Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hypochondria and other ills...

So when I had my physical last week, they decided I needed a tetanus shot since it had been 9 years since my last one (good Lord, how did 9 years pass so quickly?) No big deal, said me, I'm not afraid of needles! The lovely nurse brings in my Tdap shot (wouldn't want whooping cough either, you know) and proceeds to stick me with it. Do you remember your last tetanus booster? Do you remember how freaking painful they are??! My arm still aches a week later! And of course, in my mind, I am developing a MRSA infection that won't be treatable and I'm going to lose my left arm at the shoulder. Because I'm a hypochondriac. And always have been.

When I was about 21, I broke out in hives from head to toe, and suffered with them for years. Chronic hives are not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Several doctors and many tests later, no cause was ever discovered but they did eventually subside on their own. Just imagine though, all the thoughts that ran through my head - do you have any idea how many things can cause hives? Thyroid problems, leukemia, auto-immune disorders, the list goes on and on.

When I was newly pregnant with Jason, Matt went to the local barber for a haircut. They shaved the back of his neck with a straight razor, and the barber gave him a pretty good nick. I, of course, was convinced we'd both been infected with hepatitis at the least, HIV at the worst.

It's not just me I worry about; every little ill with my kids is cancer or something else that's horrible. That's not just a mole on William's arm, it's melanoma. I was really freaked out when Jason was a baby because he had a staph infection in his diaper area that was pretty stubborn. I was convinced he had an immune disorder and was going to grow up as the boy in the plastic bubble, if he grew up at all (we were all going to die of AIDS, as mentioned above). My imagination is my worst enemy, and the internet is my enabler.

My sister also suffers from hypochondria; a sore on her tongue sent her to the internet, which quickly sent her into a fainting spell after reading all the horrors of oral cancer. It turned out to be nothing, but she now avoids the internet for medical diagnosis and relies on the professionals instead.

So now, I try not to freak out, and remind myself that my shoulder hurts because I probably strained it doing the strength training for my race and also from the tetanus shot; not because I have a bacterial cocktail brewing in my upper arm. I give odd symptoms a week or so to go away on their own, and if they don't I go see a doctor. Better safe than sorry, or worse, worrying for no reason. There are so many other things to worry about! Like the pistachios I bought at the store today because I read you could eat more of them for the same calories - brought them home, ate a few, then flipped through the newspaper and saw a blurb about the FDA saying not to eat pistachios. Salmonella. Go figure.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Made me laugh Monday

Have I told you that Mondays are my very favorite day of the week? After a busy weekend at home with the kids, I love Mondays - Matt goes into the office, Evie and William go off to school, and Sarah, Jason and I have the house to ourselves for a little while. We just sort of putter around and I really enjoy it being a little quieter and slower-paced. I try not to panic when I think about all the things that have to be done for the week, which can really be overwhelming. Luckily, I'm a list maker and I feel one hundred times better when it's all written out on a sticky note (love 'em! - what did people do without them?) and I can start crossing things off. Then into the trash with the finished list!

Matt tore this cartoon off his desk calendar last week and gave it to me, because of course it reminds him of me; so I thought I'd share it with all my fellow coffee lovers out there...enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Thirsty

And some of you kind people don't think I'm lazy!

The peace lily says it's time to water all the plants; normally I don't let it get this bad, but there you go. Call me lazy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fit Friday

Today is the last day of week three of my 10k training program, and I have a 4 mile run to do. Happily, it will be 61 degrees today and hopefully little wind. I have never run this far before, but last week I managed to do 3-1/2 miles, so we'll see how it goes.

So far I haven't seen much tangible progress on the scale; my weight hasn't changed much at all (if any!) and body fat is the same as it was 3 weeks ago. However, I can tell my endurance is definitely improving, and I'm starting to see a difference in my legs - yeah!

The hardest part for me, and probably the reason why I haven't already lost the last five pounds, is sticking to my calories for the day (the only method I seem to be able to stick with). I get my day all planned out, but when you are feeding two toddlers meals and snacks (seemingly constantly!) it's very easy to eat a cracker, pretzel rod, mini wheat, whatever, when they do - and those all add up. The last five pounds are absolutely the hardest to lose. And at this point I am not going to give up the one chocolate chip cookie I have after lunch, or cut out the sugar and half-and-half in my coffee. If, in the next five weeks I haven't lost the weight, I'll just accept it and stop obsessing. Besides, all this has really cut into my wine drinking :-)

On another note, I had a physical on Tuesday and all my bloodwork came back fine except for Vitamin D! Apparently, everyone they test is deficient in Vitamin D. The PA I saw said that they used to think all these people had depression or arthritis, and then they started Vitamin D supplements & felt like new people! So today I am off to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription and hopefully say goodbye to all my aches and pains - maybe I won't feel so old at late-30-something...

Have a good one!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Darling Daughter

This is my 7 year old, Evie (Evelyn). Evie is a bright-and-shiny girl who is so much fun to be around! She's always been an animal lover, starting with all the Little People animals (funny, she never ever played with the people!) and moving into dinosaurs and lately dragons. You can always count on Evie to hop out of bed in the morning and start her day with, "I'm Sarah's pet Chihuahua (or whatever) and my name is Chloe! Ruff!"

Evie is always doing clever little things with her 'pets' and leaving them around the house for me to find, and they never fail to make me laugh.

The other morning she came downstairs for breakfast and announced "We're doing a play in reading academy and the tryouts are today - I'm so nervous! I hope I get the part of the coyote!" Oy. My daughter, the coyote from Pecos Bill! A day later, it was "Mom, there was this bully on the school bus being mean to my friend, and my animal instincts kicked in!" I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I'm glad to know that she has a sense of fairness, knows right from wrong, and a desire to stick up for her friends.

I don't always understand her, as she's an extrovert to my introvert (extroverts draw their energy from other people which is probably why I find it exhausting to be around Evie for extended periods of time!) but I love her dearly and know in my heart that she is destined for great things, smart cookie! To know her is to love her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This says it all! Well, almost...


Hubby fixed my computer last night with a new power supply - hooray! So now I have a ton of catch up to do this week; we're also having company on Saturday so the cleaning and shopping must (as always!) be done. I'm having the carpets cleaned this morning (yeah spring!) so all the (not so) mysterious (sippy cup apple juice) stains will be gone from the family room rug. We are also now officially down to one crib in the house; the hand-me-down crib is in the garage for the yard sale, and Jason's in ours now. We're getting there, day by day. But for now, I must run - Harried Mom is going to the doctor for a physical for the first time in four years (do you think they'll let me have my coffee after they do the blood work?!) and it's time to get the big kids off to school. Have a great day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A day of (small) milestones!

Yesterday Jason finally got the hang of going down the stairs! Hooray! Now at least he knows what to do at the top, and I don't have to quite worry SO much if one of the bigger ones forgets a door/gate.

And last night Sarah finally slept in her toddler bed! Hooray! We set it up in her room 2-1/2 weeks ago, and until last night she had only taken 1 nap in it. She still wanted her crib; mind you, this was all my idea - I would like her to sleep in the toddler bed so I can hopefully sell the extra crib at our yard sale next month. Sarah did a great job last night, she only came out of her room twice. Yeah Sarah! I'm hoping she doesn't get upset when we dismantle the crib and move it into Jason's room (he has a hand-me-down crib at the moment)....keep your fingers crossed.

Finally- the new power supply for my PC won't be here until Monday (boo hoo!); I am cautiously optimistic that the power supply IS the problem and I will be up and running again on Monday evening, not purchasing a new computer. Ugh.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

Well, you know what they say! So I had big plans yesterday. I had done all the heavy cleaning last week, had a nice weekend visit with my sister, and I was all set Monday morning to tackle my projects for the week - updating MS Money, paying bills, starting our taxes, working on the collage project and recipe project...then the power went out for 10 minutes. No big deal, right? At least Jason's waffle was toasted, and Sarah and I had our hot cereal cooked. It was out for 10 or 15 minutes and Sarah was so excited when the lights came back on! I reset the microwave & stove clock, poured some coffee and went to my computer to check email. Jiggle the mouse, nothing happens. No amber light on the power button either. Press the button, nothing. Oh no! It is DOA. I feel like my arm has been lopped off.

No worries though, I have other projects to work on! I have a little ironing, I can work on the nightgown and robe for Evie's MyTwin doll, we can clean up the playroom in the basement! So I change all the sheets, start a load of laundry, and dry my hair. Then the power goes out again. For 2-1/2 hours. Oy. Thankfully I had not put the chicken in the crockpot for dinner, my hair was dry, and I had coffee! You know, the house is AMAZINGLY quiet without the power on. No furnace, refrigerator, computers, tv, no background static whatsoever. It was really nice! Of course my mind immediately went to all the things I couldn't do - pick up the basement, iron, and sew; but then I started thinking about how nice it would be to play with the kids & not be able to get distracted with other things for once! Sadly, my eyes kept drifting to the one clock that was working, wondering, when will it come back on? In time before all the food in the fridge spoils?

All was well until it came time to get William from preschool, and I realized the garage door opener wouldn't work. And all the cordless phones weren't working. And my cell phone was dead. So into the dark basement storage closet go I, to dig out the one corded phone we kept, so I could call Hubby to find out what to do to get the door up. Whatever did we all do without electricity?!

So the power came back on after lunch, the babies napped, and I was able to get some stuff done. Unfortunately, my PC (which Matt had just tuned up!) is still dead. No power whatsoever. So the taxes must wait (oh darn!) and I don't have access to any of MY files. And I am so desperate for the internet that I am crouching in front of the dinosaur that acts as our file server so I can share my sad tale with you :-) I am a child of our times.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

He's a lover AND a fighter!

This handsome young man is my 19 month old nephew John. John came to visit us for the weekend with his Mommy and two sisters. John had lots of fun this weekend chasing Jason around to give him hugs (Jason tolerated these, but had the look of 'that's not how I roll' on his face); he pinned Sarah to the floor in an attempt to steal her sippy cup, and this morning head-butted me hard enough to give me a fat lip when I attempted to give Becky a few minutes of peace. Ouch. I've been warned that John is one tough cookie, but you have to see it and experience it to believe it. This is one determined little dude! My dear sister has her hands full with this little boy. I predict he has wrestling somewhere in his future - he's quick and he's got the moves to go with the speed!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Movie night!

It's movie night! My dear sister (also a Harried Mom of Four!) was kind enough to come down and keep me company while Hubby was away this weekend. She brought 3 of her 4 kids with her and they all had lots of fun munching on popcorn and watching "Snow Buddies". It was a great distraction for me and my kids on this dreary, drisely, chilly March weekend. Thank you Becky!

Friday, March 13, 2009


"First rule of Fight Club - Don't talk about Fight Club!"

Poor baby Jason scratched his eye yesterday (he's fine!) but whenever he gets a boo boo I always think of Fight Club - must be because he's ALL boy! I think Jason is officially done with morning naps - we went grocery shopping yesterday morning (without incident - hooray!) and he made it all the way home in the car (20 minutes) with just a yawn or two. In some ways that will make life easier, not so much in others...I think I'll be glad to be able to get out of the house now with the two little ones, but I did enjoy that nap!

So William says to me this morning in the car - "Mommy can we sell Sarah? I hate her!" This is the same boy who always reminds us to say Grace at dinnertime, and likes to make up his own blessings to say (which are actually very good!). His feelings for her at the moment may be directly related to the fact that she seems more 'terrible' than '2' these days. It seems to me that age 3 was worse with the first two kids; she's hitting it at 2. Lots of whining, crying, screaming and arguing going on with her at the moment....

and finally - I finished my runs for the week, feeling good! The first run, 2.5 miles, was on a beautiful warm day - very easy. My second run, 2 miles, was done after strength training for 35 minutes - it was cold, windy and miserable! Yesterday I did 3 miles, and it wasn't too bad - I actually did it all feeling pretty good. Maybe I am a runner after all! Fair weather, anyway - you'd be hard pressed to find me out there in the rain, snow, or 100 degree heat! I am fortunate enough to have my dear hubby here working from home so I don't have to do it at 5 or 6 am.

Exercising and my blog (!) are really the only two things I do purely for myself these days, and I find it really helps me deal with the rest of our crazy life. When things get hairy around here I always seem to come back to a quote from Meet the Robinsons - "Keep Moving Forward". Helps me get through the next 30 minutes, hour, day, whatever - just keep moving forward!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Saya the robot teacher

So the Japanese, apparently determined to have a robot in every home by 2015, have unveiled a robotic kindergarten teacher - a multilinguil bot who organize tasks, call roll, and even get angry when students misbehave. I can only imagine what the teachers unions here in the US would have to say about this.

To continue,

"Her inventor Professor Hirohi Kobayashi of Tokyo University has been reported as saying while it isn't hard to build a robot that looks like a human being, it is much more difficult to create software that mimics the human mind.

But he believes that within a few years robots with the physical and mental skills of a two-year old child will be available."

GOOD GOD why on earth would we want THAT? I live with a 2, and a soon to be 2, and let me tell you, I'm looking forward to 3 and up! I can just imagine my house robot pestering me all day long: Miss Jen? Miss Jen. MISS JEN. MISS JEN!!!!! And I don't really see a robot with the mental and physical skills of a 2 year old being all that helpful around the house. Would you let them do your dishes? Sort your laundry? Dust your things you don't want broken?

Creepy. And sad. I'll pass, thank you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let's take it up a notch...

This morning Sarah figured out how to open doors. So I had lots of fun this morning trying to clean the upstairs while she opened doors. Then closed them. Then opened them. Then closed them. And locked Jason on the wrong side of the door. And went into Evie's room (her door is always shut for good reason - a) it's no place for babies with all her stuff and b) so I don't have see it!). And she argued with me (yes, I'm arguing with a 2 year old) about whether the door should be open or closed. She wants them all closed. I would prefer them open, so I can see Jason. Sigh. I think I need to make another pot of coffee.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

15 years ago today....

On March 9, 1994 I went to a pub in my hometown and met my future husband. Little did we know at the time what was in store for us down the road - moving to Florida & figuring out that this was it; relocating to Virginia after spending 6 months apart in different states; our wedding in 1997; buying our first home in 1998; working at the same company for 3 years; me going into labor with our first child the night our employer laid off 700 people, including Matt; spending the next 6 months rattling around the house together & joking, surely someone will call about a job! (this was 2002 after all the dot-bombs). Moving to our current home and having baby #2! Then 3! Ooops, then 4! In my head I still feel 23; well, maybe closer to 30. Certainly not 38! Where did the time go?

You live your life one day at a time, always planning for tomorrow and what it will bring, what you want to do next. Never in a million years did I picture our life the way it is today. And I wouldn't change it for the world. I feel so, so blessed to be sharing my life with the wonderful people around me. It is rich and rewarding in all the ways that matter. A gopher wheel, at times, but it won't always be this way. It's a good day to look around, and enjoy what we've been given, and be grateful. I truly am.

Yummy Pancakes

Jason says yum!

Today William requested pancakes for breakfast, and nothing says lazy Sunday morning more than blueberry pancakes! So I thought I'd share the recipe with you all. Make sure you make a double/triple batch as needed, as the recipe (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) serves 2.

Best Quick Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Add Egg, milk and butter, and whisk.
Serves 2

I had a lovely picture of the pancakes themselves, but Blogger (grrr!) is rotating them, like my pizza picture from before! What the heck? Anyway - they are really good, try them!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Baby fat (not phat)

Today's post is about my final attempt to ditch these last stinking 5 pounds (or so). Baby Jason is 16 months old and it's time for it do go. Thank you (sincerely) to all who would say I look terrific, but I won't feel myself again until they are gone. Vain, probably. But it's my body and I want to be happy in it. It's not the number I'm shooting for, but the fact that my jeans are just a little too tight, and the fact that I don't have the willpower to cut the calories I need to get them off annoys me.

So - May 1st I will be running (come hell or high water!) in a 10K race here. To that end, tomorrow starts my training schedule! I'm using Hal Higdon's novice training for a 10k . I'm reasonably fit now, having been on the elliptical and doing the FIRM , but it's time to kick it up a notch and burn those pounds off. If you're interested in hearing about my progress, leave a comment below; otherwise I won't bother you with the ugly details.

Enjoy your weekend! (I will; it's 70 degrees this weekend here in Virginia!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

What is it about the oven drawer?

I don't get it. What's the fascination? The big pot? All the banging? A cozy place to sit? I don't remember the older two doing this, but Jason LOVES the oven drawer! Sarah did too. Sarah calls my big aluminum pot her 'Rocket Soup'; I assume this has something to do with Little Einsteins. I'm not wishing away babyhood, but I have to say it will be nice when this phase ends.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I think Sarah made me deaf....

So when Sarah was first born, and you know they have them over on the scale/warmer thingy and are checking the apgar, I tell you no lie - Matt and I looked at each other and thought, oh man we're in trouble with this one! I had never heard a NEWBORN go at it like that with the noise. The nurses were laughing at our reaction (now, this was our third child, mind you!); they said, oh don't worry, she won't be this loud at home! Well. We brought baby Sarah home and all was well. Until her cord stump fell off and we started baths. The noise still wasn't so bad, until she was big enough to move into the tub. I used one of those cubby-sponge things (baby tubs always seemed slightly ridiculous to me - but that's my opinion only!) in the bath tub. Baby Sarah DID NOT like to be bathed and she screamed through the whole thing. My ears would literally ring from the noise bouncing off the shower walls. My older two kids would try to talk to me, and I'd just hear babbling! I joked at the time that my hearing was probably going to go because of her someday....

I think that day might be here! It might just be the din of living in the back part of my house (baby gates, you know) with 5 other people, but when they all get going I swear my hearing is not as clear as it could be. Not off enough for me to bother having it looked at (hey, being a little deaf with 4 kids can be a good thing!) but I think it might be there all the same - the really loud banging sounds seem muffled. I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar experience?? Ah, the things we lose when we have children...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

5 signs you are addicted to coffee...

5) You're always wondering why your mug is empty, and who finished it.

4) Shoot, the pot is empty too! Who's drinking all the coffee around here?

3) Around 1pm you have this really dehydrated feeling, but want to cure it with coffee.

2) You have a twitch in your eyelid.

1) Your pee smells like coffee. (Sad, but true.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oooh! Mommy left the room for five minutes!

Quick! Get out the waxed paper! Fling it ALL OVER THE PLACE! WHEEEEE!

Designer Babies

So now if you have the money, you can not only screen out genetic illness from your unborn offspring, you can also choose physical features like eye color! Terrific! Honestly, I have four children who all have blonde hair and blue eyes, 2 boys and 2 girls. And, as I'm sure you already know, genetics is a big crap shoot; you just never know what you're going to get! I have a tomboy, a future rocket-scientist, a little mommy, and what I suspect to be a typical rough-and-tumble boy (time will tell). All four of them look distinctly different and have completely different personalities. Now, given that both hubby and I are blue eyed and were blonde (and I'd have been in trouble had my kids looked any other way!), I still don't know why anyone would choose to take the mystery and wonder of 'what will they look like' out of the equation when having children. It's so much more fun to spin the roulette wheel and see what comes up for you and yours.

Monday, March 2, 2009

This is a snow day?

If someone could please explain to me why schools are closed today, I'd really appreciate it. I continue to be baffled by the school delay/closure guidelines here in Virginia. Are there any? There's a dusting of snow (no ice) and the forecast is for up to another 1/2 inch. Doubt we'll get it. Thoughts?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Allow me to introduce my oldest son....

This charming boy is my son William, affectionately known as Bubby. Or "2 of 4". Ha ha! William is now 5-1/2 years old and my husband and I realized early on that he will be 'our life's work', to borrow a phrase from my sister. Now, there is nothing wrong with William, he's just William. William lives in William's world, and does things in his own way, and in his own time. We try to work with him and help him navigate life to overcome the things that frustrate him, but he seems to just do the same things over and over and over again. Like build/make things on the floor out of lego/blocks/knex/whatever, and then wail and moan when Sarah or Jason knocks it over. Then he'll get mad and yell Bad Baby! (This is why Sarah yells Bad Mommy! when she doesn't get her own way....thanks Bubby...) We have told him repeatedly to move to another room or just deal with it, but it never seems to sink in.

Last night William was in the shower, and I went in to hustle him along:

William - are you done yet? Not yet! What do you have left? I need to wash my body and my hair! Well, what have you done? I just washed my face!

Hmm, I wonder what you've been doing for the other 14 minutes and 30 seconds! Now, every night William gets out of the shower and huddles in a ball on the floor under his towel. Because he's cold. Because the last 50 times we've told him to dry off and get dressed and you won't be cold haven't sunk in yet. Granted, he's only 5-1/2 and there does need to be a certain amount of supervision going on here, but this boy managed to build the K'nex Octopus Whirl within 3 days of opening the gift pretty much by himself. This thing has 454 pieces and is for kids 7+ (it's really cool!) So, in my mind, drying off and getting dressed should be a task he can accomplish himself. And some days he does. It just seems that lately William is in the 'yang' phase to Evie's (#1) 'ying', and we continue in this cycle of one up/one down. I'm just glad that spring is only 3 short weeks away, and I will soon be able to shoo them outside to play! Joy!

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