Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Holland.


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.


We just had our 3rd Christmas "in Holland."  Wesley is 4 and this should have been a really exciting Christmas for him.  But we are in Holland.  Things are not the same here.  I currently have 7 still wrapped gifts sitting by the tree, all with Wesley's name on them.

Christmas morning, he acted like we were trying to murder him when we tried to get him to open his gifts.  So, we are letting him do it in his own time.  Every now and then, for reasons unbeknown to us, he will take interest and decide to open something...then it's back to whatever he was doing before.

I mourn Italy on occasion, but I recognize the beauty of Holland.  Wesley greets me with great vigor every time I am away from him for a time...even if it's just long enough to take a shower.  :-)  He gets super excited for the smallest things.  "Cars" is his favorite movie and you can't help but smile when you see how excited he gets over it!  He loves to be praised and will look for it!  He likes to make you laugh, he just recently learned how to pretend to be a dog.  He will get in my face barking, panting and even licking until I just crack up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Is for the birds!  Ok, not really, but sometimes it would be nice to say that!  But, I have kids, doesn't really work that well with kids.  My tree isn't up and there is only 4 days till that magical day.  Bah, Humbug!  :-)  I NEVER get my wrapping done before Christmas's actually become a tradition now.  Rich and I stay up till all hours of the night Christmas Eve wrapping.  Once we get the kids' presents done, we exchange gifts.  Simply because it's after midnight, so technically Christmas, and because we don't want to wrap any more!!

Rich doesn't get all into the idea and spirit of Christmas which makes it hard for me.  I have fantastic memories of putting up the tree with my family.  But Rich's family wasn't into all the "trappings" of Christmas.  So, he doesn't get into it.  It's almost like holding down a child to give him medication.  Yeah, that's what it's like.  It's not a fun experience, but it has to be done.  So, I am spending the day getting the room ready for the tree and when Rich is actually home for a few minutes, I will make it happen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Friday

This one is so very yummy!  While my oldest LOVES shrimp...we just don't have it that often.  A little pricey in the purse, you know.  So, here's a great recipe that is reminiscent of the classic Shrimp Scampi...served beautifully over rice or pasta!  Yum!

Chicken Scampi

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 boneless chicken breast halves, chunked
1.In a skillet heat the butter or margarine and oil over medium high until the butter/margarine melts. Add the Italian seasoning, garlic and salt and mix together in the skillet. Stir in lemon juice.
2.Then add the chicken and saute for about 3 minutes or until white. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. More butter/margarine can be added if needed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Friday

This is something that I just recently discovered.  It's a really easy recipe and super yummy!  I am lucky if any make it onto the plate when I make these, we are all picking at them!

Parmesan Asparagus

1 pound thin asparagus spears
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2.Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
3.Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Future Plans.

I was looking through my old yearbooks the other day.  I started looking at the senior pictures and the little blurbs that went with them which lists "Future Plans".  16 years after the fact, how have their lives turned out?  I know mine has not turned out the way I thought it would when I was a senior in high school.  I was going to go to medical school.  I am a stay-at-home mom that never got her degree.  Far from medical school.

When we are 17 or 18, we think we have this whole life thing pegged.  We are going to do it better than our parents did.  We are going to have this world by the...  HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHHHAAAAA!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I couldn't even finish that thought.  Let me share a secret that most of my readers already know...

We knew NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

Sure, some of us went on to do what we said or the plans were pretty vague.  "Get a job."  That's almost guaranteed, isn't it?  But I bet their lives aren't really what they expected them to be.  Life was supposed to be "easy" back then.  For the most part, I think that "future plans" in a high school year book is completely laughable.  Something to look back on and ponder, "Gosh, I had such dreams."

Don't get me wrong.  I think it is great to have can you go anywhere if you don't?  But I think they should be flexible.  What's that saying?  Life is what happens while we are making plans.  Life doesn't always line up with our plans.  God is the only one that can see the WHOLE picture.  And I am very thankful that I don't have hold of the wheel with my very narrow view.

I wouldn't change my life for anything.  Ok, there are a few things that I would love to have not had to go through, but I wouldn't be where I am right now.  And I am happy right now.  I love my life right now.  I wouldn't want my "future plans."

How about you?  What were your plans in high school?  How do you feel about them now?