Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

I am not sleeping.  I am REALLY not sleeping.  Many nights I can't fall asleep until after midnight, and I keep waking around 3 am and then I can't go back to sleep, well I probably could sometime around 7 am when it is time to get the kids ready for school and when Teagan wakes up.  Last night I slept from 11:30-2:45 am...yep, that was it and given I was really tired from getting up at 3 am the morning before, it is amazing that I STILL had the weirdo insomnia.

It is really common for women to have insomnia or frequent waking at the end of their pregnancies, folks even say that it helps "prepare" the mom for the night waking needed to feed a newborn.  I, however, get more sleep after having a baby then I do the last two to three months of my pregnancy due to my crazy sleep issues.  I remember coming home with Teagan and getting up with her every three hours and being excited that I went back to sleep each time!  Being that my kids still wake me at night  a few times, the big kids that is, I have no need to be "prepared" yet here I am, waking at 3 am and feeling like I will die somewhere around noon.  Then the sun sets, the kids go to sleep and I lay there trying so hard to find dreamland, it is terrible.

Thankfully there are a few special nights that visit where I pass the heck out at like 8 pm and sleep until 7 am and I believe I am creeping up on one of these since I am so danged tired and this has been going on over a week.  I really hope I get the big sleep tonight because I have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow, and we need to deep clean the house this weekend and work on painting, so sleep is a big need right now.

Since I have no work to do, well not work work anyway, I am going to snuggle with Teagan on the couch, listen to the rain falling and hope that when she naps today I doze off too :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Survival of the fittest

We made it to the end of Ryan's 5 12-hour days.  We never really saw him, except in passing, and it made for some long days and nights especially with kids feeling under the weather, no one sleeping well and general the general busy schedule.  Today he will sleep until about 4, get up and I will leave for class and hopefully be home by 10:30 where I will fall into bed until 7 am tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the only other day he is off this week, so in the morning I will take Teagan with me to the OB and the farm so he can work on the playroom a bit, then I am vying for a nap in the afternoon and the whole crew is going out to dinner.

Then come Wednesday, we are back in the thick of it, he sleeps, I work, then he works through Friday night, off Saturday and Sunday then works Monday through Saturday. Now THAT will be pure hell for all of us, but we will make it and it will be worth it in the end.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to maternity leave in December and January and Ryan has already committed to taking two weeks off, although we may push that to three after these OT days!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday...seems a little like every other day this week

Well, we were supposed to go to a mile race for Britt, but she seems to have caught Gray's illness and spiked a fever last night.  Thankfully that saved us the 6:30 am wake up call, but it meant that she was up and down all night.  Haven and Britt FINALLY fell asleep at 11:30, Britt was up again at 2, Gray was up coughing at 2:30 and Teagan woke at 3.  Got them all back to bed and I got to sleep around 4, then Teagan was up for the day just before 7...*yawn*

Ryan is working OT tonight, so I have to survive the night and get the kids off to school tomorrow.  Then I have to teach tomorrow night, then I have him home tomorrow night and Tuesday. The OT weeks are really hard, especially when he works five 12-hour days, since I am juggling kids and housework all day while also trying to work.  It would be so much easier if I didn't have a pesky job to do, but I do and somehow it is all getting done.

It cooled down some today, so we are celebrating with a roast beef for dinner.  It is one of Haven's favorites, so I am happy we are making it tonight.  Now if only I can get through lunch and get Teagie down for a nap, I might get my work done before midnight tonight!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Always end the day on a (sugar) high note

It was a rough morning, a reflective afternoon and a quiet evening.  Ryan had to head to work, so right after he left, I gathered the kiddos up and explained that sometimes rough mornings need to end with sweet nights.  They thought we were going to bed extra early since we got up early and have to be up SUPER early tomorrow, but then I shared we were going for ice cream.

Loaded them up and we headed out to get ice cream for the whole crew :)  It was worth it, every minute, every cent, every moment lugging them to and from.  They are happy kids, we are all calm, and soon we will all go to bed to rest up for tomorrow when hopefully the sweetness will prevail.

A very honest post on parenting

Sometimes being a parent straight up sucks.  At different stages in a child's life, there are opportunities for things to be unnerving, upsetting, frustrating, disgusting, annoying, etc.  Babies can spit up AND poo on you all at once, really they can, and then, ten minutes later, they can do it again.  They can also keep you up all night for many, many nights in a row...not really an example of parenting bliss.  I have had a lot of days when parenting sucks, I have had two different kids vomit on my bare legs within two minutes of each other...yuck.  I have been up for over 7 nights in a row with only and hour or so of sleep each night...painful.  I have had kids diagnosed with things, we have adjusted lifestyles, I have been called names and I have cried many, many times. I have disappointed my kids, I have pushed them too hard and not hard enough, I have been tough and lenient at the wrong times for each and I have made so many mistakes, I am still learning and growing.

Today, parenting sucked.  Grayson does not want to play football anymore and to be honest, I don't blame him.  He has never fit in well, he doesn't have the skills and since he has this trait of not trying when he isn't good at something, he simply won't get better.  We have watched him, week after week, simply not do his best, which is all I ever asked, and it blows my mind since I really try hard at everything I do and don't understand giving up.  I never have been one who understood giving up or just not doing...but sadly, my son does.  He screwed around in practice yesterday and got hit good and hard, and it hurt, but if he did what they asked, he wouldn't have been hit.  I am not a fan of the football atmosphere, they are little kids and it doesnt seem to be about fun at all...and I have a hard time making him go when he is not having fun.  We were discouraged from day one, and it looks like Gray has felt that he was not worthy of their time either, which may contribute to thge desire to not do anything anymore. He has felt less than the rest of the boys, he has felt that he was not as good and therefore not as important, and truly, at six, that shouldn't happen.

Final straw...we got up and ready for his game today and when we got there he REFUSED to go with his team and ignored what I asked.  Yeah, that sucked, and it was embarassing, and we left and he will no longer play.  I hate allowing him to quit, I hate that he disobeyed, but he is six and he was really unhappy and really felt like they were always upset with him, and for him, that meant he simply wouldn't try anymore, instead of try harder.  I am frustrated that we didn't equip him with the "do your very best at everything" skill, but I can understand that he was feeling beat down and that he was making everyone else upset and he simply shut down.  This was a very bad first sports experience for him, and I just couldn't let it get in the way of his progress at school where  he is excelling and making a bunch of new friends.  This is not a good fit for him, and maybe we will try to put him in soccer in the spring, it is less competitive and a milder sport for a kid that may not be athletic. Maybe there he will have fun and learn about a team and how everyone on the team is important, not a lesson he learned at football. being a parent sucked.  Today I felt like I failed him by not pulling him at the start of the season.  Today I feel like I failed him by not finding a way to overcome his desire to regress rather than push through something difficult.  Today I felt like a bad parent for trying to push him when he was unhappy.  Today it sucked, but Gray and I both learned from this and tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

They're coming to take me away....

Last night the hubby headed into work just a little while after I got home, I hate not seeing him Wednesday, but we do what we have to.  Kids and I finished homework and dinner, cleaned up and put the exhausted baby to bed.  Once the hubs got in, he sent me a message asking about working some overtime.  He is already working an extra shift this week, which is his long week to start, so I was hesitant.  It actually worked out ok, he will work a VERY long week of 6 12-hour days, but it is a week that I am off from PT school and my parents come that weekend to visit, so I may even be able to sneak in a nap.  He will basically work, drive home, sleep, work...but almost all the days are weekdays so the kids won't miss out on seeing him.  Between now and October 16th, he will work 4 OT shifts, which is a lot given his current schedule already includes OT each week plus a crazy commute.  It is well worth it though, the money will be great with Christmas coming, his car needs tires, mine needs brakes, we need to put some more money in savings and there are a few "wants" that we will finally get :)  However, I am aware that I may lose my mind sometime between now and 10/16 :)

Today is our quiet day.  Got all my work work done, Teagan is watching a baby counting video, I am about to switch the laundry again and then she and I will make some cinnamon rolls and granola bars (cranberry with white chips).  Tonight is dance, so the littles will be tired, tomorrow Teagie and I need to go out first thing so I can get some bloodwork done, then home for house stuff, then football followed by a game on Saturday and a race for Brittan on Sunday...whew!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And you and me are Free to Be...

I have been pondering a few things lately.  There were a few blogs I used to read that I no longer do anymore, and the main reason I don't read them is that the people presented themselves in a way that was untrue.  I am not saying they are liars, but that they felt this weird need to post things in a light that was unrealistic and not a real representation of their life. One blog, the women claims to be all super crunchy, cloth diapers, organic food, etc...but the kids are always eating fast food and wearing disposables.  See, I don't give a rat's arse if you want to feed them fast food breakfast, lunch and dinner, and let them wear paper towels as diapers, it is really not my business, but then don't misrepresent your self as a crunchy organic cloth diaper-er.  The people that should matter, that see you every day, they know if you really keep your house clean and if you really feed your family the food you say you do and if you really are so super stinkin duper.

Now, I am not saying that I am not guilty of this sometimes, I am sure I have done it.  I do have cloth diapers for Teagan, and she does wear them...however in the last month, she has not...did I tell you guys that?  I have been tired and really just did not want to deal with the, well, I didn't.  Food wise, we really do try to eat well here, and I do try to cook for the family. Do my kids eat junk, why yes they do sometimes.  Do they eat fast food, honestly, not really.  Occasionally is where we are at with the dreaded fast food, I believe the last time was on our way home from RI at the end of August when we stopped at a rest area that had a Mc D's...and yes, they ate it, even Teagan scarfed down some nuggets and fries.  I wouldn't anticipate them eating it again anytime soon, it is just not something we think to get and I would rather stop and get a meal at a restaurant for them, even though we don't do that much either.  Am I a perfect, absolutely not, and I hope that comes across in my blog posts. I screw up...a lot, and I apologize, a LOT.  I am also not the perfect wife, trust me the hubby would be first to dispel that rumor :)  I can be super nasty and critical, I can be overbearing and controlling and I run things my way and my way only, something I also think you may have concluded in reading here.  My husband and I fight, in fact yesterday we had a real blowout, but hey, we are human, and I hope that comes across too.  I am not the perfect employee either, although I would say that I come closer there than anywhere else since I am a workaholic.

So....drop all the BS and illusions, really why do you care?  Who cares if you really sat on your butt all day and watched TV and ate chips, tell us about it, we can all relate, it happens.  Why tell stories?  Why be so fake?  Be you! 

Wednesdays are like Fridays with a crazy busy weekend ahead!

It has been an interesting few days.  Gray is finally back at school today, after having everyone home yesterday I was thrilled to see all the big kids off this morning!  Whatever Grayson had, he was sick but with weird symptoms. It started with the wicked fever that lasted until Monday night, he complained of a headache and body aches, Monday the cough started and he broke out in a horrible itchy rash all over his little body :(  Thankfully yesterday he felt well all day, no fever or rash and just a little cough left, so he was raring to go this morning!  Me, on the other hand, not so excited to get moving.  Three nights in a row now with just a few hours sleep and I am wiped out.  Very thankful that today is presentation day for my class, that will take at least an hour of time and then I just need to review one more chapter, go over the next presentation, review for the exam and we will be done!  My classes are off a week, since we had Labor Day off for the Monday class, so it is weird that the Wednesday class is a "week ahead" of the Monday class and confuses me most weeks.  They won't get caught up until the week of Thanksgiving, so I hope I get used to the strange schedule.

I am VERY excited that next Wednesday my class has an exam, this will give me some time to work on Chapter 1 of the dissertation :)  Monday's class the following week will have their exam and I will grade Wednesday's exam from the week prior, then Wednesday there is no class for their site visit.  I am looking forward to the day off mid-week, it will be a welcomed break to recharge for the final few weeks before the baby is born and the semester ends.

Cleaned Grayson's room yesterday and put his clothes in his new dresser.  Ryan moved the old dresser, that has the changing table on top, into the room the babies will be sharing and I was able to get Finn's clothes and blankets put away.  Looks like we have enough room for both dressers and two cribs in there, as well as the rocking chair, which is a huge relief since I was afraid we would need to move a dresser out.  Now all I need to do is paint the room and get new curtains and we are ready for the new boy!

I guess I need to shower and get dressed for work, such a tough life :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Sunday where we pretend it is not 85 degrees outside

I want Fall to come, real Fall, but sadly it has not showed up so hot weather be damned, I am cooking like it is Fall!

Today I figured we needed some comfort foods, Grayson is still sick and running a fever, but other than that and being achy and tired, he is doing OK.  Teagan seems better today but we will see what the afternoon holds, that is always her crash point.  Haven is STILL melting down...sigh...always a precursor to getting sick so I expect her to hit the wall today or tomorrow.  Britt is swell :)

We have an abundance of apples, they were really cheap at the store and are an easy snack that all the kids like, so I have a crisper drawer full.  I decided that we should have a Fall meal day, so I just made the dough for cinnamon rolls and it is rising in the kitchen.  I cannot think of a smell I love more than a good yeast dough, it is sweet and delicious and just makes the house feel homey.  Once the dough is ready, I will be making apple cinnamon rolls with a caramel glaze in place of the usual cream cheese icing.  My batch is a double batch, so the second load will be left in the fridge and Tuesday I will have chocolate orange sweet rolls for the kids after school :)

Dinner will be one of my all time Fall favorites.  I am making a maple glazed roasted pork loan with an apple and raisin stuffing and roasted acorn good does that sound??  Oh how I wish the windows were open and there was a crisp breeze blowing, maybe I should just turn up the AC so we can really get the feeling of Fall!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The best laid plans

So today the entire tribe was very excited to see my HS friends and their kids, have lunch and go to Gray's game.  We woke and started getting ready and about an hour before we were to leave, Gray came in saying he didn't feel well, he was achy and had a headache.  He looked a little off, but he was also tired, so I gave him some motrin and sent him to lay down for a half hour.  A half hour later, he was good to go, but i had emailed his coach just as an FYI.  We left and drove the hour to meet my friends for lunch.  The kids were all so good and had fun with the other kids, and Gray was feeling great and ate a ton!  We all loaded up for the game.

Got to the game, got Gray ready and I noticed he looked a little off again.  Mentioned to his coach that he has been OK, but just keep an eye on him.  He went off and was put in early in the 1st quarter, played three of four plays and then came off the field, straight to me.  One look at him, he burst into tears and said he felt like he was going to be sick...needless to say I pulled the helmet off and his jersey pretty quick!  Walked him around the field, poured some water on him and got him calmed down.  Ryan was helping keep track of the other team's players and was required to be there until the end of 3rd quarter, so I knew we were in for a long wait.  Poor Gray, he was feeling pretty terrible, but we got his clothes changed and he sat in a chair and tried to rest.  Once we finally left, he was still feeling really rough and fell promptly asleep in the car, came home and went to bed for a few hours and opted out of dinner.  Last check, he was still running a 101 on meds poor kid!  Thankfully he never got sick to his stomach, which was much appreciated on the long ride home, and he is resting comfortably.  He was so sad that they didn't get to see him really play and that he was feeling so awful, but he was such a trooper and my girls were so sweet with him, getting him a drink, his clothes, etc.

I am just happy we got to see my friends, and that Gray doesn't seem to be too sick, probably just a back to school virus.  It does look like Teagan may have it too, she was running warm earlier and Haven was pitching a royal fit that often means she is feeling unwell, but we can handle the viruses that cross our threshold.  Thankfully tomorrow I planned only to wash lots of laundry and go through the baby and Grayson's clothes, so the kids can lounge downstairs and snuggle on the couch with Ryan and I can work on what needs to be done.  Such is life with kids!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taste the processed cheese food

Hello, my name is Tribemama and I am making a meal with Velvetta.  I don't think I have ever, EVER, made anything with Velvetta, I am not sure I have ever even bought it before, but I saw a recipe that had it in it and it looked yummy and I had a million ways to make the original recipe into something I think the family will enjoy.  The recipe was also for a casserole and I really don't make any casseroles and feel I need to up my skills in this area to be prepared for when I have five big kids eating, casseroles once in a while might save my rear :)

So basically what I am making is a rice and chicken thing.  I boiled a bunch of chicken breasts, they are all natural no hormone-y chicks does that help me today???  I then used the water, added some Sazon seasoning and salt and pepper and cooked up some rice (also organic...better yet?) and transferred rice to a casserole dish.  Made a quick roux, added some milk (from the farm..??) and the Velvetta.....  Let the cheese food melt down, added a can of Rotel and some random seasonings and it tasted pretty yummy, kind of like a rich queso.  Chopped the chicken breasts, threw them on top of the rice and then dumped the sauce over the top.  I will top with real cheddar cheese and some fresh diced tomatoes and I am really wishing I had some cilantro to throw in the mix, maybe next time if I can bring myself to buy the Velvetta again.  Big spinach salad will be served on the side to help alleviate this mama's guilt. BTW, it looks really yummy, like really super, cheesy, spicy yummy. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall in Virginia

I love Fall.  I love back to school.  I love the crisp breezes. I love watching the leaves change color and fall gently to the ground. in VA in our house, there is one thing about fall I hate, well actually two....SPIDERS AND CRICKETS!!!

We live on a wooded lot, and since we moved in almost 7 years ago, Fall has been laden with these two pests.  Some years are spider years where they seem to be everywhere, everyday for about a month and a half.  Other years have been the cricket years, chirping and jumping out from corners...bleck.  Then we have had one or two years where the bugs have stayed away, I hope out of sheer fear of death by vacuum and shrill screaming!

This year is looking like a spider year, we have had four enormous spiders in the last four days including one upstairs which is pretty rare.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I am on the hunt for a good product to get rid of these horrid little beasts.  We have used Home Defense, and it is OK and we will put it on the exterior tomorrow, but we really try not to use it in the house.  I also researched a bunch of spider trap things, all pesticide free, and ordered some to try.  I am really hoping they work, but I am also pretty sure I won't be the one checking the traps since spiders freak me the hell out. I am guessing that will be Ryan's job, or maybe Brittan's since she has no fear.

So...look for an upcoming review of the effectiveness of the spider traps, cause I want to help you guys out, especially those of you who are terrified of spiders and scream like a little girl while trying to suck them up with the vacuum...or whatever :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crazy days

Whew, it has been a crazy few days!

Yesterday we got the kids off to school, Ryan walked them again, and then I headed out with Teagan to meet a friend and her little girl for breakfast and a Target run.  It was lots of fun and the little girls were so good, but poor Teagie passed out on the way home :)  Got home, started stew for dinner then grabbed a quick nap before class time.  Woke up and asked Ryan if the kids were home since it was pushing 4, they were not.  Needless to say they did not walk in the door until after 5!  Their bus had clipped a mailbox just after leaving the school and  needed to stay on site, so the poor kids were stuck two blocks away waiting for a new bus to come get them!  When we called the school about the bus, they hadn't been notified, and by the time they got through to transportation and called parents back, the kids were on the new bus.  Then the new driver took them the wrong way, so our kids who should have been home in 5 minutes were on the bus an extra 45!  Ugh, the whole thing was a pain in the rear, and the kids came home crabby and tired.  Needless to say, Gray missed practice last night since he walked in the door the time we needed to leave!

Then I headed off to class and didn't leave campus until 10, made it home and into sweet bed!

This morning I thought I had a cardiologist appointment, but actually had an OB appointment!  Thankfully this was figured out in time for me to make the OB appointment :)  Good appointment, got excused from the glucose test (yeah!), scheduled some blood work and started the process of scheduling my c-section.  If all goes as planned, this little guy will arrive on December 2nd or 3rd unless he chooses to come earlier on his own.  Baby looked great, my stuff looked great and we also confirmed that I can leave 48 hours after the c-section if all goes well, just like with Teagan and Grayson...yippee!

Then I came and got Ryan and Teagan and grabbed some lunch.  Now just working a bit, and then off to nap when I put Teagan down.  Good days.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sniffle sniffle

I fear we may be getting colds here or our allergies are in full swing, as my house is filled with sounds of sniffles, sneezes and coughs!  No one seems sick, so it very well may be allergies, but I better get the tissue supply restocked! I was super productive today getting some cleaning done and work out of the way, and I managed to find good deals on three things for Gray and four for Teagan for Christmas.  I also scoped a bunch of stuff for my big girls and will acquiring those this week as well.  By the end of the week, Teagan is half done and everyone else about a third of the way done, not too shabby for September!

Looking forward to the week ahead.  Tomorrow Teagan and I are heading out to breakfast, then home to get some work done and then off to work.  Ryan is wrangling kids at football while I am at work, which is a change in schedule, but probably for the best.  Tuesday I have to see the cardiologist, oh joy, then lunch with the hubby and baby,  then home to work on laundry and the standard chores.  Wednesday is crazy day, but is followed by fun Thursday where I am hoping to meet a friend for lunch and get some Christmas shopping done. Teagie will be with me, but I am pretty sure she won't spill the beans! Then we are off to dance in the evening :)  Friday is house work and football practice and Saturday is football and friends!

We are adjusting to the new schedule pretty well, but the kids are very tired by Saturday afternoon!  I am thankful that we don't need to be up at the crack of dawn this week, it will be a nice reprieve.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I just got the best email EVER, and I needed it after the last few weeks.

My bestest friend since 6th grade will be in town next weekend!  We missed seeing them last January when they were here because two of my kids had pink eye and Teagan had pneumonia, and I was so sad because the meanie up and moved to California a few years ago, got hitched and became a step mama and I MISS HER!

Then today I found out they were headed our way!  Grayson has a football game next weekend and it sounds like they are all trying to come, and by all I mean Chelle and her crew, her twin sister, her baby sister and all the associated spouse/partners/kids!  Wheee!  I haven't seen Diane in a year and a half either so this will be so much fun.  Oh, did I mention that Diane lives up by my sister....maybe we can convince Chelle to move back to VA and then my crew can move that way and we can all be in the same area, now that would be a fun town!

We interrupt this ridiculous schedule to bring you this blog post

Wow.  That is what I have to say, wow I am swamped.

To say I hate the weeks my husband works the 4 12-hour shifts is a sincere understatement.  These weeks are long and hard and being we added school in, I am very tired.  We must push on however!

Up 6:45 go to football this morning.  Hubby set the crockpot up with steel cut oats for the kiddos before going to work last night, so we awoke to the yummy smells and a hot and hearty breakfast.  Got the four littles dressed and myself ready, and we dressed warm since it was in the low 50's when we left...however in the sun at the game, it was sweltering!

Managed to grab a pumpkin spice latte on our way, thinking I may need an intervention soon, and we got to the game on time :)  Game was great, there are a few really fast boys on the team and they scored a bunch of touchdowns making this week 2 in a row with a win.  Now my boy...well, he did what he was told and tried, and for his first year, I can see how much he is learning and that is what matters to me.

After football, I always try to combine being out with stuff we need to do, it just makes it easier.  Since we were down near one of the bigger towns, and we needed groceries, we decided to make a Wegman's run.  The kids did great, even though they were tired and getting hungry, so we got all our groceries and then got some lunch while we were there.  I have to say, the amount of prepared food they have from the real pizza to the salad bar to the Indian and Thai selections, it makes it easy to feed my crew.  Fed the kiddos, loaded groceries, got home and unloaded groceries and put the baby down for a nap.  Then I attacked some of the grading I have to do and prepped for dinner.

Ah yes, dinner.  I've realized that I got lazy through the summer with meals.  I mean, we ate, and we ate fairly healthy, but nothing really exciting was cooked here.  That is changing BIG TIME!  I am back on track with the menu this week, and it includes some of my favorite things from fall.  Tonight we are having sliders, blue cheese sliders for most of the family except Brittan and I who will have some other kind, probably mushroom for me and Cheddar cheese for Britt.  I just made some coleslaw up to go along side, plus lettuce and gorgeous yellow tomatoes, yummy!  Tomorrow we are having orecchitte with sundried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, basil and fresh mozzarella..oh and I am making foccacia.  Monday I teach, and Gray now has football, so beef stew with white and sweet potatoes and carrots and biscuits to soak up the gravy, Tuesday will be maple glazed pork roast with oven roasted acorn squash and a nice big spinach salad.  Tasty tasty things are happening here.

OK, back to the crazy schedule, I need to finish working!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dropping weight

I have to say, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders lately, and it is simply due to a change in my attitude and a choice not to allow the negative anymore.

I wake up happy lately, really happy.  I get stressed during the day, I mean who wouldn't when dealing with kids, hormones, work, money, house stuff, but I see past it now.  I see what has been in front of me all along, what is really important, and I appreciate it so very much!  For too many years, I had too many negative things around me, people constantly complaining, whining, and trying to take me to that side, but no more.  I have NOTHING to complain about.  The small issues in my life are passing.  They have always been passing.  The everyday is so, so good.

This weight that was lifted is helping me reach out to other people, to make new connections, to find new paths.  I have things to do and people to see, and I am excited about getting involved more.  Work is still work, outside the downer people are still there, but here at home, that is what matters.  My kids, my husband, my family, those are the people I care about and I only wish I had seen it sooner, that I had stepped back and realized that all the bad came from outside, that home is all the good! 

I am sure the hormones will catch up with me, or something will explode and I will whine and complain, but this time I think I will continue to see that the bad situation is temporary and the permanent is still good.  Happy to be home, safe in my warm bed with four sleepy babes tucked in tight  :)

Keep it comin"

Another awesome morning!  Weather is beautiful, sun is shining and we are off and running!

Teagan and I needed to run to Target this morning, and thankfully the big kids were ready early enough that they kindly watched the baby while I showered.  I broke out some of Teagan's new Fall clothes and she looked smashing, and as soon as the kids boarded the bus, we headed out.

Our Target has a Starbucks, and I had some money left on my birthday Starbucks card, so I treated myself to a pumpkin spice latte...OMG, these are fantastic!  Then Teagan and I went exploring.  I found a bunch of clearanced shirts for Grayson, a few cute outfits for Teagan and the most adorable striped sweater outfit for Finn.  We tried to get some Fall shoes for Teagan and another pair of Converse for Gray, but all the shoes were missing!  Guess they are redoing the section and were moving things around :)

Grabbed some more sippy straw cups for Teagan and stocked up on some healthy snacks for the big kids for school, and ran into my neighbor and babysitter and had a nice chat.  Finished up, came home, and put the baby down for a nap sans pacifier! 

Finished cleaning up and worked, and now just need to do the dishes and make homemade mac and cheese for dinner tonight since we have football.

Keep the good days coming!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The grand plan

Lucky you, two posts in one day :)  See what happens when the big kids are at school and I get work done early...did I mention I already have a good, healthy dinner cooking, wheee!

I always have a plan, usually a grand plan that is years away and often unattainable. Sometimes these plans happen much to everyone's surprise, such as my MBA, getting an online teaching job and pursuing my doctorate.  Other plans have been thrown out, back burnered and changed.

We have been trying to move for years for many. many reasons.  For me, the biggest reason is space, both inside and out.  Our current house is large enough for our family, but the layout is not the best and we desperately need bigger bathrooms and a better kitchen.  Outside we need more too.  We want to plant more, grow more, raise animals, and this lot is just not set up to do any of that, so we are looking for a minimum of 5 acres or closer to 10 so we can grow much more food and raise some animals.

The housing market has been a big issue for us, so was me being in school and some debt we have been carrying.  About a year ago, we decided we had enough of the debt and began getting rid of it, and while it has been a long and slow process, we are really making headway!  We anticipate being out of debt in just over 2 years time.  When that happens, we won't even need to sell this house, we should be able to rent it and buy land and build our dream home.  I see that plan, this dream coming true, and it is all I can think about!  It seems far, two years, but still so very close!  I am hoping that this summer we will begin scouting land, and maybe purchase in December 2011.  We can then, if the market is not conducive to selling, start reviewing building plans in spring and investigating renting this house to cover the costs.  If all goes well, we will be moved no later than Haven's 13th birthday!  So flippin excited!

Schedules rock!

We are now in Day 3 of school, and I can already see that this will be a good fall for us!

Yesterday was the real test, I have a call in the mornings which I complete on my way to PT gig. Teach at PT gig then need to get home to help feed kids and then off to football practice.  Yesterday was the first day with the sitter in the afternoon, me working, Ryan working, school and football, and it went well!  We even got home, got the big kids showered and everything packed up to go with kids in bed at a reasonable time.  Thankfully the coach is talking about moving the Wednesday practice day, which would be awesome since it would mean the girls and I would only need to be at practice once a week and games once a week.

Right now it is 10 am and so much has been done!  We were up early, ran to pick up our chicken/eggs/bacon order, back home for breakfast and to get ready for school.  Kids got off without a hitch and I was able to get the kitchen cleaned, dishes done, vacuuming completed, laundry switched and all of my course checks done!  Now I still have some things that I can work on today, but technically I am done with my work work, and it is such a good feeling!  Teagan is napping and I am considering joining her :)

The kids are thriving at school, I am feeling like I have the ability to get my jobs done and still take care of the house, and Teagan is getting some deserved one on one time.

I love schedules!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Good Life

Too often I get caught up in the moment, the stress, the inevitable chaos and I forget how fortunate we are.  Yeah days are long, loud and crazy.  Yep, messes big and small happen every single day.  Sure money can be tight, things break at the worst time, and feeding and clothing our little tribe is a full time job.  But every day, every single day, I get to be with the people I love more than anything in the world.  I have a husband who is more than happy to jump in and do things for the kids and I, make dinner in a pinch and who regularly (especially lately) sends me to bed to rest.  He walked to school today to meet Gray's bus because Gray wanted him there, Ryan made sure Gray was settled, walked home and then came to pick Teagan up from me so I could spend some time with friends.  Not only did he do that, but he then took Teagan for a walk, brought her home and put her down for her nap and texted me to let me know they were a-ok and to enjoy myself and have fun.  So many husbands would complain about having to do things like this, but mine did it all willingly and on his own because he wanted to, because it made him happy and allowed me to have fun. 

My big kids had great first days at school. They came home bubbling with excitement and stories and news from their adventures today.  I was met with hugs and smiles and excited little faces, and Teagan was scooped up by her siblings, hugged and kissed and loved on. Even Finn was included in the joy as Brittan hugged me and whispered a hello to her baby brother. I cannot tell you how that makes me feel.  To see my children love each other, care for each other and show their joy is always amazing to me.  I saw Brittan carefully put her hand on Grayson's back getting off the bus, a gentle guide away from the road, a loving but not overbearing symbol of her concern for him.  Grayson told me all morning how Haven and ONLY HAVEN could walk him to class today, and tomorrow it would be Brittan, because he loves them both.  The girls assured him that they would show him their classrooms again so if he needed them, he knew where to go.  That means so much to me, it means we are fostering good and strong bonds between the kids, and I love seeing those relationships grow and change.

Sure my kids fight, Ryan and I argue, the kids make me angry, we are human!  We are not a perfect family, in fact we are perfectly flawed, each and every one of us.  I love us, I love our family unit.  I think we are an interesting mix of people, some easy going, some uptight, some prone to happiness, others more reserved, joyous and silly, loud and active, we are one crazy bunch of people thrown together in this house.  My children have learned to love each other in spite of their differences and flaws.  They have also learned that we, their parents, are not perfect, that we make mistakes and need to apologize when we are wrong.  This group, this tribe, this family of mine, I have never in my life imagined how much I could need them and love them.

Soon we will change again.  So soon Finnian will come into our lives and we will examine him, his fingers, toes, eyes and ears.  We will watch him the first few months to see who he looks like, acts like, if he is content, fussy, sweet or strong willed.  We will learn who he is, what he likes, what he needs and he will etch his spot in this family, making himself a permanent part of our world, and leaving us to wonder how we ever existed without him.  In less than 12 weeks, we will change again as a family, we will grow together one last time, and we will again be thankful for this good life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

And away we go....

Tomorrow is the first day of school and I tucked in three very happy and excited kids tonight.  Gray is a little nervous and asked that his dad come up to the school and make sure he is settled in his class, so I will put him on the bus with his sisters and Ryan will run up and meet him and make sure he is good to go.

I am happy we held Gray the year, he was too young last year and it would have made the transition too hard.  Now he is ready, and I am excited to see him enter this new world of school, and activities and growth.

Tomorrow I will head out for coffee, then the hubby and I may have a lunch date and a run to the farm.  Tuesdays are now "our" days together, well with Teagan too, and I am looking forward to some time with the hubby.

Now off to bed, tomorrow is a big day!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I am not sure how we'd survive if we did not use teamwork around here.  My job is super busy, Ryan works crazy odd hours, the kids have activities, and there are a whole lot of us.  Chaos and mess happens easily around here, one or two days without a good cleanup and things get piled, but thankfully we work well as a team.

This morning the baby woke at 6:30 and I was dead tired, so Ryan stayed up with her and fed her and the other kids as they roused.  There was a syrup mishap that required laundry, which he simply handled, and when I came down at 8:30 everything was calm and he even started my coffee.  I knew he was sleepy too, so when Teagan went for her nap at 9:30, I sent him up to bed as well and kicked the kids into gear.  Together, the three big kids and I got the entire downstairs spic and span.  The dining room had been cluttered with back to school stuff, now it is neat and clean, dusted and scrubbed.  The foyer has been organized and dusted, the kitchen scrubbed from top to bottom, bathroom cleaned and the family room organized and cleaned.  We even sorted the changing table area we have in the family room (trust me, with one going on two babies, it is a necessity) and organized all of the cloth diapers for Finn, Teagan's gear and packed up anything we no longer needed.  Toys were wiped down, the desk organized and the floors given a good once over.  Now I sit here and know our house is clean, and for an OCD person, that is a calming feeling.

When Ryan gets up, he will then put his side of the team to work.  He is on laundry duty today, and he needs to clean the glass on the kitchen lights (I can't reach them).  I will run to the store for the last few items for back to school and for our lunch of croque-monsieurs, then home to make a roast chicken dinner with all the fixins, complete with a pie for dessert.  Order, quality time together  and teamwork make the crazy days calm and easy.  Kids are happy, Ryan and I are prepared to snuggle on the couch tonight and relax and tomorrow I am taking the whole day off work...wheeeee!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Joy and excitement

Today was an exciting day, it was Grayson's first football game and his team won!  Now my boy is by no means "good" but he has improved so much just since practices began, and as many know, the season start was not a pleasant one.  He may not run fast or be able to catch the ball well, but put him in front of people and he will block.  On one play it took two boys much bigger than him to bring him down.  He isn't powering through anyone, but being this is his first season, we are happy with what he is doing, and the coach seems pleased that he has no fear on the field :)

He is loving it, so we really want to see his skills expand.  We are placing him in flag football this spring if we can so he can work on the running and catching skills, but his place may be defense since he is happy to stand there and push on people.

On another note, my kids have been so good lately, especially when out and about.  After the game we needed to go to the Verizon store since my Blackberry died the other day, and they were super well behaved while we waited for my new phone.  Then we headed off to Panera for a quick lunch, and again, awesome kids, sitting quietly, listening, being patient.  It makes it so nice to go out with all of them when they are good! Now at home has been a different story, but I will take good behavior out and about any day.

Now we are gearing up for the start of school.  We have to grab first day of school clothes for the girlies and stock up on food for lunches.  We then have a super family feast planned for Monday night, and off they head on Tuesday.  Thankfully I have plans for Tuesday morning as well and will be able to leave Teagie with Ryan so I can head off for some "girl talk" with friends.  Life is good!

The week ahead is busy, with outings, work, school, football and dance, but we are all getting so excited for Fall to get here. Apple picking trips are being made, and the freezer is getting stocked this week with chicken and beef to hold us through the season.  Wood will be order in the next few weeks for the fireplace and we will soon be into my favorite time of the year.  Bring on the fall leaves, crisp breezes, apple pies and hoodies, we are ready!

Friday, September 3, 2010


I was playing with Teagan today, just making her laugh and having fun with her, and I realized how differently I approach things with her than when the big kids were her age.  When Haven was up all night screaming, I would get frustrated, but this week Teagie has been up two nights for most of the night, so I rocked her and sang to her and cuddled her.  I was tired, and wished she would sleep, but I wasn't frustrated.  When Brittan was a baby, she was not into playing.  She liked to observe, which is how she is now, but I would try to engage her and she would not want to play.  Teagan is pretty outgoing, but I see a lot of Britt in her, and when she doesn't want to engage, I work to encourage it.  When Britt was little, I would let her just sit and watch, and I wish I had tried to work with her more, since she was very shy in her early years (she is NOT shy now so I guess it worked out).  With Gray, I remember wishing some of the hard toddler days away, waiting for the nap or bedtime, and I find that with Teag, I miss her after bedtime and I look forward to getting her up from her nap, soaking up the strong hold she gets on my arm, the sweet smile she gives when I come to get her, and holding her warm, sweet little sleepy body close.

It isn't that I like or love Teagan any more than I did or do the big kids, it is not that she is not difficult sometimes, that she doesn't get crabby and cranky and throw fits, because she does.  The difference is in ME.  I am older than when I had Haven, Brittan and Grayson. I am more experienced.  I see now that babies grow up into kids, and I see how that process happens each and every day.  I look at those big kids and I am so proud of who they are in spite of me and my mistakes, and I know when I look at Teagan (and Finn when he comes) that I will make different mistakes with them, but I will do my best, every day.  I understand now why many people wait until they are older to have children as their approach is so different, and I am thankful that I have had a chance to be a young parent to babies and an older parent to babies, because it lends a new perspective.

I am so very proud of my kids, all of my kids.  I love that Ryan and I are on the same page with them, that we know what is important to us and what we hope for the kids.  I am at peace with how we raise them, and believe that we are going to raise good adults, which was our intention.  The process of raising children is one of evolution and growth, there are always new hurdles and changes and paths that must be chosen, but I never question that my children will grow into good, strong, ethical people who treat others as they want to be treated.  I see great potential in the kids, I believe that they know right from wrong, and they that will not end up as many kids today do, self involved and full of a sense of entitlement that is only justified by their parents indulgence.  I hope we keep them on this path, that they become all we hope for them, and we will fight for whatever is necessary to protect, educate and encourage them in their lives.  Parenting is a huge responsibility, and one that should not ever be taken lightly, and I am so happy that we have been fortunate enough to be able to have five little souls to teach and love.

Clarity comes in waves....sometimes BIG CRASHING ones

Ah yesterday...this one will go down in the books as one of the days when the skies become clear and you find the path that had been there all along, and you simply didn't know it.  Yesterday everything changed, and I am so looking forward to all the tomorrows.

One change that happened, albeit a small one, was we went to school to meet the kid's teachers.  Ryan had work, so I fed the kids some baked ziti and breadsticks I made from our leftover pizza dough and off we traipsed to the elementary school.  The teacher list was posted, and the kids checked it out, and everyone was really happy with their assignments and each kid had other kids they knew in their classes...whew!

We stood in the heat until they opened the doors for my third kindergarten orientation, and we tried very hard to listen even though Teagan really just wanted to talk to us over the speakers :)

Then off to visit the kindergarten room where my big girls went on the tour with the little kids to help the grownups out.  They knew the two teachers running the tour and the girls were so excited they were asked to come along and help with the kinderkids.  This was great, but left me with Teagan alone in the room while trying to listen to the teacher.  Somehow we made it through and Grayson came back very excited about the tour and all they saw!  We said goodbye to our friends in that room, and moved on to Haven's fifth grade room.  From what I could gather, her teacher is really on top of things and seems to be really nice.  I am hoping that this will be a good year for Haven, she has friends in the class and seems excited to head back next week. Finally, the last stop was Brittan's room.  Her teacher was super sweet and the room was just what Brittan loves...organized to a "t"!  She had some good friends in her class and was very excited to see them and find out how third grade will work this year. Last stop was the PTO table to sign up and the school gear table to get some new stuff for the kiddos, plus a few short breaks to chat with friends.

Came home and fed everyone again since they were STARVED.  Also got really great news about a friend of ours...seems her plans to come live closer to us is happening, and soon!  She has been in Florida and will be moving to West Virginia, which means we will get to see a lot more of her!  The kids LOVE her, and so do we, and I can't wait to have her closer.   Her move here means that I may be able to get the hubby to move near my sister, which will make my sister happy, make me happy, make my kids SO happy and make Ryan happy since his friend will be living up that way too.  Hmm, Apple Country sounds like a good fit for our crazy brood, and if the housing market doesn't want to work with us, we will rent this place out and get the heck out of dodge!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thinking thoughts of thoughts to write

So...I am debating taking things private or by invite only, but I hate censorship, even self censorship.

Ugh, so what to do?  I have things to say that I am happy to put out in the world for all to see and I have things that would be better only shared with part of the world.  Such a dilemma.

Well, I guess for now I will think about things, and decided if I want to put it ALL out there, world be damned, or if I need to censor myself a bit.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A new path

I had a post that I was going to put up, and it dealt with a very real situation at hand, but it is so negative and not in line with what I want to focus on in my life at this moment.  The situation will resolve itself as we have begin the appropriate process and reached out to folks with expertise to serve as counsel, and I will just let them handle it from this point forward.

So...changing paths.

The kids have their Open House tomorrow and they are so excited to find out who their teachers are, who is in the class, etc.  Grayson starts kindergarten, and I know he is a little nervous, but he also keeps telling us that he can't wait to go and see everything the girls have been telling him about for years.  I will be juggling all four kids alone as Ryan has work, so it will be an adventure I am sure, but it will also be nice to see all the other parents and the kid's friends again.

I am also excited for when the kids head off next week as I have some big plans for Teagan and I.  I only have a few short months when it is just she and I, and I have some ideas of fun things we can do.  I can't wait to see the kids enter a new school year, watch them learn and grow and to have an opportunity to explore the world through the eyes of a one year old for awhile. 

I may complain about the hard moments, but I do get how lucky I am that I get to spend these days with my kids.  I am sure that before I know it, or I am ready, all the kids, even little Finn, will be off and running and our life will be very different.  I am so fortunate that I can build my career and complete my degrees while being home with my kids.  When Finn is older, I will be able to go back to a more traditional work schedule, probably teaching on campus somewhere.  If I had to choose between raising my kids or working, I would be terribly unhappy, so I am so very thankful that I am here for all their firsts, that I get to hold sleepy little babies after naps and be the first to welcome the kids off the bus, so many are not so fortunate.  I love my jobs, all of them, and they are all hard work, but I know that it is all worth it when I see my kids and the people they are growing into.