"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hold Onto Your Hat

Hold onto your hat.  This is going to be a quick but long post.  Quick and long?  Yep, quick as in a quick look at a whole month and then some (since I've been slacking) and long because there's a lot to it.  So I hope you have some time.  I've been gone so long because I got a new computer at Christmas and it had nothing but problems.  I finally took it back and got a different one.  Had no choice really, since it completely quit working.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning, with a Christmas trip to Ft. Collins. 

 So what better place to start than with Alpha and Omega - my oldest and youngest kids.  It was so nice to have our 22 year old with us this year. :)

 The one year old warmed up to him nicely ... after some jelly beans and a little book time.

 I can't tell you how happy I am that all my kids are book lovers.

 My Mom had all her little grandchildren around.  In fact, of her 6 grandkids, only one was missing (my 20 year old daughter who spent the holidays in Washington D.C. with her friend's family).

 Look at all the men (big and little) in this picture! We certainly have an abundance of them.

 The one year old thought he ought to get in on the dishwasher action.  His little cousin loves to do the dishes too.

 Okay everybody, put down your electronic devices. LOL. At the time I took this picture, I was using my new computer, playing with my new phone, and taking a picture with my camera. Yikes. Technology.

 All my boys are in this picture, but it's a bit like "Where's Waldo." Can you spot all four of them.

 While we were in Fort Collins, my four year old slept with me.  He's afraid of everything ... literally.  So he didn't want to sleep alone down there.  When we got home, he thought he would just move himself into our room.  We've been trying (only partially successfully) to get him to sleep in his own bed ever since.  He has the top bunk in his room, so I thought it might help to put some pictures up there.  I had an old 2008 Caterpillar calendar (the machinery, not the bugs).  So I cut it up and posted the pictures for him.  This kid is obsessed with heavy machinery and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he eventually follows his grandpa's footsteps and becomes a mechanic.

 He loved the pictures, but like I said, he's not staying in his bed consistently yet.  He is doing better though ... especially since we started taking his ladder away after he climbs in ;)

 Remember how I said I was having problems with my computer all month?  Well, thankfully, my (very patient) brother-in-law is a tech guy - and actual "employed in the field" tech guy - not your standard - "hey my brother-in-law is a tech guy."  Anyway, he had to remote in to my computer several times, and when he does that, he will text me and have me check things once in awhile.  I was in the middle of doing laundry when he needed me to do something, so I walked away for a minute, then after that was done, I went back to doing laundry.  It turns out I have an opportunist on my hands.  The one year old loves the dryer.  Don't ask me why.  It's like he thinks it's his.  If I'm loading or unloading it, he has to be right there "helping."  I guess he thought it would be fun to get a closer look, so he climbed in.

He likes the washer too.  It has a glass top, which makes the whole laundry chore a lot more interesting.  I think at this moment, we were washing stuffed animals. Or maybe I should say our fluffy friends were having a bath...

 So what else have I been doing all month?  A whole lot of baby snuggling.  The one on the right is a new daycare kid.  My one year old has been a tiny bit jealous.  I call it my arm toning workout.

 And you didn't really expect the four year old to miss out on the action, did you?  Yeah. Neither did he.

The boys and I also took the time to sort all of our toys.  We literally dumped every single box out on the floor, then put it into the correct containers.  It took us a few hours.

I've really been on a decluttering binge lately.  Or maybe I should say purge.  I've made three trips to the thrift store each time with a car completely loaded with trash (er, treasure, right?)  So far I've gone through kitchen cabinets (still have a couple of those to do), toys, the top of my walk in closet, all the kids clothes in storage (I got more than a carload of treasure from there to donate), all of my clothes (and many of my husbands, shh), and the kids' room.  A pretty good start, but there's so much more to do.

 Goofball.  Wearing his dad's snowboots.

 Like I said, Goofball.

 As for the diet, I've been kinda stuck.  I haven't lost much and I have gained a bit but I'm pretty much just at the same place I was at Christmas.  I can't complain.  Dinners like this are nothing to complain about.  I just wish I could get off this plateau.  I think I've done it to myself.  I am trying to drink less diet coke, so I switched to iced tea sweetened with Splenda.  It says "less than 1 carb" per packet.  I guess though when I make a pitcher and use a cup of the stuff to sweeten it, then drink that whole pitcher in a day, I'm probably getting a lot more carbs than I realize.  And then there was the week that I snacked on nuts, thinking they were just proteins.  Turns out they have a lot of carbs in them too.  Even the ones in the shell with no processing.  Bummer.

 Goofball, yet again.  He was reading a library look, sitting in his baby brother's carseat.  HA. He keeps us constantly entertained.

 Re-read that last sentence again lol.  Dad got new skis and the four year old had to try them out, so he got his snowboots on and tried to hook into the bindings. He hasn't been skiing for real.  This is the kid that's afraid of everything.  I don't think he's ready for that much excitement yet. I haven't even made the time to take him sledding yet this year.  Maybe Saturday....

 See the way his feet go?  That's a family trait straight from his Dad :) I can always see where my husband has been. He leaves tracks exactly like this. : )

 I'd say he's got the form just right. What do you think?

 Here's the goofball doing his best impression of a hot dog.  See now why we say he's a goofball?  Actually this long narrow box was quite a few different things  - a hot dog bun, a canoe, a car and a coffin.  Not that the kids knew it was a coffin.  One of the daycare kids brought him a stuffed animal, and he held in next to himself and crossed his arms across his belly.

 Why says you need an expensive toy parachute?  I found this camo sheet at the thrift store.  It's been a cover for the cove (the structure behind the kids with the red canopy), it's been a tent draped over the table, it's been a sheet to nap with, a robe and now a parachute.  Pretty fun for under a buck.
 By the way, you may think daycare is a simple, safe job.  Not so.  See the bite mark on my arm?  In fairness I have to report that this was done by my own one year old.  He's never done that before and it really shocked me.  Stinker :)

 Now for my latest adventure in cooking.  I am so sick and tired of paying a lot of money for a skillet, and then having it warp the first time you use it, or having the teflon peel up the first time someone else uses it.  So I cured the problem.  I spent under $20 at Walmart and bought myself a cast iron skillet.  I love it.  It's the only pan I think I'll use for the rest of my life. As in this very pan.  It will last me forever, I think.  So far, so good .. as long as you don't mind a little smoke.  Okay, so a lot of smoke.  It's getting better the more I use it.  I think the smoke is mostly from it being new.  It doesn't seem to do it as much any more.  Also, I'm impressed with the fact that things don't stick to it.  It requires a much lower heat setting though, so that's taking some getting used to. And it cleans up like a dream.  Why didn't someone tell me about these pans years ago?  :)

Aah, the backwards horseman.  This kid is wild!  He already mastered bouncing and rocking as high as possible sitting the right way.  Now he does it backwards, and is crazy. :)

He's always making me smile!

I've also been spending a lot of time reading.  A LOT of time reading.  I challenged myself this year to finish a book a week, and to alternate between fiction and non-fiction.  Normally I only read non-fiction, other than quilting mysteries (sounds riveting, huh?)  I'm also keeping track of my inches.  I measure how thick the book is so I will know at the end of the year, if I had every one of those books in a stack, how tall they would reach.  So far, I'm over a foot.  I'm working on my 12th book, have succeeded in reading non-fiction, fiction, non-fiction, fiction, and am far ahead of my goal. This is the 6th week of the year, and I'm on my 12th book.  So that works out to two books a week on average.  Not too bad :)  As for the inches, I'm tracking that and putting a post-it note on the side of the bookshelf on my desk so I can see my progress for each month.  I'm anxious to see how high the stack will be at the end of the year.  I'm recording all my books in a Reading Journal, and I'm keeping a daily diary too.  So a lot going on...

Okay, so now we're up to speed.  I'll try to keep this updated more often.  It should be easier now that I have a working computer (and two new books to help me decipher all the intricacies of Windows 8 ... which by the way, I don't hate like so many people do.  It takes some adjusting, but I actually like it.)

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