Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Children’s Museum

Yesterday my friend April, with her three boys, and I, with my three kidlets, headed out to the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett.  It was pretty crowded and crazy and both adults felt exhausted at the end, but the kids had a blast and that’s what it was all for :)

Elsa had so much fun. It was her first time being old enough to do anything and she kept me running all day.

They had a cool room with black lights and glowing things. This was by far Elly’s favorite room. If she escaped from my view, this was where I’d always find her!


Elsa, Grady and Gibson in the water room. Always a huge hit and even I have to admit its pretty darn cool.


April (Garrison on the back) and Grady working the water wheel


Ethan and Elsa… She tried to climb in a few times!

Little (or not so little any more!) Garrison.

There is a small padded play area for kids 5 and under. Elsa was by far the youngest in there but she held her ground very well. When this little girl gave her a push, Elly yelled, “Hey!” and the little girl said sorry. Being the youngest, Elsa is no stranger to being pushed around or standing up for herself!

Ethan’s meal for me, from the kitchen area.

Gwen was too shy to come out to the stage in the theatre area, so Elly just came out and stood there in front of everyone. Then she tried to copy a big kid and walk off the edge. That ended with a face plant, but she wasn’t hurt :)

Grady, Gibson and Elsa watching the coins go down

Gwen was running around everywhere but I managed to catch a picture of her!

On the bus

Being goofy on the train

How can you not love this little face? Gwen is going to marry him one day, or so she says :)


April may not appreciate me posting a picture of her boys fighting over a block, but I did because I saw Ethan all finger-wagging about how they should share! The irony here is that not 5 minutes later I had to pull Ethan away from the blocks because he got mad at Elly for knocking his stuff down and pushed her over. Practice what you preach Ethan! :)

Gwen was proud of how tall she built this tower. Elly-zilla took care of it pretty fast after this picture was snapped.

Once we got home, all the kids took outrageously long naps which was nice and allowed me to catch up on a bunch of stuff.

Today I’m taking the kids over to my parents house to spend the night! J and I will be going out to dinner and then tomorrow wrapping up all the presents that have been stashed in the hiding place and getting things ready for Christmas. Good times.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Today I have been highly effective. Yep, I can say that at 1:37pm with half the day still to come. That’s because even if I do nothing, not a stitch more, it’ll still have been a good day as far as housework goes.

Housework is the bane of my existence. I really don’t like it at all, and get little satisfaction from a clean house vs. a dirty one. My Mother is probably gasping at such a statement because I know she gets very much satisfaction from a clean house and tried to raise us that way. Sorry Mom!

A few weeks ago I decided that instead of ignoring things until they really just couldn’t be ignored any more I would start doing them consistently. I’m starting the third week of this novel concept and I have to say that cleaning a bathroom that is only 1 week dirty vs. one that is 3 weeks or more dirty is a big difference! Putting away 1-2 loads of laundry vs. every single item that we’ve worn in the past 3 months is much easier. Now I’m sure I’ve jinxed myself by saying how good I’ve been with keeping up. But yeah I need to brag a little because I’ve been working hard at this and its paying off. Oh, I still don’t get much satisfaction from it nor do I like doing the chores any more than before, but everything goes quicker and I know it makes Jason happier to come home to a picked up and fairly tidy house.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Tis the season

Jason commented to me today on how long it had been since I last blogged. I was doing good there with the short ones every day or so, but life got in the way once again :) We've been in a flurry of activity and I've been trying to stay off the computer and get more done around the house.

Gwen had her school performance on Thursday and it was darling, as these things always are. I put the photos up on Facebook and you can view them here. As soon as J compresses the video I'll have that as well.

A few nights ago I made some chocolate mousse (SO delicious and easy) and unwisely left Elsa alone with it for a few minutes. Major mess ensued... My girl does love chocolate!

Gwen and I attended the Olympic Ballet's Nutcracker up in Arlington last Sunday. We had a good time and the performance was very family friendly (tons of kids, shortened from the original) but Gwen still started to fall asleep at the end. It was fun to go, just her and I. When we came out at intermission, the snow was coming down so thick I was a little worried about getting home. By the time we left, the snow had stopped but the parking lot was a sheet of ice. I steeled my nerves and slid all the way down the exit and breathed when I reached Hwy 9 and clear roads. Unfortunately, it was all gone once we reached Lake Stevens and we haven't seen a flake yet. Shoot, this time last year we were positively buried in snow, remember that? Half as much of that would be nice, just to set the mood :)

After a convicting MOPS meeting where we were challenged to be like Gumby and be flexible with our children, the kids and I made some gingerbread people and decorated them. I kind of have a hangup with baking. While not a perfectionist in any other realm, I like to do baking my way and have the results come out as good as possible. Of course when you make things with children, there are complications with that. However, I was like Gumby and let the children take the lead and make a memory :) Pictures are here.

I'm pushing hard to feel some Christmas spirit but have yet to find any. I keep getting bogged down with the consumerist side. One year I want to try something dramatically different like no presents, or only one or something like that. A video I saw a few weeks back is part of that conviction...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving catch up

We have been non-stop busy since the last time I blogged. Almost every day was filled to the brim. Now that we’ve gotten over Thanksgiving (and all of us getting sick), life returns to normal.

The week of Thanksgiving was particularly busy. Tuesday, my Mom and I drove to Wenatchee to meet Aunt Daralyn and pick up our meat. She had raised two cows for meat, and then sold the quarters to family (and a friend of mine!). Our trip over was easy, and we had a two hour lunch with Aunt Daralyn and got in a good visit. Trip home was also easy and now our freezer is stocked with home-grown, organic, grass-fed beef. Its a beautiful thing. We ended up with about 100 lbs. Top shelf is steaks and roasts, second shelf is ground beef.


We had a small Thanksgiving here at our house. Just us, Mom, Dad, Jenni & Aunt Margaret.  The group, minus Elly and I who were behind the camera


Ethan also played Jingle Bells for us. I have this piano curriculum but am ashamed to say that I haven’t really worked with the kids at all. Ethan has taken the initiative though and pretty much taught himself a few songs.

Unfortunately, after Thanksgiving we all came down with a cold with varying degrees of severity. Saturday we had our big family Thanksgiving get-together and quite a few of us were sick. It was still good to see everyone and reminiscent of the enormous gatherings we used to have every year but have had to stop because of how large our family has gotten.

I spent all Sunday morning in bed. I felt so exhausted and worn out. Around noon I arose and was able to resume life again. I still have a bit of congestion but am otherwise ok. Everyone else has recovered mostly.

Today is grocery day so we’ll be leaving shortly to hit up Fred Meyers (they have free childcare so I can shop for an hour with only 1 instead of 3!) and get the kitchen re-stocked. I’m hoping to have enough energy left to get the house cleaned back up and then plan out our week. We took off all last week from lessons and both E and I are anxious to get back into the swing of things.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The best laid plans...

So my parents took the kids on Friday and Jason and I were supposed to go out for dinner. He did have to work late, but we figured we could go afterward. Unfortunately, it became clear pretty fast that he was not going to be able to meet for dinner :( I stopped at the grocery store and got myself a little steak and made some Gorgonzola butter to go on top, had a tomato salad, and a sippy cup of wine and ate by myself in front of the TV. Although I would have preferred to dine with my husband, it wasn't bad actually. Poor Jason ended up working till 10, then after arriving home worked until midnight.

I'd hoped we could go Christmas shopping on Saturday, but alas, work was still being problematic so he was up at 5:45am and worked all day, only breaking to eat lunch with me at Alligator Soul and make a quick stop at Fred Meyer. I did do some shopping on my own and got our supplies for our Operation Christmas Child boxes and a few stocking stuffers for the kids.

Even with our plans being mangled, we still enjoyed our time and are so very thankful to my parents and little sister who do this for us pretty regularly. We love you guys!

Today we had a playdate with a friend I met through MOPS and then came home and packed our OCC boxes. The kids and I had a great time talking about how the little boy or girl who gets their box will use what is inside. They still have a hard time imagining that there are kids out there who don't have access to many things they take for granted. I'm glad that they're now at an age where they can start to realize and appreciate how fortunate we are and start developing the desire to help those who are not so fortunate. We donated our funds for the boxes online and received a bar code for each box so we will know where our box ends up. I can't wait to find that out! Not only is it just interesting, but I'm going to use it as a good excuse to teach the kids about that country.

The weather is ominous and cold. We're supposed to have some pretty major winds tonight and tomorrow. The weather calls for a soup for dinner. Tonight I think we'll have one of our favorite soups. Carrot! Trust me, its MUCH better than you might imagine.

Pureed Carrot Soup with Nutmeg

Either chicken or vegetable broth can be used in this recipe.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter , or the same amount of vegetable or olive oil

1 medium onion , 3 medium shallots, or 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), chopped

2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine

1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin (about 4 cups)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon table salt

ground white pepper

pinch ground nutmeg

1 - 1 1/4 cups whole milk (I use soy or coconut because of Ethan's diet)

2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon , mint, chives, or parsley


1. Heat butter or oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and carrots; stir constantly and cook until sherry evaporates, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, salt, pepper to taste, and nutmeg to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Ladle carrot mixture into blender. Add 1 cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in additional milk to thin consistency. Adjust seasonings. (Soup can be refrigerated for 3 days and reheated just before serving.)

4. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced herb and serve immediately.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sleeping in?

Today the kids and I are heading to Sky Valley Academy for an open gym time. Our MOPS group is going, so it will be fun to visit and let the kids run off some steam too.

After that, I'll be taking the kids over to Mom & Dad's house for the night. Woo hoo! They are so awesome to take all three kids now and then. Jason is working late tonight, but we plan on meeting up at some point for dinner.

After the kids are dropped off, my plan is to go hit up Jo-Ann's for some yarn and then to the library for a book we need for next weeks lesson on the human body. I've decided to shelve sewing for the time being. I don't have time to make the sewing classes that I was attending previously, and right now J's office is a sty and there is no room for me to sew anyway. Our napping schedule has changed and with working out every day, homeschooling and trying to keep the house livable, there is just very little time for me to get into anything. Jason suggests that I do a little here or there, but for me that is just so aggravating. I hate sewing for 10 minutes and having to stop for the day. Drives me positively bonkers. I'd rather just not start it at all. So I'm going to take up knitting again. Just a scarf or something. Easily stopped and started. Can be done in the living area so little ones aren't pulling pins onto the floor or in danger of an iron falling on their head. We'll see how it goes. I just need to do something. I don't think of myself as a creative person and yet there is this need to do creative things with my hands and brain. When I ignore it, it really does make me cranky.

Lessons have been going great. We just finished up our turtle unit and are now onto "Us", meaning the human body and 5 senses. Each unit is 5 days. Usually we do it in 3 or 4 as I can double up some days without any trouble. Today Ethan started getting into the reading sections and was able to read his 4 words without any help at all from me. I was surprised because we haven't done any reading practice since stopping 100 Easy Lessons months ago but he read it without even needing to sound it out. That's my boy! His handwriting is improving as well. He is easily frustrated and if he can't do it right the first time he wants to give up. Our statement for the turtle unit was, "I don't quit; I will persevere". This is a good lesson for him and he really worked at putting into practice this week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Busy Day

We just returned home from a lunch/playdate at my MOPS leaders house. There were 22 people there in all (that's adults and children). She's a brave soul! We had a good time, but wow, I feel so tired.

Unfortunately, my day is not over. In about an hour or so, Mom will be here to pick up Elly and take her along shopping while I take Ethan and Gwennie and myself to the dentist for a cleaning. I'm worried that I'll be having work while they have theirs done. I hope no one has a freak out! Luckily this new dentist is just fantastic with kids and (hopefully) will be able to handle the kids if they get scared.

Since about April I've been doing these online surveys for money. When I say money, don't think that I mean big money. Oh no. I've only made about $80 since April. But it is a very easy way to make a few dollars and if Jason was in a different industry I'd qualify for more surveys and make more. If anyone would like to try it out, its called Opinion Outpost and if you sign up via this link, I get bonus points, which would be totally cool for me :) The surveys come slow at first, but the more you fill out the more will come. Right now I get at least 1 a day and often I get 3 or 4!

Children are cranky and I must go so my 5 minute blog is more like 3 today :)

Monday, November 09, 2009


So since May have I been working out 6 days a week. There have been a few times I've fallen off that pattern, like in August when we went on back to back camping trips, but pretty much its been 6x a week, every single week. I started out by doing workout DVD's (check out 30 Day Shred or anything by Jillian Michaels for a great workout!) but since getting my treadmill back from Mom, I've been using that. I'm able to walk/jog for about an hour before I get too bored. I could do more, but its hard to fit it time-wise and interest-wise. As it is, I must focus fully on the television to get through an hour. If I have to think about what I'm doing I just want to quit! I'm proud of myself. I've never worked out this hard in my entire life, in fact I've never really worked out in a consistent way ever. If only I'd started this when I was younger I might not have so much to lose now! My goal is to lose about 10 more pounds and then I will be at my goal weight. My "deadline" for meeting that goal is in 6 weeks. I lose very slowly, so I'm not sure I can make that time, but even if I can lose 5 by then I will be happy.

Today I woke up with a bad headache and weird crick in my back. Ouch. Days that start like this don't usually go well. Luckily, a sweet friend of mine read of my complaint on Facebook and invited us over to her house. We went and had a great time visiting and the kids had fun running around with her 4 kids and examining her farm. Her and her husband run a dairy farm and live right there next to the cows. The kids find that utterly (or should I say udderly) fascinating!

Tonight for dinner I'm making one of our favorite dishes. Risotto! (see previous post where I raved about this fantastic dish). We're going to do a variation: Butternut Squash Risotto. Because Jason doesn't like "chunkies" in his risotto, I'll mash it up so its more like a puree. That will also provide the creaminess that we won't have since we can't have cheese due to Ethan's food restrictions.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Haircuts and bunk beds

That sums up our day!

Ethan, Gwen and Jason all got their hair cut today. No biggie for the boys, but for Gwen it was! She had been saying she wanted shorter hair (like Dora The Explorer). This was too short for us, so we compromised at just below the shoulders. She also wanted bangs, which she’s never had. So in we went and the stylist cut 6 inches off and gave her bangs and wow, my little girl looks older.

This picture is her being silly… I tried to get her to take a nice picture, but she was too wound up over her new hair :)

We also decided to move Gwen in with Ethan. They’d been sleeping in the same bed for a few weeks now. Both had been having problems with night fears and were ending up sleeping in the same room every night. So we figured, why not? If they want to share for awhile, its all good with us. So we spent all morning stacking their beds and getting it set up. They are SO excited. They didn’t sleep at all during their rest time and are currently racing around me saying they can’t wait till bedtime so they can sleep in their “new” beds.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

I forgot to add this into my previous post...

Today at MOPS we watched a video about Operation Christmas Child. OCC is a program where you fill a shoebox with things (all kind of things like candy, school supplies, hygiene, clothing, books, toys etc) and send it to a processing facility. Then they send those out to children in need all over the world. You can include a letter, picture or information about your family and many times the child will write back to you. Last year I wanted the kids to do this but we never got around to it. This year we ARE doing it... at least 3 boxes, maybe more.

This video is about 6 minutes long and it is so touching. There was not a single dry eye at our meeting. Please take the time to watch it!

The Lejla Allison Story from SP Video on Vimeo.

5 Minutes A Day

My lack of blogging has been weighing on me. I want to do it more, but it creates in me a sort of dread when I think about all I have to update on and pictures... oy, when you have a lot of pictures there just isn't a quick and easy way to get them up here.

So I decided that I will aim for 5 minutes a day. Certainly I commit more than that to Facebook... I'll just steal a couple of its minutes and put them here. When I have pictures, I do generally put them on my Facebook account. You can view my albums here. I'll post a link when I do upload something new there.

Today's news:

The kids and I went to our MOPS group today. One of the interesting things we did was a "stand up if..." type of thing and I learned that there are 2 more people homeschooling that I didn't know about! There were two that I did know about, and one of them is at my table, but I was thrilled to see more. We even got a little ovation when we stood up. Cool :)

For the first time ever, Elly cried when I left her in the nursery. She's realizing that I come and go now, and she notices when I'm not there.

For dinner tonight we're having my Mom's Chicken & Dumplings (with Kristi's changes).


* 5 T. Butter
* 1 cup finely chopped onions
* 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
* 1 t. dried thyme
* 3 T. Flour
* 1 c. chicken broth
* 1 c. milk
* 1/2 t. salt
* 2 c. diced, cooked chicken(OR 12 oz. can chunk chicken)

For dumplings:

* 1 c. flour
* 1 1/2 t. baking powder
* 1/4 t. salt
* 2 T. melted butter
* 1/2 c. milk



Melt butter in 5 qt pot. Add onions, garlic, and thyme and saute over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and milk, whisking to combine. Cook until smooth, stirring constantly until thickened and sauce comes to boil. Stir in cooked chicken. If sauce is too thick, add milk or broth until consistency of thick cream. Remove pot from heat.


Mix together dry ingredients in medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry mixture. Stir until just combined.

Bring sauce back to boil over high heat. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons of dumpling mixture into sauce. Cover tightly, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove lid and cut open one dumpling. It should be fluffy and cooked through. If not done, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update on the kids

Its been too long since I’ve devoted some serious time to each of the kids on this blog.

Ethan (5.5 years) is doing wonderful with homeschooling. He gets a lot of pleasure out of doing his schoolwork and because the lessons are short and to the point, he doesn’t have any problem keeping focused and on task. Usually lessons take anywhere from 30-60 minutes and the time just flies. He’s still very much into Star Wars and Lego and my days are peppered with questions like, “Who is stronger, Yoda or Boba Fett?”. At any given moment you will see him bouncing around the house with a light saber or toy gun playing Star Wars. He’s even gotten his little sisters into it! He recently started calling us Mom and Dad, which gave a little pang in our hearts. We weren’t ready to give up Mommy and Daddy! He loves to cuddle, and he’s often very intuitive and will know when you need a hug or encouraging word. He still loves to organize and be in charge, which are traits we noticed in him since toddlerhood. He is often slow to warm up to people. Suffering from shyness (just like me!) often makes it difficult to make friends and play easily with others. We’re working on that. Physically he’s getting so tall its unbelievable! I’ve always joked that by 10 he’d be taller than me. Recently I’ve been wondering if perhaps it’ll be even earlier than that! I’ve been so proud of how he’s adapted to his diet of no dairy or eggs. I expected a lot of complaining and trouble because he had to give up basically all his favorite foods. Instead, he’s been very conscientious and checks that all his food is safe, and even last night told me that he liked being on his diet because it made him feel better. Although he’s growing up so fast, he still is happy to curl up on your lap and snuggle. I cherish this, as I can see he simply won’t fit on my lap much longer.

I remember reading that one of the definitions of the name Gwendolyn is “bright”. This sums up our Gwennie (4.5 years). She is enjoying her pre-k class and easily picks up the material they cover. She is into all the usual girl stuff… princesses, horses, flowers, anything cute! She has many dollies that she tends to and its not unusual for her to recruit big brother in the mornings to carry her babies down the stairs and set up a little home for them first thing. She is sensitive to other’s hurts. A few days ago I had to reprimand Elsa sharply for pulling Gwen’s hair. Elsa started crying, and so did Gwen! She couldn’t bear to see her little sister getting in trouble. She is a compulsive snuggler and if your lap is free, she will spot and quickly occupy it! She was my smallest baby at birth, but she’s caught up, though her frame is so light that people always think of her as smaller than she is. She’s average in both weight and height, and is surprisingly strong! She loves her dance class and is often twirling and swirling around the house. She makes friends easily and people seem drawn to her vibrant personality.

Elsa (17 months) is our little rebel baby. She’s been so unlike our other two kids in both appearance (bright blonde hair?) and personality that we sometimes feel like this is the first time we’ve taken a baby through toddlerhood! She is speaking very well… what seems to us much better than the other kids at this age. She’s full of courage and fearless. She keeps up with her sister and brother in almost every way. Once those legs grow a little longer she’ll be able to really keep up! She also loves babies and if she sees a doll lying around, she starts pointing and yelling, “Baby! Baby! Baby!”. She enjoys talking on the phone and sometimes will bring the phone to me and ask, “Nana? Jenni?” until I call up Nana or Aunt Jenni and ask them to talk to her. She is, of course, curious about everything and we are in that stage where my cupboards are emptied frequently! Elsa is now sleeping through the night and napping twice a day… a feat we didn’t think we’d EVER reach when she was an infant. She even sits patiently in her crib until you come and get her. She’s a tiny little peanut, taking after her older sister that way. Despite being my biggest baby at birth, she, like my others, grow slow at this stage. Many people think she’s around 9-12 months and are shocked that she walks! I have to admit, even to me she looks far too little to be walking :) She’s also a cuddler, but only when the timing is right. There is so much to see and do that many times she’d rather be anywhere but your lap. We can’t believe how time has flown with our little Elly-belly.

So there, an update on our three munchkins. Hopefully it won’t be so long until my next one :)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I’m getting terrible at this!

I feel bad that I’m not blogging more often. Most of you readers probably follow me on Facebook, so you’re staying informed. But I want this blog to be a chronicle for myself and the kids down the road and Facebook just isn’t gonna provide that. My current blogging rate isn’t gonna provide it either though :\

So, working backwards, I’ll tell ya what has been going on.

We went to a Mariners game with the kids and took the train from Everett to the stadium. Totally fun and the day was simply beautiful.


The cotton candy might have been the highlight for them :)


The kids love Ichiro and every player *was* Ichiro. If someone got a hit, “Yay Ichiro!”. If someone caught a ball, “Good play Ichiro!”. It was pretty funny,.


Mmm, peanuts.


Gwen goofing off

The lovely Safeco Field.


We had a good time. Gwen is definitely more interested in the game than Ethan, though he’s the one that is interested in playing it. Maybe once he starts baseball watching the game will hold more appeal.

Earlier this week we attempted to go apple picking. We went to South 47 Farms in Redmond and found the trees bare. I wasn't too happy about that as I’d called a few times, mentioning that we were coming to pick, and when we arrived and got our gear for picking, no one said a thing. They let us tromp down there with 6 little kids to find 6 edible (edible, but beat up and ugly) apples . We did find some organic heirloom tomatoes and picked some of those. They were delicious, I have to say. Overall it was quite disappointing though. Luckily, Aunt Daralyn, who lives in an apple growing area, is bringing me a box of apples next weekend so we’ll still get our fix.


Yesterday we did something very unlike us and took off at a moments notice to BrickCon (i.e. Lego Convention). I had heard about it from a friend on Facebook and thought Ethan would just love it. So down to Seattle we went.

Waiting in line. It was a very long line and it was a good thing we let Daddy hope out early and wait for us while we parked.


Smith Tower, in Lego.


Random Lego pieces that people submitted for showing.



Yes… that is a bra and underwear constructed of Lego!


Jason says this is Voltron (I have no idea…)


I thought this was very clever.


Gwen playing in the Build Center.


Elly spent her time playing and/or trying to escape.


You might wonder, hey, you went for Ethan… where is Ethan? Well, something about the convention did not mesh well with him. It was extremely crowded and noisy. Hard to move. He kinda had a meltdown and despite lots of distractions, he never really relaxed enough to enjoy himself so we left after an hour and played outside in the Seattle Center for a little bit. Next year we want to go again, though we will be there when the doors open so we can beat the crowds.

We’ve been pretty busy running Gwen to  pre-k 3x a week, doing lessons, and dealing with the everyday stuff. We’re getting into a groove now, which, if not making things easier, does make it more familiar. One thing I’m VERY happy to start up next week is sewing classes. The only thing I’ve sewn at all this summer is Jenni’s Sith robe. I don’t think I ever posted a picture of that… She looks very appropriately evil in it. It was both simple and complicated and I will never ever make another one again!

Anyway, I’m anxious to make Gwen some dresses, finish up that quilt I promised Shelly & Peter and maybe even make a few things for myself! I’ve determined not to buy myself any new clothes until I reach my goal weight, but I can make myself some new things to fit the new and improved body :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ten pounds, triumphs, and trials

That sums up our week!

I hit the 10lbs lost mark this week. It only took me 4 months :| But I’m not going to complain because 10lbs is 10lbs. I’m now working out 6 days a week, doing a mix of high-intensity cardio and sculpting. If I was more strict about my calories, I’m sure I could have lost 2x as much, but I like cooking and eating and that’s not going to change, so I wasn’t interested in going low-fat, low-carb, low-cal when I have no intention of keeping that up long term. Most workouts are 40-60 min and I’m doing them in the mornings at 5am. Not my preferred time, but its very hard to get them in during the days now with school and extra-curriculars and just LIFE. If anyone wants recommendations on good workout DVD’s, let me know. I feel like I’ve tried every single one on Netflix!

Speaking of school, everything started this week and went very well.

Gwen’s first day of pre-k. She was so excited, she even wanted me to curl her hair to look extra-fancy.

This picture is a little bittersweet to me! Last year, Ethan had to talk Gwen out of the car so she’d go in for pre-school because she was so nervous. This year, she didn’t need her big brother to tell her it was ok. She strode in, full of confidence.


Gwen getting her nametag from Ms. Paula


An old friend from last year, Katie!


Sitting next to another friend, Blake.


After leaving the church, Ethan and I stopped and got a coffee (hot chocolate for him) to celebrate our first day of school. We came home and took our “opening day” picture


He worked very hard every day at his assignments. Love the tongue!

Everything went smashing. In fact, as Ethan already knows all his numbers and letters he found the introductory lessons rather boring (they start with the assumption that you don’t know any letters or numbers). After the first day, we doubled up and will do that until we’re done with the introduction lessons.

Unfortunately, this week had more than a few stressful moments as well. Ethan has been having some constipation issues (in truth, going off and on for a year now) and this week it became clear that home remedies and waiting it out weren’t gonna cut it. We went to see our pediatrician, had an x-ray done, and found it was no wonder that the little guy was suffering so. He was backed up all the way. So we are on an intensive round of laxatives and other helps to clear things out and hopefully retrain his body to respond appropriately. Its been extremely uncomfortable for him the last few days and very hard for me to be pretty much helpless.

On a brighter note, tomorrow we are taking Ethan and Gwen to a Mariners game and taking the Sounder from the Everett train station down to the stadium. We are all SO excited to do this! Elly is going to stay with Mom overnight so she’ll have a blast too. I’m hoping the kids will be able to stay entertained through most the game, as they are playing the Yankees and I really want to be able to watch and cheer and boo and all the other fun stuff you do with the M’s play the Yankees :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just life.

Not too much going on as of late. Just life. Just taking each day as it comes and trying to handle it the best way.

We've made some changes in our TV and video game usage. We severely restricted the time the kids are allowed to watch and play and, of course, this means that there needs to be something else to fill that time. Its been amazing to see how cutting the TV has immediately resulted in more positive behavior and play. I've started reading them a chapter from the Little House On The Prairie series. We're in the first book, but Ethan wanted to read about boys, so I'm also doing a chapter here and there from Farmer Boy too. Just a few months ago I tried this with them and they were not interested in sitting and listening for that long. But now they eagerly sit and listen. It was funny, at first they were really bummed by the lack of pictures. We had to kind of walk them through how to use their imaginations to "see" what we're reading to them. They're very imaginative kids, but they hadn't thought to use it quite in that way. Now you can see the little wheels turning when I read something... they really are making those pictures in their minds.

Today was supposed to be our first day of homeschooling. However, all the kids and J came down with colds last night and they were not in shape to do school. I had also forgotten about some preliminary work I needed to do and so I scratched the whole thing and decided to start tomorrow, while Gwen is at pre-k.

I should get some video of Elsa and put it up here. She’s been amazing us daily it seems. She talks very well. She understands so much more than she can say. She is, as my Mom put it, quite precocious. The other day she laid down on a stool, put her hands and legs out (think Superman) and started saying, “Whee! Whee!'”. Never before had I seen her do that or say that word. How I wish I’d gotten the camera in time! Last week I was distracted during dinner so she kept chanting, “Momma, Momma, Momma, Momma”. Finally I turned and said, “Yes honey” and she showed me her food and said, “Icky!” and threw it on the floor and looked quite pleased with herself. Oh my, so hard not to laugh.

Ethan and Gwen are doing well, though both are growing up so fast mentally that its hard for us to keep up sometime. They will say something and we’ll do a double take… “They said what?”.

We make little chore charts for them and after they’ve done their work for a set amount of time with no fuss, they get a reward. Gwen wanted a tutu very badly, and we’d been looking for awhile because the kind she wanted we couldn’t find in stores. We finally ordered one online from that wonderful site of handmade things, Etsy.

Its a little big, but that’s GOOD! Its very thick and wonderful. She loves it!

Ethan’s reward was a box of Legos, which him and Daddy assembled one evening. Unfortunately, things don’t stay assembled long, because Ethan likes to play very imaginative and rough games with the figures. But that is ok. The nice thing about Lego is that you can always put them back together again :)


Gwen started dance classes at Martha La Valley School of Dance last week. You may remember that we tried her in ballroom dancing at the beginning of the summer and hated how terribly intense and involved it was. This one is just right. We got a surprise when one of the little girls in Gwen’s class was also in Ethan's preschool class last year. Its just 4 little girls and the teacher. While she was serious and kept them on track, there was lots of joy and fun in that room. Good times.

Ethan started swimming lessons on Saturday and those did not go as smooth. He got freaked out when he realized he was in a class with no one he knew and not even his sister was there. He would only put his feet in. We’re hoping that next week goes better…