Thursday, May 20, 2010

Alyssa Happy Birthday 3 Years

Alyssa's birthday is today. I cant believe she is three time does fly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Limits, Limits, Limits

Limits are not easy for me to accept. I have four little people that need me. I have found myself with another injury. When we were at mom's house for Easter I was caring my little "chunky monkey" with one hand. When he leaned back I tightened my grip and pulled the tendons in my wrist. It hurt then but I shrugged it off, it wasn't that bad. Now almost two months later I am in pain. So, off to the doctor I went. She was thinking maybe a sprain and gave me a steroid pack to take for a few days. It felt great but then the meds wore off and the pain came even worse than before. Back to the doctor but this time a orthopedic doctor. He says pulled tendons and I need to wear a brace that keeps my thumb from moving. Ugh, the pain and the aggravation.

Now how am I supposed to take care of my shadows with this contraption on? I first thought it wound not be so bad, but then I began to realize all the things you need a thumb for. Try changing the diaper of a very wiggly seven month old with only the use of one hand, very comical.  Washing dishes, folding clothes, cooking, making homemade yeast rolls (yes I tried, and succeeded) and anything else you can imagine is a struggle with one hand. Peeling poatoes for dinner was a true challenge. I made popcorn after dinner such a simple task was a chore tonight but we enjoyed it so it was all worth it.

I may have to give up my determination to only cook from scratch for the nex four weeks. I dont think the boys want to spend the first part of summer washing dishes daily. There are plenty of other things I will need them to help me do. So on my grovery list are paper plates and a few easy to prepare meals. Just wondering how I am going to wash my own hair. I am thinking about in the kitchen sink with help from the boys...should be interesting.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding a Balance

Now that I am a full time stay-at-home mom I am searching to find a balance. A balance in all things. I tend to start a project and focus on it until it is finished and then move on to the next. I do not like to do laundry daily, therefore Monday is laundry day. When it is done I don't have to think about it again until next week. Part of the problem is laundry day and grocery day tend to fall on the same day and this is just not working for me. When my husband left on Monday nights I would leave our daughter with him and run errands. Now that we have an addition to the family and he leaves in the morning rather than the evening the little ones go with me to the grocery. Summer is coming and although I love having them all home with me I am not eager to head off to the grocery every week with four, I am trying to shop with a budget. Cole like to run the calculator but I usually toss my list to the side and move quickly through the store before they can fill my buggy with JUNK. It is not on the list, too expensive and not good for you.

Food preparation has also become a never ending battle. I am trying to cut out all prepackaged foods and processed foods.  I have very picky eaters mostly the boys including my husband. I would love to have a garden but I cant see putting all of the work in it when no one will eat the rewards of my labor. I have been making homemade breads, pizza crust, and many other things.  I have one who says he doesn't like bread. I have one that will not eat meat unless it is chicken and of course no vegetables. I have one that doesn't like beans, potatoes, or cooked vegetables. I have one that is three, how much can she eat. And the baby I am making baby food for him. I cook and sometimes I am the only one that eats. I can't see how I am saving if I have to through the food out. Plus the time it takes to cook. I love to bake and cook however sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time. Or the time I am taking to cook could be used to play more with my children. Balance where is the balance? The kids all help me cook form time to time.

Making biscuits.

Making cookies. My boys are trying to look tough.

Andrew helping me knead pizza dough.

Alyssa giving Austin instructions, I'm sure they are making cookies.

Andrew watching the chefs.

Such a happy little guy (as long as I am near)

 Maybe we do spend more time together than I think we do. I just feel like I am in the kitchen all the time. Maybe just because it has been winter and there was nothing else to to. Come on summer...I'm ready for an adventure.

Ice Cubes or Baby Food?

I found myself in a very different situation this year. My husband started his own business, we had medical bills pouring in from all directions, and with four children I found myself not working. Of course I was only working part time after I had Alyssa.  Mom stayed with her on Thursday and Friday or she would go to the shop with me. On Saturdays she went to her other Nana's house. We were very BROKE. I had tried to make my own baby food with my first child but I didn't know what I was doing. Before Andrew was ready to eat I began making food to store in the freezer for him. I also found some information that helped me with the process. I like to refer to this web site it has provided me with lots of helpful information.

I use ice cube trays to freeze my puree in then pop them out and place them in baggies. The freezer is loaded with cubes for my little man.

I know that I am saving money and it doesn't take much time to prepare his little meals. I know what is going in to his little body. Maybe with such a variety of food choices he will not be a picky eater.  I have to say I like preparing baby food better than buying it at the store. One of the reasons, I don't have to worry about running out or running to the store before I'm ready. The only problem I have had with frozen food is after a weekend of stormy weather and many power surges we failed to check the little freezer in the garage. Yes, it was out and we had lost quite a bit of food cubes. Lesson learned I will check next time it storms. Who knew.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lets Walk

Now that the weather is nice we are trying to get out and walk. The kids need a change of scenery and I need to lose some weight. On a side note I have lost 8lbs. but probably gained it back this past weekend...Richard brought home doughnuts.  They were so good.

Austin didn't go on our adventure with us he was in the house sleeping. I hope he is not getting sick maybe just tired. Anyway we had a good walk.

The Great Room Swap

When we realized that we were expecting another child in Feb of 2009 we realized that we were out of rooms. No problem the babies can share a room was the plan. I don't know what I was thinking... my boys were two years apart and I tried to have them share a room when they were small. A two/ three year old does not need to share a room with anyone. They don't understand the meaning of quiet. Plus when the toys are in the bedroom and the baby is sleeping where is the older child going to play. But of course, our plan was to have the little ones room together so that the boys could have their own space. What where we thinking?

Now that Andrew is almost 7 months old and sleeping in his own room we had to make some changes. Alyssa has been sleeping with me in order to keep her from waking Andrew in the middle of the night. Most of the time he sleeps all night. Alyssa may wake one or two times sometimes none. But it is a lot easier to get them back to sleep one at a time than at the same time. Especially when I am half asleep myself. So the new plan: Alyssa and Andrew will have their own rooms and Austin and Cole will be sharing a room. The boys are true boys and fuss and argue about everything. Austin will be going into middle school this fall so I wanted to try to give each of them some privacy and a feeling that they had their own space within their new room. So began the Great Room Swap... I told my husband about the delima and his solution was to put a temporary wall in the room giving each his own side. I thought it was a great idea but never expected the boys to go for it but they loved the idea. The wall is rough and unfinished maybe that is what they like about it. Their friends think it is cool.

Alyssa's new room

Austin and Cole's new room

Austin's new space

Cole's new space

Andrew's new room

It took a whole weekend to paint two rooms and move every ones stuff. We used paint that I already had to paint Andrew's room and used the black accessories that Cole had. My mom said she had never seen black in a baby's room but I think it looks great. The paint color is a blueish/ gray it looks really nice. Austin's old room was blue per his choice. Alyssa had some pictures that have blue, pink and green in them they show up great on the dark blue wall. So we decided not to paint her new room. Alyssa and Andrew's room was green and pink with a ocean border. The boys had to have paint for their new room. I chose a brown, it looks great. Mom and I spent Mother's Day painting. I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day.

As of right now everyone is pleased with the Great Room Swap. Even if they are not this is the way things will be for awhile. We are planing to remodel in time. Maybe when Austin is going into high school we will be able to have another Great Room Swap...we shall see. Pics of Andrew's room are coming this evening he was having a nap during this post.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Toy Overload and Spring Cleaning Fever

I am beginning to feel like the baby stuff and the toys are taking over the house. Or maybe I have stared at the same walls to many days. Something has to give. I have considered banning all toys from downstairs or even the house (ok not really). But the thought has crossed my mind.

We have baby toys and baby stuff all over the house. Two playpens, two changing tables, a high chair, a bouncy thing, baby bed, and toys, toys, toys. There are plenty of toys from Alyssa as well. Balls, dolls, puzzles, cooking stuff, music stuff, everywhere I look there is a toy. My older boys have their big toys, IPods, basketballs, stuff, stuff, stuff. And when my husband comes home there are shoes, shoes, and more shoes, along with the papers, clothes and whatever he drags in from the truck. I love my family even though they are a bunch of pack rats... that like there "stuff." No one can ever find anything and where do they come first - me. My usually response is " I did not play with it last, but if I had I would have put it back where it belongs." Really is it that hard a concept to follow? Of course, I get eye rolls and a huff as they slink away to look for the missing "stuff." I have to admit sometimes I do know where the missing thing is hiding but I have to let them go look. 

Here is a peek at the toy problem...

I have not had a toy policy but one is coming. Toys have lived all over the house. At one time this past winter I pulled all of Alyssa's toys downstairs and  made an area in the living room that was all hers. With the baby sleeping in my room and me so tired I did not want to run up and down the steps all day. We had a water leak during the cold months so when they came to dry out the floors we had to take the play area back upstairs. However a new problem has begun now that Andrew is six months old and sleeping in their room. When he is napping Alyssa has no where to play but downstairs. I have tried to limit the amount of toys that steam into the living room, yet to no avail. I would like to have a playroom but I do not see that happening. We have a garage that could be used but I sure did enjoy parking in there this winter, especially with the baby and having to run out every morning at 7:15 to get the boys to school. And when I say RUN that is literally what we have done.  

For the solution at the moment...toy bins is my answer. I have clear plastic storage boxes that will house the out of control toys. My plan is to have categories for the boxes.

  1. Music (any thing that makes music or that she pretend to make music with)
  2. Thinking and Learning (puzzles, games, coloring books)
  3. Baby and doll stuff (bottles, bath, clothing)
  4. Kitchen (play food, dishes, grill, etc.)
  5. Balls, balls, swords (things she plays with the boys)
  6. Andrew's baby toys
  7. Cars, trucks, trains
As you can see we have a wide range of play things. I hope it will mold a well rounded child. She has her girl toys and her tomboy toys. Gotta love a girl growing up with three brothers. The toy bins have been purchased but because everyone is sleeping I can not fill them now. I am hoping to tackle that chore tomorrow but you never know what will take place around here. It is always a mystery, but of course that is what keeps things from getting boring. I will post pics of the toy arrangement.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homemade Pizza

After searching and baking many pizzas I have found the perfect crust. So here it is ...

1 1/2 warm water (120 F)
1       Tbsp yeast
1/3    cup oil
2        Tbsp sugar
1         tsp salt
2         tsp seasonings (optional) basil, oregano, or rosemary
1         tsp garlic powder (optional)
4         cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water and sugar and let set for 5 to 10 min.
Stir in oil and salt and seasonings if using ( I have made with and without). Stir in flour and knead maybe 5 min. Cover with bowl on counter let sit at least 5 min ( I usually do 10 but have left it longer)
Press out on baking sheet or pizzas stone. Add toppings and bake 450F for 15 min. Makes 2 crust. I have made bread sticks, cinnamon sticks also.