Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello Victorville, Ca!

Well it's been 22 miles since my last post and I've finally arrived in the great town of Victorville, Ca.  The first day of running toward Victorville was perfect seeing as how in California is was sunny and upper 60's, while here it was cloudy, cold, and rainy.  I'm trying to learn to pace myself and not flip out over miles, especially during the holidays.  I could have gotten to Victorville a lot sooner, but the week of Thanksgiving had so many more important things to attend to...such as making pie. 

So hello Victorville!  Booming metropolis of 95,000 people and growing.  The New Corral Motel is an attraction on Route 66 with the quick town being a stop on the Route.  That would be another fun run...running Route 66.  I know I could always get a cold beer in Spencer, Mo too, seeing as how my in-laws own the town and I'm friends with the town drunk (who's married to the police chief!)  But that's for another time. 

 In Victorville today the weather is sunny and a high of 57, a lot of colder than I thought, but warmer than Wichita, Kansas!  Today's high is 43 and windy.  Well in my head I can be in Cali.

 Next stop is Barstow, California.  It's 32 miles away so it may be a while.  The running part is pretty easy, but I'm having to take breaks to do muscle training...turns out if you don't normally run and then decide real sudden-like to start, you could develop injuries pretty quickly.  Runner's World website is excellent.  They have lots of free tutorials and videos on how to stretch and train to avoid injury.  So...on to Barstow.  This is a very exciting step since I'll finally get to a new page on my dang atlas.  I've been on page 37 for two years now.  My highlighter is already faded.  Time to move on. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving fun...

We started our day off with Ella crawling into bed with me and asking me to take her nail polish off.  "We'll do that later, okay Ella."  "Mom, it's sticky.  Take if off."  "Why is it sticky."  "Because....."
That's when I saw not pretty pink nail polish that Nana put on her, but this white blobby nail polish.  Hmm.  Now what the hell could that be.  Ahhh...white out.  Great.  She painted her fingernails with white out. 

Moving on. 

So we started making our turkeys for Thanksgiving.  I got this idea from www.thecraftycrow.net.  I get most of my ideas from there. 
We got these leaves a few weeks ago on a walk.  I've had them pressed in my old Clinical Dietetics text books...good thing they're getting used for something!

Payton believes in using a lot of glue.  Somehow we went through 1/2 a new tube of glue. 

The end result is pretty cute.  Would've been better with crafty eyeballs, but the paper worked fine.  I'm really proud of Tim for letting me tape all our projects to the wall, too.  That's a big step.  He said the kids have destroyed the walls enough now with food that it really doesn't matter anymore.  The kids like having their little art gallery.

The finished turkeys.  And Maddie didn't eat any glue!!  Meanwhile, I was discovering my new favorite snack that I can make.  Cinnamon-roasted Almonds from www.allrecipes.com.  Holy moly they are fantastic.  It's my contribution to tomorrow's dinner provided I can keep my hands off them until then. 

Recipe for Cinnamon-roasted Almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper....do not skip this!!!  Lightly grease pan before putting paper down so it sticks to the pan better.
2.  Lightly beat egg white until slightly fluffy, and vanilla and stir.  Stir in almonds and coat with egg mixture.  In a separate bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon.  Sprinkle into almond mix and toss to coat.  Spread evenly over pan making sure they're in one layer.
3.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring about every 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and store in airtight container.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Another little ditty about my everyday domestication.  I don't control these thoughts, they run through my head as I'm doing my chores. 

This is my Everest
My mountain that I climb
Everyday it looks the same
It toys with my mind.

I start with the darks
then traverse across the whites.
Only after the delicates are done
do I find some dirty tights.

The hike is getting tough
but my will is very strong
Then Ella comes to help
I ignore that she does it wrong.

Up higher and higher I go
I can almost see the top.
The air is getting thin up here,
but I know I cannot stop.

Barrel through the jeans,
and stain stick the shirt.
Honestly did Payton
take a soaky bath of dirt?

Finally, oh finally
I stand upon the pile.
Can one even feel accomplishment
hovering over a dirty mile?

Suddenly I feel the ground
shift beneath my feet,
an avalanche of laundry,
a catastrophe I can't beat.

I tumble past the dishcloths,
it sweeps me further down.
Socks and towels and flannels,
through every filthy town.

Ass over elbows,
it finally lets me rest,
my head shoved through the armhole
of my favorite dark green vest.

Will my family ever find me,
buried in this stinking mound?
Surely they'll notice no dinner
and with that I will be found.

Nothing left to do now.
Maybe I'll take a rest,
knowing that tomorrow
I'll have a new Everest.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A trip into Thanksgiving's past...

This week as we all prepare for Thanksgiving with menus, schedules for house visits, and decorations, I thought I'd take a little trip down memory lane to Thanksgiving for this little family three years ago. 

We headed up to Cascade, Iowa to my mom's "homeland and motherland" as she calls it.  First mistake made:  travelling to northern Iowa in late November.  Okay, moving on.  Now we had heard the reports from all the experts about that big, dang blizzard heading across the plains and destined to smack into Iowa Wednesday, but never fear because we had a plan.  All you need is a plan.  We left Tuesday night and did the first half of the drive, stopping in Cameron, Mo.  We figured we had it made with only a short 5-6 hour drive the next day. 

Second mistake made:  when you get a "jump start," you might think about leaving in the morning a little earlier than 11am...see when you leave at 11am, then you haven't gained yourself any ground at all.  So at 11am we'd finished our hearty breakfast and headed off. 

Let's take a closer look into the basics of this vacation.  We had my husband and I and our two children.  Payton was almost 4, and Ella was (are you ready for this, because this was mistake number three)...Ella was 3 months old.  And the crowd goes, "oooohhhh, eeeewwwwwwww."  We were also travelling in Tim's truck which for some reason had a nasty draft on the floor panel of the passenger side.  No problem, right?  I'll just throw a blanket over my feet as we head into mistake number four:  the blizzard.  Oh, and the blanket?...turns out they're only effective at trapping warmth from feet that have circuation....

So the snow picks up, and pretty soon we're in serious blizzard conditions.  We're now going to northern Iowa at a cool 30mph.  After a couple white-knuckled hours we pulled off in Des Moines for a bathroom break and a chance to feed the very grouchy Ella.  Awesome thing about this particular Wendy's in the state Capitol was that it didn't have a changing table for my daughter who had blown poo all the way up her back and out her shirt.  So I have Payton, Ella, and myself crammed into a bathroom stall....not the handicapped stall...a regular stall.  Ella was screaming bloody murder because of the poo situation and I had nothing to lay her on but the lid of the bathroom trashcan.  So that's what we did.  Scream Scream Scream...Wipe Wipe Wipe...Coats and mittens and poo and hats and hot and sweaty and people and loud and people and screaming and wiping. 

After that and a quick bite to eat for us all we headed back out, hauling ass at 30 mph again. 

After 8 hours we still hadn't made it to Cascade.  The kids were screaming tired, we were getting lost multiple times, and we were pulling over every 30 minutes just to give ourselves a time-out.  (The snow was lovely when standing on the side of the road just trying to get some sanity back.)

It.  Was.  Awful.

Finally we made it to my Aunt and Uncles house and got some much needed food, beer, and sleep. 

It was probably the worst road trip I've ever been on in my entire life, and if you told me that I was going to relive it again tomorrow....I'd  start packing with a smile on my face.  It was an awful trip, but in the end, I had Thanksgiving with my Iowa family, and I got to play cards with my Grandma. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, with lots of love. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' on the river.....

Okay so let me update you on my little project that I call Move Myself Across America.  I had this grand plan two years ago that if I kept an atlas next to my treadmill that I could track my progress and run myself from Tijuana to Madawaska, Maine....basically run myself from the southwestern end to the northeastern end.  I gave myself five years to do that, then figured up the actual mileage and realized I'd have to run over seven miles a day.  Well.  That goal obviously needed to be tweaked. 

So after Maddie was born, I started on my run.  It was lovely running through southern California through the winter, but as with so many of my goals, it fell by the wayside.  So to cut straight to the heart of this, it's two years later and I'm still not out of California.  I should be dogging through western Kansas by now!  I have a ways to go.  Nevertheless, it is a very inspiring way to run.  So, now that I'm in a fit of motivation, I'm going to start tracking my progress on my blog. 

Like I said, I started my run at the southern most tip of California, and from what I could tell on my map, the best place was to start at the border on Hwy. 5 and run north....
So thank you to Mapquest for letting me draw on your map....sure hope I don't get in trouble for that one.  Anyway, this has been my path up until now.  It's taken my over two years to go this far, but hopefully now that I'll feel a little more motivation I'll start busting off the mileage a little quicker. And the weather in SoCal today...sunny and upper 60's.  Hmmmmm....... 
So if I were actually in California, this is the view I would probably have...or close to it. 
This is how I'll update you on my run.  Right now I'm working myself toward Victorville...I'll post again when I hit my destination.  Victorville, here I come!  Wonder what the shopping is like there....

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tree

This week our project was the Thanksgiving Tree.  I got this idea from www.thecraftycrow.net.  This site has given me a lot of the ideas for holiday crafts and it's great because there is stuff for all ages.  Anyway, this was supposed to be a one-afternoon craft, but the kids were done with the leaf-decorating after about 5 minutes.  At that point, really became thanksgiving boot camp.  "Ella paint this, Maddie color that one, Payton cut some more out....we need more leaves guys...go go go...cut, paint, color...more more more..."  So that was fun.  We got the leaves done and called it a day. 

Ella had a problem with her hands getting dirty, but after I took this picture, she was pretty proud of them.  They were "pretty hands."
I painted the tree on the kitchen floor, which was a supremely bad idea since I was on Maddie's level.  Maddie loves a good mess.  So after the tree was painted it had to be hung as high as possible to dry, but that still required a close eye on the Maddie-monster.  Have I mentioned she loves a mess? 
So after a few days we reassembled to finish the project.  And let me just say a quick thank you to the inventor of glue sticks.  Imagine a 2-year-old Maddie gluing without a glue stick...I shudder.

Each one of the leaves had something the kids were thankful for.  I was pretty proud with most of their ideas:  Mom, Dad, Nana, Papa, school, books, puzzles, Grandma, Granddad, Aunt Erin, Aunt Meme, Baby Tucker, bugs, trees, clouds, food, garage doors, Buddy, crossing bars, trains, and toilets. 
Even my wonderful husband got in on the project.  Unfortunately for him, the leaf with his name on it went under the leaf labeled "toilet."  So now the kids are yelling, "Daddy's in the toilet!"  Sorry love.

It was a fun project and nice to know what the kids are thankful for...or at least it's nice to know what's on their minds when it's time to yell out a list.  Until next time...

Monday, November 8, 2010

A few Halloween projects before we get into Thanksgiving

Here are the Halloween projects we did this year.  We have plenty of new Thanksgiving ones to do now that I have discovered this world of blogs.  Can't wait for all the new chaos that's soon to be in store...
First we stated out with the First Annual Apple day.
The kids had tons of fun picking all the apples.  Maddie was a machine.  Payton's job was the throw the bad ones across the street to the pasture.  There were a lot of apples and we had a lot of cooking to do...
It was a big weekend of picking, throwing, bobbing, cooking, and caramelizing apples.

Next we headed to Sunnyside Pumpkin Patch with my in-laws.  This was a great pumpkin patch with a lot of fun stuff for the kids to do.  They had a giant slide that Maddie showed no fear on, a petting zoo, corn maze, games, a hayrack ride, and pumpkins.

up close and personal with the cow

So with all these pumpkins we had a lot of decorating to do.  We opted for paint instead of knives...there were just too many pumpkins. 
All together I think they painted 11 pumpkins.

Our house was wonderfully decorated with so many awesome colorful pumpkins and it kept them busy for over an hour! 

Ella's Picasso.

The following week was spooky play-doh day and cookies...

Ewwww...play-doh worms.  Meanwhile, I made muffins/cookies from the same recipe.  The muffins turned out wonderful...the cookies...

The cookies turned out looking like cow pies.  They were really gross.  Muffins only for this one. 

Next came some fantastic leaf jumping.  Just in case things are looking a little to perfect by now, check out the expression on Maddie.  This was equal parts fun and temper tantrum. 

Finally it was almost Halloween and time for the major projects.  The kids and I spent the morning making spooky ghosts.  Payton painted the eyes and the girls played and ran around with the extra ribbon...

Every morning the kids said they were having breakfast with the ghosts.  I really hate to take them down even though it is November while I'm writing this. 
While they took a nap, I did the next project.  Would've been great I'm sure to share this one with the kids, but I wanted it to turn out perfect...I'm anal about my ghouls.  I got this project from www.ourbestbites.com.  It's one of my "check everyday" sites.  The ghosts I got from www.bhg.com
Finally there were cookies for Payton's Halloween party.  This was a great by myself project too that I did with the windows open and a movie on.  I love doing stuff with the kids, but I also love having that kitchen to myself.  That weekend was Halloween and a fun day spent with family.  I love Halloween and everything fall.  I'm also excited about all the cool projects we have for Thanksgiving that we'll be starting this week.  Until next time....

My coffee, my coffee....

This is a little ditty I jotted down as I was waking up during Sesame Street time.  I just know there's a Nobel Prize for Poetry lurking around the corner for this one. 

My Coffee
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.    (original, huh)
I love how you warm me
on cold Autumn days.
You give me reason
to slither out of bed.
You help clear the fog
out of my groggy head.
You tell my children "be aware...
do not mess with her
until that cup is completely bare."   (yea I know...inconsistent rhythm...it's a ditty not a work of art)
You give me something to hold onto
when sanity is low.
You put pep in my step
when there's three kids in tow.
So thank you to my coffee
and cup and filters too,
for creating a morning person
from a blob of bedtime goo. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

You've seen the Snuggie commercial right....

Okay, so if you've seen the Snuggi commercial you've seen the amazing difficulty that a blanket can present.  It's awkward, it moves, it creeps off your feet and falls off your shoulders...clearly it is an atrocious invention.  I saw evidence of this first hand today.  Ella was sitting on her bean bag and her foot was sticking out of her blanket.  She screamed at it and screamed at it, but that stubborn blanket just wouldn't move back to where it was supposed to be.  Why didn't she just move her foot?  Why should she have to do that?!  Why should she be inconvenienced to move her foot 3 inches to the left when that blanket is supposed to do it's job by moving 3 inches to the right?  It really is outrageous.  
So next time you see that commercial and think how ridiculous that lady looks as she's struggling with her blanket, please keep in mind my daughter Ella and know that for some people, this is a real and true burden. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And the award goes to....

And the Oscar for "Best Panic Attack Over the Possibility of Leaving Bunny in the Stroller" goes to (drum roll)....ELLA MARIE RYAN!!!!!  (eruption of applause)  This is Ella's first year winning Best Panic Attack Over the Possibility of Leaving Bunny in the Stroller.  She credits her accomplishments to her older brother who is her constant support and guide in her panicking ventures.  She is joined today by her less than thrilled mother and her little sister and protege, Madelynn. 

Oh the joys.  The many, many joys.

You know, wouldn't it be great to act like a three year old just once....

"Kelly we're floating you to 9 tower."
Kelly:  NOOOOOO...baaaaaahhahahahhaha....NOOOOOO  (falling on the floor, kicking, wailing, kicking, standing and hands on hips)  I'm NOT going to 9 tower, I'm NOT.  I'm going away!  NO...NO 9 tower!  I don't like you ANYMORE!

Well, maybe if you don't mind being unemployed...

Movie theater attendant:  Miss, may I have your ticket?
Kelly:  No.  I keep it.
Movie theater attendant: Miss you cannot go in to see the movie unless I have your ticket.
Kelly: (hands over ticket....pause....HITS attendant on the arm and runs away.)  I don't like you ANYMORE!

At the 5K:
Race official:  On your mark....get set...GO!
Kelly bounds off full of energy and unbridled joy.  Legs flail and arms swing around erratically as she takes the lead.  Suddenly she breaks away from the pack and leaves the race path to go dashing through the park...."OOOOOHHH, LEAVES!!!" 

My boss:  So Kelly, as I was saying, every time you have a patient come up with a PCA, it is very important that you not only put the order in for Respiratory to come and set up the CO2 monitor, but also give them a call to let them be aware that we have a new PCA patient.  That way the monitor gets set up as soon as possible.
Kelly:  You know what?  I have a cat!  Her name is Aggie.  Sometimes she poops on the carpet.  That's gross.

Ah hell, I think I'll give that last one a shot...it would be worth it. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


I did it!!  I flew my first solo Halloween!  Okay so I wasn't exactly solo, I did have four other adults helping me with the kids, but the point is that...I DID IT!  We really had a great day.  I didn't get all my things done that I wanted to, but if I would've pushed it, I'm pretty sure it would have gone downhill.  So I thought I'd start the day off with nice soaky baths and showers for the kids.  Lovely thought that ended with Payton screaming naked through the house that he was cold...if he would've towelled himself off?...well what do I know.  So after I got him dried off, returned to the bathroom to see Maddie jumping in a puddle of pee with her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth.  Lovely.  Moving on.  After all the multiple baths and re-baths, it was time for some Halloween fun.
She's a good little witch.  Remember, only bad witches are ugly.  We started with making owl cookies from the website http://www.ourbestbites.com/.  Great site. 
Ella believes in equal parts eating and making....good girl.  Maddie thought this project was a buffet rather than a craft project, so when I took the candy corn piece and stuck it on the cookie, a grand hissy fit followed...wow...what was I thinking. 

 On that note we had naps.  Next up was the pirate ship.  Down the road there was house that went way over the top with a full pirate ship in their driveway complete with crocodiles, squids, and ghosts.  It was really awesome.  Payton loved it.

Payton ringing the bell.  It really was an awesome set-up. And so perfect with Payton being a pirate. 
Next up we drove to my sister's for the making of the Halloween donuts.  This is a tradition that has been going on for 15 years.  My mom always made homemade donuts for the trick-or-treaters and last year she handed the recipe and cauldron (wok) over to my sister to continue.  Halloween isn't Halloween until the house reeks of fat.  The kids made mummy-dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll strips) and Erin and I tried not to laugh at what it really looked like...heheheeee.
Finally it was time for trick-or-treating.  It was nice and cool with the leaves skittering around the streets.  Ella found it perfect weather for her snuggling needs.  The kids made out great on their loot and ate tons of donuts.  It was a great night.  I did it!