Sunday, February 28, 2010

meal plan monday (a day early)

  • sunday: hamburgers; carrots; tater tots
  • monday: chicken; beans/rice; salad
  • tuesday: chili; cornbread
  • wednesday: lenten service/supper at church
  • thursday: taco salads
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: leftovers

i still need to shop, but don’t need too much. some salad stuff, zatarans, cans of tomato ‘stuff’ for the chili and maybe one more can of beans, and some chips for the taco salads. that should do it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

favorites

so i’m totally stealing this idea from my SIL. she recently had a post, recording some of her kids’ favorite things at the time and i think it’s a wonderful idea and wish i'd been doing it all along! you think you’ll remember these things, BUT YOU JUST CAN’T, NEMO!!! but life distracts you and you forget. (oops! sorry. that happens sometimes.)

so, we’ll start with the oldest (because life is SO unfair and stuff like that)…

shane likes:

  • the olympics. he is very excited about watching, especially snowboarding, downhill skiing (because he likes to watch people wreck), and speed skating.
  • susie. this is our neighbor who ‘employs’ him. he speeds through what he needs to get done here and rushes over to her house. sometimes they’re weeding, sometimes planting, sometimes filling 83 pots with compost and repotting 5 different species of native ferns, and sometimes cleaning out woodsheds, tool sheds, and garages so that a camper can be moved inside and remodeled. essentially, home is really boring and doesn’t pay as well.
  • tractors and riding lawnmowers (nothing new there)
  • big pick-up trucks. the bigger the better.
  • milk. i think he’s catching up with dave in his milk consumption, which further convinces me that we NEED a cow!

shane doesn’t like:

  • school (nothing new)
  • chores (although i recently made $22 off of his slacking! i told him that i would do ‘pop poop checks’ and i would charge him a dollar for every pile of dog poop i found in the back yard. HA!)

layla likes:

  • coloring, drawing, writing, etc.
  • her eldest cousin, melissa. she talks about her constantly, says she’s ‘my bestest cousin ever!’ and is really sad that we can’t just hop in the car and go visit her. no idea where this fascination came from.
  • girls. yup. girls. she likes anything that has girls in it. in tv shows, she likes the characters that are girls. they don’t even have to be people. she watches thomas the tank engine with micah and tells me that emily is her favorite engine because she’s a girl.
  • polly pockets. OMG. she LOVES polly pockets. she’s decided already that this is what she wants for her birthday. lots of polly pockets (and a purse – a REAL purse, not a play one.)
  • robin’s tea party. her friend robin is having a birthday party in a couple weeks and it’s a fancy tea party and layla is SO excited!
  • hair clips. she likes putting them on every stuffed animal or doll that has long enough hair to hold them.
  • preschool. we went back to her old preschool for a visit on open house day. they’re registering for next year, but there is room in the current pre-k class, so she’ll likely get to go, if i can just make the logistical stuff all line up right.
  • fashion! not sure what all this is about, but she frequently plans fashion shows (which mostly involve yanking EVERY item out of her closet and setting up outfits for like the next 500 days, complete with underwear and socks). she also likes to stand in front of the mirror and ‘pose’.
  • making her own pb&j sandwiches or toast.

layla doesn’t like:

  • boys! she says repeatedly that she doesn’t like boys. not her friends, not her brothers, not daddy. well, she doesn’t dislike daddy (or her brothers, really) i think she just doesn’t like the fact that they are boys. she was watching pairs skating on the olympics and got concerned that if you skated, you HAD to skate with a boy!
  • dairy products. she has recently more or less sworn off all dairy products. the only one she will voluntarily consume is ice cream. 1 small cup of milk a day is forced upon her, and she’ll tolerate cheese on pizza, but not if it’s too ‘melty’. ugh.
  • baths. OMG! getting that child washed is WWIII, i swear! someone’s going to call cps on me with all her screaming!

micah likes:

  • fruit! this is the only food he will consistently eat, and i’ve yet to find a fruit he won’t eat. he eats at least 1 banana and usually at least 2 oranges EVERY day. if there are grapes or any kind of berries in the house, he’ll go to town on them.
  • thomas the tank engine. he LOVES thomas. toys, dvd’s, books, shirts. anything thomas is WONDERFUL!
  • garbage trucks. as i posted before, wednesday is the best day of the week.
  • brushing his teeth. unfortunately, he’s not particular about which toothbrush he’s using and frequently chooses one other than his own. YUCK.
  • getting into mommy’s make up. he put on mascara the other day. that was attractive.
  • playing ‘sbacketball’. you know, where you throw the orange ball into the hoop?
  • baseball bats – or anything that resembles them… toy fishing pole, hair brush, etc.
  • the dog.
  • my parents’ cat. thinks she’s the greatest. squeals in excitement whenever she comes into the room. chases her relentlessly.
  • going potty. we just need to up the consistency.
  • books. he will frequently disappear into his bedroom and just sit and look at books for a LONG time (in toddlerland, it’s a long time).

micah doesn’t like:

  • eating dinner. more often than not, he doesn’t. i’m not someone who is going to fix something separate for a picky eater. he gets what everyone else is having and generally chooses to ignore it. ::sigh::
  • having to come inside.
  • going to bed.
  • getting yelled at. if he gets in trouble and you are upset and raise your voice at him, he just acts heartbroken. i just wish it were more effective at motivating him to avoid the trouble in the first place! oh well.

okay, that’s it. i’ll try to do these somewhat frequently. if i forget and haven’t done one in awhile, remind me!

Friday, February 19, 2010

what happens when you’re the little brother:

i’ve been sitting on a couple pictures for awhile, meaning to post them, but just haven’t gotten around to it.

my poor little guy. this sort of thing could only happen to the LITTLE brother…

003here we see that a certain big brother thought it would be entertaining to secure micah’s arms to his sides by binding him all the way around, several times with packing tape. 013  and here we see the work of a certain big sister, who thought that micah’s face wasn’t smiley enough.

gotta love it! =S

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

lent

today is ash wednesday, marking the beginning of the liturgical season of lent. as happens every year, i CAN’T believe it’s already here! didn’t we just celebrate christmas? wasn’t it JUST 2009? i remember being a kid and listening to my mother talk about how quickly time went and thinking she was crazy. time seems to crawl at what seems like a geological pace when you’re a kid. but, as usual, she was right.

the traditions involved with lent, around the world, are fascinating to me. yesterday, thanks to UK native friends, i got to celebrate ‘pancake tuesday’. yesterday afternoon and evening, facebook was littered with status updates about what things people were ‘giving up’ for lent. this is a tradition i generally participate in. last year i gave up facebook. in the past, i’ve given up things like soda, coffee, candy, tv.  this year, i’m giving up my dishwasher. odd, i know.

people have different ideas about the purpose of giving something up. i’m not an expert on the history of lenten traditions, but i know that traditionally people would observe a 40 day fast, finishing with an easter celebration feast. for some the fast would involve giving up meat, for others, any ‘rich’ foods such as butter, eggs, sugar, oils, etc, which is where the traditions of pancake tuesday and fat tuesday came from, in order to rid your house of such foods. for others, i believe yeast is something not used during lent. wikipedia has some interesting information about lent and i’m sure there are more informative websites out there as well. at any rate, it’s an interesting subject, and given that church history is now a topic that fascinates me, as opposed to bores me, i imagine some research is in the near future for me.  i do find it interesting that so many people who do not observe lent, from a religious standpoint, do observe lenten fasts.

some people view the purpose of giving up something (or even adding something) in much the same way i view a new years’ resolution, in that it is intended to break or create a habit for personal improvement or increased health, such as smoking or exercising. i view it differently. personally, i try to give up something that has enough significance to me that i will ‘suffer’ a little bit with it. i see the lenten fast as a way to call to mind the suffering of Christ on our behalf, and any time i feel the discomfort of whatever i’ve given up (because of a craving or an inconvenience), i use that to remind myself of how much that ‘suffering’ pales in comparison. that said, i don’t think that anyone can define a ‘correct’ way to observe a lenten fast, only that, if your intention is to observe lent from a religious perspective (and personally, i don’t really understand what there is to observe otherwise – but that’s just me and it’s certainly not for me to determine who should and shouldn’t observe lent), that your focus is on Christ, not on yourself and YOUR personal gain.

there are other traditions of lent that are particularly meaningful to me. i’ve recently become aware of something i had always taken for granted. not all christian denominations are ‘liturgical’. i had no clue about this. what i mean by liturgical, for those who don’t know, is the following of the liturgical calendar of the seasons of church year. it includes seasons like advent, christmas, epiphany, lent, easter, pentecost, etc. there are colors, liturgies, music, etc. that go along with each season as well. obviously, the catholic church and it’s traditions is the main source of much of modern christianity, but a few of the protestant denominations (lutherans, methodists, anglicans) still follow the liturgical calendar. having grown up in the lutheran church, i had no idea that ‘church’ for other christians doesn’t involve these observations and celebrations. of course there’s no biblical requirement which states that in order to be a christian, you MUST follow the liturgical calendar, so i don’t want to give anyone the idea that i think non-liturgical churches are less correct or less christian than those that are. i just have discovered that i really appreciate the rhythm of those seasons and the things that go along with it.

one of the things associated with lent in church, is the absence of the word ‘alleluia’ in music and liturgy. this became particularly meaningful, while i was a student at trinity. every day at 10am, there was a chapel service, and every wednesday, that service included the celebration of the eucharist, or holy communion. the trinity eucharist has some of the most beautiful music i’ve ever experienced (which involve a lot of alleluias), and the absence of that for the season of lent was very significant. even more significant, was the return of this after easter. i can hardly describe the celebratory feeling that accompanied the return of this music and it’s alleluias! that in itself, was a true lenten fast for me. there are also the colors and those things which adorn the church during the seasons which add special significance for me. the cross in the sanctuary of my church will be draped today (for ash wednesday service) in a long purple cloth. it will remain there until good friday, when the purple will be replaced by a black one. everything is very stark and dark that day. and then on easter sunday, the contrast is amazing! the cross is draped in a white cloth all the the paraments are white and easter lilies are everywhere. it’s truly beautiful and really adds to the celebratory feeling and the significance of the progression of the lenten period to the observance of the passion of Christ and the celebration of easter.

well, i’m rambling, as usual. but my hope is that, if you are giving up something for lent, or whatever other way this time of the year is meaningful to you, that you will be blessed in your experience, that your faith is increased, and that Christ and his saving grace will remain your focus.

happy lent!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

meal plan monday

short and sweet:

  • monday: leftovers
  • tuesday: leftovers (for some reason, we have a lot in the fridge right now)
  • wednesday: hamburgers; salad; oven fries (or we might go to ash wednesday service at church, which has supper before)
  • thursday: fried chicken; peas and carrots; rice
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: chili cook-off at church
  • sunday: french toast; sausage

Monday, February 15, 2010

boxed in.

so i’m feeling a little bit stifled right now. when i took over responsibility for shane’s education, i knew i was making a big time/lifestyle commitment. i also figured that layla and eventually, micah would be involved in this endeavor. i knew that i was stepping out into a great unknown, having never completely done this sort of thing before. it was an experiment.

in general, this experiment has gone well. not entirely as planned, but well, nonetheless. i mean really, when you’re dealing with kids (or other human beings, for that matter) what does go as planned.

but at this point, i have to say that homeschooling is NOT my favorite thing. it’s not that i can’t do it. it’s not that shane isn’t learning. it’s not that i’m excessively overwhelmed or that i feel like i’m failing. it’s not any of that. the best thing i can figure out is that i feel ‘boxed in’. i feel like my time and opportunities are so limited for all of us. it’s not just about shane, and with layla and micah so much younger, they’re really kind of having to fend for themselves a lot of the time when i’m working with shane. i think the real problem is that i’m not able to get out enough with them and focus on them and what they need, let alone myself.

of course, having made this decision, backing away from it based on the above reasons feels incredibly selfish. had i never done it to begin with, this sort of thing would not cause anyone to bat an eyelash… and honestly, no one else out there will probably bat an eyelash, were i to stop… but i will. the whole thought of sending my kids to school because of the old cliché of needing ‘time for myself’ just makes my skin crawl.

but i guess it’s not just about that. i really don’t enjoy being the teacher. i don’t enjoy being A teacher. i learned this the year i was the lead teacher in a preschool classroom. every experience prior to that, i was the assistant teacher and i LOVED it. i loved it enough to go back to school and earn my BA in child development so i could be the LEAD teacher… i hated it. swell, huh? i really am finding that i work best in a support role, where i don’t have to be in charge of all the planning and implementing and record-keeping and all that. i SUCK at that. a job that causes me to have to do that only points out how BAD i am at it.

at any rate, i’m thinking a lot about this right now because all of my friends are talking about kindergarten registration and all that. a topic i’ve been dreading. i still don’t know exactly where i sit in that boat. but now there’s a new(ish) issue to deal with. layla keeps bringing up preschool. she went to a co-op when she was 3 and we dropped out after a couple months. there were various reasons, most were probably amplified in my over-think everything head, but some were certainly legitimate. it was a tough schedule for us to maintain, she was getting worn out and very grumpy at home, my child-care arrangement for micah on my in-class day had a baby, etc, etc, etc. now, i could probably find a place to put her back in, but our budget is so tight right now that i’m not really seeing where that tuition money is going to come from. hmmm… i’m really not opposed to her going. i know she thrives on academic challenges, ART, socializing with friends (especially girls, right now – she has recently decided that she does NOT like boys), ART, playground fun, ART, singing, ART… you get the idea.

i used to clean house for my parents once a week. they paid me for this too. doing this could easily pay for preschool tuition… but since september, i’ve been maybe 3 or 4 times to clean. yup. i love this schedule.

anyway, i’ve got a lot of frustrations swirling around right now. i miss being free to attend MOMS club activities. i miss MY friends and the opportunity for my kids to see THEIR friends. are these reasons to quit homeschooling? i don’t know. is returning to ‘school’ the best thing for shane? i don’t know. is going to kindergarten next year the best thing for layla? i don’t know.

i kinda wish i knew something!! they say being a parent is hard. THEY have NO idea!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

GARBAGE TRUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh yes, wednesday IS the most exciting day of the week around here. that’s right, wednesday is garbage day.

my kids LOVE garbage trucks. when shane was little, he used to go running outside, every time he (or someone else) heard one rumbling up the street. i remember one time he came in all excited because the driver had given him some ritz crackers. um, yeah. sorry kid, you don’t get to eat anything given to you by an on-duty garbage collector! yes, i realize he mostly just drives the truck, but still…

when we lived in ohio, they didn’t have the automated trucks that pick up your can, empty it, and set it down again like we do here. they had old school garbage trucks with actual people who jumped on and off the back of the truck and emptied everyone’s cans. actual people who wore orange and white striped uniforms. actual people who looked strangely like convicts in those uniforms. actually, it turns out those people were ACTUAL convicts! it took me like 2 months to figure this out.

anyway, now micah is the one all excited about garbage trucks. layla likes them too, but 4 is probably a bit past the optimal age of garbage truck excitement. our garbage gets picked up once a week. our recycling and yard waste gets picked up every 2 weeks. on those weeks, garbage day is REALLY exciting because we get to see 3 different trucks come by. actually, i think we get a pretty sweet deal here, because the trucks go down both sides of the street, and living on the corner, we get to see them go down the cross street as well. on the street i grew up on, everyone had to put their cans on the same side of the street, so the trucks only had to make one pass. although less efficient, this way is WAY more exciting.

i think shane secretly likes having younger siblings, because he gets to relive some of the wonderful things from when he was their age. things like bob the builder cartoons, toy trains and… garbage trucks! he has taken it upon himself to be the official announcer of approaching garbage trucks. he yells, and everyone comes running to the front window to watch.

well, today there was a bit of a downside to this whole procedure. if you know anything about layla, you know she likes to draw. well, actually she loves to draw. and write. and color. and glue. and cut. and paint. and stamp. and anything else that can be done with paper. one whole wall in my kitchen/dining room is wallpapered with her creations. dave has likened her to pigpen from peanuts cartoons, except instead of a cloud of dirt following her around, it’s a cloud of paper. so as you can imagine, a fair amount of her creations wind up in the recycling (after she’s gone to bed, of course). DON’T JUDGE! it has to happen. there is no way EVERYTHING she makes could possibly be saved and treasured forever and ever! and because of the sheer volume of pictures she makes, she generally doesn’t notice when some go missing.

until today, that is…

the announcement went out, kids came running… it happened to be the recycling that was being picked up…

“hey! he just dumped my picture into the truck! he dumped lots of my pictures into the truck!!!”

oh boy.

fortunately, we escaped tears or any sort of major hysteria. shane, bless his heart, was smart enough to point to the wall and remind her of all the wonderful pictures we DO save, and i gushed about how much i love her pictures, but that we can’t keep all of them because she makes so many. although a little miffed, she seemed okay with this… i do feel a little bad, though. maybe i’ll just have to create a bin of ‘layla creations’ (a big one) and dump them all in there when i’m tidying up. then i’ll give them to her when she’s moving out and let HER deal with them. that’s what my mom did to me. well, some of them, at least. i have to admit that i was an avid lover of paper when i was young as well, so i assume there were a fair amount that made their way into the truck! i lived. i guess she will too! ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010

meal… achoo! plan… achoo! monday… AAACCCHHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

something got into me on saturday evening… actually, i think it’s just because we were out of milk and SOMEONE had to go to the store. the kids were behaving like baboons on crack, so i graciously volunteered to run to the store for the milk. i decided that, since i was going, i ought to pick up a few other things and wound up planning my whole week’s menu right then. so at any rate, i wound up getting ALL the shopping done that night!!!! woohooo! and let me tell you, i’m SO glad today because somehow i managed to run into SOMETHING that i’m VERY allergic to and have been violently sneezing, dripping and sniffling all day long. SHOPPING is not something i would be very excited about right now.

i got kind of lucky budget-wise too, since i have a meal that’s hanging over from last week. i planned pizza for friday and already had the pizza in the fridge (papa murphy’s), but forgot that we would be eating pizza at a birthday party that night anyway. so we saved it, and figured we’d have it for lunch or something on sunday, but wound up shopping in north bend on saturday afternoon (nike outlet – finally got some new shoes!) and didn’t get back in time to put the baked potatoes in, so we had the pizza then. at any rate, all the groceries came to just over $87. NICE!

so,

  • monday: baked potatoes; salad
  • tuesday: white chicken chili; sourdough (have frozen from last time)
  • wednesday: tater tot casserole (did you catch that big sale on ground turkey at safeway? 2.99 for 20 oz. not bad!) – think i’ll make 2!
  • thursday: french dips; carrots/celery; chips
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: tacos
  • sunday: french toast; sausage

oh yeah, the french toast is carried over from last week too. we were at my parents’ for super bowl yesterday, and they fed us too!

AND, speaking of my parents, my mom is having gall bladder surgery tomorrow, so keep her in your prayers, please!

Monday, February 1, 2010

meal plan monday.

it’s been awhile. not sure why. i’ve still been planning, just not posting. sorry (if you happen to care).

  • monday: soy chicken; brown rice; peas
  • tuesday: oven swiss steak; mashed potatoes
  • wednesday: chicken caesar salads
  • thursday: hamburgers; potatoes; carrots
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: baked potatoes; salad
  • sunday: french toast

monthly progress report – january

i made my bucket list for the year, and i want to do a monthly post, tracking my progress. this way i’ll be aware of the things i’m procrastinating on instead of pushing them out of my head until november, when i realize i’ve only got a month to do everything! so here’s the first installment:

  1. spin my own yarn – nothing too exciting to report, but i do have a couple of leads on people who own spinning wheels and they are aware of my desire to learn.
  2. spend more time in nature. – also, not too much to report, but dave and i are trying to incorporate lengthy walks into our exercise regimine.
  3. read all of jane austen’s books. – nothing really. i’ve got a copy of ‘sense and sensibility’ in the car that i pick up every couple of weeks when i’m waiting for shane, but that’s not really reading it.
  4. can my own veggies/fruits – i figure i’ll get around to this when there’s something growing!
  5. acquire a sewing machine - nope
  6. re-learn to play the piano -nope
  7. exercise regularly (more days of the week than not – really!) – YES! really! so far, so good. need to maintain this!
  8. finish reading the entire bible –still plugging away. done w/ the first 5 of the OT, as well as matthew, mark, acts, and romans. in joshua and luke right now, as well as reading a psalm and a proverb every day. on psalm 98 right now.
  9. make an effort to spend time individually with each of my children – not so much specific… need to work on this.
  10. mellow out philosophically (if you don’t know what that means, just read a few of my posts and you’ll likely find some crazed post where i’m ranting about my strong disagreement about something generally accepted by the status quo) – this is kind of an ambiguous goal… but i haven’t done any major ranting lately (other than my food post) so i guess i’m doing okay with this.
  11. beat myself up less (again, just read a few posts) – can’t think of any major self-beating episodes recently… ;)
  12. take better care of the dog. she’s 13 now and i need to make the most of the years i have left with her. (okay, this one is making me a little teary) – other than one big long walk, i don’t have much to report. pathetic.
  13. get my reading glasses – well, yes, and then no. went to costco, picked them out, ordered them, and then discovered that costco isn’t covered by our optical insurance, so i had to call and cancel them. still looking for a time i can get back to the optician at the eye dr. to pick some out there. :(
  14. spend more time with my mom – well, this isn’t turning out the way i thought it would, but i’ve definitely seen a lot of her lately! i taught her to knit, she totally got addicted, started a big project, and keeps getting herself in situations she needs me to get her out of. so i’ve seen A LOT of her recently!
  15. be less boring – another ambiguous one… perhaps i should define what would constitute ‘less boring’ in order to know if i’m making any progress…
  16. attend as many MOMS club events as possible – doing pretty good here. i made it to the january business meeting, craft club, and a playgroup. and i went to all but one monday night S&B.
  17. make most of my gifts (stole that one) – haven’t had to give any gifts in january… well, other than dave’s birthday present, which i did make.
  18. create a will – yeah, not so much.
  19. be more philanthropic – nothing to report.
  20. go on 10 dates with my husband – been on 2 so far! ;)

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