Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Roasted Vegetables & Melted Mascara

My meal planning continues and I've been trying to eat more veggies in general. My parents gave me new pots and pans for Christmas and I adore them! Having the right tools really makes a huge difference and I'm making an effort to try new things.

Enter roasting- I have a brussel sprouts recipe that is to die for (I realize that may be an alarming statement- but it's completely true). I decided that if roasting can make brussel sprouts better than I should just roast everything. Last night I roasted squash. I added some olive oil, sprinkled on some seasoning and roasted for about 15 minutes. I opened the oven door to peek in and see how things were coming along and apparently this was a mistake.

A poof of heat came out when I opened the door and all of a sudden I felt my eyes pull back- it felt very strange and my 1st reaction was- Oh NO- I have singed off all of my eyelashes (which if you know me is troubling because I have an eyelash issue in the first place). Anyway- I ran into the bathroom and honestly- I looked like Tammy Faye Baker. The heat somehow melted my mascara and made my eyelashes clump together and stick to my eyelids. Thankfully, fully fixable with a little make up remover. Whew!

Before my food and beauty experience, I shared a treat with Cooper. My sweet friend Diana gave me a box to deliver. There is really nothing that my kid likes more than to get a treat, and today was no different. His eyes lit up and he opened the note on the top of the box. I asked him what it said and he said that he didn't know- since he can read most things these days, I didn't give it a thought and said- well, read it silly. He looked at me, then at the note and said- I can't. Look! He handed me the note and I had to laugh (she did too when I relayed the story). Diana clearly has little boys....her familiar handwriting was staring me in the face and it was not "easy reader friendly"! The note was so thoughtful- and offered him some solace since he had lost his favorite sleeping pal. A Webk!nz retriever was inside the box to help him with those lonely nights. He was thrilled, promptly named her Savannah and has slept with her for the past 2 nights.
Thanks Diana- wonderful friends are such a blessing!

ps- the squash was a hit!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is with this knife??

I worked from home today....I love this! I needed to get some things done before I left for the lake and my meetings were all doable by phone. Working from my sofa lets me drop a load of laundry in or bake a batch of brownies and feel like I'm able to manage it all. A total facade!

After I dropped Cooper off at school I stopped by the grocery store to pick up what I needed. As I was walking past the frozen food aisle (with no intention of visiting), I saw the CPK delivery man stocking the freezer. I couldn't help myself and picked up a Hawaiian pizza with plans of a completely amazing lunch.

Fast forward 4 hours when my stomach is growling and I've got 12 things too many going on at once. I opened the package, threw the frozen pie on my pizza stone and returned to the sofa. I pay absolutely NO ATTENTION to the directions- after all, it's a frozen pizza, how hard can it be? I was in the middle of a conference call and the timer goes off, so I mute the phone and grab the pizza so that it can cool. My call ends and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into my lunch.

Oddly, I am unable to cut through the pizza. I keep trying to cut the thing in half and it just doesn't work. So I'm thinking to myself- what in the world? How can this be- I'm starving and I can't cut even a sliver of my amazing lunch. I've been waiting for almost 5 hours- come on...cut!! I try again and nada.

I just had my knives sharpened (this man is amazing if you need anything sharpened!) and even say out loud- "what is with this knife?" It's crazy- the pizza is literally bending in half but I cannot cut it all the way through. Have I lost my mind?

Well, yes- I have. Evidently in my haste, I forgot to complete step 2 of the directions

2 Remove pizza from clear plastic wrap and cardboard.

I pick up the pizza, and there cemented securely to the bottom of my lunch is the cardboard circle that is included with probably EVERY FROZEN PIZZA IN AMERICA.


No matter- I also neglected this little diddy
For best results. DO NOT bake pizza on a cookie sheet or pizza stone.

I ended up eating brownies for lunch.
They almost made up for my momentary lapse of reason.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

So much to be thankful for!

It has been one week without our beloved Savannah, and it's getting less painful. Cooper hasn't cried since Sunday. He wrote 2 of his 4 required spelling word sentences about her which tells me that he's still mourning but is dealing with it in a way that works best for him. I am so thankful that his little heart is healing. We are all smiling at stories and thoughts of her now although she is so missed! I am thankful that she was a part of our family and that Cooper truly knows the meaning of mans best friend.

I am also thankful for the kind words about Savannah, both on my comments and via e-mail and phone calls. They were all so comforting.

I am thankful for a wonderful group of women and the chance to spend a "girls night at the lake" with them. We're leaving on Friday at 5 and I'm looking forward to lots of laughs, good food and a few hard core rounds of dominoes (stop the madness, I know!!). My boys are headed to the boat show & a night without mom. I think we'll all have a blast!

I am thankful for my wonderful husband- who so gladly supports my need for girl time and makes it so easy to walk out the front door without a care in the world. Well, maybe a few!!

I am thankful for the prayers and well wishes for our 44th President. I watched portions of the Inauguration on Tuesday and listened to my friends at Fox and was struck with an overwhelming optimism and feeling of how much a part of history the day really was. I am truly hopeful of his time in office- despite my vote in November!

I'm not a resolution maker- but have tried to set some goals for myself in the new year. In a post this fall that I cannot now find to save my life, I outlined things that I was going to try to do- and have been successful only with my 3X weekly walks in the early (and now incredibly cold) mornings (although since I can't find the post, I'm not completely positive that the walking in the morning was on the list. I know that walking up the steps at work was and that lasted about 10 days). Things that I am adding to my list are taking vitamins daily and creating weekly menus. I'm thankful that I've been able to follow through on these for 2 weeks- must keep up the journey!

The weeks of cold winter weather are moving by quickly- for which I am SO thankful! I actually saw little daffodil tips popping up in our yard. I cannot wait for spring!!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So much

So much has happened since Thursday. Telling Cooper that Savannah had died was the worst thing for Jon and me. We went together to pick him up and he knew that something wasn't quite right. He asked as we were walking out to the car, "Did the doctor call to tell us about Savannah?"- and then he looked up at us with those huge brown eyes...searching for the answer that would make his world ok. And we couldn't give it to him. It was gut wrenching and heart breaking and it took an eternity- like it was slow motion. I'm the one who told him and we all dissolved into tears. His little voice kept repeating the same thing over and over and over....

But I just loved her so much. We all did.

The house is so quiet, and so empty. But we're getting through it and now we can smile and remember all the funny things that she did and how much she loved tennis balls and potato chips and how her tail would thump on the floor each morning when Cooper would pad into our room dragging his blanket.

We ended up heading to Great Wolf Lodge on Friday. We had planned the trip weeks ago and decided that maybe what we all needed was time to be happy. We had a super time with friends who joined us for the trip. Cooper was super brave and tried some new activities and it was good to see him be joyful.

We woke up on Saturday morning to the news that Circu!t City was closing its doors.

The end of a 60 year era. It shouldn't matter to me, but it does. Circu!t City was home for me- I can't say those words without smiling. It was my first job in the business world and the place where I met my wonderful husband and my closest friends. We had such fun there, during the hay-day when we thought that surely B*st Buy would fall and we'd take over the world! There were contests for free merchandise (the microwave that I won in 1995 sits in the river house today) and company picnics where we served beer from kegs that seemed endless and laughs- in between all the work, there was laughter. I adored that place- it helped me to become who I am today. It may be closed- but there are an awful lot of people who will remember the good times and smile.

So much has happened since Thursday.....I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

She's Gone....

I got the tearful call from Jon. Our sweet, sweet dog is gone.

We loved her so-

Prayers for Savannah


Our beloved Savannah has had a big week- on Sunday, she passed a test to be a "Caring Canine". She was on her way to being in a program that allows dogs to visit hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers to help in healing using pet therapy. The last step in the process was getting a clean bill of health from the vet.

That was not to be.

Jon and Cooper took her yesterday and the vet discovered a large mass in her stomach. She's having surgery today and we are so hopeful. Unfortunately, it doesn't look good.

We've all shed tears, and spent some special time with this dog who holds a huge piece of each of our hearts. She's the definition of mans best friend and we adore her- Cooper especially.

Please say a prayer that the surgery goes well and that she can recover and come home again.

We love you, Sav!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I haven't done a Thankful Thursday post for too long. It doesn't mean at all that I haven't had so many things to be thankful for, but it does mean that I haven't been taking as much time to really think and to write them down.

Not long ago I asked for prayers for my friend who was pregnant with twins. I got a message from her on the day after Christmas saying that the girls had arrived (she was due in early March)! Mom and babies are all ok- the girls will be in the NICU for a while, but they're doing really well. I went to see them and they are so small, but perfect. I am thankful for these tiny miracles and for the sheer happiness that they've brought to their mom and dad.

I've been working on letting things go, and trying to live in the moment- appreciating what is rather than what might or could be. And it's working. My prayer has been to be less angry- at nothing and at everything. And it's working. I am thankful for answers to prayers, both those that are prayed and those that haven't been, but come nonetheless.

Cooper came home from school on Monday and asked where all of the presents at Christmas came from. I asked what he meant- and said that they came from everyone who loved him. He said that a boy at after-care told him that he saw his parents putting out presents that were supposed to be from Santa. My heart dropped. I believe in the magic of Santa. It's one of the best illustrations for me of the pure innocence of a child, and I love that. I don't want my son to miss out on a few more years of being little, and carefree and full of wonder. I calmly offered that I thought his parents must have been arranging the presents that Santa brought. He thought about it for a second and said, "that's what I thought". Oh, I am thankful for that baby kid! I adore his little mind, his sense of wonder, the sound of his laughter, and the way he wraps his arms around me to hug me goodnight.


In this time when the economy is plummeting and there is such uncertainty, I am thankful for the things that I typically take for granted. If I am cold, I can turn up the heat. If I am hungry, I can eat. If I don't want to cook myself, I can go out to dinner. If I am in the mood, I can go to Target and fill a basket (or at least buy a scarf!).

Tomorrow is Friday- we've made it through another week. I cannot wait to spend it with my family! This weekend is wide open. Nothing on the calendar, no expectations and nothing that we have to do. I am thankful for the times that we spend doing nothing-together!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Trip Home (Catching Up)

We made a trip north right after Christmas to celebrate my uncle's 80th birthday with a surprise party (yes, my mom was a bit of an afterthought for my grandparents!).

Uncle Boots, my mom & Aunt Ruthie

The party was a huge success and it was great to catch up with the cousins and my aunts and uncle. Oh the laughs that we had and the cookies I ate!

We spent the night and went to a local museum that has a really special Christmas exhibit. They have a train room that is almost overwhelming and my parents thought Cooper would love it. They were right- he did.

But the winner for the afternoon were the all natural trees and displays that they had. They had trees that were decorated with nothing but materials found in nature. They were AMAZING! I took a a few pictures, but wish that I had taken more, and in greater detail. There was one tree with characters- Horton and the Cat in the Hat got smiles from all of us. The thing that Cooper absolutely adored though was the Noah's Ark display. He couldn't pull himself away from it- and was pointing and yelling, "look at those elephants" "did you see the tigers". It was truly amazing and so creative, not to mention green.


We also had a chance to see the museum collection of Wyeth's (all of them). I adore Andrew Wyeth (Jon is also a fan) and certainly appreciate the works of his father and son- but he is my favorite. I'm not sure if it's because his work is so representative of the place that I grew up and so it's familiar or whether it's just him. Whatever the reason, his art speaks to me and it was a treat to be able to see so many pieces, some that I hadn't seen before.

Such a good weekend!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

1st Vacation of 2009

Jon and I have determined that we're not week long vacation people....not that we don't relish time away from work and "the grind"- but we seem to have the most fun in short spurts. Our 1st spurt of 2009 started on Friday.

Jon has these wonderful memories from his childhood of going to Topsail Island and hunting for sharks teeth. He has a gallon bag saved all these years full of them and Cooper has been obsessed for a few years. His obsession was fed last year when they had a "shark tooth dig" in his kindergarten class. Cooper was a star "archaeologist" and helped other kids to find the teeth- his teacher said that she'd never seen a child be so determined to find something as he was.

We found a hotel that allowed dogs, set our new GPS for the course, and told Cooper that we were leaving on an adventure. The look on his face was priceless- the first of many on our journey.

We traveled to Wilmington, NC and took a tour of the USS North Carolina. Another childhood memory of Jon's. I love that he remembers things like this- and that he's willing to share with us. We talked a lot about his mom and dad- and I think it helps to keep them real for Cooper.

The ship was enormous and since we arrived towards the end of the day, there were no crowds and we had the ship almost to ourselves.


I've decided that there are too few pictures of me- and although I'm so not photogenic, I do really want there to be at least some proof that I exist. I've been working with Jon and his photo-taking ability. I think this one passes the test.
cooper & me on ship

We left the ship and headed to our hotel. Nothing fancy- but it was comfortable and clean and suited us just perfectly. Traveling with a dog is tough- but she's getting old and we wanted to take her to the beach with us. She was also a fantastic back seat companion for Cooper- they made us laugh on the trip south! We ate along the rivers edge and then walked on the boardwalk with Savannah in tow. The weather was perfect for an evening stroll- and with our day complete we let Cooper in on our plans for Saturday- hunting for sharks teeth! Another priceless look and a squeal that I've never heard before. It doesn't get much better.

We had a slow start....but once he found his first the fun didn't stop!

I loved watching them search....

Even I found some!! It was addicting (just like Jon said it would be!)

This is my favorite picture. I love how this shows him so intent- he's defined his search area and the kid didn't move until he had picked over the whole thing. I also took my dad's old 35mm to experiment and I'm hoping that I'll have some other great ones. There is nothing like the light at the beach.

Our day came to an end as the light began to fade- the memories will be there always. We'll also have 91 sharks teeth and a collection of shells, rocks and sea glass to remind us.



We talked about what was the best part of the trip for each of us. Cooper said, "The parts that I liked the best were the ship, the hotel, and looking for sharks teeth. I had so much fun on our vacation". So did we buddy, so did we.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!



We had such a wonderful family celebration last night- we each told our favorite memories of 2008, had an incredible dinner (Spicy Shrimp & Andouille over Grits- thanks Diana) and toasted 2009- wine for us and sparkling cider for Cooper.

We closed the night with a viewing of the much anticipated Star Wars. Cooper has been dying to see it and he wasn't disappointed. Neither was I- it brought back such huge memories for me. My dad took us to see it when it first came out. Back then, there weren't rules like we have today and although the theater had no more seats, they moved the benches from the lobby into the aisles and we sat there. So great (albeit a bit of a fire hazzard). I loved it then (and Luke Skywalker!)and Cooper loved it as well.

Hope your New Year rang in with just as much fun, love and hope for a safe & prosperous 2009 as ours did!