Monday, November 21, 2011

Moments I Want to Remember

The last two days have actually been pretty good days. Yesterday, we took all 4 kids to the mall and then to my SIL's house for dinner. The kids had a blast and were pretty happy - for the most part. The twins still had their "we're 2" moments but they were mostly short lived.

Today, I think they were happy to be home! We did a lot of snuggling and we watched a lot of tv. I didn't get on my laptop until after 2 o'clock!!

While dinner was cooking the twins and Danika were sitting in a row sharing some Fritos, laughing and watching a movie. It was adorable. That's what I want to remember about today. Not that 15 minutes later there were Fritos all over the living room and no one ate dinner because of how many Fritos they ate - I just want to remember how adorable they were while they were laughing and sharing. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Turkey Disguise

Today, I went to my SIL's house for dinner today and helped her son, Lochlin, with his homework assignment to disguise a turkey so that it wouldn't be noticed at Thanksgiving.

Here's what it looked like when we were done:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Nate

Dear Nate,

Happy 6th Birthday!  I can't believe it was 6 years ago that you were born.  I remember so much about that time and yet, it seems so much LONGER than 6 years ago!  If anyone would have told me that you would have a sister and 2 brothers by the time you were 4, I would have told them they were NUTS!  But . . . here we are and you are an awesome big brother!


This year was a BIG year for you (and me).  It was the first time I actually sent you to school instead of having you in school with me.  I knew you were ready.  I knew you were going to do great and that you needed to kind of spread your wings a tiny bit and do something on your own - you are awesome at it, by the way.  I will say, though, that I missed you as soon as I put you on the bus and it was probably one of the longest days of my life until you stepped off the bus at 3:29.

Now, we are both old pros!  I still love the fact that you want me to get out of the car and actually walk you to the corner when we drive...it reminds me that you still need me.  I also love the days when PapPap comes and sits with the other kids and I walk down to get you at the bus stop because you hold my hand the whole way home. We don't really get too much time just the 2 of us anymore and I love that 5 minute walk!

You are also getting to be so smart!  You surprise me everyday by the things you know and how well you can read things.  I will tell you - I am probably going to have to be more on my toes because you are starting to know the words I spell to Nana on the phone and you can read things I leave up on my laptop.  I'm so proud of you.

You are still a very sensitive little boy.  I worry sometimes that people will hurt your feelings and I really do want to protect you from that but I also know that you are a strong and sensitive little boy and you will have no problem taking care of yourself.  I love that you decided that you wanted to keep up with ice skating and hockey . . . I know you will get better at it with practice and baseball season is coming up again, too!!!

Thank you so much for being such a wonderful son!  You really are amazing and I've learned so much being your mom.  You taught me how to be a mom!  You are a great role model for your brothers and sister and we all love you so much!

Now, you HAVE to stop leaving your shoes and socks in the middle of the floor and put your clothes in the hamper at night and you will be perfect!  hehehe

I love you,
Mama

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tommorow

Tomorrow my first born will be turning 6. I remember so much about the time when he was first born and brand new. I can't believe he's growing so fast - fast enough to come off the school bus wearing this crown from his teacher. I love that he still had it in getting off the bus and didn't just shove it in his backpack. He is truly an awesome kid!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Those Darn Preschoolers . . .

I may have vented a little bit about how much earlier the Christmas season seems to be starting lately.  Honestly . . . I thought my husband was lying when he said that 99.7 was already doing their 24 hours a day Christmas Music thing.  He wasn't.  The kids and I listened to Harry Connick Jr. singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the way home from Nana's tonight - I figured it would quiet them down.  It did.

Growing up an Errico, I have always been a pretty big believer in the "Christmas DOESN'T start until AFTER Santa shows up in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" and now that I'm a Krajci, I also believe that it requires a viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation after dinner on Thanksgiving to really get going.

So, needless to say, when a small group of my preschoolers started singing Jingle Bells this afternoon I kind of cringed.  Then I gasped and said, "Noooo ~ it's not time to sing Jingle Bells, yet!!!"  Of course, preschoolers find this reaction hysterical and a cue to sing louder and get the rest of the preschoolers involved.  :)  If you ask them, their teacher is a riot.

I will say one thing, though.  The appearance of the Christmas Carols this early and the energy that the kids had today made me VERY happy that we only have 5 days of school (because we are Tuesday/Thursday only) in December!!!  These kids are so excited ALREADY!!!  You would think that they are going to get a bunch of presents or something!  hehehe  (FYI . . . it isn't too early for ME to start counting the days until Christmas Vacation . . . if they can start Christmas Carols, I can start counting down!)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I Discovered . . . Baby Steps, Right?

I looked into how to get my kiddos to start acting the way I want them to act today.  Of course, I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'm going to have 4 perfect children.  What family have you ever heard of that has 4 perfect children?  Even the Brady Bunch had Jan . . . and in the movie she was positively creepy.

I do know that I am going to have to get a little bit more organized and active with my children if I'm going to get them to where I want them, though.  I'm guessing by what I read today that this is going to be a long search.  I'm not going to find the perfect thing to change my crazy kids the very first day that I try.  Instead, I'm going to have to really research to find something that fits our family and our current situation.

Like I said, I'm aiming for the beginning of January to really start something - so I have the time to prep and research.

I think the first thing that I need to do is really think about what it is that I want my children to do differently.  Just saying, "I want them to stop driving me crazy" isn't going to cut it.  So, Baby Step #1 is going to be coming up with some goals that I want to achieve...then I will have to look into the best way to achieve them.

I found this article on 15 Secrets of Happy Families

Here are 3 that I'm going to start trying to incorporate right away:

Break Bread Together -We tried this in the past and it was disastrous.  The babies just don't seem to want to eat in the dining room with the rest of us...know why?  Because I haven't made a point to make them...I think this is going to change in the upcoming weeks.

Build and Honor Rituals - we have a lot of things that we do . . . but none on a regular basis or with any kind of schedule.  I think I'm going to come up with a few things that we do a few times a week just to help us develop rituals we have as a family...and then those will become priorities - above anything else that may come up and try to get in the way.

Encourage Sibling Harmony - I think this is something I'm going to start doing now . . . really stressing how lucky they are to have each other.  It isn't always easy for them to see.  When Dean and David wreck a Lego masterpiece that Nate had been working on, I practically see the steam coming out of his ears.  Luckily, he doesn't go after the babies because he knows they are babies.  I have to work on somehow getting him to realize that he is lucky to have a baby brother (or 2) who will do that and annoy him.  :)

Okay - that's enough to think about tonight!  More tomorrow!  :)


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Wine, Less Whine

The past few days have been rough.  Even with me being gone all day Sunday, I feel like I've been listening to whining, crying, cranky kids WAY too much lately.

I need some help.

I'm planning on scouring the internet tomorrow for some sort of reward/behavior program that is REALLY easy to use but REALLY effective.  The thing is . . . I need something that is going to be easy for me to keep up with.  We tried this really neat chart thing with jobs that the kids had to do every day and then they got tokens for the jobs and then they could trade the tokens in for some sort of a reward. . . it lasted about 3 days before they could care less and things were too crazy for me to be able to keep them on track.  It's important that you remember I currently have 2 two year olds in the house.  They wreak havoc every chance they get - at least from the time they wake up until they are back asleep.

I have decided that the only solution for tonight's dilemma of too much whining is to add a little wine to the mix and call it a night . . . I'm hoping to find something inspirational online tomorrow to help with my lack of structure, whining children (ages soon to be 6 and almost 5) and always throwing a tantrum 2 year olds.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated but I totally understand if you just want to grab a glass and laugh at me from your comfy/quiet computer screen.  :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

OAMC Day Recap

Yesterday, I posted this before going to bed . . . Exhaustion Doesn't Cover It.

I'm still exhausted and, according to my husband, I still smell like onions.  Unfortunately, I woke up WAY too late to get a shower this morning so everyone is going to just have to suffer until the twins take their nap and I can grab one.

On a positive note - I'm not nearly as sore as I was last month.  Last month, I could barely walk the day after our OAMC Day.  Today - I actually don't feel bad at all!  I'm going to contribute that to my SIL telling me that I had to keep my shoes on all day.  Although I very rarely wear my shoes when I'm inside,  I took her advice and my hips and back feel fine today!

I'm also happy to report that THE FREEZER IS FULL - again!!!


This month we made:

For Breakfast -

Harvest Pancakes 


Which already have the approval of Christine's kiddos - and I liked them, too!



Before the Oven
After the oven
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are DELICIOUS!!!
I have not been disappointed in a single breakfast muffin that we have made . . . and most of them are REALLY easy, too.  It actually makes me want to find my own muffin recipes and try some of them out, too!!!

For Lunch -


Looks yummy, right?  Almost like a chili but not chili.  :)
I originally thought that it was the same as this Taco Stew recipe I saw on Crock Pot Girls.  I was really excited because it was one of the recipes I had written in my food journal to make someday.  I even pulled my food journal out yesterday because I had written the recipe down and needed to know if I should or shouldn't drain the cans.  The journal said drain 'em.  So . . . I did and it really does seem like it will be fine.  I went back and looked at the recipes today and realize that they aren't exactly the same.  The Taco Stew recipe adds a package of taco seasoning - which we didn't add to the soup.  The Taco Soup recipe states that you should NOT drain the cans . . . and I did.  I'm sure it will be just fine but if not . . . it's probably because I drained the cans.  I hope Christine can forgive me!!! 

I'm planning on trying these Mexican Grilled Cheese sandwiches with the Taco Soup to make it a dinner one night!


I don't have a picture of these but they were SO easy to make!!!  I can definitely see me making them again on my own some time.  We even sampled them with our White Chicken Chili  (from our 1st cooking adventure) that we had for lunch - they were a hit!


These were YUMMY, too!!!  Christine and I ended up eating them for dinner because of a crock pot malfunction that ruined our dinner plans.  They were easy to make and very yummy to eat!!!  (Of course they LOOKED easy to make - Christine was actually the one putting them together.  :)



Final product looks pretty good!
I have to admit, this one made me nervous when I was making it.  First of all, we don't have a pot big enough to make 20 servings of this in.  So, I had to split it up into 2 pots.  Also, the chicken was still a little frozen (okay . . . a lot frozen) which made cooking it a little bit of a longer process.  Then . . . when it was cooking, there was this film that kind of came to the surface, which made me nervous.  However, after the rice all puffed up and I skimmed that skin off the top it looked (and tasted - because I took a spoonful) really good!  I expect this one to be a hit!

For Dinner -

I don't have any pictures of the dinners but here they are:

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf - this was the first thing that Christine put together.  We wanted to get them in the freezer first because we didn't have enough loaf pans to freeze them and we wanted to make sure they were nice and solid before we packaged them.  

It was shortly after this that we realized we didn't have enough eggs . . . so I made my very first during cooking grocery store run.  It was shortly after I got back that we realized I thought the coconut for the granola bars was on Christine's list when it was really on mine . . . so I made my second (in one day) during cooking grocery store run.  

Salsa Chicken - I think these kind of dinners are my favorite.  No cooking on our big cooking day . . . just throw it all in a big bag and throw the contents of the bag into the slow cooker on the day you want to make it!  I actually think I would like to make an entire month's worth of meals this way someday!!!

I even found this site . . . Mama and Baby Love - which does exactly what I'm hoping to try some day . . . an entire month's worth of slow cooker meals!!!  Not that I'm in any huge rush to try it.  I'm actually thinking it may be better to do in the summer because we are so busy I could just throw dinner in when I get up and have it done at dinner time!

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna - Christine did this one.  I know that we had a lot of left over sauce and I have some in my fridge now that I'm going to try to come up with something to do with.  I think Jerry and I will like this one, though!!!

Mama's Meatballs and Gravy - This one was kind of a team effort.  It was the last meal we tackled and we did it together, although Christine formed more meatballs than I did because I was busy packing up stuff we had flash freezing so that we could free up some cookie sheets to bake the meatballs on.  My kids LOVE meatballs and I can't see this dish being an exception.  

Spinach Artichoke Pasta - I was mostly responsible for this one - which we both decided to skip the red pepper flakes on (although after a sample, we will probably add them to OUR dish but not the kids) - I did leave the messy packaging to Christine, though.  I love that on the original site this is called "Spin-Art Pasta" I think I may get bonus points for getting the kids to eat it if I use that name for it!

Lentil Tacos - This was by far the scariest dish on our menu.  Neither Christine or I have really ever prepared or eaten a lot of lentils.  We weren't even really sure how they were suppose to look when they were cooked.  We had a few minor problems . . . like the amount of water on the original recipe was for the original measurements, which serves 4 - 6, and we were making enough to serve 20 (because we make 10 servings per meal and each meal twice).  After some adjustments (i.e. guessing) I think they turned out alright.  I doubt they will be a grand slam in either household, but I think they will get eaten here . . . probably as nacho toppings by Jerry and I.

Ground Beef Stroganoff - This was another tough one to do in one big pot like it suggests.  I ended up browning the ground beef and then doing the rest.  I separated the ground beef into 4 containers and then evenly portioned the "sauce" on top.  I hope it works.  I know that the last time we made Beef Stroganoff, my kids LOVED it!!!

Chicken Stuffing Bake - Christine assembled this one, too.  She did make the comment to her husband, Jim, that she thought that he was going to like this one!  I'm sure my kids will, too.  After all . . . stuffing always makes a dinner better!!!

For those of you that might be curious about what this does to your wallet . . . we spent around $170 to take home 2 meals of each of the things that we made.  Honestly, it's A LOT cheaper than eating out even once a week when you are feeding a family of 6!  As the kids get bigger, we will probably have to adjust the portion sizes again but for now this has been working great!

Well . . . there you have it.  Probably the most detailed recap I've ever done of one of the cooking days.  I had a great time with Christine and even her husband noticed that we seem to be getting "better" at this!  I think we would have been done a lot sooner if we wouldn't have felt like we were doing so well.  We kinda slowed down because we thought we were in the home stretch when really we had way more to do than we thought.  We did, however, get a chance to pick our next date and go over the menu and grocery list.  I think next month is going to have a lot more day before prep work but I'm hoping *fingers crossed* that means a little bit of an easier day on our big cooking day.

Okay . . . off to the school bus and then to tackle some more of the crazy mess I came home to last night!  Mama's work is NEVER done!  (But secretly I LOVE it and wouldn't have it any other way!!!)










Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exhausted Doesn't Cover It

This is the second time (I think) that I am using the Blogger app on my iPhone to write a post. I was all ready to go to sleep when I remembered that I forgot to write today. I'm WAY too tired to go back downstairs to type this up on the laptop . . . so, this is what you get.

Today way another successful cooking day. I plan on sharing pictures and stories about our day tomorrow - but I did want to tell you a little bit about it tonight. Mainly that I'm so exhausted I can barely move. I have no idea how professionals cook for a lot of people for hours at a time. I could never do that every day.

Our day basically broke down like this:

Packed the car @ 7:30
Got to Christine's @ 8:00
Started cooking - after unloading the car @ 8:30
Cooked until 7:30 pm
Planned next month's shopping list and took inventory until 8:00
Jim helped me load the car back up @ 8:00
Home by 8:30

In bed @ 10:15

I plan on being sound asleep in 15 minutes and know it will not be a problem. I'm going to get the best night's sleep I will get all month because I'm exhausted AND because I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, which will help my mind to stop thinking about what else I should/could have done today!

Good night all - more about today . . . tomorrow!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prepping for the Big Day

Tomorrow will be my 3rd time spending a day at my friend Christine's house following Once a Month Mom's Once a Month Cooking menu.  I am excited for a few reasons and already kind of tired thinking about it.

I'm excited because -

  1.  I get to spend all day with Christine and her Family.  :)  I love that her girls know the house is going to be filled with music and good smells when I come over!  Her husband, Jim, is always so nice to me, too . . . not that we get to talk much but he is a big help when I have to lug everything back to the car at the end of the day - he also is the one who makes sure we take breaks to eat something so we don't fall over.
  2. I get to try new things - I get to learn how to do new things in the kitchen.  Each month, I've learned something new and I'm sure that next month won't be an exception!  We are making Granola Bars!!!!  I've never done that before!
  3. I get to stock up my freezer with new meals.  I've been enjoying the things that we have but I will say that by the time our next cooking day rolls around I am ready to try some new stuff.  I still have some stuff from September (only 1 frozen Baked Ziti) and some from October in the freezer. It will be nice to be able to add some new stuff to the menu, though.
  4. I'm also excited that I get a break from my kids.  I know . . . what a horrible thing to say . . . but this week I only worked one day.  So, I've been at home with them since Wednesday - with the exception of the 2 hours that I went grocery shopping with Jerry last night.  I need a break.  It will also make Monday so much easier to deal with.
If I had to complain - which is SO hard for me to do (please note the sarcasm there) - here are the things I'm not looking forward to -

  1. Packing the car.  I leave pretty early in the morning (early for me, at least) - so I end up packing a lot of things the night before and then grabbing any fresh stuff in the morning.  It's like packing to go on a vacation once a month.  There is SO much stuff!  I will have to take a picture to share with you tomorrow.
  2. Unpacking the car.  I always feel like I'm moving in when Christine comes down and helps me make 4 or 5 trips up and down the steps to bring things into her kitchen.
  3. Standing all day.  It can't be avoided...we have to do a lot of standing and moving around the kitchen.  Last month, I didn't wear my shoes.  This month I think I'm going to in hopes that my hips feel better the next day this time than they did last time.
  4. Doing dishes . . . we both do dishes ALL DAY LONG.  It's another unavoidable consequence of cooking all day but UGH.  I hate doing dishes but I can only imagine what Christine's kitchen would look like if we didn't keep up with them!
  5. Packing up again to go home and then unpacking once I get home...this is probably the only reason I wish we could do it in my kitchen.  My kitchen just wouldn't work, though, and I'm extremely grateful that Christine lets us do this at her place.  I wish she lived next door, though - wait, I wish I lived next door to her...it would make this whole process a lot easier! 
Don't get me wrong . . . it's worth it!  Totally worth it!!! I just didn't want you to think it was all butterflies and sunshine.  It has it's hard parts, too.  :)

Anyway - I'm sure that tomorrow will be a beautiful weather day . . . because it is always beautiful on our cooking days!  I have something ready for Jerry to throw in the crock pot in the morning so his dinner is taken care of and I'm taking something to Christine's for us to throw in the crock pot for our dinner - actually, we are all eating the same thing tomorrow because I had 2 of them in my freezer!

Wish me luck . . . Tomorrow may turn out the be the most challenging day to get a blog post in so far!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day to My Heroes

Today is Veteran's Day - it really does mean more than the kids being off of school, the banks and post offices being closed.  This morning on Facebook I came across this explanation of what a Veteran is . . .


I have been blessed enough to know a few amazing Veterans and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their service.

First, is my grandfather, my mother's father, who passed away before I was married.


My grandfather was an amazing man - think John Wayne . . . he was quiet and never really made a fuss (at least not that I know of) but when he did have something to say, everyone listened.  He worked in the Steel Mill after serving in WWII.  He was a hard worker.  I remember my grandfather as a man of few words but he had the best laugh in the whole world.  It was a big laugh.  A big belly laugh that would make you smile.  I'm sad that he isn't here to meet my children.  I know he would have loved them and they would have adored him.  He is definitely one of my heroes.

Next up is a guy who I've always considered my "little brother" - even though we are in no way related.


Derek is the handsome one on the left . . . with the glasses.  We didn't really meet until I was already in high school but we became really close as we both went through High School and I went off to college.  I remember Derek's going away party when he left for Basic but I don't think it really sunk in what he was really doing.  I talked to his beautiful wife, Jodi, a lot when he was deployed and I remember thinking how strong they all were while he was gone.  Derek has 2 awesome children, Dominic and Mia, who both had to make sacrifices, too.  After he came home, Derek would tell me stories of what he did while he was deployed and all I could think of at the time was, "Thank God you didn't tell me that when you were gone!"  I really do appreciate his sacrifices and the risks he took.  He even made it a point to fly home for my wedding!  He told them his sister was getting married!  :)  I remember practically attacking him when I saw him the night of the rehearsal dinner!  Derek is definitely another one of my heroes.

Speaking of my wedding, the next Veteran I would like to thank was my husband's roommate in college and one of the groomsmen in our wedding . . .


Justin, or Uncle Lu Lu (as the kids knew him), is one of the funniest guys I've ever met.  I always had a great time when he was around.  He is also one of the nicest guys I know.  I remember when we moved into our house . . . Justin had just come back from being deployed and he stopped over to help us take down wallpaper and paint.  He also bought us our microwave - that we still use to this day - as a wedding shower present.  I remember him bringing microwave popcorn over, too . . . so we could try it out and eat popcorn while we painted.  Life has kind of gotten in the way of us keeping in touch with Justin and we miss him a lot (especially during the summer and grilling season because he was always around to help us test new barbecue recipes and throw back a couple beers) - but he pops into conversations every once in while and we are able to keep tabs on each other through the power of Facebook.  Justin is another one of my heroes!

Another guy who is always willing to help test out some recipes and throw a few back is Matt.


Matt and I became friends just from being around the same people.  Honestly, for a while I thought he was literally insane.  However, after a couple of late night conversations, I now know that Matt is one of the smartest people I know.  Matt and Jerry are hysterical to watch together.  They are almost EXACT opposites in personality but when they are together you can't help but laugh at what ensues.  I remember when Matt was leaving to be deployed - I wanted to give him something.  He's not very religious but he had commented a few times about how he liked my grandfather's rosary...so, I told him to take it with him.  He didn't want to because of the sentimental value it held for me, being my grandfather's and all, but I told him I wasn't giving it to him . . . just letting him borrow it!  Jerry and I were lucky enough to attend Matt's wedding a little over a year ago.  It was a great party and we are so happy for him!  Matt is certainly one of my heroes.

Last but not least is a guy I haven't seen in probably 10 years or more . . .


I knew JR from good old St. Joseph High School.  JR and I weren't super close in High School, but we hung out with the same people.  He dated a few of my friends and I dated at least one of his.  We would see each other at parties and later on at the weddings of friends.  I remember someone telling me about JR joining the Marines and I was surprised.  Then I saw JR on Facebook a while later and was totally amazed at how different (and amazing) he looked!  He now has a beautiful family and loves what he does.  In an odd sort of way I was kind of proud of him . . . it's only odd because I don't know what right I have to be proud of him but I am.  JR is absolutely one of my heroes.

Since having children, I realize even more how important our service men and women are to me.  I appreciate that they protect me but I am absolutely humbled and eternally grateful for the fact that they protect my 4 children in a way that I cannot.

Thanks to all of you - the ones I've mentioned and the ones who I haven't - it amazes me that you would sacrifice so much for people that you don't know.  You are truly amazing men and women and I can only hope to raise my children as well as your parents raised you!  :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Because I'm a Mother . . .

It hasn't been a really overly joyful atmosphere at our house the past couple of days.  We've tried to hide it from the kiddos as much as possible - in fact, I'm pretty sure they haven't heard anything about it - but Jerry and I have been horrified by the details of the PSU scandal that has been rocking the university and it's alumni.  Jerry is one of those alumni.  He didn't play football or any other official university sport but he did love his school . . . he still does love it.

It is a beautiful campus.  The surrounding areas are quaint and scream college life.  I loved the weekends I would spend up there with Jerry...it really is a special place.

The scandal doesn't change that.  I think a lot of people are losing sight of what is important in the whole thing.  I've seen several people saying how it is unfair to this person or that person.  The ONLY people who I feel bad for in this whole situation are those poor, innocent boys who were robbed of their childhood and who suffered something no child should EVER suffer.

I also feel bad for the football players that currently play for Penn State.  Rest assured, I know this scandal isn't about football - other than the sick individual who is ultimately to blame was part of the football program.  It has nothing to do with the current football program - but they are unfortunately getting a lot of backlash from it.  I feel bad for them for that.  I would hate to be known as part of the team when Joe Pa was fired.  It isn't fair that their football careers are overshadowed by this.  It isn't fair to any of the students.  It's just another reason to dislike the man behind it all - Jerry Sandusky.

I don't know too many details about what is going on.  I don't really want to know.  I get so angry when I read about adults who abuse children.  I get so sad and scared for my children.  I get so incredibly irate that ANY adult would be able to hurt a child like that while other adults KNOW what is going on.

 I'm not sure if you all have seen that YouTube video where the father, Judge William Adams, beats his disabled daughter for using the internet.  It is REALLY disturbing and something I wasn't sure I wanted to watch.  I did watch it.  I'll be honest with you and say that what the father did was awful.  I felt horrible for that girl BUT what the mother did was WAY worse, or at least as bad, in my opinion!  I have no idea how she could allow her husband to do that to her daughter and to tell her daughter to lay down and take it like a woman (I don't know if that is exactly what she said . . . but it is close) - I was horrified.

As an educator, I know I have a responsibility to make sure that the children I teach are safe.  It is my responsibility to make sure that they are safe at school but also that they are safe at home.  I'm required BY LAW to report any kind of abuse that I witness or even have strong suspicion of taking place.  I have been lucky enough to never have to do that . . . but I would if I had to.  If I had a child come to me or another person come to me and tell me that there was abuse taking place, I would have no problems calling authorities to let them know.  I would also tell my supervisor what I was going to do but I also know that it is MY responsibility to make the call.  I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't make the call . . . I don't know how they continued with day to day life knowing what they knew and doing nothing about it.

As a mother, I know that I will do everything in my power to make sure that nothing like this happens to my children.  I also know that I can't always be there.  I can't always have them in my sight.  What do you do?

My roommate in college has a blog and she wrote the most awesome post about this whole thing:

Comm Couture on PSU

I felt better after reading it.  I felt like I knew what I had to do.  I felt like my boys will be okay if I follow her suggestions.  (And my little girl, of course . . . but I think she will have a lot more protection than just me.  hehehe)  Thanks, Jess . . . I needed that!






Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mornings

I think every mother of multiple children who stays at home looks forward to the day when they will enjoy peaceful "quiet" mornings.  I know that my mornings are much more peaceful when it is just me and the boys than when we are all home.  I'm gearing up for a long weekend - with all 4 kiddos - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This morning, I enjoyed an unusually peaceful and relaxing morning.  My co-worker/friend, Juli, picked Danika up for school and then I headed to the bus stop to drop Nate off.  When we got back, I put on a movie that the boys had never seen, gave them cupcakes, picked up the Legos and started the dishwasher.  Then, I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer . . . for a full hour . . . and enjoyed EVERY minute of it.

Here's some pictures of the boys enjoying their cupcakes:




Cupcakes for breakfast?  Yeah . . . you're looking at #3 and #4 - they get away with SO much more!

I'm looking forward to not having to go anywhere on Friday or Saturday morning.  I'm looking forward to not rushing around and packing a lunch or searching for socks and shoes.  I'm also looking forward to getting some work done.  I'm hoping that the "big" kids will help with the "little" ones and that maybe Mommy can finally get the laundry done.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The #1 Problem with Blogging Every Day

I don't mind blogging every day.  In fact, I could probably blog a couple times a day if I had enough time.  There is certainly enough "bloggable" material around here.  From my daughter who is the BIGGEST drama queen I've ever met to my twins who both have different styles of biting me when I tick them off.

(Dean bites like he wants to bite through my skin . . . David bites like he wants to rip a piece of my skin off . . . both hurt like hell!!!)

Today, we had a parent/teacher conference with Nate's teacher and he threw out the "gifted" suggestion - now, Nate didn't quite make the cut last month when he had a test done . . . but they are going to do it again in January and his teacher thinks the results will be different.  He did tell me not to get worked up either way because he may or may not qualify in the long run . . . but he brought it up anyway.

So, of course I'm going to look into it and see what I can do to help him - if there is anything I can do.  I'm thinking "gifted" is probably one of those things you just are and can't learn to be, right?

What does all this have to do with having blogging problems?

I don't have pictures of any of it.  I don't like to blog without having some kind of picture to go along with what I'm writing about.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because I am such a visual person.  I like to see things when I'm reading about them . . . so I also like to show pictures when I am writing.

I'm not sure how to overcome this feeling that I need a picture for every blog post.  I don't even know if I should.  It's probably better to have a picture, right?

When blogging everyday, though, that is tough.

Any suggestions?  Ideas?  If you are a blogger, what do you do?

More later . . . pictures FOR SURE tomorrow!!!  ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not too early for this . . .

While I admit that I complained about people getting into the Christmas "spirit" earlier and earlier, I will admit that I have been doing a little Christmas planning of my own the past few weeks.

If you have been reading my blog a while, you will remember that we had some mischievous visitors that came to stay with us from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Our Elf Magic Elves - Tinsel and Holly!!!


Now . . . Tinsel and Holly caused quite a bit of trouble at our house last year!  They painted Jerry and Nate's toenails pink while they were sleeping!  They hung snowflakes from the ceiling!  They wrote with lipstick on the bathroom mirror!  They played with toys while we were in bed!

They also did some really nice things like bake cookies for us to eat for breakfast!  They gave us treats on St. Nicholas Day and they left us a special present when Santa took them back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.  (I will admit I was really SHOCKED - although I shouldn't have been - that Danika actually cried surrounded by all of her new Christmas presents because she missed Holly already!)

We have already written letters to Santa to ask him if Tinsel and Holly can come back this year.  

I highly recommend doing the same thing in your house.  We had SO much fun!  Not only was it fun seeing what they got into each morning with the kids (they were so excited EVERY morning to see what they had done!) but it is also fun to share it with friends and have them talk to the kids about what our elves are into this time!

I've actually started a Pinterest  Board with some ideas for Tinsel and Holly this year . . . if you want to get some ideas for what your elves might get into during their stay with you!


I'd love to know if you are having any magic elves visit you or if you have an Elf on the Shelf that gets into things every once in a while!  I'd love to get some new ideas, too!!!  Please, share if you have any!  

Now off to make a list of things to start making sure I have so that the elves have the things they need to make this year a memorable visit!!!




Sunday, November 6, 2011

Only a dedicated blogger

Would post from the parking lot of an evening tailgate before heading into the game!! NaBloPoMo at it's finest!!!

Here we go!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Are you serious?!?

I'm sure it is a common complaint. Christmas stuff starts WAY too early these days. There are Christmas things up in the aisles of Walmart, Walgreens and Kmart. The Black Friday ads have started leaking and Christmas lists are being made from toy catalogs that showed up in the newspaper last week.

I really do feel like it is earlier every year.

I usually don't complain about it too much because there isn't much that anyone can do about it BUT when we we turned the corner to come home tonight we were greeted by Christmas lights!!!

I'm thinking it was only because the weather has been nice and they were getting it done now but won't light them until closer to Christmas. I'm hoping that is it because I will hear "Is it Christmas yet?" everyday soon enough - the lights will just make it worse! They went running down the street to see them as soon as the car stopped.

It's gonna be a long November.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear famous person reading this . . .

I really don't watch too much entertainment news.  It depresses me.  Like most people in my "situation", money is an issue right now.

By my situation I mean

  • One full-time income
  • 4 small children
  • One part-time income that is done for the love of the job and definitely NOT the money
  • Credit Card Bills
  • Mortgage
  • 2 Car Payments
  • Utilities and Groceries
We get by but we could definitely use some help.  

Since I don't watch entertainment news, I don't have to hear all about what the more monetarily fortunate people in the world are spending their extra money on these days. I feel better not knowing.

However, I do have to get in my car and go somewhere every once in a while.  Like this morning when I dropped Nate off at the bus stop . . . I drove because the boys still aren't feeling great.  I heard a little blurb about Kim Kardashian's engagement ring and how her soon to be ex-husband wants it back.  I knew it was expensive. . . I'd probably want it back, too.  

As a side note:  I really, really hope that the whole Kardashian clan is more sensitive and human in person and when the cameras are off . . . because the little I have seen of them on TV frightens me.  They are so . . . so . . . wrapped up in things that don't really matter?  Why do they even have all this popularity and money and such?  I guess I should look into it if I'm interested but I'm not that interested.  

All I have to say is, if she wants to tick her soon-to-be-ex off, I would be MORE than willing to take that $2 MILLION dollar ring off of her hands...I have big plans for that money!!!  (like a house with a second bathroom . . . you should have heard the fighting between the 5 and 4 year old this morning.  Ugh)


It's funny - but sometimes when I'm writing a blog post (or after I've finished) I think about someone famous, like Oprah or Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, reading it and commenting to someone in the room, "I think I will come home from vacation a day early so that this nice family of 6 can pay off their credit cards, car payments, get a new house and send their 4 children to college.  Just write them a check and will do it Publisher Clearing House style..."

Don't get me wrong.  I know that the Pitt/Jolie clan gives a ton of money to charities and Oprah does wonderful things for others.  (Which is probably why they come to mind!!!)  With as much money as they have, there are also a lot of pressures.  I know there have to be insane expenses that come along with their lifestyles.  I know that there are probably plenty of people who take advantage of them and their financial situation.  Plus, I also know that money like that isn't going to just fall into my lap.  I need to earn it - they earn it.  

I doubt I would trade lives with them.  

Bank accounts?  

Yes.

I'd trade bank accounts with them but not lives.

I don't think I could do their jobs. 

The only performing I'm any good at is reading picture books with a great deal of inflection in my voice and singing "The Wheels on the Bus" slightly off key but with the best hand motions.  

I get paid in smile and hugs.  

When I'm old, I'm sure looking back on those smiles and hugs will make me much happier than a $2 Million Dollar Engagement ring sitting in a jewelry box collecting dust.





Thursday, November 3, 2011

American Horror Story - The Show I Swore I WASN"T Going to Keep Watching

Two of my all time favorite show were Twin Peaks and The X-Files.  I will be the first to admit that it was in part do to the fact that I had giant crushes on the male leads in both shows (Kyle McLaughlin and David Duchovny) but another "draw" to both of the shows was that they were about things that couldn't easily be explained.

Twin Peaks was by far the most confusing and bizarre television show I had watched up to this past October.  It lasted 2 seasons and I can vividly remember sitting with my friend, Erin, watching the finale of season 2 when I was in my Freshman Year of High School.  I loved that I didn't understand what was going on.  I loved that so much of it was left open to interpretation.  I loved that people had theories and spent hours dissecting the little details about why David Lynch did the things he did.  If I were him . . . I would have thrown crazy stuff in there just to see what people thought it meant.  (I'll probably google it to see if he ever did that when I'm done with this post!)  Twin Peaks was amazing - from the theme song to the cook books that told you exactly how to make the perfect Cherry Pie for Agent Cooper!  I was hooked and so disappointed when they canceled it.


The X-Files was a completely different kind of obsession for me.  From the very beginning I wanted Mulder and Scully to be together.  Their relationship was a HUGE part of why I loved the show.  I loved how they intellectually flirted with each other and how there was always some kind of tension between them . . . and those moments when the tension gave way or disappeared were awesome.



The X-Files was the perfect show for that time of my life.  I could probably write at least 6 more blog posts or even a book about how the show seemed to answer questions for me before I asked them or how the Sunday night tradition of watching them with my best friend, Jason, and eating sunflower seeds (because Mulder loved them) was something that I NEEDED each week.

When they cancelled The X-Files, I thought I was going to cry.  It was time, I know.  The ending was okay - not great but okay.  It left me with a void, though...and it has yet to be filled.

I'm not saying that this new show is going to take the place of either of these shows but it has caught my attention...American Horror Story is my new "show".



I watched the pilot and swore I wouldn't watch another episode.  It freaked me out.  It scared me.  I lost sleep. It made me paranoid and confused the heck out of me.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Then, my niece mentioned it on facebook and I wanted to know what happened in the second episode.  I wanted to know what happened to Violet and Ben and Vivien.  I wanted to understand more about Tate (his character intrigues me the most).  I wasn't sure I wanted to see a whole lot more of Jessica Lange as Constance, though...she freaks me out...a lot.

So, I went and looked On-Demand and was really disappointed to see that it wasn't available, yet!!!  The next three days, I kept checking.  Until finally, it was there.  I watched it.  Then, I set up the DVR to tape every new episode so that I wouldn't have to wait to see them from now on.

I'm hooked.

Last night, I watched the second part of the Halloween Part 1 and 2 episodes.  I LOVED it!  I'm still confused but I think that I'm starting to understand a little bit more about who is alive and who is dead.  I'm starting to see how some of them died and why they aren't "gone".  There are still a TON of unanswered questions, though . . . and I'm looking forward to finding the answers.

I wonder if there is a reason behind me liking these crazy shows?  I also like some "normal" shows . . . Parenthood, Glee, The Good Wife, The Next Iron Chef and The Walking Dead (wait, is that "normal"?  Zombie Apocalypse shows are really "in" right now so they must be, right?)  Most nights, though, Jerry and I will curl up to an episode or two of Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters.  Is this a sign of something?  Am I weird?  I could post pictures of all the hot guys in those not normal shows . . . maybe that would make me seem more normal.  :)









Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Locks of Love - First Major Haircut

It started out as a threat that backfired.

"Danika Rae, if you don't stop your whining and crying until I'm done brushing your hair I'm taking you to get it all chopped off!!!"

"Okay, Mommy.  I want a haircut like you..." She actually sniffed a little and looked at me with her big brown eyes when she said this - so, I knew I was done for and she was finally going to get her haircut.

Now, with my boys I don't have a problem just shaving their heads because soon enough they will have enough hair back on their head to not look too goofy.  With Danika, though, I figured that I'd better call in a professional because there is NO WAY I was going to even attempt a trim, let alone a major haircut like this one!!!
The before shot - she had never had a "real" haircut, just a trim


Pulled back and ready to go - we decided on taking 11 inches off
She looks a little nervous as Amy starts the cutting

Here she is holding her ponytail that was just on her head



Finished product
Such a cutie

She only cried once last night before going to bed and told me that she wanted me to put her hair back on.  However, I know she understands that isn't possible.  I think she was just overtired and when she is overtired she finds the most ridiculous things to whine about . . . actually, she will whine about ANYTHING when she is overtired.

She was VERY excited to go to school today and show off her new do.  I've already heard that she's telling people not to worry . . . it'll grow back.  :)

I know I'm going to miss the long hair a bit because it was so cute and she always looked adorable BUT I'm not going to miss the fighting and crying and tears.  I would rather her be happy and she still looks cute, just a little more grown up than before.  And . . . it'll grow back!  hehehe

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo - The odds are stacked

Against me, that is. . . I remember the first time I tried doing NaBloPoMo and my husband and in-laws chuckled as I tried sneaking off into the computer room at their house to log on before midnight to get a post in so I wouldn't be "out".  It's kind of funny to think that I felt this imaginary pressure (or self inflicted may be a better word) to post every day/night for a month...but I will say that trying to do it for a month made blogging more of a priority and a bit of a habit - something it hasn't been in the last few months.

So - I will be trying NaBloPoMo again this year.
NaBloPoMo 2011

I will try to have the posts be more than just - "I have to blog so I'm going to ramble" posts . . . but I'm pretty sure one or two of them will fall into that category.  :)

For now, I'm just going to warn you that the posts are coming and that I'm a little bit excited about it.  I miss blogging.  Life got in the way of me being able to record what's been going on - *side note: can you BELIEVE I didn't get ONE picture of my kids in their Halloween costumes tonight?!?!?  I'm going to make them put them on again tomorrow so I can get at least one group shot of my lovies.

I'm sure that life will continue to be busy and that I will have a hard time now and then but I'm going to give it my best effort!

Wish me luck!  I hope I don't bore you all too badly!  :)