Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet & Irresistible

...two words I would never dare use to describe myself or my blog.  But fortunately, someone thinks otherwise and I have an award to prove it!!  

I woke up quite early today and found that I've been given this very sweet award...The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.  And without even getting caffeinated, the sight of this shiny trophy took my grumpiness away!....(let's just hope the effect lingers)...

So, this is how the award goes...

1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave the award.

A big shout out to the CherWriter: The Curvy Blogger, for not only passing this award to me, but for sharing a lot of insights that always remind me of home, the Philippines.  You say you're new to blogging, but your posts clearly show that you've always been a writer.  Keep those posts coming!

2.  Share 4 guilty pleasures that you have.

Cheetos, the puffy kind....oh soooo cheesy and cooperative even when you're trying to watch something on television that requires you to pay close attention to the dialogue.  They melt in your mouth so you don't have to stop eating (and assault your ears with the crunch sound) when trying to watch and listen to your favorite shows!

Lindt Lindor Truffles, dark and milk chocolate...H----E----A---V---E----N.  They make me forget my blood sugar levels!

Facebook...my go-to 'place' when I'm bored, hoping to God that my friends' lives are much more interesting than mine.  Wait, I take that back....Misery does love company!

Watching re-runs of my favorite addictive series...In Treatment (both seasons), Ally McBeal, Sex & the City, and CSI Las Vegas (all seasons).  I know it's a waste of time and electricity but it's just the best way to vegetate, as far as I'm concerned.  Don't forget the puffy Cheetos please! 


3.  Pass the award along to 6 other Sweet Bloggers.

 Soccer Mom 4.0:  If you want honest, witty and entertaining writing, then here's a spot on the blogosphere you definitely need to (at least) check out.  Soccer Mom 4.0 talks about her adventures in raising her four boys while always finding humor even in 'less-than-humorous-thank-God-this-didn't-happen-to-me' situations.  She bakes a lot too and though she has a bad sweet tooth, it's still a mystery to me as to where she puts all those sugars she consumes.

List, Lust, Lost:  Suzanne is trying to make dinner for her family every night of the week and she shares not only those recipes, but also her experiences and insights along the way.  She also has a lot of food tips that any alpha cook would appreciate!  I just recently got introduced to her blog and I must say I'm happy and hooked!

Lennikins...my world of crafts and more...:  She knits, bakes, crafts, sews and more!  If you want to learn new ideas / solutions for the home, then check out Len's world.  She sells her knitted masterpieces too so if you want one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends and family, then go ahead and visit her online shop found on her blog site.

MarloElaine:  This site was actually one of my initial inspirations for blogging.  Here you'll find a wealth of information on parenting tips (especially related to health and safety), money-saving ideas, yummy recipes that are VERY doable, and also product reviews you can trust.  

KevinandAmanda.com:  This site is simply eye-candy!  And please don't take that to mean that they don't offer any substance.  It's just that Amanda shares her knowledge on cooking, crafts, home decor, travel, blog-maintenance/enhancements among other things, and makes sure she posts beautiful pictures to tell her story even more 'effectively'!  If you don't believe me, you have got to go see for yourself and then come back and thank me!  

Sarah Markley: The Best Days of My Life :  I think this blog is 'sweet and irresistible' simply because it is extremely honest and the 'shake-you-to-the-core' type.  Sarah shares her life with her readers in such an insightful way and for the most part, you can get a sense that she's talking about parts of your life too.  I think she's the voice most of us don't have the courage to articulate and reading her posts often challenges her readers to tread in the unknown depths of their souls, finding a little more wisdom every single step of the way.

Three more blogs are worth mentioning here but they've already been given the same award.  Congratulations, ladies!----
































Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saved

When I become quiet in the blog world, you can pretty much bet it's only either I'm enjoying my life too much or I'm in deep despair.  Well, these past couple of weeks were definitely about the latter.  Most of you are aware that Noah got hospitalized and we were in the pediatric ICU (PICU) for close to two days (though it felt more like a week to me, to be honest).  To make the long story short, it all started with a bad cough and high fever (hovering around 104deg F) and then was finally diagnosed with pneumonia caused by RSV.  The worst part of it was when the doctors found, after doing initial blood analysis, that my baby's platelets and white blood cells were so suppressed that they wanted to explore the possibility of leukemia or some other blood disorder!  What started out as a bad cough can end in cancer???  How can this be?!  Not MY baby??!!!  



My mind was racing uncontrollably and the tears started to gush.  I felt the helplessness that any parent feels when you are willing to give anything to help your child and yet you know that there is really nothing to give that anyone can or will take that will guarantee the result you desire.  It's that point of the journey where you need to go down....down on your knees and pray...pray to the God I've resented...the God I've distanced myself from....the God I shunned and told to keep away from me...the same God I got tired being angry at but still doubted.  This time, I had no other choice but to talk to Him, beg Him with whatever broken faith I had in my hands.  With all honesty, I had to cry to Him...

You can't do this to me.  You've already taken away one child, but please....not this one too.  Take anything else, take me, but not my Noah.  What do you want me to do, give,  or give up?  I will do it, just please make my son well again.

The 'funny' thing about our God is that He's really not into 'deals' or 'bargains', for better or worse.  The moment I offered a deal, the answer almost instantaneously came over me and it really wasn't anything that would be a huge loss for me.  

Believe...that is all.  At that moment, that was the answer that came.  I needed to believe again.  With my helplessness and despair, there was only one thing to hold on to and that was my faith in this Higher power I will never understand, this Force far too strong and encompassing to be denied and crushed by my limited mental capacity or logic.  

In that small hospital room, I found Him again.  A part of me still refuses to see the strength and brilliance of this God but even my stubborn spirit cannot deny the glimmer that persists amidst the darkness I was in.  He was there.  He is and He remains.  He sent people to support us, pray for us, comfort us.  And something odd happened that I can't explain any other way than to accept that God does not want to be done with me.

Upon admission to the PICU, we were asked a number of questions by the nurse, one of which was whether or not we would like a chaplain to come visit or speak with us.  I specifically declined and the nurse jotted it down.  But on the day Noah was to be discharged, an older lady knocked on our door and introduced herself as the chaplain.  I did not want to be rude so I decided to let her in.  At that point too, I knew He was speaking to me again so I just thought, "You just don't give up, do You?"  I spoke with the lady and told her about our ordeal the past 24 hours or so and at some point, broke down and cried as I spoke of how special Noah is being an IVF baby.  As fate would have it, this lady also had failed attempts at getting pregnant, had tubal pregnancies as well, until finally she opted for adoption.  She said she understood completely how I felt and how protective we always are of our children, no matter how old they get.  She prayed for Noah's healing and for my healing as well.  She also prayed for discernment once AJ and I become ready to face the question of whether or not we would like to try for another child.    

So you see, I have been pulled back.  You cannot accuse me for not trying hard enough to move away and reject Him, but the truth is, I am no match for this God.  He will find ways to make you see Him, feel Him, and rediscover Him.  He finds ways to gently reveal Himself to you when you least expect it but when you most need it.  With all humility, I will admit to you that when there was nothing else and I felt most powerless, my first instinct was still to clasp my hands together and bow my head.  My lifeline remained to be this indispensable Catholic side of me that cannot just be washed off like a stubborn stain on my being.  I found Him again in that hospital room and all He kept saying was...


I have always been here and will always be.       


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of Dirty Dishes and Other Things

She doesn't smell too good and is not at all classy.  But she's quite reliable and will do anything to protect me.  Folks, I'd like you all to meet my new best friend...



Believe it or not, this is the first time I considered wearing gloves for dishwashing.  People have been telling me to wear gloves before but I never paid much attention and gave an unending list of excuses.  

I like being able to feel the dishes...
I think it makes the chore harder and trickier...
I don't like the way it smells on my skin...
It's too uncomfortable...
It feels strange to me...
I'm not sure I'm able to clean efficiently wearing them...
I'm not used to it...

And on and on and on....

Until recently, I noticed how my hands have gotten so dry you can sand wood with them!  But even then, I did my best to not surrender to the glove route and just used all sorts of lotions and moisturizers to remedy my skin issues.  From the cheaper drugstore-bought brands to the high-end French made ones, believe me I've tried them all.  But then seriously, moisturizers can only do so much if I really don't even try to protect my skin against harsh detergents.  Yes we use our dishwasher but you gotta admit.  There are things you just have to hand wash, right? 

So, I've given in.  I now use my handy-dandy yellow rubber gloves and surprisingly, I'm loving them!  Am I sick for actually looking forward to washing dishes at times just so I can feel my domestication even more with my rubber gloves and scrub in hand??  I keep thinking of Diane Lane in the movie Unfaithful...this suburban momma (and a hottie at that!) looking so glamorous as she stood there washing the dishes while sporting her not-so-hot-looking rubber gloves...gently washing off the leftovers with the warm bubbly water in the sink, getting lost in her thoughts as she reminisced about her 'exciting' day, if you know what I mean.  

Well, this momma does not have a young French lover and my thoughts hover more in the vicinity of what-dessert-can-I-have-to-reward-myself-with-and-miraculously-still-not-raise-my-blood-sugar- level and some other mundane thing like taking out the trash, what to cook tomorrow and all that "fun" stuff.  However, I will admit to you that when I'm standing by the sink for longer than 3 minutes, you can pretty much bet that I'm beginning to tread in deeper waters and think of the existential questions I'm struggling with.  As to what some of those specific thoughts are is really just between me and my kitchen sink.  So....husbands or significant others, beware.  You have to learn to watch us and be more sensitive when we're doing the dishes.  Or you can save yourselves the trouble of worrying what goes through our minds and just volunteer to do the dishes yourselves!  



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful...



I’m writing this at my son’s school parking lot as I wait for dismissal time.  Everyone here (and the entire Midwest and Northeast actually) are bracing for a blizzard and about 2 feet of snow starting tonight.  I just came from the grocery store and you can tell that people are in disaster mode or more aptly, ‘snowpocalypse’ mode, to borrow from my nephew Josh B.  Last night, my husband swung by Walmart to pick up a couple of our prescriptions and milk for Noah and he ended up buying more than what I told him to buy.  His response was ‘Well, I saw a bunch of people buying this and that and I thought, well, maybe we need it too for the storm’.  Today as I was touring the grocery aisles, I also noticed that much of the canned goods were flying off the shelves, especially canned soups.  And of course though the store was not packed at all, I noticed that a good percentage were in the water aisle buying gallons and gallons (or bottles and bottles) of water.

This is ‘interesting’ for me, to say the least.  In my six years of living here, this is the first time we’ll be hit by something this bad.  We’ve had a lot of snow before but I think it’s never been two feet or as they said on the news, possibly 2 inches of snow per hour.  I’m anxious but there’s only so much we can do really.  I think we have the supplies we need.  We have flashlights and batteries and all that.  I just hope the utilities will keep running and that our house will be safe and remain damage-free.

Last weekend, our family drove to TN.  As you may recall, I had mentioned in a previous entry that I’m a soon-to-be ex-Midwesterner.  Well, there you have it.  We’re moving to suburban Nashville, TN quite soon…more likely in the summer if all goes well.  The hubby has a new job and though he’s not required to relocate immediately, the company prefers that he does and he himself feels that a change in scenery might be good.  Well, suffice it to say that the weather there is just so amazingly different from here.  And I don’t necessarily mean that in either a good or bad way.  While we were there, it felt like spring time, highs in the mid 60s to upper 70s (deg F), sunny and no thick coats or gloves necessary.  And then as we drove back Sunday night, it was all of a sudden Winter land once again, with the snow-covered terrain and freeze to the bone temperatures.  How cool is that?....two different seasons in less than a day?

Well, however bad it gets here, I’ll forever hold Chicago (or Illinois) close to my heart.  And I do hope its people will be kept safe this week as this storm hits us.  Stay warm and blessed, everyone.  I now have to brave the strong winds outside to go pick up the little one.  Bye for now…