Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter catch-up

We had so many things going on over the past few weeks. Italian dinner fundraiser for Garrett's school, school easter festivities, Easter playdate, etc. And of course work, work, and more work . . . Here are a few catch up pictures. I haven't had time to upload last weekend's pictures (egg coloring and a few other things) yet. I really didn't take that many. We spent Saturday night/Sunday morning dealing with a very miserable little girl who is teething and Sunday was very low-key as we all tried to recover from our lack of sleep.

Garrett and one of his fav gal pals, Alex, at the school fundraiser.

Summer loving on her Minnie and carebear. She likes to take them with us in the morning when we walk the dogs.
Easter cards at school
Cute butterfly craft the kids did.

Off the top of my head I can think of nothing else noteworthy. Things have been utterly insane lately. I'd like to say its almost over, but I really think its the new normal. But we're not just surviving, we're still managing to find time for enjoyment, which is nice.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Show Me the Mommy - The girls

I always mean to participate in LauraC's Show Me the Mommy, but hardly ever have time on Fridays to post. But this week I really haven't had time to post at all, so I have a bunch of pictures sitting around requiring my attention, including this one of Summer and I from right before the Italian Dinner Fundraiser for Garrett's school. I am trying to get better about giving the camera to Brad and having him take pictures, but they don't always turn out well. This one, however, did.

Summer is all grins and personality these days. She is into shoes and fashion and is such a trip. Here she is putting "Shoes on Minnie Mouse!".
Yesterday Garrett and I went on a "Special Date" to see Rio. The last time I went to the theater was in June to see Eclipse, and holy COW, $15 for just Garrett and I. We won't be going to the theater again until Cars 2 is out in June, because that's just highway robbery. We both had a great time though, and the movie was so cute.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Balance = Found (Sort of)

Coming off Mondays crazy post, this has been a pretty good week. INSANE, but good. The alarm has gone off at Oh-Dark-Hundred on a daily basis, and I, who love my sleep, have been up before Brad every day but one this week. 4am wake up = not fun, but being able to focus on the kids without freaking out about the obscene amount of work on my desk was worth it. I also planned for child care two days this week, just to make my life a little less insane. My friend Shelah's daughter, Rainee, came and hung out with the kids on Monday, and then Summer went to play with Ava on Wednesday while Garrett was at school (leaving me a little time to be productive when I wasn't dealing with the usual produce craziness).
Summer sure does love her "Ray-ray".

Not only did I get work done, but I didn't feel like I was losing my mind a single time all week. Added bonus, we had time for family time at the pool, I managed some quality time with Brad, and I've gotten in some decent enough workouts. So, all in all, not a bad week.

I also made some headway on the school dilemma for next year. I'm 90% sure that homeschool is the back-up plan of choice. Once I realized I could eliminate a lot of the planning stress by getting a curriculum, the stress of that choice seemed to wash away. I would still prefer he get in to one of the schools we applied for. But whatever happens will be exactly the direction we should go in.

Fun things we did this week:
Summer colored a lot, one of her favorite ways to pass the time:

And we broke out the paints Grandma Becky gave Summer for her birthday last year, along with some of our left over stocking stuffers from Christmas:

Friday was a MUCH anticipated movie night . . . we did Pita Pizzas for dinner, which the kids loved because they could each make their own.
And really, does it get any better than this?
The only time they were truly quiet though was when the popcorn was being consumed. You can see how long 7 children between the ages of 7 and 2.5 lasted :-)

I find the pairings in this picture hilarious--Garrett is hanging out with Angela, our neighbor who is 7. He's always wanting her to come play and hang out, she's one of his favorite people these days. Summer is with Xander, of course. She's ALL about Xander. And Logan is chilling with Brady and Gracie. We're pretty sure Logan and Gracie will get married some day, lol :-) I'm so thankful to have such great friends right in the neighborhood, which makes fun events like this a cinch to plan.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Mayhem - Desperately Seeking Balance

Disclaimer, this is mostly a me post, and very little on the kids. Just be forwarned, personal purge coming on.

I can't believe the first quarter of 2011 is already over, and that April is whizzing by as well. As much as it really stinks to say it, 2011 has been a little rough for me, personally, so far. Don't get me wrong, things have more or less been wonderful so far this year--the kids are healthy and growing, our marraige is strong, I could sit here all day and list positives. But *I* personally have not felt balanced or centered, at least not for a prolonged period of time, in a very long while. Working very hard to rectify that this week.

I've been keeping up with the house better, and I've been working out a ton. Work, overall, has been much busier in the past year or so than we have been in a while. The thing that I can't stand is I often look back at our day and realize I haven't been in the moment enough with my kids. The whole purpose of riding this crazy ride called life is the moments we make along the way, and I often feel like I spend more time fretting and fussing at them then sitting back and ENJOYING them.

I also feel like I'm backsliding in my body image issues. I'm not at all happy with myself again these days, and I don't know why that is. I think I've become a little manic when it comes to working out, so I'm taking a step back--focusing on my diet more and cutting back to maybe 30 minutes a day 4ish times a week working out. My weight has been stagnant in the same 10ish pound range or so for a while, and its frustrating because I'm still freaking classified "obese" by BMI. Which is why I hate BMI. But whatever . . . I don't think this is my major issue, just feeds in.

I've also been working, very very hard to alleviate the horrendous headaches that have plagued me off and on since I was a kid. I think that they are brought on by a combo of hormones and diet issues. I, milk loving person that I am, have cut WAY back on dairy. It has helped, but its been challenging because ICE CREAM is made with dairy and hello, I LOVE ice cream. But in the long run: might help with those stupid pesky body issues.

Add in additional stress factor, which may actually end up being my saving grace: Trying to get Garrett into a good school for Kindergarten. So far, he is wait listed on 2 of the 4 schools we applied for. The other 2 won't do their lottery for a while, so its not like a resolution is anywhere close. Not knowing drives me crazy. If he doesn't get in to one of these 4 schools, we have 3 options: #1) Send him to the incredibly crappy school we're districted out for (not really an option. #2) Put him in private school. #3) Homeschool.

Brad and I have spent a lot of time discussing options 2 and 3. We have lived very, very frugally for the past few years and we can afford to put Garrett in private school. Our neighbors have their kids in a nearby school that is both affordable and good. It will slow our plans to get out from under the debt we accumulated in those "young and stupid" days. We've also discussed homeschooling. We could homeschool Garrett until he gets in to one of the schools we like, hire a sitter several days a week on a regular basis for both kids, and STILL pay less than we will for private school. At first the concept of adding another unexpected year of doing it all made me panic, but then my friend Allison pointed out "Its kindergarten, its not like you can screw it up." Hmm, hadn't really thought about it THAT way. And as much as I like to him and haw that I'm not cut out for homeschooling, I sort of just might be. I certainly can do it for a year or two until we can get into a good school, if need be. And as anti-homeschooling as my husband seems to be? His concern is that Garrett will get too far AHEAD if we keep him at home.

Which brings me to pointing out how much Allison NOT being right down the street for the past year has contributed to my lack of balance. Its weird, because we have a lot of wonderful friends here, but after almost a year of her being out of Florida, I still totally find myself pining for a cup of coffee in her kitchen on a regular basis. Very few people can completely grasp the insanity of our lives, or understand the crap in MY head, but for some reason, she always did and still does. I'm not a person who makes truly good friends easily, so yeah, miss the balance, miss my friend. And miss having family closer than a 4 hour plane ride, too, while we're at it. Spending a few days with my mother-in-law, her complete confidence in my kids and lack of any type of criticism was SO refreshing. It's insane some of the freak show stories so many friends have of families who like to put down their parenting or lifestyle. Its nice that our families have always been so supportive, and I miss having that support system.

Anyway, long story short is that the whole school issue has really made me realize I need to improve my balancing act. After nearly 5 years of juggling ALL the balls (wife, mother, caretaker, employee, cook, housekeeper, myself), I still basically suck at it. Thus my prolonged basket case status so far this year. So in a way, thinking about this school dilemma helps. I'm focusing this week on getting my act together and seeing if I can balance things a little better to regain my sanity, before I add another item to it. So if my online presence is less, know it is because I'm either trying to get it all done or enjoying the moment with my wonderful family. Because when it comes right down to it? We-Brad and I-have a wonderful, amazing life going here. And we really, really need to enjoy every single second of it. Going to focus on THAT this week, and I suspect the answers to everything else will come on their own.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Fashion, art and chilling

Its been a week of HIGH FASHION here.

Summer's combo of mommy's socks and mis-matched crocs:

And Garrett's "It's COLD outside!" (it was mid 60s and breezy) outfit:

Not much to report this week, we've been rather lazy because we're all recouperating from our Disney trip. We found an animated Iron Man series on Netflix so we spend out afternoons watching a couple of those because they are actually decent and we're all enjoying them. Add in work, cooking, and homework and our days are pretty much full. Summer and I went to the park and library while Garrett was at school yesterday-our effort to conserve gas includes not coming home after dropping him off 1-2x a week.

Garrett has been building various flying contraptions with the legos.
And Summer has enjoyed laying around on the couch while we watch TV.
Here is a picture Garrett drew last week--the fire truck is driving on a road. I love it, so original. He's getting sooo big.

Our major item of the week has been school stress--we're on the waiting list at 2 of the 4 schools we applied for. The other 2 haven't done their lotteries yet. I've done well about not freaking out about the school situation until this week, but reached maximum overload this week. We actually started looking at private school, just in case nothing else works out. Joy. The theme of this week is politics and government and the entire "system" just blows. But wherever we end up is where we were meant to be. Or so I keep telling myself.

Weekend will be more of the same (work) plus a baby shower for my friend Leanne. Girl time! :-)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Mayhem - the Disney trip

We have been scheming and planning for a while to surprise Garrett with a trip to Disney for his birthday. You must understand that Disney really isn't my idea of the perfect vacation spot--we don't really like crowds or lines or commercialized stuff. But Garrett has been asking for a trip to Disney for a while, especially for a birthday present. Even though his birthday isn't until May, we went this past weekend because A. It will be unbearably hot when his birthday roles around and B. Brad's parents could get the weekend off and were able to spend it with us.

This trip was a total surprise for Garrett. We told him on Monday (two months before his actual birthday) that a big surprise was coming and he would get a hint in two days. His first guesses included only material things (like a Transformer), so when I told him it wasn't something he would get but something he would DO he was stumped for a while. Then his guesses were limited to Chuck E. Cheese and Dandy Bear. On Wednesday we told him we wouldn't be back to school for the rest of the week, so he thought THAT was his special surprise. Silly boy. On Thursday morning we packed suitcases and the guesses included going to Grandma's, going to see Grandpa Hosein, going camping, and going camping on the beach. Then he started asking questions to narrow it down. "Are we driving a long way? Are we getting in an air plane?"

Once we hit the road he got out his leapster and basically stopped guessing for a while. It was until we were IN orlando that he started guessing where we were. And once he figured out it was Orlando, he assumed we were going to see Shamu. We picked Grandma and Grandpa up at the airport, and although he didn't know for sure who we were there to get, I think he knew it would be them, because while he was happy he didn't seem all that surprised.

We went to McDonalds and told Garrett that it was his special surprise. He actually was cool with that, acting all happy and then said "But why did we drive all this way to go to McDonalds?" We gave them each a Mickey and Mini and finally told them we were going to Mickeys house. :-)

It was yucky and rainy, so we spent the rest of the day chilling at the house that Brad's parents rented. Grandma loved reading to the kids all weekend long!

Summer enjoyed modeling her new "Kitty glasses"

Friday was Epcot.

Since Grandpa Lynn works for GM, we were able to get the VIP treatment for the Test Track, which he LOVED. He rode it twice and STILL asked for more.

Riding the test track with mommyGrandma and Summer being silly :-)

Brad, Garrett, Grandma and Grandpa at Epcot

Lightening McQueen! Cars 2 will be out in no time at all :-)

Summer drumming away from the Oh Snap.

Summer took a break from playing at the playground to bring Daddy a flower :-)

and she was in LOVE with the sea horse from Nemo at the Seas With Nemo and Friends.
Garrett loved all of the rides

Summer-not so muchBut everyone enjoyed the fish!
And we lucked out while we were leaving by catching Daisy with no wait.

We did movie night, watched Tangled, and otherwise just enjoyed each others company for the rest of the afternoon. Summer swam, but I didn't take any pictures.

Saturday was Magic Kingdom. I really didn't take that many pictures. We rode Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Garrett really wanted to check out the Swiss Family Robinson tree house.

We got our pictures taken with Goofy, but Garrett didn't want to do the Pirates of the Caribbean, which surprised me.
We went to the T-rex Cafe for dinner. Summer was too tired and completely scared to death of the dinosaurs. Garrett, on the other hand, loved it like always. He especially loved digging for dinosaur bones.

And on Sunday we took him back to build a dinosaur. He picked a saber tooth tiger that he has named "Tooth."

It was a super fun weekend that went by way too quickly. And this pretty much sums up how we all felt afterward!