Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's Take a Stroll

I just read a few of my earlier blog posts... going years back some of them and it seems high time for a stroll down memory lane. 

First, for Shanna... do you remember this trip?  Our kids were so little!!  It makes me miss you guys!  (Not that I don't already miss you! Thank goodness for blogging and facebook!)

Next are a few that had me shocked... shocked I tell you... at how crazy things could get in my home. It's not always easy now, mind you, but a few years ago... it was TOUGH! 

A few things I forgot last night - We were on vacation at my mom and dad's house.  

I have to say, (and watch me jinx it right here) that this summer has been fun so far! Exhausting, but fun.  Sure, we've had our stumbles, but overall, compared to those times up there, I've got this handled!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Culinary Adventures

The other day at the library, Mark found a treasure trove of cookbooks. "How to Cook the xxx Way," he picked Russian, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Korean, Spanish, and French.  I've been in a bit of a dinner rut, so we picked a recipe we had all of the ingredients for, and ended up making Chicken Kiev, and Honey Cake out of the Russian book.

Mark chopped almonds for the honey cake (under close supervision of course,) and mixed the batter entirely by himself. He also helped me by pounding the chicken (fun!) and despite being a little skeeved by touching the raw chicken (you and me both dude!) he dipped one in the egg mixture, and then the bread crumbs. 

Because of Ben's allergies, I made another batch using brown rice crumbs and our handy dandy egg replacer.  It wasn't QUITE the same, but it definitely got eaten! Everybody loved this dish, but then again, who wouldn't love fried chicken with butter and garlic rolled inside. 

Speaking of which, I'm noticing lots of these recipes from other cultures are fried.  What's up with that? Not good for the weight loss endeavors. However, I feel like the value of the boys cooking with me, and learning about other places makes it worth it.

Next up on the agenda, is Korean food, which sounded daunting at first, but after closely inspecting the recipes I don't think it will be that difficult.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've noticed that certain circumstances cause me anxiety. One of these situations is when I have to drive while pulling a trailer.  I've done it exactly twice.  Once when we brought our wood flooring home to install, and then again on Monday when I had to go pick up a new mattress for Mark's room (and to double as a guest bed.)  I thought I'd be fine this second time, since I'd done it before and all worked out fine.  However, I was just as much of a wreck as before. 

I didn't really realize that my nerves were outwardly visible until I heard Mark sighing, and generally making fretting noises.  I asked him what was wrong, and the gist of it was that he was nervous about the trailer flying open.  See, not what I was worried about at all.  Detaching from the car, yes... me making a silly mistake and crashing into someone... yes.  But not that it would fly open. 

Mark and I had a good chat about letting grown ups do the worrying about grown up things, and talking about stuff with me when he feels nervous.  I'm disappointed with myself that my anxieties rubbed off on him, in this situation among others.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


We have achieved a few new milestones around here.

1. Our last little guy is out of night time pullups.  For the first time in 9 years I no longer have to buy any kind of diaper.

2.  All of my kids can swim. I still have to watch like a hawk, but it is so much more relaxing to know they all have that ability.

3.  I can actually take a shower while the kids are up without worrying that anyone will get hurt, break something, or otherwise cause major mayhem. 

It's the small things in life that make me happy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

I meant to mention this yesterday, but my brain is failing me regularly these days, that I have the utmost respect... even awe... for homeschooling moms.  Especially those teaching different age levels, and doing a full curriculum.

We are doing an hour a day. Thirty minutes of reading.  My three older boys can all read independently. Zack needs  help because he constantly is picking books that are on Eric and Mark's level. They also have a complete obsession with checking out 10 books on a topic and reading it.  Try as I might to get him to read an on level book, he persists he wants NON fiction because he wants to LEARN.  This cracked the librarian up, by the way, when she heard this conversation between us. I'm going the long way around to the point, but it is this... Ben can not read. I am trying to read to him. He is also picking ridiculously long books, as well as asking me questions about every three words.  Add that with Zack wanting to tell me every little detail with the book he is reading, and it all sums up to frustration.  Meanwhile Eric and Mark are happily reading in the other room. I am not really complaining because the time together is fantastic, and they really are learning.  At the beach on Wednesday, my friends and I were fantasizing about taking a mom's only trip to Europe and Zachary interjects "Yeah! Europe... it's only straight across the ocean, you know!"  It was adorable.  And he learned it from a book. 

The next thirty minutes is usually writing, but occasionally math.  We have Eric and Mark who are wanting to learn cursive, Zachary working on printing, and Ben learning to write his name.  It can get a little crazy going back and forth between them.  Math is a little easier because I have the big ones taking turns doing multiplication tables on the computer, and then Zack and I do a little.  I'm letting Ben sit out of the math for now.

The bottom line is I am not really all that great of a teacher, so I'm really, really glad that their actual education is in the hands of trained professionals.  However, the moms that can home school, and really do it the right way (and I know several who are rock stars and truly do it all) have my total adoration.  Because it's hard, even when in a limited sense.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Routines

For the first time in the history of summer break, I am successfully implementing some "school time" into our day.  Also, the boys are willingly helping with housework.  Probably because I'm insisting that we work before we play.  I can't really call it a "School Day" because it's only an hour.  Thirty minutes of reading, and thirty minutes of something else.  Either writing, math, or whatever else we come up with.  It's a very, very loose schedule and sometimes, like yesterday, we skip it altogether because it's summer time and some days need to be deemed a BEACH day!

However, I feel like just that little bit of structure (the word that is SO hard for me to embrace, by the way) is making summer run so much more smoothly. Go figure.

Today, we have already done our morning chores, school time (reading for 30 minutes and handwriting practice) and now we are headed off to the free movie and whatever else the day brings us!

Friday, June 10, 2011


The funniest thing that happened yesterday was when I was checking out at Publix. We had a rough-ish shopping trip.  It could have been worse, I admit, but I was frazzled.  I hate being frazzled in public places.  I prefer the facade that I have it allllllll under control.  So, as we are paying the bill, the cashier looks at me and says, "Do all five of these guys belong to you."  I said "yes, but there are only four."  She laughed and said she must have miscounted. I laughed too, and said, it's okay, right now I feel like there are at least five of them here too."

Probably you had to be there, but it lifted me from my frazzled, grumpy place for a few minutes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello Summer!

Hello?  Remember me? I'm the one with all of the boys?  No?  Maybe that's because it's been awhile... one month and three days to be precise... since I've blogged.  That's a long time in blog land, and while not a first, I can't remember the last time I've been that far behind.  There is no catching up.  Because, frankly, it's all a blur.  I can catch up from the end of school until now, however, and try to be a teensy bit more consistent in writing.  That should be easy peasy with everyone home all day, every day, right? Let me live in my delusion. I'll come to soon enough. 

Come with me back to 8 days ago, on the last day of school. I had one kid home with an ear infection, and the other with asthma symptoms plus a slight fever.  Much to their utter dismay, they missed that last day of school.  Try as they might to con me all the rest of the year into staying home when they "didn't feel good," there was much sadness to miss that last day.  I can't blame them. No one wants to miss the fun stuff.  We were also disappointed to be missing a pool party later that day.  Mother Nature helped us out with that one as it rained all afternoon and evening, postponing the party to the following day. 

Everyone was well enough Thursday for the pool party and off we went.  Bring on the summer! Let the good times roll and all that fun stuff!  Until, at 2 AM Friday morning Zack began the stomach virus that proceeded to take us down, one by one, all the way until Monday.  Thankfully, that is over. The kids bounced back faster than I did... and I won't linger on that topic. 

So, Tuesday brought a renewed energy and a desire to have!fun! But first, I had different plans.  The boys were disappointed that I had planned to have them read and do chores and even write a little before our fun began.  But, we did it and stayed on schedule for that day.  Then we went to the pool! 

Wednesday, it was going to be tricky to get all of our stuff done around all of our fun. There will be days like this, and that is when I will have be a little flexible. It is summer after all, so we skipped our writing practice and just read, and then went off to playgroup, followed by lunch and swimming at the pool.  (Let me just say how well the guys sleep after an afternoon at the pool.  I still have to find the magic balance so they aren't falling asleep too soon and waking up at bedtime.)

This brings me to today.  I woke up with dark circles under my eyes, despite getting plenty of sleep.  We didn't get to our school time because I was busy trying to find cheaper car insurance (saving the rantings about how much I hate getting car insurance quotes for another day- which luckily for you means never because I'll forget!) Our big plans include staying home and resting, because everyone is getting a little crazy out of sheer exhaustion.

Our challenges of summer are as follows:

Me: Staying organized, staying focussed, and not letting the little things get to me.  I have to figure out the balance between getting things done (and making sure the boys are involved in this) and having fun.  Without completely exhausting us all.  I also had a pretty good routine going to get all of my stuff done. That is having to be completely revamped.  It is a work in progress. 

Eric: Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance.  He struggles when there is chaos.  Unfortunately, there is a LOT of chaos when everyone is home. 

Mark: Learning when to quit and not pester the crap out of his brothers.

Zachary: Oh Zachary... he has to learn to listen and OBEY (rather than ignore) and learn that the cuteness factor can only get you so far in life.  Your dimples can't save you every time little buddy!

Benjamin: The poor guy just isn't dealing very well with all of these people on his turf.  He loves having his brothers home, but there is a lot of acting out and tantrum throwing right now. He may have to start napping again if it doesn't stop soon.

So, there you have it... week one of summer is in the bag!  Only 10.5 more to go.  We'll make it!

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