Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Paddy!

In January of 1987 if you would have predicted that I would be married to and have two adorable children with the wonderfully complex man that I call Paddy I do believe I would have been quite surprised. The man I wooed with Hostess Ding Dongs finally, after seven years of dating, decided he might want to spend the rest of his life with me. There have been over twenty birthdays we have celebrated together, me and my renaissance man. We're closing in on being together longer than we have been single. During this time we have witnessed the best in each other and the worst in each other. And through it all we honor the commitment we made to one another in 1993. So here's to Patrick who challenges me to be my best whether I like it not...who has given me opportunities to see the world...who has loved me to the best of his ability through my not so gracious stretches...and who continues to hold my hand in our little house in this little town. I'm so glad you were born 43 years ago today. Good job Ceil and Dan. Happy birthday, sweetheart.
Happy Birthday Patrick
Happy Birthday Paddy!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Our first South Carolina Snow
Well, it is officially winter in South Carolina now. On the day of the Inauguration we got a two hour school delay because of this snow. Of course it was all gone by the afternoon. In true Gavin style he refused to wear a winter coat to school. Anna was hoping to build a snowman. Clearly her ability to measure hasn't kicked in yet. By tomorrow we'll be back in the low sixties. Oh well, it was pretty while it lasted.
Snow!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

May the Force be with you...

Gavin's 8th birthday
...and any other parent who is throwing their child a birthday party. It's crazy...I am crazy...I need therapy. Martha Stewart has ruined me for life because it all started with her. She made it look so damn easy and convinced me it was. And not only that, convinced me that it was a good thing. Soon so many things became a necessary good thing. Where did that come from? And how did I become such a person that would get sucked into such a thing? Well, what I know about myself is this:
  • I have always had champagne taste and beer money.
  • I want my children to have good memories of birthdays & holidays.
  • I love being creative.

So some cable network needs to hire me to do a show called, "On the cheap" because I've got it down to almost a science. I was going to write I had it down to a science but I really have to leave that recognition to Kevin and second runner up, Erin. I come in third definitely. But they inspire me to keep being cheaper yet maintain my dignity. Thus we come to Gavin's birthday party.

Until now, we've lived in a city...a real city. When one aspires to have the perfect birthday party one must live in a real city...even one in the Midwest will do...or plan very far ahead. I wasn't asking for much...a little star confetti, a black table cloth, and some plain cellophane bags. But what I got was big stars, clearanced black material and blue paper bags. These things along with some "Clone Wars" napkins, two Star Wars figurines, and a "Clone Wars" poster became the decorations for the party. Certainly no "tablescape" here. What a terrible word I might add. I cringe every time I hear Sandra Lee on Semi-Homemade Cooking utter the word. I swear she is a poster child for Stepford Wives.

As most of you know, our house is little. Our house is a very very very fine house but it is getting smaller by the minute. Not a house for an eight year old boy's birthday party. So our kind friends Michael and Karen offered to let us host the party at their house. Not only that but Michael creates the most kick a** pizzas that he offered to make for the party. Yummmm. All I had to do now was invitations, goody bags and cake.

Gavin, as you can tell by the pictures and possibly, some of this post, wanted a Star Wars party. So I decided to make it a Jedi Training Academy party. We invited four padawans and their parents. They became Jedi Knights after two training sessions. The first was light saber training where they had to keep a balloon up with a light saber. The one who did it the longest won. The second training was decoding a secret message sent from the Jedi Council by finding asteroids (aluminum foil balls) and finding the hidden word inside the asteroid. The message was, "It is now time to eat cake!".

The cake was along the theme of the Light and Dark side. So I used Wilton's Fanci-fill cake pan and made a chocolate cake with white mint chocolate chip ice cream. I iced one side with chocolate icing and the other half with white icing. You can see in the picture above where Gavin is looking like he is training for the Dark side the finished cake. I also made edible light sabers by dipping pretzel rods in red or blue colored white chocolate and wrapping the other end in foil. They were fun and tasty too!

Best of all, the adults got to drink wine and have adult conversation. The kids seemed content to play with one another, sing "Happy Birthday", eat a little cake, open a couple presents, get goody bags, and then play some more. We were all home by 7:30 p.m. and the only thing that got broken was a wine glass by an errant light saber swing by an inexperienced padawan.

All this was fun and celebrated my oldest son's birth. But there were many moments throughout the day where he would lament the people missing that he loves so much. So know dear readers that many of you are loved fiercely by an eight year old boy of very few words but a very big heart. The Force is definitely with him.
May the Force be with you...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

For my friends and family who have youngins'

As you may know, my morning routine includes checking out some of my favorite blogs. Since we are all bargain hunters and you are all in Indiana, I thought its time to let you in on this blog, Bargain Briana. She's a central Indiana mom who'll do the dirty work for you of letting you know where to get items inexpensively and sometimes even free! Plus, she does giveaways...which I personally am a little crazed about right now. The current giveaway is a pair of shoes from Eleven Collection. They are classic and fashion forward all at the same time. If you want to try to win a pair just click on Bargain Briana. Once you are at her blog read the review for instructions on how to enter. Have fun!!
For my friends and family who have youngins'SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wait a minute...

I have discovered something. Yesterday when I clicked the "publish post" button, Kismet took on a little life of its own. After publishing a post I usually will review it one last time on the blog itself. But I can't take it back (at least not to those who subscribe). Now, don't get me wrong. I haven't written anything in my blog that I would take back. One thing that I have learned from years of being a therapist, a 12 stepper, and a Quaker is to let your life speak. There is personal power in speaking and living your truth. That being said, how I live and speak my truth is also something I must sit with and wait a minute (or two or three) before moving forward. What I publish (so weird to write that word when it's just a "click") is read mostly by people I know and love. So after clicking yesterday it came to me that I have many girlfriends that may think to themselves, "Am I not sister material?". And my answer to that is "Of course you are!" but I clicked too quickly to acknowledge all my chosen sisters. And I am sure I have clicked too quickly, spoken too quickly and acted too quickly on many other occasions. Sometimes I am made aware of my missteps and can make amends. But other times people can remain silent and I, many times, am unaware of how my own choices have affected other people. This is when I ask you to speak your truth. As painful as that may be to me it is your truth. And just as I hope you can honor my truth as mine, please give me the gift of being able to honor your truth as yours.
Wait a minute...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Is it a new word for some of you? It's one of my faves and I use it whenever I have the chance (I wish Jonathan were here so I could hear him say his famous quote...sorry, inside joke). We were given the chance when the Miller's of Indianapolis visited their family in Columbia, South Carolina during the holidays. Kismet brought us together, for on their way home they have passed the Clinton exit year after year. This year was different however. Given that their good friends, namely us, were now living in Clinton they mapquested us and took that exit. It was our good fortune to have them hang out with us for the day. The boys got to try out Gav's new Nerf gun set. The safety goggles make the picture don't you think?
My creation
We got to see Grace's new fangled buttons. After oooing and ahhing over her artistic creations, we all had a yummy lunch made by the Soup and Bread King himself, Patrick Kiley. On the menu was a fabulous red lentil soup from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. If you don't have this cookbook I highly recommend it. Yummy easy recipes that are actually healthy too! Who knew that could actually be the case?

I got to give my good girlfriend Ellen a quick tour of the town and the houses we haven't bought. We both decided we'd make great neighbors. I have yet ("yet" being the operative word) to convince them that moving down here is the right thing to do for their family.

I pulled out the camera after lunch knowing that I wanted to get them on the blog. Their high schooler, Grace, one of my favorite teenagers, doesn't like the camera. Please accept my humble apology my dear Grace for sneaking a blurry picture of you. A photo of you with your hand in front of your face just wouldn't commemorate your visit here to our little house. Did you know I was a fortune teller too Grace?
My creation

Well the afternoon was coming to a close and my camera was acting up. I rarely get in front of the camera but had to get a photo of me and Ellen. She has literally stuck with me through thick and thin. I love her like a sister. In fact, I am officially making her my older sister as of this post! I've always longed for an older sister and never had the chance, uh, given that I was the oldest in my family. So here's to you big sis...lylas!
Kismet!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Past

My creation
Christmas 2008 is past but it is now counted as one of my significant Christmas memories. This is, of course, because it was our first Christmas holiday in our little house in South Carolina and Santa's first geographically challenged Christmas for our kids. I'm happy to report we all survived it.

With our little Honda Civic packed to the gunnels we headed to the Hoosier state early early one morning. When we left our little house it was 68 degrees and when we arrived in Indiana the wind chill was 14 degrees below zero. Welcome home! When Anna got out of the car Grandma asked her how the nine hour drive was. "I just couldn't take it anymore!" was her gracious reply.

After unpacking the car (I think I heard it breathe a sigh of relief) Mom and I immediately headed to Wal-mart. Because nothing says welcome to Shelbyville like a trip to Wal-mart. Actually, the real story is that "Santa" forgot to pack a significant gift for Gavin and had to get a replacement. All I can say is thank heavens Amazon's return process is so simple; it made Santa's job so much easier when she, er, I mean, he got back.

After that little trip then Christmas in Indiana officially started. We began by heading to the Indiana State Museum. Actually, Patrick and the kids headed there and I had lunch with my previous Wellpoint co-workers. It was like I had never left...except the no paycheck thingy. Well, all the cousins met at the museum and the cousining began. And it truly didn't stop until we got back into the Honda Civic to head back home.

The next day was spent with friends we love dearly. We had great food and great conversation (as always). Our kids and theirs reunited beautifully and didn't want it to end when we had to head back to Grandma's and Grandpa's because of the impending ice storm...again, another little lovely Hoosier Christmas gift.

It was about that time that I began feeling it; the combination of comfort and grief. I wasn't sure what it was all about so I just sat with it a while. Then I realized I was surrounded once again by everything and everyone that is familiar to me. I didn't miss the malls or the Starbucks or the amazing library system (well, maybe that). It was the familiarity of the life I left behind that brought me comfort and grief all at the same time. All I can say is that there is better living through chemicals, my friends.

Christmas eve came and Elfie headed back home to the North Pole leaving Christmas pajamas for all as a parting gift. Cookies were baked and thank you notes to Santa written. And off to bed where sugar plums danced in their heads until about 5 a.m. Christmas morning. Then it was cajoling the oldest to wait until at least six before we headed downstairs to see what Santa left. Jeez, you would have thought he was a seven year old boy the way he was acting!

Santa left toys that seemed to make the little ones happy. And soon Uncle Sean, Aunt Cindy and the boys arrived. Serious cousining began and didn't stop until the evening. Presents were opened, food eaten, cookies stolen, and the boys were in remote control heaven. We all were wiped out...even the dog, Molly. It's hard to believe the next time we see Cindy and Sean they will have added a new baby to their family. I'll miss seeing her tummy grow.

The next day Gavin got to spend the night with his cousins Jacob and Ella. He told us on the way there that he wished Jacob was his brother he loved him so much. Oh, that made my heart hurt with love. After dropping Gavin off we headed to Aunt E-E's so the little ones could have some cousining of their own. The grownups made some serious yummy white chili and enjoyed one another's company.

And then the Kiley Christmas. More cousining - - much louder cousining - -and delicious food prepared by the famous Kevin and family. What gracious and generous hosts they are. The kids got some great gifts. Anna has officially been indoctrinated into American Girl with twin Bitty Babies given to her by Aunt Laurie and Uncle Kevin. And Gavin keeps rockin' out to his guitar hero from Aunt E-E and Uncle Scott. All of us keep looking at the family pics calendar Cece gave us.

Our time together seemed so short and it seems so long before we'll see you all again. But remember we have unlimited long distance calling, a webcam (that we actually know how to use...I think)and loads of time to talk, gossip, and laugh at one another. We'll talk soon. In the mean time we're grateful for the best gift we received this Christmas, time with our family and friends.
Christmas PastSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

We're back from the frigid Midwest and far from the people we love and hold dear. Just a quick post to say how much we loved being with our family and friends. And to those we were unable to see this time, know that it doesn't mean we love you any less. Time is something we took for granted when we were geographically close to one another. My hope for the new year is to take less for granted and to have more gratitude. Oh, and to spend an extended amount of time in the Hoosier state in the summer. Until then, you are always welcome to squat at our little house or the Patrick Center at PC can house you nicely and reasonably. Yes, it is called the Patrick Center. We were destined to be here I guess.
Happy New Year!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend