Monday, December 21, 2009

meal plan monday

  • sunday: waffles; sausage
  • monday: chicken soup; sourdough (carried over from last week – we had leftovers on saturday instead)
  • tuesday: hamburgers; carrot sticks; tater tots
  • wednesday: chicken; rice; peas&carrots
  • thursday: french dips; salad (we have christmas dinner on the 25th, not on christmas eve)
  • friday: christmas dinner!!!!
  • satuday: pizza; green beans (as if we could NOT have it!)

i did the shopping yesterday, thank goodness. i hate shopping anyway, but doing it on sunday afternoons works pretty well, because i have the potential to do it alone… although layla somehow finagled her way along. i went to qfc in redmond w/ the added bonus of being able to go to ben franklin in the same trip. managed to pick up the RIGHT yarn for attempt #5 or something of my niece’s birthday/christmas/graduation present (yes, she’s 1 – you read that right. i’m just not very optimistic about getting it done in the next decade). ::sigh::

Friday, December 18, 2009

if you teach your mother to knit…

…you might get an email at 2:58am that looks something like this:

“Dearest Daughter:

Are you supposed to have suicidal feelings when your knitting is not doing what it's supposed to do?

Is it all right if you ripped it all out and decided to start over just doing KNIT for the next few years?

Is it all right  to wake up your Dad and yell at him because he's sleeping through your knitting night-mare?

Other than that I feel fine--am going to bed--and plan to learn casting-on the first thing in the morning.

Love from MOM

P. S. Yarn does not go thru the paper shredder--surprisingly--neither do knitting needles ....”

it’s amazing what you find…

…when you’ve lost the tv remote.

our remote had been MIA for 2 days, so last night, dave tore apart the couch (not literally) in an attempt to find it. he did. but he also found, among much dust, crumbs, nuts, cereal and other junk…


  • 1 shamrock BLING necklace
  • 1 sample size bottle of baby lotion
  • 21 cents
  • 2 marbles
  • 1 lego
  • some sort of U shaped metal stake i’ve never seen before and have no idea where it came from
  • 1 paper circle
  • 1 foam circle and 1 oval
  • 1 plastic knife
  • 2 stitch markers
  • 2 bob the builder memory cards
  • 1 guitar pick
  • 1 plastic play spoon
  • 1 clothespin
  • 1 crayon
  • 1 colored pencil
  • 1 hair clip
  • 1 baby sock

makes you wonder what your couch has been eating lately, doesn’t it?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the shawl!!!!

i don’t know how i managed to forget to post these until now.  002001 

the pictures really do not give the yarn justice. it’s just gorgeous. (and it only took me what, 5 and a half months to finish. HA!) i already miss it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


i’m definitely one for extremes. i know this about myself. sometimes i am able to keep that in mind and the things related to it in perspective. other times, not so much. sometimes i will become overwhelmed with guilt i feel over how much i’m NOT getting done – be it with housework, homeschooling, time spent with my kids, etc. other times i will just become confused over what is going on in my own head. i try to make sense of the various (and often contradictory) extremes that are fighting for position in my head and then start to question my sanity. how can i feel this when just yesterday i whole heartedly believed in that?  i habitually set unrealistic standards for myself, my family, my children, based on what i see elsewhere, and then feel distressed or disappointed when reality doesn’t agree with the idealized version of the situation i’ve been carrying around in my head.

at any rate, i’ve had a rough couple of weeks. i guess i just feel like that by the age of 33, i would have figured out who i am. it seems like i should have a firm grasp on what i believe in and hold to be important. yet i feel more lost than ever. i’ve been trying to sort out who i am as a person. as a wife. as a mother. as a child of God… and it just seems like i should have sorted SOMETHING out by now.

i became very discouraged recently. i’m not sure exactly what set me off initially. probably one of those series’ of events that, individually, seem harmless enough, but together created some sort of chemical reaction that caused me to implode. as some point i realized that a lot of what i felt strongly about was causing me to alienate myself from people that i love. i found myself offending people unintentionally and walking around with this high and mighty, judgmental attitude that was VERY distressing to me. in general, i think i’m a pretty friendly person. i can be kind of shy with strangers, but i LOVE my friends and family and somehow or other i was walking around with this attitude that everyone was wrong most of the time… including me. i was NOT feeling like a very nice person. so, extremist that i am, rather than just working on the bad stuff, i had to throw out everything.

then i read the news about little josie duggar, born at 25 weeks and weighing only 1 lb, 6 oz, followed shortly thereafter by news of another friend who, in the second trimester, had lost her baby. i lost one at 10 weeks and it was the most devastating thing i’ve every experienced… i don’t know if there’s any comparison there. it seems to me that the longer you have that baby, the worse it would hurt, but i don’t know. the selfish part of me is glad i don’t know. i hope that doesn’t sound insensitive. at any rate, news like this causes me to look at my 3 healthy children and wonder why i don’t appreciate them more. why i resent it when they require my attention? is this NOT what parenting is about? i suppose guilt is my middle name, so why not indulge in it? i started to feel like i didn’t deserve these children, like God made a mistake in making me their mother. wouldn’t they be better off with someone who cares more? who has more energy? more patience? more creativity? and in the midst of all that, i made the mistake of looking at a blog i used to read. it’s the blog of a friend of a friend, but i knew she was pregnant and wondered if she’d had her baby yet. but then i had to keep reading. there’s a reason (other than the fact that i don’t actually know her) that i quit reading her blog. the person is one of those over-achieving types – well, at least it seems that way. she puts a lot of pictures on her blog and from what i can see, she’s the anti-rachel. as in her house is spotless, there’s no clutter, everything is decorated by someone who knows something about decorating, she’s disgustingly crafty, homeschools her kids (who always wear matching, coordinated outfits that are clean), and is always posting about fun places they’ve gone and projects they’ve done, or cute little parties they’ve thrown, complete with all the food and decorations and ‘special’ stuff she’s made herself for her children. UGH! guilt personified.

so there i am, wallowing in guilt over all the stuff i don’t do, and the children i don’t appreciate, and the house i haven’t cleaned, and the parties i don’t throw, and the crafts i don’t do, and why is it so hard for me and so easy for everyone else, and yada yada yada. instant depressed rachel. yes, i know, it all sounds SO stupid. and today, i can see that. today i can write about it with the right perspective.

for the most part, episodes like this are bad for me. i know this. i hate when i get like this and the unpleasantness that comes with it and the fact that my family has to deal with that. but at the same time, it can kind of shake up my complacency and cause me to realize that the things i feel bad about are generally areas that i CAN stand to improve, just not necessarily to the extreme i was obsessing over. i DO need to be nicer about things. proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” ya think? looking back i can see that i set myself up for that one. my job is to make sure that my heart and my life is right before the Lord, and to encourage others, but never to judge them. also, i DO need to appreciate my children more and my attitude needs to be more loving, understanding and patient. galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” i have had a major lack in all of these departments lately. i know that comparing myself to others is generally destructive, but i also know that there is much to learn from others, i just have to have the right attitude about it.

i know how blessed i am.

Monday, December 14, 2009

update on my feeble attempts to create new habits…

a couple weeks ago, i had a post about my pathetic housekeeping abilities, lack of motivation, bad habits, etc. etc. etc… i talked about different systems i’ve tried in the past and all of that, and was greatly inspired to put something together again, to try and remedy the pig sty i live in. so in my fit of motivation, i ordered the book from the library and made a trip to staples to buy a new, smaller cardfile box and some new 3x5 cards.

so this is my version of how this works. if you want the whole scoop, read the book. if for no other reason than it’s hilarious!

in my cardfile, i have 12 dividers for the months of the year and 31 dividers for the days of the month. i also have index cards in white, yellow, blue and pink. i want to get a few other colors as well, so i can give a color to dave and another to shane, and eventually a color to layla and micah, so everyone has their own cards.

1 card = 1 chore. right now, with a couple exceptions, all of the cards in the box are mine. however, dave has kindly asked me how he can help and be supportive, and i just told him to check the box and if there are any cards in it that haven’t been done, DO THEM!

i have my chores divided up into daily, weekly, monthy/seasonally/yearly chores. blue cards are for daily chores (laundry, dishes, dusting, etc.) , yellow are weekly (showers, floors, sheets, etc.), white are all the rest (washing walls, flipping mattresses, etc.). i’ll get to the pink cards later and i’m still on the fence over whether or not they’re necessary.

i have the days of the week lined up with a plan for a certain area to be cleaned/attended to. this works best for me because then it’s not like i know i have to spend all day cleaning the entire house ever. just a little bit every day. i put all of my blue daily chore cards in front of the number divider for today. the yellow ones get distributed in front of the dividers for the days of the week they go with and the white cards get distributed throughout the rest of the months accordingly. at the start of a new month, i move the white cards to dates on which i intend to do them.

so to get specific, here’s what my weekly plan looks like:

  • monday: floors and windows
  • tuesday: ironing
  • wednesday: living room
  • thursday: kitchen/dining room
  • friday: bathrooms
  • saturday: bedrooms
  • sunday: menu/grocery shopping

my weekly chores correspond with the area of the house being dealt with and you can probably figure out what’s involved in that, so i won’t list all of those.

i will list my daily chores though, because they’re the biggest key to success, i think. i’m a very day-to-day kind of person. planning ahead makes me feel nervous and boxed in and afraid that some unforeseen event will spoil the plan i made and stuff like that really stresses me out. (i know, i need help.) if i can keep on top of my daily chores, the weekly ones are easier to accomplish. major cleaning is less major, because all week i’ve been doing minor maintenance. keeping up with the daily stuff is what saves my sanity! these are my cards for what i attempt to accomplish throughout each day:

  • unload dishwasher and put away dishes
  • check what’s planned for dinner and thaw/prepare anything if necessary
  • make beds (shane does his own)
  • bible reading
  • wash and dry one load of laundry
  • bathroom wipe-down – hall bathroom (i use a clorox wipe on the counter, faucet, knobs, and toilet surfaces)
  • bathroom wipe-down – master bathroom
  • fold and put away laundry (i split the laundry up into 2 cards purposely because i would often get the first part done and then the load would sit in the dryer until i needed the dryer and then it would sit in the basket)
  • wipe dining table
  • wipe stove and kitchen counters
  • take out compost
  • load and run dishwasher
  • vacuum diningroom, kitchen, hall, livingroom, bedrooms (shane is in charge of tidying up first)
  • make coffee (i do this the night before and it is my #1 sanity saver!)

after i have completed a card, i move it so it’s in front of the next day’s divider (or the appropriate one for next week if it’s yellow card, or in front of the appropriate month if it’s white).

of course, this is all IDEAL. these are my goals. should i ever actually accomplish every card in the box, the earth would reverse it’s rotation, hell would freeze over, and the sun would likely fall out of the sky. i’m probably the worst about the white cards. when the card for “clean oven” comes up, i’m quick to think of an excuse for why i can’t do it right then and shuffle it quickly to the next month. i get very scarlet o’hara about stuff like that… i’ll think about it tomorrow.

at any rate, i’m trying. i still haven’t found my magic motivator… if you find it, let me know!

meal plan monday

did the shopping yesterday – thank goodness i’m DONE.

  • sunday: scrambled eggs; sausage patties; toast
  • monday: chicken burritos
  • tuesday: white chicken chili; sourdough
  • wednesday: advent dinner/service @ church
  • thursday: tacos
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: chicken noodle soup; sourdough

can you tell i have a lot of chicken in the freezer and little else?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

interesting discoveries

i discovered last night, at dave’s company christmas party, that layla is TERRIFIED of santa claus. about 10 minutes later, i discovered that she’s also terrified of the grinch. yup. there were a couple of costumed visitors at the party which made the party less than a party for us. we didn’t have a bad time, and it was a very laid-back atmosphere, but layla spent the entire time keeping track of those two characters and making sure that they were no where near her. she didn’t venture more than 2 feet from us the whole night and practically climbed us every time one of them was in view. fortunately, santa claus was very kind and gently tried to win her over by offering her a candy cane and having little conversations with her. eventually she was willing to take the candy cane, gave him a tentative high five, and actually said thank you to him audibly. sitting on his lap for a picture was completely out of the question.

other than that it was fun and the city was beautiful in the dark, of course. dave’s building is opposite the downtown macy’s so it was thrilling to walk outside and be standing right under the big star (it’s still the ‘bon star’ in my mind). we rode the carousel and checked out a wonderful set-up of toy trains in a display window. it all felt very christmassy, which i guess is kind of the point!

Monday, December 7, 2009

meal plan monday

it’s back. i skipped last week because i was lazy. we mostly just ate out of the freezer and i don’t even think i went grocery shopping at all. this week we’re still eating out of the freezer a little bit, and i already did the shopping yesterday, since i was already out at fred meyer doing my christmas shopping (SO thankful to have a dad who retired from fred meyer and has a perpetual employee discount!). so other than a small costco run i have to make later this week, i’m DONE already!!!!

  • sunday: french toast; bacon
  • monday: tater tot casserole (the spare i put in the freezer last time i made it)
  • tuesday: mac & cheese w/ dogs; peas and carrots (the kids will be SO happy!)
  • wednesday: advent dinner/service at church
  • thursday: beef barley soup; sourdough (also out of the freezer from last time)
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: chicken of some sort and veggies of some sort (yet to be determined after i go to costco and get the chicken)


Friday, December 4, 2009


so i’ve had a skeleton of this post bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks now. i’m not even really sure what the point of it is, or what my opinion on the matter really is, except that it’s something that’s kind of irritating me.

have you noticed that christmas has been, more or less, completely deleted? listen to your radio. watch the commercials on tv. read the ads in the paper. nothing. it’s like ‘christmas’ has become a dirty word.

now before anyone gets their dander all up, this is not a particularly religiously-inspired post, not that i disagree with the idea that ‘Christ’ should remain the center of ‘Christ’mas.  but that’s not what this is about.

i’m a ‘word person’. i love language. i love the idiosyncrasies that that come with spoken and written language. i love that humans have the ability to string letters and words and sentences together to create something beautiful, or funny, or clever, or ANYTHING! it’s just a wonderful thing. i love that we can trace sayings or pronunciations or roots back to who knows where and stuff like that. in other words, i’m a total nerd. but that’s also beside the point. my point is, that it seems like popular culture (or whoever is in charge of it) has decided that the WORD ‘christmas’ is bad, and should be avoided and replaced with a non-specific, totally generic term like ‘holiday’.

again, i will break into my rambling thoughts to point out that i am aware of the whole PC angle here. i know that not everyone celebrates christmas, and there are other ‘holidays’ which are celebrated this time of year, etc, etc, etc…

however, it’s not like christmas has disappeared, or has been deemed unacceptable, just the word.

the retailers still encourage us to do our ‘holiday shopping’. while gifts are given for hanukkah as well, i’m not convinced that the mass marketing of chia pets, salad shooters and the clapper are aimed at hanukkah shoppers. (btw, have you ever noticed how those things only show up in stores this time of year? i think it’s hilarious and i LOVE the commercials. they’re the same ones they’ve had for the last 20 years!) we’re supposed to buy stocking stuffers too? do people hang stockings for kwanzaa? or new years’? not only that, we keep getting reminded of how many shopping days are left until december 25th. yup, you know. that non-specific holiday that happens to be on december 25th.

santa claus still shows up at all the malls and we’re supposed to dress our kids up and make them stand in long lines to tell him what they’ve been good all year and have their picture taken with him. correct me if i’m wrong, but i’m pretty sure santa is associated with christmas.

we’re supposed to send ‘holiday’ cards. yup. cards that say ‘happy holidays’ but are covered with pictures of christmas trees or nativity scenes or santa claus. hmmmm….

we hang ‘holiday’ lights on our houses, drape them over our bushes, set up elaborate ‘holiday’ displays in our yards. now, i realize that i don’t have a lot of jewish friends, but do people put giant inflatable homer simpsons dressed as santa claus or snowglobes with reindeer in them or in their yards for hanukkah? really?

and for some reason, all of the ‘holiday’ decor, is really christmas decor. no really. go to target. look at that section. it’s all christmas trees and santa claus and elves and holly and stuff like that. have you put up your new years’ tree yet? your winter solstice tree? it is so NOT generic. there’s a separate hanukkah section. and for some reason, it’s specifically called ‘hanukkuh decor’. why is that okay, but ‘christmas’ isn’t?

don’t tell me it’s because christmas is traditionally a religious holiday. if that were the problem, then people who don’t associate themselves with the religious traditions of christmas would just not celebrate it. and christmas has LONG been much more to a good share of the christian and non-christian general public (of the west, at least). easter is definitely a religious holiday, but it’s okay to buy easter baskets and easter eggs and easter decor… and besides, is hanukkuh not a religious holiday too?

i don’t want anyone to think that i’m picking on hanukkah here. that’s not my intention. i’m just using it as an illustration for why i’m wondering why christmas is NOT okay.

i guess i feel like if people are that offended by christmas, then maybe they shouldn’t celebrate it. instead it seems like everyone has to go through this crazy charade of doing everything we’ve always done for christmas, but pretending that it’s just not called christmas!

i know, in the grand scheme of things, this really doesn’t matter. i choose to put up christmas lights on my house. if i send cards, they will be christmas cards. it’s just that the constant barrage of advertising and all things associated with christmas partnered with the blatant absence of the word gets a little irritating.

so, if you celebrate christmas, then i wish you a ‘merry christmas!’ if you don’t then i don’t. i wish you a happy time celebrating whatever it is you celebrate. i just don’t understand why there’s this double standard of not being able to specify that the holiday you’re celebrating is christmas.

i hope no one is offended by this. just me, analyzing things like i usually do and wondering what the fuss is all about. if you’re in the ‘holiday’ camp, i’d love to hear why, so please comment, but be nice. it’s purely sociological curiosity and a bit of language-inspired irritation that arises in me when stuff just doesn’t make sense.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

can someone please give me my kid back?

i’m experiencing a bit of frustration lately. okay, a lot. and it’s exhausting. something happened to my sweet, wonderful, bestest little boy ever and he has been replaced with a TWO YEAR OLD! ugh. i’ve been quite spoiled in the last two years. as a baby, micah was super-content and never required more than his fair share of attention. a little later, he discovered climbing and my biggest challenge was trying to keep him from falling on his head. for the last year or so, he’s been so low maintenance, i’ve REALLY gotten spoiled. last spring, i discovered that he was great for easy bedtimes. plunk him in the crib, give him a couple books, say night night, and that was it! a few tears here and there, but more often than not, would fall asleep without much fuss. he was also really good at entertaining himself and would disappear into his bedroom to read books. he was also mostly trustworthy about putting stuff in his mouth or other ‘dangerous’ type things. i could point at a burner, say ‘hot’ and he would walk away.

well, now i can’t turn my back 5 seconds without him getting into trouble! last week we had to say good bye to the crib because he could climb out of it, so now naps are a rare luxury. he runs away everytime you want him to do anything. he gets into layla’s coloring supplies and colors on EVERYTHING. he can reach anything i can by pushing a chair over or climbing onto the counter. he’s back on the table every other minute. he tries to help himself to the fruit basket (it’s a hanging fruit basket) all the time. he’s started playing in the toilet again. i got out the door knob covers again, but he already took one off once. his favorite ‘toys’ are things he’s not supposed to have. he likes to get on a stool and examine the contents of the junk drawer. he likes to pull shane’s school things off the shelf and scatter them all over the floor. toys are of very little use to him right now. the only thing he does with toys is dump them out all over the floor and then start chucking them across the room, OR hits people with them. SO fun. and he’s not interested in any of them for longer than 5 minutes, if that! UGH! yes, i realize he wants attention, but given that i’ve got a homeschooling 4th grader in the house, and a 4 year old as well, there are times i NEED him to entertain himself!

and then there’s the scary factor. last night, while dave, shane and i were all standing in the kitchen, micah sat down in the middle of the floor, RIGHT NEXT TO US, and proceeded to pull the jug of dishwasher detergent out of the child-locked cabinet under the sink. dave looked down and noticed him as he was pulling off the dried-on dribbles and putting them in his mouth and wiping it onto his face! hello!!!! i wiped a big blob of this stuff off of his eyelashes and washed out his mouth and gave him a big cup of milk, but i have to say, i stayed up VERY late last night so i could be sure he was okay… yes, he’s fine - he couldn’t have gotten very much in, but good grief! i always wondered who those kids were that you heard about who drank bleach or gasoline… well, now i know. sheesh!

thank goodness he’s still cute.

i know layla went through this too. starting around 18 months or so, she lost all interest in toys and only wanted to play with the mail, the laundry, important documents or other things that were not for her. i don’t think we ever really solved it, mostly just did damage control, and eventually she discovered coloring and that was that.

shane NEVER went through anything like this. he would play with cars or trains or whatever for hours. HOURS! he was very self-entertaining, never got into trouble.

at any rate, life is somewhat difficult right now. i’m feeling worn out. i didn’t get a shower in until 1:15 today when micah (miraculously) took a short nap. i used to be able to do that without worrying, but not now. and since he can get out of bed on his own, i’m not really comfortable doing it before he wakes up either (on the off chance that i should be able to drag myself out of bed before him). layla is kind of emotional right now as well, and shane is his usual highly-distractable, schoolwork-hating self, which leaves me frequently with 3 kids who require my undivided attention. right.

okay, sorry this was kind of a long ramble/rant/whine. life’s really not so bad, as long as i can keep micah in one piece and maintain some semblance of my sanity, i guess we’ll be okay. wish me luck!


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