Saturday, April 23, 2011

Patience Cup

During Holy Thursday Mass, Father was talking about the many blessings that God gives us and how difficult it can be to see those blessings when we are so busy, so overcome with the day to day tasks. I smiled contently, thinking of my blessings, the three little ones at home with Jay (which was a blessing in itself, not fighting them through mass) and the one little blessing sitting on the altar as a server. And I almost laughed aloud, thinking how just a few hours earlier, I wasn't feeling so blessed.

Thus became The Patience Cup.

By 6 p.m. Thursday night, my patience was gone and I had resorted to yelling. Katie was really hurt by this, saying she didn't do anything wrong. So, I showed her this cup and told her to imagine that this cup is my patience. Then I drew the first line:
"That first line? That shows how much patience Natalie used up, by screaming from the moment I picked her up at daycare until the moment she went to bed...with just a few exceptions. She used up that much of my patience all by herself."

"The second line? That's how much patience Maggie used up, with her screaming tantrums and throwing fits every time I asked her to do anything. Even picking up her own shoes resulted in a fit. So, she used up that much more of my patience."

"That left this little area for you (Katie) and Lainie to share, just a little bit of my patience left. And, although you weren't being bad, the constant 'Mommy, look here!' 'Mommy, I need this!' 'Mommy, she touched me!' 'Mommy! Hurry up with supper! We're going to be LATE!' used up the remaining little bit of patience until my patience cup exploded:"

"And it's never pretty when a Patience Cup explodes. So, I promise to do my best to not let my Patience explode if you could please just walk away for a few minutes when it looks like the cup is getting full. Okay? Sometimes all it takes is 60 seconds of quiet to restore the Patience Cup."

The lesson must have sunk in a little, because I've probably been asked a dozen times today, "How's your patience cup doing, Mommy?" Gotta love that girl of mine!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Closing Shop

I'm feeling overwhelmed. Nothing major is going on, but lots of minor events are. A little bit here, a little bit there, and suddenly it feels like we are spiralling out of control. (I know... am I really that busy if I'm taking the time to blog? Well, I have no excuse.)

Tonight, I did some visualization to try to calm my racing thoughts, and it worked. I imagined standing in a house full of windows, and each window had a set of shutters on it. I walked to each window, looked at the task or responsibility in that window, and then decided whether to leave the shutters open or close it for now. Need to call someone back, just for fun? Shut the shutters. "Mom, my jeans are dirty and I need them tomorrow." Shutters stay open. "We need to order shirts for this summer." Shutters closed. Clinicals in 8 hours and need to know the drugs I'll be administering. Shutters open. When I can close half the shutters, the remaining half don't seem so insurmountable.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beef Marinade and Chicken & Pasta

Saturday was a laid-back day for us, so I did some experimenting with recipes. Both creations were really tasty.

For lunch, I grilled tri-tip steak marinated in balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and teryaki sauce. That marinade smelled so good, I just about wanted to drink it...but that would be over the top, don't you think? Served with grilled pineapple and steamed rice.

For supper, we had a pasta creation. It's a combination of four different recipes, and it was rich but delicious.

Pasta & Chicken & Schtuff

  • 3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 slices of bacon, diced
  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6-7 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choice
  1. In a large skillet, saute bacon and leeks until bacon is crisp and leeks are softened. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet. Add chicken and saute until cooked thoroughly, about 10 minutes.
  3. (Now's a good time to start the pasta cooking.)
  4. While chicken is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir in two tablespoons flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add 1 cup milk to the flour mixture, stirring continuously until all lumps are gone. 
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese into white sauce. Cook on medium until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
  7. Now back to the chicken skillet. Remove chicken from pan, putting it with the bacon and leeks. 
  8. Melt1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Return the bacon, leeks and chicken to the skillet. Stir together.
  10. Pour the white sauce over the chicken mixture. Stir.
  11. Serve over the pasta.

They'll be days like this

This week was definitely a busy, up-and-down roller coaster. We had the usual: 2 days of clinicals, 3 days of lecture, 2 trips to Manhattan for speech, 1 trip to Abilene for food pick-up, 2 nights of dance, 1 night of religion, and a whole lotta gardening. (Hmm, that list makes me question where our priorities are...but that's a thought for another day.) Add to the usual, Katie's art night and Katie's fine arts program, and it was just going to be busy.

So, to make things more exciting, my brother flipped his car on Wednesday afternoon. He ended up with only 4 staples in his head, but no broken bones and one totaled car. (I am responsible for him up here and was the go-to person to get him through the crisis.) My mom has been/is sick with something to do with her gall bladder and made a trip to the hospital for that. And, Lainie added excitement with her own minor complication.

But, on the bright side, Katie had a really good week, with quite a few self-esteem-saturating successes. Maggie was a super-duper helper and just a joy to be around this week, and Natalie's two-ness wasn't near as intense as weeks past. I also got good news and wrapped up some portions of my nursing stuff, and finished half of my microbiology course, which is as far ahead as I can work.

It's easy to be happy and thankful when things are going smooth as silk. It gets tougher when there are obstacles in the road. When too many pebbles coagulate, they become one big mountain that seems insurmountable. And this week, we had lots of pebbles.

What made the mountain manageable is the amazing friends we have here. When Anthony had his wreck, I was waiting for Maggie to get off the bus so we could go pick up Natalie and then Katie. In 3 minutes and 3 phone calls, we had someone taking responsibility for each of the girls, not only to watch them, but even to feed them and get K&M to religion as planned. Amazing. Just humbling-ly amazing. Proof that, together, we can move mountains.


Next week is going to be just as busy, but hopefully no pebbles get in our path. Three days lecture, 1 test, 2 days clinicals, 5 days teaching (Jay!), 5 days gardening (Jay!), 2 trips to Manhattan for speech, 2 nights of dance, 1 night of religion, plus Maggie's fine arts program, K&M's spring dance dress rehearsal and spring recital on Sunday, and a 10K and 2 tests to study for me.

Between last week's craziness and next week's craziness is one beautiful weekend, full of outside time, garden planting, a trip to the zoo, and family time.