My Guy – A Tribute to my late Husband

          Scott and I were two children pretending to be adults when we met. The sense of relief we felt upon meeting one another was instant. We recognized something familiar in the other, and from that moment on, we didn’t have to pretend any more, and we became inseparable. I’ve been asked what it’s like to fall in love – for me, it was like I spent my whole life holding my breath and upon meeting him, I could finally exhale.

          When we became engaged, we told our priest: this is what God wants for us. This decision to get married did not come from a place of ration, reason, or even emotion. It was a deeply spiritual ”knowing”. Scott and I were going to build a life together, and together, we would protect the other’s childlike heart.

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           Things he loved: He loved music and dancing. He loved comfy clothing and fresh white tee shirts, but he also took great pride in wearing a suit. He loved playing video games, board games, all sports, and pretty much anything else that involved strategizing. He was a true “gamer”, and his approach to life reflected that. He would tell you that he likes the basics though: good food and spending time with his family. And boy, did I love to cook for him and boy, did we make the most of our time together.

         We talked about Heaven. He imagined it as a place where, upon arriving, all of your loved ones from the past are waiting to shower you with their love and encouragement, and you just feel the overwhelming warmth of God.

          There has always been so much to love about Scott. Initially for me, it was his smile and how generous he was with it; but there was so much more. He was incredibly focused, hardworking, and wicked smart. He was goofy and thoughtful and knew the true meaning of family. Family. Was his number one priority. He never missed a tee ball game or recital. He truly believed that we work to live and not the opposite. Work hard. Play hard. Family comes first. He was just the best. The best husband to me and the best father to our children.
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         While Scott would tell you that he was living his dream, he and I enjoyed talking about our future together. He really looked forward to retirement. He wanted to build a sweet tiny house and live the simple life somewhere spectacular. He knew that life isn’t about fast cars, designer homes, or large bank accounts – although those things are fun, they are just ‘things’. He said: life is about the bonds you form with others. It’s people. People: family and friends are what make life. And he loved you all. 

Thank you.

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Cooking with Crazy 

It’s Friday. And I have the night off, so that means I want to make dinner.

I love making dinner. I’m not a mom who complains about this one. 

Cleaning the bathrooms? Yes. 

Folding laundry? Eww. 

But cooking …I love it. 

There are definitely issues when someone, like me, in my situation, steps up to the stove. And I will get to that. 

For now, let’s talk about what I made.

Shrimp scampi over riced cauliflower. 

So simple. So easy. And just good. (Most things, when kept simple, are good.)

Here are my ingredients (as adapted from Pinterest):

Edit

I found this list of ingredients in Pinterert and knew I could work with them. Rather than using a carb heavy pasta, I decided to combine this recipe with a new fave of mine: cauliflower rice. 

The whole thing took about 20 minutes all together. Very fast and easy. 

1. Peel and mince garlic *Note: this is the most time consuming step – and while it’s not that difficult, everything else is smooth sailing afterwards.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet add garlic and shrimp ( with tails cut off)

3. Mince cauliflower in a food processor *buy a food processor – it sounds intimidating but it’s so easy and life changing, really. Go buy one. Like, now.

4. Deglaze the pan with juice of one lemon and a half cup of dry white wine 

5. Add a cup of chicken broth. Keep heat at med-high.

6. Add riced cauliflower

7. Chop parsley – This is the first time I’ve ever bought or cooked with parsley. It’s not necessary for flavor but is a 100% improvement on the appearance of the dish, which is just lookin like white grits up until this point. Mentally, you will enjoy your dinner so much more with it.

8. Add parsley; total cool time of this dish should be about 5 mins or until the liquid has evaporated out. 

So what’s going on in the meantime with my kids? What’s happening while mommy pretends to be Nigella Lawson?

Let’s see what I meant before when I said there are “issues” when someone in my “situation” tries to cook…

Baby J repeatedly got it into our fridge, and at one point, was caught DRINKING Parmesan cheese.

The girls spent that 20 minutes wrestling. You think boys are the only ones who wrestle? I used to too… Nope. Gracie now has a loose tooth, which she’s pretty excited about. She even ran to go clean her room for the tooth fairies anticipated arrival. (Thanks Grandma L for that idea)

So you see, I’m not exactly cooking in peace and wouldn’t blame another mom who just said eff it and ordered a Friday night pizza.

If you have a personality like me though, once your into something, you’re entranced. Bottomline, I’m a mad woman in the kitchen. 

After the liquid is evaporated, I cover and remove my skillet from the heat, and I allow it to sit while I set up plates. 

This keeps it hot, and gives that cauliflower a wee bit more cook time.

I know what else you’re wondering…

What did I do with the leftover wine?

Ahhh… Here’s a little Mommy refreshment for after dinner and baths. 

A little dry champagne and frozen blueberries – complete with antioxidants! So you can feel good about getting boozed up 😉

(This sparkling wine is like 80% off at Kroger right now, and if you buy 4 bottles, you get an additional 10% off. Just sayin. ) Comment and let me know if you try some variation of these!

Have a happy Labor Day weekend!

Big Love,

Meg 

Yesterday 

When it comes to parties, ‘simple’ is not in my vernacular.

The one thrown for my four year old this weekend was no different. 

A four year old really only needs a nice sugary cake and friends whom with to run around. Because she hasn’t had a really good party since her first birthday (and also because my mommy guilt is strong with this middle child), she was given a bash. 

Invitations were ordered from Etsy and sent to 60 of our closest friends and family members:


(https://www.etsy.com/shop/MulliganDesign)

Elle wasn’t sure if she wanted a general ‘Princess’ theme or a ‘Cinderella’ one — until she decided, we did the broader fairy tale type invite. 

Once they were out and it was time to pick up the decorations, I asked her one last time what she wanted to do… Cinderella it was. 

I made center pieces.

 This kinda felt extreme, but Elle likes things to be pretty, and I enjoy making things pretty; so it worked.

Scooter teased me and my love for spray paint, “Every time we have a party, you’re busting out a can of spray paint.” (It might be true.)

Jars found randomly around my home to spray paint sparkly gold, and flowers and pumpkins were picked up from the Dollar Tree. 

I find a good party is in the people. An exceptional party is in the details — things like a sparkly pumpkin or one of the magic cookie wands that my beautiful mother made for us. (Seen below)(Don’t mind my make shift ice bucket — my children destroyed the one and only that I had)I love the series of moments that make up a really good gathering. The quiet before the first guest arrives; the serious concentration of my daughter’s face as she opens her presents; or little pink boots that have been kicked to the side for some serious play in bare feet.

My ultimate favorite moment though was this:We had a special guest arrive after cake and gifts. Elle was completely humbled in her presence. One of the best parts of parenting is seeing the reaction of your little ones to something new. This was quite special.

Cinderella was sent to us by Kirko Productions (link at the end of the article). She led a sing along with the children and even brought a glass slipper for the birthday girl. 

The girls also did crafts with the princess and had their faces painted. It was an eventful evening for sure.What’s a good party without a little something for the grown ups? My husband made sure there was a little ‘play’ for the big kids too. While I couldn’t participate as I was following a 2 year old or doing hostess things, it was awesome to watch guests of all ages join in some fun.Scooter got his volleyball game in (a few of them actually). We didn’t know if it would be possible, as the forecast teased us with rain — going back and forth, back and forth, until finally came the day, and the forecast STILL was unclear. 

The evening ended with a few good people sitting around a table, the kids tucked in bed, and a gentle rain as the backdrop of our conversation. 

I have to admit – I was pretty in love with yesterday. 
Cinderella courtesy of: http://www.kirkoproductions.com/

My Chaos

I like to move through daily activities with a sense of humor, but tonight I find myself just so darn tired that there’s no humor.

No humor what so ever.

Typically, if I can’t be humorous, I can tap into some sort of nostalgia or whimsy. Trust me when I say: I’m all out of effin whimsy.

This was my first full week on the third shift (aka midnights (aka the graveyard shift)). While it started well, and it hasn’t ended poorly… I’ll just put it this way: at one point I found kielbasa in the toilet.

See evidence below:

Exhibit A: The Aforementioned Toilet Kielbasa
When I wasn’t discovering that dinner has been literally chucked in the toilet, I was cutting holes into Baby J’s diapers… To make room for a tail.

Somehow in the chaos that is our life, we lost track of how old Lucy girl is now. When we realized that she was on her doggie girly time, Scooter and I had an ‘ohh yeah’ moment; one where we looked at each and realized that we’d been forgetting something. Surprise! Lucy’s officially a woman, and you two are officially idiots. How could we forget to spay her? 

Eh, soon soon.

These are a few of the occurrences that unfolded between the planned events of the week. Events like: grocery shopping, eBay package sending, scrub ordering, preschool sign up-ing, parade walking, meal making, calorie logging, laundry folding, party planning, suit case packing, and night shift working.

It’s overwhelming, and I’m tired beyond being cute. Being a working mom is new territory and has come with a whole new group of challenges. 

But it’s the same chaos as before. It’s my chaos, and whether I’m too tired to laugh about it or not…

I love my chaos.

Then and Now: a Confused Woman

“As much as you’ve wanted to, you can’t control the future, Megan,”

A notion I heard countless times before, yet never was able to wrap my heart and soul around its concept. Even still. Now. I remind myself that it is not a concept. It is a truth.

The future is out of my control.

Me: comfortably mediocre since I was an adolescent. In my own way, I thought by never doing much, I could never lose much either. I’ve been in limbo for years. Quietly panicking about the future, I’ve slept in a constant state of ordinary, not knowing what else to do. Throughout my life, if I couldn’t control it, I put no effort into it…

He awoke someone who had lived within me, dormant for so long. The woman who does what’s good for herself, who believes in herself… a woman who is happy… I couldn’t understand her before. Someone, once frightening, is now here and alive.

She is me.

He awakened the woman who puts the effort in…

And this is the point where I cry.

For years, I’ve been trying to put into words what Scott does for me. It’s like everyone else talks to the mediocre me. Scott speaks to that sleeping woman within me.

And she listens.

December 1, 2007. I will become Mrs. Megan Bajorek, but it’s more than that. It’s the day that I embrace that sleeping woman who he sees. It’s the day that I deny the girl who is fine with ordinary.

“…you can’t control the future, and neither can I! But I have you here, and I want you to be there in my future, by my side. That’s what I do have control over.” ~Scott, 2006

 

*EDIT– I wrote this by hand, before blogging and social media were gigantic. It was later posted to my MySpace, but I thought I would share it here.

Scott passed away in a car accident last month and reading this brings me both pain and gratitude. I wish I could have one without the other, but apparently, all good things come with a price.

The pain needs no explanation. He was the love of my life.

The gratitude is to him…

Leaving the school parking lot today, two moms power walked past my van. Sweet ladies, laughing and carrying on… I smiled, while wondering what they were gabbing about.

They’re probably talking about their diets, or the shape of their butts, or recipes they’ll be trying this week. They’re probably complaining about their picky eaters at home. These thoughts streamed through my mind and then one floated to the top. They’re probably complaining about their husbands.

I used to complain about my husband.

“He didn’t…” “He forgot…”  “He’s so…”  “He’s too…”

I look back now on these statements and see how oblivious and spoiled I was.

Me. Me. Me.

I was given such a gift. My person. Someone who not only understood me in a world that couldn’t, but he also asked me to be brave. He encouraged, almost demanded, that I be myself. He loved the ‘me’ I worked so hard to hide. All of that, and he gave me three babies.

Why would I ever pretend that it wasn’t enough? It was everything.
I don’t pray to turn back time. 

I miss being the sweet, spoiled, oblivious wife, but I know that’s just a distant fantasy now. My prayer is different. I pray to God for one statement: thank you.

I want to give all those mindless complaints back to speak those two words to him.

I plead for it daily.