Thankful Thursday: Valentine’s Day Edition

There is so much about love that is misunderstood. So many aspects of love. A multitude of ways to show love and even more ways to feel it. For someone like me, who has trouble regulating a normal emotional system for long periods of time and can’t always understand the emotions behind people’s actions, love is a strange concept.

I love my kids.

I love my husband.

But I don’t feel love for myself.

I don’t feel love for my extended family.

I say the words “I love you”, but that doesn’t mean that I’m feeling it. It means, I feel it is expected, so I say it. This generally occurs when someone says it first and I’m programmed to say it in response so as to avoid hurt feelings.

But love in general is a good thing. It heels deeply broken hearts and creates the most warm and fuzzy feelings inside. When we know we are loved, when we feel it in our deepest core, is there any better feeling? Well, since Valentine’s Day is on Thursday this year, I would like to share with you the moment of my day when I felt the most loved.

Obviously, with my husband in Afghanistan, the romantic dinner and night out without the kids wasn’t on the menu for us this year (or last year since he was at Fort Knox for some training or equipment pickup or something:Army 2, Me 0). I really wasn’t expecting him to call. We’ve had issues with communication in regard to phone calls in the past and this resulted in his not calling home on Thanksgiving or on Christmas, so when the phone rang with that random six-digit phone number, I was surprised and thrilled that he called home on Valentine’s Day.

Once the initial shock wore off, he told me “Take the day off” (To which I’m thinking, “Ummm… Okay, but you aren’t gonna know if I sit on my ass all day or not, so, ummm, thanks?” And by this point, I had already rearranged the dining room twice trying to figure out where the table could go during my daughter’s birthday party next weekend.). He continued, “Don’t even worry about the kitchen (how did he know I hadn’t done dishes in three days?), dinner is on me.”

This is the point in the conversation where my brain seriously went blank and the processor in the thought formation center of my brain slowed to a grinding halt. I was totally confused, but in the same moment, I knew what he had done. It’s a very odd feeling to describe, but it was accompanied by a huge grin and some tears. He told me, “Dinner would be delivered around five.”

(Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? Other girls got flowers, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who got dinner.)

We spoke on the phone for 16 minutes before hanging up and moving to Skype, so that he could watch me open the gift he ordered me from Pajama Gram.

Side Note: Dear Pajama Gram,
Stop putting your name on the side of the box,
it totally ruins the surprise.
Sincerely, R. Noba

Anyway, my husband had ordered me two sets of Raspberry/Leopard print pajamas (one for warm nights, one for colder weather). And no, they don’t look like that on me. I’d venture to say the model in the picture is at least six inches taller than me (or at least she appears to be).

I’ve still got one more coming, but it seems mailing things from Afghanistan two weeks early isn’t enough time. This being the first time that he’s mailed something home, I can’t be too upset that it isn’t here yet. I’ve heard that letters and smaller boxes can take up to three times longer to get there from here than larger boxes, though I have no idea why that is.

So for now, I wait for more love to come in the mail.

P.S.
Dinner arrived at 4:58 and the gentleman apologized for delivering early, seems he had another five o’clock delivery.

One Cheese Pizza, One Pepperoni Pizza and One Desert Pizza! We had dinner for three days lol

One Cheese Pizza, One Pepperoni Pizza and One Desert Pizza! We had dinner for three days lol

P.P.S.
This is what I sent my husband. He said it made him feel warm and fuzzy inside… Well, no he didn’t. He compared it to the Father’s Day before Basic Training, when I made him a calendar using a small photo book, so he could mark the time while he was gone (since he would be gone at least six months, possibly longer). I used pictures that meant something to us as the images for each month, so February was pictures from our daughter’s birth, July was from our son’s birth, November from our wedding. He said this new “book” made him feel much the same way that one did. Truly loved and special. He’s read through it once already and is now taking a new “Reason” every day. He should get through it twice before he comes home from Afghanistan. So many people have given this gift idea a bad wrap, saying “guys really just want sex” but my husband felt appreciated and loved when he opened the box we sent him… And honestly, him knowing we have his back is the best gift we could have given him.

52 Reasons I love you... Though admittedly, I cheated. I added an extra "I just do" to the back of the deck... Every book has writing on the back cover, right?

52 Reasons I love you… Though admittedly, I cheated. I added an extra “I just do” to the back of the deck… Every book has writing on the back cover, right?

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Happy Thanksgiving

Little Brother: “momma, you want to make chocolate cupcakes now”
Me: No bud, I already
LB: “You already ate them all!” (eyes are really big)
M: Yes, I ate 24 cupcakes last night after you went to bed
LB: “But I wanted to eat one, two, three, four, five, six.”

So that’s how I started my Thanksgiving. Actually, it’s not, this was the first conversation I had with my kids this morning, while still in my pajamas tucked too warmly into my bed. And to avoid confusion, my son likes to start every conversation with the word ‘but’.

Little Brother: But I need to ask you a question.
Me: Okay, ask me a question
LB: We need to go three places today.
Me: Okay, what three places do we need to go today.
LB: We need to go to Sissy’s school and then the doctor and then to Auntie C’s birthday
Me: Auntie C’s birthday, huh. We bud Sissy doesn’t have school today, nobody has school today.

[Enter the Sissy in question who, hearing our conversation, runs from the room declaring]

Sissy: Let’s check the map and see where Auntie C lives. Oh NO! Auntie C is in Texas, we wont be able to decorate the Christmas tree tomorrow, maybe we could just call her.

Family is so far away today, my family is all over Florida, my husband’s scattered throughout California, with exception of his brother who is in Texas on a PCS.  The love of my life is alone in a foreign land. Traditions will be broken simply because the person who participates isn’t here to do so. My husband loves turkey sandwiches, on toast, with avocado on Black Friday. Have one for him, keep our tradition alive while he cannot.

As tradition, we don’t shop on Black Friday. We don’t even leave the house. We instead, take the time to decorate our Christmas tree, together, as a family. My husband’s ornaments are delayed in the mail and he wont be able to participate in this one either I’m afraid. But he has the movie White Christmas with him, and that is always something we watch on Thanksgiving night. A tradition started long before we were married within his family and carried into our own.

The holidays are coming, let’s not lose sight of the important things. With the economy getting tougher on a lot of families, it’s easy to feel disheartened that the amount of presents under your tree is less than in years past. It’s easy to feel upset that the doll your daughter wants, you just can’t afford to get her. The toys, the noise, the wrappings all pass.

Don’t focus on the presents, focus on the presence. Be grateful that you have each other. Today, I am most thankful for a husband who serves selflessly for his country and for friends who are taking my kids and I in today, so that we don’t have to eat macaroni and cheese alone.

Family Fitness, Pt 1

I want to start this blog by saying, I am in NO way as “fit” as I would like to be. I am a working in progress on the get healthy boat.
BUT, I am also a stay-at-home mom to two very physically active children with special needs. My son has speech issues and my daughter is autistic. I, myself, have Aspergers. I know how hard it is to stay fit while chasing children and you don’t always feel like working out and certainly, I don’t have time for a gym membership, or the money for that matter and I’m sure as a busy parent, you don’t either.

Being busy doesn’t have to mean lazy though. As always, you should consult your doctor before starting any strenuous exercise or diet program. Making sure you start healthy is the best way to determine your future health and if there is anything you should stay away from in terms of impact aerobics. That being said, there are plenty of simple ways to increase your calorie burning effectiveness without going to the gym or really making huge life changes all at once and most parents can do this stuff easily!

The first thing I started to do when I decided to use my current deployment to get my family healthy was to stop buying junk food. If I want my kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, to drink juice and water instead of kool-aid, then I need to realize I am in control of the shopping list. I am the one buying the groceries. If the junk food isn’t in the house, we can’t eat junk. My kids already love fruits and vegetables (some fruits and vegetables), but they want to eat them more often and will choose them over cookies and junk if they see ME eating them more often. I went to the commissary last Friday (today is Thursday). I spent $112, mostly on produce and dairy! I did buy one package of Halloween Oreo’s for the kids to have as desert a few nights a week. By the way, a serving size of Oreo cookies is TWO COOKIES! Get a paper towel, eat your two cookies and leave the rest of them in the kitchen. I recently read a blog about junk food and she wrote that just 3 extra cookies a day can lead to 100 extra pounds over eight years! That may seem like forever, but look at all you’ve done in the past 8 years, would you have been able to do that weighing 100lbs more? What would you be doing today if over the past 8 years you have gained 100lbs? That’s three times the average weight of a three year old! Could you imagine living life while carrying around three preschoolers?

YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR GROCERY LIST!

Stop making excuses and start making a list. To be precise, and a bit of a smart ass, I actually inventoried and emailed my husband a list (and photos) of everything I bought at the commissary last week:
Fresh Mushrooms
Blueberries
3 Avocados
2, 3lb bags of apples (one green, one red)
8 bananas
2 cucumbers
2lb of carrots
1 bag black grapes
1 bag green grapes
1 bag of spinach
honey ham lunch meat
2 gallons of milk
6 bottles of V8 juice
2 containers of yogurt
2 loaves of bread
Club crackers
Kix cereal
Cheerios cereal
Pretzels (for Sissy’s lunch)
2 large cans of tuna
great big box of goldfish colors
craisins trail mix (to put in oatmeal :D)
Trail Mix bars
– cranberry and pomegranate
– fruit and nut
muffin mix:
– 2 blueberry
– 2 Apple cinnamon
– 2 banana nut
– wildberry
– strawberry cheesecake
– chocolate chip
Halloween Oreo’s
100ct Ziploc sandwich bags
20ct dish washer tablets
A cream soda…

Last weeks trip to the Commissary!

And to be honest, the cream soda sucked! I had a coke the other day for the first time in three weeks and got sick to my stomach. It was so disgusting. Stop buying things that make you sick. Stop buying things that will make your children sick. Be the grown-up!

You might be thinking, “but my kids really like (insert random junk food here)” or “My kids wont eat vegetables when I serve them.” Mine didn’t either. In the past week, alone, my daughter has tried oatmeal AND created her own (dry) spinach leaf and shaved carrot salad! This is a child that took six months of one on one work before she would eat macaroni and cheese! If she’s eating the fruits and vegetables, you’re kids will too. Not all kids like the same things. Did you notice my list includes two types of apples AND two types of grapes? My daughter wont eat green apples, my son wont eat red ones. They are both eating apples though. My son will eat any color grape, but my daughter only eats green ones. They are, again, both eating grapes! Make it work for your family, have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand and your kids will eat them. Use dipping sauces if that keeps your kids entertained. My kids don’t particularly like them, but do what works for your family. And don’t worry about Organic. It’s more expensive, but doesn’t have any proven benefits over “regular” produce. If it’s pesticides and chemicals on the food your worried about, WASH THEM! For heaven’s sake, you’re supposed to rinse and scrub your veggies before you eat them anyway!
The key to family fitness and health starts with YOU!
You are the parent!
You are the grown-up!
You are the example your kids will turn to for this kind of stuff. Be the right kind of example. Your kids will thank you later in life. When they are in their 60s and have few risk factors for high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, they may not actively say “Thanks ma, for making me eat spinach when I was three.”, but getting the chance to live a full and healthy life well into their golden years will speak volumes for future generations!
Think about that one! Making your kids healthy eaters now, will help shape the health of your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Next Time:
Using your children and their never ending mess to your beef your workout.

30 Day Drawing Challenge, Day 10

Day 10: Favorite Candy

This is the day that had me thumping my head against a wall on Day 3.

Candy?

Food?

Aren’t they the same thing?

Not according to the maker of this list (who is that by the way?).

Anyway, candy.

Yes, candy.

I love candy! All kinds of candy, mostly dark chocolate, but all candy.

One of my favorite candies is Candy Corn.

The right way!
via Wikipedia

Yes, I’m one of those people who keep this seasonal treat on the shelves each Halloween. I love it! I can’t get enough of it! I buy no less than 3lbs of it every year. I really can’t explain why I love it so much, but I do. And it’s not just the “corn”, but the little pumpkins too! I love the candy itself, not the shape of the items.

Although, I must add a disclaimer here: I do not like the corn that is not the traditional colors.

Wait? What?!?!
via Groovy Candies

It seems better fitted to be vampire fangs than Cupid’s “love candy”
via Bulk Candy Store

No. Just, no.
via The Happy Whisk

This is just wrong!
via TLC

Sorry. I just don’t.

White, Orange, Yellow! That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

That said, I did not draw my candy corn in any respectable colors. It’s really hard to find a yellow Sharpie pen considering they don’t make one.

She’s just as cute as the Day3 Cupcake, but don’t let her fool you. She’s as ornery as they come.

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: Favorite Food

This one was a pain in my a**. For real! I had finally decided on a food. Drawn it, was ready to post it and noticed Day 10… Day 10 is a drawing of your favorite candy. Well, doesn’t that blow chunks!? In a vain attempt to get around drawing actual food, I drew candy… So now my drawing for Day 3 becomes my drawing for Day 10 and I’m stuck with nada for favorite foods…

Have no fear! After much time on Google and looking at the blogs of several other people who are completing this challenge, I was able to come up with a favorite food.

Bon appetit!

Ain’t she cute!?! Just the sweetest little cupcake in the whole wide world!

Behold the Power of Breakfast

Okay, so I don’t usually write about food (cake isn’t really food, is it?) but I think we can all agree that breakfast tends to get skipped more often than any other meal of the day. Some people call it the “Most Important Meal of the Day”. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I do know that some breakfasts can be made much faster than others.

Recently, I have discovered the joy behind making smoothies. Green smoothies to be exact. They are quick, simple, filling, and delicious (if you find a recipe you really like).

So, this morning after I took Sissy to school, I decided to use our last banana to make a smoothie. This banana was going to used for bread or smoothie and it was already too warm to want to bake. Plus I haven’t been feeling well and don’t want to get everyone sick (again) should they eat my baked banana germs.

For me, these smoothies are a great way to get nutrients that I know I’m missing out on. It takes less than five minutes to make and can be done while making lunch for a lunchbox or while pouring cereal for the kiddos.

Image
Ingredients:

One banana (mine was over ripe)
3/4 cup yogurt (I used what was left of my Strawberry and Honey Greek Yogurt)
1/2-1 cup of spinach (I just threw in a handful or two)
1/2 an orange, peeled and unseeded
(Can you tell I’m not big on measuring when I just want my smoothie?)

1. I put the spinach, orange, banana and yogurt in the blender (in that order, putting heavier items on top of the lighter spinach allows the spinach to stay closer to the blades and tends to blend better). Turn blender on. My blender has a setting for smoothies, so I don’t know what setting other than that. You can pretty much turn on the blender and walk away until it’s smooth.

2. Shake the blender a bit, while on, if anything gets stuck to the sides of it. OR you could turn off the blender and scoop it down to the bottom. Make sure it’s smooth. My orange got failed to blend entirely resulting in a single mass of orange near the bottom, but wasn’t too bad.

Garnish with a spinach leaf (if desired, could also use orange slices to bring in a bit more color) and serve. I served my Green Breakfast Smoothie in a wine glass… My husband is about to deploy, I think I deserve a wine glass in the morning 😉