Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Day in Our Home and Some Recipes!

So tonight I have been unable, or just  unwilling to go to sleep. Although it's been a long crazy day and I'm exhausted and my feet hurt, I just lay in bed not wanting to sleep. It's not even that my mind is racing, I feel perfectly peaceful, calm and collected. But that's just it... the calmness! The Peace! The still gentle quietness. I know once I close my eyes it will all slip away the moment I fall asleep. And although my sleep will most likely be a restful one, it still seems like I sleep for a moment and all of the sudden the alarm goes off and another whirl wind of a day starts! 

Today was pretty "average" in all the wonderfulness and tragedy that comes with staying home with young children. So in case you were wondering, this is what a average weekday looks like at our house....

5:00 Wake up! Hubby gets ready for work while I make coffee and prepare his lunch. We get to talk and snuggle just a few minutes before he is out the door! I also let out the dogs and feed that kittens and dogs.

5:45 Shower, get geared up for the day, make our bed. Drink coffee! Eat some peanut butter.

6:15 Spend some time with God praying, giving thanks and reading His word. This is so very necessary for me! This quite time in the mornings with my bible and coffee is what keeps me grounded for the day and is the well in which I draw hope and patience for later on!
You know those woman are so patient and slow to wrath? Come to find out, that's not me....  But God picks up where I let off!

                                             source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/558376053771863775/


7:00  Quick check on emails, blogs, facebook, and Pinterest!

7:30 First girl wakes up! The second girl isn't far behind! (One always seems to need a little more sleep than the other. :) We all lay around a little and usually watch Micky Mouse Clubhouse on the couch together.

8:00 I make pancakes! I make all that we need for today plus what's left in the rest of the box. That way I can freeze the rest for a day when we are short on time!



8:30 Caleb is up! He was up a bit ago but seemed content so I let him be so I could finish making breakfast. Once I go to get him though, I find out he has peed through EVERYTHING! 

8:45 The baby is clean and the bedding is all tossed in the laundry room. I make the girls pancakes and hold Caleb while he drinks some milk. (although he is weaned, he still like to sit on me most mornings cuddled up and drink his milk.) The girls finish their plates, I get them seconds and make Caleb up his plate of pancakes.

9:15 Clean breakfast up, Go hang up laundry on the clothes line, start a new load of laundry. We all spend time together in the living room playing/ I write out my goals for the day. We all eat a snack of fresh blueberries! 

10:15 Suntan and bug spray on! We all go outside to play before it get's too hot out. We fill the girl's pool up so they can play in it later. We play with the hose and chase each other around the yard. Caleb finds handfuls of mud and proudly brings them to me :) The Girls dance in the water :)



11:00 Inside, dry off, Caleb gets changed and put down for a nap.

- The girls and I clean the living room top to bottom. We pick up and put things away. They take turns dusting and washing the windows. 
- The girls pick up the mess in the hallway/ foyer area. I sweep
- I tidy up the bathroom and sweep. Girls feed the pets and clean the litter box (Diana loves that job 0_o )
- Go outside to take the laundry of the line, fold it, hang up a new load and start another load of laundry!

12:00 Eat lunch! Mostly fresh fruit and sandwiches for the girls.

12:45 Do a little school! (Very, very laid back school. But learning none the less! :) 

- Practice letters and sounds
- Practice writing out letters
- Do a few pages from pre K and Kindergarten workbooks.

Us girls just talk, write in our notebooks and play.




1:30 More suntan lotion! (Brutal South Texas sun!) 



I bring fitness and cooking magazines along with my pen and notebook. The girls swim and play in their pool while I plan my freezer cooking.
I bought extra food last week so I can cook a bunch of extra dinners for convenience and in anticipation of my no spend week. (More to come on that later!) 

With 9 pounds of chicken breasts and a pound of ground beef I plan my dinners:

- 2 9x13 pans of lasagna roll ups

 source:http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2011/03/meatless-monday-spinach-lasagna-roll-ups/

- 2 9x13 pans of wild rice and chicken with slivered almonds

source:http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/wild-rice-chicken-dinner

- 2 9x13 pans chicken, green beans and potatoes
Source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/178736678932660096/

- 1 gallon bag of chicken breasts, onions and vegetables for the crock pot


- 1 gallon bag of lightly breaded rosemary and Parmesan chicken strips.

Since I pulled out all the meat earlier in the day and everything is just about de thawed, surely I can whip up most of those meals in an hour or so after coming inside... right? :) 

I almost call my mom and sisters, but instead spend time talking to the girls while writing out my list :)

2:15 Come inside. dry off! have a snack. I hear Caleb up but wait to get him until the girls go down.

2:30 The girls get tucked into bed for quite time and spend some down time cuddling with their kittens.


 I get Caleb after putting them down. Diaper change then lunch for the little man! 


After getting cleaned up I spread toys on the floor and we play with cars then I scoop him up and cuddle and play and swing him into the air and be silly!
I can't but help think of the dishes and my dinners. But remind myself that the reason I stay at home with my kids isn't to have a perfectly clean home and a bunch of things accomplished (though being at home instead of working helps me get more done around here! ) The reason I stay at home is to lavish much love on all my children! The rest will always be there.

3:15 The girls get up. All the kids eat a snack. They play and hang out while I divide my attention between playing/checking on them and cleaning the kitchen and dining room and do all the dishes.

 


The dishes, they smile at me!

4:00 PBS Wild Kratts starts ( Two 30 minute animal shows, the kids love it!) They watch tv while I start browning the hamburger meat, slicing the chicken breasts up and cook a few batches of lasagna noodles. (I need a bigger pot!)



I prepare the filling and lay out the pans for the lasagna dinner. The kid's show is almost done so I have the girls help me! I knew it would be messy and take longer, but decided to go for it anyway.

I brought Caleb's play pen into the kitchen and set up 2 little "stations" so each girl could help with one pan and I stood in the middle to help them.

Oh My.....

I knew this would be messy, but the mess far exceeds even what I anticipated! The girls have food everywhere, they are starting to fight and Caleb's fussing has turned into crying. The dogs are chasing the cats and fighting over all the food on the floor and totally under foot.

5:45 Dinner finally ends up in the oven and I freeze the other pan. The kids get cleaned up I give them a snack because I know dinner is going to be late and then clean up the mess in the kitchen. (Most of it, anyway)

(Random things that often happen when I go to the bathroom)

6:00 Hubby is home! Kids get crazy we try to talk over them and then dinner is done!

6:30 Dinner time!

7:00 We finish dinner, Daniel chases the kids around the living room while I sit and watch them all and laugh. Daniel and I literally sit and talk for 10 minutes before the kids start to meltdown. He turns on the tv, they all chill. I start the bathwater for all the kids to take a bath and gather dry diapers and pajamas. By this time the kids are calm and hubby has fallen asleep on the couch. (He worked almost 12 hours outside in the 100* heat! Poor man :( )

source:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/270286415109548171/

7:30 Bath time (Crazy time!)

8:00 Kids are all out of the bath, dried and ready for bed. Hubby is still lightly sleeping so I go ahead and tuck the kids in. I put Caleb down and give him some milk and sing him a song and then go to the girls room, tuck them in and pray with them. Diana's prayer is that she is so thankful we got to do school and Ellie was so happy we got to play outside :)

I put away away dinner and prepare Daniel's lunch for the next day. I take care of the dogs and change into comfy pajamas myself. I check my emails and hubby wakes up!

8:45 Although still somewhat early, we are both exhausted and decide to get ready for bed. By the time we actually finish showers, talking, laying out clothes for the next day get something to drink ect... it's 9:15 when we actually go to bed.

9:20 The hubs is already asleep and I'm laying in the peace and quite. I can hear the bull frogs outside and the moon light is shining bright and streaming through the window into our room. So peaceful! I feel as if I could lay here and enjoy the quietness all night. But 2 minutes in and I'm already feeling myself fall asleep. Except, I'm really not. I have gotten out of bed and have been on line for 2 hours! So before much more time passes, good night all!


                                     source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/384846730627826191/

*Next Day Edit*
Note to self: When you're exhausted, go stinkin to bed! There is a reason why God lets us feel peaceful and tired at night, it's so we can go to bed and get some sleep and not be dead tired and grumpy the next day! :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Houston Ballet: Swan Lake

This past Saturday Daniel's brother Josh, hubby and I went to the Houston Ballet's performance of Swan Lake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was completely breathtaking! I have been to 8-9 professional ballet performances between The Milwaukee Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (Chicago) and the Houston Ballet. Houston'a Swan Lake was by far my favorite! The opportunity to go came at just the right time too.

Lately I have been feeling a little, homesick? I guess that's the word? That isn't completely right, because Texas is home and I'm not totally distraught like I have been in the past missing my family, friends, and all things familiar. But I have been missing everyone/everything none the less. So when Josh randomly asked if we wanted to join him at the ballet that weekend, we said yes! It was the perfect sort of thing to get out of a kind of gloomy mood and have something fun for the weekend planned. Houston is still a very "new" city to me, so I love when an opportunity arises to go do something fun in Houston!

Also, I  was finally able to wear my headband of strands of twisted crystal rhinestones that I bought and haven't been able to wear yet. I wish I had a better picture! But, believe it or not I hardly took any pictures! We had so much fun talking in the car and jamming out to music that I did't have time to worry about my camera! That, and you can only take so many selfies when other people are around ;)




The ballet was at the Wortham Center, which is just the most beautiful and perfect place to watch a performance. It's in the heart of downtown, and with it being an evening performance, the downtown city lights just seemed to make everything dazzle. 

Photo credit: iaahouston.com



Photo credit: downtownhouston.com


I always get so, so excited for, well, things in general. :) But when I'm eagerly watching the clock as each minute passes and I'm waiting for something to start... well I can hardly stand it! You could tell everyone was excited! I mean, most people. I was excited for the actual ballet, Josh was excited to hear a full, uncut score of Tchaikovsky, and Daniel, well he was excited because he loves to make me happy and spend time with his little brother. :) 



It seemed like forever as we eagerly waited in our seats (which, by the way were the very highest and farthest back you could get, and still $50.00 each!) 

As soon as the curtain raised and the music started, Oddette came gliding in on a boat surrounded by mist. The whole stage was flooded with with deep blue and green lights and there were beautiful, eery trees all around. The music just soared from the orchastra and I settled back into my seat. I could just tell this was going to be stunning!

Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

For a good synopsis of Swan Lake, fee free to go here ----> Swan Lake 
But in short:

Swan Lake is about a beautiful maiden named Oddette who gets turned into a swan by an evil night named Rothbert. She is a swan by day and a maiden by night.

After a successful day of hunting, the prince, Seigfreid is reminded by his mother the Queen that this is the last day of his youth. He will need to choose a wife at the ball tomorrow and take on the responsibility of adulthood. He is introduced to four beautiful princesses, none that he falls in love with. He runs deep into the woods alone that night.

 Deep in the forest that evening along the edge of the lake, Siegfried sees a young maiden.  She is beautiful, and he falls instantly in love.  However, she is terrified, and begs him to leave, to no avail.  Charmed by his bravery, Odette finds herself falling in love with him.  As the sun begins to rise, the evil knight Rothbart summons Odette.  She goes to him and is transformed into a swan and flies away.  Soon thereafter, a large flock of swans lands on the lake.  Siegfried’s friend and some hunters from the royal party see the flock and prepare to shoot, but the Prince intervenes and orders them to leave.  Siegfried notices that one of the swans is Odette and he professes his love to her.

The next night the Queen once again hosts a ball and this time, the evil knight Rothbert arrives, with Odile. Who is the Black swan and mirror image of Odette. Prince Seigfreid is tricked into thinking the dark swan is Odette, professes his love to her only to realize he was fooled and runs after Odette, who was at the ball and he begs for forgiveness. 

The sun is starting to rise and the maidens turn back into swans. Odette is swept back up into the sky along with Rothbert and the black swans. Prince Seigfried, desperate to be with his love, grabs his cross bow to shoot Rothbert. He misses and instead hits Odette. She falls into Prince Seigfreid's arms as a maiden, the curse broken. She dies in his arms. Seigfreid picks her up, holds her close and walks into the lake, drowning himself .

So yeah, not the happiest of stories. But, wow, it sure does make for a dramatic and beautiful ballet! 

It really was hauntingly beautiful. The dancers acted just as much as they danced, you were just drawn into the story as they danced and swirled across the stage. 

Photo Credit:http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

All the costumes seemed like they walked right out of the page of a story book! The colors were fantastic and everything has just the right bit of whimsy.

Photo credit:http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/




The skill of the dancers was just amazing! It's one thing to be able to do an amazing and technically difficult move here or there, but each dance was just one amazing feat after another. Swan Lake is actually considered the most technically difficult ballet ever written and choreographed! 

Odette and her prince danced a very convincing couple! The love and tenderness in which they showed on stage made every beautiful, gliding movement so romantic!


photo Credit: unknown google image search



Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/houstonballet/swan-lake/

It was just a beautiful, beautiful story told through dance and some of Tchaikovsky's best work! It was also very long. Often they will cut down the music for swan lake, but this time they kept the whole original score. The ballet was 3 hours long (with 2 short intermissions) and I just loved it!

Since we went to the later showing at 7:30, we didn't even get out to the car until after 11:00pm We were also starving as we made our way back home. Of course not much was open, and despite being midnight, iHop was packed. So we settled for a classy dinner at Taco Bell :)

This last weekend was just so fun! I really do love this city and state and can't wait until the next time we get to see another ballet!

Monday, June 2, 2014

(Not) Losing It: Struggling With the Baby Weight. Part 2

OK, so like I was starting to explain in my last post (before getting a bit off track!) Although I'm happy and free, I'm still carrying around extra baby weight. Quite a bit of it. I eat pretty healthy. Extremely lean and healthy almost carb free meals for breakfast and lunch, decent dinners, and sugar is considered a treat that I don't indulge in to often! I mean, not as often as I used to anyway. ;)

I do pilates, rarely sit down during the day, sleep well, ect... but the weight is just staying put! There are weeks that I do exercise a lot more, but that will literally take up all my free time. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but my hour in the mornings is bible devotion/sleeping in when I need too (not past 7:30 or 8:00 though!) 
Evenings are family time. I have tried staying up after everyone is in bed asleep, but I'm either so exhausted that I can't make it through a session, or what usually happens, I become totally awake, get wound up, stay up and then become crabby the next morning. I still will do that now and then, but night time is not a good long term solution for me! 

I have tried working out while the kids are up, but in a different room, but with a 5,4, and 1 year old, I'm interrupted so much it's hard to keep my heart rate up for longer than a few minutes!

Caleb takes 2 naps during the day. The first one is at 10:30. This is school/me and the girls time. So I won't change that! And then during his second nap, I have the girls read or color quietly on their beds for 45 minutes. That way, if they need it they will end up falling asleep, but regardless that's 45 minutes I know that I get each day to get things done. Of course the girls will try to get up, but usually that's just my quite time.
That's when I will balance the checkbook, make phone calls, go online, pinterest, ect... And let me tell you, that 45 minutes go fast! Often I spend that time just cleaning and getting things done too. So, I guess if I *really* wanted to, I could exercise my little heart out then... and I have for weeks at a time, but spending all my emotionally "quite" time doing cardio, well... makes my heart sad. lol I knowI I know! Being good to your body should make you feel good, and it does, but I need a little time during the day to recharge and have a few minutes to work on my interests (like photography and photo editing!)  before hubby gets home, because then our night is just in fast forward until we all go to bed.

So I'm left with a choice, how much do I dedicate my time and energy to working out and counting each calorie? I want to continue to try to make as many healthy choices as I can each day, but how much do I want to push myself? And why do I need to push myself? Sometimes I worry it's vanity, but other times, each pound seems to drag my 5'3" frame down so much I feel like I'm carrying 100. (Living in a southern, high humidty climate dose not help!) I think about losing weight every day, many times, everyday. I feel like I get way to obsessed about it, and I have been really trying to accept that right now, maybe losing a lot of weight is just not going to happen in this season of life right now. Maybe  I need to accept that I have a few extra pounds, enjoy my young children, be glad my life is filled with so much joy, and get on with life.
Other days, I'm so totally exhausted, I feel like crap and I'm still at times wearing maternity clothes ( I have been for almost 5 years :( how embarrassing) and I cringe whenever I see a picture of myself. I feel slow, tired, and out of shape. 

I know there is a healthy balance between these two, but I'm having a really hard time finding it. Especially when I see so many other moms lose the weight, I wonder how I don't. Is it genetics? Age, what?!?! What am I doing so wrong?

Anyway, I was standing in line at walmart the other day. And granted, I was wearing one of the said maternity tank tops, so that probably didn't help. But as I was having my things checked out the older lady behind me asked "when is little one due?" "what??" I was in my own little world, and totally off guard and didn't even totally catch what she said, so she motioned to my belly and asked again" when is little one due?!"
Oh Lord... As she stood there with now her and her husband smiling at my belly I realized she thought I was pregnant. I was so humiliated. I just stood there for a moment, mortified as now her, her husband and the cashier all stood there waiting for my response. "Oh... Uh... " I should just tell them I'm not pregnant, just fat. then maybe they'll feel bad, let it go and I can get out of here. " I opened my mouth and before I knew what happened next I blurted out "I'm 12 weeks" Lord, forgive me for lying.... "Well! Your mighty big for only 12 weeks! "oh... it's my fourth, so... (Oh God! Another lie! I'm sorry Lord!) at this the cashier and lady in line proceeded to make comments on have I figured out what causes pregnancy and tried to go into birth control options for me to consider, at which point I grabbed my bags, just laughed and walked out of there as quickly as I could.
I felt just pissy and mad as I walked through the parking lot and into the jeep, but after I shut the door. I burst into tears. I cried the whole way home. 

Long story short... I was hurt, but I knew not to let one person totally ruin my whole night and just asked God to help me let it go and not become obsessed about it. I did proceed to have a good night, but I do feel like it confirms in my head that I don't just feel heavy, I look it. 

I haven't ever wanted to talk about my weight loss efforts on here because, I keep thinking this is just a phase and I'll get over it quickly. And maybe I'll talk about it after I lose all the weight and can share a success story. But now I feel like I want to share.

I think being accountable to my blog will help me stay on track to eating clean. I have always used lists, journals and notebooks to help me stay on track. So I think this will not only perhaps help me stay on track, but maybe let other people know they are not alone in trying to lose the weight!

This life is too short and to fleeting for anyone to judge their value or worth on a stinkin number on the scale, but I'm all for feeling healthy and filling your body with good things! 

So, here is to a fresh start of eating healthy and gaining more energy (and less weight!)