A slower life can be sweeter...
Friday, August 31, 2007
Have you ever seen this show?
No, I'm not going on the show. My mom is coming to town and making me clean the crap out of my basement. I am showing you photos of the part of my house where no one is even allowed! But I show you because there will be fantastic after pictures in a few days.
Our basement is unfinished and slightly unused. We have one seating area where we watch a ginormous t.v. I do laundry. And we store lots of stuff.
You can see kitchen stuff. That is overflow from my tiny, tiny kitchen. There are holiday decorations. There is miscellany.
By tomorrow night, it will all be organized (or thrown out) and tidy.
I'm kind of excited!
Keep in mind, I am seriously showing you the basement where NO ONE is allowed! We'll see what it looks like once it's actually tidied. Maybe I won't feel such shame.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Today was awesome. I met up with Jacque, Nikki, and Stacy for brunch at Mimi's. The quiche was delicious, but the conversation was even better! I love meeting up with my cousins and I love meeting up with my good friend Jacque. Having them all together was just great! We all have started blogging in the last year and it was fun to have the three of them meet.
This afternoon we went out to a water splash park (a city park with sprinkler/water features) for my nephew's birthday. It was so fun to watch my kid's laugh and play. I am so very aware of what great kids I have, even if I don't always feel that way. They are so energetic and full of life. They are independent spirits who look at a day at the park as an adventure and enjoy every minute of it. It's fun to have two fun kids!
I am grateful for what a good weekend we have. Mason is finally feeling better after a long virus/fever thing that had us juggling days off of work last week. I'm glad he's well again.
That's it for now.
I will be back to blogging regularly again next week...see you then!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
As for me, I'm going to keep it to the few I mentioned before and that's about it. Trying to keep it to a minimum, since life is sort of taking over.
Which brings me to my next point. I'm going to take a little break. From the blogging thing. I'm not quitting altogether. Just taking a wee break, ala Mad Hatter circa summer of '07. Not a huge deal. Just a breather. I hope you'll stop back by when I get back.
It's more about need to fold socks and scrub toilets. And maybe do some actual correspondence with real stamps and an ink pen.
Life is trying to get the best of me. What with work 10+ hrs a day, having a hip that wants to ache and pop all day long, and trying to raise two young kids with one young husband and really be THERE while I'm doing it.
So I'll be back. In a couple of weeks. Just taking some time off. I've got some stuff I need to think on and a little bit more I need to act on.
And by the way, thank you for your super kind comments. About my face. I wasn't digging for compliments, but it sure was nice to get some. Me and my mom face have some work to do!
This weekend I'm having brunch with some real life blogging friends. Two cousins and a former co-worker. I've convinced them all to blog with me this year and I'm so glad for it. Now we'll all be brunching together!
I'll be back soon and I'll certainly see you then.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
That's me - in 2003
I feel that way sometimes now, when I'm looking at the mom face looking back at me.
With each pregnancy, I've put on 50+ lbs. With each birth, I've lost about 25.
Ready to have Mason - 2006
Which is where that leaves me today. I've got 40 lbs to lose.
Me - Version 2007
The year I met my hubs, I had lost 30 lbs of college weight. I was actually looking and feeling good. I had cut out most carbs, as part of a healthy diet that I was on for my back (long story, another post).
That's me in the middle - 2000
My mom face looks so different now, I barely recognize myself. In my mind, I am still the girl with the pointy chin and cute cheek bones.
Most days, I just forget about it and live out my busy life.
Today is one of those days when I think on it and want to do something.
Something to LOSE the weight.
OTJ has posted on her own success. Way to GO!
I just can't seem to find it for myself. That inspiration to do it.
Take out food and fatigue win.
I am going to take this week and get a plan.
It's time that I find a little bit of me when I look in the mirror.
Is that really me??? - 2004
That may mean paying some attention and having a serious conversation with myself.
I just hope that when I go to do it, I'm ready to sit down and listen.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
"I didn't know you would come so soon!" B tells me when I came to pick her up at a friend's house tonight. She and her brother spent the evening with my friend and her family while Hubs and I were at our high schools' open houses.
She gave it her best shot:
"Let's stay a little bit longer."
"Let's stay a couple more minutes."
"I just want to stay for NINE more minutes."
"FINE!!!!" She screams through the tears.
In a final argument, once buckled in my car, "I'M NOT TIRED!!!!" Screamed at the very top of her lungs.
Her determination was there. She gave great effort.
She still lost.
She's now tucked in bed for some happy rest.
There's nothing like a tired four-year old.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
My Hubs was a teacher for five years before being hired as an assistant principal at a local high school. I've asked him a few times over the past few days if the stress and hours are normal to start the year (I'm a fairly new teacher and this is my first year experiencing all of this without a mentor to guide and protect me). Looking for reassurance that this too shall pass.
This is what he told me:
"Mel, You have 35 years worth of first weeks of school ahead of you in your career. Every year it is rough to start. Every year it gets better after you settle in. Just put that in your pocket so that we don't have to have this conversation every year."
In my pocket. Got it.
Thanks for the pep talk Honey.
And once I did the math, I only have about 30 years of back-to-schools left, thank you very much.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I'm am an admitted TV junkie. I usually get involved with a couple of shows a season and watch an hour or so TV a night. But this summer we watched zero TV. I read so much and then of course started doing a lot of reading blogs in the evenings.
So what do I watch? I love TLC and HGTV. Right now, I am watching House Hunters. Love it! When the fall TV shows start, I will watch Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and the new show - Private Practice. I liked Gilmore Girls and Studio 60, but neither show is on any more.
One of my goals in the new year was to watch less TV and I'd say that's one resolution I've stuck with. It actually feels weird to be sitting here with the TV on. Of course, here I sit while I'm watching it - I'm on the computer!
So what will you watch this fall?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
I love classrooms, books, pep rallies, bell schedules, papers, pencils, lesson plans, binders, reading, writing, and 'rithmetic...all of it.
Being a teacher rocks!
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Our little Brenna. Not so much. She has never really gone to sleep without help. She had a pacifier until 19 months (she's now four) and then we helped her by staying with her, using music, a blankie. We've tried it all. She has never wanted to go to sleep alone. "But I'm all alonely." That's her line.
But it's gotten worse. We follow the same routine. Hubs reads to her after brushing teeth, they say good night prayers, cuddle for a minute, turn on some music (a new addition to the routine in an attempt to solve our current issues), and say good night. When she comes down, we prompt her back upstairs. Even when I try to lay with her, her body will not stop moving. I end up getting frustrated because she won't lay still and will not stop talking. She doesn't want to fall asleep.
She takes HOURS to fall asleep. HOURS. It is exhausting. The prompting and the whining and the crying. We've tried adjusting the time both earlier and later, with no improvement. Hubs is ready to say forget it and let her stay up with us (I usually go to bed at 10:00) because we are so tired of fighting with her.
I can't really say I expect any advice, but I'd take it if anyone has ideas. We've gone the way of the sticker chart, they've lost their effectiveness. Hubs made good on a threat tonight to have her put some movies in a garbage bag (they're up in a closet, he told her she could get them back someday, but she thinks they're thrown away). Punishment and reward have both failed to change the behavior.
Does she need less sleep? She's still napping at daycare for the time being (until September, I think).
Should we just keep doing what we're doing?
I'm at the end of my rope here, I think. I don't want her to be sleep-deprived, and I hate it that every day ends negatively with her because she has worn down our patience yet again.
I guess I'm hoping it's just a phase (a four year phase, so far).
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Last summer I had the gall to work out with a trainer. It was very much beyond my mommy-out-of-shape self. I was a four season athlete in my teens and thought I could get back into shape if this 20-something guy named Justin whipped me there.
What happened was that I aggravated an old shoulder injury and ended up with a chronic hip problem.
My hip flexor "flares up" whenever I start exercising again. The trainer boy taught me how to stretch, but it doesn't really help.
This time it's REALLY bad. I can't stand up straight without it popping and me sort of falling to the ground.
I've taken something stronger than Tylenol. I'm heading to bed.
The worst part being that tomorrow I have an evening meeting for school, which means working from 7:30 AM - 9:00 PM. So the fact that I can't stand up straight at this point without toppling over could present an issue. Guess I'll be doing a lot of sitting!
Advice welcome here - go to a doctor? let it get better and then just lay off the jogging? see a chiropractor?
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I've worked 20 hrs in the past two days and am likely to work 10 more tomorrow. It's only bad for a few weeks and then I'll be able to leave by 4:00 for the majority of days. Here for a while though, we are all pretty tired. Sigh.
I'm off to do a few more things for work yet tonight, so I can be ready for more tomorrow. It will be Wednesday already, the week is absolutely flying away. Nightie night.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Since it's the first week back to full-time work, I've planned a very simple menu of recipes on my regular rotation. Nothing that requires a recipe or even measuring. I rely on store-bought ingredients for a lot of these. They are my stand-by, tried and true meals.
Monday: spaghetti and meat sauce, corn, bruschetta
I'm using Vodka Sauce from Emeril and Thin Spaghetti, Barilla Plus. The bruschetta I make with a French Baguette from the bakery. I mix oil, margarine (or butter, whatever I've got), and Italian seasoning. I brush that on the 1 inch slices of bread then top with Parmesan cheese and tomatoes. Usually I would use Roma tomato slices, but this week I've got fresh tomatoes to use up so will top with chopped tomatoes. I bake at 350 for about 10 minutes and just keep an eye on it until it looks how I want it to. Sometimes I'll put on the broiler for a quick minute, just to crisp it up. I keep a few with no tomatoes for the kiddos.
Tuesday: baked BBQ pork chops, mixed veggies
I season the chops, brush them with BBQ sauce (this time it's Famous Dave's), cover with foil, and bake them at 300 degrees for an hour or so.
Wednesday: chicken & rice, peas
My 15 minute chicken and rice recipe from last week, I didn't use it then. Chicken breasts are in the freezer, I use Minute Rice (brown rice) and canned cream of chicken soup
Thursday: "homemade" pizza, salad
I use a store-bought Boboli crust, canned pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, and bagged shredded mozzarella cheese. Brenna loves to help with this one and it's super easy to do.
Friday: take-out, TBA
After a long week, I plan to reward myself on Friday by letting someone else cook! The meals I've planned are made with food I know my kids will eat and that are easy to make. By starting with store-bought ingredients, I save myself a lot of time. I'd like to be the mom who starts everything from scratch and love to when I have the time. When it's back to school time, I'm all about ease! After this week I will be planning one new recipe per week, usually for the weekend.
Have a great week!
This week, as I face going back to work full time, I am trying really hard to be grateful for that. I have a good education and a career that I felt called to do. When I think of the situation that some women are in, living in this very same city, I am so glad that I have a job. Something that I love to do. Something that helps us live in the house that we do, maintaining the life that we do.
Being a working mother has been a role that I sometimes have mourned, but this morning I am being thankful.
Thankful for my education and for my career, two things that I so often take for granted.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
My nephew has a name! We went up yesterday morning as a family and were there when his name was finally decided. They changed it from Trent, turns out there's a cousin Trent with the same surname who is less than well-liked in the family and they didn't want to have this new baby associated with that guy. So his name? Trea Allen (pronounced Tray). I've never seen it spelled like that, but it's a fitting name I think. He is so very, very cute! They were down to Theodore and Trea, so I held him and kept saying both. His mama decided he was Trea. So they have Tyler, Trevor, and Trea. Troy is their babydaddy. And a doggy named Tippy. Too terrific!
I think I've found a workout buddy! She works at the same school as me and has joined the same gym that I belong to (and do not go to). We went today and I finished up week 1 of Couch to 5K. It felt okay. I'll never be a great runner, I never was, but it felt good to be doing something. The good thing about doing it at the gym is that there are weights and weight machines so I did some resistance training after we were done. We're planning to go more together and to keep each other going once the school year has started. Yay!
I finished the final Harry Potter book. Wow. I read all 7 books in just under 3 weeks and now I'm not sure what I'll do with myself? Oh yeah, go back to work full time and try to dig out of the messes that have piled up for 3 weeks! It was so totally worth it. Now I can look forward to seeing the rest of the movies (we've watched the first 3). This is the best storyline I have ever read, I'm so glad I did it!
My notes on the last book (possibly containing spoilers, just so you know):
* Loved it.
* I thought the bit about camping and moving around and planning was brilliant in that it cast the dark mood of the time. There was little hope and little excitement, which was what it was like to read it. You start to believe it cannot be done. That they cannot possibly win.
* The battle at the end reminds me of Disney's Beauty & the Beast when the enchanted castle tries to save the beast and battle Gaston and the villagers. The music from the movie kept creeping in my head (the resident 4-year old is on a princess kick lately)
* It seemed like Rowling pooped out a little right at the end, a little like Harry. After all that, he just wants a sandwich? What, huh? I thought there should be some details (because there was so much detail, throughout every novel) about how order was restored and how peoples lives played out in the months that followed. But there was zilch. The last chapter seemed rushed too, but I was grateful that she at least gave us a glimpse.
* The whole series was awesome. I'm grateful that I started it, grateful that I ended it, not so grateful that tomorrow I've got laundry to catch up and floors to scrub. Back to my role as house-elf.
Friday, August 3, 2007
We are so lucky to have a really great zoo in our city. The Henry Doorly Zoo. Every year we buy a pass, so we can come and go as we please. It has it all from outdoor animal exhibits to a ton of indoor ones including a jungle, aquarium, desert, gorilla house and others. You can walk miles, so it's great exercise. Today I intermittently jogged (pushing 60+ lbs of kids) to get some cardio while we were there.
Her first request of the day was to go see the elephants "up close" because we only ever see them from the train. The elephants are on the opposite side of the zoo from the entrance and up a great big hill. Oh, what I do for my kids. My cheerleader wanna-be daughter shouted "Go Mommy! Go Mommy! Go Mommy!" as I huffed and puffed all the way up that hill. There two beautiful elephants and this one did not disappoint. He walked right over and when I told Brenna to wave, he waved his trunk up in a very grand gesture. Bee was impressed.
The best part of the day was that we were on no schedule. I had packed snacks and water, so we had refreshments. We even stopped at some picnic tables and were visited by some very friendly peacocks. I did my best to to shoo them (the mama bear in me feared one snapping at Buddy or Bee) to no avail. At one point, this peacock just hopped right up on the table I was sitting at! Close encounters of the bird kind!
I was silly and went into the petting zoo with graham cracker crumbs still on the kids' laps. The goats were super-friendly and Bee was a little freaked out at first. Once she realized that they weren't "mean", she was amused. We had to freshen up with some anti-bacterial wipes after that - goat germs!
We wandered on whatever path we wanted with no set agenda in mind. The day was perfect, hot but breezy. A perfect summer day. We had a really great time.
This may have been one of my favorite trips to the zoo yet. The older the kids get, the funner these trips become. There's so much to explore, I just feel lucky to experience it with them. To open this world to them.
One gross out moment - I watched a young female zookeeper feed a Haitian Boa today. The ew factor is already there because it's two big ol' snakes. What was their lunch? A dead white mouse on a long pair of tongs. Ewwwwwww.... I'm sure there is no salary or benefit package that would have me doing that, ever.
As the trip drew to a close, the kids' eye grew so heavy. Bee's temper got short. They were both so tired. We left the zoo feeling content and exhausted. Another trip to the zoo behind us, as we waved good-bye to the desert dome.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
That's it for tonight. I'm pretty sure my one-year old has wedged the sliding door open and escaped outside. Good thing the yard is fenced!
Oh, I just can't handle it! I want to go to the hospital now, now, now! But I want to wait, so I can go with loads of gifts. Gifts that are either girl gifts or boy gifts. So that means waiting, waiting, waiting. I doubt that she's even out of the o.r. yet, but I want to know!
I just hold on to the fact that in a few short hours, I'm going to be cuddling a sweet, sweet baby. The joy is overwhelming.
10 minutes later -
BOY!!! BOY!!! BOY!!!!! (Okay, just one boy, but now they have THREE boys. Age 3 years and 11 months, 21 months, and newborn!). 9 lbs. 2 oz. 21 in. No name yet.
Leaving for Babies R Us now, then off to the hospital.