Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crazy Crazy Weekend and Lots of Party Updates

Wow! What a crazy weekend. The rest of the cleaning went very well. However, after getting the cleaning done, things have been crazy. We spent a very very quick trip to the ER after cleaning was over. As you know, our daughter is 10-years-old. My DH was showing her and her best friend who was sleeping over how to play golf. He did have a discussion with them about safety and making sure that you are always away from someone's swing. Needless to say, he walked away for one moment and an accident happened. Phoebe got hit accidentally. The funny thing is at first I was relieved, as when we heard the scream and the girls run in, I thought it was her best friend. Is it odd that I was relieved that it wasn't? I know DH felt the same way. You never want to tell someone their kid visiting your house needs emergency attention. But then we needed to quickly assess where all the blood was coming from and to get it to stop if possible. It did stop bleeding. It was a small cut on her forehead, but we weren't sure if she needed stitches. The ER of the best hospital in Delaware (which is really close to us) got us in and out very quickly and with glue and not stitches. We realized as we were in the waiting room we weren't going to have time to bake the cake with this trip and everything, so we called in the reserves, aka MIL and asked her if she could whip together an Elmo cake which she did with one of my SILs and niece. They also made Elmo faces on top of cupcakes. The boys loved them.

Sunday the party went very well, but I knew Liam was a little cranky and not his usual self. He did wake up the night after at 2:30 AM with a fever of 103F and pulling at his ears. We called the doctor in the morning and she gave a script for an antibiotic knowing it was a holiday and she'd see us the next day for their 2 year checkup. We had their 2 year checkup today although we only did Tommy's physical knowing Liam wasn't feeling well, and both their shots were put off to next Monday, since Liam still woke up with a fever of 102F. It turns out his ears aren't infected, but his tonsils and adenoids were inflamed. Then we were off to the ENT in the afternoon (ear, nose and throat doctor), for DH and both boys. The doctor decided not to give Tommy tubes yet due to this is not the time of year for getting ear infections and he doesn't have one right now. I appreciated it too, as it will make letting Tommy swim in the pool that much easier. They checked Liam out as well and yes, his ears do have some fluid that's not infected, but they can't say that it's not from the rest of whatever illness is going on right now. So they are both going back in six weeks for a hearing and fluid check.

But enough of that, I'm sure you'd be interested in seeing some of the pictures of the birthday party.

Tommy waking up as a 2-year-old!

Liam still asleep. I think he was starting to feel sick on Sunday.

Tommy with his Daddy and the other thing he loves more than anything, balls!

Liam woke up later and he wasn't much in the mood to eat, so later when he asked for apples with words, which I also now have on video, I had to give him an apple and stand next to him while he sat on a stool instead of his high chair.

Then they were all dressed and had an early lunch type snack so they could have an early nap to be ready for party guests. Here they are together!

Look at this adorable photo of Liam. I think he looks so loveable in this one.

Here's the cakes and cupcakes. They were so excited to see their favorite TV character on their cakes!

We let them each have their own candle to blow out. I explained how to blow it out to them, and Tommy blew his out. What a smart kid! And Liam loved everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to them. It made him smile.

And the boys ate cake. Tommy looks like he's going to unhinge his jaw eating the cake.

Here's Phoebe and I helping the boys open their gifts.

The boys got tricycles and helmets from us. Tommy is getting the hang of the pedals. Liam is still working on it.

The boys also had lots of fun on their birthday splashing in the wading pool on the back deck. Here's Tommy and then Liam enjoying the water.

Hope everyone else had a good Memorial Day weekend for those of us in the States or just a plain old good weekend elsewhere!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cleaning Time!

9:10 AM
I am about to clean this house from top to bottom! Let's see how much I can get done in the next two hours!

1:20 PM
The upstairs is cleaned and I straightened up the garage. What's taking so long of course is the boys. DH is outside mulching. They spent some time out there helping Daddy and got so dirty we cleaned out the wading pool and put them in it to rinse them off. They will still need a good bath tonight.

I'm taking a break before I tackle the downstairs. This is definitely a Crisis Cleaning, but it's OK. We've all had such a busy week, I haven't had time to walk around in the evening putting everyone's stuff back where it belongs. Everyone in this house (other than me of course) has a habit of just leaving things where ever they put them and then no one can find anything later, LOL. I'm taking a break with some coffee and I'll catch up on some blog reading and then finish this job!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Progress Not Perfection

I definitely need to update my blog more often. Things just get so busy and I'm trying to make progress on things in our life. I've started searching out some blogs that talk about Flylady as well as organizing and motivation to keep me going. And I'm trying not to fuss with myself if things aren't going as planned.

Some things I've been getting very good at - last week I exercised 5 days in the week, and this week I have exercised Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - I've also been using a three section notebook to write down daily tasks and longer-term goals. I need to get better at referring to it once I'm home after work, but it's getting better. The downside is my weight has been stable and I still feel bloated in my stomach sometimes. This is odd for me, as I'm used to gaining weight in my hips and not having it show up on my stomach. This might be what being over 40 is like, LOL. And then last night I had a bladder infection hit me all of a sudden. I was fine all day and then I go workout, felt like I had to use the bathroom the whole time when I was done and I did, "Ow!" and then I knew. I called the doctor and got an antibiotic called into the pharmacy, which was great. Everything was taken care of so quickly, but it derailed any progress as I wasn't feeling good the rest of the night. I'm trying to remind myself this is OK and life happens.

The boys' second birthday is this Sunday. We're having a party at home with just family and a few friends. I'm really looking forward to it. I find it funny though when DH and I have the same thoughts at the same time. Yesterday morning, I was thinking to myself, "I wonder if we have time to weed the flower beds and put down some mulch before the party?" and then DH asks me last night if we want to do that as well, so I'm trying to get an order in for mulch to be delivered by tomorrow, although if they want to drop it off today, that would be great! We'll clean the house really good on Saturday, get the front yard looking really nice and then bake the cake Saturday afternoon/evening. Woo hoo!

The boys are getting tricycles and helmets for their birthday!!! I hope they like them. We have a nice long, flat driveway, so there lots of opportunity for them to ride their tricycles. Now we need to get on cleaning out and organizing the garage, so we can find things and have easy storage of the tricycles. I don't like things left outside in the driveway at night.

I'll let you all know how things are going, moving forward and I'll find time to post some pics of the outside of the house and the vegetable garden, which is coming along very nicely.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan - Week of 5/23/2011

Here's this week's dinner plan.

Tuna salad sandwiches (with lettuce & tomato), pickles and baby carrots on the side

Turkey Burgers, grilled zucchini, grilled pineapple, quinoa salad w/figs and walnuts from previous post

Steamed shrimp, home-made sweet potato fries, roasted califlower with romano cheese (the kids love this veggie dish!)

Breakfast for Dinner - buttermilk pancakes (I'm going to try the receipe Gwyneth Paltrow has in Self magazine this past month), bacon or scrapple, fresh fruit

Home-made pizza, salad

Saturday - Not sure, maybe leftovers, as we'll be gearing up for the party the next day.

Saturday - The Boys' Two-Year Birthday Party!!!!
Grilled marinated chicken
possibly some hot dogs
Grilled corn on the cob
Potato salad
Regular salad
Elmo cake and ice cream

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Updated: Falafel Pita Sandwiches and Quinoa Salad with Figs and Walnuts

As requested, this is how we eat falafel pita sandwiches in our house. First we make a yogurt-garlic-dill spread the day before or that morning. The recipe is as follows:

1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 minced garlic cloves
chopped up dill to taste
pepper to taste

We usually use regular pita bread and cut them in half for the sandwich pocket, but I think next time we'll try the pocketless pita bread and just fold it over for the sandwich.

You take the bread, spread the yogurt-garlic-dill dip on it, we like to cut the falafel in half before we put that on the sandwich and then also fill with alfalfa sprouts, mixed greens and/or sliced cucumber. Yum!

Updated: I missed some things the first time I typed up this recipe. This is why I never cook without a recipe. I forget ingredients too easily. We usually serve this with hummus with pita and carrots to dip and a quinoa salad or couscous to go with it. The quinoa salad I made was made the following:

1 1/2 cup quinoa uncooked
12 dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup chick peas
4 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
juice from 1 fresh orange
3 Tbs olive oil
few dashes of rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa as directed. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the figs, walnuts, carrots and celery and put in a bowl. Add the chick peas. In a separate bowl, mix the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper as your dressing. When the quinoa is cooked, mix the quinoa with the fig, walnut, veggie mixture and dressing. Serve warm or cold. This does taste great the next day, so you can make this ahead of time if you wish.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan - Week of 5/16/2011

Meant to post this yesterday, but this is what we're eating at our house this week for dinner!

Falafel pita sandwiches w/garlicky yogurt dill dip, alfalfa sprouts, greens and cucumbers. Also some leftover quinoa salad. It's a new recipe I need to post. It has figs, walnuts, red peppers, celery and carrots in it. Yum! And hummus with pita chips

Hot dogs, sweet potato fries and roasted brocolli

Grilled rosemary shrimp kabobs, brown rice, steamed carrots

Turkey Picadillo (from Leanne Ely's Low Carb Saving Dinner book), mashed faux-tay-toes, steamed brussel sprouts with sauteed mushrooms

Homemade pizza and salad

Saturday - going to Scottish festival. Not sure if we'll just have dinner there yet.

Sunday - TBD. Possibly a barbeque menu if the weather is nice for grilling. Maybe invite some friends over if we're in the mood to cook for a big group.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Family Portraits!!!

We had our first family portrait done ever at the end of May. Our Church is doing them for their family directory and Tom did a great job scheduling our time for a Saturday morning at 10:30. The boys had breakfast, didn't need lunch yet and they don't want to nap until after lunch. Everything worked out great.

Here's the one the church is going to have in their directory:

Here is the one that we got a big copy and had them frame it. It's already hanging up in the hallway and we're so happy with how it turned out.

We also got an 8x10 of this and it's on a buffet table in our foyer. I think we look pretty good, like a toothpaste ad. I don't think we look this good in real life.

They tried to take some pics of just the kids at the end, but Liam was having nothing to do with it. Here's the best one of those, but we decided not to get any prints of these.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gratitude - The Word of the Day

Gratitude is the word of the day. I've been thinking about having gratitude as I was listening to the Morning Coach podcast this morning and it was an older one talking about that topic and how having gratitude can really turn your perspective around. I think gratitude is what gets me through tough times. I'm grateful to be smart that when work issues or home issues come up that I know I'm smart enough to be able to deal with it. With both work and home, I am grateful to work and live with such awesome people that get things done and are supportive and helpful. And I'm grateful to go home to people who all love each other unconditionally. I am blessed with some really really good friends who would do anything for each other as well as forgive each other for our faults, LOL. So lots of things are stressful right now, but I'm just so blessed and happy because I have such gratitude for who I have in my life and the mental faculties I've been blessed with to get me through those tough times.

Now if I could only have some gratitude for the physical being I've been given and honor it with more exercise, LOL.

How do you feel gratitude gets you through your life? What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping the Momentum

I'm very proud of my progress this week. Both yesterday and today I've woken up earlier than usual and worked out on the elliptical machine. I got a bunch of herbs planted this week and I've fertilized the garden. I've been drinking lots of water. I've been keeping lists of things I want to do in the evening and I've been getting a lot of them done, which is so much better than having no plan and getting nothing done. I'm working hard not to burn out by not taking any rest time, so I've been trying to catch up on other blogs and find some new ones. I've been eating healthy and trying to do little things to keep the house tidy, even though work is stressful. I think it's one of those things I'm realizing is that even if work is stressful, it's relaxing if I haven't let the house go to hell in a hand basket.

Right now, I want to go clean out my fridge, put together a menu plan and decide some new recipes to try over the next week. After Phoebe gets home from school, I need to take her to CYFF and then I'm going to run some errands with the boys. I think we'll have fun. And breakfast for dinner tonight! - veggie omelets and home fries from leftover roasted potatoes we had earlier this week.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Point to Point - Winterthur 2011

We had a great day on Mother's Day and Phoebe had lots of fun taking pictures during our full day outing at Winterthur's annual Point to Point steeplechase horse races. It's a day to dress up, wear fancy hats, drink wine, eat cheese and crackers, see the fabulous sights, let your kids run wild in the open fields and eventually watch some horses race. Here's some great pics Phoebe took during the day.

I love this sweet picture she took of Liam!

One of the hat sellers in case you couldn't find one before the day:

The boys took pony rides with Daddy walking next to them. Here's Tommy who really enjoyed the ride a lot! We couldn't get a good photo of Liam on the pony.

Here we are walking around with the boys in their stroller. My chardonnay is in the orange cup and DH's ice water is in the blue. Must have plastic wine glasses when tailgating with wine.

Here's my sister-in-law, the kids Aunt Niki and her boyfriend Chris. Don't they look smashing!

I found a new hat that perfectly matched my dress. Bright pink is my favorite color, so this will be perfect for all summer, especially at the beach! I love this pic as you can see Tom with the stroller reflecting in my sunglasses along with all the tents.

Here's some pics of the races:

Here's a pic of our dear photographer of all the other photos, Phoebe. She had just had her face painted and a French braid put in the side of her hair.

She took a sweet pic of this gorgeous horse's face:

Look at this over-achiever jumper!

And to sum it all up, this is my favorite pic of me and the boys as they ran in the grass that day (yes, Niki is in the background too texting on her phone, LOL).

Still Getting Back on Track

So I'm still working on getting things done and keeping my motivation up. Last night I had to do the bills, which I was a little behind on, but not late on anything. As my daughter likes to say when I say we're running late for an appointment, "Oh Mom, that just means we're right on time." She knows I like to be early for things, so it's funny to see that she notices that. I'm going to keep trying with my Flylady routines, especially trying to get rid of perfectionism. I think that's why I get down on myself sometimes is because I expect that I can do more than I am, which I know is because of perfectionism. Not that I want to be perfect. I tell myself I don't want to be and work so hard to "go with the flow" more than I used to and it's working great. But every once in awhile I get mad with myself because I wish I could have the energy to workout more, be not behind on balancing the checkbook, my house was cleaner, etc. But I know reality. I'm a work out of the home mom to three: two crazy toddlers and one hormonal-ridden 10-year-old daughter who's handling puberty awesomely.

So I'm psyched that the checkbook is balanced again, I cleaned the Braille writing on the refrigerator handles (It's a joke we have in our house of how dirty those get), and all the clothes are currently put away and not in baskets. I'm doing some interviews for contractors at work today and tonight I will be planting more herbs, putting together a menu plan, working out, doing my weekly home blessing at home and downloading some pics from our Mother's Day outing at Point to Point, which is a fancy steeplechase race held once a year near us in Delaware.

BTW, I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but one of the ways I stay motivated is my listening to the podcasts for MorningCoach while I'm driving to and from work every day. Their free Monday podcast is on iTunes and that's all I get right now. I'm still working on their historical podcasts. Maybe someday I will sign up for a membership.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Getting Back to the Joys in My Life

I always have so much to say, but then when I sit down to write, it all leaves my brain. I know I can't tell you all the funny jokes Phoebe has been making about puberty. She cracks me up. She's in the middle of it all right now. Some milestones down, others yet to go. She laughs at it all and is loving every minute of it. She grew 2 inches in 2 months. Back in February she was 4 feet 9 inches. In April we measured her at 4 feet 11 inches! She's tested for her first levels in the US Figure Skating Association, she just had a chorus concert, today is the puberty video at school and in two weeks they have their class trip to the zoo.

I forget about all the funny things about the boys. Tommy was just diagnosed with his fifth ear infection since November. He had an ear infection in all of the following months: November, December, January, March and now May. He's got a consult scheduled with my husband's ENT doctor and he'll probably get tubes in his ears over the summer. Phoebe was 18 months when she had tubes put in and she only needed one set ever. We'll see how Tommy does at two years old with tubes. It doesn't slow down his speech though. He says things like "open" "up" "down" "more" (while signing it too!) "splashy splashy" (that one cracks me up) and lots of other things. Liam is getting better at talking. Some of his words sound a bit garbled. Blankie comes out sounding like "kanky" and he's not the one with the ear issues! Other things he says great like "Done!!! Done!!" "Go!" "Bye Bye" like when he wants to leave church or the doctor's office, LOL! Tommy probably has seasonal allergies so we started him on Claritin today. Not Liam. Nope not my little guy. It's my big, strapping future football looking kid that has reflux, allergies and chronic ear infections.

Me I'm still having a rough time at work. We've lost every last team member in Mumbai, India. We're bringing all the work back to the Wilmington office, while I work on hiring there and I'm trying to hire two contractors for a year to help out. It's very hectic. It's made me forget a lot of the" joys in my life". I haven't practiced piano in awhile. I have to get back to that today. I've fallen off the Flylady bandwagon, haven't been exercising except enjoying my yoga classes at the place 5 minutes from home, haven't been making decent dinners, but I can say DH and I have been trying to have "Date Nights". It's been very nice.

So today, I'm getting myself back to where I like to be. I exercised Monday and today on the elliptical machine for 45 minutes both days. There's no laundry in baskets to be put away. I did the Flylady Mission of the Day from Monday to sweep my front porch and wipe down the front door and sidelight windows. I'm drinking my water! The beds are made. I swished and swiped the powder room. When I have to go use the bathroom again today, I'll go swish and swipe the upstairs bathroom. Shortly I will also go purge the magazines in the house. We're having breakfast for dinner of pancakes, fried eggs and bacon. I'm working on getting my morning, afternoon and evening routines into my Cozi calendar, as well as updating in Cozi the grocery list and other things to do. I know I need to cook more and have fun while I'm doing it.