Monday, January 31, 2011

The Memories It Holds

I have a shelf. My kitchen shelf. It holds some of my favorite things in the world.

In the span of a day, I look at this shelf no less than 25,000 times. Easily.

I love mason jars and I have lots of them because I think they're cool. Real cool man. And I put only my favorite things in my jars. Like an afternoon at the beach in January with my kids...

And like dirt from my Mama's farm in NC with a picture of me and my Grandpa playing in it.

But then there's this guy who doesn't need a jar. He's alright all alone and he's from a day in Jackson Hole that I'll never, ever forget.

Who knew God made rocks shaped like hearts for you to find on your tenth anniversary. Anyways, I love my little shelf and all the memories it holds.


Weekend project...


Friday, January 28, 2011

So Worth It

A day at the beach in January means that it's gonna be cold...

But it's oh so worth it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hands In Your Pockets

Dr. Aimee has been great to us. She's a pediatrician that makes you feel like she's a wise old grandmother. She knows what you're going to say before you say it. She has the right answer for everything and lays out the future for you as clear as a railroad track. She's spot-on about their next stages. She's encouraging and makes you feel like you're doing a great job. Next to my anesthesiologist, she was my favorite person to see when I had my babies.

However. We're not big fans of her office. It's a little creepy. For some reason, it just gives all of us the willies as soon as we walk in there. The actual rooms are fine but the waiting room can sometimes feel like a cesspool. I don't like going to the doctor because I'm scared we're going to leave sick or become more sick. But we had to go in there today because Lil' has got the "boo boos in her froat".

When we go, the kids know that there is no touching allowed anywhere or on anything. Keep your hands in your pockets. That's the rule. Today, Lil' caught my drift because the kid right next to us puked all over the place. As soon as it happened, all the mommies in the waiting room became completely frozen. If there is a krptonite for a mommy it's somebody else's kid's stomach bug. We all just kind of sat there helpless watching him and his poor mother. But just as quick it happened, we all snapped out of the puke trance and started offering tissues and shirts off the backs of our kids and "Shhhh's" and "Its ok's" and "Oh girl, I've been there's".

So the lesson was learned and now Lil' can't wait to tell Big what she saw today. If you go to the doctor, keep your hands in your pockets!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Time of My Life

Big and Lil' got in trouble today. It wasn't pretty. They were fighting again and it all ended with Lil' getting tossed across the playroom. She was crying. He was back-tracking and I had had enough. Ole' faithful got pulled out and they both got up on their tip-toes and started telling me why they didn't need a spanking. Well... it was too late.

He got it first. She got it second. They both were sent to their rooms. Big did what he always does and immediately started saying he was sorry. Lil' just got mad. She got mad and she slammed her door. Then she started yelling to me downstairs. "I'm telling Mama. I'm telling Daddy on you when he gets home from work!"

She's gonna be the death of me. She's gonna send me over the edge. She's gonna break me. She takes me from mad to laughing to back to mad in no time at all. But good Lord, I love that child. I love her guts and I love her attitude. She is a roller coaster ride and I'm having the time of my life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Watering Away

I'm witnessing something really weird /cool going on with Big.

The other night, our team, lost a game on tv. Which is a problem. Because, you see, Big has become quite the fan. When he watches them play, he becomes older. He grows up for 2 halves and turns into a 35 year old man who drinks beer (of course not literally!) and has quite the potty mouth (no way, not on my watch!). You get my drift. So when they lost, it wasn't pretty. And he cried himself to sleep that night.

Anyways, passion is brewing in that one. It's perculating like a hot pot of coffee. A hot pot of passion. That's what it is. Basketball is becoming big for Big. It's in his blood. His Daddy loves it. His Uncles love it. His Great~Uncles. His Great~Grandpa. His Nettie. And cause I'm the Mama, I've got a front row seat in watching the little seed that got planted turn into a little shoot peaking through the dirt. And Daddy, well... he's just watering away.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mama Bears

Man, I love Mama-Bears.

Enjoying the Small Things

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Posole

Alright, fine! It's true. A lot, not all, but a lot of what I make for supper comes from a recipe that I've run across. When it comes to cooking, I lack the creative know-how to come up with a dish on my own. I have some things that my Mama taught me how to make, some things that I find on websites and in magazines and if I'm really being honest... some that sometimes come from a bag. Yikes!

Anyways, on days like today when it's so blistery, blustery cold in our little spot of the south, all that we want around here is soup. So here's a soup that will for sure, no doubt, make you feel like this lady...

It's called Chicken Posole and alright fine - it's from Real Simple. Now I did use cooked and shredded chicken breasts, chick peas instead of hominy (cause I don't know what that is) and I threw in some black beans cause I dig them. I guess you could substitute tofu for the chicken (waddup Barto!) but the lime is essential so make sure you add a little squeeze to each bowl. I also had to do some ingredient separating when I served up the kids bowls, but it hit the spot so give it a try.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 dried ancho chili, thinly sliced, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
1 15-ounce can hominy, rinsed
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and
   beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add the broth, tomatoes, and chili and bring to a boil.
4. Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Serve the posole with the lime wedges.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It Will Forever Change You

When I was visiting over at Dig this Chick the other day, she posted this picture that absolute drew the breath out of me:

I never knew that snowflakes like this really existed. Sure, I've seen pictures but I never really knew if they were real. Seeing as how Dig this Chick lives in Missoula, MT and so did my little brother for a spell, I decided to ask him about it. Montana holds a very dear and near place in my heart as I'm sure that is where my brother was born for the second time and taught him a way to live life as a harmonious symphony between body and nature. Here is what he had to say about the snowflakes and his first love, Sweet Montana.

"That is the case for all snowflakes, MT or not. No two flakes are the same and are impossible to replicate. Now does the snow in MT hold a special place in my heart, certainly. They fall like goose feathers and can get so big you can feel the weight of them on your face. There were many a night that I'd be stumbling home from Charlie's and stop and try to soak up the winter night in that sketchy alley, or in Alberton and listen as you can damn near here them falling through the sky. It isn't just the hikes and the views and the crazy times I had that I miss most because although those are burned in my memory and I could go back and they could be replicated. It is the sounds, smells and the spiritual grapple of the place as a whole that can bring me to my knees. There is a Celtic Tale of 'Thin Places' that explains this feeling that I have a little better.

A 'Thin Place' is an extraordinary place, most often found in the wild, where it is as though the line between the physical and spiritual worlds is so thin that it seems that they are one. You could never find these places should you seek them however you can find yourself if you are there, and it is an almost erie feeling when you have stumbled, hiked or wandered into them. You know it, something is happening all around you, almost like you are being watched by millions but there is no one there.

I miss Montana, I miss my mind."

I'm posting this especially for my children. Please go find this place and never forget it. Remember it always and it will forever change you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Big Picture Is Amazingly Beautiful

I love New Year's Day. I've said that it is my favorite day of the year but then I was quickly reminded that it isn't. It's my second. I forgot that I'm a big fan of my birthday.

For the first few hours of New Year's Day, I've won the lottery. I like to wait as long as I can hold out to check my ticket because from the moment my eyes see the light of the new day, I'm a big winner. And I'm gonna send this kid and that kid to college and buy land and horses and give this person that much and this person this much and give 25% to climate causes, 25% to poor kids, 25% to Farm Aid and then have supper at my house with Willy Nelson and Bruce Springsteen. They're big Farm Aid supporters you know.

But then I check my ticket and I go back to just being grateful for what it is that I do have and not so worried about tax ramifications.

New Year's Day. It's a fresh baited hook. It's when you're coming around a mountain and you can't wait to see the view. It's an ultrasound really. A small part of a bigger picture. Like a little match that can light a fire of hope. Of possibility. Turn a maybe to a gonna. There's no other day of the year that makes you think "Oh, yes I can" more than New Year's will.

I don't like resolutions. Can't stand the pressure. But I do like the promise that comes with New Year's that we all make to ourselves in some sort of way - This Year Will Be Different. It's our universal wish to make the year better somehow.

My eyes turn to crystal balls on New Year's Day and when I look through them, I see a year ahead that is bright and fantastic. I can't see the details, but on today, the big picture is amazingly beautiful.