Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baking, Cooking and Passing it on...

As the girls are getting into a groove with school, I am trying to figure out what my groove is.  It's been a little tricky this week because we have had some sad mornings with Layla not wanting to go to school.  Each time her eyes fill up with tears, but don't quite spill over, it breaks my heart into a million pieces.  I'm not sure what is causing the sadness...I think it's just suddenly realizing school is all day every day, not just a couple mornings like pre-school.  When I pick her up she is happy and full of stories from her day, and her teacher has assured me she is happy during the day, it's just these hard goodbyes.  We've been talking a lot about it and I've tried to give her some pep talks (Ava is best when she tells her "Layla, I should be the one that doesn't want to go to school, I have to do tests and math and reading everyday.  You just get to play")  We're not talking sobbing, clutching my hand tears...just wanting extra hugs and kisses and her trying to hold it together as she walks away.  She asked me to come have lunch with her one day this week.  In the past couple years I've gone to have lunch with Ava a few times and planned on doing the same with Lay, but wanted her to get into the year a bit first.  When she asked, I hesitated.  I want to encourage her independence, but also be there for her when she needs to feel secure.  I decided to go for it and it was really good.  I got to meet a few of her new friends, see Ava for lunch as well and doing the second goodbye of the day was just a quick hug and she was off.  We are getting there and each day I see her gaining confidence.  We're getting there.  (just realized I said that twice, must be trying to reassure myself)  Tuesday night Matt took Ava to soccer and I decided Layla and I would stay home...have a little time with just her.  We spent the whole hour playing soccer in the backyard.  She kept making up these silly games where she would get a goal, but I only got a half-goal every time or a kinda goal.  Then she got really creative and put the soccer ball in the barbie car and you had to leap over it and you could get a goal if you didn't knock the ball off....too funny.

Not to leave Ava out of any of this school stuff....she's just rocking second grade.  She is full on school kid confident as she has entered her third year there.  She has her friends, loves her teacher and I barely get a goodbye.  She's awesome.  

As I said before, I have not found my groove with all these changes.  I only work a couple days a week and the three in the middle are still feeling very, very lonely.  I go about all the things we would normally do in our days, but there is just something missing (or two somethings).  So, I try to do what normally helps me clear my head.  I cook.  I run.  I write.  Not sure if it's helping or making me crazier.  The other morning I had three different things I was baking all at the same time...cupboards open, kitchen a mess.  Not sure if it made me feel any better but we did end up with amazing chocolate cheesecake bars and banana muffins...yummy!

Oh yea, and I clean.  Today I cleaned out our entire refrigerator.  I mean, took everything out and scrubbed it down.  Thank goodness my mom called and invited me to join her and my sister for a little shopping and lunch or I may have started on the oven.  

I'll keep with the food theme, cuz there's been a lotta cookin going on in this house.  Last night, in an attempt to use some of the many potatoes we have lately, I made perogies.  We used to eat them a lot when we lived in Michigan, but I've never tried to make them myself.  For the first time, they turned out great.  They were perfectly complimented by a balsamic pasta salad.  I miss my little helpers with all this cooking, but overall cooking makes me feel happy.  

Other happy this week?  I found a way to pay forward a little kindness.  After writing that I intended on trying to pass on some goodness, I knew I wanted to come good on it sooner rather than later.  Something about writing it and putting it out there makes you feel a lot more accountable to follow through.  I spent a lot of nights thinking about what I wanted to do.  I immediately think of all the things I could do for people I know, however, the thing that got me going on this in the first place was the kindness of strangers.  I also thought of all the amazing non profits we have here locally that we could help out with, but again it wasn't exactly what I was going for.  Then as I was reading one of the blogs I follow, a story caught my eye.  It was about a mom who just recently lost her battle with melanoma skin cancer.  It was heartbreaking to read.  She left three children and a husband behind.  I don't feel like I can tell the story because it's not my story to tell, so please read it here.  It just spoke to me for whatever reason.  It reminded me a bit of my sisters story in that it is about a family dealing with a horrible illness and they are using the power of social media to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and to try to raise money to cover their medical expenses.  Because of social media we have been able to spread my sisters story and have received so much support from it.  That is why when I read this story, I wanted to make a donation to this memorial fund.  In the past I've read or heard sad stories and just went on with my life.  Now, having seen my sister go through so much and how so many people have reached out to her, I simply cannot just do nothing.  We can't afford much, but it felt really good to send just a small donation.  To continue this cycle of goodness and kindness from strangers.  This will not be the last time I do this.  

If you found a way to pass on some kindness this week, comment about it (on facebook or here)...it just may inspire someone else to do so and that's just good karma.

Happy day to you...enjoy the gorgeous Fall weather we've been having when the smoke clears.  (Yes, I have gotten on board and am all good with the season change...maybe)

Balsamic Pasta Salad
In a mixing bowl whisk 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp sugar, s&p together.
Add fresh veggies...I used tomato, cucumbers and zucchini
Toss in some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh torn basil
Add some cooked and rinsed acini de pepe pasta 
Toss it all together and refrigerate for a little while so flavors can blend.  Tastes to fresh.  Enjoy!

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