Sunday, January 31, 2010


Ciao! I am sitting here with my dying computer and unfortunately, too much energy for it being almost 8 o'clock. I was trying wean myself off the Tylenol with codeine because it was messing with my stomach but it's been well, honestly a miserable day in the mouth department. Soreness is settling in everywhere. (I would show you pictures but I'm afraid you would never ever speak to me again or visit this blog again:) It's pretty ugly.) The bruising is showing up, too. My dr said I could blame it on him if anyone asks, not Ben:) Too bad I don't wear make-up...I would have no idea how to cover this up anyways!

Moving on. The boys are being so sweet and careful not to touch my face or bump me. They give me the sweetest, gentlest kisses on my cheeks before they go to bed and remind each other to be careful with mommy's face:)

Ben is being so amazing to me! He has quite redeemed himself from the stomach flu I had a couple of weeks ago when he refused to get near me with a 10 foot pole. Ahem. He is calling himself the "nurse in residence" and is waiting on me hand and foot! He tries to tempt my sore mouth to eat all kinds of yummy soups and mashed potatoes and oatmeal and....oh, who am I kidding! Yummy? I am already sick of these darn "soft" foods and it's only been 3 days! Bring on some steak and...ouch, never mind. The point is: I love my sweet husband and am very thankful for him!
Sometimes we ask the boys what they are going to dream about before they go to bed and Zakkai has really gotten into it lately. He thinks it's so much fun to be told he can dream about Christmas lights or chocolate (I have no idea who would've said that!). So now each night, it's all I can do to get the bedroom door closed within 10 minutes after kisses because he's still calling out, "And and you can dream about the wall! And the lights. And the....and the stickers. Mommy, mommy, you can dream about Rays and the lamp. The yellow lamp and the tall lamp. And..." And I slowly shut the door and it gets darker and darker and I edge out little by little and he is still calling, "Mommy! And you can dream about Thomas and the dresser and the lights (again) and light bulbs and toys..."
Goodnight, boys!

(A painting by Georgia O'Keefe from the Art Institute)

Well, I thought I'd check in and let you know that we're hanging in there and looking forward to healing and birthdays and fun stuff this next month! I must run because my computer cord has bitten the dust and my computer has approximately 6 minutes at this rate before it dies for good.

Thank goodness another cord is on the way and should be here tomorrow! Ciao again:)

Friday, January 29, 2010


I just wanted to update quickly to say that I am doing okay. I had my gum graft harvest surgery yesterday afternoon. It took about an hour and went "beautifully" as the surgeon put it:) It was the weirdest feeling ever to have a completely numb lower jaw!

I still can't talk very easily and am very swollen and just starting to bruise. In fact, my dear loving husband called me "Gomer Pile" today. Remember him from Andy Griffith with the lower jaw stuck out? Hmph!

I've got some lovely pain meds to help me keep on top of the pain. It was a rough night last night and this morning but I am incredibly relieved to be done with the surgery and on my way to healing!

Still not eating too much. My hunger pains war with my sore painful chin and usually my mouth wins. I am reduced to eating my food with the boy's baby spoons! So far I have attempted oatmeal, mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup. Oh and a delightful protein shake thrown in for good measure:)

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!! All my boys are taking good care of me:)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jumping Beans

Thought you would enjoy a brief video of my little jumping beans from this week. They have been begging to do this everyday but I decided to save it for rainy and/or sick spells to save it's magic charm!


I am half watching an old favorite movie of mine at the moment, "An Affair to Remember" (I love Carey Grant!) to distract myself from :

a)thoughts of my gum graft harvest surgery tomorrow. I had a dream last night that the surgeon caused some woman's teeth to fall out and got disbarred or disbanded or whatever you would call it. It was such a pleasant dream.

b)the laundry that is begging to be folded. Today's laundry makes 17 loads in the past two weeks because of all this illness we've been having....or the "plague" as I've heard it called:)

c)the dishes that need washing. because there are always dishes that need to be washed. always.

d)the grocery list that needs to be written so that we have food to eat in this house next week. Even if I'm not the one who will be eating it. sigh. (see letter a)

I guess that about sums it up! Say a prayer for me tomorrow please!! I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Just Sayin'!

That this is the cutest little bum I ever did see!

And that someday he'll probably disown me for posting this:

And that spending too many afternoons stuck inside due to illness and cold can make you use the most unlikely things as toys in a desperate attempt to get some boy-energy out..

And that jumping wears little boys out so that they sleep like bumps on a log.. And that they are so darn cute when they are all cuddled up, sleeping and worn out from above activities.
I'm just Sayin'.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Technical Difficulties

It's no wonder I have headaches every day with all of the little things going on in my life!! Yesterday was one of those "terrible, horrible, no good, rotten days" beginning with me starting to come down with pink eye, our internet going bad, Z throwing up all over the house, fighting with Samuel to get eye drops in, etc.

I just came from a long hot bath, hoping to soak away a little stress only to find that my computer outlet adapter may be going bad. And if it does, I'm outta business! Ugh! Just one of those seasons, I guess, where God tries to teach you patience:)

Today's thoughts in random order:

1. Not so scared about my upcoming surgery on Thursday anymore. My housegroup prayed for me last week and I haven't been afraid since. Maybe slightly nervous sometimes but I'm sure I'll be okay.

2. I bought some gigantic bottles of shampoo and conditioner at Cosco today and I'm hoping I don't drop one in the shower and break my toe. I'm pretty sure it would hurt. A lot. The last time I broke my toe was 2 or 3 days before my sister's weddding. I had to walk down the aisle barefoot. I hope no one noticed...

3. I'm obsessed with Scholastic book order forms. Got some new ones from Samuel's teachers and couldn't resist ordering some more books. Who can resist books for a dollar or two? Seriously! I was deliriously happy when I ordered online and got to pick a free book.

4. Have decided to give potty training an effort again after we were forced into it yesterday when we ran out of diapers. Zakkai was very proud when he pooped on the potty and he looks so darn cute in his underwear! Will take this process slow though and start with the afternoons. Of course, I should change my mind since he peed on the couch today and wait until he's 5 to potty train. Yes, definitely 5....

5. I feel so much better when I make myself workout even when I don't want to. Definitely makes me feel less guilty about a snitch of chocolate or two throughout the day. That's not canceling out the workout completely, is it? I should be rewarded for my efforts, right? Right.

6. Speaking of working out, I realized that my Shred DVD was in our old broken DVD player that we threw out after getting a new one for Christmas. I was very sad. For Jillian. For myself. Mostly for myself. Because the Shred was awesome and molded me into the body builder that I am today. Snort. But Shred really is awesome.

7. I realize after not having the internet for a day and a half how spoiled I really am. It was hard, really hard to remember 82 times throughout the day that I couldn't get on and check email or facebook, update my blog, play a game or two...It was probably good for me to take a break. It's kind of nice to be out of touch with the modern world for a bit. Maybe I should do it more often! Maybe...

8. SUPER excited that we might get a family vacation this year. I desperately need a break from things and we've never gone away as a family. We spend every break or "vacation" time traveling to see family (not that we don't adore our families!!!!!) and it ends up being so busy that we come back more tired. I think we will go visit my grandparents in Florida. They've had a condo down there for years and we've never been! I wish with all of my heart that we had enough money to go to SeaWorld or Disney World for one day.

9. Do you have any idea how darn expensive it is to go to Sea World or Disney World for one measly day? Almost $300 dollars for 2 adults and 2 children. Seriously!! Isn't that ridiculous? They should make coupons or something! Maybe someday we can do something like that. It would be so fun.

10. Speaking of fun, I'm off to bed. Aren't I old these days? Speaking of old (can you tell my mind is a bit frazzled?), my dear beloved husband is about to turn the big 3-0! 30! Yes, I know 30 really isn't old but it represents true adulthood to me. People have to take you seriously when you're 30. You've left behind the wild 20s (not that we had wild 20s), the days of dating and college. No wait, get this. I knew Ben in ALL of his 20s. Isn't that wild? He was 19 1/2 when we started dating! I've known him a whole decade! I'm getting old!

11. I need some chocolate. Gosh, it's beginning to sound like I have an addiction or something....Nah...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our Day

We decided that we wanted to begin our weekend with another illness. This time we chose pink-eye because you know we haven't been sick enough lately. Boy, I love preschool! What's next? Lice?! (Ugh! I shudder at the thought!)

Poor Samuel just can't seem to catch a break. I had to drag him to the dr.'s today, which he reeeeaallllly hated. Really. We had to work hard to convince him that there were no shots involved. It was much easier to take him to the dr.s when he was an unassuming baby. Ah, those were the days....So after a trip to the drs and a pharmacy trip gone bad, we made it home with some eye drops in hand and a bottle of bleach to kill whatever is infesting this house.

The boys caught up on the news while I made them dinner:

Oh, did I mention it was the comics?

Veeerrry important information in there!

2 going on 20.

"Let's see what the top story of the day is..."
So after the boys caught up on the headlines and ate, Samuel and I engaged in a battle of the wills to get eye drops in his eyes. I won. But it sounded like he was being tortured and I can only hope the neighbors didn't hear a thing. Zakkai patted Samuel's head reassurringly and probably picked up a few germs in the process.
I tucked the boys in (Ben is gone for the evening) and sat down to enjoy a book and some good old fashioned hot chocolate.

The perfect way to end a day: Ghirardeli hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream. And then some more whipped cream. And some peace and quiet to refresh my soul.
Goodnight Saturday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Hired Help

I hired some help to fold the laundry. It started out well.

And then it went to pot.
Things only got worse from there.
So pretty much they were no help at all.
Next time I'll just do it myself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Soup D'Jour!

I made some rockin' soup tonight! At least we thought so and my opinion was highly bolstered by a friend who knows practically everything. So...rockin' soup it is!

There's something that makes me so happy about having a nice meal at the end of the day. Icing to the cake is when not only is it a good meal but the boys eat it, too. Especially the more picky of the bunch. (cough *Samuel* cough). We have been working hard on teaching Samuel not to complain. I tell him it is not nice for mommy to hear, "Ew. I'm not having that for dinner!" every night. I also have been asking him to tell me something he is thankful for and likes instead. I haven't pulled out the "there are starving children around the world who would like to eat your soup" card yet. But there's still time.

So imagine my surprise when I sat down to dinner and Samuel turns to me and says, "Mommy, this is really good soup you made!" AND on top of that, he almost finished his bowl. Makes my heart proud:)

*The measurements of the recipe are kind of vague because my mom basically gave me the ingredients without measurements so I made it up:) *

Debbie's Pasta Fagioli (my mom gave me the recipe so she should get the credit!)

1 lb. gr beef or turkey (I used turkey)
diced onion (I am not a good judge of how much onion since I don't like much!)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2-1 cup chopped carrots
2 cans beef broth
2 cans diced tomatoes w/ garlic, oregano and basil seasoning
2 cans beans (I used 1 kidney, 1 cannellini)
1 jar Prego spaghetti sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ea of italian seasoning, garlic and herb seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes
2 cups dried noodles (used elbow)
Shredded parmesan cheese

1. In a stockpan, brown meat in a TB of oil; add diced onion.
2. After meat is lightly browned (no longer pink), add chopped vegetables and cans of broth. Add tomatoes, beans and spaghetti sauce. Add seasonings and stir soup together. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender. About 30 minutes before serving, add noodles and cook until noodles are done.
3. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top and fresh bread!

Next I should share my recipe for Pear Custard Pie, which we may or may not have had for dessert:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Special Delivery!

Special Delivery for YOU:

Caution: May contain fragile, hazardous or perishable contents.

Must be opened with extreme caution and handled with care.

Guaranteed to bring a lot of fun and spunk to your life. Can be shipped anywhere within the midwest, preferably Chicago or Ohio. Comes with extra insurance and delivery confirmation but no instructions.
Special Delivery!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Art and Dreams

Last weekend for Sister's Weekend, we went to the Art Institute. It was my first trip there, even after having lived here for 4 1/2 years! It's not that I don't like art or appreciate it; I guess I've just always had this image of people sitting in a museum or art gallery, musing over paintings and always trying to find some hidden deeper meaning over a picture of a black dot on a red surface or something. Call me crazy if you want!

For me it's more black and white (no pun intended!). Do I connect with this picture in some way? Do I like it, the colors, the content or not? But I must say, I really enjoyed our trip there and would love to go back again! It was pretty cool to be surrounded by Monets and Renoirs and a lot of other artists that I didn't even know about! This following Monet painting was one of my favorites:

When I looked at this picture, not only did I really love the vibrant colors (which are much more vibrant in person!) and the blues and greens but the whole setting. I saw it and I thought "Europe. My dream. Castle or village by the sea. Peaceful. I want to go there!" It was a painting I could actually see myself sitting nearby and staring at for awhile and dreaming about. If there had been a bench nearby, that is:)

Someday I want to go somewhere like this. Wherever it is. And I want to hold on to my dream even if it doesn't happen for awhile. Someday I'll show you a picture like this except it will be me standing by the sea, maybe in Ireland, with a cottage in the backround. And I'll have a big smile on my face and a peaceful expression.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


I am going to try to paint a picture for you with words and without pictures. All I ask is that you try to "listen".

There is a girl whose name is Daphka. She just turned 12 years old a few days after Christmas. She is solemn for a girl her age, a smile does not easily cross her lips. She has dark eyes that stare directly into yours, as if to communicate something about her life. She stands straight with her arms down to her sides and looks tough and yet vulnerable all at the same time, as if waiting for the next thing life throws at her. She wears a ruffly, outdated dress but one that was chosen with love as a gift for her.

Her life is different than most 12 year olds. She has a lot of responsibilities to help her mother with: washing clothes, cleaning, carrying the water for the day, cooking and buying and selling in the local marketplace. She attends school at the local development center, as well as her duties at home. She doesn't really like school but she tries very hard and seems eager to please. Her grades are always average.

Her father doesn't live with her at home. Daphka carries the weight of most adults on her shoulders as a mere child. She plays with her friends when she has the time, mostly games like jacks, playing house and running. But most of her time in her short life, has been spent surviving.

Daphka lives near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake this week. Ben "met" Daphka through the Compassion organization when she was only a little girl of about 3 years old. He started sponsoring her as a single college student and then she became "ours" when we got married almost 7 years ago. We send her letters and sometimes pictures or stickers. She sends us letters and draws us pictures of flowers or shapes and always, always tells us that she is praying for us.

This young girl, that has lived a tougher life than many of us will ever know, is fighting for her survival right now. We do not know if she is alive or injured, if she still has a home standing. We know nothing. All we know is that our hearts are broken for her and the many, many others facing this devastation right now and that we are praying constantly for a miracle for her, for them.

My heart is so convicted over the many times I didn't write her a letter or show her more that we love her and pray for her more. I wish many things that I can't go back and change now. But I do know this, Haiti seems awfully far away and yet right here next to me is a picture of a little piece of that country, here in my home.

And I'm going to pray everyday for a miracle for Daphka and her family and the others in that far away country. If you could or want to, would you say a pray for our Daphka right now? It would mean the world to us. To her.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

And...more sickness

So sorry the blog fell by the wayside. The mama of the house caught the dreaded stomach flu, too:( I've been "sicker n' a dog", fo sho! I beat Samuel's record of getting sick by 3 hours (which would make 9 hours, in case you're countin). This is one doozy of a bug and I've spent most of today pretty weak and shaky. Hoping to feel more like myself tomorrow!

And then I'm sure I'll have more stories to share like Zakkai's 82 time-outs today or Samuel's curiousity in how babies get out of their mommy's tummies (a classmate's mommy just had a baby) or about how Zakkai does want to be an astronaut after all (an orange one, too) or how Samuel dislikes chocolate until you place some in front of know, the stories of life!

For now I'm going to curl up in bed and pray that tomorrow I can eat more than a third of a banana and a couple pieces of toast. ..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More Sickness

This poor little man woke up with a nasty stomach flu today:( He started waking up around 3:30am and at first it was a bad dream...then a bathroom trip...then complaining of a terrible headache. Within 2 hours he was throwing up and did not stop for almost SIX hours! I tell you, that is the absolute worst thing ever to watch your child dry heaving for hours. He would yell at me in between vomiting, "I....don'!!!" He broke my heart to smithereens today. Of course, I know that will probably happen many times over the years with these two. He threw up SO much and so hard that he actually broke little blood vessels all over his face. I thought he was just messy and tried to wipe them off:(

He perked up quite a bit this afternoon and told me he was fine. I didn't buy a word of it and it's a good thing, too, because within an hour and a half or so, he was back on the couch, as pale as a ghost, clutching his head and looking terrible. He ate a tiny piece of a banana, about 3 noodles and declared he was ready for bed:( I'm hoping he wakes up feeling good tomorrow!
Samuel was out on the couch with me this morning when Zakkai woke up. All of the sudden we heard, "Samuel! Samuel, where aaaaaarrrrre you?" He was very concerned about Samuel! Later in the morning at breakfast, he was jabbering away (as he does for 96% of the day) and he said, "And then my bruvver was gone! I woke up and I couldn't find him anywhere. He was tucked in his bed last night but then my bruvver disappeared! He was gone!" Ah, this child makes me laugh sometimes! Okay...most of the time. Well, except when he colors on my walls with markers, opens and closes all the doors in the house 112 times a day and pees on the floor. Other than those things, I smile a lot:)

Zakkai declared yesterday afternoon, after studying a picture of Buzz Lightyear carefully, that when he grows up, he wants to be an astronaut! Samuel heard us talking about it but didn't comment on it for about 15 minutes. Then all of the sudden he said, "If Zakkai is going to be an astronaut, will he come back again?" Which led to a discussion of what astronauts do in space and how they get back to earth again. After which, Zakkai declared he didn't want to be an astronaut anymore and Samuel decided that he will be a professor who works from home and doesn't have to go to school. I am afraid for their futures. Mine actually. I think they might live here forever.

I need some chocolate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Chair

I've only just realized that I have a sickness. Oh, not a cold or the flu. More of a hereditary sickness, if you will. be honest, I've know about the genes for awhile now. The tendency to put ketchup in the cabinets and scissors in the refrigerator. The accidental buying of jar after jar of mustard each trip to the store, thinking you are all out at home....The list could go on and on. I knew it was coming and my confirmation was yesterday.

Yesterday I spotted this:
I was driving Samuel to school and circling around the block to find a parking space (the hassle of one way streets!). I spotted this chair sitting forlornly on the side of the road by a trash can and immediately saw it's potential beauty. I was so embarassed, as this is quite out of character for me, but I circled around the block again just to have another look. This time I was brave enough to get out and touch it and see if it was a piece of junk or something worth having.

Samuel was enthralled with the idea of taking the abandoned chair and encouraged me to take it. All I could think of was my mom and the many items of furniture that were taken from curbsides that now grace her home, repainted and re-upholstered.

I sped off and told Samuel that if the chair was still there when I picked him up, we would go get it. And to my surprise, immediately after dropping him off, I just "happened" to drive down that street again (truly, it was against my will) and decided that I just had to have it. I looked furtively around to make sure no one was watching out the windows, ready to report me, and brushed off the snow. I lugged the extremely heavy solid chair over to my trunk, only to find that it didn't fit quite as easily as I thought it would. I thought for sure I was going to have to abandon my crazy idea and race away, never to show my face again!
But it worked! I squeezed it in and sped away, giggling and called my mom to tell her that I am crazy honored to be just like her:) Can't you just see how darling it's going to be once I've sanded off all the lead paint and splinters and painted it or stained it? Really, you don't think I'm too crazy, do you? Do you?

Of course, Samuel thinks we ought to make it a chair of many colors like Joseph's coat and paint it green, blue, pink, red, yellow, purple and orange. Not quite what I had in mind when I spotted the snow covered chair that beckoned my name. I'm thinking white or stained a nice wood color and adorning it with homemade cushions and pillows. A chair for my craft table!
Ah, to see the beauty in the little things...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boys will be...boys!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but...boys are pretty gross! Seriously! They think it is hilarious to release..uh...natural gases. We were not allowed to admit such a thing in my house growing up! Ladies do NOT pass gas!

Tonight as they were getting a bath, one of them let a stinker and Ben came in and exclaimed, "It stinks in here! Which one of you let a water poot?" (I have NO idea where he came up with that term either!) Well, of course the boys thought that was the funniest thing ever and proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes pretending to let "water pooters." Needless to say, I left the room and let all the boys do their "boy things!"

They can also turn rhyming into a boy thing, too. Samuel is really trying to get the hang of rhyming these days. For example, last night:

"Pear and...bear rhyme, mommy!"

"You're right, Samuel! And bed and head!"

"And...tomato and mahato!"

"Um...well, they rhyme but mahoto isn't a word! How about nose and rose?"

"Nose! What rhymes with booger?"



On the flip side, these boys can do some very "un-boy" things, too! Their latest special treat they are enjoying? Peppermint tea:)

"What a delightful treat, mummy-dearest!"

"Spot on, mummy! Spot on."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sister's Weekend

Too tired for words tonight.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowy Day

Since Chicago Public Schools never, ever, ever, ever, ever close (ever!) and the weather was so bad this morning, we decided to take a "personal snow day." :) Samuel was very sad over not making it to preschool but I'm sure that he will thank me someday for not risking his safety. Someday.

What to do with two cooped up little boys on a snow day? First, I should mention that I was b.o.r.e.d out of my mind today! I don't know why, I just did practically nothing all day now that I look back...:) Well, I did clean ...and feed the children...and get dressed...and workout...and.....but still...not much going on today:) The boys entertained themselves with one of their newest favorite activities which is wiping down every surface of the house with wipes. Hey, I get dusty things cleaned and they are highly entertained! Scores an A+ in my book! Except when they tried to wipe down the piano and the couch....but still!

They also sequestered themselves inside their closet with flashlights for a long time. Did some jumping off furniture (I nipped that one quickly!) and claimed they had no toys to play with. (seriously??!)

I finally pulled together my mommy-act and made their dreams come true with a milk and graham cracker snack (it doesn't take much to make them happy) and some painting!

As you can see, it's much more entertaining to paint your hands than it is the paper...

"Look, mommy, I made brown! Isn't it such a pretty color??"


There was paint on the floor, on Z's face, all over their shirts (which are painting shirts anyways:) and some on the paper, too. They were quite happy with their masterpieces.

And I have more decorations for my walls. A win-win situation:)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scrunchy Faces!

Please ignore the fact that our camera makes our voices sound like something from Charlie Brown! I swear Zakkai sounds like Snoopy at one point when he laughs! Other than our cartoon-like voices, please enjoy a silly video of the boys doing some funny things! Zakkai has started doing the "scrunchy face" lately and it cracks me up every. single. time. Hilarious!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bathtime Fun!

One of the many toys received by the boys this Christmas was a bathtime art set! Perfect for two little boys to use while spending time in the bathtub (while their mommy may or may not be trying to have peace and quiet while cooking....)!

Can I tell you how much fun the boys have decorating the bathtub, creating nasty looking colors in the water and then "cleaning" the tub when they are done?! These pics were of the first tub art at Mugga's house:)

"Um, mommy? Privacy here?"

"Seriously, mommy. Who are you going to show these pictures to? You aren't going to show these to my girlfriend when I'm older, are you? Mommy?"

No, never, Samuel! I would never do