Wednesday, June 29, 2011

...upload from pictures from this past weekend

...what fun we had with my mom in town!

My mom spent the past week here with me on 'vacation'.  She had the kids for three, long, full, rainy days while I worked.  Let's just say she didn't get caught up on her reading!  But what a great last day we had!

This is so much FUN!
I love this picture!
Mimi and #1, #2, #3, and #4

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

...see what happened on this day last year

...the little girls sure have changed!

A year ago today

  • Mark was in Africa
  • The big kids were at my parents in Michigan
  • And the little girls and I were hanging out here at West Point by ourselves
Swimming at the pool with a 'babyhood' friend!

Look at those blue eyes!

What a great big sister!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 take sixteen 8-year-olds to a movie myself.


My sweet little girl.  My first born type-A child.  Is so blessed to have been born the day before Christmas and yet there is the quandary that she doesn't get to celebrate her special day with her friends.  So we have, for the past few years, celebrated for her half birthday.

On a whim last week, despite the craziness that I have right now, I decided to take the plunge and take her class and a few friends to see Mr. Popper's Penguins.  If things are crazy..what is a little more crazy? I think this should be my motto. Besides, Jim Carey is an entertaining guy.

It was a fun afternoon for all... Aside from several 'potty' interruptions, the afternoon went incredibly smooth.

Here is the 1/2 birthday girl!

Her friends...

A co-worker of Mark's made these!

And even Will and his buddy got to attend!

Friday, June 17, 2011 join facebook


Yup I really did.  Mark sent me an email today and asked me I could keep up with the activities of the brigade.

I can't think of a better reason.

So you can find me there now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 do the laundry. long overdue.

I should have taken a photo.  Every day it was something I would tell myself..."I should throw in a load." "Wow, I really should at least put the towels in."  There were many other phrases...

But going down to the basement in the evenings to wash some clothes was simply a bridge too far.  Besides it is scary down there!

Until Isabella came to me this morning and didn't have any uniform shirts for school.  Since this particular shirt is only worn every other day, she has FOUR of them, and our last resort was to borrow one from a school-mate on the way to school...I caved.

I managed to get six loads washed, dried, and folded.  All in nice piles on the table downstairs.  Who knows if they'll make it into the kids drawers...but we at least we won't have to resort to borrowing any tighty-whities! 

Next on my list...that homemade laundry detergent.  I've had all of the ingredients for some time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

...make dinner for my family

...I did it.  The first, thoughtful, real meal I have made since Mark has left.

Ever since Mark has left, life has been a little crazy.  For the most part we are just getting by.  Especially in the area of mealtimes.  I have thrown in leftovers, frozen partial meals from the past few months, and mercifully been invited to our neighbors a few times.

About two weeks ago I joined a food co-op.  It is a 10-week program and each week I get a variety of organic, fresh vegetables.  My goal in doing this was to encourage myself and the kids to each more veggies and hopefully motivate me to continue cooking throughout the summer.

This second week's 'take' included:

Strawberries (delicious)
Spinach (this doesn't look ANYTHING like what comes in the bag at the store)

The spinach is at the bed of the cutting board and in the big bowl

Pretty all sauteed up...isn't it?

Large Green Onions (I have never seen these before)
Carrots (my kids were interested that these were long and pointed (not short and stubby, washed and peeled!)
Scapes (huh??)
And a 'spring mix' (which included after some research:  Swiss chard: Yuck.  Dandeloin: Seriously I am supposed to each this stuff? and a few other unknown greens...blech!).  There was no way I was going to my troop to eat this one...So the Army Mules have enjoyed some yummy meals this week!

I digress.  My goal was to use up this week's veggies before I get a new batch tomorrow.  On the menu for this evening....

Spinach sauteed with scapes (a garlic like vegetable I learned), olive oil, and Salt and Pepper mixed into a stuffing for Manicotti
Crushed tomatoes with scapes, olive oil, and fresh herbs (parsley and basil from my pots outsides)
Watermelon (imported from who knows where courtesy of the Commissary)
And garlic bread (thanks to my friend Meghan...Delicious!)

I have to admit that the dinner was delicious as judged by five empty plates and NO moans and groans.  But check out what my kitchen looked like after I got the dish into the oven....between the kids chaos and my mess.  I need professional help.

Friday, June 10, 2011 calm my little one worked with the sweetest response

My little Audrey has quite a temper especially when she has made up her mind.

Two days ago she decided after I had put her to bed that she wanted her door open.  At the time I didn't really think anything about this simple request because all the kids were headed to bed at the same time that evening (it was a pretty late bedtime for her).

The following evening I noted my error when I was putting her to bed at her usual bedtime (7:30) and she wanted her door open again.  Unfortunately the rest of the house was up doing their evening routine thing and thus were very distracting to her.  I endured an hour of her calling for me, crying, asking for Will to come in, Abbey to come to her, etc...

That brings me to this evening.  I tried for about fifteen minutes to endure the whines and cries that she didn't want to go to bed.  That she had to have her door open.   Finally I decided enough was enough,  this was a silly request I had agreed to.  So...

I closed the door.

The screaming started.  The kind where my neighbors should probably call social services.  I let her tantrum for a bit and then I thought I would try once more to calm her down.

Well in the couple of days before Mark left I had him change shirts several times with the intent the kids (and of course me too) might like to hold him as close as we could.  So I went in with one of the shirts that Mark had left.  And I said, "It is time to go to sleep.  Mommy has to close your door now.  But maybe, you might want to feel one of your daddy's hugs."

She looked a bit confused but I said, "Go ahead.  Smell the shirt.  Smell him Audrey, he misses you.  A hug might make you feel better."

In less than a moment, my sweet little one, took the shirt, brought it close to her face and then laid herself down on it... Pulling that shirt in under her chin, just like she does her didi.

"da du momma" (thank you) she said.

And I closed the door.

Thursday, June 9, 2011 start potty training 101

...well we started.

Why not?  Our life is pretty calm, low-strees, and consistent.  Huh?  Well, if I waited for these factors she'd be in diapers through out next two moves.

We had a 50% success rate today.  That is better than 0%.  If I had remembered to take her to the potty, she would have gone more.  However, since at this point I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning...we have some serious work to do.

My plan:  No diapers during the day including nap time.  For two weeks.  I can reevaluate our progress then.  And decide to continue forward or wait a bit longer.  She already knows what to do when she is set on the potty; now timing is the key...and of course getting her to tell me BEFORE hand.

If you think I lack a little confidence its because this is my fourth time doing this potty training thing.  And if I know one thing, there is no right way to do it.  If I push her too much she'll regress.  If I don't push enough it won't work.  Frankly, I wish she would just do it herself.  Then I wouldn't have to ponder over silly things like stickers vs. M&M's or timers vs. asking her if she has to go.   I am over the diaper thing.  Now if only she'll buy in to my plan....

I'll keep you up on our progress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 be a zen mom

...I wasn't.

Mark and I had several conversations before he left about all of the things that would become my responsibility while he was away.  The hardest part about being a military spouse is that we have this impression that we need to be two persons while our spouse is away.  Mark tried to help me realize this is impossible and instead I have to learn to focus on the important things and if that mean the office stays a mess for a year...than 'oh well'.

The other piece of advice that is ringing in my ear is one we both try all the try not to yell as much.  He just said, "Try to be a zen mom".

Every evening after my children are asleep and I have the chance to reflect on my day I always think:
1)  Tomorrow will be better.
2)  Tomorrow I will calmly repeat my directions.
3)  Tomorrow instead of yelling I will whisper (the thought behind this is they'll have to cue in and listen more carefully)
4)  Tomorrow I will not let the fighting, tattle-taling, and whining bother me.
5)  Tomorrow I will be clear and concise.  I will not argue with them.  "No" will mean "no".
6)  Tomorrow I will be the calm, composed, and collected mom.

Well here is my AAR (after action report) for today:
1) I guess that yesterday was pretty hard to beat after all.
2)  How can I be calm when my three year old is running into the road chasing a balloon?
3)  It is impossible to whisper over a lawn mower, a water slide, and a delivery truck driving by.
4)  I failed.  They are persistent.  They have more endurance than I do.  They WIN.
5)  I speak English but I think they hear Latin.  They simply cannot be ignoring me ALL the time.  Can they?
6)  The "crazy mom" in me made her appearance again today.

My friend Beth and I were having this very conversation at dinner tonight.  And her comments were the same as mine.  We both came to the conclusion that if they didn't give us reasons to be become unglued...than we wouldn't.

Although I tried, I wasn't the zen mom I wanted to be....maybe tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 deal with incontinence

Yep.  Why not?  Doesn't everyone at one time or another think about this awful rite-of-passage?  But seriously now...and with my DOG!

Ugh.  The timing...really?  What more can one person take?

Oh let me share...

Yesterday when the kids and I were driving Mark up to Newburgh to have one last breakfast at our favorite Panera, I had him call the Vet clinic to ask about prescribing our beloved dog something to help her.  The good news was there is a remedy that may work but the bad news was I needed to collect a urine sample for them to rule out a UTI.


So there I was, barely awake this morning, schlepping Timber out on her morning walk with a short leash, a large tupperware container (for catching), and several baby wipes in hand.  We paced up and down the sidewalk while I tried to "catch" her in the act at least eight different times.  Oh, I must have been a sight!

What is next for me?
Could it be?