Tuesday, January 30, 2007

hello, my name is ann and i'm forty

This photo is what is left of me after being alone with three kids for two weeks. No really, this little artwork was a masterpiece Jordan created at church (note the bible canvas in the background) using Silly Putty. I took one look at it and decided that it just couldn't go back into the storage egg until it had been recorded for posterity's sake.

Dave has been on multiple business trips since mid-January. It's unusual for him, but there was a lot going on with a new contract. He was in Redmond, WA for two weeks and then yesterday he flew to Maryland for a one day meeting. We've all missed him around here. On Saturday we welcomed him back from the Settle trip. We went out to dinner (nothing fancy, just a catfish joint) and I think we welcomed him back loudly to family life in that outing. Nothing unusual -- a stubborn "do it myself" toddler who knocked her sister's uncovered drink over during a protest session towards her father. LOL

On Monday Dave flew out again for a quick one day trip to Maryland to disseminate the information gained during the two week trip. We have spent the last few days getting back to normal. The kids have been thrilled to have Daddy take them to school and be back in the house again.

So, today is a momentous birthday for me. 40. Forty. FORTY. My first thought is, "How in the world did THAT happen?" and then I remember all the good times and blessings I've been given; a few hard times mixed into the formula too. I thought we might get a snow day today to enjoy some down time, but we were greated with 33 degree temps and sloppy rain this morning. Just ten minutes north of here were icy roads and school closings. (Ah, the unpredictable South) Dave had a beautiful flower arrangement on my bathroom vanity this morning. Roses and lillies -- best of all they were accompanied by the sweetest note he had composed. It was very romantic and sweet.

Oh yes, I almost forgot my news. I have been following Dr. Oz's lifestyle plan and in the two crazy weeks while Dave was gone I lost 4 inches around my waist and 10 pounds. Granted I have a long way to go, but it was a good start. I didn't even get the whole thing right, but I got enough of the message to make a good start. I had been completely obsessed with my exercise schedule for the past year, but got off it when our family Thanksgiving occurred. My task now is to get back into my routine despite any family emergencies. That should really make a difference in combination with the food plan. Everything was easy to do...there was hardly a time when I felt deprived. His plan really focuses on the conscious changes we can make to our food pantry and habits which matter most to our health. We were already eating healthy, but the tweaking made by this diet has been awesome.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

it's all in the translation

"Mammmmmaaaaa! I need the ghostbuster! I think I made a mess." said Grace

"Ghostbuster? Grace there are no ghosts around here." I replied wondering where she had heard of Ghostbuster.


"Grace, take me to what you need. I don't understand."

"Mammmmmaaa! It's the cleaner. A DUSTBUSTER! I want to use the dustbuster!" Grace exclaimed.

"Oooooh, the dustbuster." said her confused mother. At least the girl wants to clean up her mess.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the long and winding road

I've finally gotten organized and bought most of the groceries necessary to begin Dr. Oz's lifestyle plan. I've learned three things:

1. It takes a LONG time to read each label in detail and find the specified products. I almost fainted when I found out that the low fat mayonaise I had been using had high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients. Yikes! The biggies to avoid in the top four ingredients on a list are: saturated fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, simple sugar or any other form of sugar, a non-whole-grain carbohydrate such as enriched flour.

2. For the first time ever I have cooked REAL steel cut oatmeal. I'm used to the instant cooking type (you know, the cylinder made by the Quaker man) which cooks in about two minutes. It took 30 minutes to cook my breakfast this morning, but I really liked the taste and texture of the oats. One thing Oz suggests is to cook a batch ahead to make weekday mornings quicker.

3. I took my Real Age quiz on Dr. Oz's book site and found out that despite all my health concerns and lack of proportional ability (you know, overweight) that I am 38 years old healthwise. Not too bad for someone turning 40 in two weeks. A health age of 28 would be better though. Dave has not taken the test yet, but I am awaiting his results. He thinks he is so smart turning 40 in July instead of February. Ahem.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

nothing profound

Today I have nothing profound to say. Actually, I'm not sure I say profound things very often. This week has been about returning to the routine and getting the house put back together following the holidays. As usual, I'm running behind on all of it.

Dave actually injured his back severely while helping a friend put in a wood floor. He was carrying a "portable" table saw up a set of stairs and managed to twist his back. At first it brought back old memories of the pain he experienced while in Hawaii. At that point he was suffering nerve damage and the complications a ruptured disk brings. I would say that the initial pain of this new injury rivaled my memories from that time. We were both really scared. Scared he would have months of recovery like before or even surgery. After days of heat treatment, medicine, and other tools he has begun to move again.

One positive note, Grace begged to wear her big girl underwear yesterday and was successful for over 8 hours. I'm thrilled, but can take no credit. Grace has her own agenda and that also applies to potty training. I have simply made the basics available to her and she seems to have gotten the idea. I believe she's had the idea for a while, but yesterday she took to the idea completely.

Please keep my Grandfather in your thoughts and prayers this week. He has been taken from his nursing home residence to the hospital today. He is fighting a bout of pneumonia and a kidney infection. It looks like he is responding to the treatments and things are going well...but at the age of 88 he could use a few prayers.

Friday, January 05, 2007


First let me share the thought for today...see if this applies to you:

Isn't that a hoot? I found this sign while sightseeing with my gang last week. Dave went out of town on business for a couple of days and I thought I'd run over to see my parents with the kids. That's the nice part about being closer location-wise to our families. I don't live in the same town (or state) as my parents, but it is an easy 4 hour drive to their house and completely possible over a weekend. That's something we never had the opportunity to do before.

Thursday, on my way back to Atlanta, my parents and I took the kids to a couple of North Alabama sites. First we visited the Oakville Indian Mounds which are the largest set of Woodland Mounds in the state of Alabama. Several Indian tribes made this area their home over the years so there are lots of history connections here. There is a museum there shaped in the style of a council house which contains artifacts and also a statue of Sequoya who created the Cherokee alphabet. My great-grandmother on my father's side was 100% Creek and we also have Cherokee heritage in our family. I thought it was important for the kids to see some of this localized history since it relates to their heritage. It's funny, after seeing the great sites of Washington D.C. I sometimes think kids identify with sites which are off the beaten path. After looking at all the tools and artifacts (it was a fairly simple museum, but good) and making the gift shop's attendant excited, we let the kids run atop one of the mounds which are accessible to the public.

After a late lunch in Cullman we then travelled to something you would NEVER imagine in the middle of a farm field in North Alabama. It's like an image out of Europe, but seems surreal amid such a rural area (OK, Tuscany is rural also, but you know what I mean.) in the South. It is called The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and rivals many of the cathedrals I saw in Europe. They wouldn't allow any photos inside the cathedral so I snuck these photos after the sun went down along with the sign on the towel holder in the bathroom. Think anyone from the Catholic church will confiscate them?

Two funny things happened while we were there. We made it through a 30 minute chanting service given by the nuns. This alone was an amazing fact considering that Grace dropped a post it note on the floor and it echoed! The nuns continued their chanting without many breaks and William leaned over and said, "Mom, when do you think they will change to another song? This one has gone on forever!"

Then later we were viewing the creche area which is like a grotto type building adjacent to the church. Inside they have a a nativity scene which remains in place all year long. It is beautiful and the kids loved looking at it. Grace even understood the meaning of the display and commented about baby Jesus and the others. There were candles there and so we lit them in honor of my grandmother and Dave's mom. It was such a sweet moment. We had the whole creche to ourselves so it was very intimate compared to the cathedral. Just when I was feeling all sappy a kid comment came along to bring me down to reality. Grace had moved to the pews and was sitting with my Mother when she said, "What in the world is Tinkerbell doing up there?!?" and then pointed to the angel at the top of the display. I thought my Mother was going to fall off the pew laughing.

Nothing like the Birth of Christ mixed with a little Disney talk, huh?

Monday, January 01, 2007

a blessed 2007 ahead

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. ~Bill Vaughn

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. ~W.H. Auden

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. ~Charles Lamb

New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

The merry year is born
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn.
~Hartley Coleridge

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty. ~John Selden

New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. ~P.J. O'Rourke

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain

The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows. ~George William Curtis

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. ~Mark Twain

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. ~Author Unknown

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. ~Brooks Atkinson

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
~Martin Luther

New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive. ~Jay Leno

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest

It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't have regrets. ~William Thomas

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. ~G.K. Chesterton

I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's. ~Henry Moore

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. ~Thomas Mann

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. ~Mark Twain

Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time. ~Jean Paul Richter