A Recap

Dave had labs this morning.  All his counts are good.  Next step is the CT scan in a couple weeks and the subsequent results at the end of January.

And now...a recap of the last week :)

Christmas is over.  PHEW!  I feel like it was a marathon or something to get through it!

That was by far the busiest 4 days there has ever been!  I managed to get everything I needed to get done in terms of cooking (aside from the previously mentioned skipped sugar cookies).  Aria and I did not get her presents made...those will have to wait until later.  I was on my feet all day on Christmas Eve getting the cooking and cleaning done, followed by setting out the food and making sure everything was running smoothly.  Wow...there was a TON of food!  Dad wasn't able to come Christmas Eve because he was still in too much pain from his surgery (y'all..look up "hammer toe surgery"....it's disgusting), but that's OK...we all understood.  Surprisingly Aria was great with the presents!  She took turns and didn't rush into anything and got excited about every gift she got, even the gift cards once I told her it was her own money.  By the time the whole family left, I was utterly exhausted and ready for bed...only to remember that I still had a long night ahead of me.  I think it was about 1130/midnight by the time everyone left.

All of that food that I had put out needed to be put away (where the hell did I find space for all of that?!), the wrapping paper needed to be bagged up and put out, the dishes needed to be loaded in the dishwasher and started, the presents opened needed to be moved to the back of the tree to make room for Santa's presents, Santa had to come and nicely lay out all the rest of the presents to be opened Christmas day, Santa had to eat his cookies (but leave some crumbs) and drink all his milk and take the carrots for the reindeer, and the nutella french toast needed to be assembled and ready for baking in the morning.  By the time I shuffled my way up the stairs and plopped into bed, it was 4 AM.  Let me tell you...I don't know how I did it when I was younger...but staying up until 4 AM is HORRIBLE.  Let me repeat that....IT'S FREAKING HORRIBLE!

Aria woke up around 730 or some other stupid time.  Lucky for me, however, she was easily appeased with her iPad and I could get some more z's.  Christmas breakfast was supposed to be served around 11/1130....it was ready at 1230.  Dad was able to come on Christmas day and got to partake in the smoked fish that my inlaws brought up with them.  After breakfast it was decided that Aria had been patient long enough and could open the rest of the presents.  She brought dad his bag of presents from the night before and said "Merry Christmas Papa"...lets all do a collective "awwwwwwww".

Breakfast...well, brunch.....OK fine, lunch....stayed out all day so by the time it was dinner time, everybody was still full!  One less meal for me to have to put out...yes!  Dave and I played a couple rousing games of Scrabble with his mom and sister before calling it a night around 1:00 in the morning.  Another late night.  Ugh!

Friday was a very relaxing day....we slept in super late, had some good family time with Dave's family, and then handed Aria off to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Amy so Dave and I could have a much-needed date night.

Saturday was a little less relaxing, but not bad.  Went out for breakfast, had "family haircut time" at Great Clips, then Rioz in Columbia for dinner.  MMM meat.  If you're in the area, go there for dinner.  It's expensive, but if you can eat lots of steak, it's well worth it!  After we got back from dinner, his family stayed at the house until around midnight.

Sunday was the first semi-relaxing day we had.  There was no family at my house, we got up whenever we wanted, stayed in our pajamas all day, ate leftovers for every meal, watched TV for every waking moment, and then finished the night with a Packer victory.

I'm exhausted.  I'm ready for a vacation (not that there is one in my near future).


Christmas Eve Eve

OK y'all...I'm seriously not feeling the Christmas spirit this week.  It was totally there last week, but it has fizzled rapidly.

I have SO much to do.  Here's a flaw of mine:  When I feel overwhelmed, I have a problem prioritizing.  When there's so much to do, I don't know where to start...I can't seem to figure out what's more important and what needs to be done right away.  So I have a seat to ponder and come up with a plan.  Well wouldn't you know it, 6 hours later I'm still sitting and I still don't know where to start...and then it's time for bed and the whole day has gone and I got nothing done.  That's what happened to me this weekend.

Now it's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm wishing that I had just taken this entire week off.  Though it's possible that I still wouldn't have gotten anything done for fear of choosing the wrong task to start with.

I didn't make the Christmas cookies that I make EVERY year.  They're an all day affair and I'm officially out of time.

I still have to pick up some grocery items that I forgot to get on Sunday when I went shopping (the shopping that I should have done on Saturday).

I need to make the double batch of Oreo truffles that I should have made on Sunday.

I need to make the chex mix that I should have made yesterday.

I need to finish wrapping the presents that should have been done on Sunday.

I need to have Aria make her Christmas presents that will take several hours that I should have started yesterday.

Dave wants to go out to eat for dinner tonight and then go shopping for the rest of everything I need, so we won't be home until after 7.

I have to go out tomorrow morning and buy bagels and pick up the Honey Baked Ham order because I left my HBH gift card at home today.

I have to finish cleaning the house...vacuum the living room, wipe the kitchen table, clean out that stupid stock pot that's still sitting in my sink, wipe the kitchen counters, clean the stove top.

All the groceries that aren't perishable are still sitting in their bags on the kitchen counters because, hey, why bother putting them away when I'm just going to need them in a day or so anyway.

Tomorrow I have to make the pigs in a blanket, the baked ziti, the meatballs, the kale and artichoke dip, the strawberry and banana salad.

Then it's family time and presents....finally...something fun!

After presents, I have to prep the overnight nutella french toast and get everything cleaned up and all the food put away.

Christmas morning I have to bake the french toast, make the sausage and peppers, make the egg casserole...then more presents.

Oh it's going to be a busy...BUSY 72 hours!

All while I'm busy worrying about my husband who has cancer, my grandpa who is apparently less healthy than we thought, my dad who just had foot surgery today, and my coworker's family who's little 3 month old baby is still in the PICU after another open-heart surgery and is struggling to stay alive.   It's all very emotionally and mentally taxing.

Come on 2014....it's time for you to move on.  Hurry up now.


Tremendous Friday Ten

So I owe y'all a "double issue" because I was too lazy to post a Fab Friday Five last week.  So here it is...the big one.

BUT FIRST....an update :)
Dave appears to be feeling pretty well.  He's been eating a lot of soup and turkey sandwiches.  Tonight for dinner he had two little Red Baron cheese pizzas.  I don't think he's drinking enough fluids....but it's not really for me to judge.  We went to the VA today so he could get his shot of Neulasta.  He has labs scheduled in a couple weeks, a CT scan on the 12th, and a doctor appointment on the 30th.  We're hoping for good news!

Another side note....that sick little baby I mentioned recently isn't doing so well.  Please continue to pray for her!

OK...onto the goods!

Look at this sloth!
(picture not my own)

Look at this cute little sloth! How cute is he?!

Skinny Eggnog Pie w/ Gingersnap Crust (recipe >> here)

I was thinking of making this as a "healthier" dessert option...but apparently not everybody likes eggnog.  Some people have never even tasted eggnog!  That baffles me!  My favorite part about winter is the eggnog :)  I might still make it anyway...we'll see.  It's a no-back dessert, so it won't take too much time or too much effort.  Lord knows that's right up my alley!

(image not my own)

I find this to be beautiful!  Find what you're great at and then share it with the world!  Don't be selfish and keep it all for yourself...  Imagine how dull the world would be if everyone saved their greatness and didn't spread it around for all to see?  Pretty boring to me!

lil pig in a hammock
(image not my own)

Look at this little piglet.  He's in a hammock!

Happy Wednesday everyone! | The Cutest Animals You Have Ever Seen #welovedogs
(image not my own)

This little guy needs to comment!

Tis the season.

Right?!!!  The best desserts of the year are at Christmas time!

Nubble Light, York Beach | Maine
(image not my own)

Look at this place.  Supposedly it's Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach, Maine.  I've always wanted to go to Maine...now I have something specific to see!

No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart ❤️
(image not my own)

This is 100% true!  You can have the most beautiful face, best body, most money in the entire world.  But if you're not beautiful deep down where it counts, you're just as ugly as a big ol' turd lying in the yard, collecting flies.  Be a good person.  All the time.  No excuses.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies
Eggnog Sugar Cookies (recipe >> here)

Seriously, I love eggnog.  Did I mention that yet?  Anyway...look at these little beauties?!  Don't they look scrumptious?  MMM I want to make these real bad!

Better than resolutions
(image not my own)

With the new year fast approaching, a lot of people are thinking of a New Year's resolution they will most likely abandon by February (March if they're lucky).  Will it be to lose weight?  To exercise more?  To be nicer?  To go to church  more often?  How about pick one of the above...or all of them for that matter.  A little more generalized than typical...but they're also smaller tasks.  Try a new food.  Take a risk.  These things are all pretty easy.  Give it a try!  I'll do it, too!  Come on...it'll be fun!

I'm taking next week off from the blog.  Next week is family time...not computer time!

Merry Christmas, y'all!  Happy Hanukkah! 



It seems as though it took a lifetime to get here, but then also feels like it arrived ahead of schedule.  This is it.  Today is Dave's LAST DAY of chemo!  We don't know what the coming days/weeks/months/years have in store for his health...but we know that today is the last day of chemo.  16 treatments.  16 agonizing days (for both him and me...I....me...whatever).  We apparently have differing view of how this week went.  I thought it was going terrible.  I've been as quiet as I can...not speaking to him unless spoken to for fear of The Crank (that's what I've decided to call him just now!  I'm sure he'll love it)!  But in talking to him this morning, from his point of view (which is really the one that matters), this week has been going quite different from others.  He says he's been feeling better this time than the previous times.  If that's how he feels, then I'm all for it!

So, with this being the end (of this particular leg of his overall battle), this is what we've learned:

- Chemo sucks.  We don't recommend it, to anybody.  He has said that being in Iraq was not as bad as this.
- Riding in the car makes the nausea worse (go figure).
- You have to preemptively treat the symptoms, not chase them.  So take the nausea medicine BEFORE you're nauseous.
- Get some Biotene (an oral rinse) and use it OFTEN.  It helps with the burning of the mouth and it helps with the metallic taste.
- Get some peppermints and some hard Jolly Ranchers...they help with the metallic taste.
- If you eat to try to cover up the metallic taste, make sure you force yourself to go to the bathroom...or start taking some Miralax to help with the soon-to-come bloating and constipation.
- DRINK YOUR FLUIDS!  If water makes the metallic taste worse, mix it with some Gatorade.  Buy LOTS of Gatorade if mixing.
- Make sure you eat, even if you're not feeling up to it.  And don't eat junk...eat something with everything in it that you need for nutrition.
- Take a daily vitamin.  Your immune system will turn to crap because all your white blood cells are dying, so take a vitamin every day.
- No dairy, nothing acidic, nothing with a high presence of metallic minerals (like fish).
- If you're feeling like you really want to eat something, but you're worried how it might affect your tummy, go ahead and eat it anyway.  Your tummy will actually be fine.
- Get plenty of rest...but make sure that you're moving a little, too.  The more you move, the better.
- When you're offered a port...even if the idea of it freaks you out...get the port anyway.  Otherwise, by the end of it all, your veins will be shot and they'll have to find horrible places to stick you (like your hands) or will need to stick you more than once in a day.
- Even though it's HARD...try to stay positive.  Trying to think positively about the whole thing seems to make it just a little bit better than if you stay in bed and wallow in your own self pity.
- Know that with chemo comes mood swings.  They will be rough...but you'll get through them.
- Make sure you apologize to your caregiver for being such an ass when you didn't mean to be.
- If you're a caregiver...do the best you can to not offer your input on the patient's mood.  It doesn't help.  It doesn't even come close to helping.
- You will have a hard time regulating your temperature.  You may feel hot, then cold, then be sweating again.  This is OK.  Just open the window, turn the fan on, and keep some blankets near you.
- When you're feeling up to it, get outside for a little fresh air.  It WILL make you feel better.
- If you're a caregiver, make sure you read the labels on the medication bottles, even if you think you you've got them memorized.  Sometimes you don't know them as well as you should and you'll end up giving an Ambien instead of a Phenegran (possibly more than once....maybe even more than twice).
- When you have labs drawn in the middle of your rest period, they may not be indicative of what your labs will be come the day of treatment.  They may be better, they may be worse.  There's nothing you can do to predict it.
- You're stronger than you think...but you may also be weaker than you think.  You can think all day long that you're going to handle every day like a champ.  You can plan to go to work on some days after treatment if you're feeling up to it.  You can think that you'll sail right through this.  Only to realize that you CAN'T go to to work the day of treatment because you feel like crap and you want to go to bed.  You may not sail right through it.  And that's perfectly fine.

The last 3 months have been more of an ordeal than an adventure.  An ordeal I'd prefer to NEVER have to go through again.  And I know that Dave would absolutely say the exact same thing.

Good riddance, chemo!

"Even the darkest night will end..."  Les Miserables Quote Greeting Card via Etsy



No, not that kind of "quickie"...don't be so gross!

I'm sorry I forgot to do a "Fab Friday Five".  If you're lucky, you'll get a "Tremendous Friday Ten".  Don't hold your breath, though!

Dave's labs were low last week, but they came up enough this week to proceed with what will hopefully be his last week of chemo.  Our fingers are crossed that we're done this whole nightmare after this round! 

Have a great week, y'all!


Beautiful Soul

If this is lengthy, I apologize in advance.

Dave's labs yesterday weren't so great.  His WBC count was 4.1 and his platelet count was 136, which are both very low. His ANC, however, was over 2200, so he's still on schedule for treatment next week as long as his Monday labs are ok.

I'm at home with Aria today.  When we got to school and she was about to jump out of the car, she threw up....little corn niblets all over the ground and in my car. So we cleaned up and went right back home. She's thrown up twice since being home and is looking generally pitiful...and now she's developed a small fever. Super fun day.

Now to the "meat and potatoes"......

I had the pleasure yesterday of visiting with my coworker and family as they stay with their little baby who had heart surgery last week. They have an incredible strength and a wonderful spirit.  And that beautiful little baby! She's just a precious little bundle and has a hell of a fight ahead of her...and as soon as she pulls through, she'll be just perfect! Anyway, when I got to daycare to pick up Aria, this is the conversation that ensued (as soon as we got home I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget any of it) : 

M- I went and saw a sick little baby at the hospital today.
A- what made that baby sick?
M- that baby had a hole in her heart that needed to be fixed.
A- hear heart?
M- Yes. You know how you play doctor and you listen for heart beats? That's the heart.
A- But what does the heart do?
M- The heart is what pumps your blood all over your body...to your arms and legs.
A- and to your fingers and toes?
M- yes dear, that's right.
A- well what's wrong with her heart?
M- she had a hole in her heart that wasn't allowing the blood to get to everywhere it needed.
A- but where's the blood going?
M- it's just staying in her heart. She has a hole in the middle of her heart so the right blood isn't going to the right places.
A- so it's not getting to her arms and legs?
M- that's right.
A- but how did that baby get a hole in her heart?
M- when she was in Her mommy's tummy, her heart just didn't want to grow right, and so it forgot to grow that part and it became a hole.
A- but why?
M- well nobody really knows why, honey.
A- so what made the hole?
M- I just told you...it grew that way.
A- but what happened to her that put a hole in her heart?
M- well nothing happened to her heart that put a hole there, it just gre that way.
A- yeah, or maybe that baby fell down and that made a hole.
M- sure honey, maybe that's exactly what happened. (Sarcasm is lost on this one)
A- well how is that baby going to get better? 
**cue waterworks**
M- she's connected to a lot of machines that are helping her heal.
A- what's 'heal'?
M- to heal means to get better.  Like when you have an owie and we put a bandaid on it and then when the bandaid comes off your owie is done and you can't see your owie anymore.  That's because it healed.
A- does that baby hands an owie?
M- yes ma'am, she sure does.
A- well what makes that baby heal?
M- the machines that are helping, plenty of rest, and blood.
A- blood?
M- yes.  You know how mommy and daddy give blood? Well a lot of other people in our city give blood, too, and people who are sick sometimes need that blood to get better. (Aria has seen Dave give blood many times and we've explained to her how it saves lives and blood donors are like superheroes.)
A- Mommy, did you save that baby's life today?
**Cue MORE waterworks**
M- well no honey, mommy's blood isn't the same kind the baby needed.
A- kind?
M- yes.  Everybody has a different kind of blood, and the blood kinds have to match in order to save a life.
A- I know what kind my blood is...it's red!
M- well honey, everybody's blood is red.
A- what kind of blood do you have, mommy?
M- I have O negative blood.
A- what kind of blood does daddy have?
M- daddy has B positive blood.
A- what kind of blood do I have?
M- I think I remember that you have B negative blood.
A- just like daddy!
M- sort of.  You have s mis of mommy's and daddy's blood.
A- well what kind does papa have?
M- papa has O positive.
A- oh his is dark red!
M- well honey, everybody's blood is dark red.  It's not the color that makes everyone's blood different, it's very itty bitty, teeny tiny things in our blood that make it different.
A- like germs. That's why we have to wash our hands so much.  Sometimes germs are big, sometimes they're really small.  And sometimes they're green!
M- That's right, honey, but we don't have germs in our blood.  I don't really know how to explain it, but it's not germs.
A- ok. What else makes that little baby get better?
M- a lot of people thinking very happy thoughts about that little girl will help her feel better.
A- do we think about her?
M- yes dear, we sure do!
A- when I'm bigger, can I go see her at the hospital?
M- well hopefully she'll be better by the time you're bigger and she'll be at home.
A- well can I go visit her after she's home?
M- sure honey.
**then.....at bedtime.....**
A- do you know what I'm thinking about, mommy?
M- what honey?
A- daddy (because he was still at work) and that sick little baby.
**I left the room with tears streaming and a huge smile**

That was our entire conversation the whole way home from school.

But look at that....she's only three and knows what it means to care about somebody else who needs to be cared for.  I think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I'm not really one for astrology, but I know that Aria is a Pisces.  Pisces are known for being compassionate, emotional, and selfless.  That's ringing true with her and I just love it.  I hope she always exhibits those characteristics! She's got such a beautiful little soul and I hope it never changes!!



We're just trucking along this week, getting ready for the next cycle week (next week, assuming all the labs are alright).  Dave has labs tomorrow, so tomorrow I'll write a brief update on those to keep everyone informed.  He has been ever so graciously giving me ideas on things to cook for Christmas Eve .... the list is ever-growing.

So let me tell you a little about what's been going on with MY side of life!  Some words/phrases to describe me lately are:

I'm having a really hard time actually remember to do chores.  Like the dishes, and the trash, and the laundry, and the litter box...and even remembering to turn off the Christmas lights in the morning.  It's a battle that I'm seriously struggling with.  I also think I forgot to pay a bill...but I'm not sure which one.

Good Samaritan.
I've been "appointed" as the go-between for one of our co-workers in need at work.  He and his family have been spending a lot of time at the hospital while their 3 month old little girl went through open-heart surgery last week (a very invasive procedure that took over 15 hours, yikes :( .  I became the person to take their updates and give them to the rest of the company.  I'm also the person taking up collections and anything else to help this super awesome family.  It's really quite fulfilling and it's beautiful to see the love and support that our coworkers have for each other here...we really are a family here, through and through.  Plus...doing all of this for those lovely people helps keep my mind off other things...like, you know...cancer and stuff.

It's possible that lately I've been a little extra cranky.  I don't really have any good reason for it.  I think it's just because I get set in my plans...or my specific lack of plan...and then all of a sudden something changes that I'm not prepared for and it makes me angry.  I don't like schedule changes that aren't my idea.  I mean, I REALLY don't like them.

Today...today my toddler learned how to lock doors.  She learned how to lock doors with me outside.  She learned how to lock doors with me outside and her inside.  Yes, my super awesome three year old locked me out of the house today.  It was an accident...she wanted to come outside with me (Sophie is being particularly ridiculous lately and won't go poop without somebody going outside with her, so I went outside).  She tried to turn the handle, but ended up locking the little lock instead.  Then when she couldn't get the handle turned, she found the deadbolt and turned that, thinking it would help her get outside.  So there I am...640 in the morning....it's dark, cold, and I'm locked out of my own house and my child is crying at the door just inside because she's not outside with me and she can't get the door open.  I managed to stay calm the entire time and, after 10 minutes of coaxing and consoling (and of course, she had to take a drink break), she finally got that door unlocked.  We then proceeded to have a lesson on the parts of the door that she should use and Dave and I decided that maybe we ought to have a couple hide-a-keys now....just in case!

So Christmas is coming up....FAST! I still have about half of my shopping to do, ALL of my wrapping, last minute menu changes, cooking, sugar cookie baking, cleaning, and preparing for the next chemo week.  And I'm ready for this year to be over.  My brother and sister-in-law were in a bad accident over the weekend and I just hate it.  I don't like when people I love get hurt and there's nothing I can do to fix it.  I just can't stand it.  2014 has not been kind to our family and I'm done. Just plain done.

So there it is.  We'll talk briefly tomorrow about Dave's labs.  Till then...
LOL Monday Morning, need more coffee


Fab Friday Five

Scratch that... Fab Friday four!
It's been quite the week.  I feel like I've been super busy and have had very little time to just....be.  Dave is feeling better this week.  He went back to work yesterday instead of his normal Wednesday.  He felt that he really just needed another day...and that is A-O-K.  He came to playdate with me on Wednesday and had a blast...he ate well and got to converse with other adults.  I was reluctant to pick him up simply because stopping at my house before going to playdate is NOT on the way...but I'm glad I did and I'm glad he enjoyed himself.  Last night he noticed that the etoposide rash is already back.  We still don't know what to do for relief for him.

Aria has been a special breed of awful this week.  When my parents dropped her off on Sunday evening, they told me how great she was all weekend for them.  As soon as they left, she transformed into the toddler from hell.  The hell has continued all week long.  All in the same day, she hit one of her little friends at school, lied to me about said hitting, and then blatantly disobeyed me and scratched in the dirt after I had just told her not to.  She lost her iPad for two days for that little stunt. The very next day at playdate, she did not eat her dinner, then screamed and whined about how hungry she was as we were getting ready to leave.  She kept touching the ornaments on the tree and, when told not to touch, she responded with "But I wasn't touching, I was just looking."  So again, another lie. Afterwards, when asking why she was being so bad, she simply replied with "I'm tired!!"  So Dave put a set of new rules in place explaining to her that "If you're too tired to behave, then you must need to go to bed earlier."

Ordinarily we come home from school, she gets on her iPad, she eats dinner (maybe), she watches more iPad, then its up to bed around 8/830....with stalling techniques that last until 930/10 some days.  The new rules:  On school days, no iPad. Period.  We will come home from school, go right upstairs and get a bath and some jam jams, then we'll come back downstairs....have dinner, do some artsy fartsy craft things, then up to bed at 7.  She may have her iPad on the weekends, but that's it.

There's only one problem with these rules...it obligates me to do artsy fartsy craft time with my toddler EVERY night.  Awesome.  Don't get me wrong, I like to do these things with Aria.  But on a Saturday....not at 5:00 on a Tuesday after I've worked all day and I'm exhausted.  It also forced me to go to Hobby Lobby and spend an unnecessary amount of money on craft supplies.  I did need more paint, though....so the trip was not wasted :)

Onto the fun stuff!

(Aria uses tools to help fix cars with Papa...while wearing dresses)
So there's this blog that I follow called Mother Blogger (read it >> here).  She was inactive for quite a while, but she's super funny and quite...real.  I can't stand reading blogs written by happy-go-lucky people who only write down the niceties and skip over all the real, nitty-gritty details of life.  Everything isn't all flowers and rainbows and sunshine....sometimes the rainbows are dark and grey and with a big ol' pile of poop at the end rather than a pot of gold.  THAT'S real life.  Anyway...her latest entry is about gender stereotypes and how they start so young.  I completely agree with her post.  There is NO reason why a boy can't play with dolls and why a girl can't play with tools and a dump truck.  Aria has Hot Wheels, toy airplanes, tools (complete with tool belt and safety goggles), a dump truck, a tractor, and Caterpillar (CAT) yellow construction vehicle toys (an excavator, a bull dozer, and something else).  She also plays with Doc McStuffins, baby dolls, play jewelry, and she likes to wear skirts.  Boys can do exactly that same thing.  They can play with pink doctor kits and pretend kitchen sets and color with the purple crayon all they want.  To teach your child to follow their respective gender stereotype is to further the problem.  Maybe some men beat their wives and children because as kids they weren't exposed to stuffed animals that needed to be loved on.  Maybe some men come home from work expecting dinner to be on the table because they never got the opportunity to pretend to cook a meal for their mommy.  Even Dave tends to make comments about how he wants to have a boy to go camping and fishing and play catch with....I have to remind him that Aria can do all of those things.  He knows she can, and is more than excited to do all those things...but the comment still comes out now and then.  My child wears dresses and skirts and then proceeds to put her tool belt on, fill it with tools, and set off to find something to "fix".  She's secure in her role as a human being...and I hope she stays that way.

(The Professional Chef, 9th edition,  The Culinary Institute of America >> buy at Amazon)
Because we're too lazy to shop for each other, Dave and I ordered our own Christmas presents.  Dave spent a certain amount of money on all of his stuff and I was supposed to spend just as much (really, he told me to spend more because he'd never be able to give me enough to make up for these last few months....RIGHT!!) Anyway.  As I'm SUPER interested in really learning how to cook, my Christmas present to myself is a culinary textbook from the Culinary Institute of America.  It's going to teach me so many things...how to properly use my knives...how to properly saute...how to make a pan sauce...how to do EVERYTHING.  It's 1,000 pages of awesome!  I'm super excited about it! I'm always looking at recipes and I get nervous to try them because they involve a technique I have no idea how to do, or too many steps and I feel overwhelmed.  And I certainly can't afford to quit my job and go to culinary school...so I'm going to teach myself the best that I can.  For my birthday, I'm planning on getting the updated version of the baking textbook (also by CIA).  
2015 is going to be a GREAT cooking year!

(Dark Places - Gillian Flynn >> buy at Amazon)
So I read (well, listened via Audible) this book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Now it's a movie...and the entire story just continues to blow me away!  It was so...thrilling!  So I went to my trusty Amazon and looked for what else Gillian Flynn wrote and proceeded to add both her other books (Sharp Objects  //  Dark Places) to my "want to read" list.  I just recently finished listening to Sharp Objects.  That book felt like it dragged on, but I was pleasantly surprised at the end to find out who had done the killing of the two little girls in the small Missouri town.  I'm currently reading Dark Places (and I'm less than 100 pages from the end) and I'm still unsure as to who did it!  The story is about a girl who, at a very tender age of 8 or so, tells the courts that her brother murdered her entire family at 2:05 AM on the night of January 3, 1985.  The girl, all grown up now, is a little nutty...she's a bit of a recluse and has very little money to call her own.  A group of people obsessed with murders finds her and convinces her to REALLY look at that case from so many years ago...and they'll pay her for her investigations.  The story is told by 3 narrators:  Libby (the girl, now all grown up), Patty (the mother) and Ben (Libby's murderous brother).  Libby's story is told in the present, Patty and Ben's story is told in the past.  In the story, I'm currently up to midnight on January 3rd.  I can't wait to finish the book and find out ... who really did the killing of the 'Day' family?  It's my "work" book, so I only read it at work during lunch time (those who know me know that I'm regularly reading 3-5 books at a time) and boy do I look forward to lunch every day and I dread when it ends every day.  Check out these books....seriously, read them...they're pretty great!  Though, I'm not going to lie, Gone Girl is the best of the three.
(I'm currently reading Dark Places at work at lunchtime; I'm listening to Little Women whenever I'm in the car because it's a good Christmas story and I just love the Winona Ryder version of the movie; I'm re-reading the Fifty Shades trilogy so I can be refreshed for the movie in February; and lastly I'm reading the 2nd Harry Potter book during Aria's bath time because I've never read the HP series.)

25 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
(not my own image)
This elf that I have to remember to move every night is going to be the bane of my existence.  Although....she comes in pretty handy when Aria is being naughty and I can remind her "Aria...don't forget that Twinkle is watching and is going to tell Santa everything you did today."  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  And what man at the Elf factory decided that this little guy's hands ought to be sewn together.  That's just stupid.  I gotta remember to cut that damn thread so that I can put her in some better places.  Today she's hanging on the blinds...like she got caught sneaking back in the house.  Aria said "That silly elf!"

That's it folks. It's late, I just took a sinus pill that's making me VERY sleepy, and I'm officially an old fuddy duddy who is in bed by 10 on a Friday night. Judge me all you want, I don't care!


The Taming of the Bird

(Wow, I've written several entries about poultry...)

Alright y'all...I made another batch of matzo ball soup yesterday (without the matzo balls, at my husbands approval...thanks honey) ALL BY MYSELF!  I handled that damn chicken like a boss!!  I was elbows deep in that sucker getting it good and rinsed out, and then ripped it to shreds at the end.  And FYI:  there WERE little bones floating all in the soup, as I had feared.  Itty bitty little rib bones...so many of them...yuck!  I think the most disgusting part about picking the chicken out of the soup was the cartilage areas and the spine.  I don't know why, but they were disgusting.

Dave had quite a remarkable weekend!  On Saturday he came downstairs for several hours and even went outside for a little while my dad was putting up the Christmas lights. He had a voracious appetite most of the weekend and ended up eating things such as pizza and turkey sandwiches along with the rest of the chicken soup and the soup my friend Michelle had brought him last time.  He's drinking a TON of fluids (3/4 water + 1/4 gatorade) and hasn't really been too nauseous.  He spent all day downstairs with me yesterday and was in very good spirits.  He did notice that the bone pain from his shot was quite a bit more noticeable this time...he said it feels like a really bad case of the flu or like he spent all day working out.  He's at home today and I suspect that he'll have a pretty good day.

All in all....a pretty great weekend!

And today....on December 1, it's supposed to be 72°.  Go home December, you're drunk!

Dear Monday, Go step on a Lego. | Workplace Ecard | someecards.com