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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12 Reasons Why Being the “Old Lady” in Class is ‘da Bomb’…

Let’s just get to it…

1. You actually get to see the hover board in action; as your peer cruises from one building – about 10 yards down – to another building. Such a useful (and not pointless at all) product.
2. Being asked, “Hey, were you old enough to vote in 2012?” is a huge ego boost.
3. Your lab partner has you considering getting a nose ring (again). Maybe a hoop this time like her.
4. You know all about meiosis and sex cell reproduction firsthand, as you have three children for proof.
5. It’s a four hour break from real life- nuff said.
6. It’s like being in your own movie. *Think: “Never Been Kissed”, “21 Jump Street” (or maybe, in my case, 31 Main Street)

7. You actually want to learn this time and don’t feel distracted by the old insecurities of your 20’s.

8. You get to make new friends! (Granted, they’re usually your professors, but hey, a friend is a friend!)
9. You get a great analysis of what “not” to do in raising our own kids. (And to be fair, what to do right as well)
10. Walking the campus is fantastic cardio.
11. Being told, “I thought you were like 22 or 23!” never gets old.

12. You learn that no one ever uses the phrase ‘da Bomb’ any more. (And apparently no one ever really did…)

 

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.

Old Lady Changing

” How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?”

The late Dr. Wayne Dwyer asked this question, and I have to be honest, I feel OLD.

I’d blame it on the minivan or the three kids that roll in it, but that’s not really fair now. Is it? 

The truth of the matter is that I feel old because I’ve not been properly taking care of myself. 

I recently started working at a health care facility for the elderly and those who can no longer care for themselve; it’s been eye-opening. 

I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can. 

And that’s why I’ve really made the commitment to set a solid example for those three kids rolling in that minivan.

I’m talking salads and workouts.

The Gingerbread Mom

Hi there all. Well, in case you were wondering what would happen when you work out routinely for months and then stop with little to no movement for months, the answer is: it will feel like starting all over again. In my case, it may possibly be worse. 

I’m currently on Day 3 of my 21 Day Fix…

 and I am sore…My muscles are so stiff that I currently have the gait of a gingerbread man. 

Now let me tell you: walking like a gingerbread  man is troublesome enough when you’re alone, but when you have three hooligans (also known as my children) and a puppy running around your house, it’s a whole another ballgame. And I mean that literally. My son just hit my daughter in the head with a nerf football. My dog then soon snatched it up, chewing into foam bits all over our carpet. Super!

Normally, this would be a minor fiasco that could be extinguished in under 2 minutes, by because I am currently gingerbread Mom, I can’t move much faster than grandma after Christmas dinner. 

So it should be quite the sight for my kids to see me as I hobble over side to side trying to reprimand and discipline, but let’s be honest here people: there is no discipline today. No discipline at all. These kids are running a muck, and I’m just trying to maintain survival for us all.

Wish me luck this coming week as I push through this discomfort. Today is “leg day”, and one of my last “leg days”, I tore the moulding off of the wall while trying to position myself on the toilet to pee. Elle told me I was like a robot monster (Yes, she busted into the bathroom to be witness to the whole thing.)

Today’s real challenge though…

These stairs. 


Big love,

Meg

The Backdrop

It’s January.

It’s so damned cold in January.

Is it cold that I hate so much?

Or is it the lifeless, colorless backdrop in which I’m still expected to function?

My husband and I met in January. It was during a snow storm.

I still remember crawling into my car and starting it, turning the defrosters on, then blow on my own hands to warm them. He chased me out to my car to get my phone number, and I knew right then that he was worth keeping around.

Why was it in January?

I suppose I’m grateful because it gave us something to celebrate.

Two years later, we were married, in a snow storm.

Not in January.

But still, in a snow storm…

Four years after the night we met (almost to the day), our first daughter was born… in January.

Another something to celebrate.

It’s been 10 years since Scott and I first met in January.

Sophia will be seven on the 26th of January.

And I thank God that He gave me such beautiful gifts, in what used to be the worst month of the year for me: January.

Food for Thought

I believe in food.

I believe food heals.

I believe the power of food is greatly underestimated.

For, food is what every living being wakes up for. It’s what they work for. Often, it’s what they go to bed at night, wondering where its source will come from (for many humans, this is still the case.)

Tonight, my husband and I cooked a meal. Shrimp stir fry.

 He cut the tails off of the shrimp, while I prepped the veggies and other ingredients. During this time, we discussed our day. We decided what should happen with our youngest daughter. We even lightly touched base about opening our own business someday.

I had waited all day to see him, and he, I.

And this meal was our couple’s therapy. It was the mediator of our conversation.

“Can you hand me that cup?” One would ask, as if it were the punctuation of our sentences…

Food heals.

For us tonight, it brought two people, who each had separate days, living near separate lives, together.

I love food.

I could have never declared that 10 years ago.

Oh, the shame for a 20 year old girl to say she loves food. Especially, the chocolate I would eat in secrecy. The fast food. The foods whose big, shiny advertisements brought me to the local grocer like a zombie looking for a brain.

*Must. have. Oreos.*

But that’s not food.

I understand that now.

Oreos and other substances that deem themselves “food” are addictive and deadly. They are not what I love.

Food heals.

Things with shiny, advertisements often do not heal.

Our skin should glow! Our hearts should fill with vigor! Our veins should coarse with energy not diabetes.

You can’t have the conversation we had, when you’re eating a bag of cookies in the dark. To eat this meal that was made with love and feel its nutrients making you stronger, you must know that another, flashier meal won’t do the same for you – when even the ants will not consume it.

When did food become devalued in our world? What kind of organism purposely poisons itself? What other mammal on God’s green earth does not spend their time looking for sustenance.

Because in our world, sustenance of food is also sustenance of soul.