Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh What to Do With all My Time?

The first day of school started officially last week, but since I've had nothing to do in my downtime since then besides sit on my butt and watch Oprah I haven't had time to blog. I mean really, those of us that stay home and don't work really don't have anything to complain about.

Here's Jack, SOOOO proud to be a second grader. I for one, cannot believe he is a second grader. Too big too soon. That's all there is to it. At parent orientation night at the school, I made it a point to introduce this little demon in disguise to the principal. I thought it the most prudent solution to our future problems.

She wants to go so bad. Not til next week baby,not until next week.

Next year at school this trio will be a sign of trouble.
So, why all the sarcasm earlier? Well, I just HATE when it is insinuated that I do NOTHING all day because I don't physically get out the door and head to a job on a daily basis, I have CHOSEN to be the mom who is up at the school all the time, right?
http://www.momontherocks.com/2010/04/sucka.html (please be warned that you will laugh so hard you'll wet yourself, I told you so!)
Contrary to popular belief, just because I am home doesn't mean I have all this crazy wild fun free time at my fingertips. Sure there is a bit of downtime, like right now, but I can't be on top of the kids all the time. I find that exhausting and unnecessary.
So, on a daily basis, we are out the door by 8 (especially if we are walking the mile to school) to be there by 8:30 (usually I am pulling Maddie in a wagon). Then there's the walk home. Then maybe we have some time for errands, or a trip to the library, but we have to start walking back to the school by 10:40 to get Nate by 11:14 (He enjoys riding his bike, and if you've ever ridden or walked a mile with a 4 year old on training wheels, it really does take that long.) So to sum up, I have a one hour and 40 minute window, which will close significantly next week when my runs look like this:
Big kids to school by 8:30
Maddie to school by 9
Pick up Nate by 11:14
Pick up Maddie by 11:30
Drive the 15 minutes home
Pick up big kids by 2:30 (which, again if we walk or ride bikes means we leave around 2)
Wednesdays I have to have Nate at speech an OT by 1. We are done at 2:45, so I get to rush home because Jack gets out of school at 2:30.
Thank God for good neighbors.
Then let's add in Gymnastics for Maddie, Swim lessons, soccer practices and games for the boys (I really do only allow one activity at a time, and I don't count swimming as a sporting activity. My brother drowned at the age of 3 so I consider swimming lessons more of a life skill), AND all of my fabulous volunteer work and committee meetings.
I DO happen to volunteer on morning a week in Nate's class, and one morning a week in Jack's. With 30 + kids in the classrooms with no aids I feel it's more of a duty than a calling to volunteer.
I also somehow got roped into being the assemblies chairperson for the PTO this year, so I get to plan that.
Can't forget Boy Scouts either.
Hmmm... Then I'm teaching Sunday School, and on at least one committee for church, not to mention the parent group that meets once a month for "purposeful fellowship".
Oh, and then there's the preschool board I serve on as well.
AND to top it all off, I do have to work at least one day a week, mostly just to pay for all of my kids' activities and other interests.
At some point in there I have to throw in a workout or risk qualifying for the need to be institutionalized. Because, as every mom knows there is that which still must be completed on a daily basis, such as laundry, meals, laundry, more meals, bed making, homework doing, reading, showering, laundry, snacks, more meal planning, vacuuming, dishwashering (because at any given point you are always loading or unloading it, right?), grocery shopping, making lunches and packing snacks, (can you tell my kids have been eating me out of house and home lately?), playing Monopoly Jr. ad nauseum, and general daily living...in general.
Don't get me wrong. I am NOT complaining. In fact, I like being busy. I like being an active participant in my children's lives. I do NOT like when people think that I don't do anything because I don't "work", which technically I do, one day a week. And the other 2 mornings are spent in classrooms helping 'teach' kindergartners and 2nd graders.
I love doing what I'm doing. I feel fulfilled and satisfied and happily exhausted at the end of a day. I sleep really really well, and then get up the next day and start the grind again. And it is so so good to be able to do so. So, so good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Maddie!

Okay, so I've been a bit behind with writing about you on your birthday since it was a good week and 2 days ago. But, to be fair to me, our home was hit by the plague, and I was busy cleaning up EVERYONE'S (except my own, because I only got a mild form of the plague) vomit. Our house has been Lysoled, bleached, wiped, rubbed, scrubbed, and the carpets shampooed, so we should be good now.

Moving on, we had a special visitor for your birthday. We have you kids call her Grandma Mae. Mae is an old friend of the family. She was my Aunt's Godmother, and my aunt was the same age as my mom. Mae is 89 and for lack of better wording, pretty badass. She is as sharp as a Rambo knife, and would ask me questions about my taxes and how we bought our house and finances, and so I told her to ask John who is an accountant and handles all that, to that got the reply, "Oh No, he'll just think I'm a nosy old bitch!". I had to do a double take on the language thing, but got over it, because Mae's favorite phrases are, "You're damn right", and "This is damn good wine". And yes, she enjoys her Catawba wine, which I couldn't find anywhere, and when I finally did it suited her, as it was pink, and fruity, and delicate.

This picutre makes Opa look like Gulliver. You'll understand the reference someday.
More on Mae. She walks 3 miles a day. She doesn't like to baby herself. She traveled from Oma and Opa's to Canada, all on her own, and she read the Business and Money sections from the nespaper everyday. She ate dinner at our house and helped with the dishes. I want to be like her when I'm 89. Here's your cake! You helped decorate it, but I should note you wanted nothing but CHOCOLATE. This is a chocolate cake, complete with TWO cans of frosting. You LOVED it!

Oh you beautiful little four year old.

This is such a nice picture of you and daddy I HAD to include it. He still doesn't think you look like him. I'm thinking he needs his eyes checked. I think I may just have to print this and frame it. I like it that much.

You enjoyed some pool time on your day. It was hot, hot hot!!!!

Okay, I know it's YOUR birthday Maddie, but I had to put Jack's picture in. He was wearing long sleeves and pants all day because he got stung by a bee in church and was tramatized beyond belief. I'm still not sure he's recovered.

And so begins another year for you. You are the most amazingly independent four year old ever, and you hold your own with "The Brothers". You want to do everything by yourself. EVERYTHING. Even things you shouldn't, but I let you do do everything that I find acceptably appropriate, even though it kills me that you want to grow up so quickly. You want to be in school RIGHT NOW because the boys are. I love at night when you get a book that we've read a few times, (Like Green Eggs and Ham) and you 'read' it to me. You are a good reader!
I love when you disappear upstairs and put on your music and sing and dance to yourself because you think no one is looking, or nobody can hear you. But we can, and it's really just very sweet. And cute. You got all these crazy Zhu Zhu pets and Little Pet Shop toys for your birthday because you LOVE your pets. You love animals and we can't have real ones here. Sorry about that.
I'm excited for you as a four year old. You're going to grow up so much and learn so many things. I'm so proud of you all the time, even when you are pouting and putting your foot down, because you are asserting your independence in your tiny whirlwind of a way.
I'm so thankful that you are my daughter, because as I like to tell you, you're my favorite daughter in the whole wide world!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photos of the Omaha Tri

I don't know who the lady in the green bathing suit is crossing the finish line, but she is not me. The other pics are me though.

brightroom event photography

A Totally Made Up Recipe

Not that many of you have to eat dairy free, but I thought I'd share my newest latest and greatest made up lasagna recipe. Amounts are approximated because in cooking I never measure. Baking, yes. Cooking no. Also, if you love the nectar of a lactating cow, you could try this without the dairy free option.

Cut up an eggplant into circles. Put them on a baking sheet covered with foil that you have sprayed down. Spray the eggplant or sprinkle some olive oil on them. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While that's happening, combine some vegan cream cheese (oh, about 1/2 a tub worth) with about 1/2 a bag of rice shreds (mozzarella flavor).

Spray an 8x8 pan. Or douse it with some olive oil. Spread some sauce on the bottom. (I cheated and used some storebought, usually I make my own, but I didn't have time, and John had already bought and opened it and I wanted to jar in recycling the next day.)

Take the Eggplant out of the oven and fold up the foil so that it steams tender for 15 min.

Layer your noodles, followed by eggplant, followed by 'cheese' . Repeat. Cover with sauce. Cover with foil. Bake in your preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Top with Vegan Mozzarella slices (they melt better on the top than the shreds). Cook for 5 minutes (don't wait for it to get too melty/ooey gooey like regular cheese. Aint gonna happen). Let stand for 10 minutes and then watch your children devour a healthy meal for once.

Do happy dance that you finally found something the WHOLE family will eat without complaining.

Make sure you lie to small children when they sniff out eggplant and say "What is THIS?" by telling them its burnt noodles and grandpa's favorite.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shoot Fly! Don Bodder Me!

Maybe I can put her on "America's Got Talent". She loves to sing. She loves her birthday present from her Oma and Opa. She just disappears sometimes to put on music and sing. Although she gets embarrassed when someone is watching, it's still cute. So, Shoot Fly! Don't Bodder Me, I belong to Sun Buddy!

More Kentucky

In talking with my Grandmother, who is in the hospital again, I realized I haven't finished posting on Kentucky because she asked if I had gotten my pics developed yet. Uh...that would be a negative, because I took close to 700 pictures. I'm going to have to wait for a Snapfish deal to develop them all for one cent a piece, otherwise, they stay in my Picassa on line album.

Also, because I have to outsource even my blog design because I'm a techie flunkie, these aren't in order by day, but you get the idea with how much fun we had.

This is at the Moutardier marina. That's pronounced, "Moot Deer", or "Moody Deer" depending on which local you talk to. This is John in his happy place, before Maddie hooked her foot. She survived and went on to catch a 2 inch whopper of a Large Mouth Bass. Again, prehooking. Love the Glasses? It's Daddy Law you MUST wear protective eyewear. That said, Nate lost his in the lake within the first half hour. Which reminds me...Opa, I believe you got those for him. Can you 'relocate' another pair?

Check it out. He's so proud. It's a HUGE fish.

Jack REALLY liked fishing. He caught at least four. I think.

Okay, so after we left Mammoth Cave to get to our cottage, we had to cross the Green River via Ferry. We did not know this until we were there. Also, the GRF holds 3 cars, but luckily there was not a lot of traffic.

This is the view out the back window.

When we pulled up and saw the sign we followed directions.

This is a photo from one of the caves; Diamond Caverns. I don't have a lot of Cave photos because it's hard to take pics in a dark tunnel, but this was so cool. It's an altar where people would get married. They were probably hippies looking for something wavy gravy, but it's still a neat concept.

This is the crew inside Mammoth Cave. They really couldn't move because the shutter speed had to go so slow. They weren't happy about it either.

Okay, so, this is Wigwam Village.

Which is really a bunch of concrete tents with toilets and showers. The kids thought it was cool though. Also, we ran into people that live about 10 minutes from us in the next town North. They had based their entire vaca on this place (I found it sufficient to sleep there one night just to say we did it). Apparently, there was something on the travel channel about this place. Who knew?

Kentucky Sunset.

At the National Park there are a lot of wild turkeys, I'm guessing that's the where the name for the booze came from.

The view looking up as we entered a cave.

There's a cave called "The Lost River". You ride a boat and take a tour. You have to duck really low too, because the ceiling comes down so freakishly low. It's a little frightening.
This cave was also a bar in the 30's because it was cool and air conditioned.
Here is Nate doing his dirty work. Trying to kill all the the bugs on the Nature Trail at Lincoln's birth home.

Here's the gang looking at where Honest Abe probably took his first drink of water, it's called Sinking Springs.

A Trail at Lincoln's Birth Home. Where's Nate? Oh...killing bugs and pouting because he doesn't want to go on the .3mile hike.

Look close. It is a beetle getting eaten by ants. Nate's favorite moment of the whole vacation.

They look thrilled to be on a hike with their mother, don't they?
This is at Lincoln's childhood home at Knob Creek. Or, as the locals say, "Crick" which reall confused my kids. This isn't really his home either, it's his neighbor's. And the crick that Abe almost drowned in was all dried out.

This is Jack and Mads literally standing in the crick.

It was a great vacation. I enjoyed it. And John just kept talking about Disney....I think he's ready to go back. Until then, I'm looking at other random sites in random states to go visit. Maybe Savannah one day. Maybe Utah. Maybe Yellowstone. But not the Grand Canyon. We agreed that unti lthere is a guardrail that goes all the way around the canyon Nate is not allowed to go. Never.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Hills Of Omaha- Lewis and Clark be Damned

Well, I did it! I did the Inaugural Omaha Olympic Distance Triathlon. That's a 1 mile swim (in Wetsuit Illegal waters, but that's okay because the water was almost 83 degrees), a 26 mile bike up some nice Nebraskan Mountains, and then a 6.2 mile run up some more Nebraskan Mountains. My time wasn't great, but I wasn't doing this for a time. Not to mention, Aunt Flo came to visit, so during my transitions I had to take care of business, if you know what I mean. And that's okay.

If you ask Nate, I ALMOST came in first, but my shoe came untied, and I had to fix it, so then really I came in second. Too bad those first place finishers finished about an hour and a half before I did, but who's keeping track? And I know right now you are questioning my references to the mountains of Nebraska. Lewis and Clark were wrong. It is not flat, corn land. It is hilly, hilly hilly. So hilly that I was trudging up the mountain thinking of analogies such as: Water is to Wet as Omaha is to Hilly. I was hoofing at 5 miles per hour to get up the hill, and then coasted at 35 miles per hour going down. Julz got off her bike and walked it up faster than she was riding. Do you get where I'm going here? It was HARD. HARD. HARD! My friends decided they don't want to do an Olympic distance race again. I'm not sold on that theory, but if I do another race like this again, it will be done on a flat course. Somewhere closer to home, just so I could shave about a half hour off my time and think I'm too incredibly awesome for words.

When I was starting the run, (the run start pretty much consisted of running up a pitted dirt hill and then trail running for a 1/4 of a mile) I saw some dude getting taken away on a stretcher. He didn't finish, and the medics were asking if he was having chest pains. That is the point of my story where I decided and said aloud, "Awww HELL to the NO! That right there is BULLSHIT! I am NOT going to die on a mountain in Omaha". And so I walked up the hill. And I continued on the run/walk plan, especially when required to go uphill. And you know what? I finished, and did waaaay better than that dude in an ambulance, or all those 'elites' in the med tent getting pumped full of IV fluids. I enjoyed my day, and for that alone I was a winner.

After the race we got to shower and meet up at Leslie's (www.momontherocks.com). She was so awesome and had pizza and snacky snacks and invited a new friend over who just happens to make cakes just for fun and who had made a special triathlon cake with pretty pink frosting that tasted like a piece of heaven. Leslie can make friends anywhere, and her massage therapist also came over to join the party. And give us massages. As I was working on an overused knee injury and my legs are still pretty pissed at me, I just had her work my back. She beat the hell out of me, but it was a good hurt, and I think that's how a normal persons muscles are supposed to feel. I think. We also watched Hot Tub Time Machine. I'm not sure if we were on an adrenaline high or crash or slap happy because we were up at 3:30 a.m., but that is one funny movie. I promise to watch it again.

It was a fun weekend. The hospitality at Julz's home couldn't have been better, and she is such an inspiration when it comes to doing these races. These ladies are amazing because the DO make friends everywhere, which is a special gift. They know how to have fun, and hold each other up at the same time, and I am priveliged to be in their inner circle.

I'm just not sure about doing the Omaha tri again.....