Monday, December 31, 2007

Granola fun

Even I think it is a bit weird that my 7 year old likes my homemade granola bars more than store bought. Here is the recipe for anyone who wants to try it, sorry for the measurements, but this is how I make it.

Trailmix Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1/4 cup of flax meal
1/4 cup of wheat germ
1-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (start w the cup, add more if the mixture is too wet)
A Handful of dried cranberries
A Handful of raisins
A Handful of chocolate chips
A Handful of unsweetened coconut
3-4 dried figs, chopped into chocolate chip sized pieces
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup of honey
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (if mixture is too dry, add more applesauce)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread the mixture in a glass baking dish (at least 9 x 11) and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until light golden on top (30-45 minutes) It is a lot of ingredients, but you can throw everything in one bowl and it comes together really easily.

We don't add nuts as Haven is allergic, but you could add nuts, or change out the dried fruit. In place of cranberries, dried cherries would be great (again, Haven is allergic so we haven't tried it) and I am dying to add dried blueberries to see how that tastes. We have also used dried mango and pineapple with just the coconut and no chips or white chips, and that is also delicious! This makes at least 14 good size pieces and you can be sure that the kids are getting tons of great fiber and protein. Yummy.

Ringing it in

So a new year is just a few hours away, and while I understand and respect those who make resolutions, I never really have. Each night before I go to sleep, I ponder what I did right and what I did wrong that day. I know tonight I will wish I had had more patience with Grayson today as he whined and cried and complained the morning away. I know that I will be happy I took the kids to get the Webkins their grandmother had promised, but not delivered, plus I got each of the girls a new shirt, and from their favorite store too. There are days I know I am a good wife, mother and person, and days I am not, although most of the time I seem to do good and evil all in one day!

I guess if I had to nail down a resolution, it would be to live my life to the fullest, and at no one else's expense. I strive to be an example to the kids, and while that example may curse like a sailor and screw up a lot, I still work to be a good person each day. Anyone who knows me knows that I have very strong morals, and I hope that how I live each day, my ability to say I am sorry and mean it, especially when I wrong my children, and the thousands of "I love yous" that are doled out daily will help these three amazing kids grow into three amazing adults.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dreary Day

So today has been dreary and dragging. We got up and I gave the kids the pumpkin muffins I had stashed in the freezer. I made a fire, Ryan came home and moved a few loads of wood into the garage to keep it dry and we began our day. The kids haven't had a stellar day, a lot of petty arguing and general testiness, so I think they will need to go out tomorrow and get some energy out.

I have been trying to relax for the weekend, but today I did get a few things done. I washed a couple of loads of laundry, I cleaned Sammy the hamster's cage, vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen lamps and made some granola bars for the kids. Right now, the fire is warm and wonderful, there is a turkey breast roasting away in the oven, and some potatoes and onions sizzling in the skillet. I will also make stuffing for the part of my tribe that doesn't enjoy potatoes and onions, and of course there will be a green veggie, probably broccoli.

I love the warmth of a winter evening, the bustle of the kids coloring in the dining room and the warm glow of the the fireplace. Given the events of the last few days, I am so thankful that we are working to raise the children in a loving, family focused environment. Even on their worst day, the find a way to play together, help each other, and love each other. I am a lucky mama.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Small indulgances

It was a wonderful day in the Kelley house. The kids got along fairly well, I actually sat down and had a quiet day, Emily and Maggie came for dinner, and I already ordered a PPV movie for tonight. As I am off from both jobs right now, and the kids are home, I am enjoying being with my family and snuggling up at home. Tomorrow I will bake some bread, make a nice turkey dinner that we will share with Emily and Maggie, and enjoy the calm of our lives. Next week I am thinking of driving to Williamsburg with the kids, it is a great opportunity to get out and do something, there should be no crowds and it's educational!

Just a few more weeks and we are on our way to Florida! I am getting excited, but haven't started planning yet. I think we will do two days at Sea World, two at Disney and one at Busch Gardens Tampa.

Off to sit and relax!

Cool and Calm

So, crazy MIL walked around town, we followed, when Ryan was there she got in the car with some stranger and left. He was so upset and stressed, but thankfully a few hours later his brother called and said she called them and was at a hotel. We assumed she would sober up and call in the morning, but when Ry's brothers called the hotel, they said she checked out. She had no cell phone, no credit cards, etc. Finally last night, Kristin called and said that MIL was home. Crazy b^tch got a cab to the airport and bought a new ticket home, and still no contact with is, no apology, nothing!

So, Ryan and I did what was best, we went on with our days and went back to normal. Our home is again quiet and peaceful (except when the kids fight) and we are just moving forward. I need to talk to Ryan to see what he wants to do about this, as it is his mom and I really cannot understand how he feels, but I am pretty sure I am done with her. If he wants a relationship with his mom, I will support him on that, but we will need to decide about the kids and I am sure I never want to see her or speak to her again. It wasn't just this one time, there have been too many incidents that have disrupted my life, my marriage and most importantly hurt and damaged my husband. I love my family, and I hope that we will continue to build a relationship with Ryan's brothers and Kristin, it is so important that they remain in our lives and the kids lives. Such a sad ending to a wonderful visit.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pure Crazy

So, my MIL has left, drunk, in the middle of the night on foot after verbally attacking me and my husband and physically attacking him. So much for a nice visit with Grandma, she is f**ing CRAZY!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The spoils

The kids had a wonderful Christmas Day, they received tons of gifts and had a lot of fun. My family left Christmas evening and Ryan's arrived late that night. It has been a whirlwind of activity, Ryan's brothers and Kristin just left a little while ago and his mom is here through Sunday. I may go a bit crazy with a weeks worth of company, but it is great for the kiddos.

As an aside, we got Guitar Hero for the Wii and it is addicting! Seems that my freakish abilities to rule at Whack A Mole also translates to Guitar Hero, I must have good hand eye coordination. If I never return, I have been sucked into the game!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holiday!

First off, a very Happy Holiday for anyone who reads this blog, may each day be merry and bright, no matter what your beliefs and traditions!

Here we are off to a stellar start. Yesterday was fun, my sister, her husband and their kids came (and so did their dog ( don't get me started...) and everyone had lots of fun. The kids played well, they loved their gifts, and overall the day was a huge success!

Today my parents were here and we got some last minute shopping done (mostly little things for Gray) and I made lasagna and a cake for Ryan's birthday. The kids decorated the dining room with balloons and banners, and I think he was surprised when he woke up!

Ryan went off to work, the kids to bed, and we laid out all the goodies for tomorrow morning. I hope Ryan can make it home by 9, I am not sure if I will be able to hold them off any later than that.

We did give the kids their big gift from us today....a Wii! They loved it, and the big surprise was how well Britt took to it, she even beat my dad in bowling! Haven liked it, but I think tomorrow she will fall in love when she gets the Hannah Montana game!

All in all, a good start. Tomorrow after dinner, my parents leave and late tomorrow night Ryan's mom, brothers and Kristin arrive. Now if only I could get my voice back and lose this awful cough, everything would be perfect!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Til the morning comes

So I awake with no voice, this could be an early present for my family, or it may be the virus bit me. I haven't been feeling well the last few days, and knew there was a chance I was getting sick. Thankfully, it is just a sore throat and mild cough, along with the lost voice, so it isn't too bad. Haven finally got pink eye, but we treated it early enough that she shouldn't spread it to anyone else.

The festivities begin today. The house is all clean, minus the last minute vacuum that only the owner of a Newfoundland or other hairy beast would know. The dishes need to be done, but that is a normal morning item, and the kids need to get dressed in all their Christmas glory (since everyone comes at 2, I will dress them at 1:45) Lunch/Dinner will be spinach and artichoke dip, sandwiches, salad, and an Italian sausage soup with orzo, mmmm.

Now if only my husband would leave work, pick up the last few things at the store, and join us. Soon :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So very close

Tomorrow the family arrives, and I think we are finally ready!

The kitchen is all done, we rearranged everything, put up the shelves, etc, and it looks and works great. On my new shelves front and center is my Christmas gift from Emily, a new Le Creuset Soup Pot!!!! I cannot wait to use it tomorrow to make soup, thank you so much Em!

Today we got the house cleaned. I still need to do the Dining Room, but that will wait until after dinner so I can put out the new linens. I also need to vacuum upstairs and clean the kids bathroom, but that is quick and easy. I have made some headway with the laundry, but have a feeling I will be folding a lot tonight :)

Tomorrow my parents come and the kids are so excited. My sister, her husband and kids are coming as well. We are having an easy day, just soup and sandwiches, some presents and cookies. My parents will be here through Christmas dinner, then Ryan's mom and brothers come that night. Right now on my stove I have meatballs for dinner, and in the oven are more Florentine cookies and pumpkins muffins made with the homemade puree (they are in little pumpkin shaped molds too!)

I am so happy the kids are feeling better.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Will it ever end?

So we were sure Brittan would make it to school today, but last night around ten she got up and by the look of her eyes, we knew it was pink eye. Gray had the eyes this morning, so I called the doc and made an appointment. Emily came over and she and I and the kids took a ride to the farm to get milk, then I came home and yelled at my husband for not having moved the computer, then left for the doc. While I was there, Em and Ryan got the computer moved and my couch was delivered. The doc confirmed the pink eye, and Britt had a double ear infection, Gray a single ear infection. I am hopeful that once the antibiotics kick in, they will finally feel better.

The couch and chaise are HUGE, but I love them and like the new layout of the room. Whew..because it would have sucked if it looked bad after fighting for this couch :)

Tomorrow I need to get another set of brackets, Ry needs to put away the rest of the computer stuff and install the shelves, and I need to do some cleaning. I promised the girls I would take them to get their nails done tomorrow night, and then if they both feel well, I will go and get all of the food I need for next week. We are moving along.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Still breathing

Gray had a bad asthma attack this morning, even on the two inhaled meds, the oral steroid and a cough medicine. He is supposed to stop the oral steroid after tomorrow, but I am terrified of the four day weekend, especially after he had another asthma attack tonight after his last treatment. I am guessing either tomorrow or Friday, we will be back at the doc to make sure he is OK. I don't want to end up back in the hospital for Christmas.

I am moving along on getting the house ready, it is slow, but steady. It looks as though Brittan will go back to school tomorrow, and the girls will bring in the gifts for their teachers. After I drop the girls, Gray and I will head to the farm for our milk. Ry will be here hopefully prepping for the new couch and making the shelves for the kitchen. On the big project list, we have the couch coming tomorrow, the shelves for the kitchen and the pantry clean up....not to mention cleaning the whole house. My big plan is to clean on Saturday, and then just damage control all day Sunday until company arrives. We will have to see how it goes....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The rush

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Having an extra two kids home yesterday sick, and Brittan home today sick, I feel like I am maintaining, but not moving forward. It is now five, the kids need baths tonight, I need to vacuum the Living Room and clean my desk. I have some wrapped presents for under the tree, and I need to move all of the linens and serving dishes. I also must sit and fold laundry, do the dishes and do a few other things around the house.

Tomorrow I have to overhaul the playroom. We decided to move the blue couches in there when the new couch comes on Thursday. The kids really need a decent place to sit, and the futon is getting pretty beat up, so it should work out well. The problem is that the room is a mess, there is the kid's Christmas and I have to move the desk in for the computer my parents bought them. It will be a few hours of work, but I am hoping that I can just get in there in the morning and get everything done.

Update on health

All three kids went to the doctor yesterday, no strep and just this wicked virus that is causing the cough and fever. Britt is still home today, she is still running a fever, but I made Haven go to school. She has a cough and a bit of a sore throat, but with some medicine she will be fine. She usually feels better once she is up and moving, and being that she is in second grade, I don't want her to miss unless she has to.

The little ones are coloring, I have done the dishes and some of the vacuuming. I need to go make a huge batch of shortbread, I will then put it in the fridge and we will go pick up the kids cough medicine and meet Emily and her girls for Killi's birthday lunch. Then we will come home, Britt and Gray will nap, I will bake shortbread and clean my desk which is a disaster. Hopefully I will get the living room organized, wrap a few gifts for family members to put under the tree and finish the cookies. Tomorrow I will get the teacher gift cards, pack up their cookie tins and attach the ornaments as the kids finish making them. Ryan and I need to move the little couch out of the family room tomorrow night, move the armoire and get ready for the couch to be delivered on Thursday (yeah)!

Then....all I have to do the rest of the week and ride out to the farm for milk, go grocery shopping for the holiday cheer foods and wrap about a million presents - along with fold and wash a thousand loads of clothes :)

Monday, December 17, 2007


Haven woke up sick.

The wee hours

So it is 5:12 and I have been up since 3:30. Seems like everything from the weekend just hit, along with all I have to do to get ready for next week. After a week of a sick kid and planning to get a bunch of stuff done over the weekend, and then not being able to due to Gray being sick, I am swamped. I have at least 7 loads of clothes to fold, another 7 to wash, my house is a huge mess, I have two more batches of cookies to bake and all the wrapping. I only have to buy a few more presents, but I need to get the teacher gifts done, the kids need to make the ornaments they are giving and we still need to cut, paint and install the kitchen shelves. I accepted that the lights will not get on the house, so I bought candles for all the windows (15!) and as long as I can get the clutter and all of the stuff I have purchased in the last week organized and put away, we will be OK.

Thankfully I am on vacation, no work at either school and no school for me. The kids have a half day on Friday and then they are home for two weeks, and we have company from Sunday Dec. 23rd-Dec 30th. My parents come on the 23rd, and my sister and her family will come that day too. My parents will stay through dinner on the 25th, and on the 24th we will also celebrate Ryan's birthday (#31). Late on Christmas Day, Ryan's mom, his brothers and Kristin will come. His brothers and Kristin have never been to this house, actually the last time they were in VA was when we moved into our townhouse 7 years ago, so this is a really special occasion. On the 26th, I will make a big holiday feast and Emily, Ben and the kids will join us (b/c lets face it, they are more family than friend) and I hope it is crazy, loud and wonderful!

The boys and Kristin will probably leave on the 27th and Ry's mom will stay on until the 30th. My kids are so excited that everyone is coming for Christmas, they have never had so many people, and being that we have been more doom and gloom here rather than Christmas cheer the last week, I am so happy they will have so many people to visit and play with.

Now if only I can get and keep Grayson healthy, make Brittan well again and keep Haven healthy, it will be a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My sweet boy...

So, the hell is over now. Gray was sick last week with croup and asthma issues. Friday we had a good day, Ryan, Gray and I ran some errands, and I noticed as we were leaving one of the stores that his cheeks were really red. First thought I had was scarlet fever (which is just strep and no big deal) but the redness got better. The girls came home from school, poor Britt had no voice and didn't feel well, but she and Haven came with me to order our new couch (YEAH!)

We ordered the couch, ran to Lowes, came home. Kids went to bed, we settled in to relax and then we heard the screaming. Ry went up, came back and said Gray had a fever. I went up, we gave him medicine and I noticed he was shaking, took the temp and he was 102. I told Ry we were going to the hospital, he thought I was nuts, I got the girls coats on, grabbed a bucket in case Gray got sick and we left for the hospital. On the way, we got caught in a police checkpoint-loads of fun with a screaming child in the back, then he began vomiting, a lot, violently, while I drove....good thing I had grabbed the bucket :)

Got to the hospital, I ran ahead and told the check in people that I had a 3 year old, croup this week, asthmatic on three steroids, vomiting and fever of 102. They were awesome, took us straight to triage then into an ER room. By then his fever was 104 and he was soooo sick. My poor girls sat there, they were so scared, but they were brave as they waited for Emily and Ben (who are saints for coming to get them). Girls left and poor Gray was so sick, he kept passing out and just screaming. They took blood, chest x-ray, put in the iv, etc. A number of hours later, his temp was still over 101, his blood work came back and they told us he was staying. Seems along with slow breathing, wheezing, vomiting and fever, he had a very high white blood count. The doctors were worried that he either had a raging infection or he had leukemia. They admitted him, the pediatric ward was great and the staff was excellent. He stayed another night and came home to us tonight.

His white blood count is still a little high, but it looks like it was so extremely high in the ER because he was dehydrated and the steroids he was on caused a jump in the count. Thankfully, he had no blood infections or anything awful. Two nights in the hospital but now he is home, back on the oral steroids and has to see the doctor tomorrow to follow up. Brittan is sick too, so she can visit the doctor as well, but that is OK, they are all here, in bed and safe and sound. What a terrible ordeal, but I am so glad we took him in, I am thankful the doctors were cautious and careful in his treatment, and relieved that he is OK, because it just wasn't the same with him not home!

Good news

Looks like Gray will come home tonight. I am very relieved, we miss him!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My poor baby

Grayson was admitted to the hospital last night. We thought we had a good day and then BAM he spiked a fever and began throwing up. We took him in, they admitted him b/c he white cells were too high, and they are keeping him again tonight to keep an eye on him. Hopefully all the tests will come back better, and he will come home tomorrow. The hospital staff is great, and he is as comfortable as a sick three year old in the hospital can get. I hope he has a good night.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The test of love

Grayson is still sick. He was up every 15 minutes last night while laying in bed with me. He yelled at me for over an hour about being hungry, then yelled at me for two hours about wanting to go outside and play (this was from 3:30p5:30 am)

He has been crying and screaming and demanding things all day. He screamed at me the whole time we were waiting to see the doctor, he screamed at me when we left, he is screaming right now. My boy is usually so easy going and good natured, but he hasn't slept in days and the heavy steroids he is on affect his mood. I love him, I have been telling him and myself all day how much I love him, but boy is he testing my patience. Usually I could look at the situation and know that in three hours he will be in bed, but since he hasn't slept in three nights, I am not expecting much relief. I have two papers that I must complete tonight, plus three more by Saturday. Arghh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Take a shot

So Grayson had a rough night again. I am happy I stayed home, especially since Ryan kept telling me today how he was fine and doing better, while I thought he was worse. By the end of the day, I was sure he was worse, called the doctor and asked to come in. We went in at 4:10, saw a different doctor from yesterday (which helps me know I am not crazy and he is sick) and while his oxygen levels are good, he is retracting on one side. They gave him a breathing treatment, and still he was retracting. This is not good, especially since it is on the one side, and he has taken two doses of oral steroids, an inhaled steroid and the Xopenex. They gave him a shot of another steroid, a more potent one, and told us to come back tomorrow, if we make it through the night.

My boy was a trooper, and was his usual chipper self, even though he looks like death. He let them poke him and listen to him, he sat there and did his treatment and he took the shot like a champ. I am very proud of him, and also worried that he will have a bad night. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So, I should be driving to Pittsburgh, but my baby is sick. He started with the cough and a low temp yesterday. Last night, he was up all night just coughing and gasping to breathe. I thought that maybe my want to stay home was making me think he was worse than he really was, but he really is sick. I took him in and the doctor was concerned, seems he has really bad croup and his asthma is really bad. They gave him a dose of oral steroids in the office and he will be on them the next few days, along with the inhaled steroid and the xopenex. We are under strict orders that if his temp reaches 101 or he takes his meds and is still wheezing or having trouble breathing, we are to head to the hospital. It is never good when the doctor tells you to be ready to go to the hospital.

So my boy is sleeping and I am hoping for the best.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I am planning to leave tomorrow to go on a trip to Pittsburgh for work. I really don't want to go, but am looking forward to meeting two of my coworkers face to face. There has, however, been a lot of illnesses going around our area, and I am worried that one of my kids may get sick while I am gone. The virus seems to be causing high fevers and coughs, and last night my neighbor's little girl (7) went to the ER with a high fever and it looks like she hasn't come home yet, more than 12 hours later. My son had a slight fever last night and a cough, but so far, so good today...only time will tell. I just hope that my boss understands if I don't make it up there.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Recycle your dinner

Dinner was yummy, but we had a ton of leftovers. The chicken bones became stock along with an onion and a few carrots. Stock was strained and has since become soup with the leftover chicken, some rosemary, carrots, corn, peas and noodles all mixed together with a little salt and sage. The final ingredient is our secret weapon and it is what takes watery, bland chicken soup to tasty, wonderful chicken soup, and I owe it to my husband who figured this out. We add a few dashes of Frank's Red Hot to the soup and WHAM-Fabulous, flavorful soup. It doesn't make it spicy, it doesn't overpower the taste of the chicken, veg or herbs, it just gives it a little something special. are you going to recycle your dinner tonight?

Evening buzz

It has been quite a day, and we are getting ready for the Sunday feast. The house is completely decorated for Christmas, and I have one of the papers I needed to write completed. Dinner is ready, a roast chicken (a Sunday favorite), stuffing made with my homemade bread, roast sweet potatoes with local honey and cinnamon and salad. The crew is hungry, husband should be down any minute and I have all of my research ready for tonight's paper. If possible, I will write at least three pages and grade 25 of PT school's exams. Tomorrow I have to finish all of the grading for PT school and write another 3-5 page paper, plus finish packing and get the girl's stuff together. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed!

The Morning Report

We had a nice start to the day, a perfect Sunday morn. The kids and I slept until 8, two little heads in my bed and the third not far away. We lingered upstairs until 8:30 then came down and I made the girls sausage and french toast and Grayson had eggs and sausage. I made the plan for the day-and it is jam packed! Grabbed the wood for the fire and got that going, and I must say I have become quite the little fire starter:) Did the dishes, switched the laundry, vacuumed half the lower level and laid out all of the decorations that still need to go up.

The kids have been playing well, and I decided to be kind to myself today and have a nice lunch. My kiddos voted for leftover pizza and salad, I took a small spaghetti squash and roasted it, added some of the meatballs and sauce from last night and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and I will have it with a nice salad. Yum!

I also am baking more cookies (big surprise I know). Today I am making chocolate chip cookies, maybe not the fanciest, but a special request from Ryan. It is now just after noon, we are actively into our day and I am getting ready to start some schoolwork. Busy, yet wonderfully warm, Sunday morning.

Daily Grind

So one of the biggest problems I have faced as we are making the move to eating local, whole foods is my first love, coffee. As there are no coffee growers in Virginia or 100 mile radius, I obviously cannot get local coffee. In my world, the next best option is to buy free trade coffee. For those who don't know, free trade items such as coffee, chocolate, etc, means that the growers and/or producers of the product are paid a living, fair wage for their products. Many coffee growers who are not free trade are not paid a fair wage for their product, and often work very hard but do not earn enough to support themselves and send their children to school. Fair trade ensures that the groups, often women, are paid enough to live in a clean, safe environment. I always try to buy Fair Trade Organic if possible, and will begin roasting the beans here at home once I order my home roaster.

I also plan to start making out own juices when fruit is in season. My kids drink juice, but not a lot, so I may start making homemade apple and orange juice.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Busy minds

I now sit in my bed, and am so thankful that the day is over, or at least I hope it is. Ryan ended up going in to work simply because they are so understaffed that he had to go :( I hope he is OK, he thinks it is just a really bad migraine, but sitting at work sucks when you feel badly.

Needless to say I did not get anything I wanted to completed tonight. I still have that paper looming, there are dishes in the sink and I need to get packing for the trip. Tomorrow I will have to get up, feed the tribe, do the dishes and get going on that paper. I think I will also try to get packed up, so that I can mark that off of the list. I want to have as much done as possible tomorrow so I can worry about cleaning the house and organizing everything for Ryan and the kids for when I am gone.

It is so strange to think that in just a few days I will be in Pittsburgh. I hate travelling away from home, and sitting in meetings all day doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, but I have to go. I figure I can do anything for three days, so I will go, meet people, hopefully have some fun and accomplish a few things.

Ah now, if only I could sleep.....

Spoke too soon

Ah well, the dream night is gone. Husband woke with a raging headache and heartburn, and is now very, very sick, I am not sure he will make it to work tonoght. I am hoping it is just a migraine and not the dreaded stomach bug as I am due to leave on Tuesday and I don't want to be sick on the trip or have him dealing with three sick kiddos. It has already been a rough winter, and we are just getting started, so I am ready to get this trip over with so I can get the crew healthy. I am hoping that two weeks off from school will be enough time to build their strength.

As an aside, I have to say that I am amazed daily by Brittan. She is so quiet as compared to the rest of us, and she has always been a bit of a mystery to me. She tends to be aloof, doesn't like noise, and is not as manic as the rest of the tribe who loves big, hates big, etc. As Brittan has grown older, she is truly a neat kid, smart and sweet, a child who thinks before she speaks or acts. She is really, really trying to read, and she is doing a great job. She just filled another treasure map for school, and she wrote the names in so seriously, taking this task to heart. She may be different from the tribe, but it is a refreshing change, and without her, our family wouldn't be complete!


The tribe, Ryan and I went to the girl's school this morning for the annual Pancake Breakfast and Book Fair. The kids and Ryan had some pancakes, juice and sausage as I helped out with pouring juice. This is a PTO event, and my neighbor is the chairperson, so I went, poured and helped out the school. The event was packed, so hopefully a lot of money was raised for the kids!

While I finished pouring juice, the kids headed to the book fair, and they each came home with a new book. Brittan did a great job reading her new book, she is doing much more reading than Haven did in Kindergarten, but she is also a perfectionist, so she will work until it is right.

Afterwards, Britt and I went and grabbed haircuts, just a trim for her, a few inches for me. Then home to lunch, I made some peppermint meringues and meatballs and pasta for supper. Graded for FT school, will write a paper tonight, and hopefully, I have a quiet evening of work and toasty fires ahead.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

So, today started off cold and drzzly, but the school opened on time. Ry took the girls to school, I held down the fort here and the day began. We had a quiet day at home, I worked on cutting, baking and decorating the gingerbread men and gingerbread snowflakes. I started putting the Christmas decorations out, did a little work, had lunch and gave Gray a nap. For dinner I used up some leftover chicken and made tortilla soup and quesadillas for everyone. The soup was good, but subbing canned jalapenos for canned green chilis made it a little too spicy for the tribe. Some soup doctoring later, we had dinner and the kiddos ate their soup.

After dinner, we started to decorate the big tree. We cut the tree down from a local tree farm last week, and now the lights are on and it was ready to be decorated! I love getting all of the ornaments out and telling the kids who made each item, or where we bought it or when. We even have the paper stocking with the glue glitter that I made in kindergarten circa 1980! I admit I got weepy a few times, seeing all of the "First Christmas" and homemade goodies from the kids. Quite a few tears were also shed when I found the ornaments that Ryan bought me the first year we were dating, little did he know how what he was getting into!

Now I sit here, the tree is done, the cookies put away, the fire glowing and the kids almost ready for bed and I am so very thankful to be the mama to the tribe and the wife to Ryan. We may be a crazy bunch, but there is a lot of love and strength in our family.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


It's cold.... really, really, really cold. As of right now, our temp is 18 degrees....brrrrrrrrr. They are also talking of delayed opening tomorrow. I am not sure I am up for an delayed start, I would rather they be home all day or go regular time. Time to go bundle up!

Thursday Fun

We had a school delay this morning, so the kids had a leisurely morning filled with pancakes and french toast made by Daddy! I took Gray and we dropped the girls off at school and headed towards the farm. A quick stop for new PJs for my trip, and a bagel for Gray and soup for me for lunch and we headed out to the country. We got to the farm, got our milk and had a few minutes to chat with the farmers and met the man who supplies the meat. I got the prices for the quarter and half of cow, and now will research to see if the cows are grassfed and organic. I love going to the farm, Grayson had fun chatting with the farmers but alas today, no chicken!

We came home, did some cleaning and then the girls came home. We had our neighbors youngest here as well since her mom was at the dr with her sister, but the she came home and came to play as well. While they were here, I made the gingerbread dough for our gingerbread men and potato pancakes for dinner. Yum!

Now all I have to do is finish a paper and have a nice quiet night at home with the husband.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My little cookies

Here are some pics of the girls and the cookies I made yesterday. Grayson ate his too fast, so I threw in a pic of my favorite guy from NC!

We have snow

OK, I was just as disappointed as the kiddos when we woke up this morning and there was no snow. The kids wanted a snow day, and if they had gotten one, I would have been jealous because I have to teach today and am gone all day! I live for snow days, I love the surprise of the kids being home and they are always in good moods and up for fun. Alas, no snow day, but they might get home early, poor Ryan.

But when we left for school this morning, the kids were thrilled to see snow falling. So far, not much has fallen, but hopefully we will get the 2 inches forecasted. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that we will get a good snow before Christmas and have a much loved White Christmas :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cookie crumbles

OK, so managing three wild kids and making chocolate florentine cookies can be a bit trying. I love these cookies, they are so lacy and delicate, but I never make them. I actually believe the last time I made them was about 11 years ago when I was dating a certain German boy. The cookies are a pain, so I think that is why I haven't made them in so long, but I will keep at it! Pictures to come :)


It was cold this morning, only 34 when I left to take the girls to school. We dropped them, Gray and I ran to the store and then home to straighten up. Emily picked us up at 11 and we went and grabbed her girls from preschool and met her husband for lunch. Then we came back home, and Em's girls are here so Emily and Ben can go to a meeting. The kids are playing well, and I have a warm fire for them. I also have a batch of cookies in the oven, a treat for the kids and more to stash for Christmas and a pot roast that is about to be put on for supper.

I love winter, and there is some snow forecasted for tomorrow, but I hope it holds off. I am giving my class at PT school their final tomorrow as I will be in Pittsburgh for FT school next week, so a snow day would not be a good thing. That being said, once I get back from the Burgh next Friday, it can snow all it wants!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Happy Monday!

We slept in this morning, and didn't rise until a very late 8 am. I was nervous that we would have a rough morning, but we got going and out the door a bit late, but early enough to have the girls at school on time. After dropping the girls off, Grayson and I ran to Lowes to bring back the stupid train and get a new tree stand. We were successful, came home to clean the house and for me to grab a shower. Emily and Maggie came by, and then we all left to pick Killian up from school. We had some errands to do in Fredricksburg, so we headed down there so Em could buy a new dishwasher (a moment of silence for her, life with three kids and a broken dishwasher is hell) and then I had to return a few things. I also got a new purse for my trip so I can look like a grown up. Back home, got the snack for the Brownies, dropped it off, Em the kids and I drove around, the babies slept and then Brittan and Declan got home. After the Fallons left, we made dinner, I did some work and now I will feed the tribe and get ready to run a faculty development call at 8. Whew...but overall, the kids were good and my stress is low :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007


So the consensus was that the pasta and bread were delicious. The kids ate every bite, quite the accomplishment as someone always hates something I make for dinner. I served the pasta with oregano, broccoli, sea salt, a little butter, olive oil and fresh Parmesan.

Not a stunningly beautiful meal, but healthy, hearty and homemade. Interestingly, the kids seem to prefer the whole wheat bread over the white bread I have been making, seems never buying white bread from the store has trained their palettes :)

I am hoping that when we get to spring and the produce is coming in, we will get involved in some of the Eat Local challenges. This whole meal could have been local if in season, except for the cheese.

To note

Don't make homemade wheat bread and homemade wheat pasta when you feel like crap. The pasta was an ordeal, but by the end I got the hang of it. Currently I am laying on the sofa, bread is baking and pasta will be started in about 15 minutes. I am also counting the seconds until Ryan gets up so he can go get me a Coke for my very, very sick stomach.

Not quite supermom...but trying

OK, so maybe I was a bit over ambitious today. I did go get the batting, and I did get it on the cut board. The problem was that the train was too big and didn't fit on the board, ah well, I will return it. The stand that Ryan picked up was too small, so I will be returning that as well :(

I did, however, get a nice tomato and onion frittata made for lunch, there is whole wheat bread rising by the fire, and I will start the pasta in the next half hour. Not the best day, but I am trying. I will also admit to yelling at the kids when I was frustrated, but they have forgiven me and we have moved on with our day :)

Gray Mornings

Today is a gray day,and I am a bit sad that we are missing all of the snowy fun that those just north of us are getting.

It is just after 10:30 today, and the kiddos and I have been busy! We got up and they had a breakfast of eggs, sausage and cereal (I swear they are addicted-and it was Special K!) I did some cleaning, made the morning coffee and discovered that my coffee maker is injured. I love my coffee maker, it is a Melitta Mill and Brew and I have had it over 5 years. It is a bit sad, the top latch is broken so a bag of pastina keeps it closed, but still I love it. Today it sprang a leak, I repaired it with some electrical tape,but alas, I fear it needs to go. I ordered a new one and it should be here by Wednesday, and yes, I got the same one, so very brand loyal!

The kids have been busy making ornaments and paper chains for their tree. I got the pasta machine out so that we can make some homemade pasta today for dinner, and I think we may whip up some bread as well. I made the fire, went out to the woodpile and gathered the days wood and made our home warm and cozy. Whew, we have been busy!

When Ryan gets home, he will put the family tree in the living room, and cut the board for the kid's tree while I run to get the batting. Then he will head up to bed, I will set up the kid's tree and they will go to town decorating. While they are busy, the bread will be made, the pasta rolled and then the kids will cut the pasta for me. Pictures to come!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

All grown up...

Haven lost another tooth today, and she came to me and told me that she knew Ryan and I were the tooth fairy. At seven years old, and the oldest of my children, it hurt that she was ready to know the truth about this. We have always sworn to tell them the truth about anything they asked, something that I hope will help us when they are teenagers, so I checked that she REALLY wanted to know. She did, and she promised to keep the secret, so I told her the truth. I know she will not tell her sister and brother, she is too much of a mother hen to do that, but a piece of me is so sad that she is already past the point of wonderment.

Christmas greenery

Today was the big day...time to get a tree. Once we hauled ourselves out of the house at nearly 12:30, we stopped at the Fallons to drop off their chocolate milk and get the free, fake tree that will live in the playroom. Then we were off to lunch, which was pretty enjoyable, a surprise as the kids were VERY hungry and VERY sick of waiting :) After lunch, Ryan and I made the executive decision to go get the tree at the Christmas tree farm that is closer to our house, rather than the one that is almost an hour away, but a pretty country drive. We went to Nokesville to the tree farm, and on the way Brittan, Grayson and Ryan fell asleep! We got there and went looking for the "perfect" tree. We found one, but then a family came over and they had been looking at that tree and another, so we let them have the tree they wanted. Then from across the farm, I saw it, the perfect Kelley Christmas tree, so we went and cut it down. We ended up with a White Pine, even though Ryan really wanted the Norway Spruce, but it is tall, and full and the needles are soft.

On our way home we stopped at Lowes for the sealant for the new marble on the island and a piece of wood to make the base for the kid's tree. Needless to say, the wood was huge and had to be tied under the tree, but we got it home in one piece. Tomorrow I will cut down the wood, wrap the batting around it to make snow, put the kid's tree up and the train underneath. They have been busy making ornaments, and while it won't be the prettiest tree, they will love it!

Tomorrow night I will make a pot of cocoa and we will decorate the family tree in the living room. Then I will put out the rest of the decorations and we will be ready to enjoy Christmas.