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Monthly Archives: December 2011


The last day of the year is finally upon us. How fast the time goes anymore…Looking back, it’s been quite a ride, as usual. Life is certainly never boring. Some of our highlights, good and bad:


Starting this blog, and keeping with it–I love writing again! Who knows where this could lead? And beginning to draw and paint a little more, as well…


Adopting Crash and Burn, then Tucker. Hand raising Baby Squiggy and Lenny and watching those two adorable miracles grow.


Michael meeting new friends at camp, which in turn led to a new friend for me…precious gifts!


Reuniting with members of my birth family, and realizing after all, some things are just better left the way they were. God does things for a reason.


A weekend away at the Women of Faith conference with friends from church and my sister-in-law, Wendy. What a great experience!! Looking forward to attending next fall’s conference in Hartford!


God opening my heart to sponsoring Kiran. I’m so excited about getting to know him and watching him grow up over the coming years!


Exciting opportunities for the new year, looking forward to a new home and embarking on new dreams.


It’s been a wonderful year. God has been very good to us, as always. I’m incredibly thankful for the wonderful friends He has blessed us with and the opportunities laid before us. I wish you all health, peace, and happiness for the new year!

God’s blessings!



This is a little uncanny tidbit about Bill and I-we are bound by the number 23. Both of our birthdates add up to twenty-three: his 6/24/56: 6+2+4+5+6=23, mine 7/3/67: 7+3+6+7=23. We moved in together October 23, got engaged November 23 (Thanksgiving Day), possibly got pregnant December 23 (who knows for sure), were married March 23, and Michael was born September 23rd.


We didn’t go see the movie 23 when it came out a few years ago, though there are times I think about renting it–it just looks creepy and I’d rather not jinx our number with bad juju. But it does make me wonder what all the hoopla is about regarding the number 23. So, I Googled…


There’s apparently some great enigma surrounding 23, lists go on forever over this number. Some of the more interesting things that caught my attention include:


Car giant Nissan is touched by a numerical coincidence. In Japanese, “ni” is 2,  and “san” is 3. So Nissan would be 23. (Bill drives a Nissan Juke…)


The physical biorhythm cycle is said to be 23 days. It takes 23 seconds for  blood to circulate through the human body. The male and female each contribute  23 chromosomes during conception. A full turn of the DNA helix occurs every 23  angstroms. The number of joints in the human arm is 23. There are 23 vertebrae  in the human body.


Shakespeare was born on April 23. Shakespeare died on April 23. Two 23’s equals  46 and, that’s how old Shakespeare was when the KJV was published. Grab a King  James Version of the Bible and turn to Psalm 46. Count 46 words and you arrive  at the word ‘shake’. Turn to the end of the chapter and count 46 words backwards  and the word you end on is ‘spear’.


The 23rd letter of the alphabet, W, has 3 points up and 2 points down.
The “Day the Music Died” was February 3 or, 2-3. This was of course the day  Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died.

On average, every 23rd wave crashing to shore is twice as large as normal. (Seriously? Who measures these things??)

Rock star Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 and died in 1994. Both years bizarrely  add up to 23 if counted as individual digits: 1+9+6+7=23. 1+9+9+4=23.

The list goes on and on–pretty crazy! What’s your lucky number?


New Habits for a New Year

I don’t have any New Years resolutions to make other than to get back on track with life again. I’ve fallen off the wagon with my food and fitness, and just staying on top of everything that needs to be done around the house the past couple of months. It could be a light bout of depression, knowing we were on the verge of possibly moving again, that threw me off. I just sort of stopped caring and spent more time crying…


It’s easy enough for Bill. He’ll take off for New York next week and begin his training for his new position. Not that he won’t miss us and our friends here, but I’m left with the brunt of the work preparing to move and getting the house sold, both on top of being a single mom for the next uncalculable however many months until we do get moved. It’s a lot of work and stress to take on, and though we’ve done this all before, it doesn’t get any easier facing this task once more. Add to that the fact of having to say goodbye to another group of friends digs me a little deeper into my pit.


It’s not that I’m not happy about the move. This is a great opportunity for Bill and I’m really proud of him, as always. And I am excited about heading to New England and being closer to Bill’s family. It’s just that it seems so far off, way at the end of another long, dark tunnel…that tiny glint of light, barely visible from where I’m sitting here today…The weight of the wait feels unbearable most days. I know we’ll get there–it’s just so hard doing it on my own.


Of course, I know wallowing in self-pity doesn’t help accomplish anything and I do much better to focus on other tasks at hand. Once we get through the holiday this weekend and Bill heads north and Michael goes back to school, I will set myself to pulling out my moving organizers, start purging what we don’t need to drag with us, and absorb my attention into doing what needs to be done-not just around the house, preparing to move, but also for myself, health and fitness wise. I know I feel a hundred times better when I make the effort to take better care of myself. Fitness is a great stress burner and heaven knows I’ll need all the help I can get in that department to get us through with our sanity in tact!


So list happy crazy freak that I am, I was ecstatic to find this printable on Ann Voskamp’s website, A Holy Experience, this morning: Daily planner printable Not only is it beautiful (all her printables are–remind me a lot of Marjolein Bastin’s style…) but it breaks down your day into the most pressing needs, household tasks, daily chores, a schedule to plan your morning, afternoon, and evening, a place to track your food, fitness, and water (viola!), room to plan for tomorrow, and most importantly, a space to list things you’ve been thankful for throughout the day.


So, just as Bill will be distracted with his new job and responsibilities, this new planner could help keep me busy and distracted from how far away that tiny light is at the end of my tunnel and keep me focused more on the here and now: what I need to do for me and my family, rather than wallowing in the thought of “will we ever get there…?”


Soup’s On!

We finally finished off the majority of the meat from our Christmas turkey yesterday so this morning brings the making of the soup! I only learned how to make a decent stock last year, thanks to a chef friend in Tennessee who gave me his secret tips on bringing out the best flavor from the carcass. Now I think I look as much forward to simmering my stock as I do eating the actual turkey hot from the oven!


Nothing quite says love on a frosty winter day like a steaming bowl of homemade noodle soup. It also sits at the top of my list for cold and flu remedies–well, minus the noodles for the flu…A nice bowl of broth does wonders for a weakened, dehydrated body, and soothes and comforts a stuffy, miserable, cold beleaguered head. Simply holding yourself over the fragrant steam rising from the bowl and drinking in the warming aroma can begin to make you feel better almost immediately. Love cures all…


So I’ve filled my big roasting pan with one emaciated turkey carcass, a few chopped carrots, one quartered onion, a couple bay leaves, Jane’s Crazy Pepper and a good bit of kosher salt, peppercorns, and garlic. Covered it all in cold water and set it to boil on the stove top. I know, I know…I don’t have any celery in the house….hoping that won’t affect the end result too much. I can always add celery when I make the actual soup. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.


The house smells divine right now. The windows in the kitchen are blurred with the steam rising from the roaster. I’ll let the stock simmer for a few good hours, then strain everything and pull the remaining meat from the turkey bones. I have four or five containers waiting to be filled with the stock and stored in the freezer for use later this winter, though one will be served up for dinner tonight (better stop and get that celery after lunch today!) Mmmm–I can’t wait! Nothing says love like a bowl of homemade noodle soup!

Did someone say soup??


Happiest feet ever in my new Yaktrax Cozy Socks!!

Internet Addict

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. First there was Twitter, which gave way to Facebook. Now after so many ridiculous changes on Facebook, I’ve found myself back on Twitter again. I pop back and forth between the two throughout the day, tweeting and facebooking–just in case I might miss something…anything…Really, I think I need to just pick a lane and stick to it!

And it would great if that lane would NOT be Facebook because on Facebook is the Sims Social. Oh, how I’ve lost my life to the Sims Social. It’s relentless, endless, and flat out stupid. You create a little mini-you, build a little mini-house, add little mini-friend neighbors, clean up your mini-yard, and then! It’s completely materialistic: you have to build more rooms, buy more furniture and decorate everything just so, and the game shows your standing amongst your peers–the value of your home compared to the others and encourages keeping up with the Sims-Joneses. And if that wasn’t enough, they give you these quests to do, some of which require being not nice to neighbors, or starting gossip…I know it’s not ‘real’, but still, it makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do it in real life, why would I want to do that in a game? Yeah, it’s gone…(Sorry Jen!!)

Then, I used to be an Amazon addict, spending countless hours on their ‘recommendations’ list, browsing, shopping, dreaming and drooling over oodles of books I just had to have. Now there’s Goodreads, which pretty much does the same thing without the added temptation of a simple click to buy the books. It’s actually a little better as you rate the books you read, then it compares books you like with your friends’ ratings, and creates a recommendation list comprised of similar books your friends loved. It could go on forever! My To-Read list has just crossed over 100 books! I downloaded the Goodreads app to my tablet so I have a handy dandy on the ready list of my To-Read books for trips to the library and used bookstores…but I’m promising myself to not buy any new books until I get through the stack I already have piled up. Bill’s heard that one before…

Now there’s Pinterest…I may never get off the computer ever again! The beauty behind Pinterest is…the beauty! When you sign up, they have you check off certain things that interest you: home decor, food and entertainment, travel, pets, books, etc…Then they create a list of people who share your same interests, and link you up to your friends on Facebook who are on Pinterest. These folks are who you now ‘follow’. The gist behind Pinterest is to create ‘pinboards’ of things you love from the internet. When you pin something, it grabs the photo and you pin it to one of your boards (Home, Recipes, Books, etc…) Then, there’s one main board that shows all your friends’ pins–it’s virtual eye candy! You can browse these boards, repinning friends’ pins to your boards, liking and commenting…then browsing the internet to find more stuff to pin on your boards…I think this could be very dangerous. The recipe pictures alone have added five pounds to my hips! Though, I’m finding lots of great decorating ideas for our new house whenever we get moved! Working on that Honey-Do list already!!


Our Christmas 2011

It was weird not writing yesterday, though I was tempted throughout the day to pull out the laptop and whip off a quick post. But, it was Christmas and I thought I’d allow myself a day off from writing, to just enjoy the day and the family, however things unfolded–which is huge for an OCD control freak like me!


Typically, I’d have the entire day planned out, and would fuss and grump and make myself and everyone around me crazy if (when!) things didn’t go my way. This year I wanted more than anything to break that pattern and give up the control for once–to just relax, and enjoy the true gifts of what our day offered: time with our kids, gathered around the Christmas tree, opening presents in our pj’s, breakfast and coffee available on a self-serve basis so no one person had to wait hand and foot on everyone else. The turkey, stuffing, and coleslaw had all been made the day before and was easily portioned out and popped in the microwave to reheat and eat whenever anyone felt hungry.


I know, I know–it’s not the Norman Rockwell version, with the entire extended family gathered round two end-to-end dining tables, laid with the finest china and linens, sparkling centerpieces and gleaming crystal goblets, polished silver, and all the tempting trimmings of a traditional holiday feast–but it’s that picture perfect idealistic configuration that drives me right over the edge of my sanity every year. I’m simply not cut out to do things that way. I wish I would’ve learned that lesson a lot sooner in my life…


Presents were opened a little past four. Michael woke up at midnight, then quarter to two, two-thirty, and finally at four, after I tried to silently tiptoe to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. He was right on my heels, wanting to know if he could wake everyone else up and open presents. Fortunately we all know he’s a super crazy early bird on Christmas morning, and coffee cups filled, the family trudged to the basement to let the unwrapping begin.


Breakfast followed next: Bill had brought home two tea breads from work earlier in the week and so we served those rather than fuss with an overnight breakfast casserole or coffeecake. Another pot of coffee went on and we all squeezed around the breakfast nook to eat. I guess that was really our holiday meal, if I think about it. Bill, Ash, and Kyle all went back to sleep after that. Michael played with his new PSP game, and I puttered about, washing the few dishes and mugs, tossing laundry in the washer, and catching glimpses here and there of the twenty-four hour Christmas Story marathon on TBS as I gathered gifts to be put away and decluttered the leftover holiday mess. Another OCD issue: I can’t leave gifts piled under the tree for a week…everything gets put away Christmas Day…I just can’t help myself there!


Ashlee and Kyle had to head to her uncle’s for the afternoon to visit with her mom’s side of the family before returning to the airport and flying back to Massachusetts that evening. Bill busied himself with a few household repair jobs as we prepare the house for the market, and we never really got back together around the table for another meal. Michael and I were both a little green around the gills with whatever bug he brought home from school on Friday and appetites were at an all time low anyway.


So, it was a rather simple, casual Christmas, and I kinda like how it all went. Next year I’ll pass on the flu bugs if possible–that we could all do without. Of course, hopefully next year will find us up north in our new home, in the midst of a full Maurice family Christmas, which is an entirely different experience–it’s very loud: bunch of Italians all trying to talk over one another, joking, teasing, and laughing…I don’t stand a chance of being heard, so I just sit back and quietly, happily, take it all in…


I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas, filled with family and fun, making memories for years to come!


Tucker’s first Christmas-he never bothered so much as a single ornament or gift! Good boy!!


Sickies for Christmas

So my Bug has the holiday hum bug…He fussed yesterday morning while waiting for the bus that his stomach didn’t feel good but, since he didn’t have a fever, I shipped him off to school anyway. Then when I arrived at his classroom later in the afternoon to help with their Christmas party, he was much mopier and still complaining of a tummy ache and dizziness. He’d been to the nurse’s office earlier in the day, and like me, since he had no fever, she sent him back to class.


I asked him if he wanted to go home or stay for the party and he opted to stay a while. Poor sweet Bug, curled up in a sad little heap upon his desk while the other kids played Bingo and put together foam ornaments. Finally he came over to where I stood, clustered with the other moms, wrapped his arms around me and asked if we could go home, big brown eyes sitting sad in darkening circles. We gathered up his backpack and coat, tucked away his Christmas treat bag and snowman cupcake, wished his teacher a merry Christmas, then headed out the door to go home.


Nothing melts your heart like when your baby is sick. I took his temperature when we got home and it was starting to climb. He changed into his pajamas and buried himself under the afghan on the sofa. Tucker stump wagged and kissed the tip of forehead peaking out under blanket and bangs, offering the best comfort and love a puppy knows how.


Dosed with Tylenol and nursing a can of ginger ale, those soon found their way back up. He’s not even been able to keep water down through the night. He woke up around five saying he felt better-he doesn’t want to miss our friends’ Christmas Eve party today, but his fever is even higher than it was when he went to bed last night. It didn’t take long for him to go curl back up in my bed and fall fast asleep again.


So sending hubby and daughter and boyfriend to the Christmas party today while Bug and I stay home in jammies, slippers, and robes. We can watch Christmas movies and nibble toast, try some more ginger ale. I may pop our turkey in the oven today, just to have that portion of tomorrow ready since Ashlee and Kyle are spending their afternoon with her mom’s family before they fly home. Pre-slice it, whip up some gravy, and the stuffing casserole…I always liked turkey better the next day myself. Anybody who’s hungry can nibble and snack when they’re ready. Sickies not eating won’t need to feel left out while everyone else is crowded around the table, hungry and feasting.


I finished my Jesse Tree Advent prayer calendar a day early this morning, figuring there may not be time tomorrow since, sick or not, I still expect Bug to be up bright and early to see if he avoided Santa’s naughty list after declaring his unbelief last week–he’s been so worried he offended Santa, he’s asked me every day if he’ll still get presents this year! I suppose this will be our last Santa year…savoring sweet innocence a little bit longer…


Anyway–picture below of the finished calendar. We haven’t finished Michael’s tree yet, distractions with family here waylaid our project. Maybe if he’s feeling up to it later today, he can fill in his remaining ornaments.


A very merry Christmas to all and a happy, healthy new year! God’s blessings and peace be with you always!