Wednesday, March 31, 2010

O blog, why do I struggle

I have been trying to post for days, but everything has either been stressful, negative or mundane, and I figure everyone already has enough of that in their lives right?

So, instead I will share with you what we are up to...and what we are dealing with.

House is in chaos as the playroom is packed and getting ready for paint and carpet. I cannot wait until that room is done, organized and the baby has a safe place to play. The master bathroom is ready to be primed and painted. We will also be putting in a new floor in both upstairs bathrooms, but not until June or so. The rest of the house is being scrubbed and cleaned and organized, spring cleaning is the best! The plans for the garden are underway, seeds will be started next week, and Ry has orders to build the raised bed in the front side yard. The kid's playset was falling apart, so we are ordering a new "kit" and Ry will build the new frame. The playset is also moving from the backyard to the cleared area on the side of the house. Gray has big plans for a fort there too, right on the edge of the woods, so I am hoping we can make that happen for his birthday. Lastly, the move of the playset has opened a nice little spot for the pool we got last year and never set up. The kids will be so excited!

Now here is what we are dealing with. First we need to address the drainage issue out back so we don't flood. Second, I am super stressed about comp results, they are not in yet. Third, my parents come this weekend and did I mention we are in major renovations? Fourth, my oldest kid is bringing home crap grades, has a crap attitude and basically is lazy and sloppy. Not sure how much MORE strict we can be, but if she brings home one more bad paper, she is out of activities and she will be in big ole trouble with me. We also began the no TV on school days rule this week, and I am hoping that will allow me more time to get her to sit down and do what she needs to do. She is so smart, but she needs to pay attention to what she is doing! She is failing spelling tests because she refuses to practice the now she will be writing them 5 times and spelling them orally 5 times a day for me as a way to ensure she knows them. Parenting is hard.

Oh...and I had a really bizarre dream last night with Gordon Ramsey in it...really bizarre.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My kid is weird

and I have the video proof...


I joke with my husband regularly, usually when he is tickling me or trying to rough house with me and I yell at him "I am a DELICATE FLOWER" of if I really want to get my point across, "I am a DAMN DELICATE FLOWER" It usually makes him laugh, because most people would not think of me as delicate in the slightest, plus I think he thinks it is funny that I scream this with my hands on my hips ala Eloise. Physically, I am well...sturdy, I bear children well :) I juggle a lot, handle a lot of stress and manage work and kids fairly well. I would guess that anyone who met me once or a hundred times would not use the word "delicate" to describe me. But see, I am delicate. I am driven by emotion, everything I do is based on emotion, and that leaves me open and raw. I get my feelings hurt easily, I get taken advantage of and I believe that people will choose to do the right thing, not the easy thing. I care, a lot, about the people in my life, and when things go awry, that delicate flower gets hurt.

Is it my fault? Probably. I should have a thicker skin, I should demand better for myself. I should be harder on others and less accommodating, but then I wouldn't be me. I am happy with who I am . I am happy with assuming the good in people and trusting and being willing to do for everyone else before myself, that is who I am, and I am ok with it. Just remember that those "got it together" women may be delicate on the inside, and remember that they have feelings too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Can I run for the hills now?

It has been a shit week, sorry, no other way to say it. I have dealt with misbehaving kids, misbehaving students, exhaustion, garbage at work, stress at home and numerous other stressful moments. I want the week to be over, and my husband be home, but with his new schedule, that won't happen until Sunday. On the bright side, we are taking all four kids for pictures and dinner out on Sunday, no way that will be a problem right?

To change subjects, I need to get a plan for the garden going. We have talked out the plan, but we don't have the seeds to start. I am thinking of taking the whole crew out tomorrow to pick up the seeds we need...yeah, Lowes on a Saturday morning...again, no stress right?

Anyway, I need to get off the computer and go to bed, it has been a trying day and I fear it will get worse before it gets better.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What to do with all this free time!

Wow, after the craziness of traveling and my exams, my regular life seems somewhat calm! I have had a great week, Monday and Tuesday we started the great reorganization of the house. The Living Room got scrubbed top to bottom, the foyer was reorganized and I refinished the floors...I also put the rug from the Family Room in there. We also moved a rug we have had forever and that used to be in the Living Room into the Family Room and it has really brought everything together. Ryan also prepped our bathroom to be painted, patching the walls, and I will prime it this weekend.

We are also packing up all of the toys in the playroom to get ready to paint and lay new carpet. The outside will be next in line, the garden needs to be tilled and the new drainage system installed. I love Spring!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Posters and their judgments

It amazes me the people that stumble upon each other online. In fact, I have made quite a few friends online that I hold near and dear....and then there are the other people.

The world is full of opposing views, that is what makes it so great, but the key is, we need to respect each others views. I am willing to chat with anyone about anything, so long as you are educated on the topic and willing to at least consider my side as well. Mutual respect is important, and who knows, you may learn something!

Finally, please, please, please...get the facts right!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A very full life

This has been an interesting week, one where all of my duties pulled me in every direction possible.

My comp exams are due tomorrow at midnight. I am in editing stage now, and think I did a good job, however you really never know until you find out if you passed or failed. It will be a long two week wait around here, but I really did my best and think I am ready to move forward with my I just need the professors grading my exam to think so too!

The kids and I played hooky Friday, and it was a much needed break! We went into DC with the Fallons and enjoyed the spring day. Aside from some issues with listening from Grayson, which seems to be a new thing we have going on, the day was really fun and exhausting all rolled into one! I promised the kiddos that we will go into DC again during their spring break, and they were very happy to hear that.

Today we had to get up and at 'em early because Brittan (7) had her first race! She was running in a one mile kids race and she did great. I have been "encouraging" her to try these races since she likes to run and is pretty good at it. Plus, if you know my Britty, you know that she is quiet little thing and is not into team sports. Running for her seems to be a good fit, and she had fun today and said she wants to do it again!

Thankfully the beautiful spring weather is helping me hold onto my sanity as the end of a frantic week approaches. I am looking forward to next week, since it has been two weeks since I had my "normal" schedule, and my messy house proves it :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shedding tears and the rules

Oh my it has been a hard week. My comp exams are kicking my rear, BUT I am more than 2/3 of the way through and by tonight I should only have three or four pages left to write tomorrow. The exam is due Sunday at midnight, so finishing up tomorrow will give me plenty of time to edit and make sure my APA style is perfect.

The kicker is...I only need to get a 3 out of 5 average on the rubric they designed. That is only a 60%! I have not gotten a 60% on anything since, well, my days at Clemson! My problem is I am trying to make it perfect. Make the APA perfect. The content perfect. Everyone keeps saying to stop stressing, I write well, etc, but for me, I cannot do it unless I strive for perfection. Then the flip side of the fear is, what if I strive for perfect and I don't pass? Then what do I do?

Did I mention that since I came home from my trip, my baby is a giant pain in the rear when it comes to sleep. She naps great in her pack and play and we never set up her crib since we were doing so well....but that is rapidly changing! Now all night long, if she is in bed with me, she is pinching me, flailing and trying to nurse....not good. If I move her away or in her bassinet, she WAILS for HOURS. Last night I was on the phone with Ry at 3 am just balling because I was so so tired and she was just screaming! Finally she went to sleep and slept great in the bassinet, but seriously it was a trial and I am so tired today while trying to write the exam.
Needless to say, Ry is off Monday and the crib is going up in her room...I am over the all night pinch battles.

Of course while in the midst of comps, and with a load of work, the only logical thing to do is to let the kids play hooky tomorrow and take them downtown to the museum. Yep, the weather is going to be warm and sunny and a good friend was talking about doing the same thing, so I decided we needed a mental health day. All four kids and I will be heading into DC to a museum and to ride the carousel and to enjoy the beautiful day. Those last three or four pages will just need to wait until I get home from having fun with my kids.

Off to write more using big ole fancy words :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And now for a commercial break....

I am taking a break from writing my comp exam to eat lunch and blog. So far the exam is going well, I am at just shy of 4 pages and I have barely gotten going...should be interesting how long it is when it is all said and done!

I keep telling my husband that I want a cake from Duff when I am done with my dissertation. I want me, in my cap and gown and hood, climbing a mountain with my hand on my diploma and all four kids hanging off of the graduation gown. Today I amended that idea and told him that the diploma should be in a bowl of guacamole with a coffee on the side. That is the food of the end stage of this process....lots of homemade guacamole and loads and loads of coffee.

So if you ever see them making a cake with a crazy lady climbing a mountain towards her guacamole covered diploma on Ace of Cakes, you will know I finally made it to the end!

Me in a nutshell

My bloggy friend Casey posted this test, and I think my results were pretty accurate....interestingly enough, she and I had the same results!

Your result for The Quick & Painless ENNEAGRAM Test...

6 - the Questioner

Thanks for taking the test !

you chose CY - your Enneagram type is SIX (aka "The Loyalist").

"I am affectionate and skeptical"

Questioners are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me

• Be direct and clear.

• Listen to me carefully.

• Don't judge me for my anxiety.

• Work things through with me.

• Reassure me that everything is OK between us.

• Laugh and make jokes with me.

• Gently push me toward new experiences.

• Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a SIX

• being committed and faithful to family and friends

• being responsible and hardworking

• being compassionate toward others

• having intellect and wit

• being a nonconformist

• confronting danger bravely

• being direct and assertive

What's Hard About Being a SIX

• the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind

• procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself

• fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of

• exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger

• wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right

• being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations

SIXes as Children Often

• are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn

• are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger

• form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent

• look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel

• are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

SIXes as Parents

• are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty

• are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence

• worry more than most that their children will get hurt

• sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele, The Enneagram Made Easy. Discover the 9 Types of People.

Harper: San Francisco, 1994, 161 pages

You liked the test? so S P R E A D I T ! tell everyone!!!

(copypaste the HTML-code from below to your profile or blog!)

please, leave a comment HERE

you wanna know MORE? so check out, what Wikipedia says about your type... ...even more you'll find in Google


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You chose CY. Use the BACK-button on your browser see the other options!

Take The Quick & Painless ENNEAGRAM Test at OkCupid

Monday, March 15, 2010

Food Inc

Please, if you eat food, watch this movie. It is not one of those "shock" videos and while disturbing, it is done more on an intellectual level. Some of what they discuss we, as a family, already knew and spurred the change in our food acquisition, but so much we did not.

I am not perfect and will never be able to be self sufficient with no reliance on big business and the food it produces, but there are some key changes that we all can make to get cleaner food. As consumers, we need to make it known that what is going on is NOT okay with us, and only then, when we change how we buy, will the industry change.

We already get our beef direct from the farm. We get meat from ONE cow. They are grass fed, roam free in the fields and are antibiotic and hormone free. I know where my meat comes from, and should there ever be an issue, the farmer knows which cow my family has. Not to mention, the meat tastes better and is healthier!

We get our milk from a dairy in PA just over the border The milk is non-homogenized and only lightly pasteurized. It comes from grass fed cows with no antibiotics or hormones. I would prefer raw milk, but with kids with some autoimmune issues, we err on the side of caution.

We try to grow our veggies and if we cannot, we get them from local organic farmers whose faces we know. This cuts back on the carbon footprint, and helps us to get healthy, organic, non-modified foods. Again, not perfect, but we are getting there.

Next in line for us...pork. We have found a local farmer whose pigs are free ranged in the forest. They let the pigs roam, about 1-2 per acre, free over their 26 acre farm. The only fences are the ones around the entire farm, and the one around the farmhouse to keep the pigs out of the garden. They do not clip teeth, nails or ears and there are no antibiotics or hormones. We will split a whole butchered hog with another family, and while not cheap, we will pay about $4 a pound for 75 pounds of meat. I am comfortable with that.

Eggs come from the farm where the chickens roam free, and they taste fantastic and have deep yellow almost orange yolks, not those pale things from the grocery store. Chicken remains our most difficult purchase. Free ranged poultry is so expensive, around 18 dollars per chicken, and we do not have the land to raise and butcher our own. I am looking to locate a local farmer who we can purchase whole chickens in bulk from and split with another family. I am hoping to be able to get whole chickens, about 40 per family, and that we could get a discount on the purchase.

Cook at home, cook from scratch, you can control so much more if you start with the ingredients.

Please, learn about where your food comes from. Learn about WHY government is not doing their job to protect you. Support local farms and farmers, help keep them farming so they do not need to work with the big corporate giants and they can supply clean food to the public. Eat local push back on big business, consumers have the power to change things!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I often wonder how people define themselves. We all have many roles we play, but which of these truly define us, and identify who we believe we are.

I am always a wife and mother first, before being a woman or employee or even a person. I wonder if this is the root of my problems with feeling taken advantage of? Ryan always tells me to take time for myself, to just do what I want or need, but I really have no clue how to make that happen without relying on someone else to stand in the wife/mother role.

I love my life, my world, my roles. Even on my worst day, when patience is thin and I am stretched to the limit, I wouldn't trade my life for anything else. I would, however, like to be able to define myself differently some days, so that I could look out for me and make sure that my needs are met, just like I make sure my families needs are met.

Mothers take on too much it seems. Those that stay home completely embed themselves in their kid's or husband's lives, working on committees and PTO's and being their for their family's needs constantly. Those who work outside the home focus on work when there, but always with their family on their mind, and when home, they cram all of the mom duties in to a short time, again taking no time for themselves. Then there are the hybrid workers, like myself, where work and home are constantly overlapping and there is no beginning or end to either, which means there is also no chance for "mom time." Being a mom is a hard job, the hardest I have ever done, and I hope that I am doing a good job and that all the sacrifices are worth it and my kids grow into good, strong and productive adults.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Target giveaway

Go visit my friend Jen (who I know from HS) and enter to win a $50 Target giftcard. Then spend some time reading her blog about her homeschooling adventures in Upstate NY. She is one cool mama :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Updates galore

Wow it has been a crazy few weeks!

Here are a few highlights.

1. Went to Pittsburgh, came home from Pittsburgh, survived and had a little fun.
2. Hubby's family is still a huge mess.
3. Baby cut her second tooth and has begun napping which is saving my sanity.
4. Work is busy, but manageable.
5. We got our half a cow and now the freezer is pretty full, just need to stock up on chicken and pig next, then the summer bounty of veggies.
6. My comprehensive exams for my doctorate are next week and I am strangely calm.
7. It is gloomy and rainy and I want the sun and the windows open.
8. We have many summer trips planned and I am so excited. Beginning the week after the kids are out of school, we will be traveling every two to three weeks all summer.

Off to feed a sweet baby.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well hello down there!

I made it to Pittsburgh for my big meeting. Ride was nice, and along the way I saw two really encouraging things, a BP solar farm and and a wind farm, not to shabby for a 4 1/2 hr drive!

So the ride went well, getting to the hotel did not. Seems there is construction and my handy dandy GPS Lola was not aware and couldn't find any way to get me in except to take the ONE turn I couldn't. It was a little frustrating to be within site of the hotel multiple times and not be able to get there, but I did finally make it, and got settled. Last night I met with a bunch of coworkers at dinner and we had a lot of fun, I then went for a drink(!) with an old coworker who now runs another department. It was such a nice break from my day to day, but I miss the kids and Ry like crazy.

I thought I would sleep well last night, but alas without little toes digging in my side, i can't sleep. I have been up since about 4:30, and have a load of meetings today, but I am hoping that will mean I will sleep well tonight.

I am hoping to get some video of my room later, it is very very fancy schmancy and I am way up on the 20th floor so I have a great view.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And away we go.....

Tomorrow is the start of two weeks of craziness...I know, and you all thought it was crazy here to begin with!

I leave to go on a business trip tomorrow and won't be home until Thursday around dinnertime. This is a long time for the Mama to be gone, especially since my kids have had me working from home for nearly five years. I am both dreading and looking forward to the trip. I am excited to sleep alone, in a dark bedroom. I am also excited to meet my coworkers and get to know them. I am dreading the long drive each way, and being away from the kiddos. They may make me crazy, but I really love seeing their little faces beaming at me at the crack of dawn, all day long, at bedtime and a few times through the night :)

After returning from the trip, I have to take my doctoral comps (insert Doom and Gloom music here) I am nervous, but also think I am prepared, so I am hoping all goes well. These are a huge deal in a doctoral program as they determine if...yes get to move on to your dissertation. I plan to try to bang most on them out on Monday and Tuesday when Ry is off, and then just edit and proof and adjust the rest of the week. Ah the best laid plans.

Off to pack some more, work, write lectures....leisurely night before the big trip!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Important Observations

My general calmness and happiness is directly related to the length of the baby's naps and the ability for the big kids to play outside.

This afternoon I am the calmest I have been in days and I believe it is because my baby took a HUGE nap this morning and is napping again now:) My big kids are all playing outside, which is something we all have missed. They are all occupied and I can think!

I have also noticed that my baby has the must luscious and perfectly chubby thighs and toes and I cannot wait for the warm weather so she can wear dresses and no tights and share with the world.

Sometimes the present is so daunting, you have to keep looking towards the light

I know I have been whiny and complain-y here lately, but you must understand that I have two big things on the horizon, my work trip followed by comp exams. I am sure that by Sunday March 21st at midnight when I submit my exam I will be calmer.

Right now life is hard. The baby has a cold and just wants to be held, but I can't hold her all day or I can't work. If I try to hold her and work, she tries to type on my computer...not good. The schedule that Ryan works means that he is never here when all the kids are here, and that is making me tired since I need a day of help.

The bright side of all this is that PT school is over the first week of May, and my last last LAST class in my doctoral program is done the end of April. I have residency in June, but it is local, so easy.

Summer is better for me. I only have one job, but I have lots of kids! I can usually plan our week to balance out days and home days to give me time to work. The longer days make me feel more productive and calmer. I will not be taking any classes, but I will be writing my dissertation, but only in Ry's days off I decided.

Next year should be smoother. Gray is in school full day along with the big girls. Teagan will be the only one home and will be over a year old, so she will be able to be distracted from time to time to allow me to work. I have been working HARD on making her nap and it is getting better, she has been sleeping over two hours in the pack and play in the living room in the morning, and soon we will work on forcing the afternoon nap. She really needs the sleep since she tries to go to bed at 6 every night and then wants to wake at 6! I need to get her on an 8 pm bedtime, so an afternoon nap is important.

The biggest "light" is that sometime in the next few years, I will be done with school, and I will be able to step down to just one job. The thought of having to work only one job is both exciting and daunting, but I look forward to slowing things down soon.

So for now I choose to try to look past the chaos towards the light.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Calmer Day

OK, I am over my meltdown and no one filed for divorce :)

Sometimes it can be hard for me to juggle everything, and when that happens, it becomes clear how unbalanced everything is. A lot of that is my fault, as I was the one who kept taking things on, but still it can be tough some days.

The hubby and I are fine, he realizes that the meltdowns need to happen sometimes, and I am staring down two major stressors, my upcoming trip and my comp exams.

A plan has been made, and once I get "grownup" shoes for the trip (ie no Uggs or flip flops) I will be ready to go. *sigh*

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Taken advantage of

I have had it and I am wishing I could go on strike so my family could see what I really do around here.

I am feeling very unappreciated, especially since I handle ALL the kids stuff (doctors, appts, projects, etc), work at my FT job, my PT job and I am writing courses which is another FT job! Oh did I mention that I am trying to finish my doctorate?

I am overwhelmed with work, then add to it that get little to no assistance at home.

The baby never sleeps...ever. She barely naps, maybe 20 minutes or so, and if that happens I spend all that time running around switching laundry, cleaning up, doing dishes etc. She also doesn't sleep well at night, which means I don't sleep at night. I never expected to sleep through the night being that my other kids still get up, but would like to sleep more than 2 hours consecutively. In addition, it would be ever so nice not to have to listen to the husband bitch he is tired when he is not up at night with anyone, EVER.

I am sick of cleaning up after everyone. If I didn't work, then fine, I would understand taking that on, but I DO work, A LOT, and I make the most money, why is it that I do all the cleaning too?

I have my comp exams in two weeks for my doctorate. This is a big deal, actually a HUGE deal, and my husband basically blew me off when i was stressing about how I would fit the exams in with everything else I do.

All I want is a day off, a real day off from work like everyone else in the world gets. I work seven days a week, and possibly get two days off per year, that is insane and torture. All I want is to be respected, loved, supported and helped, and right now, none of those are happening.

OK, done bitching, I have more work to do :(