Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mom Trip

This last weekend I went on a getaway to celebrate my sweet SIL's 40th birthday.  It was just moms (her sister, sisters-in-law on her side, and me) and we went to Universal Studios AKA Harry Potter World!  Leading up to the trip I was so anxious.  JJ was supposed to have the week off and ended up getting scheduled.  My Mom and Dad came and their patient reassurance should've been enough to calm my nerves.  One of the biggest wrenches in the plan for me was N baby.  He does not like a bottle or whole milk.  Also he goes back and forth with sleeping through the night.  How unfair is that --- leave him in the capable hands of my parents, who can't give him the one thing he thinks he needs.  UGH!!!  Plus the other irrational thought running through my brain is all this violence, all these tragedies.  What if??  WHAT IF. 

But seriously friends, we can't live our lives like that!!  Thank you, Matthew 6:34 -- Therefore do not worry about tomorrow... All that worry was pointless.  There was nothing gained and if I had let it get to me, it could've made me miss out on all the fun waiting for me.

So anyways, I went on a weekend away.  And IT WAS SO FUN!!  The company was amazing, the park was a blast (even if I was the only one who REALLY LOVES ALL THE RIDES), and the food was on point (Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, anyone??!!!).  I missed my babies, but not in an overwhelming sad kind of way.  In the end, I truly feel like we needed some time away from each other to freshly appreciate one another.  Even if L told me I needed to GET OUT OF THE VAN AND GO BACK TO THE AIRPORT when I first saw him! 

Moms-- do something just for you!!  (It doesn't even have to cost money or be a big trip [but bonus if it is!!]!)   You deserve it and if you're like me, you might just need it! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Baby N's birth story!

With each baby's birth, I found it so much fun to record the birth story.  I love hearing and sharing birth stories.  And I love reminiscing, especially on each child's birthday, about my children's birth stories.  SO, how is it that a little over a year after baby N entered the world that I still have not written his story out??!  Poor, poor fourth kid!  So the details may not be AS sharp as the others' stories, but the heart of the story remains the same.

Saturday, November 5th, 2016.
JJ was working, of course (he was on a medicine rotation -- same as when baby L was born!).  The three kids and I met up with the H family at a fun park.  It was a beautiful day, especially for November in MN/ND!  The kids played and played until supper time.  I was too tired to cook so we ate at Qdobas in MN.  Not sure if it was the spice, the time being on my legs, or what, but I started having contractions!  At Qdoba!  I remember C being a bit alarmed, but I assured him all was well.  We went home and I'm pretty sure the kids watched a show as I tried to clean up a few things and maybe get their clothes picked out ?  Can't remember if I went that far with prep!  I know MY bag was packed!  I put the kids to bed and reminded them about the plan we had been talking about for probably about a month (!): Auntie L or Grandma/Grandpa may one day be at our house in the morning or maybe will pick you up from school.  That just means that Mommy might be having the baby!  You will never be left alone - someone will always be there, but it just might not be Mommy!

JJ got home later that evening and I said, "We're going to have a baby tonight!"  It didn't seem like he necessarily believe me, but he decided to go to bed in the event that I woke him up.  I started tracking my contractions on my phone and alerted both LJ and my parents to my current activities.  I also looked up info on when to go to the hospital and the like.  My contracts were coming relatively intensely, but spaced out quite a bit around 9/10pm.  LJ said she would be sleeping with the phone by her bed and signed out.  My parents made the decision to come early Sunday morning, since we were in no way headed to the hospital at that time.

I kept timing my contractions until maybe 11pm and then decided I should try to sleep.  I would lay in bed and just crumple from the pain every maybe 10-12 minutes.  Around midnight I called the hospital.  The nurse said those dreaded (for me) words: "This is your fourth baby!  You know your body!  Generally we want contractions spaced more closely together for things to really be happening."  I just am always like, "NO!  I don't know!  I can't tell!!  Am I moving up in dilation??!  You tell me!!"  :)  So anyways, At around 1 am I told JJ that things were pretty intense and lasting a long time, but not consistently spaced close together - I feel like they were coming around every 5-6 minutes at that point.  He was like, well, according to the pamphlet, you don't need to go in yet, and rolled over to sleep some more.  UGHHHHHH.  I was on my knees in the livingroom, which felt like the most comfortable position for about another hour until I was like, "This is crazy.  We are going in."  I believe right around 2 (?) we called LJ and she rushed right over!  I was feeling like I would barely make it to the hospital.  We were living in MN at the time and didn't live all that far from the hospital, but I had probably a handful of contractions on the way. 

It was the middle of the night (again -- see L's story) but I don't remember any crazy events getting to the floor this time.  Maybe I went with JJ into the parking garage and walked into the building with him?  In either case, by the time we got to the OB floor, the first nurse we talked to was the one who had answered my phone call earlier in the night.  She said, "OK!  Looks like you knew when to come in!"  No triage this time (thank goodness) and they got my set up in a room right away.  Contractions were definitely coming and I was fully effaced.  I can't remember exactly what I was dilated to.  I feel like it was 8 cm.  So, it was go time.  Also, it was Daylight Savings Time, so I remember they had to manually write everything in because my labor at home was an hour more than recorded based on the time on the clock.  They asked if I wanted an epidural and I said, "YES DEFINITELY."  (I always like that opinion to be known early and often -- see M's story).  The anesthesiologist (maybe nurse anesthetist?) came up and gave me two options.  They could do an epidural OR an intrathecal instead.  She went over pros and cons of both.  And my nurse was discussing it with me as well.  Based on all the info, I felt like the inrathecal would be my best bet.  They prepped for the procedure as I was about a 9 at that time.  And. then. nothing.  ALL my labor stopped.  No more contractions (not just that I wasn't feeling them, but they were nonexistant).  The nurse felt SO BAD.  She felt like she had talked me into this and it had not been the right decision.  She was supposed to be on her meal break, but came in thinking of another thing we could try.  We tried different positions, the bean thing to help everything drop, etc. etc. etc. Nothing.  At all.  The intrathecal (I believe) was supposed to last a little over an hour and that came and went.  I was comfortable and baby's heartrate was fine, everything just STOPPED.  I almost cried.  Actually I might have and just don't remember?!  :)  Well, THEN the contractions started again and I felt the full brunt of them going from nothing to NINE CM DILATED CONTRACTIONS!  I felt woozy and not quite sure I could do this.  My blood pressure dropped very low, SO they gave me a saline drip and an epidural.

Shortly after that commotion, the nurse said, "Why don't you try a practice push." and then "STOP!!!" She called the doctor, I pushed about two times, and baby came into the world at 5:23 am on November 6th!!  JJ said, "This baby has a ton of hair!!  Do you still think baby is a girl???"  I was absolutely convinced this baby WAS a girl!!  BUT, we are so, so blessed that baby NAJ is a wonderful and fun BOY!!  He was our biggest baby by far, weighing in at 8 lbs, 5 oz (a pound and an ounce over the next biggest sib) and 20 3/4 inches!  He was a great eater from the start and loved to be bundled up and cuddled!  He has fun, little curls and BIG beautiful brown eyes!  He is ours and we love him so!  JJ cuddled him, loved him, then took a shower and went up one floor to work.  (sad face).  We were discharged from the hospital the following day (Monday, Nov 7th) and N even had his first photoshoot in the hospital AND at home with Nikki Englund!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chalking it up to a Good Morning.

+ Got a shower this morning
+ Brushed my teeth this morning {neither of which happened yesterday morning...}
- C locked himself out of his room.  Just to be a stinker.  With all of his clothes AND the library books/movies that were due today.
+ I figured out how to unlock the door.  By myself... and youtube...
+ Made blueberry banana bread.  And it is yummy. This MAY turn out to be a - ...
-/+ L was only happy when being held this morning (which made for lots of baby snuggles), but did sleep through library story time and is still currently sleeping in his carseat carrier (you decide if this is a + or - !)



Apple Chips... made easier...

AJ & LJ's (bro- and sis-in-law) neighbors have a crazy producing apple tree.  One day they sent niecey LJ over to ask if they could pick some apples.  The neighbors said they wanted to pick first and then they would let them have at it.  The neighbors got all they wanted and then sent us crazy Js over.  I just can't even tell you how many apples were picked but it was a ton.  Our kids got in on the action and had a grand time.  AJ & LJ shared some apples with us, and kept a bunch for themselves, making things like apple butter, applesauce and apple chips.  JJ didn't want to do any of those things and just wanted to eat them.  I let him have at them for a while, but it didn't seem like they would get eaten fast enough and I didn't want them to go to waste, so yesterday I decided I was making apple chips, which, in my opinion was the easiest option!  :)

I could NOT find our mandolin slicer, so I resorted to one of our other "slicing" products.  Kinda sad that we have multiple options, but if you know anything about JJ, you probably know that he is a gadget kind of guy.  And he loves to cook.  Ok, two things about him!  But put them together and we have A LOT of random kitchen gadgets.

I got out our apple peeler-corer-slicer.  After wrangling it a bit, CJ and I figured out how to make it peel the apples, but we could not figure out how to make it core the things or slice them for that matter.  It took me a looong time (well a lot longer than it should have) to put them through the peeler, then core them, and then slice them by hand.  THEN put them in a lemon water bath.  And THEN put them in the dehydrator.  TOO much input what seemed like not "enough" output.

I told JJ all about this last night when he was home.  He looked at me incredulously.  He took one look at the peeler-corer-slicer thingy, flipped up a little knobby, and even moved the handle back into position with another flip of another lever (rather than hand crank it as CJ & I had done all morning)...  UGH.  We could've saved SO MUCH TIME!

Today in about 10 minutes I had a second batch of apples ready to go.  So.  Should I count this as a fail?  No.  I am not.  I learned something new and will be much more willing to tackle those apples next time!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby #3 - the Birth Story! Part 2 - The REST of the story

At about 4:15 I was getting crazy contractions.  I had a lot of trouble breathing through them (huh... maybe I should've taken a baby class after all) and enlisted JJ for help.  We started timing them and they were anywhere from 5-7 minutes apart.  I struggled walking, breathing, talking.  Yup.  I finally realized what real labor felt like!  At this point, I think I started punching JJ, too.  He just seemed so lax about it.  I was like I'm over here struggling and he's like, well... so.... yeah... I think that was about 6 minutes.  Huh.  Ok... PUNCH.  PUNCH.  PUNCH.  At about 5:30 am we woke up my Mom and headed to the hospital.  I struggled breathing through several contractions on the way. JJ dropped me off at a door close to the elevator we needed and said to go sit in the little waiting area they had.  He parked the car and came as fast as he could, but in the meantime, I was hit by two very strong contractions.

I ended up doubled over a fire hydrant breathing one out.  A gentleman doing deliveries at the hospital came running over asking how he could help.  I was able to communicate that I was having a contraction and that my husband was just parking the car.  A gal who was with him ran and got me a wheelchair and got me to the little lobby.  She was NOT very happy that I was alone, but the guy with her said my husband was on his way from parking the car.  There was another guy waiting in the lobby and the delivery gal told him, "If anything happens, just get this lady up to the 4th floor!"  His eyes got about as huge as saucers!  It was kind of funny.  I assured him my husband would be there any second!  And then I did see JJ on his way.

Back up the the 4th floor we went and we saw the same nurse.  She took one look at me and admitted me.  Pronto.  I remember thinking, "See!  I really am in labor!  I wasn't lying!"  Another nurse and a nurse following her took over and got me all hooked up.  Baby's heartrate looked great.  Contractions were definitely coming.  They checked me and I was a 7.  Progress!!!!!  But, baby hadn't dropped quite yet, so I think I was a +2 (or -2... whichever one means baby is NOT there yet).  JJ continued to help me breathe and the head nurse with me helped too.  I have found that I NEED encouragement during those times.  Having her say, "You can do this.  Breathe in through your nose.  Out through your mouth.  You're doing it.  Good job!"  was VITAL to my successful delivery.  I remember asking her to do it, too!  "Would you please keep saying those things to me?!!" I yelled one time.

I said that I did INDEED want an epidural.  By the time the anesthesiologist was able to get all hooked up, I was at a 9, so probably I could've just sucked it up and gone without it, but I think it just made things so much more peaceful at the end.  I had two contractions while the Dr. put in my epidural and they were amazed at how stoic I was.  The nurse was like, "She was NOT kidding.  She WANTED that epidural!!"  :)  Yup.  So then it was pretty much just smooth sailing.  Phew.  A new shift came on at 7, so they rechecked me - and there again was a nurse and someone following the nurse.  They said they like people who are learning to try to judge dilation, effacement and what stage the baby is at when ladies have epidurals.  Learn away my friends.  I couldn't feel it!  :)  When baby had dropped (maybe about 8:15 am), they had me do a few practice pushes and same as with CEJ, they were like, "STOP!!  We need to call the doctor."  I told them I was feeling a little light headed so they took my blood pressure.  It was 88/48 (I generally have low blood pressure, but that was quite low even for me).  They ran a bag of saline through and in the meantime the doctor showed up.

We waited for a contraction to push, but then he said, "You know what?  The baby is RIGHT there.  Why don't you just push?"  I pushed and out came the baby at 8:40 am!!  JJ took a peek and said, "Baby has tons of hair!  What do you think??  Boy or girl?!"  The hair threw me off because MVJ had so much hair, but I still thought it was a boy.  Ta-da!  Baby BOY made his arrival and he really is a sweet mixture of M & C.  Out at 8:40 and nursing by 9 am.  Our first visitors at about 9:30 because JJ's parents were still in town, but ready to leave for home.  Good thing they waited another day!  :)  We were able to have so many visitors this time since we are close to family.  It was really fun and really special.  The kids did awesome meeting Mr. LWJ and have been excited, helpful, and on Cloud 9 since meeting him.  We are so blessed! 

Baby #3 - The Birth Story! Part 1 - the build up

I just have to write about my deliveries.  I always think I'll remember all the details... and of course there are some that I never forget... but some that I do.  I love looking back and reading about each baby's special day.

This particular story begins on Thursday, October 9th.  At my doctor's appointment, my doctor said I was a "loose 3 cm dilated" and fully effaced.  At 37 weeks, I was 1 1/2 cm and 60%.  Then at 38, I was 3 cm and 70%.  So there was clear progression every week.  My doctor said she could strip my membranes if I wanted.  I wanted.  I mean, not that it is awesome to go through with a membrane stripping, but I was READY to meet this kiddo!  Plus, JJ has an easier rotation (schedule wise) this month, so the sooner this baby came, the more Daddy help was available for longer!  See, makes sense, right?  My doctor said that it doesn't work every time, but IF it works, delivery usually occurs within 72 hours.  I put my family on standby!  JJ happened to leave his cellphone at home so I couldn't contact him to just casually tell him.  (AJ, JJ's brother, DID give me the info on how to go about contacting JJ if I REALLY REALLY needed to!)  I figured with my "luck", Thursday would be the day since I couldn't get ahold of JJ as easily.  (When he got home for the day, he said I didn't have to reprimand him because he had heard about it ALL day from nurses and colleagues who couldn't believe he had forgotten his cell phone THAT day!)

Ok, so I started feeling quite crampy throughout the morning, which I read was a normal thing with getting membranes stripped (yes I read up on it afterwards...)  :).  Also, I should mention that JJ's parents were in town because his Dad had hip surgery Monday, October 6th.  He was released from the hospital on Wednesday, but he encouraged him to stay a little while longer before getting on the road for home.  Our house is one level, so his parents were staying at our house.  JJ was at work.  AJ was with his parents as my FIL CJ recovered.  My SIL LJ had my son CJ [dang, all these initials are getting tricky!] while I had my doctor appointment and we met up at CJ's gymnastics.  I continued to have more and more cramps and some contractions as well.  My Mom said she had her bags packed.  :)

Alright, so with all of the above going on, AJ and LJ brought up having JJ's parents stay at a hotel.  The boys (AJ and JJ at this point) helped settle them in and we ended up getting pizza and the kiddos had an absolute blast swimming in the hotel pool.  So now, AJ is staying at the hotel to help his parents if needed.  LJ is home with her kiddos (and, thankfully, her Dad DJM came to town for Grandparents Day at our kiddos' school).  JJ and I are hanging out that evening.  I start having contractions.  I had a hard time kind of figuring stuff out because while it was my 3rd pregnancy, it was my only "normal" going into labor situation.  We had NO idea what was going on with MVJ.  We induced with CEJ.  I started timing and it seemed like there was about 2 minutes between contractions, but they weren't intense.  So I was confused.  There were SOME intense ones, but for the most part, I was still busy around the apartment making sure M was set for school the next day, throwing in a load of laundry, cleaning up from the swimming, etc.  I ended up calling the Birth Center at about 9:45 pm.  They suggested taking a bath, walking around, seeing if things slowed down or got more intense.  They said to call back in about an hour, but assured me that I could come in whenever I felt like I needed to.

I called LJ at around 10 pm just because I wanted her to have a chance to prepare if she wanted to.  She started prepping lunch for her kiddos and informing her Dad that he was going to get all 3 kids up and ready for school the next morning!  :)  I owe DJ big time!  :)  I called my parents and they thought initially that they would get up and come right away in the morning.  Then they called later and said they were on their way!  I gave them LJ's number and then LJ came over.  We chatted for a while and she suggested timing the contractions again (by they way at this point, JJ was attempting to get some rest to prep for his day ahead!).  The contractions were again about 2 minutes apart, but not very intense - or certainly not regular with intensity - some were more intense, but definitely not every one.  She suggested we head in to the hospital.

We got JJ up and headed in.  I walked in and I could tell the nurses were doubtful.  They hooked me up in a "triage" room.  They got baby on the heart monitor and the heartbeat was great.  There were some contractions here and there, but again, they were not very "intense" on the monitor.  The nurse checked me and I had NOT progressed from that morning.  I was super bummed out.  She said that happens with stripped membranes - the cramping feels like you are progressing, but you might not be.  I seriously, seriously felt so let down.  I felt guilty for calling my parents and LJ.  I felt like I didn't even know my own body and didn't know anything about real labor.  I thought JJ had a big "I told you so" coming (he was really very great about it though and assured me that no one was mad at or disappointed with me).  They continued monitoring me and I believe in about 30-45 minutes checked me again.  No progression so they sent us home.  Oh, worst story ever, right?  That's the one thing you don't want to happen -- going to the hospital and getting sent home.  Yuck.

We ended up getting to our place the same time my parents did!  We all walked into our apartment to a VERY surprised LJ.  (I had texted her, but she was sound asleep - which I was very glad about.)  She went home (so thankfully DJ wasn't completely on his own in the morning!) and we all headed to bed. 
 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book List: Classics

I am happy to report that we had read several of the classics on our Kindergarten Book List.  Of course, we had read Madeline and Curious George.  Who hasn't?  And for the record, they are both favorites. 

We also own Swimmy, which is a cute story with beautiful pictures about a fish who problem solves so that he doesn't get eaten by a bigger fish! 

The kids enjoyed Make Way for Ducklings, which is such a sweet classic written in 1941 and The Story of Ferdinand, which was completely new to us.  This classic from 1936 is about a bull who is a sweet, mild fellow.  The bull fighter crew comes to pick a bull for a big festival and gentle Ferdinand happens to sit on a bee and gets stung.  He becomes the roughest, toughest bull in the herd and gets picked immediately.  Will he perform in the arena?  You'll have to read it to find out.  :)

We happened to check out Joseph Had a Little Overcoat as a book with CD and were so glad we did.  The author reads the story, of course, but then also sings it as a song in both English and Yiddish.  This is a great story, but I would say I prefer the same folktale retold as Something from Nothing.   

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pecan Honey Chicken

I was at a total loss for meal ideas last week.  I literally had no go to meals that sounded amazing to me besides our weekly mac and cheese tradition (have I mentioned I can be worse than the kids in the food variety department?).  Usually in this case, I go to my Pinterest boards or the binder of recipes I made, but I decided instead to dust off my Grandma's (Dad's Mom) family's cookbook.  This cookbook was put together probably ten or so years ago and has some great recipes from some great people!  I dove in and found this little gem that came together so well and was very yummy - JJ said the chicken was a bit dry (always my downfall -- I am crazy weird about making so sure chicken is cooked that I USUALLY overcook it.) but otherwise he loved it.  C of course ate a helping and a half and M tried it and didn't hate it.  Win-win-win!

From my family to yours - enjoy this Pecan Honey Chicken!  *Note- I halved the recipe and we had just enough leftovers for one lunch portion.  I served it with rice.

6 skinned chicken breasts                        1 c flour
1/2 c butter                                               1 tsp baking powder
1 egg                                                        2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk                                                 2 tsp sesame seeds
Honey                                                      2 TBSP chopped pecans


Melt butter in baking dish.  Mix egg and milk for dipping.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Dip chicken in milk and egg.  Coat with flour mixture.  Drizzle additional melted butter and honey over chicken pieces in pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Turn chicken; drizzle with honey and bake for 20-30 minutes more. 


Ready (or not) for Baby!

In the last week or so, here are a few things we've accomplished:

  • crib put together, including fresh washed bedding
  • new to us glider rocker in the room
  • closets organized and a bunch of craft stuff donated to M's Kindergarten (yippee!  So glad someone will use it!)
  • co-sleeper assembled, sheets for it washed, still trying to decide layout of our room!
  • diaper bag put together - including tiny, tiny diapers!
  • hospital bag packed -- all except my toothbrush and contact case!
  • helpful hints for taking care of our two older children - including things like activity time schedule, bedtime routine, useful addresses, etc. emailed to my Mom & Dad
  • backups confirmed for our kiddos in the event of imminent labor!
  • house cleaned - including random things like rugs
  • an Old Navy shopping spree where I bought exactly three outfits... of both genders!  I did realize that not finding out the sex of the baby was good for me - I would've bought WAY MORE things throughout this pregnancy that we really did not need since we already have a boy and girl.
  • read up on labor signs in the What To Expect Book that I actually have never read... third time's a charm?  
  • discussed with my doctor what to do/where to go (again, third baby, but different cities/hospitals every time!)
Yup, I think we're "ready".  Bring on baby!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book List: Humorous Stories

So, awhile ago I shared that we're reading through "100 Picture Books to Read in Kindergarten" from a PLA (Public Library Association) poster.  We have officially finished reading all of the ones at the public library and our personal library.  There are a dozen or so that weren't available, so my Mom has been trying to get them from the library in her city.  Every time she visits or we visit her, she has a few more checked out.  :)

I thought I'd take a few blog posts to write about some of our favorites from the genres to pass on some new (or old) favorites!

Under the category of "Humorous Stories", I thought King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood was kind of weird and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever was just ok.  We have always enjoyed Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type and Diary of a Worm.

We own Little Pea, and the kids think it is hilarious.  The funny twist is that this little pea HAS to eat all of his candy before he can have his most favorite treat, spinach.  And then they live hap-pea-ly ever after. 

Chester was a new one to us that cracked us up about a cat that keeps bugging the author as she tries to write a story about a mouse.  The reader sees the cat interact with the author through red marker and in the end the author gives up and just writes about the cat.

Another book that the kids enjoyed from this genre is The Incredible Book-Eating Boy.  The little main character develops a taste for books - actually eating them.  The crazy thing is that when he eats the books, the information from them goes to his brain and he learns the information from them.  But then he goes a little too far and eats too many too quickly - the information gets all jumbled up.  He decides that just plain reading books is really the way to go, except that every once in a while... and then you see that the last few pages have bites out of them.  :)

I definitely feel that a few funny books were missing from this list - although maybe they just aren't classified as "Kindergarten" books.  What are some of your favorite humorous stories?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

¿Hablas Español?

I have found my teaching outlet!!  I volunteered to teach Spanish to M's Kindergarten class for 30 minutes once a week.  It is SO FUN!  I have found a lot of great resources, like this, from Pinterest and have also scoped out our local library for books in Spanish.

So far, the kiddos have:
  • practiced simple phrases like "Me llamo" (my name is), "Yo veo..." (I see...), "Buenas tardes" (good afternoon), "¿Cómo estás?" (How are you?),  "Muy bien, gracias." (Very well, thank you.), ¿Y tú? (And you?), and "Adios" (good bye).
  • sung a Buenas Tardes song (Good Afternoon) to the tune of Frere Jacques
  • learned color words
  • played "Busca, busca para algo..." (look, look for something... fill in with a color word)
  • listened to "How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?" in English and Spanish. 
I think they've enjoyed it.  They are a sweet class and seem excited about everything.  They have jumped on board with the singing and love the Busca, Busca game as well.  One little punky stood up the first day and said, "May I go to el baño before I have un accidente?"  She cracked me up and is a little spitfire!  It's been fun to get to know M's classmates as well.  I can put faces and personalities with the names M mentions when she gets home!

Next up... numbers! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My learning curve

I knew staying at home would be a change for me.  Obviously.  I think the cleaning and organizing have been fine (I did manage to do that while I worked full time, so it's become easier, really).  I've learned I CAN put together a few decent meals, and have been slowly but surely adding to our list of go-to recipes.  Being a taxi driver is also not something totally new to me, but it has definitely increased.  We bought a new van not too long ago and have already put on just a little less than 2000 miles!  Crazy, crazy! 

I feel like the biggest thing I'm still struggling with is time management, probably especially when it comes to meal prep, but I'm also still learning about time travel in our new town.  For example, M has dance at 5:30 on Mondays.  In my head I know we have to be out the door by 5:15 because we live close to the studio.  The problem is it doesn't naturally occur to me that to get to that point, I need to have food READY by 4:45 so she has time to eat and change.  Another possibility, of course is to have a decent snack and eat afterwards, but that would require even better meal prep because I wouldn't be able to START supper after dance.  So, so many first world problems going on there! 

Also, I think it drives JJ crazy, but I am just a slow cook.  For one thing, it's not like I'm just sitting in the kitchen minding my own business.  I also am reviewing the school day with M, trying to give C feedback on his latest soccer kick spinjitzu spin move kick jump, and probably putting a few dishes away or reloading the dishwasher.  But another, I am almost always reading a recipe (which JJ NEVER does) and let's just say my knife skills are not up to par.  (Have you heard my story of 7 stitches in my fingers?)  My solution to THIS has been to do a little meal prep while C naps in the afternoons.  I try to at least chop the veggies, but sometimes I'll even premeasure ingredients or have pots/pans out and ready to go.  I know.  I am THAT weirdo Type A-er that enjoys that sort of stuff.

So what about you?  What are some tips or tricks you've picked up in the area of time management/meal prep??  Keep 'em coming because I need all the help I can get! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup

The weather last week was CHILLY.  While I was meal planning, I was in the mood for soup.  But, we all know weather is not stable, especially where I live... unless you count winter.  Because then it's just freezing cold for like 5 months.  Anyways, this week has been GORGEOUS.  But, since I bought broccoli and a few other necessary ingredients for broccoli cheese soup, well, I dove right in to make it last night.  It's not a HEAVY soup like chili or gumbo that I absolutely have to have in the winter, so it all worked out in the end.  And C ate like 3 bowls full, so it must've been ok!!  I stole the recipe right from Pinterest, so I'm just going to link it.  Mmm-mmm.  It was awesome and super easy to make! 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pinterest... FAIL...

Cloud Clay!  "No cook recipe!" they said.  "Fastest and softest clay you will ever make!" they said.

With my busy boy and I at home during the day... actually "at home" is sort of a joke.  We are all around town most of the time!  I am starting to rethink these things I set up for times like 9:30 or 10.  With a drop off time of around 8:00 for Miss M, and a good 20 minute drive home... sometimes going home is not completely worth it.  But, where does one take a 3 year old at 8:30 in the morning?

Anyways, I digress.  One morning, we decided we were doing an activity at home.  I got C on board to make Cloud Clay.  The ingredients and directions could not be simpler.  I almost missed the directions in the post I pinned from Pinterest they were so simple:

You need 2 parts corn starch to 1 part conditioner.  I used 1 cup corn starch and 1/2 cup conditioner.  Please note that the brand you use might require a little MORE or a little LESS depending on how much water is in the conditioner.    When you first start to mix it,  it will appear that it is going to be too dry.  But just keep stirring and before long you will have a soft dough formed.  

 So first of all, I realized that in the move our food coloring completely disappeared.  We must've decided it was not worth the move... or they are in a random storage area.  I would not be surprised by either one.  C was "ok" with making white dough for now and getting coloring later.  We DEFINITELY opted out of glitter.  With Big Sis in the house, enough glitter gets spread everywhere as it is. 

I got out the cornstarch and conditioner (some conditioner I had leftover from a trip to MN when I accidentally bought two things of (really cheap) conditioner instead of one conditioner and one body wash... oops).  And with my helper by my side, we measured out the 1 cup of conditioner and 1/2 cup of corn starch.  Are you with me?  Do you see where I already went wrong?!  I inverted the two ingredients.  There were TWO things to keep track of...  C had great fun playing with the sticky, sticky blob that ensued.  But, we decided to remedy the situation.  We ran to the story and got more cornstarch and food coloring. 

I added 1 1/2 c of corn starch and well, it just never formed.  We even added a cup to start, but that was still sticky so we added the rest of it, and then it was just a weird crumbly mess.  C was ok playing in that awhile too, but we were both bummed we didn't make the amazingly awesome fastest and softest clay EVER. 

Good thing C is quick to forgive and that we have plenty of playdoh on hand to last him awhile!  :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friends...

I shared that M has made a bestie (F) in the previous post, and this is just such wonderful news!  We needed school to start so she could start getting to know other kiddos her age.  Church just wasn't cutting it yet either because we were gone a few Sundays, other friends were taking trips, etc. and while she enjoyed her time in Sunday School, she still wasn't really connecting with anyone. 

One time this summer, as we were talking (yet again!) about not being so bossy and clingy with her cousin, who happens to be 5 years older than her - a tricky age span, we talked about how to be a good friend and what might happen if she keeps up this kind of behavior.  She sputtered, "I DO have friends, Mom!  I have a million friends.  And they all live in KANSAS!"  Oh break my heart why don't you?!  Now you and I both know that M has what some might call a flair for dramatics, but there was real hurt in her heart.  I'm so glad that she's both continued to send sweet notes and pictures to her friends in KS, because really, she does have wonderful friends there, BUT also, meet new friends here.

So yes, we have F, who is as cute as a button.  Plus M has started getting to know some girls from Church -- and Sparkies will start up next week (can hardly believe we have a Sparky AND a Cubby this year!).  She has a "best friend" in dance class, too, who apparently wears a black leotard because that is all M wants to wear now too!  And life would not be complete without her play time with C.  They really do get along well (most of the time) and I'm so blessed by that!