January 31, 2011

Thank you!

So many kind words in person or on the blog - I really appreciate my friends and family. It is good to know lots of busy moms feel exactly the same way. Not that I wish for anyone to feel that way but you understand!

We had a very laid back weekend, just what I needed. I was so tired. We celebrated wonderful report cards for Wilson and Luke by getting frozen yogurt Friday night. On Saturday the boys got to play outside with their neighbor friends which was great! Late that afternoon we went furniture shopping. We looked at another store on the other side of town and found our favorite in that store. They had a sleep station - a little "room" with a temper*pedic mattress and pillows. I laid on one with Luke for about 5 minutes. By them time I got up my whole body was relaxed. It was heavenly. Really hoping we can get one when we redo our bedroom furniture. Andy's back hurts everyday when he wakes up from our bed. The mattresses are 10 years old so it's time to replace them! We plan to look at 1-2 more furniture stores before we make our decision. Can't wait!

Then we ended up staying and eating at Steak N'*Shake since everyone was hungry. We lucked out because apparently kids eat free on Saturdays and Sundays off the kids menu! Score!

January 26, 2011

So, life has been tough...

and I'm ready to talk about it. I definitely don't want to give off the impression on this blog that my life is perfect. It is far from perfect. Being fake is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine and I had a realization this week that I often try to focus on positive, happy things on the blog. Which is a good thing, but I don't anyone under the impression that our life is just perfect. So I decided it was time to come out and talk about the struggles I've been having lately. Some will be vague and others I've discussed on the blog before. I've been struggling to stay afloat and now I realize I've made goals. (I'm not a New Year's Eve Resolution kind of girl. Everybody is doing it then and most goals don't stick.) I'm a goal oriented person. I don't always stick to my goals but I am often making mental goals. So I'll share some of those too.

Parenting is tough. Three boys ages 7 and under. One with some anxiety issues and major opposition to anything mom/dad says. Another stuck in the terrible two's. One who doesn't want to do anything for himself. It is hard to always follow through with parenting threats/consequences. Kids can be manipulative. Sometimes when life is hard it is easier to give in. But I'm done. The boys have been driving me crazy and the house has been wild for too long. Too many battles. Too much whining. So I'm reading The Well Behaved Child by John Rosemond and trying some new things at home. I kind of made up my own version of some of his suggestions as I've not gotten very far in the book yet. (Don't have a whole lot of reading time!) We're just using a strike system - 3 strikes and you're out. Which means you go to your room for a pre-determined amount of time. On the past two snow days it was going to be 90 minutes in the afternoon. Neither Luke or Wilson got to strike 3. Yesterday late afternoon, Wilson got to strike 3 for the first time. I told him to go to his room and he could only come out for dinner, homework, and getting ready for bed. He sobbed. I didn't back down. He came to dinner and approached his homework like a totally different child! Wednesday nights are always hard because we get home from church around 8:20. I have 3 boys to get ready for bed alone b/c Andy isn't home then and it is always a nightmare. But tonight, I reminded the boys of the strike system. Told them if they got to strike 3 tonight then their consequences would be tomorrow afternoon/evening. It was a wonderful bedtime. Now, consistency is the key for me & Andy! One small success and I am feeling tons better in this area already.

So juggling marriage, working on communicating better with Andy, 3 children who are all BOYS!, working full time in a demanding job, keeping up with a house/laundry/cooking/etc, church, friends, on and on and on...this causes me to often feel like I'm failing. Because it is hard for me to stay afloat. I have high expectations for myself and I honestly get overwhelmed WAY too easily. I want to be able to handle everything life throws at me but I don't seem to be able to very well. I don't like to "need" others. Mostly because I don't want to bother anyone. (SEE NEXT PARAGRAPH!) I often carry that over to not relying on God as well and that won't work out so well. So I hold things in and don't talk or pray about it until I'm bursting. Working on that too.

I struggle with insecurity and am also reading Beth Moore's book, So Long Insecurity with my small group. I didn't realize how much I struggle with this until I started reading. I knew I had insecurities, just didn't realize how they hide under the surface to the point that you don't realize insecurity is a driving force in so many situations. God is really teaching me a lot about myself right now. Andy and I are also slowly reading Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs together. (As you can see I have mentioned 3 books I'm reading which tells you some of my goals. Plus I'm reading The Girl Who Played With Fire for by Steig Larsson - just for enjoyment!)

So. My goals in RANDOM order:
1. Consistency with my parenting. Don't let them take advantage. Be firm and consistent. I'm taking notes on my parenting book and I'll share them on the blog at some point.
2. Work on my insecurities and belive in myself. I come across as having it all together (at least I think I do!) but so often it feels as if I'm barely holding it together. :)
3. Keep reading the book with Andy and applying it to our marriage.
4. EXERCISE - for my physical and emotional health. Plus it give me time for MYSELF. I exercised yesterday for the first time in almost 6 months. When I was at the walk in clinic on Saturday the nurse said "your blood pressure is great! You must work out a lot!" I laughed. My friend also told me I had to start exercising twice a week for reasons mentioned above . My legs are so sore after the SHRED last night...
5. Somehow not let myself get so overwhelmed...not sure how to do this other than pray. And I need to do more of that anyway.
6. Borrow the book about Terrible Two's by John Rosemond from the library...not sure if that is the exact title.

That's all from my heart for now.

January 24, 2011

32 = not so bad!

This weekend we celebrated my birthday which was on Sunday. Early Saturday my mom watched the boys so I could go to the Walk in clinic. It went so quickly that I got a manicure while I was out. It was fun! I haven't had a manicure in years. Saturday night Andy and I had dinner at Olive*Garden (which was very delicious! We even shared tiramasu!) and then we went to the mall. My birthday gift was dinner out and shopping! That is what I asked for and he said it was the easiest birthday ever! Win-win! I bought new brown shoes which I love. Actually, my dad had a pair when I was a kid and I thought they were the ugliest shoes ever. But now I like them. Go figure! I also found a few shirts at Old*Navy. Two of them were on clearance and I got them for $8! The clearance was half off the lowest price. So another win! We had a nice evening out without any kiddos. When I woke up Sunday morning the 3 boys had each made me a card. :)

On Sunday night we went to my parents house for dinner. My dad grilled fish & veggies in foil packets, made delicious homemade mac & cheese, and coleslaw. Yum! Chocolate and butterscotch pie were my dessert choices made by my Ma-maw and Pa-paw. My parents bought me a 14 cup food processor! Yay! Now I can make salsa in 1 round of processing instead of 3. I'm sure I'll find many great uses for my new kitchen tool. It was a great birthday! Thank you to everyone for making it so special!

Snow Day #7


January 23, 2011

Snow Day #6

Friday we had another snow day. We got a lot of snow Thursday afternoon/evening and even had a 2 hour early dismissal. The boys and I hung out at home most of the day. I did some cleaning & laundry, rented them a movie, we did homework/reading, and then met my parents for dinner. Later that evening I went to a friend's house for game night. It was so fun! Andy heard on the news that over this wintry season we have had 21 inches of snow. How crazy is that?!

January 18, 2011

Chicken Fajitas!

YUM! I've had this recipe bookmarked forever. But it required a grill. We've had a hand me down grill from my parents that just didn't work anymore. So we've been without a grill for almost a couple years I guess. I've really missed grilled food at home! Anyway, Andy got a grill from my parents for Christmas! Yay! So since it "warmed up" a little on Saturday I suggested we grill out! We had the best chicken fajitas. Andy did a fantastic job grilling and this will definitely become a regular dinner on our menu! It is of course from Annie's Eats - Grilled Chicken Quesadillas.

24 hours from HELL

Well...the stomach virus didn't stop with Wilson. Oh, no...Luke threw up at 6:15 Sunday night. Andy threw up around 9:30, and Tyler threw up sometime in the middle of the night. I thought he might and I thought he would cry for me if he did but...I didn't know until I went in the next morning. Andy, Luke and I didn't get much sleep Sunday night. I just slept in Luke's room so I could help him. I think I was spared just enough to not be puking but I had body aches like the flu. I didn't eat anything until 1 or 2 because I was afraid that if I ate, I would start throwing up. I felt horrible but was better off than Andy so I met the basic needs for our children! They were fed and they were bathed*. Sheets were changed. Other than that the house looked like a tornado hit. It was ROUGH. Andy definitely took it the hardest. It's taken him 2 days and counting. He's still not back to his regular self but he is eating today. He has slept a lot and has consumed a lot of gatorade. I stayed home today to take care of Luke and Tyler so Andy could try and recuperate. I did LOTS of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, and put away toys. Thankfully all of the rest of us felt normal today. Really hoping Andy is well tomorrow!

*One bath resulted in me fishing poop out of the tub with a disposable cup. NASTY. I think that is the 2nd time ever in my parenting years that someone has pooped in the tub. So then I got to clean the tub before finishing bath time...!!

January 16, 2011

Random Updates

* If you show Tyler a picture of a hammer (in one of his picture books) he calls it a hamburger...hilarious! That boy always has food on his mind!
* Tyler has been asking to go to church for the past several days. I guess because we didn't have church Wednesday night due to a snow day he really missed going! He keeps saying "I go church." Tyler is so verbal. Right now he just said "I play drums." He is in the playroom playing the drums. He is a good communicator for a 2 year old!
* Wilson came down with a stomach bug at 2:30am Friday night. It was no fun. Really rough night of "sleep" for me and Andy. It must have been a 12-18 hour thing because he is just fine today! Praying no one else in the family comes down with it...so far so good.
* Bought my first book for the Kindle - "The Well Behaved Child" by John Rosemond. Read for a while yesterday while Wilson snuggled and napped next to me. Taking notes on the computer for future reference. We have a very oppositional child at home - he is NOT that way at school or when mommy/daddy aren't around. Has anyone else read this book? Some of the dicipline measures seem extreme but Rosemond knows that- he says it will nip the behaviors in the bud. It is a more traditional approach, like from the 1950's before all the pychobabble came out on the parenting front. So, still reading. But something has to change at home on the parenting front because everything with him is a STRUGGLE. It's just overwhelming and a lot to deal with on a daily basis. All the other methods and things we've tried obviously haven't worked because we are still dealing with the oppositional behavior. So maybe we do need something extreme.
* Friday night we went to 1 furniture store to look at bedroom furniture. Next time we'll go without kiddos! But it was fun to look around. I found a favorite at that store. But we want to check out some other stores too. Then we went for frozen yogurt with a gift card!

January 13, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Luke!

Luke is 5 years old today! I can't believe it! He is growing up...and will be in Kindergarten next year! Wow. He had a great birthday! He wanted donuts for breakfast and pizza for dessert. Super easy for mommy and daddy! Since we'd already had cake pops and cake at the other parties he chose brownies and ice cream for dessert. I woke him up this morning so I could watch him open his gifts. That allowed him and Andy to have fun with the gifts throughout the day. He opened a robe, train station Lego for his train set from Santa, and the Guess Who electronic game. He was happy. After dinner, the Mc clan came over for dessert. He got the game Pop the Pig from Mac 5 and the cousins played that for a while. Such a cute game! He also opened an art portfolio that is super cute from his Mimi and Poppy. He had several Happy Birthday phone calls today and seemed to really enjoy his day! Tomorrow he gets to bring the snack to pre-school and he chose sherbet cups. He is super excited and planning to wear a birthday sticker from one of his cards that says "I am 5 today!"

We love you Luke, Happy Birthday!

An early morning wake up call from Mommy and Daddy! It was almost 7... :)
His little cheek was so warm!

Reading the birthday card to him woke him up with a smile!

Opening Guess Who. Lottie was quite interested. She's hoping to get in on the next game.

Dessert time! Look at that adorable grin. He is so cute! Before this picture I had him change out the of Christmas shirt he picked out to wear today. Luke has his own style!

Opening Pop the Pig - a cute game!

January 12, 2011

Snow Days 4 & 5

Yep. You read that right. We are up to 5 snow days already. Craziness. That makes us going to school until June 1st. It's only January 12th so I guess we could end up with even more snow days. Yesterday and today have been pretty laid back. Snow days make me kind of lazy. Here's what we've been up to:
* copied and stuffed my report cards
* lunch at chick-fil*a and playland time
* made a new recipe for dinner that we didn't care for but ate anyway
* read a lot of Mockingjay (book #3 in the Hunger Games trilogy)
* finished Luke's b-day shopping
* 1/2 price lunch at Saul*Good with some teacher friends
* made my subplans for tomorrow because I have a PD day
* little bit of laundry and cleaning up
* the boys played the wii, went to my mom's today for a few hours, Wilson shoveled, they played outside, and built a fort and at times acted crazy!

All I want to do is go take a nap. But trying to fight it so I can get to bed on time for school tomorrow. I'm hoping we're on schedule - but we have enjoyed our time at home!

This will make you laugh!

More mustache and lip pictures...because it was THAT funny!!!




Uncle Mac

Poppy & Wilson

*If you read through a reader, click into the blog for new sidebar pictures!

A Beary Good Time!

Luke with his friends and green cake pops!

Wilson with his friends and orange cake pops.

Starting our party at Build*A*Bear

Luke ended up with a bear wearing roller skates and a hat!

Wilson made a police dog.

Washing the bears before getting them dressed.

Wilson and Luke agreed to have their birthday party at Build*A*Bear. They each invited 2 friends. We started at our house for cake pops (green for Luke, orange for Wilson), ice cream, and presents. You can't bring any of that into the store. Then we drove over to the mall for the rest of the party. It was so much fun! The store did a great job with the party. The kids had a blast making their animal and choosing clothes or accessories.

The party group with finished bears/dogs! Notice all of the boys chose accessories instead of clothes (except Wilson - he wanted a police dog!). I thought that was so funny - girls of course would choose an outfit as Luke's friend Eva did on the left! Boys surprise me all the time!

January 7, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday Wilson!

Happy Birthday! His 7 candles were in the shape of a 7!

Wilson turned 7 last Friday (January 7th)! He had a great day. He woke up to a brand new bike which he is very excited about! He'd outgrown his other bike. He got to have poptarts for breakfast and bring cupcakes to school. Friday night Poppy came over for dinner. Wilson chose pancakes, sausage, and eggs for dinner. His dessert was Mountain Mama Mudslide. Uncle Bill, Danny, Steph, and the kids came over for dessert. He got to open 3 presents from them and then we played Creationary while the kids built a fort. He had a great birthday! Uncle Bill brought over wax lips and wax mustaches he bought at Cracker*Barrel. The boy cousins got the mustaches on and the girls got the lips on. Then the adults got in on the fun. We were all cracking up and laughing so hard. It was too funny!

Saturday afternoon was the friend birthday party - super fun and then Saturday night my family came over to celebrate Wilson, Caroline, and Luke's birthdays. Wilson's is January 7th, Caroline's is on the 10th, and Luke's is on the 13th. They'll be 7, 6, and 5 this year! We ordered pizza, had salad, and dessert. The kids all had a good time together. It was a birthday weekend extravaganza.
P.S. I CAN'T believe I have a 7 year old!

January 2, 2011

French Silk Chocolate Pie

1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

whipped cream, chocolate curls, optional

1. Line a 7 in pie plate with pie crust. Prick bottom, trim and flute edges. Line shell with a double thickness of foil and bake at 450 for 4 minutes. Remove foil, bake 2-4 minutes longer until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and eggs until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Let cool to luke warm (90 degrees), stirring occasionally.

3. In a small bowl cream butter until light and fluffy. Add cooled chocolate mixture; beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

4. In another large bowl beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.

5. Pour into crust. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

This pie was good! Took forever to get the egg mixture to 160 and then a long wait for it to cool down to 90 degrees...but well worth it! Andy loved it and didn't want to share it last night at our New Year's Eve party! But he did :) . I used my stand mixer for steps 3 and 4.

Taken from Taste of Home Comfort Food magazine that my mother in law gave me over Thanksgiving.

January 1, 2011

Good Reads

Here is what I've been reading the past 2-3 months. I've liked them all!

This was good- dark, slow to start, but good. Don't recommend the movie out with subtitles. I know they are remaking the movie so maybe that will be better. Haven't read book 2 or 3 yet but plan to read them!

A really good book that took me forever to get through but I really did enjoy it! It is set in Charleston, SC.

Love, love, love this book. I flew through it over break in a couple days. I'm reading book 2 right now and really enjoying it as well! This is super easy reading becuase it is juvenile literature but still really good!
Andy and I received a Kindle for Christmas from his parents. We were super surprised and very excited! I told Andy it might turn him into a reader! The Kindle is so neat! The technology is amazing. I have 10 books on my wish list from Amazon for the kindle. I'm just used to borrowing books or checking them out from the library so I'll have to fork over some money to read now...but the kindle will be fun to read on! It is so thin and light weight. Andy is reading Treasure Island right now because it was one of the free books you can download. I already have 4-5 books on my nightstand that I need to read before I let myself buy a kindle book!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2011!!

Last night we rang in the new year with Danny, Steph, Lily, Trey, Uncle Bill, and Poppy. We had an appetizer dinner which was yummy. The kids had fun playing the Wii and the adults had fun playing Buzz Word. Everyone left around 10pm because the kids all needed to get to bed! On our last day of doing whatever we want from this glorious holiday break I slept in until 10:30!! I didn't even stay up until midnight! I was tired I guess. Tyler slept in until then too! The rest of the day has been lazy. Haven't done much of anything really. Back to the real world starting tomorrow so we can have a smooth week back to work and school (laundry, menu planning, school work, etc) . It will hit us hard too! We've got two birthdays right around the corner, 2 birthday parties, report cards for me to finish, and karate starting back up this week. Unfortunately, winter break is offically over.

Nanny's House

(Picture from Thanksgiving 2008 - aka pre-Tyler!)

Andy's Nanny has lived in West Virginia most of her life. She has spent the past 65+ years in Richwood, WV. Andy has travelled to Richwood every year for holidays and visits in the summer as a boy. As the boys got older the winter months often included snow skiing at Snowshoe. Andy loves WV, skiing, and he loved going to his Nanny's house. When they would go stay at Nanny's she would wake them up to go snow skiing in the morning playing "Country Roads." The house didn't really change much over the years - some new paint colors or decorations, nothing major. But it was his Nanny's house. A house they all loved and cherished going back to visit and stay overnight.

Right after Thanksgiving 2010 Nanny moved from WV to Florida to live in an apartment near her daughters (Andy's mom and aunt). She is so happy in her new home. She has 3 meals provided for her each day and someone comes in weekly to clean. It is really the right move for her and she is happy to be closer to her daughters. But it was hard on the family to lose their tie to WV. Andy went with his parents, Danny, and Katie to help pack the moving truck. He came home with a few treasures from Nanny's house. Things that will always help us to remember that home and all the great memories we have there. I remember going with him and his family for Thanksgiving before we were married. So I'd been going to that house for a long time too. We are happy for Nanny B. and glad she is getting the assistance she needs to make life a little easier! She is 90 years old and going strong! Here are the treasures Andy found when they were packing Nanny up this past November.

This was the thing I asked for - Nanny's candy dish. It was always out in her living room and always had candy in it. This dish for some reason, really reminds me of Nanny's house!

This stool was something Andy grabbed as they were leaving. He came home and said "there's one more thing I brought home...don't be mad." Prefacing it like that I was a little worried. Then he pulled out the stool and I was so excited! I am so glad he thought of this. The boys love it and it is now in our kitchen just like it had been in Nanny's kitchen for years!

Here is the coal bucket, mentioned in a previous post. From when Nanny's house used coal to heat it up. Still has coal inside!

Ten Year Anniversary!

Wow. 10 years can go so fast! Andy and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on December 30, 2010. We had a wonderful date! My mom and dad took the boys around 4pm. Andy and I went to see a movie "Life as We Know It" and then walked around the mall for a few minutes until our dinner reservations at PF*Chang's! We enjoyed the movie and I even let myself get popcorn. We never get popcorn at the movies. But we were at the dollar movies so I splurged! I say never like we go to more than 2-3 movies a year!! Ha!

Anyway, our dinner reservations were at 7pm. We had a delicious dinner - Lettuce wraps, Cashew Almond Chicken, and Kung Pao Shrimp. We had way too much food but with only eating there about 1 time a year we had to get our 3 favorites! We ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday. After dinner we ran to Office*Depot and bought a large calendar to hang in our kitchen to help us with planning. Then we walked in Bed, Bath*, & Beyond to get towels for the downstairs bathroom (found the exact match to the blue in the shower curtain!), and then walked into Best*Buy to look at 22" tv's for the bedroom.

We had planned to pick Tyler up from my parents since he still needs his crib but ended up coming home with Wilson and Tyler. Wilson just couldn't get himself to stay - that was his and Luke's first time to spend the night at my parents house. Luke stayed and had a great time! Wilson regretted his choice the next morning. We told him to remember that the next time and maybe try and stay!

Anyway, we came home, watched Friends, ate some delicious pie that I made for Andy (recipe to come) and gave each other cards. We had agreed on NO PRESENTS because our plan for our 10th anniversary is to buy new matching bedroom furniture. I've wanted a bedroom suite since we got married. So we're waiting on our tax return and then we'll go shopping! But, as I was reading my card from Andy a jewelry box appeared on his knee. I was soo surprised and started crying. I opened the box and found something beautiful and sparkly inside. I couldn't believe it...we had a wonderful 10th anniversary!