Friday, January 29, 2010

Word of Mouth

William. My oldest boy. My life's work.

William is the one we worry about. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can cry at the drop of a hat.

If he gets a minor injury, you'd think a limb has come off, from all the noise he makes.

He's stubborn. And smart, in that left-brained engineer way. Ask him to put his socks on and he'll look at you and say 'socks'? I've never seen a person slower at doing much of anything. You can't hurry William along.

Matt went down to our church this morning and ran into the director of the preschool - one of her relatives works at William's elementary school. Barbara hears William stories almost every day.

His teachers LOVE him.

His Sunday school teacher LOVES him!

Which, I'm not sure exactly why, makes us scratch our heads. I can't tell you how many times we've said, 'that boy'! or 'What are we going to do with him?' Make no mistake, we love him to death. He is so amazingly good at playing with Sarah and Jason, and it absolutely breaks his heart when Evie wants some alone time and won't let him into her room. But he's not an easy-going sort, and not always easy to live with.

I'm so relieved to see that his first year out in 'the world' is going so well and he's well thought of - because I worried. (We always worry, don't we? I guess that's part of the job). In my mind it could so easily have turned out differently :)

One night this past year he told me, 'Mom, my heart loves your heart'. I melted. Mine too, buddy - mine, too.

When I was pulling the William pictures off my phone I saw Fan Boy and Chum Chum.
For your viewing pleasure.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Harried Happenings and a Winner

What to say? It's been a crazy week here at Harried Mom's house. The school-aged two were off Monday and Tuesday for MLK and a teacher work day, and then William greeted us at 3:30 am Wednesday with a stomach bug. There was no school on Friday due to a 'sleet' day (don't ask, it's ridiculous) so let's see - Evie went to school 2 days last week and the rest of the time we were all home. Have I mentioned that I'm really not a people person?

Anyway! We did manage to fit some fun things in. I badgered Matt into taking the big kids snow tubing on Monday (key word badgered. srsly. just ask him.)

Tuesday I was apparently the only parent at Chick Fil A interested in actually supervising their children in the play area - everyone else just shooed their kids off behind the sound proof glass wall, for me to watch I suppose. Um, I have enough of my own to watch, thank you very much.

Saturday afternoon Evie and I had a little Mommy/Daughter time with the Girl Scouts, her troop sponsored a book swap and they had some terrific crafts to do as well as collecting books to donate to the local library. I think it was a hit!

Evie and Katie concentrating hard on a word search

Bookmark making

The smallest cookbook ever made

Swapping. Each girl brought 5, chose 3 and the rest were donated.

And finally, Saturday evening Matt and I were able to escape the confines of our house and hit the slopes. I hadn't been skiing in 11 years - WAY to long - but apparently it's like riding a bike, you don't forget how. I'd forgotten how much fun it is - although I did wipe out 3 times, and the one - I cracked my head so hard. Not funny. But not bad enough to keep me from trying again. And totally wiping out, again. Oh well :)

Just one of the most unflattering pictures of me ever. But Matt looks nice, and we're together :)

I'm not the only one whose head hit the snow (or ice as the case may be). Matt has decided that being 40 is absolutely no reason not to try new things, and he tried snowboarding for the first time Saturday night. Apparently it is much harder than it looks! And he now has a new-found respect for boarders.



Fall. For the first of many times. Better his hind end than mine.

But he's still smiling!

In my mind, why anyone would want both feet strapped to a board with no hope of release, I have no idea - but he's going to try it again & give it a fair shot. Some people out there make it look so easy! But I guess that could be said for anything. Hopefully (babysitter and weather willing) we'll try it again this weekend, with some friends along for the ride this time. Stay tuned....
Now for the fun stuff - who won the fantabulous giveaway?????

Here's the details - I have 106 followers, there were 30 comments from unique individuals, and 1 person mentioned the giveaway for an extra entry, giving us a total of 137. According to, the winning random number was 103 - so.....

Congratulations to Michelle from Somerset Cottage!

Thank you to everyone, I loved every single one of your comments and wish I could send something to all of you. I truly appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read my scribbles, and laugh or maybe commiserate with me; I often find myself talking about my 'blog friends' with my real friends, and I don't know that they always 'get' it. But in my mind you are my friends, and I'm grateful for you! Have a GREAT week!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Blog-iversary!

I can't believe it's been a year already, but sure enough - 1 year ago today I started my little blog project. When I decided to write a blog, it was going to be sort of a 'keeping it real, this is what life is really like with four kids' type of thing. I had started reading The Hyper Homemaker, and fell in love with Kate's decorating, recipes and cleaning tips. And also got frustrated by the fact that her house was always neat as a pin and she was seemingly able to whip up some delicious appetizer out of what was just hanging out in her kitchen when friends popped by. Or, at least that's the way it appeared on her blog (now defunct - I think she got a book deal; her food blog is still up, Good Things Catered.)

Matt was actually the one who suggested I start one, and after a little stewing (what on earth would I write about?) I did. Little did I know just HOW MANY other blogs there are out there, all doing a similar thing. I was so absolutely excited when I got my first comment- I think from my sister. And then my first follower (how they found me, I'll never know!) And it just sort of spiraled up from there.

My blog is my scrapbook and journal, and an outlet for me to share the joys and frustrations of being an at-home mom with others. I am so grateful for every comment left here, and I'm tickled every time a friend or family member mentions that they read it. Really, it means a lot.

So! To show my appreciation I have a little giveaway here, just a few things I've picked up:

We have January's issue of Real Simple, The Green Book (handy 'green' living tips), a box of my favorite chocolate chip cookies, a vanilla scented Valentine's Day candle, and some kitchen towels to match - these I couldn't resist, look at the embroidery :) Oh, and the obligatory Starbucks gift card. $5, get yourself a latte on me.

So what do you need to do to win? Because nothing good comes without just a little effort, right? This will be easy, just leave me a comment below for one entry. Followers also get one entry. Blog about it and let me know for another one (no tweeting, please). So that's it! 3 chances to win. I'm going to take comments until Sunday evening, let's say 9pm EST, and I'll announce the winner Monday morning. Thank you for stopping by, and good luck!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My mile long list

I'm a list maker and a planner by nature. I tend to get very tense and overwhelmed if I have all these things spinning around in my head, and feel SO much better if I get them written down somewhere. Shopping lists, chores, projects, all of it. Things don't always get crossed off and priorities are always changing, but if it's written down it doesn't get forgotten until it's either crossed off, or removed from the list for one reason or another.

I wrote down all my to-do's the other day and oh my word it's a doozie. On top of the day-to-day running of a house (ie: cooking/cleaning (ha! that's maybe every 2 weeks)/ childcare/child chauffeuring/ homework management/bill payment/laundry/gosh this seems never ending!) there are the other things I want to do/need to attend to. Here goes:

Small stand-alone projects:
  • Finish Jason's cross-stitch from when he was born
  • Finish the recipe project I started last spring (need info off the crashed hard drive first)
  • Finish the collage project I started last spring (again, it's on the hard drive)
  • Make the aprons I bought fabric for last spring after seeing it on Laurel's blog
  • Make my Family Rules canvas that I saw on Jen's blog
  • Remake my Old Navy top like I saw on Jen's blog (clearly I need to stop reading her blog lol!)
  • Deal with the mending/hemming pile next to my sewing machine
  • Order glass for my craft table and Evie's desk (this should be easy to cross off, if I ever get around to it!)
Bigger tasks:
  • Do our 2009 taxes
  • Have a yard sale or otherwise dispose of all this baby stuff we've outgrown
  • Paint/fix up the hall bathroom
Major projects:
  • Redoing the master bathroom. Matt's pretty much in charge of this one; I have ideas in my head of what I want, but the timetable is all up to him.
  • Paint Evie's room. Oh. My. Word. This REALLY needs to be done, and her carpet needs to be re-stretched. I am not looking forward to hauling out everything in her room in order to accomplish this. The girl is a pack-rat. We're hanging shelves and giving her a corkboard so she stops taping things to the walls.
Notice the stenciled dinosaur border :)

  • Fix up the basement. This is actually more like several projects. The stairway could use some 'interest'; the playroom walls are empty (with the notable exception of Puzzle Edward) and the couch and ottoman we bought when Evie was a baby has pretty much been destroyed by my children. I'm going to attempt to reupholster it, unless someone talks me out of it.
Recognize this plaid? Seems like it was everywhere for awhile.

Never buy a couch with the back cushions attached.

At least I can look at Puzzle Edward while I work on the couch :)

So that's it. Think I can get it all done this year? and find time to blog about all of it? Maybe if I stop sleeping, but I don't think there's enough coffee in the world for all of that :)

How does your list compare?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I'm a pear. Supposedly that's good, as (according to this) the fat around my hips and behind contributing to my pear shape will mop up lots of bad-for-my-heart things circulating around in my blood. Unfortunately, fat gathered around the hips and behind is that much harder to get rid of. The article spouts some nonsense of why this slow-burning fat is a good thing, but whatever.

Because I'm a pear, the 5 pounds I gained due to my month long holiday cookie/sweet fest is all now behind me. Literally. And my goal of losing the last 5 pounds is now back up to January's 2009's 10. (sigh). It's a vicious cycle. And in the words of the inimitable Jenny Mac, 'the ass will not lose itself'. Much to our dismay.

So I'm shredding, and today since the weather was finally warm(-ish) and sunny I ran 3 miles for the first time in two months. So nice to get outside and enjoy the silence in my own head! So difficult because I haven't done it since November!

I read something the other day that really struck me as sensible, food-wise: rather than focus on a 'diet' and the things you shouldn't be eating, focus on making sure you're getting all the healthy foods you should every day. It was kind of an 'a-ha' for me - sure, my bowl of soup and a sandwich for lunch may be low calorie, but it's chock full of sodium & other stuff and I'd do better eating a salad with some sort of protein. This goes along with the 'eat more plants, not food made in plants' blurb that I saw floating around the internet the other day.

We'll see how it goes - there aren't too many holidays coming up to throw me off track, and I've already asked Matt not to get me the BIG box of Godiva truffles for Valentine's day! Instead of getting a sitter & going out to dinner for date night, we're going to go skiing instead - I cannot wait! It's been 11 years since I've strapped boards to my feet and I'm so excited to do it again. Stay tuned for pictures at some point!

In other news, we've been spending a lot of time in the bathroom with the toddlers this week, making progress. Sarah is wanting to take swimming lessons (Evie and William started winter lessons last week) & I've told her once she's out of diapers we'll do it. She REALLY wants to get in that pool, and is coming along potty-wise. And Jason? Little Buddy totally gets it! He's doing terrific! I may get them both out of diapers at the same time! Pray for me. Srsly.

And while I have your attention, my 1 year blogoversary is coming up on January 21st. Where did the time go?! I'm trying to put together a little giveaway, so make sure you stop by next week & check it out.

I hope you all are having a great week and enjoy the long weekend coming up :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Potty Talk

Diapers - one of the last vestiges of babyhood to be left behind. We're done with cribs. We're done with 'baby' toys. Jason still uses a tray, but that's mainly because he's not big enough to reach the table yet in his seat. Bibs are used only occasionally now, depending on the meal. I've taken the gate down at the top of the stairs, keeping it close by only to contain Sarah and Jason when I need to keep them up there with me. What I'd REALLY like to see go are the diapers. Pull-ups. Whatever. (Baby wipes, I love you, I will always keep you around, you with your magic stain-removing powers!) We have been buying diapers for over 8 years now, and I'd really like to be done with that.

Evie was pretty easy, once she got it in her mind to do it. She showed zero interest in the potty until 2 months before her 3rd birthday, and then when she made up her mind it was done in 3 weeks.

William took a bit longer (which is the biggest understatement of the year.) I don't think William showed any interest EVER. From shortly before his 3rd birthday until he was 4 & started preschool we struggled with him. He knew what to do, he just didn't want to do it & he always seemed surprised when he'd have an accident. I won't share with you those horrors, those are just for me.

We're working on the potty again with Sarah. She wasn't really interested (at all) this past fall & with the birthdays/holidays/fall craziness, we decided to give it a rest until the new year. The new year's here, and she's still not interested. WHY kids are just fine walking around in a soggy bag I will never get. I hear stories & witness friends' kids graduating to underwear at 2-1/2 & think surely I'm not doing something right. Are you supposed to really push it when they're fighting you every inch of the way?

So we've been working with Sarah; sometimes she cooperates, sometimes not; Matt is much better at getting her to try than I am, probably because she is more like me than either of us realized until just recently - you want to watch a contest of wills, come visit my house & watch me do battle with Sarah :) She's gotten herself to the bathroom twice this past week on her own, so progress is slow. One happy benefit of all this, though, is Jason.

Jason is doing AWESOME. If you remember, he turned 2 in November. Jason is my proof that my first three ARE different from other kids, and it's not ME, it's THEM. Hah! Jason's very much interested in the potty, and he's doing a great job with the whole process. Matt will tell you that's because Jason is the most like him. Probably :) Anyway, I'm hopeful that at least he will be done with diapers by his 3rd birthday, at which point Sarah will be 4; surely she will be done with them by then too! It would be heaven if they could both be finished by the summer, but I'm not getting my hopes up - day by day here. So my hiney-wiping sentence will hopefully be up within the next 10-1/2 months - ok who am I kidding, the wiping goes on long after the diapers are gone - but you get the idea. Then I can allocate that $80 a month towards preschool :)

And since it doesn't feel like a blog post without a picture, here's a flashback photo for you that my dad sent me - he's been scanning old pictures & slides & this one really struck me (and not just because of our hideous haircuts, thank you very much, Mom!) This is a photo of me and my sisters from the summer of 1976 at our grandparents' beach house. I'm 6 years old; NOW tell me which child of mine most resembles me??!

If you can't tell, I'm the one on the left :)

Have a great week! Harried Mom out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Balancing Act

Stormy weather here at the house of Harried Mom, mainly related to me. Things should be good, the kids are back in school; the Christmas tree and decor are down and away until next year; this should be a time of renewal, a fresh start to get it all right. Why do I feel so overwhelmed by things to do?
The house really needs a good cleaning, and here it is late Thursday morning and I haven't done a thing yet. (Well, I did get the kids out to play at the Rec center for an hour, so that's something!) Nor do I really much feel like it - my hands are already chapped and raw as it is, and cleaning with a 2 and 3 year old isn't much fun on a good day, let alone with a moody Sarah.

The to-do list is a mile long, as well as the 'want to-do's'; it seems the 'wants' never get their turn as a priority. I'm struggling to find the balance between the two, as well as fit in exercise (who knew it would be so hard to find 25 minutes a day?) blogging (clearly a must do!) and don't get me started on Puzzle Edward. He is Evil. And really? He is a perfect example of my lack of balance. I've been neglecting lots of other things while trying to finish the darn thing.

I'm seriously thinking of applying for a part-time job at Borders. It's like Mommy Heaven in there. Rarely any kids, it's peaceful, quiet and soothing. They have pretty little things, and books, and coffee - my own personal Nirvana. The way I figure it, that should give me enough cash to hire someone to clean my house for me, and maybe have a little pocket money on the side. You know, to help cover diapers (since Sarah apparently wants to wear them forever) and clothes (since William is growing inches overnight).

Trying to find your balance is hard. Ask William, who's face met the ice on Saturday. He looked like a Klingon. Or as if he had a 2nd nose (poor boy). The trick, I guess, is when you fall, get back up and try again. And maybe wear a helmet next time.

I suppose life with four kids isn't always going to be gingerbread houses and sweetness, but I never imagined it would be this stressful. So many little people with their own personalities, ideas, needs, and wants. I keep expecting them to be little adults and get frustrated when they act like kids. Adjusting my expectations and practicing patience will be my challenge for the year ahead (yet again!)

So out with the old - piles and piles of outgrown clothes, baby toys and furnishings we no longer need - and in with the new - our 8 year old house is showing the wear and tear of 4 small people, and the touch-up paint is GONE. (It's not crazy to want to repaint with the same/a similar color, right?) I'm also hoping to harass Matt into getting started on our bathroom this winter - we desperately need a storage cabinet, and the shower drain freezes in cold windy weather; after 8 years, we'd like to just fix it already.

If only fixing up the house were as easy as decorating gingerbread.

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