Monday, January 26, 2009

Cheers to 38, ain't it great?

Well, my birthday has come and gone and I am now officially 38 years old. I'm another year older, hopefully another year wiser and still in Size 5 jeans! But it's kind of surreal! When my Mom turned 38, I was already living on my own in Phoenix and she had her whole adult life ahead of her to do whatever she pleased! I, on the other hand, still have a babe in diapers! Does this bother me? No. I wouldn't have it any other way. I would have never had the patience for motherhood in my 20's and I'm glad I waited until my 30's to embark on this journey, even if it was an unexpected journey. Which hopefully means I'll have even more patience to deal with teenagers in my 40's! I'll have to let you know about that when the time comes!

Now am I thrilled about being nearly 40? Not particularly, but then again, I'm not really too worried about it either. The passing of time is inevitable, so what could I do to prevent it? And since it can't be prevented, why should I worry so much? I am having a good time. I am loving my kids. I am still married to the same great guy. I have one helluva good 'ol dog. I have a nice house and a good car. I have a pretty damn good life. So I have a few gray hairs, well who am kidding, I have ALOT of gray hairs (that I dye any chance I get) and a few wrinkles I'd like to have lasered out of existence, and boobs that aren't as perky as I'd like, but other than that, I can't really complain.

Sometimes I feel a little twinge, when I think of the things I haven't done yet and I start to worry. I've never been to Europe or Australia, I've never zip-lined through the Costa Rican rainforest, I've never seen the east coast, I've yet to finish one of my children's books, I've never won the lotto. But then I try to take a deep breath and look at what I HAVE done in the past 38 years. I spent LOADS of time with grandparents who are now gone and I treasure every single moment I had with them. Luckily I still have one left and although I don't see her as much as I'd like, I talk to her at least twice a week! I have shared my life with countless little critters, mice, rats, snakes, ferrets, fish, cats and dogs and I loved everyone of them deeply and did my best to make sure they had good lives and I cried when they left this world. I have always been my mom's best friend, especially after the divorce, it was just me and her against the world. I met, loved and married my soulmate! How many people can say that? And in doing so, I was welcomed into his family, where I proved that a girl CAN love her in-laws! I have met, lost, and re-discovered great friends. I have given birth to 2 beautiful babies which are now the foundation of my whole life and although I would have never pictured myself as "mama material" it for some crazy reason worked. So, I haven't yet traveled to exotic islands or seen an elephant on the savannah, or walked on the Great Wall of China, but I have tried to fill my life with love. And maybe, just maybe, that's what it's all about.

So cheers to 38! I want to make every single day count. I want to make sure I write everything down. I want to make the memories that I can fondly look back on when I'm 92 and tell them to my great-grandchildren, just like my grandmother does today! I want to look back and know that although I may not have been rich with money, I was rich with love and it doesn't matter how old you are, when you've got the love, age is irrelevant, because love is forever!

A special birthday dinner!

I have to admit, my birthday was very mellow, but overall, very enjoyable! Big Daddy offered to make french toast for breakfast, which was very tasty! Then we lounged around and watched Rocky movies, they must have been having a marathon, and I was done after Rocky II. I blogged and farted around on the computer and just did a whole lot of nothing until after lunch. Once the Piggy was down for a nap I ran a couple of errands, the most pertinent being the waxing of the eyebrows! I felt I owed it to myself to get those bad boys dealt with as I was to a point that plucking was sheer torture! So I sucked it up and paid the $15 and now I have beautiful shapely brows again, hooray! Then it was home to get dressed for a nice dinner out!

I chose a place called Habana. They have two locations, one on 6th St. and one on S. Congress (next to The Great Outdoors), we chose the south location, parking is ALOT easier! We were amazed when we arrived at how few people were there, not so great for the restaurant, but great for us! Habana has an amazing assortment of traditional Cuban food (or at least so I'm told as I've not been to Cuba, so really, how the hell would I know?). They are also known for a drink, called the Comandante, which is Gold Rum, infused for 2 weeks with fresh pineapple (cue Homer Simpson drooling with droopy eyes). A drink so tasty, yet so powerful they have a limit of 2 per patron! Needless to say, I started out with one of those! I hear they also make amazing mojitos, but I'm not a big fan of mint, so there you have it. For our entrees, Big Daddy and I both opted for the Bistec de Pollo Empanizada, which is a chicken breast that they beat until it's flat as a pancake, breaded in Cuban cracker meal and done kind of like a chicken-fried chicken, however it isn't hardly greasy and the chicken is SO tender. We got ours with the Congris, which is a white rice with black beans, and pineapple salsa! Tender... juicy... sweet... and spicy, hot chicken with cold pineapple, enough to make your taste buds stand up and salute! It's ALOT of food, but plenty to take home for leftovers! The Monkey Man chose empanadas, he had 3 choices, beef, 3-cheese, or spinach and mushroom. He pondered and considered the spinach, but in the end stated, "What can I say, I'm a meat boy!" and he chose the beef!

The kids split the empanada and Big Daddy and I shared our ENORMOUS pieces of chicken and everyone ate with wild abandon! Then the time came... dessert! In all honesty, dessert is why I chose this specific restaurant. They have the most luscious, decadent Tres Leches Cake that has ever graced my mouth! And the pieces are huge! One piece was plenty to satiate all four of us! Such a heavy cake, all weighted down with cream and milk and topped with a light, fluffy, creamy icing, dusted lightly with cinnamon! (Once again, cue Homer Simpson drooling!) It is really on the verge of being so completely sinful that I should blush just thinking about it! And as if that weren't enough, since it was my birthday, the cake was on the house! I LOVE this place!

So... it was a wonderful meal, spent with my awesome little family and I really couldn't have asked for anything nicer. Now, as for you all, if you are in the mood for something different and are feeling a bit adventurous, you should really try this place. The food is awesome, the drinks are great, totally kid friendly, warm and helpful staff, they have vegetarian offerings and it's a family-owned Austin business, always good to support the locals!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Saturday of Sloth

And no, I'm not talking about the 3-toed variety that hangs in trees in South America. I'm talking laziness, idleness, apathy... one of the seven deadly sins. It's funny, I was speaking of this very subject not more than a few days ago with one of my wise and witty friends. Why is it, that we moms have such a hard time letting go? As much as I try to sit on my ass on a Saturday afternoon, I just can't! It drives me CRAZY! I'll sit for a few minutes, browsing or Facebooking, but then I have to get up and do the dishes. I can sit on the couch for a few minutes watching HGTV with Big Daddy, but then I become overwhelmed and I have to get up to straighten the living room or fold laundry or help the kids clean their rooms. Yet, for some strange reason the hubbies have no problem with this. They are happy to lay on the couch and relax, content that they have done sufficient work for the week, taking time to re-cupe and rest for the coming week. I nag and try to get him up to help me with the chores, and he nags me to sit down and relax! I wish I could! But it just feels wrong! Maybe it's just some weird female thing, I cannot sit still for more than a few minutes when I know there is shit to be done. And there is NEVER a time that there is nothing to do. I also have this firm belief that there will be plenty of time to rest and relax when I'm dead! Aaargh... can you see my neuroses???

Well, much to my elation and subsequent shame, I spent the entire day yesterday doing NOT A FREAKIN' THING!!! Yes, you heard right. From 9am until dinnertime, I did nothing. There were books scattered all over the front room, I closed my eyes and walked away. There were toys all over the living room, I stepped over them as if they weren't there. The dishes were piled up in the sink and all over the counter, I put a dishtowel over the top *POOF* they were gone! I sat on the couch with Big Daddy and watched stupid movies, I read a little bit, and after lunch, I took my little Piggy upstairs, crawled into my nice warm bed and napped for 2 1/2 hours! After that, I became active long enough to make dinner and do dishes, then I ran a hot bath, shut the door and read until the bath got cold! I let my kids stay up WAY too late, until they both were damn near passing out from sheer exhaustion, got them settled, climbed into my own bed and proceeded to saw logs in short order!

So, I hope my friend reads this and is proud of me! It took ALOT of effort to just ignore the filth, but I did. I don't expect I'll be doing that again anytime soon. I never really felt relaxed, I just felt lazy. Ain't that a bitch? Maybe I need to find some testosterone so I can embrace or at least enhance my inner sloth!

A song for my birthday...

Please sing along to the traditional "Happy Birthday Song"

Happy Birthday to me,
My kids are screaming!
They're being punk-asses!
Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's on the Menu? Comfort Food

I LOVE to cook, then again, I'm sure most of you know that. And several folks have requested that I bring back a particular group of posts called "What's on the Menu?" I've been pretty lax with it lately, but here goes!

I was feeling incredibly ambitious the other day and decided to make brisket with all the fixin's. I marinated the meat for a couple of days, then set the oven on 225* on the third morning and plopped that sucker in to slow cook for the entire day. To accompany such a lovely slab of beef, I decided to make a fresh pot of pinto beans and a green chile corn puddin'. For those of you from the south, you're like "Oh yeah!" for those of you from up north or abroad you're probably cringing! I made a nice pitcher of iced tea and there you have it... juicy beef, tender, flavorful beans, a luscious, slightly spicy corn dish served with an ice-cold glass of tea, the ultimate comfort food dinner! I wish you could scratch-n-sniff the photo so you could get a whiff of that fantastic aroma!

For those of you that might be interested in trying a corn puddin', here's the recipe:

Corn Puddin'

1 can cream corn
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup vegetable oil
green chiles (amount depends on how spicy you want it)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs well beaten

Mix first 9 ingredients together, then add the beaten eggs last. Mix thoroughly. Pour into a 1-quart baking dish and cook in 350* oven for at least 45 min. or until you can poke a toothpick in and it comes out clean. It should be alot more moist than cornbread, but not wet and gooey.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Garden

I was pretty sure that I had procrastinated WAY too long and my dreams of a winter garden were dashed. I tried to suck it up and realize that I have just been so busy with daily life, Monkey Man's school, the chores, the obligations outside of the home. I was trying to psych myself out with the old "sour grapes" attitude. Hell, I didn't really want a damn garden right now anyway!

That was about as far from the truth as you could get. It was killing me that I had wasted time and screwed up and I wouldn't be able to attempt a winter garden. All that wasted space, sitting there empty, except for maybe some weeds! I was pissed at myself big time! And then Tim, sweet Tim, owner of the Green 'n Growin' Nursery in Pflugerville (which if you're local, I HIGHLY recommend) set me straight. I went to find some plants to use for a science co-op experiment and ended up leaving with a big smile on my face! Tim brought down his handy dandy little "Planting Guide for Central Texas" and lo and behold, after Jan. 15th, you can plant all sorts of things! My mind was wild with possibilities!

I went back that weekend, stocked up on compost and plants and seeds and proceeded to go home and work the shit out of those beds! Who needs a workout DVD when you've got a shovel, a hoe and a rake and two good sized beds to work! I dug and turned and patted and added compost and dug and turned and patted until I damn near collapsed! But it felt SO good to be out in the mild weather, enjoying the sunshine and working toward a goal, a goal of fresh, wonderful food!

Once the beds were prepped, I sent for the Monkey Man and he and I transplanted broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach plants, we tucked many onion bulbs in and planted carrots, spinach and lettuce seed. He was happy digging in the dirt, I was happy digging in the dirt, the Piggy was happy watching us dig in the dirt while she jumped on the trampoline, it was a beautiful thing! So now, I feel at peace again. I know I bitch about gardening, I know it drives me crazy, but in my defense, it was pretty stinkin' ironic that I decided to plant my first vegetable garden smack dab in the middle of the biggest drought since 1916! But you can't say I'm a quitter, cause here I am, making a go at a winter garden, still in a drought! But all that matters is we're trying. And we have high hopes of being able to harvest luscious, pesticide-free veggies from our own backyard! Can I get a hallelujah!

Bed One: Spinach, onions, lettuce and carrots

Bed Two: Broccoli, cauliflower and onions (spaced more closely so I can harvest them as green onions)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good morning!

I seem to have this weird thing going on with my breakfast items these days. First I had a happy face pancake, now this! So needless to say, I felt as though I would have a good morning! If nothing else at least it made me smile!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Day of Service

I have recently been racking my brains to figure out ways to volunteer. I, of course, need something that allows me to bring my children and honestly, I just don't have the time yet for a steady gig. Thankfully, one of my awesome homeschool mom friends put together a great little opportunity for us to help out. We spent the late morning hours, along with many other homeschoolers and people from her neighborhood, cleaning up the greenspace around their creek. It was a perfect introduction to volunteer work for my son. I figure he is almost 7 and I want to get him started early! Every child needs to know that it's important to help. Whether you're delivering meals to the elderly, picking up trash in the greenbelt, fostering needy dogs, or collecting toys for orphaned children in war-torn countries... it is GOOD TO HELP! I want him to know the pride of a hard day's work, I want him to know that every little bit DOES count. And granted, spending 2 hours picking up trash isn't going to make a huge global impact, it's planting that seed and if everyone else did the same, it WOULD make a huge impact. My goal is to find at least one volunteering opportunity a month for us to participate in. And eventually, the Piggy will grow and we will be able to participate at a higher level, as we did find out it's hard to muck through the underbrush and the creek when you have to keep an eye on a toddler!

I was VERY proud of the Monkey Man! He kind of whined and moaned on the way, but once we arrived and he saw all of the other kids participating, he jumped right into it and 6 full bags of trash later he was one pooped out camper and ready for some water and a nice lunch! I think he had fun and I think he was proud of himself as well and that's awesome! We'll keep you posted on future adventures. It's all about trying to be good humans, now if we could get alot more folks to follow suit! So check your area, there are ALWAYS things that need to be done!

Making rum balls!

You know how it goes, you come across photos that were taken weeks ago and think, "Oh yeah! I forgot about that!" And so it comes that I should throw out a quick entry regarding the making of rum balls. We do this every year for the big White Elephant Party. We have now become pros at rolling chocolate into little balls and dusting them with assorted sugars, nuts, etc... The Monkey Man thought we looked gross and decided to take a picture of Mommy and Daddy looking like we had, well, poo on our hands! Gotta love the 6 y.o. sense of humor!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Haiku of the day

Baby girl sleeping
I kiss her head so lightly
Sweet smile, my reward

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's all fun and games until the 6 y.o. loses!

Monkey Man got loads of new games for Christmas, really fun ones like MouseTrap, Cranium Kids and Operation! One of the things I promised myself this year was to have one night a week for "Family Night", no TV, no chores, just family. We can have a game night, play Putt-Putt, go to a movie, go on a hike, find volunteer work, I don't care just so long as we are all together and doing something besides wasting brain cells and precious time in front of the television! We decided to do a game night last night, so I bathed the Piggle Wiggle and got her ready for bed, then I came down to have fun with Big Daddy and the Monkey Man! I felt a little bad that Piggy wasn't included, but she had a rough day and was REALLY cranky and tired. Anyway, Monkey Man chose MouseTrap. I had to read all the directions as I've forgotten over the years how to play, but we got everything figured out and started. It was fun. We laughed. I was the first to get my mouse "trapped" and there was much giggling and finger-pointing at my expense. But I laughed and proceeded to watch Big Daddy work his mojo. Before we knew it, Monkey Man's mouse was trapped and the game was over. I started clearing the board for another go, when I noticed it...

The Look.

Eyes slightly glistening, cheeks sucked in, lips quivering and I realized that my 6 year-old was about to lose it! I asked him what was wrong. He said he didn't want to lose, he didn't like it. I explained to him that in every game there are winners and there are losers and generally speaking, only one person can win. Then his father explained that the true measure wasn't winning or losing but being a good sport and playing the game well. I also explained that no one likes to play with a sore loser, it ruins the game and the fun for everyone. So I asked if he wanted to play again and he agreed. Play was again genial and we were all having fun. Then it came, I had him in a spot to catch his mouse, but for some reason the mousetrap malfunctioned 3 times so Big Daddy thought the Monkey should get a free pass. I agreed and therefore ended up losing the game to my son, who was exuberant and jumping all over and yelling, "I won, I won! Hahaha!" He was close to doing a touchdown dance. Big Daddy then explained that technically he tied with me, since truly, the mousetrap should have worked and he would have lost. Then it came again...

The Look.

To be honest, I'm not sure where this level of competitiveness came from. I mean he is homeschooled, he isn't competing for time, for toys, for attention 8 hours a day! But, in all likelihood, this has nothing to do with his situation and everything to do with his age. Maybe it's just par for the course that 6 and 7 year-olds have not learned how to master their emotions enough to lose with grace. So, I will keep playing games with him, I will keep reinforcing the value of good sportsmanship and hopefully he will eventually get that it is all about having fun and spending time with people you love! After all, I'd lose a thousand times, if it meant I got to play every game with him. Unless it's Scrabble, then I'll kick his ass!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Late night, donuts and a bad scare...

After my much needed afternoon out, I came home and attended to my motherly duties, cooking a nice dinner, doing dishes, bathing a baby and getting everyone settled. I then embarked on a little more of that much needed "me time"! I filled the tub with searing hot water and lavender bubbles, shut the door, grabbed a book and proceeded to unwind! An hour and a half later, I emerged to find Big Daddy and the Monkey Man sprawled out on our bed and the Piggle sleeping soundly in hers. I decided to leave them be, mostly since it kills me to lug a 45 lb. kid through the house! I grabbed my book and headed to the Monkey's room where I spent another hour completely engulfed in 18th century Scotland! Needless to say I slept in this morning and much to my surprise so did everyone else!

I was entirely unmotivated to cook breakfast, so Big Daddy suggested that I pack up the Piggle and make a Round Rock Donut run. Mmmmm, Round Rock Donuts are the best! We don't eat a lot of donuts around here, so it's a BIG treat when we do. Piggy was so proud and asked to carry them inside to present to her Daddy. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out of the box and donuts rolled everywhere! Oops. Bad judgement on my part to entrust the donuts to a 2 y.o.! Oh well, 5-second rule applies and all was not lost! I only found a couple of dog hairs on mine! ;-)

After munching on donuts, it was the time to feed that big 'ol doggy. Monkey Man called him and as he turned the corner, in an excited frenzy, he slipped and fell hard, yelping. We got him off the hardwoods and onto the carpet to check him out, he seemed OK, then he hit the floors again, and slipped and yelped again! We pulled him back onto the carpet, trying to assess the situation with an upset boy and a manic toddler! He was really favoring that leg and I was SO worried that he had blown out his hip! Big middle aged dogs slipping on hardwood floors is NOT cool! We fed him on the carpet, then I led him outside so I could gauge what was up. He dashed around the yard like a young pup! I scolded him for being wild and brought him inside. I just hope everything is cool and he didn't do something that's going to become and issue later. But for now, he is fine, sleeping soundly at his post at the top of the stairs. I was really scared! I can't bear to think of my big, goofy beast being hurt!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Holy Moly, Mama gets out of the house!

Big Daddy is out for the count with a bum neck today, so the chances of cleaning out the garage this weekend are looking pretty damn slim! I had a pretty rough morning, catering to the needs of two kids and a hurt hubby, so after lunch I put the baby down to nap, showered and headed out the door (without kids) to do a little bit of retail therapy! Half-Price Books was calling my name. So I spent about an hour in there trying to locate a new Outlander book, since the Piggle dumped my old one in the bathtub ( just an FYI, paperback books don't do too well after being completely submerged in a lavender bubble bath) and then I perused the used elementary text books, kid's section, and the workout videos. Yes, I admit it, I've been looking for a decent aerobics DVD. I may be skinny, but I'm pretty frickin' far from fit! It was a successful venture as I found the Outlander book AND a nice little kick-boxing video, it's not Billy Blanks, but it looks OK and hell, for $3.98 I won't be too pissed if it sucks!

Afterwards, I headed over to a friend's house to drop a couple of things off and we ended up having a very spontaneous but lovely little chat! Her daughter was out playing and her son was sleeping like an angel on the couch and it was nice to just share a couple of hours with a friend! I really need to work more of that into my ridiculously busy schedule! I need to just get over it and schedule "band practice" every week just like Big Daddy, except my "band practice" would likely not involve any instruments! Maybe it will just be the code word for a bunch of us rockin' mamas getting together to chat, drink beer and rediscover a part of ourselves that isn't necessarily equated with motherhood! That's it... I'm for sure gettin' the band back together man!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Birthday wishes

I'll be celebrating my birthday later this month, and all I'm saying is I'm still 30-something! Anyway, I was pondering what I might enjoy doing for my birthday, or what silly little thing might amuse me. At first I thought of new jogging pants and some new sneakers, just because that's what I wear 90% of the time and the ones I have are getting old and sad, then I thought I might like some new bamboo utensils to use on my non-stick pans, I have some but one broke, or maybe a couple of good books, I haven't had anything new to read in awhile. Pretty simple stuff, I'm an easy-going girl, you don't have to buy me diamonds to make my day. Honestly dinner out and a cool punk rock t-shirt sounds awesome! But then, about 2 hours ago, my hopes and dreams for my birthday changed entirely. I heard a horrible noise upstairs, so I ran up and what did I find? The Monkey Man barfing his brains out! Of course my first worry was for him, poor little guy, it breaks my heart! Then I slowly began to notice the aftermath and all I can say is HOLY SHIT! He obviously started off in his bedroom, then left a contribution in the hall and proceeded to hurl again before he could lift the lid of the toilet! Egads! So two hours later, after being on my hands and knees scrubbing copious amounts of vomit out of the carpet and off the walls, I have decided what I REALLY want, more than anything in the world, is new carpet! And if I can't get that, I'd settle for a serious visit from Stanley Steemer or Kiwi!!! It may not be romantic, but after the puke, the dog piss, the wine and more puke, this carpet can't take much more! It's getting so bad that even the dog is offended by it! Sigh.

Man, that stinks!

This subject has been an ongoing series of complaints and commiserations between my father-in-law and myself... the subject of old ladies and perfume. There was a time that I actually enjoyed wearing perfume, of course this was before my first pregnancy when my olfactory system went completely whacko and I couldn't even be in the same room with someone wearing perfume or heavily scented lotion. Of course, when I DID use perfume, it was in a minimal way. I would spray the "flavor of the day" into the air and then walk through it. I NEVER sprayed directly onto the bod. After all, perfume should be subtle, just a hint, possibly to entice a sexy man into leaning in a bit closer! But this air of subtlety has been completely lost on the older generation! I don't know if it's the fact that THEIR olfactory system has shut down or if it's because, let's be honest, some older ladies don't bathe as often and henceforth use perfume as a cover-up. Either way, they're KILLING ME!

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to exit an elevator 3 floors down from where I needed to go, or walked into a public restroom only to be hit in the face with the reek of Emeraude, or had a meal at a restaurant COMPLETELY obliterated when Eau de Paree came lilting over the booth behind me! In fact, I had one of these nasal assaults happen at my local Schlotzsky's just the other day. There we were, minding our business, enjoying our yummy sandwiches, having a great time, then POW! This woman walked by and I swear the stench that she emitted was ghastly! And it was on a leash! She kept walking by to fill up sodas for her table and everytime she walked by, the smell would hit about 5 seconds later as it followed her like this great, green cloud of death! And you know it's bad when your 6 year-old son (he who delights in all things stinky and foul) comments about the "gross smell" that keeps coming by. Big Daddy and I were trying to pinpoint exactly which nasty perfume it was, "I think it smells like Jovan, no, it's Charlie, no, it's Tea Roses..." Then the Monkey Man interjects, "I think it smells like Gargoyles!" And really, how can you argue with such logic!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Out with the old... In with the new!

Goodbye to 2008 and hello to 2009! Where DID the time go? As I do every year, I spend the first day or so of the new year reflecting upon the past year. What was accomplished, what was not, what was joyous, what was hard and what would I like to accomplish in the next year. Those of you that know me, know I don't do resolutions. Resolutions SUCK! To me, resolutions are nothing more than a way to set myself up for failure so I can beat myself up about it next year. What's the point? I have goals. Some of these goals will come to fruition, others will just get a kick start, but that is better than nothing. After all, a year is only a year, and no matter how hard you try, there are some things that just can't be accomplished in 365 days!

So, what did Trina accomplish this year? Well let's see...

1. I yet again managed to bring 2 children one year closer to adulthood without strangling them or selling them on the black market.
2. I successfully homeschooled my son another year, EVEN with a toddler in the house!
3. I skipped out on my 20 year high school reunion and took that trip I promised myself with my husband! One week in Cozumel and I can't tell you how much that boosted my morale and strengthened our marriage! I love my kids, but sometimes Mommy and Daddy need some time to rediscover what we had BEFORE children came along, to have conversations that don't include words like "poop", "potty", "farting" or "Lego Deathstar Destroyers", and to revel in the silence, enjoying one another's quiet presence. You can bet I'm going to make this a yearly goal, whether it's a long weekend or a full week, that kind of time together is priceless!
4. I planted a garden! I was entirely successful in raising herbs, tomatoes, cantaloupe and jalapenos, but bell peppers and squash were lessons in futility! Maybe I'll have better luck this year! There was something more fulfilling than you can imagine, going into the garden and harvesting tomatoes with the kids, watching them eat the fruit right off the vine and using that days harvest in our dinner. I hope to add more beds this winter so I can expand the garden and have higher yields. Growing your own food is not only good for your body, but good for your soul!
5. I finally got my big, badass tattoo! A memorial for two little babies that never made it into this world, and a tribute to the two amazing kids that did! Now I have a daily reminder to never forget the two that I lost, but also never forget how lucky I am to have the two that came!
6. I celebrated 14 years of marriage! That's a pretty big number and I find it immensely satisfying that after 14 years, I still love him, still respect him, still think he's the best father ever and still want to spend the rest of my life with him. Pretty damn cool!
7. I'm finally feeling comfortable with where I am and what I'm doing. I have found amazing friends in an amazing community of women and I feel much more grounded, much more supported and much more loved. Finding a solid network of great women is something I have been striving to find for years, and now that I have it, life is much more enjoyable!

So... although I still don't have baseboards or a finished kitchen, I still have a wonky fence and I still don't take enough time for myself, I did accomplish some great things this past year! And maybe, just maybe, 2009 is the Year of Baseboards!

Now on to my goals...

1. Keep on keepin' on! Try to live in the moment and quit worrying so much about the future. After all, the future just puts me one step closer to dyin', right?!
2. Expand my garden! My garden frustrates me and elates me all at the same time, but there is just something about having my hands in the dirt and smelling the scent of tomato vines that gives me a sense that I am truly a part of the natural world and not just some tech junkie that spends too much time on the computer!
3. Spend less time on the computer! I won't give up my blogging, but Facebook and Myspace, your time will be limited!
4. Make more of an effort to call and see friends! Email is nice, but there is nothing like visiting in person!
5. Spend MUCH more time outdoors, whether hiking, camping or gardening. I spent entirely too much time indoors last year and it has made me feel disconnected and weak!
6. To work on some ideas I have to make natural, affordable toys. It makes me crazy that toys that are good for the environment and stimulating for children that are NOT made in China cost too much for the average person to afford them! But that is another tangent I should save for another entry!
7. Last, but not least, be a good human! Work toward lowering my footprint on the planet, work toward raising children that are open-minded and respectful, that want to make a difference in the lives of others and the environment. Our future rests in their hands, so this is one of those on-going goals and the greatest labor of my life! My children will ultimately be my greatest contribution to the planet so I've got to get this one right!

I am looking forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! And I'm not talking about monetary prosperity (although a little of that might be nice), I'm talking about the kind of prosperity that comes from the joy of watching children grow and learn, the connection, the passion and the safety felt with a lifelong partner, and the love and loyalty of a good 'ol dog! It's all about the everyday triumphs and the little things that cause great joy. Sometimes you have to look for them, but they're always there, whether it's the smell of a freshly bathed baby, the uninhibited giggles of silly children, the fleeting morning kiss from the spouse leaving for work, the little red tomato picked right off the vine or the smell of fresh baked cookies and the eager anticipation of children wanting to eat those cookies. It's truly the little things that make each day awesome, which in turn makes each week amazing, which leads to great months and phenomenal years! I hope each of you experience everyday joys in your lives and have a happy and prosperous New Year as well!