Tuesday, July 31, 2007

portraits, again

I took L for her 3 month portraits today. She absolutely hated it! She cried and fussed almost the entire time, but somehow the photographer managed to get 3 absolutely beautiful shots of her. We go to JCPenney portrait studio 95% of the time, and I'm happy with the portraits almost all the time. The photographers, (yes multiple!), took their time and quite a bit of effort to get great shots today. It helps, too, that I keep my eye out for great coupons. Today I had a $5 off coupon for filling out a survey, plus a coupon for $3.99 sheets.

I had taken the "big brother" and "little sister" t-shirts as well, but I didn't get a shot of the 3 together. They did get some shots of the boys in their big brother shirts that turned out adorable. When we got home, I snapped that shot on our couch of the 3 of them that I think turned out cute.

I still have the portraits from 6 weeks ago sitting in the envelope in my bedroom. Whoops! I need to cut them up and send them out before the next set arrives!

Friday, July 27, 2007

how'd I do?

Earlier in the month, I posted the projects I wanted to complete in July. Wondering how I did?

1. PAINT! (4 rooms, hallway & front door)

Well, our living room and hallway are painted. DH had a side job that took up a couple weekends, plus he's been sick since the end of June -- so this project wasn't completed, but a good start was made. We'll move the 3 rooms into projects for August!

2. Replace the living room rug.

This didn't happen. Partly for financial reasons, partly because we haven't had a chance to go out and even LOOK for a rug. We are having out of town company at the end of August, so this will either be done, or I'll just get rid of the rug completely.

3. De-clutter the desk in the hallway and clean out the homeschooling cabinets above it.

This is 1/2 way done. If things go well tomorrow, it'll be finished, so I'll still make my July deadline.

4. De-clutter the kitchen cabinets.

I think trying to do ALL the cabinets was too big a project to tackle. I did go through our glass/cup cabinet and also our Tupperware cabinet. These 2 cabinets were the worst, so I consider this accomplished (even though I will be going through more cabinets in the coming months.) I also got rid of most of our plastic kids' plates, which made my dish cabinet neater.

5. Finish moving the hundreds of CD's into CD albums.

Didn't even look at this project this month. Definitely moving it into the project list for September.

6. Clean out the linen closet.

I thought of this every time I went into the boys' bathroom, but didn't even start on it. Moving to August.

7. Plant plants in the 2 planters by our front door.

DH & I decided that spending the money on outdoor plants in July (the hottest month here in AZ) was a waste of resources. I agree. This will be put off until fall planting is safe.

8. Organize the children's books.

I have started this project. I have momentum, so I think I'll finish next week. I am using Library Thing and got a cue cat scanner, so I can scan the ISBN and the website helps me know exactly what I have. The scanner arrived yesterday, which is why I stalled on this project.

9. Make progress on my home management binder.

I did the financial section for this binder, so this task is complete. Additional sections will be tackled in the months ahead.

Hmmm, I only completed one project completely. At least progress is being made, however, and I'm further ahead than I was at the end of June!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

12 weeks

L was 12 weeks old this past Sunday. She is awake more often, smiling lots and rarely laughing at us these days. Her personality is starting to shine through as she becomes more aware of her surroundings. She likes to be out and about, and loves to nap in her swing when at home. She will turn her head to find her brothers when they come barreling into a room.

Our nursing relationship is good and we're getting better at nursing when we're out and about. I bought a nursing cover-up this time around -- mainly because I knew I'd be out more often and it gives me peace of mind as I try to arrange ourselves so she can eat. C, especially, is very good at helping me get it situated so I don't flash any passers-by.

We've gotten into the habit of early evening swims, and she enjoys floating around in the water with me. I like going in after the sun goes down so I don't have to worry about slathering 4 people with sunscreen. The boys love swimming in the pool when it's lit only by the light inside the pool. (Well, they love swimming ANYtime!)

She slept from 11 to 7Am a couple nights, but we're back to a 2/3AM waking again. I'm okay with that as she still sleeps better than either boy did. If only I could find a way to nurse her while staying in bed in the middle of the night I wouldn't even notice. Maybe in a few more months when she's bigger I'll be able to nurse lying down.

She's up from her morning nap, so I better close this entry!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

school year planning

My box from CHC arrived yesterday, and this past Saturday I took a trip to Lakeshore Learning to pick up art paper and supplies (and a free planner!) It's time to plan the school year!

I think I'm going to make a general overview for the year, but only plan a month or so at a time in depth. These thoughts are all in my head at the moment, however! I need to read through the 1st grade plans I just received, and look back at the K plans I pretty much abandoned last year, before I start plotting out the year.

We're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon this fall sometime. I want to make some weekend trips this year - and I need to get them on a calendar so they can happen. I'm willing to be flexible, but time has shown me that we're not good at running off spontaneously (maybe I should take lessons from Alexa. LOL!)

As far as extracurricular things go, the boys will play t-ball (N) and coach pitch (C) in August and September. They will also attend an hour long, homeschool phys ed class once a week at a local park from September through May. One day a week they will attend an enrichment program specifically for homeschooled children. They are also attending our parish's weekly religious ed classes. Of course, there will be plenty of trips to museums.

It should be an interesting (and busy) year!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A poem worth reading

Any Woman

I am the pillars of the house;
The keystone of the arch am I.
Take me away, and roof and wall
Would fall to ruin me utterly.

I am the fire upon the hearth,
I am the light of the good sun,
I am the heat that warms the earth,
Which else were colder than a stone.

At me the children warm their hands;
I am their light of love alive.
Without me cold the hearthstone stands,
Nor could the precious children thrive.

I am the twist that holds together
The children in its sacred ring,
Their knot of love, from whose close tether
No lost child goes a-wandering.

I am the house from floor to roof,
I deck the walls, the board I spread;
I spin the curtains, warp and woof,
And shake the down to be their bed.

I am their wall against all danger,
Their door against the wind and snow,
Thou Whom a woman laid in a manger,
Take me not till the children grow!

--Katharine Tynan (1861-1931)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Alaska, revisited

I have an awesome hubby. I could fill the page listing the reasons why -- but I'll just tell you about one reason today.

He went into work and asked his boss if there was an office in Alaska, and if there was any chance we could go for a month. He saw how excited I got at the prospect, and was willing to make it happen. Unfortunately, there is no office in Alaska in his division (or Hawaii), but we could go anywhere else we might like in the States. I doubt we will -- working 100% commission is hard enough here where he is very familiar with the area and I don't think it would be worth it to try somewhere else for a month. I did think it was awfully sweet that he went into the office and tried, though.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

we love books

We have always read to our children, and this past year C has started reading to us as well. N is looking forward to the day when he starts reading independently.

We have a strong love for books and they fill our home! A few years ago, I started selling Usborne Books as a way to get a discount on these great books, and also earn a little extra money for our household. This last year, especially, was pretty hectic and I didn't do much with the business -- but I wanted to let everyone know that our website is still up & active and you are free to browse through it if you're looking for wonderful children's books.

The picture above shows the boys enjoying just a few of their Usborne collection.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


DH and I were watching a show tonight and a woman in the show turned down a year-long assignment across the country because her sorta boyfriend told her to. I said to DH how dumb she was -- they both made good money and there was no reason she should deny a great career move. They could easily travel to visit, and it was only a year!

DH turned to me and said "So, you would be okay if I took that one year assignment to Anchorage, AK?"

I looked at him with bright eyes and said "There's an assignment in Alaska?" He replied "Yes" and I said "Could we all go?"

I immediately began thinking of all the awesome adventures we could have in Alaska -- especially knowing it was just for a year. Homeschooling can be done anywhere! The boys are curious about snow, and they would see plenty! We could easily rent our house out, and maybe there's a housing allowance! I remembered how when we were living in Oklahoma and my dad was putting in for new jobs -- he had to choose between Anchorage (or was it Fairbanks?) and Milwaukee and I so wanted him to choose Alaska. (He chose Milwaukee.)

I looked again at DH while still thinking of the potential and realized he had a huge grin on his face. He was kidding. There is no assignment in Alaska. It's just that he is a bit more romantic at times than me and thought it was sweet that they would choose to be together rather than apart.


I checked and his company does have a location in Anchorage. While the chances of us going are slim to none, it was wonderful to dream for a bit.

doc appts

Took N in for his 5 yr checkup (2 months late . . . ) He's perfect in every way, according to the doc. Weight is 40lbs, 8oz and his height is 43 inches -- both place him smack at 50%. He was very shy with the doctor (a new one, our old doc moved back to Virginia), but she took my word that he was a normal and healthy 5 year old. She made a couple comments regarding homeschooling, but nothing that I thought was out of the ordinary -- mainly to make sure he knew how to hold a pencil correctly and also that he had social outlets through church and/or activities. She also suggested tongue twisters to help his articulation over referring us to a speech therapist. (Although she was willing to refer us, but I'm a bit reluctant, even though I'm the one that brought up the fact I had some concerns. I think he has fairly normal speech for a 5 year old and I shouldn't compare him to C.)

L had her first set of vaccinations. I went through a lot of angst over doing them, but decided in the end to let her have them. I feel that I know so much more than I did with C or N, but still don't feel justified in NOT vaccinating. My biggest concern is that she is like my sister and will have an adverse reaction; even though both boys were fine. Also, DH saw no reason to delay or avoid vaccinations.

ANYWAY, her weight is 10lbs, 2oz and her height is 23 inches. Both measurements place her at 25%. DH guessed she was about 11 1/2 lbs but I had guessed 10. If we had placed a bet, I would have won! LOL

We're back at the doctor late August for L's 4 month checkup.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


A few months ago I volunteered to help out at a local Catholic homeschooling information event. At the time, I knew DH would likely be working, but assumed my sister could help me out.

The event happened this weekend -- and DH was working, and my sister had company from out of town, so I took all 3 kids. It worked out just fine! I helped man a table for Catholic Heritage Curriculum and was able to check out some of their books I haven't seen, as well as some books from Seton and a few other organizations. It was so nice to be surrounded by so many wonderful Catholic homeschooling families and lots of kids! It was completely natural to sit behind the table and nurse L while talking with other moms who were thinking of using CHC, or who already used it. My boys stayed close by, and spent some time playing with a little boy from another family. The event was low-key, but informative and I hope it continues as an annual event. I donated some Usborne books for a door prize, and I hope the recipient was happy with the selection I donated.

Today we had breakfast at IHOP (yummy strawberry french toast), visited Home Depot and bought supplies to paint the living room (actual painting is planned for next weekend), swam in the pool for a while (even L was willing to be carried around the water for a while), enjoyed ribs on the grill for dinner. All in all, a very nice day.

I need to sit down with my notebook and make this week's to-do list. I don't know why I prefer to create my lists with pen and paper, but I do. There's something more "real" about writing things out, and then crossing them out. Something that I miss when I try to keep lists on my computer.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

fussy time

I know most babies have a fussy time during the day. And, for whatever reason, it often occurs during early evening. Right when meals need to be prepared, baths need to be given, bedtime routines followed for the older kids.

This is also the time of day when I am most worn down. When the broken sleep seems to affect me the worst. When I wish I could just roll into a ball and sleep in silence.

I'm grateful that I'm a SAHM and that my DH works as hard as he does. It's this time of day, though, when I miss him most. It's a rare evening when he's home before 9PM. As a salesman, he has to meet people when they're available, and people are available after their work day ends. I am grateful for the sales he makes which makes it possible for me to stay home, but on nights like this -- when NOTHING will please the baby and the boys are starving and they really want to hear the next chapter of "Trumpet of the Swan", I wish he was home. A couple years ago, he worked a 2nd job which meant he wasn't home 11PM most nights - so I'm grateful, too, that he no longer needs to do that.

But, OH, do I miss him right now.


I have a bunch of projects I'd like to complete in July, so I thought I'd list them out and hopefully be able to cross off most of them when the calendar turns to August.

PAINT! Ok, this is really a project I'd like DH to complete. The fact of the matter is that almost the entire house needs repainting. We chose colors months and months ago! This is what I want painted:
  • Living room
  • Hallway
  • 2nd bath
  • Boys' bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Front door
The playroom and office could use a coat of paint, but they can wait. Our bedroom and bath were painted a couple years ago, but still looks good. Most of those rooms listed above haven't been painted since we moved in, and are dingy and marked.

I'd like to replace the area rug in the living room. DH keeps telling me he can get the stains out, but he's been telling me that for over 6 months and I just want the darn thing gone now.

I need to de-clutter the desk in the hallway and clean out the homeschooling cabinets above it. This MUST be completed in July so we can be ready to go in August!

De-clutter the kitchen cabinets. We own too many cups for one thing . . . time to downsize! I'm about to freecycle about 1/2 the dishes/plastic ware/glasses in there.

Finish moving the hundreds of CD's into CD albums. I got a good start on this project during my pregnancy, then lost steam.

Clean out the linen closet. I think it's time to pare down on the number of towels we own as well.

Plant plants in the 2 planters by our front door. This is a bit tricky because of the heat, but since they are sheltered from most of the sun, I think it's a project that can be successful. Please don't ask me about the plants in our backyard garden . . . they are toast.

Organize the children's books. I had them organized a year ago -- they were neatly placed on bookshelves and separated into types and / or themes -- but it's a mess again. I think that the boys might have been too young last year to understand my organization, so I will get more help from them this year when I attempt this. I also have to make some hard decisions about passing along some of our books. We easily have more than a thousand children's books in this house.

Make progress on my home management binder. I'd like to get the finances section started and completed.

9 projects may be too ambitious for the month of July. I'll consider myself successful if I get through 5 of them. There are more projects I want to see done, but they'll have to wait for another month! I think these are most pressing on my mind.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

getting out

The portraits I had taken a few weeks ago were ready to be picked up, so I packed the 3 kids into the car this morning and headed over to Penney's.

We got there just as they were opening up, so there wasn't any wait to get the photographs. We headed over to the baby section next, as L somehow ended up with 3 month outfits, and 9 month outfits, but no 6 month outfits. She's not ready yet for even most of her 3 month outfits, but I knew they were having clearance sales so I thought I'd take advantage of that. The boys helped me find 8 adorable outfits for her in the 6 month size and then we headed over to look at boys' shirts. They really do a great job at picking out her clothes! Both are adept at finding the sizes, and have wonderful taste.

We found 5 shirts for the boys -- 3 for C and 2 for N. L had started getting fussy in the baby section, so I was carrying her and the boys were taking turns pushing the stroller. She was perfectly content as long as she was held. I should have put her in the sling, but I didn't bring it with me, as I planned on picking up the pictures and then heading home.

Around now, the boys were getting hungry. We headed over to the food court, but on the way I stopped in the women's section, where I found 3 shirts for myself. I was even able to try them on with little problem and determine that yes, they fit! and yes, I could nurse in them!

I purchased all those clothes for less than $120! The prices were close to 2nd hand store prices, and sometimes even less, for what we bought.

The boys chose meatballs as usual, and they gobbled up 2 huge meatballs each along with a breadstick. I fed L while they ate and then we headed home.

That may have been our longest outing since her birth! It was made so much easier because both boys were cooperative and helpful.

I have already put away all the new clothes while L is napping.

Our party for tomorrow was canceled. We're planning on a very relaxing, family day. I can't wait!

Monday, July 02, 2007

and another day

Just writing the post yesterday about our trip helped me put things into perspective. I started a list for the trip, well actually multiple lists -- packing, carryons, things we need to buy before leaving (like a booster since WI law requires both boys to be in boosters and I only have one), a grocery list for the first day (things like diapers, cereal and treats for the boys, etc. -- things I can't expect my mom to run out and buy for us, but which will make our stay easier), reservations to be made, and a schedule of who to see, what to do and when. I feel better about the trip now.

We're having people over for the 4th, however, and I realized that's really what I need to stress about! Unfortunately, there is only one family coming that I already know, the other 2 (or is it 3?) are from DH's work and we've never met. I feel added pressure that my house needs to be especially neat and clean. There will be 4 new kids here, which means I need to make sure the playroom is not destroyed. I need to still grocery shop for food. DH took a side job, which meant he hasn't been here for his 2 days off and L has needed to nurse pretty much non-stop. So, I haven't cleaned, or shopped, or anything. The weather is supposed to be around 116, so I'm not sure how willing people will be to go outdoors -- even though we have said the pool is available. Personally, I would be uncomfortable swimming at someone's house that I didn't really know, so I can understand if it goes unused. PLUS, I don't know these kids and worry about the chaos they may produce. I know DH thinks we can pull everything off the morning of the 4th . . . and well, I guess we'll just have to go with whatever we CAN (or HE can) accomplish that morning. And I need to just let go. I would love to cancel . . . but DH has been looking forward to this for a while now.

Did I mention DH is also sick right now? And C is complaining of an earache?

Hmmm, another grouchy post. I'll try for better tomorrow!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


We have a trip planned to Wisconsin later this summer. It will be the first time we've been back as an entire family since C was about 6 months old (he'll be 7 this fall.) DH & I have been back separately a few times - most recently I took the boys for a visit last summer.

Since we'll ALL be back this time, and we have a new baby, the number of people we need to visit is much higher. We'll be staying with my folks for the first few days of our trip, then taking a 2 day side trip to the Wisconsin Dells (to celebrate our 10th anniversary - also the site of our honeymoon!), then back to the Milwaukee area for the last few days of our trip (and staying in a hotel.) That final weekend is full of family reunion (my family) parties.

SO, in the first 3 days of our trip, we need to visit the zoo with my brother and his wife, visit my FIL and his wife, visit DH's cousins (who are also the boys' godparents), visit DH's 3 close friends from his days in the Nat'l Guard and their wives, visit the parents of DH's best friend since high school (who we have neglected our last 5 trips back to WI and they are such good people that we CANNOT skip them this trip), and keep my parents happy with enough time with us and the kids before all the extended family shows up. OH, and keep a 3 month old baby happy and content as well as her big brothers.

THEN, we drive to the Dells and spend 2 days as a family. Back late Friday night and we start visiting with all my extended family that is flying in for the family reunion / 40th anniversary party my parents are throwing that encompasses the weekend.

Back home on a Monday. Almost 9 hours in airports and airplanes because I booked connecting flights instead of a direct flight.

And a DH who is okay doing everything by the seat of his pants and I can't get him to make some calls and make some plans so I can organize some sort of timetable to ensure we make the necessary visits.

And it's a given that NOBODY will be happy with the amount of time we spend with them, and feelings will be hurt. (speaking from experience here . . . )

BUT, I can't see us making another trip back in the next few years -- so they'll have plenty of time to get over it.

I had toyed with the idea of only flying in for the weekend and using that as an excuse that we couldn't see anybody -- but in the end we decided to take an entire week. Which seems like a long time until you try to fit everyone in. Of course, we could have skipped the Dells -- but our 10th anniversary falls in the middle of that week and who knows when we would be back again for a visit?

I'm sure in the end it will be worth it. We'll have lots of pictures of our extended family which are precious. We will find the time to see the people I've listed and hopefully everyone will understand the limitations we're under. A 3 month old can nap pretty much anywhere, so it's not like we need to be someplace where she can nap consistently in a bed.

I just need to let go of the stress, and perhaps pick up the phone myself and make some calls to arrange visits. Or write out the details for DH and sit by him while he makes the calls.
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