Category Archives: family

Have You Met Murphy? He’s My New Roommate.

So, as you might know, today is our eighth wedding anniversary. Yay! And, you might ask, was it the grand experience of lovey-dovey-ness and general fabulosity that it should have been? Um….. no. Actually, it kinda sucked.


Not that our anniversary’s suckage is particularly surprising or anything. This, our eighth anniversary, marks yet another in a trend of bad anniversaries. How many have been bad, you ask? Well, all eight, of course! And here they are, in chronological order, for your reading pleasure.


Anniversary #1: We both had summer school finals the next day, so we ate our frozen wedding cake, said “Happy Anniversary. I love you! I can’t believe it’s been a year!” Yada, yada, yada… and we went back to studying.


Anniversary #2: We were in Chicago. This kind of sounds like a good thing, right? Well… we were sharing a hotel room with my in-laws. They are wonderful people, but not I-want-to-share-a-hotel-room-with-them-on-my-anniversary kind of wonderful.


Anniversary #3: Thomas was in Chicago in boot camp for the Navy. This was not the only anniversary ruined by the Navy.


Anniversary #4: Jewel had just arrived in the world 16 days earlier. There wasn’t a whole lot of sleeping going on. Or anything else for that matter.


Anniversary #5: This one was probably the least bad. Still, we couldn’t find a sitter, and we had to take Jewel with us for our night out. She was tired, cranky, and generally unpleasant to be around. So our nice, relaxing dinner out was not so nice. Or relaxing.


Anniversary #6: Navy again. This time Thomas was in Afghanistan on deployment.


Anniversary #7: I was horrendously pregnant. ‘Nuff said.


And finally, Anniversary #8: Our poor little Lane-girl is sick. She has a 103.7-degree fever, and she’s one unhappy girl. 😦


So, what are we planning to do to top off this fantabulous lovefest of a day? We are going to disassemble the pipes under the drain in the bathroom sink and scrape candle wax out of them. In my state of “walking disaster” clumsiness the other day, I tripped on the way to the trash can to empty out the tart burner (wax disc melting device), and I ended up accidentally pouring the wax down the drain instead. That was, incidentally, the same day I tried to take off my piggy toe with the front door. Yup. Smooth. Like buttah. That’s me.


There is an upside, though. These last eight years of marriage have been wonderful! Certainly the happiest years of my life. I am so blessed that my Nearest and Dearest and I fit together so perfectly. I can’t imagine spending the last eight years with anybody else. Here’s to many, many more joy-filled years!


Now, if we ever have a good anniversary, then I’ll start to worry.

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Well, we had a fantastic Christmas! We had the Hubcap’s (a.k.a. my husband) parents, Granny, and uncle up for Christmas along with my parents as well. After a great Christmas Eve service at my cousin and aunt’s church, the whole gang headed back to my cousin’s house for a sumptuous, scrumptious meal. My cuz is the hostess with the mostest. She went all out to make the evening an utterly enjoyable success. We had really great hors d’oeuvres and delectable main courses and side dishes, and we topped off the evening with a birthday cake for Jesus, complete with the Happy Birthday song. We elected not to try to fit a couple thousand candles on the cake, however. We even had entertainment. My cousin is the consummate storyteller. She can frequently send me to that really ugly laugh where I have tears rolling down my face and I can no longer control my manic, cackling grin. Not attractive in the least, but quite satisfying.


Christmas morning dawned bright and not early. I think we got things rolling around 8:30 or 9:00, which is pretty late for Christmas morning with a three-year-old. We did stockings and had cranberry orange pancakes (yum!), and then we created some serious chaos with present opening. After that, it was cookin’ time! We had Honeybaked ham, pear and parsnip sauce, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, and crème bruleè (sans bruleè) for dessert. We ended up with just the crème part after a major torch malfunction. We feared for our lives, set the torch outside, and tucked into our vanilla custard.


After a superb Christmas Eve and a first-rate Christmas, I had my own little Christmas miracle on Sunday. As my dad and I were moving the couch to hang a picture (which my brother drew) in the living room, my dad found a ring. A ring which just happens to have been lost for the last three-and-a-half-years. It is my wedding ring, the one that my nearest and dearest specially ordered in my size, as it is, in fact, a replica of his wedding ring. It is very special to us, and I lost it in the move to our current house in September of 2007. I could hardly believe my eyes when that little glimmer of gold turned out to be my long lost wedding ring.


Overall, we had a blessed Christmas, and I am looking forward to a blessed year ahead. I hope your Christmas was as happy as mine, and I hope your year ahead is filled with happiness as well.

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Filed under Christmas, family, ham, marriage, preschooler, wedding ring

Conversations with Jewel: The Coffee Bean

This is our morning ritual. As I put my medium roast beans into the grinder and get my machine ready to brew my morning cup of sugary wakefulness, I hear, “Smell, smell!” Every morning, Jewel loves for me to walk over to her, canister outstretched, and let her take in eau de caffé. The smell is usually succeeded by, “Mmm,” or “That smells good,” or something similar. This morning, however, my rather strong-willed little urchin said, “Can I have one? I want to try it.”


I was now faced with two options. I could have told her no because I know it’s disgusting, and then I would have spent the next umpteen mornings being hounded for a coffee bean (Did I mention she was strong-willed?). Or… I could let her have one, warn her that it’s gross, and let her learn a little something about the world. I might even be a little bit entertained by her response. Hmm… which one, which one. Of course I chose the second option.


So, I hand over a bean with, “Now Jewel, sweetie, coffee beans don’t taste very good by themselves. I don’t know if you really want to eat it.” She returned with, “I just want to try it.” And so she did. And she loved it! No, not really. She sputtered and spewed and made horrible faces to my heart’s content. And, of course, she learned something. Two somethings, in fact. One, when Mom says something is gross, she’s right. And two, coffee beans don’t taste very good.


Now, I’m not totally heartless. I helped her get her milk and clean the coffee bean out of her mouth and off her hands (and off the couch… mental note… don’t let her eat yucky stuff on upholstery). We talked about the experience, and I made sure she wasn’t traumatized. All in all, it was a very entertaining and educational morning. I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

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It’s a Nerd! It’s a Brain! It’s… My Husband!

So, guess where my dearest husband is at this very moment. If you guessed that he’s at a midnight showing of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, then you’re absolutely right! Okay, so you didn’t guess it, but that’s okay. Why would he be there, you may ask? Because he’s a nerd. He’s always been a nerd. He’ll always be a nerd. Yes, I knew he was a nerd long before I married him, and that’s okay with me. I’m quite fond of my Lego-loving, Star-Wars-quoting, History-teaching, Super Trekkie, in fact.


I’ve been married to my delightfully nerdy husband for almost seven years now (our anniversary is in a couple weeks), and I’ve been attached to him for about thirteen. That’s quite a chunk of my life considering I haven’t yet reached my thirtieth birthday. So, what have I learned about my heavenly hubby so far? To start, he is classically white. And I do mean white. I like to joke that his glowing white legs guided my way to him when the power went out one stormy evening, but it’s really not a joke. It’s a true story.


After his overwhelming whiteness, there’s his corny jokes. Upon seeing a passing hearse (empty, I hope), his comment was, “If the hearse has done this before, doesn’t that make it a re-hearse?” Feel free to groan and roll your eyes. I do. Frequently. Then there are the Star Wars quotes. So many Star Wars quotes! And who knew that lines from Star Wars could apply to so many situations? Apparently, I didn’t.


Even though my nearest and dearest revels in his extreme nerdy-ness, and he has more Legos than 10 or 15 entire families should have combined, I wouldn’t be without him. My nerd is the best husband, life partner, and father to our daughter (soon to be daughters) I could ask for. I am so blessed to have him in my life, and I think I’ll start telling him so more often.

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Smooooooth…ie

I’m psyching myself up. Why? Well, I’m going to make another blender full of green smoothie. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve made any, and up until a couple weeks ago, I was making them almost daily. They really do make me feel really good and full of energy. What happened the last time that made me reticent to try again? My blender exploded. Everywhere.


Okay, so it didn’t explode. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it did vomit profusely all over the counter and the cabinets (and me). Now, green smoothies are delicious and super healthy, but somehow, when you’re scrubbing pre-masticated spinach, greens, and fruit off of every surface imaginable in your kitchen (and sweetened with honey… nice and sticky), that fantastic smoothie seems just a little less satisfying. Oh, and I really loved hearing, “Mommy, you made a big mess!”


Ever since the spewage incident, I’ve been finding little dried splatters of vaguely greenish brown material in strikingly strange places (and it’s REALLY hard to get it off when it’s dry), so here’s a tip for those of you who are considering starting this wonderfully healthy habit: if your fancy high-speed blender is struggling to blend together so much frozen fruit, don’t open up that little cap in the top to add more liquid. Take the time to stop the blender, add liquid, stir it up a little bit, and then try again. It’s a surefire way to keep your blender happy and nausea-free.

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Just Call Me Switzerland: I’m in Neutral

As you might know from my last post (if you actually bother to read this stuff), my family and I went down to visit all of our folks this weekend. While we were happy to visit, and we haven’t been down in a while, the real purpose behind the trip was to acquire another vehicle. We’ve been a one car family for several months now, and it’s been alright, but a little inconvenient at times. So, what kind of vehicle did we bring back? We brought back an old, standard transmission, Ford Ranger.

This is a car with personality. Does it have air conditioning? Yes. Does the air conditioning work? No. It has some other quirks as well that come with a long and happy automotive life. No biggie. The real issue is the standard transmission. I have never driven anything but automatic, and neither has my hubby, although he had an unfortunate (and very brief) experience with a U-Haul truck a couple of years ago. May I just say that I would have paid good money to see him lurch his way home in that gigantic truck, going 25 on the freeway the whole way, but I digress.

Part of the deal of us taking the Ranger (from my in-laws) is that my father-in-law teach us both how to drive it. I feel for him, really. Of course, he regularly puts his life in God’s hands as a driver’s ed teacher anyway, so I guess we were in good company. And despite the lurching, dying, grinding, jerking, and peeling out (and the panic… can’t forget the panic), we did okay. My father-in-law has the true heart of a teacher, and for that I am truly grateful.

So, my dearest husband drove our new acquisition the six hours back home, and while every time we stopped for gas/food/potty break, he either killed it or peeled it out, he did a pretty good job for a beginner. Did I laugh heartily? Of course! Will he laugh at me when it’s my turn? Of course! If only he hadn’t locked the keys in it the minute we got back. *sigh* I guess it’s time to check out the subversive lock-picking skills of our neighbors.

The bottom line is this: we’re just happy to have another car that works, even if we have to kill it a few times on our way.

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This Omnivore’s Dilemma

As I sit here watching my charming child chow down on fried balls of corn, which are radioactive orange, freeze-dried and reconstituted, and then coated in a “cheese-like” powder, I feel a little guilty about giving my child “food” instead of wholesome, real food. Then, I rationalize and tell myself that she doesn’t get these things very often, so it’s more like a treat than nutrition. I know her body won’t see it the same way, but it’s nice to make myself think it anyway.


Between my gall bladder, my second pregnancy, and Jewel’s asthma and her allergies to milk and soy, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we eat here in America. The media (and all the fat people such as myself) bemoan fast food and obesity related illness, but then we proceed to turn off our brains and stuff our faces with all sorts of mystery “foods.” When did food start coming from factories instead of farms? And when did factories become acceptable sources of food? When did it become okay to have one real ingredient in a “food” and have the rest come from a lab somewhere? When we can’t even pronounce what’s in a food, then that ought to be a red flag, but we look at the pretty picture on the label, and it looks so good, so we ignore the adverse engineering and fill our bods with pseudo-food that is loaded with fat, sugar and salt. It’s food that completely lacks real nourishment and saps our energy and health. Sad, really.


As a way to get maximum nutrients with minimum time (and fat), I’ve started making green smoothies. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one, but they’re pretty fantastic. That is, if you upgrade your blender (the $15 Walmart version won’t work… believe me… it gets ugly). The main idea is blending greens and fruit together to make a tasty smoothie packed with super nutrition. I know it sounds disgusting, and I have to admit it does look pretty disgusting too (who doesn’t like gloopy brown food?), but it tastes really great, especially since we add local honey to ours to help with our allergies. I feel really good when I drink the smoothies, and I can tell a definite difference when I don’t. Even Jewel likes them, and she loves helping put the frozen fruit into the blender. The challenge is keeping her from eating it all before she puts it in.


I guess that’s all for my soap box today, and I’ll try to keep things on the lighter end from now on. Oh, and I think I’ll give Jewel a peach with her lunch. Maybe it’ll make up for the cheese balls just a little bit.

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Filed under family, green smoothie, marriage, nutrition, preschooler, toddler

Father Fodder

The hubby and I are headed down home to visit the parental units this coming weekend, and we’ll be there for Father’s Day. While my dearest and I tend to keep Mother’s Day and Father’s Day pretty low key, we usually go out for a nice meal and give each other a standard “Happy Mother’s/Father’s Day. You’re a really great Mom/Dad.” And so on and so forth. However, since we’ll be visiting both of our families this weekend, it would be nice to do something a little bit more. So, given our current gift-giving budget (i.e. nil, zip, zero), what could I possibly do for free? And what is it that I do best? You got it, cheesy poems! I figured a poem for each of the major dads in my life would be a good option. These are a bit beyond my usual cheese threshold (and a bit shy of my usual poetic standards), but that’s what holidays like Father’s Day are for. I know it’s a bit early, but I’ll share my queso-rific creations with you here:


For My Hubby


You’re stubborn and nerdy and at times quite annoying

But smart, thoughtful, loving and determined you are too

You’re so much fun to be with, your smile lights up my day

And for serving our country, I’m so proud of you


You’re the best Daddy Jewel could possibly have

She runs to you, laughing, when you come home at night

You’re part horse and part playmate as she giggles with glee

And she hugs you and kisses you when you tuck her in tight


For My Dad


You were cleaning your guns the first time he came over

My teenage self was mortified, I asked why

Pretending your timing was just coincidence

Your ploy didn’t work, but it was a nice try


Now he’s around for good, you’re a great dad-in-law

And you’re now the almighty and benevolent Pop

A super grandad for Jewel and her soon-to-be sister

In twenty-eight years of dad-hood, you’ve been at the top!


For My Dad-in-Law


Campers and coasters, cycles and scooters

To think, you take your life in your hands

But it’s not from all the adventuresome fun

But from teenagers and their testosterone glands


Fun and silliness you exude from your mouth

A better Grandpa is not anywhere to be found

From the backseat of the car everywhere we go

A thundering “I WANT GRANDPA!” does resound

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Underwear Everywhere!

I just have one question: is it normal for guys to have tons of underwear? I mean, really, isn’t it the gals who are supposed to have all the undies? Granted, a lot of it is for cute and/or sexy purposes, but we’re supposed to have all the clothes, right? Well, not so around here. My nearest and dearest has the market cornered in our house.


So, on the off chance that I don’t get laundry done (okay… make that regular event), he complains that he’s almost out of underwear. I can understand that. I mean, nothing says “I love you” like clean underwear, right? So I check his stocks. And I count. And I keep counting. And I count some more. How is 30 more pairs almost out?! I don’t have that many to start with! I guess it’s just like in the car when you hit the E on the gas gauge. E means 20 more miles, so why wouldn’t the E on the underwear drawer mean 30 more pairs?


My only consolation is this: when the nuclear war comes, and I’m instantly vaporized, my husband will have enough underwear to last through the apocalypse. He just might have to wash it himself.

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