I have to give credit where credit is due, my dear friend Emily who I have slowly begun dragging over to the dark side where we eat organic and recycle, found us a place to get chicken! We get our beef from a local farm, and it is delicious and affordable. See she has a family of five, we have a family of six, so feeding the family good food still needs to be manageable and buying a half cow at a time and splitting it between families does that.
Now chicken has been a difficult task. Chicken is notoriously "dirty" as food goes. The way the chickens are raised: antibiotics, animal by-products, growth hormones, filth. The way they are processed...yuck. But chicken that is natural and clean is hard to come by at a price we can pay. The farm we frequent sells roasts, that are about 5 lbs, for over 16 dollars. Feeding our families chicken that was healthy was not affordable until today, today Emily found local, relatively inexpensive, healthy chicken. I placed our first order today, and as long as it is up to standards, I expect to be filling my freezer full. The company she located also has tons of other items, including cheeses, grains, produce, and meats, so I am excited to have another resource at my fingertips, and another way to tempt Emily to my side....bwaaahahahaha!
I planned to take it easy today, I had promised a pesto tortillini salad for the teachers at the girl's school, and I made it first thing this morning so Ryan could run it up when he got home. The rest of the day was to be easy, run the vacuum, maybe switch laundry, but mostly just veg since I really need a down day, but then it happened.....the baby decided to take a looooooong morning nap. She went to sleep and I knew it would be awhile, so Grayson and I decided to make a chocolate cake, which was quite the adventure being that it was the first time he helped make a whole dessert! We made the cake in two layers, and since Teagan was still sleeping, we used some of my canned strawberries to make a strawberry layer for the cakes. She was still zonked, so I took the chicken from Monday's dinner and started stock. I am planning to make lemon chicken orzo soup for dinner, and once the stock is made, the rest comes together quickly. So, since the baby was STILL sleeping, I decided we needed something with the soup and made a batch of bread that is now off sitting for it's first proof. My house smells delicious, the stock is bubbling, the cakes are cooling and the bread with its yummy yeasty aroma is rising. The laundry was switched, the floors vacuumed and I feel accomplished, happy and content at my ability to care for my family.
Now if only that baby would wake up so I could play with her!
BTW...I am hoping to share my big news tomorrow....still taking guesses :)
Oh how the specialists love us. With Haven it is always an adventure in healthcare, and just to keep us on our toes, she decided to start having double vision and seeing light flashes yesterday. Now you moms of normal kids might dismiss this as "kid stuff" and being that she has neuro issues (epilepsy), we knew we needed to have things checked out. Now Haven is exciting to live with since we have never gone to a specialist and walked out without a diagnosis, and never what I was expecting. So we went to the pediatrician yesterday who confirmed the problem was neurological and made us an appointment with a neurologist in town. I called Haven's pediatric neurologist who is an hour away, and she was out of town and being covered by another pediatric neurologist who was a mere hour and a half away! Regardless, we got in the car this morning, drove to the neuro and had things checked out.
The good news is whatever is going on does not seem to be too major. The bad news is we are not sure what is going on. She has been scheduled for a 24 hour EEG which will give us some insight, and if the double vision comes back and persists, we will head in for an MRI. Our hope is that she just needs her meds adjusted and we can go back to our crazy life, but for the moment, her neuro concerns are on our minds.
I have big news, really big, fantastic, wonderful and exciting news, but I just cannot share yet. I have to wait a few more days JUST to make sure all my little ducks are in a row and then I will be happy to share. Part of why I haven't been blogging is in relation to this big news, so hopefully my one loyal reader will again be blessed with daily update of my shenanigans with the tribe.
I will give an update on the littles. Haven is having a great few weeks, super helpful and good behavior. Britt has been good, a little whinier than usual, but she is always like that as the school year starts to wrap up. Gray has been good, thankfully we nipped the school issue in the bud. Not that he was ever bad, he just kindly refused to do what was asked of him...at least he was polite. Teagan...oh she is a funny little thing. She is into EVERYTHING, so fast and busy and silly. We have had to order a big gated playpen, nicknamed "baby jail" so we can keep her safe and confined. I did pick her up a new big fun toy, so at least baby jail won't be torture.
but have been so damn busy. I forget how crazy the end of semester is. Tons of grading, projects and getting everything together.
I guess we will be back in full force in about three weeks.
Until then, I will share the disgusting story from yesterday. My husband and the two littles went to lunch at a local eatery and I ordered their burger that has grilled onions, bacon and cheese on it (this is important). I always cut my burgers into quarters, and after eating one quarter I picked up the next one and realized that the burger patty was raw...not rare, RAW. I couldn't tell on the first quarter because all the "stuff" on the burger covered it. Needless to say, I was sick to my stomach yesterday afternoon and had to consider the risk of e coli and how that would affect Teagan who is still nursing. I am FURIOUS with the restaurant because they also CHARGED us for the burger. I have emailed the manager and I am waiting for a response, and god help them if Teagan of I get ill. Seriously, RAW?
So far so good on the day...here are the highlights.
Awesome yummy breakfast of eggs and cheese on biscuits. Hubby came home early and attacked the evil honeysuckle outside Haven did her punishment chores without complaint Laundry was washed Bathrooms were cleaned Floors were vacuumed Dishes were washed My work work is done 15 papers for PT school (out of 47) are graded Bread is rising Baby took awesome morning nap Britt has a good dance class
Still on board for the afternoon... Need to finish the brisket that is cooking for dinner Need to make potato pancakes for dinner Need to start the pizza dough for tomorrow night's Make Your Own Pizza Funtacular Need to make another batch of Mozzarella cheese for tomorrow nights Make Your Own Pizza Funtacular Need to start seeds Baby needs second nap Laundry needs to be switched Dishes need to be switched Need to grade another 15 papers Need to write a paper
So far so good, lets hope the day continues to be productive....and did I mention how yummy the brisket smells??
I have made biscuits before...from the can, from a mix, from a box. I have always been afraid of making real scratch biscuits because I worried they would be tough or flat or hard. I have no fear of yeast breads, but there is something about cutting cold butter into flour that makes me cautious.
Tonight we were having a chicken cacciatore-esque meal and I did not get home early enough to make focaccia which was what I originally planned. So when my girls came home from school, I asked them if they wanted to make biscuits with me. Haven wanted to read, but Brittan was up for the challenge and we got down and dirty.
We of course doubled the recipe so we would have leftovers for breakfast, but the process was easy, even cutting the butter in! It was a great math lesson for Britt since we doubled the recipe, she had to practice doubling measurements. I rolled the dough out so it would stay tender, and she was the official biscuit cutter, and she did great.
We baked them off and when they came out I was so nervous. They smelled great. They looked fantastic. Then we tasted and they were so, so good!
Biscuits will never come from a can in this house again. I always have the ingredients on hand for homemade biscuits, flour, salt, sugar, butter, milk. It was really quick and easy to make, and I felt good giving them to my kids. Heck, even the baby indulged in a biscuit!
Tomorrow morning the kids will get biscuits with farm fresh eggs for breakfast. Delicious.
You are such a joy to us and I cannot imagine life without you. You bring us all happiness, always quick with a smile and laugh to show off your dimple. You are also one busy baby! You crawl well, pull up on everything, cruise the furniture and our legs and can easily get from laying down to sitting. You are working hard on getting to standing, and I am guessing you will be walking long before your first birthday. You love to crawl to your toy bin and pull out all of your toys, and you think peek-a-boo and the itsy bitsy spider are great entertainment. You are a sneaky devil, always going for my laptop or cell phone, and you can pull everything off the couch in a few seconds flat. You love your siblings and light up when your brother or sisters enter the room, reaching for them to take you to play.
Had an early start to the day today, Teagan decided to get up at 6 am, but she was so happy and smiley, that I had no choice but to get up with her and play. We came downstairs and made some waffles since the kids love to have a homemade breakfast before school and it is not often that I have the time.
Got the girlies off to school, switched laundry and a few other tasks and then Teagan and I dozed on the couch for a half hour while Grayson played. The rest of the morning was lovely, laundry was switched, dishes done, lots of playing and I got all of my work work done for the day! After lunch, Gray went off to play, the baby went up for a nap and I got a few more housekeeping tasks done before settling in to relax for a bit.
All I have left is to make dinner and straighten up, maybe I will make some cheese. Haven has dance, but Ryan will take her, and I am thankful for a quiet and peaceful day at home.
Yesterday was a busy day, I needed to complete my Comp Exam rewrite and wanted to send it in a few days early to ensure that the faculty mentor they had assigned me had ample time to review it. Around 1 pm, while Ryan and Gray were at Ikea poking about and the baby was napping, I finalized the paper and emailed it over. Needless to say I was stressed, but I had better things to worry about, like the wisdom tooth extraction I had scheduled at 3 pm.
Went to the dentist and had the extraction (no stitches!)and stopped and dropped off the Percocet script on my way home. I ended up spending the better part of the afternoon high on Percocet and with an ice pack strapped to my face, laying in bed watching mindless TV. Then my Blackberry vibrated and I saw the message from my dean.... I PASSED MY COMPREHENSIVE EXAM!
For a doctoral student this is a HUGE accomplishment. I now have ABD (All but Dissertation) status and I am considered a Doctoral Candidate rather than a Doctoral Student. May seem silly, but at this level of education, this is a big deal.
My dean has already requested my area of research and potential committee members, Hopefully in just over a year I will have a pretty little "Dr." in front of my name and I will have accomplished the hardest task I have ever set for myself besides being a good wife and mother.
Understand that this company is growing corn WITH Roundup in it. Understand that same corn is being used in our food. Yes, they are feeding us poison and no one is regulating this, testing this, STOPPING THIS.
Please care. Please think about what is in the corn flakes you just poured your child, in those cookies, in your bread. Please think about what you and your family are eating, aren't you worth healthy POISON FREE foods?
Contact your local congressman/woman and tell them to make this stop....Please.
I have never been good at keeping secrets, and people often tell me that how I feel is written all over my face.
I don't usually like secrets, I think they are kind of like lies, usually lies of omission, but sometimes a secret can be good.
Secrets shared between friends and loved ones, secrets rooted in love and joy, these are the good kinds to have. Secrets shared between sisters in the dark, and friends over lunch, and spouses in embraces...these are the true ones and the best little secrets around.
On Tuesday my crew and I went and checked out a local beach. It is not a real beach in that real beaches are on the ocean in our world, but it was only an hour away and a pretty good substitute!
It was a fun day, and I think the kids and I will trek down to the beach once a week or so this summer, as long as it is not too crowded. On our way we stopped at a favorite seafood spot and had a delicious lunch, and then on to the beach. Being that it was April, it was not too crowded, but the freakish 90 degree day made us want to play in the sand.
Wow...there are some major changes underway here in our home...all are good, but you know me, change is tough!
Today I am staying in ALL day. Kids are still on Spring Break and I hope to make some more headway on my comps. I edited last night, fixed any issues with references and mapped out what I need to change and add. Today I will work on the first section, as it seems to be the most manageable, and I am hopeful that it will get done.
Also on the plan for today is cleaning up the house, packing up the baby gear no longer in use and of course...laundry!
I have been a quiet blogger, mostly because I am very overwhelmed and stressed and don't want to share it with the world.
I hate feeling overwhelmed, it makes me an unhappy person, then I am not the best wife and mother, and I can't do much of anything right. Right now I am buried. The weight on my shoulders is 100 times what I feel I can bear, but it still sits there firmly.
I know that by April 15th, the rewrite of my comps will be done, and I really hope I pass. By early May, PT school will be off for summer, and my nights are mine again. I see the light, I see that it is going to be easier, and that if I pass comps and move on to my dissertation, that this is the last big hurdle I am facing. I know, even though the last few weeks it has been hard to see, that this is worth it. It is worth the long days and nights. It is worth missing out on fun. It is worth being crabby and stressed, because if all goes well, I will have my doctorate by at age 36. It is worth it because that will allow me to continue to work a schedule that is good for my family. It is worth it because throughout it all, I am here for my family, and although I am stressed beyond belief, it is better to be stressed and here, then not. It is worth it because in three short years, Ryan and I will be able to move to where we want and do what we want. That alone is worth it.
But now...in the thick of it all, it is so hard to see the light. Sometimes I think I see it peeking through, but then it is just a mirage. This journey, this path I chose, is so difficult I cannot even express it to anyone who has not been through it. It is so lonely and so frightening. It takes so much of your time, effort and energy, that you don't feel there is enough to give to your family and friends, and when you give what you have, there is nothing left to take care of yourself. I want to see the light get brighter, I need to, so I will keep on truckin' through the muck in the direction I think I need to go, and hopefully I will come out the other side.
I have thought long and hard whether I want to write this, whether it is something I want forever documented, and I decided that should everything work out, I will want to be reminded of the process.
I took my comp exams a few weeks ago. These exams decide whether I get to move on to my dissertation, earn ABD status and change my status to that of a doctoral candidate...so pretty big deal.
I got the results yesterday. I did not pass. I did not fail. I was given rewrite status. This is very common, according to my father, but still, it has crushed me. I have awesome grades, and have always done well on papers, so the comments and feedback were really hard to read. I have two weeks to adjust my paper and make the changes, it will then be reviewed and I will either pass or fail Pass and all is good with the world, fail and I have one more opportunity to take the exam this summer.
It all looks so cut and dry when written out, but I wish I could express how emotionally trying this process is. It takes so much of my life away, interrupts time with the kids, causes me stress and worries me endlessly. Should I pass the exam, I still have the dissertation process to contend with, and my understanding is that they really try too break your spirit then. This process is painful, tearful and harsh. It is exhausting and debilitating at times. It is, by far, the loneliest process ever, as there is no one in my immediate life who has been through this while working and raising small children. I have wonderful support from friends and family, but they just don't understand the internal beatings you take and give yourself while trying to achieve this goal. I do, however, have an old friend who just completed her doctorate and she has a young family as well. Her feedback and encouragement is immeasurable as she DOES know what this is like and DOES understand how hard this is on a person. I am so thankful to everyone who supports me, but must admit that I wish this entire process was over.