Friday, May 27, 2011

My cool rating is about to drop a few points

not that it was exceptionally high these days anyway.

Today after school, the kids and I will begin the task of cleaning out my car, which lets face it, is quite an undertaking.  Right now I drive a Trailblazer Extended.  When we bought it, it was love at first sight.  It is a pretty glittery red, it has leather seats and the front ones are heated, it was loaded with a 6 disc CD player, premium sound, every airbag possible and a DVD player.  I LOVED that car and it was perfect when we had three kids, but now, not so much.  The middle row has three seats and the back row two.  We just fit since it seats seven, and the babies are on either end of the middle seat, Brittan sits between the two car seats, Grayson is in the back in booster and Haven is next to him.  To say we are cramped is a major understatement, and trips are a nightmare with the stroller taking up the precious cargo space in the back, the kids in the back row riding with the pack and play under their feet and all our luggage that I carefully pack to keep it to a minimum gets put in a luggage bag on the roof.  To be honest, it kind of sucks.  Kids are jammed in and uncomfortable.  When it rains or snows, the kids in the back have to step on the seat and climb over leaving mud on Brittan's seat and soon, when we move Finn up to a convertible seat, I have no idea how they will get in or out of the truck.  The final straw was the car started having problems, lots of problems including a weird ABS issue that caused us to have to disable the ABS or pay thousands to fix it.

The Trailblazer is set to be paid off in November and we had planned to give it a year and then suck it up and buy something bigger, but with the brake issues and two big trips coming up, I decided to start looking around last week.  I found a Ford E350 that has only 20K miles on it and was in our price range.  I decided to call and start the credit process just to see how it played out, and well, it played out well and actually will cost us about 200 dollars less a month and we will have a warranty that will last through 100K miles.  So, we will clean out the car today and tomorrow evening we will go take a look at the big ole 12 passenger van and I am guessing it will come home with us.  While I am excited to stretch out, have a warranty and generally feel safer driving on the upcoming trips, I am sad that we will have a car payment for longer and that I will now be the mom driving the HUGE church van around town!  Ryan is a bit dismayed at the whole thing, but we have found some really sweet flame decals we are thinking of putting on the van, you know, to make it easier to find :)

So no more cute little cars for me, not even the usual "mom" ride of a minivan, nope, we are going for the big, embarrassing and totally uncool car, but man will it be nice to be able to separate the kids when they are fighting!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It will all get done...someday

One of the things I am working hard on is patience with chores, tasks, heck, just about everything!  Everything takes longer than I want, expect and hope.  Our schedules stink, especially this week with Ryan doing training during the days  and then working at night, poor guy is exhausted!  The kid's schedules are busy with the end of school coming, we have activities to do and there are loads of tasks that need to be done and even more "little things" that crop up each day that make getting those tasks done even harder.  Right now I am hoping Ryan takes tomorrow night off so he can catch up on sleep tomorrow night and most of the day Saturday while the kids and I are at swim, the farm, etc. and then be able to help us get things done Sunday/Monday.

For me, patience is difficult.  I want to do what I want to do now.  When there is a task, I want it done and over with.  If there is a mess, I want it cleaned up.  With a bigger family, it just doesn't happen that way, it takes time, lots of time, with many stops and starts, to accomplish even the smallest tasks.  I am trying hard to prioritize, to move through my anxieties and emotions and figure out how to make a new plan on the fly, a huge issue for me.  I am getting there, it is slow going, but I am.  I have big plans for the summer, I plan to work on big tasks in the house two days a week, and one day a week do a deep clean of the downstairs.  My big girls were looking to earn some cash this summer, so they will do some "babysitting" for me so I can dedicate a larger chunk of time to tasks.  I believe they should help out some with watching the babies, usually I ask them to do it when I need to grab a shower, make dinner, or when the whole family is cleaning the house and we trade off who is on baby duty, but having them watch the littles for a couple hours goes above and beyond what I expect from them as members of the family and they will be able to earn a little cash for helping.  Those few hours a week will mean I can attack a room at a time, and hopefully by the end of summer we will have purged, cleaned, reorganized and gotten all the tasks done, although it will still take much longer than I would hope!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It happened, I blinked and she grew up

Today my oldest turns 11 and I have no idea how we got here so very fast.  It seems like yesterday that I was stressing about sending her to kindergarten, and in a few short weeks she will graduate from fifth grade and move on to middle school.  Wasn't it last week that she was sitting in the baby tub playing with her foam letters?  Now she talks about music and fashion and she looks so grownup.  Are you sure it wasn't just last Christmas she got that Elmo phone with the loud buttons that made me crazy, yet tomorrow she will wake up and find her first cell phone waiting for her at the table. 

My Haven, my girl, my oldest baby is turning 11 and while I want to make her stop and slow down, I know this is what needs to happen.  Raising her has been an adventure, she has faced a lot of challenges, but we are seeing it come together.  She is so very smart, so kind and so creative.  The last year we have watched her come into herself and I know the next few years she is going to blossom into one amazing young woman.  I am proud she is mine, I am thankful that we were made her parents, and I looking forward to the next 11 years of adventures.

Happy Birthday to the girl who came screaming into the world and made me a mama just before dinnertime on May 24th 2000.  We love you Gravy.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What do you eat

when the Rapture is coming?  I mean come on, we eat dinner before 6 pm and I wouldn't like the kids to face judgment on an empty stomach, they may be cranky and significantly less appealing as keepers.

We decided on pasta rosa with garlic bread.  I also figure that since we were potentially in trouble with the big guy, or so they say, I made a hot milk sponge cake with strawberries and fresh whipped cream...maybe the man upstairs is a fan of strawberry shortcake and would like a little before deciding if we stay or go, or maybe we will celebrate being alive at 6:01 :)

See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Please send back up

My four oldest kids sleep.  They sleep fairly well.  To be clear, I could easily put Teagan to bed at 7 pm and not see her until 7 am and it is rare for her to wake at night.  I could also, potentially, tell the big kids I was hitting the hay at 7 when Teagie went to bed and they would go to bed at 8 as directed and I could sleep for 12 hours...except for one.tiny.little.thing. Finn.

Finn simply doesn't sleep at night, like, at all.  He will go to sleep and sleep for an hour or two and then he wants to get up and eat, you know, the newborn schedule except he is pushing 6 months old and I am over the newborn schedule.  By the time I feed him, settle him, am sure he is sleeping and try to go to sleep (I don't fall asleep easily) he is  up again.  Lately I am lucky to get 30 minutes between feedings, so that is 30 minutes before the 11 pm feeding, 30 minutes before the 1 am, 30 minutes before the 3 am feeding and 30 minutes before the 5 am feeding and then I am usually up for the day since Teagan or Brittan are up by 6:30.  Adding that up, that is a grand total of 2 1/2 hours of sleep a night...on a good night and last night was not a good night.  Now I have been snagging an extra hour or so on the days the hubby is home, but I am so sleep deprived it isn't even funny.  I was supposed to go to the store today but don't think I can handle it emotionally or physically...seriously, I have never felt like I couldn't handle a quick run to the store, ever.

So I am not sure what to do now, how to fix this, how to get him to sleep better.  My other kids were not great sleepers, but by this age I was getting a four hour stretch and usually only doing the 11 pm or midnight feeding and one other, but this schedule is really awful.  I know it will pass.  I know someday he will sleep, probably too much as a teenager and I will then torture him with 6 am wake up calls, but for right now, this feels a bit like hell.  Did I mention Teagan has a fever and doesn't feel well and she has been crying at me since 6:30 am?  Today is not going to be a good day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It took five kids

but I believe I may have run out of time for blogging daily!

We are just so busy here and about to get busier with all of the end of school events including Haven's fifth grade graduation...I am tearing up a bit thinking about it!

So...this weekend we began our Saturday the usual way with packing up for swim lessons.  Ryan decided to forgo sleep and come with us and the big kids were super excited that he came and saw how they were doing with swim.  After swim we hit the farmers market and loaded up on some of the early produce; onions, fennel, radishes and snow peas.  Then we grabbed subs for lunch and went to the very muddy farm where Ryan picked another flat of strawberries and we got some yummy sausages that we will eat for dinner tomorrow night. I also went back out after dinner with the two big girls to get Haven a new outfit for her birthday event the next day.

Sunday was the birthday event. Haven doesn't turn 11 until the 24th, but this was the only weekend her dad would be home to keep the other kids so we planned to have her mini celebration yesterday.  We will be having a big pool party for the three older kids in June since they all have summer birthdays, but we try to do something small for their "real" birthdays too. So yesterday I took Haven, Brittan and two of Haven's friends to see Prom at the new movie theater just south of us.  My rules for the girls were: 1. Pick any candy you want.  2. Pick any drink you want  3. We will be getting a large popcorn to share.  4.  Have fun!  They had a great time.  The movie was cute...a little long for me, but the girls enjoyed.  They had so much fun driving home in the car, chatting and singing to the radio.  We even hit traffic so it took longer getting home and they seemed happier that they were stuck together in the car!  I do have to say, four tween girls can be LOUD!  It was nice though, they were so good, they were adorable in their cit chat and it gave me a glimpse of what it will be like as my girls get bigger and we can do more things like this together.

Today is paint the bathroom day, yes that bathroom, still not done.  BUT we are so so close!  Just paint and the new vanity and we are done!

Life is good.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I desire change, but it scares me

Oh change my friend, my enemy!  Hubby had an interview this week, not the best fit for a job but they have another position he will interview for in a week or so....praying the money works because this is a great stepping stone to get us to the "big move" next spring/summer.

I am also applying to jobs, I found a few that would allow me to keep my FT teaching gig and work FT from home, but I feel pretty overwhelmed already most days so the idea of another FT job scares me to death.  I also applied for a teaching position at my alma mater that should allow me to work online until we move and then on campus, lets see if they call.  Right now all we are trying to do is ramp up the income for this last year in VA, we want to save as much as we can and pay off the last little bit of debt as early as possible.  We are so so close, the closest we have ever been, and I am getting anxious.  I am scouring the house listings on Long Island, reviewing the schools, figuring out the real estate tax process (egads it is scary) and trying to make sure that when we do move, we move to the right place, the right house, the right jobs. It is a tad overwhelming.

Fingers crossed that we both get new gigs soon, that they pay a bit more and that we find a way to make this move happen as quickly and easily as possible.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Long day, but great day

Today started a little rough, Finn had a really bad night which I think is due to the addition of solids, it is causing his little belly some stress so I am backing off for a few days so he can regroup.  Once the kiddos left, Ryan and I attacked a few things around the house, slice strawberries and started them in the dehydrator and began to get ready to take the babies to the doctor.  Both babies were due for a shot, we vaccinate but on an alternate schedule and we don't give multiple vaccines on the same visit, so we go in quite a lot for shot visits.  On our way, Haven called from school and needed a change of shoes one of the straps on the shoes she was wearing broke, so Ryan ran those up while I headed to the doctor and he met us there after stopping at the school.  Got Finn weighed since last month he hadn't gained, and he put on just over 1/2 lb this month which is pretty good.  He is a long lean baby, his cheeks are deceiving since they are VERY chubby and he sports a double chin, but he has really long chicken legs and his body is very long and thin.  He reminds me of Brittan as a baby.

After the doctor, Ryan ran to the store and I came home and did lunch for Teagan and put her down for a nap and did some work.  Around 2 I couldn't stand it anymore, I was purely exhausted, so I headed to bed for an hour.  Got up and prepped for canning and Ryan and I got a dozen jars of strawberry jam canned while juggling the kids and making them dinner, it was quite a circus.  Then we scrambled to get ready for our date night.  Sitter came and we left and headed to dinner at a local little Italian joint.  The food was so, so good and it was so nice to have a chance to sit across from my husband and talk without interruptions.  We ate, we chatted, it was perfect.  Came home to four of the five tucked into bed and only my little guy awake, so I worked a bit and then took some time to cuddle him, kiss his sweet toes and get him settled for the night.  Good good night :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The best day I could have on three hours of sleep

I did not hold much hope for today.  Finn had a fussy night and I finally got him resettled around 4 am and fell back into bed looking forward to a few more hours of sleep and then Haven started whining/crying/yelling/complaining that her leg hurt, from her bed, loudly.  I was stuck because Finn just fell asleep and if I got up I might wake him, and screaming to her to be quiet from bed was out of the question too, so I waited her out.  She quieted down and I started to doze and then at 6 am Teagan started screaming, so I tried to wait her out since she will sometimes wake up and then resettle, but she kept at it so I went in and I met with one of the worst things a mother can find....a diaper on the floor.  Yes my darling Teagie had removed her diaper at some point and tossed it out of her crib and everything IN the crib was soaked in pee.  Joy. So I stripped Teagie and carried a naked baby girl and a fussing baby boy down the stairs, cleaned her up and dressed her and started a load of laundry.  It was 6:30 am.

Then Ryan came home and told me he was too tired to come strawberry picking with me.  I understand since that would be like me waking at 3 am and picking berries, but I was still really sad since he has been working so much and every Saturday the kids and I are out and about on our adventures.  Cried a few tears mostly due to my three hours of crap sleep the night before then sucked it up since I still had to get five kids out the door to swim.  My big girls were awesome helpers and made sandwiches for after swim and packed them in the cooler with drinks.  I got babies dressed and got myself ready to go and we walked out the door on time and made it to swim a few minutes early.  After the lesson we piled into the car and everyone ate their sandwiches on our way to the farm where we went and picked almost twenty pounds of berries.  Then we loaded back up since we had passed a farmers market on our way and wanted to check it out. Sadly the market closed at 1 and we missed it by a few minutes, but now we have a plan for after swim next week!  Kids were helpful when we got home, all the berries were hulled and washed and I made some yummy strawberry ice cream for the kids for dessert.  I am looking forward to canning the berries on Monday, we have been without homemade jam for too long!  The next round of berries will get picked Tuesday and will be dehydrated so we can store them for winter use.  They are delicious in oatmeal, granola bars, yogurt, muffins and pancakes.  Mmm, berries!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crazy is as crazy does

I called my sister and while we were talking I told her I was crazy which she assumed meant work was crazy, which says a lot about both our jobs.  Then I explained that work was fine, and I was ACTUALLY crazy and she laughed because she didn't quite expect me to be calling myself crazy.  It is ok, I go a tad off the deep end around 4-5 months post partum and every May so it is to be expected especially since Finn is just 5 months and well, its May. I am reeling it in and the best part of my crazy is that it lasts a week or two and then goes away for a year, or until I have a baby, but that isn't happening again, well the May thing is but well, you get the idea!  Don't get me wrong, my daily crazy hangs around, but the really whacked out crazy will take a hike for awhile, which is a good thing because there is nothing as awful as being crazy, knowing you are being crazy and not being able to stop the madness. 

Another sign of May in our home, and a much better sign, is strawberry season.  We have strawberry picked for as long as I can remember with the kids every May.  This year we will be hitting the fields Saturday after swim to pick a few flats of berries and then when we get home we will make some fresh strawberry ice cream and Monday will be jam day.  See, crazies are wearing off as we speak!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sell it baby

I have always found it hard to apply for jobs and talk yourself up, it seems to go against what we are all taught about bragging.  Right now I am "selectively" applying for positions, only ones that I feel passionate about, that work with my research specialization and allow me to still work primarily from home.  I have a few I have sent info out to, but there is one that just last week I saw and would be a perfect fit pending that they hire me as a consultant and not a traditional employee.   I responded to their listing, indicated my background and qualifications and my desire to work as a consultant and not an employee, and I guess we will see what happens.  I am pretty sure there are not too many local folks who specialize in eco-product labels and marketing, but maybe I am wrong, or maybe they want someone's butt in a seat every day.  If I got this and they took me on as a consultant, I would get to work in a field I am incredibly passionate about, get some time away from the house to work on projects, work at various trade shows and conventions which focus on eco-products and boost our financial bottom line.  I think it would be a great opportunity, and while I am nervous about adding a new gig to my work load, I would probably drop PT school from the list since the pay just doesn't balance the work load sometimes. 

I am getting excited about my future.  I love what I do, and I will never leave higher education, there is something great about working with students, but I also want to write books, speak and consult.  I feel like it is worth all the work I have done up until this point, the long hours and tears, and that I will get this pesky dissertation done and it will be a great accomplishment.  It is great to see everything come together and I am hoping that one of the companies/organizations I am reaching out to decides that we would work well together and we will see what the future holds!