Dear God,

I’m having a rough week.  I know you know.  I also firmly believe you love me.  I’m wondering  why the particular path that I’m on, doesn’t seem to be what you want for me.  I am asking what do you want from me? I’m asking for me to get some perspective most though.

I’ve been trying very hard to remember who is in charge of my life… you not me, and desperately trying to put others before myself.  I’m trying to remember that you are driving this bus…and I’m the passenger.

But I’m feeling selfish.  I want to be like a two year old and whine and wail.  However,  this never worked when I was two either.

So if you could send me the perspective that I know I need,  I’d really appreciate it.




but Joy comes in the morning…

I’m sorry about the excessively long rant two days ago…

My blog was intended as a way for me to stay in touch better with the family. I’m thinking that they were way too in touch with my feelings.  Sorry guys!  What I have discovered though, is my blog has become a really good outlet for me.  I am able to look back at things  with a little more perspective.  Tuesday isn’t there quite yet.

So… have had one of my moments… that just make smile, and when days like Tuesday happen,  I have it to remember.  Last night after work,  I ran to the hospital to see Nana.  Her surgery went well, and she will be going to rehab on Saturday.  She was pretty lucid when I was there.  She is not getting a lot of pain medication due to the overmedicating of last year.

My aunt’s phone started ringing… and it sounded like a fire alarm.  So my sister who really can’t tolerate noises like that,  offered or rather demanded albeit politely to change her ring tone.  So Allison is demonstrating all the different songs.  My mother, aunt and sister have now been up since 5 am this am, late night before, and they are getting loopy… and now we are dancing to all the rings of the phone.  I had no idea that my mother could do the sprinkler!  My grandmother is staring at us like she has no idea who we are.

At one point a very similar to the ‘TEQUILA’ song… and I, of course have to say TEQUILA.   To which my aunt replies, “WHERE?”  and then we all just crack up.  They can drive me crazier than anyone.  I know their quirks and they know mine.  I look forward to time I spend with them.  They can make me cry or laugh and know me better than most anyone.   As I was driving to pick up my daughter and her buddy from volleyball,  I can’t help the big smile across my face…

We all begin and end with family… anonymous So true, and I am so blessed to have my family within a reach of a hug.

I’m cranky.. I’m whiney… can I get a do over day?

It’s been a day.. and it seems like for the past two weeks that I just can’t seem to get caught up on things.


My last load of laundry for the week is FINALLY in the dryer.  My bathrooms didn’t get cleaned the way that I wanted to.  (It was a lick and a promise type cleaning.)  There are pictures that still haven’t made it into their frames, a kitchen floor that needs a mopping terribly.

I didn’t feel like I got anything done on Monday. At All.  Tuesday was not much better.  I spent the first part of the morning trying to be calm..before the oral board.  After the oral board,  I raced back home, picked up Connor’s saxophone that was finally located at the high school, lost the book that I was reading  and picked up the title information for the new car and went to the dmv at Weld County.

If ever there’s a reason to move back to Larimer county,  it’s the Weld County Department of Motor Vehicles.  It’s a small smelly space that never has enough room for everyone. Ever.  When I arrived there at roughly 12:45ish,  they were helping #32.  My number from the handy-dandy little machine,  number #83.  This not being the first time that I have been in,   I brought a book.  I stood in line, behind the fussy kid with the green snot running out of his nose, trying to stay out of germ’s reach.  I leaped out of the way when said snotty kid puked.   No one even offered to get a mop.  Great customer service.  I  waited while other people who were just renewing inched slowly forward.  I got the Subaru’s insurance information faxed over, because the Sentra’s isn’t good enough,  same policy # but not with the Subaru on it.  Okay I get Sean to fax that information over.  However,  when I finally reach the lady at the desk at 2:20 pm,  I’m informed that because my husband didn’t have me put on the title information, I can’t buy his plates.  No matter what.  Never mind that everything else is in both of our names.  We have current registrations on two other cars, the initial purchase of the plates must be made by him. Only exception, if I have his power of attorney… and this was relayed in a very snide tone.   She was speaking in the slow voice like I’m mentally impaired.  “Did you not check the website before coming over ma’am?”

Note to everyone and anyone… I LOATHE being called ma’am.  And it was said with just the right bit of snideness.   I know what a temptation it is to speak this way… I do.  I work with criminals for crying out loud.  And I don’t speak to them like this.  Ever. No matter how much I want to.

So I’ve had it.  I’m tired, cranky, overloaded by too much volleyball practices, & tournaments, too much laundry and just everything all at once.  I sweetly reply.  No,  I didn’t check the website OBVIOUSLY  or  I wouldn’t be here.   She then does a slight roll of the eyes,  (nothing like my sister can do,) and speaks slowly again in that tone…. “well, MA’am,  there is NOTHING I can do for you.”   I looked at her, saying ” thankyouverymuch and can I have your supervisor’s name please?” with the right amount of sweetness and the firmness that I can pull up when dealing with difficult people.

I admit by the time I got to the supervisor. I was at my limit.  And quite frankly not up to being patronized or being argued with.   I also don’t like it when people I don’t know, call me by my first name.  Call me old fashioned, but a title and a last name show far more respect than mispronouncing my name… Elissa?  No. Jan the supervisor, never apologized.  She also brought up the website.  My retort was “Jan,  what if I don’t have access to a computer?”  There was a silence.  Now I love my computer.  I do. However,  I don’t refer to it every blasted time that I step foot in a government office.  It wasn’t even the fact that the car needed to be in my name… it was the sheer lack of regard that the staff had for everyone.  and I told her that.  I got the excuse that everyone was feeling a little overworked that day.  If they had actually had all stations open, I might have bought that. HOWEVER,  I could see for a half hour, five of them standing around the xerox machine.   There were four people manning the stations.  There were three closed stations.   So I wasn’t pleasant to Jan.  I told her that I did expect more than a pat response.  I also informed her that I didn’t appreciate her lack of response either. I pointed out if I had gotten, I’m sorry that you had a long wait, but it’s a state law.  I wish I could help you… anything along that vein, I wouldn’t have minded. But no,  I got the excuse that they were overworked, and I should check the computer because the state has too many regulations.   Never mind that they  have a handy dandy computerized strip that gives out all sorts of handy information, such as the fax number, maybe even including the tid-bit that both spouses names need to be on the title… surely that little tid-bit could have been included?  It seems to me that it’s a pretty big detail.  Really.  And it would have save me the hour and half that I stood in line smelling vomit.

Driving back from Greeley,  my mother called me with the news that my Nana has fallen.  She is currently at the ER with her.  My mom has just spent the weekend with my other grandparents visiting and is now waiting at the ER with my grandma and my other sister.  The result,  she now has a broken hip and is having surgery tomorrow.  Evidently my grandmother, who has been repeatedly cautioned to not use the front door, she can go through the garage instead,  there’s too many steps to get the paper,  fell getting the paper this am. . She of course, is now upset because a broken hip means rehab.  And she HATES Rehab. Last time she was cranky and mean the entire time she was there.

I get home, race around trying to clean and sort laundry for the short bit of the afternoon still left.  Katy gets home, immediately  is studying and has a band concert,   Which we need to stay for the entire thing.  Truthfully,  I enjoyed the band portion,  both the regular and jazz,  but the orchestra.  <winces>  There were a couple moments that it was good… but overall,  I just don’t enjoy beginning violins & violas.  We get home around 8:00 pm.

Connor calls around 8:30 pm.  He’s upset because his plans for a roommate have fallen through again.  So he seems to want a solution about this, RIGHT NOW.  I bring up the room mate finder that Sean used twice in college and worked out just fine.  Connor is now also speaking to me in that slow patient tone… ARRRGH. Basically, Connor wants to room with a particular person, and Sean and I have said NO, Hell No… it’s not gonna happen.  So he’s cranky… I’m cranky… and I do the cowardly thing… and sic his father on him.

Evidently I’m stupid and  I don’t know it.  I would like Tuesday to begin again please.  (heaving huge sigh)   I think I still have a Mike’s Hard Lemonade somewhere in the basement fridge.  Either that or some chocolate!

My heart out walking around…

“Making the decision to have a child–it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” –Elizabeth Stone

I love this quote.

And I have two of my hearts out walking around.

One I’m kind of starting to relax about.  Note:  I said kind of… I will probably be worrying about him when he’s forty and starting to bald.  He’s a joy to my heart.  And I love watching him.  I miss not being involved with him on a day to day basis.  He’s  doing good though.  College has not proved to be the big bad world for him.  He likes it.  He’s doing well.  And only I want to shake sense him occasionally.

The other heart is just entering my extreme worry zone.  She’s 13.  We have five years to share with her.  And now with the experience of Connor,  I know that those five years are going to go by in a blink of an eye.

Yesterday,  she scared her father and I.   She came into contact with an allergen.  Who knows what it was?  Peanut dust, soy of some kind,  we’re not sure.  She did admit to eating chicken salad with pecans… but she has always thrown up immediately after eating something.  The thing was,  we weren’t there when she starting getting symptoms.

Sean and I and another couple went out for lunch rather than have sandwiches. The one time we leave… of course, something is gonna happen!   When we walked into the school where the volleyball tournament was, someone grabbed us, and said, “Katy’s having an allergic reaction!”.   My heart sank for her.  Not only was I worried for her health,  but her personally.   She hates having allergies.  Really hates it. Would rather no one know anything about it.  Is mortified by the fact that her body won’t accept certain foods.

So Sean and I are looking at her.   After the 11 years that we have known about her food allergies, we’ve gotten good at deciding whether or not to stab with the epi-pen or not.   And we called her aunt, who thankfully, works for an allergist.  We had the inhaler, the benadryl, the allegra and the epi-pen ready to go.  Her reaction though, was very similar to one she had two years ago.  She had swollen eyes, nose,  and hives all over her body in random spots.  Her airway is not swelling shut,  there are no hives on her tongue… and she’s not nauseous.

And then there was her team.  Sitting close by, wondering if they could help, Katy by this point, just wants to die of embarrassment.  And boy does she not want the epi-pen.  She’s always been positive that she’s not normal because of her allergies.  And there had been some instances where people were not kind to her in grade school, with some teasing about the allergies.   So I could tell she was worried.   She saw in their eyes,  only concern for their teammate.  Wanting to help, wanting to just be there for her.  Sorry that she was hurting, no scorn or laughter.

As a parent,  that’s the biggest fear in your life, that something could hurt your child.  Parents of children with allergies have learned to drill into the children to ask about ingredients, to always have them prepared for situations.  And as much as you prepare your child, something can happen.  Someone can touch a volleyball with peanut dusty fingers,  a friend can give you a rice krispy treat that wasn’t homemade, you can have a sip of a root beer float in which someone put Reese’s pieces into,  all which have happened to my kids.  And  you deal with it. You go on.

But I can’t control other people’s reactions.  You just can’t.  And what Katy’s fear was ~ was that her team wouldn’t be the same with her.  Instead she saw concern for her.  She didn’t get laughed at.  She  saw only friendship.   She continued to play and play well for the remaining two games of the tournament.  She was itchy.  She was tired with all the Benadryl coursing through her system. But she was elated and comforted by the kindness of her team.   They saw she was okay, and they moved on.  And she loved that.    Then when Katy’s day just couldn’t get any better, her team won the tournament.

And my heart melted just a little bit.   Because she was so happy.

Like Mother, like daughter…Nope.

I have a 13-year-old daughter.  We look a lot a alike.  We are a lot a like in personality too, Which does make for some interesting moments.

She can make me want to pull my hair out.  She can bring a smile to my face quicker than anyone.  She will argue and debate over a silly topic for hours. She is the first person there with a hug or a kind word for someone who is struggling. She is a unique blend of her father and myself, in both looks and personality.

She plays volleyball.  She loves volleyball.  Her mother would not be caught dead playing volleyball, and never the way that she plays volleyball.  She puts in 100 percent all out, diving on the court, sometimes racing into the sidelines in pursuit of the ball, and all for the love of a game.

She is with a team that is new to her, it is made up of girls  from all over the northern Colorado area.  Katy is like her mother in the fact, that she is shy.  It takes her a while to get comfortable with people, but when she is… wow.  This team is made up of a group of nice girls.  13-year-old girls are not generally known for being ‘nice’.  But this team is nice.  They pick each other up, and make sure that there is always a pat on the back, no matter how the play was run.   They try to make every play work, even if someone else’s pass wasn’t the best.  They work with each other. They giggle, tease and joke with each other. They just plain enjoy being together.

I wish that I had that type of relationship when I was 13.  I was not a person that has ever blossomed doing sports.  Coke bottle lenses, and the pain that goes with sports, has not ever thrilled me. But watching these 10 girls who support each other, and stand together against harder teams who have been together forever, makes me for a minute wish I  had experienced that team spirit.

I’m so glad that Katy isn’t an exact copy of myself.  That she is  a better and stronger person than me. Last night after a full day of volleyball, a fundraiser that required a lot of coordination and overall strength, (note to self – taking down volleyball courts is not for the faint of heart or hand for that matter.), a very giggly dinner at Red Robin with some of the team, she came home and practiced her clarinet for an hour.   Me, I was collapsed on the couch, struggling to embroider without falling asleep.

There are going to be those days filled with those ‘oh so proud’ parenting moments that I immediately regret and wish for a do-over.  Luckily for me, there seems to be less of those days, and more of the, “wow, she is becoming a great person” moments.   I’m so glad that she isn’t a copy of me.

Tournament Food Ideas

My kids have food allergies. And 99% of the time, I don’t register it anymore. I have become a skilled label reader, and we don’t have a lot of junk food in the house, as most of it contains  Soy in some form or another.   My children are the kids that people would stress about having  them over to dinner.  They are allergic to soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish and salmon. Connor just to throw a curveball into things, also is allergic to strawberries and canteloupe.  My husband is allergic to nuts.  Me – I can and will eat everything.

The other 1% of the time that I am hyper vigilant was at sporting events and other kid activities.  Feeding kids at sports & other events is a pain in the neck.  Especially if it’s all day thing, with no real idea of the facilities available.  Baseball in Colorado can either be warm, hot, windy or absolutely freezing depending on the day.  We have done bagelwiches, lots of fruit, sandwich bars,  grilled burgers and dogs, loads of fun for the moms who usually end up schlepping it across the parking lot to the fields.   The band competitions did a lot of potlucks, and then we also started catering things in, Chick-A- Fil & Chipotle.

Club volleyball tournaments require a little more planning.  We usually end up providing breakfast & lunch for the girls and their families.  There is rarely time to go eat anywhere else.  Some facilities have concessions, but it’s always the standard fare of hot dogs, nachos with day glo orange cheese sauce, etc.  So every tournament week, it’s a creative headache to come up with food that will provide energy and work for everyone else.  General rule,  no crockpots allowed, too many ways to spill grease on amount of space and outlets.

To top it off,  I don’t think other people should provide for my kids allergies.  So  I have come up with a ‘supply’ list of foods that I try to have for the tournaments that I bring specifically for Katy in case the food has any allergens.

Adventure Meals:   this does require a big thermos.   Make chili the day before.  Cook Hot dogs the day before.    Warm chile up and fill thermos about three quarters of the way full.  Push hot dogs (100% beef hot dogs for us) into the chile, tying one end lightly with butcher’s twine or dental floss. Lid on and lunch stays warm.  Bring a bag of hot dog buns and some grated cheese, and there you have it.  Instant adventure meal…chile dogs.  Some sort of fruit and you are good to go. This is great for those chilly fall days, but also works for winter!

Big Sandwich:   Another one of the challenges at tournaments is the lack of space in which each team has for their food and supplies.  Making sandwiches was never that easy, much less on your lap with a cutting board.  In the bakery, they have the sourdough round loaves of shepards bread.   Cut a lid, hollow out a bowl and layer in your sandwich fixin’s.   I usually mix a small tupperware container of mayonnaise, (or Miracle Whip) with a vinaigrette for a bit of zing.  Don’t dress the sandwich.  Wrap tightly in foil and bag to keep every thing crisp in the cooler. No one likes soggy bread.  At mealtime, cut sandwich like a pie, and let everyone dress their own sandwich.  Note:  I also don’t put tomatoes on sandwiches like this.  Too soggy.

Meatball Subs –  Same concept as the chile dogs, but not as much sauce. Marinara or  barbecue sauce, whichever you are hungry for at the time. I usually use turkey meatballs as well,  definitely not as heavy.  Presliced hard rolls, some sliced provolone and you are ready to go.  Meatballs can be the frozen version, if you make your own, you can dictate the size better.

Salad Kabobs – what kid doesn’t like food on a stick?   I usually do chicken caesar salad kabobs.  A bit more prep work, but it’s much quicker, and goes faster than tossing salad.  Bamboo skewers, romaine lettuce into squares,  grilled chicken breast, and parmesan cubes.  String on the skewer. Give little cups of caesar salad dressing.   I have also done this for a wedding shower with Thai beef salad with a basil peanut dressing…mmm.  I did make the dressing at some one else’s home!  I have also done this with fruit and provided a creamy yogurt dressing.  Worked great for Connor because I could keep his kabobs separate.  No cross contamination = no hives. 🙂

Breakfasts –  everything can be a sandwich.  Whether it’s a bagel or a muffin, slap a scrambled egg patty with meat and cheese.  Wrap in foil after warming, you are good to go.  Breakfast burritos are yummy too.  Easy to warm up, wrap them in foil to keep warm.  Sausage balls,  little balls of biscuit dough, mixed with sausage & cheese,  another easy thing to warm up in the am, and bring warm to the event site.

Those are some of my go to meals.  Easy to eat, easy to transport.. .makes me a happy girl.  I’d love to know everyone else’s ideas or recipes.







To my husband

It’s Valentine’s Day.  And I know how much you dislike this particular holiday.

You don’t get into the sappy commercials, the flowers, the candy etc.  You do, however, always manage to surprise me somehow.  You have given me a cell phone, tennis shoes, an ipod, jewelry and braved a scrapbook store for me all in the name of love.  Your gifts are always original and always  meet a need of mine.

When we were first together,  tennis shoes on Valentine’s Day, just about sent me over the edge.  To me, it was the most unromantic thing in the entire world. To you, it was you taking care of me.  I needed a good pair of shoes.   Now, I look back and see the young man who was totally baffled by the hurt feelings, all because he was trying to take care of her.

I watch you with our children, and a lump will come to my throat.  You will work with them over and over to get a concept down.  You never try to be perfect, but our children have never, ever, doubted that they are very important in your life.  They have known a precious gift, that their father loves them.  I see the loss in your eyes when you realize that you haven’t had more than a couple of hours with your children.  I know the loss that you felt when Connor left for college.   I also see the joy & pride  in your eyes when they excel at something.

I need your balance in my life.  I need you to remind me of the things that are real in our lives.  I love that you love me through my grumpiness, my cluttery habits, my need to have at least six books by the bedside table and you still look at me with a smile in your eyes.    I love that we can sit comfortably together on the couch, me with a project and you with a remote, and it’s just as fun as a date on the town.

It’s been 20 Valentine’s Days since we first met.   Each year, I am struck by how very much I’m blessed to call you mine.  I love you, Sean.