Friday, February 29, 2008

Fab Friday

So today was a slow start. The girls got up and ready for school, and the husband I snipped and snarled at each other all morning. Once the girls were off, I did a bunch of stuff around the house and then headed out to the store with Emily and Maggie. I managed to come home with all of the things I needed, including all of the goodies for Easter and a bed for Helicopter to sleep/birth in. Husband and I had another argument so I took Grayson out to get some lunch. On our way, we dropped off some candy for Brittan's class at school, stopped at the bank and drove by the stables so he could see the horses. Then we had a nice lunch and Gray, Maggie and Killian hopped in the back of my car for the ride home. The girls and Em came by as it was only a half day at the elementary school, and the husband and I fought AGAIN and I started dinner. Finall, all six kiddos were here and being loud, Haven sported the attitude she is famous for, Gray and Maggie brawled, it was a typical afternoon. Being as the kids were so well behaved, we decided to keep them and Emily for dinner :) Husband and I called a truce, kids were fed and then Haven and I were off to sell cookies at Wawa. Finally home and warm, with cookies and hot cocoa for all, the kids have been shuffled to bed, I have worked and also happliy discovered that the paper I thought was due tonight isn't due until tomorrow!! Now all that is left is to vaccum the family room, wipe the table and clean up the kitchen, and then I can relax.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's official

Helicopter is going to be a mom. Anytime in the next few days to the next few weeks, she will be having kittens, so if you want one, let me know!

Off to a good start

So, last night was a rough one, Grayson was up a lot and Ryan was snoring, so I finally moved into Brittan's room at 4. I did, however, get up and make my kids that hot breakfast and I got the girls off to school without yelling :) Then I did some work and took Gray to the allergist, unfortunetly he was given more meds :(

However, I have had a hard time being a better wife today, although in my defense, that is because my husband is being a huge jerk. Thankfully he is off at the vet with the cat, I guess we will soon know if she is pregnant.

At least I am a better mom today!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A much deserved break

So after teaching PT class, I came home to my bustling household. Em and the kids were here, some on the computer, some on the Wii, some running around crazy :) They stayed and played for a while then headed home, and I worked with Haven on her project. It was a bit trying as I just received my new computer and it needed the internet set up and the printer drivers installed, but we muddled through and Haven and I got the project done with no arguements or tears, a success!

Grayson had a pre-bedtime meltdown, probably because he had a busy day playing with Maggie and Killian (thanks for keeping him and making him tired Em!), so he was shuffled off to bed as the girls got their work done and had a slower trip upstairs. Everyone got settled and my sweet sweet husband offered to go and pick up dinner from my favorite local Mexican place (their tortilla soup is perfection!) so I had a nice easy supper after the kids were tucked away. I finished my work, wrote a quick paper, and settled down on the couch to take a break. Husband headed to bed early as he didn't sleep much this afternoon and I am loving the free time. I am going to bed early so I can get up and make that breakfast for the kids. Tomorrow Grayson has to see the allergist and Helicopter has a vets appointment to confirm she is preggo, then a conference call.

Here is to new attitudes!

A whole new day

I have been feeling so stressed and fear it is affecting how I parent. I decided that I must buck up and get over it, as my kids need me as a mom, more than I need to be a stress ball. Today is a bit brighter, and I am planning to begin tomorrow as brightly as I can. I will still have my overloaded plate, but I need to focus less on what I have to do for work/school, and more on being the best wife and mom I can be.

I am hopeful that I can turn my mood around, the trip to Chicago is stressing me, but I have to let it go or I won't be productive. I also need to be thankful for those little ones I have, and be grateful that they are young and forgiving. I am going to get up early tomorrow and make them a nice breakfast, and I think I will apologize for being short with them lately, they deserve my full attention.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How do you shake the gloomies?

Things have been hard the last few months, and I am very, very tired. It seems that everything is picking up when all I want to do is slow down. The kids are a crabby mess, the house needs an overhaul, I have 100 papers to grade and two to write plus my regular work, and I am just too tired to deal with it. I am sure a big part of my problem are the gray, gray skies that have been here for weeks. Nothing can steal your "get up and go" like a dreary, overcast sucks all of your spirit out and makes you just want to curl up in bed.

Ah well, we were productive today and dinner is in the oven. I will help Haven with her project tonight in addition to her regular homework, plus it is bath night and Ry has work. I need to grade some papers, work, and write one of the papers. Tomorrow I have to get drop my girls at school and drop Gray at Emily's. Then I am going to drive to PT school and do a conference call with FT school where I need to be online as well, then I have ANOTHER call with FT school...basically I will be sitting at PT school for an hour and a half doing calls! Then I will go teach, then home to help Haven finish her project and do all of the Wednesday night things like dinner, school work, etc.

Oh i NEED a day off :)

Farm fresh taste

Today is farm day, and I like that it has become a ritual. Once the girls head off, Gray and I have a quiet morning, I clean the house and get a few chores done, Gray takes some time to himself. We will then head to Staples for copies, have lunch and then off to the farm. On our way home, a quick stop at Dr. Tom's and then home. Emily and the girls usually come for the ride, and I am hopeful that come Spring we will be allowed to explore the animals, especially the babies!

Off to clean and switch clothes, and then we are ready for our day :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

With child(ren)?

So I noticed that our cat Helicopter is looking chubby and fear that she may have gotten "in the family way" before we adopted her 4 weeks ago. She will be visiting the vet on Thursday and I am hoping she is just getting fat and not about to have kittens. I have never had a cat have kittens, and it is one experience I would like to avoid. I guess we will find out on Thursday :)

Drugs drugs drugs

I have never been a big fan of medicating my kids. I always have tried to give half the medicine (tylenol, etc) to see if that made them feel better. From the start, Haven was on reflux meds beginning at just three weeks old, but never took an antibiotic until well over a year old. Brittan is usually my healthiest, although she has had a few more bugs this winter. All three take allergy medicine during Spring, Summer and Fall, I have tried to do without, but they really suffer and for Grayson, it makes his asthma really bad. Now my poor Grayson. He suffered from many sinus infections as a baby and ear infections as he has entered his toddler and preschool years. He uses two types of asthma meds, although we try to keep him off them unless needed. Since he got really sick in December and landed in the hospital, he has been sick almost non stop, and today we were told he has another sinus infection, and upper respiratory infection and the beginnings of a double ear infection :(

Since December, this is his fifth time on antibiotics, he has been on two different prescribed cough medicines, he has has antibiotic eye drops for pink eye. Twice he has been on an oral steriod along with his two inhaled medications, and once he has been given a shot of steroid. He has not slept well all these months, and I have just about reached the end of my rope. I am tired, Gray is tired, he is mean and nasty and crabby all the time because he isn't feeling well. I am trying to get him to let Dr. Tom adjust him to see if that provides any relief, but he won't do it. If anyone has any ideas, let me know, we need help!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The day is done

The day is over, the husband has left for work and the only noise in the house is the hum of the computer. I am hoping that Grayson sleeps tonight, i have had quite enough of his screaming at night. I think I will need to make him an appointment at the doctor tomorrow...maybe he will actually let Dr. Tom adjust him, it may just help.

Tomorrow looks busy but not frantic. I have to see Dr. Tom, Gray will need to see the doctor. I need to get snack together for the girl scouts, make dinner, clean the house and go to campus. My class is taking an exam, and I will use the time to grade the exam from last week. I should also be able to get home early, which is a relief. On the agenda is to finalize the documents for the site visit so they can be copied on Tuesday. I am getting anxious for May, so I can be done with the extra job, although I will miss the salary!

There have to be bad days

to appreciate the good, right?

Today has been trying. I am very tired, and the kids are crabby and tired, and all around no one is getting along. Haven is basically trying to be my shadow, and is making me crazy. Grayson is just LOUD which makes me think the last few nights of no sleep and loud voice=ear infection. Brittan is just a weepy little girl. I sent them for naps, no one slept, and the worst part was, I was trying to get a nap too.

Ah well, it is now 4:11, they girls will be missing swimming based on exhaustion, illness and crabbiness. I will make dinner, they will eat and take a bath, and then they are off to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully a better day.

The new dwarfs, achy, crabby and cough-y

OK, the illness that took Brittan and Ryan down has hit us all. It seems to be an achy, cough-y, sore throat thing with a bonus runny nose. Haven and Gray are both sick, Britt is still coughing like crazy, Ryan still has no voice and I have a killer headache. Last night Grayson barely slept and kept screaming, Haven came into my room and settled on the floor and just moaned, and Britt came in and lay across my feet. Needless to say, no one is well rested this morning.

The girls have swimming, and as long as they feel up to it, I will take them. We are just laying around this morning, and then I will get up and fold clothes and get moving on my day. I am soooooo tired :(

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Teach Abroad

I am getting very concerned about what I will do when I complete my doctorate. I know I can stay right where I am , keep teaching as I am, and all will be fine, but I want more. Ryan is open to us moving if I am asked to join a university and we like the area it is located in, and I am thankful for that. I just feel the itch to do more, to see more. I have always wanted to teach in Europe, I just don't know how to go about it. I also want to make sure that when I do it (yes I said when not if) it will be at a time that is good for the children. I want them to really explore the culture, and I am not sure if it is best to do this when they are small or when they are teeneagers. As it stands, I am going to explore both domestic and international universities, as I really want to keep my options open. Maybe I should work on a new language, anyone have any ideas?

Oh so many dishes and a dinner plan

The downfall to cooking so many of our foods from scratch is the huge number of dishes that are generated. It is a trade off I guess, the dishes for the healthy foods made with love, but I am a bit tired of doing dishes!

As my girls now have swimming at 6pm on Sundays, we have had to make Saturday nights our big family dinner. Although I try to cook most nights of the week, the roasts and more complicated meals were usually reserved for Sundays, but alas, we all must adapt.

Tonight we are having honey balsamic chicken. Emily said she was making it the other day and it sounded so good, that we are stealing her idea and having it tonight. It is pretty simple, bone in breasts marinated in a mixture of honey (local and organic), balsamic vinager and olive oil (both not local at all, but organic). I also grated a few garlic cloves in and added salt and pepper, and may drop a few thyme leaves on top when I put the chicken in the oven. The side will be angel hair with sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. I have a nice big mixed green salad with feta, cucumbers and tomatoes and a cheesecake is baking away for dessert. If the family is REALLY nice, I will make some strawberry compote and fresh whipped cream for the cheesecake. Now I have to figure out what to make for Sunday :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sometimes you need to disappear

Today I was feeling blah. I had that big paper looming and a house of crazy screaming kids. Ryan isn't feeling well, so he coped as any husband would, he moped around, threw a fit when the kids interrupted his game, watched tv and took a nap. I then had to juggle the kiddos with making dinner, baking bread, working and writing a paper. In addition, my new computer is freaking out and keeps crashing on me.

As I was getting ready to serve dinner, I woke Ryan up and asked for help. He responded by moving from the couch in the living room to the couch in the family room, and then proceeded to snore more. I really needed help as I was trying to write my paper and had to keep getting up to deal with kid and dinner. Finally, as I was serving dinner and the kids were swarming and the paper looming and the husband snoring I lost it. I stormed upstairs to my room, shut off the lights and laid in bed for two hours. I knew the paper would still be there, but I just needed to get away from the chaos and anger. When I came down, the kids were fed and the kitchen destroyed...and I simply walked to the computer and got to work. I finally ate dinner at 10:30 after the paper was completed, and I am still annoyed with the husband. Now if he actually does the dishes tonight like he says he is and lets me REALLY sleep in tomorrow, maybe I will forgive him :)


Oh it has been a hard few weeks. We have been busy, busy, the kids have been more than their usual handful and I feel like I have been running all day every day. Add to that the severe lack of sleep and ever changing, although almost always gray days here, and my mood is off. When anyone gets off schedule, it is so easy to fall back on what is easy, and I fear I have been doing that.

I just haven't been as diligant as usual in cooking, shopping and eating locally and healhy, and I am feeling the pain. I am finding that the winter is hard to deal with if you don't have the supplies you need. As we never canned last summer or stocked up well, I am having to make do with what I can find, and it has been difficult. I am always thinking there has to be more I can do, something I am missing, but I am still a novice and finding my way.

I am anticipating spring, and with the garden plans looking secure and the seed order ready to go, I am hopeful that we will eat better soon. I know I am doing more than I did this time last year, but also know that I am not where I want to be just yet. Still on the short list: order local beef, find locally milled flour, reorganize the pantry to fit the bulk items, order bulk grain to have on hand and incorporate new foods into our diets. Oh I cannot wait until the spring brings us a bounty of fruits and veggies, and am anxious to try my hand at canning, so we are not in this same dreary spot next winter.

Daily doings

A quick update on the daily activities. The bread is in the oven and I am hoping that the oven warmth will finally take the chill out of the house. I am in the process of roasting another batch of coffee, and am anxious to try the first cup. The beans for dinner are soaking on the stove, and in about an hour, I will get the ham bone and veggies into the pot to begin the slow simmer. I have begun my paper, but am only just scraping the surface and have a lot more work to do. I have completed my work work for the day

Home home home

We got our day off, and I am more than relieved! The only down side was that my glorious husband was letting me sleep in the morning and Haven decided she needed to ask me if school was closed. She walked clear past her dad, up the stairs and into my room and woke me up, at 8:15!!!

Anyway, I am up, the house is vacummed, dishes done and kids playing away. I have already made bread and it is rising. Next I will make some soup and for dinner we will have navy bean soup, and ham on the homemade wheat bread, yummmmmmmmy.

I also have a 20 page paper looming, and I am not excited to work on it. I am hoping to have half done by dinner, the end of papers always move fast for me, so I won't be tied up all night.

All I want is a simpler life, and it seems it just keeps getting complicated. That is the trouble today, it is so hard to settle down, hang close to home and enjoy the quiet....but then again, the kids are never quiet.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A good nights sleep

how I wish I knew what that was.

I am tired, and I am sick of getting up all night long alone. Why is it that I can hear my kids, but Ryan can't? Oh well, maybe today I will get a nap, or even better, maybe we will get that storm and I can sleep in on Friday.

On the agenda today, I have to get Brittan to the doctor at 8:30, then depending on the result I will either drop here off or bring her with me on my errands. I have to drop by and see Dr. Tom, then I need to to run to Target to get a bunch of stuff. Then home to clean the house up and make a fire, it is coooooooold.

Off we trudge.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yeah Me! is 7:32 pm and I have done everything I needed to do!!!!

Dinner is over and cleaned up, kids have had baths, paper is written and work is done. I actually have a night off, I am so excited!

My lovely husband has agreed to drop the exam I need copies of off at Staples for me on his way to work, and I am all ready for tomorrow. My husband has another interview and I think it is tomorrow morning so I will drop the girls off, come home and get dressed for work, take Gray to pick up my copies, then we will stop at Dr. Tom's and I will drop Gray with Emily. Then I will take off to do my call and if all goes well, I will get to campus early and get some of that big paper done.

But right now I am settling down with a cup of coffee, yippee!

The week ahead

As usual, I am looking ahead to a busy week. Today, Grayson and I need to go make some copies, have our weekly lunch, go to the farm, stop at Dr. Tom's and then home to clean the house and cook dinner. I also have to write a paper tonight and start the research for the 20 page paper that is due on Friday.

Tomorrow I have my conference call and my class has an exam, I also need to swing by Dr. Tom in the a.m. I am hoping to use the exam time as paper writing time, my goal is to get the first 7-10 pages written. Then home again to the chaos that is the Kelley house, and regular work as well.

Thursday is a trip to Dr. Tom again (I know, a lot of chiropracter, but it will slow down in the next few weeks). I then want to get some things to prepare for the approx. 15 girl scouts that are coming by on Friday. I need juice, a table cloth and I think I will get new cookie sheets and a better mixing bowl (the girls were a good excuse to get these much needed items). Then I will keep working away on the paper, maybe I will even finish it on Thursday and submit it early!

Friday I want to clean the house, top to bottom, and need to prep for the girls in the afternoon. The girls will be here making shortbread cookies for Thinking Day, so we will have stations for them to work with. Thankfully the kitchen and dining room are pretty open, so we can all work together.

Saturday Haven will attend Thinking Day and I will send her with my neighbor (hooray!) maybe I will get to hang in my PJs that morning :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a glorious start...

Today started off beautiful, warm and sunny with a hint of spring in the air. The kiddos and I went to see our favorite back cracker, Dr. Tom and he helped loosen up my very tight back. Then we were off to Target to grab a few things, then enjoyed lunch with the whole Fallon family...even Ben!

off to Old Navy to stock up on some srping dresses and shirts, and then home to meet the Comcast guy. He is very sloooooooooow an dit is making me a bit nuts, but at least I got my work for the day done and just need to do the dishes, cook supper and go to work :)

Another nice thing today was that Ryan got his bonus and it is more than enough to buy him the fancy schmancy computer he has been waiting for. He also got his raise, a bit piddly, and found out he didn't get the promotion. This really sucks since he would have been on days and would have had the title to match the job he ALREADY does. I hate that company, and I hope he will start looking for something new and soon.

Rain Barrels-Locally

I think I may have found my rain barrels, and they are local too!

The Friends of the Rappahannock (that's a river) build rain barrels every year. I can't volunteer the day they are doing it, but if you do, you get the barrels at cost ($35). I did, however, send an email to preorder two barrels at $65 each. The money will help fund the organization which works to protect the river and educate the population including children about pollution and the importance of being green. I like helping a local organization and also getting something local. I will get the two barrels and have Ryan link them; I will then go to the marina and find a pump that will work with the barrels to water my garden.

Emily also wants a rain barrel and I am so proud of her!! With the drought last year, we all saw how important water is to our lawns, plants and flowers, as well as the reservoirs that help us maintain water for cooking and washing. We don't want to waste any water on the garden; rain water will be perfect for our needs :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why oh Why do they SCREAM

We have had a problem lately with Brittan and Grayson screwing around at meal times. They get each other going and the end result is either someone crying or both of them in trouble for making a mess or screeching.

Today at lunch they started again, oh the screaming! They were playing and while I appreciate they get along, they just cannot behave that way at the table, they end up making a HUGE mess. So, I had warned them a few times and finally I just pulled them away, washed them up and sent them to bed for a nap. My patience is gone with all of the chaos and noise and the constant mess making...oh those two are making me crazy!

There are good days, and then there are bad days

So we had a gentleman come out and estimate the walls. The price wasn't too bad and I really, really liked the guy, reminded me of my dad but with a slight southern accent. He said he could get the job done pretty quick, which is great since we need to get the soil moving. heck, he even said he could take the tree down :)

I will get at least one more estimate, that is just in my nature, but I prefer to give business to local small business owners as I know that the slowdown in construction is hitting them pretty hard. We will see what the next guy says!

Today started off rough, but shouldn't have. I slept until just after 8, which is usually a sign it will be a good day, but then it started. Grayson started screaming, which I think has become his new hobby and he is quite good at it, doors started slamming as the girls fought, High School Musical 2 was good!

Then I got up and saw it, the mess that was Haven's room. See my girls have their own rooms, but for the last three months they have decided to share Haven's room, which is the smaller of the bedrooms. In there, there is no room to move as Ryan set up a second twin bed for them (um, thanks?) so it gets really messy, really quickly. I think if this continues, I will move both girls into Brittan's room which is bigger and move the queen bed into Haven's room and make it the guest room. Why did I buy a 4 bedroom house if they were just going to share?? Oh well, looks like negotiations for number 4 are going well, so the girls would have had to share anyway :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In over our heads

OK, so I think the garden retaining walls may be more than we can handle. I am trying to get folks out here to give us estimates, as I think we don't have enough days off in a row to complete a job of that magnitude. We are also having two small trees taken down, as they would shade the garden too much, so many calls to make and so little time :)

We have been hanging about that last few days, spending time together and not getting much done. It is starting to make me a bit crazy, but I know I can whiz through the house and get it in order this afternoon, I would rather us all hang together for now.

On the homesteading front, the compost is going strong, I need to get a small bin for in the house as we make a lot of good odds and ends to feed the bin, a bonus to cooking from scratch. I have the order ready for spring planting, and once we figure out the retaining wall issues, I will place it. Ryan needs to till the berry patch and the front garden, but we have had erratic weather, cold, rain and then warmth, so it will have to wait until we have the time and the weather cooperates. I am anxious for the Spring CSA to start, I am longing for good fresh veggies, and cannot wait to get my box. The chicks will come in May, this will allow for me to get the garden planted and going and I am finished teaching at PT school early in May. Baby chicks need care, so May seems like the best time to bring them aboard.

For Spring/Summer projects, we have a lot of demo to do out back. We also have to clean out the garage and do all of the plantings. I am hoping to get some pretty flower beds this year, I hate the bare dirt and straggly vines. I also need to figure out the rain barrel options, I cannot bear the thought of my garden dying if we hit a drought again. We will probably hook two barrels together and will use a pump to spray the water into the garden.

I cannot wait until we get started!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh Happy Day

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!

We spoiled the kids with candy, stuffed animals and balloons. Emily and her crew was so sweet and got gifts for us all, so we are hoping to repay her tomorrow with a delicious breakfast.

Ryan and I went out for dinner and it was such a treat to eat at a grownup restaurant, with grownup conversation and no rushing out the door. We had a delicious meal and great conversation, it was so nice to take some time to reconnect with each other as husband and wife, not mama and daddy.

Ah the pleasure of the night!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Is it a bad sign that you drive around the block, listening to a song, to pump yourself up to go home to your family? Tonight after teaching I knew I was heading into a house full of crabby, energetic people, and that there was a good possibility that the house was messy. I also knew that I needed to finish grading, make snacks for the Valentine's parties tomorrow and write a paper. I decided that I needed to listen to Cat Stevens "On the Road to Find Out" it always helps me look objectively at my life.

I say often how thankful I am for what I have, and how hard it has been to get here. I received my surveys from my PT school yesterday with how my classes last session felt about me, my teaching and the course. My ratings are always pretty good, and while I love looking at the numbers, my favorite are the comments the students write on the back. It is great to hear how much they liked the class, how they felt about my occasionally unconvential style of teaching and that they wish I taught more classes. I really enjoy what I do, and being a fairly young professor, I approach teaching differently. It is so fulfilling to know that I am getting through to my students, that what I do everyday means something.

So many people never expected me to be a professor, I am sure it is a huge shock to anyone I spent time with at Clemson. I am positive they are shocked that I amounted to anything, let alone someone entrusted with educating our youth. I have changed and adapted over the years, learned how to balance my views of the world, how to merge the me that always existed with the roles I play. In the past year, I am happier than I ever have been. I can see my future, and I am happy with where I am going. The best choice I ever made in my life was to continue my education, it has allowed me to be home for my kids, and also do something with my life that reaches out to others. I am an idealist when talking of education, I believe it is the key to freedom of the mind and soul. Education doesn't open doors, it blasts the walls out and gives you answers to all of the secrets of the world. Many enter their degrees with the hopes of gettinga good job or making money, I am on my educational journey so that I can help others reach their potential, see the options and question what they always held as true.

Here are the lyrics to that song, try blasting it alone in your car, and feel the words, feel the possibilities that are available to you.

On The Road To Find Out

Well I left my happy home to see what I could find out
I left my folk and friends with the aim to clear my mind out
Well I hit the rowdy road and many kinds I met there
Many stories told me of the way to get there

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out

Well in the end I'll know, but on the way I wonder
Through descending snow, and through the frost and thunder

Well, I listen to the wind come howl, telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robin's song saying not to worry

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to findout

Then I found myself alone, hopin' someone would miss me
Thinking about my home, and the last woman to kiss me, kiss me

But sometimes you have to moan when nothing seems to suit yer
But nevertheless you know you're locked towards the future

So on and on you go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to findout

Then I found my head one day when I wasn't even trying
And here I have to say, 'cause there is no use in lying, lying

Yes the answer lies within, so why not take a look now?
Kick out the devil's sin, pick up, pick up a good book now

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Just a quickie

OK, quick post before we take off running.

On Sunday night, my computer died again, guess the hard drive was part of the problem. Lots of tears, especially since I was a paragraph from finishing a paper. Now I am waiting for a new hard drive that I hope to have by tomorrow. Yuck.

Yesterday was so busy and horrifically cold. I got everything I needed to done, and taught my class, so I am counting that as an accomplishment :)

Today I have to take my girls to school, go vote and then drive to PT to school to see if the print request I sent is done (i so hope it is) then back home where I will take a conference call while at lunch, go to the farm, to see the chiropractor and at some point I need to stop and get hamster bedding and a new covered litterbox. Then make dinner, work and rewrite that stupid paper.

Tomorrow will be more of the same as I have to teach and do grading, and even Thursday this week is pretty jam packed. I am helping in Brittan's class for her party and then Ryan and I have a date :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

i am feeling it

It has, as I thought it would, been a busy day! It is very windy here, and our house is set low, so we have had trouble keeping the fire going and the smoke out of the house!

I did get the bread made, the wood stacked and chili cooking. Some work work is done, laundry has been switched but needs to be again, and the dishes and vacuuming are complete. I have a lovely apple and blueberry clafouti baking that I will serve with fresh whipped cream. It has been a busy active day and I am feeling it now as I sit here. Ah, but I still have to make the rice, cut the bread, and serve the family dinner and dessert. After the babes are in bed, I will hunker down with some fresh roasted coffee and write a paper.

These days fly by, but I am so thankful to be able to be here to do for my kids and family while also making a living. I am fortunate that tomorrow I can spend the day with my son and running errands, that I can get together snacks for brownies and serve my family dinner before I leave to teach. I am also thankful that even though Monday-Wednesdays are busy and crazy, I get to spend every day in the summer with my kids. I am so very fortunate.

Is there ever a slow day??

So it is 10:40 here in VA and we have been busy. Kids are fed (pumpkin muffins homemade with love), laundry is switched, coffee has been roasting all morning, and the fire is made. I have worked on a paper and done some work work as well. i am about to get started on the bread, and then I will stack some more wood. I also promised the kiddos some granola bars today, so those need to be ready for snack time. After the bread is set to rise and the wood is stacked, I will switch the clothes again, vacuum the house and start dinner. Tonight it will be chili with rice, I am thinking of making some cornbread as I have cornmeal just waiting to be cooked up, and we will have an apple cobbler for dessert. I love the hum of a busy house, chores getting done, kids playing, and the warmth of good food cooking. I am off to get covered in flour and to bundle up to stack the wood. I am hoping that all of the cooking and cleaning will make us warm and happy today.

Almost time to vote

So we get to vote on Tuesday, and I am anxious to see what the end result of the Democratic primary is. I am thrilled to live in an age where a woman and an African American are they two potential candidates, I think of that as progress. However, I am always nervous that people will vote emotionally rather than rationally in these situations. I would hate to see women vote for Hillary just because she is a woman, or men who would normally vote Democratic NOT vote for Hillary (if she was the pres candidate) because she was a woman. I would also hate to see people vote for Obama because of his color, or not due to it.

Research the candidates everyone, even you Republicans should do this, and know where they stand. Picking a president is a big committment and should be based on character and beliefs, not color, gender or party. So, in an effort to be fair and honest, here are the links to all the current candidates pages. I know who I am voting for, and why, do you?

Vote wisely...and if you have already voted, research and stay aware of what the candidates are doing until election day.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Happy Party Day

We had my nephew's birthday party today, and we took off running!

I got up, we fed the kids, I showered and... ahem, colored my hair:) I cut grayson's hair, wrapped the present, switched laundry, vacuumed and left with the three kids. We then stopped to get the car washed and were on the road before 10 am. Husband stayed behind as he had to work tonight and was taking care of a few things around the house.

Got to the place where the party was, it is a kid's gym place, at about 12:15. Parents and sister arrived, went to the party until 2, then back to sister's house for awhile. Left around 5:30 and walked in the door at 8 pm. I then had to do my work and prep a paper...and I am tired! I am now going to sit and watch tv for an hour then head to bed!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why stress?

I am an anxious person by nature. Each January and early February is usually a monetary nightmare as I am not getting paid by PT school. This year we have not had the crunch and things are running smoothly, yet still I stress. I hate worrying about money, and I hate it more when I worry and we are doing OK. This is one thing I keep working on, yet it persists.

We are also looking at all the Spring projects, and there are many. We know where we are putting the new garden, but we need to remove a few small trees, build two retaining walls, backfill and put up a low fence to keep the dog out. It is a lot of work, and we are ready for it, but our schedules are full and it can be hard to do these big tasks. We are also redoing the front flower beds, they are and have been, a mess since we moved in. When we put in the new walkway a few years ago, we created another bed that is hard to plan. Ryan has been out tilling the dirt today, but that is also a huge project. Then we have the berry patch that is going where the old small garden was located. This isn't as much work, just a new fence and planting, but I hope we will reap the benefits of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Finally the chickens. We know where in the yard they are going and I have decided on the coop and run we will use. I think I am waiting until May to get chicks so that we have the other gardens planted, PT school is out for summer and I can concentrate on raising the chicks and figuring out all that goes with that.

I guess this is why I am stressed.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My name in lights....

or print :)

Today a book arrived in the mail, and when I looked at Chapter 9, there it name. I contributed on a book that was published and I just got my copy!! Clear as a day, there was my name in print! That made me happy, really happy, even in the midst of a computer crisis :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What a day

Wednesdays are always rough. i have to get the girlies off to school, then get ready for work, leave and do a conference call on the way, teach, then home for grading and work.

Today things went off track when Ryan was late getting home. i ran out the door and went to teach my class. After class, my laptopn was not working so I came home and got some disks in case I could back it up. Came home and it wouldn't work at all. This is a big deal as all of my work stuff and doctoral work are on the computer. i cried a bit, then I called my help desk and my boss. Boss told me that they would send a temp and it would be OK, and I got to work on my grading using another system. On a whim, I decided to try the computer. I remembered that the disk drive was sitting funny, so I took it out and the back looks damaged. I managed to slide it carefully back and magically it works! I backed up the system as it will be leaving for Pittsburgh in the next few days. The connection for the screen is screwy, the charger doesn't work and now this drive issue...they can have it back to fix it :)

I am just happy that it is working and I got all my files off. I live on my laptop, so it being down is a very big deal.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday fun for all

Gray and I had an interesting day. We went to the Post Office and he was thrilled when the postmaster gave him a coloring book. Then we went to lunch, just the two of us. Our favorite water was there, we chit chatted and has a quiet lunch together. Then we were off to the farm, loaded up on milk, sweet potatoes and burgers. We also mailed off the kids swimming lesson info (they will start at the indoor pool in a few weeks) and paid for the Spring CSA.

Gray was a bit of a terror while we were out but fell asleep on the ride home...ah the peace and quiet :)

Came home, got the girlies, and they kids played outside in the warm 70 degree weather!

I am tired and know that tomorrow will be a full day. After I get home tomorrow night, finish grading, I am on break. Thursday will be all about the garden, and I think Friday will be all about resting and laundry :)

Monday, February 4, 2008


OK, Mondays are always hard. Today it seems like I am moving in the right direction, but everything is just harder than it should be. I dropped my girls off at school, went and got Gus and dropped him off at Emily's house. Grayson and I ran to the store and I got the stuff to make muffins for Brownies and a few other small things. Came home, started muffins and did my course checks. As of right now, I have all the muffins made and ready to go, dinner is made for my family (homemade mac and cheese) and I just need to pop it in the oven, course checks are done, classlist is revised (still needs to be printed) and i straightened up and switched the laundry. i STILL have to take a shower and get dressed, print out my stuff, go to get cash, finish dinner (salad, etc) mop the kitchen, vacuum the stairs, foyer and LR (gray is sleeping so I can't do that now) and do a general clean up before I leave in 3 hours.

It seems I have so many things I just can't get done! The girls rooms both need an overhaul, as does Grayson's, and I need to go through their dressers. I have tons of laundry to fold, the Living Room needs the carpets cleaned, the closet under the stairs needs to be cleaned and the playroom needs a BIG cleanup, sort and toss. Ryan and I have dedicated Thursday to ordering seeds, planning the garden, etc. Saturday is my nephew's birthday party so we will be up there for that. When am I going to get all of these things done????

Tomorrow I promised Grayson I would take him to lunch and the farm. Maybe I can pick up the fancy steamcleaner on our way home and clean the Living Room carpets. Wednesday is booked, I teach and have grades due. Thursday is garden day, but maybe I can also do Grayson's room, his is the easiest. Until the kid's dressers are purged, there is no where for clothes. Oh how I hate it when things get disorderly!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Why I do what I do

First, let me tell you that I am in LOVE with Mrs. Meyers. Now if she wasn't already a Mrs (or if I wasn't) and same sex marriage was allowed in Virginia I would ask her to marry me! I love the Geranium scented cleaner, and it does a great job too! I bought the all purpose cleaner and the glas cleaner, we also use Simple Green in the house for heartier messes and now I am planning to buy ALL of the Mrs. Meyers product :)

OK, now the organic, grass fed meat of it all... I often get asked how or why I do what I do. Why I take on so much, how do I do it all, etc. Well first, a confession, I have horrible OCD and anxiety issues. For me, sitting still is torture. Making lists and being busy quiets my brain and makes me feel productive. I once saw a therapist and asked her what I should do about my OCD and her response was that it worked for me, so use it. I embraced that theory.

The other reason I do what I do is because I genuinely like to. I like learning, that is why I keep trucking away at the doctorate. I love teaching, so I keep my two jobs, one pays the bills the other lets me spend time with students. I cook because I enjoy it, although I have days I don't feel like doing it, most of the time I get great pleasure out of seeing my family enjoy something I worked hard to create. I do all of the big and little things for my family because I love them and I want them to be happy.

I feel that the way we live our life is a refelction of who we are. I live a busy, slightly crazy and energized life, and I think that describes who I am. I am a hippie at heart, and for years I tried to fit the mold, especially the "mom" mold and just couldn't do it. I found I am a better mom when I do things my way, I am happier when I embrace the hippie and live my life the way that I think is "right" for my family. My kids are thriving, my husband is happy and we have a great life, that is why I do everything I do.

Home again, safe and sound

So we made it. The ride there was going great, all of us enjoying a little Cat Stevens Tea for the Tillerman for the ride....but then we hit the traffic. There was an accident on 95, so that tied us up for a bit. Made it past the accident got to the store and began the shop. I always forget that this Whole Foods is very, very small...I know that I always prefer the McLean or Charlottesville one, but forget that is the reason why. Alas, we couldn't get everything we wanted or needed, but we did get most things. I usually have ample free time before class on Wednesday and can run to the McLean Whole Foods to get the items I am missing. The biggest thing was the absence of bulk bins, and I needed a bunch of grains, so that was a disappointment. The kids though were really good. The store is small and cramped, so it was difficult navigating sometimes, but they were patient and behaved well.

We came home and they enjoyed a big late lunch of sandwiches, yogurt and grapes. For dinner we got a gorgeous, grassfed roast beef. I think I will season it with a heavy dose of sea salt and cracked pepper and cook it to a delicate medium-rare. We will also have asparagus with lemon, dill and garlic and a Yukon gold potato gratin with fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. Dessert is brownies. MMMMM.

Off into the day

The kids really enjoyed the rolls with the honey butter, I am always pleased when my plan works out!

I am now off to do the dishes, grab a shower and dress the tribe so we can head out. The plan is to go to Whole Foods and then back home with the goodies. I asked Ryan to think about what he wanted for dinner, and he opted for hamburgers....too bad he won't get them tonight! Sunday night dinner is a big deal to me, so he will have to wait until Monday or Tuesday for plain ole burgers. BTW Em...I am going to try your recipe and will pick up the Worstershire sauce. Maybe we will have sweet potato fries with the burgers on Tuesday....tomorrow I need something simple.

Will let everyone know what happens at the store, and I hope it doesn't involve me leaving anyone there ;)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Taxes and Whole Foods

So I filed our taxes tonight, I go over and over and over them and still I am always nervous when we put them through. Ah well, they are now off and running, and if all goes well our savings account will get a small boost in a few weeks :)

Tomorrow I think I may venture out with the kiddos..I know, I know, I hate going out on weekends. Well Monday is busy now with me having school at night, and this Monday I am going in the morning to pick Gus up for Emily and then I have course checks and prep work, brownie snacks, etc. Tuesday is farm pick up day, and Wednesday I teach, so tomorrow is as good a day as any other to head to Whole Foods. I need more dried fruits for granola bars, flour, garlic, some good produce, olive oil and a few other bits and pieces. I am also hoping to be inspired...I have nothing planned for Sunday night dinner, and I always like to have a big traditional meal. I plan to get up, feed the kids and just go for it. Hoepfully they will be well behaved, and we can get in and get out, then back home to prepare the feast!

Dinner for the masses

I felt a bit lost today, I was planning on baking some bread but I was almost out of flour *GASP*

Dinner was chicken in wine sauce with couscous, salad with homemade croutons and I wrangled up enough flour for some rolls. I tried a different roll recipe, it is a batter roll, it is not kneaded and goes into greased cupcake pans, left to rise and then baked off. These came out really yummy, and I think I will make some honey butter for the morning.

Call me Crazy that Haven is fully into girls clothing sizes, I hate buying her clothes. It seems all she wears is jeans and t-shirts because there aren't a lot of appropriate options out there and she is a bit picky about her clothes. She LOVES peasant skirts and flowy dresses, and Britt looks best in classic sundresses in the summer, but I can't always find them. I decided I am buying a new sewing machine, a book, a few patterns and some fabric and come hell or high water, I will learn to sew.

My mom can sew well, she made a lot of our clothes when we were little, so she said she would help me out. I am going to try to navigate without too much help, and then when I am confused she can help. My goal is to master a few simple patterns for the girls, sundresses for both, skirts, etc. I would also love to learn to make shorts for all the kids, some years all I can find in stores are the super short shorts, and I don't like the girls to wear those.

So in addition to growing our own organic veggies, roasting coffee, cooking from scratch, raising chickens, seeking out local organic food, working FT for one school PT for another and getting my doctorate, I need to learn to sew. Can you tell I hate to sit still?

Friday, February 1, 2008

GNO Girls Night Out

OK, if you don't get the title reference, you are not living with a little girl. Tonight was the Hannah Montana 3d concert movie thing. We went along with a bunch of girls from Haven's girl scout group and their moms.

I picked my girlies up and surprised them with new HM T-shirts and earrings. They seemed to really like the movie, although they just sat there and watched ( I think it is time to take them to some concerts so they get how to act crazy) Afterwards we all went out for dinner, the girls hung out and for me it was nice to spend some time with the grownups :)

Home we came, they were tucked into bed, and I did some work. I am always thankful for these activites, I enjoy seeing my girls happy and knowing that they will forever have these memories from childhood. I love my kids tremendously, but we live a busy life and it isn't always easy to slow down and enjoy each other. Tonight Ryan and Gray had some quality time together, and the girls and I did something special. Next big event, the girls have gift cards to Libby Lu so I will be taking then there to get a "makeover"

Just maybe

So my husband has moved his vote for a fourth child from the definate no to the definate maybe. Hey, I will take it, especially since we don't want to start trying for 8 months. I think he will be a yes by Spring!

Farm Dreams

We are currently living in a very nice house on .77 acres in Virginia. I like where we live, good schools, great friends, overall a lovely suburban life. However, Ryan and I dream of having land, a minimum of 5 acres, and we would prefer 10 acres. We are here in this house for the next two years for sure, I need to complete my doctorate before we can even think of making a move.

However, in the next year I will begin applying for professorships at different schools. For us, the key is to make a move to somewhere where housing is cheaper and land is plentiful. When we make the move, it will be for my job and while Ryan will of course look for work, we cannot guarantee that he will have something right away. The blessing in this situation is that most colleges begin hiring for the following year in October/November, so it would give us plenty of time to get ready to move.

I will look for positions here in VA, but we will also look in WV, the Western side of VA, Vermont, Maine and Upstate NY. Just now I found a position at a SUNY school in NY and when we looked at house, we found many houses that were less than 5 years old on 1o acres for less than our house is worth. The pictures took my breath away, rolling farmland, views of mountains, and snow-which we miss desperately.

We don't know where we will be in five years, but I hope it is somewhere with room for horses and chickens and enormous gardens.