Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 340 - The Cookie

This is the cookie

that knocked out this tooth

of this cute little girl.

She is hoping for a pink tooth fairy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Days 338 & 339 - Projects

I've been working the last couple of days on the project list. (It's a mental list since a written down list would be too daunting.)

Project #1 - The Desk
My mom and I got 2 of the 8 pieces put together. I'm always happy when I have a chance to use power tools. This stuff went together so easily thanks to clear directions and an occupied baby.

Project #2 - The Allowance Chart

I worked on this while sitting at Luke's wrestling tournament. I have a list of jobs the kids can pick from each day and if they do 5 they get a buck. $7 a week should help Luke pay off the repair fee for his Nintendo DS quite easily. It will also support Maria's lip gloss and gum habit.

Project #3 - Maria's Costume
Luke and Maria are in a program called Odyssey of the Mind where they are creating a skit with certain guidelines. Today we finally got to Maria's costume which is a dog. We (uh, that really means my mom) took some old cat ears and transformed them into dog ears with some lovely brown fur. Luke's costume has been an on-going procrastination. His character is "The Pants". I'll let you know how that one turns out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 337 - Crappy

I feel crappy today. So my normal wit and wisdom are out the window.

Today was spent couch bound. I'm not sure if playing on the computer all day helped me cope, or helped contribute to the feeling crappy. Hopefully I will wake up to my normal self tomorrow.

In other news, Luke threw down his Nintendo DS one too many times today, and it took its last electronic breath. Tomorrow, I am going to finalize the allowance chart so he can start saving for a new one. I'm thinking he'll be more careful with the next one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 336 - Uh Oh

Remember the whole craft room makeover/organization thingy?

Maybe I didn't think it through all the way.

Let's start the bets on how many pieces there are in these boxes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 335 - Luke

Of all the kids, Luke is the one acting out the most with Chris being gone. He is tired of being surrounded by girls. I don't blame him. He's got 2 sisters. His classroom is girl heavy ~ out of 20 kids, 13 are girls. In our neighborhood the seven kids closest to his age are girls.

Someday, he might like those odds, but right now he hates it. Girls just don't "get" him.

Two nights a week I take him to a wrestling club to have some boy time. (The girls tag along too.) Last weekend he had his first taste of a tournament. He wrestled three times. He pinned the first two boys. He lost to the third boy (who was 20 pounds heavier) but he didn't get pinned.

When I am in that room I feel what he feels for the rest of his days. I am out of my element. It's 100% male. It is stinky, sweaty, rambunctious, and has a forceful energy. It is loud, chaotic, and hypnotically busy. He doesn't get in trouble there. He obeys. He listens. It's perfectly fine that he is ADHD.

We've tried karate and we've had one miserable season of soccer. But I think wrestling is going to stick. I am looking forward to Chris getting home, roughhousing with him, and seeing how strong he has become.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 334 - Surprise Cupcakes

Today is Maria's 5 1/2 birthday. She has a July birthday so I decided to have her take treats into school today. Also, it was just a fun excuse to bake.

These cupcake are so easy and highly addictive. If you know me at all, you know that I despise canned frosting. This frosting is what absolutely puts them over the edge. I'm not sure kindergarteners will 100% appreciate them, but it's never too early to encourage "from-scratch." (Thank you to my neighbor Joey for the recipe.)

Heavenly Surprise Cupcakes

2 eggs
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter flavored shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (I can't find a 5 oz can, so I used part of a 14 oz.)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners' sugar

1.) First beat the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and gradually add to the wet. Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Lick off extra batter.

2) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 22 minutes. Cool completely.

3) For the frosting, cream the shortening, butter and sugar. Stir in milk, water, and vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Be sure to taste.

4) For this part a pastry bag with a star tip or a decorator tube is helpful because you are going to shove frosting down into each cupcake until they are stuffed like a jelly-filled doughnut.

See how they are fat and happy now!

5) Use the extra frosting for the tops.

I had plenty of frosting left over. I might make another batch of cupcakes so that it doesn't go to waste. In the future, I might cut down the recipe for the frosting so I don't have as much left over.

This makes about 24 perfect cupcakes. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 333 - A Better Day

This was one ugly up and down emotional weekend. It was enough to turn me into a regular Dr. Jekyll. No wonder no one wants to hang out with me. I think I need to work on that permanent scowl I've had going on for the last few months. I guess the 3 kids cramp up my social life as well. Yeah...we'll blame it on them. OK, moving on...

To help get myself out of a funk, I put down the computer and my somewhat imaginary friends, and got to crafting.

And with the stars all aligned and the kids finally asleep, I got some new items listed in my etsy shop.

Chocolate Silhouette Tags

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 332 - The Ups and Downs

The last 11 months have been quite the roller coaster. We've adapted to the situation and are making the best of it. Sometimes it seems easy, other times its miserable. For the most part, our lives are on hold until Chris gets back. We are just holed up in our little house waiting for things to be normal again.

Yesterday, normal seemed so close. Last we knew Chris was coming home for 96 hours in February. The biggest worry was that the guys would come off active duty 2 months early and mess up our vacation. (Our vacation is planned for the period between his active duty and going back to his real job. It was also purchased with a military discount, which would not get if he's not on active duty.)

Then, last night came the bombshell. Haiti. It's a little more solid than a rumor, but still up in the air.

So now we wait. The visit in February, the return home in May, and the vacation for May are all in serious jeopardy. And you can kiss any last trace of sanity left in my body goodbye. Let the on-going funk continue.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 330 & 331 - Tooth Fairy

Luke lost his tooth the other night. But he swallowed it while he was sleeping. He ended up writing the tooth fairy a note which said:

der toth fare
i aksadentlee swoalood my toth

The tooth fairy came last night and retrieved the note and replaced it with $1. (That's the going rate at our house...I know there are some very generous tooth fairies out there, but I like getting the tooth fairies that have their heads on straight.)

The latest tooth fairy was orange. We know that because she dipped her wing into the glass of water he put next to his bed.

That is a lot for the tooth fairy to remember. Dip, retrieve, replace, and scoot...all without being noticed. Talk about pressure!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Days 328 & 329 - The On-Going Funk

I'm bored. I'm tired. I'm feeling stuck.

I'm lonely. I'm thinking about running away.

I want a break from dishes, laundry, cooking, diapers, and picking up toys.

I want friends. I want to be able to socialize. I want normal.

I want to stop being miserable. I want to be able to breathe, and smile.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 327 - Bananagrams

When my mom visited this weekend we played a new game called Bananagrams instead of our usual Boggle.

I got hooked. Serious addiction.

When she left she took it with her. Serious withdrawal.

But then, I found it on Facebook. I have not been productive since.

Thanks, Mom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 326 - More Than You Want to Know

I was tagged by a fellow blogger of Christopher and Tia to write about 7 things about me. So today, I am going to turn even more ego-centric than ever and write all about me!!

1) The "how I met my husband" story ~ I was teaching in Illinois and applied to go on a Rotary Club trip to Taiwan with 4 other teachers. One of the other teachers was Chris' mom. For that month as we toured temples, schools, and ate infinite numbers of 14 course meals (of insane food), I got to know a little bit about Chris through her. Soon after we arrived back in the states, his mom had a party for all of us and that's when I finally got to talk to him and realized he was pretty interesting. About a year later we were married.

2) I am left handed. And I was born on sweetest day, which back then no one even knew about. I'm not even sure people know about it now, do they?

3) I drink one Coke every day at lunch. No more, no less.

4) I bought my first house in 1996 for $27,000. Then I sold it 3 years later for $33,000. I was ecstatic to have made that huge profit.

5) I completely fit the description for my Chinese horiscope - the metal pig.

6) I've been in 48 states - Hawaii and Oregon still need to get checked off the list. I've lived in 3 states - Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. I am 100% midwestern.

7) My favorite tv show ever is LOST. I'm sad that this is the last season, but I am also looking forward to seeing how they end it!

Now it's time to tag some fellow bloggers so they can reveal all of their fun facts too. Feel the pressure ladies...

1) Avery and Winslow
2) A Window into Whimsy
3) Shiny Happy Fit of Rage
4) Mom n Mia Quilts

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 325 - Sock Monster

Years ago, my friend Patti admitted to never putting her family's socks away. Instead she put them into a big communal bin and when they needed socks they sought them out. At that time, we did not have 3 kids like she did, so this process seemed unimaginable. Yet I tucked the hint away for later use.

Socks have a way of disappearing, don't they? A year ago we had a small mesh bag that would hold the mismatched socks until their mates would cycle through the laundry process. Unfortunately, that pile grew and grew.

Then Elise came along and a sock explosion happened. And more socks lost their partners.

By the end of it all, I had the communal bin. But I'd say 50% of it was full of single socks, with no matches. It drove me nuts every morning to go hunt for matching socks for everyone. Some days the kids wore socks that didn't match. I didn't care too much until the day came when a 6 year old at the gym ridiculed Elise for wearing one pink sock and one white sock. I needed to tackle that sock monster once and for all.

Last night my mom and I took on the sock bin and matched what we could. We sorted them by sizes and bagged them up to save for the baby. We put away the ones that are wearable now. We bagged up others to give away (57 pairs!!)

And in the end there were 71 single socks left with no matches. How in the world does this happen??? Where in the heck are they??? I'll never know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 324 - Movie Thoughts

The other night I splurged and rented a movie for myself. If you looked at my history of rentals at Blockbuster, you would not see any grown-up movies at all. Instead, you would see plenty of Disney, Barbie, and Transformer cartoon rentals. Riveting stuff. (This same trend can be noted in the theater movies I've seen. My last 3 movies seen at a theater were Chipmunks, G-Force, and Wall-E.) I need to remedy this.

So, back to the movie. I picked out Julie and Julia. I'm not sure why I picked it out because I hadn't heard that much about it. So, I was surprised at how enjoyable it was.

I'm not going to use the phases "I had a connection to the movie", or that "it spoke to me", but I was tickled that so many things in it seemed to consequently mean something to me.

Starting with my fondness of Julia Child. This came about when Chris and I would watch her on TV early in our marriage. We used to find comedy in the way she gushed over food and described its tastiness. I've never cooked a Julia Child recipe. I'm more of a "30 minute meals" (minus about 25 minutes) kind of gal. But, this movie made me realize I should probably cook more "real food."

The other funny thing for me was how the mother of the character, Julie, reacted to her blog. I have a feeling my mom would have the same knee-jerk reaction. My mom wouldn't be cruel like the mom in the movie. Mine just wouldn't get why I do this. That is why I haven't told her I've been doing this for the last 324 days. (She just thinks I'm addicted to the computer. True, but I'm "working" here.)

The success of the blog in the movie is what my dad would like to see for me with my blog. But, as much as I enjoy sharing every meal and parenting flub with the unknown world, I really just love the process of journaling every day. Chris told me that now he is back in the states that "I can take it down." But for now, I will keep going with this. I like that I am sticking with something for once.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 323 - Chillin'

The house is so quiet. Luke is at school. The baby is sleeping. And Maria is at a saint's house...I mean, my friends Kim's house. (When you invite people over for lunch and a play date, you don't expect them to take your child with you when they leave...but I'll take it!!)

I didn't feel much like diving into the cleaning/reorganizing project today~ surprise, surprise. Instead I took a few minutes and made these:

The main reason they didn't take very long is that I was able to find things in my craft room! Imagine that! (I also found a stash of mini Heath bars that my friend Becky gave to me for Christmas...yum-yum!!)

I'm learning that the more time I put into this reorganizing project, the more time I will save in the future when I go to get something done. I just have to remember where I put my motivation though...I think I left it around here somewhere...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 322 - Phone-a-Friend

This morning I woke up like any other morning (at 5:30 grrrr) with the baby. I was prepping for the cleaning lady and looking forward to tennis. After getting the baby her breakfast, the wackiest thing happened - my back went into total crippling spasms. It was the second worst pain I've ever been in right behind being in labor. The pain turned me into a "please have pity on me" kind of mom. I think Luke was moments away from calling 911.

Somehow I whipped together some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while the kids took orders from me about getting ready on their own.

Meanwhile I put my neighbor Melissa on call - just in case. Then I called my neighbor Brandie, who thankfully was able to cart Luke and Maria to school for me.

Once I popped some ibuprofin and snuggled up with the heating pad, my life was more bearable. So I took it real easy today. I made some meatloaf and banana bread, then took a nap and played on the computer. By the time the kids got home, I was feeling much better.

Here is the scoop about Chris now that I've had a chance to chat with him. He'll be out in California until late February. Then he gets to come home for 96 hours. Then, he'll most likely work in St. Louis throughout March and April. He can probably fly home for visits on some weekends. Then in May he'll be done.

And done is really just the beginning, since in June he takes over being the battalion's commander. 2 years of that and then he can retire!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 321 - Maine

I got the call late last night. Chris was on the other line and said, "I'm in Maine."

By now he should be in California. Things are still fuzzy as to when he'll be back for good, back for a visit, or when he'll have to go back to his real job. I can't wait to hear the answers to all of those questions!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 320 - Getting Close

Today, my head is in Disney mania. A week ago, I had the entire upcoming trip planned out in its entirety. Meal reservations made, deposits dropped down. Finished.

Then last night, I got the best news ever bomb shell - another military discount! Brain swirl all over again.

This discount isn't as deep as the last one. We each get a 4 day pass at $99 and can upgrade to a park hopper for an extra $25 each. The rooms were 40% off. Splurge!

But by the end of it all we are paying $700 less out of pocket. We upgraded our room to the one with a view, and we got the dining plan (which also has a military discount!!)

So now I get to tweak the dining reservations a little bit. Here are some of the places I picked out to eat: Libery Tree Tavern, the Hoop-dee-Doo Review, Whispering Canyon, LeCellier, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, and Boma. Tack those onto a 3 night cruise and I'm coming home a little bit heavier I'm thinking!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Days 318 & 319 - Family Weekend

It was a wonderfully dull weekend here. It was welcome after the shock of our first post-vacation school week.

Saturday was spent in our pj's. We finally got out of the house to go pick up pizza and movies for "family night" ~ isn't every night family night?? The kids found the root beer to be the biggest treat ever.

We watched Night at the Smithsonian together which was cute and entertaining. Much better than anything with talking chipmunks.

Sunday was pretty lazy too. (Although I still was making baby steps in the organization department...I don't want to imply that I sat around on Facebook all day or anything.) At about 4 o'clock I foresaw a night of craziness if I didn't get the kids out of the house. So I took them to the gym for a swim which really helped tire them out. I got to sit in the hot tub for about 2 minutes which was the perfect ending to the weekend.

Now we are ready for another whirl-wind of a week. Bring it on!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 317 - Noon

Things I learned by noon today:
Assuming you have a snow day can bring a rude awakening when there really is school.

Even a powder sugared doughnut can not help Maria to eat faster.

Getting to the bus stop with 3 kids with packed backpacks, packed lunchboxes, snow pants, boots, gloves, hats, coats, library books, and folders by 8:00 a.m. is the most stressful part of the day.

The van does not make it through snow drifts like the SUV used to. (No Chris, I am still not going to drive the truck.)

Glitter on the floor is a truthful way to say that my floors sparkle.

My mom always is fun to talk to when I am feeling stressed.

The baby will take a nap when she is good and ready, not when I need her to sleep.

I wonder what else I will learn today.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Days 315 & 316 - A Little of Everything

I am enjoying getting back into the routine this week. Kids going to school, going to the gym, and spending more time on my ongoing fight with the clutter in the house.

In Luke news ~ He has been getting stellar reports from school this week. That makes me so happy. Now if he would just stop giving his sister wedgies! Another big thing is his top front tooth is loose. Shouldn't be long before there is another visit from the tooth fairy.

In Maria news ~ The tattoo on her forward which was applied 2 days before Christmas is slowly starting to come off. I think most people assume she fell and skinned herself until they look close and see remnants of butterfly wings.

In Elise news ~ She has 2 teeth popping in on the bottom bringing her grand total to 6. She is starting to let me feed her with a spoon again (after about 6 months). This is opening up a whole new world of tastes for her - like yogurt and applesauce.

In me news ~ I have just been treading water as usual ~ cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, providing a taxi service, refereeing, bill paying, grocery shopping, diaper changing, and whatnot. The deal I've made with myself is that I will not step into a craft store until that room downstairs is in order, so any extra time I have is spent down there tossing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 314 - Craft Room Chaos

The craft room (aka the guest room/office) is in serious need of some TLC. The fall craft shows have taken its toll on the area, and now it's time to tame the mess before I end up on an episode of Hoarders.

Chris, you might want to turn away. I promise to have this under control by the time you get home.

Catherine. These pictures are for you. I hope my craft room is more messy than your craft room after all of my gloating.

The queen sized pile of paper. And, yep - that's a pink mattress.

The desk. A catch-all for so much stuff you can't roll the top down to hide it all. Aww...look it's our wedding picture.

The most respectable corner of the room. Bins, bins, and more bins.

Here's where it gets really scary. The 6 foot table of disorganization. Not even an inch of workspace. Looks like something out of an Eye Spy book.

And this is what lies under the table. Scary...very scary.

So, before another craft gets made - this room will get respectable. In fact, it's going to look something like this. Gorgeous!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 313 - Baby Clothes

All the kids were healthy enough to be in their classrooms and at daycare today, so I had the whole day to myself at home. I had thought about getting a massage to alleviate any left over holiday stress, but I didn't. I thought about taking a nice long nap, but I didn't. The mission today was organization. (Pats self on back for being restrained and dutiful.)

I intended to spend one hour cleaning the bedroom, and one hour cleaning the craft room/guestroom/office/storage room. (And I am totally that kind of person who has to set a timer for myself in order to stick to a task, otherwise I end up clipping my toenails or reading a magazine that has been unearthed. I am so A.D.D.)

When it took me a whole hour just to fold and put away all of the laundry that was sitting at the foot of the bed I had to revise the plan. It was then, that I realized I'd be spending the rest of my day in this room.

When we had Elise, we moved some furniture around our bedroom to make room for a rocking chair in the corner. The chair has since been removed, but the space that remained became a catch-all for every living piece of clothing that was too big or too small for these bodies that are growing up way too fast.

Back in the day of one kid, and a little bit into having two kids, I had the mother of all organization when it came to baby clothes. I had separate totes in each size for each sex all labeled with nice labels that I had made on the computer. We had the totes stacked neatly from floor to ceiling in the basement. I could find things so easily when I needed them, but more importantly, it looked good.

For a while it seemed like Luke and Maria were going to be the only kids we would create, so I started selling off, little by little, the least favorite of the clothes in those totes, yet I still hung on to a lot of my favorite outfits...just in case.

And then Elise happened. For the first few months, I kept up with it all...the processing of the clothing sizes. But as abruptly as my world was turned upside down with being a "single" mom of keeping up with non-fitting clothes (for any of our children) seized to exist. The best I could do for the time being, was to process out the non-fitting clothes by throwing them in the corner.

So, after being quarantined in my room most of the day, and throwing things into piles such as "give away", "garage sale", "consignment sale", "keep for Elise", "keep cause it's my favorite outfit ever", and "oh, this fits ____ right now - I forgot that I had bought this!" my work was done.

2 bags are going to Goodwill.

1 basket is ready to be tagged for the garage sale and the consignment sale.

1 huge load was rejoined with those totes in the basement for Elise to wear later.

And I created 1 little pile of sentimental outfits I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to part this one which was given to me by one of my students, Mackenzie, at a surprise baby shower in my classroom. This outfit was worn by each of our children the day they came home from the hospital. I'm too sappy to give it up! (It's not's the lighting...darn lightbulbs keep going out on me.)

So, that was my day. And really, not very many thoughts of having another baby crossed my mind. 'Cause if we had 4 kids, you can just lock me away for serious!

Now, who wants to come over and help me match socks?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 312 - Jinx

(I am predicting tomorrow there being a blog post about lack of sleep stemming from Maria's ongoing vomiting tonight. I am hoping there is an end in sight. So far she's been sick about every 15 minutes for the last 5 hours. Gatorade awaits when her fragile tummy is ready, and our green machine carpet cleaner is waiting in the wings.)

I tried to do a reverse psychology move on my future last night. I was just sure that if I counted on being awake all night and shared that fact with the world, that the powers that be would prove me wrong.

Nope. My prediction was spot-on.

Maria threw up constantly from 4:30 last night until 3:30 in the morning, then went right back to it when she woke up at 7:30. She took a nap today, and has now kept down a few sips of Gatorade.

Luke joined the vomit party at 3:30 in the morning. He chose to not open the lid to the toilet, so I had a wee-bit of housecleaning in the middle of the night. He got sick again when he woke up, but after his nap he was feeling much better.

Dark circles under the's the new black.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 311 -

Chris called us twice today. Sometimes we don't hear from him for weeks, so 2 times in one day was pretty special. The calls are very hard to hear. Not only is there a delay, but it is through a computer, so you can only hear one word from every sentence. Luke's end of the conversation went something like this...

"Hi Dad."
"Wanna go?"
"Love you, bye."

Tonight we tried the video camera thing which was a gift from his real life co-workers. It's cool to be able to see him and he gets a kick out of seeing us in action.

And tonight he got a lot of action.

He got to see the baby walking around and drinking from her sippy cup. She babbled a bit to him, then she tried to eat the camera.

Luke did a show and tell with off some of his new toys. It completely sounded like another language with all the Bakugan/Digimon/Pokemon verbiage.

The highlight of the call was when Maria came throwing up down the hall and into the bathroom. While I cleaned up things, I had Luke do more entertaining with Japanese cartoon figure talk. Maria did get to say a quick hello before heading off to bed again.

I think tonight he got a taste of how crazy life is here at home. I'm sure he is missing it. It is always interesting around here.

(I am predicting tomorrow there being a blog post about lack of sleep stemming from Maria's ongoing vomiting tonight. I am hoping there is an end in sight. So far she's been sick about every 15 minutes for the last 5 hours. Gatorade awaits when her fragile tummy is ready, and our green machine carpet cleaner is waiting in the wings.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 310 - After Shot

Something got in me today and I decided to take the neglected fridge head on. I could not bear to take a before shot, because, well...I embarrass myself enough on here. Just imagine that it was very, very bad. You know...leftovers, expired things, and lots of other colorful things lurking about.

Every shelf and drawer got a bubbly bath and the whole thing gleams. And now I can see what I have...which isn't much. (But I do have 14 sticks of butter for some reason.)

Now if I can go get those loads of laundry folded and put away, we'll be looking good around here.