Thursday, April 30, 2009

5 things I want you to know

1) Cleaning is much easier if you do it once a week (not that I'm ready to commit to that yet).

2) When the kids are all school age I will be painting every surface in every room of the house.

3) When you bump the flower on the peace lily with your nose and all the pollen goes up it feels really funny.

4) The easy part of having four kids is over; as Jason and Sarah are getting bigger my life is slowly turning into Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

5) I am not Super Mom, it only appears that way - I get a great deal of help from Matt, who is fortunate enough to work from home 3 days a week and pitches in a lot. I can handle it myself, but not as effortlessly as I'd like. I will be very glad to see him on Saturday.

Alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring - that's me! Or my blog, anyway

My friends, this has been a hard week so far - I'm tired, cranky (because I'm tired), and just about done dealing with the kids by myself this week. Climby McBaby is trying to kill himself by scaling everything he can (and getting himself stuck & needing a rescue in the process). Sweet Sarah has turned into this needy, whiney thing - if I leave her line of sight I get 'Mama - I NEED YOU! COME BACK!' As if I've abandoned her on the side of the road - no, just the other side of the gate. William has taken to writing on walls, chairs, and other things. Evie? She can actually be very helpful, but she's in school all day; and even she's giving me the business - I told her I'd give her $2 if she helped clean up all the toys last night (which is what her weekly allowance is) and she looked at me and said 'How about $8?' When I told her never mind, she started bargaining down until she got to $2, which I guess she figured was better than nothing. The half bottle of chardonnay I had last night helped :-) but what I really need is a good night's sleep. My Dad gets into town tomorrow (so I'm trying to clean the house; trying being the key word) so at least I'll have some adult help - or a witness to my suicide!

So the point of all this is, I am very grateful to you, the people who take the time to read my blog and find it a worthwhile place to spend a minute or two; because I, in turn, really enjoy reading your stories, funny, happy, sad, whatever. It confirms for me that I'm not alone in all this and that we can all support each other.

On Tuesday I was very happy to see that I had received the Splash Award from Becca at Texas Darlings.

This award is given because she thinks my blog is alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring - and I am thrilled that she would pay me such a compliment! Especially when I really feel like I am anything BUT any of those things :-) Go visit her, she's pretty terrific herself.

I am asked to pass this award along to 5 blogs which I also find, alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring! While I find all of the blogs I read worth the time to do so, the lucky 5 I am splashing today are:

Connie at The Young and The Relentless
Sue at 3 Peas in a Pod
Liz at Sugarplum Creations
Staci at Playing House
Lisa at onegirliegirl

And now I am off to book a much-needed night away for Hubby and Me at Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania to celebrate his 40th - would you believe this will be the first time in 7.5 years that we will be away from the kids overnight together? My dear Mom is very brave to take on my kids for the night - THANK YOU MOM!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Extreme Makeover - Me Edition

Amber at {aefilkins} is hosting Extreme Makeover - Me Edition, where a bunch of (mostly) ladies looking to get fit and be healthy are posting updates on how their week went, answering Amber's weekly question, and getting lots of supportive feedback to help keep you going. Because it's hard, no? To take care of yourself as well as all those around you? It's very easy to let yourself slide and take the backseat to all your other responsibilities. So this is a way of being accountable, and getting encouragement to help keep you going, and maybe some helpful tips. If you'd like to join in, head over to Amber's to link up & read what it's all about! Also, here is where I'm going to plug my 'Pay it Forward' post - come on people, who doesn't want to receive something hand-made by me? Sometime in the next 12 months? I am just shocked at the lack of response to this :-) Go look at it and join in!

So, let's get started:

My Week

This was my last week of training for my 10k run in a last ditch effort to lose the last five pounds from baby #4, who is now 18 months old. I ran my last 2 miles this morning (thanks Michelle for watching the kids!) and now have 2 blissful days to rest before the race Saturday morning. Well, rest meaning I'm not supposed to run or cross-train - not like I'll be laying down eating bon-bons, or anything :-)

So - am I ready for the race? YES! Friday I did 5.5 miles, and I feel like I could have done 6; the race is 6.2, so if I can get more than the 6 hours of sleep I've been averaging since Sunday, I should be fine. I think I need new running shoes though, and 4 pair from Zappos will arrive this afternoon for me to try out. Have I lost the 5 pounds? NO! Grrrrrr. I have really slacked off on counting calories ever since Easter which is really the only thing that works for me - if I don't count, I always end up snacking way more than I should. It's really frustrating to put forth all this effort and still feel like my jeans are tighter than I want them. Weird thing is, my upper body looks pretty lean, all my fat is from my waist to my knees. And don't get me started about the baby pudge in my middle that nothing short of plastic surgery will fix. (Is it wrong to secretly long for a tummy tuck? Would you get one?) I think Heidi Klum is an alien and needs to go back to whatever planet she traveled here from.

Goals for next week

Saturday's the race, and I want to 1) run the whole thing and 2) not be last for my age group. I'm going to take a couple of days off after Saturday, maybe run once or twice and do a FIRM dvd later in the week. I'll probably lose a pound or two (that seems to happen if I stop, at least for a day or two); after we celebrate Matt's 40th birthday when he gets back, I'm going to get back on the wagon and watch what I eat, and drink water like a camel.

Share with us a healthy recipe

This is an easy one! This is one of my favorites, it has a lot of flavor, is lo-cal, and is really quick to make. I love to saute, as things cook quickly, you don't need a lot of pans, and the dishes are usually pretty healthy (as long as you don't use a lot of butter!) If you have kids the couscous make a mess, but I think the meal is worth it; courtesy of Southern Living (I think):

Tarragon and Grape Chicken
Serve with steamed broccoli and couscous

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: about 20 minutes

4 med. skinless, boneless chicken breat halves (1-1/4 lbs) - I used chicken tenderloins
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. margarine or butter
3 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half or light cream
1 cup seedless red and/or green grapes, cut in half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (I usually use 1 tsp dry)

1. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt
2. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and cook 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn chicken over and cook 6-8 minutes longer, until juices run clear when thickest part of breast is pierced with tip of knife. Transfer chicken to platter, cover with foil to keep warm.
3. In same skillet, melt margarine over medium-low heat. Add shallots and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, until tender and golden. Stir in wine; cook 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, half-and-half, grapes, and tarragon. Return chicken to skillet; heat through.
Makes 4 main dish servings

Each serving (chicken dish only): About 255 calories, 34g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 8g total fat, 2g saturated, 87 mg cholesterol, 455 mg sodium.

Happy Birthday Matt

Today is Matt's 40th birthday, and he is half a world away in Guam. Scuba diving. Now how many people can say they did THAT on their 40th? I'll probably be washing dishes and changing diapers. But this isn't about me! It's about Matt - and believe me, he had a hellish haul getting TO Guam for business; so it's not all fun and games. So I wanted to do something special for him, and thanks to his sister I have all these fun photos to post for him to see. When you try to compress 40 years into a few photos, it's REALLY hard, so I know I'm missing some stuff (our wedding is a big one) but I had to go with what was already digital, and what Matt's sister Amy was kind enough to scan for me. So without further ado, the life of Matt, in pictures:

Sweet Baby Matthew

Matt must be about 18 mos. old here, as my first thought was
'my God he looks just like Jason'

Got to love the 70's!

Here I start to see the man I know

Papa, Uncle Russ, Matt and his father Ben

Amy is this the beetle you wrecked?
The one Matt came home from the hospital in? :-)

3 generations of Lockes

Matt is always willing to pitch in and help

He calls his mother 'sweetheart'

He's the fun parent

He's handy

His favorite holiday is Halloween

He was a great big brother

and still is today

He loves me, even when I look like this

and he gave me these 4 little beauties

but no matter how old he gets, he'll still be his Momma's little boy.

Happy Birthday Matt!
Your cake will be waiting when you get back!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is what I have been listening to almost non-stop since Saturday

Well, at least when Evie's been home:

You'll have to click the link, embedding has been disabled. Welcome to my world.

Catching up on business - Part 3 - Pay it Forward

Shawn over at Seriously begged and pleaded posted a 'Pay it Forward on her blog the other day and I was one of the lucky 5 who gets to play :-)! In the next 12 months (no pressure there) I will receive from Shawn an item made by her - I have no idea what it is, and there's no guarantee I will like it, but I'm really looking forward to receiving it! She has such a great personality and sense of humor that I'm sure I'll love whatever it is. Part of playing, though, is Paying it Forward. I have to, in turn, make things for 5 lucky people in the next 12 months. I can probably handle that time frame :-) but there's no guarantee that the lucky five will like what I make for them! I promise to try to make it 'crafty' and not 'crappy' (insert cheesy grin here).

So: if you'd like to join in on the fun, all you need to do is:

1) Be one of the first 5 to comment on this post saying you'd like to join in
2) Post a 'Pay it Forward' post on your own blog, linking back to my post

I know you are all just so anxious to get in on this, but it is limited to only 5 so get busy!

Catching up on business - Part 2 - A Major Award

I was so excited the other day to see that my dear bloggy friend Xazmin at This is the Year had given me A Major Award! (I just like saying that as it makes me think of the leg lamp from a Christmas Story - lol!) Sorry, just had to get that out. Anyway - here it is, passed to me from Xazmin, who received it from the Masked Mommy, creator of the award:

I love it! Thanks Xazmin, for always stopping by and reading my silly rants & for leaving super comments. Now to the instructions:

Tape the "Super Blogger" award up on your blog somewhere.
Pass it along to 5 fellow super bloggers, and comment on their blog to let them know how lucky they are today!
When you present your Super Blogger awards, link back to the super blogger who gave it to you.

So I now present this award to (in no particular order):

Shawn, Vivienne, Staci, Connie, and Hit40. I love reading all of your blogs, and sincerely thank all of you for taking the time to stop by and leave me comments. Virtual hugs all around :-) (Sorry, I'm really tired right now!) Time for another cup of Joe.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Catching up on business - Part 1 - Tag you're it

Ok my bloggy friends, you all have been very busy here and I am WAAAY behind! My life is really getting in the way of my blog (isn't that terrible? but better to neglect you all than the kids, don't want social services ringing my bell.)

Connie at The Young and the Relentless tagged me with a fun list of questions to answer, so here goes:

1. What is your current obsession? I'd probably have to say blogging, although I don't like to think of it as an 'obsession' so much as a 'hobby'. I guess you could say I'm obsessed with what my scale says (the same damn thing every single freaking day no matter what I do!), but that just sounds sad.

2. Which item of clothing do you wear most often? Hmmm, now that the weather's warmer, I'll have to say my Born Fluke sandals - most comfortable things ever, it's like walking on little pillows! I wear them everyday and everywhere and I will be sad when they (my second pair, mind you) are worn out at the end of the summer because I probably won't be able to track down a new pair of the same ones. Now that IS sad.

3. What's for dinner? Tonight we had split pea soup that I had made from the Easter ham and frozen, along with chicken salad on bread for the kids and lettuce for me. Tomorrow's delectable delight is Kraft Mac N Cheese, hot dogs and apples - for the kids anyway, I may have something (anything!) else. That's what dinner's like around here when Hubby's away!

4. What are you listening to? Complete silence! and the air conditioner. and my computer humming.

5. Say something about the one who tagged you. Connie is a wonderful bloggy friend whom I'd love to meet in person one day! I don't know where she finds the time to comment on my scribbles as well as have 3 blogs of her own, but she's really supportive and I love reading her comments & chatting via email!

6. Favorite vacation spots? Every year we take the family to the Outer Banks (usually Duck, this year Corolla) with my sister & her family, and my Dad. Sometimes others join us, sometimes not, but I LOVE getting away with all of them each summer and I'm always sad when we come home. I am also REALLY looking forward to taking the kids to Disney (2 years maybe?) and on a cruise - heck maybe we'll be crazy and leave the kids behind! I've been on a cruise once (7 mos. pregnant) and would love to try it again (not pregnant).

7. What am I reading right now? Texas Fury by Fern Michaels. I've read the first two books in the Texas series, but I'm just struggling to get through this one; usually I can't put a good book down, but this one's putting me to sleep every night.

8. Four words to describe myself. Well controlling would have to be first; then consciensious? modest, and average. Definitely average.

9. Guilty pleasure? Chocolate. Esp. Godiva Truffles. Santa brings them at Christmas in my stocking, and Hubby gets them for Valentine's day. I could eat the whole box at once (ok, maybe not) but I try to limit myself to one a day.

10. First spring thing to do? Did it today, scrubbed the porch furniture down so I can sit and enjoy while the kids frolick in the back yard! At least until Jason falls down or Sarah needs a push on the swing.

11. What do I look forward to? No more diapers, and being able to go on vacation 1) with the kids & not have to worry about naps and 2) without the kids because they are all big enough to not be too much for someone else to be burdened with while we get away. and someday having a kitchen bigger than 8 feet by 10 feet; and a real laundry room.

Now the game states I need to pass these questions on to others whose blogs I admire.

Staci at Playing House
Lisa at One Girlie Girl
Liz at Sugarplum Creations

Ok, I'm completely done in just from this one tag and I need to get to bed, so Catching up on Business Parts 2 and 3 will have to wait for sometime tomorrow (hopefully!).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yes I am insane - I took the four of them to Target.

I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, other than "oh, it's 90 degrees out and Jason could use some sandals; and Sarah and Evie too!" I've sent Jason out to play in the yard in bare feet the last two days because I'm lazy it's been so hot out, and I thought today would be a good opportunity to get sandals for him and the girls - we had a busy day yesterday with the yard sale and some school fun, but Hubby left this morning for a business trip & we had the day to ourselves. So after playing in the heat for a little bit this morning (yes, those were my kids looking retarded so cute in their roller skates holding their umbrellas), we had lunch and the little ones took HUMONGOUS naps - hooray! Evie and William amused themselves watching Lady and the Tramp (so cute!) while I finally got our taxes filed (hooray - I am SO glad that is off my plate for the year!)

So, the babies woke up, I grabbed snacks and sippy cups for them, and off we went to Sally Beauty Supply (how else do I fool everyone with my age, other than covering up all the gray hairs?) and Tar-jay. Sally Beauty was bad enough, they all chattered at me incessantly, Jason (whom I'm carrying as he's wearing no shoes - again, it's hot - and I'm lazy!) is grabbing everything in my hands, and Evie is bringing me every shade of fuscia hair color to ask if she can try it - God help me, she's only 7 and wants fuscia hair - oy! Meanwhile Sarah and William (partners in crime) are oohing and ahhing over everything. I made it out of there with about 1/2 of what I needed because I got so flustered by them, but the kind Sally girl told me how good they were and how bad some other people's kids behave in the store. Well I guess that counts for something, no?

Off to Tar-jay! I had 4 things on my list: method hand soap (love it!), a soft bristled brush to scrub my outdoor cushions with, a battery for the garage door opener, and sandals for the kids.

Grabbed the soap, then continued on to look for the scrub brush a few aisles away. On the way there William touched probably a thousand different things, and Sarah fell at least twice because she would lag behind and then run to catch up. We found the scrub brushes and while I'm fondling all of them looking for the softest bristle with the largest surface area, I'm not really paying attention to the fact that the plungers are arrayed on the shelf below. By the time I realize this, they (not including Jason, as he's in the cart) have stuck 10 or more plungers all over the aisle floor. And they can't figure out how to get them back off.

On to the batteries: while I'm trying to figure out which one I need, Sarah and William (partners in crime, I'm telling you!) are rifling through some display, and Evie's chatting incessantly asking when can William get a new camera? When can she get a video camera? Can she get a DS game? How much do DS games cost? and on and on.

On to the shoe department: this was probably the most aggravating part, trying to find shoes for 3 kids in 3 different sizes - Jason's fussing, William's exploring, Sarah's trying on every pair she can find, and Evie's bringing me what are essentially $17 flip-flops - not something she can wear to school, even though "Paige wears them all the time!" After probably 30 minutes of hunting, discarding, and trying (the little ones apparently have round balls for feet, they all seemed to for the first few years), I did manage to find sandals for the 3 I was shopping for. Sarah and Evie each have really cute gold gladiator sandals and Jason has a good pair of basic blue - with velcro, which I am sure he will rip off his feet at the first opportunity. He even tries to take my socks off when he has a chance.

We made our way up to the check out with much ado - I think Sarah fell at least 2 more times, and William once or twice - and finally paid for our stuff. I'm looking around making sure I have everyone with me (Evie and William had crawled underneath the basket at this point and were curled up on the little 'shelf' there - I thought they were the older ones?) when some damn kind lady suggested I get a walking rope for them - as if they would hold on to it.

So in the end I came home with: the hand soap, the scrub brush, a battery that does NOT open my garage door, sandals for the kids, monkey slippers for Evie (because you need slippers in 90 degree heat) and a green blanket for William (probably just because it's green; and he badgered me to death.) I don't think I will attempt this again for a very long time ever.

I am now finished venting, almost finished my wine, and ready to go watch Desperate Housewives on Tivo (no commercials!) while my dear Hubby is 8 hours and 45 minutes into his 13 hour and 45 minute flight to Japan en route to Guam and is somewhere over the ocean off of Alaska's coast. Godspeed Matt, I love you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crafty! - Pottery paintin' over spring break

Tuesday morning we picked up the pottery we painted over spring break, and I think they really turned out great! William was SOOOO (I can't emphasize that enough) excited to get his race car bank back; he kept asking how many days, is it today, how many more days, and on and on. He was really thrilled with how it turned out!

Evie's done this a few times before, so she knew what to do and her giraffe turned out great! The dog is from a birthday party she went to 2 weeks before.

I had never done this before, so I was a little unsure of how it would turn out, but I'm pretty happy with my sleeping bunny! Sleeping, because I didn't want to attempt to paint the eyes. Although Evie kindly offered to paint them for me :-)

All in all, it was a fun time spent with the bigger kids on a rainy afternoon - I definitely think we'll be doing it again. Time to run (literally) and try to pull everything together for the yard sale tomorrow morning (oy! every year I swear I will be more prepared when it rolls around!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's in your wallet piano?

We had the piano tuned yesterday morning for the first time in oh, 3 years maybe? It really needed it, plus D# was making a funny clanking noise. So I let Mr. Piano Tuner into the house, there's a little bit of small talk and then he gets to work. About 15 minutes later he comes around the corner with a handful of:

16 marbles, the pull-string and handle from a top, and a dart from the Nerf gun. I wondered where that big green marble had gotten to! We used to keep the Quadrilla Marble set that Santa brought for William in the room with the piano, and it came with 50 marbles, maybe more. (Best toy EVER, that one! He played with it for 3 months straight every day.) Anyway - there you have it. My piano is now toy free, clank free, and in tune. If only I had time for lessons :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Extreme Makeover - Me Edition

It's Wednesday - again! (where did the last week go??) - and that means it's Extreme Makeover - Me Edition over at Amber's! What a great way to get positive feedback and encouragement from lots of gals who are trying to accomplish the same thing I am - taking care of myself, and making it a priority to be healthy and exercise. If you'd like to join in on the fun, head over to {aefilkins} to get the scoop on how to participate!

My Progress For the Week

This week? Not so good - damn you, Cadbury Mini Eggs! My weight is actually UP (like 3 pounds up!) in spite of the fact that I worked out 6 days, including a 5 mile run, 4 mile run, and a couple days doing the FIRM. I just do not get it. I know I am building muscle, and the scale does say that the fat % is going down, but muscle also burns calories every day so you'd think the more you had, the more you'd burn. And seriously - it's not like I've been gorging on chocolate cake and mexican food (although I'd like to!) I know some of the weight is water retention (hands and feet are very sausage-y) but I'd REALLY LIKE TO KNOW WHERE THE TIPPING POINT IS - at what point does your metabolism kick and and fat burn?? So - here's me, disgusted with myself and my scale. I know that many of you participating in this are trying to lose more than my 5 (now 7!) piddly pounds, and I apologize if it sounds petty/whiney/bitchy/whatever. But I'm approaching that magical age of 4-0 in the not-too-far-off future, and I'd really like to get it off. I really thought training for this race next Saturday would do it. If anyone has any magical wisdom to share, I'd love to hear it!

Amber's Question of the Week

Share some of the music that you work out to. What helps you rock it!? What gets your blood pumpin?

I have to say, I don't listen to any! If I'm at home doing a DVD, I just listen to whatever they have to say; if I'm on the elliptical, I read (at least through most of it); and when running, I just tend to veg out or think or listen to the birds. It is SO noisy at the house CONSTANTLY, so I really just enjoy the quiet of the outside, or working through problems in my own head, or even just listening to myself breathe. Of course, all of this only once I've hit that 'groove' where I'm not gasping for breath up the first hill :-)

I tried running with my i-pod a few weeks ago and really just found it more distracting than anything else, I found it hard to find my pace so I just turned it off. Hubby thinks that's strange, but I say, whatever works for you!

So, this is my last week to train before the race, and (once again) I'm going to try to stick to my calories each day, drink more water and less coffee, oh - and floss! Need to be better about flossing, so says the dentist (and my own head). And now I must run and finish cleaning the upstairs so I can get on with getting ready for the yard sale this weekend (goodbye lots of baby things!)

Monday, April 20, 2009


On Sunday my bloggy friend Vivienne over at The V Spot passed me the Lemonade Stand award for my 'attitude of gratitude' - thank you Vivienne! I have to say, it made my Sunday to see my name on her list :-) My hubby would probably dispute the notion that I have a grateful attitude - unfortunately he bears the brunt of my crabbiness and you all see me filtered through the magic of the internet and my own editing, but in my mind I am truly grateful for all we've been blessed with.

I am grateful for my Handsome Hubby who really is a saint to put up with me a good bit of the time, and is a wonderful provider for me and our children. I am fortunate enough to stay at home with our kids, even though yes, there are days I'd like to run away! We have a lovely home and food on the table and clothes to wear and I realize we are very fortunate in all of this.

I am grateful for my health, my healthy & happy children, and that most of our family is pretty healthy as well. Nothing makes me realize how blessed we have been than reading the news or other's blogs to see what some people are living through on a daily basis, and I'm trying not to take any of it for granted.

I am also grateful for our wonderful friends and neighbors! They are all really terrific and fun, we really have a great time when we get together. They are always willing to pitch in and help if we need it, and we would do the same for them. If I can't live near my sisters, I'll take my neighbors in a heartbeat!

So - without further ado, I will pass this on:

The Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
  3. Link to your nominees within your post
  4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
  5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.
  6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude
My choices for this award, and I hope they are as excited as I was, are:

  1. Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings
  2. Connie at The Young and Relentless
  3. The Un-Organized Mom
  4. Liz at Sugarplum Creations
  5. Laurel at Ducks in a Row
  6. Debbie at Suburb Sanity
  7. Staci at Playing House
  8. Colleen at Martin Family Moments
I'm going to stop at 8 because Vivienne tagged most everyone else I would pass this along to, or they've recently received it from others, but each and every person on my list makes me laugh and smile with their posts -so - Happy Tuesday, I must run and get the kids off to school!

Friend Making Monday - Celebrity Crush Edition!

Happy Monday! It's Friend Making Monday, and this week Andrea is hostessing at My Chihuahua Bites - go see her for all the rules and to join in.

This week's question: Who are your top five celerity crushes?

This one was a little harder than I thought at first. I came up with the last three pretty quickly, but after a little pondering, I figured if I Googled them or looked them up on IMDB, there must be something there. SO: No Robert Pattison or George Clooney here, tell me what you think of my FIVE:

Christian Bale
He's Batman, he's a bit of a bad boy, he's really handsome!
I loved The Prestige which also featured:

Hugh Jackman
All that and an Australian accent too! (Sigh) His wife is a lucky lady.

Michael Biehn
He's probably my first celebrity 'crush', way back to the 1980's when he says to
Sarah Conner "Come with me if you want to live".

Nathan Fillion
From 2 Guys and a Girl, to Firefly, a brief stint on Desperate Housewives, and now on Castle - love this guy! He's the guy next door with a terrific sense of humor. What's better than that?

and finally -
James Marsters aka Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I discovered Buffy after my first child was born, surfing TV while nursing her at bedtime. I stumbled across reruns and got hooked. He's evil and funny and sarcastic, but saved the day at the end when it counted. You all can keep Edward, I'll take Spike any day!

Thanks for taking the time to see my picks! and don't forget to join in at Andrea's. Have a good one.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Thanks to Shawn, JennyKate and Vivienne, I've stumbled across a super-fun sounding idea at Dandelion Wishes! Who doesn't like to receive a package in the mail full of someone's favorite things that they want to share? I, personally, LOVE IT when the UPS man or our friendly postal worker brings a package for me - especially when it's a SURPRISE! For all the details, click on the link and do it FAST! She's only taking 100 rsvp's and if I'm lucky I will be #83.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spelunking! - well, sort of - not really...

The kids are on Spring Break this week and we've done a few fun things with them as a 'stay-cation', if you will. I was really itching to GO somewhere and leave the laundry and cooking and cleaning behind, but we decided it's just not practical yet with two diaper-wearing nappers. On Tuesday we went to a local 'Discovery' museum, out to lunch, and then I took Evie and William with me to paint pottery, which was so much fun! Of course, harried Mom that I am, we didn't bring the camera, so no pictures. I will post pics of the pottery next week when I pick them up after firing.

But yesterday (it finally stopped raining - YEAH!) we went to Luray Caverns! What a neat place - you walk a 1.25 mile path underground past all these AMAZING stalactite and stalagmite formations. I just cannot comprehend that someone discovered this hole in the ground in the 1870's and crawled in there with a candle to explore. Brave like that I am not. Anyway - you take an audio tour (everyone gets their own headset) through the place, and it's really just incredible to think that such a wonder is just sitting there underground for you to discover. The kids had a fantastic time. Here are some of the pictures we took, and visit their website if you'd like to know more! Oh, and the picture at the very bottom - the color is really weird, sorry, I took it through the van window - it's a photo of a single-wide un-mobile home with a roof built over it! I am not joking! Check it out.

Matt with Sarah (back-packed) in the hall of Giants

Me and the rest of the gang, hall of Giants

Me, dueling cameras with Matt

Fried eggs

Dream Lake - this was SO amazing!
The bottom is all a reflection in just a few inches of water

Sarah and Matt

Evie and William, listening to the tour

and finally - the (un)mobile home with a roof. Seriously.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crafty! - Not me, but the kids...

I've been wanting to do a 'gallery' of the kids' art ever since I saw some storage pictures frames in a catalog, and a couple of weeks ago I saw that Target carried them in their store. Hemming and hawing over the $25 price tag just so I have a frame with a pop-open door & storage in it (seemed like a bit much when I needed four of them), I was at Michaels one day and I picked up some 9x12 black wood frames for $9.99 each! Still not terribly cheap, but acceptable. I wanted 9x12 because that seems to be what all the pads of drawing and painting paper are. So - I threw paper and paint in front of the kids, told them to go to work, and I now have a terrific gallery filling the blank space over my sliding back door! I can admire it all the time, since I never seem to leave the 'great room (hah!)-kitchen' area of the house. Here's a picture of the 'gallery':

Here is Evie's (age 7) lovely flower that she painted a few weeks ago,
my inspiration for this project

Here is William's (age 5) 'boy cutting a sunflower with
scissors in the rain with a volcano in the background'

Here is Sarah's (age 2) purple dragon

and finally, Jason (17 months) -
he loves nothing more than to scribble with the big kids

I am one happy Momma! Thanks Matt, for hanging them all so perfectly :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Extreme Makeover - Me Edition

It's Wednesday again and that means it's Extreme Makeover - Me Edition over at Amber's! What a great way to get positive feedback and encouragement from lots of gals who are trying to accomplish the same thing I am - taking care of myself, and making it a priority to be healthy and exercise. If you'd like to join in on the fun, head over to {aefilkins} to get the scoop on how to participate!

My Progress For the Week

Last week I was actually doing pretty well. I haven't had a problem sticking to the exercise plan I'm following (training for a 10k race May 2nd), at least until yesterday. I think the late nights finally caught up with me; yesterday was supposed to be strength training and a 2 mile run; short story is, I got the run in (figured that was more important) but skipped the weights. and now I have guilt, because the little OCD devil in my head knows I missed it. I'm telling him to shut up :-)

Food-wise, that's a different story. Mr. Scale is weighing heavy this week (gravity maybe? no?) probably due to the salty ham, wine, and other yummies I've indulged in. It's spring break here this week so we're trying to do some fun things with the kids, so lunch yesterday was out of the house and I had a yummy Italian sub - Heaven! I love those things. So, just when I was starting to see some progress in the numbers, something comes along to give me a setback. Seems like it's ALWAYS SOMETHING, no?

Anway - the question of the week is:

What are you going to do this week to get yourself back on track?

I am going to STICK STICK STICK to watching what I put in my mouth this week! NO dipping into the kids' Easter baskets. Because once I taste one, well what's one more? or one more? so NO TASTING! and I think I'm going to skip my weekly doughnut at the grocery store today :-) because I don't need it. Might as well just sit on it, because that's where it will end up anyway. I must drink more water, and also get to bed earlier! I'm staying up way to late on the internet reading blogs :-)

So that's my story; hopefully next week I will be able to say I've lost a pound! That would be nice, since I've been at this for 6 weeks now. What's your story? I'd love to hear it, link up over at Amber's. Have a good one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friend Making Monday

It's Friend Making Monday at Kasey's, and I'm joining the fun this time around! I've been lurking for a while, but it's time to jump in. If you'd like to join in too, head over to Kasey's blog and get all the scoop.

This week's question is a good one, What is the best advice someone has ever given you?

Matt (my wonderful hubby) tells me this all the time, and it is such a hard one for me to do: JUST LET IT GO. I tend to obsess about things - big, medium, small, no matter how petty, I obsess about things that don't matter - encounters with strangers (the crabby store clerk, bad drivers, what have you); things the kids mess up around the house (dings in the furniture, nicks in the walls, the sofa and ottoman they have destroyed in six years); holidays that don't go according to my June Cleaver vision of them (such as Easter, as I posted yesterday!)

It's all little stuff that doesn't matter and I waste so much time and energy thinking about them, things I would do differently, instead of just accepting and moving on.

My Mom gave me a cross last Christmas with this saying on it: "God grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I have it hanging in my kitchen window and I look at it every day, every time I'm at the sink. I'm still working on it all sinking in :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It just never turns out like you pictured....

Well it's the end of the day, and all the kiddies are sleeping (ah!). Did your Easter turn out like you imagined? I sometimes feel like my life should have the song from Mad TV's Lowered Expectations playing in the background...

Our day started out around 6:30 when I heard the TV on downstairs. Guess what - the Easter Bunny did not get the eggs we'd colored yesterday morning hidden before Evie made it downstairs! Uh oh. Luckily, he'd filled their baskets and nibbled on the carrot Evie left out for him; phew. Of course, she did ask about it later; my intelligent response? oh, he must have forgotten to put the eggs out. Crap.

So the other 3 kids head downstairs and it's actually Sarah who notices their baskets and calls "Happy Easter everyone!" I love that girl! By the time I've made it downstairs, they've all been into their baskets and have mouth-fulls of candy. No pictures this year, because we're sucky parents. It's only 7am and the day's off to a banner start.

After a breakfast of cold cereal (I was going to make French Toast, but they wanted Cookie Crisp - who am I to argue?) the kids and hubby are all hanging out enjoying the morning while I jump in the shower. I've got the morning all planned; we're going to 'snack' the kids at 9:30-ish, get them dressed for church, take pictures BEFORE church so everyone's happy and awake, then have church/lunch/naps. HAH.

The snack went fine, but it takes A GREAT DEAL MORE TIME than you plan to get 4 kids ready for church on Easter Sunday! Jason hates to be changed so it's like wrestling a cat into a bag; William? who knows what he's doing; Sarah? she's fairly cooperative and likes to look pretty so she's easy; Evie just wants to goof off in her pigsty (I mean room) so she's always the last one downstairs (to be fair, I was trying to do something with her hair, but it just ended up down.) Matt, trooper that he is, was dealing with this while I dried my hair.

By now, it's 10:30 and I'm still drying my hair; Matt's trying to take pictures of the 3 little ones (they all looked miserable so I'm not sharing!) and then hustle everyone into the car; my visions of getting all 6 of us in a picture (using a tripod, no less) are down the drain. However, we did make it to church in plenty of time to get a seat and 'recover' before the service began.

The one comment that stands out in my mind from the sermon was this: "Jesus loved children; he didn't view them as amusing at best, or an annoyance at worst; he truly loved them for who they are". I really tried to take that to heart. And then we went home.

Jason was all but asleep in the car on the ride home (we live 5 minutes from church) and I was really debating what to do with him; I wanted a picture of all of us together, but figured he was down for the count. But he perked up when we got home, so we decided to go for it. Of course, it's now noon in April and it's chilly out, so we end up doing our default 'pictures on the steps by the front door' because the light is best there and the rest of the house is not fit for viewing (well, it just looks crappy as a background for a picture. anyway.) We try a few combinations of shots, and here's the best for your viewing pleasure:
You can't tell I want to chew nails, can you?! Ha ha! No, Matt is not in any of these photos because we didn't want to waste time with the tripod, we figured we'd get a shot of me and him later while they had lunch (never happened). So. We get the little ones lunch (with much screaming from Sarah that "she wants CANDY!") and finally off to a nap. Matt puts on golf and I get ready to run 3 miles (I'd run 10 if I could to get out of the house for a little while!).

William decides he'd like to come with me on his scooter, like he did last week, and so begins my 2 miles of interval training: me racing after him as he zooms away only to come to a complete stop so he can pick a dandelion. Then racing off again, and stopping because something is in his eye. And then racing off again, until he falls. It was a slow 2 miles. So I leave him at the house and continue on for my last mile, which turns into resistance training as I am running into a 15 MPH wind. No wonder I'm tired now.

If you're still with me at the this point in my long-winded post (I haven't posted since Thursday, it's all pent-up - sorry!), I'll just say that we managed to have dinner without too much incident, and then went to my wonderful neighbor's house for an egg hunt and dessert, which was so so nice! And then we came home and I promptly dumped milk all over the floor.

I was planning on having this lovely post about Easter, and all the bloggers I've found who are inspiring me to ask myself some hard questions about my faith, and here I am bitching about my life on one of the most wonderful religious holidays of the year. Because it's hard to be a Mom (or Dad!) to four young kids when you don't have any family nearby to share the joy and pain with you on a daily basis, and pitch in on occasion if need be. It's hard to adjust the ideal you have in your head of how things should be to the reality of your life as it is right now, and just take it as it comes and enjoy it. But I'm trying. And I'm really glad it's spring and my peach tree is flowering - in 2 years it will bear fruit, and everyone will be a little older, and things will be easier in some ways, and I'm sure harder in others. I hope you had a Happy Easter. I think I did.

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