Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just can it

I had an old post saved I was going to put up. but decided not to.

Instead I will talk about our plans for Fall. As school begins, I decided to plan a few family outings. We looked at doing the state fair, but the kids LOVE the Maryland Renaissance Festival, so we will do that instead! We also need to go apple picking. We are returning to the orchard we went to last year up by my sister and hope to pick at least 200 lbs. We ran through our dried apples from last year, but still have some apple pie filling and apple butter. I plan to use these up in the next few weeks to make room for new jars. Apple season is a blessing and a curse. I literally need to can every free moment I have, and with a new baby it will be interesting this year, but we get so much for all that work. In addition, the house smells fantastic with all the cooking apples for weeks on end!

Anyway, it seems we are getting ready for the Fall and another new school year. I hope to have bright and ambitious students, and that my girls have successful years as well!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maybe i just need to change my approach

I have been thinking long and hard about my anxiety and my OCD and my need to be perfect and do everything and overachieve. I know the roots of it all, so no need to spend time discussing that, but what I need to figure out is how to not allow these things to take away from my life and joy. With a houseful of people, I need to determine how to fit my two jobs plus the extra classes I am writing, my doctoral program, housework and my general craziness all together in a way that makes everyone happy and allows me to feel like the days are mostly good and not anxiety inducing.

With school starting, I guess now is as good a time as ever to try to make changes. I am planning to schedule time to work every day, even if it means the baby screams in her swing for awhile. I need some kind of in and out in the day, I think it will make things easier for me to switch back and forth between work and home. I also want to find more time for our family to be together. This is a challenge with Ryan's schedule, the kids in school, activities and my work, but we need it. I think we will try to do family fun night every Friday when I get home from work. The whole family is here, no one has anything to do the next morning, so we can all play a game, watch a movie, etc. I am going to get a box and have the kids and grownups put in suggestions for things we can do, maybe go out for dinner, go to a movie, rent a movie, make s'mores (winter), that everyone can come together and enjoy each other. We are also going to TRY to do something as a family one Saturday morning a month. Ryan's schedule is tough and he needs to sleep some on Saturdays, but we can try to do something fun once a month. We know for sure he will be taking a Saturday off in October for the Renaissance Festival, the kids love it and we really want to go, so we are! Other ideas include a local museum, the park, go-karts, etc.

My main goal for the coming year is to be more patient, to not snap at the kids or yell at them unless necessary. Working from home means I can't leave the stress in the car on the ride home from the office, it is extremely difficult to change gears as quickly as I need to, and it leads to a snappy mama. That needs to stop, and I need to find a way to be thankful for the crazy schedule and loud house. So patience, order, structure and fun are my goals...I really hope it works!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I have so much to say

but can't seem to gather my thoughts.

Teagan is six weeks old tomorrow, and while we have some sort of a routine, it is not a good one and will be changed in the next two weeks. I am feeling overwhelmed, the house is more cluttered and disorganized than I like, especially the kitchen. I know that once I pick out, order and finally get the new dishwasher, much of that clutter will disappear, but for now the stack of paper plates and the very large and always filled dish drain remain. I want to get these big tasks done, but the baby is still so little and won't let me put her down for long which means I have to sit here and look at what I want to do rather than do it.

Am I dreading work....yes. Mostly just PT school since my FT gig is so flexible. I am also stressing about keeping up with our choices, staying on top of laundry, errands, two jobs, the extra classes I am writing, my classes, kid's activities, homework, cooking, cleaning, is overwhelming to me right now. Have we done a pretty good job? Yes. Is it good enough? I'm not sure. The CSA ends in a few weeks and then I will add the milk order back in, I just couldn't do both in the same week anymore. Maybe once school starts for everyone we will find a new routine, I can only hope.

I know this will pass, this blah feeling about everything. I know that soon it will be apple and pumpkin time, my favorite season. Then it will be winter with it's fires and warm blankets, again a favorite time of the year. We will find a path, I will make it all fit together, but right now I am just sitting here, looking at my glorious new girl and thankful to have these problems....many are not so lucky.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The grind is nearing

This is my last week of leave, PT school starts the first week of September and while I am happy to get back on campus, I really enjoy not having to be anywhere. Add to that that FT job starts the following week, as does dance and school for the girls, we will be thrown into the grind pretty hard! I realize I have it better than most, but still, I am enjoying just needing to take care of my family and not needing to work :(

We are enjoying a quiet weekend, trying to get a few tasks done, having some downtime and just enjoying each other. When we all go back to school, we rarely have time all together as a family. Ryan works Saturday-Tuesday, so he is off on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays and the girls are at school. While Grayson, Teagan and I get time with him, the girls do not, so family time is important right now. My teaching schedule this fall is good for him sleepwise, but hard on us for time together since I only get Thursday as a full day together. This is the trade off we make so that we both can work and still be around for the kids, but I would still like to only have one job. Maybe when we make the big in a few years we will be able to get me down to only needing to work the FT job from home.

OK, need to go and start dinner...grilled steak salad!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy 5th birthday Grayson!

I cannot believe it, but my one and only son turns FIVE today! He is such a fun addition to our family, silly and curious and always quick to make a joke. He has embraced his role as younger brother to Haven and Brittan and has been working on new ways to drive them crazy, but he also takes his job as big brother seriously and loves to check on, hold, sing to and kiss Teagan.

We call Gray the little politician, he can charm the pants of anyone he meets and he can somehow always finagle getting his way without being obvious.

Happy Birthday to my special guy, we love you so much and are so happy that you are part of our crazy family! Without you, poor Daddy would be all alone on the "boy team"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We have not had a real vacation this year, the trip to Vermont didn't happen since they had no internet and with the baby coming this summer we had nothing planned. We did, however, make a quick trip to Smith Mountain Lake the last few days to a house my parents rented with my aunt and uncle. While it was only a few short days, we had so much fun and are hoping my parents rent again next year so we can come for longer. As best we know, they are looking at houses while up there so that we can come next year along with my sister's family. It is great for us since it is only a 4 hour drive for both families and we had a blast on the boat. Here is a picture of me and three kids, Teagan stayed behind on dry land with my mother, four weeks old is too young for a boat ride!

We are also planning another beach trip. Last summer we rented a beautiful house in Avon, NC with the Fallon's and had so much fun. Nothing says beach vacation like six kids, a beach and lots of good fun! Next year we will have one extra kiddo, but expect that everyone will really enjoy playing with friends, fishing, messing around in the sand and hanging out on the decks. Right now, we are looking at beach house choices and I hope we are booked up and set by October. The last thing we are hoping to find is an affordable, used pop up trailer. We want to camp with the kids, but are also realists and know that as soon as it rains or there is a huge bug, they will want to be inside. We want something simple with beds and a table and the option to cook inside. Hopefully we will find something this winter so we can camp next summer too! We have a lot of vacation to make up for!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feast or Famine

It always amazes me the ebb and flow of our lives. In the summer I do not get paid by PT school so summers can be tight financially if we don't plan well. This year, we did plan and were all set and then we had a million things go wrong and break. This made for a tough time and a lot of stress for me during my pregnancy. As we approach September, there is a calmness that comes from that extra pay check each month, it allows us to have a lot more extra for fun stuff and activities.

Well, just as is our life, everything comes in extreme levels. Just like the summer being extra financially trying, the fall is looking to be extra financially lucrative. My boss offered me two classes that need to be written. While it is a lot of extra work, it is also a lot of extra the tune of 7K extra.

Now Ryan and I are trying to figure out what to do with that extra. Some will go to Christmas, some will go towards some things we need for the house, and some may go towards a vacation in the spring :)

Friday, August 14, 2009


I often wonder how folks can live places without seasons. Always as we near the end of one season, I am just getting anxious to move on. When winter seems to never end, spring shows up. Right now I am tired of summer. It hasn't been terribly hot, but we have been so out of sorts with me being pregnant and then giving birth, that I need to move on. I can't wait for fall to come, for the windows to be open again, the leaves crunchy gold and red. Fall is apple time here, and while that means I need to peel and can a million pounds of apples, it is still a great time. The kids go back to school, I go back to campus, the days are shorter and there is a hint of winter in the air. I love the change of seasons, and right now I cannot wait to move forward into fall, into sweaters and pumpkins and golds and browns and the glorious schedules that accompany that season!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sew not easy

Well, I thought that all that time I was on maternity leave I could get some sewing, NOPE! I really need to make my way down to the fabric store and get some fleece since I promised the girls new ponchos for Fall. They look pretty easy to make, so I just need to get the materials, pull out the machine, and get going. I also need to get some fleece to make a few sleep sacks for Teagan, they are so great in the winter when it gets chilly, so that will need to happen soon. As for the rest of the sewing I hope to do, I want to master skirts for the girls, they love hippie skirts that twirl, and being able to custom make them at home, to the length and size we need, would be awesome. Guess I will work on that come Fall!

Now I need to get some clothes on, my neighbor wants to come by and see the baby, so I will feed her, get dressed and then call. I have a nice dinner planned, mini BBQ meatloafs, corn on the cob and green beans...local beef from our cow, corn and beans from the CSA and I will probably make either corn bread or regular bread. Yummy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Growing and changing

Perspective is a funny thing. I think it is amazing how we grow in relationships. When we had Haven, I knew nothing! I needed to go back to work for financial reasons, but wanted to be home with her. She had so many issues as a baby, and really felt awful most of the time, crying,, screaming and vomiting! I was lucky that the first few months she was at my boss's house around the corner from the office where I could go and nurse her during the day. Then we moved and she went to stay with another mom who took great care of her, but she was far away. Thankfully I was laid off when she was nine months old...yes THANKFULLY! That gave me the swift kick in the pants to try new things and not hide behind my undergrad degree as my only way to make money. After getting laid off, I began babysitting for a friend of a friend's two kids, a four year old and a newborn. It was ok, but not really what I wanted. Then I got I began working part time for a local newspaper doing layout and got pregnant with Brittan. The job was also OK, but I didn't like the schedule and there were crummy office fun. After Brittan was born, I decided to start my Masters, and did when she was just a few weeks old. Stayed home until she was about 9 months old, then went back to full time work but closer to the house. I liked that job, didn't like teh travel part of it, or the boss :) Stayed there until Grayson was born, then quit to stay home. Then it happened, I found what I was looking for....ONLINE TEACHING!! Yes, I snagged my first part time online gig and first on ground adjunct spot within a few months of finishing my Masters. While it is hard to juggle the two jobs, the house, the kids and my own school, the alternative is to have to leave them every day and go to work. Now that is tempting sometimes, especially on rough days, but I cannot believe how lucky I have been as I have grown and changed in my career and motherhood. When I was pregnant with Teagan we tossed around the idea of us moving on me, with me getting the full time gig and Ryan staying home. We have decided that no one would be happy then! Ryan will keep working outside the home, and I will work inside it. I like making dinner and cleaning the house, I have an intimate relationship with my vacuum and know how to whip up a dinner in a half hour that s nutritious and tasty, Ryan does not and is not interested in learning. He likes leaving and seeing people at work and having that "other" place, I don't want to have to get dressed and be somewhere at a certain time, trust me, the adjuncting two days a week makes me complain about "real" clothes! We have found an great balance for our family and I really hope it lasts until we choose to change things up!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love Zillow

at least I do the last few weeks! Our house has gone up almost 15K in 30 days, and what is better than that is a foreclosure down the road sold for 10K more than their price and ours on Zillow and our house is bigger, our lot is bigger and our house is updated. For Ryan and I, this is a great sign that we will be able to move in two years. We need the housing market to get better and then Ryan will start looking for jobs in NYC. If needed, he will head up there while we wait for the house to sell and stay with friends or family and then the kids and I will follow later. We hope to buy a house upstate on the train line, I will keep working from home and hopefully snag an adjunct spot at a local college as well. Our dream is to get more land, FLAT land this time, a minimum of two acres and hopefully closer to five. We want to plant loads of fruit trees and make the mini farm I always wanted including chickens at the very least. The fact that this may happen, and soon, is so comforting to me since I am anxious to get out of VA!

On a side note, the baby is getting bigger by the day and hopefully when we get back from our quick trip to the lake this weekend, I will be able to move her into the cloth diapers. I need to get a routine going soon so I am ready for when school/work start, and although my washer is free almost every morning since we have kept on top of the laundry, diapers take a few washes so I need to plan for that every other day.

OK, off to bake bread for dinner. We are having spicy ham and beans with the bread, as well as a nice garden salad. Yum!

Struggling and nervous

OK, I admit it, I am having a tougher time than I thought I would. The house is staying clean, laundry done and food cooked, but I don't FEEL like I am on top of things. Even more of a concern is the fact that in four weeks I head back to both jobs, the girls head back to school and all Fall activities the same time. That makes me nervous! While I know it is a good thing, that we will be able to get into a routine, it is still something I am dreading since I am sure the first few weeks will be rough. I am also not getting out much with the kids, especially since I have all of them, it is summer and places are crowded. I am going out tomorrow, I have to, and will try to go to Wal-mart to return something and get copies of our key made and maybe the grocery store to get the stuff I need for the trip this weekend. I also need to get a list going for the trip to the lake house...lots of stuff for a two day trip.

Today I am focusing on resting since I didn't have a good night last night. Dinner is started and cooking, still need to run the vacuum and get the kids cleaning the playroom. I would also like or the kiddos to quit fighting, it is getting tired.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Random junk since I was up until 6 am

OK, first, just because it amuses me, I need to comment on technology. I remember going away to college and bringing with me my Apple IIE and dot matrix printer. The internet was made up of line items and hard to access and no one really had email. Now I am not THAT old, and this was in 1993, so only a mere 16 years ago, and look how far we have come. Right now, my browser has three tabs open. One is this blog post, one is Facebook and one is the classroom for the online university I teach for. In 1993, there were no blogs and that term didn't exist! There was no Facebook or anything like that, and I have to say that I love Facebook and its ability to help you reconnect with old friends, I find it so interesting to see what they are all up to and to rejoin their lives again. Lastly, I never considered that you could teach at an online school, and that the education be a really good, top notch one and that THAT could be your full time job! Working remotely is the best byproduct of the internet, and it has allowed me to be home with the kiddos while still earning a living, never saw that coming in 1993 either.

OK, onward. Last night the littlest member of the family was very unhappy. She was fussy, overtired, gassy and uncomfortable, which in turn means she wants to nurse all night, be held and make the mama just as unhappy. Needless to say, three HUGE dirty diapers and loads of gas later, she was finally relatively quiet around 6 am when I walked her down to my husband and handed her off. Then I promptly went back to bed until 9 am when I needed to feed her again. Haven was very sensitive to the foods I ate, but Brittan and Grayson were not, so I guessed that Teagan was doing well until we tested the dreaded eggplant parm.....not a good outcome. Guess I am off the eggplant parm until she is six months old and has a stronger belly. Overall, she is not sensitive to much, so I thankful for that.

OK, off to work and Facebook at the same time...maybe I should also Twitter :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hooray for Saturday!

Oh thank goodness it is Saturday and the hubby is home tonight! I made it through the week, and just need to make it the rest of today and we will be a-ok. Yesterday Gray had a doctor's appointment to check his leg and while I think it looks much better, the doctor was not impressed with his progress. We are now on fever watch,if he gets one we need to go straight to the ER since it means his joint is septic. He looks fine to me, aside from the limp, so I am guessing that is not the issue. He will, however, need to see an orthopedist if the leg is not better in a week, and the doc will check him again when we go for the baby's check up on the 21st. Seems this is the worse case she has ever seen of toxic synovitis...why am I not surprised it is my kid!

I then asked about the H1N1 vaccine and she understood our fears. With Haven, we worry that if there are any complications, especially neuro issues, she will get them, however we also worry about Grayson since his asthma is so bad. Right now we are just reading as much as we can. We will be getting the regular flu vaccine, and I am hoping Gray can have the nasal vaccine since his asthma has been under control, if not, I am requesting the mercury free shot for him, and nasal for the girls. Ryan and I will also get shots this year since Teagan needs us to all be protected to protect her. As for the H1N1 vaccine, I have to see what the potential side effects will be and will decide then, tough spot.

Then, just to make my day more fun, my car did a weird thing yesterday. While slowing down at a light, it was like it wasn't quite in gear and was hard to steer. When the light changed, I gave it gas and it jumped into gear. So far Chevy mechanics and my mechanic believe it is a fluke, but it makes me so worried. Being that I had already transferred a ton of my anxiety onto the car, and have not been driving much because of it, this did not help. I know worse case scenario it is only a repair, but seriously I am tired of dealing with car issues, my car is only 3 years old and well maintained!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Loving the quiet days

My baby slept like a champ last night, too bad I didn't get Gray settled until nearly 3 am, poor kid was in so much pain, but seems a touch better today. We have a regular Daddy free day today, so I am planning to get a lot done. It is rainy, we aren't leaving the house, so we should be able to accomplish a lot!

I have a load of laundry going, and two more to run this morning. The girls need to fold and put away their clothes and clean their room, Gray needs to straighten his and all kids need to clean and vacuum the playroom. The house needs a general straighten and I already vacuumed. I have a million cherry tomatoes that I need to dehydrate, so they will get peeled and seeded today and put in the dehydrator. I also have a ton of regular tomatoes that will get peeled, seeded and pureed and frozen for future use.

Tonight's dinner is eggplant and chicken parm, and while it is time intensive, the whole family loves it! I also have to make more bread and want to make the kids granola bars if I get to it. I really need to get back on the milk schedule, we haven't been to the farm since before I had the baby, since it is such a hassle to drive all the way out there. I love the milk, hate the drive and the cost. We would do well to just get organic milk from Wegmans, but or cheese making I will need the farm stuff. Tough choices!

Now I will enjoy my cup of coffee, check to see if I need to order more coffee beans to roast and be happy with the gloomy day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The long morning

It has been a tough 24 hours. Ryan ended up staying home last night because as he was due to leave, I ended up in a puddle in a meltdown. I was really afraid of having the kids along all night on an average of 1.5 hours sleep over five days. It was a good thing he stayed home since the baby was up screaming in the night, and he was able to take her away and let me sleep a few hours. I feel much better today!

This morning Teagan and Grayson had doctor's appointments. The baby is up to 7 lbs 10 ozs, so she is gaining nicely and she grew half an inch! The doctor thinks that Grayson's issue is Transient/Toxc synovitis he had a CBC done which was clear and we took him for an X-ray that we are waiting for results on. Thankfully, Emily was kind enough to take the older kids the afternoon and Teagan and I are getting a much needed rest. I also took the easy way out for dinner, and I am defrosting the stuffed cabbage I had in the freezer...heck the meat is free range/antibiotic free and the cabbage is from the CSA, so it is a good quick meal!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Keeping up

OK, last night was bad bad bad...but I also know it gets better. Teagan had a gassy belly and was up, screaming off and on,until four am. Grayson was up on and off from midnight and Brittan was up around 4 am...yes Haven slept. At 3 am I woke the husband and had a meltdown, didn't help me much with the baby since she needed to eat again soon, but he did wrangle the other kids and do the dishes in the middle of the night. Today we are very tired, I think Ryan slept from 10-3 and 5-8, I slept from 5-7.

My MIL came and went, and I am very happy she is gone. She infuriates me to no end, constantly passing judgement on others, telling us what to do, yelling at the kids and she made poor Haven so upset and made her feel like she was not wanted. Let me put it this way, I will NOT be encouraging another visit for many moons.

Last thing I need to do today is make dinner. I have chicken defrosted and think I will just season and cook in the oven. We will have rice and wax beans with it since I have a ton of beans to eat. Tomorrow Grayson and Teagan have doctor's appointments, Grayson has been limping for a few days and Teagan just needs a check up. Other than that, I plan to skin and freeze a bunch of tomatoes and dehydrate some of the smaller ones too. I have a really nice eggplant that I want to use this week, not sure if it will become eggplant salad or eggplant parm, it will depend on whether or not I try out the new pita recipe I have. OK, off to grab the screaming baby!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Other options?

I have said a few times that the husband and I are looking to get our of here in the next few years and that we had our sights set on heading north. Yesterday I found a few job options at my husband's current company, but at a different facility. He is going to look into them, as it may mean he can move to days and keep his seniority and many, many weeks of time off for being there so long. My sister is equally excited that he try for the job at the new facility since she was just hired by the same company working on a different part of a project that he also works on (total weird coincidence) and that the other facility is closer to their house. She really wants us to move up by her, and I would be OK with that since her area is very rural and we can easily afford something her way when we sell our house here. It would mean we could have multiple acres to grow on and animals, and I could stay on with my FT at home gig and the PT gig since it is within driving distance. I guess we will see what happens and which way things go, I hope we find the right path soon!

Taking bets, figuring out Haven and what were we thinking

Interesting title, this post should be a big mish mash, and please keep in mind the baby was up to eat every two hours and I haven't had any coffee yet.

Taking bets....

My mother in law is supposed to come visit today to see the baby, and I guess by default, the rest of us. This is the first time I have seen her since the big to do on Easter Sunday and I am not looking forward to it. I am also not happy that she is coming only on the days my husband has off, I am guessing I will get almost no help and then have to face the week with little to no rest. Great. She said she will be here around lunchtime, which is interesting since it is a 7 hour drive from LI and she is known for being late, like days late, for everything. The best part is, she never calls to tell us if and when she leaves, so we get to be stuck at the house waiting! I am taking bets on when and if she arrives...I am guessing she will show up sometime around 10 pm if at all.

Figuring out Haven
We try so hard to live a natural lifestyle. We eat food that is as pure as possible, I use natural cleaners, we breastfeed and cloth diaper, recycle and compost. We limited and adapted vaccines for the thre older children and are at present not vaccinating Teagan until she is two. It irks me to no end that Haven needs daily medication. I KNOW she needs the epi pen available just in case she has a reaction, but we thankfully have not needed to use it. I KNOW she needs the Depakote to control the seizures, but I hate giving it to her every day. We had taken her off the ADHD meds after school ended as the neurologist felt that she only needed them to help her get over the hump of going from a world full of seizures and missing information, to one now free from seizures and filled with an overwhelming amount of information. As the summer progressed, we found that she was really struggling to stay on task, to follow directions and to have self control. Some we believed was due to her being off schedule, especially the food schedule (she needs to eat a very balanced diet, low in carbs and sugars including natural sugars) as well as all the changes with the baby coming. A week ago, we tried her back on the ADHD meds and she is so much better, but it pains Ryan and I that she NEEDS it to function. I am OK with necessary medications, but I wish the real Haven could come through without it....but if she is off, we lose our girl and she is in constant trouble. It is a terrible place to be.

What were we thinking?
Um, I have FOUR kids..that is a lot of kids, my rear view mirror is full of little faces and the infant seat since Teagan is rear facing. We are a LARGE family, and while it is what I wanted and I love it, all I can say is WOW, we have A LOT of kids!