a final employment test before they run my background check and make me an offer. Now it's all about me... either I pass or I don't. Lucky me! I'm hoping my past is clean enough and my fingers are fast enough (despite not working for the last 6 months).

My test is at 8:30 and any prayer would be greatly appreciated because I'm nervous.

Have I mentioned I need a J O B very badly?

This one would do quite nicely thank you very much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


It weighs heavily on my mind. Shouldn't I have my shit together by now? 30. Shouldn't my faith be stronger? 30. Shouldn't my body look better? 30. I joke that at 30 I'll be 1/3 of the way finished with my life. Shouldn't that feel like an accomplishment instead of a goal? 30.


I thought I'd find thirty, beautiful... confident... sure of who I was. Instead I find 30 searching, grasping and unsure of where to go next.


It's coming.

Flirty Girl?

Can someone explain to me why I want this tape so badly?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

One of the things that I find works for me around Christmas time is deciding to give FAMILY gifts. Instead of giving Uncle Max, Aunt Sheri, Billy and Betty 4 individual gifts I make one gift for the family. Here are 4 of my favorite FAMILY GIFT examples...

1. THE FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT- I take a box which is opened on top (no flaps) and wrap the entire inside and outside with Christmas paper. Then I fill the bottom with shredded paper (or other filler) half way. Inside the box I arrange (1) Traditional Family movie- I usually use an older classic movie or a gift certificate to rent or purchase a movie if I don't know the family well (1) Jiffy Pop popcorn skillet (1) package of Twizzlers or M&M's (sometimes both) and a jar filled with homemade cocoa mix with a small Christmas cylophane container of marshmellows (you can even get them shaped like Christmas trees.

2. THE FAMILY GAME NIGHT- For this one I take a board game (which is in a box) and wrap it. Then I find 4 boxes that can stack (smaller) like a pyramid on top of that box. In 1 box I put soda or tea mix or cocoa mix and the fixings with some cookies or brownies. Then the next box up I put a bunch of small bags of chips. The top box I put a prize in. I wrap each box and then tie the stack with ribbon in a pyramid. I put a big tag on the front saying that only the WINNER of the game can open the top box.

3. THE FAMILY CRAFT- For this project I buy a small plastic tub (shoe box size) and I fill it with all the items necessary to make homemade Christmas decorations (precut foam, paint and brushes, glue, kids scissors) and then I make a cute typed set of instructions for a Kid friendly craft and place them on top of tub. I close the tub and wrap it. The best one I ever did I gave the family a disposable camera, a $12 giftcard to get film developed and the supplies to make foam picture frame ornaments for the tree using this years pictures for next years tree.

4. THE FAMILY FOOD FUN- Make sugar cookies in assorted shapes. Don't decorate them. Place them on a round platter in the shape of a wreath. Buy puff paint containers at the craft store and fill each one with a different color of decorating frosting. Put a small tub of base frosting in the middle of your wreath, a few small tubes of different colored puff paint frostings and sometimes I even add a few tubes (or baggies) of sprinkles. Wrap the whole platter with green plastic wrap and tie it with a big red bow. Drop it off to family and friends and let them spend a night decorating cookies. (To upgrade this gift I have given it with disposable cameras or kid aprons to add more value to it)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I saw this little graphic today. It made me smile. It reminded me of a time when all we needed was to think outside the box and we could make something beautiful out of nothing. I saw it and I remembered that we are never alone. I saw it and I thought about all the times that my hands have touched the hands of the people that I love for no reason at all and in that moment the most brilliant spark of life has gone off and I marveled at the closeness of them. Today I saw a little graphic and it brought me hope.
What does it bring you?

Giveaway~ 6 weeks until Christmas

This week for our giveaway contest we'll be talking about what "tastes like Christmas" to us. What is it that makes you remember Christmas in your heart as soon as you put it in your mouth.

This weeks contest begins today and ends Friday November 14th at Midnight (CA time), winners will be announced Sunday November 16th.

It's only 6 weeks until Christmas which means I've already got a list made of the items I'll be cooking for Christmas dinner so that I can find them all before the Christmas rush and store them away in my pantry or freezer (if that's an option).

I think one of the things which tastes the most like Christmas to me is the Sweet Potato recipe my Grandma Gerty taught me to make when I was 8. That recipe will be up on FatGirlEats on Friday if anyone wants it.

This week you can enter our contest 3 ways.

1. Leave a story about your favorite recipe in our comments (or a link to your blog with the story) = 1 entry
2. Leave the story AND the recipe for your favorite Christmas dish = 2 entries
3. Leave the story AND the recipe AND link back to this contest = 3 entries

What will you win? It's a mystery box. It's filled with some of my favorite Christmas tastes and it's valued at $20.00. I'll tell you what's in it on SUNDAY when I announce the winner. Interesting no?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Waiting to Excel

Dear God,

I really want a job now. I believe in you, I really do. But, I'm scared and I feel very alone and vulnerable. Could you help me out with that?

Your favorite sinner

You are my hiding place: you will protect me from the trouble & surround me with songs of deliverance. ~Psalm 32:7

Menu Plan Monday

It's that Menu Plan Monday time of the week again. Let me just say that in all honesty I NEVER used my MPM list last week. So here's hoping a do better this week.
Chicken and Cilantro Soup
Black Bean Tostadas & Spanish Rice

Stir Fry & Brown Rice
Roast and Veggies
Chicken Enchiladas & Green Salad
Breakfast for Dinner

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Contest Winner

This weeks Giveaway was determined by my husband picking a random number while he laid on the bed behind me waiting for the PC.

#4 was JJSweep.

JJ email me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what flavor coffee you would like and your mailing address!!

Yay JJ!!

Tune in Monday for Giveaway week #6!!


In the tradition of Thanksgiving (the forgotten holiday of the other white meat) I give you a writing prompt for TOMORROW!

Tomorrow we will be writing about something we're thankful for that happened to SOMEONE ELSE!

It's not about you. Understand?

So make your post and come back and leave a comment... (or leave a comment if you don't want to post) and tell us what you're thankful for.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Who's your favorite FatGirl?

When was the last time you clicked on FatGirlEats? There are lots of new and interesting things happening over there like family thanksgiving recipes and good old fashioned yummy fatgirl favorites. Click and check it out!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Boy vs Girl Brains Video

My mother in law sent me this video in an email. I laughed so hard I almost cried. My husband has a nothing box and he spends a good deal of time there while I ask about it because it's driving me CRAZY. So for those of you out there with a boy in your play and enjoy...

7 Weeks Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget that today is the last day this week to enter the 7 weeks GiveAway for a pound of free Starbucks Coffee.

For more information click this link.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change is Coming...

I found myself itching for something to do on Election Day (Tuesday) so I packed my kid and headed to the library (which was closed) and then the grocery store (which we only got 2 things at) and reluctantly headed back home to see if there were any calls from the J O B I've had 3 interviews for. (Their weren't)

I shut the garage door on the bumper of my car. My daughter had a melt down before her afternoon nap. Needless to say I was wondering if the day could get any worse.

Then it happened. My phone rang and I could feel change in the air. I don't know why I felt that way I just did. I got a job interview Friday afternoon. Then with a little hop in my step I went to work trying to get the baby to say the world "sarah" and while we were playing "ssssss aaa aaah" the phone rang again. I got another job interview (phone) Friday afternoon... earlier.

I already had lunch plans Friday so I was excited by two things...the thrill of having things to do and the prospect that I might be employable. Forget voting (I already did absentee...but you know what I mean) this was getting exciting.

After the hubby got home I got a mystery unknown number call and when I held my breath for a credit collector I found myself talking to YET another INTERVIEW. I know. Be still my heart. This one was for tomorrow.

Still no word from the J O B down the street. But I'm feeling better about the prospects. And that's something isn't it.

As it is...

I was talking on Election night with the hubby and I commented...

"Doesn't it seem odd that by the time our daughter is old enough to vote, selecting a black man will be no big deal...because it's already happened in her first year of life."

By the time she is 18 your ethnicity won't matter as much as it did this year. 2008. The year I voted for change and the world did change because we all believed in "yes I can". I didn't vote for a Democrat, I didn't vote for a black man, I voted for something bigger... I voted for "unyeilding hope" because right now I could use some...and so could most of the other people I know.

In 20 years this topic won't phase her. Just like casting my ballot doesn't phase me as much as the women who not so long ago stood with signs asking for that same opportunity.

And the world changed... and we were there.