So Long and Good Riddance

No, I don’t actually mean that.

I’m going to a Ladies Retreat this weekend.  Just me and 70 other women, and Josiah……..

And no House Cleaning or making meals or co-ordinating peace talks between the monsters masses….

I’m almost, sort of excited….except that I have to schlepp 50 kerbillion tons of diapers and clothes and blankets and everything else baby related with me…..that’s on top of all my stuff.

I’m actually taking a HUGE monster sized suitcase, just one, and it has ALL of our stuff it.

So, Bonus Points for me for thinking that even though it’s ENORMOUS…..I only have one bag, and one bag means WAY LESS trips back and forth from the van to the room.

See, I’ve got my thinking cap on.

Jon’s at home with the 3 older ones, and if you think about him laugh, and then think about me and cry, ’cause I’ll probably come home to what looks like a war ravaged excuse for a house…..although the kitchen should be clean ’cause Jon’s OCD takes over and he can’t make a meal or do ANYTHING if the kitchen is messy. 

The rest of the house can be blown apart, but if the kitchen’s clean he doesn’t even see anything else.

It actually works well for us ’cause I don’t mind the rest of the house, but I HATE CLEANING THE KITCHEN. 

We’re a good team, but……….

Babe, could you make the monsters House Cleaning Fairies clean the rest of the house before I come  home on SUNDAY AFTERNOON AROUND 3PM…..I’ll even call first to give you warning…..PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!

Escaping It All

So, I’ve shared that I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed with this “CRAZY” thing I call my life….so rather than actually sit down and “deal” with some of what what have I done….

Well, this is what I looked like yesterday morning…..

Long Hair
My Hair was long and curly and Loooooooooong……really long, and all one color.  I’ve not really done much with my hair over the past year or so….the last haircut I got was in February….since them I ‘ve just hacked into it myself, and well I got sick of it. Mostly because with Josiah all I do is put it up in a clip or ponytail, and well….that just sucks.I went to see my sister’s hairdresser because Debbie has absolutley ROCKED her haircuts for the past year or so…not that she didn’t always look good, but her hair dresser is the BOMB.

Diana at Prism in Langley…..she is amazing!  Go forth and find her…..seriously, you won’t be disappointed.  She did an amzing job.

 Here is what I look like now….

And the side view…..see the pretty colors….

And from the back……I love it….although I think I’m going to ask for it to be even a little shorter at the back next time.

Oh, and this is just an extra shot for no other reason than when I down loaded it off my camera I said, “WOW  I actually have cheekbones……..thanks to my Momma for those…..I don’t usually see them quite so clearly defined….maybe it’s the new hair cut that just really brings them out.

A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Diana.  I LOVE IT.  YOU ARE AMAZING.

Abandonment

I’ve not abandoned you all.  I promise.

I’ve got to get on here and update you all on Halloween and our decision to “make” costumes this year, as well as talk about Josiah turning 12 weeks last Saturday, and 3 months old on Sunday and having his 2 month appointment today and how FREAKIN’ ENORMOUS he is…….

AND, I’m struggling with trying to be SUPERMOM.

I’m not super mom and I know it, just in case you thought I was really that misguided, but I am feeling utterly overhwhelmed.  Not to the point that I’m diving off the edge of a cliff or rocking in a corner with my hands over my ears singing, “na na na na na na” over and over.

I just need to STOP and MAKE SOME TIME to figure out the priorities in my life.  BUTI’MSOBUSYTRYINGTODOEVERYTHING,THATTOSTOPANDFIGUREIT
ALLOUT ….would mean that I’d have to actually “STOP” and figure it all out…..and who has time for that, really?

I’m working on it………sort of!

Go look at my pictures over at Flickr and see how cute the kiddo’s were.

And Josiah…..isn’t he a doll?

The 11 Week Story

Josiah LOVES to tell stories.

Well, actually he loves people.  He loves to talk and interact with people.  We went to the store today, and he cooed and cooed and cooed and cooed and the lady that was walking down the aisle beside us couldn’t believe how talkative and smiley he was.

He cries when we get in the van, and I honestly think that it’s ’cause he can’t see us.  If the kids are in the van, he hardly cries ’cause they are talking to him.  It’s funny or cute or annoying depending on how you look at it, and how tired you are.

He is an amazing baby still!  We just did a week at a conference, from 9am until 6pm EVERY DAY, and people kept coming up to me and asking if he was for real.  ‘Cause they couldn’t believe how content he was and how happy and really…..he was an absolute angel.  Didn’t hardly have one fussy time the entire week.  I love this little boy!

I wish  I could edit my voice right out, but you lucky folks…you get to hear me talking to Josiah in a nice high pitched little baby talk voice. 

To Foam or Not To Foam

espresso-machine.jpgMeet the newest member of our family….

Ain’t she pretty?

Buying this little baby is turning out to be one of the BEST decisions that we’ve made recently.

I’d been thinking a lot about the kids calcium intake or rather the lack thereof, and wondering what to do about it.

I’d also been trying to figure out a way to cut down on the cost of our daily latte habit.

A few things happened all at the same time, and the end result is hapiness and joy all around.

We’ve recently decided that I will be handling the family finances.  I have the time, energy and drive to tackle that particular mountain…..in the hopes of turning it into a mole hill….it’s a work in progress and I’m sure you’ll hear WAY more about it in the not too distant future than you really care to.

Any way,….. for the same cost of one month of latte’s and coffee we bought ourselves an espresso machine.  The old coffee pot, which isn’t very old at all, has become an “office” machine in case Jon has clients come to the house to meet.  We fired up the machine, and made ourselves Americano’s the next morning in half the time that it took to run a a pot through, AND….it was fresh, and we didn’t have any coffee sitting around for half the day waiting to be thrown out ’cause it tasted like mud.  Bonus points for freshness and the time factor.

Then, I asked for a latte, and I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted pretty good.  That was a part of my concern.  I actually LOVE the taste of Starbucks Soy Latte’s, and didn’t think that I’d like a home made one – not the case AT ALL!  It was delicious. 

Being the frugal sort that I am, I didn’t want to go out and buy a bottle of sugar free hazelnut for two reasons.  ONE being the cost, and TWO being the chemical factor.  I’m trying to get further and further away from ingesting chemical’s and trying to stay closer to naturally sourced food.  So, I decided tojust have plain latte’s, and that was okay, UNTIL….we thought we’d try a bit of cinnamon with the milk……OH!  MY!  GOODNESS!

No flavoring needed!  It’s amazing!  Try it!

So, at the same time that all this was happening, Jon got a Costco membership through his company, and we went down to pick a few things up, and found out that they sell a 3 pack of SILK SOY for $7.99.  That breaks down to $2.66 per carton, and that is WAY CHEAPER than the $3.89 that the grocery stores are selling them for.

The kids were watching us make coffee’s, and I figured that I’d offer a cinnamon steamed milk….and they were hooked from the first sip.  They actually ask for a cup of milk now, and I’m no longer concerned about their calcium intake.  YAH!

Also, we are training our kids so that they have the option of being barista’s when they grow up – if they want to be…..

My Kids Are Really Thankful for Good Food

I’ve been trying to figure what kind of treats or snacks I can make for the kids (and Jon and I, too).

We need cookies and crackers and snacks for school.  My kids are AMAZING, and I’ve said before that they have no issues with fruits and veggies, but I like to have vareity, and try to find special things that they could eat or snack on so they aren’t “the weird kids” who only eat fruits and veggies.

I shared my recipe that I found for Oatmeal Cookies, those are a big hit in our house (either the zucchini or pumpkin variety), but I have yet to try them with carrots.  Soon, maybe this week – if I have time……

I found a recipe for healthy rice krispie treats made with tahini…..which is just sesame butter.  I thought they were delicious, and Jon thought they were okay, and the kids hated them……..BUT they made me think of Granola Bars, and so I went searching for Granola Bar recipes.

Lala, H. can eat these – no corn syrup!

So, I used this recipe, and best of all, you can put whatever you want in them, and make them as thick or thin or big or small as you want.  I think that you could even make granola for cereal……AND, it is SUPER EASY to make.

Granola BarsHomemade Granola Bars

3 cups Rolled Oats (I use old fashioned)
1 1/2 cups chopped Pecans
1/4 cup Flax Seeds
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds

2 cups Puffed Rice Brown Cereal
2 cups Dried Fruit

1 cup of Honey
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Tahini
2 Tblsp Butter (optional)
2 tsp Vanilla

Directions

1.   Heat Oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
2.   Spread first group of ingredients on 2 baking pans and toast for about 15 minutes, or until you can smell the toasted nuts.
3.   Remove from oven and place in LARGE mixing bowl, and add the 2nd group of ingredients and mix well.
4.   Heat (over low heat) the Honey, Salt, Tahini, (butter, if using) and vanilla until well combined
5.   Add sticky mixture to the dry mixture and stir well
6.   Spread mix into 2 greased pans…it’s your choice as to how thick you want to make it.
7.   Press firmly so it all sticks togetther
8.   Bake for about 15-20 minutes (less for chewier – more for crunchier bars)
9.   Let granola cool only slighty before you cut into bars, but wait until they are completely cool to remove from the pans.
10.  Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container…..could store 2 weeks or longer if they make it that far……

I substituted and added here and there, but kept the general outline as my guidline.  I’ll explain what I did and some of my thoughts. 

I did use pecans, but you could use whatever nuts you wanted to use or don’t use nuts if you can’t for health/school reasons.  I used a bit more than the 2 cups of puffed brown rice cereal, but again, if you can’t find any, use 2 cups of somthing else.  I used raisins, but would advise that whatever fruit you use that you chop it up first.  The raisins puffed up and made my bars a bit wobbly and I had to smush them down flat.  I also added a handful of Carob chips to further entice the kids to give it a try….not that I needed to.  (Ah Hindsight but it’s a nice treat!)  If you can’t find Tahini (it’s in the ethinc food section in our Superstore or at a health food store) you could use any type of butter ie peanut or cashew or almond or whatever….I’m sure you could even substitute it for something else like molasses or something else.

I used only one pan, and they were freaky thick.  It’s totally feasable to use both pans.  I put the mixture in and then used a rolling pin to smush it flat into the pan.  Watch it carefully when it’s cooking, as you don’t want it to burn.  When I pulled it out, I gave it about 1 minute and then I used my pizza cutter to cut it up.  I got 30 pieces, but could easily have got double that if I’d used 2 pans.  I wrapped it up later that night when it was totally cool and stored it in Ziploc bags.  So far we’ve plowed through almost half of it, and I can see that I’ll definately have to make more of this. 

And then………. we are having our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow at GF Strong with Chris.  It should be interesting ’cause we are bringing the dinner in, and hopefully we have figured out a way to have it still be warm when we get there.

Making the dinner got me thinking about how I’m not preparing the whole meal and how that it will have foods that we are not supposed to eat because most of my family is not eating they same way that we are.  I initially thought that I would just let the kids cheat, and for some of it I will, but then I started thinking about and wondering if I could make a pie that tasted good, but was within our eating guidlines, and then I wouldn’t be so stressed about the kids having dessert or having no dessert.

So, I’ve made a pumpkin pie, and judging by the fact that Geli came back for 3 pieces (I made them just slivers.) I’m saying that it was a hit.

Xan and her Pie

My mom makes Tenderflake pie crusts and swears by them, and (when she makes them) makes the BEST pie crusts EVER!  They are SO light and flakey and crisp. 

I just followed the recipe on the box, but instead of regular wheat flour, I used Stoneground Spelt Flour, and it made an AMAZING pie crust.  My only complaint would be that I rolled it too thin, and you couldn’t hardly taste it with the pie filling, but the kids have picked off the crust from around the edges of the left over  1/3 of the pie that I said they couldn’t eat, so it must be a big hit (at least in their minds).

 I was a little more worried about the filler than the crust, although I’ll admit I was hoping it wouldn’t be a cardboard pie crust.

The recipe I used calls for

2 cans of Pumpkin puree (14 oz cans)
4 large Eggs
3/4 cup of Milk(I used Soy)
3/4 cup of Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp ground Cloves

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into unbaked 9 inch pie crust.  Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes or until center is almost set.  Turn off oven and let it sit ’till it cools a bit.

I would say that if you are sitting comparing a regular pumpin pie with my honey/soy pie, that you might be disappointed.  BUT WE LOVE IT.  It set just like a regular pie, and tastes SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!  The kids love it, and I love that I can let them have it and not feel bad.  I’m going to try to make another pie tonight, but am not sure if I’m going to try to make a no sugar peach or apple one.  I was thinking about using a can of peaches in unsweetened juice and cooking down the juice into a syrup to use instead of using sugar.  We’ll see.  At the very least, I might just make another pumpkin pie. 

 I’m just glad that I have a few more sweet treats to put in the kids lunches once in a while.

Well, I have to get off here and go and be thankful for my family.

 Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to y’all!

Has It Really Been 2 Months Already?

DimplesI think I’m kind of in shock over here.

It’s hard to believe that two months have flown by.  There have been so many amazing firsts…..although if you asked me to name any, I’d be hard pressed to pull them up – just like that.  I’m also kinda sad, ’cause I’d like to squish you down and keep you little.

Not that you are really very little at a whopping 14 pounds and 23 inches long.

I think what I mean is that I’d like to stop time.  2 months has whizzed by, and pretty soon you’re going to be graduating and moving out and getting married, and it will have only been yesterday that I gave birth.

So much has happened in these past two months, and a WHOLE lot has not happened. 

Apparently, I can’t do EVERYTHING!  Who knew?

I mean I thought I was freakin’ amazing and could do everything.  I thought that I’d just add this one little baby, and I’d still be able to do everything that I was doing before he was born.

Ha!

HA! HA!

I’m lucky if I get one thing done in a day, and even if I manage to get one thing done, and still have actual day light hours to do another thing on my list…….I haven’t the energy.  I know I’ve complained about being tired, but when I’m rocking the little bugger to sleep at 12:23am while Jon is in bed sleeping, and then up at 5:47am wandering the house trying to get my little darling to burp so he’ll just settle down, and Jon is still sleeping…oh no…..wait a sec…..the alarm just went off….must be 6am…..and now he’s just hit the snooze button…….are you kidding me?  Just get up and rock your son…..I’ve been up 3 times already and my hips are killing me ’cause I need to make a chiro appt…….and there goes the alarm again….and he’s snoozed it AGAIN…………and now 15 million snoozes later it’s 6:52am, and the older kids are stirring and I might as well just get up ’cause the baby still hasn’t………oh, there’s the burp…..and now he’s sleeping, and I’m too annoyed to sleep.  Maybe I’ll be able to get a nap this afternoon…..yah, that’s right.  I’ll try to have a nap……aaaawwwwhhhh, who am I kidding…I can hardly ever nap……….this is definately a 2 shot Americano morning. 

Oh, did I just muse all of that out loud?  Welcome to my world!  We could call the theme tired and frustrated….mostly ’cause I’m tired!  Add a 14 pound mamma’s boy to that mix, and it’s a good time, people!

I’m serious about the not accomplishing anything.  Today, for example, I had a list (I can make lists while I’m nursing, so I know exactly what and how much I AM NOT accomplishing. – Yah Me!  It’s a real boost to the ol’ ego to make a record of what you can’t get done and to watch it just get longer and longer.  So much fun!) and I needed to go shopping.  I hit Costco and Superstore, and made it home before I had to nurse.  I needed to go to about 5 other stores to pick up 1 item from each of them, and before Josiah, that wouldn’t have been a big deal, but taking the baby out of his car seat for 5 minutes and then putting him back in it is frustrating and takes twice as long, and seeing as he doesn’t really like his car seat in the first place…it’s just hell all around, and so I don’t go unless I have someone with me who can stay in the car with the baby…….yes, I AM A DIVA…I need an entourage and I’m okay with that. 

So, I get home, Jon helps to unload the van while I nurse Josiah, and then there is one last trip to make ’cause I forgot to take a deposit to the bank.  Stupid, sleep deprived me!

Now I’m tired and parked in front of my computer covered in barf…..cold wet barf….you should try it….smells lovely!  I should have started dinner, but I haven’t and now I have to scrap what I had planned ’cause there isn’t time, and I have to come up with a quicker meal ’cause I only have half an hour….maybe we’ll have chilli for the 3rd time in a week.  Won’t the kids love that?

I have so much more to say and no more time……maybe I’ll be back later tonight, but probably not…..maybe tomorrow…but don’t hold out too much hope for that either……..until whenever………….

ps.  I have a random set of pics up on Flickr, and I’ll be explaining some of them over the next couple of days posts.  You can get a sneek peek here.

I’m a Really Bad Aunt…………

So, my littlest niece was born 12 days ago in Lebanon, and when I asked if I could be a proud aunty and show you all her sweet picture David gave me the go ahead.

Then in all my “tiredness”  I forgot to actually put the picture up here.

Bad, bad me!  Thanks for the reminder Dave!  Not that you mentioned it in any way, but your commenting on my last post helped me to remember.  So, forgive me….

And, without further ado, here is little Leanna Theresa.

Leanna

She was born on Wednesday September 19th, 2007.

(one day late if she wanted to share a day with me, but that’s okay, ’cause now she has her own special day….but I have absolutely no excuse to EVER forget her birthdate.)

It was a fairly quick delivery, with Liliane being in labour, but not realizing it.  That is definately the way to go.  She was admitted, and they called Dave in around 2pm, and Leanna was born at 3:06pm.

She weighed 3.2kg (7 pounds)  and was approx. 51cm long(20). 

Just a tiny little thing, but look at those chubby cheeks.  Isn’t she darling?

I’m just sad that I don’t get to hold her, but I’ve heard that I might get to one of these days soon.  I do hope she comes over for a visit.  I can’t wait to meet her.

They are all doing well, if not a teeny tiny bit tired – but that’s to be expected with a newborn, eh?

Congratulations to David and Liliane!  I love you both and am so excited for you and with you on the birth of your darling little girl.

Welcome to the family, Leanna!  I have a special cuddle waiting for you for when I get to hold you for the first time!

Love to the boys as well!

An Explanation of Sorts……

I’m tired!

Really seriously freakin’ tired!

So tired that I’d like to remove my eyeballs from my head, and pop them in my mouth to clean them from the gritty sand that feels like it’s embedding its gritty self into them. Then I’d like to remove my head from my body, and place it on the pillow, and leave it there for about a week.  At least them I’d know that some part of me was actually resting and getting some sleep.

Josiah is a lovely, lovely baby.  He is so happy and sweet.  He smiles anytime he’s awake, and is cooing at us, and loves to be held(ALL THE TIME) and I just absolutely love him to bits.

Night times are a bit more of a struggle.  He’s not awake mind you!  He has been waking up every 2 hours in the night which is getting a bit old seeing as he was doing 4 and even 5 hours at times, so I know he can do it, and if I weren’t so tired, I might attempt to just get him back to sleep without nursing him, but there’s the vicious circle……I am too tired to do anything other than roll over and nurse him.

He’s been awake until 1am or so for the last week and a bit, and then where I’d be happy for him to sleep until 4 or 5, NOPE!  Two hours or sometimes even less…..not fun!

I think that my lack of posting is directly related to how tired I am.  When I’m tired – My brain doesn’t function, and NOTHING in this world is funny or cute….not even Jeremy looking at me and asking in all seriousness when we can spend some quality time together?  What six year old asks for quality time……..what six year old uses the word “quality”?  BUT….I’ve got one better.  He asked me the other day if it hurt Josiah when they cut the umbilical cord.  “UMBILICAL!!!!”  seriously people….where does he pick these things up….I don’t even remember using the word in front of him, although obviously I must have mentioned it at some point ’cause where else would he have picked it up, but come on….this is a child who can’t sit still for 2 seconds even if I promised him an entire Halloween’s worth of candy.  Not that I would ’cause then we’d be peeing on walls again…have I told you that story…it’s a doozy…..I’ll look back in the archives to see if I did or didn’t……any way…enough for now.   ’til next time………

You can’t always get what you want………..

This song keeps running  through my head after what went down this weekend.

Geli has been asking and asking and begging and pleading for a while now to be allowed to babysit her siblings, but there isn’t a chance in hell of Jeremy being allowed to stay home without adult supervision…….and……honestly up until Sunday afternoon, I’d not even entertained the thought of Geli and Xan being at home by themselves.

Jon and I decided in Sunday afternoon to pop out and get a coffee with the two boys, and left the girls under penalty of death to not answer the door or the phone unless it was Jon’s cell number on the call display screen.

We had a nice coffee and then stopped in at a store, and then headed home when I got a call from my sister asking where we were when would we be home from shopping…..?

Hmmmmm, how did she know….well the girls had told her…..apparently our “Don’t answer the phone EVER unless it’s Dad.“, translated into “Oh, but if you’re curious ’cause the person calls twice in a row, and it says unknown caller, and you’re really wanting to figure out who it is, and it must be important ’cause they called twice!” then you could answer that one……I guess we still have a few kinks to work out.

Any how, that’s not the point of the story.  We made it home and the girls had done fabulously, and only created a giant freaking teeny tiny bit of a mess with blankets and popcorn in the TV room.  We had a chat about how “DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE!”  meant “SERIOUSLY, DON’T ANSWER THE FREAKIN’PHONE ‘CAUSE THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT IT WILL BE YOUR AUNT!

Moving on, ’cause that still is not what I’m trying and failing to get at.  At the end of it all, it comes out that our children WANT to be latch key kids.  With the sheer number of latch key kids running around this world, our children are severly cheesed that they don’t get to have a key and come home alone to an empty house. 

It’s funny how you always want what you don’t have.  Our children have a home where both parents are home ALL THE TIME!  and all they can think about is how cool it would be if we were gone when they got home.

Of all the problems in life to have, this is one that I’m thrilled about.  Not that they don’t want us around, but that they have the good fortune of having us both around.  I’m not so thrilled that they don’t appreciate what they’ve got, but I am happy that they don’t have to deal with not having either of their parents around after school.  It must be so hard for both the parent and the child to not be able to be there for the after school time.  I can’t imagine and fortunately, right now I don’t have to.