Monday, March 31, 2008

Rocky Run

We have had a rocky day, but i guess we need those to appreciate the good ones right?

I was up until 3 am last night, couldn't sleep, work drama with Ry, etc. Got up at 7, got the girls ready and off to the first day back at school after spring break. As they walked into the school I realized that while I was highly efficient, I also was forgetful. They had no snack with them. Home we came, Gray and I grabbed them snacks, back to the school and waited until the buses finished so I could park in front and run the snacks in.

Snacks were delivered and I came home to get dressed for the day, etc. Headed out and ran errands, forgot things, went to see Dr. Tom, went with Em to get Killi, she stopped at another store so I could get the things I forgot, then we had lunch. Came home and Gray was a bear, made snack for the brownies and made a huge mess and then Britt came home. While trying to get clothes for work, Grayson peed his pants and peed all over the bathroom (boys, how fun) so I came and cleaned up and made dinner.

I still need to go teach and I usually get home around 10. Then I need to start on this paper that has me so stressed out, and I hope I can finish half tonight. Tomorrow morning I need to workwork and finish that paper. I should probably do some laundry as we are all running out. We need to go to the farm which kills the whole afternoon, and if it doesn't rain, Britt has soccer. I know that I just need to get through the next two weeks and this hellish class will be over, but fear the house will fall apart and the kids may need to go to school naked until then :)

I always must remember why I am doing this. While I am borderline insane now, this degree will allow me to be as active a parent in my kids lives as possible while still making a good living. I also know that my kids need me home, so while I could go and get a "real" 9-5 job, I would miss them, pee and all. Deep breathes, only about 8 more hours in my day and then I can sleep for 6 hours and start all over again.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Are we always 16 inside?

So many days I feel like a grownup, all of the responsibilities, kids, house, husband, they weigh me down and I have to be the one who makes the hard choices and doles out the punishment. On a bad day, when I am so overwhelmed and feel like my life is running away from me, I still feel 16. I stand in the kitchen with the music blasting, eyes closed, and still feel like the babysitter waiting for the real parents to come home. My life moved so very fast after college, and I love what I have now, but there are so many days that I feel like I never really got a chance to finish growing up. I stand there in my jeans, hoodie and ponytail and wonder how it is that this is MY house and MY kids and that I have to be in charge. There are days I long for the ability to not have to make decisions, especially the hard ones, or deal with money and bills. Days where I want to jump in the car and go out and experience all that the world has to offer, see the sites I have never seen and find all of the nooks and crannies. When my kids are older, will I be too old for these things? Will I still want to drive into the world and find a new road or roadside shop? Will I always feel 16?

Tears flow

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a crybaby. I cry about just about anything, but RARELY do I cry about school. I had a busy day with the kids, Haven had riding then I took them to lunch. We got home and I was trying to get bathing suits ready, Grayson was screaming at me, which I swear is his newest pastime, Brittan was having a meltdown and I couldn't take it anymore. Sent the kids upstairs so that I could breathe, checked on the assignment I did last night and the professor STILL took off a ton of points. I literally followed line by line his criteria and STILL I lost 5 of 40 points and for the life of me I have no idea why! I feel like he is just making my life hell because I questioned him on some things, but hell, this is a doctoral program, and I didn't understand what he was doing in regard to grades and I would think we could ask questions.

He is just an asshole and I am so stressed that I just burst into horrible hyperventilating tears. I hate feeling powerless and I hate being made to feel like an idiot more. I would think by this point in my education I would be past those instructors that enjoy making students suffer, but I guess not. Boy won't it suck for him when I am done and we are at an all company meeting, since our schools are owned by the same corporation and I have tenure as I have been there longer :) I just need the next two weeks to pass, and with them my stress levels should drop.

Small steps

I often get discouraged that we cannot do more. I see other homesteading blogs and they have goats and sheep, they have already had seasons of canning, they milk their own cows, and I feel stuck in suburbia without the ability to do many of these things. I decided to look at it a different way, while we are hoping the next few years bring us to a home with multiple acres and the ability to have a larger garden, and small orchard and farm animals, we are doing quite well for where we are.

Here is our information. Our home is located on .77 acres, a good portion is wooded, plus our front yard is large with a creek running through it, not a great growing location. We have built out a two -tiered garden this year to serve as a main garden, we have the old smaller garden as the berry patch and we are fashioning a small makeshift garden on the side of the property to try out some crops I haven't grown before. We already plan to expand the garden we had built this year to include those crops next year. We are growing: pole beans, snow peas, two kinds of tomatoes, eggplant, two summer squash, two zucchini, pickling cukes, regular cukes, carrots, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet pumpkins.

In addition to our garden, we are supporting our local farms and buying local as much as possible. We are waiting on our beef order from a farm in Maryland, we get our milk, cream, eggs and honey from a local farm, I joined a CSA and will receive my weekly box of produce from them as well. I believe we will be able to make almost all meals 100 mile meals this summer, although some items such as olive oil are not local. I also localize my coffee, buying fair trade organic beans and roasting them here at home. We compost and try as much as possible to make our food. Overall, for being in suburbia, I think we are doing pretty well! Now I need to get these kittens to 6 weeks old, and into new homes, and then we start the chicken search :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Life is hard

For some reason I feel like I am struggling in all I do lately. The class I am in is kicking my butt and I am one of those people who really beats themselves up if they don't achieve to the level they set for themselves. In addition, it is our slow week at FT school, so I feel unproductive and then worry that I am not doing all I can there. I am one of those people who lives with significant self doubt, maybe it is leftover from those days at Clemson when I failed everything just because I wanted to have fun. I know that this is a phase, I know that it will pass and that I am doing just fine, but I hate when my internal dialogue is so negative.

Also stressing me out is the planting. We have plants growing inside, but we need to get the garden prepped and it is too big of a job for me to do alone. I am thinking of dragging the manure cans with me tomorrow when Haven has riding so I can haul some manure home, at least it is a start. Maybe Gray and Britt can help shovel...hahaha! Next week Ryan is going on a field trip with Brittan's class, so I lose his help for that day as well. I am just happy we are on our way, one or two good days outside and we will be ready, now if only the weather would cooperate and get a touch warmer.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Deep in the caves....

So we decided we needed a much deserved family fun day!

We got up and headed out of the house around 10 am, which if you knew my husband, you would agree is a miracle! We drove up towards Luray and stopped in town to get some lunch. The restaurant we found was perfect, they used local ingredients and had a nice but casual atmosphere in a really pretty old building. After a yummy lunch (filled with pickles for Grayson!) we went over to the caverns. We got tickets and waited in line for the tour to begin. Gray thought it was spooky as we headed down the stairs into the first room of the cave, but he soon warmed up to the idea. The tour ran just over an hour and we walked a little more than a mile, so the kids were pretty tired by the end, and they had to hike back up all those stairs. Haven and Brittan thought the caves were pretty cool, although Brittsy faded and was tired by the end. The girls picked out some cute earrings (and they were so cheap we were happy to oblige) and Grayson bought a hard hat with a light on top (picture to come soon). After the caverns we stopped at a cute little shop on our way home and then made the trip back. The kids seemed to have a good time, and for the most part everyone behaved and was pleasant and smiley. I cannot wait for summer so that we can have more family days, it is really too bad that Ryan works weekends, because the kids and I love having him along for the adventures.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A perfect day

We have had such a nice, relaxing day. The kids have played, I went to the store to get cans for manure and soil for the new side garden and then to the grocery store. Dinner is cooking on the grill, a marinated pork loin and roasted veggies, yummy!

After dinner we are surprising the kids with a trip out for ice cream. Since they are on Spring Break, and I took the day off completely, it will be the perfect end to a perfect day.

Tomorrow we were planning a trip to Busch Gardens, but it looks like the weather is not going to cooperate. We gave the kids the choice of going downtown to the Botanical Gardens and Air and Space Museum or out to Luray Caverns. They chose the caverns, which makes me happy because I am always up for a trip through the country :)

Is this what it is like?

So we had a rough night last night, and finally I went to sleep in the guest bed just to get some rest. When I woke up, I came downstairs and Ryan had fed Brittan breakfast. I made some coffee, he went back upstairs to get some more rest and Britt went off to play. The other kids are sleeping and Brittan is off playing a game, and it is so peaceful. Is this what it is like to have only one child? If so, I can see the appeal, although I would miss all the extra "I love you's" and hugs and kisses, and yes I admit it, the NOISE!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring may have arrived

It seems as though we are turning the winter corner. Although we are still chilly, the sun is strong and the winds are low, which makes it much more pleasant. The tiered garden is complete, pictures to come. We are thinking of adding another side tier next year when the funds allow for it, that would give us the space for the things we are having trouble fitting this year. For now, the upper tier (the smaller one) will have trellises for tomatoes and beans and there will be a row of head lettuce planted at the front. The bottom tier will house both kinds of cucumbers, four types of summer squash, eggplant, carrots and leaf lettuce. The last area that will be cleared and readied later this week is the side garden that will house butternut and acorn squash, sweet pumpkins, sweet potatoes and fingerlings. I am so excited, and this weekend we will go haul manure from the farm if the weather holds up. Some mixing and tilling and we are ready to plant the seedlings that are waiting in the grow window!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter pics

Here are some pics of the kids on Easter morning. You can see there are clearly before and after images :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Poor baby

We had a bit of a hard Easter, The kids had a great morning and we headed to brunch with my family and had a lot of fun. When we got home, Ryan saw that one of the kittens, the orange one, was not doing well, he was cold and lethargic. I ran out to the pet store and got some kitten formula and we tried to warm him and feed him. He started to do better it seemed, meowing a bit and moving around, and we thought he might be OK. I just went to check on them and he had died. I am very sad, but also know that my kid are going to be devastated in the morning. I know that sometimes this just happens, but after spending the whole day trying to nurse him back to health, it is sad that he still passed away.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pete Repeat

So I am going to say something that I am sure many of my students have said about me....


He doesn't give feedback and randomly takes off points. He gave me a 0 on a team assignment even though it was turned in and had both my name and my partner's name on it (and I did all of the work!) Did he not even READ it?

He lists APA pages, but doesn't ever discuss content or tell us what to fix.


OK, I feel a little better.

Plants away....

The retaining wall is coming along well, which means the garden will be ready in the next two weeks. Haven's riding instructor has been kind enough to share all the manure we can haul, and we will mix it in with compost and some other soil. So far, we have started the green beans, snow peas, eggplant, both tomatoes, both cucumbers, 2 yellow squash and 2 green squash inside. We will directly sow the carrots, lettuces, acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Finally the berry patch needs to be planted and we will be ready to go!

Right now the big stress is tilling and prepping the side garden for the potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins. Ry also has to turn the berry patch and we need to get those in the ground in the next two weeks.

I am hoping we have a great haul!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Quality Time

Ryan and I decided we needed a night off from the kids, so we headed out to dinner and left the little buggers home with the sitter. We went to the Melting Pot. I had gone years ago with work, but forgot how great it was. We has a small intimate little booth where we could sit close and talk. Dinner was FANTASTIC, the food was great, the service outstanding and we had a nice time chatting, laughing and enjoying each other. I almost never get my husband to myself, and it was nice for he and I to spend some time together reconnecting. The only bad thing was that our leisurely dinner went so late that we never got to the store to get my bookcases. Ah well, there is always tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Helicopter's babies

Here is a pic of the six kittens that were born last night. So far there is 1 orange, 1 gray and four that are a mix of gray, white and orange.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So Helicopter had her kittens tonight, and we are hoping she is done!

It began around dinner, and unfortunately the first one didn't make it. Then we kept checking and she had four babies, so we moved her and the kittens into a box to keep them warm and cozy. Ryan just went up to check on them and SURPRISE....there were two more! So far, we have six surviving kittens, pics to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh the drama

So I am still not sure of how the kids are doing, I guess time will tell.

For anyone looking to take on advanced degrees, know that it will rock your credit. My credit score was always stellar, but with the loans, it now just stinks. I am hoping that the next few years bring me a doctorate and more money!

The housing market is also stressing me out, I always felt like we could move if needed when I am done, but with the way things are, we could be trapped here for years. All I can hope for is that in the next three years, we will be able to sell our house if needed.


Haven home

Haven is home sick today. She ran a bit of a fever yesterday, and has a cough and low grade fever today. She is in good spirits as you is always happy to have a little extra attention:)

She will join us today on the farm run, and I am also hoping to also make a stop to pick up Easter outfits, plus the required Dr. Tom visit.

I am hoping Brittan is okay while we are out. We also have her first soccer practice tonight, so if she stays healthy, we will be heading there at 5:30.

I am just relieved that no one is really sick, although that could change any minute, I am going to choose to be thankful right now. Maybe the good thoughts will keep the sickies away!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Crazy days

Today was not the best day, but in the spirit of positive thinking, I am planning to remember only the high points and move on.

Seems like Haven ran a bit of a fever while I was at class, I am hoping she is feeling better so that she can head to school tomorrow, but if not, she will be riding to the farm with us.

I am exhausted, so I am of to sleep.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home with highlights

Made it back home, and I am happily sitting on my own couch :)

The trip was really good, busy and tiring, but good. I feel like I am actually going to make it through this process, and I feel like I found people who not only understand what I am going through, they are also willing to help!

Here is what I learned:
1. APA style, while a bear, can be funny when they make all of it's pitfalls into a song
2. Writing in a scholarly fashion can be boring, but the topics are interesting, take what you can from it
3. What I am doing, the stress and struggles, are worth it. In the end I will be part of 1% of the population with a doctorate.
4. Dissertation time will be messy, and hard, and while I really like what I am researching, no one else is as interested in it as me and my committee.
5. Doors will save my family the worst of it. I will be buying doors for the living room so I can hole up in there.
6. As supportive as my family and friends are, no one really knows what I am going through and that is OK. Even though my dad got his EdD, it was long after his kids had left home and he was in his 50's. Not many folks take this on with two jobs and three little kids, but it is OK and I am doing it!
7. The most important thing I learned is that this IS hard and that I am not being a whiny baby when I get stressed or overwhelmed. I will finish this and I will succeed, but it won't be pretty while it is happening.

I feel like I accomplished something, and I also feel like I am one step closer to my goal. Now all I have to do is finish ten more classes, take the comp exams, and write a 150 page dissertation....PIECE OF CAKE :)

Homeward Bound

So, I have a few meetings this morning then I am off to the airport to begin my trip home. This is the part I hate most, the travelling home, I just wish I could just be at home when the meetings are done. If all goes well, I will be home by 7:30.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Since I have no one to play with, I am enjoying a creme brulee and coffee here in bed.

I get bored at night

and I am in my know what they say about women in their thirties!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Such a relief!

Grayson's tests all came back normal. It is such a great relief that he is OK and that nothing major is wrong with him. I need to bring him back in on Tuesday, but it seems as though he either has a nasty bug he can't shake or chronic sinusitis, all of which we can deal with. I am not sure what would have happened had the results come back and there have been something seriously wrong, but I can promise that I would have been at the airport waiting for the next flight home.

Meetings over for today

So, I have been in meetings from 7:30 am until 5 pm and I am done. Now I am back in my room getting ready to do some work. Being that it is so early, I figure I can get everything done and have some down time tonight. Maybe someone will actually call me to chat, since it is quite boring being stuck here in a hotel.

Ah, time will tell.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Safe and sound

Made it to Chicago safe and sound. I have about an hour to kill before the welcome dinner where I hope that they will clarify what we do and what we do not need to attend.

Everything should wrap up by 9, back to the room to get some work done and hopefully some sleep. So far everything has been fine, although I miss my family and hate feeling trapped in a room. Maybe the lectures will keep me busy, and the internet access is strong, so I can work and learn all at once.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

All by myself

So I will be travelling to Chicago alone. Gray had a fever and getting the house together was too much for me, and Haven is just mean and nasty and on and on and on. So my parents are staying home and my husband is watching the kids.

I am not thrilled about going, but I have to, so I will. I am, however, looking forward to sleeping alone in a dark room. Also, with no distractions, it should be easy to get my work done.

I leave tomorrow at noon and get home Sunday at 5:30. Then I teach Monday, off the rest of the week and my parents are coming for Easter. Next week will be rough too, but then I am on my way to summer.

This doctorate is kicking my ass, and I was about ready to throw in the towel today. I really hope it is worth it, that when I am done I have more time for the family and myself. I really feel like the last year I have been so stressed and so pressured that I haven't had the time I need to relax. Hopefully it will be one more year of classes, and then the dissertation. I have no anxiety over the dissertation, I know I write good papers and I know my topic, just the classes are killing me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh the pressure!

I took Gray to the doctor today and Em came along, which was good because I wanted to be sure that what I said was accurate, and more importantly, that I really heard what the doctor said. Needless to say, the doctor agrees that there is some systematic issue at hand here that he has been sick for so long and still isn't himself. She did suggest that it may be chronic sinusitis, which can cause these symptoms as well, but that a CAT scan is a lot of radiation that he really doesn't need. She ordered some blood work, so I will take Gray down tomorrow and hold him down while they draw blood. It seems as though they are checking his blood count (good because of the white blood cell issues in the hospital), also Lyme Disease, Epstein Bar, his thyroid and a few other things. I am hoping everything is OK and that he is just stuck with a bad bug he can't shake.

I am also totally overwhelmed with what needs to happen before I leave. My boss also gave me a big project to complete by Monday, fun as I will be in Chicago in classes all day Friday and Saturday. I am hoping to use the plane time to type some information up. Add to this my regular job, my papers for my course and just regular work, and I am stressed. Thankfully, when we get home, I have to teach Monday but am off until the following Wednesday which is a nice break.

My wishes for Tricia

For those who do not read this blog, you should. It is a great way to see strength in love and to appreciate the wonderful daily happenings we take for granted.

My wishes for Tricia as she grows as a mom:
1. Having your girl vomit all over the front of you, and all you care about is if she is okay.
2. The sweetness that only a child can share when you are sad and they tell you they love you.
3. Crazy toddler years, how can they be so naughty and so funny all at the same time?
4. Love that makes you cry, even when they are all grown up at 7.
5. When your girl does something amazing, be it walking, talking or getting an award at school, you almost burst with pride and joy.
6. Those times at 3 am when you and she are all alone and you can selfishly hold her while she sleeps and play with her fingers and toes.
7. Sleeping in on mothers day while your girl "cooks" you breakfast
8. Kissing fat baby feet before they ever carry your girl upright.
9. Fighting for your daughter when she is sick or needs help and knowing only you could go to battle for her and win.
10. A lifetime of love that runs deeper than any other. The connection you will always have with your daughter is unfailing.

Wishing you all the best, and all moms need to remember how luck we are!

Monday, March 10, 2008


So it is Gator Week at the girls school and they gave me hell for not decorating the house. Needless to say, I now have green and orange balloons outside and if I can find them, I will tie a green and orange ribbon round the big old oak. As we ran and ran today, I didn't have time to make a proper dinner. They kids were happy to eat the french toast/eggs and sausage I gave them, and I will be doling out a load of grapes for dessert. At least the bread is whole wheat and the eggs are from the farm.

Tomorrow I have to drag Gray to the doctor again. I feel like I am back to when Haven had all the struggles, I know something is wrong with him, but I don't know what. He has been sick since December, and his attitude and personality since then have been off too. He used to be so funny and happy, now he is sullen and crabby all the time. This could be because of the sleep issues, but then why is he sick so much? When he was in the hospital, his white blood cell count was off which they said was due to the steroids, and it did come down some once he was off, but it still sits in the back of my head and worries me. I am hoping that tomorrow they will tell me something, do something or at least provide me with someone who can. We have seen the allergist and tried his med, and still my boy hasn't returned.

Tired old woman

I am feeling it today. Usually I look forward to spring break week, I don't have to teach, the kids have school, it is usually a pleasant time for me. This week, however, I have to get ready for the trip to Chicago, and while I am happy to get away for a few days with the husband, I still have a lot to do. My parents come Wednesday, so I need to have the house clean, the food all in one spot so my mom can cook and the kids clothes laid out. I also have to keep juggling the FT gig and my classes and the papers that go along with them. In addition, Grayson decided not to sleep last night...again. I just want to lay my head down and nap, but that is not a choice. I have to go get Brittan in an hour, drop off snacks for Brownies, take Britt and Gray for haircuts, come home cook dinner, write a paper and work. If all goes well, I will sleep tonight and tomorrow morning I will clean the house, then go to the farm, run home for a 2 o'clock conference call then back out to see Dr. Tom. Ah well, summer is coming and everything is much calmer then. Maybe when I turn 33 I will get a burst of energy.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Swim swim swim

Haven has really taken to swimming, although she thinks four lessons and she should be on her way to the Olympics :) I wish she has the tenacity she needs, she is very athletic but doesn't want to keep working for the goal....ahhh the lure of immediate gratification!

Brittan is trying, but she is still timid in the water. I am going to sign them up for another session of the indoor lessons, then they will take two sessions in the summer as well. My hope is that Brittan will become more comfortable and I have a feeling that if Haven keeps at it she may be quite the swimmer.

Grayson will be joining the swim group next fall when they move the lessons back inside. I am hoping he will do the lessons, he is quite attached and has never had an activity. Oh well, next year he has to go to preschool too, so he will have to get over it!

The guilt got me

and I made dinner. The kids are getting crab cakes shaped with my own hands, rice and a veg. The girls have swimming so they need something in their bellies.


So the kiddos and I went out today, I know it's Sunday, and usually I refuse to brave the masses, but I really want to clean the house tomorrow. I took them to lunch, and it was a bust since no one really ate and the food kind of stunk. Then we stopped at Emily's for a potty break and hair gel emergency for Gray (trust me, he needed it) then off to Ikea. I really need some prints for the downstairs bath, we redid it last year and it was lacking. I got new curtains for the family room, red striped to match the red couch and the throw pillows. A new kitchen rug, my old one was really sad, and a new rug for by the back door to catch muddy feet and paws. The kids needed a new bathmat, and I just replaced the old one with the same kind (orange to match the lions and giraffes-it's cute I swear!). Finally, I found three frames that I really like for the family room. Each fits three pictures, so I will do one for each kid. I am hoping to get pics of each of them at different ages, a baby pic, a toddler pic and a recent pic, although Gray is barely out of toddlerhood.

All that running around and now we are rushed for dinner. I am giving them leftovers, since we have them, and then the girls and I are off to swimming. The house is a mess, but that is OK since tomorrow is cleaning day. All I have to do tonight is work and write a paper, tomorrow morning I will drop my girls and run over to see Dr. Tom and get the juice for brownies, then home to clean. I figure if I can get Gray to sit for a movie, the living room, dining room and kitchen will be spotless. i should also be able to dust the family room and vacuum, do dishes and fold laundry. Then on Tuesday we are busy at the farm, and Wednesday I can just touch up and organize the dinners for when I am gone. Oh and I need to pack, but that should be easy :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Secrets everywhere

I want to be part of a secret society. I think I am a good catch, smart, educated, opinionated, who wouldn't want me?

I always feel like I have too much living to do in what is probably too short a lifespan. There are so many things I want to experience, places I want to go and adventures I need to have. Oh well I guess I will be just as busy in my next life :)

They suck...and now they get chipped beef

Dinner came out awesome, except that the family sucks. Husband wouldn't get up so everything got cold and I was pissed. It took 3 hours to make that dinner and it was so pretty I took pictures. The kids barely ate and husband REFUSED to eat b/c I was mad he came down so late. Excuse me, but someone is calling you to dinner, a nice dinner of roast chicken and homemade stuffing, homemade sweet cream corn and salad, you can't get downstairs to eat it??? Then he REFUSED to eat it!!! So anyway, I got pissed and it went in the trash, I didn't even eat it. Needless to say, my family is spoiled when it comes to meals. Most moms don't spend HOURS cooking dinner from scratch. Tomorrow they have a surprise coming....I am going to the store and buying cans of corned beef hash, beefaroni and chipped beef, with some yummy canned Lima beans on the side. When husband gets up tomorrow for dinner, there will be the cans with a can opener....that way he can heat and eat when he wants. Two days and they should be wanting mama's cooking again. Oh, and no, they don't get any mousse.

Letting the mind wander

So sometimes you have to consider the what ifs. What if someone had mentioned that I could attend grad school right after completing my undergrad, where would i be now? Where would i have gone to school, what would I be doing? Why didn't anyone mention that was a possibility?

What if I had gone to school when I got to Virginia? I was looking at Mason and their Masters in Education. That actually gives me the shivers, I could have gotten my MEd and been teaching in a public school, bleck. I never want to teach anyone who is under the age of 18 (ok some of my students may be 17, but they are close). What would have happened if I didn't have Haven? We wouldn't have gotten married, bought the house and been propelled into all the "grown-up" things.

Now comes the what ifs of the future. I have no idea where my degree will take me. I do know that I am young, so my career will be a long and diverse one. I hope to publish again soon, and I have worked to make sure I am set up to secure a choice professorship when I am done. So will I ever teach abroad? Live in Vermont? Or live in the South? What adventures are to come? Right now I feel very trapped by my life, will I feel more free when I am done with school and the two job gig?

Oh the possibilities....

Chocolate therapy

So, I got up today and had to run my errands. The kids were sent to clean the playroom and I left to see Dr. Tom and run to the store. I was in a good mood....until I came home and the kids had fought more than cleaned and the playroom was more trashed than before. I had a mini-meltdown, they got yelled at, and off they went to really clean up.

Even though they are a handful, and lately mouthy and bad, I decided to be a sport and still make a full home cooked supper. In my oven is this delicious herb chicken, organic bird, farm butter and home grown herbs! I will make a stuffing filled with leeks, carrots and sweet onions and delicious garlic green beans with a mess of yeast rolls with honey butter

And if that isn't enough, here is dessert, luscious chocolate mousse.

Boy are they lucky :)

Rain rain rain

Oh it has been raining like mad recently. At least we don't have to worry about the drought right now, but I do wish I had heard back about the rain barrels!

I woke with a wicked headache this morning, I think it is all of the weather changes. I have to get myself dressed, then out to see Dr. Tom, then I need a few things at the store. I am feeling very uncreative about dinner, so if anyone has a good idea, please share. I am guessing we will have chicken, maybe a roast one as it has been a while. Some stuffing, green beans, yeast rolls, hmmm, sounds like a plan. Now I need an idea for dessert, I am thinking chocolate mousse, something very decadent in this dreary weather.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oh it is quiet

The kids have been shuffled off to bed, the laundry is going and hopefully the dishes will be done soon by the husband. The house is getting sparklier by the minute, and after the morning playroom cleanup, we will be almost there. Right now it is perfectly peaceful, I am snuggled up under a blanket enjoying the dim lights and calm duskiness of our house at night.

Tomorrow will bring business and chaos, as is a day with three kids and lots to do, but now it is quiet and calm.

Busy little bees

We have been buzzing today. lots to do and lots got done. Brittan's room was overhauled, the curtains were hung and her dresser was cleaned out. I also went through her dresses and cleaned them out. All that is left is to wash the bedding and make the bed for my parents, and I plan to do that on Tuesday.

Grayson's room was also dusted and organized. His dresser was cleaned out and clothes he has outgrown were added to the pile for Goodwill. The girls are working on Haven's room now, organizing, dusting and getting it together. Haven's dresser will be cleaned and then I will go up and inspect. If all is well, I will put the girls clothes for next week into their weekly organizers so that when my mom comes, she doesn't have to pick out their clothes.

So far, I have folded and put away at least 7 loads of clothes and I have washed two more. Only about 7 more to go! I also cleaned the front windows and the back door, vacuumed the house, cleaned the dining room table and the downstairs bathroom. I placed a ridiculously large Mrs. Meyer's order, hey they lavender stuff is on sale! Now I need to type the schedule for when I am away, and make the menu for my mom. Tomorrow the playroom will get cleaned, Sunday the kids and I will go out and get a few things for the house including a new shower curtain and shade for my bathroom, a new bathmat for the kids bathroom, a new rug for the foyer and new kitchen rugs and towels.

We had the trees done yesterday and I spoke to the guy doing the retaining wall for the garden, he will do those when we get back from Chicago. Now I need to get estimates on replacing our shower, Ryan is looking at them now at the store, and we need someone to come and move the plumbing and tear out the old nasty shower. Not to mention that the seedlings will be started when we get back from the trip and that once that wall is up, we need to go haul compost and manure to fill the garden.

Whew, I am tired :)

This is my favorite time of the year, we are moving quickly and have lots to do!

Time to clean

So we are heading out Thursday morning, and with a family of five and a neat freak mom, I need to start cleaning now. Today I will tackle Brittan's room which is where my parents sleep. I need to fix the wall where the paper is coming down, clean out her whole room and clear her dresser. Then I need to do the dusting thing, clean the windows and just generally get it ready to go. I will wash the sheets and make the bed tomorrow since Ryan has been kicked out to that bed a lot recently.

Then on to Gray's room, his should be a bit easier, but his dresser also needs to be cleaned out and the room dusted. I will then clean the upstairs bathroom, even though it will need another cleaning on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

When the girls get home, they will need to organize Haven's room and dust. Ryan will be in charge of folding the clothes that are clean down here and pushing through more laundry. I am also sending him up to our room later to organize so I can come in and do the big bad clean.

After that, I will work on rooms this weekend. The playroom will be tackled on Saturday, and it will be a big job. After a few hours, we should have it neat and clean, and will just need to keep it that way! The living room will be done on Monday, the dining room, family room, kitchen and downstairs bath will be done Tuesday.

It is always good to have a plan :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Doctor's are stupid

I went to the doctor, and they did an biggie. He never even looked in my ears or checked me for being sick, just assumed it was my heart and sent me to my cardiologist. Thing is, I am positive I am just anemic and dehydrated, not smart, but not cardiologist worthy either. I will be seeing the cardio anyway, especially if we are planning another baby, but I am sure he will not think anything of this incident.

Later on, I spoke with my sister who says she has had this happen a few times, maybe there is just a family history.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spinning rooms

So I had an unfortunate first experience today. I was teaching my class and everything was fine, and then it wasn't. I got very faint, ended class and nearly passed out right there. I have never in my life had an experience like that and it really was quite upsetting.

I will see the doctor tomorrow just to make sure I am OK, but I am guessing it is a bad case of doing too much, maybe getting sick, not drinking enough and being anemic. Now if only I could shake the headache I have.

Sense of Entitlement

I have just about had it with people and their sense of entitlement. I deal with lots of students with this problem, they feel that the rules do not apply to them or that I should do something for them when they fail an exam or hand in work late. Personal situations are often the excuse, and not illness or emergencies, but things like weddings and moving. Why do they feel that I should invest more in their education if they are not willing to? Why do I need to change the rules just for them, while others are meeting deadlines? I do not understand this as at all.

I have been in school at the graduate level for 5 1/2 years and started with a newborn and a two year old. I also moved and had a third child, had a full time job that included travel, etc, and I managed to get my work done and never expected my instructors to make arrangements for me or to change the rules. Going to school was my choice, and I needed to fulfill my responsibilities. It seems that these students feel that since they are paying for an education, we should just hand them the grades. When did this happen?

When I was an undergrad, I would never have behaved this way, I would never have ordered my instructor on how to grade me or how they needed to change things to meet my needs. This has got to end, this is why people in the US work so many hours and are still unproductive. It starts with our children, they need to learn respect and what hard work is. They need to know that the world will not be handed to them on a silver platter and that if they want to achieve something, THEY have to work for it. Argghhh, OK I am done venting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It takes a village...

So Em and I were chatting about our close relationship and how it may seem odd to others. We would be very happy to all live under one roof, the kids see each other as siblings, and we are pretty interchangeable as the moms and dads. From the outside it may seem odd, but I really believe that it works for us and that our kids are reaping the benefits. Our kids think of themselves as one of six, and through these close relationships they have learned patience, responsibility, compassion and understanding. They have also had to learn how to adapt, as Em and I run our homes a bit differently. I will yell at her kids as much as mine and vice versa because I really believe I am invested in them and their best interests. I love her kiddos as my own, ad know she feels the same way, and while it can be hard to explain, this works for us.

We talk and talk about how if we came into money we would build this big house to live together. To me, it is the best idea, one big living area and then separate sleeping areas. The kids could enjoy the chaos and joy of a houseful of your best friends or worst enemies depending on the day, and we as moms could easily balance the raising of the kids. Big family dinners, a pool out back for summer and lots of animals all around for the kids to play and learn from. Land to run and dirt to dig in, what more could kids want?

I wish more people had what our families have. That deep trust and understanding that there isn't just one person there to pick you up, but a whole pack of them. The love and even the aggravation that comes from all these kids is worth the hard work.

I could never imagine it just being Ryan, me and the kids, it seems so lonely to think of life without Em, Ben and the kids, and I love who we all are, one big, crazy and maybe odd, family.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Oh boy!

So today was a bit of a roller coaster. First the whole Chicago thing. That is solved, we will both fly so he can be back for work Sunday night. Then there was a lot running around this morning. A visit to Dr. Tom where Em brought me coffee, a sign of a true friend who knew I was on the edge! Then off to make copies, we went to the store to grab paint chips for Dr. Tom since he wanted to paint his office a yucky dingy beige. Gray and I hopped in her car, we went to get Killi, then out to lunch. We have said we would hold off on lunch out, but it was an emergency, I was having a crappy day, so we needed it, OK!

After lunch, she dropped me at my car, and took Gray home with her. I graded exams, and they were awful, then the kids came home, ordered them a pizza (no supermom award for me today) then off to class. Now it is after 11 and Grayson has joined me on the couch where he is thrilled to watch Super Why. Although I am tired, I enjoy these small bits of my kids late at night. I never seem to mind if they get up and spend a little time with me late at night once in a while, it is a nice way to get one on one time. Plus he is 3 and has no big plans for tomorrow, so he can stay with me :)

You know what sucks?

When you are leaving for Chicago in a week and a half and don't have a flight because your husband is supposed to come with you. You have had you parents rearrange their schedules, including having you Dad miss something important at the firehouse so they can come babysit your kids. You ask for weeks and weeks for your husband to take the two days off that you will be away, and then when he FINALLY gets around to it they AGAIN tell him he can't have one of the days. This happens ALL THE TIME and I cannot understand why he doesn't understand that the people at his job do not think much of him. Now I am totally screwed, my parents were looking forward to having the kids to themselves and now I need to shell out all the extra last minute money and find a flight. He sucks.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Secret Talents

We all have them, it could be the ability to tie a cherry stem in a knot, or a weird way you can curl your tongue, but we all have weird secret talents. I used to think my only was one was crazy ability to beat anyone who challenged me in Whack-A-Mole or any such game. I never seem to miss, and it isn't even that I enjoy the game that much, I just am really good at it. Whenever we are anywhere with games and the kids, I always go and play Whack-A-Mole since I know that in three rounds, each kid will have a prize.

Now I have found out I am pretty good at Guitar Hero. Right from the start, it wasn't terribly difficult, and now I can pick any song, even if I haven't played it and get a 5 on easy. On medium, I can also do pretty well, and everyone should bear in mind I don't know most of these songs as I am not a rock girl by any stretch of the imagination.

Ryan told me that you could get a cool guitar if you get 5 stars on all songs, and I have except one that I just cannot get! I am a bit obsessive, so I am guessing that I will work on it until I get that guitar. Then I will go back to what I was working on before, getting perfect on each, OCD much?

Spring Fever

I am not sure if it is the fact that the sun is shining or that it is supposed to be 70 tomorrow, but Spring Fever has caught me! Thankfully it hit in a productive way, I have scrubbed my cabinets and counters, cleaned all the windows, started dinner, vacuumed the house and generally did a big straighten. The best part is, my house smells like spring, as all the cleaners are natural and have a fresh scent.

I also attacked the oven. When we bought this house the oven that came with the house wasn't old, but it wasn't well kept either. I don't think the previous owners ever cleaned it, and considering they had windows with no screens and generally neglected any upkeep on the house, the oven was really nasty. In the four years, I have cleaned the oven, a lot, but the window on the door just never would come clean. It made me crazy as it always made me think the oven was dirty, although it wasn't, so today I tried something new. I used simple baking soda and vinegar and let it sit for awhile. While it still isn't perfect, and never will be, it is so much better and there were no nasty fumes :) Maybe I will get that new oven in the next year, being that I cook so much, it would be a nice treat.

The last big accomplishment for today is that I finally place our seed order. Lots of great heirloom and organic varieties, and if they go well we will harvest some seeds for next year as well. I am anxious to get going, the tree issues should be handled this week, and then in two weeks the retaining walls will go in. Then the fence and the garden is ready to go!


There are topics I tend to stay away from discussing except with a small group of folks, one of these is religion. One reason is that I know many people have very strong beliefs, and as a result of that dedication, they cannot even consider an alternative. I think it is insulting to not even try to see where someone else is coming from, so I tend to keep my thoughts to myself. As my children grow older, I wish I had something to offer them religiously. I was raised in a house with a pseudo-Jewish father and Catholic mother, and we were raised Catholic (CCD, baptized, communed and confirmed!) I know that I do not want to be a part of the Catholic church, and as I have investigated options, I find that most Christian Church's are not what I am looking for either, their beliefs simply do not match mine. I like the idea of the Unitarian Church, and there is one in a town close by, but with Ryan working Saturday night, I would need to go alone. I am happy to do that, but the first time I want to have us both there to juggle the kids, and we haven't had a day that worked for us. I feel I am failing the kids in this respect, so my goal for the summer is to try that church, and if it works for me and my beliefs, we will make it a weekly trip.

A sign of things to come

Today has started off pretty nicely. I would have preferred to have slept past 6:45 on a Sunday, but we all got up in decent moods and the day has started on a good foot. The kids and I hung out in my bed for a little while, petting the cat and joking around. We came down and I toasted up some of yesterdays waffles, made some sausage and poured the OJ. The kids ate, I made coffee and everyone is happy. Even the sunlight seems happy; we have one of those glorious beams coming in from the plant window in the playroom and shining into the family room, one of those "hand of god" type beams, appropriate on a Sunday but shouldn't be wasted on a bunch of heathens like us. I love those, they always make me feel happy and hopeful, so I am taking it as a sign that today will be a good day.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Evening falls, dinner is done, kids are whining

Dinner was a heaping success. I ended up making the homemade pasta, I figure, it only take a few minutes to make and everyone loves it. The kids helped turn the crank so they were very happy to tell Daddy that they made the pasta :)

The roasted veggies turned out wonderful, although we did have a more "wintery" version tonight with parsnips, carrots, leeks, green beans, grape tomatoes, asparagus, onions, garlic, yellow squash and zucchini. In summer, I adjust to fit what we have fresh, but there is always fresh basil and a squirt of lemon at the end.

The kids are now cleaning the playroom...again. If they could only learn to clean as they go, it would be much easier. Then they are off to have a cup of tea before they are tucked into bed. Me, I am thinking of making a run to the local ice cream place to get some butter pecan ice cream. Maybe I should go hurry those kids along :)

Doing better

So my efforts to be a better mom are starting to pay off. Although Grayson STILL isn't sleeping, I am trying to not let my sheer exhaustion get in the way. We started off okay, although the kids seemed to want to get up at 6:45 for some reason. It was okay though, as Haven needed to be ready to go by 8:30 and I wanted to make them waffles and sausage for breakfast. We came down and I made a double batch of waffles (now we have extra in the freezer) then Haven got ready and I did the housewide vaccum, straighten, etc. Then I took a quick shower and headed in to see Dr. Tom, then stopped by the grocery store.

I am so tried of the standard winter dinner choices, I miss the fresh, robust tastes of spring and summer. I grabbed some sad looking fresh veggies, and will make my roasted veggies with basil and orzo for dinner. I am hoping that even though the veggies are not local or organic or even all that pretty, they will help tide me over until we are getting the good stuff again. I am also planning to make some yummy yeast rolls for dinner, and may even crank out some homemade pasta to use in place of the orzo.

Now I have a new batch of coffee roasting, Haven is playing at a neighbors, Britt and Gray just went up to rest (gray b/c he doesn't sleep and britt b/c she is still not feeling well). I will fold the three baskets of clothes, and then work on a paper for tonight. I also have grading to do, so I am hoping that new batch of coffee is as strong as it smells!