Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and More Thoughts on Motherhood

I am recuperating from a BIG Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday night I went to the airport with Penny to pick up her ( and Brad's) cousin, Rosanna-from-Montana, and Rosanna's husband Michael and almost 3 month old baby Matthew... ( For some reason, I had a hard time getting their names straight. I would call the husband Matthew and the baby Michael. Why?! Blame it on the pregnancy. That's my excuse for everything these days. ) As the clock ticked towards midnight and Penny and I craned our necks to try and catch a glimpse of these folks that I had never met before and only one of whom she had met before ( the last time she saw Rosanna was something like twenty years ago) we contemplated doing a New Year's type countdown as 12:00 approached and then yelling,
" Happy Thanksgiviiiiiing!" when the moment struck...and throwing confetti, yelling, and wearing party hats.

Why DON'T we do that?

But anyway. We met them, ( Michael is 6' 9" so he was hard to miss...) and we all drove home. I got to bed around 2:30. A tired lil puppy I was. ( Did you know that the Wendy's drive-thru closes PROMPTLY at 1:00 a.m. sharp and even if you are inches away from the little ordering microphone when the hour rolls over, they will have no mercy on you...?! Come on! We were in LINE! MAN. We were cast into the outer darkness where there was much tummy-grumbling and gnashing of teeth. Not by me- but by the Hungry Montanans. No - not really- they were quite cheerful for being hungry.)

Thanksgiving was fun and delectable - and a bit cozy: 12 of us around a table made for 8 at Mom and Dad Pass's.

The nursery was finally completed - sort of, mostly, except for a minor wall decoration or two - in time for Matthew's arrival and I was so glad because it was put to good use. Over the weekend, I walked around with him and fed him and changed diapers ( and was... ahem ... unceremoniously "anointed" at one point - that'll teach me) so it was great experience. I called him my practice baby. It was a small but nevertheless enlightening foretaste of the intensity and all-consuming constancy of the early stages of motherhood. Oh my. I am already praying for grace. And Matthew was a GOOD baby. He's a heavy little chunk at 14 pounds, but he's a good baby.

One of the little neighbor girls was outside on the deck talking to Brad at one point this weekend and was a bit startled to look through the window and see me carrying a baby around. She said, " I thought he was supposed to come NEXT month!"

( A little parenthetical jaunt here: I am starting to be overwhelmed again at the necessary level of selflessness and risk involved in raising a child. You do EVERYTHING for this other person for literally YEARS and they grow up a little more and don't remember a bit of all you've done for them and no matter how good a parent you are, they develop into snotty, selfish, willful little rug-rat fleshpots who think they are The Boss and have no concept that they owe their existence to you, that you loved them sight unseen, before they had any concept of love, and you then try with all your might to shepherd them to the feet of God and nudge them down the path of sanctification. Hopefully the inevitable selfish child is just a stage that they will grow out of and become responsive, responsible, loving, wise, and mature but there are NO guarantees. Okay- yes, I know there are many joys along the way- I'm not TRYING to be an Eeyore/Ichabod/Doubting Thomas - but you run the risk that this person, who you have poured so much into, could grow into an adult who turns around and adopts ideas and behaviors that could disappoint you, break your heart... and then they could grow distant from you and misunderstand you and choose to reject you. Huh. So... * big revelation of the year*: I guess you kind of HAVE to trust God. This is what HE goes through with His children all the time. It makes me want to run and give my parents BIG HUGS. Well, you're probably reading this, Daddy and Mama, so consider yourself virtually HUGGED. And next time I see you, I'll give you a real one. Thankyou for taking the risk of bringing me into the world and raising me.)

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was on Friday when we had a small crowd gather at our house in the evening. After dinner, Brad started a bonfire in our fire pit and people filtered down to our backyard...and more people came along ... like Jeff and Fritter, Frank, Roy, Nate and Pen, Joe and Helen...and Cousin KJ was already here...Anyway- a jolly time was had by all...( I think) ( maybe everyone was just pretending) and after a while people filtered back into the house and played games and fellowsheeped until the wee hours.

It was nice to get to know Rosanna; she is Brad's only cousin on his father's side. It's not often I meet family members that close for the first time who aren't babies. We had several really good talks.

So there's my Thanksgiving weekend in a nutshell. Brad and I were talking about how Thanksgiving was the last big thing standing between us and the arrival of the baby. Now, Thanksgiving's gone...Next stop: Baby. I wonder when it's going to finally become real to me. Probably about the time I start screaming for the epidural.

I feel like I'm walking blindfolded across a field and I know there's a big cliff coming up, but I'm not sure where it is exactly. But I know I am going to step over the edge...and I really have very little idea of what I will find and what life will be like after the plunge. It will be the culmination of that first startling realization that I was going to have a baby: the moment I saw the test, I felt like the world exploded. I can not imagine what seeing him in the flesh is going to be like.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Warning: Use more Sugar if you make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. I forgot that since I was using a Light and Tasty recipe it would be a healthier version sugar-wise, not just cream-cheese wise. It calls for 3/4 cup sugar and it needs about another cup, if you are going the whole hog, unhealthy version. I learned this the hard way; I made them for Brad yesterday, but I was underwhelmed with the results. OH well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

My top three "thankful fors" are: my son, my job, and my Brad...not necessarily in that order. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Various and Sundry Things That Have Made me Happy Recently...

- one of my best yardsale bargains ever: a new-ish dryer! I WIN! It is SO unbelievable and wonderful to have a load of clothes dry in an hour! I feel like doing laundry just for FUN now! Kudos to Brad for picking it up and installing it all before I even got home from my Friday morning foray...( Brad can do ANYthing - install dryers, fix toilets, fix cars, fix computers, set up a crib, research the best deals on anything, run faster than a speeding bullet...I even have faith that he will learn how to change a diaper. Oh - speaking of which, you should have seen his face the other day when I told him that usually kids don't get potty-trained until they're 3, or maybe even in some cases 4. It was hiLARious. He was practically pop-eyed that we were going to be changing this kid's diapers until at least 2011. And then, if we have another one...)

- a baby gift all the way from N.H. from Lindsay - a Boston Red Sox 101 book ( "the required primer for every Red Sox fan.") SO CUTE! Thanks, Lindsay! I was utterly charmed...

- while visiting Penny tonight, the baby started moving crazily and we watched my belly spasmodically heaving to and fro...Penny said, " It looks like it's from that movie Aliens!" ( I'm sort of paraphrasing I think) And I laughed so hard that my right contact fell out of my eye.

- talking to Steve J. after church today about all the famous people he's met that have come through the ATL airport. ( He works in security there.) Keifer Sutherland, and Samuel L. Jackson, just to name two that I remember him mentioning...

- I thiiiiink we're getting a new car...but more on that later. If it happens. :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar Recipe

Several peeps have expressed an interest in the pumpkin cheesecake recipe that I mentioned I saw in my Light & Tasty mag. Now, this is NOT the Olive Garden's recipe - I couldn't really find a satisfactory result when I googled it - and I have not tried this recipe but how could you go seriously wrong here? Just note- they're baaaaaaaars - not actual caaaaaake... But whatever. I'm sure you could make it round and slice it into traditional pie shaped pieces if'n you wanted. And feel free to go whole hog and buy the full fat version of this stuff...It's Thanksgiving! The Pilgrims didn't have "fat-free" or "reduced fat" ANYTHING. To be authentic, let the hardening of the arteries begin!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup reduced-fat butter, melted ( This IS from Light & Tasty, remember?)


2 packages ( 8 oz each) reduced fat cream cheese ( or fully fat cr. cheese, if you want to walk on the wild side)

1 package ( 8 oz) fat free cream cheese ( see above)

3/4 cup sugar

1 can ( 15 oz) solid pack pumpkin

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs, slightly beaten

20 walnut halves ( or pecan halves, since walnuts are like eating wadded up paper)

In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9x13x2 in. baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for @ least 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheeses and sugar until smoooooth. Beat in the punkin, flour, pie spice and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust.

Bake @ 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hrs or overnight. Cut cheesecake into 20 bars and top each with a walnut ( or pecan) half.

If you want the Nutrition Facts, I've got those too, including the Diabetic exchanges!

If somebody makes these, let me know how they turn out. I am not planning on making them myself - at least not for T-giving, but Brad might...He is working on Thanksgiving afternoon
( insert pouting here) and his coworkers at the jail are bringing in various foods to feast upon and he thinks he might try his hand at something like this...but who knows if I will get a taste of it or not...before he whisks it away to be consumed by his brethren and sistren of law enforcement.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

News typed by my still puffy fingers

(...and I've noticed too that my ankles are starting to surge out into larger dimensions ... reminiscent of an elderly person. Ack. I am starting to lose recognition of my own body. That person in the mirror isn't ME!!)

The nursery is taking shape! The changing table is now assembled; bring on the dirty diapers! Brad has touched up some of the paint on the walls! Further bulletins as events warrant!

And Thursday afternoon, Brad and I took a tour of the hospital where the baby will be born and learned some helpful information. I'm glad that at least now he knows where the hospital is. Could be useful knowledge at some point soon.

And then on the way home, we decided to go to Olive Garden, to continue the date night. Well, we almost didn't get there. Um...this was in an area that we don't usually go to eat out and it had been a while since I was up there. I was convinced that this particular O.G. was in a certain location...and Brad was convinced that it was in the opposite direction. Since I was driving, I went MY way. I was so looking forward to pulling into the parking lot and giving myself over to gloating over the fact that I was right and he was wrong.

Except I was wrong. HE was right. It was a very disconcerting feeling. But he was quite gracious.

And we had a simply fa-haa- haaaabulous meal. Oh. My. Word. It was SO good. And helped by the fact that we were both ravenous. Hunger is the best sauce, as they say.

And then, for dessert: we shared a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. With whipped cream, drizzled caramel, and crumbled ginger snaps on top. Oh, THIS was a dessert to shame all other desserts. This was a dessert for the ages. This was total spoilage for everyday life. This was like my tongue dying and going to heaven and looking back on all that I had eaten in the past, during my earth-life, and rightly judging it all to be chaff. My tastebuds rejoiced in utter ecstasy, saying, "THIS was what I was CREATED to eat!" It was like I was on a higher plane of existence. Sigh. Who knew pumpkin cheesecake could be so powerful?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My finger's finally free!

Just so you can all rest easy, I got my wedding band cut off this morning at a jewelry store. It was weird. My hand breathed a little sigh of relief... although there is still a distinct mark indented in my skin where my symbol of eternal devotion used to rest. What's really strange is that my right hand hurts more than my left hand, and I have no rings on my right at all...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Victory! ( Sort of...At least, halfway.)

After two days of agony, ( okay- not continuous agony...but repeated stretches) I finally got one ring off my swollen hand by using what I like to call The Pentecostal Vegetarian method...You know- hand in the air, clutching a bag of frozen vegetables - elevation and cold to reduce the swelling. That plus various slippery substances eventually got Grandma's engagement ring right up underneath my knuckle after an hour or so of gwunting and stwuggling ... and then I used dishsoap in a sink full of warm water...and even PAST my knuckle it STILL wouldn't come free - my stupid fat piggy was THAT bloated. MAN! I was so mad at my own flesh. I was making enough noise that it probably sounded like I was a pioneer woman in labor. My finger looked very scary - purple, white and mutilated...But fiiiiinally it came off. Oh my woooooord. I may never wear that lovely ring again.

I think Stan is a little freaked out at me tonight... He can't figure out why I've been walking around the house with my arm ( and sometimes both arms) in the air, carrying a frozen bag half filled with Bird's Eye Stirfry Vegetables, producing unearthly groans.

Now I just have my wedding band to go. But let's save that for another day. Sufficient unto today is the suffering thereof.