This week's shout out goes to my friend Tara for introducing me to wineries. This could prove dangerous. I met her there late yesterday afternoon. We had a nice time tasting and then sitting outside under a tree overlooking the beautiful vineyard. It was so breath taking! What a way to spend my last Friday evening before work starts. I think this could become an addiction. Thanks Tara! You're the best!!!
Here is a quote from Indy "Does this place have Wi-Fi?" He said this last night while in bed at the house. It just goes to show that today is a technological age. However, it has also been my experience while technology has made things easier and faster it is not without flaws. It seems as though a computer is "good" for 3-6 months and then it starts to develop glitches. I just tried to update my IPhone. It went very wrong and wiped out everything on my phone. It wiped out the software and everything. Luckily, the nice people at Apple were able to help my husband recover my phone's data and reinstall all the software. They then recommended that update my phone weekly. I assume this is because they want to keep their jobs in the call center. My husband is in the process of doing his now and he has now installed all my phones old apps on his phone. So, again I say technology is great when it works and when it doesn't it is a big time waster. However, it does give me time to blog while I listen to my husband get frustrated with it too. However, without technology I would be unable to blog and that as we all know would be a very bad thing.
I just returned from a fantastic trip to the Potomac River with some old friends who we have not seen in over a year. Well I take that back, we have seen the husband but not the wife and kids. You never really know how the kids are going to get along with each other when you have not gotten together for a long time. We were a little nervous, especially at first when they didn't seem to hit it off. But, after the Nintendo DS made its appearance all was right in the world. The adults had a fabulous time, we didn't skip a beat and although we had to catch up on all the stories it was fabulous. Of course we promise never to let a year pass before seeing them again, but I do worry about that! It seems as if you say that and the next thing you know you are emailing or FBing saying when can we get together. Time just marches on I guess!
I am going to a seminar next month given by the "coupon lady". I am pretty excited about it too. Sad but true. My husband is taking a pay cut this school year. It is difficult to survive on two teachers salaries in the area in which we live. Our kids are involved in a sport every season, and some additional activities throughout the year. We like to take vacations and I do buy organic. So, due to this pay cut we will have to tighten our belts and get down to business. My goal is to have most of our "Disney money" left at the end of the school year so we can go next summer and still live in the manner we have grown accustom to. This should be somewhat easy in one respect. We are the biggest wasters on the planet. We throw out so much left over food it is not even funny. I have always prided myself on not eating take out on crazy sports filled evenings. I have given presentations on it at church in fact. But, I have never been good about saving those leftovers for anything worthwhile. So, my next endeavor is to attempt to create weekly menus that incorporate leftovers into something we all want to eat. My sister has done this type of thing in the past, but not consistently. At least to my knowledge. My problem is that I don't like leftovers. This summer has been interesting as I usually cook a lot and experiment with many new recipes for the upcoming school year. But, this summer has been different. I think the school year and my knee surgery has taken its toll on me emotionally and I am burnt out from everything. Nice, when I only have two weeks left before the dreaded return. Which reminds me, I need to my kids need to get their butts in gear and do their summer reading, a difficult feat for Indy since he has to read books at his reading level. A difficult challenge to read three books at a 6th grade level for a 4th grader. Yikes! Below are some examples of what I have come up with so far for cost cutting. Let me know what you think!
American Express Rewards program offers a percentage back on all purchases. Use the rewards to outfit the kids in clothes (Lands End has a great point for point rate and their clothes are top notch)
Stock up on things when they are on sale
Cut out non-essentials
Use leftovers for another meal (ex. use the extra chicken breast that is left over to make a salad for lunch or even dinner
That is it for ideas. If anyone has any others, I welcome them.
Oh summer, my favorite time of year in many ways. Although, I am a winter gal at heart and love that season because of the weather, summer is my favorite season because we are all so much more relaxed and I am home 24/7 to be with my kids. Now that my knee surgery is behind me and other than this brace and these crutches making it more difficult than my knee itself to get around, we are out and about doing summer! Yesterday we visited a children's museum which is one of our favorite pass times. But, this morning was one of my favorite times because I have discovered how amazing it is to just watch my kids having fun! I love the looks on their faces and the smiles that reach from one ear to the other. Mutt, never really shows his true emotions. For some reason if he catches me looking at him it is all over and I can never get a true reading from him. So, it is times like these, when he is engaged and all else around him is gone that I see his pure happiness and that smile I love so much. Today, we went to a local interactive water fountain. The weather was not that great, but it kept the crowds away. My sister and her kids joined us for some water fun and boy did I enjoy the photo shoot that ensued. I have some great pics that really show who my kids truly are. I just love when you can see who they are just by looking at them. I can't wait to share. I will post pics later. Gotta get Mutt to the doctor so he can go to school. Those silly vaccines!
The last night of our beach vacation, we went out onto the beach at sunset to take some family photos! I just love this one of Monkey and her daddy! Their sun kissed skin looks beautiful with beach backdrop! Missing OBX!
You have to just go with your gut. Why can't I remember this? I am pretty good most of the time. I think before I act, I do my research, but sometimes I get thrown off. I was reminded I have to always stay on my toes and go with what I know. A friend of mine is a physical therapist and so is her husband. Even though I don't see her very often she is one of my best friends. I think she is a great therapist and is very good at what she does. I think her husband is too. It kind of goes hand in hand I feel. If I am good at what I do, I am not going to marry a bum. Especially if the bum is in the same profession. She is also really good about doing her research. Her son was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 21 months of age and then did a great deal of research about treatment options. So, when I need a 2nd and then 3rd for an orthopaedic surgeon I asked her husband. He does sports injury rehab therapy. I did my research and decided on the surgeon my friend's DH recommended. So, why when my OS was asking where I wanted to go to therapy didn't I offer up my friend's DH? Who the heck knows? I guess I thought it might be weird and he would think I was wimpy, but really who cares. I just need a good therapist. Unfortunately, I went to the PT that is in with the OS and that was a huge mistake. So, now I will go to my friend's DH next week. My friend reminded me several times to go with my gut! She is right!
This week's shout out goes out to Indy for receiving a compliment from one of the mature members of the congregation at the end of VBS yesterday! She said he was so good all week. She said he sat quietly, answered all the questions (she said how smart he was too) and how polite. Doesn't it make your feel so good when someone tells you how well behaved your children are? We have received a few compliments like thi sat restaurants from total strangers. I guess when you see a large family with young children people expect them to be noisy, rude, and running all over the restaurant. Totally unacceptable to us. They are not always perfect angels, but they know we will not go out again for a long time if they don't behave. Way to go Indy!
Since I have been sitting around after this knee surgery, I have had a lot of time to think. By Friday I am uninspired to write anything of an substance, but am determined to finally link up with my parties so here goes nothing...
my hubby is amazing! I have always known he is capable of taking care of the kids, but he has done almost everything for 10 days and he is really good at it.
I love my family. Family is definitely what it is all about.
I am an adventure person at heart. Can't wait to get back out to do the things I love. Hoping my kids are into it too!
ESPN laughs hysterically when someone passes gas. It is hilarious!
Kids are resilient!
There is nothing like a strong sense of community.
I hit of love in your day can make a world of difference.
Hot Tub Time Machine was not all it was cracked up to be, for me!
I know, am I really writing about this? I usually boy-cot the month of August. I hate back to school for the very reason that I want to stay at home with my kids. This year, I am sending all four kids back to school. For years (7 to be exact) my mother has watched at least two of my kids while I work. However, after this past year hubby and decided that for a variety of reasons we needed to send ESPN to "school". Although, we have decided 100% where he will go, we have decided he too will go back to school. So, I have three going to elementary school and a fourth going to daycare. With my knee surgery and my friend the CPM (continuous passive motion machine) I have had hours to pass while lying on the couch. So, I am researching back to school items for back to school. The Today Show has had several segments over the past week and a half about back to school. It has sparked my interest. My favorite segment was by the ladies from Cool Mom Picks . So what's cool for back to school? Well, here goes...
I love LL Bean's Deluxe Book Pack and their Critter Packs. LL Bean's guarantee is second to none. I purchase my kids their elementary school backpacks when they enter Kindergarten. I believe that a back pack should last through 2nd grade. When Indy's zipper broke on his Critter Pack in December of 2nd grade, LL Bean exchanged it no questions asked. He has asked me why he can not get a new one, and I tell him because yours is in perfect condition. He will use it through 5th grade. They also have really cute lunch boxes to match. Oh, and they monogram if you are into that.
EM Tanner has some fabulous and super cute products. I do not have any yet because I have not really had a huge need yet, but I am about to place my first order. She will make me a tote bag for ESPN for use at school this year. She offers personalized Me 2 a Tee Backpacks that have a face which you can personalize to your child's characteristics and add a name to. You can leave the name off if you prefer to for security reasons. She was featured on the Today Show this morning.
The dreaded school supply list, where do I begin? I am really picky about my kid's supplies. If I know they are thrown into a box and shared by all then I go with the cheapest, but I am particular. So I begin the last week of July (my kids go back in September) checking the advertisments for Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, and Target to find the best prices for everything. You can almost always find a 24 pack of Crayola crayons for $.25, Fiskars scissors for $1 and rules, erasers, and even composition books for pennies. I saved over $30 last school year purchasing supplies myself instead of using our school's supply program.
You can really find some cute ones out there. My favorite are the LL Bean Critter Lunchboxes. They are a perfect size and wash out easily. They are great for the kids.
Vera Bradley also have some cute patterns in lunch boxes and are reasonably priced considering the cost if you splurge for a larger bag. I am a Vera Bradley addict! Lot's of older (4-6th grade) girls are carrying them. Monkey has one, but it is too feminine for her, so I use it! Grandma bought it so it was a bonus for me.
There are some extras I have decided to list for fun!
After sitting on the couch all week with my knee surgery, I have had a lot of time to think so today I am just going to focus on life in general as a mom.
You know your a mom when...
you have a toddler screaming in your eye while trying to talk on your cell phone because he wants to play traffic rush on the phone.
you spend half the day researching preschool programs while recovering from knee surgery because that is the only time you have sat down in over 12 months!
you are surrounded by all sorts of electronic devices while laid up so you can organize play dates, grocery shop, keep the family calendar in check, set up family get togethers, make your niece's birthday invitations, and research just about anything necessary.
your favorite segment on the Today show is about healthy food alternatives for families on the go.
you realize that your longing to just sit and relax is not all it is cracked up to be and you would rather just run after the kids and do laundry!
I am going to take this opportunity to brag about my kids. Last night was our swim team end of season banquet. I complained for days before that it was from 4-9:30 p.m. and it was outside. Other friends of mine whose children swim for other teams had banquets at local elementary schools lasting 1 1/2 hours. But, in the end our team did it up and the kids had a great time. Our team doesn't do anything small. Awards lasted for 2 hours. Evey swimmer was called up individually to receive their trophy. We have over 270 swimmers on the team. Indy was called up to receive his trophy and sat quietly with tears in his eyes each time a new category was called and his name passed over. Especially when his sister was called up two more times after receiving hers. Indy had a great season though, one to be recognized. He began the season with slow times, swimming only freestyle. He finished the season posting legal times in freestyle, backstroke, and breast stroke. He improved every time he got in the pool and kept a positive attitude throughout the season. He almost made the B qualifying standard which means he is in the top 40% of times in the league. Swimming is a great sport for Indy because every time he dives in the pool he has a chance to win a heat ribbon and improve his time. He earned 5 heat ribbons. Monkey on the other hand is a little fireball and improved every race she swam except one. I was pretty upset because I wasn't there. I blame myself. I wrote her a note to motivate her. I think the size of the championship meet and the fact that her cap ripped threw her off for that first race she swam. She pulled it together and had some great time improvements the rest of the meet. In addition to earning her season trophy, she was legal in all four strokes, and swimmer of the week. For the later she received an enormous chocolate bar. I was so proud of her. I think they will both miss the team for different reasons. Indy for his love of swimming and interest in perfecting his stroke and improving. He is so much like me. And Monkey because she loves the social aspect of the team. I really need to get her more play dates! I am proud of my babies! They rocked the pool!
This year has been very eye opening for me as many of my readers know. I have learned a lot about life and people. I am presently struggling with how and why things in life happen. Thankfully, I can say that my family is healthy. When you get right down to it, everyone has their health. Both sets of parents are healthy with only minor concerns and very few prescriptions which at around 70 is great! Ourselves and our siblings are all healthy. We have our aches and pains. I have my knee. My sister in law has challenges from a car accident over a decade ago. She lost most of her fingers on her hand and now has a toe thumb. She also has a hard time remembering things at times. My sister has a blood clotting disorder for which she injects blood thinners during pregnancy but otherwise lives normally. We are all over 30 and don't little things like these come with the territory? However, it is our children that upset me. Don't get me wrong they are all healthy; they too have minor, treatable conditions. But out of 9 children why do 4 have some type of alignment for lack of a better term? Doesn't that seem disproportionate. It is only since yesterday that I have began to question this when I found out that my nephew (my sister in law's son) has been diagnosed with linear scleroderma. That by far out weighs any of the other children's conditions to me. It requires daily medication to control and PT sessions to deal with effects from the disorder. My other nephew was born with a birth defect, craniosynostosis (my sister's son) and two of my children get migraine headaches. I guess I just think that kids should get a free pass. I know that isn't life. It is just upsetting to think about especially when someone you and love is affected by something beyond their control and comprehension. And I haven't even mentioned the dozens of children I know with cancer and other life altering or life threatening medical conditions. It is very disheartening to think about. It certainly reminds me to treasure what I have. To treasure days without migraines. To run my fingers through my nephew's hair and fell the bumpy skull underneath and think about how lucky we are that he is o.k. And to value those days that my children have run with their cousins on the beach, because one day my nephew may not be able to keep up. Maybe the title of this post should be treasured times!