Monday, February 23, 2015

Tropical Breezes

Perhaps some of you have been wondering where I have been....

I was in Aruba!!

Marcus once again qualified for his company's annual sales incentive trip.  His group (existing customers-North America) brought in over half of the company's revenue.  Not bad!  The incentive trip was in Aruba this year, so we booked some great babysitters (my parents), packed our sunscreen, and were on our way!

The Ritz-Carlton Resort in Aruba was very nice.  :o)  Marcus, Celeste, and I had a relaxing 4 days there, soaking up the sun and eating too much food.  A highlight was going to Mass in the native Papiamento language.  I'll blog about it soon.
naked baby in the Caribbean Sea

We were all set to leave Aruba and head home on Sunday afternoon...and we did just that.  But we got stuck in Miami when our Dallas connection was cancelled because of a huge ice storm.  So tonight I type this from a Miami Marriott.  We leave tomorrow morning on a rescheduled flight first to Phoenix then back to home.  We'll arrive home a day and a half later than scheduled :o( and I am very bummed to miss so much time with my parents.  But we wanted to make the most of our day in Miami, so after moping for a few hours we went to a beautiful museum/garden and had a great afternoon.
at Viscaya Museum and Gardens
I had a fantastic time this past week with my husband and littlest one, but it is most certainly time to go home.  Just 24 hours to go....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Morning in the Life of a Busy Mom….

I had been thinking for a while to do a photo-journal of a "typical" day in my life.  This is as good a time as any to start.

Here's a blog post to help explain why I have no time to do blog posts!!!!!

3am-ish--My dear daughter wakes me up from my peaceful (intermittent) slumber to announce that she is gassy.  She grunts and squeaks beside me for a full hour before I give up and go downstairs with her. 

"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying.  It's the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep."  --Dale Carnegie

I start thinking.  "I should order a bib for my cousin in Michigan who is having a baby.  I better do that right away since I just put in an order with RainyDay Bibs (shout-out) yesterday for Celeste for our trip to Aruba next week.  Hopefully I can still tag on this extra bib and save on shipping.  Is she having a boy or a girl?  I should check my email from Aunt Jenny.  First I'll grab the camera and start documenting.  Darn, low battery, need to change it.  Glad the hotel in Seattle sent back my charger and 2nd battery that I left in the hotel room.  Ok, got the new battery in, on to the computer.  Oh, look, my homeschool group email came through!  Sterling needs some advice.  I better write to her.  Wait, not now, I need to order that bib.  Where is Aunt Jenny's email?  I hope it says the gender in her email because there is no way I can find the invitation she sent, in my pile of desk clutter.  Here's the email.  Darn, no gender.  Need to look through my desk.  Here's a magazine renewal I need to do.  Celeste's hearing test results need to go in her file.  A pretty thank-you from my sister Mary, she's so crafty.  Good!  Here is the invite!!  Darn, no gender.  Better convo Lorraine (bib maker) and ask her to hold off of a few hours while I email my mom.  Ok, done.  Is that Celeste fussing in the background?  Hopefully she isn't happy anymore (why is she always so darn happy????) and is ready to go to sleep."
dead camera battery in the charger
At the computer--table cluttered with remote-
control helicopters. The old yellow cellphone
case holds someone's pocket knives.  I need to
type up a poem from the poetry book for school.

Out loud:  "Hi Bunny, what's up?  Thank you! but I think I'm doing OK.  You're so sweet.  Goodnight, see you in the morning."

Internal monologue:  "Man, I'm tired already and the day hasn't even started yet….."

just before 5am--I finally lay down with my now-tired little girl.  She nurses and drifts off to sleep, and I start to sleep too.  Before I do, though, I hear the ominous sound of Chuck the Rooster announcing the day.

7:30am--"Mom!  Look what I drawed!!"  Sedric barges in and wakes me up to show me his doodle pad.  I promptly shush him and lead him downstairs to where James and Gemma are watching Curious George.  "If Sedric isn't in this room, then the TV goes off!!" I hiss.  Seriously, that's the only reason the older ones even get a CHANCE to watch TV in the morning!  I grump upstairs and lay back down in bed, but not before locking my door.

time to get up!!!
8:30am--I think it's time I get out of bed.  And I think this is going to be an odd day to do a "Day in the Life" scrutiny.  Normally I'm up at 7/7:30am but today I needed this extra hour to make up for the 2 hours I lost earlier.  My initial check of the house reveals Gemma practicing the piano and Bunny in the bathroom.  Downstairs I see Mariposa and James in the school room, making Valentines cards (they are so sweet that I will overlook the fact that they are not doing their independent school work).  Where is Sedric?  Oh, here he is, in the TV room watching Thomas.  Standing up.  That can only mean one thing.  I'll deal with that later.

I check my Email and see that mom has Emailed me back.  My cousin is having a boy.  That's a lot of grandsons for Aunt Jenny!  When will she get a granddaughter??  I choose a very cute yellow and blue bib for Sarah and add it to my order.  She should like it since she'll think it's U of M's colors.  I chose it because really it's Notre Dame's colors.  Mwaaa haaa haaa.

Back upstairs Gemma and I get Celeste dressed for the day.  I put on my clothes too: jeans and a new black and white long sleeve tee, and my purple house-Nikes.  I like the new shirt but I don't like WHY I need a new shirt.  Why can't this baby weight just melt off??  I have an Amazon-woman's chest and a middle-aged man's midsection.  Not a good combo.  I won't even mention my booty.  Oh well.

Back downstairs, for the day. Mariposa volunteers to take Celeste for me while I start a late breakfast.  I go to change Sedric first--yup, poopie diaper--grateful that it hasn't "escaped" onto his pajamas like it often does.  Afterwards I cuddle him and tell him he's a good boy.  Hopefully the Power of Suggestion will work its magic.  Then outside to the garage to get the eggs that Bunny brought in last night.  I see that it's a nicer day than yesterday--warmer and a nice wet breeze.  Not the big rain-and-wind storm of yesterday.

As I type this, I hear Daisy whining.  "Bunny, go see what her problem is!"  We find that Daisy is whining to get in the laundry room…where Sedric is dumping Daisy's food into her bowl.  Something he is NOT allowed to do.  No wonder Daisy wanted in that room.

9:30am--I finally get to making breakfast.  Today is egg sammy day, which is easy and yummy and great for a low-school day.  I whip the eggs…cut the cheese…heat up the ham…toast the English muffins…put on the mayo…pour the OJ…etc.  Hopefully the kids are not destroying the house while I do all this.  There are plenty of distractions but it goes more-or-less smoothly.  Just as I serve the kids, my littlest wants to be served too, so my egg sammy sits cold while I nurse her while checking Email.  That's OK; I don't know when the last time was that I had a hot meal anyway.  ;o)

decorations from James' birthday…ahem, a few weeks ago….

10:30am--Time to clean the kitchen and dining room, do the dishes, and get the school room in order.  This certainly is LATE to start school, but with no Mrs. N today, we don't have a time schedule.  Sedric decides to play with his trains, Yay!  Some peace!  James and Mariposa start their independent work and Bunny stops hers to begin her laundry.  She does two loads, lights and darks, every Tuesday.  It is such a blessing to me that I have a little less laundry to do on Saturdays.  

Later I hear James practicing his guitar upstairs.  Still Christmas songs?  Oh well.  He'll be ready for next year.  Bunny gets distracted from doing her laundry and I have to remind her to get a move on.  Gemma has to go "number two!!"  We have this game when she'd done, where she turns into a statue and I am so sad that my dear daughter is turned to stone.  :o)  It never gets old.  I continue cleaning and putzing around the kitchen.  I instruct Gemma to put her clean clothes away.  Next I think I'll work on blogging.  Celeste is a good girl, taking her morning nap in her Sassy Three-Thousand bouncy seat.  I can hear the 3 oldest kids working on their school and singing Taylor Swift songs.  They aren't very efficient when they work in the same room, but they sure do have great bonding time.

11:30am--I take a call (grammae) and make a call (St. Matthew).  This takes a little bit of time.  Grammae has an update on an uncle who is in the hospital, and when I'm done on the phone I have to explain to the kids what a blood clot is.  Homeschool, right???  Then I need to make a painful call to the SacPrep coordinator at St. Matthew.  Seems one of Mariposa SacPrep meetings got moved…to a week that we will be on vacation.  And we even scheduled the vacation to be SURE that we could make the meeting the week before!!  Argh!!  Seems the Devil is really against us this year, for Sac Prep.  As mom, I haven't even made one meeting.  Luckily Mrs. T said we could come in for a one-on-one meeting to make up for the group meeting we will be missing.  Whew.  Now I just have to coordinate child care for the other 5 kids for this special meeting….  Never ending.

Sedric pushed up a stool to get to his backpack, which has
his "special" Thomas trains that we save for restaurants.
Bunny's math
Noon--it's time I start thinking about lunch.  With such a late breakfast, I can get away with simple PBJ and some fruit.  Still, it won't be a smooth ride, with all the distractions I face.  I'm looking forward to nap time even though it will be abbreviated today because of ballet classes.

As I wrap up this post in early afternoon, the kids are quiet.  They are watching a Lego program on TV.  Of course they are not suppose to be watching TV!!  But the quiet is nice, and it is fantastic to be clicking away at the keyboard for a few moments.  Next I'll gather them up for Family Meeting and Chores, then shoo them to nap.  Maybe a few school lessons from 2-3pm then at 3pm I need to switch to ballet prep.  Thank goodness Shane will be helping me shuttle the kids to lessons.  Did I mention I am without a husband for a week?  It takes a village…at least when hubs is gone and I'm on my own.

So there you have it.  This is what a normal (non-Mrs.N) morning looks like.  On Mon/Wed/Fri it is different since I dedicate myself to teaching all morning.  But I still have distractions and feel I'm pulled in a million different directions.  Ah, it's the life I chose and the life I love.  :o)

Mariposa's 8th Birthday

Happy Birthday, Mariposa!

My little Butterfly turned 8 at the end of December.  Yes, that is how behind I still am with my blogging.

On her actual birthday she asked for Chicken Enchiladas for dinner and Oreo Ice Cream Pie for dessert.  She opened gifts from us and from any relatives who sent her something.

After Christmas, we add PINK holiday decorations to signal
a slight change in seasons.
"Something She Needs" (math game)
"Something We Think She Would Like"
(she got dance clothes for "Something She Wants")
The next day after Mass we had everyone over for brunch:

We feed the kids first then send them away, so
that we can have a nice adult meal.
Kids still occupied--adults still enjoying their time.  :o)

Present time!  Chaos!!

Finally time for the warm cinnamon rolls to come out.
Papa taking a little snoozer
(he wasn't the only one)

Party Food

Mariposa is such a sweetheart, she wanted to help me make all her birthday food:

CrockPot Chicken Enchiladas, her favorite
(this was for her actual birthday, on a Saturday)
Kneading the dough for her cinnamon rolls
for her party the next day (Sunday brunch)

All ready to put in the fridge for the next
day!!!  (we made a 2nd pan, plus some end
pieces for snacking)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Seattle trip

Okay, okay, sorry!!!!  I've been so busy that I just can't justify on-line time right now.  :o(  But I'll try to fit in some posts as I can.

In the meantime, here are Bunny's first two posts about our Seattle trip a few weekends ago:

Seattle Part I

Seattle Part II

Be checking her blog for Part III!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

music at Avamere

Our wonderful music teacher, Joan E., arranged for her students to play for the Alzheimer's residents at Avamere:

It was a great experience.  Personally I've always liked "retirement" or elder-care homes, especially after a "Theology and Community Service" class in college.  I was the only one who ~preferred~ to work with the elderly, over opportunities to work with kids!  Luckily my children, I think, have inherited my love for the elderly as well.  They were "warned" that in this ward, the residents might yell out or make incoherent comments, and so when some did, the kids were prepared.  They were fantastic and very patient with their audience.

It was special for me to share Celeste with these residents as well, since I imagine most of them have not seen or held a baby in a very long time.  :o)  

Afterwards, the kids were treated to a special lunch at Sweet Tomatoes:

some of my talented, generous kids