Monday, May 31, 2010

No Jam

Well.....the family and I set off today to pick strawberries.  I knew we were late in the season, but it was slim, slim pickings.  Sadly, no where near enough to make jam this year, so I am a little sad about that, but plan to send them out to the local berry farm to get raspberries and blueberries in July, so we will just have to suffer through having only blueberry and raspberry jam this year...and of course the apple butter I make every year!

I did not make bread last week, but that was because I decided to spend time with the kiddos.  Tomorrow the girls have school and Gray is going to a friend's house, so I am planning to clean and organize the master bedroom, do a ton of laundry and make that bread. I also have to finish patching the playroom walls, and then Wednesday I will FINALLY prime!  Things are slowing down, and that is quite the relief, if only I felt better.  This pregnancy seems a lot like the one with Brittan, I was just so tired and sick all the way through. I am hoping that the tides will change soon, usually by 14-15 weeks I will feel better, if I am ever going to, so fingers crossed!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


OK, I admit it, I am slacking a bit.  I haven't made bread in weeks and lets face it, dinner around here has been more sandwiches, eggs and easy meals than usual.  I usually have canned at least 24 jars of strawberries and jam by now and sadly, we have not done that either.  I did not rejoin the CSA this summer as I fear it would be too time consuming and we would miss too many weeks when we are away, so now I need to start heading to the farmers market every other week to gather good food for the family.  The garden you ask....yeah, not done either  I planted the seeds and replanted the seedlings, but unless the hubby can get the garden tilled, it is just not going to happen this year.  I am sad, but at the same time, I think we need the time off to recoup and replan.  What I want to do is get a load of manure and till it into the garden and let it sit for the summer, then maybe we will do a fall crop to see how things go.  I hate not having food right outside, it is a hard adjustment, but sometimes it just cannot happen, and this is one of those times.

Now to rectify the other issues.  Bread will be made tomorrow, one loaf of sandwich bread as we are just about out, and one batch of cinnamon raisin bread as it sounds yummy.  Maybe the kids and I will go and pick strawberries after dance today, or maybe we will go to the farmers market tomorrow to see if they have any already picked for me....time to get back in the saddle.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I would blog, if I could stay awake!

I have been really tired, like go to bed at 8:30 tired, which is so not like me.  Must be the combination of early pregnancy, work and the four crazy kids I have running me ragged each day.

Today is traditionally my quiet day at home, but it was a but crazier than usual.  Thankfully I am spending the afternoon firmly planted on the couch.  Dinner is going to be eggs and toast,  I just don't have anything else in me.  Havey has dance, and the kids all need showers, and tomorrow we all need to be out the door by 8 to get Gray to graduation on time.  Saturday will be nuts as usual with Brittan's dance class, Sunday has been declared "All the kids help mom clean the house from top to bottom" day AKA Phase 1 of Duggarizing, and Monday I am taking the dang day off!

Oh, and in more randomness...Teagan has learned how to move the baby gate!  We have one of those huge expanda gate things that can make a jail or barricade an area...we use it to block off the end of the family room to confine her just to thiat room.  Now she can dislodge the end of the gate and slide by, at TEN MONTHS...jeez I am in trouble.  She and Baby Five Alive will be sneaking out by 5 and 4 if this keeps up.  Teagie is such a sweet girl I can forgive her her mischievous behavior, but man what a smarty pants!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A decade

Ten years ago, at 5:57 pm, I became a mother.  That day, that new title, changed me for every more.  Ten years ago today, my oldest daughter Haven was born and my world was never the same.  I was young, 24 years old, and so unprepared for what becoming a mother meant.  The first two years of Haven's life were a roller coaster. She had horrible reflux the entire time, food allergies cropped up, she has issues gaining weight, a heart condition, asthma and a strong little personality even was tough, but the one thing we learned was how to advocate for our child and get her the best care.

Now at ten she is an amazing person.  She is loving, sweet and kind.  She is also loud, crazy and demanding!  She keeps us on our toes, and still has a few medical things going on (waiting for a Neuro call as I write) but she is so strong, physically and mentally. She has overcome years of seizures to excel in school.  She walks her own path and lives a life true to herself.  She is unique and I love her for it.

So my dear Haven, my first born, thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for teaching me to love unconditionally and to know what it is like to be willing to die for someone else no questions asked. Thank you for being my girl and for always being yourself.  Our tribe would not be complete without you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I must be old

because my #1 rank, turns DOUBLE DIGITS on Monday!

Tomorrow, well I guess later today since it is nearly 1 am, the load of us will trek two hours to my sister's town to see them and my parents who are there visiting, take the almost b-day girl to lunch and hang out.  I am incredibly thankful that my poor hubby will be coming home straight from work and an hour commute, to climb into the car with me, since my mother was less than thrilled with the announcement of #5 and this is our first face to face since sharing :)  Thankfully I will drive and he will snore, both ways, but we will all get there and celebrate the fact that Haven is turning 10 AND that I have survived 10 years of being her mother!  Haven is a handful, she is my kid with all the medical stuff, plus she is very emotional and the child who I am most likely to clash with, so a decade together where we still love and like one another at the end is awesome and wonderful and fantabulous.

OK, I am really frickin tired and had to take another half a stomach pill, which makes me loopy, since Baby Five Alive makes me sick from 7 pm on, so I need to stop blogging and sleep.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The abundance of online suckage astounds me

***EDITED TO NOTE...I am VERY hormonal and VERY tired and have had my share of BS and yelling and general crappola from the littles today, so take this with a grain of salt, or a pound, whatever you need to make it go down OK***

I find people really lack any sort of common decency online, and I teach at an online school, so this is based on years of experience.  There is something about the anonymity of it all, that people say things that they would probably not say to another person's face, or to someone they know socially.  It makes me want to jump through the computer sometimes, shake the person and say "HELLO...REAL PERSON HERE!!"

I just removed a comment from a blog I read....and I am not a comment remover.  I read the blog because I find the author writes well, and says so many of the things we all think, and she does so in a funny and interesting way.  I removed the comment since another poster, not the author of the blog, basically shit on me for it.  Hmm....I was just trying to help and may actually understand the plight of the author what with my gaggle of kid and night working hubby. So anyway, I became a comment deleter since I find that the other poster should really check my blog to see that 1.  I may actually have information that is relevant and 2. I am above being told to "shut up" . I am guessing I will not comment on that blog again due to the readership being so damn rude.  Sad since I really like the author.

Rant done.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I can feel it coming

summer, oh those blessed days when I only have one job and I actually get to relax occasionally!

We are getting things done around here, it takes longer than I want, and is slower than anyone could imagine, but they get done.  Last days off, the hubby got the TV stand built and stained, it will move into place this weekend.  I have the baby's room cleaned up, our closet cleaned out and have been slowly attacking areas of the house.  The playroom is ready to be primed, and I am hoping for Saturday afternoon, since Sunday we are off to my sisters to celebrate Haven's b-day a day early.

If the weather holds up, Ry can work on the playset Tuesday and the garden, and I can paint the playroom.  I have a document to write for a course, and that is on the plan for today and tomorrow, if the program will work, it is on the fritz.

The sun is shining, I have a plan for the day and the hubby is stopping at the bagel store to bring me a bagel....good times!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To keep the banana theme

I decided to make banana crumb cake instead of banana bread.  I LOVE crumb cake, if there is enough good crumb.  I found the recipe here at Southern Plate and made a few adjustments.  I used real butter since we do not keep margarine in the house and I don't have self rising flour so I added the required baking powder and salt. I also doubled the crumb topping because, lets face it, the crumb topping ratio to cake very important.  I also used butter for the topping...and please do not count how many sticks of butter are in my two crumb cakes, it is excessive!

They are heading in to bake now and I am really hoping they come out as good as the ones on Southern Plate looked.  I also believe we have finally reached the end of the banana pile!  I have one for Teagan's lunch today, a few more to freeze, and we are officially out of bananas.  So for my dollar's worth of bananas the kids ate a ton of them, I froze enough for two more double batches of banana bread or muffins or cake, I made banana pancakes, we had bananas in our fruit salad and now we will have two banana crumb cakes.  That bananas!!!

Getting it done

We are off to a good start today, well except for the whining and fighting from some of the littles.  I made banana pancakes for breakfast, Gray enjoyed five, Teagan and Britt each had three and Haven ate one....I think she is rebelling since anything I cook lately, she barely eats.  Got the dishes and vacuuming done, moved around some laundry and have the diapers soaking, kids are out "weeding" the big garden...I am just hoping they get the big stuff so I can till tomorrow, my plants need to meet the ground!  Baby just headed for nap and I need to make banana bread, get some work done and heat up lunch for the kids, leftover spice chicken enchiladas that they are looking forward to.  I also need to go inspect the playroom walls and figure out which need to be spackled so I can prime tomorrow, and if I get my work done, tonight I will sort the master closte.

Tomorrow is Ry's agreed upon down day, so I will let him watch over the baby while relaxing while I work upstairs organizing the baby's room and our room and then prime the playroom.  Tuesday he is working on the tv stand and the molding in the dining room and around the fireplace, and I am hoping to paint the playroom. I hope we get it all done!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sometimes, just sometimes, the stars align

and you have an awesome outing.

Today is Brittan's dance day.  Ry used to take her, but since it is from 11:30-12:30 and his schedule had changed so he was working Saturday nights, it was really too hard on him to be up that long. So last I started taking her, and well, it wasn't so great last week.

Today we had a plan.  We brought Britt in and got her to class.  It is crowded when dance first starts because of the class before hers, so after she was in class, Grayson, Haven, Teagan and I walked down to the coffee house.  I got an iced coffee, Haven an Italian soda and Gray a banana smoothie and everyone sat and drank nicely (Teagie had some cheerios and a bottle of juice). We killed almost a half hour there, so next we started our walk back, and on the way, there is a Subway so I stopped and got sandwiches to bring home for lunch (two $5 footlongs to feed us all!)  Made it to the dance studio just in time to see the last few minutes of class when the parents can watch the recital dance and then we started to leave.  As we left, we noticed the pool place next door had a bunch of stuff set up outside, and there was an ambulance and police car for the kids to see and the parks and rec people were we went and explored. They had a bounce house, big slide, games, free...yes FREE hamburgers and hotdogs with all the fixins', tons of goodies for the kids and we had a blast.  Kids all ate there, and then ate their sandwiches when they got home...piggies...and they got lots of fun stuff.  Gray got to climb in the ambulance, his absolute favorite thing to do, and Teagie loved the bubble machine.  Kids bounced and slide and played games and it was super fun, free and right there waiting for us!

We came home, they were happy, they played, baby napped, I ordered the rest of Haven's b-day gifts....really good afternoon with the kids, and tomorrow starts the hubby's weekend...wahooo!

Friday, May 14, 2010

OBs, sick babies, bananas,oh my!

Things can change so quickly when you live in a house with many small people.  Yesterday Britt was getting over being sick and I *thought* Gray was coming down with it.  On top of that, my anemia took over and I was just wiped out and feeling really badly (to help you mamas who know iron levels, I can easily be a 6 early in pregnancy...and they want a minimum of a 12, 10 for me is stellar).  The husband decided to stay home since I was feeling so sick, and thank god for that since we put Teag down at 8 and she was up every hour until midnight, then up most of the night.  She had a fever and a gross nose, bad combo for a baby, so she was miserable. She has barely napped today, we get about a half hour at a time with her, so I cannot express how happy I was that he was home to deal with her last night so I could get some rest.

So today I went off for yet another OB appt.  This is appt number THREE and I am not quite 10 weeks....that is crazy since I never saw my old OB until I was at least 11 weeks!  Plus they have me scheduled to see them again in four weeks and the high risk OB in four weeks where I will get another ultrasound.  So weird for me since with all my other four, I never saw them on the little screen until the big 18-20 week ultrasound.  I am a bit annoyed I have to see the high risk doc, my other OB never made me do that except first pregnancy, but alas I will go because they want me to, it isn't far and hell I am old as crap this time around....I will be "advanced maternal age"  EEK!

After the OB, grabbed Gray from pre-k and hit the store for a few goodies for dinner (spiced chicken enchiladas if you must know) and was thrilled to see the packs of bananas on sale for 25 cents each!  Now my kids inhale bananas, and some of these were getting soft so I only grabbed four bunches, but may go back tomorrow for more.  The really soft ones have already been mashed and frozen for banana bread.  Some were made into chocolate covered frozen bananas for dessert tonight, some more will be made into banana muffins tomorrow and I have plans to make a nice fruit salad that will have some added.  The remaining 12 or so will be devoured by my kids by tomorrow afternoon.  Best damn dollar I ever spent.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is the weird feeling washing over me?

Ah yes, it is a sense of calm!  I have 10 more final exams to grade, which won't take long.  I have some posts to do for the other gig, some grades and I need to finish rubrics for a final class, but for me, this is pretty light!  I know that by the end of the day tomorrow, all of these will be done and I will be back to only having to do my one job(and write a course, but that is extra cash work) until the end of August.  Oh how I am looking forward to the extra time, I cannot wait until Monday when I can paint the playroom, and I have big plans to get back on the bread making wagon this weekend.  I am so excited to be feeling on top of things and calm if only Britt would go back to school tomorrow so I can only have to take Teagie with m to the doctor!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Watch me swing like a pendulum

Hormones, a women's best and worst friend, when else can you get away with being completely irrational and neurotic and everyone just go on about their business.

The last few days have been hard and the hormones have been raging.  Loads going on at work, lots of stress, Haven's EEG, Britt is sick and the house is still is disarray.  Needless to say I can swing from loving and adoring my family to wanting to move to Tahiti alone.

Today is a good hormone day, so that is a positive...for me and the family!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day...another reminder that our schedule is not normal

Tomorrow morning when moms around the country are waking to breakfast in beds of burnt toast, eggs, muffins, etc. and opening the handmade gift and cards from their children, I will be waking to make my kids breakfast.  Ryan works tonight, so he won't be home to do the morning Mother's Day thing and the kids are too young to do it by themselves.  Now I will get the handmade goodies and hopefully Haven will remind her dad to get me a card, but it won't happen until mid-morning.  I will juggle the kids, and clean up and do all the things I do every morning. I will then direct the kids outside and help them plant the flowers I bought today in the flower beds.  I will then feed them lunch while my husband gets a few hours sleep, and then hopefully he will get up and he and the kids will clean out and wash my car, my only request and the one present I want.  I wanted crab stuffed lobster tails, but the hubby doesn't know how to make it, so either I make it for myself (and the rest of the family) or just not have it....I have decided he can cook for the kids and himself, I will eat cereal.

Our schedule right now just sucks.  When Ry's schedule changed early this year, and now he works Friday and Saturday nights, meaning he has to sleep most of Sunday leaving him almost no time with the kids on the weekend.  It is annoying and exhausting to have the kids all weekend alone, but hopefully the schedule will change soon.  He also said he will try to get next Saturday off so I can catch a break, but for now, this is our schedule, our life and we made the job choices we did so we are here for our children.  **sigh**  Pity Party over, off to make Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Heavy chest

Wow, I am not sure how to approach this on a blog, but I am just so hurt and so sad.  We announced our pregnancy to my parents last week the same time we did everyone else (except my sister and Emily who got the early heads up).  It was a difficult decision because my mother has never been happy when we announced a new baby.  She says she is worried about me, but she is so mean and so hurtful that I have a really hard time believing it comes from a place of concern.  I believe she really only looks at herself in these situations, I think for some reason she is embarrassed that we have such a large family, and she is not happy that I have chosen to have that family with Ryan, regardless of how happy we all are.

We decided to email them a picture of the ultrasound and a note since they were away.  It was the easy way out for me, since I didn't have to deal with her initial reaction, and I felt it would give her a day or two to sort through her bad feelings and find a way to be nice.  Sunday the phone rang and it was my father who kindly congratulated me and said they worried about my health, etc, but he (and my mom) were happy to have a new child in the family.  My mother....she was laying down and couldn't talk to me.  Fast forward to yesterday, Brittan had her play at school and had a big speaking part and I wanted to remind them to call her and wish her luck, so I called and spoke to my father and he said they would call.  At 5 pm, phone rang and it was my father, he talked to Brittan and my mother got on the phone and talked to Brittan and then when Britt handed the phone back, it was my father, my mother had "gone to get ready for Bridge."  OK, so it has been a week and she hasn't said anything to me, not hello, now what's going on, nothing. Hell, don't say congratulations, but don't stop talking to me over this!

I am so sick of being made to feel like a disappointment.  I have four beautiful, well behaved, happy children who are loved beyond belief and number five will join in all of that happiness.  I am beginning my dissertation and have a respectable job as a college professor.  I own my home, I love my husband and I am happy with the life we have created.  Is it hard sometimes, yes, is it a life that most people would choose, probably not, but it is my life and my choices.  It makes me so sad, so sad that this is how I will remember announcing the newest baby, sad that the previous four announcements have been just as poorly received and upsetting to me.  When did a new child become something to punish someone for?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Name help PLEASE!

OK folks....after having four kids, we are struggling for even preliminary names for #5. So far, all our kid's names end in "n" and are real names with real meanings, the oldest three (Haven, Brittan and Grayson) are Old English and Teagan is Irish.  I am looking for name help please, so if you have any ideas, I want to hear (or read) them!  I like to go into my ultrasound with a name in mind, and I need to negotiate with the hubby, so the more ideas the merrier!

  I would like the first to end in an "n" if possible and be somewhat different. Girls names can be more outside the box than boys names and I would like to stay away form the letters we have used since I screw their names up as it is, so h, b, g and t.  HELP!

Step back and breath

Wow, it has been a rough few days for me.  Morning sickness, hormones, headaches and general work craziness has made life seemingly overwhelming.  I have all these projects on task, and for the next week, they will need to be put on hold until work is sorted, and this makes me crazy.  I know they will get done, but the problem with being Type A and OCD and living with a family that simply is not, means everything takes longer than I could ever imagine.

Right now my bathroom is in shambles and the husband and I are engaged in heated discussion over whether he should tear out the shower and lay a new shower pan and tile it.  I would love a new shower, ours is pretty old, but I also know how he works, and it could take months for that shower to get it is a hard task and I am not sure he is up for it.  I just want to lay a new floor and paint, and while I understand that the shower is old and not the best, but as far as we can tell it is not leaking and I can live with it for a few more years.  Having only the two days off a week and having to "adjust" to a regular schedule makes getting stuff done hard, and I need the bathroom, playroom and playset done by June so we can concentratte on decluttering and painting the exterior of the house in July and August.  See, hormones, they make a mama crazy!

So I am stepping back and trying to breath. I have to go and pick up our chicken order early tomorrow and then I promised Gray I would take him to get a new sprinkler, so we will.  Then home to work on rubrics for work and then to Britt's play tomorrow night.  If all goes well, tomorrow I will have a clean(er) house, more laundry done, a decent dinner on the table, rubrics for one course finished and a happy family....just breathing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Watch out world....I am starting summer break!!

It is a time of fear in my house, the day arrives in May where I am done teaching PT job and my family knows it is only a matter of time that I begin pulling the house apart and starting the big projects that have been waiting all year.  At present, we are already pretty pulled apart.   The play room is pretty empty and ready for priming and painting.  My bathroom is also in shambles and hopefully today the hubby will determine if we need a new subfloor and we will get the new tile this week for the floors...painting will happen at night by me.  Also on the plan, the new playset needs to be built, the garden needs to be prepped and the plants transplanted, I need to repaint the railing upstairs, and we need to do the playroom carpet and the tile in both upstairs bathrooms.

Today I plan to spackle the playroom walls and hopefully get the hubby to tape off the ceiling.  I need him to pull back the old floor in the master by the shower to see if we need the new subfloor, if not I can get painting.

The final BIG project this summer is to paint the exterior of the house.  I am picking colors as we speak, and it will be quite the process being that the hubby is only off two days a week and the weather will need to cooperate, but I am really hoping we get it done!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just a glimpse

We are often asked "how we do it" which I find to be a funny question since all families are unique and have challenges,  Personally I don't know how families where both parents work crazy hours "do it" or single parents, but I guess I will give a glimpse into our life, our schedule and how we do it within our four walls.

I will admit that juggling four kids, work, school, activities, etc is an ongoing battle, and lately those challenges are compounded by extra issues such as comprehensives, Ryan's wacky and ever changing schedule, end of school year stuff, surprise doctor's appointments, etc, so there needs to a fluidity to our lives.

First of all, we always have a schedule and a plan.  The schedule is always changing and adapting, but it is there.  Every morning when we get up, the kids are briefed on the schedule.  By informing them of the plan, they are prepared and know how things will go.  On a typical school morning our routine never changes, NEVER.  They are up, they eat, they get dressed, brush teeth and hair, pack everything up, Haven takes meds, they get checked over and we are off. This has been the routine since Haven was in preschool, and it will never change.  On Gray's preschool days, he follows the schedule and gets ready, stay home days he is free after breakfast and teeth brushing to go play.

I have to plan every day around work.  If I have a call, if I have a special project, grading, etc, it all needs to be worked into the schedule in a way that also works with the kids.  Right now I usually work in the mornings and at night, which leaves time for the kids during the day.  In the summer, I always work morning and after kids bedtime, it means we can be out of the house by 10 to go and do fun things together.

Dinner is planned...well except when I am in early pregnancy and really tired :)  Dinner is planned by breakfast so I know when I need to be home, what I can make ahead, if someone has an activity, etc.

Naps are scheduled for the baby and unless it is an out and about errand morning, she naps twice a day.Sometimes we need to be out, and I try to have a long enough drive, such as to the farm, so she can get a decent nap.  On those days, we also make sure we are home for the afternoon nap, which is easy since that is when the girls are coming home from school.

Activities are a whole new animal.  We have two in activities now, and Grayson will start football in the fall.  With Ryan's changing work schedule, and my teaching schedule at PT school, we may face a problem with his practices.  I have already asked my babysitter next door if we can hire her to bring him to football if needed, and she has happily agreed, so we dodged that bullet for the moment.  I hope that in the next few years, when we move and add more activities to the mix, that I will no longer be teaching PT and we won't need to worry about the after school schedule.  As for the girls, they take dance classes and we schedule on the days I don't teach, so that makes life easy :)  The babies will have daytime activities soon.  I plan to enroll Teagan in a baby gym program when she is 2 and will enroll #5 when he/she is also 2.  Their activities take place during the day while the big kids are at school, so that will be good too!

Lastly, chores.  All my kids have responsibilities, well not Teagan she is still too little :)  As soon as they can walk and communicate a little, around 18-24 months, my kids are given responsibilities.  Simple things such as putting their clothes in the laundry, picking up toys, putting a plate in the sink, even the littlest kids can learn to help.  My kids don't have daily chores, in this house the chores are to do whatever mom or dad needs help with. They fold and put away their own clothes, help wash clothes, vacuum, unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, clean bathrooms, dust, wipe down windows, take out trash, take out compost, recycling, mop and the list goes on.  We teach them to do the things needed to keep up a home, however we usually only ask them to do one or two chores per day, unless the whole family is doing a big cleaning.  Learning how to do something properly, say unload the dishwasher, is important for them once they are older, and helps me as I can assign a child to the task and know they will do it well.  The kids can be a great help around the house and it just about balances out all the messes they leave for me as they move from room to room :)

The thing about having a houseful while juggling work and school and decent meals is you have to plan, there is no other way to get it done.  Housework and house renovations needs to be planned.  Family cleaning needs to be planned.  Outings need to be planned.  However, IF you plan and IF you are consistent, it really can run smoothly.  I feel calmer most days with a full house then I did when my two oldest were babies.  I was always overwhelmed then, second guessing everything, never sure what to do when.  Now we know what we are doing, and sometimes we can't achieve all we want, but we set our plan and we stick to it.