Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Washing Machine That Works

A few weeks ago my washing machine broke.
Our family of 5 was without a washing machine for almost 2 solid weeks while we waited for a part to come in.
Our washing machine was still under warranty, thank goodness, but when the company is providing you with a part free of charge, they sure take their time getting it to you!

Laundry piles up at our house in a should see it right now when the washing machine is working just fine!
So, just imagine what a nightmare it was when the washing machine was broken!!

During this 2 weeks, I gathered all our clothes and went to the laundramat...twice.
Not the best experiences I've ever had in my life.
Two more nights where nobody dared ask me what was for dinner.

After the 2nd trip to the laundramat, my children didn't argue with me when I said,
"All you people, get out here and help me with these clothes!"
My car was literally filled to the rim with baskets and piles of clothes.

Once we brought the clothes inside and piled them all up on my bed, my children, feeling very pleased with themselves indeed for helping their mommy, went right back to watching t.v., playing on the computer, and reading.
I had to remind them that the clothes would not fold themselves.
I, of course, whispered this to them in a very sweet and loving voice: :)

Here's my firstborn with our pile of laundry...Uh-Oh looks very concerned that she's possibly lost her mind...could be a result of child labor?

Please notice that in this next picture you can't even tell that the clothes are on a bed...please also notice my youngest in the very back, standing on my bed, amongst all those clothes...wonder what she's got up her sleeve??

Aha! She found her Spongebob pajamas, changed her clothes, and decided to try skydiving off the top of the mountain of clothes!
That's what Spongebob would do anyway!
Note to self: if all these children would quit changing their dang clothes so much, we might not have piles of laundry all over everywhere.

Beneigt was loads of help...
Ok, sorry I couldn't resist a little laundry humor :)

How bout this trick performed by my middle child??
Folding and texting!
Now that should be against the law!!

One of my favorite things is a washing machine that works!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I've been traveling to and from Oakland and San Francisco, California for four years now. 
After one more trip in April of this year, our existing grant from The Lumina Foundation will have run its course. 
Between 4 research group meetings per year, an annual 3-day Winter Conference and working as a consultant during summer week long institutes, I have logged some pretty serious frequent flier miles and know many of the hotel staff by name.
Despite all that I have learned and experienced over the last 4 years, I am not sad that it is time to change courses.  I will still be involved in the research but hopefully via more conference calls and regional meetings closer to home.

One of the things I will miss about my trips is this:

This is a picture of The Lake Merritt Room.  Guess what the room overlooks?
Lake Merritt!! 

I have a hard time getting any work done when we meet in here.
I'm too busy looking out of the windows.

This is Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.
The views from The Lake Merritt Room in the downtown Kaiser Bldg. are the best in the city. 
I'm not a fan of Oakland...sorry Raiders fans.
But, I am a fan of the Lake Merritt area.

One of the reasons I love the Lake Merritt area is because of the sunshine, the water, the ducks, the people walking their dogs and a beautiful but simple church where a person can go for a service in the middle of the day.  
All of these things remind me of home. 

I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mint Tea

I'm in Oakland, California tonight.
Missing two of my favorite things.
My nightly cup of mint tea.
In my favorite cup.

I've been traveling back and forth to Oakland for several years working on research that I can't talk about since this is not an academic blog :)

I miss my family.
I miss my kitty cats.
And, I miss my mint tea in my favorite cup.

My favorite cup reminds me to "love the moment."

That's proving to be a little difficult tonight considering my tea, cup, family and kitty cats are all 1000's of miles away.

My favorite mint tea is Harney and Sons Peppermint Herbal.
I buy it at Barnes and Noble (when I don't steal it from my mom's house) :)
I love the shiny forest green tin that it comes in.
Almost as much as I love its smooth subtle flavor.

Peppermint Herbal is not minty enough to "wake me up."
On the contrary, it relaxes me after a long day...
I have even found that times when I'm extra anxious, my mint tea can help me settle my thoughts.
I don't know if it's the tea or just me stopping long enough to drink a hot cup of tea.
You know it's not recommended to chug a lug a hot cup of tea.
Stopping and sipping is required.

 Loving the moment is required.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Layla Grace

11/26/2007 - 3/9/2010

Little Layla Grace passed away this morning after suffering a painful and excruciating death from Neuroblastoma.

My heart aches for this family.

Why do children have cancer?
It's bad enough when anyone is diagnosed...but a child?
This baby?

My prayers tonight will be for Layla Grace's family.  Her mother, father, brother and sister and the countless others who will ache for a long time over the loss of this child.
Their faith and only that has sustained them throughout Layla's illness.  They believe that Layla's short little precious life had a purpose and they believe that God holds the reasons.

That belief won't stop the raw and searing pain that I know they are feeling today. 
They have lost a child.
How do you lose a child?
I don't know.
I don't want to know.

Children should not die of cancer.

In the coming weeks and months I hope that Layla's family will continue their plight to promote awareness of Neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers. 
I pledge to do whatever I can to do the same.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Monday, March 8

Last week was a bad week for cooking. 

Monday started off ok; we had tacos, an easy family favorite, just as we originally planned.

Tuesday, however, we had several errands to run in the town 25 miles south of us, so we left right after school and did not return home until 6.  The organized mommy that I am forgot to put anything in the crockpot, so we had another easy "fall back on" supper of ham steaks with pineapple slices, black-eyed peas, macaroni & cheese and biscuits. 
The black-eyed peas came out of a can.
I'm so ashamed.

My grand plans for Wednesday Night Supper at church came to a screeching halt Tuesday night.  I bought the biscuits I had been assigned to bring as well as the ingredients for cinnamon rolls and the breakfast casserole I planned to make.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I was cleaning up from Tuesday night's supper that I should have bought whole milk for the cinnamon rolls, and my breakfast casserole, for which I planned to pick up the sausage after school Wednesday, was supposed to sit overnight in the refrigerator :p
Neither of these recipes could be made in the time I had alotted for them.
Good grief!!

Wednesday night I sent my children with their frozen biscuits (bc it was a youth supper) to the grocery store to buy a frozen pie (double shame). 

It all went even more downhill by Thursday.  As a matter of fact, Thursday was just downright a bad day all the way around.  Not only did my firstborn get her heart broken and need my undivided attention, but both my older children had show choir practice.  The youngest and I decided to attend practice to stay close to our big girls, and we ended up eating at Sonic afterwards.
I'm the worst parent in America...I feel nauseous just thinking about Sonic.
I'm sorry if anyone ever reads this and owns the Sonic franchise.
Sonic just hurts my stomach.

Friday we attended our college's Spring drama production and ate out again
See, epic failure (my children love to say that phrase) last week as far as cooking is concerned.

I'm afraid this week will be worse because it will be the shortest week yet.  I have to go out of town on Wednesday and won't be back until Friday...which means I only have Monday and Tuesday to redeem myself. 
Oh my, feeling the pressure!
I do have a grand plan for Spring Break week which is the week after I get back...but more on that later.

Here's what I have ahead of me:
Monday - chicken strips, french fries and one of the vegetable packets from my freezer that my mom sent home with me.

Tuesday - roast, carrots and potatoes...I already have the ingredients so hopefully it will finally work out and I will remember to put everything in the crockpot. 

Wednesday - I will be on my way to Oakland, CA and the Head of My Household will be in charge...pray for my children ;)

Thursday - I will be in an all day research meeting - pray for me - my attention span is always challenged during the afternoon portions of these meetings...especially dealing with the 2 hr. time difference.

Friday - I'll be traveling home and won't get to our house till evening. 

Saturday - We're going back to Kids in My Kitchen!!! This time for my youngest's birthday party!!! Yay!!!

Im letting myself off the hook for last week, goin to get my work done this week and look forward to an enjoyable Spring Break!