Monthly Archives: October 2008

As stay at home parents we are in a unique situation.  Our job takes place in our homes without the presence of bosses or coworkers.  Yes, we have friends and family, but really the only people who we really interact with in our jobs are our kids.  And the only outside person who really sees us in our jobs is our spouse.

This creates a lack of job performance recognition.  I have been feeling undervalued lately.  This is a rough time for us and although we are very lucky and blessed in our life, we are struggling right now.   

Although it is a lot of pressure, all the responsibility for lifting me up and making me feel valued and validated falls on my husband and this is a little much for him, I think.  Unfortunately, there is no one else to help carry this burden.  It is his to bear, and I am sorry for that.

I tried to give him an analogy to help him to understand.  I asked him to imagine that he went to work every day and no one there ever said he was doing a good job.  It would be awful for him, and I think that it helped him to see the reality of the situation.  This is our job and validation for being good at our job is just as important for us as it is for anyone else.

Unfortunately, now that I have spoken about it, we now struggle with how to provide me with the support I need without his compliments or statements sounding contrived and trite.  

The great thing is that we can have this conversation at all.  I feel very fortunate that I feel safe enough and loved enough that I can say that I need more from him.  That says a lot about the strength of our relationship.  Many don’t have this situation and live alone with all this.

There is this catch 22 about being a stay at home parent.   At least for me, i feel guilty if I complain at all.  I made this choice and I am very grateful for it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have hard days, days that I wish I could crawl into bed and not get out till next week.  When you have a job outside the home, you come home and discuss the things that are going well and the things that are hard at work.  But when I do, i feel guilty.  I feel guilty for not enjoying every moment with my children, guilty for complaining about a choice that has been a huge sacrifice for our family, guilty for wanting more for myself.  And in response I usually get the suggestion that I go back to work.

I don’t need to go back to work, I need two days by a pool with a foofy umbrella drink or ten.

It is impossible for those not staying home to fully understand the joys and trials that we face every day. There are moments of pure bliss and moments when you feel like you have completely lost all value and substance.  It is equally impossible for us to fully understand the stresses that working moms face trying to be and do it all and not feel like they are doing any of it very well.

The hard fact is that being a parent is hard.  It just is.

We need to support one another, husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend.  We need to be compassionate and lift each other up and be there for each other, even if we aren’t all the same or make the same choices or parent the same way.  

Hugs and kisses and flowers and all that crap.

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new couches.  They should be here between 1:30 and 3:30 today.

Of course, right in the middle of nap time.  Send your positive thoughts that Ian will get some sort of a nap today. I am hoping they call at 1:00 and say they are are on their way and then I can just keep him up until after they leave.   Here’s crossing our fingers.

Pella has also had a big day.  Since we are getting brand new beautiful couches, it goes without saying that Pella will no longer be invited to sit on them.  But, our sweet boy is big and bony (rotty x great dane mix) and needs someplace extra comfy to sit to preserve his joints.  He has also been spoiled his whole life with his own spot on the couch, which resulted in a ruined couch and seating for two.

Anyway, our spoiled pooch has just received in the mail today his very own dog couch.  We did much research and chose the Bowser Double Donut – Extra Large in Chocolate Bones.  Although quite spendy (much more reasonable in the smaller sizes), it received the best reviews for both dog comfort and durability.  I did read that it is not chew proof though, but we don’t have that issue.

Upon its arrival, Pella immediated layed down in it and has refused to move since.  He didn’t even let me fluff it up after taking it out of the box and so in the picture below his is all slumped down in the back of the bed, making it appear even more gigantic than it actually is.

 Pella's New Couch

Isn’t he sweet?  He is a happy camper and that is all I could hope for him in making this difficult transition.

Now, we all know where my politics lie, but I have to comment on this whole deal about Sarah Palin’s 100k wardrobe.

I really don’t see why everyone is making such a big deal about this.

I do see the hypocritical air of having such an extensive clothing allowance while preaching to everyone her down home flair and beating up Obama for being an elitist.  I don’t know many wives of Joe six pack that shop at Nieman Marcus.  

But with that said, I have a completely different take on this.  The Republican National Committee is a marketing machine.  Their job is to market their candidate to the best of their ability.  Sarah Palin looking flawless and representing their brand is a very important part of all that.  

They have spent a good amount of time and money on making her appear ultra polished and professional, while still looking simple and understated as to appeal to the broadest audience.

This was a cheap solution to a very significant problem for them.  They couldn’t very well put her up their in her hockey mom garb now could they.  And you don’t hear everyone complaining about the millions of dollars they spend every week on hate ads, voter suppression and racist propaganda (oops, did I say that out loud).

The ROI is through the roof on this investment and I think it is as simple as that.

And just as a reminder…

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It still gives me chills.

My father in law was here this weekend and we were watching the baseball playoffs.  I am not a baseball fan so much.  I’m more of a basketball fan.  Don’t get me started on the Sonics.  I digress.

Anyway, we’re watching the game and the announcer says the name ‘Coco Crisp’.  I’m like ‘Woah Woah, what did he say?’ and my father in law is like ‘yeah, that’s his name’.

My first thought was ‘Who names their kid that?’ and then I started thinking about a girl I knew when I was a child.  A friend of mine had a little sister named Ginger Snapp.

I did find out that Coco’s real name is Covelli and that kids teased him as a child calling him Cocoa Crispies, but that when he started playing professional baseball, the name Coco Crisp just stuck (The Boston Globe).  Guess we can’t blame his parents for that one.

But, like my childhood friend’s parents, there are many who do name their children these things.  I can’t help but wonder why?  Are they trying to set their kids up to be teased and harassed their entire childhoods?  As a parent, I just can’t believe that is the case.  But then why?

Do you know or know of anyone with such a name or have any insight on what would drive a parent to choose such a name?  I would love to hear your take.

I can not seem to get a grasp on what is up with me these days. I have had a lot more energy lately, easily keeping the house clean, playing with the kids, even reupholstering my dining room chairs. But this week, I just feel uninspired.

I have felt really self conscious this week, second guessing everything that comes out of my mouth, feeling like everyone in the room thinks I’m a total idiot.

My therapist says that it could be premenstrual, that many women feel that way before our favorite time of the month. This is not an unfamiliar feeling for me, but I never tied it to that before. The timing is right, any day now. We’ll have to see if it goes away afterwards.

I guess this could explain why I am not inspired or motivated to write or work this week. If I say anything or build anything or design anything, I will have to spend the next several hours or days wondering if what I said or did was right or offending or if someone is going to think poorly of me because of it.

Why is it that I just can’t sit comfortably with myself? Why do I worry so much about what others think, while at the same time repeating to myself how little others opinions matter to me.

I know that I am not the type of person that everyone likes. I am not bubbly or outgoing and I don’t play the mommy social game well. But, why is it that I have such a hard time meeting and making friends with other moms. Probably because I am so damn self conscious or do I think that because I’m self conscious? Where did that come from?

See, so uninspired, nothing but blathering to contribute. God, could I be more self deprecating.

I’ll be back once I’m done feeling sorry for myself.

I have a confession to make.  I collect exercise paraphernalia.  I am one of those people.  I see some new piece of exercise equipment or workout video and I fall right into it’s trap and before you know it, it is in my living room.   Yes, I even had a Tony Little Gazelle at one point.  I’m so ashamed.  It’s a good thing my house isn’t bigger or things might get ugly.

I have made a vow that at some point I am going to create the ultimate workout, incorporating them all.  Maybe it will make me millions.  I could make quite the circuit workout using the circular floor plan of my house. Hmmm, that’s a thought.

In the meantime, I have just discovered an alternative and fantastic use for all this crap.  This morning I pulled out the mini trampoline, which I actually do use while watching tv.  It’s fun, what can I say.

By the way, have you caught the The Starter Wife mini series that led to the new tv series on USA.  I ran across it Monday morning by accident and I have to say, I really like it.  I think I am going to tivo the series even though I can’t imaging having more TV I feel obligated to watch.  No wonder I’m so fat.

Anyway, I digress.  So,  I am making lunch for the kids after preschool today and all of a sudden the wining for food and milk and crackers and “I’m hungry” and “When’s lunch” etc.  came to a halt and all I could hear was laughing coming from the living room.

This, I had to check out.  What did I find?  Ian was happily bouncing on the mini trampoline and Ada had turned over the Bosu Ball in the trampoline’s spot in the corner and was balancing, struggling, falling off and trying again.  I also saw the pilates ball that they love to roll around and chase, usually leading to them chasing each other and the bands which make for great, if not a little dangerous, tug of war ropes.  It was a little bit of an aha moment.

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This stuff may go to good use after all.  See, I live in Seattle and if you know nothing else about Seattle, you probably know that it rains a lot here.  And I mean a lot.  It is cloudy and dreary and a stay inside day here more days than not.  Why do we live here?  You got me?  No really,  there are lots of really great things about living in Seattle, the weather just isn’t one of them.

Anyway,  heading into the winter months with small kids has to have all Seattle moms a little nervous.  Without the backyard or neighborhood park at our disposal, how do you keep the kids and yourself from going completely stir crazy?  Well, I think that I may have just found myself a solution.

The exercise equipment playground has erected itself in our living room.  A little messy?  yeah.  A little rambunctious?  Yeah, but just for a little while and the tired satisfied look of children that just had a good romp and now are ready for a nice long nap is priceless and worth an hour of chaos any day.

And you know the best part? I can’t wait to play with them.  Exercise and family fun for everyone. Ahhhh.

We are in the process of completely redecorating our living/dining room.  This is a huge deal for us as we have seating for two plus the dog, our furniture is old and ratty and I just never have felt like we truly moved into this house.  When we bought our house seven years ago, we took on a huge home improvement project.  We did a ton of work, all of it ourselves with the help of our amazing friends.

We lived in a construction zone for six months and when the house got to a point where we could finally live in it, we just stopped.  There was much left to do, but we just didn’t feel like it any more and decorating and finishing touches just didn’t take priority.  Over the years we have accomplished much, from a remodeling stand point, but now it is time to make this house a home.  I want throw pillows and soft fabrics and coordinating furniture and really just a place that our friends and family as well as our selves can feel comfortable.

Our couches are on order and should arrive in about a month.  We ordered them back in August and it seems like they are taking forever, but it takes a while.  Nine to eleven weeks in our case.

So in the meantime we have a lot to take care of.  We thought about buying a new dining room set, but decided that with two small children that would be a terrible idea.  They are just too hard on things and although our dining room set isn’t exactly what we would like, unlike our couch (or should I say glorified dog bed), it works just fine for our current circumstances.

So, for about $150 I bought all the materials to reupholster the dining room chairs.

Although I do sew, this is something I have no experience doing, so I went out online and looked for instructions.  There are lots of options, but these seemed to be the simplest and easiest to understand.

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This was much easier to do than I expected.  I would say each chair, including a detailed cleaning with a wood cleaner and polisher, took me about an hour.  

Here are the before pictures.  They don’t do justice to how stained and dirty the fabric on these chairs is. They are dingy, greying and terribly stained.  The chair in this photo has a water stain the size of a cantelope in the middle.  This dining room set belonged to my grandmother and is from the 40s, but my mom says that she redid the seats several times.  

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Because I don’t know what the original fabric looked like, I tried to stick with something similar to what my grandmother had used, assuming that she was at least somewhat true to the style of the set.  I chose a fabric with a green undertone and gold overtones to coordinate with the walls and curtains.  

When we chose the couch colors (slate blue/grey and chocolate brown), we didn’t really think about how warm the rest of our things were, so our color pallet is a little unconventional.  But, I have done some color coordinating with photoshop and I actually think it is going to look nice.  

I also want to increase the padding in the chairs as they weren’t very comfortable, so I added a piece of foam under that batting.

Here are the after photos.  I am really pleased with how they turned out.

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Many years ago we attended our friend’s wedding in Mexico.  She is from there and her family threw a great day after the wedding party at a local beach resort.  They served a soup call Pozole.  It was made with pork and hominy and served with a variety of condiments and seasonings.

I have also always enjoyed tortilla soup, but had never really attempted to make it.  I liked the idea of tortillas in soup but didn’t like how they got all mushy and I am always looking for ways to use left over roasted chicken.  I also loved the idea of a basic soup base with all the acoutremonts served on the side like with Pozole.  

So I decided to combine all the things I liked about both soups into one tasty bowl of goodness.  

Tortilla Soup

Makes 2 meal size servings or 4 side servings

4 Cups of chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T fresh jalapeno, minced

5 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup chicken breast
1/4 cup onion, diced

cilantro, chopped
dried oregano
chili powder
hot sauce
minced jalapeno
chopped tomato
chopped avocado

Mix broth, garlic and 1 T jalapeno in a medium saucepan. Heat on med to med high heat. You want to bring it to a soft boil. Not too much, but more than a simmer. Let this go until the broth has reduced by almost half (15-20 min) and then turn to low and let simmer until ready to serve.

Before serving, taste the broth.  If it is too bland, you can reduce some more or add a little chicken bouillon. Reduce more if there is still more broth than you need or add bouillon if not. If it is too rich, then add a little water or broth until it is to your liking.

While the broth is cooking, complete the rest of the soup.

To make the tortilla chips, heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until the oil is nice and hot. Add the corn tortilla strips and spread out evenly around the pad. Let cook for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn the strips. It should take 5-7 minutes to cook the chips to crisp and golden brown, turning more and more as the time goes by. At the end you are probably continuously turning.

When they are done, use the tongs to remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Salt generously right away before they cool even a little, toss to coat salt and set aside.

Just don’t expect these to be perfect the first time, it can take a little practice to get them just right. It is so worth it to make your own chips though, they stay crisp in the soup and are so much tastier than any store bought you will find.

As a side note, you could make these chips in any shape for any purpose. They are awesome with guacamole. Yummm!

Get the soup bowls you will be serving out and place a couple of tablespoons of diced onion and 1 teaspoon of fresh minced jalapeno in the each bowl. If you don’t want it spicy, omit fresh jalapeno.

This is a great meal to use left over chicken with. Simply shred it up and put about 1/2 cup in the bottom of each bowl with the onion and jalapeno.

If you don’t have left over chicken, just cube the raw chicken breast and saute it with a teaspoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Then add to bowls as stated above.

Place the cilantro, tomato and avocado either separately in small serving dishes or together on a plate to be put on the table. You will also need to put the chili powder and dried oregano jars on the table along with your favorite Mexican hot sauce. These can then all be added by each individual to taste.

Remove the paper towels and place the tortillas on the table as well.

Fill each bowl with broth and serve with large soup spoons.

Each individual can add the condiments to their liking and add tortillas a little as you go so they stay nice and crisp.

My husband really likes a simple cheese quesadilla to dip in his soup. For me, the soup is plenty.

This can also be easily scaled for a larger crowd. You will need 2 cups of broth (reduced to 1 cup) and 1/2 cup of chicken for each person, plus enough of all the acoutremonts to go around.

This reading will use the same cards as Reading 12 and addresses the locations that I will be happiest living and working.

The Setup

For this reading we will be using the following cards..

The King and Queen of Each Suit
0 Fool
XXI World

Shuffle the cards, concentrating on the question. When done dealing, deal out the top card and each consecutive card until you reach either the Fool or the World.

The Question: Where will I be happiest living?

The Deal
Queen of Coins
King of Cups
King of Wands
XXI World

The Answer

You will be happiest up in the hills, somewhere where no one can reach you. Consider heading back east. You will live in the place of your dreams.

The Cards

Queen of Coins

My take: A woman in a green dress, she is in the forest and carrying flowers. Nature is prevalent. She is wearing a crown of coins. This woman enjoys nature and the luxuries of life. She looks off into the distance instead of at us, seeming to mean she would like to be elsewhere.

The card: The queen of coins has a great appreciation for the finer things in life. She nurtures others as well as herself and enjoys creating a beautiful, serene and loving environment for the ones she loves.

King of Cups

My take: The King has strong sensitive eyes. There is a large cup in front of him surrounded by the crashing waves of the ocean. It’s like he expects something from you, like he wants the best from you. Very fatherly.

The card: The king of cups is in charge of taking all the deepest emotions and intuitions and turning them into concrete actions. He is an emotional counselor or mediator. You need to take charge of your emotional life and communicate your feelings.

King of Wands

My take: I can’t get over the crown on this guy. It is garish and imposing and kinda scary with its spikes and size. His eyes are powerful and he has a set determination that cannot be ignored. It’s like he is staring you down, waiting for you to do as he wants.

The card: The king of wands makes a difference in the world and represents politicians and leaders of all kinds. And as we see these type of people, the king is charismatic and controlling. He must control his environment and seeks to convince the world to see things his way.

XXI World

My take: The four elements (air, water, fire and earth) come together around the stars and the earth. It’s like everything is coming together as it should. Everything is aligned.

The card: Enlightenment, Completions.  But with enlightenment comes new beginnings.  Being truly enlightened also means knowing and living within your limitations and circumstances.

Reading Analysis

Well,  I would be really curious to see what method this author uses for her answers.  Not that they are wrong or don’t fit the cards, they usually do, but I am curious.  

With this reading, the answer is a little farther out than most, but I can see what the cards mean.  I can see that nature and solitude would come up for me on a place to live, although I do wonder if it was referring to a vacation for me.  I have been talking a lot lately about how I just need to get away for a little while.  Maybe a trip alone to the mountains of the east would be a good move.

I certainly like the fact that it said I will live in the place of my dreams.  I can’t wait to see where that is.

Poor Joe Biden has quite the dilemma tonight. His job is to take Sarah Palin out, but he also risks sounding pompous and elitist if he goes after her too aggressively.

It’s almost too easy to make Sarah Palin sound incompetent, she doesn’t even know which newspapers she reads, or should I say that the party would want her to read. “All of em’, any of em’ “, really. Or what about the supreme court. The only decision she was able to name that she disagreed with was Roe vs. Wade. Not one other came to mind. It’s like she is frozen when asked a question that hasn’t been covered by her handlers.

Is she really as unknowledgeable as she appears to be or is she just frozen by all the media training she getting right now. I’m not sure, but you have to feel for her a little. This must be just the most overwhelming thing she has ever had to deal with. I don’t envy her.

But with that said, I don’t want to see someone so overwhelmed or in need of training or completely unknowledgeable about our government to be so close to the office of the president. This is one of the many reasons that I don’t support McCain or this middle American notion that the president should be someone you want to have a beer with and that someone who is contemplative and educated is unable to relate and elitist. I want my president to be the smartest, most educated, natural leader, charismatic, persuasive and knowledgeable person in the room, and I would love nothing more than to have a beer with Barack Obama. What a great conversation that would be.

I think it would be very easy for Biden to wipe the floor with Palin, but he must be careful, especially since he is known for not being able to keep his mouth shut and I, as someone with the same affliction, know that I would have a hard time not saying something snide to her. “Are you kidding me?” and “What the…” are common beginnings to my own personal commentary, when I listen to Palin speak.

I also want to put it right out there that he should not be easy on her because he is afraid of upsetting women. I know that there are women out there that will make a big chauvinist to do if he attacks her at all, but most women don’t feel that way. I have heard more and more women, as Palin has been increasingly available publicly and more is known about her, who are offended that the republican party would think that just because she is a woman that she would automatically appeal to us, especially mothers.

But I am also hearing socially conservative people talking about how they too are not fooled by her social views that they find so appealing. They too want someone who is capable of handling the responsibilities of the white house, running this country and representing us abroad. I hope that more and more conservatives will begin to see it this way, but I don’t hold my hopes up.

So, Mr. Biden, please crush her tonight. Show the world they can have confidence in Obama and show off all that foreign policy experience you have. I have a feeling that she will bury herself. But, don’t be soft on her because your afraid of the consequences, be tough, be yourself and take her down. Just be nice about it.