Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interruption and 3 stories

I interrupt my ruminations to share a little story. A sad story. And a sweet story. And then maybe, to make my sister laugh, a funny story.


My sister and her husband have a dog. Mocha. She is a large, (I mean large) chocolate lab with the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen. I remember meeting her for the first time when she was a puppy. She could make a dog lover out of anyone.

Last night Mocha was outside jumping and barking at some of the neighbor dogs. All of a sudden the barking stopped and the yelping started. And their sweet dog dragged herself back into the house…because her back legs wouldn’t move.

They (Mocha’s parents) immediately called the emergency vet and took her in. They think that Mocha was jumping up in the backyard by the fence. By the fence where she has worn a compacted trail of snow. And that snow has been freezing and melting and freezing again. And it is now ice. So they think she was jumping up and when she was trying to land, slipped, and landed on her back.

The x-rays showed no broken bones. But they think the trauma has caused swelling and compression on her spinal cord. Ibuprofen and steroids might take the swelling down and give Mocha the use of her legs back. it might not. And if THAT is the case, (as in, the medicines don’t help) well……

So right now it’s a “wait and see”. So we’ll see. Poor Mocha. (and poor Ed and Rachel.)

Hang in there.


I was talking with my sister and Miles overheard me talking about Mocha and picked up that she was hurt. After I hung up the phone he asked me.

“Mommy…Mocha okay?”

“No, Mocha has an owie.”


“She slipped on the ice and hurt her back, and now she can’t run and jump and play.”

“Oh…Mommy…I know…Mocha needs a go a doctor.”

“Yes, they took her to a doctor. But sometimes doctors can’t fix all of the owies.”

“Oh…Mommy…I know! I haf a say a pwayer! yeah…I say a pwayer, then Mocha be happy.”

Oh my…he is just the sweetest little thing.

I love you Ed and Rachel and Mocha…


He is a sweet little bugger. (emphasis on the bugger.)

Yesterday we were playing in the living room and he knocked over our guitar hero guitar, and it landed sharply on the top of my foot. It HURT!! but I only cried a little. I “played it up” and pretended to be hurt.

Miles: “uh-oh…sorry mom. I kiss it better.”

Mom: Thanks, I feel better.

Miles: No mom, you need a doctor. I know!!! I a doctor! I go get my tools!

And this is how he returned…

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Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words


…I exclaimed “ a saw??!! you’re going to saw my foot?!”

He thought about it. very mischievously. for about one whole minute. then said “Ok mom, but just for pretend.”

Gee. Thanks.

P.P.S. I almost peed my pants. It was THAT funny.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruminations on Christmas

So, lets talk about Christmas shall we?

*Yes, it’s almost February.* *Yes, I am just getting around to writing about Christmas*

But let’s just roll with it.

So here’s the deal. When I said I was apprehensive about spending Christmas “alone” this year…that was an understatement. It kind of freaked me out. But certainly not because I didn’t want to spend alone time with my darling little family. (obviously!) Just imagine for a minute my first 30 Christmases. They were spent in a little Wyoming town, surrounded by both sides of my entire extended family. Christmases were a big deal. On Christmas eve we went to Aunt’s and Uncles houses, and sometimes everyone came to our house. On Christmas morning after presents, Grandma and Grandpa Barnard would stop by to see our loot. THEN…we would all head down to Grandma Hirst’s house with the entire Atkinson clan for our Christmas brunch/lunch/dinner. If that wasn’t enough family time, on the 26th, the entire Barnard clan would arrive on our doorstep to celebrate my Grandpa’s Birthday. We’re talking days and days full of fun, food, and family.

For 30 years. So to even consider the possibility that Christmas would feel like Christmas with only THREE PEOPLE…well, that’s just crazy talk.

So I kind of freaked. And when that happens, there is only one thing to do.

To prevent myself from becoming completely unhinged, I go into hyper drive. Planning and planning and planning until every.single.last.detail. is in place. Because if there is something I can’t control…I spend an exorbitant amount of energy trying to control everything else. (Thank you college Psychology.)

But I did it. And now it’s over.

Now then…let’s all breathe a sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhh……

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Mike was a good sport. He helped put up the Christmas tree, and lasted through about the first 4 boxes of tree ornaments. My general rule for decorating my Christmas tree is to keep throwing up ornaments until Mike says “WOAHHHHH…you are going way overboard here.” And then I hang about 200 more.


But oh….in’t it purty???

But a purty tree…you KNOW I couldn’t stop there. Because, I secretly consider myself a Martha Stewart wannabe. And so I asked myself, Martha? ummm, I mean Sarah, what would Martha do?

Set the table. Definitely set the table.

So I headed to my favorite stores, Home Goods and Target (TarJAY…if you are Oprah) and picked up a few chargers, napkins, napkin rings, and a table runner. And at my least favorite store (Wal-Mart, blech.) I bought some salad plates. But they WERE adorable. And they DID match with everything I had already bought. And they were only 2 dollars. 2 DOLLARS!!! An essential investment I say. (At least that is how I justified it to the hubs.)

So I set the table. Nearly a week before Christmas.

You might be thinking “Oh no she din’t”…

And to you I say “OH YES I DID!”


The fact that we ate on TV trays on the couch in front of the TV for a week didn’t bother me at all when I looked across the room into my dining area and saw this.


It was enough to make me feel all warm and happy and Christmasey inside.

And Confuscious says: “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”

at least that’s what I’ve heard.

You can’t have a set table and not think about food. No you can not. So my next endeavor was the menu. Something festive, something special, something we could build a tradition out of. And most importantly, something that wouldn’t force me to be in the kitchen the entire Christmas eve day cooking, and the entire Christmas eve cleaning up.

Thank goodness for the Sister’s Cafe.

so I “borrowed” their Chicken a la King (Chicken for the King). It was wonderful, and I love what it represents for a Christmas meal.

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I combined that with my own recipe for Spinach and pomegranate salad with raspberry vinagrette dressing, and some fresh pineapple spears.

And for desert, Mud Pie.


(photo from

*Sidebar: Just in case you have been living under a rock, I love the Sisters Cafe. And feel it necessary to thank them for minimizing my holiday unhingement. So thanks.*

end sidebar

Christmas dinner is important, but my favorite meal is Christmas breakfast. So I combined my most favorite things.

Eggs Benedict, oven crisped bacon, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, and scones…glorious scones. Not those fancy schmancy English cakey variety scones. No way. I’m talking about all American, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, deep fried to perfection scones. With raspberry honey butter. NOT good for me…but OHHH so good. And besides, Christmas only comes once a year. (That’s how I justified it to my thighs, and derriere.)

A few more Christmas essentials…

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And back to the food.

Every year I plan elaborate neighbor gifts. And ever year after I have washed my mixer for the eleventh time, I swear I will never do it again.


And the vicious cycle begins again. So this year I made my (secret recipe) chocolate chip cookies, Oreo truffles, homemade turtles, and caramels. All wrapped up in festive little tins.

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*Note to self – next year, when you get the urge to spend forever in the kitchen baking treats…JUST SAY NO!*

Now HERE is where I would show you all the pictures I took of Christmas morning. But there are none. I didn’t take a single one. (GASP!)

But lest you despair, I’ll tell you we recorded the whole thing. Because I knew I would much rather watch Miles’ excitement opening his presents again and again. So I decided not to bust out the camera and just enjoy the morning.

I could go on and on.

In my defense, I told you I had a lot to say.

But frankly…I’m spent.

(don’t deny it. you are too.)

I’ll spare you any more. (tonight.) But rest assured, our Christmas morning video is currently being edited to share with the world wide web a la “Ruminations on Christmas part deux” (woohoo!) (rhyming intentional.)

Get excited. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've just nestled myself down into my favorite corner of my comfy sofa with a cup of steamy hot chocolate (extra marshmallows, please!)and my trusty old laptop. It's a little after 1 am, which for me, means I am just getting my second wind. This is my favorite time of the day. When I can sit. Quietly. And just think. Usually I let those thoughts swirl around in my brain until they have formulated themselves into something I wouldn't be completely embarrassed to share on this blog. Usually.

Maybe you noticed I have been relatively absent from blog land as of late. True,there WAS my shameful plug for free Christmas cards and an Elf Yourself video. But other than those two gems, my musings have been completely void of any real substance.

Yes, It's been awhile. Perhaps you considered the possibility that I haven't been writing because I simply had nothing to say. Or maybe you figured it was because I had no thoughts to share. But's the opposite that is true. There have been so many ruminations going on inside this head of mine, that I had no idea where to start.

And if I am being completely honest, I have to admit that the last several weeks have been really difficult. Really. Honestly. Sometimes life is hard. But sometimes life is pretty darn great too. And I want to write about it all.

So the dilemma. Where to start?

Do I tell you about my Christmas? Maybe about how I was really apprehensive about spending our very first Christmas in with absolutely no family within 1000 miles. But that turned out to be my most favorite, and EVER!!! (Sorry all you other Christmases) And I'll be had pressed to ever be swayed to go "home" for Christmas again.

Or should I tell you about my job. My job that I Hated (with a capital H, no less). The job I only got because I made a deal...and that deal wasn't exactly providing the desired results. And I could tell you that I was miserable and completely out of whack, and felt everyday like I was failing at everything I tried to do. Oh yes...those days were some real doosies.

ORRRRRR...I could write about motherhood. I could tell you that the same miserable job solidified for me what I already knew...that my calling as a mother is divine. That there is no greater work I will ever do than the work I do in my own home with my family. And that despite my occasional grumblings...I really do LOVE it.

And oh...there's so much more. But what to share.....

That is the million dollar question.

And then it dawned on me...I can write about it all. It is my blog, after all.

So that's what I intend to do. hold on to your seats that I've started typing...I'm not sure I'll be able to stop.