Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time Don't Run Out On Me!

In the words of Anne Murray, "time don't run out on me!"  It feels like my theme song these days!  I cannot believe that tomorrow is already December 1st.  I'm sorry to announce that the Advent calendar I wanted to make has not even been started.  All of the things that I wanted to get done by the first of the month have gone undone and it looks like I'll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off again this holiday season. 

I was talking with my sister over the phone this past Saturday when we were both taking a break from housecleaning and we laughed at the way we seem to turn into not-so-jolly people this time of year.  It is down right stressful to get the house cleaned well enough to be worthy of the Christmas tree, get out all of the decorations, put all of the decorations up, make sure you try to have "magical" moments for the kids, shop, wrap, bake cookies, and still manage to do the everyday things that life requires, and it seems like the deadline moves up year after year.  I mean after all, it technically isn't December yet and I'm already starting to stress out.  Don't get me started on how to pull off a birthday party on Christmas day!  Overzealous?  Yep!

I heard a colleague say some wonderful words of wisdom this morning, however.  All of these things on my "to do" list should not be looked at as "chores."  Putting up the tree, baking cookies, and wrapping presents should be celebrations, not tasks!  That was really powerful to me.  All too often I find myself getting short with my son and griping to my husband around the holidays because of all the things I have to do.  I certainly don't want to do that and I must break the cycle!  I want my children to remember the joy and wonder of the holidays, not how crazed Mommy was from November 15th to January 5th! 

So, today as I am running around trying to get the Advent calendar ready for tomorrow, I will do it with a smile and think about how exciting it will be for Jonathan to count down the days until Santa comes!  I also promise myself not freak out if it isn't perfect or if I can't find enough trinkets to fill it with...after all, I do only have to have tomorrow's filled! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thankful Heart

When I start to think about all of the things I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I begin to tear up.  It has been a sobering couple of weeks for me.  You see, two weekends ago, I got a horrible phone call.  One of those phone calls where your heart falls to the floor.

The weekend started innocently enough.  I was looking forward to a trip out of town to meet up with a great friend that I met while working for a radio station out west.  We had a great afternoon catching up with our families at lunch and laughed like nobody's business.  We talked about old times and her daughter played a "who can guess the song first" game with us from songs she had loaded onto her ipod for the occasion. 
My husband and I even did some shopping at the quaint local shops and even found some Christmas gifts.  It was a great day.  And a great evening.  We went back to my husband's parents' house to spend the night.  The kids had a blast with grandma and grandpa and I was enjoying conversation with adults.  Little did I know that all this time, a nightmare was unfolding in my family.

My father was trying to get ahold of me the whole time to tell me that my sister had been in a horrific car accident and had to be flown by medical helicopter to the nearest trauma center after being cut out of her car.  Unfortunately, my cell phone had gone dead and I was oblivious to it, and to the fact that my sister was badly injured.

What is left of the car.

I found out when another sister of mine had the idea to call my in-laws on the off chance that we were there.  It had never occurred to me that I hadn't informed anyone in my family where I was going to be for the weekend.  When I put my ear to phone, I already knew something was wrong by the look on my mother-in-law's face as she handed me the phone.  My sister calmly told me that "she is alright, but Gail was in a bad accident and flown to Ft. Wayne yesterday."  The words after that are little blurry.  Somewhere in the conversation, however, I discovered the news that in the tests they performed to make sure my sister did not have bleeding on her brain, they found a very large brain tumor. 

It is not cancerous, but it needs to be removed, as it is the size of her fist.  The neurosurgeon seems confident that it will be fairly simply to reach, since it is in the back of her brain, right behind her ear. 

While the news of my eldest sister being flown to the hospital after a car accident seemed traumatic, she really didn't suffer serious injuries and will make a full recovery.  Just a nasty gash on the side of her head that needed five stitches, a horrible headache, and some nasty looking bruises are, really all the damage that was done.  And quite possibly, this car accident could very well end up saving her life. 

Not knowing that all of that was happening really shook me up.  I don't even want to think about a different outcome...but I am so extremely grateful that my big sister survived this crash and will able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family.  The brain surgery has been put on hold until after the holidays, because there will be quite a lengthy recovery period.  You can guarantee that every single member of my family will be hugging her, and everyone else, a little more tightly this year!  And when it's time to go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and tell what we are thankful for, you might need to muzzle me, because my list is very long!

And, by the way, a new cell phone is on my Christmas list!

November Exercise Update

Okay, I thought I'd give you an update on how my "I'm going to exercise everyday of November" idea was going.  Short story?  It didn't happen. 

I think I was a bit ambitious.  Although, I did that purposely.  I knew if my goal was to simply, "exercise more," I would have never gotten off the couch!  And since I didn't want to enter other holiday season were I eat myself into another 10 pound weight gain that I'll never get ride of, I knew I had to do something drastic!  So, the idea of doing some type of exercise every day was born.  However, I did not stick to it.  I did exercise, just not everyday.

 I did manage to attend my Zumba class every week, which I am proud of, because before this challenge to myself, I hadn't been working out at all.  Having a work buddy attend the class with me has really helped motivate me to go, especially because the class is at a rather inconvenient time. 

And while some days I counted vacuuming and walking further in the parking lot of a store as exercise, other days I did DVD workouts and on most days I turned on some music and danced like nobody was watching!  In doing so, my baby found his groove, and Jonathan had a blast dancing around with me.  It has really become a bonding experience for us...just a time for us to let loose of our troubles and dance our fannies off!  I love that Tyler learned to boogie during this activity!

As you can hear, we are fans of Eric Church!  If you are wondering if I have lost any weight, the answer would be "a little."  Three pounds to be exact.  Not exactly earth shattering, but since I did not change my diet at all, I think that is pretty good.  I do think that I have lost some inches, however.  I didn't have the forethought to measure myself before this challenge, but a lot of people have been asking me if I have lost weight.  Plus, all of my pants are quite a bit bigger than than used to be.  In fact, I was able to go down a size when I was shopping for a new pair of jeans, and that's a size I haven't seen in years! 

I know that November isn't over...so I'm off to Zumba!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Linky Dinky Doo 11-19-10

I have really been struggling with lunch ideas for my Kindergartner.  I will struggle no more after finding this wonderful website called Lap Top Lunches!

Looking to make your own stockings this year.  I love this idea from And Twins Make 5.

I am in love with this coat rack DIY from Nap Time Crafts.

These are wonderful ideas for making an Advent calendar!  I am sooo going to do the shoe rack one.  Thanks to Clean and Scentsible for the inspiration!

Do you have a Taylor Swift fan on your Christmas list?  Or, are you a huge Taylor fan?  Then you must enter this sweepstakes!  You could win airfare to see Taylor perform with meet and greet passes, a Sony camera, and an autographed guitar!  The contest ends on December 15th. 

Looking for great country Christmas music?  Here is a great list of albums from Country Music Mood.

Ever wonder when you should purchase your concert tickets when a show is announced?  After reading this post from Country Music News Blog, you might be surprised. 

Every wish you could take your kiddo to work with you?  I'll admit, that I had my first born at work with me until he was 6-months-old on a daily basis.  This post is great from Work It Mom.  I wish more companies were so open-minded! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

Loretta Lynn is celebrating 50 years in country music this year, having recorded her first single back in 1960.  A tribute album has been released in her honor to mark the milestone simply called, "Coal Miner's Daughter:  A Tribute To Loretta Lynn."  Country stars like Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Reba, and even Alan Jackson are featured on the album.  Of course the duet that Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow performed on the CMA awards is also included. 

While I have always respected her status, I haven't always been a huge Loretta Lynn fan.  I never thought she had the greatest voice and her songs seemed unrelateable to me.  It has only been recently that I have started to relate to the songs, simply because I didn't have enough life experience to really "get" them when I was younger.  I have since become enamored by her songwriting.  When I think back to the time period that Loretta was spouting out these anthems, I admire her gumption, and am simply awe struck.  Her lyrics are so true to life and there is no annoying noise making, like a lot of country songs in this day and age have.  (Have I mentioned I don't like "Stuck Like Glue?")  So, put me on the pill, leave my man alone, and don't you dare come home drinking!  That's real...real country music!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Daddy's Don't Just Love Their Children Every Now And Then"

The other day Jonathan came home from school and we looked through his book bag, got a snack and had a little fun goofing around.  I helped him with his homework and was starting to get dinner ready, when my husband got home from work. 

I was surprised when the first thing Jonathan said when my husband walked through the door was, "Daddy, I forgot to say it before I ate my lunch so I said it at recess." 

I had no idea what he was talking about and thought that maybe he was talking about forgetting to say his prayer before eating.  My husband simply said, "That's okay, buddy.  I was a little late to lunch today, so we probably said it at the same time anyway!" 

After Jonathan scampered back to his room to play, I questioned my husband on the exchange, since I was obviously in the dark on this one. 

It seems that Jonathan was having a little trouble that morning leaving for school.  He is still getting used to this whole school thing and every now and then gets a little emotional and just wants to cling to his parents a little.  It is hard for a 5-year-old to suddenly be gone all day long from the routine he has been accustomed to his whole life. 

So, instead of calling off work and letting Jonathan stay home from school, or instead of shrugging our son's emotions off, he came up with the sweetest idea.  He told Jonathan that he has lunch at the same time as he does, so they can still eat lunch together!  And, if before they start to eat they both said, "I love you" to themselves, then they would be telling each other at the same time.  It calmed Jonathan down and got him out the door to school.

My husband amazes me.  He simply does what needs to be done and never complains or says things like, "don't you realize what all I've done today?"  I surely am guilty of saying that to him.  No, he just amazingly does everything and manages to brilliantly parent our emotional son in the mist of it all. 

Job well done, Daddy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Linky-Dinky-Doo 11-12-10

This edition of Linky-Dinky-Doo is all about Thanksgiving!  It is such an exciting time of year and the hustle and bustle has already begun.  Before we get too carried away with getting into the "holiday" spirit, we need to remember a very important holiday--Turkey Day!

Here are some great Thanksgiving table ideas from Intimate Weddings.  I might actually be able to do some of these!

I love this idea!  Make a thankful box like the one shown on the Paper Source Blog

I might be late in making this gratitude tree from My Heart and Home, but I can still get Jonathan involved in it and we might have a new tradition on our hands!

These wreaths are beautiful from Design Style Guide.  Very festive!

Looking for a healthier thanksgiving meal?  Just out this menu from Squawk Fox.

I have recently discovered the wonders of tofu, but not sure I have thought about a Tofurkey before!  If you are looking for a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, you need to check out this menu from the Bed &Breakfast Network.

If you are trying to keep to a budget, this post from the Home Saver's Blog will help you.  It was written when a lot of people were facing foreclosure a couple of years ago.  It offers great tips on doing Thanksgiving on the cheap!

Trying to figure out what to wear on Thanksgiving?  The Tall Snob might be able to help you out!

And if you like to wear those gaudy turkey sweaters?  Well, The Stir will break it to you not-so-gently.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

Fist of all...Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all who have ever served our country!

Secondly, I was so impressed by Reba's performance of "If I Were a Boy" at last night's CMAs, I thought we'd revisit Reba's past.  I love that Reba is managing to stay current and updated, but all the while maintaining her country roots and being true to herself and her music.  I have always idolized her, but my admiration for her continues to grow! 

Okay...let's throwback:

What pipes!  And I LOVE that Reba expresses emotion with every lyric and sometimes the slightest syllable!  Rock on Reba!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Heard It Through The Baby Monitor...

I hear a lot of things through the baby monitor.  The sweet sounds of cooing, the babbling of da-da, the grunting sounds of wanting picked up, the wails of being hungry, the thumping of the crib against the wall, the sound of a pacifier falling to the floor followed by a sweet "uh-oh," the neighbors putting their kids to bed.  Wait a minute...the neighbors putting their kids to bed?!

Yep.  That is exactly what I heard this last Friday evening.  You see, I had been doing some rearranging in the baby's room and had unplugged the baby monitor in order to move the bookcase it was sitting on and I had forgotten to plug it back in.  When I went into my bedroom to put some laundry away, I heard voices coming out of the baby monitor--and it wasn't anyone in my family!  It was the neighbors getting their kids ready for bed. 

At first I was perplexed at how this tiny little device could pick up sounds from across the street.  Then I became fascinated as I sat and listened to the neighbors, as if I were a spy on a secret mission.  Not long after that, though I began to panic.  If I can hear them, then that means they can hear me

Now, first, let me tell you a little something about my neighbors.  The parents are the same age as we are and have six children.  The mother of the family stays home and home schools the kids.  The father of the family is a pastor.  Pretty much Mr. and Mrs. Perfect.  Yep.  The pastor and his wife, also have gentle ways of putting their children to bed, which does not compare to the chaos that ensues in my household every night.  I realized that this God-loving family has quite possibly heard my yelling and screaming and who-knows what else all through the baby monitor!  Are there any words to truly describe that feeling of realization? 

I then started thinking back at the times I have "lost it."  You know what I mean.  Those moments when the baby is crying, has poop up his back, and is trying to wriggle off the changing table all while the 5-year-old is yelling from the bathroom that he too has pooped and is incapable of wiping himself, so he must throw a fit because you are already up to your eye balls in poo and can't come to his aid as his jealousy issues come into play, so you scream to release the stress?  You know, those moments. 

Let's just say, I had too many of those kind of moments to recall that my blood pressure began to rise.  Then I began to reflect on the type of mother I am.  All because of that ^*^&*^%^ baby monitor!  As if I didn't have enough guilt and feelings of inadequacy!  Want to know where the baby monitor is now?  That sucker is  is in the trash!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leftover Turkey Recipe!


Pretty soon we'll all be head over heels in turkey, and if we are lucky, we'll have some left overs to whip up in to tasty new dishes!  File this one for the day after Thanksgiving...it's one of my favorite turkey casserole recipes!

Broccoli Turkey Casserole

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup bell pepper
1/4 cup green onions
1 TB butter or margarine
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey
1 pk of frozen broccoli cuts
1 cup cooked wild or long grain rice (I used long grain)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup milk

In a large skillet, cook carrot, bell pepper, and green onions in hot margarine until a crispy-tender. Remove from heat and stir in soup, broccoli, turkey rice, mozzarella cheese, and milk. Transfer to a a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with extra mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover the dish and bake for another 20 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

You could also use artichoke instead of broccoli to add a little more "sophistication" to this recipe.  Yes I know, it is sad that I consider artichoke sophisticated.  Hey, I'm a little hick with a family to feed, I'm lucky they eat broccoli!  You could also use chicken instead of turkey...like a rotisserie chicken from the deli to give this recipe more mileage.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Linky-Dinky-Doo 11-05-10

Okay, as a new blogger, I have been scanning the blogosphere on how to do this whole blog thing.  I have been finding some great blogs, ideas, and even making some bloggy friends!  So, I thought I'd start a new feature that shares some of the things I have found fascinating for one reason or another.  Let the inspiration begin!

This is a great inexpensive photo idea from Thrifty Decor Chick.  She is also doing an awesome giveaway from Home Goods!

Homespun Living is after this country girl's heart with this biscuit recipe!

Have you ever heard of zucchini candy?  I'll have to try this recipe from Country Life and all the Fixins next year!

This post on rain has given me a new outlook on rainy days on Dirt Road Heaven

Creative Country Mom has reminded me that frost isn't so nasty, and can be quite beautiful.

With my whole "working out everyday in November" goal, I could use some workout-at-home ideas.  Seems as if Paint Chips and Frying Pans is looking for some too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

Who doesn't love the Oak Ridge Boys?  The first concert I ever attended was an Oak Ridge Boys concert.  It was the early 80s and Steve Wariner, an Indiana native, opened for them.  The concert tickets were a Christmas gift for me and my sisters from our parents, and we were all ecstatic about going!  I remember when they hit the stage, one of my sisters grabbed my father's leg so hard that he had to hold in a yelp.  The Oaks continue to tour and I have been fortunate enough to see them in concert several more times and have had the privilege of meeting them as well.  In fact, I bet a lot of people have met them!  They are so gracious to their fans and make a point to greet them after every show!  They are coming to South Bend for a Christmas show on December 20th, which I'm sure will be a great show!  The Oak Ridge Boys are also avid Twitter users and Joe Bonsall is very good at tweeting back!

Here is a clip from when the Oak Ridge Boys appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1982...enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"If I Die Young" Is Confusing Me!

Okay.  At first I thought this song was just a depressing song about a woman who lost a child.  Since I really don't care for The Band Perry's sound, I have tried to ignore this song as much as possible.  The thing about working in radio, however, is that I keep hearing the darn thing!  It is wildly popular and continues to climb the chart, which I really don't understand.  And I really don't understand what the heck the song is meant to tell me!

The Band Perry is a sibling trio and "If I Die Young" is somewhat of a narration from Kimberly Perry, although all of the band members had a hand in writing it.  Kimberly has publicly stated that the lyrics are meant to reflect on what if everything they had going for them were to suddenly stop.  And that they have accomplished a lot at their young ages.

Frankly, I don't buy that.  I think the song has much deeper innuendos and has morbid lyrics.  I almost wonder if Kimberly--or the narrator--was once suicidal, had an abortion, or has lost an infant at birth, because those are the thoughts that come out of my head as I listen to this song.  And the more I listen to it, the more confused I become trying to figure it out.  Maybe that's what The Band Perry had intended.  Perhaps it was meant to be ambiguous so that it would appeal to more listeners?

This song is definitely about death, I'm just not sure who's death the narrator is talking about.    But lyrics like "little cold finger,"  "the sharp knife of a short life," and "sink me in the river" creep me out! 

Here are the rest of the lyrics.  Maybe you can enlighten me. 

If I Die Young  by The Band Perry

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
oh oh oh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
ain't even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boots and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar 

They're worth so much more after I’m a gonner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you're dead how people start listenin’

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
oh oh

The ballad of a dove
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need 'em oh

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boots and I’ll wear my pearls

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Month Of Exercise

I must have lost my mind.  I have decided to exercise every day during the month of November.  You see, my birthday is fast approaching, Sunday in fact, and it has me wondering what has happened to me.  I used to weigh nothing as a kid.  My teenage years were the same, in fact, my nickname was Olive Oyl from Popeye.  My thin frame continued into young adulthood, but it is long gone now!  I know I'll never get my youth back, or the body I used to have before marriage and babies changed it, but I am tired of just wishing I was skinny again--it's time to get moving!

I have tried here and there to lose weight, but they have all been short lived.  I have to admit, though, that we have been eating healthier as a family.  It is the exercise, though, that has always kept me from losing more or from keeping off the few pounds I do manage to lose when I "diet."  I just can't stand to exercise!  So, the only way I thought I might actually do something is to challenge myself and then blog about it.  Accountability, can be a huge motivator! 

(From a Google search on exercise humor)

Now, I am not planning to knock myself out like a Hollywood starlet trying to keep her reality show gig, but rather trying to do something each day.  For instance, yesterday I did a 10 minute Pilate's ab video from the "on demand" feature on my cable system.  On Wednesday, however, I am taking a Zumba class with a co-worker.  Again, accountability.  I need someone to go with me or I'll just say I'm too tired to go and end up sitting on the couch with a bag of microwave popcorn.  I figured that Zumba would be my main workout for the week, with brisk walks, yoga, Pilate's, and a little weight training thrown in on the other days. 

I realize that the holidays are fast approaching, which is a horrible time to try and watch your weight, but that is exactly why I am doing this!  I don't want to gain another 10 pounds during the holidays that I'll never get rid of!  I am also aware that I might have to intensify my workouts if I want to actually lose, but for now, I'm starting slowly, so that I don't burn out.  So, we'll see how it goes...wish me luck!