New beginnings…

So many new beginnings in my family lately….

One Daughter and Son-in-Law went, in the blink of an eye, from being a Couple to being a Family. And I was blessed enough to be there when it happened, as well as help them transition into brand-spanking-new-no-clue-what-they-are-doing-but-they’ve-read-a-book PARENTS. It’s had its ups and downs. My work here is done, they’ll figure it out as they go and they will be just fine. Neither of them know how to fail…

My other Daughter who has been a single Mom from the day Peanut was born, has tried desperately to mold someone completely unalterable into some semblance of a Father, and has finally given up on that endeavor and called her relationship D.O.A. She’s moving into a new place, and focusing on just being a MOM. I’m thrilled! Completely and totally thrilled for this chapter of her life to begin…

2nd chance

One of my Besties has spent the better part of 2 years reshaping herself and in the process of reducing her body weight by half, has discovered that she’s not altogether sure of who she is anymore. Turns out she was hiding a lot of stuff behind that extra weight. Now she’ll spend some time reshaping her soul….I love her so much, she’s my touchstone…

My other Bestie is moving from the home her children have been raised in, the only home she’s known for the entirety of her married life. She’s nervous and more than a little scared to be leaving her comfort zone in town for the unknown of country life. For her, this new beginning is bittersweet. She is smart and sweet, giving to a fault and unconditionally nurturing. She’s also relentlessly stubborn in the face of change but I’m confident she will come to revel in her country life!

As the lives of those I love change, so will mine….

I look forward to it!

And if I ever, EVER, EVERRRRR plan to be away from home for 2 months again just shoot me. I’m serious!

🙂

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Smells like cookies up in here…

When my girls were itty bitty I started a Christmas tradition of baking way too many cookies and making way too many batches of candy on Christmas Eve and then pawning off on  sharing all the extras with the neighborhood…

As the girls have gotten older and decided they needed lives of their own the tradition has had to adapt. Some years I’ve done it all by myself, some years they were home to help. And we seldom do it on Christmas Eve anymore as there is SO much to do it takes about 3 days…that’s what happens when everyone wants a kazillion different kinds of cookies and candy. Oy…..

The reason behind the tradition remains however; it’s time spent together laughing, talking, stirring, tasting and in general trashing my kitchen. I wouldn’t trade it for anything…

Here’s this year’s requested goodies:

  • Chocolate Chip/pistachio cookies
  • Peanut butter cup cookies
  • Browned butter toffee chip cookies
  • Oatmeal butterscotch cookies
  • Cappucino cookies
  • Lemon cake pops
  • English toffee
  • turtles
  • Cookie dough truffles
  • Nutella bars
  • Peanut butter truffles (story behind these: Last year Red calls me and says “I’m going to need you to make me some of your Peanut Butter balls and send ’em to me” I replied, “Musta been somebody else, I’ve never made anything called a peanut butter ball in my life” To which I got “Yeah? Well then google a recipe ‘cuz you’re sending some” And so I did…..and they’re yummy and now one of our  Holiday goodie staples. Plus they ship well….but I refuse to call them Peanut Butter Balls.)

I started making the candies on Sunday, and Chef Vivi started cookies Tuesday. I don’t have any PTO left for this year so she’s been doing most of the actual baking. And its funny but no one seems to mind the 17 pounds they will gain over the next week…

 

No, I did not make her wear her Chef uniform whilst making cookies. Nor is this my kitchen. I just forgot to take a picture of any actual cookie making. Sue me…

Let’s face it, this time of year is stressful for most Moms. We do all the shopping, decorating, entertaining, baking etc….But this part, the spending time with my girls part, is what makes Christmas so special to me. And in the coming years with Avery to help make cookies??? I cannot wait!

Whatever your tradition, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Las Posadas, Hogmanay, Bodhi Day, Eid-el-Adha, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice I hope you enjoy your Celebration with the people you love and spend the entire day with a big fat grin on your face!

 🙂

And thats why I hate Spanx…

Wedding Hoopla Day 1 (Wednesday)

Wake up at 4 because I have absolutely no reason to and could have slept in….Make coffee. Write a blog post.

Captain America and Chief Money *and More* (aka Cash, aka the Best Man) are off doing the touristy thing. Chief Money *and More* is on a mission to find fireworks, for no apparent reason other than he can. Chef Vivi, Britt and I are on a mission to find dining room chairs. I currently have 3 that came with the beautiful antique table I inherited from my Mom-in-law as 3 were all that survived the raising of her 4 kids, 2 of which were rowdy football playing boys. It’s a miracle 3 survived…I’m hosting the reheasal dinner for approximately 25 Peeps Friday night, doesn’t take a genius to figure out we are in trouble.

Our beloved nephew Coyle arrived from Florida about noon, I squeezed that kid til he begged for mercy! I’m making Chicken Fried Steak for dinner because it’s his favorite and play 5000 hands of Spades, because it’s also his favorite! I heart him….

Go to shopping for *gasp* spanx. To wear under my dress. ‘Cause I’m fluffy. Except here’s the thing: the parts encapsulated within the Spanx looked fine, but all that fluff had to go somewhere. Mostly it just got squished and redistributed to places it ought not to be. I was not aware it is even possible to have “muffin top” on your thighs. It is. Not. Attractive. Plus getting all that fluff pushed, pulled and dragged into said Spanx was a torturous undertaking. I grunted. A lot. Much giggling ensued from the waiting area of the dressing rooms. Because my daughters are Brats. I rejected any and all further suggestions of wearing the stupid things and opted for a new bra, a nice full slip and some control top panty hose. Oy….

*later*

The best part of today? Sitting down to supper at the dining room table (found chairs, yay!) with my family, just talking and eating and being together. This is what’s important….

Hoopla Day 2 (Thursday)

Wake up at 4:30 because my brain is possessed by evil and won’t shut the hell up! Make coffee. Add to blog post. Wish the boys luck as they leave at 5:30 to go hunting….

Throw chicken in the crockpot for tonight’s dinner. Drink more coffee. Make list of the 94799667439076546 things we cannot forget to load up in the cars for THE WEDDING! Panic when I can’t find a roll of tulle. Decide we don’t need it anyway….

GO. GET. FULL. BODY. MASSAGE. Because, ohhhhhh myyyyyy……it’s ni-ice…so very, very nice… one whole completely decadent hour of soothing music, covered by an Egyptian cotton sheet while having all the stress and tension from my toes to my scalp massaged away… it was Vivi’s first one, and now she’s addicted. Booked one for Hubs for after the Shindig, ’cause Daddy’s get stressed about their Daughters’ weddings too. **Infinity Day Spa and Salon out in Somerset, ask for Tara** Both girls got manicures too so their hands are all Wedding-fied…

Chinese food lunch!!

Errands….the bane of my existence this week: the jewelry store to get engagement rings cleaned (found out my prongs are worn down, so I get to pay to have those fixed, yay me). Dry Cleaners #1 for mine and Britt’s dresses. Dry Cleaner #2 for Captain America’s uniform. The grocery store, AGAIN. The liquor store for more wine, because….well hello??? I just want to move into a barrel of the stuff and not come out ’til Sunday. Plus Vivi wanted a couple bottles of our famous South Dakota PrairieBerry wine to give as a Thank you gift to the nice, but clearly deranged people who volunteered to dogsit her lovable but completely precocious dog Denny the counter surfer.

Home to finish up little odds and ends of crap.

Relish in the moment when the idea of “shoulda taken Dad’s offer to fly us to Vegas instead” hits and is clearly written on the face of the Bride….

Start cooking, again.

Get distracted and forget to set the oven timer for the cake. Over bake said cake by a good 45 minutes. Poke a hole in it to see if A) it tastes burnt and B) determine if it’s dry as sawdust. It’s not, on either count. Poke holes all over it, make a huge batch of caramel glaze, pour it over the whole thing and call it good….

Have a complete meltdown when Red calls to say she’s changed her flight from the butt-crack of dawn Sunday (thank God) to Monday afternoon so she can spend more time with us and I realize that means the continuing saga of “WHERE IN THE HELL IS EVERYBODY GOING TO SLEEP BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEEM TO GRASP THE IDEA THAT I ONLY HAVE 3 BEDROOMS????” is no longer resolved but in fact a problem, again.  Call Bambi and beg to borrow their RV, which her hunting husband is most likely camping in this weekend….Exhale deeply when she says it’s available, but already winterized so whoever uses it has to pee outside. Not a frikkin’ problem, because without it they would be sleeping outside as well so….

Thank God once again for giving me Bambi, but not just because she got Ordained on the internet to officiate the ceremony when our original Pastor had to move out of state. Or because she let’s us call her Priestess Bambi for the rest of her life. Or because she has saved the Newlyweds from spending a night out on the lawn in a tent….

Fall into the sleep of the Dead.

Hoopla Day 3 (Friday)

Wake up at 5 am when the thought “I FORGOT TO TAKE THE 15 POUNDS OF PORK SHOULDER FOR THE REHEARSAL DINNER OUT OF THE FREEZER!!!!!!!” enters my conscienceness and say the word “fuck” out loud…..

HELP. ME.

To be continued…..

Top 10 things I want to do with Peanut, plus 11 more…

I’ve been thinking about Avery’s (aka Peanut aka Fatty McChubChub aka my about-to-be-born-any-day Granddaughter)  future a lot lately with her arrival time getting closer and closer….Not practical things like how much am I going to put in her savings account every payday for her college education, or teaching her baby sign language or how often to flash Baby Einstein cards at her. Nahhhh, nothing like that, just fun ways to spent time together!

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. She’s getting a camera when she’s like 3, so she can learn to take pictures of bugs and weeds and rocks…

2. I’m taking her hiking. Even when she’s itty bitty….

3. Spend nice Sunday afternoons at Storybook Island.

4. Bake Poppa cookies in matching aprons like these while we sing along to my ipod, loudly and off key…and dance. Gotta do the happy baking dance, cookies just don’t turn out as well without the dance

5. Plant flowers, ’cause playing in the dirt is fun for Grammys too!

6. Teach her to ride a 4-wheeler. Ok, technically this will be Poppa’s job but I’ll be there to take pictures of them while it’s happening! And then take her 4-wheeling in the hills, preferably when it’s muddy! (see #5 above)

7. Have movie junk food days when the weather is icky. Lotsa classic Disney, lotsa gummy bears, teddy grahams, homemade chex mix and ice cream sundaes with extra sprinkles!

8. Make spaghetti because I’m sorry, spaghetti covered little faces are just a photo op waiting to happen!

9. Make mosaic stepping stones for the garden, and let her put as many marbles, rocks, and hand prints on them as she wants…

10. Paint Christmas ornaments for the family, because the ones my girls made with their Granny every year are still my favorite ornaments on the tree.

11. Read. and read. and read….sitting with her in my lap while we read “The Pokey Little Puppy” for the 100th time sounds like heaven. 🙂

12. Skype with Auntie Vivi and Uncle Dan so they never feel like they’re missing out, and neither will she…

13. Finger Paint. I plan to buy those mongo rolls of paper like they have in Elementary schools so she can roll out 10 feet of it to paint a mural masterpiece if she wants to!

14. Talk. Listen. The first for her, the second for me. About whatever is on her little mind….

15. Blow bubbles while she dances and giggles trying to catch them! There will be gallons of bubble juice at Grammy’s house….

16. Snuggle on the couch with our matching pillowpets and take naps. (yes, I’ve already purchased her pillowpet that matches mine, wha??? They’re comfy!) Or just snuggle….it’s all good!

17. Watch her Poppa teach her how to fly fish…

18. Get dressed up and go for Grammy/Granddaughter mani-pedis and then somewhere fancy for lunch.

19. Let her fix my hair and makeup as much as she wants, and put as many clips and barretts in my hair as she possibly can!

20. Teach her how to take care of a puppy. Peanut needs a puppy, I’m thinking a Bassett….

21. Let her make her own list of things she wants to do with me….

🙂

 

Thank You, and not just on Sundays

You Peeps amaze me!

The Blog had 213 more visitors in September than it did in August and now has readers in 36 countries! Honestly, I couldn’t even name 36 countries….Where is Oman?? Anybody?? I have 2 readers there, please tell me where you are and how the heck you found me!

GROWTH IS GOOD!! (unless we’re talking about my rear-end and then growth is bad, but that’s a post for another day!)

I started this little venture on a whim. The idea just popped in my head one day, I pushed it to the back burner and let it marinate for a few days. Then I did some research, found a webhost I liked, plunked down my money and bought my domain and never looked back!

I’ve written a new post every day for the 80 days since gram-cracker.com went live. Some days I can’t type fast enough to keep up with the torrent of words flying out of my brain.  Other days I sit with fingers poised on the keyboard waiting for something remotely interesting to say, completely unable to form a coherent thought. Waiting….

Some days I write multiple posts because the ideas just appear out of nowhere and pretty much write themselves, so I end up stockpiling stories which comes in handy for those days when I got nuthin’….

I’ve written drafts that seemed great at the time, but I’ve never published because in retrospect they don’t seem that great. So they sit in my drafts folder waiting to be reworked into something worth your time…

I find inspiration in the wierdest places, at the strangest moments; I wrote Dear Ben & Jerry, Grammy’s got your back in my head on my way to work. I logged into my computer and wrote the draft in 3 minutes! It took me longer to find the links I wanted to include than it did to write the post…all because I read a snippet of a story on Yahoo about the One Million Mom protest.

The single most popular post to date has been No really, you SHOULDN’T have which I totally wrote as a joke, the second most read post has been Date Night which honestly I thought was just a little filler piece…Then there are the posts I labored over that held very little interest for anyone but me apparently, A totally scientific study in cultural differences being one of them. I thought that one was funny as hell in a very sarcastic kind of way. Ya’ll disagreed!

I am most proud, from a writer’s standpoint of The loss of small town innocence. It came straight from my gut, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried almost the entire time I was writing it. It’s difficult to type when your vision is blurred and you can’t see the monitor….

Why do I blog? Because it’s theraputic, like journaling for some people. It’s gratifying. It makes me look at things and people around me in a whole new way, because now everything is fodder for the Blog. I saw this t-shirt online that says “I’m blogging all of this” and I’m soooooo getting it because it’s absolutely the truth!

I used to have things like E-online and CNN online bookmarked on my laptop. Now I have the Urban dictionary and thesarus.com bookmarked because I get tired of describing thing as amazing and I’m sure you get tired of reading the same adjectives over and over…

This Blog has become my hobby, my obsession. It’s now what I do. I get up in the morning, review the day’s post for the 100th time and then publish it. Then I spend about an hour reading and commenting on other Blogger’s sites to help generate traffic to mine. I write, edit, rewrite or proofread at work when I have time. I write, edit, research, rewrite, proofread, photograph some more when I get home. I average about 4 hours a day working on drafts.

Everytime one of you hits that little “share” button at the top and bottom of every post, I get a new reader or 2. So THANK YOU, from the bottom of heart. Thank you!

🙂