Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday Thoughts

Sidenote: I have been posting on the family blog but it involved more family stuff, so that is why I haven't had many entries on here. :) But I can always count on Thankful Thursday...

Here it is. Thursday. And it has been a near perfect week. Okay, not near perfect. But good anyway. Except it wasn't completely. I had one really tough night dealing with things I don't really like to deal with. All the more reason to give some thanks...

What am I thankful for this week?
  • a husband who is playful with our youngest. I know little boys need that playfulness, and try as I might, I just don't have it in me. So I am thankful he takes over in that department.
  • a beautiful and fun hike Sunday (that I still haven't blogged about)
  • report cards are finished!
  • most of my school paperwork is finished
  • two Decorah eagle babies hatched and a third on the way...they entertain me :)
  • my kids' teachers. They give their hearts and souls for our kids and don't get nearly enough thanks!
  • my students. I was sitting in front of them on Monday, the first day back after spring break. I will admit, I wasn't as crazy about getting up Monday morning after a laidback spring break (sleeping wise). But when I saw their beautiful little faces, I remembered exactly why I was there. I really did. My heart stopped and I thought, "I love these kids."
  • a good week for the kids. It is rare for all of them to have a good week. And of course there is one more day for them to NOT have a good week. Which is entirely possible. All the more reason to celebrate today. Because tomorrow I may not be. :)
  • Girls' Night Live with my girls this last weekend
  • Facebook. I think I have said it before but I am thankful for FB. I know it can be a timewaster. But I also know I learn a lot on there. I am able to keep up with former students, distant family, and old friends. And it is an easy way to "socialize" once the kids are in bed all from the comfort of my home. :)
  • Pinterest. Another odd one to include but I have found some great recipes through Pinterest. And some awesome school/education resources.
  • junior high orientation. I got a little emotional being there. Can he possibly be going to junior high? But it was reassuring at the same time to see faces with the school. Peace of mind. I am not nearly as freaked out as I was with middle school :)
  • a friend for Maria. One of her friends and a neighbor to us (on our street anyway) has been coming down to play with her in the evenings. She so needs that.
  • my "team" at school. I love all of my co-workers but my kindergarten co-workers hold a special place in my heart.
  • Friday. I am thankful tomorrow is Friday.

What are you thankful for this week?


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Okay, it wasn't necessarily really a fabulous Friday. I mean, it is the last day of my spring break. My kids argued and tattled all day long. We have had rain all week long. I keep waking up with a dull headache. And after doing really well with my calories, I find myself hungry again...all of the time. I am trying not to give in but even now, my stomach is growling.

So, we know that when the complaints start, it is time. Time for Thankful Thursday. Except I missed Thursday, so it will be Thankful Friday. Doesn't flow quite as well without the alliteration but I am pretty sure I can praise and give thanks on Friday anyway...

What am I thankful for this week?
  • My hubby and kids had a safe trip to (and back) visit his family.
  • NO homework this week (for the kids...I have a bag of school stuff I need to deal with)!
  • No setting alarm clocks this week.
  • I get to have a girls' night with my girls tomorrow night at a concert (for girls :).
  • Gift cards to one of my favorite stores meant new clothes for me.
  • Lots done around the house. Still so much I want to do but I am proud of what was done.
  • Even though it did rain ALL week, I am thankful the grass is greening up AND that we didn't have any flooding (that I can tell) in our house.
  • My sick kids are on the path to healing. (Two sick ones this week)
  • My elliptical. It is my exercise (in front of the tv) about half of the time.
  • Hot showers (needed after that exercise time)
  • My Ghirardelli dark chocolate with sea salt caramel squares...I eat one a day (chilled). They make me happy.
  • A son who cares about others
  • A husband who protects his kids
  • A beautiful sunset tonight
  • Friends who encourage me via FB, blog comments, e-mail, and occasionally in person :)
  • Movie night (unplanned) watching Lion King with the crew

I know there is more but I am ready to get a little sleep.

Oh, before I go, something that has been entertaining both me and my children (both at school and at home):

Live stream by Ustream

This is a webcam keeping watch over a mama eagle and her three eggs. The first baby is supposed to hatch this week. I am giddy with excitement over the arrival!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

What I Did for My Spring Break...

Just in case anyone thought I was sitting and eating bonbons (I don't know that I have eaten one of those) while hubby and the kids were gone for a few days, well...wouldn't that have been a dream? Instead, I was working my tail off. I got up each day, ate breakfast, then went into work mode. I would stop for lunch and dinner, then continue to work into the wee hours of the morning. I don't have that "alone" time very often; I had to take full advantage of it! Even my Words with Friends games and Draw Something games suffered. And blogs I thought I would catch up on...well, not so much. I had thought I might get a pedicure as a treat and had really planned on going to the school for a while to get some things done there. But in the end, there was TOOOO much to do right here. So other than a meal out with my parents, I was basically a slave to the house.

I did get a lot done though. Not nearly what I wanted or had envisioned (didn't get to touch the girls' room, toyroom, hall closets, or even much in our bedroom), but a lot DID get done nonetheless.

Just to remind myself what I DID do (rather than what I didn't get to...), here is a list of some of the things I did...

What I Did While You Were Gone

1. Laundry, laundry, laundry

2. Cleaned out Child4’s closet then found homes for the items that no longer are in there

3. Washed kitchen drawer/cabinet liners

4. Cleaned out kitchen cabinets/drawers

5. Gathered 5th grade pictures (on computer) for child 2’s “graduation”

6. Changed out child 4’s clothes (winter for spring/summer)

7. Worked on Child 4’s birthday list for my parents

8. Vacuumed Child 4’s room

9. Cleaned out Child 4’s toy box

10. Organized Child 4’s books and toys

11. Dusted Child 4’s room

12. Washed our bedroom valances

13. Vacuumed parts of living room

14. Cleaned oven

15. Trip to Goodwill

16. Emptied trash (a few times)

17. Emptied Dishwasher/refilled a few times

18. Scrubbed down the cabinets

19. Washed some baseboards

20. Rearranged and organized kitchen drawers

21. Matched cups/lids for our gazillions of water bottles

22. Washed door frames

23. Washed off very dusty ivy

24. Vacuumed off the top of (most of) the kitchen cabinets

25. Organized rolodex

26. Cleaned off junky corner

27. Cleaned off corner shelf in kitchen

28. Assembled new shoe rack

29. Straightened, organized shoes

30. Cleaned backyard

31. Cleaned up dog poop in backyard

32. Emptied out toy basket in living room

33. Cleared off bottom of table in living room

34. Vacuumed hot water closet

35. Vacuumed part of the garage (including behind shelving units)

36. Menu planned for the week

37. Grocery shopping for the week

38. Paid Child 4’s tuition

39. Deposited small checks

40. Put shelves together for garage

41. Organized other shelving units in garage

42. Moved items to new shelf

43. Washed part of the China

44. Emptied out basket of stuff in our bedroom

45. Cleaned out Lazy Susan

46. Cleaned out storage container shelf

47. Cleaned oven racks

48. Emptied out coin dish

49. Sorted through tulip bulbs

50. Cleaned out and vacuumed out trunk

51. Gathered items for school and for church (in the trunk)

52. Moved items to laundry room shelves

53. Cleaned off baking shelf in pantry

54. Vacuumed AC/heat vents

55. Vacuumed cobwebs along wall/ceiling in the hallway, entryway, and living room

56. Washed down a very dirty garage door (the door from the house to the garage)

57. Washed down door from laundry room to the house

58. Washed pantry doors

59. Trips to stores for organizational materials

60. Major cleaning up of the laundry room…first thing hubby noticed…

Since then (I cannot get this to go back to its regular font :), I have also been working on Child 3's clothes, have organized the pantry completely, and cleaned out the freezer and part of the fridge. Oh, and finished taxes. So just because the crew is back doesn't mean that my work is done. I am just doing it between games of checkers, making donuts, cooking dinner, reading books, etc...

Now, back to work!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Statistics

Three and a half days.

Three nights.

0 kids.

1 dog. A playful attention seeking dog.

15ish hours of work a day.

5 Magic Erasers.

4 hours with a self-cleaning oven.

5 rooms worked on in some form or fashion.

More loads of laundry than I can count.

1 "Me" Moment (a dinner out with my parents)

2 days of rain.

5 stores for needed organizational materials.

1 tired but happy mom.

I didn't get everything done that I would have liked but I definitely made a dent in the attempt to organize and reclaim this house. :) I hope the momentum continues!

Thanks to hubby for giving me a few days alone to work on it.

Tomorrow...I nap. :)


Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Mark of a Good Man...

Do you know what the "mark" of a good man is?

Spring break.

Kids and I are home.

A good man packs up his clothes, the clothes of the youngest.

He tells the other kids to pack up their stuff.

He helps the kids find movies for the DVD player.

He loads up the car.

Then he drives 8 or 9 hours.

Yes, 8 or 9 hours.

With 4 kids.

And a DVD player that does NOT work.

He visits his family.


he leaves his wife at home.

Alone. (well, with the dog)

For a few days.

She can do whatever she wants.

(She will mainly clean, but probably do a little shopping too)

He won't expect a perfect house when he returns.

But he will find a happy wife.

I love that man.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday, Otra Vez

I am trying SO hard to not roll over and fall asleep.

My eyes are fluttering.

But I know I have to post or my dear friend Randy will ask, "Where is Thankful Thursday?" :) Just teasing, Randy.

I need to be thankful.


So what am I thankful for this week?

  • an intern who can take over if I unexpectedly stay home with a sick child
  • my mom who is willing to watch the little sick child so I can get back to school
  • a very patient teacher for little sick child when he returns to school VERY grouchy
  • beautiful weather this week...70's and 80's. For real??? You know this is heavenly to me!
  • a hike in the woods with my family and pup this past weekend
  • a picnic by the lake (during the hike in the woods)
  • involved kids though I may be more thankful we have their spring choir concerts out of the way all in one week
  • an almost healed thumb (minus part of my fingernail)
  • Spring Break in ONE day! Woohoo!
  • BIG plans (I didn't say exciting, just big) for spring break...will share soon
  • Daylight Savings. No, I don't like losing an hour of precious sleep BUT I do like it when it is light outside later in the evening
  • exercise. If you know me at all, you might be surprised by that. But when I exercise, I am "allowed" to eat more. :)
  • Schwan's dark chocolate with vanilla ice cream miniatures...yum!
  • a hiking dog. How many hiking dachshunds do you know?
  • Draw Something. It is just fun:)
  • online tax services. There is NO way I could do them myself without that service. The tax booklets make my head hurt.
  • Chick Fil A night. Benefits our school AND made for an easy dinner for me
  • finding J-man's birthday present (after thinking I wouldn't be able to locate one...)
  • my children. They can drive me crazy. They stress me out. They raise my blood pressure. But I love them.
  • And hubby too...

Better go.

Have a sick kid.

Not so thankful for that but it takes these times to remind me to be thankful for when they aren't sick...


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Under My Thumb

Who knew an injured thumb could teach me some life lessons?

You know, beside the lesson of "use the handguard when using a mandolin".

I have always considered myself the thumb of the family.

Wife, mom, cook, etc.

I keep things under my thumb.

Not strictly.

I don't think I truly control the people in my house, though I wish sometimes I could. :)

More like I just keep my thumb on the details of our household.

Birthdays, school paperwork, lunch money, holiday decorations, bill payments, doctor/dentist appointments, changing out seasonal clothing, organizing, menus/meals, Christmas cards, the list goes on and on.

I do a lot around the house.

And I will admit I have often thought, "What would my family do without me?"

At the time, it seemed like a practical question.

Now, looking back, it seems very egotistical. Prideful. Foolish.

When I hurt my thumb a couple weeks ago, my first thought was "What will I do now?"

I never realized how much I used that thumb!

Except that after I got over the throbbing pain, I learned to do things in a different way.

My left hand learned to compensate more than I ever gave it credit for.

And so did my other fingers.

Oh sure, there were times (putting my watch on, tying shoes, buttoning pants) that I really missed that right thumb.

But I found out I could live without it.

(Sidenote...other than an ugly looking scab and a partially missing thumb nail, my thumb is quite healed now. :)

I guess I have been thinking about this as I read prayer requests, obituaries, stories about people my age, even younger, gone. In the blink of an eye.

I am not planning on going anywhere soon...that would be up to God. And like most moms, I hope to watch my children grow up, hope to meet my grandchildren one day.

But I have learned that if God did call me home, life would go on without me.

It would hurt my kids. And my husband. Okay, probably especially my husband since he would be left with the four kids.

Life would be different.

But in time, my family would learn to go on. They would learn to do things in a different way. And in time (and hopefully with God's guidance), they would heal.

Though we all want to think we are irreplaceable, I am learning (with age, time, and wisdom), that we aren't. People come, people go.

Yet in some ways, this revelation gives me a peace.

Life would go on.

Who knew an injured thumb could teach such life lessons?

More later,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

QT with the Kiddies

One of the most difficult parts of parenthood to me is finding that quality time with the kids.

Not the kids as a group.

We do that often.

We eat breakfast together. We eat dinner together. We hike together. We go to the beach together.

We have a LOT of together time.

Sometimes too much. :)

But it is finding that time with each child individually that is a challenge.

For one thing, our house is not that big.

It is rare to only have one child in the room.

And while it sounds nice to set apart a set amount of time each day for each child, it is not that easy. We have homework, after school activities, laundry, chores, cooking dinner.

And I have at least one very demanding child.

So do I have large amounts of individual time with each child?


Not typically.

At least not daily.

We have tried before to set up a schedule for at least monthly (a set time).

But that didn't always work either.

I have learned that we just have to seize moments when we get them.

Sometimes it will be something big like a Veggietales Live program in another town that you are just sure your son will love.

Other times it is taking a child to the grocery store to do the weekly shopping together.

Or praying with a child before he/she goes to sleep.

Or taking one out for a round of golf. (That would be Daddy, not me :)

Or playing a board game with one.

Or cooking a meal with a different child each week.

Or reading a book with another before bed.

And even that homework time...that is a lot of "one on one" time.

I can't ever measure that time. It probably isn't even enough.

But I have learned to seize those moments, to make the most of them. To truly be with the child, to hear what he/she is saying. To give them that moment to feel special.

It isn't perfect.

But hopefully one day they will remember these times and treasure them.

I sure do.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thumbs Up!

Not long ago I saw a recipe for sweet potato chips (homemade) on Pinterest. I LOVE sweet potato fries, so the idea of sweet potato chips really caught my attention. (By the way, I only like sweet potatoes if they are sweetness to them :)

So I bought a sweet potato the other day at the store.

And yesterday I came home ready to make the chips.

I pulled out my mandolin, a gift for Christmas. I took some time getting it ready, glanced at the warnings about how sharp that blade was, tried to figure out how to get the handguard on the potato (it didn't work), and started slicing.

The first few slices were beautiful.

Thin, round, much more evenly cut than if I had done it by hand with a knife.

Not sure what happened next.

Did I get distracted? Too confident? Underestimate the length of my fingernail?

Anyway, I won't go into details other than to say I have a thumb injury. A fairly serious one. And honestly probably my most serious "injury". I usually avoid getting hurt as much as possible. :)

No, I didn't go to the ER, though my school nurse thought I probably could have used a stitch or two.

Even now, it just looks yuck. I tried cleaning it a bit ago, and I had to stop. I felt too ill. As in grossed out. Hubby is a champ though. He has been cleaning it and wrapping it for me.

I am now realizing how much I do with my right hand (which I was obviously using with the slicer since I am right handed).

And how much I can't do now.

Typing is DIFFICULT. I use the space bar a lot. I am a bit wordy if you haven't noticed.

Cutting with scissors... I have to be really creative.

Writing...well, I wasn't a neat writer before. Definitely not now.

Opening car doors.

Carrying things.

Opening Marley's crate.

Running bath water.

Brushing our youngest's teeth.

Picking up food.

The list goes on and on.

I just never realized how important the thumb is!

I could go really deep with this, creating an analogy with life.

However, that would be way more typing than I am capable of.

I will say that I am thankful.

Thankful that I still have a thumb, even if a bit deformed.

Thankful for a dad who came over to help me stop the bleeding.

Thankful for Child 3 who sweetly helped make dinner (chicken nuggets in the microwave) and carried plates for me.

Thankful for a husband who made a late night run to the drugstore for supplies and for cleaning me up each morning and night.

Thankful for Child 2 who sweetly sent me an e-mail (with her school account), checking on me.

Thankful for Child 1 for telling me if he had had a choice, he would have stayed home (from church) to take care of me.

Thankful for a mom who talks to me on the phone when I am worried.

Thankful for a dog who loves me no matter what.

Thankful to friends who have supported me with encouraging e-mails/FB messages or even just a pat on the back at school.

Thankful for the concerns of my students.

And thankful for finger guards/splints that protect my thumb from the bumps of life...