Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Coffee Chat: Immortality for One Day

I am back for another week of Tuesday Coffee Chat.  Granted, it is almost 11 p.m. on Tuesday, but I really wanted to participate.

Tuesday, October 7th/14 
If you could be immortal for one day; what would you do? 

Immortality for one day.  That would be one hell of a day.  I would use my temporary ability to not die to conquer all my fears.  I mean, how great would it be to no longer fear snakes, airplanes, or underwater caves?  My fear with many things is that I have a chance to die.  I have almost died a few times and you would think that would help me, but as I get older and have more children, the fear multiplies.

When I was 19, my ex-father-in-law took his entire law firm and their spouses to Puerto Vallarta.  It was an amazing trip and I have many memories of the crazy nights and delicious food.  However, what I remember the most is the flight back...and how thankful I am that it landed.  Another flight leaving the same airport did not.  That was supposed to be our flight but we changed the flight to avoid a layover.

Hence, my fear of airplanes started.

I refuse to set foot on one.  The idea of flying makes my palm sweat and neck break out in small hives.  Thinking about my mother  holding my 18-month old daughter and watching news coverage of what she thought was my flight causes my heart to drop into my stomach.

No airplanes.  No thanks.  I will drive with three fighting children across county.  I don't mind.

Never mind that the likely hood of my plane crashing is FAR less than my car crashing...

So if I had an entire day to avoid dying.  I would get on a plane.  I would allow myself to have anxiety and panic attacks.  I would peer out the window and force myself to see how high in the air I am.  What's the harm?  If the plane goes down, I won't die.  I might have a lot of explaining to do, but I won't leave my children motherless.

What would YOU do if you were immortal for one day?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dinner Failure

Dinner did not come easy this evening.  I was late out of work and needed to stop by Kohls to buy some new work pants as mine were so worn, my co-workers could tell me the color of my polka dot, cheeky underwear today.  Whoops.

So I ran over there and tried on too many pairs of pants and settled on one pair.  Why only one?  Because cloth sizing sucks!  It differs between all brands and I couldn't find any that fit, looked nice, and cooperated with the uniform dress code.  So I settled for one pair that almost fits dress code and rushed to pick up the kiddos.

My plan was to pick up the kids and run to the grocery store and pick up items for Wild Tree's strogonof mix that I am excited to try.  When I walked into Grandma' house, I saw my son in soaking wet pants.  Turns out he had an accident while napping.  It has been so long since this has happened, that I never even thought to send extra clothes for a few hours with grandma.

So that would be an extra stop home, then to the store, and then home to take 20 minutes or so to make dinner.  It would be after 7 pm before the kids ate and I need their tummies to settle before bath and bed.  So I made an executive decision.  A decision that I did not feel totally comfortable with and my stomach will hate me for in an hour or so.

I went to McDonald's.

I ordered happy meals and chicken nuggets for myself.  The kids were excited.  I ate my fries and nuggets and reminded myself that this is not an every night thing.  We eat fairly healthy and one trip to the golden arches won't kill us...I hope.

I sat at the table with my three smallest children (baby in my lap) and finished my meal in a little under four minutes.  During that time the following statements were made with a mouthful food in between rushed bites as the baby wasn't having any of this "mom sitting down" nonsense.

Perry, let's not post pics to Facebook.
Athena, stop playing with the bug and eat your food.
Troy, can we wear pants please?
Perry, you can't have sweet and sour sauce.
Athena, food.
Troy. Boxers are not pants.
Perry. please don't erase my apps.
Athena! I am going to take the hex bug away. Come eat now.

And then, for about 22 seconds I ate in peace with the exception of baby hands grabbing my eyebrows.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Four Fill Inn - Beer and Magnesium

Feeling Beachie

Is it Friday already?  This week went by crazy fast!  I really enjoy the Friday Four Fill In at Feeling Beachie and am back for another week.  

The statements:
  1. I __ when I ___
  2. ___ are my ___ fruit
  3. ___  is my favorite part of summer
  4. _____ helps me relax
My Answers

1. I used my boyfriend's towel to clean up the mess when I spilled a beer in the bathroom.  I was doing my hair to get ready for a girl's night out and knocked over my Honey Crisp Apple Shocktop.  His towel was the first thing I saw.  

2. Pineapples and peaches are my favorite fruit to grill in the summer. The kids love them too.  We usually make a yummy caramel sauce to drizzle over them. 

3. Going back to school at the end of summer is my favorite part of summer.  I love having the time and memories with my children, but by the end of summer break, mommy needs a break.

4.  Magnesium helps me relax.  I am an anxious person and suffer from anxiety and two kinds of uncommon OCD.  Taking magnesium in high doses everyday keeps me relaxed.  If I end up flipping out, having Steven play with my hair always tames the fire within.

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Good Morning Blue Eyes!!

I woke up this morning to the sound of cooing.  I rolled over to see the brightest blue eyes staring at me.  She made a gentle and silly raspberry noise to say "Good Morning Mommy!"  I spent around an hour nursing, cuddling, and playing with Persephone.  I didn't look at the clock, think about the bill I need to pay today, the appointment this afternoon, or even glance at the growing pile of laundry (I swear it multiplies while I sleep).  I just stayed in my jammies and enjoyed the time with my youngest child.

I was able to get a few soft giggles from her before she started her pterodactyl yell that has given her the nickname "Perrydactyl."  We played with her taggie ball, sang some songs, read a Sandra Boynton book, and she threw a fit when I wouldn't allow her to have my eyelashes.  It was the most beautiful morning and I realized how amazingly lucky I am to have this morning.

I didn't have to rush off to work (like our hard-working and sexy chef did), or rush to take the older kiddos to school, and I didn't have any other business that needed my immediate attention.  And if there was something, it couldn't be that important if I didn't even think about it.

It is after ten in the morning and I am still in my jammies.  Perry is dressed due to a stinky diaper change and we will go about our day in a little while.  Mornings like this are somewhat rare for me and very much cherished.  I hope that all parents out there get to have this special time with their little ones every once in a while.  And when you do get it, cherish it.  Don't worry about last night's dishes, the 15 e-mails you have, or the blinking light on your phone alerting you of whatever Facebook game you play.

Just enjoy the morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vegetarian Chicken Chorizo Posole

Sounds too good to be true right?  Nope!  Even the largest carnivore in my family scarfed this hearty soup down and asked for more.  It all started with this recipe for Chicken Chorizo Posole from Taste of Home.  I was flipping through one of my 80 billion or so issues and read it to Steven who was instantly on board to try it out.

Except I had a plan.  I love Soyrizo- the flavor and taste is amazing- so, I was going to re-do this recipe vegetarian style. We followed the recipe for the most part substituting the "meat" and oregano and added a little garlic to the broth.

First, we roasted the tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapenos.  I used a large cookie sheet and drizzled the bacon flavored grapeseed oil over the top with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.  The bacon oil is vegetarian.  It has a yummy smokey bacon-esque like flavor.  I put them in a 425 oven for about 30 minutes.

While those guys are roasting, I started my broth.  I used 2 bay leaves, 5 whole cloves, and 5-6 garlic cloves.  I threw them in the pan with a drizzle of bacon oil  and added 4 cups of water, 1 cup vegetable broth and one bag of Chik'n pieces.  I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 15 minuets.

Then it was time to get roasted goodness out of the oven.  The tomatillos produced some liquid and I made sure to scoop ALL of that yummy flavor into the Ninja with the rest of the veggies.

Pureed for about 45 seconds.

Next, I drained the broth and reserved the liquid.  I also removed the clovers, garlic, and bay leaf and smashed up the Chick'n.

Next I put the Soyrizo in the pot a another drizzle of the bacon flavored grapeseed oil and smashed it up.  Chorizo has a LOT of grease when cooked that the soy version does not, so adding in some oil is important.

The soup is really coming together!  We poured the broth back into the pot and added in hominy, cumin, Italian spice (we were out of oregano), and lime juice.
Then we added the delicious smelling puree from the vegetables.

We let it simmer about 15 minutes or so to cook through and soften up the hominy.  The kitchen smelled amazing! We quickly grated some cheddar cheese and, set out sour cream, and cut some tortillas in half.

And then we enjoyed an amazing vegetarian version of posole.  Even the big meat-eaters that ate this soup were impressed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Coffee Chat: Showing Off My Ponies

Today is the first Coffee Chat over at Time Out for Mom since summer break.  I am happy to have stumbled upon it as this week we are chatting about COLLECTIONS.  
Just the other day I was bragging about my collection to a friend.  I told her that her kids HAD to see my obsession  collection.  As silly as it is, these little guys are my collection and they make me terribly happy.

1st Generation My Little Ponies

Unfortunately, these are not from my childhood.  My ponies were probably thrown into a bag for Goodwill or *gasp* a trashcan when I didn't clean up my room and mom did it for me.  I started acquiring my preciouses when I was 21.  I was randomly farting around on Ebay (through a dial up connection...) when I found a listing for ponies.  Lots of ponies.  HUNDREDS of ponies.  I wanted it.  BAD.  

But I didn't have that kind of money.  

So I started searching and was engrossed for days...maybe weeks.  I found a few I liked and started bidding.  Of course my cheap little heart was being outbid on every damn auction.  I upped my game and was diligent.  A week or so later and this beauty showed up on my door step.  
Her name is Cherries Jubilee.  And she was my first.  I was hooked.
It didn't take too long for me to amass over 100 ponies including a full collection of Sparkle Ponies.

And a few ponies from international lines such as Seashell from Italy.
Only two ponies sit and I had both.  Unfortunately, some of my ponies were stolen and Bubbles was included.  I have yet to find him again.  But I won't get into that mess.

I stopped my huge spending spree and over the next decade or so, only had a few of these beauties delivered to my door...but I still checked the Ebay auctions and collector's forums frequently. 

A little over a year ago, five years after moving into the new house, I FINALLY put these ponies on display.  I was thrilled to reunite with old friends and grieved again over those who were lost along the way.  And I had a new fire to look at auctions.  

I found one I couldn't turn away from.  FLUTTER PONIES!!  I found an auction that let me finish my flutter pony collection as well as replace one that came to me with a haircut.  I was more overjoyed than a woman in her 30's should be.
But then I saw the icing on the cake.  CHIEF.
Yes.  He is missing his scarf, but this beautiful Clydesdale Big Brother Pony with his fetching hat eluded me for years!!  I saw the auction and laid low for a while.  At the end of the auction I stormed in, placed a bid for higher than I wanted to pay, yet less than what I had been bidding a decade before, and snatched him up.  It was an awesome day when he arrived.  

I've collected a few more since then and also traded out some of the So Soft Ponies for more "display worthy" versions.  The more played with ponies went to a very loving home with Steven's sister.  

They aren't worth much, but they are worth a fortune to me.  I doubt I will be able to pass them down to my girls, but they will have memories and stories to share about their "mother's ponies."  I am 34 years old and collect toys.  BoYAH!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Four Fill In

I have been so off my game this week.  Work, kids, home, blog, craftyness, etc., I didn't even get to visit everyone last week and comment on their Fill Ins.  Boo.  This week should be different though.  My knee injury is going to get fixed, Athena received her school-only iPad, and Troy had a glowing teacher conference other than the fact he was hiding his homework...again.  Persephone is still hiding those giggles from us and Alexandria leaves for an amazing trip to the Dominican Republic next week.

Feeling Beachie

This week’s co-host is ELIZABETH from SILVERS BOOK REVIEWS – she came up with the last two statements .  Be sure to join in the fun and stop by everyone's awesome answers this week.

The statements:
  1. I am ____
  2. I don’t like to ___ alone 
  3. Would you_____ if you could?
  4. Cooking with____is something to be _____

My Answers:

1. I am amazed at how much trash my household produces.  Before Steven moved in, I rarely had a small outside bin full of trash.  In fact, I filled up maybe one kitchen sized trash bag in a week-not including yard work trimmings and the like.  Steven moved in and I went back to work and slowly the food that comes in boxes and individually wrapped found a way back into my house.  So did the fast food wrappers and paper towels.  We now fill up a 96 gallon trash can a week.  Ugh!  And we use cloth diapers...This needs to get fixed.

2. I don't like to get tattooed alone.  I am friends with my artists, but sometimes he needs to pay attention to what he is doing and not my daily chatter about schools, diapers, and cleaning.  I like to have someone to talk to and distract me while that tiny needle hammers away at my collar bone...so far my most painful tattoo.

3. Would you kill someone if you could?  As much as I want to scream yes and have a certain a-hole vanish from my life completely, I couldn't do it.  I know there is is good in them somewhere and they mean something to someone.  Besides, they were in my life, and continue to be occasionally, for a reason.  Just because I don't know the reason doesn't mean there isn't one.

4. Cooking with my grandmother is something to be remembered, cherished, and passed on to my kids.  I talk a lot about this amazing woman who had a lot to do with me becoming the person I am.  She suffers from Alzheimer's and has for a long time.  She no longer remembers sifting flour for the new blueberry muffin recipe we tried and gave to my parents for their anniversary.  She no longer remembers helping me carefully apply the top crust to the home-grown strawberry rhubarb pie.  But I do.  And I hold onto those memories dearly.  I write, share recipes, and tell my kids stories.  It might sound silly, but a lot of who I am happened over that gas stove and oven.

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Knee Injuries Suck

Knee injuries suck.

Knee injuries flairing up suck.

Knee injuries flairing up and work and messing with my income really sucks.

14 years ago I was a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident.  I sustained many injuries,  but I walked away from the accident.  Well, I needed help to walk, but I came away from the ordeal alive and fairly unscathed. 

Over the years I have had problems with my foot, knee, back, hips, and shoulder. It usually twinges, needs some ice and rest, and it feels fine a day later.  So when I felt that twinge in my knee at work, I didn't think much of it.

I call it the "rubber band" feeling. My knee feels like rubber and as if it is bending backwards,  or the wrong way. It hurts,  makes me trip, and feels better after a few minutes.

Then it did it the next day.

Then twice the next.

When my knee twinged a third time that day, I felt a pop and took a knee to the floor. At work. In front of people. Red-cheeked, I limped away to rub away the pain and embarrassment.
My knee swelled and I could see fluid at the bottom of my knee cap and I knew this required a trip to the hospital as even urgent care facilities were closed.

They drained my knee - Gross! - and gave me a referral to an orthopedic doctor.

After that,  my knee felt better and I went to work with an ace bandage and brace.  I hobbled through the day as an expediter, which required very little running around or lifting, but still practically immobilized me by the end of the short shift.

I called in the next two shifts (and am awaiting the wrath of that) and was able to see the specialist.  I was not impressed.  He took x-rays, which was necessary, but I knew that none of my old injuries would show up on it.
It also concerned me that he confused my breastfeeding status with being pregnant...twice.  He also asked how far along I was immediately after I told him about getting my tubes tied in April...


So we scheduled the MRI for next Monday.  That leaves me at least two full days of serving that I need to get through...without pain medication. This is going to be a long weekend, but hopefully Monday will shed enough light that we can make a plan and get me up and moving again.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'Everything is Awesome' Smoothies : Kid's in the Kitchen

Smoothies are a very regular thing at our house.  We have them a few times a week after dinner or for a snack on the weekends.  The kids love to make them and to eat them.  They are super simple, delicious, and contain a lot of nutritious ingredients.  It is for those reasons that I add this recipe to Kid's In the Kitchen that I found over at Chaos & Kiddos and From ABCs to ATCs.  Hop on over and enjoy some kid-friendly recipes.
'Everything is Awesome' Smoothies

I start out with 1/4 - 1/3 of a bag of frozen fruit, maybe 2/3 container of greek yogurt (we use vanilla for extra sweetness sometimes), and about 1 1/2 cups of whatever juice we have on hand.  This time was our favorite organic, not-from concentrate apple juice.

Next, everything goes into the Ninja.

I also add in a teaspoon of flax seed, but the kiddos seem to notice it in the finished product whenever they see it go in.

Then we blend it all together.

After a minute or two, we have this! 

Then we use our Lego Movie cups and enjoy.  We usually end up singing "Every thing is Awesome!" while making and enjoying these treats and because we the Lego Movie cups are the perfect vessel for this awesomeness, they became our 'Everything is Awesome' smoothies.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Recipe: Asian Spiced Blueberry Pork Loin

A friend of mine sells Wild Tree products and I attended a freezer meal workshop where I fell in love with the products.  I attended another party where I was unable to get my prep work ready and decided to do it at home and just pick up my bundle of products.  I made all of the meals except for one.  I remember it had blackberry jam and balsamic vinegar...I think.  The baby was being entertained by Grandma for a few  minutes so I decided to get this going in the crock pot to go with the fresh sweet corn straight from Grandpa's garden.

But I couldn't find the recipe.  I felt a little pressed for time as baby was getting hungry, so I trusted my culinary instincts and went for it.  By the way, my chef boyfriend thinks I have awesome culinary instincts...especially for a "home cook".

I grabbed my products and realized we no longer have (or didn't buy) black berry preserves.  Or I will come across the jar in a few days...probably that.  So I decided to use blueberry jam.
I thawed out the pork loin and giggled as I placed it in the crock pot.  I am forever twelve and if a pork loin doesn't remind of male anatomy in my old age, I will have failed myself.  Anyway, I added the following to the crock pot:

1/2 cup blueberry preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons  Garlic Galore blend (you can use whatever garlicky spices you have, I just LOVE this stuff)
1 tablespoon of Asian Blend (something with 5 Spice will work)
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

See.  A little giggle worthy, no?

I let this simmer on low about 4 hours.  It smelled delicious, but looked a little funny.

 I boiled a cup of rice or so and shredded the meat.  I poured a little of the sauce from the bottom of the crock pot on top and served.
 The kiddos are a little picky so they were served more of the middle of the loin which had less seasoning and skipped the sauce.  They gobbled down seconds and told me how delicious it was.

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister
(because John suggested Train)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) The video was shot on a street corner in Echo Park in central Los Angeles. If you saw a film crew making a video in your neighborhood, would you stop to watch? Or would you just keep walking?
I am nosy.  I would totally hang out and watch for a bit.
2) The singer says he remembers his girl in every dream he dreams. Do you remember if you dreamed last night?
I have very vivid dreams every night and often have lucid dreams before waking up.  Last night I had a dream that I was at an ice cream shop with my kids and couldn't decide on a flavor.  Which is weird.  I don't really like ice cream and it is freezing today.
3) The band Train is from San Francisco. Have you ever visited The City by the Bay?
When I was eight I visited my Aunt on our  way to Disney Land.
4) Lead singer Pat Monahan got his start in a Led Zeppelin cover band. Can you name a Led Zeppelin song?
Stairway to Heaven, although I am not a fan.
5) In doing research for this week's Saturday 9, Crazy Sam discovered a publication called Trains, The Magazine of Railroading.What's the last magazine you flipped through? 
Taste of Home.  I was looking for the Dulce de Leche cheesecake recipe.  That blog post is coming soon...once we make it.
6) Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?
Totally depends on the situation.  I will lead if a leader is needed. Or I will follow if there is a leader.  But I am not a follower in the sense of trends or doing what the cool kids do.  I just do my own thing don't care too much if people follow or not.
7) Scholars tell us that "To be or not to be" is Shakespeare's most quoted line. Give us another one.
"These words are razors to my wounded heart" Act I Scene I of my favorite Shakespeare play - Titus Andronicus 
8) How do you listen to music on the go? Car radio? CD changer? iPod/mp3 player? Your phone?
Usually just the radio or a mixed CD Steven has made.
9) Are you a convincing liar?
Nope.  I am a terrible liar.

Friday Four Fill In

Today is Friday and it is my only day off work this week.  I have been trying to catch up on laundry and get some baking and cleaning done, but Persephone has different ideas.  She wants to sit in my lap all day and not sleep.  I figured that I had so much fun hopping around for Friday Four Fill In last week at Feeling Beachy, and that I am chained to a chair with the baby, that I would go for it again.  So hop on over, check it out, and let me see your answers!
Feeling Beachie

The statements:
  1. The beach is _____
  2. Smartphones are ____
  3. I like to ____
  4. My dream ______________ would be _____________

1. The beach is no where near me.  Unless you count the few bodies of water with a "beach" where the teenagers get drunk, have sex, and leave the garbage from those activities on the beach.

2. Smartphones are turning people into zombies.

3. I like to be crafty.  I am currently working on a mermaid doll and a crafty Harry Potter swap package.

4. My dream job would be researching and implementing ways to save our planet.  I really want to focus on the soil and how to grow organic foods while nourishing the earth  -- on a LARGE scale.  That is if I ever finish school.

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Check Out Her Beautiful Smile: That's What She Said

I am so happy to be apart of the first even That's What She Said link up.  Our lovely hosts - Dean from Mrs. AOK A work in Progress,  Courtney from What's Up with the Wilhelms, and Katy from Chaos and Kiddos choose a quote and every month on the 10th you can chime in with your thoughts and visit what others have to say about the quote.

This month's quote was too good to pass up.  It hits home on a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I tend to soapbox about a lot.

I am so tired of a world that holds outer beauty in such high regards.  We see it everyday.  We watch award shows where the big deal is the not the talent displayed, but what the actors are wearing.  And it isn't even just pointing out the positive things.  We pick on actresses for not having all their baby fat tucked away or for their baby bump they show off proudly (and should) not being in the type of dress that we deem perfect.

What is up with this?

Young girls are STARVING them selves so that their skin tight jeans will look like the models on the runway.  They are wearing shorts that are too short, shirts that show more skin than they cover, and more make-up than Bobo the Clown all in efforts to be "beautiful."

It is sickening.

And needs to stop.

The most beautiful women in the world have kind eyes and a warm smile.  They have the desire to take care of others.  They want to play with their children, bake a friend a cake, or help out however they can at a local charity.  The most beautiful women in the world have big hearts.

I have struggled with body image my entire life.  I always thought I was "fat" and pointed out my chunky thighs.  As I grew older, I started really carrying around extra baby weight and realized I should have enjoyed those "chunky thighs" then.  Now, I realize that it doesn't matter.  Sure, health needs to be a priority and healthy women are beautiful, but a little extra wobble on my thigh doesn't make me any less beautiful.

I am my most beautiful as I gingerly hang my daughter's diapers on the line.  Or when I play a board game on the floor with my children. You should see how beautiful I am when I hold the door open for people or help an elderly couple to their car.  I am down right smokin!  I can wear jeans and t-shirt with spot of baby drool on the shoulder to the library and look amazing as I read a book to my children.  Or when my messy apron covers those clothes as I cook dinner for family and friends.

And the best part is that I don't care if other woman look over and notice my jeans came from Kohl's and that my t-shirt is a few years old.  Who cares if my eyeliner is fading and my glasses are splotched with who-knows-what from the day.  I still feel wonderful.

All of those things make me happy and that makes me feel beautiful.

Yeah yeah.  It sounds selfish.  And maybe it is.  But being kind, working hard, and helping my children (even with Common Core math) makes me happy.  Speaking words of kindness and seeing the good in others makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.  Even as I sit here in yoga pants, a Broncos shirt, a messy ponytail, and have Perry in my arms playing with her turtle, I am beautiful.

I am not sure Audrey Hepburn ever left the house in jeans and knit shirt, but if she had, she would have still been beautiful.  Her simple words urge people to not focus on the outside of our bodies, but on the inside of our minds.  Short of extensive cosmetic surgery and "beauty" regimens, there isn't a lot you can do with the genetics you were given when conceived. So why worry about them so much?  Why put all that time and money into "fixing" your nose?  It took me years, but I learned to love my butt chin.  Two of my daughters inherited it as well and I make it known that their chins add to their character and beauty.  It's a chin.  It sits on your face.  That's it.

So if you are having a down day - we all do- spice it up a little.  Make yourself feel beautiful.  Paint your nails or do your hair up (if you feel like it) and go out and spread kindness into the world.  Help out someone with too many grocery bags or tell a friend how much you love their laugh.  When I am having a bad day, I find that handing out a few compliments makes my day better.  It puts me in a good mood and when I am in a good mood I SMILE.  A smile shows kindness and kindness is your most beautiful asset.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nothing Better than the Laughter of Children

Perry let out her first giggles the other night.  She was enjoying tummy time on the bed while playing with Steven and I.  I leaned my chin into her little armpit and tickled her gently.  This is something that we both do frequently, but this time she giggled.  It was the sweetest sound and we were so happy that we were both present to hear it.  

We tried so hard to recreate the giggle on camera.  We got a little bit of giggling, but as soon as she sees the camera, she stops performing.  Here are the two videos:

School Lockdowns - What Do Teachers Do?

I checked my phone at work tonight and saw that the kid's school called.  This could have either been an automated call -probably about the raffle fundraiser- or a call from the teacher about the behavior mishaps.  On my break I listened to the message and my heart just about fell out of my butt.

Today a man scaled over the fence at my kids school.

My kids were on lock down.  All doors locked.  Lights off.  Children under their desks.

Fortunately, the teachers and staff reacted very quickly and this man never got into the school and no one was hurt.  Two cities sent their police officers to apprehend him.  He was arrested and taken away from the school and the kids went about their day.  I do not know what the man was doing or why he jumped the fence.  Part of me doesn't even want to know.

I don't remember ever having any fear of intruders or weapons in school.  Then Columbine happened.  I graduated from there the year before and had friends and family in the school.  I knew the boys with guns and a good friend was told by the shooter to go home.  I was in shock.  I couldn't believe this happened.

Columbine is a huge reason that so many schools started putting lock downs and drills into place.  I never realized how thankful I was for those drills and plans until today.  As awful as it is that we need to have these kind of actions in place, I appreciate every minute that the school staff has spent planning and training for a moment like today.  Without their efforts, that man could have gotten into the school and harmed the children inside.

We ask our teachers to teach our children from books and about life.  We ask them to spend all day (and a lot of nights) caring for them.  They spend their (underpaid) time and money to do their jobs.

 And now we ask them to stand on the front lines and protect the lives of our offspring.   They usher our children to safety, turn off the lights, and even put their own lives on the line to keep them safe.  We ask so much from them.

Thank you teachers for all that you do.  I know that my cheesy Christmas gifts and the extra supplies that I send during the year will never be enough to repay you for what you do.  I am forever indebted to you and appreciate every second you spend on my children.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Luxury of Sleep

The baby didn't sleep very well last night.  She woke up a few times to be fed and a few times to play.  She looks up at me with that big, toothless grin and I have to smile back and say "go back to bed baby."  It made for an interesting day at work...but I realized that sleep is a luxury.  Not just for me and other new parents, but for a LOT of people in this country.  We run ourselves ragged and the first thing we sacrifice for more hours in the day is sleep.

Parents struggle to find time for work, the house, the kids, and the spouse and sometimes that means staying up an hour extra to get the dishes done, lunches packed, or some cuddle time on the couch.  We wake up an hour early to get breakfast ready, find the "lost" shoes, and have a few minutes to fart around on the computer before the kids wake up.  The world just keeps spinning faster everyday.

This morning I woke up after on and off bouts of sleep all night and readied myself for work.  That includes getting myself dressed and presentable, the baby ready for grandma's house, and getting the breast pump and accessories ready for work.  Now, I should have done that last night, but I went to bed early due to exhaustion.  So it needed to be done in the morning.  I also took a few minutes to check my e-mail and Facebook and send a message to my ex-husband regarding my son's homework he was hiding from us.

Tonight I will probably stay up late working on a form for Alexandria, get the pantry re-organized (since all the food is sitting on my kitchen table), and maybe have some cuddle time and a movie with Steven while crocheting Perry's blanket.

I might sacrifice a little bit of sleep before my 5:30 a.m. alarm (if the baby doesn't wake up first) in order to do these things, but when else do I do them?  And I am tired of hearing "sometimes you just have to let some things go and spend time with your family."  Just how far do I let things go?  I let the yard go when the baby was sick and ended up with a fine and court fees for the weeds by my fence.  I let a lot of things go.  I won't even mention how long it has been since I vacuumed...  There are things I can't just let be.

For instance - the pantry.  One of my darling children (or boyfriend...) spilled honey on one of the shelves.  Then someone set a box of cereal on top of it.  I can't let honey and cardboard stick to the shelf and have things keep sticking to it.  Also, we were at a point in our disorganization that it appeared we had tons of food and no room to put new groceries, but in reality, we have nothing to eat.  Please tell me someone else has been there...  It appears that I "let it go" for too long and now I have to spend an hour (when I could be sleeping) to fix it.  

Also- Cloth diapers.  The baby is almost out of diapers.  And we have a 3-5 day stash...whoops.  Those are in the washer as we speak, and fortunately, I can usually fold them while the baby is awake as long as we play peek-a-boo and she gets to play in her bouncer or exersaucer.  But I usually end up folding them (and other laundry) after bed time.

So yes.  Sleep is a luxury that not everyone can afford.  I have things to do that can't be ignored.  Now, I am sure that a little more organization would help me out and I would have more time to do that sleeping that eludes me at times, but I need the time to get organized.  I have been working on organizing key areas of the house (like the pantry, laundry room, and the bedroom closet) but it has been a slow go.  I can't give up too much more sleep or I might fall asleep in the syrup dispenser at work.

What do you give up your sleep for?  Or better yet, what are you "letting go" of to get sleep?