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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nine years ago, I married the love of my life. I won't say that Jim is a perfect man because who could live up to that hype, but he's perfect for me. We've had our challenges over the years, but we always faced them as partners. I've never felt that one of my challenges was him. Our biggest fights have been over whose turn it was to clean the bathroom or do the dishes or the impulse purchase of the Bose $500 clock radio (it was sent back).

After nine years, he still brings me breakfast in bed at least once a month, usually two or three times. He supported me in my dream to become a parent and found his joy, too. Our first seven years were wonderful; our last two have been a dream come true.

A dream I wouldn't want to share with anyone else.


Monday, March 30, 2009
You Say Jump; I Say Bounce
What a week. It started with an ultrasound, developed into a stomach bug, and then culminated in a fried hard drive. My laptop is now in the computer hospital getting fixed up. Jim delivered it and our external hard drive yesterday. They're replacing my hard drive and reinstalling everything. Cross your fingers!

I have burned copies of all our photos, plus have them backed up on the external HD, and have an additional copy of them saved on the external HD. I should be covered.

On Saturday morning, Sera and I had a mommy/daughter day. Jim had headed off to Cabela's with some friends, so we were on our own. I was a little cabin feverish, so we jumped in the car and headed off to Once Upon a Child to window shop. I realized that I had never taken Sera clothes shopping. I usually left her home with Jim and would do it myself. Since we had no agenda, we just wandered all around the shop. She was not impressed with the clothes. She was, however, totally smitten (as was I) with an adorable wooden doll/puzzle. It's a wooden ballerina with lots of clothes, shoes, and hairpieces that stay on with magnets. Sera will look through all the clothes, but she always ends up wearing the purple tutu with its matching tiara.

From there, we headed down to TJ Maxx. This is where my little fashion diva emerged. I would hold out a dress and she would exclaim how beautiful it was. Within minutes, she was searching through the racks and copying me by saying what do you think of this, mommy? They had some adorable dresses that came with a matching doll-sized version. I found two, and Sera found one. I let her pick which one she wanted, and she picked the one she found. She was ready to give back everything to get the next dress she found. She literally gasped and pulled at it on the rack. It's pink and actually made from t-shirt material, but the skirt is overlayed with tulle. The tulle also has sparkly rhinestones glued all over. It comes with a pink satin sash and has an embroidered cake on the bodice with the words birthday girl below. Of course, I had to get it for her. She's totally in love with it. Luckily her birthday is coming up, but it doesn't matter. I have a feeling she'll be wearing that dress often.

Yesterday was more of a stay at home day. Sera would alternate between cuddling with me on the couch to bouts of frenetic play. During one of those, she started jumping on the couch. When I reminded her that we don't allow jumping on the couch, she told me that she wasn't jumping, she was bouncing. I did not expect to play the semantics game so soon. That stinker!

I bet you wondering what that picture on the top of this post is about. For at least 18 months, I have been meaning to post this as my tip for Works For Me Wednesday. I never do, so I'm just posting it on my own. When Sera finally had enough hair to start using bows, I needed some way to organize them. I bought this small plastic box in the fishing supplies aisle at Wal-mart. It came with removable inserts. I didn't use the vertical ones, just the horizontal to create rows. In the first row, I keep all the elastics and her comb. In the other three, I put her small bows and barrettes. Marcia made her an adorable bow holder for larger bows. What I like about my box is I can grab it and fix Sera's hair anywhere. Everything I need is inside. It's great for travelling, too.


Thursday, March 26, 2009
This story just scared the pants off of me.

Connie and Donald McCracken were watching CNN one evening last week when they learned of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson from a head injury. Immediately, their minds turned to their 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, who was upstairs getting ready for bed.

Two days earlier, Morgan, her father, and brother had been playing baseball in the yard of their Mentor, Ohio, home when her father hit a line drive that landed just above Morgan's left temple. A lump formed, but the McCrackens iced it down and the swelling subsided within an hour.
"For the next two days, she was perfectly fine," Donald McCracken says. "She had no symptoms. She went to school both days and got an A on her spelling test as usual. There were no issues whatsoever."

But after hearing about Richardson's death, the McCrackens wondered if Morgan was really as OK as she seemed. After all, Richardson had been talking and lucid immediately after her fatal injury.

Click for the rest of the story.


Walking In My Shoes

One of the things I learned quickly living in the north is the difference in how we dealt with shoes. I'd always kept my shoes in the bottom of my bedroom closet. Because so many of the months up here have us walking through slushy, icy, salted, icky stuff, everyone takes their shoes off as soon as they walk in the door. You don't want to track that stuff throughout the house. A few years ago, we bought this small shoe rack at IKEA, and I embraced keeping our shoes by the door. This rack was definitely preferable to the pile that ended up there anyway. On half of the top shelf, I keep a large basket for Sera's shoes.

She, however, thinks it's much funnier to put them in my old knock-off Crocs. Whenever I see them, I will bellow out asking what is that inside my shoes. Wherever she is in the house, I can quickly find her because the belly laughs are deep and loud.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It was a typical lazy weekend morning, but we had a lot of plans and needed to get moving. The previous day, I had sorted through Sera's clothes and had a huge tote plus a laundry basket of clothing to take to Once Upon a Child. I also dug out some clothes that would now fit her. It included two overall jean dresses and one pair of jean overall pants with lots of pink lace and flowers. I was sure it would be a hit. I was wrong. She wanted nothing to do with the pants version, but she was all over the dresses.

She picked the one she wanted, and I dressed her. It's finally warm enough, some days, that I was planning on just putting socks on her. Nothing doing. Ballerina dresses must have leggings or tights. I pulled out a pair of cream tights and tossed them on the bed. I told Sera we'd put them on downstairs when we put her shoes on. The tights don't have the grippy things on the bottom and can get slippery.

I then left her and Jim hanging out on our bed watching TV while I went to shower. Of course I had to make a few trips up and down the hallway getting more soap, a new towel, etc... When I finally returned to our room, I noticed that Sera was wearing her tights. I asked her if she'd talked her daddy into putting them on for her. He looked at me and said didn't you? Apparently, she had also gone into the hallway. She came back in the room with her tights on, so Jim assumed I had put them on her in the hall. The stinker had put on her own tights. She had done it correctly, too.

Don't get between a ballerina and her tights.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For about the last week, I've been hobbling around with a sore leg. It feels like the back of my lower left leg is really tight. The pain gets stronger and weaker, but never goes away. It's kind of like a charlie horse type of pain. Since it didn't get better over the weekend, I called my doctor yesterday morning and went to see him after work.

I felt silly making an appointment because I'm sure I just pulled something, but since it wasn't going away, I thought I should get it checked out.

I didn't expect my doctor to get all excited about it. When he checked my leg and saw that it was swollen too, he wanted me to get an ultrasound right away. It was too late yesterday, so he had them get me in at 6:45 this morning. Because of my medical history, I had a pulmonary embolism in 2003, he wanted to rule out blood clots.

Though I'm sure I just pulled something I convinced myself during the night, when I was supposed to be sleeping, that they were going to find a gazillion clots in my leg, and I'd end up having to stay in the hospital while they put me on blood thinners again. I was imagining having to give myself those stupid shots in my stomach for a week while they regulated the coumadin. By this morning, I was sure it was a foregone conclusion.

I was wrong. I arrived at 6:30 for my appointment to do the paperwork. By 7:00, they were telling me the ultrasound was clear, and I could dress and leave. I was late to work by my standards, but not by the schools. Yay for no clots!


Saturday, March 21, 2009
Starting Young
Sera applying her make-up aka chapstick.

Afterwards, she did an inventory of my makeup brushes, etc... She held up the blush brush to her chin, the eye shadow brush to her eyelids, and then she picked up the tweezers. She held those up to her chin. Oy!


Friday, March 20, 2009
On a Brighter Note
The other night we treated ourselves to an early dinner. The fundraiser for the club I'm advising is a coupon book. We decided to use one of the buy one/get one free coupons. Jim normally works after school, but parent conferences were being held at the school where he teaches in the afternoon, so he got out early, or what we used to call on-time.

It was a beautiful spring day, and we were all in a great mood. Sera started mugging and hugging her daddy when she asked me if I'd like to take a picture of her and daddy. I whipped out my phone and obliged.


Thursday, March 19, 2009
My Take
It's not often I climb up on the soap box, but today I feel the need. I also have time because we have parent conferences tonight. This means that we had a half-day with students.

What a perfect segue into my thoughts. Right now we're in the proverbial storm. We have a new state superintendent who took office this year. He's making himself known quickly. Now I'll be the first to say that our current education system is broken. Do I know the perfect fix? No, I wish I did. I can tell you from a business perspective that our new superintendent is making a classic mistake. He's making big and sweeping changes without input or consideration of the fallout.

The first happened in January when he terminated a large number (sorry, I'm too lazy to look up how many) of people from the state office for the Department of Education. About two weeks later, he let another 70? people go. Since I'm always complaining that there could be a lot of money saved in administrative cuts, I can't really complain about this. Except.... Isn't there always an except?

Except that he's let the state specialists for some departments go. This makes all the teachers who teach in those departments wonder what the future holds for them ... err... us. I can't speak for any other department, but I can speak for my own. The woman who headed business education for the state of Indiana is an amazing woman. She made it a point to get to know almost every business teacher in the state. The future of business in Indiana and our students were her highest goals. I've rarely met anyone who put as much of themselves into a job as she did. She would send us a weekly newsletter letting us know any news that was pertinent from information regarding curriculum, professional development or training opportunities, scholarships for our students to birth and death notices for those who impacted our field. I had the opportunity to work closely with her when I agreed to work on a couple of committees to re-write our standards and to help bring keyboarding to the 21st century. In fact last week when I was in Indy, she was the first to come and congratulate me on how well my students did in competition. This was an event that she was no longer required to attend as she's no longer employed, but she came anyway because she cared.

Okay, that was a digression.

What brought me to the keyboard today was the ongoing reaction from this week's press release. The rampant hostility towards educators is somewhat shocking. I realize that part of it is the troll factor. People will post things they'd never say.

I went into teaching knowing that I was going backwards on the salary scale. I knew the workload, and I chose it. No one forced me, and I'm okay with that. I like being a teacher. There's nothing better than connecting with a student. There's also little more frustrating than dealing with the constant change for change's sake attitude or working with a student who is blatantly hostile, but that's part of it. No job is perfect.

The announcement this week from our new superintendent was regarding the school calendar. Our school calendar is 180 days. As part of those 180 days, we have 2-3 days (depending on the school) that are 1/2 days for parent-teacher conferences. Students are released for the afternoon and teachers come back in the late afternoon/evening for 3 1/2 - 4 hours (depending on the school) to meet with parents. We also have six days when students are released 2 hours early. On those days, we have professional development workshops. In addition, there are weather-related closures. Some school corporations are smart (like mine) and add a few days to the school calendar for snow days. That way we still meet our 180 days. If we don't use the snow days for closures, then we have some extra 3-day weekends in the spring. Others don't add the days and have to extend the school year in other ways or request a waiver from the state.

The professional development is a required as part of NCLB. School corporations must provide a set amount of professional development to the teaching staff. In addition, we are required to pursue our own professional development including graduate coursework. Graduate credit is required prior to license renewal.

This announcement stated that 1/2 days for professional development,parent-teacher conferences, and end-of-term grades and weather-related closings would no longer be counted as part of the 180 days. This is in effect for the 2009/2010 school year.

On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with this decision. On the other, it opens a huge can of worms.

The school calendar for 2009/2010 is already completed and approved. In fact, so is the one for 2010/2011. They're working on 2011/2012 now. It's not as easy as it may appear to get that calendar ready.

Our contracts are for 180 instructional days with two days at the beginning to get our rooms ready and attend some additional professional development and one day at the end to close out our rooms. There is now a need to add six days to this contract. The six days we have early release can be combined into three work days, plus three days for parent-teacher conferences.

Where's the money going to come from? I've already talked about our community making national news regularly now due to the economy. We have the highest unemployment in the country. People can't pay property tax, so schools aren't getting all their funding. We'll be very lucky if we make it to the next school year without lay offs.

The consensus of the comments is that teachers are lazy and should volunteer whatever extra time is required. I won't claim to work harder than I did in my previous career, but I do work just as hard. I can just imagine the reaction I would have gotten in any previous job if I had told my employees that I expected them to work an extra week without compensation.

Does this mean I never worked "overtime" in my previously salaried positions? Of course not. I did, and I did often. I was in the hotel/restaurant business. There were some weeks when I was only home long enough to grab a few hours sleep. But I was also allowed to take comp time to make up for it. With some small exceptions, I could schedule my vacation for whenever I wanted. There was a lot of flexibility there. When I worked in offices, there were plenty of days when people showd up to work, but never really did. They would get nothing done for a myriad of reasons. Some were hungover, upset about breaking up with their girl/boy friend, just having a low energy day or whatever. No one got too upset about it because they'd make up for it the next day. It was understood that sometimes you have an off day.

I dare you to have an off day in front of 30 students.

The biggest challenge for me when I entered teaching was the lack of down time. When you're here, you're on. There's no wandering down to the coffee pot for a cup and a chat. Do you know what's happened to the break room in my school? It was turned into another classroom this year. During my 25-minute duty-free lunch, I eat at my desk while allowing students to catch up in the computer lab. I deal with the mercurial emotions of teenagers all day long, and then I take them out of town for three days.

I say all this not to complain because I'm not complaining. I enjoy the interaction, most of the time, with my students. I enjoy what I do, but I don't enjoy being raked over the coals, figuratively or literally.

Even so, I'm one of the lucky ones. Yes, there are some negatives with teaching, and we're all to quick to point them out, but there are some great positives, too.

It is nice to have two weeks at Christmas and one week in the spring as breaks. It is also nice to get two months off in the summer, but I can only do that because Jim works them. He works all summer school sessions. This means he gets about two weeks off during the summer. My actual work day isn't shorter than anyone else's even though many think it is, but I do get more days off during the year. In exchange, I get less pay.

If the public wants us to work a longer year, I'm fine with it. Let's go to year-round schools and rewrite the contracts. I agree that something needs to change, but please respect us as professionals. In return, I won't ask my doctor to volunteer and treat me for free six days a year.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I started my day annoyed by a news story, and now I end my day annoyed by another. Reading through the comments on this story just depressed me terribly. It's not news the low opinion so many have about teachers, but it's still depressing.


Give Me a Break!
I don't know about your morning news routine, but there's one story I've now seen from four different sources, and it's not even 8:00 am yet.

Apparently, Meghan McCain was on The View yesterday and responded to criticism from radio personality, Laura Ingraham. Ms. Ingraham apparently referred to Ms. McCain as a plus-sized model among other "insults."

In one of the stories I read they referred to Miss McCain as big-boned. Now to be perfectly honest, I didn't recall Meghan McCain as being on the big side, but then I can't say that I recall exactly how she looks at all.

The fact that her size is even being addressed when discussing her position as an online political writer is bad enough, but you want to know what made it worse?

This quote:

McCain added that she maintains a healthy lifestyle – but doesn’t think about the scale. "I mean, I work out at a gym, I try to eat healthy but you know I'm still a size 8,” she said...

Bad enough that she felt the need to justify her lifestyle, but we're talking about a woman who is a size 8. A woman who just apologized for being an 8?

If you don't think she sounds apologetic, let me pull part of that quote out

I work out at a gym, I try to eat healthy but you know I'm still a size 8


She's a political writer. Why do we care about her size? How in the world did a size 8 become the butt of fat jokes? Has the world gone insane? Do we want a world populated with lollipops? Do we want our daughters to think their only value is in being able to wear a size 0?

Okay, I need to rephrase that. Calling someone a lollipop is just as insulting, but I get so irritated. Granted I've never been small, but I know that my own body distortion is one of the major reasons for my weight. The need to fit the media-dictated idea of the perfect body was bad enough when I was growing up, but it's so much worse now.

There is nothing wrong with having a healthy and strong body. That should be our criteria, not the size in the dress label. Some women are healthy and strong at a size 0, but so are many at size 16. As mothers, especially as mothers of daughters, we must raise our girls to be proud of who they are mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Every morning after I comb Sera's hair, I have her turn around and look at me. I always tell her she's beautiful and give her a kiss. In return, I get the best smile. I want to teach her to see the beauty in all people and in the mirror. I also tell her she's smart and funny and kind, but there's nothing wrong in feeling beautiful, too.


Saturday, March 14, 2009
A Beautiful Spring Day
She's been asking Jim to take her roller skating for months. Today, he did.


Friday, March 13, 2009
Easiest Dinner Ever
My stop at Trader Joe's the other day was rather rushed as I had five starving teenagers with me. I had our insulated bags with me, but decided not to spend time going through the frozen section on this visit. I did pick up a bag of langostino tails though. They describe them as looking like a small lobster and tasting like lobster or crab. We decided the tails looked like large crawfish tails. Since crawfish look like tiny lobsters, I'm assuming a langostino is inbetween.

They are frozen fully cooked, so dinner was easy peasy (literally). When my pasta water was boiling, I tossed in some angel hair. Angel hair pasta takes five minutes to cook. By the time the pasta was ready, so was the langostino.

I basically scampied them. I melted about 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil and sauteed a clove of garlic. I added a splash of white wine and the langostino tails. I tossed them for a few minutes, long enough to warm them up and then I added the pasta and peas. The only thing missing was that I didn't realize we were out of parmesan cheese. Add a tossed salad and some warm crusty bread, and you have a 10 minute delicious meal.

You could easily do this with any cooked seafood like crawfish, lobster, crab, or shrimp.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Exhauuuusted, but Happy
I'm home.

Aren't those the sweetest words ever? I got home last night about 30 minutes before Jim and Sera came home. Long enough for me to unload the car, and sit on the couch relaxing for a few minutes. Sera was very excited to see me. In her rush to get to me, she bounced off the wall. Our first 5 minutes were a bit tearful and filled with some extra tight hugs. After declaring she wanted to snuggle, she got into her spot on the couch (the arm) and snuggled in tight with her head on my shoulder and my arm around her. She held on to my fingers and didn't let go. She wouldn't even let go when Jim brought her dinner. I had to hold her bowl in the hand she clutched and feed her. She asked me to feed her like a baby. We sat there for about an hour and a half, and then it was time for bed.

This morning I went to wake the sleephead up. I always rub her back and sing the wake up song. Then I pick her and her clothes up and take her to my room where she climbs on my pillow, covers herself up and declares she's going to sleep. She never does, but she always says she's going to go back to sleep. This morning, she started to do that when all of a sudden she looked at me, smiled a big smile, and shouted mommy's home!

My kids did great, and I was kept hopping. They ran a general session each evening from 9:00 pm to 11:00pm with an 11:30 curfew for the kids. I didn't get to bed until 12-12:30 each evening. I still had to get up by 6:00 am to get to the morning events. When we left yesterday, we made a quick stop at Trader Joe's for me. We don't have one here. And then we headed off to grab some lunch. The boys wanted to eat at a really disgusting fast food restaurant, so we dropped them off. I took the girls across the street to Wendy's. When we picked the boys up, we found they had been betting each other on some competition eating of the nasty mini burgers this place is famous for serving. I was worried we might need some plastic bags for the ride home. No worries though. Within five minutes, my van was filled with the sounds of five teenagers passed out from too many late night and too many early mornings. We finished 4th in an individual event and 3rd in a team event. My student who won the individual has now qualified to go to the national competition in Dallas. I have no idea how we're going to pull that one off.

It was a good trip. Jim and Sera had a wonderful time making and eating their pinkalicious cupcakes. My students stayed out of trouble and competed well, but still...

It's good to be home.


Saturday, March 07, 2009
Speaking of Milestones
Because aren't I always?

We're about have a big one, and Sera doesn't know yet. I'm leaving in the morning, very early in the morning. 6:00 AM, in fact.

I'm meeting five of my students at school at 6:30, and then we're heading south to the state capital, where they'll be competing at the state competition for Business Professionals of America. We'll be there all day Sunday and Monday and head home early Tuesday afternoon. I should be waiting at home when Jim and Sera come home from school. I'd go get her early, except we only have one carseat, and it will be in Jim's car while I'm gone.

Jim is an equal parent, so I don't have any worries about him being able to handle it. Sera will miss me, but daddy will keep her busy tomorrow. On Monday and Tuesday, she'll have her regular days at school.I did all the laundry. There's plenty to eat. In fact, Jim cooks more of our meals than I do, so they'll be fine.

I'm pretty sure that the only one who'll be freaking out over the next three days will be yours truly. This will be the first time since Sera was placed in our arms that she and I will be separated.

Every now and then I get a twinge of thinking that I might like having a break. That I might enjoy having a hotel room all to myself without a crackling monitor on my table. That taking some time to myself (and five teenagers) is a good thing.

Though you can't tell, I just took a break writing this post. In the meantime, Sera and I played, snuggled, and ate the dinner daddy made for us. I also told her that I was going to Indianapolis tomorrow. Since daddy was gone all day yesterday on a day trip, she knew that meant I was going bye-bye. She told me no that she wanted me to stay at home with her. We'll get her up in the morning to say goodbye, but I know that it won't really sink in for her until Monday morning when I'm still gone. Daddy will keep her very busy. Pinkalicious is her current favorite book. It begins on a rainy day that turns into a cupcake baking day. Today was a rainy day, and tomorrow is supposed to be as well. Daddy went out today and bought pink cake mix and pink frosting. They will be making pinkalicious cupcakes. She'll love it.

Can you tell I'm already having a hard time with this? Instead of luxuriating in a hotel room to myself, I think it's going to feel empty and quiet. Is it Tuesday night yet?


Friday, March 06, 2009
Where Did She Come From?
This was quite an interesting week temperature wise. Monday morning it was 9 degrees; Tuesday was 5 degrees; on Wednesday, we cheered for a warm and wonderful 22; by Thursday we had reached 38, and this morning we're having a heat wave. It is 55. Woo hoo!

Yesterday was such a beautiful afternoon. The sun was out, and the temps were in the 50s. I arrived at Sera's school just as they were lining up to go outside and play. Sera came running to me, grabbed my hand, and pulled me towards the group. She told me that we were going outside. I didn't have the heart to make her leave, so we went outside, and she played for 10 minutes before we left.

We live in a small subdivision surrounded by older neighborhoods. You enter at one end, and the road snakes around to the other. There are about 30 houses total in our subdivision. As soon as I pulled in, we saw a young girl throwing balls into a pitch-back while her brother rode a scooter and dad watched them both. Around the corner, we saw Gretchen out with her daughter, Paige and stopped to say hi. Around the next curve, we saw a grandma walking her young granddaughter and grandson, and then, the pièce de résistance. We live in the cul-de-sac of the subdivision. Within five homes, we have about ten children, eight of whom are girls, between two and eight. All of them were out playing with their bikes, motorized cars, and a new puppy. Sera practically broke her arm waving as we drove past. As soon as I got her out of the car, she ran to the edge of our lawn, obeying the stay off the road rule, and started shouting hello while waving maniacally. We soon had a crowd gathered at the foot of our drive.

Of course, the sun went away and the winds picked up within minutes of our arrival. Moms started gathering their kids belongings and calling them home. Sera babbled away non-stop asking for her purple pedal car and her pink tricycle that haven't seen the light of day in months.

While watching my outgoing friendly child playing with friends at school, saying hello to every parent we pass at daycare, and calling the neighbors over to say hi, I'm reminded of the incredibly shy and withdrawn child she was in China. She would pretty much shutdown everytime we left the hotel, so no one but us ever saw her playful happy side. Even after we got home, she would pull away from other children or adults when she first met them and cling to me. I found myself often explaining that she just needed some time to get used to them and warm up.

I watch that confidant, outgoing, smiling face running out to face the world, and I am just amazed.

Where did she come from?

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009
We actually did it. Jim and I sat down and wrote out a menu plan for the week. Jim then did the grocery shopping while I stayed home with a napping Sera.

We did a mix of old standbys and a new recipe. We tried the new recipe last night. I saved this recipe from another poster on Favorite Ingredients Friday. I copied the poster's name, but apparently didn't copy the link. I tried searching for the blog, but came up empty-handed. If Should Be House Cleaning is out there, your recipe rocks. Jim gave it the thumbs up and called it a keeper. Sera called it yummy. My changes are in red.


2 tsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces (cut into strips)
2 cups mushrooms, small, halved (sliced crimini mushrooms)
1/3 cup canned chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crumbled (discovered that this is the only herb known to mankind that is NOT in my spice cabinet, just left it out)

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the mustard and garlic. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Transfer chicken and marinade to skillet. Saute chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm.

Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in skillet. Saute mushrooms for 1 minute. Add broth, thyme and remaining tablespoon of vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are deep brown, about 2 minutes longer. (I added the chicken back to the pan, covered, and let it simmer for another minute. I then turned the heat off and left it covered until the mashed potatoes were ready.)

Serve chicken topped with mushrooms. (I served mashed potatoes with this. It's the perfect accompaniment.)


Monday, March 02, 2009
Large and in Charge
Sera woke up this morning ready to tackle the world!

She's generally not at her best in the morning. Sera is a slow riser. She wakes up happy, but she likes to slowly move into her day, and the slightest thing can set off whining and/or tears. Now the morning wasn't completely tearless. We did have the wipeout in the bathroom when Sera forgot she had tights on and not socks. Her socks all have that little grippy thing on the bottom. One minute she was walking past me as I rinsed off her toothbrush, the next she was flat on her back looking at the ceiling. She recovered quickly though.

Once we get downstairs, Sera watches the end of Elmo's World and Angelina Ballerina as I pack up my breakfast and lunch and gather my things for the car. I bring her the day's requested snack. She has chosen a cereal bar. While she's eating, I put on her shoes and have her stand in front of me to put her hair in pigtails. Shadow is being extra annoying this morning. He keeps trying to get inbetween us as I comb Sera's hair. Finally, I finished Sera's hair and sat back. Sera was still standing in front of me completely engrossed with Angelina's antics when Shadow bumped her from behind sending the last third of her cereal bar flying. With a quick lunge, Shadow had his prize, and Sera was left standing empty-handed. Most morning, this would have instigated meltdown #2 for the day. Instead she looked at me and asked for another. From the kitchen, I heard her say, "Shadow, you no eat my cereal bar. Okay?" I peeked to see my under 30# daughter with her hand on her hip and her finger waggling in the 100# dog's face telling him off. She's got moxie!

Sera loves her daycare, but that doesn't mean that drop offs are easy. She rarely cries, but she does cling and keep asking for one more hug and kiss. Usually whoever is working in the room has to come take her for us to leave. Part of our ritual involves her grabbing my leg and telling her friend that I'm her mommy. She and this friend have a love/hate thing going on, and one of the things her friend does to upset Sera is say my mommy when she sees me, even if her own mommy is right there. This flips Sera out, and I usually have to console her and tell her that yes I am her mommy.

Today, her friend had arrived shortly before we had, but was still in the lobby with her mommy. We passed them on our way to Sera's room to drop off her things before going to the morning play room. As we got to the door, the friend came running past us and into the room. Sera grabbed my leg as usual and said my mommy. I asked for hugs and kisses. She reached up as I picked her up, gave me a quick hug and kiss, and then dropped to the ground and ran after her friend into the room. The morning teacher and I looked at each other in surprise as she had been standing there to take Sera from me. When I turned to leave, I heard her praising Sera for being a big girl.

I walked to my car feeling proud that my little girl had finally, after almost two years, been able to easily separate from me when I dropped her off, and more than a little sad for the very same reason.


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