Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend round-up

My daughter had a fantastic time at the girl scout Father/Daughter dance.  My hubby said that at first she didn't want to stay but once she found a friend she was out on the dance floor and didn't want to leave!  I'm so glad she ended up having a great time.  She always has a hard tme at first in new situations but give her 10-15 minutes and she's a whole different child.  They even took a picture of each father/daughter so I'll be putting ours in a scrapbook.
I don't know where Saturday went.  I was able to relax in bed for a bit while the kids played (mostly) nicely and quietly.  Then we had yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading out to pick up my stepdaughter.  She entertainted the kids most of the afternoon.  I apprecated that so much.  At 4pm  my daughter and I headed out with a friend and her daughter to her first ice skating clinic.  She had a great time and even got to skate with the older girls since she was in one of the higher level classes.  She learned her first jump and landed it.  Yipee!  I'm so proud of her.
Sunday brought rain all day.  We spent the morning at the rink.  It was my son's turn this time.  We watched him play goalie and he did good.  Then it was off to Target for new sneakers for my son and I.  We splurged and had lunch out before heading home for a nice relaxing afternoon/evening.  We vegged in front of the tv watching the movie Blindside and eating popcorn.  It was a fantastic movie.  I totally understand why it got rave reviews. 
Now it's Monday night.  My day has been once again non-stop.  I got the kids up and ready for school.  I even squeezed in a quick shower, trusting the kids not to kill each other.  After dropping the kids at school I had time for a quick cup of tea before heading off to my primary care doctor.  She reviewed what's been going on with my neck and left shoulder the last few weeks.  I filled her in on what my lawyer needed and she easily agreed.  It's nice having such a wonderful and understanding doctor who just has your best interests at heart.  I had just enough time after that to run to the grocery store and home to put stuff away before physical therapy.  I'm hoping it will help strengthen my neck muscles.  I'm running out of hope.  I think it'll get better but never be fully better.  Sigh.  The day is now closing to an end.  The kids are tucked into bed sleeping and hubby is in the shower.  Bed is calling.  Night!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy, busy mommy!

I have to tell you, yesterday just flew right by without even a, "How do you do?".  Wow!  I was busy from sun up to sun down.  I had my normal routine of getting the kids up and ready for school, made sure my son was ready for his class field trip.  Then I was off to PT for an hour of torture on my neck.  After that I ran to the store for dinner ideas before heading home to start it.  I decided on BBQ pork so I got the pork ready and into the oven before relaxing for a whole hour.  I got the kids from school, came home, shredded the beef and added bbq sauce to it and set it to simmer on the stove.  Then I was off again to pick up my daughter's girl scout cookie orders and distribute a few to close friends and family.  We had a yummy dinner, that my husband actually made it home for since he didn't have to go to a work function.  Yippee!  It's the first time we've had dinner together during the week in a long time!  Thank you God!!  It was a nice change of pace. 
Yesterday was a fun filled day for my second grader because not only did he have a field trip but last night he had a special event called Camp Read A Lot and it was only for his grade.  He hurried through a quick shower.  That was quite an accomplishment for him!  He had a few minutes to relax until we were off once again to pick up his friend and head to the school.  They had 5 fun stations that the kids got to go to...all in different parts of the school.  We did campfire sing along (they had some great fake campfires!),  storytime, scavenger hunt, fishing (for words) and the grand finale for our group...sequencing a story about how to make S'mores.  Yum!  Each child got their own S'mores.  The perfect end to a perfect night.  After that we dropped his friend off and then I had to convince him to unwind and get ready for bed.  It took a bit but once his head hit the pillow he was out like a light!  The house by that time was so quiet!  Everyone was asleep, so I just sat for a bit, relaxing and enjoying the silence.
I did have some trouble sleeping because my neck and shoulder got really tight from all the day's activities.  I was up early.  My mom came to watch the kids and get them off to school so I could go to PT.  Unfortunately, I had to go get gas because the car was on empty.  Once I filled it up a nice customer pointed out that one of my tires was flat!  Ugh!  So, I go to turn the car on to move it to the air pump and what should I discover?!  The car won't start!  Grrrr!  Thank God for a nice employee who actually approached me and offered to jump it.  After a few tries it started.  I moved it to the air pump, put some air in the tire and left it to run while I went and got myself a much deserved coffee!  I called PT to tell them I was on my way and would be there shortly.  The great news is...the air held in the tire and the car started.  So far now, all is well and I pray it stays that way.  I'm off to get my son from school and take him to the ENT and then out to lunch.  Tonight is the Father/daughter dance for girl scouts.  I hope my husband will make it home in time and stay awake for it.  Poor man.  I love him so much.  Personally, I can't wait until we can fall into bed together tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

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My daughter has been counting down the days until Earth Day for at least a week. Her kindergarten teachers have talked up the importance of it and treating everyday as If it's Earth Day. She has gotten in the habit of seeing things around the house that we would normally toss out or recycle and is coming up with innovative ways to reuse it. We were at the ice cream stand yesterday and she started picking up napkins and stuff on the grass. It was so thoughtful of her. I just wish she has been wearing gloves. Ick! But it was the thought that counted and she put action behind the thought. Thank goodness I had a package of Handi wipes in my purse! Her teachers asked for us to send in a 2 liter soda bottle and the kids are going to be making either bird feeders or planters out of them today. She was bouncing off the wall this morning she was so excited! On top of that, she has another "reuse" project planned for tonight with my mom. I'll be heading out taking my son to a special event for second graders at the school called Camp Read-A-Lot. She's going to be making a Cat house for her webkin, Kitty. I'm glad she's come up with this idea all on her own, so she'll be doing something fun and creative while my son and I are gone. I never want her to feel left out. I'm glad my mom is willing to take her since my husband will be stuck filling in for his boss at some big dinner 2 hours away and won't be home until after 11:30. Ugh! We definitely have a full plate today!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here we go again

Well my physical therapy for my neck has finally be authorized.  I have been out of pt since early February. That was for my shoulder.  I guess I had meant the number of what comp terms as allowable visits.  Then the nurse in charge of my comp case wanted me to go to another specialist to have my neck checked.  After she reviewed my case file she decided that maybe the herniated disc in my neck is causing the pain in my neck and left shoulder.
It's now been over a month since we started down this route.  Finally everyone agrees, including the IME doctor.
Let's see how I'm feeling later tonight and tomorrow after my first PT session in months.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Too much to do, so little time!

Stop the Earth...I want to get off!  Is it just me or is today's life getting busier and busier?  I know it's not just me.  The American culture today just seems to go at a break neck speed and if you can't keep up then your trampled on.  By that I think you feel used up, stressed out and ready for a breakdown.  Let's be honest here...most of us feel this exact way.  If we don't hang on for dear life our life will run away out of contol, leaving us on the floor. 

I can honestly say that I'm right at that point most days.  And that is sad, considering that I was working a full time job up until 6 months ago.  Before that, 3 1/2 years ago, I had a fast paced salaried job where I was rarely home for my two small children (newborn and 2 yrs old).  Looking back, I wonder how I made it through any of that time.  I'm going insane what's on my plate right now.  I guess, when push comes to shove you do what you got to do.  The question is, why has it come to this?  It's no wonder that heart disease is a serious issue in the U.S. When "we" (corporate america?) decided that people needed to start becoming more time efficient everything went out the window.
There is a limit to how efficient we can be.  The constant strain on our minds and bodies to push further is effectively deteriorating our body and slowly killing us.  The stress alone is tremendous!  I stepped down from my salary position because I couldn't keep up mentally, physically or emotional with the constant needs of my job.  On top of that  I had all the demands of my young children at home. 
I love working, don't get me wrong, but our children need a constant, stable parenting model at home.  I don't care if it's mom, dad or another adult living within the household.  I don't think that homemakers are given enough positive credit.  They work hard and I wish they could collect a govenment stippen.  I think children in these homes with responsible role models have more going for them where both their parents are under tremendous pressure at work and rarely home during daylight hours.  Yes, I know there are many people sitting at home right now collecting government money, not willing to work and could care less about their children running wild and getting into trouble.  These are not the people I am talking about.  I think have a parent at home is such a positive thing for our children.  They learn their limits and are accountable for their actions.  Also, the rules are the rules and they aren't getting told different rules by different people (babysitters, etc). It helps create consistancy which is badly lacking in today's families.
I'm heading back to work shortly.  I'm assuming it will be within the next 6-8 weeks.  My mother and father will be the ones that will help my children get ready for school in the morning once again.  I am lucky to have their help.  I can only hope and pray that they will willingly stick to the rules and routines I have set up for school days. 
I am going to have fun readjusting back to the old juggling act.  I didn't miss it and to be honest, I am juggling a lot right now without work.  I have doctor's visits, physical therapy and a whole bunch of other things to keep me running.
I am so happy I've had this time with my children.  I hope I will remember to take the time and slow down so I can enjoy it.  I can honestly say that I am a person that stresses under pressure.  I wasn't like this before I had children.  It wasn't so hard for me to juggle my personal and professional life, such as it was.  Children change everything.  It is so much better now but it's hard to say no to anything.  I am trying to breathe easier and stick to my mantra that family comes first.  If I can do that and not let the little things get to me, then I think I'll be ok.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food Revolution

I am a big believe and supporter of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  America is the most obese country in the world.  The Associated Press  stated that Huntington, WV was the unhealthiest city in the U.S. after the CDC report in 2008, This is based on data from 2006.  This report is what made Jamie decide to come to the U.S. and see if he could help positively impact the way Americans eat.  A lot of details I will be citing can be found on Jamie Oliver's website:  Check it out.
Jamie states: "I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!" 
I totally agree with this statement.  Slowly but surely Americans have stopped cooking real food.  I can tell you from my own experience that this is true.  My husband hates to wait to eat.  He has complained on numerous occasions that there isn't enough "quick and easy" meal choices for him in our house.  He is right about that.  I do a good job when it comes to more "adult" type meal choices. I try not to buy quick, microwaveable food.  However, I fail overall, because I do have frozen chicken nuggets, french fries and breaded fish fillets in the freezer.  The good news is that I'm trying really hard to stop purchasing those items.  My daughter is a fruit and veggie lover by nature and I'm thankful every day for that.  My son on the other hand won't touch a veggie unless it's a potato.  In my opinion (and Jamie Oliver's) a potato is not a vegetable but a starch.  I've told my son this and he has agreed to try and work with me on eating other veggies.  Once a week we go to the store and he picks a veggie to try.  He knows he doesn't have to like it but he does need to try it.  Weird as he is, he doesn't want to eat carrots or corn.  So far he's tried a variety of green veggies...artichoke, asparagus and celery.  Today we're going to shop again.  I'm wondering what his choice will be this time.  I am lucky that he will eat chicken and he actually likes "real" chicken a lot.  I've made homemade chicken nuggets/tenders and these have been a huge hit. 

I want to share Jamie's Platform with you:


“This Food Revolution is about changing the way we eat. We need to start cooking again, to make sure our children don’t grow up on a diet of processed food, at school or at home, and so they won’t have to battle obesity and diet-related illnesses when they grow up. Cooking is one of the most important skills a person can have and it has been proven that families who cook together eat better. A small change in your kitchen in could save the life of someone you love. America needs to do something now, before it’s too late.”

Do you know that obesity and diabetes are the only health problems getting worse in the U.S.?  Here's some states.  68% of adults are overweight.  1 in 3 Americans is obese.  If the rate of obesity continues at its current rate 43% of americans will be obese in 10 years.  People who are obese are likely to die 10 years earlier than a healthy person.  32% of american children are obese!  Here's a sad, eye catching fact Today's generation of children are predicted to be the first to die at a younger age than their parents due to obesity-related bad health.  Do you want this for your child(ren)?  I know I don't.  These facts scare me.  I (like most parents) want my children to live a better life than I have. If we continue to feed our children the way we have than these things will come to pass for them.  We need to make changes at home, at school, in our communities and in our nation as a whole.  We need to by pass the processed food and go back to the basics of cooking with fresh food.  Real food, as I'd like to call it.  Food without additives and perservatives.

We can set our mind to changing what happens at home.  But to change things at school we need to be aware of what's going on there and take steps to change it.  Most days I pack my children's lunches so I can control what they eat.  Yes, many days they have sandwiches with lunch meat but I am becoming more conscience of what I am buying.  I am trying to purchase lower sodium and healthier cuts of meat.  I make sure they always have fruit.  And I very rarely give them what I call a "sweet treat".  I try to steer away from cookies, brownies, candy or cupcakes.  Let me share a fact that floored me.  The National Dairy Council says flavored milk (8 ounces) has about 4 teaspoons (60 calories) of added sugar in it.  The Institute of Medicine estimates that kids are eating 19 (children) to 29 (teens) teaspoons of added sugar a day.  That is higher than even the recommended 5-9 teaspoons for adults.  It comes from sweetened drinks, candy, breakfast cereal and ice cream.  So, 4 teaspoons of added sugar to one 8oz flavored milk is way too much!  This was an eye opener.  My children like milk.  My son normally buys regular but my daughter loves chocolate milk.  So, I've made a pact with them to make healthier choices, especially when they're not with me.  She knows that she needs to pass on the flavored milk.  I hope she will make the right choice when I'm not there to remind her.
Another issue is that many people (especially the younger generation) does not know how to cook.  So, they find it easier to purchase cheap, prepackaged, processed food.  We need to teach them basic cooking skills and nutritional information so they can feed their families healthier.
Jamie states:  My Food Revolution is about bringing people together who care about the future of their children, about their right to good health and a proper diet. I know there are millions of people across America who care about these things and I’ve seen how, with a little confidence and basic knowledge, people quickly change the way they eat. This can happen all over America. We just need the support of your government, and your food and healthcare industries to do it.

Here's what changes he thinks our government can make to help school and our children.

1. Put meals cooked from fresh food at the heart of the school lunch program. Through the federal meal program, taxpayer dollars are being used to give 30.5 million kids in America a diet of processed food. Cheap nuggets, fries and snacks have no place in the school system. Kids need real food, not additives. Government regulations should ensure that the only food available in school is healthy food and balanced meals, cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. Raw food is only a health risk with bad ingredients and poor kitchen hygiene.

2. Find more money for better food. Across America, just $1 per child is spent on the food in a school lunch. It costs more to buy a cup of coffee. That’s not enough to put a good meal on the plate. The school meals sector cannot improve the quality of school food without more money. The £4.5 billion over 10 years proposed for the new child nutrition bill is half what President Obama has asked for. The promise of just six cents more per meal will not empower schools to make the changes that are so badly needed.

3. Make radical improvements to school nutrition standards. How can a portion of fries be classed as a vegetable when kids aren’t eating enough salad and greens? People are ticking nutrition boxes. No one is looking at the actual meal on the plate. School meal standards need to restrict processed foods and make freshly cooked meals the backbone of the service.

4. Love your lunch ladies. School cooks feed the nation’s children. They need recognition for the important work they are doing. Opening packets and reheating processed food has taken the skill and pride out of the kitchen. Funding is needed for training and equipment to help them start cooking from scratch again.

5. Put professional cooks in charge. Nutritionists and accountants aren’t professional cooks. Bean counters don’t know how to put good food on the plate. School nutrition teams need experienced caterers to run the kitchens.

6. Teach every child in America to cook. The food pyramid and nutrition lessons don’t teach kids the food skills they need for life. Every child should learn how to cook at school, and when they graduate, every child should have a basic knowledge of where food comes from, and know how to make 10 simple meals from scratch. Farm to School should be part of every child’s education.

I believe he is right.  He is also looking for our communities to support one another in helping to educate those that need it.  I think his community kitchen idea is right on target.  This is a great hands on way to bring people in and teach them the skills they need to cook healthy for their family.  He also states that corporate america must change.  The need to stop with their misleading food packaging.  All additives that add no nutritional value should be cut.  And the list goes on.
It takes one passionate person to start a revolution.  Jamie Oliver has done that.  Here's what we can do to make sure it continues.
1. Sign the petition on Jamie's campaign website Show government and industry how many of you care about the health of your children and what they get fed at school.

2. If you can cook, teach others. If you can’t cook, learn how. Pass on your food knowledge to your kids, your family, your friends. Pledge to make a meal from scratch with your family once a week. Don’t let cooking become a thing of the past.

3. Ask your child’s school these questions: - What’s the food like? Would I want to eat it? - How often are the meals cooked from fresh ingredients? - Exactly what is in the processed food on the menu?

- When will you stop serving junk food for school lunches? - When will my child be taught how to cook at school?

4. Complain. Start a letter campaign to supermarkets, food retailers, manufacturers, and fast food chains. I believe that the people of America are much more powerful than big business. Together you can challenge the food industry and demand better for your families, employees, and customers.

5. Know what’s in your food. Look at the label. If the ingredients list is full of things you don’t recognise, don’t buy it. If it has things you could find in your grandma's pantry, then do. You can make all the food in the world without these extra additives. Burgers, pizza, ribs, and pasta – the real versions don’t have all of that stuff in them.

I am a firm believer and supporter of Jamie's Food Revolution.  Please take a minute to check it out.  I hope you can become a believer and supporter to.  This is for the health of our children and future generations.  How can we turn our backs on them.  We've helped create them problem.  Now, let's help become part of the solution.  Our future depends on it!

Check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution every Friday

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trip to NYC

Our family got a chance to spend a day in NYC.  It was so much fun!  This was our first real visit there as a family and we can't wait to plan a trip back!
We started our day in Grand Central Station.  It's amazing to see so many people hustling and bustling around.  We made sure to take a moment to let the kids know that they needed to hold our hands and stay close by.  We did not want to take any chances with them getting lost or stolen.  The atmosphere was contained chaos, to say the least.  I was very proud of us though.  We went down to the subway and a very nice MTA employee helped us figure out what we needed to do to get where we wanted to go.  She was helping everyone who had questions.  I was very thankful that she was their because without her we would've been lost.

We walked decided to walk from Grand Central to a nearby subway stop that would take us directly to the American Museum of Natural History which is located at Central Park West and 79th street.   On the way we saw the Empire State Building and Madision Square Garden.  How excited and awe inspiring they both are (remember, we're a hockey family)!  The subway line we took arrived right at the museum.  We couldn't ask for it to have been better.  The train was a little overcrowded when we got on because people were smashed up together close to the doors rather than spreading out in the car, but after a stop it cleared up.
At the musuem the lady at the desk was most helpful.  She gave us a map of the four floor museum and circled all the halls/exhibits that are popular wiht children.  We also chose to add on one special exhibit.  That was the "Journey to the Stars Space Show."   We started our museum trip there.  The kids loved hearing all about the sun and how stars are made.  It was one of the highlights. 
After that we went to the children's Discovery room on the first floor.  There was a dinosaur dig there and a dinosaur skeloton that the kids could help put together.  This was a hit because it was hands on.  I loved watching them take "bones" and with the help of the museum employee find where it.  Truly, a learning experience.
The best part of the museum for my kids were visiting the various fossil halls.  That is where we spent the better part of our day.  My son just finished learning about fossils in his science curriculum and couldn't wait to check out the dinosaur displays.  The kids were fascinated by the massive size of many fossils and the tininess of others.  They spent the day running from one fossil to another asking numerous questions about each.
After the museum we took the subway to Time Square.  Of course it was crowded.  The kids were amazed at the giant televisions plastered to the sides of buildings and huge billboards advertising various producs.  We played tourist and took pictures before heading off to locate the NHL store not far away.  The guys enjoyed going there.  Our final stop of the day was at the HUGE Toys R Us in Times Square.  The kids never wanted to leave...well that's a lie, they were getting tired around 8:30 and were willing to pack it in for the day.  But before we left they got to experience the gigantic T-Rex from the movie Jurassic Park and Barbie's lifesize doll house.
This trip created many memories that we will cherish.  We are already talking about planning another trip with friends soon.  Can't wait!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What a beautiful day

Today is simply gorgeous out.  It feel like a mid July day.  It would be too much if it wasn't for the light breeze rustling through the trees.  The temperatures here have been at or near record breaking the last few days.  Today it's over 80 degrees.  That's unheard of for an early April day in New York!  Later tonight we're supposed to get some thunderstorms and that will cool things back to normal.  This weekend the average temps will be in the low to mid 60's.  Right where they're supposed to be. 

I find as I get older I am not the sun worshiper of my youth.  I love days that warm (70's) with a light breeze.  Gone are the days of basking under the sun's baking glow and praying for a dark tan.    The humidity is what seems to kill me and I can't hide from it where we live.  It sucks the life right out of you.
The highlight of my day was taking a nice walk in the late morning/early afternoon with my mom.  My only regret is that we didn't start out sooner so it was getting nasty as we heading back for home.  I'm quite proud of my mom.  She is in her early 60's and not in the best physical condition.  She has arthritis in her knees and her back hurts sometimes.  Today she spent an hour and 15 minutes walking with me.  There is a walking trail nearby that is partially shaded so we went there.  My only regret is that her foot (which she twisted last month) started acting up and was throbbing by time we finished.  However, she is willing to add walking into her weekly routine.  As of now, she really doesn't exercise so this decision of her's makes me both proud and excited.  She is going to tackle it head on.  We both know that we need to make some healthier decisions in our lives.  Mine is to get a workout in (whether it's walking or whatever) at least 3 or 4 times a week.  I'm at a healthy weight but I find myself tired all the time and my stress level is always through the roof.  And that's with me not currently working!  I'm also trying to get more veggies onto our plates during dinnertime.  I find that we don't eat as many during the colder months, plus my 7 yr old is a true veggie hater.  If you read my earlier post about that than you'll remember that we're working on that too.  I hope my mom and I are both able to integrate this into our families daily lives.
The day's been beautiful so far.  The kids homework is done and they are playing out back with their uncle and grandpa.  I'm going to get ready for dinner out with my girlfriends.  I'm so exited!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Children at play

Hug o’ War

By: Shel Silverstein

I will not play at tug o'war
I'd rather play at hug o'war
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug
Where everyone kisses
And everyone grins
And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins.

I have to start by stating today was a beautiful day.  Perfect.  A little sun, a little cloudy and a light breeze.  Not too hot and not cold.  Amazing conidering the morning started out drizzly and a bit cool.  By afternoon it was perfect.  I love this weather.  On top of that I save money because I don't have to turn on the heat or the airconditioning.  Yipee!
The kids couldn't wait to come home and play.  It was hard to keep their focus on homework.  It's one rule in our house....we work before we play.  It was a definite struggle and I ached that I had to keep them on task.  Especially my son because he is at that age where he is not a lover of school and hates, hates, HATES homework.  But, somehow he buckled down and completed his math worksheet and his spelling stairs.  Tomorrow is spelling sentences...oh no!  It will be war in our house.
The kids made the most of their 2 1/2 hours outside.  I'm so glad that my kids love to go out and play.  So many kids are cooped up in their houses sitting in front of the tv or computers vegging, snacking and being stationary.  My kids are the exact opposite.  Once I give them the ok that they can play outside they are out the door before I can say anything more!
They rode their bikes and scooters.  They had a nascar like son drew the race track with chalk.  He LOVES NASCAR.  He also had his hockey net out and played a shoot out with my brother.My daughter made drew all over with chalk and made up her own hop scotch type game.

The night just flew by and they did not want to come in!  I'm glad they were able to make the most of it.  I actually heard other kids out in the neighborhood playing!  That in itself is amazing.  There are at least 7 other kids on our block (ages 3-9) and I rarely hear them outside.  I've been given various reasons on why by their's too dirty, their too loud when their outside, allergies, too much sun and on and on.  LET THEM PLAY OUTSIDE!  It's good for them.  Get them active.  They can't be that active sitting inside or even running around inside.   My kids actually get along better when they are outside.  I won't lie, they still argue, full and fight  but no where near as bad.  They let their imagination flow and blow off a lot of energy.  I think running around all cuts down on their aggitation of one another!     
The poem I highlighted at the beginning of this blog entry says it all.  I want my children to hug and play not tug and fight.  All this fresh air and outdoor play really keeps everyone sane, happy and smiling.  Yeah!  I'll be sad to see this warm spell end.

Monday, April 05, 2010


My brother surprised the family with a visit today.  I'm the only one he told about it and I had to keep the secret.  Man, it's been so hard.  I told him that he better not tell anyone I knew or they'll be heck to pay. 
I was very happy to see him stroll in the door.  The nice thing is that he seems to always seems to feel at home here when he comes to visit.  The bad thing is....he feels too at home sometimes.    Does that make sense? 
He came in and walked aimlessly looking here and there.  I could tell he was tired from the long 6  hour drive and waking up at 4 am.  I was surprised he hadn't gone to see my parents first and surprise them.  It's weird, but as much as we love my parents it's one of those distance makes the relationship better.  Honestly, I think my whole family works on this theory.  I love them all tons and tons but when we're close I feel we are in each other's pocket.  I think this comes from my parents living with us for 5 years!  It was extemely tough emotionally and financially.  I will share more of that story one day.  Now, they are next door.  Close by without living in our house.  A bit more space would be nice but I know we have it good with them so close.  I can't imagine them being hours away.  Anyway, when we all get together we tend to get too comfortable and grate on one another.  My brother has no problems walking through our house with his shoes on, even though he knows that the house rule is shoes off at the door.  He plops himself on the loveseat and sprawls out with his feet hanging over one of the arms.  Grrrrr!  I bite my tongue because I'm truly glad he is here for a visit.
Finally, afrter chilling for almost an hour he goes next door to let my mom know he is here for a visit.  He definitely surprised her!  She was shaking so hard I'm surprised she didn't pass out or hyperventilate.  I'm glad he came to visit but I think it's better to notify someone that you are coming into town to see them, especially if you're expecting them to put you up while you visit.  We had a quiet lunch before he went up to nap in my daughters room and I took a mini nap on the couch.
My kids were at school when he drove into town.  We had planned for him to walk to the school with me so he could surprise them there.  However, my dad had other plans.  My dad's the type that he expects everyone to drop what they're doing and do what he says, when he says it.  He decided that my brother was going for a walk with him.  It put my brother in a awkward position.  I told him to go ahead and go but it wasn't right.  The kids were very excited when they did get to see him.  I'm glad he could make their day.
Now it's late, the kiddies and the hubby is in bed asleep.  My brother is over at my parents house doing whatever he's doing.  I never know.  He is like the invisitble man, flitting here and there.  He was here for a bit before disappearing next door.  I thought he was coming back but that didn't happen.  Oh well tomorrow's another day....

Back to school today

I feel bad that I haven't blogged in days.  I wanted to blog a few blurbs from my phone but it doesn't seem to be liking me right now.  :(    I had to take the kids out and keep them busy or they would have driven me nuts before killing each other.  I some of my hair turned grey and some fell out, but I survived! 
This morning is actually quite peaceful for a school day.  Hope I'm not jinxing myself.  Oops..maybe I did.  My daughter just yelled at my son.  Please...shhhhh, I want to enjoy the tranquility of it all.  lol
We did Easter on a budget this year since I'm out on workman's comp.  I'm barely getting anything from them.  It's definitely getting tight.  I think the kids still enjoyed the holiday.  The only thing they missed was getting a plush animal on their bed or on their basket.  They'll live, plus I wouldn't mind weaning them off the dust collectors.   The kids will sleep with them and then as they get another the new one gets delegated to the bottom of the bed with the rest of the discarded animals (except for that one special one that will always have an honored place at the top of the bed).
Their Easter basket had two spring/suummer outfits (that was the "big" ticket items), a little chocolate, pencils, a journal, activity pad, sidewalk chalk and a few dollar toys.  At our house the Easter Bunny hides not only the plastic eggs, but also the decorate hard boiled eggs, big chocolate bunnies and the Easter baskets!  Next year I think I might write out clues to the where abouts of the bunnies and baskets since my youngest will be able to read simple clues next year.  Yeah!
The kids did 6 Easter egg hunts ovefr 2 days.  We went out to a farm on Saturday where they did 4 egg hunts throughout the day.  The kids participated in two and had a wonderful time.  We met up with a friend and her daughter.  They got to run around and burn off lots of energy, look at the farm animals (such cute bunnies and chickies!), sand art, gem mining and more.
Saturday and Easter Sunday beat me up!  We colored eggs on Saturday night with Daddy .  The kids really needed that quality time with him.  He had to work Saturday which made it extra hard on all of us, but we made it through.  While he entertained the kids I spent from 7:30-8:30 making the Easter baskets and filling some of the eggs.  He tried to stay up to help me later but he had been awake since 2 am since his store had a food inventory that morning.
I finally got the kids down at 9:30 and asleep by 10 or so.  My son had so much trouble falling asleep.  Poor kid.  I finished filling the eggs and hiding them by 1:00.  I don't hide all of them in the house so I left the outside ones for later.  I really missed having my stepdaughter this year...she's such a help and we have lots of fun hiding everything.  I crawled into bed about 1:30 only to be awoken at 3 by my son.  He saw an egg and wanted to go looking.  I told him he had to wait.  Poor boy.  I don't think he fell back asleep until close to 4.  I know because I was wide awake and achy until after 4:30. 
My daughter amazingly enough was up by 7:30 so she crawled in bed with us until 8.  I'm proud of her because I know she wanted to get started but I told her that she had to wait because her brother was still sleeping.  He's normally up first but I think him waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep really hit him hard.
Once the kids were up they hunted all the eggs in the house.  Those were filled with chocolate and stickers.  I don't like to hide the candy ones outside because of the animals and the weather (don't want it to meilt!).  The outside ones get filled with coins, stickers and sometimes small toys.  They also found their big bunnies.  I'll have to post a picture of my daughter's's a good laugh.  After all that hunting they ate, dressed in their Sunday best and then headed off to church with grandpa.  Too bad hubby had to drive up to work for a few hours because the manager that orders on Sunday was out of the town for the holidays.  Good thing he remembered, I'll be it at 8 am.   So, while the house was quiet I ran around like a mad woman doing last minute things I normally would've done a day or two before the holiday.  I started the ham.  I vacuumed, swept and mopped the WHOLE house...except the bedrooms.  Then I made the fruit salad and strawberry shortcake.  Then I did all the dishes leftover from dinner the night before (hubby told me to leave them or else!).  Then I made the glaze for the ham, appetizers, and the sweet potatoes.  Then I got the call that grandpa and the kids where heading home from church and the Easter egg hunt there.  I panicked, realizing that I still had to get the eggs hidden outside.  So, I ran around doing that while hubby vegged out on the couch watching a hockey game.  I was stressed to the max but he did deserve to have some down time, especially since he had gotten home only 30 minutes before that.  Thank God I also realized that I had forgotten to hide the baskets.  I accomplished that about 10 minutes before they walked in the door. 
The kids were hyped up from egg hunting and so excited to show us everything they got.  As they wound down, I glazed the ham and jumped in for a quick (10 minutes) shower.
It was a fantastic day that flew by.  The kids hunted eggs at Grandma's and Grandpa's and outside our house.  The day was packed. I'm sad it's over but glad at the same time.  We wound down in front of the tv, watching the movie High School Musical 3 on Disney.  The kilds were in bed by 9, asleep before 9:30.  I finally put my feet up and chilled while watching the end of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
This morning came way too quick.  I was awake by 6.  Ugh!  I'm still amazed at how well the kids woke up this morning.  I truly thought it would be a huge fight.  They barely even all!!!
Now, its 10:15 and the kids are in school.  I'm finishing up this post, grabbing a bite to eat and excitedly waiting for my brother to show up.  He's visiting from out of town.  He only shared this with's a huge secret.  I know my parents will love it.  I just hope that no one feels put out that they weren't told.  I know it would annoy me a bit because I'm a planner. lol
I'm off..more coffee, some fruit and a blueberry scone.  YUM!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Great day out and about...

The air was still a bit brisk and the sky overcast, but all and all the kids and I spent a wonderful day out yesterday.  First off, the kids were awake before I was coherent and ready to move from my bed.  Rather than wake me up fully they tipped downstairs.  My son first and then my daughter.  They spoke quietly, watched tv and ate breakfast together.  All the while making an effort to get along and play nice.  It warmed my heart to listen to them.  I don't think they even knew I was awake, snuggled in my warm bed, listening with a smile on my face.  I knew part of the reason for the truce fire was the deal we had made the day before.  The agreement was that they treated each other and me with respect for that day and the next so they would earn a fun day out.  They held up their part of the deal (well, as much as a 5 and 7 year old can).  I am very proud of them.  They proved to me and themselves that they can do it if they try hard and put their mind to it.
We went to the Chinese buffet by the movie theater.  My daughter ate real well.  I was so proud of the new things she tried.  My son, didn't fare as well, but that's ok.
We saw the movie, "How to Train Your Dragon".  I have to say we all loved it!  I think the story line was thought provoking, well written and child friendly.  The animation was wonderful too...pulled you right in.  We saw it in 3-D.  A definite treat.  Once we got past the whole glasses thing not fitting comfortably, that is.  But, it was worth the discomfort.
The story line was typical in many was as the main character, Hiccup, didn't seem to fit in with those around him.  I like this story line however as I think it's important for kids to identify that it's ok to be different and to accept those that are not the same as themselves.  The themes in it were great.  Defeinitely a must see. 
After the movie, we took a trip to the grocery store.  That was an interesting trip.  My veggie hating son and I made a pact....we go shopping together and he picks out one new veggie he will help cook and then try.  Since they were being so good, I also agreed to let them use the scan gun the store has to scan and bag your groceries as you go.  They loved that!  Plus, the store finally enables you to weigh and label your fruits and veggies.  This made the task of picking out a veggie fun for my son.  He ended up picking Artichokes and Asparagus to my surprise.  He reason when I asked was that his favorite color was green!  lol 
I've never cooked artichokes and attempted asparagus once.  We made artichoke last night.  We steamed it with butter and slivers of garlic.  It was ok.  Not something we would probably have too often.  But he did try it and actually ate it.  I'm so very proud!  Tonight we made the asparagus.  I think they went over better.  I'm going to try them again next month.  Yeah!  I'm so thrillled!!
The rest of the day seemed to fly by for the most part.  I'm amazed that Easter is in three days and that school starts back the following day.  I'm happy and sad at the same time.  My dad took them for a walk in the late morning.  They spent the rest of the day drawing dragons and playing in the backyard.
Tomorrow, I will boil the eggs so we can decorate them tomorrow afternoon.  They are always so excited for that.  Can't wait!