Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Summer Lovin' Had me a blaaaast

The topic for Thankful Thursday for today was Summer. I am so thankful for Summer. I love the water and so do the kids, the longer days that we can pack more fun into. Our Summer has been relaxing for the most part this year, we have been super busy, but it has been spent doing things with friends and family that we cherish. I couldn't be more grateful for that time, and I want to make sure we take it with us.

We homeschool, and what I am the most thankful for is that I feel like I got some clear direction from above this summer on what our year is going to look like this school year. Last year, we were over committed, I felt like I was constantly running from one activity to another, back home for chores, squeezing school in. It was like some kind of a psychotic relay race every day. Add that to Brian's already crazy schedule and I was one overwrought momma. That is just no way to live, at least not for us.

This Summer has been awesome for us because we haven't had any regular scheduled events. We have been busy, but we have been able to be busy when it fits our schedules. This is what I am taking away from this summer and walking into fall with. We probably won't participate in any of the activities like scouts, or weekly classes this year to leave room for the things we treasure the most.

The Ghetto Waterslide

Take three bored and whiney children. (in an appallingly unkempt yard might I add). Add one water hose on the slide, and one kiddie pool below and POOF! Now you have loud, noisy, happy children in a ghetto water slide.

Edited for Update: So I start hearing these chants "mud, mud, mud pit". So I go outside and the children are recreating the mud people from woodstock... so the showers commenced. Why no pictures you ask? Well, its funny now, but wasn't so funny then.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Minor Marital Bedroom Foibles

I told Brian "we are like old people married now". He raised an eyebrow quizzically at me. What I meant was that our marriage has some of the qualities of people who have been together for awhile.

Interesting things have happened since Brian and I married. We have these little "things" between us, little oddities that have popped up during our marriage. Nothing major, but those little things that tell you that you are married.

Exhibit A: News from the Pillow war front

There is an ongoing struggle for territory, a good night's sleep, pillows and blankets. Most especially pillows. I have about six pillows I claim as mine. I know it seems excessive, but they are like my children and I couldn't part with a single one.

This picture here is of Brian's pillow. Notice he LABELED it. Which sounds crazy, unless you are married to a pillow coveter. It's that classic case of "the grass is always greener" or rather, "the other guys pillow is always softer". I tend to steal his pillows. Well, really they cry out for me to adopt them, so he labels them now. What really made me laugh was when I decided to play a joke on him and steal it back. I thought I would shove the labeled end into the pillow case so he couldn't tell. But he had labeled BOTH ENDS. Will the paranoia ever stop??!! How could he think that was neccessary!! Sigh, I guess I will just have to short sheet him to get my revenge.....

Brag on Him

I subscribe to the Blissfully Domestic blog (button at the bottom of the screen) and they did a Brag on him Friday. Its not Friday, and I didn't post this on Friday because on Friday I was way overwhelmed and under energized. Six B12 shots later, I feel a bit more on top of it all and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to post.

I am so proud of my husband, not just because I love him; but because I admire him. I admire the person he is. Most of all, I admire that he does things not because he wants to garner someone else's admiration, or praise, but he does them very simply because they are what he thinks are right.

The other week we were on our way back home from Schlitterbahn. We had gotten some sun, had stayed for HOURS and we were exhausted and hungry. We were coming over the highway and we saw a truck pulled over on the road.

Brian said, "Hey, I am gonna pull over, do you mind?".

I was surprised, frankly, because I had my nose buried pretty deep in my latest book and was trying to fend off the motion sickness that always wants to visit when I read in the car. But of course I said no problem. Brian told me he saw the guy bent down by the tire and he didn't look well. Brian is in law enforcement, so it wasn't a total shock. He has always said he feels like he should stop, its a part of how seriously he takes his job. Plus, he is a safe guy, and having the badge makes people feel more at ease when he does stop.

Brian was right, this poor guy was not well, he was vomiting and couldn't stop. Back cramps had him hunched over and he couldn't stand up at all. He couldn't remain upright for a moment and was obviously in gruesome pain. He kept wanting to get in his truck to drive, but Brian assured him we were in no hurry and we could wait for him to feel better. Thankfully we had a full cooler full of bottled waters and sprite. The guy was a part of our local coast guard. Brian convinced him it would be best to call someone to pick him up and head to the local hospital. Brian helped him call a couple of his coast guard buddies and then waited with him until his friends arrived. His friends were incredibly sweet and none of them were familiar with the area so we were able to give directions. All in all we were there for about an hour at the side of the road.

Were we hungry and tired, yeah... we really were. But I am so glad we stopped, someone needed to stop. I have to say, my heart swells with pride and admiration when I see Brian doing things like this. it isn't the first time, nor will it be the last. The kids were happy in the car watching a movie and we talked about how proud we were of our Daddy. We talked about how we were daddy's "support staff", that he could go and do something so nice for this man because he knew we would support him full tilt.

Brian would never tell anyone this, he didn't do it for that reason. But in a world where so many people are too hyper involved in their own lives to even notice someone who needs help (um, like they are nose deep in a book) I am proud that I am married to the guy who stops and takes the time to help.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fill In we go!

1. _A Dirty house..____ is not the end of the world.

2. Sitting here, listening to the sound of rain falling, I __um, its not raining, and we are about to hit the pool, but if it was raining, I would be a little relieved, going to the pool sounds overwhelming right now___.

3. _smothered chicken____ tastes so good!

4. Sometimes, putting others first is __not the right thing to do, sometimes you have to take care of yourself as well___.

5. __my children's laughter___ is breathtaking, really.

6. Well, maybe there is _a light at the end of the tunnel____.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to ___Hubby coming home__, tomorrow my plans include __seeing family and taking the kids to do some crafts___ and Sunday, I want to __go to the waterpark___!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Breaking up is hard to do..., its not you.... its me. How many times have those words been said in human history? It really doesn't matter whether I was the one receiving the rejection, or having to break it off with a heavy heart. For this thankful Thursday hosted by Spiritually Unequal Marriage I am thankful for all the times things didn't work out. It sounds like an odd thing to be thankful for, and at the time of rejection I was most definitely NOT thankful, not one little bit. I was hurt, upset, angry but thankful wasn't even in the top ten. But for each time a relationship with a love, a friend, a job, or an institution didn't work out.. I am thankful.

Now that I am not in the middle or trapped in the thick of the pain, I can look back on each and see the larger plan and the purpose. Each time I have walked away with lessons I am not sure I would have learned any other way.
  • I learned that it is never a good idea to react immediately, especially if I am angry. I could be a total weirdo, but anger and hurt mask my real feelings, and what I really think. Choosing not to react in anger prevents the regret hangover later.
  • I am quirky, and this is okay. I don't need to assimilate, I can be me. I have actual proof that there are other women who love to read the same things I do, and play video games, and channel their inner twelve year old regularly!!! Who knew? AND we get to call this stuff "girl time"!
  • Dr. Seuss really was right, "Be who you are, and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind".
  • I learned more about who I am, what is important to me, what is a deal breaker to me, what I really want from a relationship, or institution. I don't think I would have gained that knowledge any other way. I am so thankful that now I have a better sense of my self.
  • Knowing what I am looking for in a relationship and having a better knowledge of myself has made the relationships I have more fulfilling and I am so very thankful for those relationships in my life with family and friends. I can only hope I add as much to theirs.
  • I am convinced after a few go rounds that it is better to eliminate toxic people than to try to accommodate them. What is toxic for one person, might not be such a big deal for someone else. Its somewhat subjective, but trying to stay in a toxic relationship will suck your soul away, and your time, and your emotional effort. If you find yourself feeling emotionally exhausted after interacting with someone frequently, it might be time to take a close look at it.
  • I realized that for me, honesty is the most important attribute in any type of relationship. This doesn't mean you have to tell me if you are not a natural blond. The type of honesty I am talking about is a way of living your life without pretension, being who you REALLY are when all the lights are off and no one else is around. It is the one thing that makes me feel safe in a relationship. I am so incredibly thankful for the people in my life who will nudge me, and those who will cuff me over the head (*cough* Brian, *cough*) when I am deceiving myself, or not being my authentic self. For the friends who inspire me to be even more honest and real.
  • It is important to me that I have relationships with people that inspire me to be a better woman, mom, wife, person.

Simple Summer Fun: Bubble bottle

This was so much fun, and so little work for mommy. First take a Bottle (we used Sobe, because they are on sale at Krogers for .50 each) cut the bottom off, wrap a washcloth around the bottom and secure with either a rubber band, or a ponytail holder. Then grab some kind of container, add dishsoap and water and start blowing bubbles. This project makes long ropes of bubbles, the kids thought it was just so much fun!

I got the idea here and here. They probably have better directions on the prep process.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It is so easy for me to get caught up in a stress, anxiety/overwhelmed cycle and frankly, that robs me of my thankful heart. I have wanted to participate in Thankful Thursdays over at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for awhile. So I want to take a minute and consider all of the things I am thankful for.
  • I am thankful for the belly laughs of my kids and their sense of humor in general. Somehow I wound up with three jokesters.
  • I am thankful for my husband. His job takes him away from us for extended time; but when he is home, he is all ours. I couldn't have picked out a better man for me.
  • I am thankful for good friends. I am blessed with some awesome friends who are awesome both to me and to my kiddos, whether we are having a kid event, or a girls event. Hanging out with them keeps all of us sane when Brian is gone. I am not sure I could make it through without that support.
  • I am thankful that I have a husband who supports me going out with my mommy friends (or hanging around the house in the evening) to have girl time. It really enriches my life and recharges my batteries.
  • I am thankful for our extended family, and especially grandparents who like to have grandkids visit. Hello Sanity, my old friend, I have missed you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hurricane Packing list

  • Swimsuits for Brian, Me, John, Chloe, and Emma
  • 8 pair underwear per person
  • 4 outfits per person
  • 4 hotel lobby worthy pajama sets
  • socks
  • flip flops x each
  • closed toed shoes x each
Personal items
  • Hair Brush
  • ponytail holders for me and girls
  • toothbrushes x 5
  • toothpaste
  • face soap
  • contact lens solution
  • contact lens case
  • glasses and case
  • spare pairs of contacts
  • Goggles for the kids
  • make up
  • hair mouse
  • hair dryer
  • hair detangler
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • sunscreen
  • tea tree
  • witchazel
  • cotton balls
  • night time pull ups for just in case
  • Chloe, Emma, and John special blankets and pillows and animals
  • My pillows and pillow people
  • blood sugar medicine
  • asthma inhalers for Chloe and Brian
  • Nebulizer (just in case) and meds
  • kids clear Benadryl
  • My Benadryl
  • Zyrtec
  • Melatonin
  • Brians Multivitamin and kids multi
  • injection needles and medication
  • b complex
  • kids asprin
Useful Items
  • Laundry Soap (small bottle) and dryer sheets for hotel laundry
  • roll of quarters for hotel laundry
  • crockpot (for evenings without manager's reception)
  • coupon book
  • grocery list for when we stop on the way to hotel (from hurricane manual)

  • My cellphone/charger/car charger
  • Brian's cellphone/charger
  • My Laptop/power cord/wireless adapter
  • Brian's Laptop/power cord/wireless adapter
  • PSP for kids/games
  • DVD books for the van
  • fairy book for bedtime reading
  • books for mommy poolside/bedtime
  • camera
Important Paperwork
  • Coppock Hurricane Manual (More to come on that....)
  • address book
  • Important paperwork accordian file
  • family photo CDs and originals

Pet Items
  • Food/Water bowls
  • Crate for Leia (have to take out middle seats)
  • Crate for cat
  • leashes and collars

Prancing Ponies

Today we went on a field trip to Palm Beach in Galveston.

Conversation overheard at Palm Beach....

Chloe: "Emma, lets play ponies"
Emma: "We can't Chloe the rules sign says no horseplay"

I just about fell out laughing... such literal kids I have.

Am I the only one who thinks its crazy that there are already school supplies out? Opinions aside, there are some awesome deals to be had at staples... Thank you Deal Seeking Mom for posting them. (PS, that is my very FAVORITE site for good deals, saved me so much money!)

:: Easy Rebate Deals

Staples Copy Paper (8.5″ x 11″), $3.69
$3.68 Staples Easy Rebate (through 7/15)
$0.01 after rebate!

Staples Photo Plus Paper (4″ x 6″), $9.99
$8.99 Staples Easy Rebate
$1 after rebate!
:: 1-Cent Deals

* 8-Pack Pencils (through 7/15)

:: $1 Deals

* Acme Junior 5″ Blunt or Pointed Scissors (2-pk.)
* BIC Velocity Stick Fashion Pens (5-pk.)
* BIC Wite-Out Quick Dry (2-pk.)
* Scotch Magic Tape
* Sharpie Major Accent Highlighters (6-pk.)
* Staples Mini Magnetic Stapler
* Staples Pink Wedge Erasers (3-pk.)
* Staples Translucent Pencil Boxes

Plus use the $1/1 BIC Pens or $0.50/1 BIC Wite-Out to get those items from FREE to $0.50!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Dynamics of Three kids vs. two

My mom and dad have Chloe for a few days (God bless you grandma and grandpa). Today was our first day of having only two kids. Wow, that's a different dynamic. Now, Brian is gone traveling much of the time, and we homeschool. So typically at our house the majority of the time it is me, and the three kiddos all the time. We don't have any breaks where anyone is in school.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love each of my kids, love them dearly. I wouldn't trade a single one, and every once in awhile I imagine what it would be like to have a fourth..... and then the liquor wears off and I sober up. :P

You really wouldn't think that it would be that big of a difference, or a break having one gone. But it is. (So thank you grandparents, its awesome. But I miss her and you have to return her!!!) I have two arms, I have two kids. Wow, that really works. It makes going through the parking lot much less nerve wracking.

Here is what I have learned about having three kids so close together:
  • There are 2 years between the first and second, and only 1 year between the younger two. Everything I have read leads me to believe its alot like having multiples.
  • No decision will ever be unanimous. Much like the Supreme Court, there is always a dissenting opinion, usually a very loud, hysterical one.
  • The competition for my time and attention is fierce. Taking some precautionary alone time with each kid can blunt it a bit, and assuage my guilt; but it's never really gone.
  • Life really isn't fair when you are the middle child. Especially when there are only 12 months between you and your younger brother.
  • More is required of the older child, I have started chucking 20 bucks in the therapy jar for later.
  • I am the minority and they are a majority. I have to be on my toes and it requires a whole lot of advanced prep work to pull off most of our days. I am usually a very laid back person, but I have had to become a bit of an orginizational gestapo for us just to survive.
  • Statistically speaking, on any outing, someone will need a change of clothes, a snack, a bottle of water, or medication, shoes (yeah, seriously, SHOES how do you lose your shoes?) You should see the Emergency box I have packed in the trunk of the van. I will have to post what I stash in there some time.
  • The laundry seems to grow exponentially with each child. I do laundry every single stinking day, and I rarely can ever declare it "done".
  • We can actually get sick, pass it around one by one, and it can make it back to the original "carrier monkey" and reinfect them. Cold and flu seasons suck for us.
  • I have never, ever, gotten rid of the pregnancy brain fog. It might have something to do with never being able to have a complete thought uninterrupted. In a few years, I suppose we can just start calling it early dementia... how charming.
There are so many pluses. One of the best is that my kiddos are such good friends. Up until this year, they all slept in the same bed like puppies (even though they had their own). Half the time they still do in my room when dad is traveling. It makes my heart sigh to see them all curled up hugging each other.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Deals of the week

Since I have been talking randomly about good deals I have been getting, I thought I would post them here too. We love Kashi cereal, the kids actually think its a treat!

Target (thanks to Stretching a Buck)

Kashi Crackers (10-oz.), $2.50
$1.50/1 Kashi printable (register)
$1/2 Kashi Target printable
$0.50 ea. after coupons!

Kashi Trail Mix Bars (6-ct), $2.50
$1.50/1 Kashi printable (register)
$1.50/1 Kashi Cereal Bars printable
$1.50/1 Kashi Cereal or TLC Bars printable (IE) or printable (FF)
$1/2 Kashi Target printable
$0.50 ea. after coupons!

Kashi Cereal (GoLean Crunch, Heart to Heart & others), $2.66
$1.50/1 Kashi printable (register)
$1.50/1 Kashi Cereal or TLC Bars printable (IE) or printable (FF)
$0.50/1 or BOGO Kashi Cereal Target printable
FREE to $0.60 ea. after coupons!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Family Hurricane Plan, Part 1: Hotels

As of June 1st Hurricane Season is upon us, UGH! For the past few hurricane seasons my plan has been "if one is headed this way, we will leave and stay San Antonio". Great plan right? Except, then when we do decide to leave, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off! So for this year, I am coming up with a well thought out plan. I have a binder all set up to be our Hurricane folder, and I thought maybe it could be helpful to someone else so I will post it here...

If there is a hurricane our plan is to go to San Antonio. We are pretty familiar with the city, and alot of our memberships to museums and attractions are reciprocal there so we could entertain ourselves on the cheap.

The first decision is the hotel. At first glance, when you look at my list of hotels, you might think, "wow those are kinda pricey". But I have specific reasons why I chose these.
  • They are all in an area of San Antonio I know well. Its a suburban area of town and there is an HEB grocery store, a video rental store, and all kinds of other "normal" nontouristy stores right around the corner.
  • Each of these hotels offers a big complimentary breakfast AND most importantly each of them offers a free "manager's reception" each evening. The manager's reception is a light dinner with tea, juice, beer and wine in the evening. This cuts the price of our stay enormously, feeding our family of five is expensive. We almost always walk out putting down at least 40 bucks. And in stressful times, free wine for mommy can't be a bad thing.
  • Each of these hotels offers a full kitchen complete with cooking implements, dishes, flatwear and a dishwasher. This is a huge money/sanity saver.
  • The hotels I choose are "suite" hotels. This means that they have a living room and a Bedroom with a closing door. This way, the kids can maintain their bedtimes and not get grouchy. When its bedtime I can put them to bed and close the door, and be able to stay up myself without disturbing them.
  • They also have to have a pool, and free WIFI internet.

So the Hotels I chose in order of preference are:

And, since we can't forget our pets, I have put together a list of pet boarding options that are also on that side of town.