Archive for January, 2011

Christmas Came To Seattle a Lil Late This Year

January 31, 2011

Seattle in January, with all it’s grey gloom, didn’t detour my friend, Pilar, and I from having a FANTASTIC Girls Weekend!

Back in November, Pilar’s husband contacted me and asked if I would be interested in coming for a weekend of relaxation and visiting and to serve as Pilar’s Christmas present. YOU BET!!! I didn’t know exactly when the trip would take place, but I was up for working it out. This last weekend was it. Pilar booked us 2 nights at the Westin, Seattle (I should add, here, that Pilar’s a travel guru and she booked us a room through a discount site at an AMAZING rate!). A super, convenient location! We walked to everything we did. I have to admit that it was a weekend filled with TONS of wonderful foods. Good thing we were walking!

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Pike’s Place-full of wonderful shops and restaurants!

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We took advantage of the great cheeses, meats and other wonderful things to eat at DeLaurenti. We brought everything back to our room, opened some wine and feasted! Brad, our helpful cheese-monger pointed us to Maximilien for lunch.

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We chose the Express Lunch. I had the salad and Pilar started with the onion soup. We both chose the mussels. Mine were in a white wine sauce and Pilar’s were seasoned with plenty of bacon.

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I hadn’t had mussels (this way) before and started out a little hesitant, but soon tossed the utensils aside and got in there with my hands. YUM!

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Pilar and I, enjoying our Creme Brulee

After lunch we walked around and I noticed the gum wall. Ick! But since I was chewing gum, I decided to add to the attraction.

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There it is-my gum, forever immortalized!

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Before we went back to the room, we stopped in at Serious Pie, were we had eaten the night before. We NEEDED to add their Kale Salad to our evening’s menu. If you ever get the chance to drop in there, be sure to have this salad! DELICIOUS! We actually tried to replicate it at home, the following night (yup! 3 nights of Kale Salad! I’ll post our version of the recipe soon).

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Just check out that beautiful Festival of Foods! We had no knife, so in true M.O.M. improvising fashion, I washed the nail file and we used it for the cheese. We also used the glass table top, on the bed, as our table. Good Stuff!

A great weekend! Being Pilar’s Christmas present is a job I’d take on ANY time!

Now it’s back to real life and Doing the Dance of the Children. You can bet I’ll be adding a Kale Salad to it~

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Thoughts From My 4 Year Old

January 27, 2011

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Yesterday Luke-Xavier let me know his thoughts on parenting and cooking.

Luke-Xavier-”I wish there were no moms and no dads.”
Me-”Why do you want no parents?”
Luke-Xavier-”Because no one would yell at us and tell us what to do and we could eat whatever we want.”
Me-”What would you eat?’
Luke-Xavier-”Peas. Peas, peas, peas! Everyday peas.”

I’ve made a mental note to add more peas into the menu.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Reasons I Start My Day At 4am: #5-Mommy of Many®

January 24, 2011

After being asked on several occasions, why I would EVER get up at 4am, I decided to break it all down and share my reasons.

#5 is my blog

Many mornings, I wake up and find the quiet time a great time to think about the different things that keep me Doing the Dance of the Children and am able to get a blog written before the craziness of my day begins.

The 5th and final reason that I start my day at 4am-MommyofMany®

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A Mommy of Many® Review-RelaxZen™, Night Formula

January 22, 2011

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The great people at Smil.ey asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing the RelaxZen™ Day and Night Formulas. After I agreed and received my free samples, I decided to start with the Day Formula. You can read that review here.

Then it was time to choose a good night to try their Night Formula. I decided to try Sunday night since we had Monday off and if I woke up groggy it wouldn’t matter. So, Sunday night I drank the little bottle (I’m reminding myself of Alice right now), and went to bed.

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It did exactly as it claims! I woke easily from a full night’s sleep. No groggy feeling, just up and ready to go! Good Stuff!

If you’d like to give the RelaxZen™ line of products a try for yourself, you can receive 10% off your order and free shipping by going to Thirstmonger.com and entering the code-SMILE. Wanna keep up with the RelaxZen™ line of products? Check out their Facebook page!

Doing the Dance of the Children With a Little RelaxZen in My Day and Night~

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Reasons I Start My Day At 4am: #4-Socks and Laundry

January 20, 2011

There are several reasons that this M.O.M. gets up so early. I wouldn’t be telling the whole story if I didn’t include socks and laundry! Humbling as it may be to share my gruesome laundry pile and bag full of unfolded socks with you, here it is;

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Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not that we are never folding socks. On the contrary, it seems that we’re ALWAYS folding and matching socks. But even if I get 35 pair of socks matched, 5 days later that means we’re back to this pile. So each morning, I take a little time to help find socks for the 4 youngest kiddos. If I have the time to match some bonus pairs for the subsequent days then it’s counted as a small victory.

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Laundry-when I was at home full-time, I was doing 4-6 loads of laundry every single day. And even at that rate, it wasn’t always done. Truly, we need 2 washers and 2 dryers, but military housing said we weren’t allowed to install another set. This means that laundry is omnipresent and that it’s one of the very 1st things I do in the morning. If I’m really on my game, I can get a load done and switched and a 2nd load going before we walk out the door. Right now the pile is considerably smaller than the 1 pictured above, from about 4 days ago. When I get home in the afternoon, I try to again get a load going and if everything is running smoothly with the after-school routine and I’m not having to do too much driving,then I can get 1 or 2 more loads done. But sometimes I can only get the 1 load done in the morning. If I didn’t get at least that done, we’d be in serious, laundry trouble!

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This is what happens when I’m not Doing the Dance at my normal pace

Reason #4 that I get up at 4am-Socks and Laundry

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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A Parenting Issue For Today

January 18, 2011

I’m feeling challenged and frustrated as a parent today.

As you saw in a post last week, I get up each morning and pack 7 lunches for my kids to take to school. I don’t give them money to buy food at school and only 1 of the kids makes money consistently with an after-school/weekend job. So, if they don’t take and eat the food that I pack, they simply aren’t eating. One of the older kids left there lunch behind somewhere between 2 and 4 times last week. (I say it was 4x, they say it was 2x). However many times it way, ultimately most of the food went to waste and so did my time. On Friday, I let that child know that if they left their lunch again, I would no longer be packing a lunch for them and that they could then take on the task themselves. Guess what I found on the kitchen counter when I got home from work? Yep! Their lunch! Grrrrr! So, now comes the difficult task of sticking to what I said, facing their anger and declarations that I don’t care about them and now I must simply let them be in charge of making sure they get lunch. I know I should be looking at it as 1 less lunch to pack, but it’s more of an issue than just that. It’s about me being strong and having my words and my work respected.

Wish me luck and strength!

Parenting…toughest job out there!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Kiddos Keep Me Humble

January 18, 2011

This afternoon I took 5 of my kiddos and 1 of their friends to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Good Stuff, by the way!) on base. We haven’t been to the movies in ages! I finally feel like Lex is out of the toddler/preschooler stage and can sit quietly and actually watch an entire movie. So, I gave it a try and he did great! I bought popcorn (which Gabi dutifully kept everyone’s hands out of until the movie started *slap*) and lemonade and a bottle of water for M.O.M. Everyone was happy!

Then, right at the end, Lex asked for my water, took a drink, lost the cap and spilled what was left into my lap. I walked out of the theater looking like the movie was so enthralling that I couldn’t leave for a bathroom break!

Good thing we were coming straight home!

Ah-Kiddos! They keep me humble.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Being Kept Humble With Each Step~

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A Mommy of Many® Review-RelaxZen™, Day Formula

January 15, 2011

I was recently asked if I’d be interested in trying and reviewing the RelaxZen Day and Night formulas by the great people at Smile.ly. Every mommy can use a little Zen, so I agreed and my free samples were sent.

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The first thing I did when they arrived was read the ingredients. I’m not a fan of energy drinks or artificial sweeteners, so I was looking to see if I was going to be willing to consume whatever was in these little bottles. I was pleasantly surprised by the ingredients-Vitamins B6 & B12 and extracts of acai and passionflower were included. I was willing to give the samples a try!

I decided to try the Day Formula during a workday when a little Zen and plenty of focus could certainly be used. I was pleasantly surprised by the berry flavor. There was no icky aftertaste. I can’t say that I felt anything particularly different in my day. I dealt with the 15, 4 and 5 yr olds pretty much the same as I would on any other day. I did feel relaxed, but maybe a little too relaxed. By 11am I was yawning.

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I’ll give the Night Formula a try in a couple of days. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you’d like to give the RelaxZen™ products a try for yourself and bring a little more Zen into your day, you can go to Thirsthmonger.com and enter the code SMILE for 10% off plus free shipping on any RelaxZen™ product. You can also find RelaxZen™ on Facebook.

Doing the Dance of the Children with a little RelaxZen™ in my day~

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An Evening At Home=Using Their Imagination

January 14, 2011

This wasn’t supposed to be a quiet evening at home. I was supposed to get home from school/work, figure out dinner, get one of the kiddos to work, feed the lil kiddos and then pack ‘em all up for a 7pm water polo game. Then it was going to be M.O.M. keeping busy till 10:30 pm, so that I could be awake enough to pick Working Kiddo up from work. But instead…

My brother offered to drive her to work.
A mom on the team texted to say she was already at the game and would be happy to drive the girls home if I was busy with the little kids.
Working Kiddo called to say that she has a ride with her coworker.

My whole evening got cleared!

So, I changed my clothes, made some mac-n-cheese and the kids were free to play, uninterrupted by their older sibling’s schedules. I could hear them playing “school” so I went out to take a look-

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Lex is Star Student-I love the tape job on his tag!

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Various stuffed-animals are the students (I’m not sure why they have to sit on the HUGE pile of clean clothes that are waiting for me to fold them).

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Gabi’s the teacher (pictured here with a note home for a “naughty” student. Max (not pictured) is the principal.

I LOVE it when they use their imaginations, make up games and play together! Mostly I love it when they get the chance to. So often we’re running errands or to the next event and can’t just enjoy being at home.

Thanks to all the pieces falling into place and the beautiful people in our lives, who help us make it all happen, we get a night at home.

Good Stuff!

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Truly the End of Our Holiday Season~

January 14, 2011

Even though the tree went down to the curb last week and the decorations have been boxed and restored, it’s really tonight that I realize that all the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s are over.

Tomorrow morning at 5am I will drop Kateri off at the airport and she will head back to school. Goodbye Holiday Season and having all my kiddos with me. Yes, JJ (Clayton…still getting used to calling him by his given name) left a week ago, but the spirit of being on break was still alive because Kateri was still lingering at home.

It’s been a great month! I suppose the next time we will all be together will be for Mariah’s graduation in June.

In some ways it’s good to get back to the “regular” routine, but I always miss having all the kids together.

So, it’s off to bed because even though I always start the day early, tomorrow’s a little more hectic-leave the house before 5am to get Kateri to her flight, come back and get everyone up and out by 7. Wish me luck!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Reasons I Start My Day At 4am: #3-M.O.M.’s Quiet Time=A Better M.O.M. When the Kids Wake Up

January 13, 2011

~sigh~
Did you hear that?

It’s the sound of peace. The only sounds in the house right now are the washer and dryer going, the hum of the bathroom fan (to mask the clicking of my keyboard so the little ones won’t wake) and the even, easy breathing of 7 sleeping kiddos. It sounds like peace to me!

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Reason #3 that I start my day at 4am is that I need my quiet time. It’s not a matter of just needing some uninterrupted time to get some things done. Really, I could make lunches and put dinner in the crock pot around the kids, but it’s the absolute quiet, the fact that I don’t even have to speak to anyone and that my brain can work on whatever it needs to, that gets me going this early.

It’s also the fact that I feel like a better, more prepared, mom if I’m ready for the day when my kids wake up. If I were groggy and blurry-eyed when I begin the day with the kids, I’d be sure to forget what needed to happen to make the day successful. I’m sure papers would go unsigned, things would be left at home, little kiddos’ hair wouldn’t get fixed, teeth may go unbrushed…all because I wasn’t ready to take on the load that a mom with several children needs to be prepared for each day.

For me, it just cuts down anxiety about being forgetful. Please understand that I’m not saying that any mom who isn’t up and ready before her kids can’t amply be prepared for the day. I don’t believe that at all! I just know that for me, this is what works best, helps me be clear-headed and feel in control of the day. Seriously, name another time of the day I can feel in control of my thoughts and revel in the silence? I have 7 kiddos at home full-time and I’m a preschool aide!

Reason #3 that I start my day at 4am-M.O.M. needs a little clear-headed quiet time to be her best

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Reasons I Start My Day At 4am: #2-Dinner

January 12, 2011

After being asked a million times why I get up at 4am, I decided to break it down and share the various reasons I think it’s the best idea for me and my family to start my day a couple of hours before I have to get my kids going.

Reason #2-Dinner
My family has this annoying little habit of eating dinner EVERY SINGLE night and they expect me to be the one to make and serve that dinner-no matter soccer, soft ball, water polo, tennis, flute lessons or various Dr. appointments. So I’ve had to get creative with my preparation and delivery of these dinners. Last year, when I started working, I realized that there were going to be a lot of nights that dinner wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t have it in the crock pot or amply prepared before I left for work in the morning. To put it bluntly, the crock pot has become the best friend of my families dinners. Together with my rice pot and a salad, it’s what makes dinner happen!

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Chicken breasts with butternut squash sauce

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Basmati Rice Medley

There’s nothing better than getting home with lots of tired, hungry kiddos and knowing that dinner is waiting for us!

Reason #2 that I start my day at 4am-Dinner.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Reasons I Start My Day At 4am: #1-Lunches

January 11, 2011

I’m always asked why I get up so early. Here’s reason #1-Lunches, 7 or more of them, everyday.

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Fruit, veggies, crackers and a fruit snack for each of the kids heading to school (except no fruit for Mariah b/c I only have oranges today and she won’t eat cut oranges) and yogurts for Gabi and Lex b/c Gabi requested it for her snack and Lex will either eat it at his lunch or when we’re running errands before it’s time to pick everyone else up from school.

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Food to keep M.O.M. going during the workday.

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Mini bagels for today’s sandwiches, 9 of them. 7 for kiddo lunches, 1 for M.O.M. and 1 for Kateri and her road trip (she’s heading out to see a friend a few hours away).

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Done! All with turkey and cheese, some with mustard, 1 with mayo, 3 with spicy pepper jack cheese.

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Packed and ready to go! 2 of the kiddos have misplaced their lunch boxes, so it’s lots of bags this morning.

There you have it. 9 lunches. It takes about an hour to get it all done and packed.
Reason #1 that I start my day at 4am.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Every Moment is a Little Chance for Learning

January 9, 2011

It wasn’t a profound moment, not eye-opening or epiphany worthy, but this morning while I was fixing Gabi’s hair, she asked a couple of questions that showed me a little about how she thinks and in the answers, she learned a couple of things.

Gabi-”Mommy, does PS spell princess?”
Me-”No, it’s just PS. If you write PS at the end of a letter, it means that you had something more to say and it stands for Post Script”.
Gabi-”When you get your driver’s license and start driving a car, do you get to choose the name you want? Because Grandma said that her’s says Froglady.”
Me-”Oh, you mean on the license plate. Yes, you can choose what it says.”
Gabi-”Then mine will say ‘Princess’.”
Kateri-”Or Post Script.”

I love the little moments that lead into my kiddos trains of thought and their wittiness!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Learning All the Way~

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A Good Saturday

January 8, 2011

It’s been a good, calm day around the Lang abode. There were no plans today, no appointments to keep, no pressing errands to run. I slept until 7 (HUGELY sleeping in, for me!), never got completely “dressed” for the day (meaning I didn’t do my make-up or iron something to wear) and enjoyed some cleaning up, kid time and old home movies. Not a usual day around here, but a welcome one.

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Gabi helped Kateri tie her shoes, so that Kateri could help Gabi practice riding her bike without training wheels.

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Go Gabi!

My biggest project of the day was putting all the puzzles back together and getting rid of any that didn’t have all their pieces.
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And after dinner, Gabi had an art session. She wanted my sister and I to sit, very quietly and watch her draw this picture.
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A good day! Tomorrow’s more of the usual with church, a birthday party and a science project. So, I’ll hold onto the calm of today and pull from it when I’m overwhelmed with the normal pace of life.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Enjoying the Slower Rhythm~

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