Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tying Up

Loose ends

Feels like an update is in order here.

I did Day 1 of Couch to 5K yesterday. It felt good. I definitely felt out of breath and tired through it, but it's only 20 minutes so definitely doable. I am not sore today, amazingly. I'll do the next session tomorrow. One reason I love this program is that it's all timed out and precise. My mathematical brain (wee as it may be) likes the symmetry of running and walking intermittently for a certain amount of time. I just look at the timer (on the treadmill) and tell myself I only have to do this until whatever time I get to switch. It definitely makes the time pass. Eventually, I'm going to go every day on the treadmill, but don't want to start off too hard, because that's how I always seem to burn myself out.

Made the Orange Roast Pork and Fresh Corn Salad last night from my menu plan. The roast was okay, but not my favorite. I prefer just roast. I tried it because hubs loves o.j. and I had to try a recipe that has you pouring o.j. concentrate over meat. The salad was awesome, I will make it again. I put too much pepper in it and then it was to zingy for the kids, I'll make it a little milder next time (not that they would eat it anyway, but I'm always trying).

I finished book 6 of Harry Potter last night. It's the first book that made me cry. Boo hoo. I'm picking up book 7 today from a friend and expect to be finished with the whole thing in a day or two. I was getting a little burnt out on Harry through book 5, but 6 really got me back into it. I can't wait to see how it ends! Although, admittedly, I looked up a spoiler online a week ago when I had gotten a little tipsy. So I know how it ends, but I can't wait to read it in Rowling's words. In the book I just finished, I knew that Snape kills Dumbledore, but that didn't take away any of the suspense and shock when reading it for myself.

The kids are back to daycare. Today is day 2. Mason hasn't freaked out, but looks a little confused. It's his same teacher as he had in the spring, so it's familiar and comfortable. He just gets this blank look like he wonders what we're doing. Once we're in the routine, he will be fine. Brenna has freaked out a little each day. She wants to cling to my leg and cry. I just get her busy with her friends and jet out. There's no other way. I guess I should feel good that she'd pick being with me to a room full of her friends, but I mostly feel like crap. Somehow though, it's easier now that she's older. I can explain it to her and she understands. I will be back, we will spend time together tonight. She gets it. The fits are mostly for dramatic purposes because I know she has fun all day once she gets going. She has a lot of friends and loves all of the activities. They have an awesome playground and lots to do. Getting back into the routine is hard.

That's it for now. I'm off to lunch with a friend and then back here this afternoon to get some work done. Have a great day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

10 Things I Like About Me

Bub & Pie wrote a great piece yesterday about the mirror, which I totally relate to. She also completed a meme assigning her to write ten things she likes about herself. She did a great job and also stole a bunch of my answers! Okay, I guess she couldn't really steal my answers, since she did it first. But then she tagged me, so I'm going to give it a shot.

Ten things that I like about myself.

The tough thing is to just write the nice things. Not balance with a flaw within every attribute. Not self-deprecate in any way? Challenge!

The other angle that makes this post tricky is that things I like about myself may be things that really only I even care about. So what fun is it to write said things down, when really - it's all subjective, yes?

Okay, I'm stalling...

Here goes:
  1. I like that I am forgiving. People who have angered me in the past are not forever on my hit list. I don't even have a hit list. I don't seek revenge, I don't hold grudges, I don't confront.
  2. I stay calm in stressful situations more often than not. I don't over-react and tend to find it easier to stay calm.
  3. When something I care about is being jeopardized, or someone I care about is being hurt, I can rise to the occasion and speak my mind. I stand up for what I believe in (calmly) and tend to have people's best interest at heart.
  4. I have a good eye for space and color. I can see how I want to arrange a room before I start. I am good at picking out paint colors. I have good visual-spatial reasoning.
  5. I am a good listener.
  6. I am accepting of difference. People always say to me, "Oh, I don't know how you do it.", or, "You are a saint." because I teach special education. I feel that the students I teach are the very best students in the whole school and that people with special needs or exceptionalities have taught me just as much as I have ever taught them.
  7. I am a good advocate for people with disabilities.
  8. I am optimistic.
  9. I'm quick to smile.
  10. I will do my best to help someone if it's at all possible.

Ack. That was more uncomfortable than I thought it would be! So I'll add 5 things I don't like about myself, just for good measure.

  1. I'm a terrible housekeeper.
  2. I lose my patience with my kids over silly things when I'm too tired. And sometimes even when I'm fully rested.
  3. I am a chronic procrastinator.
  4. I can't seem to stick to any diet/exercise plan that I've started and have 40 lbs of baby weight left to prove it.
  5. I don't have a lot of energy on any given day. I prefer quieter activities (reading, watching movies, blogging) to the things I need to do to improve my housekeeping, diet, and exercise short-comings!

So that's that. Now a tag: Beck? Alpha Dogma? Mimi? C'mon now - give it a try. And see if you can do it with an absence of any dislikes. I.just.could.not.do.it. (note the strain)

Good luck!

Menu Plan Monday

I've meant to do this for a long time, post my menu plan. But that would mean that I would have had to have planned a menu! I usually make a list of meals and buy the groceries for them. I do not plan when to have them, when to have left overs, etc. Since I'm going back to work part-time this week and full-time next, it's time to get back to routine! So I'm going to post my menu plans once a week and we'll see if it helps with our diet and nutrition as well.

For my menu plan, I'm only doing suppers. We're at work for lunches and breakfasts are grab and run. My kids eat a well-balanced planned menu at daycare. I use my own cookbooks and go online for meal ideas. I'm going to try at least one new recipe per week. We usually eat a fruit as a side at each meal as well, but I just grab and slice whatever is in the fridge. Right now strawberries are a frequent feature.

Without further ado,

Monday: Orange Roast Pork, Fresh Corn Salad (both are new recipes)

Tuesday: 15 Minute Chicken & Rice Dinner

Wednesday: Left Overs

Thursday: Hot Barbecue Biscuits, green salad

This is a new recipe out of the newspaper and looks so easy.

[copied directly from the Omaha World Herald] Dinner can't get much easier than Hot Barbecue Biscuits. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Remove biscuits from an 8-count can refrigerated buttermilk flaky biscuits. Separate into halves and line the baking sheet with 8 halves. Top each with 2-3 tablespoons store-bought barbecued chicken or beef. Place other halves on top and press gently. Bake 13 minutes or until biscuits are browned. Remove from over and serve. (Adapted from "51 Fast and Fun Packaged Dough Recipes," Delores Kostelni;Collectors Press, $7.95.) Serve these little gems with deli coleslaw. Kiwi is dessert.

They sound good to me. I'll report back how they turn out.

Friday: Grilled Brats, Grilled Potatoes w/ Onions

Happy eating!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

Seems like there have been a lot of bummers this week. Lots to pray for. Lots of worries.

Still, I know there are things to be grateful for. For example:

  • Took my kids for their 15 month and 4 year well-child exams at the pediatrician on Monday and they both received clean bills of health. I'm so thankful that both kids have stayed so healthy this summer (knock on wood) and that their overall health is so strong.
  • For a partner in this crazy world. My hubs may drive me crazy ten times a day (twenty?) and I him, but we are certainly in it together. I just received a very upsetting note from an old friend who has filed for divorce this summer. I did not see it coming and am so sad for her and her family. So sad. I'm grateful for my hubs and our decision to stick this marriage out together. For better or for worse and all that jazz.
  • For a cool off in the weather. I sat outside a bit ago while Mason played and the breeze almost felt cool. Granted, it's 82 degrees outside, but it feels great compared to 99!

I'll end it there. It's a great thing to do, making a gratitude list. For even when I'm feeling blue, there are blessings to be counted.

Have a great week.

Don't let someone else splash mud on your windshield. Just remember turn on your wipers if they try.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Couch to 5K

Swistle has motivated me (and some of her other readers) to start exercising with gusto tomorrow. Hey, if a mom of 5, who happens to be nursing a newborn, is planning to get off the couch - well, so am I!

We're doing the Couch to 5K program, which I think actually looks doable. It's geared towards beginners. I'm going to give it a go on my treadmill. We'll see what happens. Problem being, I really like my couch. It's all snuggly with pillows and Year 6 of Harry Potter waiting to be read...

Now - the key is actually just doing it.

Just shutting up and doing it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tomorrow is Day 1.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer Reflections

It's cliche, I realize. Still, I must say it. It's bittersweet. The end of summer.

End of summer?! I know some of you are thinking it's just gotten into full swing, but not here. Fall comes early 'round here. My kids start back to daycare on Monday. I'm in a few meetings this next week and spending time at school unpacking boxes. The following Tuesday, teachers are back full time. School starts in our district on August 13th.

The to do lists are spinning feverishly in my poor, out-of-shape brain.

On one hand, I'm excited. I really like the work that I do and enjoy the routine of it all. I like my office, with my Post-Its and lesson plans and memos. The students are great. I teach students with special needs in an alternate curriculum. I teach SIX different subjects. So I plan for reading, math, science, social studies, job skills, and English. It's crazy, but flexible. Busy, but fun. There are calendars and field trips and bus orders and schedules and grades and so much more I can't say much except that it makes me want to hide a little bit and apparently causes me to write really long sentences with no punctuation.

On the other hand, the party's sort of over, isn't it? And I haven't done half of the things that I thought I'd do. I have spent almost zero time doing preschool activities with Brenna like I had planned (aside from the usual day-to-day reading, arts & crafts, conversational type stuff). I never did get after that diet/exercise business. Or get my house in shape. Or keep on a budget. Or keep a daily routine.


What did I do?

Worked 30 + hours of summer contract time for the school district I work for.
Went to the zoo.
Played at the park.
Visited the Children's Museum.
Read books in the back yard while the kids played around me.
Filled, emptied, washed out, refilled a big blue kiddie pool a few times.
Turned the sprinkler on even more.
Babysat my nephews.
Played dollhouse.
Stacked blocks.
Changed I don't know how many diapers.
Changed I don't know how many Dora the Explorer DVDs (along with the other random movies we've watched)
Memorized the theme song and ending dance to Mickey Mouse's clubhouse.
Went on two road trips.
Attended two weddings.
Celebrated a fourth birthday.
Went to a 4th of July party.
Told some neighbors who moved away see ya soon.
Said good-bye forever to a really good friend.
Read the entire Harry Potter Series for the first time (almost done).
Read a bunch of other random fiction books.

Okay, so maybe I did accomplish something this summer.

I'm smiling. Right now.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Book Love

In late elementary school, say 5th or 6th grade, I really got into reading. I was always a good reader in school, but didn't LOVE reading per se (or maybe I did and don't remember it). Reading was my favorite subject and I often read at home, so I guess maybe I always have loved to read. The fact that I love to escape reality so much, and have since such a young age, frightens me at times. As if I'd rather avoid reality if at all possible. My husband would tell you that I create my own reality, but that's another post.

I just love going other places whether it be by traveling there, reading a book, or even watching a movie. The first book I remember really liking is James and the Giant Peach. I read it on my own in 5th grade and felt so grown up. It seemed like such a big book.

While I'm on the topic of books I read and loved as a child...how about Judy Blume? Is there any better. Not in my book - no pun intended. Deenie was monumental for me (I was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 12). Superfudge was a favorite. I read those Fudge books when I was just learning to read. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. Brilliant. She was brilliant. One of my favorite books of all time at that age was Just As Long As We're Together. Great book. All about girl power! But I digress...

As we got into 6th grade and the girls started moving into groups - cliques, really, (there were only 12 girls in my grade, and only two groups), we started calling ourselves the fabulous five.

Myself, Jenna, Marcie, Dawn, and Shawna. We were BFF, if you know what I mean. I read a series called The Fabulous Five, so had the idea that this was what we should be called. I loved these books, really loved them. Of course, there is a girl named Melanie, so that didn't hurt. But they were great books. Each one was written from a different member of the group's perspective. It was all about school, boys, each girl's own interests. It was this tween girl's idea of the perfect book series. I wasn't so much into mysteries or The Babysitter's Club. No, I loved The Fabulous Five. I would wait until a new one came out and then beg my mother to get it. Some of them are still on my bookshelf today (two that bear my name).

As I have been reading the Harry Potter series so voraciously over the past week or so, I remember that time. When I had to read the next book. When I had to know what would happen. I feel that way now. I haven't felt this tied to a group of characters in such a long time. It is inspiring me to look into what other book series I could read, because it's so much fun to get so into it. I also think I shouldn't, because I get so into it! There are other things that need to be done, such as housework, parenting, and very soon, my paid gig. So as I reach the halfway point in Year 5 of 7, I realize that it's probably best that I am not always so into books, because the other parts of my jam-packed life would suffer.

So I will finish up Harry Potter and then go back to my less involved, less obsessed reading. Then the fall TV shows will start and my reading will slow down completely.

I will miss my imaginary book world friends. It's sort of fun to escape now and then, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wild Man

I see it, that twinkle in your eye. I see you. You know that you're in trouble. As much trouble as a one-year old gets into, anyway. You're on the table, again. It's irresistible, isn't it? If you didn't do it, who would scavenge the uneaten food and dump over the almost empty water glasses? Who would sit on top of it as if he were King of the Hill? Only you.

Then you are put down, and scolded. No, no Mason. Or No thank you, Mason. Or Stay down, Mason. These all work so well. Then you give me this look -

Perhaps my favorite though, is coming around the corner to find you where you were finishing up your lunch. You've deposited the shells and cheese on your head and are eating them from there. Yum.

Is this where the saying "Boys will be Boys" comes from? Because they escape all other logic and understanding? That, and the saying, "You're lucky that you're cute!" Fitting for my little guy, I think.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Birthday Girl

You were two months old. This tiny little baby. This little bean.

My little B, now four years old. Do I see Roller Derby in her future?

I can't believe my baby girl is FOUR! It seems like such a milestone to me. She's now approaching school age. She's growing by leaps and bounds. She asked for roller skates for her birthday, which is what we got her. Seeing her with them on and all of her gear (which saved her knees and elbows on several falls!) just makes her look even older.

For her birthday, we did a backyard family BBQ. It's what we've done for every birthday for her and it's what she asked for again.

The weather turned out to be perfect. It was warm enough for the kids to run around in swim suits and enjoy water play and birthday games, but there was enough cool shade for the adults to also enjoy being outside. We had a big tub of ice full of beverages and people just sat around it talking and watching the kids. We also had a game of washers going for the adults, so everyone really had fun!

I have resolved that this year I would have some planned activities and that I would spend more time interacting with the kids, and that's just what I did. The downside to this was that I didn't get many pictures! Thank goodness my mom took a few with my camera.

We played a baseball game where you toss a water balloon at buckets of water and the person standing by the bucket swings at the balloon with a plastic baseball bat. That was a fun game! Then we played a fishing game. I made little fish out of colored index cards and attached paper clips to them. We used two magnetic fishing poles (from our kiddie pool toys) to let the kids go fishing. They got a prize out of the corresponding colored bag based on the fish they caught. They all had small gift bags for their booty. Then we whacked a pinata (which Brenna INSISTS on for each birthday) and they filled their bags the rest of the way with candy. Good fun had by all!

The next day Brenna wore a Tinkerbell party hat to church ("So everyone will know it was my birthday") and didn't take it off all day. She was bummed it wasn't her birthday any more, but had fun playing with all of her new toys.

A puppy tea party to welcome the newest addition to the puppy family, a pink and white poodle named Poodle.

She turns four and suddenly becomes and artist. She drew this picture in church the day after her birthday. It is honestly the first picture she's drawn that is a full picture with corresponding colors. She called it Spring (note the red flower and green grass) and said she thought we (the orange people in the picture are Brenna and me) looked a little "funky". I told her I thought we looked beautiful! I can't imagine what other doors will open this year.

It is very exciting!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

This week, I'm grateful for so much. This morning in church I held my 4-year old as we sang praise songs. Tears sprung to my eyes as I realized what a wonderful 4 years it has been and how blessed we are that this little girl is the healthy, happy, creative, energetic person that she is. It is too much.

I will post all about the big number 4 birthday tomorrow. It's been too long since I've posted pictures and will do so when I get the party pics uploaded.

I am so grateful to my mom, she helped me a ton yesterday! I was getting the dinner together and also trying to run games and activities for the kids. She finished up my meal prep so I could entertain the children and start the party. Then she helped me clean up last night and this morning. Her energy is incredible and I marvel at her skillful tidying. I wish it was genetic!

It was great that the party went so well, something I am definitely thankful for. And finally, I'm just so glad we had a chance to spend time with family. Brenna's b-day party has become the one time of year that hubs' and my family get together and it really was fun.

Thank goodness.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Modified Cocktail

We bought some margarita mix this week with the booze already in it and it is way strong. Yum. I've discovered something that makes them even better than drinking them on the rocks, as I usually do. You know Pop Ice? One of those, cut up in my beverage. Welcome to Margarita-Ville. My nerves are relaxing, I am breathing. Mmmmm....


[Party plans are under way. I've probably got a little too much going on with the decorations, games, prizes, presents, meal, cake, mock camp out. As usual. But I like overdoing it. Makes me feel like a "real" mom. Details Sunday.]

Crunch Time

It's been a busy week. Babysitting on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Then yesterday I went to a luncheon with some fellow teachers and then out to a chick flick with hubs' sisters and mom. So today I've got to get my house ready and also run errands for tomorrow's birthday BBQ. And I'm feeling that time has slipped away and there's no possible way for us to be ready. If you saw the state my house was in, you would know why. If you knew that I've read three Harry Potter books in four days, you'd know why. So it's last minute prepping, again. But that's how I always do it. Today it's laundry, cleaning (oh the messes!), groceries. And Hubs has a golf tournament.

Oh my.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another Blogger Joins the Ranks

For a humiliating look into my personal life, check here. That's right, hubs has begun his own blog - apparently just to counter my thoughts and embarrass me.

I say this with love, for it was writing that sort of won my heart with my husband. He was an English major (education), which impressed me straight away. My previous boyfriend was barely literate, so brains were on my make/break list. He also wrote poems. Oh those poems, that's what won me over. I may just get permission to post one sometime. Top notch, to be sure.

So it is with great love that I says he's humiliating me, because really, he's pretty funny.

Ah love, it is beyond compare (gush gush right back).

By the way, maybe I would be better at sales and triangles schemes than I think. He is the fifth blogger that has started (that I know personally) since I started my own blog. It's multiplying rapidly, that Wacky Blogosphere!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beck wrote today about being off-routine and feeling uninspired. I am so with ya. I'm watching my two nephews this week and having four kids in the house is hard! Especially considering they are ages 3, 3, 21 mo, and 15 mo. It really makes me wish I had two sets of twins! And also realize that I'm sort of grumpy and screechy. "NO, Mason! Get out of the dog food!!!" [that's in real time] I ought to go feed the kid some breakfast, ya think?!

But I could use some help. Really.

We're having my B's b-day party on Saturday. It's a family BBQ. I'll have a few kids over (family) and want to do a craft and a game. I've got some ideas but am thinking that maybe someone else has the perfect idea. I'd like to give out the cheap plastic crap I've bought as prizes, but need something to do for it.

Ideas please!

Friday, July 13, 2007


My shout out earlier today came as I was reflecting on blogging as a hobby. As I was thinking about the women whose writing I read. As I was even thinking about myself.

Our road trip to Wyoming had hubs and I playing tourists on the Western end of our state last week. We spent July 5th meandering that way, stopping at a few places along the way. Our first stop was at a "new" history museum that was built while we were finishing our undergrads in the same town. Kearney, Nebraska. It's a huge arch that was erected over the Interstate. It's the Gateway West. Neither of us had been inside, so we had to stop off and take a peek. What I loved about this trip was that this was not on our agenda, but when we drove under it and hubs suggested a stop, I wholeheartedly agreed. This type of unplanned visit simply cannot be done with kids. I felt young and unattached. A little like I was missing an extremity...or two.
The museum traces the history of Western settlement through the progression of transportation. How pioneers first used pull carts or wagons to travel west. Then came an increase in the use of stagecoaches. Followed by railroads. Then automobiles. And so on. It's a really cool museum, set right along the first trails that people used to go west. An amazing history, really.

One source for personal accounts of these journeys has been diaries. Hundreds of diaries were kept, many by the women who traveled in wagon trains. Their writing is beautiful and is such a spellbinding first account of the pain and suffering they endured on their trips. Some were quoted at this museum, still others are published and for sale at the visitor's center at Chimney Rock, which was our other stop that day.

"If I were to give in to inclination, I would cry all day every day and not know the reason." One quote on display at the Chimney Rock Visitor's Center. From a woman's diary. I don't remember the woman's name, but it sure seemed like something I would read in a blog post.

Of course, this got me thinking. Thinking of the women who traveled on these wagon trains. Pioneer women. We learned about how the women worked right along with the men all day as they traveled. Most women walked. They helped with the wagons, animals, and tried to keep everyone together. Then at night they set up camp, made supper, cleaned up, and cared for the children. Their days were long and arduous. And I complain about my 8, sometimes 9, hour work days.

Their diaries made me think of blogs. Hubs teased me a little, for he knew exactly what I was thinking as I read of the women's diaries. As I thumbed through the published copies of their personal accounts. "You're going to do a blog post about this, aren't you?" Why, yes I am.

Today, we are carving out another piece of history. A modern time when women are still keeping track. Telling of our days. The triumphs. The failures. The joy. The pain.

What will they think of us 150 years from now? Will my Gateway PC be in a museum somewhere? Will people marvel at how we parented? How did we manage without whatever technology they now could not live without?

We shouldn't feel guilty because we love to write. We shouldn't try to justify keeping a blog. Shouldn't have to explain it to anyone. Writing about experiences is something women have done for as long as they've been allowed to read and write. I imagine pioneer women thought about their diary entries as they walked their 18 mile days. As they tried to make a fire with green wood or buffalo crap. As they listened to the men play music and drink their booze.

~If he would just once put down that fiddle and come help me with dinner. I walked all day too, dammit. You'd think he walked on water because he knows how to drive oxen. If he thinks he's getting any tonight, he's got another thing coming. Ergh.~ [Okay, this, I totally made up, but you could see where this was surely in one of those diaries.]

Some day our own thoughts will be somewhere. I hope. I believe this hobby, this blogging, will some day tell others what we were like. What we did. What we survived.
We will all be a piece of that.

A Shout Out

Over on the right, scroll down a little. I've got Blog Posts On Parade. These are posts at other blogs that I've enjoyed - updated at least weekly, if not more. If you don't have Google Reader yet, I highly recommend. It's good stuff, and they don't even pay me to say that.

I don't keep a list of blogs I read on the side, just because I'm not sure that anyone ever reads those and I really don't keep it updated well. Not to mention, I'd hate to leave anyone feeling left out. I'm always wandering Bloggerland, so there are many, many blogs I read. And who really cares what I read anyway? Anyways...

Here are the blogs I read now - whether you care or not - she says defiantly! The ones that I am constantly waiting for a new post on. The ones that I miss when they are on vacation. Who make me panic when they threaten to hang up their bloggy hats.

In no particular order - a list of blogs I visit regularly:
  1. Big Blueberry Eyes - Mommy blogging at its best. Kayla is just 6 days older than my Brenna and I know they would be friends if only they lived here. Michelle just found out she's pregnant - yay! After trying for quite a while...and her recent posts about that have been so, so good.

  2. Swistle - 5 kids. FIVE! I'm hooked based on that fact alone, not to mention her 6 week old - whose gestation, birth, and postpartum life has fascinated me daily. That and the almost daily pictures of that little cutie (and the other FOUR [!] kids as well).

  3. Bub & Pie - Her son's language development has fascinated me. Her grammar lessons for us have made me smarter. The book reviews are great. Her like/don't like posts keep me coming back for more. She is an awesome writer!

  4. Jacque - A dear friend. Her daily posts have kept myself and others up on how she's doing as she gets used to retirement and goes through cancer treatment.

  5. Nikki at Random Things - Family keeping in touch. Enough said.

  6. Midwest Beach Girl - More family. Who has the guts to leave Nebraska. How dare you! Prayers for her safe journey tomorrow as it is literally moving day!

  7. Alpha Dogma - Her guest bloggers make me laugh. But she is even funnier! Love her magazine reviews, stories of raising boys, gardening, living way friggin' North, and random thoughts.

  8. Rosebud & Papoosiegirl - Another mom. Raising girls. Thinking of a 3rd??? Her Monday Musings are great. A fellow list lover, I think we have a lot in common.

  9. Beck at Frog and Toad are Still Friends - A newer addition to my list. Awesome mom. Chef. Crafty. Makes me feel inferior when I read of her daily goings on, but isn't all braggy about it. She's quite awesome actually.

  10. Julie at Busy Kids. A friend on the West Coast. I recently convinced her to blog because the daily activities of a Californian are much more exciting than a Nebraskan. And she's got family all over who I know will love to check in.

  11. Oh the Joys - I just recently became acquainted. Funny. Quick. Rocks on the Photo Shop. Her post today was actually quite romantic. A bit of a change from the typical bow chicka wow wow goin' on over there.

  12. Mimi on the Breach - Another smarty pants professor blogger. Great balance of mommy blogging and thinky posts. Love it all!

  13. Under the Mad Hat - Quite literary at times. Librarian. Threatened to quit, but we just wouldn't let her! Another whiz with Photo Shop. Also great at spinning a tale. Smart about kids' lit and poetry. Another genius writer.

  14. Catherine Newman - I check in when she updates her blog. She writes a weekly article at Wondertime that is always good. A blog called Dalai Mama. She's the first blog I ever read. And the writer who inadvertently introduced me to Blogger.

Then there are those blogs on the outskirts of my blogtown. That I visit fairly frequently. Who I have to check in on now and then. It's not that I don't like their blogs or that I am not addicted - it's more about my vow to keep my list of reading close to 10...or 12...or now more like 15. These would be Lawyer Mama, Poppy Fields, Her Bad Mother, among others. And then there are those I click to because they've left a funny comment on a blog I'm reading and I'm curious about their writing. This reading occurs when my Google Reader has stayed empty of new posts for too long and I need something to read. About twice a week or so.

I know some of the reading and the posting will slow down once the school year starts back up. I'm back for good by about August 6th (!) and the students start the year on August 13. Which means not much summer left!

I just had to give a pat on the back to the writers who have kept me entertained this summer. Whose posts have made me laugh, cry, and even sometimes think. I'm smarter because of the thinky posts and I'm a better mother, wife, and housekeeper because of the helpful posts. I find this much more entertaining than daytime television and realized the other day I've barely watched a minute of TV all summer (aside from Playhouse Disney, PBS Kids, and Care Bear DVDs).

Thank you Blogosphere for giving me a fun new hobby. And thank you bloggers for being the stupendous authors that you are!!!!

Now It's a Trilogy

A riveting tale of a girl and her coffee.

I set the timer on Mr. Coffee last night.

Right now, in the kitchen, there sits a beautiful pot of hot coffee.

No grounds in the actual coffee, but grounds in the filter. Water in the reservoir, moving into pot, through the grounds.

Voila! We have coffee.

Now I must go drink some.

The End

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Coffee Making Part Deux

So today I left the pot of water on the burner while I got the rest ready. And then flipped the switch on. Mr. Coffee does not like that sequence one bit. So I had to pour the water into a hot water reservoir, which sputtered and spit at me as it it were swearing (I swore right back).

Then something unfortunate happened and the water all backed up and coffee grounds were everywhere, including in my coffee. I drank it anyway.

I suppose this is why they make a timer on Mr. Coffee.

My successes making coffee the past two days are the reason why I think I'll start using said timer from now on. I'm getting it all ready tonight when I am not in dire need of coffee to make my brain function properly.

All pieces of coffee pot (except for the part you plug in, duh) are in the dishwasher. I've got an "I'll do better next time" attitude. Cross your fingers.

A.M. Madness

Brenna prefers her oatmeal "smooth" and likes to eat it on a TV tray while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's only on once a day and it's her FAVORITE!

Given the chance, Mason will make a mess. Will get into trouble. Will spill, rip, chew on, crush, any material in his path.

Conversations where Mason and I go back and forth between 'more' and 'done' have made meal times ever so interesting. Luckily he now shakes his head and says no when I've got it wrong. He says 'mo' and 'duh' and does a half-sign for each, but isn't always sure if that's what he means. The head shaking has helped a bit.

Brenna likes some 1:1 attention each morning, but doesn't need it before watching Playhouse Disney for a couple of hours. At some point she will turn off the TV and come asking me to play with her.

I love mornings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


This morning I made coffee. Just like usual.

Put water in. Put in the filter. Flipped it on.

I was surprised when it was finished and the water was just sort of hot and murky colored. Not coffee.

My Mr. Coffee is so picky in that it requires you to actually put scoops of coffee grounds in the filter to make the coffee.

Try again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I can't seem to title my posts anymore. My title bar is there, but I cannot click in it. Huh.

I cannot type wonderful correctly the first time (though I just did). I always leave out the r. Just wondeful.

I always have to double check my spelling on recommendation, accommodation, occasion, and several other words with double consonants that I cannot think of right now.

Your and you're used incorrectly is a pet peeve of mine. As are there, their, and they're.
Also to and too. Sometimes I will type them incorrectly when I'm going too fast, but usually catch it in the proofread.

I often misspell words in comments on other blogs and catch it only after I've published. I'm so picky about this that I will copy my comment, delete it, then paste a new comment just to correct the spelling errors.

Typos bug me.

Apparently random posts about pretty much nothing do not.

Monday, July 9, 2007

After a long day of driving, we made it home last night. We stopped at my parents to pick up the kids and it was so good to see them! All in all, it was a great trip. It was also nice to take a 5 day break from the phone, computer, and t.v. We watched a little of that from our hotel room, but not more than an hour total. I enjoy being unplugged for a few days. My brain sort of downshifted too, which was really nice.

Yesterday we were driving home and the brain started buzzing again. I have so much to do in coming weeks that it makes me sort of sad. This next school year is going to be a huge adjustment. I'll have a new co-teacher and two new teacher's assistants to train. It will be a whole new ballgame. Not to mention the huge freshman class coming in, that means twelve new kids (and their families) to get to know as well.

I've enjoyed my summer off so much, I'm not sure if I'm up for the challenge! I think I'd like to keep this pace, this summer of fun. Alas, it wasn't meant to last forever. I guess I can appreciate the fact that the school year will always make me grateful for summer. And I think vice verse.

This morning we are trying to dig out from the piles of suitcases, toys, mess. When we left, there was a lot to do around the house. Now there is even more. I'm babysitting my nephews this week starting tomorrow, which means the house needs to be somewhat in order.

So that's what I'm off to do now. My brain is so full of 'to dos' that I may have to start a running list!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Independence Day

On my side of the family, my dad's side of the family gets together every 4th of July for an Independence Day bash. My parents live out in the country on 4 acres so it's a great setting for said bash. There are 9 (sometimes 11) children age 14 on down to 1 who accompany the adults. It is big fun in rural Nebraska. The kids swim, run through sprinklers, play in the sand box, and then in late afternoon out come the fire crackers, smoke bombs, and other "kid-friendly" (ha! no such thing) fireworks. We have an awesome potluck supper where everyone brings the same things every year. It's a meal the rivals Thanksgiving dinner in terms of deliciousness.

Tomorrow is no exception, we're headed out after lunch.

The evening show is the best. The men all spend way too much money on fireworks and get the display ready all evening while the women tend to the children. They have sawhorses and plywood and get it set up out in the garden. After dark we all grab our chairs and blankets (if needed), reapply the bug spray, and get settled to watch the show. One year they almost shot the barn. One year something exploded right among them. I can still hear my brother's laugh, the way it burst out after that one. A mixture of fear and amazement. Afterwards they rehash the show to see what they can improve on for next year.

It really is good fun.

After the party, we bathe the kids quickly, then it's off to bed. We adults sit up and talk about what a great day it was as we all finish off our beers.

What better way to spend the 4th. With my family all around me.

Last year, Brenna is all dressed up to go.

What a difference a year makes! Mason with his aunt last year.


Thursday morning the hubs and I are off on a road trip without the kids. They'll be staying at my parents' while we head out to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a friend's wedding. I'm excited for the trip, it will be so fun to go to a wedding and enjoy it without chasing kids or keeping them out of the slide show, d.j. equipment, cake, etc. But I'm also worried I'll miss my kids and that my parents will be overwhelmed. It's the first time we've left the kids to take a trip. Hubs and I took a trip to Kansas City for our first wedding anniversary. We haven't really gone anywhere alone together since then (that was 5 years ago). We are overdue for a little break together.

Today is a barrage of packing and planning. I've got to get productive today. Laundry and packing. I do work best under pressure. I hear the coffee finishing, so I'm off. I'll be back Sunday!

Happy Independence Day!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Yuppy Land

Yesterday afternoon, hubs took us to his new gym (I use that term loosely) to show us around and use the outdoor pool. The gym is near our house, about five minutes away, and is on the way to a lot of shopping that we do (Super Target!). It is called Lifetime Fitness.

This gym boasts a spa, four gyms, rock climbing wall, indoor pool with two water slides, outdoor pool with two water slides and zero entry kids' area, outdoor field turf area for running around and playing catch, two cafes (one indoors, one out), a work out area, and more. It's pretty incredible. There are indoor and outdoor spas. The locker rooms also feature a sauna and steam room. Not to mention top of the line facilities.

I felt uncomfortable.

I feel uncomfortable around people with money. There, I said it.

Especially people who want others to know they have money.

Especially people who like to walk around and make sure that others know they have money.

I felt like this building was a shrine to that. Judgmental again, I'm on a roll.

Not everyone there was like that. There were really only a few that were obviously in the group I'm speaking of. Kids texting on their way out to their car. Men in expensive work out gear, strutting their stuff. Women with too many highlights, walking on two inch flip flops, covered in their matching white terry cover-ups. And of course, the "right" shades. Blech.

This brings me to the inner debate that I've been having a lot lately. Is this where I want my kids to grow up? It's not only about the gym. It's about raising kids in the city, where every opportunity is right here for them, or in a small town where it is...different. This gym is so far from where I grew up. Not just in terms of miles.

We live in Omaha, population is roughly 400,000. I grew up in a town that inflates its population to 800. My husband grew up here, yet he longs to run a high school in a smaller town. His career goal is to be a high school principal, or maybe someday a superintendent. Right now he is an assistant principal (one of four) for the second largest high school in our state. I work in a high school that is more than three times the size of my hometown.

I LOVE it here. The zoo, the Children's Museum, the theater, the downtown area, the lake that we live near with the trails and playground. Super Target. Our school district is arguably the best in the state. We would have none of this in rural Nebraska. I have daydreams of getting season tickets for the touring Broadway shows that come to town for Brenna and I when she's old enough. Also of hubs and I being able to enjoy the nightlife more when our kids are older. Lots of plans.

I don't know what the answer is and I'm sure a lot of it will be decided on based on whether hubs accepts a job elsewhere in a few years. I just don't want to raise snobs. That is a big goal of mine. No snobs. And no jackasses. If we stay here, my work may be cut out for me.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Grains of Gratitude

There's something about being busy and taking the kids places that makes me feel like a good mom. I guess when we're home I'm distracted by so many other things, but when we're out and about I can really focus on them. This week was great for that.

Monday we stayed at home, but spent the afternoon in our backyard enjoying the kiddie pool and sand/water table. The kids loved this and I didn't even complain when most of the sand ended up in the pool and vice verse. It's so fun to watch their imaginations at work while playing outside.

On Tuesday, the kids went to their Aunt Lynn's so that I could get some work done. I'm down to the wire on some summer hours that I need to fulfill by July 15th. I was so grateful to the hubs' sis for taking the kids for about 6 hours!

On Wednesday, we went on an outing to the zoo. My cousin, her husband, and their three kids came to Omaha so that we could all go to the zoo. Our city boasts an awesome zoo and it was fun to host some out-of-towners. We get an annual pass and go quite a bit, but actually spent five hours there that day.

On Thursday, we went to the Children's Museum with Aunt Lynn and her two boys, Tyler and Trevor. Our city also has this great children's museum that just was remodeled. The kids had a blast!

On Friday, Brenna's preschool teacher (who is off for the summer) called to see if we wanted to meet them down at the park near our house (about a five minute drive) for a play date. I accepted and took the kids down there for about an hour in the morning. Then on Friday night, we drove down to Lincoln to eat dinner with my cousin and her family (the ones who came to the zoo) and say good-bye to another cousin who's moving to Florida. We got home late that night, but it was so worth it to spend a few hours with family. There's nothing like being with people who've known you your whole life. Whose stories are all wrapped up in your own. Who know the value of a pudding pop.

Saturday was a day for running errands with hubs and getting a few things done around the house. Then in the afternoon we let the kids do some more swimming in the back yard and daddy even joined them in the pool! I was so grateful to hubs because he stayed home with kids on Saturday night so I could go to scrap mania at a local scrapbook store with my sister-in-law Lynn and scrapbook for 6 hours in their work room. That was so fun and I'm getting caught up on Brenna's scrapbook finally!

Today we went to a new gym that just opened (and hubs joined) that has a huge outdoor pool complete with zero-entry kids' area. It was so fun and the kids loved it! Then we went to a cookout with my in-laws, hubs' parents hosted a great supper meal and the kids ran through the sprinkler.

I'm tired just writing this all down, but it was such a fun week! I love staying busy and was grateful for all of the fun summer activities that we were able to do!

Thanks, Christine, for hosting Grains of Gratitude. And thanks to Michelle for inspiring me to do it!