I'd love it if you joined my readers. It's nice to know I'm not just typing into a black hole.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The ReFeathered Nest (Designs by Cherie)

Hey All!
I've created a new page on my blog to showcase a gallery of some of my designs.  Just click on the tab at the top of this page labeled The ReFeathered Nest.  If you like what you see, tell your friends!  I'd love to help ReFeather a nest or two.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nature's BOUNTY

My little patio garden is doing pretty well...

We've already tasted several strawberries (one plant does not a strawberry shortcake make...).

And the tomatoes have been plentiful.  I ate this one in my salad tonight...
Gives you a picture of wholesomeness, doesn't it.  Cherie, growing her own food, eating off the land...


is what pregnancy has reduced me too.

I've tried to resist.  
It's futile.  
Biscuit likes his baked goods.  And what good are brownies without a few varieties of ice cream, topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon toast crunch?  
He also likes lemons and cucumbers.  That makes up for it, right


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tid Bits; To Do's; Notes to Self; Epiphanies Along This Week's Road to Awesome

When it comes to driving:
  • ALWAYS put the cap on after filling the car with oil.
  • There is such a thing as TOO much oil.  ))shrug(( Who knew?
  • NEVER use the wipers to clean oil spatter off of the windshield.
  • Police officers DO give tickets to pregnant ladies in beater cars.
  • Country roads with windows down; very entertaining...

Other notes on general living:

  • Three kids, three dogs, a guinea pig, and a pregnant lady absolutely CAN live well in a two-bedroom/one-bathroom house (as long as everyone showers and takes appropriate potty breaks).

  • To Do: Learn how to build fire sans billowing smoke.
  • Kids love roasting marshmallows.
  • Spare marshmallows must be hidden.

    • Never feed a dog marshmallows.
    • To D0: Install doggie door.

    • I love Trader Joe's.  
    • Trader Joe's mayonnaise is not OK. 

    • Next time kid's shoe goes missing, check the storm drain...

    And what did YOU learn this week?

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Big Hairy Deal

    I've added a new form of fiber to my kids' diets lately...  Hair.  Initially, it grossed them out, but as time has worn on they seem to have accepted it as the norm.  It isn't due to our skeleton of a budget - though, every little bit helps!  It has more to do with my recent inability to keep my hair in my head.  

    This seems to be an unfortunate by-product of my pregnancy.  My kids actually take great pleasure in pointing out the various ways in which Biscuit (baby) is sucking the life out of mom.  I'm glad I'm able to provide them with adequate material.  I've taken most of it in stride.  I've even come to embrace my new, rounder self.  The mild pigmentation above my upper lip (kinda like a mustache tattoo), has been a disappointment; but I have to say, the hair loss has been more than a little concerning.  

    The kids aren't completely heartless on the matter, though.  Kinsey made the helpful suggestion that we collect all of mom's hairs and have a wig made for when she goes bald.  I like to keep her around just for those extra boosts to my self esteem.

    I love hair.  It offers so much opportunity for us to be creative, self-expressive, individualists.  And, though it takes time, it is always forgiving.  Say, for example, one completely fries her hair by using a cheap bleaching kit, resulting in various shades of highlighter pink, orange and yellow.  Even if the hundreds of dollars she spent in attempts to repair said damage were to be unsuccessful; eventually, her hair would grow out, leaving the horrific incident as nothing more than an addition to her "notes to self".

    Red was one of my favorites.  I loved how it seemed to infuse me with that fireball attitude which seems to be intrinsic in all natural-born red-heads.  Of course, it's a very difficult shade to maintain if your not graced with that magic genetic code.  So, I remain in envy of such gorgeous natural beauties.

    Check out these rock'n red curly heads!  *sigh* Can't find that on a shelf in Walmart...
    I've been blonde more than any other color, but that is a costly route to take.  It HAS to be done in a salon.  Trust me.  

    Currently I am a brunette.  It's proving to allow the longest stretch of time between touch-ups, which is great since I have NO money.

    I love it when people are daring with their manes and manage to pull it off.  I mean like the ones who go purple or fuchsia and you find yourself staring at them in awe that they actually look good.  

    Or the ones who look fabulous with super short hair.

    Or dreadlocks... 

    Or the most daring of all (and stunning when it works)... 

    I would LOVE to pull that off!

    I have always looked at hair as a canvas.  And though I haven't been as bold as some, I have pushed my own limits on a fairly regular basis.  Perms, Bobs, Boy cuts, Fringes, Highlights, Low lights, Box Colors of various shades... FUN! 

    And, it seems quite possible that in the near future I might try bald on for size.  Sinead, Demi, Britney, watch out!  Mama's shining up her crown and hitting the town!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    George Bernard Shaw and My Biscuit

    My mother has always said that I wear my heart on my sleeve; along with every mistake, poor decision, or basic humiliation I might encounter.  I guess there's never a big enough rug around when I need to do a little sweeping.

    So, I've also spent a lot of my life adjusting to my own foolishness (or that of others) and learning to find the beauty in the breakdown.

    One of the more public arenas in which I've been... success-challenged... is that of family planning.  Over the years I have, unfortunately, witnessed the heartache of too many of my girlfriends as they've struggled with various degrees of infertility.  I always experience a bit of survivor's guilt in these situations as fertility seems to be one of my... gifts (?).

    My first "gift" was the unexpected, and unlikely, arrival of my 8 pound, 10 oz, beginning-of-life-as-I-know-it, baby girl.  She is now approaching 14 and has made her sacred womanly passage into Bitchdom.  I'm very proud.

    Three years later, life was good.  Stable.  Perfect time to bless Kinsey with a sibling.  D and I had only been married for three months but we didn't want to put a large gap between Kinsey and the next child so we decided to just stop 'not trying'.  Bam!  We were pregnant in minutes.  Of course, when I tried to get pregnant with one baby, I was "gifted" with TWO high-energy, rock-my-world, forces-to-be-reckoned-with.

    Enter Biscuit...

    Biscuit is our most recent "gift".  He is a healthy, wiggly, 23 week old fetus, taking residence in very close proximity to my heart.  

    Just FYI; that quippy little phrase "the best way to get over a man is to get under one..."  NOT SO MUCH!

    Obviously, this was unplanned and very poorly timed.  Nothing has been easy about this proverbial stubbing of my toe.  For any well-meaning advisors feeling the urge to school me,  I've had 20 odd weeks to process this reality, so I'm well aware of it's flaws.  No need to enlighten me.  

    That said, Biscuit IS a gift.  Just as my other sweet three are.  I mean, who doesn't like a surprise party. Right??  And Biscuit's daddy is a beautiful soul.  One I am blessed to know.

    I don't know that everything happens for a reason, but I do know that beauty can be found in the mess of it all.  I've seen it before.  I remind myself of it often.

    My dear friend, and fellow blogger, Farmhouse Wife, posted this quote recently:

    "A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." ~ George Bernard Shaw.

    I've lived a VERY honorable life so far.

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Crispy French Toast and Artichokes... Scaring the Goblins Away

    Today is one of those 'Couldn't we just skip it and move on to the next calendar day?' days.  

    June 20... 

    Father's Day - that I can handle, despite my own "daddy" issues.  My former Mr., we'll refer to him as 'D' from now on, has been a terrific father to my three, and I am forever grateful for that.

    The one that stings; and by stings I mean gouges out my insides and runs them through the shredder; is that today is my wedding anniversary.  What truly was the happiest day of my life.   We were married for 11 years.  I'm not sure how you get over that, but I'm limping my way through it.  

    So, I'm trying to "do" things.  Stuff that will scare the ugly goblins of depression away.  Nothing has been magic so far, but here is a list of some of my half-hearted efforts:

    • Garage sales and Farmers Market.  Being broke, I have to keep my entertainment costs down.  Yesterday I spent 11 dollars and bought one outfit, 4 artichokes and a big bag of organic greens.  I also got to sample umpteen varieties of peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, several varieties of Indian cuisine, and some kettle corn.  The people swarming about made me feel not-so-alone and the man playing his guitar was good for the soul.
    • Left over French toast.  I made french toast for the kidlets on Friday morning and had some left, frozen.  The great thing about left over french toast is that it gets crispy on the outside when you toast it lightly.  YUM.  A few bites of that cinnamony goodness, along with some little blue pills and I'm almost functional!
    • Starbucks.  We all know how efficiently Starbucks can provide a cup of happy.  After my toasty breakfast and market stomping, I still wasn't feeling it, so I pulled out the old Starbucks gift card from my wallet and administered a Grande Caramel Light Frappacino - WITH whip.  I'll admit, it gave me a pretty good temporary mood boost.
    • Garden planning/digging/idea shopping...  I decided to stroll the isles of Lowe's for some patio garden inspiration.  I checked the discount rack, but nothing struck my fancy.  In the past I've found some great deals there.  I got the biggest boost from the sweet scent breezing off of the cluster of Star Jasmine.  I have decided that I will be adding several Jasmine plants to my garden.
    • After some abusive texts and phone calls yesterday evening (I should clarify that these were not from D), my mood hit the shredder again.  After a desperate post on FB, I grabbed a pair of shears and took to my bangs.  This time I googled proper bang-snipping techniques so as to avoid the tragic results of previous attempts.  It felt good to see through my fringe again.  
    • It has been about 8 months since I've touched a bottle of polish so I gave that a whirl.  Midnight Blue toes and Cherry Red finger tips.  It's amazing what pretty hands and feet do for one's self esteem. 
    • Took a shower.  Simple, but so comforting.
    • I blogged, scribbled, jotted... I don't have much of a support network near me, so that makes it difficult to find comfort in friends.  I know I need to develop that more.  This has been a challenge of mine since college.  Anyway, writing, especially writing for some type of social forum, helps to fill that void.  Gives me a sense of connection as well as a place for expression.

    I'm SO open to other thoughts and ideas for fighting depression.  Most of the time this is beyond me.  I would love to hear from you, my cyber family.  What keeps you going when it gets really mucky?

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Sleep Tight

    The kids are in their loft beds finishing off one last TV show (as agreed to per our bedtime negotiations).  I've been sitting in my bed in the room next door listening to the drone of the hallway fan while keeping watch for any suspicious activity.  All's well so far, outside of a few potty/"I'm thirsty" endeavors.

    It's nothing like it was in the old days when the boys were young (like, last year...).

    The boys are twins and I've always had a theory that they built up super human strength while confined to my uterus due to the resistance training they got from fighting each other for space.  There has never been a time that they were not mobile.  People think I exaggerate when I say this, but it is the life-force draining, age-accelerating, god-honest truth.  They never had floppy heads.  They always felt like solid little Italian bouncers.  I became aware that they could role over when, at 3 weeks old, they each rolled off of my sofa while I was sitting right next to them.  NOT one of my prouder mommy moments and, sadly, not my worst either.  By nine months both boys were running and I haven't stopped my heroic efforts to keep them alive since.

    Along with their motion came copious amounts of energy and, again, a super human ability to NEVER sleep.  In the early years, I read every 'Get Your Baby To Sleep' book or article available.  I didn't have to look far for outsider's well-meaning counsel on the topic either.  It took an eternity of chasing my crib climbing, night adventurers and hauling them back to bed for me to accept that my boys were just wired differently.  I was going to have to go about the night hours in my own way.

    When they were babies we were able to contain them with crib tents - fantastic inventions which attached to the top of the cribs and zipped closed in order to keep cats out.  Those were life savers until the boys figured out how to unzip, and just flat out break, the tents in order to escape.  By two years old they were beyond any restraints known to man.  They broke free from every crib enclosure, car seat, stroller or highchair designed.  A true wonder-twin force to be reckoned with.

    That is when the night-watch duty began.  Every night bedtime consisted of all the usuals: bath, jammies, story time...  But then came the guard duty.  Both boys would be put to bed and one of us would have to stand post at their door until they miraculously gave in and fell asleep.  This usually took one to two hours of, "Bailey, lay down," "Noah, close your eyes," "Bailey! GO TO SLEEP!" and, you get the idea.

    At last, and almost unbelievably, they would be down.

    This is when the panic of, I HAVE to enjoy every second left before I go to sleep because it all starts again tomorrow! set in.  Of course, being a walking zombie got in the way of great productivity so I would inevitably give in to the siren of sleep...  Only to be awakened two or three times throughout the night by wandering toddler feet.  I eventually got wise and laid out make-shift beds beside mine for them to climb into in the wee morning hours.  I believe that action alone saved me from certain death by sleep deprivation.

    I could, and possibly will, tell you a book full of twin adventure stories from these first 10 years of their lives.  Like the time my doorbell rang at four in the morning.  In a stupor, I opened the door to find four year old Noah standing there with a strange man.  Apparently, Noah had decided to walk across the street to mail his father's mag light in the community mailboxes (????) when an early morning jogger saw him and kindly guided him back home.  We installed a security system the next day.

    I could tell you more, but the angels are sleeping now and so must I.  It does all start again tomorrow...

    Thank God.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Patio Garden Play

    Well, it's here.  

    At noon last Friday, my kids climbed into my hot car after a half-day of classroom celebrations concluding their school year.  They had been counting down the days for weeks so I expected their excitement and energy.  What I didn't expect were the tears.  That's right.  We spent the rest of that afternoon wiping tears, looking at classroom photos and playing Bailey's class dance CD, which we had the pleasure of learning the routine to.  (I can now do the 'running man'.)

    But the tears are all gone now.  At least the tears of sadness are.  The boredom is another thing all together.  Two plus months of summer heat, a small two bedroom house, no wii or X-box, limited cable, one computer and no money.  What to do?  What.... to..... do?

    We decided to kick off the festivities by planting a patio garden.  So, after a hot, semi-chaotic, patience-testing, FUN filled trip to Lowe's, we plunged our fingers into the dirt (or manure - as my kids referred to it). 
    I allowed each of the kids to select their own garden baby.  

    Kinsey chose a watermelon and a cucumber.  Bailey opted for a cantaloupe.  Noah went for the strawberry.  

    I added two tomato plants and some herbs to the mix.  

    Considering that my patio is not large, I suspect we will feel a bit overtaken with sprawling vines by summer's end.  

    No matter.  I'm looking at this as more of an experiment than a well thought out plan.

    Regardless of the outcome, we have created a living, inspiring space to sit (or rock) in, share and laugh in, roast marshmallows in, and evolve in.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Forward Motion

    Last weekend my mother came out to help me move my things into my little home.  
    It was something I was dreading.  An emotionally daunting task.  But, mom is not dissuaded by "daunting" anything.  She is a workhorse.  She takes on the ugly and kicks its butt.  So, last weekend, she took her driveling daughter by the hand and, together, we took "daunting" down.
    For the first time in 7 months, I have a home.  I can nest again.  I step in my front door and feel comfort.  I feel my mother's love.  I feel I have something to offer my children.  Gratitude is a weak description, but it overflows. 

    This came just in time for summer.  

    My kids have a sofa to flop on, loft beds to sleep in, a fire pit for marshmallows.  I am so thrilled to give this to them
     So ready to start living again.
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