Sunday School: What am I?

This is the first in a series of lessons in spirituality and theology. It is primarily Christian based although I will try address issues from a neutral point of view.

The most important thing you can learn about yourself is this: You are a child of God.

So many times, as we talk to ourselves, we describe our imperfections, our weaknesses. But if we recognize that we come from perfection, we soon understand our importance. You are a child of God, created in his image. How can you be anything but perfect in your own way? Sure, you may have things you need to work on such as your weight or being a better steward, but at the core of your soul, you are perfect.

An evaluation of philosophy will find that "What am I?" is the ultimate question followed quickly by "What is my purpose?" It is the question posed by every scientist and philosopher from Aristotle to Einstein and it is the question we try to answer every single day of our lives.

Most of us are many things besides human. We give ourselves purpose in the labeling of our role in our relationships. For example, I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a cousin, a friend, a co-worker, a customer and a neighbor. My behaviour in each of these relationships is different as well. I have a different relationship to my daughter than to my husband. My actions as a co-worker are different than my actions as a customer.

This week, as you think negative thoughts about yourself, replace each negative thought with "I am a child of God". I also suggest getting a notebook and writing and thinking on this statement. It is a powerful exercise and one that you will not soon forget.

Silly stuff that makes me happy

I Can Has Cheezburger makes me happy.

Case in point:
funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

What silly things make you happy?

Now that we're done with Thanksgiving...

As discussed Saturday, Moo and I took Phoebe to see Santa.

She did quite well, even if we couldn't get her to smile for nothing. But at least she's not screaming or hiding her face in my shoulder like the kid before us.

And how do you keep a baby's pant legs from riding up? I think I pulled them down about 57 times before this pic was taken and still, there are her legs sticking out like the long gangly things they are (The kid's seriously got my dad's long legs).


This Thanksgiving is unlike any other to me.

In 2000, I was thankful for my new husband.

In 2002, I was thankful that I had made peace with my dad shortly before he passed away.

In 2004, I was thankful that Moo had amazing parents. They stepped up a lot when my mom passed away and were so supportive of me.

In 2006, I was thankful that I had a job I didn't hate, a terrific husband, and

Last year, I was thankful that after 2 years of trying, I was finally pregnant.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that the pregnancy was relatively easy and resulted in an easy delivery.

I'm thankful for my husband, who has turned into an amazing father and somehow gets better at being a husband every day. I'm thankful to him too that he's keeping us together financially so that I can stay home with our daughter.

I'm thankful that we are finally debt free except for our house. I'm thankful that Moo and I showed some financial savvy when we bought our house in 2003 and got a low fixed rate mortgage.

I'm thankful that I am healthy and I feel good.

I am REALLY especially thankful for my baby girl. She is amazing in every way and I am in awe of her everyday. It still blows my mind that we have a baby.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving?


I don't bake a lot, but I love to.

This year, Moo and I will be spending Thanksgiving with Moo's family and I am taking pie.

Well, 3 different pies to be exact.

This delicious Sweet Potato pie.

This fabulous Coconut pie.
And this amazing Chocolate pie.

I'm sharing the Sweet Potato pie recipe with you. The coconut and chocolate pie recipes are family secrets and if I tell you, I have to kill you.

Oh My Sweet Potato Pie


  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 small can (5 ounces, about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 prepared pie shells, unbaked


Mix butter, potatoes, sugar and evaporated milk until well blended. Add vanilla, eggs, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the prepared pie shells. Bake in a 350° oven for about 1 hour, until set.
Makes 2 pies.

Digital Scrapbooking

I've been scrapbooking for a number of years now.

I've got to get things together and scan a few of my layouts so you can see how marvelous they are.

Anyway, I've been playing with digital scrapbooking over the last few days and since I'm working on my Photoshop skills, I decided to wander over to Jessica Sprague's website to see what she has to say about the subject.

Turns out she's got a terrific little class to get you started and her classes are on SALE right now!!!

Here's my first attempt at digital scrapbooking...

Recipe for all you - I mean your - Turkeys!

Wanna make an awesome turkey this Thanksgiving?

Here's my no nonsense, super easy method of cooking turkeys:

What you'll need:
  • Roasting pan - either a real one or a disposable one
  • Paper towels
  • butter or margarine - stick butter is best
  • aluminum foil
  • salt
  • pepper
We'll be cooking Tom Turkey the night before the big day so plan in advance.

Now for the steps:
  1. Get one turkey.
  2. Thaw out said turkey. In the fridge for a couple of days is the safest way, but there are quick thawing methods in the event that you forget.
  3. Wash out your sink really well. Lots of hot water, a little soap and then a really good rinse. You'll be using your sink to prepare the turkey.
  4. Prepare your roasting pan. I have an actual roasting pan now, but in years past I've used one of those aluminum throwaway things. If you're using a real pan, line the bottom with aluminum foil to make clean up easy then place next to sink. If you're using a disposable, just put next to sink.
  5. You'll want a strip of aluminum foil to "tent" the bird. Pull off a piece that is a little longer than the length of the pan. Set aside but close to the pan.
  6. Unwrap the bird, put into the clean kitchen sink, and pull all the giblets and other goodies out of the body cavity. You can throw them away or save for giblet gravy or making stock later.
  7. Give the bird a good washing with cool water. Wash the inside and out.
  8. Using one or more paper towels, dry off the bird. Skipping this step won't be a deal breaker but will make the next steps more difficult.
  9. Using an ample amount of butter or margarine, use your hands to really grease up the bird. I also butter the inside of the bird and leave little dollops of butter inside. To prevent cross contamination, I use stick butter for this step and throw away the rest of the stick when I am done. Really grease that bird up. You should see the bird turn yellow you put so much on. If you've done it right, Paula Deen will approve*.
  10. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird. I've known folks watching their sodium to use Mrs Dash but I think that's a sacrilege.
  11. Place bird, breast side up, in the roasting pan.
  12. Wash those nasty birdy hands!!
  13. Then, take the piece of foil you've set aside and create a tent for the bird. Fold it in half and lay over the bird. DON'T press down. It should rest lightly over the bird.
  14. Cook the bird overnight in a 275 degree oven. Yes, 275. Yes this is too low for safe cooking. Trust me. There's more. I usually start my turkey before I go to bed.
  15. In the morning, the house will smell WONDERFUL. BEWARE. You've cooked this bird with the low and slow method so we need to deal with any bacteria. DO NOT DECIDE TO EAT BIRD WITHOUT COMPLETING THE NEXT STEP or you'll spend the next couple of days regretting it!**
  16. Remove the tent. This will allow the bird to brown.
  17. Crank up the heat to 375 for 1-1/2 hours.
  18. Remove turkey from oven. Let rest for about 20 minutes and then lift out of juices and serve. The turkey will be perfectly done and delicious.
*Paula Deen loves butter. Everyone of her recipes requires a stick of butter or more.
** Salmonella poisoning is no fun.

Design your own mate

I met my husband in 1998, but I designed my husband in 1992.

My bestest friend and I had a fun idea one night. We would write a list of all the attributes that we wanted in our perfect mate and we would NOT settle for less. BFF's list was well over 100 attributes; mine had a little over 50 items.

What kinds of things did I put on the list? I decided this was to be a serious list so I didn't put things on it like "Must be cute" or "must be awesome" (I was 22 - "Awesome" was part of my vernacular). Instead, I put things on it like "Must never abuse me physically or mentally" (I had cause - that will have to be another post) or "Must not abuse alcohol or drugs" (again, I had cause- ack that's gonna be one interesting post).

About a year - maybe a year and a half - after Moo and I got married, I realized that Moo fulfilled EVERY SINGLE ATTRIBUTE on the list. Just last year, after seeing the movie The Secret, I realized that I put things into motion to get the person who fulfilled my requirements when I sat down and made a REAL plea to the universe to have this person in my life.

If you decided you wanted a particular experience or thing in your life, what would it be and what attributes would you want it to have?

Happy Holidays Almost!

Moo and I took Phoebe to see Santa today. Yes, I know it's November 22. Yes, I know that it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But Moo and I decided that the lines would be obnoxious after Thanksgiving and decided to go ahead and do it today.

No, you may not see the picture yet. It's going to be posted the day after Thanksgiving.

Only child

I am an only child.

So far, my daughter is an only child. Our fertility journey with her was not as painful or arduous as others' journey. But it made an impression on me that I will not soon forget and I am thankful for that impression.

Why am I thankful? Because I don't know that I would be as grateful for my daughter as I am now. She is a miracle. She is my miracle.

But as I said, she is an only child and will probably remain that way. I have said that I don't want to make a decision on whether to try again until Phoebe is at least a year old.

I asked my mother one time why she only had one child. She told me because she felt that she couldn't give another child everything that she could give to me. I never understood it. I thought she meant material goods.

But now I understand. How can I give another child the same love and attention and TIME that I am giving Phoebe now? My heart has plenty of room - I learned that when Phoebe was born. But what about time and attention? How can I possibly give another child that without depriving Phoebe?

As I said, I'm not making any hard and fast decisions until July. But it's always at the back of my mind.

Food, Glorious Food

Giant Baby

Phoebe had a very good 4 month check-up on Monday.

She's up to 15 pounds 2 ounces and an amazing 26-1/2 inches. The kid is TALL!! I didn't realize how tall she was until I was sitting in the well waiting room at the peds office and met a 9 month old little girl. She was toddling around and was fascinated by Phoebe. The little girl kept coming over looking at Phoebe and wanted to take the baby with her.

Conversation with the little girl's mom turned to how big our babies were at birth. The little girl was a healthy 7 pounds at birth and was now up to 17 pounds and 26 inches. I oohed and ahhed over the little girl.

When Phoebe was measured - again coming in at a tall 26-1/2 inches tall - I realized that my little pumpkin was TALLER than the little girl in the waiting room.

But I'm always reminded that she comes from tall people. All of Moo's family are tall and my dad's family are all giants (mom's family were all average height).

Phoebe is grumpy today

Not a lot of posting - or sleeping for that matter - going on.

4 months old

My daughter turned 4 months old yesterday. She's getting bigger every day and as this post updates to my blog, we're on our way to her 4 month well baby exam. Yes, there will be shots. But overall, I'll find out how amazing the doctor thinks she is...

I sat her in our favorite chair for these shots. She's such a happy baby. She can't sit up on her own, but she wants to sit up all the time. She doesn't like to lay on her tummy or on her back for that matter. She can't see that way.

Her little face lights up my world.
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We start 'em young in these parts

Phoebe with her Daddy at Starbucks.

Yeah, we start 'em young on the java juice...

Not really - don't get your panties in a wad!!

When you're almost 4 months old, fun is cheap

Phoebe will be 4 months old on Monday... this is one of her favorite games: Put something over her eyes, she starts giggling, take it off and she giggles again.

This is a sock.

Hilarity ensues....

So what do you do with your baby?

This may seem like an idiotic question, but what do you do with a baby after they stop sleeping all the time?

Let me expand on this a bit.

My daughter is 3 months old. She's awake a lot
more now and I don't know exactly what to do with her. She likes to sit in my lap, so we do that a lot.

She'll sit in the bouncy for a few minutes so I can do stuff in the kitchen.

She occasionally decides that her swing is not some sort of medieval torture device and will swing in it for 20-30 minutes before remembering that it is her mortal enemy.

I can also put her on the floor on the cute little play mat I got for her, but she doesn't like to be alone so I have to sit there with her while she's on it.

I also occasionally put her in the carrier and she has a good time there for a while (here she's trying to eat her hand - a favorite past time).
Of course, now that I look at this list, I realize I've got a lot of options.. so maybe y'all could just suggest some other activities??

Ways I will Screw Up my Kid: Third Time's the Charm!

This is the ongoing series where I detail how I am screwing up my kid... part one is here, and here is part two

5. I am no longer allowed within 10 yards of my delicate baby with nail clippers in my hand. Why? Because both times I've attempted to trim the claws that she insists on gouging her face with, I've nicked her fingers. This clipping has resulting in bleeding (minor), screaming (her - quickly comforted by momma), and crying and curling into a fetal position (not the child - but momma). Instead of clippers, I have been using an emery board to file down her talons.

One more look at Halloween

I said that we didn't decorate for Halloween, but I told a fib.

Moo decorated the mantle. It's a weird mixture of gory and sweet.

Yes, those are skulls on either side of a picture of my daughter.

NaBloPoMo - or I have gone insane

If you've read my blog at all, you probably know that I only post once or twice a week and that in the last few days, I've posted EVERY FRICKIN' DAY in NOVEMBER.

I'm participating in NaBloPoMo this month. NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month and was started as a counter to NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month whereupon writers promise to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. NaBloPoMo is supposed to help folks make a habit out of writing.

I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month to both get myself writing more and in sympathy with Moo who is participating in NaNoWriMo this month.

While he only has to write about 1600 words a day about one subject, I've gone insane and have decided to write about a different topic every day. Yep, I've gone crazy.

Halloween Revisited

So as discussed earlier, we spent Halloween at my in-laws' house. This is because:
  1. Moo loves Halloween and has had a passion to decorate our house every Halloween.
  2. We don't get any trick or treaters and they get them LITERALLY by the truck load.
  3. Since we don't get any, we aren't especially interested in decorating for ourselves.
  4. Gives grandparents a chance to see/hold/adore/drool on their granddaughter.

For the most part, the decorations didn't photograph well, but this one did:

You've already seen Phoebe's costume so I won't bore you too much with photos of her.... well not much anyway.


I've been trying to come up with something clever all day. So far, I'm not coming up with much.

And Saturdays are even worse...

On Saturdays, I rarely stick to my schedule because I'm trying to be flexible.

Flexibility gives you a cranky 3 month old and dirty bottles and no clean ones with which to feed said cranky baby.

Fridays are difficult

Unlike most people, I find Fridays to be somewhat.. challenging now.

Let me 'splain.

Moo and I only have one car. On Fridays, I drive him to the train station and keep the car for various and sundry errands and grocery shopping. This is not the trouble. The trouble is that no matter what I get accomplished on Fridays, I never feel like I've accomplished anything.

Today, I've taken Moo to the train station, gone grocery shopping, stopped by the bank and gone to Baby Nirvana. I've also made a pitcher of formula, paid the guy who cuts our grass, taken out trash, gone to the chiropractor for an adjustment, filled, run and emptied the dishwasher and had lunch. On top of the fact that I'm toting a 3 month old around in a baby carrier who likes to be changed, fed, and played with on occasion.

It's the things I haven't done that seem to bog me down on Fridays. I still haven't gotten all the baby purchases out of the car. I wanted to make some cupcakes, clean the car, put a Netflix video in the mail, clean our master bathroom... the list goes on and on. And I know that I won't get it all done today. But then, sometimes it's hard for me to see the forest for the trees.

I'm generally an optimistic person so this glass half full feeling isn't very nice. I end up feeling like I'm just bumming around not getting anything done, wasting time, wasting the opportunity I've been given to stay home with my kid and make a living.

So, I'm resolving NOT to do this anymore. Here on day 5 of my 100 day reality challenge to change my life, I am always optimistic and know that there are only so many hours in the day. I get everything done that needs to be done. I am a great wife and mother and I love my life.

How do you let the little things bog you down?

Vision Boards

Today I've spent some time meditating about my intentions and I worked on my vision board.

What is a vision board you say? A vision board is a visible representation of the results of your goals and intentions. If you want a particular car, then you'd put a picture of the car. If you want to weigh a particular weight, you'd find a picture of yourself at that weight or someone else at that weight and put it on your board.

Vision boards help you focus more deeply on your intentions.

Do they work? Well, in August of 2007, I put this picture on my vision board:

and 3 months later I took this picture:

So yeah, it works.

So I'm sharing my vision board with you here. I'm making it my desktop background and will print a copy of it for my ACTUAL vision board in my bedroom. My vision board is in my bedroom because it's the first thing I see in the morning - well besides the lovely and talented Moo - and it's the last thing I see in the evening - except for the forementioned Moo.

What are you doing to make your dreams come true?

President Obama

I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta: the home of Coca-Cola, the best sweet tea in the world, and the middle of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. Folks tend to think of the south as racist and backward with poorly educated rednecks.

My mother had grown up in Atlanta too, went to a public school before desegregation and taught me not to judge someone by the color of their skin. She was staunchly anti-racist and slammed my father for his racism on a regular basis (my dad was from a tiny town in south Georgia and racism seemed to be a way of life in that little town.. things have greatly changed now).

I grew up and went to public elementary school in the seventies - not long after school desegregation, but long enough that I never knew what it was like to go to an all white school. My best friend was a girl named Bridget, a pretty black girl one month older than me. Bridget braided my waist length hair every day during PE and lamented that my hair was too soft to hold the braid.

I tell you this because I was moved to tears last night when Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States and the first black person to fill the office. My daughter will grow up in a world where race is no longer criteria for who gets to lead this country.

He won the presidency not because he's black or because he's a democrat. He won because he's smart and because he has been able to connect with people - black, white, Hispanic, straight, gay, conservative and liberal in a way that made us all want to work hard to get this relatively unknown guy into office.

I never believed that Hillary Clinton would win. I have always thought that she was divisive and, at this time, we need unity, not division. Obama has been able to unite us in the same way that Bill Clinton was able to unite us.

I have ALWAYS believed that a black man would be president before a woman of any race. Why? Because of what happened to Hillary - the comments about her tone of voice or her fashion sense. We're not quite ready to let go of the misogyny, but I really believed that we were ready to let go of the racism.

That's what my mother taught me. That the colors of the rainbow had nothing to do with your intelligence or your potential in this world. She taught me that only I had the power to hold myself back.

Thank God that Barack Obama's mother and grandparents taught him the same thing.

Ways I will screw up my kid, Part Deux

The second part in my ongoing series of how I will mess up my kid... part 1 can be found here

4. She can no longer rest on the ottoman in our living room like a jewel on a pillow. Why? 'Cause she rolled right off of it today. Scared the hell outta me, but she's ok. She cried for all of 30 seconds and was quickly comforted. I'm paranoid enough that I immediately went to Dr Google to look up concussions to see if Phoebe had one.

One Day More

Tomorrow is Election Day here in the states. While I've not been blatant about my pick - well unless you count the little sign over to the right of my blog page - I will say that I have already voted.

I voted for Barack Obama.

I have felt that Obama would be an excellent president ever since he spoke at the DNC back in 2004. After that, I read his book The Audacity of Hope and confirmed that his views on many subjects - politically, socially - mirror my own.

Even though I am a HUGE political news junkie, I have to admit to fatigue from this election. So with this in mind, I post the following YouTube video for your enjoyment.

Today in my reality: Day 1

I had intended to start this a few days ago, but a cold, coupled with going out of town and my daughter's first Halloween, just pushed everything back.

Over the next 100 days, I will focus on the following goals:
  1. I have a successful home based business where I use all the skills I really like to make a great income. I get to use my HR and payroll skills and knowledge every day. I use my creativity to solve problems and create products.
  2. I am healthier today than I was yesterday because I have a moderate diet and enjoy daily exercise. I am at my perfect weight and I feel great
  3. Prosperity flows in abundance in my life. Every time I pay a bill, I get 3X that amount the next week. I constantly win prizes. I find new sources of revenue EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I state these goals in the present, as if they've already happened. While these goals may or may not be achievable in the next 100 days, I will act as if they are already here.

Tools and Practices
  • Vision Board: I have had a vision board for nearly a year now. I need to update it to match my current goals.
  • Meditation: I'll spend a few minutes (no more than 10) using deep breathing techniques to quiet my mind and get myself centered on only positive thoughts and actions.
  • Journaling: Yep, you guys get to read the journal. Lucky you!
  • Positive Affirmations: I'll use these in my meditation sessions as well as during the day to ward off negative thoughts.
I'll go into further detail about vision boards and their uses in another post.

So that's it for today. Any questions?


We just got home from visiting Moo's family over the weekend.

We decorated their house for Halloween since they get kids by the truck load and we get NO - I mean ZERO trick-or-treaters. Halloween is Moo's favorite holiday so we got to try out several props... I've got pictures coming.

So, this is a short post, but I'll share a picture of my little monster with you.

The best baby gift EVER

I love the Itzbeen.

Oh folks tell you when you have a baby that you must have swaddling blankets (you do) and you must have a wipe warmer (what kind of pretentiousness is that?), but I'm telling you: YOU MUST HAVE AN ITZBEEN.

What is an Itzbeen you ask? Well, I could say that it's a timer but that would be too simplistic. It is a timer on acid. It is a work of art. It has prevented more than one argument here at Breakdown Central. It is a GODSEND.

OK, the official description is this:
The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer has a host of helpful features all designed with the new parent in mind. As every new parent knows, your memory is one of the first things to go when a newborn arrives. The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer is a multi-purpose tool that helps you remember the basic details of baby care. ITZBEEN has four timers, changing, feeding, sleep or awake time. Nursing reminder, which side nursed last. Display backlight helps count up with the touch of a you will always know how long it's been!

So here's the down-low: It's got 4 buttons, each with a little icon: a bottle, a diaper, zzzz's and a button for anything. When you get ready to feed the baby, you push the bottle button. When you change the baby, hit the diaper button and so on. When you hit the button, it starts a timer. There's also a little switch to denote which side you started breastfeeding from last time. Just slide the little switch and you're reminded. Later, when your kid is screaming their head off, you can look at the Itzbeen and know that the baby last ate 45 minutes ago so that may not be the issue, but the diaper button says it's been 2 hours so that's probably your best bet.

When we first brought Phoebe home, I was writing everything down, but realized that I knew just from looking how much she was eating (was only washing bottles once a day so it was easy) and I soon understood Phoebe's potty routines but that what I really needed to know was what time it was and when was the last time she ate, was changed, hold old the bottle was, etc. Enter the genius of the Itzbeen.

So now this amazing little item is my new baby shower present. It's the gadget you never knew you needed but once you get it, you won't be able to live without knowing how long ITZBEEN.