Friday, July 25, 2014

You say tomato, I say I want a sandwich...

I was in quite the predicament at lunch today.  I had lots and lots of gorgeous tomatoes fresh from my garden.  And those babies were calling my name.

But w were out of white bread. And everyone knows you can't have a tomato sandwich without white bread.

So I had to improvise.

We had tortillas so I thought I could make a tomato wrap.  But that sounded all kinds of wrong.

We had lettuce so I though I could use the lettuce as bread and make a sort of PF Chang's type lettuce wrap.  But that sounded all kinds of wrong as well.

And then I spied the....

hamburger buns!

Perfect, I thought!

Hamburger buns are white-breadish...more white-breadish than tortillas and definitely more white-breadish than no bread at all...I'm looking at you lettuce leaves!

Turns out the hamburger bun is the perfect size and shape for a tomato sandwich. There was only one slight problem.  Because there's a bit more bread in a bun, you need to use a lot more mayo than with a regular slice of bread.  Never has using more mayo been an issue for me so I charged on ahead with an extra dollop of the white stuff and y'all - I just had one delicious tomato...burger?!

Isn't she a thing of beauty?

Going, going, going, GONE!
And if you're wondering if I licked that little blob of tomato and mayo off the plate, I'll never tell!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Midweek Miscellany

Here's a few highlights from the last week.

1.  The kids had their final swim meet this weekend.  It was the big county meet and even though our whole team worked hard, we fell about 53 points short of winning.  We were disappointed but I feel certain that we'll get 'em next year!  We've won the county championship for the last four years, and we went undefeated this season (as well as the last four) so I have no doubt we'll put up a good fight next year.

I took no pictures from the county meet because I just wanted to enjoy watching my kids swim.  Sometimes I think we get so caught up in pictures that we just forget to sit back and watch and enjoy.

2.  I noticed that my bra strap was showing the other day and I said to Sarah, "Sarah, if you ever see my bra strap showing, please let me know."

"Why?" she questioned.

"Well, because it's tacky that's why.  And nobody needs to see my bra strap."

"Oh.  I thought it looked pretty!" 

In her defense, the bra was purple but still.  So very thankful for school uniforms!

3.  My garden is going bananas with the cucumbers. I've canned closed to 40 jars of pickles which is plenty to get us through the next year.  I've given them away, I've made refrigerator pickles and I even ate a cucumber for breakfast a couple of days ago.  Now, granted, I did dip them in my jalapeno cilantro dip but still....cucumbers for breakfast?!

Yesterday I made another batch of cucumber salad and I whipped up some tzatziki to go with some spicy chicken we had for dinner.  Just trying to get creative with the cucs!

Last year I even made a cold cucumber soup and the verdict from the family?  GROSS!  So, I won't even be wasting my time with that this year.  If anyone has any other recipes for cucumbers, let me know!

4.  Sarah has finished with her short dance camp.  I think she enjoyed it but she hasn't mentioned dance class for the school year very much since taking the class.  I hope it's because she realizes it's not something that she really wants to do.  Because it's not really something that I'm interested in pursuing for her.  There are only so many hours in the week and dance class is something I think she could do without.  But, I held up my end of the bargain!

5.  Dan did not have to go to Dubai after all this week, so our vacation is going to happen as scheduled.  And, when we get back, the people from Dubai will be coming here for meetings so it's like the best outcome of all has happened!   Dan will probably have to spend a lot of our vacation time working which stinks, BUT, at least we will get a vacation this year AND he doesn't have to travel half way around the world.  I love it when God works things out because I know I put it a lot of prayer time about this and so did a certain mother/grandmother/mother-in-law!

6.  I've read three books so far this summer: Favorite Wife, The Red Tent, and Room.  And while I really enjoyed all three of them and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good book, my favorite was The Red Tent.  I highly enjoyed that one so if you haven't already read it, get to it!

That's enough miscellaneous from now!  Time to get some new tires for the car and get an oil change.  We have a road trip coming up!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I briefly thought that God was playing a bit of a joke on me.

We have two cats.  And not because we are cat people but more or less because we are kind.  (Or at least because our kids have a soft spot for fur.)

They both just showed up.  (AKA - someone drove by our house, slowed down, opened their car door, and tossed them out.)

Gray Gray arrived in October of 2009.  And yes, I realize he's not gray so much as black and brown but a cute little 5-year-old named Sarah named the cat so Gray Gray it was!  (And we love to give her a hard time about that now.)

Kitten, or Little Bit, who we originally named Moxie, showed up in July of 2010.  The name Moxie never stuck for some reason and it just became Kitten.  (Who obviously 4 years later is no kitten.)

The cats are cats.  They sleep.  They eat. And that's pretty much it.  The kids were excited when we got the cats but now all they do is tolerate them. 

Peter and Sarah have been working me hard this year for a dog and for the first time, I've been willing to consider it.  But it has to be the right dog.

The dog has to meet the following criteria:
  • It must not be a puppy.
  • It must already be house and crate trained.
  • It must be medium sized - not too big, not too little.
  • It must be sweet and love kids (even if these kids will eventually abandon/ignore it, because I know that's what's going to happen.)
  • It must not be a barker.  (I'm aware that all dogs bark but I do not want a dog that barks all the time and any little thing. Those dogs drive me crazy.
  • It must be free or practically free.
I'm sure you are thinking that I'm crazy.  How the heck am I going to find a dog like this.

I don't think it will be too hard since my bestie Jennifer owns a vet clinic.  People are always coming by with dogs they are trying to find good homes for and she always posts them on Facebook.  And typically, Jennifer already knows these dogs because they are clients at the clinic.

So I've told the kids that if the right dog comes along (and I've warned them that I'm not actively searching for this dog, this dog will need to "find" us in a sense), I will consider getting it.

In the meantime, I've done a little praying about finding the right dog...and guess what appeared at our door last night?

I told Dan that perhaps God was a little bit confused.  Or perhaps he has a warped sense of humor because the last thing I want is another cat. 

But never fear.  It wasn't a mistake or a joke - just a kitty that wandered away from our next door neighbor's house.  Our doorbell rang this morning and the two neighbor boys were wondering if we had seen their new kitten.

So Patrick (as Sarah had named him) is back with his rightful owners. And we are now back to being a two cat, one fish, no dog household and all is well for the time being.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finding peace in a refrigerator.

Thanks for all the comments and emails after I wrote this on Monday.   Somehow, just writing that down and putting it out there made me feel a little better. 

And then?  Well, later in the day I saw something that Mary  posted on Facebook and Instagram.

Let me backtrack for a moment. If you don't read Mary's blog, you should. Mary is a huge inspiration to me.  In fact, before she was born, I was certain that Rebecca was going to live but that I would be spending the rest of my days caring for her and I was going to use Mary as my example of a godly woman caring for a disabled child.

Mary has a 21-year-old daughter, Courtney, who was born with cerebral palsy and has a seizure disorder.   Mary's blog details the family's struggles and joys caring for Courtney and detail what it is like to be a caregiver for an adult child.

Mary writes from her heart and leaves nothing hidden.  She writes about the pain, the hardships, the worry, the fear that come from having a special needs child.  But she also writes about the love, the joy, the smiles, God's provision.

They have a special van to drive Courtney to her various physical therapy and occupational therapy appointments and this van breaks down a lot.  They have large medical bills because Courtney has to go into the hospital frequently.  In addition to her regular feedings, they are now feeding her through a G-tube to help her gain weight.  The seizures take a lot of calories and she only weighs 90 pounds.  She needs to be closer to 100.

Their second refrigerator, which they use to store all of Courtney's G-tube feeding supplies and special foods, recently broke down.  And with no money available to buy another one, Mary did what Mary does best.  She prayed for God's provision.

And then she posted this on Facebook:

Fourteen years ago our lives were forever changed after we took Miss Courtney to Lourdes, France on a healing pilgrimage with the Knight and Dames of Malta, Federal Assoc. 

Our Lady moved us deeply and profoundly affected the next steps we took in our faith journey, as a couple and as parents. Courtney received her First Communion there in a dress the Dames provided her. We have been in and out of touch over the years with other pilgrims as well as the Dames and Knights from that trip. 

Today we were once again floored by the generosity and kindness of those individuals who took such good care of us all those years ago. 

It is no coincidence that on the Heaven Homecoming Day of St. Nicholas Borobia  this new refrigerator/freezer arrived to help provide extra storage for Miss Courtney's special meals which have to be made with tons of fresh ingredients. 

It is no coincidence that when praying for this particular provision, we prayed for the intercession of St. Nicholas Borobia and St. Rebecca Irene  and in less than four weeks, it was provided through the benevolence of those who care for the sick. 

Tears stream, my heart bursts with gratitude and I am humbly once more raising my hands in praise to the One who is forever faithful. To the Knights and Dames of Malta, Federal Assoc, my spoken thanks seem insignificant but we are so grateful for your gift. 

St. Nicholas and St. Rebecca Irene, please continue to pray for us! Thank you for your gracious intercession.

Reading this made my heart sing on a day that I had been so down.

I was happy to hear that Mary got a new refrigerator for Courtney.  I was happy to hear that God had once again provided for them.  But most of all, I was happy to hear that Rebecca had played a small part in it. 

Before I converted to Catholicism, I had a lot of misconceptions about "those crazy Catholics".  One of them being that they prayed to people other than God.

But what I have since learned is that they were never praying to people other than God, they were just asking the saints (people who have passed away and are now in heaven) to pray for them. 

Just as you would think nothing of asking your friends on earth to pray for you, Catholics don't think twice about asking people who have already made it to the feet of Jesus to pray for them.

Rebecca was sinless so there is no doubt in my heart and in my mind that the minute she passed away, she was immediately transported in to heaven.  There are no worries of hell or purgatory for my sweet one.  She is already where we all long to be.

I love that Mary asked Rebecca to pray for her.  And I love that God heard all the prayers and answered them.

Most of all, I love that this happened on a day that I really needed to hear, to feel, to see God.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It always goes on.

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog lately.  And I could give you lots of reasons why.

Twice daily swim practices, swim meets, guitar lessons, piano lessons, dance classes.  All these things take up our time in the summer but that's not really why I haven't been writing. It's just life happening.  But that's not the main reason.

The main reason?

It's Rebecca.

I have so much I want to say about her, so many things I want to put down into words.  I want to write about her few days on this earth.  I want to write every little detail about those 5 1/2 days. But I just can't. 

I can't write about her without the tears pouring down my cheeks.  I can barely even look at a picture of her without crying.  And I don't want the kids to see me writing and crying and it doesn't matter anyway because  I don't have time to write between driving my kids to all the places they need to be.

So, I don't.  I don't write about what I really want to write about.  Instead, when I realize it's been a while since I've posted, I'll post  a silly story, pictures of the kids swimming, or a recipe.    I keep posting all of these things when I really want to be writing about my baby.

I'll get there. I'll get the words out.  Maybe when the kids are back in school. 

Meanwhile, I catch Sarah looking off into space as if in a daze.  When I see her like this, I ask what she's thinking about.  She replies "nothing" and I wonder if she's thinking about Rebecca.

She has trouble falling asleep.  She's always had trouble falling asleep at night but it seems worse now.  I wonder if she's thinking about the baby.  Or worried.  Or upset. Or sad.

And she keeps asking me for picture frames and albums.  I finally ordered her a picture album and she's going to fill it up with pictures of the baby.  And because I still haven't gotten around to getting her a frame, she made some of out construction paper to put around some pictures of her and Rebecca.

And Peter?  Sweet, angry Peter.  He's always been a bit angry.  He lets all the little things that upset him well up inside of him and then when he can't take it any longer, he lashes out - at me. 

But he's been even angrier since Rebecca passed away.  Or at least it seems that way.  He was upset yesterday because Dan's brother Bob, who is fighting stage 4 colon cancer, will most likely not be joining us at the Cape this year.

I told him that we need to keep praying for healing, and his reponse? 

"Why should we pray?  God doesn't answer our prayers."

And I tried to answer him as best I can.  But my words are empty, hollow.  They sound the way I feel.

And Dan? We had our annual vacation to Cape Cod planned but he has a business trip that was supposed to happen next week and now it's looking like it's going to get pushed out to the week of our vacation and then he's got a meeting he has to be at the next week and that leaves our whole vacation up in the air.

And he can't ask for someone else to do this work because someone else filled in for him in January when he was sitting by his mom's hospital bed watching her die and someone else filled him for him in April while he was sitting by his daughter's hospital bed watching her die so he has to be assigned to this project.  He has to do his job.

Eventually the summer will be over and I'll have time to write about Rebecca. 

And Sarah will get her pictures in frames and albums.

And Peter will figure out why we have to keep praying, keep trusting God.

And Dan will get his work done and we will go on our vacation.

Because, life?  It always goes on. And so do we.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I may have mentioned once or twice that Sarah and I watched this past season of American Idol together.  And I may have mentioned once or twice that Sarah and I were rooting for Caleb Johnson who eventually went on to win.  And I may have mentioned once or twice that he's from Asheville, NC and that Sarah has a wee bit of a crush on him.

Sarah is very excited that his album is coming out in August and is gearing up to download it on iTunes.  She has an iTunes gift card she received for her birthday ready and waiting!

Last week, she came running up to me with a drawing in her hand and questioned, "Guess who this is?  Guess who I drew?"

I looked at the picture and gave my unsure response. 


I could  tell by her extreme disappointment that I was wrong.  I quickly searched my brain for long-haired types that she might be inclined to draw and immediately changed my response to, "Well, of course, it's Caleb Johnson!"

She then proceeded to search out her father and proudly showed him the picture and asked who it was.

"Um...Jesus?" was his unsure response.

Decide for yourself...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The post of 1000 pictures...

Weekends around here a typically low key.  We prefer rest and relaxation while it seems most people prefer to go the route of let's do all the things.

This weekend however, we were nonstop doing all of the 4th of July things...

On Friday we spent the day getting ready for a cookout.  Sarah had quite a few plans in mind for the cookout.

She painted mason jars red,white and blue and we used those to hold the forks and knifes.  She made appetizers: pretzel rods covered in white chocolate and sprinkles and a fruit flag.  And she made decorations.  The girl loves a good DIY Tutorial. 


On Friday evening, Jennifer and her family came over.  We had hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, tortellini know...4th of July food.  And Jennifer brought sparklers and glow sticks.  We had a blast!









Me and Jennifer
On Saturday we headed to Hanging Rock State Park and climbed to three of the small waterfalls.  Here are some of the pictures from that adventure:

On Saturday evening we went to a Winston-Salem Dash game and here's the one picture I took there:

And we rounded out our exciting 4th of July weekend with Sunday morning Mass, lunch at my parent's house, and a cookout at our pool.  (I have zero pictures from Sunday so you'll just have to take my word for it!)

It was busy.  But it was good!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Swim Meet Photos. Go Ducks!

We had our third swim meet of the season on Tuesday and I finally remembered to bring my camera!

Here are a few shots of the kids swimming their events: