Monday, November 30, 2009


once i saw it, i knew i just had to make eva's scarf. i was a little hesitant to make myself *another* scarf. (then i read michelle's scarf wardrobe post, and almost changed my mind!) as it turns out, mid-scarf, i realized that it was the perfect birthday gift for another very special girl who celebrates on november 25th.

everyone should have a go-to, confidence-building accessory in their wardrobe. happy birthday, crystal! hope it motivates you AND keeps you warm :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

there is nothing quite like the woodfire smoke smell and the homestyle embrace of the Cracker Barrel. (i'm not usually a fan of the Cracker Barrel. or "homestyle cooking, in general.) however, in this case, it was the perfect end to a great day.

"do they have any Thanksgving specials?" asked Jack.

oh, yes. yes, they do...

truly, madly, deeply

i've learned a lot on this vacation. i've learned the five days at Walt Disney World is just about enough. enough time to ride a few rides more than once. enough time to see just one more show. enough time to decide that watching other people eat abnormally large turkey legs is disturbing.

i've learned that a party of three is a good number (for me.) i've learned that i really am thankful to be past strollers and diapers. i've learned how to read my family - how to know when an ice cream can soothe the moment or when it's time to call it a day.

i've learned that if the sign says WARNING: YOU MIGHT GET SOAKED ON THIS RIDE, i should be thankful i'm wearing cute stripey underpants!!

i've learned that a little mid-afternoon rally can buy you a few more hours of fun and entertainment.

i've learned that you really can "do" Walt Disney World" without spending an arm and a leg. i've learned to love the glee on the face of an 8 year old when he steps off of the Test Track. i've learned that jack can make friends anywhere. i've learned that i can survive a week in a single hotel room with the two erickson boys. i've learned that a cup-of-noodles is a fantastic dinner after a 9 hour day in the pouring rain.

i've learned that this vacation is everything i needed/wanted/craved it to be. and i've learned that i really should not let so much time pass between vacations!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

all i ever wanted

we're three days in, averaging 9 hours a day, and i think i'm holding up pretty well. this vacation really has been the perfect way to CELEBRATE where i am in this life's journey.

the sounds of "happy birthday, eleanor" ringing from the rafters of the Magic Kingdom are still echoing in my sleep. Thanksgiving dinner at a nearby Cracker Barrel provided great leftovers to carry with us today. (have YOU ever brown-bagged it in a theme park? did you have the moistmaker?)

hope you are enjoying every bit of your holiday this week!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving!!

a little rain may fall on your parade. no worries!! take a moment and fall back in love with your family and friends this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, blogosphere!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


i'm sitting on my sofa. tuesday morning. 7:57 am. i've got laundry going, coffee steaming, jack is...

hold up! jack is at school, and i didn't take him. i'm not on my way in to work. heck, i'm still in my pajamas!!


in a few hours, we three will be heading to the airport. spider dog will be having his own new experience at pet camp. other family members will be heading to georgia. and maryland. and we will be winging our way to The Magic Kingdom.

we will have a week of mouse-ear shaped foods and fastpasses. it will snow on Main Street USA. we will have Chinese food (or Thai or Italian or STEAK) for Thanksgiving dinner.

i will turn 40.

and i will NOT check my work email. i WILL blog and i WILL facebook and i WILL spend part of my first evening of vacation programming a new phone (since mine inexplicably will NOT unlock. what's with that?!? i can answer calls, but THAT'S IT!! motorola and verizon - you BOTH have MUCH to learn about customer service. but THAT is a story for another day...)

but for right now, i'm sitting on my sofa in my p.js. watching Nie on the Today Show and channeling kristi's amazing vacationing karma.

i am so thankful for this vacation. i am ready for the Magic.

Friday, November 20, 2009

photoless phriday - the last of the thirties edition

do you ever do those countdown-to-something-big thing? you know, this is the last full day of school before vacation; this is the last Christmas in this house; this is the last vacation with no children (one child, two children, etc)... i'm there now. within the last week of. the final days of.

truth be told, i've spent the better part of the past 24 hours in tears. inexplicable waves of emotion. heart-wrending sobs in the shower. stifled sniffles and dewy eyelashes. i'm doing myself no favors by listening to an eternal playlist of kate bush and brandi carlile and dido and sarah mclachlan.

part of this is shear exhaustion. i haven't had a break from this hotel life since last january.

part of this is tender memories of last fall and early winter. the time when we were losing Grabbie.

part of this is vacation-related-stress. i've never been on vacation with just my two before. i'm all of a sudden feeling like one hotel room is a small place for three vivacious personalities.

but part of this, a big part, is the-countdown-to-something. the last days of a significant part of my life. the inevitable "have i accomplished the things i had hoped to accomplished?" "am i where i want to be?" "am i WHO i want to be?" for a startling moment last night, the only phrase i could utter was "i want to go home."

even more startling, i was convinced that "home" was not a place i have found. yet.

i am doing my best to entertain the notion that "forty is the new thirty." or whatever. but i don't want a new thirty. in fact, i kind of want a chance to do my old thirties over again. not all of them. but some. definitely some.

i've turned off the music now. it's gotten to be a little much, even for me. i'm going to spend the rest of this last friday doing the things i normally do: most likely enjoying pizza in my pajamas, with my boys, watching a movie. maybe knitting.

and tomorrow, i've got to get up and coach the last soccer game of my thirties. so, there's something!

happy weekend!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


i am thankful for TWO Thanksgiving covered dish meals today.

and thankful for elastic waist pants.

i am thankful that i have shared TEN Thanksgiving meals with the team at Hampton Inn Southport over the years.

and thankful that vacation is near.

i am thankful that today is Beaujolais Day.

and thankful for the digestive aid of a glass of good red wine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

wordless wednesday


Posted by Picasa

disclaimer: i did NOT make this, it was a wedding gifr from matty's grandmother. we bring it out every year around Thanksgiving and use it through the holidays.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

win, lose or...

so, can we talk about this soccer thing?

you might remember a few months ago, our soccer league was scrambling for coaches; specifically coaches in my son's age group; more specifically... coaches for my son's team (of course.) i deftly avoided hanging a whistle around my neck by agreeing to be the "assistant" coach to a very competent coach who stepped up at the last minute. whew!

my duties as assistant coach were pretty minimal: organize the snack bringers, remind parents what color jersey to have clean for the upcoming game (we alternate between white and blue jerseys), show up at practices for moral support, help with the phone tree when rain forced us to cancel, etc., etc. i was really good at doing all of those things.

and competent coach was doing a great job out on the field! trust me, i know how challenging it can be to herd nine Under-10-year-olds into something that resembles a cohesive team. i know how challenging it can be to convince them that they don't all want to play goalie at the same time. i know how challenging it can be to get them to keep their hands to themselves.

i know this now, because all of a sudden, i realize i've spent the second half of the season being The Coach.

oh, yes. first it was, "hey, can you cover this practice?" then it was, "can you cover the make-up game on thursday night, because I have an exam." and then, "my sons have been diagnosed with the flu, and i'm not feeling so great myself." and finally,"my flu has turned into bronchitis and possibly pneumonia so, guess what? i won't be there saturday. can you cover the game?"


so, that is the story of how i became the soccer coach for the U-10 Hurricanes. i don't begrudge coach his families' illnesses, and i certainly am grateful that the pox has not fallen upon my household. but? "coaching" has stressed me out. (like i needed anything else to stress me out these days. fortieth birthday approaching? hello?!?)

i feel that i've been competent in my substitute role. i've run drills, i've remembered to bring a jersey for the goalie, i've communicated effectively with the other coaches, i've overcome absences and i've even finally learned something more than the most basic of soccer rules. the kids have even called me "coach," and i feel like we've found a middle ground between total chaos and championship team. we've definitely shown progress, and we've even won a few games!!

have i enjoyed it? no. i get stressed out before each game, wondering if i'm going to upset a child (or worse, their parent) by substituting too much, or not enough; by not giving everyone a fair shot at goalie. by not noticing that so-and-so is calling so-and-so an "idiot." every time i call "SUB," i worry that we didn't have possession of the ball and that i've made an agregious soccer error.

my child seems more stressed when i'm coaching. it's tough to appreciate the nuance between "mom" and "mom-who-is-coaching-right-now-honey."

we had our last game yesterday, and we just have the soccer festival standing between us and the end of the season (and vacation. and forty...) i feel good about my participation, even if my original plan to avoid coaching at all costs didn't quite pan out. i think i was a fair coach, full of encouragement and praise and gentle reminders. i also realize that, for my son at least, i actually would like a a coach who is full of drills and enthusiasm and athleticism. (i don't feel like jack made a lot of technical advances this season.) what can i say? i'm driven. and, i appreciate someone who can lead the drive.

one of the parents said to me recently, "you're doing a great job." i immediately whipped my head around, looking for lurking soccer league administrators. "don't say that too loud," i admonished in a whispered frenzy, "i don't want them to call me next season!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

gee, thanks!

i am in the middle of "budget season," and i am both bored and stressed by the whole operation, but i'm thankful i have the opportunity to have serious input into the budget that i will be expected to uphold in 2010...

i have to go to a Rotary District dinner this evening, 45 minutes away from my cozy home, but i'm thankful for the time that i will be able to spend in the car with my dad...

today's "feelings about 40" are leaning toward the melancholy and i really need to find time to deal with renewing my driver's license, but i'm thankful that vacation is just a few short weeks away...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


i'm not going down without a fight!!

thank you all for the laughter. it's amazing how a good chuckle can lighten the mood!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


it's a few short weeks away.

i'm bordering on indifferent to depressed.

i had certain body image goals that i am no where near attaining.

i had financial goals that i am no where near attaining.

i had blogging and photography goals that i am no where near attaining.

i know that i should not be so blue about it.

but, i am.

quick... somebody tell something funny (and young at heart!!)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009


feeling grateful today for:

skillet chicken parmesan;
an 8 year old boy who requested a pumpkin hat;
permission to enjoy my birthday month (thank you for the reminder, natasha!);
new-to-us furniture to replace old-to-us furniture;
election volunteers who call on election eve (no matter the candidate);
a healthy home.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

reality check

i've been eating well this week. i don't often blog about food here (kind of ironic, considering the title of my blog and all.) i read beautiful foodie posts, and get tons of inspiration thanks to their mouth-watering photography. often, when i'm preparing a meal, i think i should take some pictures. but there are just not enough hours in the day for me to stylize my measured dry ingredients and freshly squeezed lemons. and usually by the time i think to photo the finished product, we're halfway through our meals and having a lively discussion about who is going to clean up the kitchen.

also, despite my love of words, and sentences of words, and paragraphs of words, a reviewer i am not. a few notes and my very scientific 5-star rating system scribbled into the margins of some old cookbooks tell me all i need to remember about a particular dish. (given that most of the recipes i use now come from the www, i rely heavily on "bookmarking." that and my uncanny ability to remember which bloggers make great chicken enchiladas, pumpkin cookies, rye limpa bread, or even a favorite sandwich.)

so, despite the fact that there are no photos, and i am not going to wax poetic about the amount of squash i've eaten in the past week, here is a sampling of what was served up at the erickson's house this week:

Turky Chili and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie (Rachel Ray) *****

Shoo Vampire Soup (Martha Stewart)(no link to be found - i used my trusty 2000 Halloween Issue) ****

Stuffed Squash (Alton Brown) ****

Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce (Matty Erickson) *****

Mummy Sandwich (the lovely Joys of Home blog) ****

Chicken Mug Pie (Rachel Ray) *****

as i read back over this list,i am reminded of some lovely meals this week. and it occurred to me that (sometimes) weeks full of meals like this one are the exception, not the norm. my reality is that there is often a pizza night in the mix. (sometimes two!) my reality is that four out of five nights i am stopping at the grocery on the way home from work. and not for just one key ingredient. often i haven't decided on the evenings meal until five minutes before i walk out of my office. my reality is that my husband studied the culinary arts, and apparantly did not take one single class on washing dishes.

maybe i hesitate to share my cooking adventures, because of the lack of gorgeous photos, or a succint and savory review of the meal. maybe i think that my meals don't stack up to some of those that you have shared. (am i the only one that ever thinks that?)

unfortunately, i have stumbled with hesitations like this most of my life. a bit of the "grass is always greener" syndrome. i've wasted some precious time trying to keep up with the jones family (and the murphy family, and the smith family...)

but this week, we ate well. and added several recipes to our family favorites. we only ate pizza once, and that was after a late, chilly soccer game. but just in case you spend half a second worrying about keeping up with the erickson family, let me just put some perspective on it.

my reality: i can't make a decent looking mummy sandwich. don't get me wrong. i can see vast improvement over last year's attempt. at least this year's attempt "resembles" something "wrapped."

and truthfully? we would not have revisited the mummy sandwich this year had jack not declared it a "family tradition." (tradition? after a sad attempt one year? oh-kaaaaay...) but how could i deny my son his hallowe'en memories?