Feel free to head on over to The Outdoor Wife or join me here for Thankful on a Thursday. Here are 7 things I'm thankful for this week!
I'm thankful for...
1. Lunch dates with my husband. . .it is nice to have a chance to catch up when the kids aren't around. . .and BONUS. . .they're at school, so no $80 babysitter!
2. The $80 babysitter when we need her. . .AR is awesome! My kids love her, we trust her, and she leaves the house cleaner than she found it!
3. Book Club. . .the one social activity that will make me leave my kids on a weeknight. Sometimes we haven't all read the book but the conversation is always great and the women are so intelligent. . .every conversation is enlightening!
4. My Blackberry. . .I'm addicted.
5. My dear Bubs. . .growing up so fast, but still loves to snuggle with Momma (THANK GOD!!)
6. My sweet Busy. . .not even a year old and already fiercely independent, but she already knows the power of the "Mommy Loves You" song. . .it can fix anything!
7. My Schmoops. . .funny, hot, smart, successful and loves ME!!!
"I love being married. It's so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." - Rita Rudner
Okay, it's Tuesday. . .I'm late again (sorry!). However, I do want to MckLinky Monday with the ladies of the RHOK and give you all a little story about the funny lessons the Howells learned during their first year of marriage. . .dare I say we are still learning?!?!?! (By the way, I can't wait for next week's question because I have it on VIDEO!)
Schmoops and Mrs. Howell have known eachother for a LONG time. I already told y'all about sitting next to eachother in Psychology circa 1990-91 (Schmoops wanted me to mention it was a SENIOR class and because I am a geek I got in as a Junior. . .I'll mention he's an ENGINEER. . .'nuff said!). But as the story goes, we didn't actually date or get married til much later. This is not, contrary to popular belief, because I was on a mission to ruin my mother's life by not letting HER have a wedding or HER have (grand)kids til well after all her friends. No. . .Schmoops and the Mrs. had to kiss some frogs before we found eachother.
So long about July 31, 2004, we became Mr. and Mrs. Howell. This was first and foremost a very hard adjustment for me because Mrs. Howell is my mother-in-law. I would trade her for a root canal on a good day, so being the "other" Mrs. Howell didn't really appeal to me. Second, I have been "myself" for 30 years at that point and changing my name was a little hard -- as my grandfather liked to say I am one of "those" women, you know, the strong-headed independent type (said with an ounce of disgust). But Schmoops wasn't up for being Mr. Maiden Name so we erred on the side of tradition. I'll go ahead and admit that this small sticking point is still kind of "a thing" for us because some of my stuff still has my maiden name on it and I often use my maiden name as my middle name. Not because I love it or I am that I am especially close to my father. . .but because it is "me." My friends still call me "KW" and so the maiden name debacle of 2004 lives on. Since we've had kids and I prefer to be known as their mom, I try to pretty much stick to Mrs. Howell. But every once in a while I throw a check in the banking stack that has my "old" signature on it just to keep him on his toes. It's all about independence and that is a lesson we learned in year 1 (. . .and 2. . .and 3. . .and 4. . .and 5).
Last name aside, we lived in an apartment when we were first married and immediately started looking for a house. This was my first lesson in what I like to call "Schmoops Math". Now how "Schmoops Math" works is that if Schmoops wants something. . .the math for sure works out and we will have "just enough" money to make it work without putting us in the food stamps line. If Mrs. Howell wants something, it is a 50-50 shot that "Schmoops Math" will make it so. If you skipped over the paragraph of this post where I talked about how I am one of "those" women, then I'm sure you can guess how this has worked out over the years. If you can't guess, I'll tell you. . .IT IS EASIER TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS THAN PERMISSION! If "Schmoops Math" makes it so the house he wanted (in the dreaded suburbs with a 30 minute commute in heavy traffic) is affordable, but the house Mrs. Howell wanted (in midtown with no commute. . .and, okay, no 3rd garage). . .then we can go with Schmoops' choice. . .but we will also be going with a new Gucci bag, a pair of Manolos and some new furniture! It's all about compromise and that is a lesson we learned in year 1 (. . .and 2. . .and 3. . .and 4. . .and 5).
We've covered feminism and money. . .and I'm not even going to touch the subject of s-e-x (remember, we whisper/spell lots of words in our house). . .so moving on, let's talk about the next lesson. . .KIDS. You know, you're cruising right along learning the lessons of marriage. . .pretty much thinking you are kicking butt (despite your feminist wife and your cheapskate hubby) when all the sudden you pee on a stick at 5 in the morning and you throw all whole new kink in the (ball and) chain! You're going to have a kid! Luckily, Schmoops and I both wanted kids and we have been blessed with two. . .three if I had my choice, but that's a lesson for another day! I will say that on most matters surrounding our little prince and princess, we agree. However, when you disagree about something regarding kids is there a bigger fight? If so, I've not come across that subject. Thankfully, there is a LOT of passion around the care and well-being of our kids.
Learning the lesson of how to raise your kids (without killing your spouse) is probably a lesson that is never truly totally learned. I'm pretty sure that when Bubs is off at Harvard and Busy is off at Yale, Schmoops and I will still be arguing over how many toys Bubs actually needs, the variety of pink bows Busy has to have, and whether or not our own screwed up relationships with our parents has trickled down to somehow soil our family. And that's really the "lesson" isn't it? Of all your parental duties and responsibilities. . .you do not want to screw your kids up! You look to "experts", you look to God, you look to your friends. . .but in the end you look to EACHOTHER and you love eachother and love your kids and cherish your family and you forget about what your last name used to be or how much money the 67-inch TV in the living room cost or how many times Kathleen's Kids shows up on the credit card bill. . .because REALLY your marriage and your family are the most important things in your life and that is one lesson you won't soon forget! It's all about LOVE and that is a lesson I hope we continue to learn forever!
I recently came across a blog called The Outdoor Wife. It is a very insightful blog by a woman/wife/mom whose life is quite different than mine own, but I still felt a connection to her (probably because of this). "OW" does something so neat. . .every Thursday she writes out at least ten things that she's thankful for and posts them for the blogosphere to see. I decided to join her because I don't think there is ever a time that I don't need a reminder to be totally conscious of my blessings (large and small)!
Feel free to head on over to The Outdoor Wife or join me here for Thankful on a Thursday. Instead of 10 things, I'm going to do 7. . .one thing for each day of the preceding week.
I'm thankful for...
1. My new "old friend" CG who I recently connected with and helped celebrate his birthday. He has a fresh perspective on the world that I so enjoy!
2. The fact that my husband understands my need for "a million" friends and doesn't mind the fact that sometimes my activities don't include him (really, I think he is thankful for it!).
3. Bubs awesome vocabulary. . .never in my wildest imagination did I think I would have actual discussions with my 3 year old.
4. Busy's new found ability to crawl. . .this leads to me not being too thankful that time is literally flying by.
5. My Keurig coffee maker. . .oh the joy of having a fresh-brewed cup of coffee in under a minute any time day or night (also thankful for decaf!).
6. The impending conclusion of LOST. . .that show drives me CRAZY. . .but I can't stop watching it. I need it to be over!!! (but then I will probably cry. . .)
7. That my family keeps me grounded and sane when for the most part I feel like I am teetering on the edge! I love laughing with Schmoops, snuggles with B & B, morning drive talks with Mom, running with McBFF, Blackberry messenging with Bethie, and all my true and trusted friends who make my life so happy and fulfilled!
I've been reading Supah Mommy for a while now, but never participated in Post It Note Tuesday. . .duh, because I just resurrected this blog for the kickoff of The RHOK! P.S. If you haven't read Mrs. Hart's post today about (whisper) birth control. It is very informative and quite the conversation starter!
Anyway, I think you'll be able to tell what kind of day I am having. . .
For a while now I have been wanting to do a "formal" Meal Plan. . .so being that I am bored ambitious today. . .and I just went grocery shopping. . .I will try it out now. I will say upfront. . .probably not going to do this weekly per se because sometimes after work I just can't face the kitchen. But in preparation for my dream life. . .I'm going to practice here and there.
Monday: Leftover Bobby Deen's Favorite Goulash (via Mommy's Kitchen). . .actually made this over the weekend and it is FAB-U-LOUS!!! And it makes a TON, so we are eating it again tonight. I make it rule not to cook on Monday nights.
Tuesday: Filet Mignon and Stuffed Baked Potatoes. . .that I ordered from Omaha Steaks. . .de-lish, I might add! And my hubby is grillin' 'em so technically this is a "night off" for me. . .YEAH!
Wednesday: Pizza Spaghetti Casserole. . .this looks so yummy and something my son would love. . .plus, I think I can put it together the night before and just pop it in the oven when I get home from work. . .easy peasy!
Thursday: Picnic "Bento Box". . .it's soccer night, so I have to pack dinner to eat at the soccer fields before Bubs' practice. I usually do some turkey or canadian bacon and cheese "sushi rolls", "shashimi" crackers (what crackers look like fish?!?!?), some edamame and orange quarters plus a little "treat". Bubs loves it!!
Friday: We are taking Bubs to the Drillers game at the new Oneok Field, so I can guess we will be eating something fabulous from the concession stand! Seriously people, their food is actually REALLY good!
Saturday: French Toast Casserole. . .Schmoops and I have plans that night, so I am going to make a family breakfast since Bubs' soccer game is later in the day. I really prefer egg/meat breakfast casseroles but my boys are sweet-addicts, so I sometimes make this for dessert, er, breakfast!
Sunday: Our Favorite Cheese Enchiladas. . .will they be mine? New recipe that I am making from Mommy's Kitchen (can you tell I use this website alot?) because I promised Schmoops and my mom that I would make them Enchiladas. Wish me luck, Tina!!
April 19, 1995 I was nearing the end of my junior year of college at a small school in Missouri. I'm sure I was supposed to be in class, but for whatever reason (laziness) I was in my dorm watching TV. I just remember hearing the words "bombing," "federal building," and "Oklahoma". . .immediately I picked up the phone and dialed my mom's work number. "All circuits are busy." Oh. God.
On April 19, 1995 my mom was in her 20th year working for a federal judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She worked in the federal building.
I must have tried her work number a thousand times before calling my grandparents. I was so scared. I still didn't know it was the Oklahoma City federal building. The terror I felt shut off my ears to anything but the continual "all circuits are busy" and at that point I just thought if I kept trying the number I could reverse whatever had happened. But I finally gave up. I cried. And when I dialed my grandparents' number I feared that I would hear confirmation of my worst fears.
The phone rang only once at my grandparents' home before I heard the most glorious sound I have ever heard. . .my own mother's voice! Immediately after the bombing the Tulsa federal building, including all judges' chambers, were evacuated. Because all phone lines were jammed, my mom went directly to my grandparents' house. She had been trying me all the while I was trying her.
We both cried. She knew that friends from the court system had lost their lives. And I had never come so close to being faced with the loss of a parent. We also cried for a loss of innocence for our state. Our family is a long line of Oklahomans. We love it here and we have all stayed. Growing up and raising a family in the "bible belt" I think gives you a sense of protection, a sense of safety. And at 9:02 on April 19, 1995 that sense was shattered.
My hope is that in the last 15 years and going forward, we not let anyone shatter us. . .no matter their actions, no matter their hate. I hope that the people who died did not do so in vain. We need never give up and gain strength from love. To me, the Survivor Tree is a great symbol of this hope. And the inscription states it best:
The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.
Maria Shriver posted a question this morning: What is your favorite poem -- and why is it important to you? Read your poem on YouTube! http://bit.ly/cgtUAR%20#poetrymonth I am not going to read my poem on YouTube, but the question did bring about a wonderful memory of my favorite poem and why it is my favorite.
My favorite poem is The First Day by Christina Georgina Rossetti. I gave it to my husband when we were dating and my friend read it at our wedding. The poem is special to me because it perfectly describes my feelings regarding my husband.
Schmoops and I actually met in high school. We had psychology together, but, of course, I didn't even register on his radar because he was a senior and I had a boyfriend so I wasn't "looking". As fate would have it, towards the end of the year I was accepted into a school-to-work program that he was also in; and I interviewed for and accepted the job he had been doing. Being the smart guy that he is, he had decided to stay home for his freshman year and get his basics out of the way at the local junior college much cheaper! So we got to work together during my senior year. During that time (including the summer before and summer after), Schmoops and I became great friends. Our friendship continued for many years, but we never dated per se. . .we did accompany one another to various events. . .but no kissin'! The years rolled on and "significant others" came and went. And Schmoops moved to Colorado with his fiance'. Since he is now married to me, I bet you can guess that relationship didn't work out and he moved back to Oklahoma. . .coincidentally about the time I got out of a long relationship. So our (match-maker) old boss secretly invited both of us to a party at his house. . .and we both attended. We kind of both consider this "The First Day" because on that June evening, it was love at first sight. And one year, one month and eighteen days later, we became husband and wife.
I definitely remember June 13, 2003. I will hold July 31, 2004 as the best day of my life. And May 25, 2006 and July 6, 2009 made for even more love and happiness in our lives. There are a couple of other private dates in there that we both keep close to our hearts. But oh to remember that first glance. . .what a story that would make!
The First Day
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or winter for aught I can say.
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it! Such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand! - Did one but know!
The ladies over at theRHOK posed their question of the week and it is "Where do you come from?" Growing up, I honestly felt like sometimes I must have come from outer space. . .but no. My family is a long line of northeast Oklahomans, White Oak and Chelsea specifically. I was born and raised in Tulsa -- same pink hospital as many other Tulsa babies! I attended Eisenhower Elementary, Skelly Middle School and finally Union (where I graduated way back in 1992). I will see if I can find a pic of my "high school hair" to post; but I don't know. . .they might be all lost!
I love Tulsa and always hoped I would stay here. When my husband and I started dating, he lived down the turnpike and I remember well the day we had "the talk" about who would move. I had just committed to Leadership Tulsa and so I knew that I was here for at least nine months. We were supposed to wait that long and then whoever found a job first would move. I guess I'm just such a catch that Schmoops got a wild hair, called up an old boss and within 2 weeks rented the apartment above mine and moved to Tulsa! (Schmoops is from Tulsa too and I guess you can take the boy out of Tulsa, but you can't take the Tulsa out of the boy. . .or something like that. . .)
Truth be told, we actually live in Jenks now. When I was growing up, Jenks was a whole 'nother city (much like BA and Owasso), not just an extension of South (or East or North) Tulsa. If I love Tulsa, I love Jenks even more. We love the small town feel of being "across the river". We love the Riverwalk. I love love love Liv A Little store on Main street! Our family single-handedly attempts to keep both the McDonald's (Bubs' happy meals) and the Sonic (my large diet drinks) in business. And now we even have that big fancy Reasor's! It is high livin'!
That's where I come from. . .and where I am! Where do you come from? (I realize, I'm a day late and a dollar short -- story of my life -- and posting this on Tuesday, but I can bet those Housewives won't care if you still McLinky Monday and post your "From" story on your blog too!)
I posted this over on my 918moms.com blog. I am the Going Green Mom blogger over there. I have been doing that for a while now. Sometimes I'm GREEN. . .sometimes I SPEND GREEN. . .and sometimes I just talk about this and that. Anyway, I thought what the hay. . .I'll toss it up over here too! I don't think I have a lot of "cross over" readership at this point!
I wish I had taken my camera on my Mommy's Night Out because #1 I don't get out too much and #2 I really did just have this super fabulous time with some new Mommy friends. I felt so grown up!
(Note to self, that pink thing with the flash bulb that you got for Christmas. . .it stays in your purse so that you can get some shots of few and far between fun times. . .oh, and extra pics of the kids too!!!)
Okay, I tried to post this a week or so ago but my brain and Wordpress were not being compatible. . .so the referenced dates are a little off (and I have had my night out #2 by now). . .but it is still a fun little story and a good recommendation for you sushi lovers!!! And, Marathon Mom, no smelt roe was harmed in the writing of this blog!
PLEASE NOTE: The Food and Drug Administration advises that eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or seafood poses a health risk to everyone (especially the elderly, young children under age 4, pregnant women and other highly susceptible individuals with compromised immune systems). Thorough cooking of foods reduces the risk of illness. Further, guidelines for children, women who are pregnant and women who are trying to become pregnant state that no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly. “Highest” mercury fish should be avoided and “high” mercury fish should be kept to only three 6-oz servings per month. Tuna is most commonly linked to high levels of mercury.
As we all know, fish in itself is a great source of protein and has many health benefits; sushi is a way of eating fish that can be very beneficial to your health. Let’s lay out the facts: 1. high in Omega-3 fats (which are “good fats” – yes, there are GOOD FATS!); 2. protects the nervous system in addition to providing Vitamin D and other proteins; 3. Omega-3 fats have been shown to help with depression; 4. keeps your blood sugar levels at a healthy range; 5. boosts the immune system; and 6. lowers your overall cholesterol.
I’m not a doctor (I just play one on TV. . .well, not really); but I do know a thing or two about making myself happy and let me tell ya, I did just that on Friday night. . .
My kids’ school has become a mommy playground for me. I can’t tell you how many wonderful friends I have made just in the daily comings and goings. “Hi” turns into “haven’t seen you for a few days, everything okay?” to “how about a play date this weekend” to “I work downtown too, we should have lunch”. . .to finally the holy grail of mommyhood. . .”how about a Girls Night Out?”
So off I went to Flying Fish with Stacy (aka T’s mom) and Melissa (aka P & B’s mom). . .
I will preface this by saying that I am a VERY discriminating sushi eater and frankly never stray too far from In the Raw. I love them, love their food, and think the funky atmosphere is incredible. I also appreciate my dear old friend, Dani, as the excellent waitress that she is and always takes care of me and the numerous friends, clients and sushi virgins that I have taken to the Brookside location. (I don’t know the owners at ITR and I do not get free food at ITR, never have, probably never will; so I promise you that when I say it’s good. . .it’s ‘cause it’s THAT GOOD!!)
But back to my story. . .the agenda for Friday night included trying out the Flying Fish Sushi Bar and Restaurant, highly recommended by Melissa. I’m not sure where I have been for the last year because Flying Fish is not new. But considering I wasn’t really eating sushi for 9 months last year (Dani, never tell ANYONE how often I was at ITR per the warning to pregnant ladies above) I’m guessing that is why I am so behind the times!
Flying Fish is a family business owned and operated by Nha (aka the dad — coming off a 30 year stint in corporate America) and David (aka the son — who had been managing restaurants for 20 years). Nha and David shared a dream of having their own restaurant. They also happen to live in and love Tulsa! So they embarked on their dream with one goal: “create simple, authentic and great tasting Asian cuisine with only the finest ingredients available.” Gentlemen, this 918Mom thinks you are a success! (I don’t know Nha and David Le and I did not get my meal for free, don’t plan on eating there free; so I promise what you are about to read is ‘cause it’s THAT GOOD!)
Flying Fish is located at 10846 S. Memorial; but please don’t frown on the location (let’s hear it for south Tulsa!!). From the outside it appears to be your normal everyday strip mall storefront. But this casual dining room offers a busy atmosphere that makes you feel like you might be tucked away in a hip NY spot. The place was packed by 7:00 p.m. and there were a ton of people in and out for pick up orders too!
After looking over the extensive menu which also includes cooked (or as my mom says “real”) food; I, of course, decided on sushi. Our table ordered a mix. And our waiter, Tien (totally fabulous!!), was very knowledgeable of the menu and handled our substitution requests with no problem. I had the Huy Roll and the Disco Shrimp Roll while my dining companions each had an Anthony Roll plus a Kristin Roll and a Leyna Roll. I am literally DREAMING of that Disco Shrimp Roll with all of its tasty goodness. . .you’ve heard of Better Than s-e-x Chocolate Cake (sorry, we spell and/or whisper certain words at our house); well, ladies meet the sushi version! Snow crab, fried shrimp, avocado and spicy sauce rolled in masago; topped with shrimp and scallops baked in a (GGM edit “to-die-for”) garlic butter sauce. (Just for clarification, my mom would NOT consider this “real” food as she would never get past the masago; but she’s missing out so we’ll move on!).
Hands down, Friday night was one of the best dining experiences I have had in a while. The company was, of course, wonderful! (The absence of little people – and husbands – may have helped too. . .HA!) The food is extremely fresh; and there’s a large enough variety that even people who don’t like sushi will find something (maybe not my mom). Prices were affordable for the great quality you get. Again, Tien provided fantastic service, and whoever was behind the sushi bar provided even more fantastic food! I can’t wait to go back for “The Chucky” salad (a “customer creation”, how cool is that!?), the asparagus beef, and the Super Dave and Break Up rolls. In fact, I’m headed back this Saturday night with my hubby who has also been missing out on this fabulous place (aka Going Green Mom’s Sushi Night Out, Take Two – thanks to said sushi-hating mom for watching my kids!).
My only complaint. . .Nha and Daniel, my Pokes will eat SOONERS for lunch any day of the week. . .but where’s the COWBOY ROLL?!?!?!"
In an effort to help some fellow Okie ladies launch their awesome new website, I decided to dig up this old blog and bring it back to life. I have been wanting to for a while but I guess this is just the kick in the pants I needed! Alot has changed. . .first and foremost that we are no longer the Howell Family THREE since we added Busy to the bunch back in July. . .but more on that later.
What is a Housewife? By definition, a housewife used to be a married woman who is not employed outside the home; but Merriam Webster turned it up a notch to say that this married woman is "in charge of her household." Thanks, Mr. Webster. . .I like that much better. Now I probably like it better because I currently work outside my home AND I'm also "in charge" of my household. However, this isn't a post about working in or out of the home. Believe me, I know some ladies who "stay home" and get more done before 6:00 a.m. than most people do all day! (Lest you forget what is written in my profile. . .I want to be one of those ladies!)
So anyway, a housewife. . .well, in my house we call it THE BOSS. . .and that happens to be me. Right now I'm sort of a ladder-climbing manager as I do my "real" job at work and try to delegate some of the household needs to Schmoops and sometimes Bubs (Busy sits and looks pretty most of the time. . .or sleeps. . .or poops!). Sometimes I have to delegate to paid employees like Maid Pro or Pooches dog grooming or The Lawn Guy. I'm aiming to become CEO in about a year and will devote my time fully to being "in charge" of my household! This may seem like a promotion, but in reality it just means that there will be no more paid employees including myself!
So what will I do when I am a "real" housewife. . .pretty much everything I do now (and more), but in something fashionable, but definitely not "work appropriate"! Get up before everyone else, go to bed after everyone else. Wash, fold, iron, match clothes and then physically put them on all members of my family (yes, even Schmoops needs help at times!). Load the dishwasher properly. . .you know, so the dishes actually get clean and don't have to be washed AGAIN! Drive alot. . .so as to busy myself with other things on my to do list that will help me avoid cleaning, especially the upstairs portion of my home. I also envision that I will be doing a lot more cooking and a little less hitting up the the local eateries. . .unless I have a coupon, of course! I hope to become even MORE GREEN. . .and organized. . .and healthy!!