Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yummy Dinner for a Cold Night

Made this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup  recipe for my family last night, which was shared on the Quad City Moms Blog last week.  It was absolutely delicious.  Easy to make, didn't take long, and was reasonably inexpensive to feed our family.  I highly recommend it for one of these cold nights!

*I also added one chopped onion for more flavor.
*I cut the entire recipe in half.  It was PLENTY!  Which means the whole recipe would be great for big family get-togethers, or to freeze the extras.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Socks: A Love-Hate Relationship.

If you know my kids, you know that my two boys don't look anything like me.  There's still hope for Nora to look like Mommy, but Sam and Cooper have decided to look like Daddy. However, they have inherited some things from me... of them is a love for being barefoot. All spring and summer, and most of fall, me and my boys are barefoot if we are inside (and outside too, if it's warm enough).  My husband hates this.  He always has socks on, and refuses to go outside barefoot. Ever. 

Now that it's getting colder, I have finally given in and started wearing socks to work.  My boys, on the other hand, have been adamantly refusing the idea of socks every morning, and I have chosen to give in and let them wear shoes without socks (another thing my husband hates...because it is so hard to get their shoes on without socks!)

Until today.  As we are getting ready to go trick-or-treating in a couple hours, I tell Sam that he absolutely has to wear socks under his costume, otherwise he will get too cold and will have to go home. As I say the words, I brace myself for the whining that is to come. whining.  As I go to his room and grab a pair of white socks to put on him, I brace myself yet again for the whining and fit throwing.  But, as I hold his foot and pull the sock over it, not a sound.  He stands up, slides around on the carpet, and smiles.

"Mommy," he exclaims, "you were right! these socks are really comfortable! and warm! i'm going to wear socks every day now!"

I'm still in shock that this happened.  Happy, but in shock.  And I just had  to put it on the, so that you all could get a good laugh. And two, so that I have proof that my son did, at one time, say the words "Mommy, you were right!"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Another Good Bargain

It’s been a while since I posted one of our good bargains!  As I’ve mentioned, garage sale season is nearing its end (so sad!), but a couple weeks ago we had a good day of hitting the sales, and as we were rushing to hit “just a couple more sales” (I was literally changing clothes in my van, putting my dress on for church!), we found this:  this adorable, super old, probably antique, little red and black rocking horse.  Perfect for my black and red guest bedroom.  And now I can just picture my little girl riding it when she gets a little bigger…so cute!

When I got home and set it down in the Spanish-inspired bedroom, nearly entirely decorated from garage sales and clearance racks (see the post entitled   ), it just fit right in.  Amazing how that happens!  Not to toot our own horns (well, I guess I am…), but we seriously should win an award for the rooms we have put together for mere fractions of retail cost.  Which reminds me, I need to get working on another post for the house tour! 

For now, enjoy the adorable picture of my adorable rocking horse, and just picture my adorable little Nora with her black hair riding this when she gets big enough.  Just adorable!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Is This Really Happening?

Sometimes your college roommate comes to visit.
And you decide to take her and your other best friend to lunch at one of your favorite places.
You pull up to the restaurant, and:  Closed.
No worries, your friend suggests another place.
And a third place? Only open for dinner. (Seriously, do people not go out to eat on Sundays?)
So...we settle for a place we have taken her before and enjoyed.
We sit down, enjoy our appetizers, and start eating our entrees...until the waiter comes rushing over.
"I'm sorry to do this, I know you just started eating your food..."
The three of us just stare at each other. Where is he going with this?
"...but there is a fire in the back, and we have to evacuate."
(Now, let me just mention, my friend is almost 8 months do not make a pregnant woman stop eating.)
So, we move to the patio.
Two fire trucks roll up, lights on and sirens blaring, and there we are, sitting on the patio eating.
(Like I said, you don't make a pregnant woman stop eating.)
So...we finish our food, take a little trip to Target, and decide to get some ice cream.
We go to Dairy Queen, and in the course of the half hour or so that we are there, a big car accident occurs outside the Dairy Queen.
As we drive home in disbelief, amidst the two banged up cars, pieces of cars, and policemen walking up and down the street, it really made me think...

...after so many mishaps and crazy things happening, in the end it was still an afternoon with my two best friends. A good time with two of my favorite people. No matter what was going on around us, we were enjoying our time together, because these days that time is not much.  (And I can only say that because no one was hurt in the fire or the car crash)

So, did that really happen?  Yes, it really did.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hawkeye Nation

On Fridays, we talk about community.  Such a comforting word—community.  The warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging somewhere.  I am lucky enough to feel a part of many different communities, many of which I have mentioned on this blog (my family, my friends, etc.).  But there is one community I have not mentioned yet:  the HAWKEYE community.

We are a die-hard, close-knit, fun-loving community.  We wake up on game day and open our closets and dressers to reveal a sea of black, gold, gray, white, yellow...and LOTS of Herky the Hawk.  We “suit up”, we grab our favorite people and our favorite drinks (Cherry Pepsi is my tailgating beverage of choice), and we settle in for the win.  Or sometimes the loss.  But either way, you can hear near and far… “we’re gonna fight, fight, fight for IOWA!”

And last week in particular, the fight song was running through my head.  Why, you ask?  Because my cousin made the ill-informed choice to marry a non-Hawkeye fan…in fact, a Michigan State fan.  And so the day of the Hawkeye-Spartan match up is anxiously awaited by me and Ryan (her husband).  Last year, amidst all of his smack-talk and all of his puke-green Michigan State clothes, I sat on the couch next to him as the Hawkeyes won. Sweet, sweet victory.

This year, last Saturday to be exact, I woke up with a smile on my face, a good feeling inside.  I put on my Hawkeye gear, head to toe, and then one by one I dressed each of my kids in black and gold. (Side note: win or lose, there is nothing as cute as my little baby girl in her Hawkeye tutu). We settled in on the couch at my grandma’s house, sans Ryan (I think last year’s teasing on my part was too much for him..he didn’t even show up this year), and rooted for our beloved Hawks.

It looked like it could go either way…there were a couple nail-biting moments, and jump-off-the-couch moments.  And then it went into overtime.  And then it went into a second overtime.  Seriously, my heart was pounding out of my chest. When we won, I almost didn’t believe it for a second…but we did! We won again! I immediately texted Ryan (among some of my other, Hawkeye-loving friends). He never responded.  In fact, I haven’t heard from him since then…hmm…

Anyhow, like I said, win or lose, we bleed black and gold in this house.  Always have, always will. My boys know all the words to the fight song (ask anyone at Walmart…they have heard it loud and clear in the carts, in the bathroom stall, just about everywhere…) and soon my girl will be singing it along with them.  Last week we won, and for me it was an even better win because of the inner-family rivalry.  But this week we lost, and we lost bad. But we are no fair-weather fans.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The End Of Garage Sale Season...

Well, it's finally here. No more fluorescent-colored signs on wooden sticks on the street more tents and card tables filling people's more checking the Quad-City Times Classifieds on Wednesday nights to see how many sales there are in the morning. Garage sale season is coming to an end...
yes, there are a few sales out there today.  But there's also a lot of rain. And it's cold. And my mom is currently in Boston visiting my aunt, which would leave me with all three kids by myself at a garage sale. No thanks. And so, the sales are over for me. Such a sad day! :(

But alas, let us remember the point of this blog: to look for the good.  And let me tell you, after all of the things that have gone wrong this week, I needed some good today. So, as I drove by the dripping-wet garage sale signs on my way home from work, I decided to look at the bright side.  And the bright side is this: it's raining!

Remember a while back when I blogged about all three kids napping when it rains? Well, my theory continues to be true.  As I write this, ALL three of my kids are enjoying a dreary-day slumber.  And I am finally getting to catch on some of my "daily" blog posts that I have been neglecting while I have instead been "daily" getting used to being a mommy of three! :)

It's a good, rainy, sleepy afternoon.  Now, if only I could catch up on my blog posts and take a nap at the same time....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saying Goodbye.

On Tuesdays we talk about finding the good in our home. Well, this story takes us back a few years...

...Matt and I had found our first home, in a tiny little town called Wilton, Iowa.  About two days after signing the papers and making it ours, I said to Matt, "We need a dog." Growing up, I always had a dog. When I was little, we had a little pekingese named Squirty.  Unfortunately, Squirty was lost in the fire in our house when I was ten.  Soon after, we got our sheltie puppy, Molly, who was with us until my last year of college.  And now, it was time for Matt and I to get our first dog for our first house.

We knew we wanted to buy from a shelter, not a breeder or a pet store. So, we visited nearly every shelter in the Iowa City area, but didn't find "the one".  Then one day at work, I was searching online and found her: a female beagle named "Patsy". And she was just down the road from my office! So, as soon as my work day was done, I ran down the three blocks to the shelter and asked to see her.  Yes, she was the one! Matt met me there, and we told them we wanted to take her home.  They let us take her around the block on the leash, and she was so happy to get out of that cage.  I loved her right away; I knew I wanted a beagle, and although she wasn't full beagle (her short, fat legs were definitely something else!), she was perfect to me.  They told us that she had lived with an old man who got sent to a nursing home, and no one was aware that he had had pets inside his house, so she and some cats were alone in the house for about a week until someone found them.  Poor thing! 
Maggie and Maizee with the new family of three!

And so we brought her home, and I re-named her "Maggie". (We didn't like Patsy, and my mom's name is Patti, so it was just too funny).  The first night, we put her in the $80 kennel that the shelter had sold us (telling us that she loved the kennel and it would be a comfort to her), and she cried the entire night.  The. Entire. Night. From then on, she slept in bed with me.

We lived in our house in Wilton for a year and a half, and since I was pregnant with my first son, I did a lot of laying around and resting. Maggie was in heaven.  She would literally lay on the couch with me all day long when I was sick and exhausted; she would just lay her head on my ever-growing tummy and snore the day away. 
Maggie and Sam snuggling
Then when we sold our house, we temporarily moved in with my parents, who have a little dog named Maizee. The two of them became best friends right away.  Maizee loved having a bigger dog there to protect her from the cats! They would literally snuggle and lay on the couch together all day long...and since they are almost the exact same coloring, they almost looked like a mother and her baby.  About 8 months later, we had found a house, and it was time for Maggie to leave. Although I hate to admit it, I don't think she ever really wanted to leave my mom's house. She had found her home there.

Trying to get in the Christmas card picture
Fast forward...I gave birth to Cooper one week before moving into our new house, and then 18 months later I was pregnant for the third time.  Needless to say, I had a lot less time to lay around on the couch and snuggle with my dog.  Although I wish I had more!  Maggie had gotten older, lazier, full of allergies, and was beginning to forget where to go to the bathroom.  With a three year old, almost-two year old, and a pregnant belly, one night I just broke down crying and called my mom after cleaning up yet another potty-mess of Maggie's.  I didn't know what to do.  My mom calmly says, "Sara, it's ok.  Just bring her to my house.  She likes it here, and Maizee misses her anyway. It's fine."  I am forever grateful for that moment, and I hope my mom knows it. I was so exhausted and didn't want to get rid of my dog, but at the same time didn't know how to keep up!

Looking older :(
Unfortunately Maggie didn't get better at my mom's...instead she got worse.  She was there for about 6 months, and by the end had my mom in the same miserable, helpless boat as I had been in. Maggie's time had come...she was so miserable, and in so much pain from her constant battle with allergies. We knew it was time...but we just didn't want to face it.

And so my mom made the appointment.  As soon as I heard the words, I just broke down and cried to Matt. Even though I knew it was best for Maggie, it didn't make the whole thing any easier.  On Tuesday, I drove home from work with a heavy heart.  I stopped at McDonald's and got my girl her last cheeseburger; she was so happy when she ate it.  And then we got in the car for the last mom and I were already crying.  By the time we got to the vet's office, we had the receptionist crying, too.

On Tuesday we said goodbye to my friend, my snuggle-buddy, my "baby before my babies".  She was not the best behaved dog in the world, but she was good to our kids, and she had to put up with a lot from two toddler boys, believe me!  And she loved me.  She really did.  She loved me, and she loved my mom. 

And now she is more itching and scratching, no more getting older.  And as I held her little paw (she had the cutest paws) in the vet's office, I remembered with a smile the first time I saw her that day in Iowa City, and I reminded myself that we gave her a good life. A really good life.

Goodbye Maggie. I have spent the last three days crying about losing you, but I will try to remember the happy times we had with you in our lives.  Your loud snoring, your even louder howling at the doorbell, and your un-ending love of food. Any food.  We love you Maggie, and you will be forever missed in our home.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A New Meaning of Vacation (100 words or less)

Our mini-vacation in Wisconsin Dells this weekend:
Five minutes after arriving, Sam slips and falls and breaks open his chin.
We rush to first aid. They butterfly bandage it and send us to Urgent Care.
Can’t have stitches because: A) we are going swimming
B) the numbing medicine has been recalled
They decide to glue it instead.
Cooper, in the waiting room, has explosive diarrhea.
Because we left the hotel in a hurry, I have no diapers in the van (but luckily do have wipes).
I change him, and stuff a stack of napkins in his pants.
Back To Vacation!

Getting his chin glued!

All fixed up! Brave boy!