Thursday, May 7, 2009


Entry for December 23, 2008
God is Love. We hear it all he time, yet rarely reflect upon this truth.
In 2008, more than any other year, this point has been driven home to us time and again. We left St. Charles with sadness because we had to say goodbye to family and friends we love so much. Yet, we arrived in Smithville to the warm welcome of many new and good friends. We saw much love and generosity in Illinois and we arrived to the same in Missouri. It seems this year was a great tapestry interwoven with love, loss, sadness and joy. Yet all is good.
This Christmas, let us all remember that the Christ Child, who was born in the humblest of circumstances, is Love. He gives love and is the connection of the love between every man, woman and child. No matter what your circumstances, you are rich in blessings if you truly believe in He who is Love.
Look past the presents, the cookies, the wrappings and the decorations, into the quiet stillness of the stable, where a baby lay in a feeding trough. Even in His manger He revealed to us that He is the Bread of Life.
In the humblest of surroundings, the ox and the ass, symbols of pagan gods, now bowed down before Him, revealing that the Christ Child is God become man. Long ago, on a clear, cold night, God came down from Heaven to save us, knowing full well what He would have to endure on our behalf. This, truly is Love. It is a sacrificial love, garnished with humility and truth. This is what we celebrate at Christmas.
May the silence of the stable bring peace to your heart.
Merry Christmas.

Entry for December 16, 2008
It is snowing. We decided to take a half day off from school and bake a gingerbread nativity. The little girls are helping. They want to cut their own cookies. They don't press down hard enough. So, then I have to perform surgery with a paring knife to extract the little sheep and camels from the gingerbread dough, which is getting warm and sticky. I keep having to stop and put the dough into the freezer for a few minutes at a time. I am frustrated. Finally, all the pieces we need are cut out and baked. Whew!
I decide to celebrate by putting on some Christmas music. My back is turned to the cooling cookies. Suddenly, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I whirl around to see Charlie, taking a bite of a cookie. "Nooooooooooo!" I yell and dive across the kitchen. It was Mary. Charlie ate Mary. It couldn't have been a camel or a sheep? ((((sigh))))
Thank goodness I have some leftover dough. I make another Mary and another baby Jesus-- just in case. With the rest of the dough that was too little to roll out and cut anything out, I make 5 small lumps, one for each child. Martha Stewart, I am NOT.
I have no patience for this. I will bake and decorate a cake. I will cook a meal for many people, but no more gingerbread for me. This experience has helped me decide to bake only drop cookies from now on. I'm officially turning in the cookie cutters.

Entry for November 29, 2008
Today we had our first snowfall. Amazing, considering we went outside with no jackets on Thanksgiving. The kids were excited. We let them go outside in the dark. There was just a dusting, but they scooped up enough to make snowballs, which are resting comfortably in our freezer at the moment. Ah, the first snowfall is always special. Noah and Bella collaborated on a poem for the occasion.
Snow Song
First winter's snow, it does not last.
It melts quickly and very fast.
By the time the sun has sung it's song,
The snow has melted and is long gone.

Entry for November 26, 2008
It is about 25 minutes till Thanksgiving and I am still up. I'm tired. I want to sleep, but I cannot. Why, you ask?
Well, Joe went and picked up the "fresh" turkey he ordered from a gourmet market after work. He got home with it at about 8:00. Immediately I opened it up and tried to get the giblets out to make the turkey stock. I couldn't. The legs were frozen together by a chunk of ice. I check the bird. The other side is frozen, too. I knock on it just to make sure. Yep, solid. The breast is thawed, but the wings are frozen to it. I am upset. I need to get at the giblets and I can't, and I am starting to worry that it won't be thawed enough to cook tomorrow. Instead of doing the logical thing (have Joe drive the 20 minutes and return it) I decide I will try to see if it can be thawed first so my hubby won't have to go back out.
I put it in cold water and disconnect the wings from the breast. I notice one wing is broken. Then I chip away the ice in the cavity enough to stick my hand in. No giblets, and it feels frozen in there. So, I have a mutant, half-wing, partially-frozen turkey with missing giblets. I don't want this turkey. I tell Joe. He calls the store to give them the heads up, grabs the bird and heads out.
I am at a standstill. I cannot cook, so I give Genevieve her bath. The phone rings. It is Joe. I answer it saying, "Don't tell me the only turkey they had left had 3 wings." He laughs. He tells me they gave him a new bird, which he checked and made sure that it was, indeed, completely fresh. I am so thankful (it is, after all, Thanksgiving eve). Then he asks me what we should do with the mutant turkey. "They didn't take it back?" I ask, incredulous. "No, do you want me to stick it in the freezer at work?" I sigh. We can't re-freeze a raw, thawed (well, mostly) turkey. I ask Joe if he really, really thinks we should keep it. He thinks we should. I tell him to head straight home, then I go in the kitchen and turn on the oven. The only thing to do is to cook the mutant. I only have one refrigerator and it isn't big enough to hold two turkeys. In my tired, deranged mind, I see a vision of the two raw, naked turkeys wearing holsters and guns. One says to the other, "This fridge ain't big enough for the two of us... Draw!"
I snap back to reality and look for a disposable foil thing big enough to cook a turkey in. Joe walks in at about 10 p.m. and he gets the giblets out for me (a good sign that this one actually has giblets) and I put them in the pot with water for the stock. Then I stick the mutant in the oven. I set the timer for 5 hours. After that I make the stuffing and run the dishwasher.
Now what do I do? Do I stay up and wait for the half-wing to cook? Or, should I sleep? What if I sleep through the timer? Will I awaken to a crispy, Cornish hen-sized bird?
Three hours and 21 minutes to go. However, it is now 12:01 a.m., which makes it Thanksgiving, 2008. Happy Thanksgiving.
Have you put your turkey in yet?

Entry for November 16, 2008
I hate dogs. Not in the sense that I want harm done to them, but I just cannot tolerate animals-- the hair, the smell, etc. Also, I am slightly afraid...
Tonight at about 9:15, I had to go up to church for a few minutes. I pulled out of the driveway, and made the left onto the street and there was a huge husky dog laying down, lounging, in the middle of the street. I move forward. It picks its head up and looks at me. I inch up. It puts its head back down. I gun the engine. It yawns. I gingerly pull the car around the darn thing and continue on my way.
At around 10:00 p.m., I get home and pull into the driveway. The dog is there, waiting for me. I pull up and it moves over, as if to say, "Its OK for you to pull into your own driveway. I'll allow that." Given that I borrowed Joe's car for this quick errand, I don't have the garage door opener doohickey at my disposal (we only have one), so I am stuck sitting in the driveway. The dog comes over and sits next to the door of the car, preventing me from escaping, uh, leaving. I sit and look at the dog. The dog looks back at me. I tap on the window and ask the dog if it is friendly or if it is planning to eat me. All I get from the dog is a deadpan. I sigh. The dog gets up. A glimmer of hope enters my soul. It is bored and it is leaving! I think. No such luck. It walks over to the front door of the house, as if to see if someone is on their way to get me out of the car. Lazily, it walks back and takes up residence next to the car again. I am trapped. I look for my cell phone. Arrgh! I left it home because this was to be a short trip. I am exasperated with myself.
I try to come up with a plan. I decide to beep the horn in the hopes that it will either scare the dog away or one of my family members will hear it and save me. I lean on the horn. The car is located directly under Charlie's bedroom window, and I hear him say, "Beep, beep, be quiet." I laugh at the absurdity of that, then beep again. The dog gets up, but he doesn't go away. He begins to howl like a wolf along with the beeping of the horn. I am in hell, I think. The more I beep the more it howls. "Get away, you demon!" I scream.
Miraculously, a car pulls up at the house diagonally across the street from us. That person gets out of their car and their dog goes bonkers, greeting it's owner. The demon-from-hell's ears perk up. It turns around and checks out the situation. My hopes rise and I put my hand on the door latch. It looks back at me to check and see if I am still there. Guiltily, I remove my hand. Then, I guess it just can't resist and it runs across the street and begins a bark and snarl fest with the dog. Quickly, I open the car door. The dog stops barking and walks back my way. Halfway out of the car, I jump back in. Satisfied, the dog goes back to barking and snarling. I decide that its now or never. I run to the house and fumble for the keys. I am totally freaked and cannot get my hands to work, so I just bang as hard as I can. Joe opens the door. I run in and I am so freaked out that I scream the entire story to him at the top of my lungs. He was at the back of the house and heard nothing.
One of my children begins to cry and believes that the dog will not go away and that they will never be able to go outside and play again. I calm the child and look for Joe. He is outside standing next to a police car. He had called them and they came and got the dog. One of the officers said they knew the dog because it had "priors," but that it was a friendly dog and wouldn't hurt anyone. I have trouble believing him. Even serial killers have to start somewhere...
But at least I have my knight in shining armor to protect me...or at least call the police.

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