Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are you ready for Christmas?

What does that really mean anyway?  I hear it alot, just about everywhere I go people ask me "are you ready for the holidays?" or "are you ready for Christmas?" or my favorite, "are the kids ready for Santa?"  Well, duh! They are, they were born ready to get new toys and new clothes and just about anything new. 

My idea of ready has more to do with the emotional and spiritual connection we make with this special day.  There's so much stress during this time of year and it's mostly related to the whole "shopping, baking, card and newsletter writing, making the deadline at the post office" thing.  
Well this year I decided, sort of unwillingly, that I wasn't going to stress about all that. I had faith that things would fall into place in due time and I need not worry so much about meeting deadlines and sending cards.  Did I stress about my long list of things to do? Yes, I did, for about 5 minutes then I thought long and hard about what would happen if I didn't send out cards on time or if I didn't bake the cookies before Friday.  Nothing would happen.  Except maybe that I would be stressed, exhausted, and very hormonal, if you know what I mean.  

Since one of my goals is to start taking care of me first then everyone else I had to just give up all that and do only what I could.  Relaxing and taking my time was the best thing I ever did. Everything just fell into place this week.  All the painting was done last week, the carpet was installed on Thursday and by Sunday evening we had a beautiful tree, by Monday evening the tree was fully decked.  The kids had a great time talking about the ornaments we have collected over the years, many of which were home made.  

Children bring such joy to the holiday season, even when they talk about what St. Nick will be bringing and what new toys they want, they also have a way of making it fun to sing Christmas carols while decorating the tree and while baking cookies.  We watch festive movies, play fesive music and talk about what Christmas means to us.
Each year my kids take turns putting the angel on the tree.  I take pictures of the event because in the past we have forgotten and that usually leads into an argument and someone walks away mad.  This is my 18 year old son whom will soon graduate High School and go off to fullfil his dreams of a career in music.  No doubt he'll do great but I will miss him when he's gone. Colletively, we all decided that he should put the angel on the tree this year, regardless of who's turn it was.

We had the best time decorating the tree.  I ordered picture cards from Snapfish.com and had them printed at Wallgreens, they were ready the next day and in the mailbox by Monday.  I had a chance to attend a "girls only party" with my best friend; I bought everything I needed to and wanted to buy and I still have a day to spare.  Tomorrow we will prepare an awesome meal, attend Christmas Eve service at our Chapel and then, the next day, we'll sit back and enjoy watching the kids open their presents.

It will be fun and I didn't have to loose sleep over it.  As for the cookies and bread, they will be done tomorrow morning, before anyone has a chance to pull themselves out of bed.

From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and prosporous and healthy new year!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Final Exams Today!

Here it is, the day of my finals and you wonder "why the heck aren't you studying instead of blogging?"  Well, I know what I know.  I can't possibly memorize all this stuff and my brain is sort of fried.  I need an outlet for a few minutes.  But please, wish me luck.  I have  a headache and did not sleep much last night.  Once this is all over I will have a long break to focus on family, the holidays, and relaxing without thinking about school work.  I can't wait!

So here I go...hope everyone has a great day and for those of you in the middle of the ice storm, may you soon return to your warm and cozy home.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My house, our home

We have lived in this house for 3 years now and have begun the process to move again next summer.  We are military and the Navy is making the final decisions about our next duty station.  What does that mean?  Well, it means looking for a new home, new schools, new friends, new neighbors, etc.  It also means selling the current home, packing, cleaning house, painting and most important dealing with emotional issues from the kids who would rather not move.  That is subject for a different blog.  We don't like to leave our friends but that is the nature of our life in the military.

My house has been sort of painted since I moved in.  The interior was painted in a comercial, sort of off white, looked more like dirty wall color.  Every trim, baseboard, door, and crown molding was the same color.  I like color, must have color in my house so I took on that job as soon as I could after moving in.  In the mean time I was going to school, working at the gym, toting a pre-schooler around and just when things couldn't get busier I had a baby and my husband was sent to Iraq for 7 months.  Well, obviously, no painting was going to get done during that time and after that I had a baby to entertain and many other things to do so, OK, my walls would just have to stay 1/2 painted until I could get back to that project.  How frustrating.

Recently, my brother-in-law Mosh found himself out of work, due to the collapse in the economy.  He is a mason and painter by trade.  I offered two weeks of life with my family in exchange for his expertise in painting.  That was the best decision ever for both.  He stayed with us until this morning and in the mean time spent every single day, except weekends, painting my walls, doors, trims, etc.  He did such an excellent job and always cleaned up and put everything back the way he founded or the way I wanted it to be. He also went fishing with my husband and they actually brought home dinner.  Very cool.

My house looks great, well the walls, because the messes kids make never seem to go away.  We are having carpet installed on Thursday, wood floor in the foyer and tile in the kitchen are all done and the beautiful cabinetry my husband hand-made last year for the kitchen is clean and looking great.  The reality of all this works is that I'm really doing this to clean up the place and hopefully sell it next year.  I'm not holding my breath and would rather not break up the family but right now things are not looking to good from a sellers perspective.  We soon shall see.

It is a great house, 4 large bedrooms, 2.5 bath, master bath with garden tub, nice neighborhood and good schools.  Close to the Army, Navy, Cost Guard and Airforce Bases in the area and in the heart of history.  The beaches are close by, rivers, fishing, boating, parks, etc.  Ok so there it is and will continue to be.  My house can be a great home for a large family like mine.

Friday, December 12, 2008


It's been too long since I had a second to sit at my computer to read, write and man, I miss it, I really miss not being able to share and discuss.  This is my time, ok, well maybe not really mine because I do have four kids and a husband.  Anyway, I'm still here people.  I will be back to my old self never but I will make an effort to come back and share with everyone.

'tis the season to be happy so I will!!

Until later, stay safe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today was a most productive day and I'm still up with enough energy to read a few blogs and even write a little. Because of our military life we are never in one place for more than 2 holidays and to make matters worse, we are never close enought to have the family come over to our home, instead we choose the year which we travel, usually to a central location where many of the family members gather.

This year, once again, we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family in this central location.  My job was to bring apple pie and sweet potato casserol.  As always, I waited until tonight to do it all, because, you know, I'm wonder woman.  On top of that chore I had to work at the gym teaching twice today, get the kids cleaning, laundry, packing, etc.  So much to do, so little time.

My young artist (14) and the little peanut (6) helped out in the kitchen, one was peeling apples, the other mashing sweet potatos, while I was assembling and preparing the ingredients for our two awesome dishes.  These are not diet friendly, except for the fact that they both fall in the fruit and veggies category.  That should count for something right?

Meanwhile, the Tenor, about to be 18 and his little brother now 2 hung out in another room, studying , playing and doing what they do best....eating!

It was such a nice experience to have them both in the kitchen, working along side me and each other.  There was no fighting, no arguing, no hormonal imbalance.  They just followed instructions and did their jobs.  

They will both remember this night and I will personally treasure our time together.  I'm just sorry I didn't take pictures.  I guess that means I'll have to do it again soon.

When asked what I am thankful for, the answer is pretty easy and I don't think I need to spell it out.  My pride and joy, my kids.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pink Saturday!

Hot pink flowers from this past summer...oh so pretty! Thanks PlantBuddy for reminding me that I do have pink stashed somewhere.

I love this little house. It's very old.  My daughter Emm painted the house for the first time about 8 years ago when she was only 6. Well this year the little pink house got a facelift in the same colors by my youngest daughter, Peanut, and she just so happens to be 6. 

Leave your thoughts and Enjoy!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coloradolady Christmas Contest

OK so I don't like to listen to Christmas music before December 1st, nor do I decorate the day before Thanksgiving because I think we should give Thanksgiving a chance, but I do like giveaways and Coloradolady is hosting a Christmas giveaway for the next few weeks.  So many fun ideas and really cool items in her packages.  You should go check it out and sign up, why not. Click on the picture above or on her name below to access the site. Go now!

THANK YOU Colorado lady!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I need a massage!!

I have been taking collge classes for, well, for a long time now.  It is one of my goals to get my degree so that when hubby retires and we stopped moving and the kids are in school full time, I can hopefully get a better job than without a degree -- one would hope anyway.

Going to school online, while raising a family, having babies, moving around the country, a part time job at the gym and maintaining a home...etc...etc.. it can be very, very challenging.  Online education is not easy.  You are pretty much self educating but paying the teachers to grade your work. I want that job! 

Online classes require a lot, I mean A LOT of reading and quite a bit of writing, a lot of interpretation of what you read, excellent time mangement skills and a lot of patience.  Everything is online, the library, the conference with the teacher, the socializing and sharing with other students...etc...etc... I miss live interaction.  But, since I know that is not an option I can take right now, online education is what I have to do.

The last few weeks have been particularly stressful because my ArtHistory teacher is extremely demanding, very critical and sometimes negative.  I know she wants us to really think about what we see and she wants us to be passionate about the art pieces we discuss.  I love art, I'm just not passionate about it, at least not like she is.  Her timing with our projects have been ridiculous and would be even if the class was live.  

We have about 4 weeks left and I can't wait to see the light at the end of this tunnel.  I'm exhausted, my back hurts and I would like to read something other than a text book for a change.  Right now I only have time to read about Music of the world, Art History, and Humanities--what was I thinking?

Today I'm writing an essay for music but that will be easy since I actually enjoy this class and the teacher, then I'm cleaning my house and taking a much needed break to hang with my little bear.

I'm scheduling a massage--right now, this week I will have my massage and feel better. I deserve it!

photo by philoo 14

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday 2 You!!

Yesterday was my baby Bear’s 2nd birthday.
I can't believe it's been 2 years--time really does fly when you're having fun and it has been a fun ride so far.  We look forward to many more years of fun with our little Bear and his siblings.  But today is all about him.

Oh what a joy it is to see him beautifully smiling face enjoying the singing and blowing the candles. This is such a precious age and such a wonderful time to celebrate because at this age they could care less if there are any decorations, gifts, nothing, they are genuinely happy.

He’s happy with his home-made, less than perfect cake, and his unwrapped gifts.

He’s even happier to see everyone around him singing happy birthday and the best part, I think, was blowing the candles – he sort of needed a little help but he was so excited to try.

Happy Birthday little Bear!
We Love You!
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas Music in November...that's just rude!

Is it Christmas already? No Wait! We ARE still in the month of November right?  By the looks of my photos below, I think I can safely say that Autumn is definitely here and from my understanding after living in this country for the last 30+ years, Thanksgiving comes before Christmas.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm willing to bet, it is still a national holiday in this country.

In case you're wondering where I'm going with this rant, here it is.  This morning I was headed to the gym to attend a Spinning Certification Training.  I was pretty excited too, about the training and about the fact that the Mr. was staying home with all FOUR kids the entire day while I get to mingle with other adult minds.

Anyway, before I get lost in that world, let me move on.  I turned on the radio, hoping to find some sing-along music or something that would energize me.  Then I heard it... Bing Crosby's "Dreaming of a white Christmas."  It's November 8th!!  

Can we possibly get through the month of November before turning on the Christmas cheers.  At this rate, by the time Christmas comes around, I will be sick of the cheery music we get to replay once a year.

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE Christmas.  I love the feeling of the season, baking cookies with the kids, getting together with family and friends, sometimes I even enjoy torturing myself with a crazy stroll through a mall, just to say I survived.  But I would like to reserve that experience to the month of December and focus on something I equally treasure in November...giving thanks.

I see Thanksgiving as a day to give thanks for the wonderful people in our lives, give thanks for having yet another day when we wake up to enjoy our children, our family, our friends and one more day to give thanks for the beauty we are giving in nature...just look around.   

We can reflect on the material things we have, our careers, our education; but none of that matters without the love of those we hold dear.  The best thing about this holiday, besides the awesome meals and the excuse to gain a few pounds, we don't even have to think about buying gifts because it's not about gift giving and receiving

It is, in my opinion, the most honest holiday when families get together to share a meal, share life stories, watch the football game, and catch up with each other.  

I will not be hitting that radio station button on my dial until I'm ready for Christmas music.
In the mean time, lets take time to give to those who are less fortunate than us, and extend a helping hand all year long. 
A giving heart is a thankful heart! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apples, apples...I love apples

My mother-in-law (Mad) was visiting this weekend and I'm happy to say we had a great time.  She arrived just in time to experience Halloween and try out some of the candy the kids brought back.  The next day, Saturday, we decided to go apple picking at a farm that is located alongside a river.  What a beautiful place this is.  The colors of the leaves changing and reflecting on the water were amazing.  The kids love going there because it is so open and the quiet and of course, the have fruits for us to pick.

After our picnic, we went to apple orchards and helped ourselves to really delicious and beautiful granny smith apples.  It was so much fun and the kids loved the idea of eating a fruit that you pick right from the tree.  We plan on going back when the peaches and blueberries are ready next summer.

So, what to do with all these apples?  Bake an apple pie, of course.  To simplify matters and in the interest of time I bought two deep dish pie crusts at the store.  Leave the pie crust on the counter to defrost, place one of them on a flat surface, that will be the top of the pie.  Preheat the over to 425 degrees.

Here's an easy recipe:

9 medium apples, peeled, cored and wedged
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar

Mix this all together in a bowl, pour it into the pie crust and proceeded with the rest..

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

Cut the butter into small cubes (best to do this with butter right out of the fridge)
mix in the flour and sugar and sprinkle over the apples--I used every bit and made sure the butter was everywhere, not all clumped in one place.

Sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and place the second pie crust on top and pinch all around the edges. Make several slits on the crust to allow the steam to escape.

Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to keep them from burning and place the pie on a cookie sheet or aluminum foil to catch the bubbling goddies. Bake for one hour.  Let it sit about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!

We were eating pie at 10 o'clock at night...I never eat food like this so late but I most definitely enjoyed the warm delicious pie.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pulling weeds

The other day I realized I had to face reality and go clean out my "garden" before the weeds grew into a jungle.  At some point towards the end of the season life took over and my garden was the last thing on my list to worry about, plus, I thought things would start dying off soon so no big deal.  Unfortunately things didn't die off, they grew thinker and strong and the flowers were beautiful.  However, the weeds were growing right along side the flowers and for a while I just figured, hey, let the be, they deserve to be among the beauties.

Finally, this week, I decided it was time to cut them back.  Even the flowers are dying out and these weeds are persistent.  They are dry and dead but standing tall...what the hey!  I spent 2 hours putting weeds and made a clear dent in the garden.  It was a heck of a workout for my legs, arms, chest, glutes, back and arms.  What that means is, I was sore, so sore I could hardly move.  Now mind you, I workout all week so you would think there would be no soreness.

Baby was out there with me either trying to pull weeds or trying to eat them.  He found out quickly, that's not a good idea.  He took a nice long nap and I got a nice break in the day...time for me.  Great day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's life...with my kids

So I've been sort of absent from my blogs lately and much of that has to do with my busy life with kids, school work, house work, my job at the gym, etc. etc. etc. blah! blah! blah!  Simply said, I let life take over and failed to keep to my routines and rules for maintaining a healthy daily schedule.  I suddenly found myself tackling everything on the to-do list...time for a honey-do list.  What was I thinking?!?

My almost two year old has recently realized that he can be independent - gosh it's like they know when they're supposed to start that terrible two thing.  I have never really believed in terrible two's with my other kids, but this time I'm thinking it's a real thing.  Anyway, he's so darn cute it really doesn't matter much to me.  He's a happy camper 90% of the time.  The other 10% we sit and enjoy each other's company and all is well in the end.

My six year old is into reading, a lot!! That's a good thing right!? It is, don't get me wrong.  However, sometimes, I don't want to read anything nor do I want to be read to.  This is when I pull patience fromt he depth of my soul and just listen to her read.  I usually fall asleep and then she wakes me by saying, "oh no, now I'm going to have to read it again!" GREAT!! "You know what, your daddy hasn't had a chance to hear this story, let me go get him, HONEY!!!"

My 14 year old wants to be a photagrapher but she doesn't want to have to study very hard to get good grades.  There are more important things to consider, such as, clothing, hair, shoes, her social network...Yeah!  She's your average teen.  Example: three weeks ago she was failing Spanish.  That was an embarrassing call from her Spanish teacher who offered to tutor her after school.  Embarrassing because I had to inform her that I, her mother, am spanish and speak, read, and write fluently.  Her response, "OH."  I took away the iPod, forced her to study, talk to me in spanish and work on extra credit to bring up her grade, which she did as of yesterday.

My 17 year old is realizing that more sometimes means less in the end.  He is a musician, wants to become a music educator and a concert choir condutor.  He has the potential, the voice, the talent and the motivation--no doubt, he makes me tired with all he does.  However, doing so much was costing him well needed practice time, which I gently mentioned and he said "I can handle it mom."  Well his voice teacher made the same comment about doing too much --" focus on being prepared and practicing your music, that's all you need to do right now."  He agreed.  Hmmmm, funny how when I said it the effect was completely different.  Oh well, what do I know, I'm just a parent.

Today I will get my schedule organized and my to-do list in order.  Everyone will get a to-do list this week.  Then maybe, just maybe, I'll regain MY time to do what I want on or off line.  My toddler will continue to steal my heart for that 10% of the time he feels he needs mommy comfort, my six year old and I will be reading much, much earlier in the day and leaving the night-time reading to daddy, my 14 and 17 year old will continue to learn from their mistake and hopefully reach their full potential.   I am proud of my kids--they occupy my space, my time, my life, and they make us oh so happy!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Whose up at 4 am?

This semester I "chose" to take three classes, all online and two of them electives.  Easy stuff right? Wrong!  It's only easy if the times you choose to study are there for you, uninterrupted.  But I have only two semesters to get my degree and I'm going do this even if it means readjusting my sleep schedule. SLEEP? Ha!

Every morning I get up before the kids so I have time to make some coffee and study.  I am my best early and must take advantage of what little brain energy I can get.  When I get up the plan is to log on to my classrooms to post assignments, read, respond, work on essays, catch up on reading assignments, etc.  However, it seems my time gets crunched or something happens or a kid wakes up earlier then they should and then there goes the day.  So last week I decided to go to sleep a little earlier, get up earlier and get some real work done.  Here's how it went:

*got up at 4 am- yes, I said Four AM!
*started the coffee pot
*turned on the laptop
*set myself up at the kitchen table
*grabed my hot coffee which I turned into a Cafe con Leche (Latte)
*sat down, logged in and by 4:30 am I was rearring to go

Within 10 minutes of focus and concentration I was dealing with this

He never wakes up this early....NEVER!

....or this cranky...Maybe it's a growth spurt

Apparently, nothing a little food can't fix.  So I gave him Sweet Darling Clementines....

and that made him smile (my heart melts for that smile)

throw a banana in the mix and you get...

.... happy little man ready to take on the day, even if he started his day cranky, apparently hungry and  very, very early.

I didn't get much work done but I did get lots of love, wet kisses, quality time with baby.  He's such a sweetie! 

A little patience and a lot of love went into this morning, it all works out in the end.

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!

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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, etc...as 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