Monday, February 27, 2012


Tuesday's List

(I know, it's been a while right? And it's Monday so, there's that too.)


1. I like to exercise. UHG! There. I've said it. And it's actually true. I like waking up with aching muscles because I've pushed myself. I like sweating. I like punching and kicking at the air like I'm Chuck Norris.

2. Sometimes when no one is looking, I eat the girls' fruit snacks. You know, the "healthy" version of gummy bears. And because they are so delicious, and come in very small individually wrapped portions, I eat two of them in a row.

3. I like to go to The Boutique grocery store during the week because they always have cake samples out. And because they are so delicious, and come in very small portioned cups, I circle back sometimes two or three times.

4. Extreme temperatures give me touretes. Too Hot. Too Cold.  #$%^$@%^&*((*$!!!!

5. Sometimes, I tell the children that I am "working" and can't be bothered, when really I am just cruising Facebook.

6. I've stopped looking at Pinterest because it has started to affect my self-esteem. I need to have this, I need to make that, I need to live here and dress like that.  Blech. I already have everything I need.

7. I was just thinking about going on Pinterest to see if there was a craft I could do, so I could sell my wares in a booth at a farmer's market and that could be my "job" when Bear Cub goes to school.

8. I can't touch my toes without bending my knees a fair amount.

9. I'm not very good at spelling and grammar, but man, do I love to write. Also, I love to write run-on sentences because that's how I talk.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Study

On my way to the grocery store this morning, I conducted a short study. Here are the facts:

1. In a suburban area, at 7:15am, I passed 10 dogs being walked in a two mile stretch.

2. The dogs ranged in size from very tiny "purse" type dogs to big, you ain't got no alibi, UGLY   dogs.

3. The owners (or walkers) of the dogs, ranged in age from mid 30's to Blue Hairs. Typical of suburban home owners.

4. Every single owner/walker was male.

From the facts, I think we can safely deduce several things, but only one is important:

1.  If we ever own a dog, I won't have to walk it in the morning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent Letters

I have mentioned this before, but there are two times a year that I do some self reflection / self betterment assessment. The first is New Year's with a tidy list of resolutions. (This year I only have two, but I'm going with quality over quantity).  The second time is Lent. 

People have a lot of different approaches to Lent. Some approach it as a religious ritual. A practice of self denial. Some see it as the count down to the big Easter Egg hunt. Some see it as a season to reflect on our sinful nature and prepare a thankful heart for the grace of salvation. If I'm being honest, I guess I'm a little bit of all of those.

In years past, I have normally given up something. One year I gave up Facebook. That was a long 6 weeks. Last year I have up pop (soda, fizzy drink, whatever you want to call it). I usually know I have picked the right thing to give up because the night before, I get the sweats.  Last night, I was staring at the ceiling trying to come up with something that would hurt a little. The only thing that came up was chocolate.  And seriously, I got the sweats.

But this morning, as I was perusing Facebook, I saw that my lovely niece has decided to write a personal letter to someone different every day of Lent. I love this idea. Normally, when I give something up, by the second week I am not missing the "thing" or have filled my time with another distraction.  So what better way to prepare a heart of thanks than writing to people that God has put in your life?

If you would like to be on my Lent Letters list please leave a comment below. If I don't have your address (i.e.: everyone reading this that didn't get a Christmas card from us) you can send it to my personal email address:  

Please, please leave a comment. If I don't get any, I may have to actually give up chocolate. And.....I just got the sweats again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some days you need to pamper yourself

Maybe you had a tough day because a very special visitor named Papa had to postpone his trip to see you even after you cleaned your room especially nice for him. Or maybe you had a tough day because you had to go to the doctor and it looks like you have an ear infection and by the way, you were up all night coughing and sneezing and trying to get your nose to stop whistling while you sucked your thumb. Or maybe you were up all night with nightmares about your sister stealing your favorite princess doll and when you woke up the first thing that sister did was scream in your face and body-check you.

Whatever the reason, when you have a tough day, you just need to end it on a good note. Here at Chez Handeland, we had a spa night.

It's amazing what a good set of press-on nails can do for a girl's attitude.
We should have done this at 7:00 in the morning, not 7:00 at night.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to buy a swimsuit

I know this is early for some parts of The States. But here in sunny Floriday, it was 83 today. Which means that swimsuit season is just around the corner. Normally, I would buy one swimsuit and it would last me 6-10 years. However, now that I have children, and live in Florida, I actually burn through a swimsuit in one year. It's almost as amazing as having ginormous gators living in the ponds around the house and no one really acts like it's a big deal.

I've digressed. Since I have purchased two decent swimsuits in my adult life, I consider myself an expert on the subject. And as an "expert", I feel it my duty to pass on to you the valuable information necessary to purchase the perfect swimsuit. Just follow these steps:

1. Go to a China Buffet with your best friend, preferably within 5 minutes of the store you intend to purchase your suit from. Eat. And I mean eat like you've never eaten before. Consume so much MSG that you literally start to sweat.

2. Once you feel nice and bloated, waddle over to the swimsuit store. Try on a suit that is 4 sizes too small. Do NOT look in the mirror. This exercise is only for getting your hair all frazzled and to work up a nice sweaty gloss. This is not intended to diminish your self-esteem. Pry swim garment off without ripping it. (You break it, you buy it.)

3. Try on a variety of styles of suits. Even ones that aren't so cute on the hanger. The suit that you look best in, (while you are all frazzled, sweaty and bloated) is the suit for you.  Because let's face facts, when you are at the beach or the pool, (unless you are 19 and have never consumed beer), you're most likely going to be frazzled, sweaty and bloated.

4. You can get a second opinion from your best friend who you've made to tag along for moral support. If she hesitates for even the tiniest second, she's trying to come up with a nice way of telling you that what stands before her is NO GOOD.

5. If you have tried on every conceivable bathing suit in the Tri State Area and you get to step 4 every time and get the slightest hesitation from your girlfriend. Read on.  You need to go back to step 2. Now instead of just taking off the tiny piece of spandex that they are selling for $189, you need to look in the mirror. You need to take a good hard look at how bad it could be. You may potentially need to take a picture with your cell phone for future reference.

6. After you've torn off the too-small-even-for-my-52-pound-preschooler swim suit, try on the suits that got the least amount of hesitation from your friend. The one you feel best in is IT. Do NOT leave the changing room to show your so-called-BFF the one you've decided on.

7. Go home. Drink a glass of wine. Forget the whole experience ever happened.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Thoughts on Love

If the length of my life were drawn out in a long line,
Like this:

And the part of my life that is represented
by the wee green dash in the very center,
is the time I spend on Earth,
then I think I want to spend that time loving on people.
And not worry so much about the rest.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An Ode to My New Basil Plant

Excuse me while I wax poetic for a minute:

Spring has sprung in the heart of winter
deep into the soil I feel alive

Terra firma on my linen shirt with frills
fills this heart with contentment

My thoughts ring round in British accents
as I am a royal heir to this
sweet earth

I hope you didn't just throw up a little in your mouth. I put Maggie down for a nap and decided to pot some herbs I bought yesterday. The next thing I know, I was transformed into one of these ladies they interview for the cover of English Garden.  "Oh Ms. Caroline (I'm sure if I had been born English, my parents would have named me Caroline and pronounced it car-oh-line not care-uh-lyn), please tell us- how does your garden grows." To which I would reply "I stroll down each isle of my lovely garden singing arias like a spring robin as Alfred follows behind with a Harrods watering pot." 

Anyway, I had to come right inside and write that non-sense down before that business took up residence in my head. Because you know exactly what would happen next. My Chef would come home to the children saying "momma's been ignoring us unless we call her Mummy." 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Women - Really really good ones

The older I get, (brace yourselves for this mind blowing epiphany) the smarter I get. I am learning that, as a woman, you need to surround yourself with other women. I'd like to take credit for surrounding myself with intelligent, talented, beautiful, funny and spiritual women; but I know better. I've been given these friendships as a gift.  They are my support system to draw inspiration from, be encouraged by, gain strength from, confide in, giggle with, learn from and lean on.

A handful of these beauties write blogs. Not one of them lives within 3 states from me. A few, I haven't seen in over 10 years. But reading their words makes me feel connected. They are My People.

The hoarder in me wants to keep these gems all to myself. To put them in my pocket and carry them around. But the girlfriend in me wants you to know about them so we can talk about how fabulous they are. (ie: Did you see that red bench/table thing Kirsten made last week? Totally, I want one.Yeah, me too.)  So, I have added a little list called My People. You will see:

Land of LA
The Gypsy Hausfrau
Brand New Day
White Butterfly Furniture
Stuff That Happens in My Day

They are funny, honest women with voices that I love to hear.  And hopefully, you'll love them too. For now, if you scroll to the very bottom of this fancy blog, you'll see the section with their links. Not that I don't love them enough to put them front and center, it's just that that takes time to re-organize this thing. Time without small hoodlums smashing their milk cups on your keyboard wondering why you haven't fed them in the last 7 minutes.  Hence the reason I wrote an entire blog about them. A post that took 3 hours. 3 hours I could have used just to put section in an up front, easy to locate spot. C'est la vie.

Friday, February 3, 2012


The wind blew just the right amount to lift the copper strands in her hair to the sun. She loved it because it lifted her skirt just the proper amount for a princess as she twirled, waiting to be signed in for school.
But I loved it the most because I put my worries out of my heart and let the wind carry them away.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Gig Ain't Easy

I have started this same post no less than 6 times in the last two months. Same title every time, and pretty much the same frustration.


This gig ain't easy. Just when you feel on top of the world because you think you've mastered raising a human, more things come up. One day your handed this precious baby with wrinkles and your first concern is how to get 'em fat. Nice and plump, so God-forbid, they'd have the fat they'd need to sustain themselves should they need it. You figure out how to manage not sleeping through the night and showing up in public with a smile on your face. You figure out when a fever is worthy of a doctor visit.

Then you teach them the alphabet. You teach them how to count in English and Spanish. You teach them how to use the potty by drawing boats on toilet paper and telling them to sink the ship. You introduce them to other little people so they learn some social skills. You enroll them in Itty Bitty Sports so they work off those fat rolls you were so determined they have in the beginning. You've got a schedule. You've got fresh vegetables at every meal. You've not introduced them to pop.

That, apparently, is the easy stuff.  You try not to fall in the trap of comparing yours with other children. You try not to even compare your own to one another. You see calm, mild mannered kids sitting down the eat. Nodding when Mommy asks them to eat another bite. So you smile and say "We didn't get that kind of dog." (Theirs a lap dog, ours a farm dog)  But you start to wonder if your child's behavior is something that just bugs you...or an actual problem.

So you start off by getting some second opinions from friends and family. They gently tell you that maybe discipline is the problem. But you feel like at least once a day you are putting your Wild Thing in a time out, or banishing them to their room, or taking away t.v. time, or in severe cases- spanking. You don't feel like any of these things work, but you do them anyway to teach that actions have consequences. Then suggestions arise that maybe it's a behavioral problem.

Behavioral? Now you're on high alert. Over analyzing all of their actions. Why yes, she does have a 15 second attention span. Yes, she does need to be told 100 times to put on her socks. Yes, she does this and that! Oh Dear! You're adding up all the times you've been pulled aside to talk to a coach or a teacher.  But wait - she's only 4 years old.

Now she's failed a hearing screening. You know what you need to do. You make the appointments. You get a game plan together. And you pray. Give me the wisdom to know if it's me. Don't let me have blinders if I'm the problem. Lead me to the right classes/groups/websites to learn how to shape her behavior. If it's a physical problem, lead me to the right doctor. If it's behavioral, let me not be afraid of labels. Give me the wisdom to sort it all out.

This gig ain't easy. And I'm starting to understand that it never will be. But I'm up for it. How could I not be?