A Cat Under Each Arm

I love my Daddy’s “Shannonisms”. One of his most famous : When he meets somebody who is lazy, he waits to get home and then tell us that they should carry a cat under each arm.  He says they are so lazy, they need a cat under each arm to breathe for them. My Daddy doesn’t tolerate lazy very well. I guess I know where I get my intolerance to a poor work ethic. I am always afraid of my children growing up needing multiple cats, not for comfort or companionship, but respiratory efforts!

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9 months of waiting

God has a great way to change the heart and mind of new parents. There is 9 months of “expecting”/ preparing. There is a transformation that begins. A developmental phase if you will. You begin as carefree, then before you know it, your thoughts are consumed by the upcoming arrival of the baby growing in your body or in your spouse’s body. As an expectant mother, I remember thoughts like excitement, wonder, and an overwhelming fear of not being enough.  The endless things to teach this little person. From the time a new mother feels the first movement in her belly, a bond is made that will last two lifetimes.

Just as children  progress through the many developmental stages, so do the parents. We have to learn to parent this child as he/she changes. We must allow for growth, successes and failures. I hated seeing my children fall down as they began to walk. My husband once asked if we should get knee pads to wear when they were crawling. He didn’t want their knees to get all scraped up. I poo-pooed his idea, but it made my heart happy that he was looking after his babies!

Our kids grow and mature through the years and we all do the best we can. One of my girlfriends made the comment that nothing gets you ready for taking care of teens. There is no 9 months of miracles. One day they are sweet little children, the next they are mouthy, smelly, hormonal teens. The challenges they bring us sometimes even seem insurmountable. Each phase comes a whopping sensation of fear and worry. Thankfully, each time our kids master the necessary stages, we get to also take a breath. We can watch as they begin to take the steps without us. Instead of the knee pads that my husband once wanted, I wonder what we can get to protect them at this stage? My teens think that we have too many rules. I prefer the word expectations. What helps us comes in the form of frequent and fervent prayer. I’m telling you, I never knew what fervent prayer was until my kids turned into teens!



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Punching the time clock

My son has a job! I think this occaision is as momentus for my husband and I as it is for him. It opens a whole new chapter of things for my husband and I to teach him.

  • As he was applying, we encouraged him to dress like someone the manager would want to hire. Me: “Maybe you should wear the other khakis, the ones that are not ripped in the crotch”. Him: “What?”
  • As he was filling out the application ( he brought it  home), Him: “How do you spell _____” Me “Look it up, …and try to use better penmanship”
  • After he dropped off the application, Me:”You should go back to say hello and ask if they have made a decision”. Him: “That’s dumb, they would call if they wanted to. Plus that’s annoying”
  • Now that he has the job, ” What time does your shift start? When are you leaving? Is your uniform clean? Do you have gas in the car? When will you be home? Did you eat? You know you can’t eat there. Makes sure to be there a few minutes early, you never know what traffic will like on the way”
  • Is your boss nice to you? He/she isn’t a pedofile are they?
  • Where is your check? My Daddy made me save half of every check. It worked for him, it think it’ll work for you. Give me your check!
  • No, you can’t quit . Until you have another job. I don’t care if it’s boring. If it was fun, it wouldn’t be called work.

Some of these only occurred in my iSeriously, I’m glad he’s working. I’m proud that he wants to work and  that he persevered through placing about 20 applications. I think young people learn so much by working a part time job. Hopefully, they are learning a stronger work ethic, the value of a dollar, and time management just to name few. Yes, I have that little worry in the back of my mind that somebody will mistreat my baby. I know he will be fine and better for it. I also know that he knows that super mom cape is kept in my purse. If somebody messes with one of my babies, they will have to deal with me! Don’t worry, I don’t get it out nearly as often as I used to. I also know that my kids are old enough that they need to learn to manage their own business. I’m just hoping he likes it so much he wants to study a little harder…that’s what high school jobs are for right?



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Lullabies and Baby Dancing

I had the pleasure of babysitting a sweet 6 month old baby girl recently. Her mother had no way to know that she gave me the best walk down memory lane. You gotta love the way a baby makes you feel. She smiled and laughed at me. Before long, I could tell she was getting tired. When I picked her up, my body went into a long forgotten dance. I started the baby dance. The swaying and bouncing helped settle her, but not quite enough. My momma muscle memory kicked in and I found myself humming Brahm’s Lullaby.

When my children were babies, they had a little toy that played the old-time favorite. I kept it on the chest in the nursery. It projected sweet baby images on the ceiling as it played the lovely tune. If we found ourselves out at nap time or heaven forbid bedtime, they responded to my hums of Mr Brahm’s timeless tune. It would settle them right down! I remember the first time I realized that my son liked my singing. We had taken him for his first Santa visit at the ripe age of 2 months old. I think my sister insisted on this. I can’t imagine why else I would have taken my first-born at such a tender age to the germ infested mall! Anyway, the noise and the lack of his safe home-made him grouchy. I remember sitting in Quintard Mall in Oxford Alabama with my Momma and sister humming his favorite tune. I seem to remember my sister being surprised that he actually enjoyed my rendition.

These days, my teens don’t appreciate my attempts at singing at all. They won’t even let me hum now! Oh well, I’m glad I got to hold a sweet baby girl and stroll down memory lane. She actually started crying when I stopped humming. What a nice change for me! Her mom was so sweet when she picked her up. She was thanking me for helping her out. Really? It was absolutely my pleasure to remember a simpler time in my life! The next time I get an eye roll from my teens, maybe I’ll just start singing Brahm’s Lullaby to them. Think that’ll fix it?

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Pat’s Best Ever Lasagne

Somebody told me recently about a lasagne recipe that I should try. She said it is the best lasagne ever. I smiled in a my sweet southern way and said thank you! In my mind, I knew the best ever recipe was safe and sound at home in my cookbook! My mother in law has been making it for years, and everybody in my family now has the recipe. Guess what? All those wonderful Southern cooks have proclaimed it is the Best ever!
One thing I’ve learned is that it is a real pain to make. So, if I’m going to all that much trouble , I double or even triple the sauce recipe. I usually make the sauce the night before, then assemble the next day. After the lasagne cooks, let it sit for at least 30 minutes. One thing is for sure, this is slow food. Settle in the kitchen, get somebody to help chop and keep you company. Heck, you can even get somebody yo pour you a glass of wine! Serve this with a great salad and some delicious crusty bread! My wine preference is a Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t ask me if it is the proper pairing. It is just my favorite. Feel free to share what your favorite is!

Tomatoes, 1 lg can Italian brand
Tomato paste, 2 cans
Ground pork, 1/4 lb
Ground beef, 1/4 lb
Garlic, one clove chopped
Onion, 1/2 cup finely chopped
Italian parsley, chopped
Oregano, dried 2 teas
Basil,dried 1tsp
Salt, 1 Tablespoon
Sugar, 2T
Pepper, 1/4 teas
Olive oil,1/4 cup
2 lb container ricotta cheese, whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
Parsley, chopped
Romano cheese, use the good stuff for this, not the cardboard nasty kind.

9 Lasagne noodles
1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a Dutch oven until soft and the kitchen smells delicious. Brown ground beef in a separate pan, draining and discarding excess grease, add to onion mixture. Brown ground pork and repeat draining and discarding of grease. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two. Add remaining sauce ingredients.
Cook for 3 hours covered, stirring occasionally. Let sit for an hour . This can be made a day ahead. Since this is such a lengthy process, I usually at least double the recipe because it is a real treat to have homemade spaghetti sauce this yummy. It freezes really well too.
Filling, mix ricotta, eggs, chopped parsley,

Layer sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese. End with sauce, sprinkle with more Romano cheese. Should make two layers in a 9″ X11″ pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour . Let sit for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

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