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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Year Without - Day 24

Today was a very, very lazy day. According to the weather reports, it was supposed to be a snow day. There wasn't much snow, but it sure was cold!

We went to CarMax today to look at a van that, on paper, looked perfect for our family. 2 years old, low mileage, fully loaded, and with TWO DVD players! I sort of wondered, before going, whether I should wait until I had someone to watch the kids. But I wanted to put their carseats in it, anyway, and they were pretty excited about checking it out. So we all went. I now regret that. It was too cold to get in and out, especially with trying to buckle carseats in an unfamiliar vehicle. Then, to top off the chaos, #1 son had an ill-smelling poop accident in his pants while he was playing in the playroom, and #2 son choked on a piece of apple which didn't all come up, but I didn't know that, so he was super-fussy/screamy for the whole test drive, and then he threw up in the playroom when it was time to leave. (Luckily, I had a quick thought and caught it in his hat.)

I went to that dealership with all my paperwork, ready to come home with the van, but when I drove it, I wasn't super-impressed with how it felt ("Plasticky" is the term that came to my mind. Sort of how I felt 9 years ago before we bought the truck, when we test-drove a Saturn SUV), and I was extremely disappointed to find that even though it has 7 seat belts, there is no way it could be more than a 6 passenger vehicle for us:
Do you see how little room is between the 2 carseats in the back row? I couldn't even fit Benny between them! And they were shoved up against the sides, as far as they could go.

Ugh! I am so freakin' disappointed! Now I don't know what to do!

I researched skinnier carseats when I got home, so perhaps we *could* make this van work. Sunshine Kids makes this carseat which has a much skinnier base than the ones we have. A different company makes a travel vest which, except for the lack of side impact protection, is supposed to be safer than a booster seat. Not ideal for every day, but if we needed that extra seat for another person, it could work in a pinch. (It might also work fabulously if we do end up meeting hubby in Europe in September like he's asked us to do.)

I got asked today if I've given up on this blog. No, I haven't. I'm just behind. (Hopelessly behind...)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Year Without - Day 23

Benny woke me up saying "Oh, pease!" Usually I can tell what he's asking for, but for some reason, this time it took me 10 minutes to figure out he was asking for Cheerios.

Awesome Kerry watched kids for me this afternoon, and Jeff's John picked me up at the carwash after I dropped off truck to be detailed. (Gotta get it ready to sell, you know.) When I got back, I watched Zachary so she could bring Haley to ROTC. It was a decently warm day, so I cleaned out hubby's car (to get it ready to be detailed), while Zachary, Katie & Benny played on the scooters and bikes. That didn't take as long as I anticipated (mostly because I shoved a bunch of junk I didn't know what to do with into bags and boxes), so I packed a bunch of stuff to mail to hubby.

When Kerry came back, she stayed with the kids again while I took the car to drop it off and pick up the AMAZINGLY IMMACULATE truck! WOW!!!! Those guys worked a cleaning miracle!

I'll get the car tomorrow if the snow's not too bad, otherwise it will probably be this weekend before I can pick it up. Then we will be that much closer to selling them and getting something that will fit all of us once the new baby comes.

2 of my kids, just being themselves. Nothing exciting. But I want to post anyway, because they grow so, so quickly.

Katie loves to dress up. Whether ordinary clothes, or special sparkly ones, she usually changes outfits 3-10 times per day!

Benny is one hungry boy! He is always asking for a "'nack!"
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Year Without - Day 22

It was not a good night last night. My tummy got very upset in the middle of the night. I intentionally turned off my alarm because of it, which made us late for music class. That, and being unbelievably tired, pretty much set the tone for the whole day.

Somehow we managed to forget to do our music class homework this week. How is it a week from the last time, anyway? It seems like 2 days ago, max.

I noticed this morning that Katie's face is not straight after dentist yesterday. One side of her mouth is hanging a bit lower/differently than the other. I will have to keep an eye on that.

My friend Lynne, whom I met when we lived in WY, came over to help tonight. She brought her little girl, Leia, who is about B's age, and cute as a button. I was too tired to do much, although I had heated up soup in the crockpot for dinner, but she cleaned the kitchen for me. It was such a blessing - exactly what I needed. It's so good to have helpful friends!

Just for fun, here is a photo from the bigs' music class this morning:
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Monday, December 13, 2010

A Year Without - Day 21

Today was an exceptionally long day. It started about 3 a.m. with an urgent, too-long bathroom run. (Perhaps the reason I felt so funky all day yesterday is that I was fighting off some bug or another. And perhaps a bug also explains why the 5yo had 2 poop accidents last night when he so desperately wanted to do the sleep over too. Or maybe not. That's becoming expected...)

Then my alarm went off at 6. As much as I know my day goes more smoothly when I can get up and get a shower before my other alarm clock wakes up, I ignored it.

I have no idea what time we really got up. I did get back to sleep shortly after the alarm, and the boys woke me up later. They had raisins and rice milk for breakfast, because I was feeling rather listless.

I took a bath and got us all dressed so we could go get Katie. We finally made it over about 10. I planned to pack her up in the truck and take us all out to an early lunch, since I hadn't eaten and the boys had basically just snacked for breakfast. But I got in and sat down, and had NO energy. And the boys immediately went to playing. Kerry graciously cooked and fed us breakfast, and we talked while the kids played until noon.

Then we headed for the library to pay fines and pick up our hold books. While we were there, I got reminder of Katie's 2:00 dental appointment on my phone. Good thing I was paying attention to it! And double-good thing I had changed the reminder from a 15 minute one to an hour one, or we would never have made it! I really hate making Monday appointments for anything, because in the 3 days between the reminder call and the appointment, there is a 110% chance I will completely forget all about the appointment. And since I generally have a rule about not making appointments on Mondays, I rarely remember to check my calendar on Monday mornings.

I hurried the kids through the automatic check-out. We grabbed lunch in the drive-through at BK, and ate it on the way to the dentist office. (I really need to remember to go back and check their foods for soy oil/lecithin since Sammy has to avoid those too, now!)

Our pediatric dentist is on the other side of town. But we know his family through our homeschooling group, and his office is way cool, so it is worth the drive. Katie got to watch a movie in her chair while they worked on her teeth. They administer nitrous oxide during the treatment, so she was as cool as a cucumber. She has come a long way from our visits to our first pediatric dentist, who did not have cool colors decorating his office or TV monitors on the ceiling, and where I had to coax and cajole her for 45 minutes to even open her mouth. Heck, at this dentist's office, she doesn't even want me back there while they're working on her. I guess I might interrupt her movie. That is just fine with me. The boys and I hung out in the waiting room, where I got some things accomplished via my awesome smartphone, the boys played with the cool toys, and I occasionally read books to them.

I played with GPS navigation on my new phone (have I mentioned that I LOVE THIS PHONE?!?!) on the way home from the dentist. I figured I'd better learn how it works when I actually know where I'm going, rather than when I actually need it. This probably doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but for someone who has been wishing for a phone with GPS capabilities for four years now, and has never owned any other king of GPS unit, it was a dream come true!

We got home just in time to grab the dance bag (Oh how I wish I hadn't dismissed that fleeting thought of "Maybe I should grab the dance bag" on my way out the door at 9:45 this morning!) and let the big kids go potty. B fell asleep in his carseat, so I just left him napping for the 10 minutes we were at home. Then we turned around and headed halfway back across town for dance class.

Since it was the last class before the holidays, moms got to watch. For some unknown reason, I was on the ball during that brief potty break and actually remembered this, and grabbed my camera.

After class I asked if they wanted to go look at a new van or go home. They unanimously voted to look at a van. Even the B was excitedly saying, "Me, van!!!" We went to the Chrysler dealership to look at Town and Country models. I don't particularly want a Chrysler (would MUCH rather a Honda or Toyota) but I was given a set dollar amount that I could spend over trade, and Chrysler is the only one that I can afford all the options I want and still get one that is low mileage. The kids loved the van that we sat in. I wasn't impressed. Too much money for my taste, especially for something that, though looked nice, felt sort of cheaply made. I never expected anything to come of it, though. A new vehicle, even with trade-ins and end-of-year incentives, and me talking them down as low as I possibly can, is still outside of the price range I promised I'd stick to. Plus, we bought the truck I currently drive as new vehicle 9 years ago, and it was such a stressful experience, and the thing lost so much value just from us driving it off the lot, I've proclaimed ever since that I would never buy a brand-new vehicle again. (I do reserve the right to change my mind at any time, but this time probably won't be it.)

On the way home our gas light came on, so we stopped at Costco for gas. While we were there, we decided to get tomorrow's shopping done this evening. Everyone was hungry, so we had dinner in the deli first. Last time we were there, the polish sausage looked suspiciously similar to the (soy-containing) hot dog that I had, so I checked their allergy menu again. Sure enough, the brand of polish sausage that does not contain soy, they no longer carry. Ugh. So much for eating in the Costco deli any more. Poor Sammy had a churro for supper.

We got our shopping done and headed home. By the time we got everything unloaded and the cold stuff put away, we were all exhausted. I left the pantry stuff in the middle of the kitchen floor, and we all trudged upstairs to bed.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Year Without - Day 20

I almost got to sleep in today. 7:00 is better than 6:00 or 6:30...

We didn't find the Daddy online this morning, despite it being his day off early. At 7:30 I told B, "Daddy said he was going to be online when I woke up, but I don't see him. I'm so sad." He said, "Me, tooo. Had, Mama." So so so cute.

We finally saw him online online about 10:45. 10:15 at night his time. His internet connection was totally down before that. We didn't get to chat much at all. :(

I was a total bum all day. For hours I kept thinking, "I need to get up and get everyone ready for Mass." But never could muster the energy to get out of my chair. I just sat there. Kind of in a daze. I felt so.... blah. Funky. Immobile.

Finally at some point that afternoon I realized I hadn't eaten anything substantial all day, nor had I had anything to drink. A couple of glasses of Vitamin D water and some food helped a bit. I was finally able to get up and get some clothes on.

Katie had planned a sleepover with Zachary for tonight. Her very first one. I have no idea how the girl who comes up from wherever she's playing, crying because she can't find me, at least 3 nights a week, thinks she is going to stay all night at someone else's house. But it was her idea, and she seemed pretty determined. Even as I was leaving.

We had dinner and played a game at Kerry's house. It should have been fun, but I was in a sad, grumpy funk.

Sammy was going to have a sleepover there, too. I told him that was fine with me as long as there were no poop accidents today. Then there were TWO. TWO! Ugh!!!! Both at Kerry's house, at that. I am so so so so so so so tired of the poop accidents. My pregnant nose can't take any more!

Tonight I realized I have not been feeling baby kicks today. It had me really worried. Then I drank more water, and there (s)he was. Whew! (I'm going to have to pay a lot more attention to that now. I guess I've been too sad to notice. Plus, is it just me, or is the air extra-dry this winter?)

Did I mention that I'm sad and I miss my honey?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Year Without - Day 19

Guess what! I got to sleep in until 7:30 again today! It felt AMAZING!!!

This morning CBS decided to bump Busytown Mysteries for a stupid basketball game. And I forgot to check before turning on the TV. You cannot imagine the whining and wailing that ensued. From the almost-6-year-old! UUUUUGH!

Today we baked chocolate chip cookies. I didn't think we'd have all the right ingredients, but we found a simple kids-bake recipe in my Mrs. Fields Cookie Cookbook that worked well for us. We just substituted applesauce for the butter. They were a little mushy, but OOOOOH SO YUMMY!!!

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon talking to a financing guy at our insurance company's bank. Turns out, because I/we sign everything electronically, they didn't even need the POA I faxed them yesterday. He got me all set up for a loan, enough to finance the whole van including tax, etc. if I want to. Of course, I don't want to. I want them to give me a better-than-fair price for our 2 trades so I only have to finance about 40% of it. But that's probably too much to hope for.

This evening Kerry was babysitting 3 of the kids from MOPS, Katie's age and younger, so we all went over there for dinner and a big playdate. Benny & Katie spent at least the first half hour loving on the baby girl (I can't remember how old, maybe 6m?) and giving her kisses. It was so sweet, and made me feel much better about what life might be like after my "yellow baby. MEEE (the) baby!" becomes a middle child.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

A Year Without - Day 18

This morning I didn't get to see hubby because his internet connection was terrible again. We ended up chatting with Skype text, because we never could get the video to work. Booooo! Seeing his smile is such a great start to my day. I really miss it when I don't get to see it.

I told him about phone I got for him when I got mine, and he wants to try it. I am having a difficult time figuring out if it will do him any good or not. This list seems to indicate that it won't work. But this map and this list seem to indicate that it will. As do the Verizon salesman who sold me the phone, and the customer service rep at the call center (who was brand new and had to have a 20 minute consultation with her manager while I was on hold to even figure out what I was asking her, to know how to answer me. Lovely use of my time, eh!) Anyway, he gets a comm stipend from his company that will help us pay for the $65/month global data service. And if it doesn't work out, we can always switch him back to the other phone. So there really is no reason not to try it.

I realized today that my car registration expired last month. And the grace period is up at the end of this month. Since I'm planning to get a minivan anyway, it only seems logical to me to go ahead and do it now, rather than pay to register a vehicle for a whole year that I might only keep for 2 or 3 months. So to get the ball rolling, I faxed the POA hubby left me to the 2 lenders in our banking/insurance companies that were advertising the best rates (3.99%), and talked with some of their loan officers. I also got quote on the insurance changes with another vehicle, and was pleasantly surprised that it will not be too much more expensive than what we already have.

The kids are so good at entertaining themselves these days. Usually they just play and watch movies in the basement while I am working on mail or whatever other mommy/household duties call. This morning was videos on the couch in PJs day. But this evening.... We had to have a ball. A "cat ball." Katie the dress-up queen wanted us all to dress up like cats and dance around the house. We never did get the ears made, but everyone (except mom, somehow) ended up with gold garland for a tail. It was pretty funny. She is so creative.

Unfortunately, that creativity can extend to danger and destruction when Mommy is otherwise occupied. While I was trying to talk to loan officers this evening, she and B dug into my serger drawer in the dining room, stole the thread to use it as kite string (they were watching the Little Einsteins Dragon Kite episode) and managed to wind it around the middle section of the house, twice, and around Katie at least 4 times. Thank Jesus she finally asked for help. I thought they were just chasing each other around as usual. Not with string. I had to cut her loose. And the house, too. I was pretty irate and yelly about the whole thing. The stress of everything is really getting to me. But in another week or two or ten I will hopefully laugh about the whole thing.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I am loving this phone! As soon as I can figure out a good task list to get on it, that will sync with something on my computer so I can access it either place, I will totally be in business. Meanwhile, it has been fun listening to instrumental Christmas music on Pandora while I am lying down with the little one. (And, I'll admit it, more often than not falling asleep when he does, too! I am totally sleeping for two these days!)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Year Without - Day 17

Today was a MOPS day. I like being at MOPS, but the whole getting up early and trying to get everyone ready to be somewhere for 8:45 in the morning kinda ruins the whole experience for me. Today was the Christmas party. We got some neat ornaments with our kiddos' pictures on them. (I helped take a lot of the photos, and was still surprised at how cute they turned out!) There were lots of sweets to eat. Hardly anyone brought anything to drink. I brought apple juice, but only because I'd forgotten that for the Christmas meeting, everyone is supposed to bring something, and I had to grab it in a hurry on the way out the door.

Didn't get to chat with the hubby today, because we were not home. I logged into MSN on the new phone, in case he tried to chat, but he didn't (and I'm not sure I would have heard the notification anyway). But I did get some nice emails from him. :)

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THURSDAYS!?!?!?!? Thursday is housekeeper day. I don't think we've ever needed her more than we did today. Luckily she is very forgiving and flexible. She couldn't even clean for all the random STUFF all over the floor. I asked my kids to help her pick things up and put them away, and to my great surprise it was Katie that actually helped, instead of Sammy who I expected. B needed a nap right about this time, and I unknowingly fell asleep right along with him. Woke up to a picked-up house. It was great!

Tonight the kids Skyped with MawMaw & PawPaw. That was fun. Then Haley came over to babysit while I ran to the bank, looked at a van (**really liked it!!!**), and went to worship team rehearsal.

Missing my honey a lot. Hope I get to talk to him tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Year Without - Day 16

Benny slept until 7:30 this morning! WOO-HOO!!! The first thing he did was ask for an apple. (Now that we have some more. Glad we got to do PART of our Costco shopping yesterday!)

We found "Dada!!!!" online at 8:10 this morning. That was before he ate supper, so he couldn't chat long. The kids were so happy to see him. (And I too, of course!) B kept saying "Ho (Hello), Dad!... Hi, Dad!... Hey, dad!" It was too cute! He came back later, but unfortunately, the connection was pretty bad (again), so we eventually had to resort to IM (again). :(

Worked on mail/paperwork again today. There is a big honking reusable shopping bag full of it just making me so stressed. (Everything is making me so stressed! I have got to do SOMETHING to alleviate this stress. It is not good for the baby.) So I decided to just tackle it. That meant that the kids went mostly unsupervised for a huge chunk of the day. I cannot deal with paperwork with anything less than full attention. Sometimes even that is not enough for me to know what to do with it all. But I got through a WHOLE LOT of it today. Whew! I do feel a little better.

My phone is dying a slow, noisy, inevitable death. The phone itself is mostly functioning fine, but I COULD NOT get it to charge today. All day long, no matter which way I turned it or how I jiggled the wire, it would not keep a steady connection to charge the battery. After 5 hours of this annoying "boo-BEEP! Bee-BOOP!" crap rattling my very last nerve, and nothing working to get the thing charging (including some battery re-seats, cajoling, and eventually some very choice words I cannot repeat), I admitted defeat.

Awesome Kerry watched my kids at her house tonight so I could gather all the Christmas presents from various places in the house. Unfortunately, I took advantage of their absence to hit the Verizon store and buy a new phone (I thought about trying to do without, but got really nervous at the thought of driving 3 little kids around in the Colorado cold. Especially after our truck left us stranded about 3 or 4 weeks ago!). That ended up taking 1.5 of my 2 hours to get stuff done. Too many decisions. I got a Droid X and eventually ended up taking advantage of their buy one get one free offer to get hubby a global Droid 2, because they told me since he was out of the country we could activate then immediately deactivate the phone, reactivate it when he comes back and not have to pay the internet service fee until then. And if he decides NOT to activate it and keep his old phone, that is apparently OK too.

But that trip left me with only 30 short minutes to sort gifts before Mass. So they didn't get sorted. But at least they all got gathered into one place.

I was feeling so YUCK this evening. Didn't I sleep in this morning? Then why was I SOOOOO tired this evening? I don't remember being so tired in weeks. Or months. Ugh! During the middle of Mass I also realized that I was extremely hungry. Because apparently in the distraction of all that doggoned paperwork, I forgot to eat a real meal, and just snacked all afternoon.

Oh, and after Mass, a friend who I'd sent that help email to told me she'd start checking on me after Christmas. That made me feel a lot better. Especially since I complained about it just yesterday.

Before I picked up the kids, I ran by the grocery store and picked up the Mini Ravioli that I'd been craving for weeks. (Hey, I'm pregnant; don't judge!)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Year Without - Day 15

I realized today that we totally forgot to factor in the cost of postage during a deployment. $12.50 a box is *I GUESS* not really that much, but if we mail 2-3 packages a month, it will definitely add up.

Our home alarm randomly started working again. I had thought it wasn't working because there were magnets missing from the hole in the door jam. Turns out there maybe should not have been any. The ones from the door disappeared (kids again, I'm sure) and the alarm suddenly worked. I'm glad. I've been putting off calling around to find a new alarm service. Because ADT wanted me to pay nearly $300 between the trip charge and the parts I thought I needed.

Music class today went much better than last week. For starters, I made Sammy wear pullups. Because I was determined not to have a repeat of last week. Benny and I were able to go to the post office and mail some letters/bills from the paperwork that I worked on yesterday. The kids were reasonably well-behaved, and we were able to run some of our errands afterward instead of having to go straight home.

We had lunch at Costco's hot dog shop, then shopped in the store. Got about halfway through before Katie HAD to go potty. Ugh. This is the OTHER thing, besides getting ready to get out the door, that I find extremely frustrating about having kids. When there's no other grownup to help, and someone has to go potty, whatever anyone is doing has to be completely aborted so everyone can go to the potty. After Costco we FINALLY got Sammy's bloodwork done. He cried the whole time the needle was in his arm. Then the nice man gave him a sucker and he was perfectly fine. He later admitted (when I asked him) that he was crying more because he was scared than because it hurt that badly.

After that, I was done. The kids were happy to be home to play, anyway.

About the time my hubby left, I sent out an email to 25 people asking for help (with the kids, around the house, as I get bigger and less bendy from pregnancy, etc.) I have to say, I am VERY disappointed in the lack of responses. Less than 10 people have even replied. Several of those said they'd get back to me later, and haven't. I am already starting to feel very stressed and overwhelmed, and already at the point where I don't want to ask anyone for help. Which I knew I would get to, although I didn't expect it this soon, but that's WHY I asked for the help when I wasn't stressed, because I knew once I got too stressed I wouldn't be thinking clearly enough to ask or even want to ask for help. I am afraid I am going to burn out the one or two people I do feel comfortable enough to ask for help even when I am stressed.

We didn't get to talk to the Daddy this morning, because we were in music class during his free time before bed. I've been thinking about buying Skype credits so he can call me via Skype and it will on my phone, for times when I'm not at the computer. Or maybe I'll go ahead and get myself the new phone so I can do MMS. (But probably not. I have that emergency fund goal I want to meet first.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Year Without - Day 14

Good morning Benny woke me up at 6:00. I used to love the extra time him waking up allowed me to spend with him. But lately I am SOOOOO tired all the time, I just wish he would learn to sleep a little later. Even 45 minutes would be a big help.

My stinkin' phone refused to turn on today. That made me mad. I am really, really, really trying to make it hold out until we get the emergency savings fund built back up. Eventually I pulled the battery for a bit, and put it back in. That did the trick. But then it kept doing the charge/don't charge/charge/don't charge thing that it does occasionally. It took a little more wiggling of the wire than usual to get it to actually charge.

I tried to work on mail today. Have I mentioned how much I hate mail and paperwork? It stacks up until I think I have time to deal with it, which is almost never. Then I go through it and don't know what to do with all of it. It's so overwhelming. Why can't these people just leave me alone?

We had ANOTHER broken glass incident today. This makes the 3rd one in 2 weeks, if you count the unexplained shard the bottom of my foot found in the kitchen the day my honey left. This time it was in the basement. Benny had broken a glass tealight holder that, as far as I knew, was upstairs in the alcove area. Grrr!

Besides opening the mail, I worked on sorting it into manageable piles. Bills bills bills. Tricare unexplainably denied claims. Paperwork. Yuck! IRS. Paperwork. YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!

I tried unsuccessfully to get the kids ready early enough to get Sam's bloodwork before dance class. They didn't cooperate. By the time we drove by the lab, there was no way we could do the test and get to dance class on time. Grumble.

I had planned to run our other errands (like shopping at Sunflower Market, since we were on that side of town) after dance class, but it was just TOO DOGGONED COLD. And I was feeling pretty down and defeated by that point anyway.

I talked to my aunt, who had once offered to sell me her van if she decided to get a different vehicle, about us needing a van soon. She talked it over with my uncle, and they decided they weren't ready to get rid of it. Which may be just as well. I'd have to drive to Louisiana to get it. And then sell the truck down there. That just sounds like more work than I am up to.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Year Without - Day 13

The Skype session with the Daddy did not go so well this morning. The internet connection on his end was Terrible. We ended up just IMing. I really missed seeing his face, although truthfully I think we communicate better via IM than we do any other way. Always have.

The B had diarrhea this morning. I was hesitant about bringing him to church because of it. I do not deal well with having to clean up poop away from home. But there was a lot, so I took the chance that he was cleaned out. He wasn't, but thankfully we didn't learn that until half an hour after we got home from church.

There was some broken glass this morning. I don't even remember what it was at this point. Benny got ahold of something and it broke in the living room. I wish I could say my vacuum sucks. But it sucks. I ran over the area 4 times and was still finding shards I could pick up with my hands. Ugh.

I told the kids it was time to get ready for church, and got the usual "I don't want to go to church!" I told her since there was no Daddy here for her to stay with, she had no choice. This of course made getting everyone READY for church a slow, painful, nobody listening to Mama process. I HATE getting ready to leave the house. It is rarely worth the effort. (Mass, of course, is always one of those times that it IS worth the effort.)

Somehow, even through that, we finally left on time for once. But nobody was fed. I cut some apple slices for them to eat on the way. 3 lights later, I realized I'd forgotten Sammy's EpiPen and inhaler, and had to turn around and go get them. So much for being on time. :(
I didn't know the music we were playing, but I figured, hey, why let that stop me. It's pretty easy to follow along in some kind of rhythmic sense. You know the offertory and communion songs will be slow-ish. And the opening and closing will usually have a faster tempo (although not this week.)

Mass was an adventure, as it usually is with small kids. Kerry, my angel, watched them for me, along with her own, while I attempted to play with the worship team. B took it upon himself to sing his own "Mama Bum!" ("Mama drum!") song QUITE LOUDLY, over and over, while I stood at the congas. Sam melted down after the girl in front of him went to the back and got one of the kids' activity sheets, because he wanted his own. B ran away, out of the sanctuary and into the hallway, and tried to go downstairs to the basement, at least 3 times. It left me wondering whether the effort, and what I'm having to ask of friends to accomplish being able to play, is really worth it.

When we left, there was no snack for K in the truck 'cause she decided she didn't like Pringles, and that was the only thing we had to eat in the truck. But she was hungry (I didn't manage to feed them before we left, like I should have, remember?) so she got into her predictable blood sugar too low/stubborn as she can be mode.

I asked her what kind of snack would make her happy, and she said, "Beans! Monica's tacos!" I'm always up for Monica's/not cooking. And I always know the kids will eat well when we order from there. This time I decided I wanted to try something new. Sammy got the carne asada tacos. I got a supposed bean burrito & and enchilada. When I got home, my "bean" burrito was the usual shredded beef one I get. I was mad. Oh, and we tried their new menu item, churros. B+K ate their usual beans and rice. Lots of them. I thought the food was kind of bordering on blech. Nothing has been tasting good to me lately. Not the Greek food I ate at Kerry's the other night. Not this...

Back at home, the kids destroyed, er... I mean played in, the basement while I wasted time on the computer, and talked to my Granny-Gran for a little while.

The baby has started kicking me when I lie on my belly. I guess (s)he is growing and protesting having his/her space invaded. It's about time to start putting something under me to make a belly hole now, too, I think. There is something noticeable to me there, now, when I lie on my belly. More than just the fat rolls, I mean.

Poor Sammy has been asking every day, "When is Daddy coming home?" Breaks my heart! I'm sure he remembers the answer I give him every time ("Daddy will be gone for a very, very long time. Until some time around Katie's birthday.") and just hopes that at some point the answer will be different.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Year Without - Day 12

Another day at home. Everyone woke up pretty early this morning, I think by 7:30. After breakfast, we did our usual cleanup of the living room before Hooray for Huckle (Busytown Mysteries) came on. Only this time, I told them they had to clean up the basement, too. Because I wanted my side of the room back. So I IM'd the Daddy while I supervised. Even though they had like 2.5 hours to get it done, they barely made it. It's hard, cleaning up, when there are so many fun and distracting things to play with.

There was only one episode of Huckle today, due to a basketball game or something, and I forgot to warn them ahead of time, so a meltdown of the 5yo ensued. We flipped through channels and the only thing "kid" on was Cyberchase on one of the Spanish channels. They 4yo insisted on watching it. The crying 5yo could NOT understand why I didn't put it on the English channel for him. So he cried even louder/harder. This led us to a search of Netflix, who luckily had some Cyberchase episodes in their "watch instantly" section.

Kerry came over with her "boys" (hubby and BIL) to help change the 13' high lights in the living room, 3 of the 4 of which had burned out. The first ladder they rented was 16', and too big to stand up in the living room. While they traded it for a 12'er, I went to Lowes to get light bulbs, since I didn't finish running all my errands this week. I got LED bulbs, in the hopes that it would lower my electricity bill AND be longer than 2 years before we need to change those again. I also got some LED reflector floods for the basement, but got confused by the wording in fine print, and may not be able to use them in the can fixtures. I will have to call their customer service department on Monday to find out for sure. And, unfortunately, I've been so mind-frazzled this week, I forgot to pick up anything else I needed from Lowe's. Like plastic film to stop the windows from being so doggoned drafty. Or sealer for the futon frame. Poop. I feel like I'm losing my mind most days, and it's very frustrating!

While they were here, the guys also fixed the drafty door from the house into the garage, and figured out a solution for the front door, which apparently isn't closing properly, fixed Katie's closet door which was off-track, and looked at the hallway closet door and figured out it's missing a roller or something. Wow! I am not used to so many things getting done around here in such a short amount of time. It was extremely nice!

After they left, we all just relaxed together. While I was channel-surfing (I don't know why I even bother. Nothing good EVER comes on. Except Monday and Thursday nights at 7.) I saw on the all-news channel that today was the last day to send to a 093 APO to get it there by Christmas. I didn't know. Glad I got that package in the mail yesterday. But I didn't intend for it to be his Christmas present. :(((

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Year Without - Day 11

Errands became crucial today, since we never made it out of the house yesterday. We pulled a name off the giving tree at music class, and I didn't realize we were supposed to return the gift to class this week.

After we chatted with the Daddy (Oh, I am loving Skype! Although his connection is usually not great and we usually end up IMing before the conversation is over.) and got dressed, we went to the post office to pick up priority mail boxes, and to Target. Unfortunately, by the time we got to Target, it was 11:00, and I realized I had 3 hungry kids and no snacks. So There I Am, pushing a heavy buggy through Target with 3 hungry, grumpy kids. I told them if they would be on their best behavior and let me get quickly through the store, we'd go out to lunch at their favorite restaurant (Red Robin). The big 2 were FANTASTIC! Only needed to be reminded once, maybe twice. The little one, not so much. It's hard to be 1, and starving, driving through aisles full of fun food and snacks and your mama not letting you have any. I forgave him, and took him out to lunch anyway.

The kids enjoyed Red Robin's new "Ziosk" computer, which had a few games on it. The nice ladies at the table next to us let B have theirs, which they weren't using, so he could play, too.

After reviewing RR's allergy menus, I discovered that I should be asking for "no seasoning" on our fries and Sammy's burger. Or my food for that matter. Because they have soy in their seasoning. Stinkers! (But, at least they don't have soy, milk, or egg in their hamburger buns!)

After lunch we came home to potty, put together the gift for the girl off the giving tree and Daddy's care package, and wait for the repairman to fix our appliances. And, though I didn't know it at the time, for B to finally take a reasonably-houred daytime nap! The repairman was pretty prompt, and the work was quick, and somehow the baby even managed to sleep through all the vacuuming and banging.

After B woke up, we went to Kerry's, where she watched the bigs while B & I went to the post office to mail Daddy's box, and to the music teacher's house to drop off the Santa gift. Then we went to get some takeout for supper. I got Greek for us, and picked up some more of those yummy NYPD wings for Kerry. While we were waiting for the food to be cooked, we strolled over to the Verizon store and checked out the latest phones. I asked the guy if the Droids ever go on sale, and he said the closest thing he's seen to it is their BOGO deal right now. I told him that didn't matter, because my hubby was in Afghanistan for the next year and didn't need a cell phone. He told me I could buy it anyway, and just leave it in the box for the next year. It was a little tempting, except that my hubby does not want a phone with internet access, and I am pretty sure Verizon corporate would have something nasty to say about me taking a free phone and not activating it.

We had dinner, and the kids played, and stayed too late at Kerry's. Came home and pretty much collapsed into bed. Fun day, mostly, but I probably should be more careful in the future not to let myself get this tired!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Year Without - Day 10

It was a long night last night. Sam woke up at least twice during the night. And the B, who didn't nap yesterday until 4, and then didn't wake up from that nap, woke up at midnight demanding food. Somehow he managed to go back to sleep after I fed him an orange (at his request. Not my first choice for a midnight snack, for sure!). He woke up for good at 5:30. Or at least that's when he woke me up, complaining that it's "die-eek! Die-eek, Mama!" (dark)

I needed to run a thousand errands today. Get & deliver gifts for the girl whose name we picked off the giving tree at music class. Get Sammy's blood allergy test done (like 6 weeks overdue now), grocery shopping at 3 or 4 different stores, look for stuff to put in a care package for the Daddy, library... Whew! And on a normal day with kids, about 3 places is my limit. But when I have to stand out in the cold waiting for them to get situated so I can buckle their seat belts... 1 or 2 and I'm about done.

The Daddy was online for quite a bit this morning. It was so nice to chat with him, and I didn't want it to end. Yet every second that ticked by, I heard our chances of actually getting out the door to run the errands slip, slip, slipping away. After our nice long chat, which ended about 11, everyone needed lunch. By the time lunch was over, Mr. 5:30 a.m. was tired. By the time he woke up at 2:30, I pretty much gave up on running errands. I knew it would be at least 3:30 before we could even get out of the house, and would be dark before we finished even the second one. So I decided for my own sanity it would be better to try again tomorrow.

'Cause some days are just like that around here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Year Without - Day 9

Busy day at home today. I actually got to sleep in until 6:30 this morning. That was pretty nice! The kids wanted oat bran for breakfast. Good thing we haven't run out of that yet! Unfortunately, we have run out of my dairy-free soy-free butter-substitute, which made it less enjoyable for me. Oh, well. I will make it to the store one of these days.

B has had some stinky, runny poops today. I wonder if that was part of Sammy's problem with not going to the bathroom at music class yesterday.

I spent pretty much the whole morning cleaning up for repairmen who were coming after lunch. Every room of the house was a disaster. We got the main floor looking pretty nice, and shoved the toys back to the kids' side of the basement to make a path to the mechanical room in the basement. We had a heater checkup, during which the guy also checked out our humidifier (which we had turned off for making really strange whining noises) and said he couldn't find anything wrong with it, except for the pad needing changed. The appliance repair guy also came this afternoon, fixed the burned-out oven heating element (apparently when they die, that is how they go, and I didn't have anything to do with it, except that I was the one who happened to turn it on.) He also fixed our bum icemaker and didn't charge me. The tube that brings water in from the back of the freezer was frozen over. Nothing was busted like we thought. All he did was took out that tube, ran it under warm water, and replaced it. Wish I had known that 2 years ago!!! He will come back in a couple of days to fix the washer and dryer, which are 11 years old and not behaving entirely correctly.

If you are in my city and need an appliance repair guy, I highly recommend him. He was very friendly, and his rates were great! Sam at Citywide Appliance Service

After he left, I decided it was too late to run any errands, so I washed 4 loads of laundry, and we went to bed.

Nothing exciting going on here. (Which is just fine with me!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Year Without - Day 8

I have been up since about 3:30 today. I heard Sammy miserably crying "Maaaaaama!" several times. He told me his feet hurt. When I asked where, he pointed to his arches. I massaged them, and he said they felt better. I covered him up, turned up the heater because it was FREEZING in the house, and he went right back to sleep.

It is extremely drafty in this house this year. We are having to set the heater higher than normal in order not to be unbearably cold. Even our guests commented on it. I guess I need to get window film from Lowe's and cover the windows.

I couldn't get back to sleep, so I tried to write, get some laundry done, and work on the mail. But when I got to the laundry, B heard me and decided to investigate. When he saw me, he said his usual "Eeeeeeeat!"

So I cooked breakfast. We had a little bit left of the "natural" pork sausage Costco started carrying. I really like this one, and hope they don't go back to the other. I decided I REALLLLLLY wanted eggs over medium and some toast to dip in the yolks. I overcooked my eggs, and set the oven on fire making the toast. (It was quite pretty. The heating element on the bottom lit up and burned around like a sparkler. Unfortunately, as we found out later, it left me with a non-functioning oven. And untoasted bread.)

We didn't get to talk to the Daddy when he got off of work this morning (night time for him) because we were already gone to music class. :(

Sammy had a poop accident in his pants during Benny's music class. And didn't tell me. Later, during his class, the teacher came out and asked me if I had any extra pants for him. When I went to clean him up, oh the mess! He had nasty, thick, sticky, sandy poop down both legs, almost to his socks. When I asked him why he didn't go to the potty, he said, "I was having too much fun playing with the toys." I was very lucky that the teacher's daughter had extra pants for her kids, that she let us borrow. And wipies. It took nearly half a pack to clean him up.

It was not a good day for me. Waking up at 3, ruining my eggs, the flaming oven, and now this. I was the camel's back, and that was my straw.

When they started giving me flak about getting buckled and being hungry in the truck, I yelled at everyone. I could not take any more. I told the kids we were going to go home, they were going to eat whatever I decided to fix them, and they were going to take a nap. And THEN we could talk about reading our new books. They must have figured out that I meant business, because they were all silent on the way home. Even though I turned off the music. Because I was so past the end of my rope, I couldn't take that, either.

B fell asleep on the way home (not surprising considering his wakeup time) so I put him down to nap on the bed as soon as we got home. Then I tried to figure out what to do about lunch. My original plan had been to grab lunch at the Costco deli and do some shopping, take Sammy to get some arch supports for his shoes at Junior Bootery, and a half a dozen other errands that are about to go stale. But now we had to go straight home. I was so exhausted from being hopping mad and being up since 3, I couldn't figure out what to fix. So I opened up and warmed up a can of beans. And told them that's what they were getting, and I didn't want to hear anything back except "Yes, ma'am." or "Thank you, Mama." When it was heated up, I apologized for letting my anger get the best of me, but Katie sat on the couch harumphing and crossing her arms as tightly as she could across her chest over and over, and giving me the stinkiest stink-eye that ever did stink. (I highly suspect that my picking up on/assuming the feelings of those I'm close to has passed on to the next generation. Great. I'm going to have to be very careful about controlling strong emotions now.)

We had a playdate scheduled in the late afternoon. I was SO drained I thought about cancelling it. But I was SOOOOO drained, I thought it might be better to have someone else entertaining the kids so I could nap, cool down, or whatever else might bring me back to an even keel.

After lunch, I had Senor Poopy Butt take a bath, which he wouldn't do without me in the room to supervise. Then I sent him and his sister off to watch a movie so I could nap with the baby. Not sure how long I was out (maybe 50 minutes?) but when I woke up, I was alone, and heard them all 3 playing elsewhere while the movie was still running in their bedroom.

Our playdate came, and the company helped my blood pressure a lot. Zachary distracted Sammy and Katie in the basement. Benny popped back and forth between the kids and the grownups. I was going to make steak and sweet potato fries for supper, but when I turned on the oven, it never preheated. So we went to plan B - pizza & wings from NYPD Pizzeria. Kerry worked on her Jesse tree ornaments, and I just sat around like a bump on a log. Because that was all I had the energy to do.

The Daddy had said he might try to get up early and Skype with us, since he missed us that morning. But we didn't hear from him. That's probably okay. I collapsed into bed shortly after the playdates left, about 8, and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Year Without - Day 7

Still feeling blah today, although I did manage to actually get some stuff done. This morning we cleaned the "grown-up" half of the big room in the basement. I.e. reclaimed it from all the toys that had migrated over but weren't supposed to be there.

Some time in the last few months, we started catching a Denver PBS station (12) in addition to our local one. While we were in the basement, I re-searched for channels on that box, and was surprised that it found it. There was a lot of interference, though. We really need a stronger antenna for that location.

We had leftover turkey and green beans for lunch. And Katie had her favorite "cucumbeh salad" with the last cucumber.

This evening we had dance class. We managed to forget the shoe bag, and I didn't realize it until we were 5 minutes down the road. So we had to turn around, and that made us really late. I hate being late!

On the way home, in the 22-degree freezing cold, Benny, for unbeknownst reasons, refused to get buckled. And fought with me for at least 5 minutes until I could force him into his buckles. NOT FUN. I look forward to getting a minivan so I can get it, get the heater going, and buckle the kids in from INSIDE the vehicle.

That pretty much sapped the little bit of energy I'd managed to muster. I stopped at our favorite drive-thru, Monica's Tacos, for supper. They only gave me one order of beans instead of two, and they put cheese on the beans in my burrito plate, when I specifically asked for "No cheese on anything." Is it Monday?

This evening the kids watched Bob the Builder on Netflix in the basement while I Skyped with my mom, and worked on a photo project for a friend. (And tried to watch House, but it was a rerun.) Then everyone got a bath (well, everyone but mom) and we went to bed. The closest thing we've had so far to an ordinary day.

On the way up the stairs, and every time I got out of the rocking chair today, I noticed that my belly was feeling really heavy. The baby must have had a growth spurt yesterday. Maybe that explains why had no energy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Year Without - Day 6

Happy Birthday to my love!!!

I have been up 3:30 this morning. I am not sleeping well. Any night. Last night I kept dreaming I would sleep through a Skype call from my hubby. Then I'd wake up to check, but there was nothing. THEN, I'd toss and turn for a while before I could fall back to sleep. Repeat all night, until I give up trying to rest. I guess I am more anxious to talk to him than I realize. (So if you talk to me, and I seem extra-distracted, or extra-grumpy, now you know why. And I'm sorry!)

The kids woke up with runny noses this morning, and we ran out of our liquid Vitamin D yesterday. :( They were also CRAZY today - Katie and Benny, usually my two peas in a love pod, were yelling and fighting with each other all morning. I don't know if I should attribute it to missing Dad, or being sick, or being hungry (it got better after lunch), or what. I don't know if I even care. I'm just glad it stopped. I couldn't take much more of it. I am starting to think that my ability to cope is directly related to my level of rest.

Today I am feeling physically blah. I don't know if it's the bad sleep, or that I've forgotten to take my vitamins (I can't even remember whether I remembered to take them or not. How sad is that?) or that I've been eating white rice and too much (not white) bread lately, or what. I basically sat in the rocking chair in the living room most of the day, unable to do much more than sit.

There are a bunch of light bulbs burned out around here. Most of them happened before the tall man left. Why I did not get more and insist that he replace them before he left, when I know I can barely reach them on the stepstool and should not be reaching on a stepstool in my condition, I do not know. (Oh, yes I do. It's because my ability to plan ahead functions at about 25% most days. That is not a skill anyone ever taught me. And now I'm just an old dog.)

People keep saying that I am strong. I'm not so sure about that. I'm doing what I have to do for the good of my family. Am I strong just because I'm not having a mental breakdown every day? Or running home to my Mama. (I seriously considered it. Some other day I'll talk about why I decided not to.) It's not like I haven't begged at least 25 local people for help while he is gone. How strong does that sound?

My 5yo pulled off his toenail today. The whole thing. His 2nd toe had been looking infected. We put triple antibiotic on it for a few nights, and that made it look better. When Robyn got here, she told me that his toe looked exactly like what eczema has done to one of her toes in the past. I have no experience with eczema, so I hadn't even considered that as a cause. But I put his steroid cream on it, and that made it look better, too. Anyway, today when I went to check it, I noticed the nail was missing. I asked him if he pulled it off or it fell off, and he said he pulled it off. (Blech!!!) When I asked him why, he said it was hurting. I had no idea it was hurting, because every time I check it, I poke and prod it and ask him if it hurts, and he always says "No, it doesn't hurt." Boys!

This afternoon Kerry's husband and live-in BIL picked up the innerspring futon mattress they'd let us borrow for David and Robyn's visit, so David wouldn't have to sleep on an air mattress with his pelvis injury. While they were here, I asked them to pull down all our Christmas boxes from the high shelf in the garage. The kids were SOOOOOO excited! They couldn't wait to put up the tree. As in they wanted to put it up before our friends even left! The stand to our full-sized tree broke several years ago, so the only functional tree we have is a 3' one. But that's a good size for a mama who is feeling quite overwhelmed. We put the tree on a table in the corner of the living room. As fast as I could pull ornaments out of the box, they would each come back for another and run to put it on the tree. When I broke the first ball, I decided to mostly skip the breakable stuff. This turned out to be a good decision, as they mostly can't keep their curious little fingers off their favorite ornaments.

Early morning I finally got to IM and briefly Skype with my honey. :D It was so nice to see him. The anxiety that I'd been carrying, that I wasn't even aware of, is mostly gone now. The kids were so very happy to see him, too. He is very loved, and very missed. (And hopefully I will sleep better tonight than I have been.)

Chicks and Salsa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My kids LOOOOOVE this book! The 1yo makes me read it to him every time he sees it! They all love to yell "Ole!" with me after the animals try new foods.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Year Without - Day 5

I deemed today "catch-up day." There was so much laundry to be done. At least 4 loads lurking on my bathroom floor, 2 comforters and a sleeping bag littering the laundry room floor, plus random pieces strewn all over the house. (Have you ever played the "Nanny Mania" game? I used to think it was rather far-fetched, until my kids started getting big enough to undress themselves, and help themselves to things in the kitchen!) I am not usually this bad about washing the laundry (putting it away, yes, but not washing it), but I got behind when I had to wash so many sheets, etc. during last week's stomach virus. I also had an extra load or two of dirty dishes, due to being more interested in visiting with my company than cleaning my house during the short time they were here. I did well until about 3:30 p.m., when I just lost all my steam. Oh well. There is always tomorrow to finish. Or next week.

Today we introduced two of our friends to Skype. Kerry has an Android phone, and I was/am curious how its Skype app works, since that is the kind of phone I hope to get when I can finally replace my Palm Treo dinosaur, so I convinced her to set up an account. We chatted on our computers for a little while, and hopefully will get to try the phone here in the coming week. Then I had the brilliant idea to ask my Roomie if she had Skype. She didn't, but set it up, and we were able to chat with AND SEE her and Mason this afternoon. That was fun!!! I am sure we will be doing it on a regular basis, if we can mesh our schedules.

Poor B, both times he heard the Skype ring today, came running to computer, excitedly saying "Daaaaaaaaaad!!!" And was a bit sad when I told him it was not Dad, but someone else.

On the "Pu'up" front, B is still adamant about only wearing them, and not diapers. I suppose after almost a week of this, I should admit defeat and pack up the diapers to get them out of the way.

This evening as I was nursing B to sleep, I noticed that my Skype online status was set to "invisible." I wondered if that was why I hadn't heard from my hubby. I changed it. Hopefully I will get a call from him tonight.

A little later, while I was writing this post, Katie came running up to my bedroom from the basement, with tears in her eyes, saying "I thought you were gone!" I can see I'm not the only one severely missing The Daddy.

When he was going to bed, Sammy couldn't find his most favorite stuffed animal "Ophiana," an echidna we got from our Australian IACE exchange cadets back when we lived in NM, nor the "comic book" that Aunt Robyn had helped him write while they were here, which he desperately wanted for a bedtime story. This ensued a 30+ minute failure of a search, all over the house. Eventually I convinced him to give up, but not without many tears.

Overall I think I can safely say we are hanging in there pretty well so far. Yes, everyone is more emotional than usual, and yes, we are experiencing a lot more tears. But with love and hugs and prayers, I think we will get through it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Year Without - Day 4

I usually avoid the Black Friday shopping madness, but our new Cloth Diaper Market had a super-fabulous deal (like almost 50% off) on something I'd been eyeing for the kids for almost a year. (It's a surprise; you'll have to wait a month to see what it is.) So I left the kids in Robyn's care and took off for a tiny bit of alone time.

When I got home, David and Robyn were trying to make some copies made for something they had to get in the mail today, but we discovered the kids had most inconveniently used the last sheets of printer paper to make comic books or art or something. So I ran to Costco to get another pack of paper. And picked up some more printer ink while I was there. Not a trip I'd planned, but at least I was able to pop in and out without dealing with kids and carseat buckles in the freezing cold.

Rachel turned 10 last week. While she was here, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She eventually settled on us all going to play Glow Golf. Katie had a free pass that she won on hole 18 when we went there for Zachary's birthday party in July. Because of David's injury and his difficulty walking, we had to get him a wheelchair. That was a bit of an adventure in itself, as one of the footrests broke pretty much immediately after he sat in it. The kids all had fun playing Glow Golf while Robyn (with David in tow) got some shopping done at a store she likes but doesn't have back home. Kerry, Zachary, and Uncle Andy met us at Glow Golf, but then Zachary took off for the opposite course after we started playing, so we didn't get to talk to them much. We tried to play both courses, but my kids were done about halfway through the second one. Katie got another free pass on hole 18, and Sammy was super-sad that he did not. Sammy attempted the laser maze, although the noise inside it really got to him, and he got scared halfway through. Rachel tried it, too.

By this time it was past time to go, and Benny was melting down. I don't recall him not getting enough sleep last night, but only 2 or 3 other times in his life have I seen him SO upset from being overtired. He started crying when I wouldn't change his pullup on the kiddy jump seat in the mommy's bathroom (like that's even possible!) and screamed pretty much all the way home.

It turned out to be a good decision that I made the gumbo yesterday, because I would not have had the time or energy to do it today. I left it on low while we were golfing, so it was warm and waiting for us when we got back home.

We spent the rest of the day lazing around, kids playing Wii, grownups eating gumbo and talking. Our guests left after supper, so they would be able to make Rachel's skating show rehearsal tomorrow morning. Not long after that, I put B to bed, relaxed a bit myself, and then got the bigs in bed.

This morning I figured out that even though I hadn't heard personally from the hubby, he had actually made a few posts on Facebook. So at least I knew indirectly he was OK. Still looking forward to a personal email or a late-night Skype from him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Year Without - Day 3

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. Babies. Baby on the way. An income for our family, generated by someone who loves us so much, he'd even endure going away to provide for us. Climate control. Warm clothes. A pantry, freezer, and fridge full of food. Friends here to celebrate with us. God is great!

This is the first year I didn't have to set an alarm to get the turkey cooking. Benny's normal 6:30 wake-up was just the right time. (Although, honestly, if it hadn't been, we would have snacked more and eaten later. Because I was tired.) Unfortunately, I was so tired at that hour of the morning, I didn't even notice that I put the turkey in the roasting pan UPSIDE DOWN. But it turned out to be a fortunate mistake. It was THE juciest turkey I've ever made. David even thought I'd done it on purpose.

It was a nice, relaxed day. Just like we like our holidays around here. Cooking in the morning. Eating lunch (but not gorging on it until we were miserable! A big key to actually enjoying the holidays!) and relaxing in the afternoon/evening.

Here is our menu for the day:
Salad (Spinach, Romaine, Roma Tomatoes, Mini Cucumbers)
Wild Rice Blend
Green Beans (flavored nicely with Newman's Own Tuscan Italian Dressing)
Baked Sweet Potatoes (the way God made them, not adulterated with marshmallows or any of the other things I don't understand why people put into them)
Cranberry Relish (WOW! Going to make this stuff every year from now on!)
Turkey (I use The FlyLady's Recipe)
Apple Pie (photo on yesterday's post)
Peach Cobbler

I was rather proud of myself that everything on the table started out fresh, not canned or frozen (well, except for the pie crusts), and was healthy for everyone at the table, despite 4 of the 7 of us having multiple allergies, intolerances, and other food issues.

Some time in the afternoon, I decided to make tomorrow's gumbo today. I remembered that somehow, I always end up making David's gumbo the last day he's in town, and it always tastes so much better the next day, after he's long gone. So this year I was determined to fix that. It made for a long day of cooking, but I think was ultimately worth it. I unfortunately didn't remember that there was NO ROOM IN THE FRIDGE for a giant pot of gumbo, nor were there any/enough containers to hold all seven quarts of it. Robyn wisely pointed out that it was below freezing outside, so we ended up putting the whole pot in the bed of my truck in the garage. Hooray for Colorado weather!

While I was cooking the gumbo, Robyn & David napped again. The kids played a lot of multiplayer Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. Even Katie got in on the game. They seemed to really enjoy it.

Later in the evening, I finally had some free time to show Rachel Dance Dance Revolution, like I'd been wanting to since she arrived. She was really good at it! (It was a lot of fun, but I should not have turned off the jumps before I tried to play. Even though I was wearing a belly band, and holding my belly for the jumps, and even though this baby only weighs 6 oz., I was SOOOOOORE when it was all over.)

Katie and Rachel (and R&D&I) watched like 4 or 5 episodes of Liberty's Kids before I had to get the big kids ready for bed. Poor B had fallen asleep sprawled out on the floor before I even finished the gumbo!

I waited all day to hear from my honey, but there was nothing. I am trying not to think about how sad that made me. Hopefully he is OK, and will Skype me tonight. (And hopefully I will not be so exhaustedly asleep that I will miss it.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Year Without - Day 2

Today went by pretty quickly. Poor Rachel got woken up when B made me go downstairs for something to "eeeeeat! Me eeeeeat!" and "ink! Mama ink!" about 6:30. The other kids weren't too far behind in waking. We had a nice and leisurely breakfast of oat bran (which B won't eat), eggs (which S can't eat), and toast (which K won't eat). But I couldn't get it ready fast enough for hungry B, who found the leftover blueberry pie on the countertop, and kept saying, "Pie-ee!" over and over and over. I never did manage to convince him that we were saving the pie for after lunch. But eventually he realized I wasn't going to give him any now, and ate what I gave him. (But when he wasn't looking, I stirred some of the juice and blueberries into my and Sammy's oat bran. Sneaky mommy!)

David and Robyn slept in a little, despite the kid noise, which was good, since they didn't arrive until close to 2.

I didn't get to go shopping for the last-minute groceries the day before, with all the cleaning, and the being too sad to get dressed, but that worked out OK. The bigs stayed home and played with Rachel, and Robyn decided to accompany me to Costco.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, my computer started mysteriously ringing. It was The Daddy. Hooray for Skype! It was so nice to see his face, and hear his voice. He had finally arrived at his hotel in Doha, Qatar. It was about 11:00 here, so the poor guy had been travelling for 30 hours. All the kids got to say hi to him. I could have talked all day, but I could tell he desperately needed sleep. And the groceries weren't going to get themselves. He said he'd call again when he could. I hope he is able to call before he checks out of the hotel in another few hours. Yes, I'll be asleep, but it may be the last chance he gets for a reliable internet connection for quite a while.

I made my first apple pie this evening, while the guests caught a nap. (Or maybe it was my second. I can't remember.) I used the bought crust, so it wasn't homemade. But that was the plan all along. There's only so much I can do in one day. I did slice and peel the apples myself. David has Type 2 diabetes, so I had to use splenda instead of sugar. (We usually try to stay away from the artificial chemicals around here.) All I did was mix the apples, some Splenda, a generous helping of cinnamon, and a couple of teaspoons of No-Egg (for thickener) around in bowl. I even figured out how to lattice the top. When I pulled the extra crust from around the sides, a bit of inspiration hit.

(Unfortunately, I am no artist, and it turned out looking more like a cherry than an apple. And next time I need to remember to use more apples/make a heaping mound under the crust. The pie was a little too sunken.)

Robyn introduced me to cranberry relish tonight. Wow! All I could say was, "Why would anyone eat canned cranberry CRAP when they could have this?!?!?!" It was amazing. So fresh. So REAL FOOD. All she did was mix a bag of cranberries, an orange, 3-4 cups of pecans, and a bit of Splenda (again, we would normally use turbinado or honey or something around here. But we didn't want to upset David's blood sugar) in a food processor. It was a good thing she made such a big batch, because Rachel had a bowl of it as soon as she figured out what was going on in the kitchen. ;)

The kids had a fabulous time playing with Rachel today. Sammy showed her some Wii games, and Katie played with the Dora toys that Rachel had handed down to her last year or the year before. Katie was hanging on her all day. And Rachel was eating it up. It warms my heart so much to see them loving on each other.

The B decided today that he no longer wears diapers. Occasionally he'd been wearing Sammy's "pu'ups" after bath, just like Sammy. Today there was no diapering. Any time I mentioned the word diaper, the reply was an adamant "Pu'up!!!!" So while we were at Costco, I bought him some in his size. I am not happy AT ALL about this development. I didn't (and don't want to) factor the cost of multiple daily pull-ups into the budget. And I don't want to think about those nasty chemicals on my baby's bottom. But even the pull-up-type cloth we have is still a diaper to him. And he is INSISTENT! I guess next week we might have to start really working on the potty thing, to see if we can make these things last longer. Changing poopy pullups is only slightly worse than changing poopy underwear. (Hmmm, there's a thought. I wonder if he'd wear the training underwear if I pulled it out of storage. I might try that if I can ever get caught up on the laundry.) Oh, and I wish Huggies would print the sizes on these stinkin' things!

Today, again, we were a little too busy to be sad about the absent Daddy. But in retrospect, his presence was greatly missed. I couldn't help thinking how he would have been sitting in his rocking chair, telling stories with David all day long, chasing the kids, catching my eye and giving me a bit of a smile when he thought nobody was looking. I hope he is getting some good rest in that hotel bed right now. No telling what kind of accommodations he will have when he gets to his final destination.

Love you, honey!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Year Without - Day 1

The daddy left via cab at 5:15 this morning. Until 12 hours before that, we had thought his flight out was in the evening. It's a good thing we are flexible in this house.

At lunchtime I told the kids that we would officially declare our house a "safe place to talk about feelings." Then I told them that I was feeling sad that Daddy was gone, and that I missed him. Sam said he was feeling, "glad. Because Daddy has a job." Our boy is very astute, and I think he was picking up on how NOT having a job was affecting his Daddy. Katie said, "I am feewing EXCITED!" When I asked her why, she said it was because her Daddy was earning money to take care of us. The B indicated that he was happy, because his cup was "Aah-whoa" (his favorite color).

There was not much time to be sad today, though. Our Thanksgiving guests will arrive from New Mexico some time while we are asleep. We spent the whole day cleaning and organizing. Nobody in this house can seem to pack for a trip without leaving the house looking like a tornado hit it. (Don't take that as a complaint. I do realize I am the biggest culprit. Luckily, yesterday, *I* wasn't packing.) I'd managed to get the guest room straightened enough last week, but today we still had to pick up toys from the basement, hallway, living room, and dining room, get the dining room table cleaned off, catch up on the dishes so we could find the countertops, vac all the carpets... You get the idea. It was a very busy day. We didn't finish, but I was ready to collapse onto a soft bed. And of course the kids won't get themselves ready for bed. So I called it good enough. The guests have a clear path to their sleeping places, and there's nothing growing in the bathrooms. Anything else is just icing anyway.

We had blueberry pie for supper tonight. I bought a box of 8 pie crusts at Costco a few weeks back, because Sammy had been asking about making a pie for a while, and they miraculously didn't have any eggs, peanuts, dairy, or soy in them. Yes, I *should* make my own crust, but I figure I can attempt that after I get the fillings figured out. Anyway, I wanted to make a pie with this crust before I attempt to do one for Thanksgiving dinner. And after I made the pie, I was too tired (read lazy) to make anything else for dinner. I only used 1 cup of sugar instead of the 2 the recipe called for. It was plenty sweet enough, but it was super-runny. Next time I need to make sure to put some kind of thickener in it.

NOW there is time to be sad. I miss my honey. When I'm tired or sad (and tonight I'm both) there's no better place to rest my head than the hollow of his shoulder. It will be months before I can do that again. I look forward to it.

A Year Without

My awesome hubby took a job away from us for a year. We won't get to see him much while he's gone, but we should be able to communicate often enough via Skype and email, and in a more one-sided manner, through this blog.

I've been toying with the idea of playing one of the post-a-day games that other people are doing on their blogs. I had thought I'd do photos. But this seems like the kind of thing I'd like to keep a journal of. And there's not much chance I'll actually sit down and hand-write anything.

So here goes nothing. I don't promise to actually write every day. But I will try to write about every day. (Then I will be sneaky and back-date it, so nobody knows just how sporadic and inconsistent I really am.)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Library book

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My map-loving 5yo really loved this book. It's good for teaching or reinforcing kids' map skills, but he might have been just a little young for it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cool New Socks

My big boy requested that I put a picture of his new socks on my blog. He specifically asked for the blog, and not Facebook, so "everybody in the whold world" could see them.

His sister is just as proud of her new socks, and wanted to show hers off, too.

Wish they made cool socks like this in my size. :(

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Why you should never

...leave your precocious preschooler unattended with new bottles of finger paints.
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hoarders, part 3

Here I am in my brokenness. The bare-naked, butt-ugly truth that is my mess.

I haven't seen the top of my desk since sometime in the Fall of 2009.

The basement is, as always, a disaster. I'm surprised we haven't lost any kids in there yet!

The laundry facilities. Not good, but they have been so much worse.

Our "shoe bench" that no one has ever been able to sit on, in the 2+ years we've had it. As you may have guessed from the pile of stuff in front of it, some days we are lucky to even get to it.

Our homeschooling shelves look nice and neat and organized...

...but good luck getting to them!

We haven't seen the kitchen countertop in at least a month.

The map that the kids keep knocking over and leaving on the floor. And the old picture frames that need new pictures and a home on the wall.

A basket of WHO KNOWS WHAT that has plagued various rooms in my house for the last 2? 3? years. (Victory note: I went through half of this basket with the help of my housekeeper, and found the title and lien release to my husband's car which has been lost for... 3 years?)

My dining room table, which is almost never clean to eat on.

The hallway that is almost always littered with something. Or many things.

The pathway to my bedroom, littered with toys.

The countertop in what used to be my husband's bathroom (off his computer room). It should now be my kids' bathroom. If only their lazy (overwhelmed) parents would get their crap outta there!

The usual state of the kitchen sink. Although the dishwasher runs 1-3 times per day here, we are perpetually 1-2 loads behind.

The cluttered cookbook corner.

More lost kitchen countertops.

The inside of my bathroom cabinet, which has been 1/3 emptied by a little monkey who left its other contents all over my bathroom floor.

Two boxes of random crap that I cleaned up from the bathroom counter & floor. Oh how I wish I was one of those people who could just dump the contents into the trash instead of having to go through them all!

My bed. In my defense, I usually do try to keep it cleaned off, and this particular day was using it as a staging area to bag up things we're not currently using like outgrown kid clothes and maternity clothes. (Yes, my baby is 13 months old and I have not put away the maternity clothes yet.)

My bedroom floor. I can barely move around in here.

If you were to go upstairs in my house, you might think I was a collector of porcelain shoes. However, if you were to ask me about them, you'd find out the truth. The collection belonged to my grandmother. They were very special to her. I ended up with them and feel too guilty about keeping them around, but also too guilty to let them go.

The banister top, which in theory should contain nothing. (Yes that is toddler art on my wall. From the 2nd toddler. It's been there at least 2 years.)

A box of random junk just inside my bedroom door.

The nightmare that is my closet.

The bathroom countertop, after I cleaned 2/3 of the stuff off of it.

So... now you can see why I'm at the end of my rope. Yet, I still struggle mightily with throwing anything away. Even though I am reasonably certain there is peace on the other side. (There is, isn't there?)