Monday, June 30, 2008

I don't do weekends.

It's not that I don't do weekends. I just don't usually blog on weekends. Too busy. On Saturday morning I was up from 4am on with the baby. After he fell asleep (5:30am) I went outside and washed the windows, and trimmed the half dead palm, and my half dead tomato patch. then I folded a ton of laundry and cleaned the kitchen (AGAIN!). Then I took B&J out to see Kung Fu Panda with "the cousins". Then we stopped for dinner with them on the way home. On Sunday I made a big breakfast, got 5 people ready for church, and spent 3 hours at church (the last hour helping an understaffed Nursery). Then we went to my parents, ate a nice early dinner & pineapple upside down cake (my first time eating it), came home bathed kids, I watched a documentary (Guns, Germs, & Steel) from Netflix with varying numbers of peas joining me throughout, and we put them to bed.

I looked over some of the pictures I took during the last week and never blogged about. Here they are.
I found these drawings of B's on the kitchen table on Friday. I thought Uncle Jordan would enjoy them. I especially like Plankton. Or as J calls him...Clayton
As I asked Daniel and my mom...Why do they hate me? B took my lovely and somewhat expensive Flylady duster (that I've had for 3-4 years) in the kiddie pool and ruined it. She was shocked when I told her that it was not able to get wet.
Our toaster oven started making a horrible burning smell last week. It turned out that for some unknown reason one of the wires inside melted a plastic connector. Daniel repaired it over the weekend. He's handy like that.
For a solid week at 7am every day this was going on across the canal behind out house. It went on all day...non stop until 5pm. They brought over a huge pile of trees and spent all day loading them into this giant chopper thing. There are 2 mountains of mulch back there now and all the equipment is gone. I'm hoping that means they are finished. It was apparantly from a road project nearby that they had cleared the trees and needed to process them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

She's Crafty

B is all about the crafts. Crafts and books, those are her passions. I got her this Hannah Montana make your own messenger bag kit as one of her birthday presents. I bought it because despite the fact that she has no interest in Hannah Montana, she loves crafts and it was super cheap on sale at Amazon (like $3 and I have free shipping from Amazon). She made it this morning and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience and resulting product.

Someone Stole My Tripod

Why do my children insist on taking all of my things instead of playing with their own toys? In this case I suppose I should be glad that she didn't take my camera too. She used her own camera.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dog is Back

For those who share my guilty pleasure...Dog the Bounty Hunter. The show has been reinstated and new episodes premiere July 16 on A&E. I just watched a rerun that I had not seen, with some kids from Make-A-Wish...cried like a baby. Whenever I feel inclined to make a judgment about someone based on their appearance, I think about Dog.

Dogisms found Here

"There's hope- a miracle happened to me."

"At the end of the criminal rainbow- there is no pot of gold."

"When you break someone down- make sure you always raise them up higher than they were before."

"If you love them and their addicted - you've got to do something about it. You have to show them tough love."

"#1 you never hit a women. #2- you never hit a pregnant woman."

"Almost 30 years ago when the warden said do something with your life- you must become a productive member of society- this is what he meant."

"Anybody- everybody can make a mistake."

"We got to arrest them and fix them."

"When mercy is shown- mercy is given."

"My grandfather would say they're all helpable if they wake up this side of the dirt."

"In the bible it says- by your fruits you are known. In this world- fruits means your record."

"I say to all fathers - be as good as you can be- because your sons and daughters will follow in your footsteps."

"In 1979 Texas Department of Corrections let me loose and they said you know what - go be a productive member of society. I said what? Here is 200 dollars for 18 months making all those big rocks little rocks. Texas was hell back in the seventies- now go do something with your life. I walked out- there is a big clock in the Texas penitentiary and it said high noonsville. I flipped it the bird and cashed my check and away in life I went. Everywhere I went for a job they said what did you do in your past- I said - will discuss. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? I said will discuss. My own father said - you can't get a drivers license, you can't vote, you might as well burn your birth certificate. I had one person that thought I could be something - that was my mother. My mother was part ________ Indian. She said- no matter what son- the sun rises on you. I ain't nothing special- I'm five foot seven soaking wet I'm 200 pounds. What I had was heart and faith and I said I'm going to do this for every convict alive and I'm going to make sure the world knows just because we fell one time doesn't mean we can't get up and let out light shine."

"If you get a goal in your mind- go for it- you're not in hell yet, you can still make collect calls, you can still talk to your old lady, you can still have children and you can still love and be loved."

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

Yesterday Daniel worked from home. I tried to take the girls to swim at 10am. We were in the pool for 10 minutes when the thunder and lightning started. We've gotten a lot of rain/lightning/hail this past week (after a long dry spell). they were disappointed. So, we decided to make some new cookies to ease our disappointment. They were delicious, and I ate a somewhat obscene amount of them. They each have a melted Rolo inside (caramel/chocolate center). We ran out of Rolos after 40 cookies so a few have Reese's peanut butter eggs inside them...those were good too. Also, a few have Hershey kisses, not as good. Here is the recipe, from another blog that I read.

Dress Up

B&J have recently taken to the game of dressing up their baby sister in costumes. They've also started putting "accessories" in her hair and applying play make-up (for some reason you can't really see the makeup in this picture). B said that L said she wanted to go to her "beauty salon". I find it hard to believe that the words "beauty salon" came out of L's mouth. She enjoys the attention though...most of the time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MAN DOWN!

X was having a bout of extreme irritability this evening. I was trying to cook dinner. I was carrying him around because the sound of his crying is like nails on a blackboard to my ears. As I was carrying cups of milk to the table they started to slip out of my hand. I attempted to toss them onto the table to partially save my freshly mopped floor. As I took the final step toward the table some milk splashed under my foot causing the above illustrated chain reaction...except picture a 2 month old baby in the left arm. I landed flat on my back/left elbow, and tried to curl around him. After I hit the ground X's little noggin bumped the floor slightly despite my desperate attempt to prevent it. He didn't seem to be hurt, just scared him. My entire kitchen was covered in milk, I can't straighten my left arm, and I expect my left hip/buttock will be turning a lovely shade of purple tomorrow.

*As happens so often, right before I picked up the milk cups I had sort of a flash of an image of them flying out of my hand, and I ignored it. Idiot.

Do as I say...

Background: I've been really busting my behind to keep the house clean, working on developing routines that will minimize the time spent cleaning and maximize the clean. But that is Baby Step #3...which I'll talk about at another time. Here is a little story from Daniel...

Daniel was upstairs bossing the peas around while they were sort of cleaning/sort of playing in the disaster of a playroom. You know, the usual speech about how you shouldn't be playing unless your other messes are already picked up. If you don't clean all of these piles up and put them away, I'm going to throw out whatever is left on the floor at bedtime...the usual. So, then J said, "Daddy your office is a big mess, and you were playing Metroid earlier." Burn. True on both counts. Guess who was cleaning his office before work this morning.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mario Kart

I've done nothing productive today, except beat Mario Kart on the Wii. My brother and I have had a long standing love affair with Mario Kart (since the early 90's).

Okay that's not entirely true. I've done nothing productive except, play with my kids, bake cookies, prepare everyone's breakfast, lunches and healthy snacks, wash my sheets, do 3 loads of laundry, keep the kitchen and family room clean (pick up behind EVERYONE!), and beat Mario Kart.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Steps...#2

X after our outing

Healthy snacks....check

#2: I'm afraid to go anywhere alone with all 4 children. L is so scary with the running away...otherwise I could handle it.

Yesterday, I decided to gather up all of my courage and take all 4 kids to a "mom meet up" at one of our smaller pools...ALONE. If it was not a smaller pool, I couldn't have done it. So, we successfully survived one hour without anyone drowning, but that was all my nerves could take. At the end of one hour, we came home. X could not really take anymore of the insane heat either.

Today I NEED to go grocery shopping. I could take all 4 of them to the store. However, while yesterday was fun for them, grocery shopping would be fun for none involved. I'll have to call for backup...she goes by "Grammy".

"Oh Mr. Ceiling Fan, you are so hilarious."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Take Your Daughter To Work Day

Every nerd needs a white board...you know for writing all of their nonsense. Daniel has always had a white board as long as I can remember. She appears to be decorating it with hearts. Hearts and science...a deadly brew. I title this unfortunately low quality webcam photo, "Brains and Beauty, the Total Package"

Yesterday B went to "Take Our Daughters/Sons To Work" day at Daniel's company. She was the only one old enough to attend (ages 7-16, I think) of the 4 peas. They had a breakfast, did science experiments, gave her a bunch of swag (including a bag of computer chips like the one below), toured some kind of lab, had a scavenger hunt, a nice lunch, etc. Then she spent the afternoon in daddy's cube.

She won the top door prize for her age group...Electronics 101 kit. She spent the afternoon playing with it, reading the book she brought, and doing her math workbook.
If I had been thinking clearly I would have taken a picture of her with the bag of chips. Then I could have titled it "All That and a Bag of Chips", unfortunately I'm not always on the ball with these things. I'm the one who thinks of a great comeback 2 hours after a verbal confrontation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Electric Update

I spent an hour on the phone with our electric provider (mostly on hold) this morning. After examining fixed rates of their competitors I found out that 16-17 cents/Kwh is the average fixed rate around here. Daniel didn't fix our rate again after the fixed expired awhile ago. So, they could not remedy our $500 bill since the energy was already consumed and paid for to the main electric company at the variable rate. The new fixed rate (which we haven't agreed to yet) would make a bill like our current one equal to $11.80 per day ($352) in electricity versus the $17.33 per day ($514) in electricity that we paid for our current bill. I'm still not excited about $300-$400 electric bills during the summers. So, in an attempt to shave it down a little more, I am keeping all the shades closed during the day (I hate when it's dark during the day), and I upped both the thermostats to 80 degrees (from the 78 that they've been set at). I'm too cheap to endure these ridiculous rising costs.

I really am dying to know what everyone else's electric bill looks like this month. Ugh.

Your Electric Bill

Is your electric bill out of control? Daniel shouted when he opened ours this morning. He doesn't usually yelp when he opens mail...it scared me. I had only been awake for 2 minutes before he did it. The damage...$514.85, ouch. It's not just our use of electricity (which is reasonable) it is the 24 cents per kilowatt hour which has doubled since last year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Dance

My usual dancing partner was busy with PlayDoh, so my new boyfriend and I had our first dance today. We danced to "Faithfully" by Journey...because that's how we roll. It should be against the law to not appreciate a little Journey.



We rocked several more classic songs like we were in a Molly Ringwald movie, and then he passed out cold. I was too much woman for him, even without fingerless gloves.

Randomness

I'm having a hard time coming up with a cohesive topic today. So, here are some random thoughts and observations.

1. Nap time is a glorious, glorious invention. It is especially so, now that X has agreed to take an afternoon nap in his crib which he graciously coordinates with his sister's nap schedule. Priceless.

2. As I continue to emerge from the fog I've been in for the past 3 months, my life seems to be starting to get easier, despite the oppressive unconquerable mess in my house. Maybe I can coerce my mom into coming over sometime and helping me beat it back down to a manageable level. Or I could add it to the baby step list, though messes don't often respond to baby steps when there are 5 people who resist cleanliness.

3. It is so hot out that I fried the bottoms of my feet yesterday trying to step out of my back door and turn the hose on for the little pool. Not awesome.

4. I need a vacation. I was too tired to realize how badly until a few days ago.

5. I wish Daniel stayed home every day with us. I miss him when he's at work. Then, I feel guilty because we have family that are separated from their spouses every day. I should not miss him when he's just 12 miles away from 9am-6pm...but I do.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Baby Steps...#1

Don't ask me when this started. This is how she decides what type of cereal she wants.
I have recently emerged from my postpartum fog and realized my life is a disaster. Okay, so I had moments of clarity over the past 2 months and suspected as such, but was not able to really wrap my mind fully around the problem enough to start solving it. Thanks to my little buddy, I've recently come into the bounty of 2 full nights of uninterrupted sleep, and my brain is starting to rev it's engines again.

Sometimes there are just SO many things that need to be addressed, that I can't find a place to start. When I can't find a place to start...I give up. To quote a friend who also recently had her 4th..."4 is so much more than 3." It really, really is.

Today's baby step...Healthy Snacks

Today's snacks...grapes/cheese and carrot sticks/wheat thins/celery with PB
My big girls want to eat all day, every day. I just can't keep up with them, and they've been eating too much junk food because they can serve themselves junk, but either can't or don't want to go to the trouble of getting a healthy snack.

The old way: Eat 3 meals and...Ask mom for a snack every hour and eat mass quantities of junky snack foods over the course of the day.

The new way: Eat 3 meals and...get one of your prepared healthy snacks between meals, limit yourselves to 2 unhealthy snacks per day. Which is still a total of eating up to 7 times per day.

I am all about moderation, and I really don't have a problem with them eating a reasonable amount of junk food. It was just spiraling out of control with their crazy appetites. So, now they each have 2 of my favorite containers (Ziploc Twist and Lock) with their names on them, that I prepare each night for the next day.

Got any great tips for getting my life under control? Feel free to comment.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

A blurry picture of Daniel and the peas.
Happy Father's Day Daniel! We love you! Thanks for being a great daddy.

*Can you see from this picture where J gets the "serious face" from?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

When your mom is a teacher...

there is no such thing as summer vacation. Sometimes I feel a little bit guilty, but I expect the peas to do the library's summer reading program, and I expect them to spend at least 30 minutes per weekday on their workbooks. I don't like the idea that they could lose several months worth of skills just by vegetating all summer long. Fortunately, they usually don't mind doing the work. "Usually" was the key word in that sentence. It's one more thing each day that keeps them away from the TV, and that works for me. I was glad to read on my sister-in-law's blog that I am not the only "workbook mom" in town.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Girl and a Cookie

I was messing around with my camera settings yesterday while L was eating a cookie and indulging in her new obsession, J's old Leapster. I was using my 50mm 1.8 lens with no flash. These are straight out of the camera (no Photoshop), and are not properly exposed. When I use the flash in my family room, the results are usually worse. I love my camera, but I seriously lack skill. Maybe there is no way to remedy the pictures taken in this room due to the huge amount of windows. Or more likely...I need to spend a lot more time learning how to take good photographs. Here are the results...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Slow to Wake

J is the slowest waking child I've ever met. When she first wakes up, she stays in bed for anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Next, she slowly makes her way to the top of the stairs. Then this happens...After 10 minutes or so of the above, we get a little something like this...followed by a slow descent on her back, which can take up to 5-10 more minutes. When she reaches the last step, she stands up and usually skips to the couch. Then we embark on the process of getting her to eat breakfast. She does not like to eat unless she's been awake for at least 1-2 hours. Of course, I'm the same way about breakfast, so how can I complain.

As you can see, she is not pleased with the presence of the camera. I'll have to wear camouflage next time like any self respecting nature photographer.

Training Pants & Our Potty Training History


B did the Pull-ups and it took her about 6 months to train (of course we did start early at 18 months because she was trying to change her own diapers).

J did the cloth training pants during the day and Pull-ups at night/nap and trained in about 2 months (we got all of our huge collection for free from a family friend who worked for Gerber clothing)

L has been doing Pull-ups for about a month now, and the problem is that she wants a new Pull-up every time she makes the slightest drop of wetness in them. Sometimes even if they are completely dry she wants a new one. So this morning I hauled my rear end up into the attic to get down our 20+ pairs of awesome training pants. I expect this move to do two things...1. get her to train faster since when she wets them immediate action needs to be taken, she can't just walk around comfortably like she can with the Pull-up...2. be environmentally responsible & save money, because going through 10 Pull-ups each day is neither good for the planet, nor my budget. Especially since my washing machines are high efficiency and run at least once per day anyway. We will use 2 Pull-ups a day now, one for nap, and one for night, because I've got better things to do than wash sheets every day and lose precious napping minutes due to accidents.

For my next trick...I will potty train a BOY! That of course will likely be 2-3 years down the road.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Milestone Alert

X rolled over last night, from his stomach to his back. I think it is the second time he's done it. He only does it when he gets really, really angry. He screams and flails his arms and legs until he flips.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wildlife Park

The big girls and I went on a Girl Scout outing to a wildlife park today.
There were pony rides and a petting zoo (I hate petting zoos as much as I hate circuses).The usual photo ops, etc. The main attraction was the tram tour of the park. It was a very long tour (30-45min), and was well worth the cost of admission as the animals pretty much try to get right in the tram with you. Here are a few photos. I won't bore you with the balance of the 194 photos that I took. Yes, you heard me...194...I need an intervention.



Monday, June 9, 2008

2 months old

X turned 2 months old yesterday, and today had his checkup. He is currently 11 lbs, 6oz. This puts him around 50%ile, up from the 10%ile he was at for his first checkup at 2 weeks.Here I go...I'm totally going to do it. I'm mustering all the strength in my unusually short neck.I'm doing it...look at me...I'm totally doing it. BOO YAH!Whoa...I seriously underestimated the weight of my head...MUST...STAY...UUUUUP!MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Houston, we have a problem....And I'm spent.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Old Timey Broads

Check us out. We made our 2nd ever batch of Strawberry Jam today. Our last batch was made after picking the berries ourselves in Seattle back in the summer of 2005. I'm not a big fan of jam, but homemade jam is an entirely different thing. I noticed today that Randalls had 4lb boxes of Strawberries for $4.88 (I also had a $5 off coupon for Randalls), so we got 12 pounds of berries and had a good old fashioned canning session. Just me and my big girls. I figured we would get some jam, and do some female bonding. We did 20 jars, and froze exactly the right amount of crushed berries to make 20 more (after we eat these). If you follow the recipe I linked, do add some extra pectin as suggested. I should have done that to make the jam a little thicker. I made the same observation the last time we made jam...but 3 years and 2 babies fried my brain and I forgot to add extra pectin AGAIN.