Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gearing Up for Project Simplify March 2012!

So even though I'm still sick and Ry has had pink-eye (cleared up, going back to school tomorrow) I am very excited about this weekend!  His weekend begins Project Simplify, a four-week clean-up and organization project from Simple Mom.  

Every week I (and the family) will work on one cluttered place in order to make it work better and feel more relaxing... Who wouldn't want that?

The schedule:
§                      Week of March 5: Kids’ stuff 
This will be the playroom.  It's not really that bad as far as everything having a place, it's just super packed full of toys with little room to play.  This means all the toys are brought out into the living room, which then becomes a huge mess.  With the baby coming, we really have to start working on keeping the tiny Legos out of reach and trippy, slippy cars out of the walkway.  I'm especially worried about the "purge" part of the clean-up... What kid WANTS to get rid of a toy?

§                      Week of March 12: Kitchen and/or pantry
This will be the office closet used for food storage.  Again, it's not like there isn't enough room, I just haven't been able to get to it since O's birthday when most of the toys got moved in.  It's also a good time to take inventory and start stocking up again.  It's almost embarrassing how long it's been since I really went grocery shopping... Though I am proud of how long we have been able to eat off of our food stores! :-)

§                      Week of March 19: Closets, countertops, and drawers
Most definitely MY CLOTHES.  I am truly embarrassed at the mess of my clothing in the corner of my room.  Here I do have to say I just don't have enough storage space.  Since pulling out my maternity clothes at the beginning of the month, I have yet to put anything non-maternity in the Salvation Army pile OR in the closet... bad, right? :-(  I do anticipate needing some shelves or another dresser, but I'm not to keen on the idea of buying one.  I'll have to keep this in mind as the weeks progress.

§                      Week of March 26: Choose your own adventure
Oh, for sure the garage!  What a mess... We have enough sporting equipment to open our own Sports Authority!  With Dad-Dad's reffing, coaching, and playing AND Ry's playing baseball and soccer we have so much stuff in the garage.  Thankfully the gardening things are all in the backyard shed (neat and organized thank you) so we don't have to worry about pesticides and * eek* dirt!  LOL We have to get at least one bike up on hooks along with some of the bigger sports bags... I'm sure buying shelves will be on the to-do list.  I've already started pricing them.  I just wish Closetmaid still made the free-standing shelf for over the washer and dryer!  Dad has them in his garage, and i am NOT a fan of the flimsy hook-to-your-washer kind that replaced it...

I really am looking forward to this challenge and plan on posting before and after pictures.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Flu Finally Hit Us...

So far this year we have been very fortunate to not get sick.  We rarely get very sick, but no one wants to get sick at all, so it's a bit of a bummer.  I felt in coming on Saturday night and by Sunday I had the sniffles, sneezing, and watery eyes so typical of a cold.  I also had the aches and pains of the flu...

I hoped the boys would miss it completely, but no luck... Ry was sent home from school today with a watery/gunky eye.  Poor guy.  I hate seeing the kids sick.  He seems to be doing alright, playing and eating just fine, but school wants him to stay out for another day and asked for a doctor's note.  So, off to Kaiser we go.  His appointment is at 7:15.  That's what I really love about Kaiser: I can call after I get off work and have a pediatrics appointment for the same evening.  See if another doctor can offer the same service! :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So I found this amazing resources at Melissa Fallis Test Kitchen and just had to try it...

The idea of prepping meals once and having food for a week is something I've tried to do in the past, but the simplicity of this particular plan won me over.  As an added bonus, each recipe was something my family and I would eat. (i.e. no shrimp, mushrooms, or other icky stuff)  She starts with the shopping list, naming easily available fresh produce and the common pantry staples I already have on hand (well, except instant tapioca but I'm willing to overlook that one).  Next comes the prep directions, which I admittedly stuck to even though I should have been more than capable of figuring out how to cut up my ingredients. :-)  I am definitely not a measuring cup/spoon kind of person so I found the units of "two carrots" and "half the bell pepper" refreshing.

So after about $75 and just over an hour of chopping and bagging I had eight ready to freeze meals!   Amazing, right?  I have two teriyaki chicken dinners, two vegetable beef soup dinners, two BBQ chicken dinners, and two beef stew/ goulash dinners that require little more than tearing open a bag in the morning and heating in the crockpot.  Tonight will be teriyaki chicken with pineapple and rice... it's already in the crockpot and I can't wait to get home and taste it.  This may just give me enough motivation to stock the freezer before this baby comes, although I do really like eating out some times. :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not My Ideal Four-Day Weekend

So this four-day weekend was sounding like a lot of fun.  We agreed to take one of the cousins for the four days because Aunty was taking a couple of the kiddos to a soccer tourny.  I was a bit miffed to find out that Uncle was not only not working this weekend but also going along for the vacation.  I think if anyone deserves a vacation, it's him but...

Anyway, M is very close in age to Ry so I knew they would have fun.  I was just NOT expecting all the fighting! :-(  They have been bickering for three days straight and tomorrow will be the same I'm sure.  They fight over who will be player one, who can jump the highest, who gives better noogies?  Really guys?  Can't you just go play something else?

This morning I got to stay in my bedroom until 11 and Dad-Dad took over... Did I mention that he has been gone all weekend?  Friday was a baseball game where he was keeping score and didn't get home until 6:30.  Saturday was supposed to be a 10 AM referee job and a 2PM referee job that also extended into a 6PM referee job.  He saw nothing wrong with just letting me know "there was a change of plans."  Aaargh.  Not cool.  You would rather tell me  "too bad" than tell someone you don't know that you can't stay for a third game?  Really?  Thanks.  I ended up bringing all three boys to the 6 PM game for something to do, but of course had to referee their fighting in the cold instead of watching the game.  I guess I got my point across though, since I did get to stay in hiding until 11 this morning, which means he cancelled his 10 AM game for today.

Of course, instead of just taking the 2PM game he told me about, Dad-dad just posted to FB that he has a 2Pm AND a 4PM game today... What?!!!  Thanks again. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of you letting me find out through FB.

Fast forward to now, the TV has been off of almost an hour because the two big boys couldn't stop fighting over controllers and which way to go and... whatever.  Ry has fallen asleep in his room and M is playing with little O.  They keep wandering in and trying to turn on the TV but have gotten turned away three times.  I like the new arrangement.  it's quieter and I needed the break.  If only it weren't so cold outside.  I can't get anyone to agree to going to the park... I'm afraid for tomorrow. :-(

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another one of those days...

Here is another day when I'm at work, thinking about what I'm paid to do, and I am so incredibly immersed in my job that home doesn't cross my mind but for a few seconds at a time.  The guilt is piling up today.

When it started raining, my thought was, "Oh, I should turn off the sprinklers for a few days."
When I went to lunch, "I wonder what Dad-Dad and O are eating for lunch.  Suppose they went with Papa?"
When my coworkers started talking about names for the baby (John Paul, Benedict, etc.) I just wanted them to stop...

I know it's good for my to be absorbed in my work when I am here.  My dad is always talking about how much easier work is when you tell yourself that you like it.  I do enjoy a challenge.  I just feel so guilty when home rarely crosses my mind.

I think abut how it would be if I did think about home all day, and I know I would be miserable wanting to go home.  I just have a hard time some times feeling so disconnected.  Shouldn't I, as a mother, be thinking about my kids all day?  Shouldn't I be home with them, doing homework packets and making PB&J sandwiches in cute shapes?  That's what a significant number of my friends do while their husbands go to work all day...

Am I being selfish by leaving the house in the morning and staying out all day?  Am I neglecting my kids?  Just the  thought of that makes me want to cry.

My answer always seems to be the same: I'm doing what's best for our family, not someone else's family.  My work provides us a mortgage payment, medical coverage, good vacation time, and the ability to increase pay at regular intervals.  As far as I can tell, it's an ideal job for someone in my position... I love that Dad-Dad can stay home with the boys and be involved in play dates and soccer.  I know a lot of Ry's friends won't see their dads all day, and that makes me feel good that he can be a role model for those kids as well.  I see my boys and know they are happy and healthy and doing well.  I guess what I keep asking myself is, "Could I do such a good job staying home with them?"  Then when I answer honestly, I have to ask myself, "What's wrong with me that I can't?  Why can't I be that parent and do just as good a job?"  My saving answer is that I could.  I have to tell myself that with practice and time I could be that parent...  But that answer is irrelevant.

I know I didn't set out to be the parent who works outside of the home the most.  I know I didn't set out to be the primary earner.  I'm just very thankful that I can be that parent.  Not just because my work allows me to grow and learn, but because my family benefits from what I do.  I think that's why I also love that Dad-Dad has so many opportunities to cover events and do his writing jobs.  I know he hated the desk work and "inflation," so this is is a way for him to get to do those things that make him happy.

So now, after such a long deliberation and a few tears, I'm back to thinking that I'm doing the right thing... I just know it will come back around again, hopefully not too soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One of Those Rare Days (Mom-Mom time with the boys)

Today was one of those rare days when I get off work and Dad-Dad leaves.  He brought the boys to my school on his way to an assignment, which was actually very neat because some of my coworkers got to see them for the first time in a year or more.  I just love how excited they are to run the hallways and inspect all the student desks in my room.   They almost always leave me some sort of surprise to find the next day, either a drawing or a toys left behind.  I realized after leaving that the surprise this time would be O's training pants!  I remember him having them when he came through the gates but have no idea what happened to them after that.

After leaving my school, they decided that they were hungry so I took them through Del Taco's drive-thru for some go old home-cooking. :-)  This just makes me more sure that I need to start cooking again... Oh the guilt...

Anyway, we ate at the dinner table and had polite conversation (minus the burp and crying about not getting white sauce on the taco he said he didn't want white sauce on) and I got to just breath and look at them.  One of the things we figured out a while back is that they really need to be separated at the table. They both behave a bit better when their audience is farther away.  I just love sitting at a table with them though.  There is something so satisfying about feeding your own kids, even if it is Del Taco.

After dinner the big guy got his homework packet done without whining and complaining, so I'm glad we had him do the heavy writing parts a few days ago.  He is a very good writer and knows how to make complete sentences with his awesome handwriting, but for some reason the process of writing more than one or two words at a time becomes a chore.  Not that he doesn't just sit down and write all about something HE wants to write about when it's not homework...  His math this week seemed to be all over the board with estimation, ordinal words, and ordering two-digit numbers but he breezed right through.  I always find myself asking him for more information than the page asks for just to make him think more.  I'm afraid that for how easy his homework is now, he will shut down if he comes to something harder later on, though I doubt it will be in the next few years.

O had dry pants when we got home with dinner and sat on the potty after dinner without much complaint. I walked away and left him with the Nook for a bit and sure enough, he performed.  I have a much more positive outlook on his potty training now than I did just a month ago.  he seems to be getting it though I find myself knocking on the wooden table top as I write about it. :-)  My baby boy is growing up.  Now when I ask if he is a baby or a big boy, his answer is always "I'm a big boy."  This is quite a shift from the beginning of the year when he requested that I call him baby and demanded diapers.  Hopefully he will be completely out of trainers and fully toilet trained by the time this baby comes in June.

Speaking of the new baby, what ARE we going to name him?!  I have been 100% sure of the name Eli ever since finding out he was a boy, but now with this stupid Super Bowl I realize we would be naming him the name of the winning quarterback.  In a few years I think the only ones who will realize the coincidence will have the last name Pope so it shouldn't be too big of a deal, but what about this year and next?  I really don't ant people to think I name my kids after football players, winners or not...  I am so excited to meet my little hiccup-er though, no matter his name. :-)

Tax Time Again...

I don't dread tax time as much as I did when single because I know I won't end up owing (usually) but I still don't look forward to it either.  Because of the interest on the house loan and my student loans, we come out alright, but Dad-Dad's income puts us on a whole new page on the Tax schedule!  What I really need to do is begin a deposit from each of his checks to the savings account I opened over a year ago and save some money.  It's so hard to save money! [insert sad face here]

TurboTax has been my go-to move since we got married, just out of convenience.  I love how they save everything online for us and import last years data into this years return automatically.  It is a huge improvement over my paper booklet and pencil I used for years.  I just hate the fact that they take $100+ from my return in fees.  I've thought about going to a tax preparation place like H&R Block to see if they could save me more, but they are even more expensive... What's a girl to do?

So this year it looks like we are getting back enough to pay off the only credit card we have that charges interest.  That's what we do every year!  I pay off the credit card and we spend all year charging it back up again.  Now, a wise person would probably adjust the tax deductions on my W-4 in order to keep more money at home during the year.  My problem with that is I never know how much money he is going to make during the year as a free-lance writer and soccer referee, so I don't know what his taxes will be.  Again, back to putting a portion of his check into a separate account. LOL  It seems so obvious.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby Boy #3 is on his way!

I am now getting very excited about meeting this new little boy.  Will he be thin and quiet like his oldest brother, or bold and big like my second son?  Will he learn to sleep through the night early like they did or wake up screaming all through the night?  How will he ever keep up and get a word in during a conversation?! Will the big boys adore him as much as they adore each other?  It's almost too long for me to wait until June!

I love being a mom.  I love my little boys, and I love their father.  I think they are all perfectly matched to each other and can not imagine my life without the three of them.  I really did luck out. When I think of the turmoil and sadness I've seen in some other families, I think about these three fellas and how much each of them enrich my life.  I have now made a commitment to record our family time as a way for my boys to remember their childhood and as a way to share what happens with us with our family.  I know I would not be where I am today without my family and I am just thankful to my husband's family for bringing him to the place where he ans I could meet and love each other.  :-)