Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's been a long day

Four years ago, when we started this whole adventure with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, I got my first taste of what single parenthood looks like. Mr. Amazing accepted a position in North Dakota and left me in Iowa with our three kids. The job was only guaranteed to last 6 months. It didn't make sense for us to uproot and join him in ND. We stayed behind so I could finish up at my job and Cherub 1 could finish second grade.

I remember missing my husband a lot. I remember counting the days until he'd come back for a visit. I wasn't too fond of single parenthood. Since that time, we've moved several more times. Each time Mr. Amazing went ahead of us to find us a place to live. The children and I followed 6-10 weeks later.

Four years later -- we're still knee deep in this adventure. Mr. Amazing left on Saturday for Texas. The three boys and I are in Utah. We're going to stay here until the boys are out of school for the summer and a large freelancing project of mine goes to press. It's looking like I'm going to be a pseudo single mom for 2-3 months this time. I mean... I'm not exactly single. But... I don't have any help around the house with the day to day parenting, housework, etc.

I figured out what I hate most about single parenthood. Not sure what I'm going to do about it yet. But I can share what I've learned so far.

I hate taking care of a house of ungrateful individuals. I have to do what I do for the glory of God. My kids could care less.

I set my alarm this morning so I could be up and dressed before any of the children needed to wake up. I don't like getting up that early. I'm not a morning person. But Cherub 1 had an English assignment he needed to make up and his teacher told him it had to be done before class. This is important stuff!

I got the children ready for school. I even made sure to package up two homemade cookies for my oldest for special snack during the day. We left for town and I dropped Cherub 1 off at school. I then had an hour to kill before Cherub 2 could get dropped of at preschool. So, we went to McDonalds for breakfast. $15 spent so hopefully my oldest could get his schoolwork done.

As the day progressed I fed lunch to children who complained about everything I had to offer. Filled drink cups multiple times. Got snacks. Listening to whining while I watched 20 minutes of "my" TV instead of Nickelodeon. Broke up fights. And wiped the mud off the dog's feet every time he came in from the rain.

Dinnertime didn't get much better. There was "yuck stuff" in the sloppy joe mix. Hashbrowns fell apart. And the dirty look I got when I said the muffins were made with sweet potatoes deserved... well... it didn't make me feel happy at all.

Oh yeah - Cherub 1 didn't get his English done at school either. He wasn't first in line to talk to the teacher and every time he looked up she was talking with someone else so he couldn't do anything.

At least that's the story I got.

The Bible says I'm supposed to do everything for the glory of God. In Ephesians 6:7 it says, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men". I'm going to have to keep that verse close to heart because my children certainly don't make it easy to serve them sometimes.

I've heard it said that God uses our circumstances to build us up so we can help others in the future. This is one lesson I wish I didn't have to learn this way. It's been a long day. Thanks for letting me vent.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Berry Banana Bread

I've become a foodie-wanna-be. I love just about every cooking show on the Food Network. I've got a huge collection of cookbooks that I pull out and read just for fun. I love to try new recipes. I'm pretty comfortable inventing my own recipes for main and side dishes too.

Until yesterday though, I hadn't really experimented with baking. Sure, I'll change up the mix-ins on just about any recipe. But actually messing with the SCIENCE - I hadn't done that yet. My hubby is the scientist... not me.

I wanted to make banana bread though. And I wanted to use some buttermilk. And I thought that whole wheat flour would be a healthier choice. And then I decided I wanted to really go out on a limb and add some frozen berries. I just didn't have any recipes that included these ingredients.

So I made my own.

If I do say so, the bread turned out delicious. Dense enough (the way I like my banana bread). Yet moist, sweet and very banana-y.

I have no problem making up my own words.

adjective: A perfect blend of banana sweetness absolutely necessary in good banana bread or banana muffins.


1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup whipped banana (approximately 2 large bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen mixed berry blend (my combination included blueberries, raspberries and blackberries I think)

Cream together the shortening and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add the banana, buttermilk, vanilla, almond extract and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking soda and salt.

Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet and fold together. Do not overmix. Stir in the frozen berries. (In retrospect I should have tossed the berries in about 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture before mixing everything together. That's supposed to keep heavy mix-ins from sinking to the bottom.)

Pour batter into a 9x5 loaf pan that has been greased and floured. (Or use Bakers Joy - my very best baking friend!) Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My First Date

My Uncle Jack took me on my first date. The memory isn't as strong as it used to be. It was a loonngg time ago. I'm going to try and recall some of the details though.

I believe I was wearing a light blue spring jacket. Popular with all the four-year-olds at the time. (At least I think I was four.) I'm pretty sure it was in the fall.

He took me on a walk around the bluffs near Davenport, Iowa. I remember seeing rock faces so tall they made me feel tiny. OK - I WAS only four. So I was pretty small to begin with. But the colors were spectacular and I felt so special. I remember tall trees. The quietness of nature. It was breathtaking -- even for a four-year-old.

It was just me and my uncle. He made me feel so grown up. Calling it a date and all. He even took me out to lunch. I think we ate at Hardee's. The date didn't last too long. But the memory of how I felt has stayed with me my entire life.

Then, due to family things I'm never going to fully know or understand, my uncle decided to leave the family. He went away. It's been many, many years since I've seen or talked with my uncle.

God is doing wonderful things in our family though. There has been healing. My dad is in contact with his brother again. And maybe... just maybe... I might get to see my uncle again too.

In the meantime, Uncle Jack found me on this blog and left me a comment last week. He didn't leave an e-mail so I could say "hi" back though. So with that in mind... Hi Uncle Jack! I love you! I hope all is well. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 16, 2009

But will he grow back down?

My baby turned four years old the day after Christmas. And yes, he can dress himself. But, most of his clothes aren't "cool enough" so he requires my assistance (make that insistence) in not remaining naked all morning. Thus, Cherub 3 was getting dressed this morning....

He noticed that when I sit down he's now taller than me. He mentioned this as he bent DOWN to give me a kiss.

We picked out his pants and I helped him slide them on. I noticed that these pants that were once too long, are now just right --- and I'm sure will soon enough... be too short.

I said to him, "Oh my goodness. You're getting so big."

He looked at me, gave me a hug and answered, "OK. I'll stop at four."