Monthly Archives: January 2010

Things I’m Eating These Days

Since I often get stuck in a rut with my diet, I thought I’d share some of the things we are digging these days. Maybe you’re sick of them, maybe you also think they rock, or maybe you’re wondering if I have in fact been shopping at a store on Mars. Regardless, here are they are in no particular order. And apologies for those of you who do not have Trader Joe’s as there are a number of references. Unfortunately it really is that great and I hope that one decides to show up in your neighborhood soon.

Panda Puffs cereal

Trader Joe’s big tubs of yogurt (cheap, organic and yummy flavors)

Cauliflower

Quakes (you know those tasty, crunchy mini rice cakes. cheese flavored rock).

Dried cranberries

Pudding

Stir fry with tofu (do it)

Throw whatever I have in the house into a pot and call it soup, soup

Top Ramen with egg, frozen peas, edamame, corn or whatever you fancy

Eggs in general, but especially with a bunk of junk in them

Flax seed in random stuff

Lattes (like there wouldn’t be a reference to coffee)

Cheese sticks

Clementines

Freeze dried mango from Trader Joe’s

Spring rolls (but NOT the ones that I accidentally buy which have been sitting on the shelf for days, evidently)

Trader Joe’s whole grain tortillas with flax and rolled outs

Salad

Panera’s new vegetable soup with the pesto on top (I know it’s hard to think of doing anything other than broccoli cheddar, but you will NOT regret it) and their mediterranean veggie sandwich.

Guacamole

An evening cup of hot chocolate

So there you have it. Have anything you’re loving these days? Tell me about it, because I’ll probably be sick of all this stuff by tomorrow and need a change.

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Don’t Mess With Mama

Oh goodness, I am in one heck of a mood today. Seriously, even I am finding myself quite unpleasant. Just when I think I have it under control, a child decides to disobey, or I read something that annoys me and it’s over again. The loss of control always catches me by surprise as does my temper. I did not grow up in a house where there was yelling nor did The Doc, but sometimes I fear that my girls will. No I don’t yell often, and definitely not on a daily basis, but I do. There are moments when I feel my blood start to boil and I lose it. And, the things I yell have got to be some of the lamest of all. Things like “Stop it stop it stop it,” while shaking my hands. How do the girls not completely bust out laughing? Seriously! The goal of my yelling is obviously to get them to listen better, or do what I am requesting, but it never works. Let me say that again, NEVER. If BQ is upset and I yell, it only gets us both more worked up. And Molé? Well, it just makes her lower lip quiver and her eyes fill with tears. Yah, mother of the year moments, ehh.

The guilt from these moments where, let’s be honest, I basically throw my own tantrum is huge. At times it’s overwhelming and I am horrified by my own inability to behave. I have to remind myself that they are allowed to act like two year olds and I am not. Pity parties are of no help nor is spending an hour sitting on the couch with the computer while staring at a messy and disorganized home. Maybe I should take this frustration out on the bathtub, because goodness me it might really benefit. What I want to do is run to the kitchen and grab anything with a fat content of at least 16g per serving and feast. Unfortunately, that doesn’t ever seem to change my mood either.

These are the times when I realize that one of the most unexpected challenges of being a mom is that through parenting I learn things about myself that aren’t glamorous. Many of the things that I am most ashamed of, my most profound weaknesses, are thrown in my face on a daily basis. It is draining. There is no doubt in my mind that God uses motherhood to reshape, refine, and renew us into women who look a heck of a lot more like the people He designed us to be. We cannot escape the truth of who we have allowed ourselves to become. It is out in the open, laid bare, and it’s ugly. I think that is why I get so upset, so frustrated, and so full of guilt. The only way I can respond is to become more teachable and to allow myself to learn lessons that are hard and painful and to come through it all changed. I don’t want to say, “well, this is just who I am, and they were really being awful.” I don’t want to teach my girls that when we feel frustrated or angry our first response should be to scream. Not good life skills. And so I find myself in this battle between the Amy that’s in me and the Amy that I want so much to be. There are days when I feel like maybe the old me is really gone and I might do a little victory dance. Then there are days like today when it all crashes down. Does PMS play a role? Well yes, yes it does. But I am not going to start giving myself excuses for bad behavior. I don’t want to settle, I want to change and grow. And even though it is really, really hard, it’s worth the fight.

Sell Me Your Car

Ok, maybe not your actual car, but your type of car. We have been so blessed to live with one car for almost 9 years of marriage. I am actually dreading the inevitable acquisition of a second automobile. Unfortunately since The Doc will have to work at 6 different hospitals after the move, there is no way to position ourselves close to public transport that will enable him to get everywhere. And so, we embark upon this task of figuring out what in the heck car to buy. We currently have a fabulous 4 door Honda Civic and love it. It’s almost 13 years old, but is perfect and still has under 100,000 miles. Obviously we could just get another Civic, but we would like to get something that can fit three carseats across the back and possibly additional passengers. No, that is not some sneaky way of saying that I’m pregnant, but who knows what the future will hold. Regardless, we don’t want to buy a car that we could potentially grow out of in a couple of years. Make sense?

I dread the minivan but know it might be good, am intrigued by the wagon, and have pondered the concept of mid size SUV’s with third row seating. But, that’s all on paper and I want to hear from those of you who actually drive these cars on a daily basis. If you love your car, I want to hear why. If you hate your car, that is helpful too. Any advice, opinions and the like would be oh so helpful. So please, drop me a comment and sell me your car! 🙂

I Wanna Be Impulsive…

And so I was. Or we were that is. Picture this if you will. It’s Saturday night and I’m home alone with little girls that were in bed by 7, nothing on t.v and a laptop sitting beside me. I know that starting Sunday night The Doc will have 3 nights off and I can hardly contain myself. Then I get a crazy idea that starts with a “what if” and ends with me booking a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. In a 12 hour period we went from no plans to packing up the girls and driving to NYC. Awesome. I sit here blogging on my phone from said hotel room. In an hour we will head to Central Park. All I can say is that it has been more than worth it. Who knew? When I’m not typing on a screen the size of my big toe I’ll share more of our adventures. Until then I’m gonna go explore!!

A Few Ideas

I know that many of us are sitting here wondering how we can help out the people in Haiti. Here are a few of the ideas that I have seen passed around on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to leave more ideas in the comments section and I will add them to the post.

1. Buy cool t-shirts!

2. Sponsor a child through Hope for the Children of Haiti or simply donate toward their work.

3. Donate to the work of Haitian Christian Outreach as they rebuild and strive to continue serving and loving the Haitian people.

4. Send a text!! Doesn’t get much easier than texting the word Yele to 501501 to donate $5 to Wyclef Jean’s organization Yéle Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. (the donation cost will be charged to your phone bill)

5. More texting! Text the word Haiti to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. (again the charge will show up on your phone bill)

6. Donate to the Red Cross through American Airlines and earn miles. (not that you really need the incentive, but it’s still cool).

There are hundreds more and I would post them all if I could, but I hear screaming coming from the other room!

Pray For Haiti

Just a short post to express how deeply sad I am about the earthquake in Haiti. You can read more here. Before the girls, when I had a job with paychecks, I was blessed to work in global ministry at a church. One of the countries we sent medical and dental teams to was Haiti. During the time that I was on staff, we were unable to send teams there due to security issues. Translation? Our dear Haitian friends were too concerned for our safety to have us come even though they were desperate for the assistance. We respected their wishes, even though it was hard to feel like we were holding back when they needed us most. They were truly suffering then and I can only imagine what they are dealing with now.

If you would like some sweet faces to pray for, visit Hope For the Children of Haiti’s website.This is one of the ministries that our church worked with and it’s absolutely incredible.

What else to say? Pray, send a check if you have extra money, or simply educate your friends about what is happening in Haiti. Let’s make sure that these beautiful people do not suffer alone and unaided.

Channel 66…So This is Love

Um, do you have The Food Network? Do you? We never had cable until we moved here and found that we could have clear channels for $7.62 a month. We said goodbye to bunny ears and enjoyed being able to distinguish between people and chairs on t.v. In addition to the “free” channels, we received a couple of additional channels. No, no, not those kind of channels and not that kind of free. We live in a two family home and because of the PAIN of putting in two cable lines, etc., we end up with the same service as our neighbors upstairs, who own the entire house. Well, two weeks ago when I went to ABC, there was a blue screen informing me that the channel had moved. I noticed others had moved as well and decided to rescan. That is when the magic happened.

About a month ago, our friends upstairs changed their cable. I know this because it was a PAIN. A certain cable company had to make three visits to the house to try to get it right and still my neighbor had to put the cable line in himself. Good thing he’s almost as handy as, yep, Handy Manny. Anyway, when we scanned our channels basically tripled. Make that quadrupled. It was amazing. Yet another reason why we have the best landlord/neighbors ever. They could not be cooler, more wonderful or generous and they have great taste in cable!! Maybe they’ll decide to move west with us, buy another great place, and let us live there too. (hint, hint).

Oh, but my point. Channel 66, um yes. I have become a bit of an addict. Learning about food, watching people make it, run around kitchens trying to cook it faster, utilizing one secret ingredient in five dishes, finding hole in the wall restaurants around the country that make me want to hit the road in elastic waistband pants to eat my way across America…YES!!! I need no other channels, I require no other entertainment. Great timing considering that The Doc and I will only sleep in the same bed for about 5 nights out of the next two months. No, I’m not exaggerating. So until he’s back by my side on a nightly basis, I’m sticking with The Food Network. And The Food Network, my friends, is good.

The Move

I probably mentioned this about a bazillion posts ago, so don’t worry if you’ve forgotten, but we are moving west come June. That’s right, a whopping 3,000 miles west to be exact. Me, The Doc and the ladies will be packing up ourselves, our junk (I mean beautiful and lovely things) and figuring out a way to get it all from here to there. I think what is stressing me out the most is that due to The Doc’s schedule, I am looking at doing about 90% of it on my own. I have a truck all reserved (it’s the kind that they bring to you, you pack it yourself, but then they drive it) but am having a really hard time coordinating all of our arrival times. We will have about a week between when we pack up the truck and when it arrives at our new place. My choices are to either camp out here in an empty apartment for a couple of days, head west and camp out either at a hotel, our new empty apartment, or with family while waiting for the truck, or to head southwest to my parents’ house for a couple of days and hopefully arrive at the same time as the truck. What would you do?

I don’t like feeling like I need stuff to live. It’s a bit unsettling to me, really. If it were just me it wouldn’t be a big deal, but with the girls I find myself obsessing about them having what they need, when they need it. And that isn’t good. I don’t want our girls to grow up thinking that stuff is what makes them feel at home, happy or able to function. Can they survive on a blowup mattress and pack and play for a week, of course. Can they find something to do in an empty apartment that doesn’t involve getting into trouble…well maybe not, but it will be June so we won’t be inside much anyway.

I just find that times like these bring to the surface things that are inside of me that I really don’t want to acknowledge. Did that make any sense? Here, for example, I come face to face with the fact that I like my stuff. I like my kids’ stuff. And I like my stuff and my family to be together. I will say one thing about moving that is wonderful is that it does force you to look at, and hopefully part with, your stuff. I feel for people who haven’t moved in ten or more years. The, let’s be honest here, junk just piles up. I tend to fall more on the side of the pack rat, so my junk accumulation is high. Since the girls were born I have been a bit better, but I still have a long way to go. Monday I took a set of dishes to donate. Oh yes the same ones we registered for and my mom even warned me about (“Amy, I just really don’t know why you picked those dishes”- why is she right so much!), that have been sitting unused in the kitchen cabinets for two years. They are ugly, yes, but I almost kept them because they were our first dishes. What, so they could sit in a box for the next 50 years and I could occasionally take them out to show people? So they are gone, and all that remains is the matching sugar holder (is that the word) which you are welcome to come over and see anytime.

Do you have this problem with your stuff too? I am hoping that one thing I’ll learn through this move is just how little stuff I actually need. And how much more peaceful, simple and outward focused life can be when I’m not fixating on things. It sounds pretty obvious, fairly straight forward a no brainer. Simplify, Amy, simplify. I’m sure as heck going to give it a go and boldly pass by the Target dollar spot without a glance at all of the tantalizing deals calling out to me. What junk do you have in your life? Even if you aren’t planning on moving anytime soon, maybe it’s time to have a date with your basement. Mine has been written down in pen and I can’t wait to tell you about all of the treasures I find.

Heroes Among Us

Heroes. The term can often apply to lots of different people. Not like the “super” kind, but rather the ones we see at the end of the local news broadcast. You know, those among us who rescued a cat from a tree, helped an elderly woman cross the street, or started a book drive to provide new books to homeless children. Heroes.

Then you have the bold, stepped in front of a train, dove head first into danger heroes. Risking their lives and doing what many would not have the strength to do if given the chance. Heroes.

Well, kudos to the above categories. And heck, kudos to anyone who has earned the title of hero in any way, shape or form. We all need you to inspire us and encourage us to greatness.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about a different kind of hero. These are individuals who attained their hero status not by what they’ve done, but by what they’ve survived. I think above all, they are the ones who truly inspire us the most. Often they receive equal admiration and fame as those who jump in front of buses, but with a major price tag. They have suffered and when the rest of the world moves onto the next big story, they are left not only with the letdown, but the grief.

Our friend Dr. A is a hero on many levels. Two years ago he would have been a hero based upon his actions alone, one of the first two types of heroes I described. He is a facial plastic surgeon and many of his patients have been severely disfigured due to surgery to remove a malignancy, domestic violence, or other injuries. He used his skills to reconstruct, rebuild and restore them. Can you imagine what it would feel like to look in a mirror and see a face that resembled your own after months or years of feeling unrecognizable? Like a master architect he is able to put the pieces back together, often when there are not blueprints or clues to follow. A hero for so many.

Two years ago, this dear friend became a hero for another reason. After an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, he was forced to learn to rebuild as a patient. His recovery and strength was beyond inspiring. I know he must have had his bad days, the angry/sad/depressed days, but he was a fighter. A survivor. He never gave up and even fought to be strong enough to return to the operating room because of his passion for bringing healing to those in need. A hero.

Then, almost a year ago, after a year that had been filled with such uphill battles and suffering, something unthinkable happened. Dr. A’s beautiful 16 year old son was killed in a car accident. (here is my post from last February about it). Once again he and his family were hit hard with suffering that I cannot even wrap my head around. He had every excuse to curl up into a little ball and be done. Done with life, done with joy, done with it all. And why not? Would anyone really blame him? From the ashes of that terrible 14 months rose a hero. One of my heroes. I don’t think he would really think of himself as a hero, or even know how much I admire him, and his dear wife Dr./Mrs. A. But, they are my heroes.

Honestly, I wish that they weren’t. I wish that I could push the rewind button on life back to two years ago when they were heroes by deeds alone. They are the kind of hero that we all need, but no one really wants to be. They breathe a fresh perspective into our world of stale weightless complaints. We whine about having to go up a bunch of stairs and then realize it is a gift to do so. We complain about our child’s behavior and remember what an incredible blessing it is to have and hold them still.

Just this past week an old friend from high school and his wife lost their 2 1/2 year old son. Heroes. I haven’t looked at my girls the same since. Their motto is “Cherish Every Moment” and it could not be more true. They are heroes because in the face of an ugly disease that robbed them of their only child they chose to cherish, to live and to find joy. Their grief is so, so deep, but so is their joy.

I can’t imagine there are many days that go by that don’t find Dr. A and his wife in tears. The fact that they get up in the morning, get dressed, and choose to keep fighting for life and fighting for joy is what inspires me. That is why they are my heroes. They are standing and they are survivors. And I am changed and so grateful to know them.

Who are your heroes?