Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Yes, I know the old adage - the one about DOGS. But I guess it applies to little ones, too. And believe me, I would never have risked taking these pictures had I not been actually trying to wake up Matthew. No, I know better than that! But these pics were taken on Friday, just before Mark was due home because we were headed out to dinner and he was going to have to get up anyway. So I opened the door to his room, saw him lying there, and couldn't resist capturing the moment.
Friday, March 28, 2008
There he is - remember this picture of the killer-attack zucchini from last summer? He's actually wearing a Fuzzi-Bunz - one of the brighter colors I have. Did I mention they come in like 26 colors, and even some prints and patterns? I'm going to take another picture of him this weekend, running around in one - this picture just doesn't do it justice. If anyone wants to know more, please ask - I can't say enough good things about these diapers!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Okay, push all that aside and what's the biggest problem? My baby. My baby is getting ready to go to school. He came in the room when I was hanging up the phone today, and before I knew what I was doing, I grabbed him up, smothered him with a million kisses and asked him if he wanted to go to school. He says "Yes!" And it was on the tip of my tongue to say something like "But Mommy will miss you so bad!!" Glad I caught myself before that. Dumb Mommy.
So after all that, I hunkered down and did some research - found out the local private school has a 3 day a week pre-k program. Well, it doesn't solve ALL my problems - particulary the one that just CAN'T be solved, but it does solve a few. And even though this one we have to pay for, it seems like the right thing to do right now.
I can't believe it's only 5 months away. I can't believe he got that old, that fast. I can't believe that this August, I'll be buying school supplies. It's the start of another era.....
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The trouble is, I like my non-stick cookware. I like that it's really easy to clean. I like that food doesn't stick. I do a lot of cooking - I need cookware that's not going to cause me extra work! So after a bit of research, I decided to give cast iron a try. Sure sounded like it might be suitable. And these days, it comes pre-seasoned - naturally non-stick - and with a little care, you can maintain the non-stick surface and have cookware that lasts a lifetime. I remember my grandmother had cast iron skillets, and so does my mom. So why didn't I try them before?
I decided to try one skillet and see how it worked for me. I actually found one at Walmart - and would you believe they're actually cheaper than the regular non-stick, and much, much, much cheaper than the hard-anodized stuff? I bought the 10 1/4 inch skillet, brought it home. Let me tell you - it rocks! Totally non-stick. A little heavy, but very, very handsome. Cleans up very easily with just hot water and a little brush action. You can even use a little mild detergent, but it can break down the seasoning, so they recommend you don't. It doesn't bother me - I'm used to using seasoned stoneware and not using detergent to clean it. You do have to dry it right away and then they recommend a very light layer of oil before putting it away. But all in all, I love the stuff. Mark got me the 8 inch skillet as one of my birthday presents this past weekend, and now I'm looking for a 12 inch griddle to replace my Teflon one.
With all the dangers lurking around, it feels good to know that at least SOMETHING is safe. I'm not going to run out and replace every pot I have right away - as my non-stick pieces wear out or show signs of age, I'll replace them one at a time. Lodge cookware is even manufactured in the United States at a foundry in Tennessee that has been there over 100 years. You HAVE to feel good about that - the less products from China in the household, the better! They have some great pieces, too - covered dutch ovens and deep skillets, chef skillets, grill pans and griddles. I probably won't find a replacement for every one of my favorite cookware pieces, but I think I'll come close!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
And here's the kids with their Easter baskets - they also hunted eggs, although I think only Jonathan had any concept of what that was about! Sandwiched in the weekend somewhere was also my birthday - it was actually Saturday, but we celebrated on Sunday - it was nice that my family was here for it, but with all the other distractions, it was a little lost in the shuffle! But all in all, it was a tremendously happy and fun weekend and although we now have entirely too much chocolate and candy in the house, I can think of worse things to complain about!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
A long time ago, well, okay about 7 years ago, Mark and I were in a bar after our weekly co-ed volleyball game. Mark was chatting up some friends, and I was sitting beside one of our teammates, I'll call him Zack. Zack was a great friend, great volleyball player and also a coworker. At the time, he lived with a woman and had been doing so for several years. They were very committed, to the point where they were toying with the idea of buying a house together. So I asked him - "are you getting married?" He scoffed at me, said "no way". Me, being Catholic and married, decided to pursue it a little farther. "Why not?" He proceeded to tell me that they didn't think much of marriage - after all, HIS parents went through a terrible divorce and the children suffered greatly. And HER parents had a terrible marriage, SHOULD'VE gotten divorced, and the children suffered greatly. Then he asked ME - "religion aside, why are YOU married?" My brain fluttered. Let's see, hmmm.....and I began to realize that if indeed, you didn't have a religious obligation to be married in the eyes of God and your church community, then really, what WAS the point? After all, there are lots of new laws these days that talk about communal property and the rights of unmarried partners. I have to admit, he kind of had me there. Is it really just a piece of paper?
I've been unsettled about this for many years. I've had this same conversation with others, and never did reach a conclusion, with one exception. Many gay people I know wish they could be married to their partners, and wish that the institution of marriage extended beyond the union of a heterosexual man to a heterosexual woman. So what is it about this elusive marriage that is so important to the ones who for whatever reason CAN'T marry?
I found a bit of an answer in this morning's Ask Amy column. A gay woman wrote in and said that marriage is a "private commitment that the relationship is for life. It is also a public declaration of that commitment and a public acknowledgment that the couple has joined the larger web of community connections and sanctions".
Does this answer my question? Would this have satisfied Zack? Does it satisfy me? Not really, since having a "private commitment" certainly can extend beyond the vows of marriage - actually, it almost SUGGESTS extension beyond marriage. And with a veritable mish-mash of "community sanctions" these days, one needs only shop around for the approval of whichever community from one wishes approval. And most important, would this statement mean the same thing coming from a married person? I must admit, it rings a little hollow in that circumstance.
So I remain a little confused. Sure, the heavy-hitting religions, all of them, have their rules and their sanctions all in place, and it's worked for 1000's of years. But throw out religion. How DO you defend marriage as an institution to a non-believer, or non-religious person, whether they are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, you name it? Certainly, there must be some non-religious people out there who are married civily. Maybe one of them would enlighten me.
Oh, and for the record? Zack and the girlfriend broke up a few years later. Would they still be together if they had married? More than likely, not. When it's not right, it's not right, regardless of the piece of paper.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
So yesterday, I felt good enough to get up, get dressed, get the children dressed, and we all headed out for church. Mark was driving, and to his credit, it really wasn't his fault, but well, he was driving. He hits a rock. A big, sharp one. Our tire blew out instantly, and we were in a part of town called "The Narrows" - a very narrow portion of road that twists through the river valley, a solid rock wall on one side, and a guardrail and river on the other. No place to pull over. We were half on the road, half in the mud, no way we can change a tire, no way we can drive out of there on our rim. We're dressed in our Sunday best, well, okay, our Sunday moderately best, and with two little kids in the car and it's 30 degrees. Why does this sound like a chapter out of "How to Survive"?
I'll make a long story short. We called 911, who called us a tow, and kindly sent us a state trooper to sit with us. We were towed to Walmart, where the automotive guys were only too happy to replace the tire, rotate it to the back, and do a wheel-balancing - all at 9 am on a Sunday morning. We were out of there by 10:30, snuggled into our favorite booth at our favorite restaurant, with plates of steaming breakfast. No, we never made it to church. But the effort is what counts, right?
And here's where I must sing Walmart's praises. I know a lot of people don't like Walmart for whatever reason. But Walmart is always there for you. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At least our Super-Walmart is. Where else could we have had our car towed at 9 am on a Sunday morning and gotten a new tire put on the rim? I'll answer that: nowhere. The next best thing we could've done was had it towed to our driveway, where Mark would've spend half the day figuring out the jack, finding the spare, putting it on, and then half the day today running to automotive repair places to get the real tire replaced. But we don't have to worry about that now - it's done. Paid for. And while we waited, the kids got to see the Easter Bunny. Jonathan even sat on his lap. We watched the fishes swimming in the tanks. We found DVD's for $5 and picked one out for Matthew. We checked out ceiling fans and made some plans for this Spring. We even bought Matthew a new pack of undershirts and a brand new shirt after he spilled a drink down the front of himself and was soaked AND changed his clothes in the bathroom. And before we knew it, the automotive department was announcing over the loudspeaker that our car was ready. So a huge thank you to Walmart - you already have my business, so I'm doing this to try to get you more business!