Archive for September, 2010

A Day at Home with a Sick Kiddo

September 30, 2010

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Tristan woke, saying his throat, “feels like someone pulled it out, sun-dried it, put it back in and stuffed it with knives”. Wow! Descriptive! But I made him take 2 vitamin C, get dressed and go in to school with the rest of us. Within 10 minutes of getting there, his temp was taken and we were on our way home. I was able to get him a Dr. appt. for this afternoon.

This means I will have a few hours at home, with just a kiddo in bed and am able to jump into some cleaning! Please tell me that you mommies understand the excitement I feel at having this time to try to get things done.

I’ve loaded up the dishwasher, switched the laundry, removed the chairs from the dining room, swept and wet Swifter’d the floor, wiped down the kitchen counters and am prepping tonight’s and tomorrow night’s dinners. I think I’ll have time to wipe down the dining table, get a new tablecloth on it and then go to get Luke-Xavier from preschool. Then I’ll have a little more time to tackle a few things before it’s time to leave for the Dr.

I’m a little giddy!

I’ve loved working in the preschool, but it really diminishes the time I have at home. I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years and so many little things that I would do around the house in the daytime hours, are now left undone. I’m certainly not happy that Tristan is sick and I hope he can go back to school tomorrow or that Clay can stay home with him, if needed, but I AM happy for this time within the walls of my house!

Doing the Dance of the Children on a Sick Day~

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Some Problems with Cauliflower-By Luke-Xavier

September 27, 2010

Luke-Xavier-”Mom there are 2 problems with cauliflower.”

Me-”Oh yeah? What are they?”

Luke-Xavier-”It looks like broccoli, but it’s not broccoli. And, it’s white.”

I’m glad he was pondering his veggies

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This One is Worth Sharing

September 27, 2010

I can’t remember a time when I simply put up a link to another person’s blog as my post, but this one is TOTALLY worth sharing! I think you’ll agree.

Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy.-Top 10 reasons basic training prepared me for motherhood

Doing the Dance of the Children and Wondering if I Should have Enlisted~

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Oh Shoot! You Know What I Mean!

September 26, 2010

Sometimes my words don’t come out quite right-

The other day, Maddi set up a “slumber party” in the front room for the little kids. She had them get their pjs on, laid out blankets on the floor, pulled out the pillows, made popcorn and put in a movie. When she went to call them to come in, she was saying, “Come in for the movie” and clapping her hands at the kids, in a “hurry up! Come on!” manner. I said to her, “Don’t clap at them. They’re not dogs!”. Then I turned to the little kids and said, “Go lay down”.

Maddi burst into laughter and I couldn’t help but giggle a little too.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Missing a Step Here and There~

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2 of My Favorite Local Places in 2 Days

September 26, 2010

The last few days have been packed with good stuff!

Last night I was planning to meet up with some friends for a little bday celebration at my FAVORITE local restaurante-Costa Brava, but I hadn’t really taken note of who was going to be where, when and discovered that I didn’t have anyone home with the 2 youngest. So…I canceled my plans, but managed to squeeze in an hour with my sister before I was on duty again. There’s always a little time for a little sangria…right?!

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And as luck would have it, Chuao Chocolatier, my favorite, local chocolatier was celebrating ITS birthday by giving away scoops of its yummy gelato! So, today, I loaded the 4 youngest kiddos up and we headed over to help in the celebrating.

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Two great days!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Enjoying San Diego~

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Beginning a New Year

September 24, 2010

I have a few days of catching up to do!

I finally got over the stomach bug that kept me in bed for most of 2 days and so far, none of the kiddos have gotten it (uttering another silent prayer that they don’t). I headed back to work on Wednesday. I don’t know where I got the bug or exactly what it was, but I haven’t been that sick, that I can remember. It’s probably just that it hit me in my decaying, aging state ;-)

Yesterday I celebrated my 39th birthday. A week ago I jokingly said to Mariah that the very last birthday that I would ever celebrate was coming up. She ran with it
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What a great day! I was treated to lunch by a good friend, who later, showed up at my door with a homemade chocolate cake!
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My girls bought dinner for themselves and the lil kiddos so that I didn’t have to cook
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And my brother took me to sushi for dinner.
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When I got home, we cut into those cakes and there were some thoughtful gifts waiting for me.
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Sylvester Stallone AND Rod Stewart! Now THAT’S good stuff!

I can’t forget to mention how nice it was to open the mailbox and find an unexpected bday card from a friend and M.O.M. follower that held my favorite, local chocolate!
Bday card & Chuao
Unexpected surprises are the best!

So, today, it’s back to reality. But it sure was nice to be treated so royally!

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Today is the second day of celebrating the Teddy Bear Picnic with the preschoolers. They each bring in their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal and we have a lil picnic at snack time. They’re so adorable and it passes so quickly! I can easily remember when Tristan (now in 5th grade) was having his Teddy Bear Picnic! Now it’s Lex’s turn
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We do most of our preschool celebrations twice, once for the M-W-F kiddos and once for the T-Th kiddos. That means that the lil ones who come everyday get 2 celebrations. This was Lex, yesterday.

Adorable!

Ok, on with the regular routine. Many thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday a lil step out of the normal Dance. Now it’s back to Doing the Dance of the Children and hoping to keep up with the music~

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Day 2 in Bed

September 21, 2010

When I woke up late last night, had to throw away my pj’s, take a shower and then spend the rest of the night in and out of the bathroom, I knew I wouldn’t be going back to work today.

So I set the alarm to wake the kiddos and climbed out of bed to help get everyone ready and out the door. Once that was done I climbed back into bed and took a nap. A nap! During the day! When there’s laundry, dishes and cleaning to do! And it felt so good.

The last time I stayed in bed for a day was after my surgery, more than a year ago and then I was in bed for 2, solid weeks! I refer to it as, “my time in bed”. Many a good thing came out of that time of sitting quietly, reading, watching movies and resting. That’s when I came to the realization that the term “in the hood” must have come from “neighborhood”. Brilliant deduction-I know! I also pondered and came up with a much less expensive way to order the drink I was regularly ordering at Starbucks-Instead of ordering a Double, Tall, Dry Cappuccino, with Whipped Cream under the foam, I realized I could order a Doppio Con Pana, topped with foam and save more than a dollar, each drink. Totally worth the 2 weeks in bed!

Maybe I should rethink getting better. Just think what all this brilliance could come up with if I just stayed here, in the quiet of the day, watching Danny Kaye movies, drinking broth, resting and surfing the net! I might be able to come up with a cure for some horrible disease, solve the question “why” that children always put to us or create a completely delicious, rich and creamy, easy to prepare, dessert with NO calories, fat or carbs! The possibilities of what I could do, if I just stayed in bed, are endless!

*****Jen, wake up. I think you’re typing in you’re sleep*****

Oh yeah-reality. Dang!

Ok, so I’ll drink my Theraflu, take my Imodium, sip broth, water and Gatorade and try to get better so that I can solve the problems of too much laundry, dirty dishes, homework no one wants to do and what to pack in lunches on the last 2 days before payday. I guess I’ll leave the really tough stuff to those who can lie around and think…just think.

Doing the Dance of the Children from my Bed, Theraflu in-hand~

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Hoping to Make the Most of this Sick Day

September 20, 2010

I’ve gotten the kiddos off to school & now I’m in a quiet house with only the sounds of my keyboard clicking, the dishwasher going & the washing machine spinning. NICE!

Mariah went to school today and will have an appt. with the neurologist later this week. That leaves me here, with my sick stomach, until noon, when I’ll pick Lex up from school. Until then I hope to sit quietly with my laptop and catch up on the things I’ve always got on my list. I know the morning will fly by.

So, I better get moving on these things. It’s not often I have a morning in the house, where I’m supposed to take it easy!

Doing the Dance of the Children with a Few Hours of Quiet~

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This Weekend has Been NO Fun!

September 19, 2010

Most weekends around here are packed with cleaning up, some sort of shopping (grocery, bday party gifts, kid stuff that’s a last minute need…), a bday party or 2, kids running around, church, planning for the week to come and the like. This weekend has been all kinds of crazy!

Mariah passed out at work and was later admitted to the hospital. Clay and I have taken turns going back and forth. She’s still there. I anticipate she will be coming home today, but I really haven’t received any news.

Last night I started to feel sick and went to bed at 7pm. I woke up with some sort of stomach thing that’s still holding on. It’s NEVER a good time for me to get sick, but this weekend is probably especially bad timing. So, Clay and the kiddos are at church and I’m getting ready to take a hot shower and see if I can shake this ick.

I will post an update on Mariah when there’s something to tell.

I’m just hoping that by this evening everything is back to normal and we can focus on the upcoming week.

Doing the Dance of the Children with a Dr’s Note~

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The Sweetest Things

September 17, 2010

I’ve talked about sibling dynamics. I’ve talked about how to keep kiddos connected to their deployed parent. Here’s a beautiful example of how to keep lil kiddos connected to their older, away-from-home siblings.

As you may know, I have children who range in age from 4yrs-21yrs. That’s preschool-college! That means that not all those kiddos are in the same house, living each day together. Whether you have many children, who span the years of life, or you have 2 children with many years between them, I want to share this email. I am SO impressed, pleased and totally in love with my oldest daughter, Kateri (Teari), for reaching out to her younger siblings, who don’t get to grow up in the same house with her, but who know that there’s some way in which she fits into their lives. What a beautiful example of a loving older sibling she is! I am also the oldest of a large family and I left the house (Kateri in tow) when my youngest sibling was only 6yrs old and I was not NEARLY the thoughtful, loving oldest sister that she is. I am so grateful for her love of her younger siblings! With her permission, I had to share;

Hey Sweet Gabs,
I was just thinking of you and missing you, so I thought I would write you a
little note. I made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday and I was wishing you
were here to help me stir, my arm gets tired really fast :)
How is kindergarten???? What is your favorite part about it? I’m in 16th grade!
It’s pretty hard but I know it’s really important to study hard and do my work
well, so I try my best.
I prayed for you at mass today, I always pray for you and think about you
EVERYDAY!
Make sure you are a good girl and always do what momma and daddy say…they love
you SO much.
Alright I have to do some homework, I love love love love you.
Write back soon!

Teari

My favorite part is “I’m in 16th grade!”. LOVE that! You can bet Gabi was thrilled to get this and she’ll be writing back this weekend. I just wanted to share an example of love that meant a lot to a lil sister.

Doing the Dance of the Children and hoping they all find a beautiful spot in each others lives~

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Making 2 Chicken Breasts into a Meal for 8-10…A Yummy Recipe!

September 16, 2010

Before I delve into the new groceries I want to use up what’s left in the fridge. Right now I have 2 chicken breasts and 2 hearts of romaine that need to be used. Here’s a great recipe that can be used as a main dish or a side.

Asian Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
2 (small) cans mandarins
sliced almonds
white wine vinegar (seasoned)
sesame oil

heat a pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Crush the garlic cloves and add them to the oil. Cook the chicken breasts in the oil and garlic until done. Set aside.

Rinse, cut and drain lettuce. Place in large salad bowl. Drain both cans of mandarins, setting aside 1/2 of the juice. Add drained mandarins to the lettuce. Cut up chicken and add to the lettuce and mandarins. Add sliced almonds. I like to use a couple hands full. (I’m not an exact measurer when it comes to taste).

Pour reserved mandarin juice into a mixing bowl or large measuring cup. Add seasoned rice wine vinegar, a tablespoon at a time. Mix after each tablespoon and taste. I add about 4. Add sesame oil (about 1 tablespoon). Whisk together and pour over salad.

Toss and enjoy!

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A Bag of Carrots

September 14, 2010

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The budget is always on my mind. Planning meals and thinking of snacks is always rambling around in there too. Over the years I’ve had to learn how to shop for a growing family, on an always tight budget. Through trial and error I’ve learned what foods store well and for how long. I’ve learned what I can freeze and what I can make ahead. And I’ve learned that I should ALWAYS buy a bag of carrots.

They’re one of the few foods you can buy every 2 weeks and know that they’ll be there, waiting for you when everything else is gone. I always keep a container of peeled and cut carrot sticks in water, in the fridge. This way, the kids always have a healthy and easy snack to grab. I’ve come to know that when there’s nothing left but crackers and peanut butter in the cupboard, that the trusty carrots will be there to make me feel like I can hand the kiddos something nutritious in the last days before payday. I can always count on a few carrots to throw into the crock pot or the steamer when all the fresh veggies have long been eaten.

You can always count on opening my fridge and seeing a bag of carrots, even if it’s just down to the last few.

Doing the Dance of the Children with a Carrot Peeler in Hand~

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Holy Mackerel M.O.M! Write Something Already!

September 14, 2010

I can’t! I’m too tired!

I’m not acclimated to the schedule yet and it’s completely draining me.

Overview-

4:15am-wake up, check email, FB, my website and twitter
4:45am-make coffee, switch laundry, think about packing lunches or finishing packing lunches from whatever I laid out last night
5:00am-wake the 3 high schoolers
5:01am-RUN FOR THE SHOWER before one of the girls get to it!
5:30am-wake the 4 “lil” kids, finish lunches, iron clothes, find shoes, make sure kiddos are eating breakfast
6:00am-dry hair, check kiddos uniforms, make sure the lil ones have shoes and socks and aren’t eating the lunches I’ve packed.
6:30am-call the 4 lil ones in to get their hair fixed and make sure they’ve brushed their teeth. Start barking orders; “do you have your back pack?” “is your folder in your back pack?” “Do I need to sign anything?” “Does Luke-Xavier have his shoes on?”
7:00am-everyone loaded, lunches and back packs in hand, pull away from the curb
7:20am-drop high schoolers off
7:40am-arrive at school/work
12:15-leave work w/ Luke-Xavier in tow and hope everything will work out at the Y…finally!
1:50-leave the Y, drive to high school, p/u high schoolers
2:45-p/u the other kids
3:15-snack, chores, homework, errands
4:30-start asking the question;”is your homework done?” “If your homework isn’t done, why are you on the computer?!”
5:30/6ish-Serve dinner
7:30-start bedtime routine; pjs, teeth brushed, prayers, story, drinks of water, covering kiddos up 3x, etc.
8:30-deciding whether to do any of the 3 million things I’ve left undone or call it a wash, set the alarm and go to bed
9:00-wondering why the heck I thought I could do anything or put together a coherent sentence and climb into bed

There you go!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Wishing the Sandman wasn’t Looming~

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A Recipe to Share-Ground Beef (or turkey) and Spinach Pasta Bake

September 11, 2010

I had a pound of ground beef and 1/2 a bag of spinach that needed to be used. Here’s what I did-

Heat oven to 350

1 lb ground beef
1/2 bag spinach
1/2 a medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 cans chopped tomatoes (drained)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (amount to your taste)
Shredded parmesan (amount to your taste)

2 Tbls honey

Italian spices (to taste)

1 pkg pasta (I used veggie rotini)

Boil pasta according to pkg directions. Set aside
Put a little olive oil in pan and cook onion and garlic till tender
Add ground beef or turkey and cook until done
Add spinach. Cook until tender
Add both cans of tomatoes. Heat through.
Season with italian spices and honey

Put the pasta into an 9×13 baking dish

Add the meat and spinach mixture

Mix the parmesan cheese through

Top with cheddar

Bake for 25 minutes

Yum!

Enjoy~

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First Week Back to School & Work-Done!

September 11, 2010

What a week! We jumped back into the routine on Tuesday with a 1/2 day of school and a pool party afterward. Everyone did a GREAT job of getting up and getting going. Gabi was SUPER excited to put on her uniform and new shoes and become a kindergartner. I was really proud of everyone, all week, for getting going and out the door at 7. We have to leave by 7 so I can get the girls up to the high school and still get the rest of us back to the other school. So far, so good!

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Lex-4yr preschool, Max-2nd gr, Gabi-kinder, Tristan-5th gr

I got into the classroom and it quickly felt like we’d only had a long weekend and not a whole summer off. The routine fell together nicely and my brain kicked in to remember each new kiddo’s name and what parents go with what child. I think it’s gonna be a great year! A lot of the kiddos already know each other and everyone’s been happy to sit down and begin their curriculum and art projects.

We began with A and apples and Allie made the most adorable apple cupcakes ever. Which reminded me that I’m going to need to bring my own food and remember to pack my workout gear each day. The big plan is to be packed and ready to go to the Y after work each day. Thursday was the 1st full day, so I packed up and as soon as work was over I grabbed Lex and we went to the Y. He kicked and cried the whole way (literally). I got him checked in (crying and all), I changed, stretched, found out how to use the treadmill and then they came to get me. Ugh! He’d thrown a fit and cried and finally propped himself against the wall and was standing up, asleep, when I got there. So I came home and got 3 rounds of 4 exercises in before it was time to pick up the other kids. Yesterday I packed up and was all ready (to Lex’s dismay) but had to make it to the bank before 2, which meant I couldn’t make the Y. I only have a little sliver of a window of time to get the workout in. I get off at 12:15, have to drive over, check him into the playcare, change, workout and get back to pick him up by 2, when they close the playcare for their break. So by the time I’m there and ready to workout, I have 45 minutes to an hour, which is perfect, but if anything else needs to be done after work, I’m outta luck! So…I try again on Monday.

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Look at his, “I don’t wanna do it and I’m so sleepy” attitude

My crock pot has been humming along all week and so far, so good! I’ve got to remember that this whole schedule takes dedication or it all falls apart and kids don’t get their homework done, the uniforms don’t get cleaned and we eat PBnJ for dinner. Trying to pace myself, keep positive and make it happen!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Remembering the Dance Steps~

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