Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who Would Have Ever Thought?

Who would have ever, ever thought that I would have athletic children? I mean, I am about as unathletic as they come...except for my love of my new Wii Fit. But, I really don't know if that would qualify as anything close to athletics.
Both of my girls have turned out to be athletes. And I'm impressed. And, I'm hoping some of their athleticism rubs off on me. I don't think it will. But, anyway, I'm so excited! My youngest daughter, Stacy, signed up last night to run a MARATHON in San Diego in May. So, that makes me excited for two reasons...first, for her, that she's going to do this and second, I get to go to San Diego to cheer her on!

Stacy ran her first half marathon last year and boy, I was so impressed over that. She was never really even interested in running until a few years ago and now it has become her healthy addiciton. And I hope some of it rubs off on me. I don't think it will. Stacy is very faithful when it comes to her training so I know she's going to be ready by May. I told her last night when she called me that it would take me 4 years to prepare for something like that. Not 4 months. She laughed. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't.

So, this morning I learn through the grapevine that Carina and Nick are going to do The Big Climb in March. Yikes. For those of you who don't live near Seattle, let me explain. The Big Climb is sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last year there were over 5,400 participants that ran, walked, and well, crawled up the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle. That's 69 flights of stairs, 1,311 steps, 788 ft of vertical elevation. I wish I could do it. I don't think I will. But I am so proud that they are.

So, hats off to you my wonderful girls, and Nick...I'm so proud. I wish I could do it. I don't think I will. But I will be there cheering you on...always.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This gets me through...

To quote my friend Gayle (who is quoting Dr. Phil)...

"A mother is only as happy as her saddest child"

I can remember the very first time I read this little story...many years ago, and how much it helped me at the time. Whenever I am going through something really, really hard, I turn back to this story and remind myself who is in control...

God's Embroidery

When I was a little child, my mother embroidered a great deal. I can remember the time when, as I was sitting at her feet and looking up at her, I asked her what she was doing.

She informed me that she was embroidering. I remarked that it looked like a mess from where I was. As, from the underside, I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

She looked down, smiling at me, and gently said, "My child, you go and play for now, and when I am finished, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side."

I wondered why she used some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my point of view.

Later, after some time had passed, as I was playing, I heard my Mother calling for me to come and sit on her knee. I went to her, and as I settled into the comfort and security of her lap, my mother said, "My child, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize there was a plan on the top, a design that I was following. Now look at it from my side, and you will see what I was doing." Then, when she showed me her completed work, I was surprised and thrilled to see a landscape scene full of beautiful flowers adorned by the radiant glow of a magnificent sunset.

Many times, I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and asked, "Father, what are You doing?"

He has answered, "I am embroidering your life."

I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can't they all be bright?"

My Father gently says, "My child, you go and do My will for now, and one day, I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee, and then you will see the plan from My side."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Good Stuff...

Bob and I took Lute to his first dog show Sunday. Oh boy...he loved it! Well, he loved the was at the fairgrounds. There is probably something you didn't ever even notice about the fairgrounds...on each of the buildings (or most of them) there are big, huge, doors that raise up and down. I'm guessing they are for when vendors have to bring in big, huge items. Lute noticed. All he wanted to do was 'open door' 'open door' and 'open door'. The kid loves garages, and he especially loves garage doors, and he especially loves opening them and closing them. Over and over and over. His grandma and grandpa, who believe every interest ought to be nurtured, let him play with the garage door openers when he is at their house and the kid will sit for an hour and 'open door', 'close door'. At least it keep him in one place.

Anyway...we took him to the dog show and he did have a good time. He was especially fascinated with the dogs being groomed and how they were going to get off the tables. Must be because his mom is a hairstylist. Only she doesn't put people on tables.

And then he wanted to go 'see cows?'. But there were no cows so we went to the park instead.

And then...lunch...and a nap.

And after he was in bed, and after he was asleep, and right before I collapsed on the couch, I was thinking about that song by Kenny Chesney. "The Good Stuff":

"the first long kiss on a second date
Your momma's all worried when you get home late
And droppin' the ring in the spaghetti plate,
'cause your hands are shakin' so much."

"And it's a new t-shirt saying, "I'm a grandpa!"
Being right there as our time got small,
And holding her hand when the good Lord called her up.
Yeah, man, that's the good stuff".

Lute is our 'good stuff'.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Talk about Random...

Well, I know this is really random...but it seems like all my posts are about my children so far. And, although they are the most important thing in my life, they aren't the only thing in my life.

I was chatting with my friend Elaine today. Well, not really chatting, but e-mailing back and forth. I guess that's almost like chatting. It's the best we can do while she's at work and I'm supposed to be studying. Elaine and I are encouraging each other to be the best we can be...weight-wise. Well, not the best we can be, but we are encouraging each other to make healthy choices. She is encouraging me way more than I'm encouraging her. I've been feeling kind of like a loser (but not in the way I want to be a loser) because I can't stick to an exericse program. I think I hate exercise more than anything. Unfortunately, it's what I need most. Why is life like that?

Elaine told me not to be discouraged, not be so hard on myself, but just to take a baby-step today. Actually, when I think about it, I have been taking lots of baby-steps lately.

Probably nobody knows this but me. I have a very unhealthy relationship with food. Not with all food. Just sugar and all things fried. Oh, and potatoes. So, a potato donut (if there was such a thing) would be my heaven. Is there such a thing? I wonder...

And, aside from sugar and fried potatoes, I'm a very picky eater. I think my grandson got this trait from me. Carina told me today the kid won't even try corn. CORN? Lute, we need to talk...Richard Simmons says corn is like a potato on a cob. And, I do love potatoes. So...I've got to make sure to introduce Lute to the wonderfulness of corn. I'm getting off track...but isn't this the cutest picture of him? It's an oldie, when he used to like vegetables. So cute! Anyway...

If something includes the word(s) 'healthy' or 'low-fat', chances are I am not going to like it. Chances are I'm going to hate it. But, I've taken some baby steps and I have actually found two recipes that I really like. And, they are low-fat, and they are healthy. And my husband likes them too.
Confession time - my husband and I rarely eat the same thing for dinner. Isn't that awful? I don't know when we started that bad habit but it must have been after the kids left home. Because when they were here we did eat as a family, when I could get them to the table. And, we used to actually eat at the table, not like we do now, on the couch, in front of the TV. I hate that. I'm having a hard time convincing my husband that a conversation with me would be more entertaining than watching Bill O'Reilly. He doesn't believe me. So we eat with Bill every night. Yes, I've been taking them.

Now, this blog is not going to be a food blog or a recipe blog. But, it is a random blog.

Ran-dom: without definite aim, direction, rule or method.

Yes, this is random. I said, this is not going to be a recipe blog. But since I did find some recipes that I really like, and are good for you (and me), I'm going to post them. I hope you try them and I hope you like them too. And next time I serve them, it might even be at the table.
I'll just post one tonight...and maybe you will come back and look for the other one another time.

Chop Suey -

I should probably tell you mine didn't look like the photograph above but it's the best picture I could find.

8 (3 x 3") packaged Chinese wonton skins, separated

1 Tablespoon plus 2 tsp. canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

2 scallions, greens included, trimmed and thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

4 cups sliced napa cabbage (I LOVE napa cabbage!)

3/4 cup celery, thinly sliced

8 oz bamboo shoots (I used sliced water chestnuts because I bought them by mistake)

2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced (the recipe called for shitake but I'm too cheap to buy those)

3/4 tsp. sugar

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon chicken broth

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (you could use a store-bought rotisserie chicken)

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush baking sheet and wonton skins lightly on both sides with 2 tsp of oil. Season with salt and bake for 10 minutes or until brown and crisp. (I found this was too much oil and next time I won't use salt). Transfer to cooling rack and reserve.

In large heavy skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbs oil over med-high heat. Add scallion, garlic, cabbage, celery, bamboo shoots (or water chestnuts), and mushrooms and stir-fry until cabbage is soft and wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Add sugar, 3/4 cup chicken broth, soy sauce, and sesame oil and cook for 3 minutes. Add broth-cornstarch mixture. Add 1/4 cup more chicken stock if needed.
Add chicken and heat through.

Serve over brown rice and top with toasted sesame seeds.

This is definitely a keeper at our house...

Life's Roller Coasters...

I'm just sure this was the roller coaster I was on had to you see all those ups and downs and round and rounds? Yep...this is the one!

Life can sure be funny sometimes, can't it? I hope that the rest of 2009 is not anything like the past few days we've had. Is this a test? I hope it's over and I hope I passed.

I said to my husband tonight..."I just want everybody's life to be easy". Oh, I do know it could be a LOT worse. A LOT worse. But, us moms don't like to see our kids struggle. Whether they are 2 or 12 or 23 or 30. We hate to see them struggle and we hate to see them unhappy, and we hate it when life throws them curveballs. I guess when we signed up for this 'mom' thing, we signed up for the bad as well as all the happiness and joy they bring. And, they do bring me a lot of joy. Really they do.

There was a lot of joy in today as well. I got to spend the day with Stacy...she took me to lunch, we went to UW to figure out her financial aid, we went to get her emissions tested (yes, even that was fun!), we went to Target, and then we went to have Pho. That was my first Pho.
And it was YUMMY. And we were just having a really good time and she was excited about starting her classes tomorrow and everything was set. And then I started home. And before I even got home she called...

And everything had changed. She didn't get the one classe she wanted/needed which means she doesn't get her financial aid because she has to have at least 6 credits to get any help. She can't get 6 credits because all the classes she needs are full. She only has 5 credits. SO NOW EVERYTHING IS A MESS. I told her it would all work out somehow, and that maybe it was a good thing she was only going to have one class instead of two. I mean, she does work full time and she does have a social life which I know she won't give up. So, maybe this is a blessing in disguise.

But, it made me feel bad. And I didn't like the descent from the top of that roller coaster to the bottom...but, this too shall pass...I'm sure.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Beginnings...

New beginnings...I guess January 1st is as good a day as any to start new habits, or attempt to create them. I've never really been one to make resolutions. I try and start habits when I have the mental energy to begin them and when I can muster up enough enthusiasm and motivation to begin. Like exercising. Ugh. Like organizing my house. My house is neat, my house is tidy, as long as you don't open an cupboard or a closet, then you better stand back. But, that's not what this posting is about. I will save that for another time...

I've been thinking about new beginnings in our family. We have some exciting things coming our way...a new baby...Stacy starting at the UW...and then there is Lute...he's full of new beginnings every day. Every time I see him he's doing something new. The latest is 'I want'. He's got that one down. "I want a cookie" or "I want to take a shower" (dont' ask).

Carina and Nick are anxiously awaiting news of their adoption (you can read updates at Carina's blog -- Every day I wonder and pray for my new little grandbaby and his or her mother. I wonder if s/he will be at our family reunion in June. I wonder how old s/he will be next Christmas. I wonder what Lute will do when he realizes he has to share his mom and dad.

Stacy will be starting classes at the UW Bothell on Monday. Wow, hard to believe my youngest is going to start at the University. I'm so proud of her! Working and putting herself through school. I don't think I could do it. I hope she is able to balance, school, and some sort of social life. Oh, and she better not forget to chisel out some time for her parents.

--Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending --Maria Robinson

I am proud of my girls for their new beginnings. It sure keeps my life fun and energized and gives us older folk things to look forward to...I hope all of their dreams come true...and they live happily ever after...

"This is a time for reflection as well as celebration.
As you look back on the past year and all that has taken place in your life,
Remember each experience for the good that has come of it and for the knowledge you have gained.
Remember the efforts you have made and the goals you have reached.
Remember the love you have shared and the happiness you have brought.
Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work, and the tears.
And as you reflect on the past year, also be thinking of the new one to come.
Because most importantly, this is a time of new beginnings and the celebration of life."
--Taylor Addison