Monday, December 15, 2008

Recipe Club Update

In case you're wondering how recipe club went today...It ended abruptly when my child threw up her red-frosted Santa cookie all over the floor. Moms with babies sure do scatter fast when there are germs around! But what a blessing they are, asking how they can help while they want nothing more than to get their own kids as far away as possible. I just hope this is through with our family before we're supposed to head to Ohio... :(

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lemon Cookies

I finally got started making this year's Christmas cookies. I had to get at least one kind done before the MOMS club recipe club I'm hosting tomorrow! So I broke out the old standy special event cookies. The Lemon-don't-know-what-to-call-them cookies. I don't remember where I got the recipe for these filled lemon cookies. Once upon a time they were sandwich cookies that were then rolled in powdered sugar called "Lemon Snowdrops", but most of the Lemon Snowdrops I have seen are just plain teacake cookie balls rolled in powdered sugar. I've also tweaked it so much that it doesn't really resemble the original anymore anyway. They take a while to make, but are oh so worth it!

Dough:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powedered sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp milk

Filling:
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is truly best here!)
1 1/2 tbsp soft butter
lemon zest (if you used a fresh lemon - just a bit)

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add extract, flour, salt and milk. Mix thoroughly, but do not overmix. Add a few drops more milk if the dough is too crumbly. Form small balls (I use a small cookie scoop), then flatten slightly and make an indentation with your thumb to form a "cup" shape. Place 1/2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

Make lemon butter filling by combining all ingredients in the top of a double-boiler. Cook over hot water until thick, stirring constantly. Cool. Fill indentation in cookies and allow to set. (Note: I sometimes skip the double-boiler and just do straight in a pan over medium-low heat, but you have to be careful!) I like to have the cookies on a cooling rack so the excess that runs out of the dent doesn't pool around the edge of the cookies.

Once the filling has set, put powdered sugar in a mesh strainer and shake over the cookies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Suggestions?

My moms Bible study will be wrapping up our current book, then taking a 2 week hiatus. During those 2 weeks, I am supposed to find and order a new book for our study. Unfortunately, having another mom from the group suggest our next book - or even a topic - did not pan out. Some of our guidelines are:

1) Preferably a book that is not too dependent on having been at the discussion for the previous chapter. Read it - yes - but it's OK if we miss due to kids, schedules, weather, what have you.

2) Something that will relate to moms of kids ages 3-9 and wives.

3) Something that will generate good discussion, preferably with a study or discussion guide available.

Some of the books that we have done are:
If Mama Ain't Happy Ain't Nobody Happy
Receiving God's Goodness
Living Above Worry and Stress
The Power of a Positive Mom

So, does anyone have a suggestion for us? Or a topic that your small group did that you really enjoyed?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let the Christmas Marathon Begin!

At least that's how it feels sometimes. I made an effort last year to not let it be that way. I'm hoping to keep it up this year. Trim the fat out of it, if you will. We make a big deal about focusing with the kids on the REAL reason for the holiday. They get presents and we give presents, but the focus is on the giving, not the gift, and on the greatest love of all in the form of Christ. But despite my best efforts, I just cannot give up a few things. And I tend to go overboard. How can you make just one kind of cookie? And if you make a few kinds, how do you not take a tray to family? And to work? And if one of you takes to work, how do you not let BOTH people take a tray to work? As long as you're at it, why not make just one extra handmade gift for that person, since it doesn't really cost anything...but then what about this person and that person and so on... Yeah, it's all my own doing, but it's still tough!

So...wish me luck as I embark on the annual baking, bagging, sewing, wrapping, writing, decorating, singing, playing and not-so-nightly-but-trying-nativity-activity marathon that is the holiday season at our house. I wish you all luck and health while you try to cram a year's worth of festivities and socializing into this one month with me. And may we all learn to slow down, let go and focus on what really matters.

It's the Little Things...

I know it's trite, but it really is the little things that make a person's day. Like waking up to a sandwich snuggle in the morning, with a soft warm face on each cheek and their sweet, moist breath mingling beneath your nose. A smile from someone who hasn't seen you in a week and actually missed you! And little love notes scrawled on a white board by someone who can't wait to share their newfound skill with you.

So that's why I haven't posted in a while. Been a little busy. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

My family doesn't read this, so I'm safe asking for a little help here. Long ago, I gave up on trying to buy gifts for my parents. They buy whatever they want and anything "fun" I try to get is always way off the mark. So lately, I've been trying to make them something for Christmas. And my mother-in-law...although we also buy for her because she's easier to buy for. She just likes the personal touch, too. And school teachers, because really, who needs another mug? And neighbors. Maybe a friend or two. Sure does grow, doesn't it?

But this year, I'm having trouble coming up with ideas. I'm relatively crafty, but not terribly so. And I do not knit. Or crochet. Or sew more than say a pillow or a blanket. Frankly, I guess I'm not really that crafty, but I do try. Anyway, what are some things that you have made to give as gifts? Pictures would be great!

WFMW - Toys Worth Buying



Today's Works For Me Wednesday is Toys Worth Buying. With so many toys in our house, surely there is something in here that was worth the money we paid for it!


For babies, we always liked the hedgehog bristle teether. It was great at soothing the gums and also made a great squeaky sound on the teeth that they all loved, while managing to not be annoying to parents' ears!

For older babies and toddlers, we LOVE washable finger paint. It's washable. It's still OK for them to go topless. And if worst comes to worse, you can hose them off, right? As long as you don't have carpet in your dining room, it's a breeze to clean up and so great for creativity as well as the sensory aspect.



My most recent "best buy" in the toy category would probably be the Martian Matter Alien Maker. The kids all like it, the refills aren't too expensive and they talk to each other and tell stories while they wait the 5 minutes for their "guy" to dry and watch the other kids work on theirs. Great lesson in sharing. They should put that on the box!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wise Father

Once upon a time, we thought we'd have a large family. Lots of kids close together. But things don't always work out like we plan. Lately, it has been on my mind a lot. Sort of longing for what I know I cannot have, while not really sure I would want it anymore anyway. Babies are HARD! And I really enjoy being done with the practical aspects (diaper bags, naps, bottles, diapers, 100 other little things...) After the last 24 hours, I am once again reminded that what we have is for the best. Had we continued with our plan, we would have had a 2 year old and a 6 month old to add to the mix. 5 (sometimes 6) kids in the house 8 years old and under. What were we thinking?

One thing that wasn't on our mind was Matthew and how difficult he would continue to be. God sometimes works in mysterious ways, but I guess sometimes it's pretty clear. If we had those other 2 children, I would not be back at work. I would be home. And being home, I believe I would have kept Matthew home from school on Friday to avoid the complete chaos that is an elementary school Halloween. That would have avoided a call at work from the school psychologist (minor little freak out - nothing out of the norm), but probably wouldn't have been in his best interests in the long term. Overprotecting him isn't good for him and it certainly isn't good for our other children, either. We would not have had the time and the energy to take care of both him and 2 other kids while he was completely out of control this morning. I know, we like to think that God gives us the strength that we need, and had we been given 2 other children, I'm sure I'd be writing an entirely different post. But the fact of the matter is that we were NOT given more children and some days, I thank the Lord for his wisdom. And pray for strength to deal with the 3 we do have.

Although...who knows what the future holds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feels like fall....

Driving home today with my youngest in the backseat telling me about her day playing outside and painting a "leaf tree" while fall leaves rained over my car from both sides of the street, like a curtain falling...it was really nice. I love fall. I cracked a window to smell the fall air, played in the leaves on my way to the mailbox and made popcorn for the kids to snack on once the boys got off the bus. As they were telling me about their days and eating popcorn, I was looking through papers from school. Reminders about Fall Harvest open house, invitations to Halloween parties and notes about homecoming weekend.

I love how you feel like you're being blanketed by all of the colorful leaves. All warm and snug underneath. But I think what I like most about fall is the sense of accomplishment. Everything is coming successfully to the end of its course. All of the hard work for the year can be lined up and evaluated. Measured and visibly appreciated. I suppose technically I didn't really work hard to produce that big pile of leaves in the yard, but that's just the trees bearing witness that they were hard at work right along side me. Even sending the kids back to school. By now, they're settled in their routines and are ready to start learning the building blocks for the spring growth.

I think I'll go make some ham and squash and homemade bread for supper and relish this beautiful fall day and my kids (who all seem to be in as good a mood as I am)!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What am I teaching her?

My daughter has the most beautiful hair. Women pay bundles to get highlights and color like hers. It's primarily blond - with light auburn layers underneath, strawberry blond over that and topped with bleached blond highlights throughout. It is thick and long and baby fine - like silk. She loves her hair. I've recently tried to convince her to let me cut an inch or two off - to just below the bottom of her shoulder blades - so it would tangle a little less. No dice. Then we took the boys for haircuts and she asked to have hers cut, too. Her bangs were in her eyes, so why not? It would save me a little frustration at home - I can buzz the boys, but I always cut her bangs so blunt. Why not let the professionals? She butchered my baby's hair! She cut at least an inch of her bangs. They went from being in her eyes to a half inch above her eyebrows. But only in spots. Some are still below her brows. And the back! It looks like another kid in daycare got the scissors and went to town.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm a little upset. At times, I feel like crying about it. But then it hit me - what am I teaching her to let her see me like this? It's just hair. It has no real value. Do I want her to find worth in what she looks like or in how she treats other and serves the Lord? Do I want her to be prideful or humble? Rushing her in the next day to insist that they do what they can to fix it wouldn't send the right message, but I want nothing more. Hopefully I handle things better when we get to the really big stuff!

But just so you don't think I'm over-reacting...



Her poor bangs!


Farmer's Markets - I guess you take your chances


So we went to the farmer's market yesterday. All part of the whole trying to eat more locally thing. We went to stock up on peppers for the freezer, squash to store for the winter and maybe a few fresh greens. Sounds easy, right? Well, when I went to buy the peppers, I couldn't believe the variety at one stand. And the back of his truck was loaded with bushels of them! The table was full of quart baskets with each variety. I requested 2 baskets of a few different peppers. The gentleman running the stand insisted that I didn't really want THAT many peppers. Those are all hot, you know. Didn't I want some sweet ones? I had to agree that yes, I would be getting to the sweet ones, and plead a few more times for the hot and left with a grocery bag full of peppers. About 8 of them were poblanos. Mmmm...fresh poblanos. So tonight, I made stuffed poblanos. I looked forward to it all day. I chopped up some hot peppers to mix in with Ben's stuffing so he'd have a little heat. Then we bit into them. They weren't tame, flavorful poblanos. They were flavorful, but HOT. Too hot for me to eat. Hot enough that Ben felt the heat from them more than the cherry bombs I had put in the filling. I was so disappointed. I guess that even with a great market to fall back on, I'll still prefer growing my own stuff so I know what it is.

But they sure did look good, didn't they?

The delicata squash is the same variety we grew, so we should be safe there. The brussel sprouts we got were good, but not as good as the variety we grew ourselves. But it's good to see the kids get so excited about something so good for them!

I hope my garlic turns out better - I had to beg with the couple selling that to buy more than a head at a time, too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Idle Hands

While not always the devils workshop, idle hands can definitely cause trouble! I think I've been a little too indulgent with my free time in the evenings. All of a sudden, it's piling up so high that I HAVE to take notice. Sigh. The baskets of laundry my dear husband has kept up with washing, but are waiting for me to fold and put away. The stack of mail I need to sort. The boxes and stacks of outgrown clothes I need to sort, donate and list on Ebay. The other stacks and boxes of things from re-arranging the basement 3 weeks ago that I still haven't put away. Matthew's birthday next week and I have nothing done for it! And worst - tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day and I have NO activities planned! We've celebrated it for the past two years. The kids love it. It's been on my calendar for months, but I've done nothing. And now it's here!

This is it. Tomorrow I have to knuckle down and be responsible. I will fold that laundry. I will sort the mail and pay the bills. I will put away the clothes and the boxes and plan out Matthew's birthday. But tonight, I blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

One Week Down

I'm now one week into my transition back to work, and so far, so good. (Wow! It's hard to type with your fingers crossed. Shoulda just knocked on wood.) I'm really enjoying being back at the office and absolutely LOVE having that clear distinction between work time and family time. My evenings are mine, to spend with my family or do small household chores. But most importantly, this doesn't seem to be adversely affecting my family. For that I feel truly blessed.

My husband is doing great getting the kids ready, fed and on the bus. They actually said that they prefer it to me...I am not really a morning person. Hopefully it will continue to go well and it won't affect his work or school too much. Adam is much happier being back at school. Matthew is adjusting to kindergarten better than we'd dared dream. Anna...she perhaps likes daycare a little TOO much. She was longing for me by the end of the week and wanting reassured that she would be home with me today all weekend. But all afternoon, she has been restless and talking about school. The toys she has. What her teacher says. Wishing her school friends would come help her pick up her toys. Wishing her school friends would come over to play. I guess if we're going to have even a minor bump with her adjusting to daycare, this isn't a bad bump to hit.

So, while most folks dread their first day back at work after the weekend, I am looking forward to tomorrow and am glad that my babies are, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WFMW - Morning Rush


Last week, I posted about the problem I had with going back to work and my husband getting the kids on the bus and off to daycare. I didn't think they'd like my checklist. Turns out I was wrong. Although we did need a little more. Along with their morning checklists (pack snack, brush teeth, put on shoes, etc.) they have papers that they need to take every day. Things like their lunch selection that they have to turn into the teacher each morning. And what if one of the kids gets a warning or told that they need to do something after school? How would the parent getting them off the bus (me) easily know that the one putting them on the bus (him) had made this mandate? We ended up with a whiteboard hung above where the kids put their backpacks. There is a small checklist for each child printed out and taped at the top of the board. Then we can write under each child's list if there is a reminder for that child in the morning or if there is something that I need to know when they get off the bus. Add in the days of the week magnets I picked up at Target with their papers for that day under it and we're good to go. Or at least we have been good to go so far...5 days in.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So Much to Say...

It seems like there is so much to post about today. Politics, cloned animals entering our food supply, gardening update, but what has had the most personal impact on me today was the first day of my family's transition week. Adam started 3rd grade, Matthew had his kindergarten orientation and Anna had her first (albeit brief) experience at daycare. Each day from here on out will be a little more letting go as I transition back to work. Although really, every day from the day they were born has been a period of gradually letting go. But I don't think I'm alone in feeling that sending the child off to school is one of the more significant events. And going off to work means leaving them in their dad's hands in the morning. Sure, he's perfectly capable, but he isn't me! I just pray that this adjustment goes smoothly for us all. (You can pray for us, too!)

Adam was so excited to get on the bus and head off to be with his friends. School is just one big social event to him, and he has been missing it. Even though I'm used to sending him off and am confident that he will be safe and will be of good character, it still falls short of being easy to watch him step on that bus and take off.

Tomorrow I have to send Matthew off on the bus to be in someone else's hands. For 7 hours. It would be easier if he didn't still seem so fragile. It's not just his physical frailty (I almost wept when he put on his new sneakers today - his little toothpick legs looked even more so with clunky shoes on instead of the barely there sandals) or his emotional/sensory issues. I also worry about whether he will have the character to withstand all that the world throws at him. Will he make good choices? Will the teachers and aides protect him and guide him as I would hope? He had his hour orientation today and couldn't get out of there fast enough. He was withdrawn and eyeing potential hidey-holes the entire time. Every now and then looking a little further out to find activities in which he can immerse himself, but still withdraw. He had done so well in pre-K last year, but it just seemed to be a bit too much for him today. His teacher and I both said that he'll be fine, but it seemed that we were both trying to convince ourselves as much as the other. Not what I expected of the day at all.

Anna absolutely loved "school", as she calls daycare. She was there for 3 hours and did not want to leave, crying when I got there that she hadn't gotten to take her nap yet. She is still so young, still forming so much of her character. I worry about the guidance that she will receive, but prayed in earnest for guidance for myself for the choices that I made for her. I think this was God's will for her, and I have to trust that I made the right choice in whose hands to leave her.

But then, I'm not really putting them in the teachers' hands. I have to remember that I have placed them in God's hands. God who never really gave them completely to me, is only allowing me the privilege of serving Him by raising my children to be a servants after His own heart. Surely He will protect my little ones...but it's sometimes hard to see that through the tears.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Over at Rocks In My Dryer, it's backwards Works-for-me-Wednesday. This week's assignment is to present our dilemma to you hoping for a solution that will help us out. My dilemma is how to help my husband get the kids off to school and daycare without forgetting any of the necessary steps. (School starts tomorrow and I go back to work part-time on Tuesday.) For now, I have a checklist to hang by the door, but I think he (and the kids) are getting sick of all my checklists. What works for you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mood of Success

I've decided that success, at least for me, is much more subjective than I once thought. I'm very much a rule follower, not just in the "do this", "don't do that" sense of things, but also in determining whether things are complete and meet a certain standard. That has always served me well in my academic and professional pursuits. While it hasn't crippled me in my personal life, I must admit that aspect of my personality hasn't always been to my benefit.

This spring, we decided to put in a much larger garden than last year. We had just started with the square foot gardening last year with two 4'x8' beds. This year, we added another 4'x8' bed and 8 1' square boxes for squash and melons. I started this endeavor with not only high hopes, but high expectations. With an entire bed devoted to peas and green beans, I assumed that we would have not only enough peas and green beans to eat fresh, but also a few to freeze. I expected to have squash coming out my ears. But it was not to be. I'll spare you all the details, but late frosts, snacky critters, wind storms and a wet end to the summer left us with much smaller yields than I expected.

Based on the criteria that I had for a succesful season, I'd have to give us a 'D'. Up until this past weekend, I was feeling pretty down about it. Trying to eat more local products is something that has become important to me. Our garden was to play a large part in that role. Also, my husband loves veggies. I had hoped to provide him with plenty of his favorite foods this summer, but without the bounty in the backyard, it was a little harder to do than I had hoped. Another failure. I don't know what it was, but somehow this weekend, I let myself stop feeling as if it had been a failure that didn't live up to expectations. Perhaps it was hearing that others had experienced the same problems that I had. Perhaps it was realizing how much I learned and how much hope there is for next year with improved gardening practices. Or perhaps I'm just getting too lazy to try to live up to my own standards. Whatever the reason, I started looking at what we DID get out of the garden for our efforts with a sense of accomplishment. The tomato sauce in the freezer, the baskets of squash in the dining room and all the produce still to be harvested - they all show me that all was not lost. We could have done a lot worse. So, whether it is a case of my standards slipping or giving myself extra credit for lessons learned, I would no longer give myself a 'D' for my summer gardening...maybe even a 'B'.

In case you're interested, here is our garden's report card (so far, anyway):
  • Broccoli: was a waste of space - something ate the leaves.
  • Green Beans: just enough for 3 meals - we'll cover the seedlings with a starter house next year to protect them.
  • Peas: had 2 weeks of snacking on them - these need to be covered next year, too.
  • Snow Peas: planted too late
  • Chiles: We got 2 peppers. Total loss due to late frosts.
  • Bell Peppers: Lots of late blooms that will never mature. Total loss due to frosts.
  • Thai Basil: I didn't list all the other herbs we had scattered around, but this was our first year with this one. It did great and was a great addition to all our thai meals and curries!
  • Eggplant: Harvesting one this afternoon. There are 3 small (tiny) eggplants on one bush. None on the second.
  • Brussel Sprouts: still going strong. Hope to harvest something soon!
  • Butterstick Squash: Did OK, but was cramped by brussel sprouts. Will be on a trellis next year.
  • Zucchini: OK, but cramped by sprouts. This will be trellissed, to.
  • Delicata Squash: We started out with 2 plants and 8 squash. Ended up with just one. The others were all rotten on the bottom before they were able to ripen. Being in the same bed with the tomatoes kept them too moist on the ground. We'll try these again next year on a trellis.
  • Spaghetti Squash: All I can say is WOW! We had two plants and got 12 good sized squash. Lost a few to rot because I ran out of space on the small trellis so they were on the ground.
  • Butternut Squash: Wow again. Still on the vines, and too hard to count, but I'm expecting about a dozen.
  • Sugar Baby Watermelon: Watching 2 that might be ready soon. Harvested one beauty too early. :(
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon: Late contender when the chipmunks or squirrels kept eating the Sugar Baby seeds. Has a couple of melons close to ready, but I'm not sure they'll make it.
  • Turnip Greens: Great! Not for us, but kept our pet bunny fed for many weeks this summer.
  • Scallions: Terrific. And Matthew's favorite thing to pick for me.
  • Tomatoes: Coming out of our ears at the moment. Anna picks and eats the cherry and grape tomatoes - only about half make it into the basket. None of the heirlooms did well at all due to frosts, but the hybrids that were still available for the third replanting did better than I could have anticipated.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'll Bite

Seems everyone is doing it, so I might as well. Heard of the Omnivore's Hundred? It's a list of 100 foods to see how much of an omnivore you are. It was started at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk. Any foods I have eaten will be in bold. I only score 37/100, but that's still better than I thought I would do! Although I think I may have a perfect score on the sweet treats...

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Countdown is On

One week from today, the kids start their school year. They are all excited. Very excited. I have to admit, I'm excited as well, but also a little hesitant. Does my excitement make me a bad mom by today's standards? (I'll skip my soapbox on our kid-centric society for today - no thanks needed!) I feel ashamed to admit to most of my friends that I am looking forward to the kids going to school. I'm especially ashamed when it comes to my 3 year old daughter. I find myself feeling guilty when I read the mom articles and talk to my mom friends. There are one or two that share my feelings, but they are also reserved about admitting it in public. Now, I'm not suggesting that we all throw a parade and run down the street shouting with glee, but I do wish that it was more socially acceptable to be happy to see the school year come. I remember my mom saying (frequently by the end of August) that she couldn't wait for school to start. Now I know how she felt. But these days, I'm not supposed to want to pack them off on the bus. I'm supposed to want to drive them myself, both to and from school, and spend every waking minute making sure that their lives are happy and easy. I just don't have either the energy or the belief that is in their best interests.

I AM going to miss the lazy days spent in the sunshine and having my babies all to myself. But let's be honest - they are getting bored with me and their siblings. They crave both the social opportunities and the stimulation. And Matthew is in dire need of occupational therapies that are beyond my limited abilities. I am going to enjoy sending them off to school, missing them during the day and getting those hugs and the the run-down of their days when they get off the bus or I pick them up from daycare. I might not be the best mom, but I think that for my kids, I'm doing OK.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Migraines

I hate them. Enough said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wasted Time

As I was standing outside this evening, watching my dear husband running around behind Matthew's bike, his hands on either side of his abdomen, sometimes righting his balance, sometimes helping to propel him forward and keep him moving, a thought entered my mind. "I should go inside instead of wasting time out here. What a wasted evening." You see, we were outside waiting for someone to come look at a desk we are trying to give away. They came, they saw, they left empty handed. And now we were spending a few more minutes helping the kids ride their bikes and scooters. Matthew wasn't going to master his two-wheeler tonight. I wouldn't be missing anything and I had so much laundry to fold, or I could log into work. I have 18 more hours to do for the week and only 4 days left to do it. As soon as I completed that thought process, though, all the small groups from the past 3 years came back to me. This time is precious - this time with my family, making them a priority. No time spent in this manner is ever "wasted" time. So, I leaned back on my husband's car and watched him get an aching back bending over Matthew. I encouraged Adam to ride faster and turn tighter. I listened to Anna ring her "very favorite" bike bell. I put all of my to do's out of my mind for just a minute to focus on what really matters. Too bad they're all in bed, now I have no choice but to log into work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Productive, Lazy Sunday

What a good day today was. It's one of those days where you end it feeling as though you've accomplished something, yet feeling rested at the same time. It started off with church, our own pastor back from vacation, not too hot - just a nice time of worship. We got home and sent the kids out to the pool. Checked on the garden and came in with a basket full of tomatoes, poked the pre-baked ham in the oven and plugged in the laptop on the deck to get some work done while still supervising the kids. After lunch, laid Anna down for nap, started the tomatoes cooking for sauce to freeze, mixed up cookies and watched the kids out the window. Then while the sauce was cooling, I logged into work for a little bit (down in the oh-so-much-cooler basement) and listened to the older kids laughing and having a good time playing the Wii a floor above. Add in a little home grown spaghetti squash with freshly made sauce on top for dinner. So while tomorrow it will all start up again, with not enough time to accomplish all that needs to be done, today was a good day.

Unfortunately, Ben's day wasn't quite so idyllic. He had to fix the upstairs toilet...again. And he doesn't even like the kind of cookies that I made today. Poor guy.



Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why do they have to grow up so fast?

Since Adam's birthday was while we were on vacation, he had his birthday party with his friends today. It was a good time - 8 of his friends at our local Rec center. All I had to do was provide the cake and the birthday boy. Watching him with his friends, being careful to include everyone in the activities - even his little brother, sister and cousin - I was so proud of my big kid. But then this evening, he looks at his dad's driver's license and made a comment about his dad's long hair in the picture. I said his dad was a handsome guy - and then to be silly, said "all the girls think so". His eyes got big and he said "Really? Cool." I could see what he was thinking..."I look just like him." It's becoming clear that he's beginning to care what girls think. I'm not sure I'm ready for that!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Groundhogs

This year we let the area around the deck get a little overgrown and now we're paying the price. We made it far too tempting a location for a groundhog, so now we have a permanent guest. Any suggestions for how to get rid of it? Unfortunately, we can't use the 22 in our neighborhood. Wonder if pelting it with plastic BBs would have any effect... Or I can always sic my team of super heroes on it. (The kids made super hero t-shirts the other day, to go along with their secret identities.)



Aqua Boy (aka Adam), Super Dupe (aka Matthew), Super Supe (aka Desiree) and Super Girl (aka Anna)


Aqua Boy has super strength and can spray water.

Super Dupe is short for "Super Duper". He has super strength, super speed and super hincks, which is cleaning fastly.

Super Supe has super strength. (Matthew doesn’t understand how she can NOT want to be able to clean fastly.)

Super Girl has a super smile. It makes people too happy to be bad. And she can fly...sort of.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fond Memories

For me, the best part about vacation is the memories and images that last with you through the next year. Here are some of my favorite images from this past vacation...



video

The End of an Era

OK, so that might be a little overly dramatic, but it's how I feel at the moment. Four years ago...is four years long enough to be considered an era? Perhaps if those years were BIG enough... Four years ago, I found myself leaving a job that was both challenging and satisfying to stay home with my children. I did so with some reluctance, but knowing that it was the Lord's will for my life at that time. My reluctance was gradually replaced with the joy I found in what is, for now at least, my most important role - Mom. These past four years have been very formative, not just for the four children under my care, but also for me. Almost a second "university" of sorts. The need to provide my children with a well-rounded social environment required me to break out of my shell and find a more social part of myself that I hadn't known was there. I didn't expect to learn so much about how to be a better wife, better friend and better steward during this period dedicated to being a full-time mom. I think that I will always look back on these years as being just as influential as my college years.

Now I once again find myself on the verge of a change, brought on by children growing and changes at work. Again, I am reluctant, although excited. I have missed the challenge and stimulation of my work, yet I will miss this period of my life. I'm excited for what lies ahead, but not ready to bid farewell to this...bliss. If only I could prevent the children from growing...for just a little longer.