Thursday, January 31, 2013

#31. Give up fast food for a Month

We are not a family who eats fast food a lot, but I love Chick-fil-A. In addition, when we travel, we will often grab something as we go. Also, when I have to go into the office for work, we will grab something for lunch then as well. In these instances, I just took my own healthy salad and ate that with the people that I would normally eat with. This is not near as difficult as I thought it might be, But I definitely miss the french fries :-) My plan is to continue without fast food, although I may have to make an exception periodically. When they are, I hope I will have the strength to make healthier selections! I'm also assuming that the farther away from it I get, the less I will crave it !

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


When I met my husband 8 years ago, he only ate 5 foods.  Of these, none of them were really good for you.  Over the past 8 years, he has really broadened the horizons of his taste buds.  He had always hated berries and over the last 9 months, I can't keep strawberries away from him.  I never did understand how anyone could hate berries to begin with, but alas, this too seems to have gone by the wayside.  Tonight, we had spaghetti squash instead of regular spaghetti and he enjoyed it.  He now eats a salad almost every day (and he never ate anything green before we met).  I'm not only thrilled with how his taste buds are changing, but I am really proud of the fact that he is no longer afraid to try new things.  It definitely makes cooking so much easier. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Month of sickness

So far this month, LPS and HAS both had two days of fever. Both spent a day throwing up. LPS had a bad case of croup, and HAS had a cold for 3 days. Now, to top it off HAS has a case of pink eye. Needless to say, I am ready for January to be over.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Parenting at its Finest

My favorite part of being a mom is wondering if you made the right choice.  The best part is that this "wondering" takes place on all of the decisions, and not just some of them (NOTE:  Sarcastic tone).  As a mom, I feel like I am constantly second guessing myself.  This is not in that "I should have done a more Pinterest-like Birthday party" or I should have bought them this or that.  This is in the "Am I doing the right thing to raise respectable adults?" way.  When my two youngest were babies, we used a modified vaccination schedule.  My mother-in-law works at our pediatrician, so you can imagine how well that went over, but it was something I felt very strongly about.  There are so many other decisions that I do not feel strongly about one way or the other from the beginning and I am always wondering if I am doing what is right for them.

I find middle school children to be extremely difficult in a not very pleasant way.  Don't get me wrong, I love my own middle school child, but generally speaking, I think middle schoolers would do better if they were shipped to a different planet and allowed to return to planet Earth when they begin behaving like normal people again.  Having said that, my husband and I decided to put my 12 year old in the online school where I work, so that he would miss out on some of that torturous middle school experience, and he would have amazing amounts of flexibility.  However, through the past two months, it has put an amazing amount of stress on my relationship with my normally sweet 12 year old son.  My husband and I have gone back and forth about leaving him there or putting him in a traditional middle school.  There are definite benefits to both, but I love the flexibility that this schedule allows him.  However, we decided to put him back in a traditional middle school, effective later this week (once I complete all of the paper work) and now my mind wonders. 

Like I said, the best part of being a parent is always wondering if you should have done it differently. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Consignment Sale Fun

I. LOVE. CONSIGNMENT. SALE. SEASON.  There, I said it and I am not embarrassed by it at all.  We have a huge consignment sale down here where I volunteer a ridiculous number of hours and work my butt off, but I love it.  I have made so many great mommy friends there and laughed until we cried.  We scream when we find that bargain that we have been searching for.  We laugh at some things that people bring to sell, and even harder when people purchase them.  We help each other find that great bargain.  I will never forget searching through the book section (and for those of you not familiar with this sale, there are literally two hundred boxes of books sorted by type or author) with other moms and I told them what book I was searching for (The Kissing Hand) and they told me what they were searching for.  One of them found my book and we all screamed and laughed together.  I love finding sets of PJ's that look brand new for $1, then I don't even feel bad when I purchase 8 sets.  I love finding new clothes with tags still on them priced for $2-3 each.  I love the thrill of the hunt, but mostly I love the other moms.  When it is all said and done, we do clean up shifts that last for 10 hours (while we still search for bargains) and even when we can't lift another thing, we laugh. 

I said all of this because the consignment sale is in 2 weeks.  I. SIMPLY. CAN'T. WAIT. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow Angels

While we came up here for a celebration of life, we also managed to have some fun in the snow with the boys.
Snow Bibs on...  So thrilled I was able to find both of their sizes at the Consignment Sale.  $8 for both :)
LPS was not sure of it at first

HAS fell down and immediately loved it.

JMS didn't get to come out yet because he hadn't finished his school work.

Mommy with the two little ones

We traipsed through the woods with HAS leading the way

Love the look on his face in this picture!!!

Snow Angel

He eventually liked the snow and would sit and lay in it. 

Tiny Snow Angel

We walked over to Grammy's Burial Site because it was right across the road. 

JMS working on his school work and enjoying some snow cream that I made

Enjoying the snow cream while we thaw out. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


I love snow. I love how peaceful and serene it looks when no one has walked in it and no one has driven over it. Granted, I'm sure my opinion would be different if I lived in the part of the country that got snow frequently. We are at David's dad's house in Pennsylvania for the funeral and we have gotten between three and 4 inches of snow today. The kids didn't have a chance to get out of playing it because of funeral obligations, but tomorrow, they will have a big chance to play in the snow. I can't waste to post pictures about our adventures tomorrow.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Long Drives

I often feel like I am not a "normal" mom, maybe my 12 year old reminds me of that as well. My kids don't have hand held video game systems. I rarely let them watch television or videos. In fact, we don't even have a tv on the main level of our house. I just often find that on most stations, there is nothing on that my kids need to see. We have had one movie night as a family in the last three years. Although, having 4 movie nights is on my 101 things list.

Having said all of that, when we bought our Expedition, it was very difficult to find a car that size that didn't already have a built in DVD system. Alas, we found a car without a video system, so we were pleased.

I said all of that to describe our nine hour car ride to Pennsylvania. Many moms suggest I break down and use a video system, but I believe it is important for kids to learn to entertain themselves without electronic devices. I was so proud of them on the trip up North. For the first three hours, HAS colored me a picture that was wonderful. This normally very rambunctious boy, sat and colored very quietly for three hours. The other two took turns reading books. We did break down and buy them refurbished Kindles, to break up the monotony, but they can only play with them for very short periods of time. On this nine and a half hour trip, they played on the kindles for 45 minutes. We stopped and ate. My heart warmed when I realized that their favorite part of the trip was having David out on his high beams so they could watch the snow storm we drove though. They oohed and aahed at the snow and they loved searching for it everywhere outside. Every time David turned off his high beams because another car was passing us the other direction, they couldn't wait for the high beams to come back on. Internally, I smiled, because these are the family memories that I want to instill in them on long road trips. Sure, there are moments when they make me crazy with the giggling and non stop talking, but it is important to me that they learn to appreciate the experience and memories.

This trip was encouraging because next summer (2014) we are driving out west to go to Yellowstone for a month. That will be over a 30 hour drive towing the camper and I know it will not be an easy drive, but yesterday, I was encouraged.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Types of signal

We have been driving to PA for the last 7 hours. Here is the most recent conversation:

HAS: You said we could call GiGi later and it is much later
ME: I know buddy, but we don't have a good signal because we are in the mountains
HAS: What's a signal?
LPS (3 yrs old): a turn signal, brother
HAS: oh, ok
David: no, buddy. It is a cell signal, the kind a tower sends to our phones to make them work.

Love their inquisitiveness and their responses to each other.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Raising Middle Schoolers

One Word- IMPOSSIBLE.  I love my oldest son with all of my heart, but as a middle schooler, he certainly knows how to push my buttons.  He is unbelievably intelligent, but is perfectly OK with doing mediocre work.  Don't get me wrong, this mediocrity applies to all areas of life:  house work, school, hobbies, and just about anything else I can think of.  It physically pains me to watch him under perform when he is capable of so much greatness.  It seems like pushing him harder doesn't work, encouraging him more doesn't work, taking privileges, doesn't work... maybe you are seeing a theme here?  If anyone has any suggestions of how to survive life with a middle school boy, then I am open to hear it.   I may stick with my original idea for middle school children- send them to live on a different planet and they can return when they become normal human beings again.  In my teaching experience, this period typically seems to end somewhere between ninth and tenth grade.  I didn't realize how long that seemed until I had a middle school child of my own.  Prayers Please :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sad Loss

We got word tonight that David's grandmother, Grammy, passed away.  She had been alive for 93 years and while David's heart is sad, he is so pleased that he lived to be almost 40 with her in his life.  She loved her family, bingo, and beer.  She had a quick sense of humor that was a little snarky.  Grammy,  you will definitely be missed.
Here she is in 2006 with David and both of his brothers. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Low Key Day

I am a person who loves to be on the move.  I struggle to watch a 30 minute TV program and a 2 hour movie is out of the question, unless I rent it and can pause it after 30 minute increments.  However, my sweet husband loves a lazy Sunday in front of the television watching football.  I have tried really hard this past fall to make sure that happened almost every week.  So today, we had a very lazy day.  The boys and I went to church and the gym.  David was sleeping because he worked last night.  When he woke up, we went in the basement and watched the Falcons hand the game to the 49ers while the boys did puzzles and played with Legos.  They both have my attention span, so getting them to watch an entire football game is almost laughable.  We had beef stew while we watched the game and then put the boys to bed.  I was able to sit there and watch most of it (although watching the game was painful because the Falcons didn't show up in the second half).  During the Patriots/Ravens game, I had to get up and move around.  By that, I mean fold 4 loads of laundry and put them away.  All in all, it was a great slow-paced day.   I know during football season, we don't have any more of these until fall.  Slowing down sometimes is a nice change of pace. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet as Pie: Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Wow! These skinny chicken enchiladas are a lot spicier than we typically like. We typically do not like spicy food. In fact, we always use mild salsa. This was an easy recipe to make, although when I initially tasted this sauce, I decided to add extra tomato sauce and chicken broth to make the sauce not quite as spicy. In addition, to the chicken mixture, I only added half the Cumin and half the chili powder so it wouldn't be quite as spicy. I did like the flavor of this dish, although I probably would've made the sauce a little bit differently. The other thing that I did not particularly care for, was the number of pans that got dirty while I was making this dish. I do prefer a dish that uses a minimal number of pans so that there is less cleanup. Although, that can be overlooked and I will probably make this recipe again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 years ago

My, how quickly time passes. Five years ago, I had been in the hospital on bed rest for 66 nights. When released, I went home and was on bed rest for another 30 days. In the end, I was induced and after a 10 hour labor, I brought the most beautiful baby boy into the world, weighing 9 lbs. 1 oz. He looked so much like me when he was born… Only to discover five years later, That he not only looks like me, but has every single one of my personality traits. He is inquisitive, charming, witty, funny, and not afraid to question anything. He loves all competition in any game, as well as puzzles and mazes. This week, I went to a meeting and registered my sweet little baby boy for kindergarten. I know he is ready, I'm just not sure that I am. Never before have I wanted Michael J. Fox's Time Machine from Back to the Future as badly as I have wanted it recently. I, however, do not want to go to the future, as much as I just want time to stand still. Time to take in every characteristic of this young boy before he continues to grow into a fine young man. I love how much he enjoys the outdoors, enjoys competition, and can accurately articulate an argument to defend his point. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is frustrating when he is arguing against me. But, nonetheless, it is amazing to watch him articulate his point. Ironically, I was actually in the hospital last night due to a food chopping accident that involved slicing my finger. While there, I was reminiscing about the fact that I was there exactly 5 years ago even to the hour. Five years, and another little boy later, I can't imagine being any happier than I am at this very moment. I can't imagine being any more proud of any of the three boys. I know God has a plan for them, and I cannot wait to watch it unfold.
 How time flies...  

I love that sweet Face.  Happy Birthday HAS :) 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweet as Pie: Herb Goat Cheese Spread

I was very nervous about this recipe when I first saw it. I love cheese, but had never tried goat cheese before. This recipe was very easy to assemble. I didn't have any fresh chives, so I used dried chives. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a tee. First thing you did was throw everything in the food processor, although I believe the blender would work just as well. Blended altogether until it's smooth. Put it in the serving bowl and serve with crackers. This was wonderful and I will definitely be making that again. I imagine it would have even more flavor with fresh chives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Little Angel

Tonight, my 3 year old is sick and after throwing up 6 times, our conversation went like this:
Me:  Come here, my little angel
LPS:  I am NOT an angel (said emphatically)
Me:  Why not? 
LPS:  Because angels can fly and I don't. 

My sweet angel... hope he feels better in the morning. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Third of the Way

Today, I am 363 days into my 101 Things in 1001 Days List.  I have completed almost 32 of those and have another 7 or 8 that will be finished by the end of February.  I am so lucky to have a husband that supports me as I venture down this path. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

#70 Go one week without sweets

I. LOVE. SWEETS.  Chocolate, Ice Cream, Cookies, Fruit, Candy Bars, Milkshakes, pretty much anything with sugar.  When I was getting my Master's Degree, several girls in my cohort teased me because I always brought a pint of ice cream with me to class for a snack.  When we finished our program, we all went on a cruise.  These same sweet girls teased me because I ordered every dessert with every meal.  In my opinion, life is too short- Eat Dessert First.  I am very fortunate because I have a really high metabolism or it could get really ugly.  My desire for sweets seems to have increased now that I work from home.  I will open a 12 ounce bag of M&M's in the morning and they will be gone by the end of the day.  Does anyone else remember when the 12 ounce bag used to be a one pound bag.  Now, they charge you more and give you less. 

I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I was determined with this new year to change my eating habits (including more than the issues I have with sweets).  I wanted to do more clean eating and try to get more vegetables on our families plates and less processed food.  I also gave up fast food (which is easy except for Chick-fil-A) for the month.  I'm hoping to retrain my body so that it likes vegetables and wants sweets in smaller amounts.  When all of that is said and done, I gave up all sweets for one week from January 6th - January 12th.  Each day got a little bit easier than the day before.  The first Sunday, I wanted to gnaw off my own arm, but by the following Sunday, I had a little bit of chocolate and I didn't eat the entire thing.  I consider that a success.  As I reintroduce sugar into my diet, I am hoping to only have a tiny bit and not even every day. 

Don't panic- I will NEVER be the girl who goes without dessert.  Life is too short.  Speaking of that, I know I need to get on the ball about scheduling another one of my 101 things, because Dante's Down the Hatch is going to be closing in 2013 and I do NOT want to miss out on chocolate fondue. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

#2 Run a 5K

I am posting this today because I ran an AWESOMELY fun (I know that is not a word, but it is the only way to describe it) race today.  I started training for a half marathon with 3 amazing girls I work with and in February, we will be going to Disney to do the Princess Half Marathon.  Our husbands are all coming along, but no children.  In preparation, we have run the Gobble Wobble 5K, Turkey Trot 5K,  Reindeer Run 5K, and the Flashlight 5K on New Years Eve.  Today, we ran the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K with 4 girls we work with.  We ran the 5K, although wished we had registered for the 15K because of our training schedule.  We went down to the Expo yesterday (although I would call it more of a display and less of an expo) and headed to Maggiano's for Dinner. We had to be in downtown Atlanta at 6:30 AM, so we spent the night at one of the girl's houses so we could all ride down together.  We laughed the whole way down to Turner Field.  We ran the race and were rewarded with a mug filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and many fun things to dip in the fondue.  Next year, we will run the 15K :) 

Before the race at Turner Field.

Finishers Mug...

Enjoying some Girl Time :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

#85 Girls Only Weekend

So, technically, it wasn't a weekend, but it was a girls only trip for 3 days, so I am counting that :)  My sister invited me to go to New York City with her for a couple of days.  She had to work during one of the days, but we crammed as much fun as humanly possible into the hours she wasn't working.  We arrived on a Monday morning and grabbed a taxi back to the Yale Club where we stayed.  It was a great location because it was right across from Grand Central Station.  As soon as we got there, we dropped our stuff in the room and hit the road running.
We grabbed lunch at a local pizza shop-
Then walked up to the New York Public Library...
enjoyed the map room...

and the "Let's do Lunch" display.  In fact, that toaster is the same exact toaster we have and use at the cabin.  It belonged to my great grandmother before she passed away just over 5 years ago. 
Then we hoofed it to Rockerfeller Center (although we did not ice skate in September)...
and walked down 5th Avenue.  Neither one of us are shoppers, but you could tell we are moms because we went into the Lego Store, Dylan's Candy Bar, and F.A.O Schwarz.  Talk about overwhelmed- yeah, that is a good word. 

Then we went to get cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and enjoyed them as we walked through Central Park.  In 2003, Kerri and I ran the NYC Marathon together and ran through Central Park, but it was nice to enjoy it at a much more leisurely pace. 

We went to dinner and laughed so hard I almost cried...
In Times Square, we saw the Naked Cowboy.  Times Square reminded me a lot of Vegas, always something going on- even if it is 2 in the morning. 
Then we watched Chicago on Broadway from the front Row. 
When it was finished,  we walked back to the hotel.  One thing I noticed was that because of all of the walking, there are not many people that are overweight in NYC. 
Good Day!!  The next day, Kerri had to work, so we both took the subway down to the financial district.  I went to see some of the sights while she went to her meeting.  In the morning, I went to see the 9/11 Memorial site.  There. Are. No. Words.  I was overcome with emotion and the memories came flooding back.  The only thing I could do was pray.  The Memorial Site is beautiful and serene. I would love to make it back up there once they finish the site completely.  
 I took the subway over to Brooklyn, just so I could walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was so windy, but it was a great walk taking in Manhattan. 
You can see from the pictures how grey and close to rain it was.  It was calling for rain and bad storms all day, but they didn't come until the end of the day. 

 On my way back, to meet Kerri for lunch, I walked by the NYSE and the raging bull. 
After Lunch, I took the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  It was very cold and windy, but I really loved the experience.  I didn't think I would enjoy Ellis Island as much as I enjoyed the Statue of Liberty, but I enjoyed the history and artifacts so much more than I enjoyed the Statue of Liberty.  I can't wait to take David here, he will LOVE this...

I love people watching at Grand Central.  In addition, the history there was just amazing.  Watching the hustle and bustle of people... I could have done just that for days!!!
 We were supposed to go the Avett Brothers Concert in Central Park, but due to the tornado watch, they cancelled the show.  We went down to the Chelsea district and went back to Magnolia Bakery (the original shop) and walked back to the subway.  It was pouring, but we had a really good time. 
The last morning, we had to leave the hotel by cab at 6:30, so we fit all of that fun into about 36 hours.  I loved having that time with just my sister.  Hoping we can do it again soon.