Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spoke to soon

I should have known, post something nice about the hubby and he becomes a giant crank.

Ah well, he is really tired, he worked late a lot this week and was up all day with the kids yesterday. He is napping now, and I hope he wakes up in a better, and more helpful, mood.

Oh the life we live

I recently had a conversation with Emily about our lives. We both have great lives, nice houses, three amazing kids each, supportive husbands. We also have the ability, or luxury, to get anything we need and most things we want. This is not to say that we don't have money issues, they happen, or that we can run out and spend a ton of money every day, we can't. We can, however, afford to save and purchase what we want, and we are lucky.

I told her that I used to feel guilty for what we have, but looking back at it, we earned it. When we moved to Virginia nine years ago, Ryan and I were poor....REALLY poor. I had a FT job, but had taken a paycut when I left NY. Ryan was still at Staples and we were paying for his school out of pocket. We hardly had enough for rent and gas, let alone anything extra. Ryan got his first "real" job in December and we were so excited that he was salary and had benefit. At the same time, my car died so we bought our first new car, a bare bones no frills Saturn, and Ryan STILL drives it to work everyday!

We worked hard and after Haven was born I switched jobs and that allowed us to buy the townhouse. Somehow we balanced that after I was laid off and found part time work that saved me daycare costs. Ryan suffered two layoffs, two years in a row at Christmas by the same company, they worked on contracts and when they didn't have one, you were SOL. After the second layoff he took the job in MD at that he still has now, and because of the financial results of the layoffs, I went back to FT work that April when Brittan was 9 months old and we moved here to the house we are in now. In my job I traveled during the first 3 months of the year (also the first 3 months of my pregnancy with Gray) and made the decision to stop working when Gray was born-private daycare for 3 kids were too much money and I refused to send them to a daycare center. We struggled after Gray was born on the one salary, but I finish my MBA when he was 4 months old and had a teaching job within 6 months.

I have been in school since Brittan was born five and half years ago. I have balanced my career, motherhood, and my education. Ryan has felt the weight of the family on his shoulders, needing to financially support us when I was not working and emotionally help me when I had too much on my plate.

We have now been married eight years, and I am so proud of the family I have built and what we have achieved. I cannot wait to see what the future holds (hopefully my doctorate soon!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another day down

It was a long day. A long, long, long day.

The girls had no school today, so we were all home this morning. Grayson had a bad night, so I was up with him a lot and after three nights in a row of poor sleep, I am feeling it.

I got up, feed the kids and got ready for work. Left at 11, did my conference call w/ FT gig in the car, then went and taught at PT school. Left and fought the masses home, grabbed my debit card from Ryan that I had forgotten and then went to pick up Grays meds and some supplies for Haven's school project.

Home again to three fed kids (thanks hon!) got Haven working on her project and started grading. Between the HOUR it took to do the project, the grading for FT school, writing a paper and regular work, I am wiped. I am now enjoying a few pistachio nuts and then I will turn in. Tomorrow Ry and I have big plans for the Lost premiere, stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Someone grab the reins!

We have been running all day! Out the door to drop the girls, we grabbed Emily and her girls and off to the farm. Came home, dropped Em at her car so she could go to a meeting and Grayson, Killian, Maggie and I went off to the bookstore. While there, we got new Easter books for all six kids, and I grabbed a few Beverly Clearey books for Haven, who is just discovering how wonderful chapter books are.

After the bookstore, the kids and I headed to the petstore, a small reward for being good at the bookstore, then we headed home. Emily had some last minute packing to do, so I took her girls back to my house and they played until Emily came and Haven, Brittan and Declan came home from school (early release day). Then we loaded up and off to our favorite spot for a late lunch. We then had a few hours before Grayson and Maggie had doctor's appointments, so we went to the store so Emily could get new luggage, and then I ran into the grocery store for a few items. Finally, we made it to our last stop of the day, the doctor's office. We scared the pediatrician a bit with all six kids in one room, and it turns out Maggie still has a double ear infection and Grayson still has an ear infection in the ear that he had it in December. I don't think he ever actually got over the ear infection, so he has probably had it for the last six weeks poor little guy. Also, back on breathing treatments as he has a cough. yuck.

Now all I have to do is make it through tomorrow and I can relax. I have my am call, then class, then grading. Whew!

The still morning

For some reason, I woke up early this morning at 6:30. The kids were asleep and I answered a few emails while Helicopter watched my screen, completely amazed at the letters and screen movement. Gray the woke up and finally had a chance to pet Helicopter and see her up close. She licked his nose, he laughed, it was so sweet! My girls are still asleep, and I will wake them soon, but I am enjoying the few moments in the dark quiet morning with Grayson, as he would say "by ourselvses"

Monday, January 28, 2008

A quick post before I go

So today was a bit harried. I got up and got the kids ready, took the girls to school and headed to the farm. Deep down I was concerned because I remembered something about the farm and Mondays. Got there and they were closed...that's right the new winter hours!

Came home, did course checks, got my syllabus and out Gray and I went again. We renewed Ryan's car registration, went to the bank, went to may copies of the syllabus (I gt frustrated with the self serve machines and will pic up copies on my way) and went to the grocery store. I came home, cleaned the house, did dishes, got the snack ready for Brownies, made my sign in sheet, and generally got things ready. Now I have dinner cooking and my clothes ready for work. I will leave at 6, pick up my syllabi and go teach.

Tomorrow I will head back to the farm, we need milk and butter and my neighbor is hooked now too! Then the girls get out early from school and we will go and have our standard lunch with Emily and the kids. Whew, I am already tired and I haven't left for work yet!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Dinner was a success, and dessert was a sensation!

The kids enjoyed the chicken coconut curry, I was careful not to use too much curry paste so it wasn't too spicy. Next time I will use more coconut milk as we make BIG batches of food, and the one can was just not enough coconut flavor for me.

Dessert was a smashing success. I spread the jam over the sponge and snipped some fresh mint on top. The I added a thin layer of fresh whipped cream, then the last of the whole, hulled strawberries, and then a final layer of whipped cream. I always forget how delicious sponge cake is, and so easy to make. I have a feeling that we will have a lot this summer following the strawberry picking and blueberry harvest!

All my work is done, paper written and dishes done. I need to run to the farm tomorrow morning and pick up snack for the Brownie meeting, then home to do course checks. Tomorrow night I have to teach, so I will be out from 6-10 pm. Thankfully, Tuesday we have a quiet day planned and the girls have a half day and no school on Friday. I teach again Friday and then I AM SLEEPING IN ON THURSDAY!!!!

Beat away the humdrums

A sure fire way to get rid of those sick of winter blues is to make a strawberry shortcake and daydream about springtime. I had just a bit of frozen strawberries left over from our Mother's Day picking, and one lone jar of strawberry freezer jam from that same day (this year we need to double the amount we get!).

I decided we needed a pick me up, something different from the warm, heartiness of winter meals. I just made a quick hot milk sponge that is baking away as we speak. I will coat the sponge with the jam, then whip some fresh cream and dice the last of those beautiful berries on top with a hint of fresh mint.

Supper tonight will be a new adventure for us. I am making coconut curry chicken with jasmine rice, still warm and hearty, but also fresh and different. I love curry, and hope that the kids enjoy the sweet and spicy flavor.

The sun is shining today, it is finally out of the 30's and we will have just a taste of spring after dinner. Perfect.

Birthday Wishes

So two of my exes share today as a birthday, and they both are turing 33. One ex was very insignificant, the other very significant, in who I have become as a woman, wife and mother.

Though years have passed, and lives have changed, I hope that both of these men have found happiness. Happy birthday.

Getting anxious

It is not quite the end of January and I am anxious to get started with spring tasks. It could be that it has been a cold, yet not snowy, winter. It could be that I am winter tasked out, tired of baking and laundry and ready for fresh foods. Whatever it is, I have my seed list for the gardens, and I will begin gathering canning items so we are ready when the time comes. Ryan and I need to spend a weekend out cleaning the garage and mudroom, but it has to be at least 40 outside for us to do that job!

Soon we will be building and tilling gardens, starting seeds, sanitizing jars, and getting into the season. I am so excited to get going, to get the gardens planted, and the chickens here. If we get that achieved, we will have met and exceeded all goals for the year. We will have local beef, we will have local produce from our yard and the CSA, we localize the coffee, dairy is local and we are looking for pork and chicken suppliers, although we may just need to accept that we have to purchase the hormone free from the supermarket.

We will get our eggs from the CSA until Fall, as our chicks with probably not start laying until then. For winter, we should have enough produce canned and frozen and we will take part in the winter CSA to get chard and other greens. We are also setting up the LED grow system in the garage, so I am hopefully that we will have tomatoes, beans and greens from there as well. What a change from last year, and I feel so much better feeding my family!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Welcome to Helicopter

So we went and picked up the cat today. She is sweet and pretty and when she is more comfortable and comes out from under the bed I will take a picture :)

We decided that Helicopter was a perfectly reasonable name for a female cat, we are calling her Choppy for short, although Grayson is insisting on her full name.

I think she will be a great addition, and once she gets her wits about her, I am sure she will come downstairs and torture the dog.

Pics to follow of the pretty girl.

Friday, January 25, 2008

kittens and chickens

Tomorrow morning we will go pick up the kitten. Grayson wants to name it Helicopter, but I am guessing we will come up with something a bit better. So far the girls don't know a thing, it is a surprise.

Ryan and I have also looked into the chickens. Looks like I will take a run to the feed store this week to see if they carry the coop I want. We will be ordering five female day old Buff Orpingtons, as they are hardy, heavy and very docile. I am hopeful that we will keep all alive as I want a flock of 3-5 hens. They lay about every other day and don't stop in winter, so this seems to be a good pick for our home use.

The chicks will be small when they come, so we will need to set up a brooder for them. We will use a simple wire cage or aquarium and heat lamp (em can we borrow yours??) The chicks will be handled a lot so they get used to us, so if we get them in March, we will have them outside in May :)

The chickens will have a coop and run, and we will free range them whenever possible, probably when the kids are out playing and the dog is inside. The coop will be placed close to the house, outside the pantry window so we can run a heater or light as needed in winter. The chicks will also help create compost, another positive here!

The kitten search

We decided we needed a cat. The girls have been wanting one for a year, and I think it is time. The odd thing is, we are having a hard time finding one! I think we have a lead on one through Freecycle, and if it works out, we will have a new little four pawed friend.

Worms and Dirt

So Ryan and I have tried to get the garden planned, without ACTUALLY going outside where it is frigid. I have my list of what we will be growing, and it looks like there will be three grow areas, the main garden in the back that we need to fence and turn, a side garden and a blueberry patch. The main garden needs to be fenced and turned, and there we will grow two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, snow peas, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, pickling and slicing cucumbers, carrots and two types of lettuce. The side garden will be where we experiment with pie pumpkins, butternut and acorn squash. The area in from of the playroom will become the blueberry patch.

To grow this much in an organic way, we need to get our composting back on track. I am now shopping for a new compost bin for closer to the house, where I can throw the scraps. Ryan also built a bin at the top of the hill out back, and he is going to put a door on it so we can have a second bin, that one will be where most clippings and leaves go. I will also purchase worms for that bin, but the one down by the house will not be a worm based system. I also need to talk to Haven's riding teacher about getting some....ahem...manure for the garden. I need to get that into the garden about a month before planting. We will till the garden, lay the manure with a layer of newspaper on top and then a layer of compost. It will get watered daily, and when it come time to plant, we will have a rich soil to work with.

Even as cold as it is, we have to look forward to spring. By March we need the garden built and the soil working, so that plantings can happen in April. By late June we will be enjoying all that our hard work has given us.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Green goodness

I am so excited that I may burst! I got confirmation that we are on the list for the Spring CSA, 7 weeks of healthy, home grown, organic local produce starting in April. After that comes the summer CSA, and we may even do the Fall/Winter. Along with the produce, we will also get our eggs this way, a dozen per week, and that will save me trips to the grocery store :)

I am already planning the summer garden, tomorrow Ryan and I will go out and sketch the plan. he is also busy working on the plan for the winter plants in the garden, researching different growing methods, etc. The hope is that we get the back garden planted early, then we clean and organize the garage and determine where the plants will go. The indoor garden will be planted mid summer, so that we have greens, tomatoes and berries, along with our herbs, all winter.

The canning schedule will include pasta sauces, squash and zucchini with basil and tomatoes and lemon dill green beans. Once the garden plan is drawn up, we will lay the fence and I will post the seeds.

A grand day

So we had a nice day. I got the house straightened, the wreath came down and I grabbed a shower. I made some bread and Em and girls came by. The kids were pretty good, not stellar, but pretty good. I made a bunch of cookies and roasted some coffee and Ryan, Em and I watched a movie. The movie was good, the cookies were yummy and the comfy couch and company was excellent. A good day overall. Now I am finishing my work and will settle to watch a little TV and drink some fresh roasted coffee. A warm cozy evening.

What to do....

So we have a quiet day ahead, what a nice change! It will be chilly today, possibly a little snow, so we will be snuggling in. Ryan is building a fire, I have a few more rooms to vacuum and straighten and we need to move that pesky wreath, but then we are all done. We will be watching a movie this afternoon, and Em will join us for that. Ryan wants a simple pasta dinner, so no need to cook much today, although I may make a batch of cookies to appease the mass of children (and husbands)

Ah the joys of a quiet day, I am not sure I know what to do with myself, I am not the sit down and relax type. I need this, Ryan needs this and even Emily needs it, so we will snuggle on the red couch under warm blankets with cups of coffee and tea and enjoy the abundance of our lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The green monster

In every relationship there are times when jealousy comes into play. Whether you are jealous of your partner's free time, their family, friends or exes, jealousy rears it's head a lot and needs to be addressed. In my marriage, there are a few jealousies that linger on my side, and while justified in some ways, in others they are not. We had a rough start, we had a lot of tough years, but I think we have finally reached a point in our marriage where we are happy, secure and content. That being said, those old feelings still bubble up, and while the past is the past, I clearly remember the pain. I know for Ryan there are things in our past that caused him pain, and I also know that he has worked hard to gain my trust and to build our relationship to what it is now. I do wish he saw things through my eyes though, how something that is innocent in his eyes and the eyes of most, reminds me of things in the past. I wish he knew how much I want to be the "one" the one he goes to when he is happy, sad or needs help....always. He has this female friend who I do not like, she reminds me of another of his friends who I despise. From Ryan's side, they really do have a simple friendship, but personally i feel she is working her way into his life too much, she is stepping over a few boundaries, especially when she has no relationship with me or the kids. A wise counselor once asked, why would you want to be friends with someone who did not have your family's best interests at heart...hmm.

Anyway, I will continue to dislike her and hope she falls off the face of the earth, and Ryan will continue to be her friend. I will have to deal with my jealousy and concerns and trust my husband to be the decent guy that I know he is.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Day Gone

Today was a bit busy, and tomorrow I head back to PT school. I think I am ready, my class list is prepared, I have my syllabus, and I know what I want to do with them tomorrow.

I got everything I needed done for tonight, including the paper I was dreading. It actually went quite quickly, this class has been the easiest I have had so far in my doctoral program, and it is a welcome relief. I like what we are covering, and I fully understand it, something I couldn't say for a few past classes. Tonight's paper was quick, only 2 pages, and I am happy it is done.

Now I will try to relax a bit, I tend to get overly stressed the night before my first class. I know it will be a breeze, it always is, but it still makes me nervous. After I get home tomorrow I start my weekend. On Thursday, Ryan and I will get the big wreath off the side of the house, so sad that it is still there, but the weather didn't comply with our time off. We will then make a nice fire and settle in to watch a movie with Emily. Hopefully on Saturday Ryan can go with Ben and get us a new door to the playroom. The kids are loud in there when I am working, and it gets cold at night, so I want Ryan to get moving on a new door to replace the one the kids damaged.

Now I need to go get a cup of tea, my head is hurting again, so I need to relax.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Finally, a quiet night

I have had a nice evening, and although I know saying that aloud means I may get struck by lightning or someone will get sick, I still needed to say it. I got my work done early, I had no schoolwork to do, and dinner was cleaned up by 6. The kids were given baths and sent off to bed, and I have enjoyed sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a few tv shows. I needed this quietness, as tomorrow we have to get up and get the girlies off to school. I really need to go to the farm tomorrow, and there is a threat of nasty weather, so I need to go and get back early. The major problem is that Ryan's car is still at the shop b/c the emissions guy wasn't in today, and he has my car, so I can't go anywhere until he gets home. Emily is picking my girls up in the morning, and if she and her girls are up and dressed, I may be able to bribe her to drive me with the promise of peanut brittle. Ah well, that is winter in Virginia, freezing rain and no real snow.

The baby dance

So Ryan and I are in negotiations over another child. He really doesn't want a fourth, but he also isn't willing to do anything permanent about it. I really want another and have for a long time. I have been focusing on getting healthy and getting my career to a place where I could have another. I just feel like someone is missing, and I would hate to feel that way forever.

I have asked that we try for the three months next fall that would work with my work schedule, I don't want to have to worry about PT gig, so I would like to have another summer baby. I told Ryan if we don't conceive during those months, I will see it as fate and be done with the trying. If I got pregnant then, I would just be turning 34 when the baby came, and I can't bring myself to risk having one after age 35, it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the family to risk having complications.

As of now, he is thinking about my proposition. I know he doesn't actively want another, but I also know he would love and adore any baby that came into our home. I hope he sees that for me, it would be a lifetime of wondering what could have been, and who the person is that I never got to meet and how they would have changed us and made our family even better. My kids are amazing little souls, seeing another in the mix would make me so happy, and would give us all such joy. Ah well, fingers crossed that we have a new little Kelley in the next two years.

Moving through the day

So I woke up with a wicked headache, and as I rolled over, Grayson looked at me and said,
"I have to throw up." Swell. Turns out he never really got sick, he just has a nasty cold and sleeping with a runny nose made his tummy upset. So down we go, I swig down a few pills for my headache and throw some of the pumpkin muffins (so happy I made them) on plates and pour some apple juice for the kids. I then sit on the couch, under my blanket and close my eyes...thankfully the kids allowed me to rest for a half an hour and I felt a bit better.

Ryan needed to drop his car off for an inspection, so we got dressed and bundled up, and headed into the cold to pick him up. He then dropped Brittan and I off so she could get a haircut and he ran to the store with the other kids to get a few things (I am SO thankful for that, there is no way I could have braved the store) While we were waiting, Emily and the girls came in for haircuts too, and I was so happy to see them, it seems like it has been forever!
Britt got a haircut, we grabbed something for lunch and headed home. The kids ate, then Ryan took Grayson up for a nap, and the girls have been working on their make-up work for the last week of school they missed. I have been trying to get my course checks done, but our site isn't working right, so it is taking forever. Soon I will start dinner (chicken and dumplings), and I can rest easy since I won't have any work to do after dinner. I do, however, need to do dishes and switch laundry, but that just part of a normal day. Right now, all I want to do is to lay down and close my eyes and nap, but that won't happen, so I think I will get up and make some coffee.

The house is chilly and I never made a fire, so I am hoping that tomorrow brings more bearable temps.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sleepy eyes and lack of motivation

I am so very tired today, I think the lack of sleep and running around from last week is catching up with me. I achieved a lot today in some ways, and in other ways I had no motivation. While I bakes a million pumpkin muffins, did some basic, and I mean basic, cleaning, cooked dinner and pushed through a few loads of clothes, I feel like most of my day was spent dealing with crabby children. I still have my paper to write tonight and I have to clean up from dinner, two things I am not looking forward to. I have my research for my paper, but my eyes are aching and tired, and I just don't want to spend the hour writing...I want to go to bed instead. I will, however, write the paper, and I will clean up from dinner and do the dishes, because that is what you do when you are a grownup. I still have tons of clothes to fold and put away, but at least they are clean and no one is digging for clothing. Tomorrow Ryan's car needs to get inspected, so the kids and I will pick him up from the shop. I am not sure if we will do anything else, the kids have homework from the week we were off, Grayson really needs a nap, and I have to unpack from the trip. Maybe one more quiet day at home is needed, then Tuesday we will get the kids back to school, and I will teach on Wednesday. In my world, Wednesdays are Fridays as Ryan is off Weds-Fri, so my weekend isn't too far away!

Fresh recipes?

I couldn't locate the pumpkin muffin recipe I have used in the past, so I went in search of a new one. In my quest, I found that it was near impossible to locate a recipe that used fresh pumpkin, they all called for canned pumpkin. I find this amazing, really no one uses fresh pumpkin? What about all the people that grow pumpkins, as we hope to this year, what do they do with them?

Hmm, well fresh cooked pumpkin is more wet than canned, so it is not easy to substitute one for the other, so I really needed a recipe built around the texture of the fresh pumpkin. I looked through a few cookbooks, and then pulled out my Amish and Mennonite cookbook, an old one that I sometimes go to for traditional meals, such as chicken and dumplings, that I don't make regularly. I had never made the bread recipes in the book, but found their pumpkin bread recipe called for fresh, cooked pumpkin...Hooray!

The recipe is huge, three full cups of sugar, 2 cups of pumpkin and three cups of flour! I have a dozen muffins baking away, and it looks as though I will get at least four more dozen. For a change, I am making half of the muffins with raisins added, and of course I added some flax meal to add a bit of protein and in my mind, offset all that sugar. Hopefully this recipe will be a keeper.

So chilly

It is cold today, really cold, so we started the day with mommy made warmth. The kiddos had a hot breakfast of cinnamon rolls and eggs, and I have my much needed cup of coffee. Dishes are going, laundry has been switched and the fire is started, this is a good and productive start to the day.

I have a ton of laundry to fold and wash, so I am going to put effort into that today. I also need to make pumpkin muffins, especially after I mentioned it yesterday and my whole family (husband included) started clapping and yelling. I guess they like them :)

Another paper needs to be written, although it is a short one, and I need to do my regular work. I have my syllabus ready for Wednesday, and feel prepared to start teaching again. For today, I will do household duties while it is freezing cold outside and we will warm the house with baking and cooking. Here is to a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting back to normal!

So we are happily home and getting back to normal :)

I went early this morning to pick the dog up and she was so happy to see me. Brought her home, Ryan gave her a bath and I went off to the grocery store. Even though we tried to eat healthy when possible on the trip, there were times we had junk (lots of funnel cake and ice cream was consumed!) so now we are back to normal. I have a beautiful chicken roasting away, and will make stuffing, and squash and zucchini with leeks for supper. I also promised the kids some banana bread, so I will be cooking that up in a few minutes. After supper, I plan to make chicken and dumplings for tomorrows lunch, and may even get a batch of granola bars in the oven.

Tomorrow I plan to have a quiet day. The girls will head next door to see their friends new puppy, I will bake up a bunch of pumpkin muffins to replenish our stock and dinner will be meatloaf with roasted sweet potatoes and homemade biscuits, YUM!

I head back to PT school this week, so I need to update my syllabus and send that off for printing. I am trying a few new things with my classes this session, I hate having such a large class as it limits discussion, so I am working to overcome that. I also have another paper to write tonight, work and general house cleaning. I am happy to be back home and getting into the routine, and with the kids off on Monday, we will be able to get everything in order following the trip. Vacations are fun, but sitting here under my favorite blanket with a glorious fire and the comfort and warmth of our full and happy home, that is true happiness.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We made it home :)

So, we left this morning around 8 am and made it home around 9:30, not too shabby!

The kids were loud, but good on the ride, and overall the trip back went really well. We had so much fun on the trip, and have already started talking about what we want to do when we go back! I am so proud of the kids, they did a lot of things that used to scare them. All three went in the Haunted Mansion, and that is spooky even for grownups. This time they LOVED Pirates of the Caribbean and they went on roller coasters and the bumpy safari ride. The only things that are still no good for my group are the 3-D movies where they spray you with water, this still freaks my kids out!

We are excited that we purchased the timeshare points and will be going to Vermont this summer to check that resort out. If we like it, we will have enough points for a trip to Florida in the next two years, and we will purchase our own timeshare at the property or resale.

I love having my family all to myself, and while they often make me crazy, they are also a lot of fun. I cannot wait for the summer trip to Vermont, I am a huge fan of Vermont and cannot wait to show them why I love it up there!

Work update

So boss wrote me back and told me I am fine and dandy.


Like I said, often self inflicted.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heading Home

Today was our last day in Florida, and I have to say I am happy to be heading home tomorrow. We are just exhausted, the running around dragging, carrying and pushing three kids can take it's toll. Everyone had a blast, the kids are wiped out, and Ryan and I are ready to get back to normal. I am tired of juggling school and work while away, I never did finish my paper for tonight and will be writing it in the car tomorrow. I need my own bed, my own kitchen and the comforts of home.

As an aside, I am having some serious work stress. When you don't ever see your boss, it is hard to know if you are doing OK. Tone is impossible in email, and our weekly calls include 11 other staff members, so I am stressing that my boss is happy with my work. I have always been one of those people that has tremendous self doubt, and there are lots of times when I am my own worst critic. Often my worry is self inflicted and rooted in my own self esteem issues, and I am hoping this is another one of those times. Ah well, this too shall pass.

Sometimes things are crappy

We are having a great trip. Today we went to Seaworld and the kids had a great time. We fed the dolphins and the sea lions. The kids saw the penguins, and Grayson fell in love with a stuffed penguin with a baby, so of course he got it :) We had dinner with Shamu and it was such a neat experience. We were right next to the pool and the whales came right up next to us. The trainers came around and talked to the kids, and answered any questions. The whole experience was better than any lame character dinner, and I think my kids got a kick out of being so close and seeing the whales up close and personal. After the dinner, we went to the play area, and as the park was almost closing they were able to get on all the rides right away and stay on if they wanted. The kids all rode the roller coaster twice, a first experience for them, and I fear Haven is going to be a coaster junkie, she loved the thrill! Afterwards, we came back here to the hotel and I started my grading...then my computer died.

We had been having problems with the power supply, and all of a sudden my power cord began beeping (didn't know they did that!) and I couldn't get a charge. This was a huge problem as grades were due tonight, and while my job is flexible, I still need to do it. At 9:30 I got in the car and went in search of a solution, if I couldn't find one I would have to pack the family up early to drive home. I found a Walmart and I found a replacement charger. I was also going to buy a laptop just in case, but I only had Ryan's credit card on me and they wouldn't let me use it, even though we have the same name and address!

I brought the replacement back and thankfully it works! I just finished grading (it is 12:45) and now need to get relaxed enough to go to sleep. We have to get up at 6:30 and leave by 8:30 so we can do Epcot as our last day. With all the running around, I never got my research done and will have to do it and write a paper tomorrow night, along with work and pack us up. I cannot wait to get home and sleep on Saturday, although I need to go get our dog at 9 am, so I guess I cannot sleep in, but maybe I will get a nap. Next week, I start on campus classes on Wednesday, back to the two job grind!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weird kid comments...

OK, we all know kids say the darndest things, but these are a few things my kids have said since we left home.

Haven about Brittan really liking her teddy bear, "Man, she (Brittan) is a Bearaholic"

Brittan to Haven while looking out the window while we were driving, "Hey that's a church. I know because they always have lower case t's at the top"

Haven to Ryan about her brother. "I love that he is three, he's addicted to me and he is a great kisser!"

OK, that last one is innocent, Grayson is known for being pretty liberal with his kisses, and he and Haven have always had a good relationship. I guess he was giving her a bunch of kisses this morning.

Not sure how Haven knew what an "aholic" was, we really don't talk much about things like that here, but it was really funny. For Britt, I guess we need to explain what a cross is :) As for my boy, he is a great kisser, in a sweet, innocent, three year old way!

Florida Days

We are now in Florida, full swing into our trip. The ride on Saturday was relatively uneventful, although we did get started a bit late due to a migraine I had. We got going about 8 am, made one stop for lunch and gas, another for gas and snacks and made it here by 9:30 pm. Had a few troubles getting into the first room they gave us, so we were moved and have happily settled into our space. The food made it down fine, the meat was even still frozen!

On Sunday we went to Sea World, but it rained late in the day and we headed out early. Yesterday we went to the timeshare session for the place we are staying. Even though we get great exchanges through my parent's timeshare, we are thinking we want to find a place of our own. After the big pitch, Ryan and I decided we really liked the resort here and want to try their other location in Vermont before we make a decision. We bought a "Think About It" package and will go to Vermont this summer to tour their facility. If all goes well, we will purchase with them and do a week in Vermont each summer and a week here in Florida each January.

After the timeshare thing, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom and had a great time. Even though it is chilly here, we are enjoying having the park relatively empty and not having to wait on long lines. Today we will do Animal Kingdom, and this time of year they close at 5 so we will come back here for dinner and I can focus on work. Tomorrow is Sea World again, plus dinner with Shamu, and then we will close out the trip with either Epcot of Magic Kingdom, whichever the kids want to do. We always have so much fun on these trips, we do things the way we want, take our time, and really enjoy ourselves. Aside from having to fit in schoolwork and regular work, I love being able to spend time with my kids and husband. Time to get going, Animal Kingdom is waiting!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What a day!!

So we are in full swing here trying to get ready for the trip. Today I went to take the car to be inspected, and found out that it would be quite the wait. Ryan was home with Gray and the Comcast guy, so I called Em to pick me up. She said sure, but I forgot she was all the way in Fredericksburg!! While I was waiting, the school called and said Haven needed to be picked up, it looks like she has pink eye (AGAIN) but Ryan was stuck at home, I was stuck with the care....uh oh. Thankfully, I called my neighbor and she ran to the school and grabbed Haven. Then Emily came and got me, dropped me at home, and within 10 minutes of getting home, they called and said my car is ready, argh! Called the neighbor back and asked if she would drop me off when she left to go to an appt, she did, car is home and so am I. Unfortunately I have a really nasty belly ache, so I am not getting as much done as I hoped today. If Ryan will attack the laundry, I can finish packing up the kids so that can come off the list for tonight.

Tomorrow morning I need to drop the dog at the kennel, go to the farm, go get a bigger cooler and socks for the kids, come home and get the house in order and pack for Ryan and I and organize all the food. I also have a paper due tomorrow night and of course I have my regular work to do, so it will be busy. If all goes well, tomorrow night we will pack the car, the kids will go to bed in sweatpants and shirts, and we will be ready for our 6 am departure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel!

I hope you have a great birthday, celebrate loud and proud!!!

I stil cannot get over how long we have been friends, since we were what, 11, 12? God, remember the Mane Event, Take One, etc. So many years, so many memories, I am so glad that I get to call you my friend!

Have a great birthday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Finally, Christmas Pictures

OK, so I finally got around to finding some decent Christmas pictures and resizing them. Here are the kids in all of their glory!

I had to include this beause it is just such a perfect example of the spirit of Grayson. The helmet says "Police" on the side and we got it to go with his scooter. He loved it so much he wore it day and night for three days! In this picture, he was so excited to see the cars that Santa brought him, what a great kid!

Busy Day

So we decided to do a lot of running around this morning. We got up and got the girls off to school, then I took Gray for breakfast. After he ate, we went to Toys R Us to get supplies for the trip, a new movie, some games for the car, etc. After that, up to pick up snacks for the trip, then we met Emily and the girls for the Tuesday lunch. Stopped at the post office on our way home, and then Gray went up for a nap. I have switched the laundry, done some vacuuming, cleaned the bathroom and straightened a bit. I am so tired, and I still need to work, cook dinner, and do a few more chores. I am going to take a half hour break, just relax and then I will get back to work!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Happiest Girls on Earth

My sister told me about a H-nnah Montan@ movie that is coming in February. It seems that all of the uproar over ticket prices and lack of tickets for the concerts, they taped one and are releasing it for one week in 3-D. I asked Em if the girls wanted to go, but they are away, so I called my neighbor who then put out word to the whole Brownie/Girl Scout troop. So now it looks like most of the 17 girls and assorted siblings will be going to the movie! I figure we will pick the kids up from school at 3:30, feed them in the car and make sure we are at the theater around 4:15 for the 5:15 movie.

Haven is so excited to be going to the movie, especially with her friends, and Brittan is just thrilled to be able to hang with the big kids!

Brewing Beans

I have moved on to my next bean to try, this time it is the Brazilian Poco Fundo. I just roasted the first batch, it smells great, but needed a longer roast time. I will brew some up later today and post my review :)

As an aside, I am now so spoiled by my good coffee, that I have to go buy a grinder so I can take some with me to Florida!

Back to the grind-sort of

My girls headed back to school today, after two weeks off for Haven and three weeks off for Brittan since she was sick. I feel a bit bad about taking them out again next week, but we have had this trip planned, and we are going. I wish I had the energy and time to homeschool the kids, I love the open schedule and having the kids open to learning, but they like going to school and we then bend to the schedule.

We have Killian here with us today, which is nice for Grayson as he would have been really bored and sad with no one to play with. Having her here has helped ease the blow of the girls leaving, and they have been playing nicely all day. In a bit, I will make them some lunch and then off to rest. While they rest, I will bake some brownies for Haven's Girl Scout meeting and get ready for dinner. Brittan and Declan will come home on the bus, I will cook up some shrimp and pasta for supper and get everyone fed so that when Ben comes, the kids are ready to go.

Tomorrow I will head down to Toys R Us and get a few supplies for the car ride. We need at least two new movies, a bunch of coloring things, etc for me to pack for the kids. We are getting close!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Buddy

So since Grayson was sick, he has just been off. He still naps most days, falls asleep at 7:30 bedtime and wakes unhappily a 7:30 am. The problem is that he is up a lot during the night, always once around 10 or 11, then again around 1 and then 3 or 4. He has been sleeping me me/us every night since he was sick, coming in some time between 10 and 2 am and he has been very needy, wanting to be held or laying on top of me. This is not like him, he has always been a very independent sleeper, he always slept well, alone and through the night except when sick or if he had a really bad dream. I am going crazy as I just cannot get a good nights sleep with him laying on my face or me having to hold him, and I NEED to get him back to normal. With the trip in a week, I am not even going to attempt to fix this, as he will get all screwy because of the trip anyway. I am thinking of getting him a white noise machine when we get back, maybe Sammy the hamster is waking him up.


So EVEN though my kids were rotten last night and I was royally mad, I am still taking them to Florida. I started to feel a bit bad that I hadn't booked a character dinner. Last time we went tio Liberty Tavern, and I liked that as we could control the food for Haven, unlike a buffet. Well, I called and they were booked, so I decided to look into eating at Sea World. Since I have my work call on Wednesdays, I had planned that day to be one of our Sea World days as we won't get to the park until around 1. I managed to book Dinner with Shamu for that night, and I think the kids will LOVE it as they are so excited to see Shamu! Shhhh, don't tell them :)

Bubbling away

My kitchen just smells fantastic. I decided to use some of the many, many, many cups of pureed pumpkin that I processed before Christmas and stored in the freezer. Long ago, I had a recipe that used pumpkin, apples, raisins, nuts all cooked up and then baked in phyllo. I don't have any phyllo, but I do have some puff pastry. I also have to remove the nuts since Haven is right now I have 2 cups pureed pumpkin, 4 small apples cubed, 1 hearty handful of raisins, a dot of butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar (you can also use honey or maple syrup) cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. MMMMM..smells so good! It will cook down, then be rolled in puff pastry and baked, Yum!

Also on the stove is the start of dinner. Tonight will be a pot roast, and I will make some drop biscuits to go with it. All I wish I had was a nice butternut squash, it would be so good in the pot roast!

Calmer and cooler

So, I think I finally went back to sleep at 3, which stinks as I was in bed early and sleeping peacefully before all hell broke loose. It is now 9 am, the kids have been fed, two loads of laundry are already through the washer and dryer, I folded a load of towels and put them away, and separated two big baskets into kid's clothes and grownup clothes. In a few minutes, after I finish this must deserved cup of coffee, I will fold the kid's clothes and have the kids put them away. I anticipate another round of this later today as well, since most of what is in the washer is their clothing.

My girls have also been informed of how things will be changing around here. I am all for free spirits, creativity, etc, but they have also become destructive and rude. I don't want them to grow up into people who interrupt others when speaking or on the phone, or who damage other people's belongings, so we have enacted a few ground rules. I don't believe these new rules and guidelines will damage their spirit, I feel it will help them to grow into good, productive, moral adults, after all, I am not raising children, I am raising adults to be.

Damn rotten kids

OK, I can totally stand by the title of this post right now. It is 1:14 am, and 45 minutes ago my 7 1/2 year old woke me to tell me she peed her bed. Well swell, she has no plastic sheet anymore since her father decided A WEEK AGO she didn't need it. It is a pillow top, really nice mattress. I am not happy, I have no clue how to clean it and I am pissed(no pun intended). As I am dealing with that bull, I realize that she has trashed her room as well. Currently there are two beds in her room, the second one being there for her sister while we had company. The second bed was also part the bunk beds she was supposed to be getting.....well, not anymore. I will be dismantling one of the beds tomorrow since she cannot keep her room clean with the two beds.

In the process, I go into her sisters room. This room was scrubbed by me before Christmas, and should have only housed guests as Britt has been sleeping in Haven's room for weeks. Lo and behold, written all over the VERY expensive wallpaper is BRITTAN. She was up, so I call her in and she decided now she will lie. She has taken to telling lies the last few days, and I am not so into it. She tells me she did it a long time ago, when she was a baby.....hmmm, um NO. Then she tells me she did it when she was four (turned 5 in July), um, NO! Finally she says she did it recently, although I don't know if it was there before Christmas. In the process of trying to clean the multiple renditions of her name off the wall, I find that she has also gouged the paper with a pen, so all the cleaning fluid leaked behind and now the wall paper is falling off. Swell. So I tear most of the paper off in that area, which is thankfully a very small wall, and tomorrow I will remove the rest of the paper and paint the wall the purple color that is on the top half.

I am so furious with both of them, and we are supposed to leave for Florida in a WEEK. We may not be going if it doesn't turn around, and soon.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Quiet moments

So we got the Christmas stuff away, the inside things at least. I still have to finish organizing the Living Room, and reassemble my mantle, but we are almost there. After the boxes were put up in the attic, the kids were sent upstairs to rest (Grayson is still sleeping, the girls hung out upstairs but are down now). Ryan went up soon after to sleep before work and I got a few minutes of quiet.

After doing a few things around the house, I roasted the last of the half pound of Ethiopian beans and made myself a nice pot of coffee. I had planned to make lemon chicken with orzo for dinner, but alas, we did not have enough lemon. I decided to make some chicken parm, a house favorite, with linguine and garlic bread on homemade bread. The best part of making the chicken is that I use my own breadcrumbs. Whenever I make bread and we have an end or the bread is getting stale, I crush it and throw it in the freezer. It is a huge stress relief to bash breadcrumbs after a long day, so I bashed and seasoned the breadcrumbs, breaded and fried (oh yes, we fried them!) and placed in the dish with sauce.

I hope that by this time next year, the sauce will be my own that I can through the summer and the chicken is obtained from a local farmer. I love that we are getting close, Ryan and I are planning the LED light garden for the fall and winter months to sustain us during the off season, I am going to order our side of beef in February and the CSA begins in May. We will begin our seedlings in March, inside as usual, and then we will till and plant everything outside in late April. The when we harvest, we will freeze, cook, can and eat the fruits of our labor. Whew...we have a lot to do!

The anti Christmas

I hate taking down the Christmas decorations, it makes me sad that the holidays are over. I also hat packing it all up in boxes and hauling it to the attic. So far, almost everything is done. We still need to take the tree outside and the outside decorations will have to wait until tomorrow, it is just too chilly today. Once it is all gone, I will clean the house and we will get back to normal. *Sigh*

So it all becomes clear

So I woke up this morning, and I am sick again. This really sucks because I was really sick through Christmas, only started feeling better a week ago. Now it looks like I have a cold, my head hurts, my throat hurts and my nose is stuffy. My kids coughs have also been getting worse again, I feel like we are never going to get better! Grayson started getting sick on December 12th, it is now January 5th and at least one person has been sick since that day, for most of the time, I had two kids sick at a time! I just need use all to get better this week so we aren't sick in Florida!

Friday, January 4, 2008


I have been a bit off today, really tired and just generally worn out. I have also not been up for eating, up until 10 minutes ago I have barely eaten anything, except some peanut brittle earlier. My kids had french toast and sausage for dinner, and after they were in bed, I made hamburgers for Ryan and I. I was really looking forward to a nice burger, but as soon as I took one bite, I knew I wouldn't eat it. Texturally I just didn't want it, and Ryan has assured me the burger was fine, so I think I am just off. Then I decided I really, really, REALLY wanted Cocoa Krispies, something I NEVER eat or have in the house. I also decided I needed waffles, so my loving husband went to the store and bought me both Cocoa Krispies and waffles. I am so happy now, I guess I needed some terrible comfort food today :)

Does it slow down?

The days just rush past me, and I see the kids get bigger and more independent and more talkative!

Today we did a few household chores, then Ryan and I tried to carry the desk for the kid's computer in. Holy moly, it was so heavy I couldn't really even lift it! Now I carry a lot around here, couches, cabinets, cast iron sinks, but man, this thing was impossible. We got it to the foyer, and Ry went out for a hand truck while the kids and I drove to the farm. We were productive there, got our three half gallon bottles of creamline and a half gallon of chocolate milk. We also purchased some butter to try out and four (yes Emily, FOUR) bags of peanut brittle, so I am sure to have some when Emily comes home. I haven't even thought about dinner, but I have some ground beef and may throw a meatloaf together for supper.

I am very overwhelmed. I have to undecorate the house, do loads of clothes and pack for our trip. I am hoping by tomorrow to have all Christmas stuff stashed away, then this weekend I will do laundry and organize the house. By next Thursday (when Ryan is home) I will pack clothes, get the food I am bringing together so that Friday night he and I can pack the car. We will leave around 6 am on Saturday and since it worked well last time, I will pack the kids lunchboxes with their food. I figure they will eat dry cereal, fruit and milk for breakfast (Horizon makes great organic milk boxes for the girls, Gray gets rice milk boxes). Snacks will include granola bars, pretzels, muffins, etc. We will stop to eat lunch somewhere, probably in SC, and then for dinner we will have sandwiches in the car. I am hoping to get to the hotel, get settled and have the kids off to bed by 10 pm. I am bringing almost all of our food with us, so they can wake up and eat breakfast and there is no late night store runs for me!

The plan is to bring:
2 dozen eggs
2 boxes of cereal
2 bags of mini bagels
cream cheese
Peanut Butter
a gallon of milk
a quart of rice milk
24 bottles of water
2 loaves of bread
3 boxes of pasta
3 jars of sauce
2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs chicken breast2
2 bags of ravioli
1 lb American cheese
the frozen pulled pork
frozen hamburgers
3 rice mixes
homemade macaroni and cheese

That should feed us almost every meal, every day. We plan to eat one meal out per day as an average, and I will try to make it a lunch meal, as my kids are not big dinner eaters and dinner is way more expensive for a family of five!

It may seem crazy to bring so much with us, but I have done it the other way and shopped when we got there, and it was crazy to spend so much on so few groceries! I will pack a lot of the food in the cooler, the rest will be in sacks in the back. I plan to pack three outfits per person, three sets of pajamas, and the clothes we wear on the ride (along with socks and undies of course!) I will do laundry Tuesday night, so we can pack light and still have enough clothes. I figure, given the weather, 2 pair of pants per kid, one pair of shorts, 2 long sleeve shirts, 1 short sleeved, 1 hoodie, and sneakers. We should fit in two large suitcases, which is good since I want to cram the double jogger in too if possible!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

So sleepy and toasty warm

The kids have been so sweet today, very lovey and huggy. I was in a bit of a funk this afternoon, may have been sheer exhaustion, but Grayson cuddled up and lifted that fog for me. It is freezing outside, but the kids are finishing their warm baths, we are enjoying the warm fire that has been crackling and glowing all day, and I am ready for a cup of tea and the quietness of the night. In a few minutes, I will take my shower, put in my favorite pajamas and snuggle in my corner of the couch, maybe watch a movie, and be thankful for all the good things I have.

Tomorrow morning, Ryan will finally get the girls computer set up and I will run to the farm for milk (and peanut brittle). Then the girls can play with their new Webkinzs and we can have a nice Friday!

Cold and tired

Soooo, last night was just a BAD experience. I went up to bed at 11 when Grayson woke up. I asked Ryan to bring me tylenol PM since my knee has been bothering me and he snores, so the PM part would help. I guess I fell asleep and he came to bed and never gave me the medicine because at 1:30 I was jolted awake by his snoring and a horrid pain in my leg. Then I tried to go back to sleep, but he was doing that scary snoring thing where every 5 minutes he makes a loud snore that startles me awake. Now I am anxious to begin with, so being scared awake every few minutes sent me over the edge and I had an anxiety attack. Kicked husband out of bed (no worries, Brittan was sleeping in the extra bed in Haven's rooms, so there was a queen sized bed for him). Then Grayson got up and started screaming, then Brittan got up screaming at me, then I stepped on Haven who was sleeping on my floor and she started screaming at me. So I went downstairs with all the screamers and the husband and suggested we just start the day then, at 4:30 am. Ryan said no, he sent the kids back to bed, he went to lay on the (new) couches in the family room, and I rested on the (super comfy old) couch in the living room. Then Gray was up coughing and screaming so he came down to lay on my chest and cough in my face every few minutes, and he is heavy and coughs hard, yuck. So, basically I slept from 11 -1:30, awoke to a freezing cold house and have to do actual work today too.

Thankfully Ryan took Haven to the dentist, I got some work done this morning, and the other two kids are being pretty good and playing well together. The fire is started, hopefully it will get warm and toasty in here soon, and I just need to be on a few conference calls this afternoon and see if Haven has riding (God I hope not, it is FREEZING!) Dinner plans are simple and silly, tonight we will have some homemade soup, salad, shrimp cocktail and spinach dip, a mess of appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, but a break from the usual :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Porky goodness

We all know I love to cook, but I feel like most things I make are good, but not great. However, my pulled pork is fantastic and I think I may enter the recipe into a contest. This is the one meal that everyone eats, and eats a lot! The kids were so excited that they were having the pulled pork with homemade wheat bread, that all I served on the side was salad. Now my kids LOVE salad and will eat at least two helpings, but not tonight, just seconds on the pork and bread. Now that makes a mama feel good!

Two great things!

So the beans roasted perfectly, and I swear I am drinking the best cup of coffee I have ever had! This bean was an Ethiopian coffee, and I roasted it for 7 minutes, until it was a full city/light french roast. The coffee is very smooth, slightly sweet and a word FANTASTIC!

Another interesting thing happened while I was enjoying that cup of coffee, I got word that the book that I contributed on is published! It means so much to me to be published while still working on my doctorate, and while I only wrote one section, it is a great start. When you finish your doctorate, universities look to see if you have been published, where and how many times. They also look to see if you have teaching experience. I feel that between the FT teaching gig (online) and the PT teaching gig (face to face, great university) and the publication, I am in a great place following graduation! Now I will keep working to get more published and to keep my career moving in the right direction. Now if the pesky housing market could turn around, I would feel better about selling the house if I get a job out of the area. At least that is three years away, so the market has some time!


My Christmas present from my husband finally came today, a coffee roaster and 5 lbs of fair trade organic coffee!! As I cannot buy locally grown coffee, I am opting to purchase fair trade, organic green coffee and roast it at home to localize it. I just did my first batch and am about to brew it, I am so very excited to play with this new toy!

After I see if I roasted it dark enough, I will put through a few more batches, enough for today and tomorrow's coffee. I love being so hands on in our food process, home made bread is baking, the pork is slowly roasting and the coffee is ready to go. Productive!


My parents got Ryan and I an Aerogarden for Christmas and we are just seeing the first sprouts poking their heads through. We have been struggling with how to keep some fresh veggies growing here in the winter. The greenhouses we looked at didn't seem sturdy enough to take a few attacks by the dog, and I really don't like the idea of going out in the freezing cold to cut herbs or greens for dinner.

Ryan has been busy researching hydroponics and other growing options, and I think we may have an idea. We have had a problem with the door from our mud room/pantry room to the garage, it had to be removed because it was damaging the line for the air conditioning. I think this summer we will build out that doorway, and then build a small grow room in the corner of the garage that butts up against the pantry room. This will allow us to finally have a door blocking the cold of the garage, and we can reopen the heat vents in the mud room so I don't freeze my toes off! We will then create a door to the grow room, build in shelves and open the door if we need to regulate the temperature. Ryan wants to use LED lights and a hydroponic structure, and I am happy to go along with that as they are low heat and low energy consumption lights and there is no soil mess. We will be trying to grow tomatoes, beans, broccoli, salad greens and strawberries next year. How cool will it be to pick fresh strawberries in the middle of winter!

Cold toes!!!

It is really chilly here this morning, and even with the fire going, the house has a bit of a bite to it. The kids got up and indulged in pumpkin muffins, almost 4 each! I guess I will have to make some more this week, they are easy to cook and freeze great, a quick warm in the microwave and they are ready to go!

They are now bouncing around the playroom, and I am getting ready to start dinner...yes at noon. We are having pulled bbq pork, and it is so much better if it cooks all day, so it will be getting a rub down and put in the oven to cook. The best part is, we should have enough for dinner tonight and to freeze and bring with is to Florida as a quick lunch or dinner option. I love when I can really stretch a meal. Last night I made turkey stock from the breast we had on Sunday, and I had enough stock for last nights turkey pot pie and to freeze for two other meals in the future. The turkey pot pie was a hit, and I am happy that everything was from scratch except the puff pastry top. I think I will make a few pastry dough batches soon and freeze them for the future, I hate opening any packages when I cook dinner.

Off to prep the pork and start the bread :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I miss my husband

Even though he is just at work, and I know he is off tomorrow, I miss his company tonight. While there are days he makes me crazy, there are nights like tonight where he is so supportive and kind. He assured me tonight that he will look for a new job, and told me that I have been living this schedule hell for too long and he knows I need a change. While I am still hopeful that the Mason job pans out, I also hope that he will keep looking for a job with more regular hours if it doesn't.

Right now I am sitting here just missing him, and hating that I have to go to bed alone (although at least one kid will join me soon enough). I am also sort of thankful that I remembered that the dentist didn't call in antibiotics for Haven, so I will not have to brave the dentist at 9 am with all the kids! I will, however, have to call them first thing, have them call in the meds and reschedule the appointment, but I won't have to take off my pajamas!

OK, I have to complain

Let me preface this by saying I am tired, really tired, the kind of tired where your bones ache. I feel like I have been taking care of sick kids, hosting company, doing holidays etc for years instead of the mere weeks it has been.

So here is the gripe. I am so sick of having a husband on an odd schedule. I hate that his days off are not the same as the girls days off and that we never get to do things as a family. I hate that his days off are not the same as other husbands, so I have to share his off days with other people. I hate that on weekends, I am virtually ignored. It sucks because I know how shitty it is to have three kids by yourself, the day is really long and exhausting, and I need contact with the outside world to remain sane. I know that I try to do that for others even when Ryan is home, and it sucks to be ignored when my kids are making me crazy even if it is a weekend for everyone else.

I really need Ry to get on a daytime schedule at the very least, Mon-Fri would be even better. Back to wrangling the kids, I will try not to cry, they are just being wild and normal kiddos, and I have to finish making dinner. Some days I feel incredibly isolated and alone.

Happy 2008

Well, I did not stay awake for the ringing in of the New Year. Ryan said that next year he will make sure he is home and we will go and celebrate together, it is more likely we will hang out with the Fallons :)

I tried to start the year off well, I got up and made pancakes for the kids (from scratch of course!) half blueberry and half plain. Cleaned up a bit, planned to take them out, etc. They were again in awful moods, and while I understand that the girls are sick of having no school and being cooped up, I really have no patience for this. I decided that I will take them out to lunch, which is a Tuesday tradition, and then I will come home, make the stock for the pot pie, finish the pot pie for dinner and do dishes, etc. Today, I will summon up every drop of patience I have and use it. I will try my best to see things through their eyes, to understand that they are not trying to drive their mama crazy and that they are just being kids.

Tomorrow Haven has a dental appointment, and then Ryan is OFF!!! I have some calls to be on for work on Thursday, but I think we will go to the Children's Museum on Friday to help the kids get out some of their extra energy. Monday the kids are back to school, but only for a week since we head to Florida after that. I have to say I feel a bit bad since Britt missed the whole week before Christmas, but thankfully she is a bright child and only in Kindergarten, so she will be OK.

I am getting really excited about the trip, but also stressed about the cost. Even though we don't have to pay for the hotel (thanks to the timeshare!) and I will cook at least two meals a day, it is still expensive to drive to Florida and pay for everything the kids want to do. This year we have season passes to Busch Gardens here in VA, and we can use those passes at Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa, so we will only be spending two days at Disney. Since this is Brittan and Grayson's 3 rd Disney trip and Haven's 4th, I am not concerned that we will be back and able to do more days at the park next time. I am also going to pack a lot of our food and bring it with us. We usually go grocery shopping when we get there, but I never know what to bring and get flustered trying to do the shopping late at night after the long drive. This year I will make a few dinners to bring and reheat, pack the cereal, bagels, milk etc. This will save us money as we will eat a lot at the hotel (it has a full kitchen) and I won't have to spend a fortune on small things like small packages of ground beef, cereal, milk, etc.

Ah, I must go take off these comfy pajamas and put on real clothes so we can go out. New Year, same old routine :)