Sunday, August 18, 2013

A-ma's Ball


I am pretty simple I guess.
Two things made me happy this weekend.
The first was running into the colorful smiling gourd pictured above.
I am known to collect a few pumpkins from time to time and when I saw him sitting and grinning outside of my local grocery store as I tried to quickly dash between my gas guzzling air conditioned car to the safety of the overly cooled produce section without sweat dripping down my face, I knew that he would be mine. A richly painted reminder of cooler days to come.
I brought him home to an honored spot in my living room in front of my fireplace (which has never yet seen a fire...ah Texas) and sat back and enjoyed.
The second was spending a delicious hour alone playing hooky from the second and third hour of church with my shadow....my partner in crime.....the girl who can melt any adult resolve I have with just a bat of her big eyes and a thrust of her bottom lip.
When mom is gone I am suppose to take up the role of enforcer.
Which when it comes to safety issues I always do...
But everything else is fair game.
She touches fragile things and opens drawers and begs for delicate objects to be put in her chubby little hands.
And I acquiesce.
"Shhh", just don't tell your mom.
I am at her side at all times as she explores the places in my home that are usually off limits when her mom and I are talking.
It is our little secret.
She made a direct bee line for the newest addition.
She patted the pumpkin and said, "Ball"
"Yes, ball" I said and prided myself for letting her touch my new prized possession.
She went to pick out the heavy piece of pottery by the tiny painted stem as I dashed over to stop her.
"No No No Katie Bug", I said, "we just pat it...we don't pickup Grandma's new pumpkin."
She smiled and patted it gently.
I stood up from the floor to sit down on a chair and she waited until I was seated before she gave her trademark smile as mischievous as the breakable jack o lanterns.
I jumped back up again and gently pried her fingers off of the stem.
No No No, I said again.
On her third attempt there must have been a little more urgency in my voice because with a solemn face replacing the mischievous grin, she patted the pumpkin softly and said in a serious tone.
"A-ma's ball"
And didn't touch it again.
This child is a genius.



 A-mah and Kate shared a popsicle at bath time until Kate decided that two popsicles were better than one and grabbed it from my hand and double fisted it.

 Looking for a little trouble.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Girl In The Poncho

I don't remember having this picture being taken, but I do remember the poncho. It was an orange plaid with an orange tassel trim. It was the perfect.... albeit ugly garment for this period of my life. But fitting.  It was the beginning of the end in some ways and the
beginning of forever.
I believe the year to be 1971 and I am 10 almost 11 years old.
My unkempt hair and the perennial one knee sock halfway down lets you know that I probably didn't look in the mirror much.  I didn't really feel the need. I actually liked who I was. The bulging poncho not yet a problem but soon to be one.
Puberty was setting in and it would not be pretty.
My once thin and limber body was now thick and more sedentary.
My mom was an expert dieter and on the Weight Watcher bandwagon at the time. I saw the horrible frozen cod fish fillets she steamed 5 times a week,
and the chicken liver she tried to gag down once a week.
The smell of that liver and the sugar free Trident spearmint gum still take me back to those days.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that with each pound she lost she was happier and lighter both literally and figuratively (no pun intended)
But I also watched my rail thin older brother. 16. Able to pile his plate so high with beautiful fluffy mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy and consume them before I had even gotten started.
I can smell that in my memory as well.
Two divergent paths.
One much simpler than the other.
And so began the journey that to this day I am still trying to hack through the weeds and debris to see my path clearly.
My daughter, my first born, my Jeopardy champion, British loving, amazing girl is chronicling her similar journey and I could not be prouder.
I think that people believe that the best moments with their children come with society based achievements and awards, bumper sticker moments of honor rolls and most points scored.
For me, I have decided that the real pay off as a mother is watching them overcome their own struggles alongside me while I work on my own.
Side by side.
Sisters of the Ponchos.
Check out her blog here....
http://betterbellybust.blogspot.com/2013/05/saturday-stats-its-just-number-right.html

Love you moonbeam!

Monday, June 10, 2013

All you need is LOVE!



This is a picture of my parents on their wedding day.
They have been married for 59 years.
And today is their anniversary.
Most people never get to celebrate such a milestone.
Either because of poor heath or poor relationships.
It is not an easy road, marriage, even in the best of circumstances.
But through good times and through the bad I always knew one thing for certain.
My parents loved each other.
Not perfectly but completely.
It's hard to imagine a world without that.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.
Cuddle on!




Friday, June 7, 2013

To Drink or Not to Drink.....that is the question.

So I have a bit of a drinking problem.
Isn't that the first step to recovery?
Identifying and admitting your issues?
Problem is that I am not quite sure that I want to be cured.
So I probably will get bogged down on one of the 12 steps I would take.
I like carbonated diet drinks.
Not an actual picture of me but a representation of what some people choose to see.

I think I know it's origins.
I didn't like carbonated drinks as a child.
We rarely had access to them since my mom was on a strict budget.
But once in a while they would bring home a jug of root beer from A & W and everyone in the family would be elated.
Except for me.
It hurt my mouth and nose and stomach and I didn't really care for the taste.
So this problem didn't arise from my parents putting diet coke in my bottle or serving it at dinner as a young child.
(I hate to admit it but Diet Coke didn't even exist until I was a young adult. I can hear the guffaws from my children right now as they read this. One time I told them that there was no egg McMuffin until I was an adult and they belly laughed and snorted for a week)
But when I turned 11 or 12 my once skinny frame began to put on the pounds.
My mom who was constantly on a diet would buy Tab as a treat for herself.
This is not an actual image of what Tab looked like when I was a teenager. We didn't have the pull back tab on the lid like this picture shows. we had this....

Yea kids.....yuck it up again about how old I am but you don't know what you missed. This little object could be made into jewelry!! Rings and chains and it was FUN!

In the 70's we were not as worried about the dangers of our food and beverages.
No one told us that it would burn through our insides or give us headaches or ruin the enamel of our teeth.
Back then sugar was the demon...it not only gave you cavities but it made you FAT!
So since I was battling the battle of the bulge myself
And had a mouth full of fillings, I saw my path clearly
I was enticed by the fact that Tab only had 1 calorie.....let me say that again 1 CALORIE
Do you know how rare a thing that is??
1 Calorie
That meant that no matter what other enticing food I could not have in copious amounts...
I COULD HAVE AS MUCH TAB AS I WANTED!!
For anyone who has EVER restricted their calorie intake you know what an amazing statement that is.
And so a habit was born and formed and forged in the fires of 1 calorie
Am I addicted?
Maybe
Maybe not
My baby girl Lauren challenged me to give it up for one month.
So I did.
I did not turn into a grouchy, headachey monster. (since that seems to be my lot, drink or not)
I did not feel withdrawal symptoms.
I felt fine.
But what I did learn was that I was lazy.
SHOCKER!
Without someone to hand me my beverage filled to the top with Sonic Ice, flavored with just a hint of cranberry every day, I had a problem.
This ban meant that I had to get a cup out of the cabinet, walk over to my refrigerator door, fill my cup with ice that I did not like, then open the said refrigerator door and pull out the pitcher with the 1/2 cup left of flavored water that someone did not replenish the night before, then go to my pantry, rip open another bag of flavoring......well you get the picture.
So after 30 days I went back to Sonic with the smug satisfaction that I was NOT addicted only lazy.
What a proud proud moment.
That is until the manager of my Sonic was so RUDE that I just HAD to boycott them.
No worries I just took my business to my newly opened Murphys gas station who had flavoring and pellet ice and make friends there.
Only problem was that they did not have the right cups.
And so my search began.
For a large enough mug to get me through the day, yet with a large enough opening to fill it to the top with ice, without looking like I was carrying a construction workers playmate cooler.
I found one at the dollar store that I LOVED!
It was beautiful  crystal clear green with a sturdy green handle, and a wide enough mouth to accommodate the flow of ice but not too large to attract attention.
And it was 1 dollar! That is almost as great as 1 calorie!!
I only bought one so that I could take her out on the road and give her a test drive.
It did not disappoint.
I went back the next week to my Dollar Tree ready to purchase 5 or 6 of them.
GONE! They were all gone. And in their place was a small necked jug that sprayed ice all over the gas station. (Yes I tried it, the worker even gave me a paper cone to use but it just got jammed up in the soggy pulpy paper)
But that was okay.
I still had my lean mean green mug.
I would cherish it and keep it clean and glory in the fact that I had the perfect beverage holder.
I came home one night to this.

When Todd empties the dishwasher he puts the things he doesn't know what to do with on the counter.
This was just sitting there on the kitchen counter waiting for me.
I gasped....no I mean it....an audible gasp.
I said, "TODD WHAT HAPPENED TO MY MUG?"
To which he replied, "What? What's wrong with it. Is that not the way it is suppose to look?"
I think the least he could have done was to give it a proper burial in the trash can outside so that I didn't have to have this image embedded in my brain.




Monday, June 3, 2013

Deep Thoughts.....

I have been really spilling my guts lately.
Important, serious topics.
And anybody who really knows me knows just how serious and deep a person I really am.
So here are some of my really deep thoughts.
If you had to photograph this house for your job and you were all alone and walked up to the door and this is what greeted you, would you feel a wee bit scared?

Do soup and salad and God stories really go well together?

Would you EVER buy a house or a business on Pansy Street if you were a guy?

Why do you want to just reach out and kiss babies toes but can hardly stand to glance at adult feet?

When did we progress as a society from the stick figures to represent the number of people in our family to including their hobbies and how many accidents happen while people are following them and trying to figure out just what is in the fathers hand?

Why are clowns freaky in any format and at any age?

Why does Dad look like a nerd and Mom look like she's 16 and what is wrong with the boy on the end....weight problem?

What DO newborns really think and dream about?

These are just some of my deepest thoughts.
Thanks for listening.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On this day 21 years ago I cried. Part TWO.

Another milestone for me...
I mean my daughter Lauren.
But also for me.
To continue the story....
I had not prepared for natural labor.
For me the most natural of all labor would be pain free.
On whatever they felt necessary.
That would be the most "natural" state that I would choose.
If you ask me pain is the most unnatural thing I know.
I always asked the OB if it was possible for the anesthesiologist to just meet us out in the parking lot.
Thus saving EVERYONE time and hassle.
Anyway, because she was born 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital
(and a 20 minute drive to the medical center that is fondly recalled as "Mr. Todds Wild Ride")
there was no time for anything other than catch the baby.
The last few minutes I begged for something that would dull the pain.
The doctor gave me a shot of something through my IV and now it was........
WORSE!
I was still in pain AND I felt loopy and out of control.
I heard or thought I heard the doctor remark to Todd,
"She's not much of a drinker is she?"
And then Lauren was born.
They layed her on my chest and I saw this chubby cheeked beauty with full pouty lips and a head of beautiful dark brown hair.
Problem was that my arms were now like two rubber bands.
I tried to wrap them around my new little squirmer but it was if they no longer obeyed my brains commands.
I was relieved when the nurse took her from me.
And disappointed that I did not have the tearful moment that I had with the other two at the instant of their birth.
I felt cheated by the stupid shot given me literally one minute before she was born.
Maybe I had used up all of my tears the day before.
Maybe there is only a finite number before your body refuses to yield any more precious bodily fluids.
They wheeled her away from me to the nursery while I was being attended to.
Then they took me away to my room in the towers.
Finally after what seemed like hours they brought her into my room and placed her in my arms.
Swaddled in her pink and blue blanket and her hair washed fluffed and combed into a little ridge atop her head like a little dinosaur.
Todd tired from his night of being a knight in shining armor asleep in the uncomfortable chair beside us...
My other two children being well cared for by their Grammy at home.
A huge storm complete with horrible lightening and thunder roared outside as the rain beat against the window.
Everyone I loved was safe.
And the tears flowed.

Lauren my sunshine. You have been a light and a joy to our family. No one loves fiercer and more fully than you and I am honored and grateful to be your mother. You completed our family and I will always count June 2 as one of my favorite days. Happy Birthday sweetheart I love you :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

On this day 21 years ago I cried.

I use to mark time by my chronological age.
At 4 I broke three fingers by going down a spiral slide in the fun house at Lagoon.
At 5 we moved to New Jersey and celebrated my birthday in a New York City apartment waiting to move into our house.
At 8 I was baptized in a random Stake Center while our family was traveling on vacation.
We moved to Houston when I was 11 and I celebrated my 12 birthday by going to Astroworld.
And so on and so on.
Then I became a mother and my actual age became fuzzy in my mind.
I could tell you in months how old each child was
But I couldn't tell you my own age without thinking really hard.
One year I actually forgot and told one of my friends Jawan that I was a year younger than her.
She was not happy when later she found out we were actually the same age.
I now mark my life by imaging my children.
For example:
A doctor asks me if I have ever had any surgeries to which I reply
"Why yes I had my gallbladder taken out."
What year was that?
"Hmmmm...uh....awhile ago"
Like how long was awhile ago?
"Well maybe 5 or 10 years ago....maybe 15?"
(doctors disgusted look)
"Ok Ok well let me think about it. Lauren was 4. Todd had taken Jack 7 and Megan 10 to the Astros game and my mom had to come over" Sooooo it was 1996!"
A look of pride on my face while the doctor just shook his head.

So today as I was driving to the store I reminisced about just what I was doing 21 years ago this very day.
It was etched in my mind like acid on glass.
I was 9 months and 1 day pregnant.
It was my third delivery and my gynecologist had determined from the moment I walked in that I had gestational diabetes.
She needed no tests to confirm it. (athough there would be a plethora of tests at the end)
She just saw that I was overweight.
And she was thin.
So BOOM
Diagnosis....
Diabetes.
I explained to her that my body actually performed miracles when I was pregnant.
That is was a cosmic joke that when I was pregnant....
I lost weight.
My skin cleared up.
My energy level increased
and given enough time I could have probably brought about world peace.
I always told people that if I could mentally and emotionally deal with a dozen or more children that I would choose to be pregnant forever.
(to all of the people for whom pregnancy is a b word...I profusely apologize for my actions)
After she diagnosed me she let me change from the paper thin tiny gown to my clothes.
As I walked out she sat talking to the nurses eating a bag of Fritos.
During the last three months of the pregnancy she had me take monthly glucose tests and weekly stress tests.
My only REAL stress was her.
The only bright silvery lining to this thundercloud was that I was considered "a higher risk pregnancy"
Why would that ever be good?
Well I had had two other pregnancies.
Megan 43 weeks and
Jack induced at 42 weeks.
This was my ticket to be induced at 40 weeks whether the baby was determining whether to take up permanent residence in my uterus or not.
June 1, 1992
The day my sweet little girl would be born.
I counted down the days.
They told me to call at 6 am to St. Lukes that morning to make sure that all was ready.
I knew that I had them by the diabetes and would not take no for an answer.
The nurse then said,
"I'm sorry you can't come in today. We are so busy that we are not doing inductions.....(and then a pause) unless they are high risk pregnancies.
BINGO
A smile spread across my face as I said,
"Oh but I am....I have gestational diabetes." I said while trying to stifle the excitement in my voice.
Let me look at your chart.
To which the nurse smugly said,
You are not diabetic. Your glucose levels are fine. Maybe in the higher normal range but definitely no risk at all."
And that is when the crying began.
I cried all day.
I had never cried more in my life.
And as I rested my head down that night knowing that this baby would NEVER come out, I cried some more.
Then as if she could no longer tolerate staying inside of such a big baby, in the middle of the night at 2:41
Lauren Winn
made her debut into the world after a record 40 minute labor.
Thankfully my OB was not on call that night to deliver her.
She would not have been happy when my foot slipped and kicked her right in her Frito loving face.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Ready for a Sea Shanty?


You know how you get that song stuck in your head?
And you really don't want your brain to sing it anymore?
You begin to wonder if this really might be the most effective way to torture an enemy?
As in, "please please we will surrender if you just stop playing Justin Beiber."
Two Halloweens ago I visited my daughter and son in law.
There was this AMAZING house that I blogged about.
If you want to take a peek then go here:
.http://themomshell.blogspot.com/2012/09/halloweenseriously.html
Anywho the long and the short of it is they played this music the entire month of October every night blaring from strategically placed speakers around their now pirate filled lawn.
Being somewhat of a connoisseur of Halloween I didn't mind that they had the Halloween spirit...
WE HAVE SPIRIT YES WE DO>>>WE HAVE SPIRIT>>>HOW BOUT YOU!
But I went home to Texas with the above pictured song running through my brain like a band of rogue mateys.
It took me quite a while and a trip to a 12 step program to get rid of the monotonous ditty.
AND THEN THIS HAPPENS:
 I cannot watch her walk without thinking about a drunken sailor.
And she seems to have enough belly there
Although I would NEVER use a rusty razor.
And so my friends I fall victim to the sea shanty again.
I only hope that I have passed a little bit o' the sea to you today.
Misery LOVES company.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby Steps

My little grand baby is learning to walk.
But I guess that really that is not completely accurate.
The learning part started awhile back with her watching. and waiting. for her bones and muscles to grow.
Observing other people walking.
Then slowly pulling herself up with her disproportionate little arms on unsteady chubby little legs.
Surfing around the furniture, not sure when to let go.
And then as if a miracle lunging forward a step only to fall down again.
and again
and again.
And now today, as if she is tired of waiting for her gawky little body to get it's act together, she is lunging forward,
stomach pushed out,
legs straining to keep up with her torso.
At a quickened pace as if to suggest to her little frame,
"I will walk and you better get used to it."
She tucks her upper lip in with steely determination.
And I can't help but laugh out loud.
She resembles more a monkey than a human
with her unsteady gait and her wobbily legs.
And the sound that her little hands make when they slap the tile floor in my kitchen makes me stop my laughing and wonder how much it hurts each time she fails and falls.
Only to laugh again as she picks herself up and starts all over again.

My grand daughter is teaching me.
I am trying to learn how to walk too.
Trying to pull myself up in a new chapter of my life.
Holding on to the furniture around me with a death grip.
But I am not as fearless as she.
I worry too much about the pain of the tile beneath me and the laughter of those watching.
I second guess my ability to take a few steps....
Never imagining that I could someday run.

When I said that I always wanted to be a mother.
What I failed to mention is that I had confidence in my ability to do so.
When I was a teacher I always knew that I was equal to the task.
Every summer job I ever had I knew that if I worked hard enough I would be successful.

Now that I am testing uncharted waters with starting my own businesses
I find myself standing on wobbily legs.
Not wishing to find out what it feels like to hit the ground.

So I want to thank you Kate.
For being braver than your Grammy.
For letting me be inspired by watching you.
Grammy is going to join your unsteady pitter patter parade.
And just keep getting up, tucking in my upper lip and trying again.




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm a Multi Meal.


I always knew who I would be when I grew up.
Apart from the occasional daydream of being famous like one of the cast of the Brady Bunch or a stewardess, there were few distractions to my plan.
No one ever told me who to be or what to do with my life.
My expectations were not low.
My self esteem was fairly high considering I hit puberty and became a chunky girl with coke bottle bottom glasses.
My parents always applauded my intelligence and gave me every opportunity to be what I wanted to be.
As far as society's views, I was happily ignorant to the what was going on around me, often times not even stopping to understand any current events.
I was an avid reader consuming 4 or 5 books a week, sometimes staying up until 2 or 3 am to finish a book. Although some of the books were the domestic Little House on the Prairie, there was also Nancy Drew, Girl Detective and a smattering of grown up books from my parents book shelves far beyond what the other kids my age were reading. Catch 22, Helter Skelter, I Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and The Good Earth and anything Stephen King was scribbling down on paper.
My parents did not pressure me or try to influence me.
My religion (what little I absorbed in my attention distracted mind) did not make me feel pressured.
I knew who I was.
I knew who I was to become.
I wanted to be a mother.

I know....many women want to be a mother. Heck, every single person who has lived or lives on this planet has a mother in one form or another.

Hard to explain but I feel it was different for me. I didn't just want to have a family and hold the title of mother as I pursued my life.
I wanted motherhood to be my life.

Even as I type this I know there are people who are shaking their heads or clicking their tongues either wondering why I would think that is special in any way, or on the contrary, why I would not want more.
I am not scared of judgement.
When I held my firstborn in my arms I knew the road that I was on was the right one.
Lest you think that I am a sappy mother with rose colored glasses let me say that the first few years of motherhood were.......
well in a word.
hell.
I did not expect the position or job description of motherhood to feel like a heavy yoke upon my neck.
But it was.
I did not spend my days giddy with happiness at the opportunities that lay before me.
Often times I cried because I knew there was no turning back. This was to be my life.
This was who and what I was.

Time and practice gave me new perspective.
More babies let me know that I was not responsible for every action of my children but also not responsible for every achievement.
What I will say is that now that my youngest is turning 21, the legal age of an adult.....
is I gave it everything that I had.
I left it all on the field of motherhood.
For better and for worse...
I was all in.

I would like to be able to say now,
"And she basked in retirement and the glory of her now raised children,  and lived happily ever after."

I cannot.
I am still...all in.
And I don't see that ending just because they are not physically and emotionally clinging to me.
I am a mother.

But I now face the reality and societal pressure of what else am I.
And that is the question de jour.
Teacher?
Photographer?
Jewelry Stylist?

I am trying to weave through the minefield of discovery and have my good days and my bad.
Lately I mostly feel  like a multi meal.
Never heard of a multi meal you say?
So here I am with my mother main course and my photographer/jewelry sides I am trying to squish it all together to produce the finest multi meal I can.
Pray for me.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Scent of a Baby...

Being a grandma has been BTE+
That is a rating system my husband's work used years ago to rate how employees were performing.
Here it is in a nutshell;
LTE - Less than expected
E - Expected
BTE - Better than expected....
And then the plus sign and minus signs gave an even more accurate descriptive power.
The lowest being LTE- and the highest BTE+
As I stated earlier.....Katelyn + grand mothering = BTE+
(There might even have to be a new category: BTE++)
Some of the things I already knew I would enjoy.
Her soft skin, her first smiles, her little sleeping positions, her laughter.
I expected those.
I forgot though the smell.
Babies smell better than anything.
Even better than "new car" smell or "clean house"
Particularly after a bath. This is Katelyn's very first bad just hours after her birth.
She loved it.

I think that the scent should be bottled....
WAIT....STOP THE PRESSES!!!
IT HAS!
That's right folks baby cologne.
Now you too can have that baby magic scent in your world without even having a baby.
Now I've seen everything.
Showed it twice on purpose.
It is one of my favorite pictures EVER!
Now go and freshen up with some cologne.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Public Service Announcement Numero Dos

I have warned you about swallowing watch batteries.
I have warned you about healthy eating.
Now comes another very important warning.
Jalapenos are hot!
And even more importantly they should not be used as a lip balm or lip stick.
Please people don't just shrug this off and say. "Duh Shelley"
Let me be the voice of warning.
A couple of weeks ago I was preparing my colorful black bean salsa for my family.
Yes, as part of my "healthy lifestyle" changes. (ironical voice)
I usually put in:
Black beans
Corn
Celery
Green Onions
Cilantro
Sea Salt
Lime Juice
and that is it. I am not a fan of spicy foods.
Here is my policy:
Eating and Pain should not be combined.
It is a fairly simple rule that has served me well in my life as well as protected my taste buds from destruction. My husband Todd has no taste buds left since he thinks the hotter the better.
(Which all in all is good for a wife since he always thinks my cooking is sooooo good)
He has passed down his love of spicy foods to our children.
Particularly the love of the Jalapeno.
One of his favorite treats is Jalapeno Kettle Chips. Every time he would treat himself to a bag the kids would clamor around him. He loved watching their little faces the first time they would try one. But since they were young and didn't know any better....they liked them.
I on the other hand do NOT....not only do I not like the spiciness, I do NOT like the flavor or the smell.
A bag of Jalapeno chips pretty much assured Todd of no close contact with me for awhile.
Well I guess last week I was trying to show off a little.
I wanted Todd and Megan and Dave to be a part of my "healthy lifestyle" changes too.
(Once again not out of love but out of a perverse need for others to be as miserable as I)
So I said, Get some jalapenos and we will put them in the salsa.
I mean I am a tough girl. I could handle it.
And I was not about to eat healthy by myself.
I was careful to cut them and take out the seeds and the spines which I know are the hottest part.
The millions of hours of Food Network had taught me something.
But I eschewed their advice on rubber gloves.
Really people!
It's not brain surgery.
I diced the first pepper into bits and wondered how many jalapenos I should include.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the jalapeno.....some are mild and some are CALIENTE and the only way to know is to taste.
I asked Megan who loves spice to try one and tell me how hot they were.
"No way" she smartly said.
Well once again I am a tough girl and so to show just how tough I was I said,
"Fine then! I will"
Those fateful words were the last I uttered pain free that night.
As soon as the tiny piece hit my tongue I knew what a mistake I had made.
Can you say MUY CALIENTE!!!!!!
I quickly took it out of my mouth and ran to the sink where I went gasping for water.
I wasn't thinking straight since I know you are suppose to drink milk or eat a cracker but pain has a way of altering your knowledge.
I gulped water straight out of my hands like a dying man.
And then I swiped them across my lips......
BIG MISTAKE!
The pain on my tongue was child's play compared to the burning of my lips and the skin that surrounded them. For as any true Texan cook knows...the oil of the Jalapeno on your hands is far worse than the taste in your mouth.
Now here is where my words fail me.
I cannot describe the pain to you other than to say....
You know when you  touch something in the oven and it burns?
Think about just keeping your finger there while it is searing and not drawing back.
Intense.....
I took the lid off of my Route 44 and stuck my whole face in it. That was the only relief I could find.
I was pretending that it didn't hurt that much.
(You know...tough girl)
But I guess my whole face stuck in a Diet Coke was a dead give away.
Megan and Dave started telling me remedies that they knew.
"Eat bread"
"Drink milk"
I did.
I went from item to item trying to stave off the pain.
Dave, ever the helpful action hero, looked on the internet and said....Rub a dairy product on the burn.
I grabbed the first thing I saw.
Cottage cheese....I smeared it on my lips and around them. I looked like a white version of Bette Davis in "Whatever happened to Baby Jane"
Then I tried Greek Yogurt. Smearing it everywhere the skin was searing hot.
I now approached a look of a reverse made up clown.
"Try Apple Cider Vinegar"
I did.
The memory of the stinging will always haunt me.
Dave reads a site on the internet that says that sometimes people end up in the ER and have blistering and pain for days.
He looks at me with yogurt  cheese and vinegar spread all over my mouth and says, "I think we should go to the ER."
Ummmmm....pain or vanity?
Tough choice.
This is too humiliating to go to the ER I tell him. So he took matters into his own hands and went to Walgreens where he bought what the pharmacist said would work.
Lidocaine!
I applied it over the layers of home remedies and finally began to feel relief.
Ah blessed numbness.

The upside of all of this?
Angelina Jolie lips for about 6 hours.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Public Service Announcement.

Look how bright and colorful.
You know that you eat with your eyes before it ever hits your palate.
This is a meal to delight all of the senses.
Well except for one that is.
It smells good.
It looks good.
It sounds good. (crunch crunch)
It even feels good.
So hmmmm I wonder what sense I have left out?
This on the other hand is NOT very colorful.
It is mostly browns and beige.
It does not feel good to your hand. It is very sticky.
The smell is not as strong.
It does not make a snapping sound in your mouth.
It really only appeals to one of the senses......
TASTE!
This message has been brought to you by someone very grouchy and bitter about her "healthy lifestyle" changes.
She would like you to join her.
Not because she is worried about your health.
But because misery LOVES company.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Extra Energy for Kate

Life is dangerous.
There is always something you can worry about, try to avoid or try to prepare for.
My Megan is a Class A Number 1 worrier.
(I have NO idea where she gets it from)
I tell her all the time that usually the things we worry about most never happen.....
And the things we hadn't even thought of...well do happen.
Megan has been worried about Katelyn choking since.....
Well since her first breath I guess.
Every time Kate clears her throat I see Megan spring in to the Heimlich Maneuver position.
When Kate started eating food Megan cut everything up into minute pieces.
Which was fine until Kate decided that she wanted to feed herself.
The pieces were so tiny that she would have needed a microscope.
And that's a mean thing to do to a little person who is just figuring out how to use her thumb and forefinger.
I did not share that same fear.
I was a battle hardened mother of three.
One of my children who shall remain nameless, would stuff HIS mouth so full that it would set off his gag reflexes immediately and there would be sounds coming from his mouth that no mother should have to hear.
HE could eat a banana in three bites.
Our pediatrician said that I should cut everything up into tiny pieces so that he would not choke.
I did.
HE just waited until my back was turned and then HE would just scoop them all up into a pile and shove them into HIS mouth.
I would know this because of the awful gagging noises.
I hate to say this but I got use to the sound.
So much so that when we would go out to eat, I would forget that it was unusual and would always be surprised at the terrified look on the other patrons faces. I would just give them a wave so that they knew everything was okay and to go back to eating their normal sized pieces of food.
(By the way HE who shall remain nameless still eats like that minus the noise)
So Kate's little coughs never scared me one bit.

Last Sunday I was sitting on the floor during Relief Society (women's organization) meeting at church.
Kate is so wiggly that it is just easier to join her on the floor than try to hold her on my lap.
She likes to sit close, which of course is no problem for this Grandma.
She was sitting against me with her back to me playing with toys from my purse.
Her mother was sitting facing her on the piano bench listening to the teacher.
I was concentrating on trying to name every sister in the room.
I game I like to play which I picked up as RSP.
I was stuck on one sister in particular.
I knew her but I could NOT remember her name!
I hate when that happens and so I concentrated even harder trying to block out all distractions.
All of a sudden I felt a rush of adrenaline and panic.
"Check Katelyn's mouth"
The message was quick and clear.
I stuck my finger in and swept over her slippery little tongue and pulled out....
A watch battery
For a second I just stared down at it, for sure that my eyes were playing tricks on me.
I thought, of all the things she could have swallowed that would not have alarmed me...
A penny,
old food,
A bug,
Dirt,
anything but a battery.
Where did it come from. This is not somebody's house but Church for Pete's sake. I scanned the floor and saw a second little shiny button battery.
I looked in the garbage can next to us and saw a broken key chain that had a little light where the batteries had come from.
How many batteries were in it to begin with I wondered?
I signaled for Megan to follow me out in the hallway, not wanting to alarm her but not feeling confident that there were only two.
I looked up what to do on my phone while she fiddled with the case to see if it looked like there was only two batteries to begin with.
On Google I punched in...
"baby swallows watch battery"
Thousands of articles came up, but the one that caught my eye first was
"Toddler dies from swallowing watch battery"
No I am not ready that one OR showing it to Megan.
I find the poison control centers advice.
Watch batteries are particularly dangerous because they do not have much protective coating on them to keep the battery acid from leaching. If it is able to pass through to the stomach then usually there is no harm, but if it gets stuck in the esophagus it can be fatal. The child should immediately be x-rayed.
Both of us studied the broken key light.
Were there two batteries or three?
After calling the pediatrician, her mother and father decided that it was not a question that we could leave up to chance.
So I watched as their little family loaded up their car for their first trip to the emergency room with a child.
I hope that it is their last....
Something tells me that with life...we never know.

P.S. Xrays showed no battery. Whew! Katelyn was perfectly fine.
P.S.S. When her Dad was waiting in the ER he told a joke that no one laughed at. I did though when they came home.
He was asked if she had any other symptoms from swallowing the battery and he said,
"No just a little extra energy"
Ba ha ha ha ha ha.
You crack me up Dave!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Crocheting Grandma...Sexy?....I think so.

I started to feel the gravitational pull towards crocheting about 5 months before this little ball of yarn entered into my life.
It started out innocently enough with a pretty ball of yarn that was on sale.
I rationalized it's purchase because I could use it to make photography props for my new career.
My beautiful friend Jenelle made all sorts of baby caps, cocoons and diaper covers. Each one was so well done and I was jealous of her ability. Until I remembered that I too knew how to crochet.
Well that is a little bit of an overstatement.
I had made hanger covers and dish cloths.
Worried that crocheting might mark me as an "old person" or even worse..."a granny", I comforted myself by rationalizing that Jenelle was one of the hippest, coolest and youngest friend I had.
That's right I thought...... crocheting is COOL!
This isn't your grandma's sport anymore....
So I embarked on the adventure of hipster crocheting, learning how to read patterns and buying trendy colors of yarn.
I even made a kitty hat for my sweet niece Miss Lisa who is ALWAYS on the cutting edge of what's hot and  edgy.
I acquired yarn by the skeinfuls not even knowing what the next project would be...only knowing that the soft ombre colors made me happy.....and cool.
Until I caught a reflection of myself one day in the mirror.
Messy  graying ponytail, old sweatshirt,  squinting through my reading glasses.....
 and I knew that I was definitely not on the cool train to Edgyville.
Darn it!
I AM a grandma!
I still haven't lost hope though. I found these pictures as I was meandering down my local Hobby Lobby's yarn aisle.











 These women obviously know how to keep that sexy edge while crocheting.
So I know there is hope.
I plan on having my hair and make-up done and I am practicing my sexy smile.
I will learn how to crochet will I smize.
So with that in mind I have picked out a few new projects to up my crocheting street cred.

and then on to sewing.
I am thinking this outfit would really give me the cool factor for any jobs I might book.
In short.
Watch out world.
I may be a grandma but,
I still got it!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Matter....

Funny story.....
I was going through my lists of posts since it has been awhile since I have blogged.
I came across a post entitled..I Matter. It was an unpublished draft.
I couldn't quite remember writing it and since I thought that it sounded interesting I opened it up.
Obviously I did not finish the post since it is literally a cliff hanger.
And now for the life of me I can't remember what it was that I wanted to say.
Isn't old age grand?
I am going to ponder it tonight while I try and sleep
(Isn't old age grand?)
And if I remember what it was that was going to convince me that I MATTER and that you do as well I will get back  to you and write
I Matter part 2.
If any one else feels inspired to finish this clearly inspired post feel free. 
It will be like the game we use to play in elementary school where someone started a story and then it went around in a circle until it's conclusion.
Meanwhile while you are waiting....please believe that I REALLY do think that you and I matter.
Honest.


Sunday, I taught Relief Society for the first time in awhile.
(Relief Society is the LDS organization for women and what a wonderful organization it is)
Thankfully the message I was to deliver is right up my alley and one I feel very passionate about lately.
It really has been on my mind the last two years as I have tried to make a "graceful" (a word not often used to describe me) transition into the next phase in my life.
I have gone from full time mother....
To part time photographer, part time Real estate courier, part time mother (if that is even possible?) and
FULL TIME SHELLLEY!!
That's right full time Shelley is back and for awhile did not know what to do with herself.
The lesson on Sunday answered that question in a beautiful way that really resonated with what I have learned (and NOT the easy way) over the last two years.
I felt so strongly about this message that I gave each woman a challenge (and candy of course...duh)
Was to post within daily site and repeat every day these two words.
I MATTER!
I also asked them to share it with at least one more person because the message needs to be said and felt more than ever in our world.
And so you are the person I want to share it with.
I wish I could sit down with you and share a Route 44 Diet Coke with Cranberry and extra ice....
(and by share I mean you get your drink and I get mine....I don't share my drink with anyone)
and tell you this face to face.
This will have to do.
We spend a LOT of time as human beings on measuring.
We measure our time by seconds, minutes, hours, days and years
We measure our food by meals and standards like small, medium and large and the all important Route 44.
We measure our education by degrees and standardized tests.
We measure our height and weight by the numbers and then classify ourselves into categories of short, thin, fat, average.
We measure our children by the milestones they reach, the grades that they make and the awards they receive.
It's not that measuring is a bad thing
But it can get in our own way.