Monday, March 31, 2008


Thank you for your prayers for my MIL. We looked at it every which way, prayed about it, and then I found an amazing deal for airfare and a rental car. We're going as a family and everyone is glad that we found a way. The airfare and rental car will cost about the same as gas, lodging and food would have cost us to drive -- PLUS, we can spend more time visiting and much less time traveling. Since DH has no paid vacation, and things have been so dicey lately financially, we're grateful that this means we can also cut down on the number of days he will have to miss work.

I don't know my MIL very well, but her serious illness has hit me hard. She's 64 years old, and it has upset me greatly thinking that L will be 24 years old when I'm 64! Obviously, I knew the math -- but it has scared me this week thinking I may leave her without a mother that young. (And, of course, my boys as well. C & N will just be in their 30's.)

There's a few things I can do. Watch my health and take care of myself, obviously. Figure out a way to earn some money to ensure we're able to care for ourselves as we get older -- just surviving is too stressful, and the cost of medical care is only increasing. Work on creating some sort of written legacy for my family -- I want them to know who I am and what I believe in. I don't want that to get lost and I'm terrified that it might.

DH's mom was told 3-6 months, and wasn't told the doctor's revised estimate of 2 weeks - 2 months. She has nothing to leave but her stories, and she's trying to tell them now. I am glad we're able to see her soon, and I'm glad my boys will hear some of her stories for themselves.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


My MIL was diagnosed with liver & bone cancer earlier this week. She beat breast cancer twice before, but the recent information DH got was that the doctors were giving her between 2 weeks and 2 months. I don't know any of the details, I just know that it looks grim.

We're trying to figure out a way to travel to North Carolina. She has never met our children, and that's weighing heavily on DH's heart. The last time he saw her was at our wedding, so it's been a long time. On one hand, we feel that it's extremely important that DH gets there quickly -- but he wants us all to visit her. The biggest complication is cost; but we can always earn more money.

Please pray for her. And for my DH. I imagine it's going to be rough the next few months.

staying connected

There is an absolutely lovely carnival up at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" about staying connected to our spouses. The hostess did a fabulous job of weaving all the posts together, and the posts themselves are inspirational. Check it out!

Friday, March 28, 2008

More About Me Meme

Alexa tagged me for this meme. I've been avoiding writing about things that are going on around here right now, so I was glad for an easy blog entry!

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago: I had been married for about 7 months and was working in our heating/cooling business full-time. I was taking fertility meds in hopes of conceiving a child. I was living in Milwaukee, WI and probably looking forward to warmer spring temperatures.

Five things on my To Do List today: (not in any particular order)
1 -- 2 loads of laundry 2 -- Helping the boys complete today's schooling 3 -- Find the symphony tickets for tomorrow! 4 -- Fill a box with books for sale / donation 5 -- Create a Shutterfly photo book for MIL

Snacks I enjoy: Chocolate, roasted edamame, jellybeans, pretzels, cheese, popsicles

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Add about 1000 square feet to our home (a 3rd bathroom, a library/music room, a family room and an office), hire weekly cleaning help, hire a part-time nanny to have an extra pair of hands, pay off all debts, TRAVEL, fund college funds for the kids, invest a big chunk, donate a good chunk to charity, did I mention travel?

Three of my bad habits: 1 -- worrying 2 -- procrastination 3 -- eating mindlessly

Five places I have lived: I've lived many more places than 5, but here are a random 5: 1 -- Buffalo, NY 2 -- Humble, TX 3 -- Broken Arrow, OK 4 -- Metairie, LA 5 -- Mesa, AZ

Five jobs I have had: 1 -- library page 2 -- software instructor 3 -- computer consulting company owner 4 -- partner in hvac company 5 -- temp service employment coordinator

Five people I want to know more about (a nice way of saying TAG!): Any of my readers! If you decide to do this meme, please comment below! thanks ;)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Pictures

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter! We had lots of fun, and many pictures can be seen over at my picture blog.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

L's island dress

DH brought this sweet yellow dress back for L from the Virgin Islands. It's a perfect fit and so sweet!

recycling easter eggs

We have a tradition of Easter morning easter egg hunts in our backyard. We're fortunate that we live in a climate that makes outside hunts possible this time of year, and we have a beautiful yard to hide eggs!

I fill plastic eggs with stickers, coins, small candies and sometimes small toys. DH & I go out late the night before and toss eggs all over the yard! Last year, I think we hid about 40 eggs.

Every year, after Easter, I gather the eggs into a paper bag and put it in my closet. The following Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent), I put the paper bag out on the back porch so the Easter Bunny can pick it up and re-use our eggs. Since we have some special eggs (sports balls for instance), I knew the boys would appreciate seeing them year after year. Also, we do our best to re-use and recycle in our home.

It has become a tradition over the years to do this, and the boys have been wondering throughout Lent whether or not the Easter Bunny is done filling "their" eggs yet.

This year, they'll find the familiar eggs, plus a dozen camouflage eggs their Aunt Bunny picked up. (yes, we call her Aunt Bunny. It started as a family joke when I was pregnant with C and it became her beloved nickname.) While L won't be running behind them THIS year, she'll be crawling and trying to catch up! I suppose next year we'll have to add some girly eggs to our stash for our toddler!

It is nice that we don't have to buy plastic eggs every year. Those that get broken are thrown away, but the ones in good shape are used year after year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last Wednesday, C lost his other front tooth while at his enrichment program. It has left him with a delightful gap-toothed smile.

Around the same time, L sprouted her 6th tooth -- giving her 4 across the top.

L's favorite game of the moment is peek-a-boo and she will spend countless minutes covering her head with whatever is nearby in hopes someone will squeal "peek-a-boo!!" Thankfully, her brothers are still enamored of her, so they comply quite regularly.

She showed me today that she knows how to climb when she climbed the stepstool someone had left in front of the pantry. Not 10 minutes later, she escaped out the back door and was crawling over the rocks to find the boys. I think she may be a little monkey.

She prefers sleepers without feet, mainly because she likes to hold onto her toes while she's nursing down at night. Footed sleepers frustrate that desire. Unfortunately, I bought a pack of 3 on clearance and can't find any more.

N is blossoming academically. He recently started a 1st grade math book and a 1st grade spelling book. He is clearly ready for both. His handwriting has gotten much better and he's willing to write in lowercase. His reading is getting better each day and he is able to get through early readers with very little assistance. He also complains MUCH less than a few months ago about doing schoolwork.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We like Sundays to be a dedicated family day. After church, we try to have some sort of outing -- and prefer that it is free or as close to free as possible! One thing that we have started again is geocaching. Geocaching is a great family activity and once you have a GPS, there really aren't many more costs associated with it.

All over the country, there are hidden treasures. The coordinates are registered at websites like All you have to do is search for a cache near where you'll be, write down (or print out) the coordinates and any tips, and start your search! Some are as tiny as a film canister, others are as big as a 5 gallon canister.

This past Sunday, we searched for 3 different geocaches all within 5 miles of our home. I am sorry that I forgot the camera, as we saw some beautiful scenery along the way. It was also pretty cute watching Lydia bounce along on her dad's side as we hiked through the desert. DH usually navigates us close to the spot, and I am the one to find the hidden caches.

On Sunday, we found 2 of the 3 caches. Although, we probably shouldn't even count #3 since we didn't get within .5 mile because it was a pretty steep climb. I tend to prefer kid-friendly caches, and thankfully there are plenty!

We recently emptied a peanut butter jar, and I washed it out so we can create our own cache to hide. Often, there are small trinkets that can be traded for, plus a log for people to record their findings. We have a handful of small plastic dinosaurs that we'll start ours with and I need to look for a small notebook (which I'm sure I can find in the house already!) Then, we need to paint the jar for camouflage and decide where to hide it. It'll be fun watching to see who finds it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Diaper Savings

Huggies are a great deal right now at Amazon! You can get a big box, plus sign up for their "subscriber" service and save another 20%! That drops the per diaper price down to just over 21 cents a diaper for the Size 3 diapers.

This is the best deal I could currently find -- especially since there is no shipping charge! I was happy to get diapers for 23 cents each locally, but it's even better to save more and have them delivered to my door.

The 20% savings is only good until the end of the month. After that, their regular savings kicks in again for 15% off regular prices when you sign up for their subscriber services. I haven't done it yet, but I understand it's super simple to adjust, change or cancel once you sign up for that service.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Credo Christian E-Cards

Deb, over at Ukok's Place, has a labor of love in her Credo Christian E-Card site.

If you click over there, you will find some amazing photographs and verses/prayers that can be sent via email as e-cards. While she is Catholic, many of the cards are appropriate for any Christian wishing to send encouragement or well wishes to others.

She has taken all the photographs personally, and she has an amazing eye and is quite artistic. I have a few favorites, but I want you to visit her site and find your own!

The cards are free to send, and will not result in any spam to you or your recipient. Her site is super-simple to use as well!

I'm sure there is someone in your life who would appreciate receiving one of her cards. Who will it be?


I had a rare moment in the van with just N, and we were listening to music on my ipod. He is much more interested in music than his brother, so we were enjoying it loud!

Then, he pipes up from the backseat, "Mom, could you just listen to the music instead of singing? I would like to just hear HER sing. thanks!"

Whoops! I guess I can only sing along when I'm alone in the van! LOL!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

sweet sounds

My honey bunny is back in the U.S. tomorrow! He has had a fun time on the cruise with his friends and co-workers, but he is as eager to be back in our home as we are eager to have him back!

I will miss the sweet emails he has been sending, but it will be wonderful to have him back home and be able to TALK to him! Although, I do confess we did talk while he was gone even though we knew it would cost $2.49/minute. We talked only briefly, but it was such a sweet sound to hear his voice.

We usually talk every few hours during our days, and I depend on him as my sounding board, my friend, my lover. It has been difficult this week not having that easy access to him. He won't be home until late tomorrow night, but we will be able to TALK on the phone all we want (well, except when he's in the air.)

It's been tough, too, juggling the needs of all three children by myself for the entire week. I think everyone got slighted - more than usual - and that hurt my mama heart. I'm glad their dad will be back to help balance things out, and I have appreciation for single parents who are always doing it on their own!

The boys are beside themselves with anticipation for his return, and we're wondering if L will have a bit of stranger fear at first. I know she will be annoyed that she no longer has free roam of 3/4 of the bed! LOL! She sleeps like a starfish - every limb spread out wide.

I can't wait for him to get home. But I will!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Review: Whole Grain Pop Tarts

Kellogg's (through Mom Central) sent us 2 boxes of their new Whole Grain Pop Tarts to sample.

My kids love pop tarts, so I was happy to have them try the new ones. Each serving of the whole grain pastries equals one serving of whole grains. The whole grain pop tarts have whole wheat flour as their first ingredient, vs. enriched flour for regular pop tarts. They also have 3g of fiber per serving, compared to barely any fiber in regular pop tarts.

These pop tarts contain a lot of high fructose corn syrup, just like the regular version. I do believe in moderation in all things, so while I try to avoid HFCS when possible, I don't avoid it altogether.

Pop tarts with a glass of milk are an easy snack in our house. They are good for travel in the car because they aren't messy. I have never toasted them for my kids, so they have always eaten them straight out of the package.

My husband said he liked the whole grain pop tarts better than the regular version because he thought they had more taste. N briefly complained that there were only squiggles of icing vs. a full covering of icing. Both boxes were eaten quickly and I didn't even get to try them. During our recent grocery run, N reminded me that we needed to get more pop tarts. He said, "Get ones like the ones that we found at our door!"

The price is the same - so for the treat, I will probably choose the whole grain version in the future. I hope they change more flavors into a whole grain version, since it appears that there are only 2 flavors available right now.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

sorry for self

I pulled my last post and I apologize if you happened to read it. (Although, Deb, I must tell you that your comment brought me to tears and touched me deeply. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.)

I am feeling sorry for myself and I know it. Shame on me!

I have always prided myself on having no regrets and living in the present. I don't know if it's turning 40, or a variety of other things, but I've been re=living much too many things lately and wishing I had made different decisions. Some little, some big -- but every decision made has brought me to this moment.

And because every decision has brought me to THIS moment -- with troubles and suffering -- but also great joy -- I cannot regret any of those decisions. My children are the light of my life and the song in my heart. (could I be more cliched? Oh, well) It may be time for new beginnings and I know I have the strength to start again.

The trials of the moment may be the kick in the pants I needed. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


We spent 6 hours at the zoo yesterday. My kids LOVE the zoo! We've been going regularly for 6 years now and I don't think they are ever bored, or not interested in going.

One thing that I always said I liked about homeschooling was letting the boys take their time with things. Even though I say this, I realize that I am often hurrying them along -- either because *I* am bored, or we have other things to do. This week, I decided to really step back and let them do things for as long as they wanted with few limits. It's been good -- we would have stayed longer at the zoo if it hadn't closed at 5!

It really struck me yesterday when we were at a play area with a large rope spider web kids can play in. I sat on a nearby bench and nursed L while the boys played. Usually, when L was finished, I would have encouraged the boys to move on, but yesterday I waited until THEY said they were ready to move on. We were there for about 45 minutes. It was harmless and I need to remember to sit back more often!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Review: Green Works Cleaning Products

Thanks to Clorox and Mom Central, I received 2 bottles of Clorox's new natural cleaners to try out around our house. I received a spray bottle of Green Works Glass & Surface Cleaner, and a spray bottle of Green Works All Purpose Cleaner.

We have a large glass patio door that we recently removed the blinds from. This means that I am cleaning it more than ever! (Well, actually, I often make the boys clean it since it's usually their fingers that have smudged it.) This glass cleaner works great and has a nice lemon-y smell. It cleaned as well as any other cleaner we use -- without harsh chemicals, or me mixing up vinegar and water!

I really like that these products are 99% natural. They are made with almost all natural ingredients -- a coconut-based cleaning agent, lemon oil, corn-based ethanol and filtered water. Everything is biodegradable, so I'm not adding to pollution by using the products.

Our kitchen island is the place where we school, craft, and eat. It needs to be wiped down multiple times a day! The all-purpose cleaner did a nice job cleaning up after stray pencil marks, glue and spilled milk. Did I already mention I like the scent? It's light and fresh and pleasant.

For windows and mirrors, the glass cleaner worked great! I was also happy with the all-purpose cleaner. In addition to the kitchen island, I used it to clean the boys' plastic picnic table and to clean smudges off our inside doors.

These products do not have disinfectant properties, but the information on the website said they were working on possible solutions. For basic cleaning, I think they are a great new product. I'm sure that I'll buy more when these bottles run out!

Monday, March 03, 2008

start of week

DH left early yesterday morning for Miami, on his way to the cruise ship. I determined that since he's off vacationing, we would declare this week our "spring break" and take a break from schooling!

Yesterday, we headed out to the Riparian Preserve near our home. It's a place I discovered last week, and I can't believe I never knew about it before! It's very peaceful and has tons of opportunities for bird-watching, nature journaling, and just quiet relaxation. N thoroughly enjoyed sitting by the side of the lake and quietly watching the birds. My sister came along with us, and we had a great afternoon.

I told N that he could decide what we did today. His first idea was that we should go to Disneyland! I had to let him down, and give some parameters to potential plans. I told him that we could do anything he wanted -- provided it didn't cost us anything. Since we have memberships to a number of places, this isn't as limiting as it might sound! Our weather is also beautiful right now (sunny and 70's), so that opens up more possibilities.

He thought about it for a while and declared that he would like to have a painting day! I agreed and told him I thought that was a great idea!

Early this morning he woke and I fed him breakfast. I laid out a cloth on our island, brought out the paints, paper, and brushes and he took off! About an hour later C woke and joined him. They painted all morning and our patio is covered with masterpieces at the moment!

They're taking a break to play ball, but they have informed me that they'll be back to paint more after lunch.

Tomorrow, C will decide what we do for the day. I'm curious to find out what he'll choose!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Review: Baby Einstein - Baby's First Moves

When MomCentral asked if I'd like to review Baby's First Moves by Baby Einstein, I was happy to see what new things have come out since the boys were tiny. When C was an infant, I remember getting ready for work in the morning while he played in his exersaucer and watched the early Baby Einstein videos. I also remember how helpful they were when I was suffering through my 1st trimester with N, and then later when N liked to breastfeed for hours at a time! I have fond memories of the time spent watching quite a few of these videos over the years with the boys.

We received a copy of First Moves, which I hadn't seen before. The boys were eager to share the fun of Baby Einstein with their sister. They remembered the puppet shows and were looking forward to laughing along with L.

This dvd follows the same format as the other Baby Einstein videos we've watched. There were silly puppet shows, soothing music, babies and kids, toys and live animals. The concept is simple, but enjoyable for young children. I love the fact that they have always been referred to as "digital board books," because that's exactly what they are like -- except with music! There's no storyline, so it's easy to keep up your own running commentary with your baby about what's on the screen.

L (10 months) really wasn't very interested in watching the screen. She was much more interested in watching the boys, which is typical for her. We all sat together on the floor and moved along with the babies on the screen. Personally, I think she'll be more interested in a few months. I think this is something to definitely put on in the background while playing in the living room. It is gentle and simple.

One of the bonus features is a pilates instructor (and mom) showing some exercises that you can do with an infant. The emphasis is on interacting with your infant, while still doing something for yourself. The exercises she showed were simple and definitely do-able.

I think these dvds are especially great for first-time parents. When you're a new parent, it's easy to feel that you don't know what to do, or that you're not doing enough. These dvds give you another outlet to interact with your baby, and are a nice diversion to have for older toddlers. While this dvd is rated for ages 3 months and up, I think kids between 1 and 2 years old would enjoy it most. The mom exercise section is definitely for moms with infants.

Baby Einstein has always encouraged interacting with your child and their videos. They encourage conversation, movement and introduction of new things. When my boys were little, I remember they loved to watch the bugs on some of the videos, and they learned quite a few animals from the animal videos. We often use videos to reinforce concepts and help learn new things, and I consider these fun for the toddler group. I know Baby Einstein started an early love for puppets that my boys still have!

The Baby Einstein website has definitely evolved over the last decade! Check it out for information about all their products, as well as tips and ideas for baby development.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

special intention prayer request

If you read this, could I ask that you say this quick prayer for a very special (and urgent) intention that my family has? St. Gerard has been our family's patron saint for many years.

thank you ;)

Almighty and loving Father, I thank you for giving St. Gerard to us as a most appealing model and powerful friend. By his example, he showed us how to love and trust you. You have showered many blessings on those who call upon him. For your greater glory and my welfare, please grant me the favors which I ask in his name.

(Here mention them privately)

And you, my powerful patron, intercede for me before the throne of God. Draw near to that throne and do not leave it until you have been heard. O good saint, to you I address my feverent prayers; graciously accept them and let me experience in some way the effects of your powerful intercession. Amen.
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