Archive for November, 2010

13 Nov 2010

Flawless Saturday Question

18 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

Inspired by yesterday’s post and Thanksgiving, I want to know about a woman who you’re very thankful for. It can be your mom, best friend, aunt, teacher, etc. Think past or present. Feel free to list several, if you’re moved to do so. And, to make it extra special, have that person (if they are still with us) read what you wrote. Never underestimate the power of telling someone how much they mean to you.

My mom is amazing. She taught me the power of a smile and a hello. She taught me to never, ever break a promise. She admitted her flaws as I was growing up, teaching me the importance of imperfection. She is honest, sometimes to a fault. She is strong, sometimes to a fault. She always tells me the things I do that she admires. When I got married, she gave me a great gift. The night before the wedding, she and my father came to my hotel room and she said, “You’re getting married tomorrow. That means Russ is your family now. He comes first. Your father and I will never come between you, or ask to come before him. He will be your husband, and you will be his wife, and we will still be your parents. But we will not overstep our boundaries.” That still means the world to me.  Since my dad passed away, my mom has been mourning with grace, great sadness, and great purpose. She expects too much of herself, to be okay too soon. But she listens when I tell her that. She is beautiful and flawed and funny as hell and I love her.

I’d like to mention a few others, but it might have to wait for another post, or I’ll add it here later today. Can’t wait to hear your answers!!

12 Nov 2010

Women

5 Comments Personal Crap

I think women are cool. Wait, let me try that again. Women are so awesome! Ahem. Women. Whoo! They are the BEST!

Okay, I’m not gonna lie. This whole “liking women” thing is relatively new for me. We’re talking about 10 or 12 years now. Before that? Me no likey women. Me no likey women at all! There were some women I liked, of course. My mom seemed okay. I had a few girlfriends I adored. But, for the most part, I thought chicks were lame. I’ve always surrounded myself with boys, and I still do that a lot. But before, when I didn’t like women, I had a pack o’ boys around me all the time to protect me from them.

Looking back I’m now fully, and sadly, aware of why I was so opposed to getting to know womenfolk. Deep breath here. I didn’t like myself.  I really, really did not like who I was and so I didn’t like seeing that in other women. I also felt very insecure, jealous, and uncomfortable around girls who were too much like me, or funnier than me, or prettier than me, or skinnier than me, or more feminine than me, or more successful than me… Are you seeing any kind of pattern? So I would instantly pass judgement on any female I met. “I don’t like that girl. She’s so… Blah blah blah”, fill in the blank with whatever I thought was too awesome about her.

I guess about 10 or 12 years ago, I started liking who I was a little more, and so I started seeing the good in other women. And then I really started getting it. Oh my GOD! Women are incredible! Look at them! They’re beautiful. They’re funny and smart and, wait a minute here, they’re very nurturing and they’re good listeners and they’re so unbelievably supportive! Look at them cook! Look at them take care of others. Look at them sip their wine or coffee or sparkling water with their legs crossed at a little cafe and laugh or cry or just commiserate!

Then I realized that I was seeing all this good stuff in myself and it was making me see it even more clearly in these other women, and it all made so much sense. I’m so very sad for the girl who didn’t like other girls because she was so insecure and self-loathing. I’m sad for the friendships I missed out on because I was judging so harshly. But I am so very, very happy for the woman I have become who sees the absolute, pure magic in other women. I really never thought I’d be that person. And I hope and pray that I continue to meet more and more of these fantastic creatures and that I get to share with them and hear their stories because, you know what?

WOMEN ARE AMAZING.


11 Nov 2010

Dino Sores That Heal. (Oh no I didn’t!)

11 Comments Toddler

Four months ago, my family and I stepped off the plane in Portland, OR and began our week-long summer vacation in the place of my husband’s birth. For a month prior, and all the way on the plane trip our (nearly) three-year-old son could not stop talking about the dinosaurs he was going to see at the Oregon State Fair. “We’re going to Oregon to see DINOSAURS”, he would tell anyone who would listen. “When do we get to go to Oregon to see Dinosaurs?”, he would ask every night before bed. On the rental-car ride to the town where Grandma Farm lives, he would say, “Are we almost at the Dinosaurs?”

And then the day came. Grandma Farm, Daddy, Mommy, two cousins and Garrett piled into the car for the two-hour-drive which consisted of several choruses of “Dinosaur this” and “Dinosaur that” and “Dinosaur, Dinosaur”, just for good measure.
Then we arrived. The fair. We were starving. We ate. We hurried because the dinosaurs were waiting. We finished. Where are they? That building! Let’s go! Oh, really? More money here than we paid at the entrance to the fair? This must be good! Doors open. Roars are heard. There they are, around the corner! This is it! The moment we’ve talked about for months!

What’s happening with Garrett? Why is he convulsing? Are those giant tears? Garrett? G…G…Garrett? “I don’t want to see those dinosaurs!  I want to go! Let’s get out of here!” But Garrett. Honey? This is what we’ve been taking abou… “Listen, Bitch! You get me the hell out of this place NOW, or I’m gonna do some pretty crazy SHIT!” Whoa. Slow down, boy. That is some pretty abrasive langua…. “What part of ‘get me out of here’ don’t you UNDERSTAND? Turn your shit around and move it!”

Listen, I don’t know who taught a three-year-old how to talk like that, but I guess the dinosaurs really brought it out of him. I mean there they were, these giant, animatronic dinos in a pretty dark room, roaring and carrying on. It was a tad scarier than I had imagined, too. But this is what we had been going on and on about for friggin’ months! He’ll get over it, I thought. He just needs a little potty break and it’ll all be okay. In the bathroom, there was more: “Are we going to have to pass the dinosaurs again?” Yes, Garrett, to get to the exit. But you don’t have to look and we won’t go in. “I don’t want to pass them!” I told him I’d hold him close and we’d walk by fast. So, we exit the bathroom and we’re about to go past the room with all the dinosaurs again. “NO, MOMMY”, he screams! And then, before I can stop him, he looks in. And through giant tears he screams, “A PTERODACTYL!  A T-REX! AN IGUANODON!” (This kid knows his dinosaurs). “LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!”

So, that was our whole Oregon Dinosaur Experience. Garrett sobbed and screamed from outside the doors and saw three of his favorites from 40-feet away, while begging me to take him out of the building. He still talks about it like it was the best day ever.

Which brings us to today. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Just like when we were going to Oregon, we prepped for this day. I showed him videos of the fossils and the 10:30 AM Dinosaur Experience show they put on, where a giant T-Rex, with a guy inside, walks around the Mammal Pavilion and helps you learn about dinos. He was pumped. PUMPED! “When are we going to the museum?” “Is the museum open yet?” “Can we go see the dinosaurs NOW?”

You could feel the excitement over breakfast this morning. Something big was about to happen. We got in the car at 9:10AM. No traffic. We’re there at 9:35. We bought a membership for the year that gets us into NHM and the La Brea Tar Pits as many times as we want. We look at the insect zoo. AMAZING! We look at the North American mammals. WOW! And now it’s time for the show. Russ and I place our bets. The lights go down. “I don’t want to see the T-Rex!’, it begins. “Let’s go!”

This time was different, though. No tears. Just a lot of convulsing, which he does when he wants you to really get the point that he’s scared. “Garrett”, I start, “The dinosaur you’re about to see is a costume. There’s a man inside.”  “And all the growling”, Russ adds, “Is from those speakers right up there”. We tell him it’s not real, it’s just for fun. That dinosaurs are extinct and the only way we can see them walk and roar is with puppets or costumes or robots, but we could leave at any time if he wanted to. Then Little Red Riding Hood comes out and tells us about how cool it is to learn about things you don’t understand. And then, OH NO, the T-Rex. Here it is, right in front of us and what’s Garrett doing?  CLAPPING! Oh, thank you Lord. Garrett is clapping! And listening and learning and enjoying every second! We’re not running for the door. We’re in the room with the dinosaur and we’re loving it!

Show ends. We go see a lot more fossils and gems and bugs and mammals. Then G and I head to the potty where, lo and behold, Little Red is going into a stall! We wait outside the bathroom for her and Garrett says hi and tells her how much the T-Rex reminded him of “Buddy” from “The Dinosaur Train”, and how he loves Iguanodons and Triceratops. And he promises he’ll be back to see the Ankylosaur show soon.

We’ve come a long way in four months. But Garrett still managed to call me a bitch when I had a bite of his banana at lunch.

crib, bed, 3-year-old, baby, boy, monitor
10 Nov 2010

Big Boy… Crib?

20 Comments Toddler

My kid is on his own time schedule. He does things when HE wants to do them. And we don’t push, because whenever he finally decides to do something, he does it very well. Speaking, he did incredibly early. Other things, he did… later.

Walking? 14 months. Potty trained? Three years. Big boy bed? Big boy bed? Um. He’s been three for two months. Big. Boy. Bed?

He’s not in one yet, okay?? We’ve had  the converter kit for six months. We’ve asked him, “You want a big boy bed, Garrett?” He seems content with the crib. “We can make your crib a big boy bed for your birthday!” Nah. Has he climbed out? Nope. Once, however, he did climb IN. And just like when he seemed to take forever to take his first steps, I’m GLAD! I am! I mean, when he’s able to get in and out of his bed, it’s over! No more waiting for him to call me in, he’ll just be standing at the foot of my bed, or lifting one of my eyelids like in that cereal commercial!

And forget about sex without locking the door! It’s bad enough we can’t get the damn DOG off the bed, I don’t need my kid walking in! (And, believe me, that’s the last thing HE needs!)

So, I’m just letting him take his own, sweet time. If he’s still in his crib at eight or nine, I’ll do something about it, alright? Oh, and as long as he’s in his crib, I have an excuse to use the monitor and listen to him talk to himself. When he’s in a big boy bed, there will be no reason for a monitor because he’ll just come and get us. And then where does that leave me? No crib? No monitor? Oh shit! A baby doesn’t live here anymore! There’s a little BOY in the house!

I’m sticking with the damn crib until he says otherwise. Back off. YOU HEARD ME!

09 Nov 2010

Thanksgiving Schedule

8 Comments Cooking/Baking

Yes, I wrote myself a Thanksgiving Schedule about four years ago. I typed it in Word, printed out the two pages, stapled it and brought it into the kitchen. Now I pull it out every year and do exactly what it tells me to do. It starts the day before Thanksgiving, with brining the turkey. If you’ve never brined a turkey, DO IT THIS TIME! It makes the moistest, juiciest dang bird you’ve ever had. I get my brine at Williams Sonoma and I think it’s worth the splurge, but there are many brining recipes on line that are great. It takes a little while because you have to boil and completely cool the brine, so give yourself ample time, and make sure you have a giant bag to brine in! I always get my Diestel turkey at Whole Foods. Delicious, vegetarian fed, no added hormones or anti-biotics and cage free. You can get organic or regular. Unpaid plug, kids.

The reason my Thanksgiving is pretty simple, is because I do a ton of the prep work the day before. I clean and brine the turkey, therefore I already have the neck and giblets to make my gravy starter. I also cut up all my veggies for the stuffing and place them in baggies, I make any desserts or breads I want to make, I boil eggs for deviled eggs (Russ makes them. Sooo good!), and I make my dough for the pumpkin corn fritters.

Thanksgiving Day, I take the turkey out of the fridge an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature, and I wash off all of the brine. You don’t ever want to put cold meat in the oven, you’ll be adding a lot of cooking time and it could dry out. My Mother-in-law taught me how to make a turkey 7 years ago, and it has never failed me. Right before roasting, I put an onion and fresh herbs into the cavity, and I rub the entire turkey with olive oil and a generous helping of salt and pepper. I put the turkey in a 325 degree oven until it’s golden brown. Then I tent the turkey and keep roasting. I never baste, and I open the oven as little as possible. Butterball.com has pretty accurate roasting times and has always been very helpful with any turkey questions, but I always check the temp on my bird and hour before it’s “supposed” to be done.  The temperature inside the deepest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, should be 180 degrees. The temperature in the deepest part of the breast should be 170. The turkey should be fully cooked at least a half hour before dinner, so it can rest before you cut it.

Then I’ve timed (to the minute) when to do everything else, like roasting the garlic for the mashed potatoes, boiling the potatoes, sauteing the veggies for the stuffing, making the green bean casserole, frying the fritters, etc. If you haven’t made a schedule for yourself, I highly recommend it. Just write down everything you’re doing as you do it this year and you’ll have it done by the end of the day! It helps me out every year.

GRAVY RECIPE (AS REQUESTED)

DAY BEFORE:

Saute’ neck and giblets (toss out liver) in 1/2 stick of butter for about 8 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Add medium sliced onion and 32 oz. chicken broth.

Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, 45 minutes. Remove and throw away neck and giblets. Strain remaining broth into glass container and refrigerate overnight.

THANKSGIVING DAY:

Start about 1/2 hour before dinner is served

Skim fat off top of broth and place in saute’ pan.

Put remaining broth in small pot and heat on low.

Heat fat in saute pan with about 1/2 cup of flour, stir with wooden spoon until brown and toasty smelling (about 4 or 5 minutes)

Slowly ladle warm broth into flour mixture and begin whisking.

Continue to whisk and add broth until all broth is used.

Add pan drippings from turkey and continue  whisking. Simmer and whisk about 10 minutes.

This gravy has always come out perfect. A couple of times I’ve had to add a little Wondra to thicken it a bit, but it’s so freaking good. If you’ve ever had gravy problems, try this one! And please, for the love of Thanksgiving, let me know how it turns out!!

08 Nov 2010

Thank You, 70’s Porn!

8 Comments Health, Personal Crap

I am not opposed to plastic surgery, as evidenced by my nose job sometime around 1996. I had just done my first, real, big television acting job on Seinfeld and my friend was throwing a party to watch it premiere on NBC.  There I was, sitting on the floor next to my mom, 50 of my closest friends behind me. There I was on the TV kissing Kramer on the neck! And then the scene where he falls asleep on top of me and I’m yelling his name! And… OH MY GOD MY NOSE IS GIGANTIC! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE EVER TELL ME?? And then a commercial. And I turn to my mom, thinking about all the jobs I’m never going to get with that nose and say, “I’m thinking about getting a nose job.” To which she, without even a breath of hesitation replies, “I think that’s a good idea.” About one month later I was under the knife and I’ve never looked back.

So, I am not opposed to plastic surgery. What I am opposed to is excessive plastic surgery, the kind that makes people look like cats, lips look like life rafts,  and boobs look like beach balls. We’re turning ourselves, one surgery at a time, into an unrecognizable species of… Weirdos! I think it’s sad, and I think it’s unrealistic, and I think it’s damaging. So I’m thinking of turning to 70’s porn for answers.

See, my husband grew up with Playboys lying around the house and, since he was born in 1970, they were Playboys from the 1970’s. And do you know what those Playboys did for my husband? (Besides the obvious, of course.) Those Playboys gave my man a great appreciation for soft, pendulous breasts, thick thighs, a slightly poochy tummy, and PUBIC HAIR, for goodness’ sake!! That’s right! My husband finds REAL WOMEN attractive!! (Which makes my life so much easier, friends.)

Now let’s think about what my son will grow up thinking is normal: Big, dented, hard, absurdly high and round boobs on 90 pound hairless women. I know I’m being crass, but I want you to think about that. It’s hard enough being a woman who was born in the 70’s and grew up in the 80’s. But at least MY Madonna was shapely and soft and womanly! The Madonna of 2010 is a stick with muscles. My supermodels were curvy and sexy. The supermodels of 2010 are sickly and boyish.  And the women in Playboy are fake, fake, fake. It makes me angry, truly. Real women are becoming the minority, at least in the media and magazines. So what are we raising our sons to be attracted to and our daughters to aspire to?

So, here’s my plan. When Garrett is about, I don’t know, twelve-years-old? I’m going to start subtly leaving magazines from the 70’s lying around. I’ll “hide” them so he thinks he’s finding them. And what will he see? Lo’ and Behold! Women! Real Women! What do you think? Good idea?

06 Nov 2010

Flawless Saturday Question

34 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I remember wanting to be a vet, because I loved animals so dang much. I never really thought about the fact that you had to be super smart and go to school for a really long time. I probably gave up the dream as soon as I found that out.

I also remember wanting to be a clothing designer which, if you know me, is HILARIOUS because I can barely dress myself and I can’t put an outfit together to save my life.

When I was 11, I knew I wanted to be a performer and when I was 12, I knew I wanted to make people laugh. So, I guess I’ve done a decent amount of that stuff and I hope to do some more in the future.

When I was 35, I wanted to be a Mom when I grew up. It’s my favorite job so far.

05 Nov 2010

Taking Thanksgiving Back

17 Comments Family, Personal Crap

It’s November, which has always been my favorite month of the year. Two really cool things happen in November: Thanksgiving, and my birthday. Usually my birthday comes before Thanksgiving, but I like Thanksgiving better than my birthday, which is why I put it first.

This Thanksgiving will mark the seventh one that Russ and I have hosted. You see, Thanksgiving has always been my absolute favorite of all holidays and I wasn’t happy with the way it was going for a while. So I took it back. I grabbed it from the others who had been hoarding it and proclaimed, “This is MY holiday, chumps!” There was some resistance at first, but then it was as it should be.

Let me take you back a bit. Growing up, Thanksgiving was perfect. Yes, perfect. (I’ve learned in therapy it probably wasn’t perfect, but let me have my memories, okay?) It was perfect. My mom and grandma would spend HOURS in the kitchen doing all kinds of who-knows-what that involved making homemade stuffing that was cooked IN the bird, making side dishes from Heaven, and doing some voodoo magic that made everything taste like Autumn. Sure, there were some fights and stresses. And yes, I had to polish the fucking silver every year. And holy cow did I complain about it! But somehow, everything got on the table when it was time to eat and we had ourselves a perfect Thanksgiving.

There was usually somewhere between eleven and fourteen of us. We would eat and laugh and eat and laugh. Grandpa would tell hilarious stories, we’d constantly comment on the deliciousness, and after dinner we all performed. Someone would sing, my brother would play piano or do something incredibly silly, and I’d do some sort of monologue to make my grandpa giggle until he cried. Then there was dessert and coffee and then it would be over, and I’d be so sad that the best day of the year came to an end. It’s weird because it wasn’t traditional, really. We’d eat late and no one seemed to be too interested in the football. My family was always more into baseball and hockey. It would’ve REALLY been the perfect holiday if the World Series were in November!

There are a few reasons I love Thanksgiving so much: The food. No prayers. No presents. All Thanksgiving is is an excuse to figure out what is good about your life and to celebrate that by shoveling food in your yap.

So, years go by and grandparents pass away, and dynamics change and my brother gets married. Now, all of a sudden, we’re eating with my sister-in-law’s family. Our quaint holiday turned into a 27-person melee that didn’t resemble anything I was familiar with. Our first Thanksgiving together, Russ and I were at a card table in the corner, wondering how late the coffee shop stayed open so we could go have a peaceful meal. Plus, dinner started close to 8:00 PM, which just seemed preposterous. This went on for five years until Russ and I couldn’t take it anymore. Our favorite holiday needed a resurrection, and we were just the people to do it.

Seven years ago I called my parents and told them we would no longer be joining in the foolishness of the over-crowded Thanksgiving. (By the way, I love my sis-in-law’s family. I just missed my holiday). I told them Russ and I would be having a traditional Thanksgiving at our house at 4:00PM and that they, and any of the family, were welcome. I was met with much anger. “It’s not for YOU to decide where Thanksgiving is!” Yes it is. “How dare you break up the family like that!” I told you everyone is welcome. “Well, you KNOW Bob and Karen won’t be able to come!” Maybe they’ll come next year. They can trade off between our Thanksgiving and theirs. “I think you’re being very selfish!” I am. It feels great.

A couple hours later, my mom called me back and apologized. She actually said, “I’m so proud of you for standing up for what you want for yourself and your family. I would never have had the balls to do it. I raised you right.” Then she told me she and my father would join us, and we could work out the rest later. I did it. I took Thanksgiving back. This was going to be fantastic.

And it was. That year Russ and I started our tradition of spending the day cooking together, laughing together, and stressing together. We make all the old favorites and I have it scheduled out to the minute, when the turkey goes in, when the potatoes start, what time to roast the garlic. I make the turkey, stuffing (boxed with a lot of veggies and love added), pumpkin fritters, green-bean casserole, and biscuits (frozen). Russ makes the mashed potatoes and White Trash Krab Salad. At 4:00, whoever shows up is sitting and eating and laughing and talking. We make enough so that the next day I can make a giant turkey, stuffing, peas, and mashed potato casserole for anyone who wants to come over.

This year will be rough. Thanksgiving was my Daddy’s favorite holiday, too. I loved that he loved Russ’ Krab salad so much. He was so proud of me for doing it my way. He was so happy to be around his close family. This year I turn 39 two days before Thanksgiving, and yet I’ll still feel like a giddy little girl when we sit down to eat. I’ll be grateful for so many things. And I’ll also be profoundly sad. But I’ll get to laugh and cry and shovel food in my face at my own dining room table, because seven years ago I took Thanksgiving back. This is the Thanksgiving Garrett is growing up with. And I think that’s what I’m most thankful for.

.

03 Nov 2010

The Littlest Bully

14 Comments Toddler

There’s a kid in Garrett’s class who makes at least one kid cry every day. It usually happens in the 15 minutes I’m there, at school, dropping Garrett off. These are pre-schoolers, mind you. And every, single day this kid is making someone cry. He hits, he kicks, he trips them, he takes their toys, he knocks down their blocks, he grabs books. Is this the beginning of a bully? Is this how it starts? Is it something that can be fixed now, if it’s dealt with the right way?

I see his teachers tell the crying ones to “use their words”, to tell this kid that they don’t like the way they’re being treated. “Don’t hit my body!”, they say. That’s a good start I guess, but shouldn’t something be done about this kid? Is there a way to deal with him, with his parents, that could improve his behavior and nip this in the bud? I’m sure he’d be a pretty sweet kid if he could only change this one part about himself. And should the teachers be allowed to do more? To punish him?

It’s possible there’s something clinically wrong. He might not be able to control these things. But that should be looked into also. I fear that if it’s not taken care of, he’s just going to turn into a monster. He’ll be the kid no one likes because he’s mean and so he’ll be all alone and that will just make him meaner. Right? Doesn’t that seem like the way it’ll happen?

So, I guess my question is what can be done? I feel like it’s partially my responsibility, as a parent who sees this happening daily, to intervene. If this child is causing a disruption every day, he’s affecting every other child’s experience there. And, believe me, I think it’s okay for these kids to deal with some adversity. But that isn’t the point. The point is, it seems like now is a good time to try to change this kid’s path, to figure out what is wrong with him so it can be worked on. It’s not only the right thing to do for all the kids he comes in contact with, it’s the right thing to do for him.  Otherwise I foresee a sad, friendless future for this boy.

Oh, and I’m not gonna lie. The one day I was there when he made Garrett cry, I wanted to stand over him and yell obscenities. Instead, I let the teachers help Garrett “use his words”. It was all fine after about five minutes, but if it keeps happening I’m going to give Garrett a few “choice” words to “use” next time. And I’ll give him a cupcake if he uses them correctly.

02 Nov 2010

Housewifery

8 Comments Cooking/Baking, Family, Personal Crap

Belts are being tightened around the Arch household. No, not in the “I’ve lost so much weight, my pants are too big” kind of way. More in the “It’s been a slower year than normal and we need to rein it in a bit” kind of way. Don’t worry! We’re fine. I’m not giving you a PO Box to send donations to… Yet. One of the things Russ and I agree on is how to spend money. We’ve always lived a little below our means and, since we’re both in an industry that thrives on never knowing where one’s next check is coming from, we try to keep big purchases to a minimum.

However, we are definitely changing our habits. For instance, we used to eat dinner (and lunch and some breakfasts) out a lot. I’d say on average we’d eat dinner out at least four nights a week. And I ate lunch out almost every day. There were periods of time when I’d cook a few meals a week, but it was never very consistent. And if we had leftovers in the fridge the next night, they’d sit there until they were thrown out, because we were at a restaurant. We don’t go to expensive restaurants. We like casual, diner-type places. But it doesn’t matter. Those meals out add up quick!

So, for about two months we’ve eaten almost every meal at home. I cook now at least four times a week, and we’re eating leftovers the other nights. And can I just tell you? I AM LOVING EVERY FREAKING MINUTE OF IT! I feel so… accomplished. And it feels fantastic to take care of my family like that. I feel like I’m nurturing them. Feeding people is a very powerful thing. I’ve always felt that way. But doing it consistently like this makes me feel like some kind of a super hero!

Yes, I am well aware that there are women (and some men) all over this Earth who cook every single night, and have done so for 10, 20, 30, even 50 years. I get it. I’m not the first person to cook for my family. But I can’t stop congratulating myself about it! I’ve learned new recipes and brought back old ones. I’m making soup and chili and about five different kinds of chicken! I’m roasting veggies and making pasta sauce. I’m putting awesome leftovers in Garrett’s lunchbox! Even the occasional “frozen food” nights are fun. And then I’m really counting the money we’re saving. Oh, and one night we had sweet potato pancakes, scrambled eggs and ham. Everyone was so happy! I’M KING OF THE WORLD!

Seriously though, I’m feeling very proud. Not because of the cooking, but because I’m learning things about myself. I am being given this time without work, and it feels like the biggest blessing. Ever since Garrett was born, I’ve wanted to be home more than anything. I love working, and I do hope to get back to it someday. But right now, in this pocket of time, I’m learning about what kind of wife and mother I am. I’m teaching myself new skills, and I’m finding out that I really like this side of me that I always knew was there. I’ve always joked with my friends, and they will attest to this, that I’m a 1950’s housewife trapped inside the body of a working actress. And, even though I’ve yet to greet my husband at the door with a martini, it’s true. I don’t even mind cleaning so much. I’m not a genius at it, but I’m good. And I like walking into the rooms I’ve cleaned and taking a deep breath, knowing that I did that.

The bottom line is this: I’m grateful and humbled. I’m so lucky that I’m able to stay home for this time, which could end at any moment with the birth of a new job, and find out that I truly love being this person. I feel more like me than I ever have before. That is such an amazing feeling. And I hope to take this new, authentic me to any job I have in the future. Because I think this person is much more interesting and happy than I ever used to be. Plus, if my work days are behind me and I never get offered another job, I really like the one I have right now! I’m humbled because of the women who do this job so beautifully all day, every day with more kids and less resources. I’m amazed at their grace and skills, and their ability to do it with very few thank you’s or pats on the back. I hope they take some time to congratulate themselves, like I just did! I’m also humbled by all the women who never get the opportunity to stay home with their kids because they have to work every day, no matter what. I believe that most of them would rather be mothering than working, and I admire them for doing what they have to do.

Friday night we decided to go out for dinner for the first time in a long while. Garrett asked what we were getting ready for and Russ said, “We’re going out for dinner!” Garrett whimpered a bit and said, “NO! I want to eat at home!” That might have been the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.

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