In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stop and Smell the Pasta

Efficient.  A good word to describe myself.  I am one of those people who will carry grocery bags in my teeth, just to avoid a second trip to the car.  I stuff as many clothes into the washer as possible, and forget Spray-n-Wash, that just takes TOO much time.  When I exercise, I run as fast as I can, so that I don't have to run for very long. My current goal is to find a way to put on my make-up while I am still in the shower.  (I'll let you know when I figure this one out.)   Fast and quick, that is me.  With three small boys, this is partly a survival skill, but mostly, it is so I can get the "chore" completed and begin doing something that I enjoy.

Lately however, I have realized that I am rushing through EVERYTHING as if it is a chore.  I also realized that the things I "enjoy" may not actually be as enjoyable as the things I am rushing through.  For example, I found myself rushing through Dr. Suess' Green Eggs and Ham and cuddle time with the boys, so that I could escape downstairs to watch "Bizarre Foods" and the latest news on the ACORN scandal.  I decided I needed a change.

So, for starters, as part of my "relish the process plan (RTPP),"   I spent this week trying to do away with my typical "quick solution" dinner (i.e. microwaved pasta, microwaved Indian food, microwaved rice... yes, I microwave EVERYTHING).  Granted, the RTPP becomes difficult when part of the cooking  "process" includes two children screaming (yes screaming) about who gets to add the salt and the milk, while the third child is sitting on the counter, eating some ingredients and pouring others down his diaper. The "process" is also made complicated by three boys scrambling for position at the counter.  Of course, they each want to stand next to Mommy, and while I am flattered, this struggle to be Alpha Son inevitably results in someone falling off his chair and hurting himself.  (I know I know, there is always the TV, but I am trying to avoid quick fixes, right?  Plus, its the whole efficiency thing again-- I can spend time with the kids AND cook, right?) So, the cooking "process" also involves bandaids, ice, and kisses.

However, despite some difficulties and some microwaving relapses, I am proud to announce that I actually made dinner three times this week! Three times! And I cleaned up a ton of dishes. THREE times!!!  There is NO efficiency in cooking, people!  But it's the process, I tell myself.  Enjoy the slow as it may be.   I will admit, the fresh food tasted better-- the end result was rewarding, and the cooking process was okay as well.  Chaotic and loud, but okay...  Baby steps.

Here is one of my favorites for the week:

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula--by Ina Garten
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Keeping Up Appearances

I thought I had put some of my perfectionistic tendencies behind me, you know, the need to look like I have it altogether even when I don't...and I have improved, to a great degree.  But here I am, back in a school setting (dropping off and picking up my children, does that count?) and I find myself once again trying to make a good show for the teachers.  But alas, the facade is quite thin, and I am afraid my raw, unorganized self is completely apparent :). 

Picture day:  Well, to start off, I completely forgot about it.  As I am getting out of the car and noticing all of the cutely dressed children, the realization hits me.  Of course, I have no order form and no money.  I glance over at Sammy.  He is wearing a red, white and blue hand-me down T-shirt and some ratty gray and white soccer shorts (his favorites).  He had dressed himself of course, and  I had paid little attention while I was scrambling to brush my teeth and get out the door. I suppose, if circumstances had been slightly different, this would have been okay.  He may have been pitied by all the fashion-conscious mothers who bought the class picture, but otherwise, no harm done. 

However, Sammy had found a chocolate candy in the car and had used his shirt for a napkin.  Chocolate smeared ALL over his clothes. I consider what to do... wet wipes? won't work.  Water? won't dry fast enough.  So, thinking quickly, I  swap shirts with Andrew.  Okay, so Andrew wears 2T and Sammy wears 4T...  "Too tight" has got to be better than "covered in chocolate," right? at least a little?   Now Sammy is wearing a too small red and blue shirt with ratty gray and white soccer shorts.  Not much better.  

I run with him to the preschool door, huffing and puffing,  apologize for being so unorganized, and say that I will be right back.  I was hoping for a compassionate smile, but I only got a "get it together, lady" glare. "We are the first class to get pictures this morning, so hurry" she says.  So I hurry.  I come back to my car, and find my trunk WIDE OPEN.   I guess I left it open in my panicked rush.  I slam it, get in my car and start driving.  Yelling at the "slow" drivers in front of me, and traumatizing Andrew in the back seat with my impatience, I finally make it back to the classroom. I grab Sammy out of class, strip him down outside his classroom door, and replace his hand-picked, too tight clothes with a cute plaid button down and some khaki shorts. I push him through the door, and he quickly rejoins circle time. Whew.

A new resolution to be more organized.  I can do it!  I can do it!  The next school day:

His school bag:  The preschool has given each child a special bag in which they are supposed to carry their lunch box and all of their paperwork.  Every morning, each child hangs their bag on a hook outside the classroom.  Somehow, Sammy's ended up in the dirty laundry basket, so I washed it.  This morning when I dropped Sammy off, I hung up his bag.  It is not hard to miss.  Fifteen neatly hung bags, and right near the end is Sammy's.  Two sizes smaller and a complete wrinkled mess.... 

Someday I'll show them what an organized, "with it," mom I am.  Someday....
Yeah, probably not.