Monday, September 29, 2008

Did your alarm go off?

Photo by louhamilton23

Today was a pretty special morning in our household.  Allow me to back up to last night when I stood in the hallway between the teen's bedroom doors and said 

"You set your alarm to 5:15 am and you set it to 5:30 am.  I suggest you get up because if I have to come up here to wake you up I will come with cold water."

The first few days of school they wake up before the alarm and are ready to go too early.  After a few weeks they press the snooze button 5 or 6 times so they have to rush out the door still soak and wet from the shower and showing off their pillow marks across the face; now they set the alarm to the wrong time, AM vs PM, and when asked to double check they choose not to.  Lately they get up because they hear me coming and it's getting old.  

This morning was pretty special, however.  Mr. Dad woke them up and apparently he must have slept well because under other circumstances he would have been the one with cold water in his hands.  Amazingly the kids got ready and even had time for a quick shower.  J (17) came downstairs, packed his bag and drank orange juice, ate a granola bar and a banana, followed by his vitamins.  Not bad, he's ready and has 5 minutes to spare.  The girl, Em (14) comes down acting like we should be ready for her highness.  She can't find her shoes, she doesn't want to eat, her hair is dripping water everywhere and it's everybody's fault.  

For a moment we just watch this little creation we love so much and as she leaves the room we can't help but laugh at her behavior because otherwise I might hurt her.  She comes back in the room, "HAS ANYONE SEEN MY SHOES?"  I say, "well, who wore them last?"  Mr. Dad and J of course have to laugh, loudly, sending her ven further into a trantrum as we are all to blame for her missing shoes.

Finally on the way out the door I give her a pair a shoes, the old ones that were sitting by the door and she responds with "I can't wear those, they're old and ripped up and dirty! Boo hoo!!"  I added the boo hoo but I know it's what she was thinking.  

I say "if you put your stuff in place, like I ask you to do every day you wouldn't have a problem finding your shoes now."  I just love being right every once in a while...what a great feeling.  No one could argue my point.  We have a shoe rack by the door and coat rack, a place for book bags and books, a palce for dirty clothes and a place for clean clothes.  Follow that map and you'll find your stuff.  Oh we even have a place for keys which Mr. Dad seems to always miss then he spends 10 minutes in the morning blaming the world for his missing keys but that's not my problem. 

I would like to find the perfect Teen alarm clock.  One that will pinch their hand if they try to snooze, one that will spray water when it goes off for longer than 5 minutes or maybe one that turns on all the lights, sprays water and screams "GET UP!"

So glad they'll be in school all day.  I will take it upon myself to reset the alarm clocks, maybe add a few extra minutes just for fun and see how things go tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Name that plant

This morning I was out back taking a look at what was growing in my garden besides mounds of weeds.  I will not show those here-too embarrassing (cleaning the garden will be part of workout soon).  Anyway, the toddler was wondering amongst the weeds and other creatures where I found several things growing.  Some I know the name, others I know what they produce, but some of these left me wondering- what the ...what is that?  

So how about the gardeners in the blogosphere help me out here.  I thought I'd turn this into a little game to see how many out there really know their plants.  Feel free to share the name, origin or any other little tid-bit of information you may have.














Can you name them all? Can you name a few? Let's see how well you do!

Creative Commons License
This work by Terie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moment of weakness

It happened again. I had a moment of weakness and feel absolutely guilty about it. Well, maybe just for a fleeting moment anyway. What I really feel is the stomach ache I'm about to experience due to my huge indiscretion with Pecan Pralines. I wrote about my weaknesses with Oreo Cookies and Milk a while back as well as the day I decided to overeat all the wrong foods because I was stressed. You think I learned my lesson? Of course I did and every time we eat stuff we know we shouldn't we know the consequences, but even that doesn't stop the urge. It's like an addiction.

Since I last lived in South Carolina, about 8 years ago, this is the first time I indulge in Pecan Pralines for one simple reason.... I love them too much to have just a few. Last night, while at Trader Joe's, I let my guard down, again. I bought a container of Pecan Pralines which serves 8 at 200 calories per serving, 12g of fat, 23g of sugar and a miniscule amount of protein, 1 gram. My plan was to eat only the recommended portion. So I did, last night I ate only 1/4 cup which is bad enough but I was following the rules of portion control.

My initial plans for today were to get some laundry done, paint an entire room, study-- a lot, workout with my new Core Fitness video and as always, eat healthy foods all day long. Playing with the baby usually falls in place throughout the day, regardless of what I'm doing.

Instead the day turned into a disaster--yeah all by itself too! No seriously,I chose not to do anything constructive with my day, at least not as much as I had planned. I did some homework, sent some emails, dug up a few weeds (3 or 4 to be exact), and then played with the baby for a little while. We both ate healthy breakfast, snacks and lunch. He took a nap and I went to the pantry for one serving of Pecans. Well, let me just say that the whole container is empty now. I ate it all, one portion at a time. In the mean time I painted the trim around the family room (because I felt guilty), watched Army Wives, and studied--a little. Now I feel just as tired as I did before the treat, I am extra thirsty, and could easily throw in the towel and call it a day.

However, I am an optimist, therefore, I will find the positive in this day. For one, I will not be buying Pecan Pralines unless I plan to have a party and everyone will be eating them; I will get myself ready for the day early so I can stick to the plan; and I will get my workout done first thing so I have no reason to skip it later. I'm headed to the gym tonight where I promise to get an excellent workout on the elliptical trainer and in the weight room. Somehow I don't think I can burn off all 1400 calories in that one hour, but I can attempt to burn at least half. I can't change the past, I can only learn from it and make changes that will affect my future. So I will get back on the saddle, as we say in spinning, and ride on the path of good choices!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fatigue? Really?

Lately I've been feeling the push and pull of a full schedule. Although I know I have it all under control, I was feeling tired, could not catch my breath and irritable to say the least. I visited my doctor, well, "a doctor in the clinic" who just laughed and said "I don't know your yawns are not "satisfying" and why you feel your breathing is shallow. Maybe you just need to take it easy and take some time off for a few days." All that, while he smiled or chuckled at my being there. How insulting!!!

I wasn't going to let it end there. After all, I have every right to get checked out when I don't feel quite right. Isn't this why women live longer, because we go see a doctor when we don't feel well? Anyway, I suggested that maybe I was fatigued or maybe I wasn't sleeping well and just didn't know it. He said, "hey, that's a good point. Maybe you are fatigued and maybe you are not sleeping all that well, lets run some tests and see what's going on." Well, I'm so glad I was able to give you reason to be here today, Doc!!!

Being a military spouse makes it hard to see the same doctor each time and I'm not in there often enough to know who's good and who isn't but I know I will avoid this one in the future. As for my lungs and my breathing issues, all is well and I'm cleared to spin, run, lift and continue drinking my occasional glass of wine. The only good thing that came out of this meeting was his suggestion that I take it easy and find the time to relax. I don't purposely avoid down time so that to me, it's just a given. I will carve out some time to just sit, relax and enjoy some well deserved "me" time this weekend. In the mean time, I will continue to exercise, eat well, drink water, laugh, love and sleep. All that's good for me and my well being :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

More stuff to do, not enough time

I started the school year off organized with my online calendar up to date, an area for kids to study and another area for them to play, a little laundry every day, and even time for me to exercise. However, now onto week two and the one thing that really throws a wrench on my day is when more stuff is added to my already organized to-do list, in particular, stuff that needs to be done NOW! What!? I don't have time for more stuff---grrrrr! One would think that being a "stay at home mom" I would have time to do it all and then some, or maybe I'm just letting these things overwhelm me, yeah that's it.

By the way, the term stay at home mom has to go--we need a new name because I rarely stay home all day and when I am home, I'm working my bumm off and the most valuable pay I get comes from the sloppy kisses and peanut butter filled hugs I get everyday.

Anyway, I have to re-do my to-do list TODAY or I will just crawl back into bed with the baby and watch TV all day and that's just non-productive. Let me explain. I am down to one year of college left to get my degree and it would be pretty cool if I graduated college when my son graduates High School- I'm a late bloomer, what can I say. So I decided to take three classes this semester, it's all online which means a lot of reading needs to be done and I guess I'm still no willing to give up my down time just yet. My classes are Art History, Music Appreciation, and Myth and Culture, a humanities course. All are very interesting to me and I am enjoying the discussions in the classroom quite a bit. But this is a lot to take on and a lot of writing, researching, reading--I'm tired just thinking about it.

Add to this my daily chores, my part time job at the gym which I am thankful to have otherwise I would be joining the ranks of those who say "I just don't have time to exercise." I have to make time even if I'm not working or I will just fall apart without my daily dose of fitness. With the threat of Hurricane Hanna we spent some time prepping the yard, moving all the toys, the potted plants, the lawn furniture, etc. We got a lot of rain and with that came the rapid growth of weeds in the garden. Now I'm left with putting everything back, cleaning the yard, collecting the trash that was deposited by the wind, if I didn't have enough to do already. Another Grrrrr!

Today is the day when I will change how I feel about all this stuff, update my to-do list and make sure I leave some work for the kids to do this weekend. It's time for me to delegate and stop trying to be super woman. I am going to create time in my schedule --again.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When appliances break down

Sometimes we stop appreciating the tools that generally make our lives easier such as our laundry machines, dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator. Each day these are used and sometimes abused and only when they fail do we realize how much more work we would have to do without them in our lives. However, sometimes, it can be a blessing in disguise to have at least one fail, just for the sake of seeing what we would do.

This past Thursday I noticed that, although my electric, glass-top, two year-old stove was still telling time and lighting up, no heat was being produced. I called Sears and they promised a quick turnaround, after all "you purchase the protection plan." This, however, meant 3-4 days. Ouch! That's just unacceptable. I called my husband at work and his first reaction was "what about dinner, what will we do." Well, let me first clarify that WE never do anything about dinner since it is I who plans and prepares them unless of course I happen to be sick or out of town in which case it is our eldest boy who cooks (he actually enjoys the art of cooking so that's never an issue.) Anyway, since I can't cook anything on the stove or the oven until Monday afternoon, I get to plan either Crockpot, grilled or cold meals.

What a revelation that has been. I made our favorite comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese in the crock pot. That was a great Tropical Storm Hanna meal-kids loved it! We also grilled chicken, burgers, and veggies and we threw together a huge salad to eat with each meal or as a meal itself. It is amazing how creative we can be when we are forced into a situation. The leftover meats were awesome as salad toppings or in a cold sandwich, the grilled veggies were a nice addition to a chicken wrap, and lets not forget the fruit we added to our breakfast, more so than usual.

We probably saved a bundle since we have not used the stove in four days. I think I deserve a new exercise outfit and workout shoes just for that...don't you? Anyway, the moral to my story is that we should work a little harder to step outside the box and try to plan meals that do not need to be cooked or meals that use other methods of preparation. I have done all this before without the aid of a broken stove, I even do dishes without my dishwasher falling apart, however, sometimes we get into our little routines and just forget to stop and smell the burning coal.

Be creative and enjoy the natural flavors in food that is not over cooked or over boiled. Certainly steaming, grilling and simply washing before eating are excellent alternatives to preparing a meals. Even though we expect to have a fully functional stove/oven in time for dinner on Monday, I am planning to make individual pizza on the grill. I supposed I will return to share the recipe and the reviews after.

Live long,

photo by squidly

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

School is now in session

Photo by vygotskij

It seems so easy to forget to look at me, from within, while the kids are pretty much dictating where we go and what we do on a daily basis. Not that I let them rule my world but that I encourage them to get involved, to stay active, and to do things that do not include electronics. This means that I have to dedicate time to drive them here and there and everywhere. It's what we do for our little bundles of joy, regardless of how old or big they are.

Now school is back in session and although I do love my children and love spending time with them, when they go back to school I go back to taking care of me for a change, at least during school hours. What helps me stay on top of things? Well, my calendar for one. We keep an online calendar through google because we all have gmail. The older kids input their to-do's on their side and I get to view them on my calendar. I print this out once a week so I have a paper copy handy. If I have to make appointments I do them over the phone so I'm sitting in front of my calendar and can really determine when or if I can attend an event or function, etc. For us, this has worked better than a paper calendar.

My weekly menu, wow that's a saving grace. Knowing what to cook for dinner helps me at the grocery store and helps me plan my day. Do I need to take the meat out of the freezer or is it a pasta night? This first week has been very smooth so far. Finally, a to-do list. This is where I write what needs to be done, from scrubbing a floor to fixing a wall or painting a room. Everything gets on this list, down to the details. This helps me realize what I have to do, keeps me from becoming overwhelmed and at the end of a project, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Finally, having an area for homework, school stuff, study area, etc. Even if it's only a made up table in a corner of a room. But at least you know that's where all the school stuff is going to end up--things that need to be signed, homework that needs to be checked, etc. We decided having a "formal" dining room was a wasted space so that table is now a study area for the three kids in school and a play area for the one still at home. The funny thing is that most people with kids who visit us say "what a great idea, I think I'll do the same."

As for taking care of me and finding the beauty within, I do take time to exercise, eat healthy, read, and play with the baby. By the time the kids come home from school I am energized and ready to hear all about their day.

I wonder, what other tips there are out there that help families keep it together during the school year?