Friday, July 30, 2010
It's hard to put my needs first for a few reasons. First of all, I don't whine and cry as much as the kids. If I need a nap I don't make that crystal clear by busting into tears at the drop of a hat, even if I might feel like doing just that! Secondly, there's only so much money and time to go around. It's easier for me to wear jeans that are almost threadbare for another month when the kids have outgrown theirs, along with their shoes, shirts, underwear, socks...you get the idea. Putting #1 in the second position if pretty easy to do.
Lately, I've been trying to feed us better. I figured that serving healthier meals would benefit all of us, even me! And it does. But it's also discouraging. I get a little down on myself when I hear how gross and disgusting everything I make is. I know Jace and Gracie are culinary experts, but they think they are, perhaps from watching a bit much of Top Chef and Last Food Network Star! (Actually, Gracie's pretty funny sometimes. "Mama, what I like about this is the way it looks. What I don't like is the way it tastes. Maybe next time you could add some sugar?") They get to me, though, even when I know they shouldn't. Even when I like what I've created. They get to me.
And I want to do even better than I am with food. I want to invest in grass-fed beef. I want fresh veggies. I looked into joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and decided not to this year. The most local one (less than a mile down the road!) costs a little more than I feel I can put into eating healthier right now. I hate saying that. Now I'm not even putting the kids needs in front of mine. I'm putting the budget in front of everyone's. Reality sucks sometimes, if you'll excuse my potty mouth.
There are things I am doing though, things both Scott and I are doing to make our lives and our kids' lives better. He is riding his bike to and from work. He's enjoying it and feeling great. He even commented last night that he thinks a 20 minute bike ride is more decompressing than the 35 minute car commute he used to have in Georgia. I don't doubt it for a second. I'm thrilled for him.
We're also taking the kids to the pool twice a week. Hopefully they'll learn to swim along the way, but at the very least we're having fantastic family fun! I've started going to the gym and using the parent's room once a week. It's a room with an area at the front for the kids to play, read, or watch TV. I can use a treadmill, bike, elliptical machine, rowing machine, or pull our a mat for stretching or floor exercises. We're also walking. Before tonight we'd been walking every so often. Starting tonight, I'm going to be walking daily. Period. Not for weight loss, although if that happened it would be a total bonus! I'm walking for fitness, to strengthen the muscles in my back after visiting the chiropractor. (More on that in a minute.) I'm planning on including daily walks in our homeschool schedule as well. I wanted to do some sort of fitness during the days, and now that I have to walk...they might as well join in, right?
So, the chiropractor. I know that not everyone thinks chiropractics is legit. But to me it makes perfect sense. If the body is in it's best alignment, it'll be a more healthy body. I used to go pretty regularly when we lived here in Washington before. After moving to Georgia I stopped going and made tons of excuses why it wasn't important to return. However, I've been having a lot of pain and a horrible time sleeping the last couple weeks. So, I went in for a check up. I got x-rays and an exam and tonight Scott went with me to see how "jacked up" I truly am. That's how he lovingly refers to me. As it turns out, I'm decently jacked up. Not completely beyond repair, but enough that I am quite relieved that I went in sooner rather than later.
Starting tonight I am getting frequent adjustments to work my way toward being less jacked up. After each adjustment I'm supposed to take a walk and ice my back and neck. I feel like an athlete or something cool like that! I did those two things tonight, like a good patient. And it occurred to me while walking, that I'm doing something for me and it's something that has a significant cost. Part of me wants to run and hide, put the money into savings, and pretend that my back will fix itself. But it won't. And I won't. Because a bigger part of me is proud that I'm taking care of myself. Happy that I'm setting a good example for the kids. Relieved and thrilled that I have unwavering support from my incredible husband. (When the doctor asked if we had any questions about the x-rays Scott said, "No, I knew she was jacked up." See? Completely supportive.)
So, in the end, we're eating as healthy as we can for now. Whether the kids actually eat the food given to them or not, they're being served real food. And we're incorporating fit living into our social family time and homeschooling. Maybe I can stop thinking about what we're not doing and realize we are doing better than we were. And doing better is doing the best for my family.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
What I was going to do was fill you in on how we're settling into our house, now that we've been here about a month. We're settling pretty well. There are two main things I'm still having issues with, though.
1) Our master bathroom.
There it is. I've gotten used to the size. I don't mind so much that it doesn't have the huge amount of storage that our last home had. I'm currently not bothered by the lack of a tub. When Scott is out to sea that might be a different story...it's sometimes nice to relax in a hot bath with an adult beverage. I'm not sure how that'll work in the kid's bathroom, but that's my option so I'll work with it then.
Anyway, there are shortcomings to this bathroom that I'm willing to look past. I even thought I'd finally learned how to get in and out of the shower without hitting my head on the top of the shower door. Two days in a row now I've managed that feat! Hold your applause though. Getting out of the shower today I scraped my shoulder and then sitting on the toilet this afternoon I hit my head on the towel rack across from it.
I believe, though, that I'll eventually stop hurting myself in the bathroom. It just may take a few more months to get there...
2) The kitchen...
I actually like our kitchen, mostly. The two things I don't like about it are the corner of the cupboard over the peninsula and the inefficient stove fan.
The peninsula counter was covered with all sorts of tools, mail, stuff we didn't know what to do with for a few weeks. Last week, though, we had some friends over and I cleaned up. Almost immediately I hit my head. (I know. I'll never be able to shave my head.) I would like to keep it clean, however I'm torn by the fact that I keep trying to lean across it for one thing or another...and hitting my head some more! Ug.
As for the fan, it's right above the stove. Seems like that would be a good place to put a fan that's meant to pull up the steam and smoke and what not that's created while cooking. Maybe, if the fan did it's job, that would be enough. Ours doesn't.
I make bacon almost daily. And the attitude in our house has turned to this: "Great. It's time for breakfast. OK. The sooner we set off the smoke alarm the sooner it'll stop." That's what Jace said this morning. He's so encouraging.
I didn't make bacon this morning. On the mornings I do, though, I've begun opening the kitchen window that's above the sink and the sliding glass door in the dining room.
I'd say half the time that's enough, but the rest of the time it still chirps and squawks and hurts our ears. The kids run and open the living room windows and the front door. I finish making breakfast and then we eat without talking until the blaring noise stops, at which point we all sigh. Not exactly the ideal morning routine.
But, aside from these few things, the house is treating us well. Scott and the land lord put up a shed in the back yard and he's working on organizing that and the garage to his satisfaction. During homeschool we're making use of the classroom, and enjoying it. The kids like to play both in their rooms and in the playroom downstairs. They usually only play outside when it involves going down the road to play with their friends, but that's starting to change as well. I just kicked Jace and Gracie out and they're playing Mom and Dad (they're version of Playing House, I think) and enjoying themselves.
Things are fine in our house. Not perfect, but very, very, very fine.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
As I was unpacking I found a shirt from college. It was a shirt I helped design after hearing a story during a training for a mentoring program I worked with. The story goes something like this:
A man was walking down the beach, stepping over and around a great many starfish that had apparently been stranded on it when the tide went out. Off in the distance he could see someone walking toward him. The man walking his way stopped every so often, but he couldn't tell what he was doing. As the two got closer, the first man could see that the second was picking up starfish and tossing them back into the ocean. He shook his head a little. When he got close
enough to talk to the man he asked, "Why bother? You're not going to make a difference."
The second man bent down and picked a starfish from the sand. He looked at it for a second, threw it out into the ocean and said, "Made a difference to that one."
It's a good lesson to be reminded of.
Here are some links that you're welcome to visit. People are making a difference.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day
Random Acts of Kindness
Angel Food Ministries
Habitat for Humanity
Meals on Wheels
Find your niche and volunteer!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
OK, a few somethings. Honestly I went looking for a bra, but after trying many on I decided to give up on that quest and see what else the mall had to offer. I got this fun and incredibly comfortable dress and the cute sweater to go with it. The purse is also a new purchase and one that's been a long time coming. Here's a close up of it:
The chocolate ones have bacon in them! We all agreed that they were good, but thought the bacon didn't add too much to them. As chocolate cookies go, though...I'd bake them again. But not for a while!
Scott and I have been feeling pretty good about how we're eating and our activity levels and goals. Last night might have set me back a little. Getting back on track today and staying there...until the next friendly gathering!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
And here are the kids in the classroom. It takes up about half of our basement room. We have a toy box that Scott's Dad built for him when he was a kid. I put pillows on it and that's where the kids currently like to sit and work. We have chairs for them too. They might need to be separated a bit more at some point!
On the same side of the basement we have a book shelf with games, Scott's military books, my small collection of psychological thrillers, school books, and writing schtuff. We snuck in a little play area and my sewing desk too!
I didn't take a picture yet because it's still in a bit of disarray, but the other half of the room has a corner desk with our desk top computer. That's our office. We also have a television in the corner for movie watching and it gets local channels...that's 76 local channels for anyone who's counting! What happened to local channels being ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox if you held the antenna just right? I guess that's gone the way of the rotary dial phone and actually getting up to change the channel.
We don't have a pull out couch yet, but we plan on getting one to put back to back with the toy chest. That will serve as a comfy place to sit and relax and also our guest bedroom. So, let us know when you're coming and we'll get on the ball and get a couch!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Anyway, today was the first day of Gebel Family Homeschool. These first few weeks we're taking it a little easy. I figured we'd feel things out and see who works best when.
Jace, especially, has been very eager to get back to the library and I've wanted to get to know the local book spots for schooling purposes...so that's our first unit: Libraries. Our local library system, Kitsap Regional Library, is doing something this summer to encourage patrons to visit all nine libraries in their system. It's called Tour de KRL. The kids each got a passport type book and we'll be visiting each of the libraries over the next two weeks, getting their passports stamped along the way. Once we've gotten all nine stamps, and in the process learned a lot about our local libraries, we'll get a free green bag and be entered to win other prizes too! Fun, huh?
Along with piggy backing of the libraries summer activities, we're also reading books about libraries, learning about Dewey and his system, comparing libraries, and other fun stuff. Today we made a list things that are the same and different about our old library in GA, Grandma Foote's library in NY and the one in Silverdale, WA we visited today. The kids did a great job thinking of things. We also added a few words to our growing dictionary. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but a growing dictionary can be done in a few ways. Our is made of index cards in a card box. We add new vocab words when we come across them and study them from time to time. We also hole punch the corner and can take a few cards with us easily by putting them on small caribiners.
The other thing we're up to this week is making a care package for Uncle Nick, who's in Afghanistan. Today the kids wrote him letters and colored pictures. Tomorrow, we bake. Hope he's ready for a little lovin' from Jace and Gracie!
And that was our first day! Not too bad. Attitudes during school were great. Now...well, we'll keep working on it!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Well, today wasn't one of them. It started out well, but after lunch things headed South. I tried to take a little nap while Tyler was doing the same. Jace and Gracie ended both our naps before long. In fact, I hadn't even fallen asleep yet. I cuddled with Tyler for a while, hoping he'd go back to sleep. But after a short time he decided to get up and play. The three of them quickly confirmed what I already sensed...I wasn't getting my nap.
I did boot them outside and watch a very strange movie this afternoon. So, that was nice. But then there was dinner. I tried something new. It didn't pass with flying colors. I'm not even sure it passed. The shrimp and scallops both got overcooked. The parsnips and carrots were flavorless. Ug. Scott, in his ever encouraging way, did let me know that the peas turned out really good!
Aside from all of that...there's Jace and Gracie's little attitudes. Jace has had a lot more downs than ups since turning seven. He's been rude and aggressive. I don't like it much at all. And when he's not getting scolded for that he's breaking into tears over something. Who knew boys were so emotional? (If you're saying, "I did," why didn't you tell me?) And since getting to WA he's had a few mishaps of the #2 variety...again. He'd been doing really well. (If you're not aware of his past issues, Jace and I dealt with "accidents" for over a year. We'd finally come out the other end of the issue, if you'll excuse the play on words, and I was cautiously happy.) Both times he's had problems he's been down at the neighbors playing and, apparently, unwilling to come up and use the toilet here or ask to use one there. If I remind him to try before he goes he usually does. However, if I don't remind him he doesn't do it on his own and today he had another "accident." I put it in quotes because I really feel like he's being lazy and not having accidents at all. That might just be my tired bitterness talking.
Anyway, after today he's not going to be allowed to play at the neighbors for a week. Gracie can't go down for at least tomorrow. She's grown her own little 'tude. She thinks it's perfectly acceptable to tell me what she's going to do, and not ask. After she's been playing with the kids down the street this little problem often becomes a big problem. So, she'll be staying home tomorrow too. Hopefully they can both remember how they should be acting. We know they know how to be good children. I just want to see it again. The proof is in the pudding.
Speaking of pudding...doesn't that sound good? And it would have fit in perfectly with patience and parsnips in my post title! Oh, well. I'll consider it an opportunity missed. Where'd that saying come from anyway?
Well, back to the parsnips. I'm convinced they should be part of our diet, so if you have a home run recipe for parsnips...please share!
Thanks for listening, or reading as the case may be. Here's to Monday...may it go better than today.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Even though I've left the house every day this week for one thing or another, including grocery shopping, I needed to go again this morning for three items. I was irritated before we walked about the door and figured that what should be a 15 minute trip was going to turn into much more. It didn't! Twenty minutes round trip. I feel good about that. And now I shouldn't have to run to the store until Tuesday, which I believe is going to be my new grocery shopping day.
I unpacked the last of the boxes. There are two boxes of mementos and one of wine glasses that I left packed and stuck on a shelf. There's only so much horizontal space for things!
Yesterday we bought a new-to-us dining room table and chairs and moved the old one to the classroom. Things are looking really good down stairs and up. I really like our new set. Yes, I'll take some pictures soon.
The moving people came and picked up our boxes of paper and the pile of broken down ones and took them away. They seriously took up at least 1/4 of the garage. Scott's gonna be excited!
Tyler took a 4 hour nap. He asked for it at 9:30 this morning! Who am I to say no...and apparently he needed it!
All three kids are playing contentedly downstairs. I know I just mentioned that it's looking good down there. Hopefully that will still be the case when they're done playing!
I balanced both check books. Well, technically I gave up on the one account and drew a few lines and started over at the balance as of the last statement. This particular account, with USAA, is where Scott's checks get deposited and the one we pay all our bills from. Everything else happens in our Focus Bank account. Scott used the USAA account when he was in Connecticut and I obviously didn't keep up with his spending or the random deposits of travel money. On top of that, I haven't balanced it in four months...so I figured it was easiest to count our blessings for not overdrawing and start fresh!
Now, why do we have two checking accounts? Because Focus Bank has a high interest checking account. As long as we have less than $20,000 in the account (they want you to invest it someplace if you have more), check our account online at least once a month, and use the debit card associated with the account at least ten times a month, we get 4.5% interest. Not bad, huh? Go ahead, check 'em out! And, by the way, that account balanced! Woo hoo!
So, I think that's what I've done, along with shower, cuddle, make and eat breakfast and lunch, nibble on some nuts, have a glass of lemonade, take out the recycling and do three loads of laundry. I know...you're disappointed that I haven't folded that laundry yet. I'll go do it now...
Thursday, July 15, 2010
For those of us who were on the Georgia school schedule that means we've been away from actual structured learning for two and a half months! It means that goals I had in mind to meet by the end of July and running short on time. I've got to get my act together and get our Gebel Family Homeschool up and running.
We are making strides, but the basement is so far from organized we're going to be starting out with a mess on the other side of the room...not ideal for focusing, but it's going to have to do. There's just no place to put all the rest of the junk, er...I mean stuff. We're going to be getting a new kitchen table tonight and the one we currently use will become our homeschool table. That's going to help, not with the other side of the room, but with our classroom feeling like a great place to learn and explore!
Jace and Gracie also took math assessments today to see what level of math curriculum I need for them. Gracie, who is in Kindergarten, will be jumping into Horizons 1st grade math. She completed her little test with a great deal of excitement and even surprised herself with all she knew. Jace, on the other hand, struggled. He cried almost immediately because he could remember how to write a "4" and didn't know how to read all the clocks on his assessment. I sat down with him and went through it, but it appears he's not ready for Horizons' 2nd grade math. However, he's more than ready for their 1st grade. They must pack a ton of skills into that particular year!
So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do for Jace's math. I asked some questions of the Alpha Omega people (who publish Horizons). I'm hoping that Jace can use Gracie's books and start mid-year someplace and learn the things (like borrowing with subtraction and carrying with addition) that he didn't learn last year and then be ready for the 2nd grade curriculum in a few months. We'll see...
Since we're talking about math, though, let me tell you about a little chit chat I had with a few old friends today. I stopped by to visit the place I used to work and one of the women who works there now has a son the same age as Jace. We were talking about our decision to homeschool. She encouraged it, saying that Washington's schools weren't the greatest. As an example she told me that her son wasn't learning the terms "add" and "equals" but instead was learning to say "more than" and "is the same as." Everyone in the office felt that Jace, Gracie, and Tyler will benefit from being taught at home.
That makes me smile.
I hope I'm still smiling at the end of the month...by which time we'll be starting school! Right? Right. I hope.
Monday, July 12, 2010
That's right...I'm about to write a little post about things I'd rather forget...or at least not admit to! Enjoy!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
There are other sorts of things I've been thinking about lately too. Last night we ate dinner on the porch in the back of our house. I was ready to throttle Gracie (in the most loving and motherly way, of course) over eating her dinner. I was highly aware of the houses on either side of me, with their back yard porches. I wondered if anyone could hear me. If so, did they care?
For the last three years I've lived a ways from neighbors. I haven't been concerned with anyone hearing me scold my little monsters. And, without a clothes line, I haven't been concerned about hanging my intimates with teen boys next door. Are these things everyone worries about?
And what about letting the kids play at the neighbors? They actually stay outside and watch their kids ride bikes, run amok, and be silly. Maybe it's because I'm not studying or doing yard work (that's what the parents I've met have been doing) but I don't want to sit outside for hours and watch them play. These other parents have said, "You're kids are very well behaved," and "It's fine if they come down. No problem." But how much is too much? We don't have a bounce house or kiddie pool. Most of our outdoor toys are still in a box. Even once we get them out, our yard is bumpy as all get out and the grass is rough. I don't think the kids will want to play here. So, is it OK to let them play down the road for hours every day?
There are so many things to consider, aside from the placement of the wall hangings, when moving to a new neighborhood. No wonder I'm a little tired out! Well, that and the weather. It's almost 90 today. I'm sitting here, typing, and sweating. I got used to me AC in Georgia. Here in Washington we sweat it out! Maybe I'll lose a pound. Hey one can dream, right?
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I digress. I don't know if I'm really new or not, but I do know that I just got my first blogger's award! Pretty cool, huh? Staci handed it out to me. She writes her blog, called Consider My Monkeys. I think it's awesome that she calls her little ones monkeys too!
So, Staci gave me the (dunt, duh, duuuuh - that's supposed to be a drum roll)...
1. I need a new bra, but hesitate to waste money on one since I really want to lose a few pounds sooner rather than later. Arg.
3. I love to eat pork. And steak when someone else cooks it prefectly. I need to perfect my technique.
4. I don't like wearing sneakers. I like shoes that just slip on. They're quicker!
5. I want to visit all 50 states someday. I've driven through quite a few, but would like to really explore one of these days.
6. I have big feet (size 10) but little ankles. When I was in the hospital after delivering one of my kids a nurse told me I would have been prized in the Victorian era when all you really say were ankles and wrists, mine being to dainty!
7. One of my favorite traditions with my family are the Mother's and Father's Day pictures we take. We didn't take them this year, though, with all the running around and what not, but we will again because they're great! Here are our 2009 pictures...
Rule number 4:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The last five days of the trip were driving from New York to Washington in a little caravan. Here's what I saw:
Occasionally I looked in the rear view and saw this:
Sometimes when we'd stop I've even get to see this:
And when we stopped at Mt. Rushmore I got to see this:
Oh, yeah, and this too:
As you can see, we had a great trip. We're unpacking and settling in. In fact, I think all the mover's boxes are unpacked. I'm not guaranteeing that everything has been put away yet, but it's all out of the boxes. And I will admit, too, that there are a few unpacked boxes of books that we'd packed up many moons ago when we had to clean up our Georgia home to get it on the market. But those should be unpacked and put on shelves in no particular order in another day or two. Pictures are on our walls. We've eaten inside at the dining room table and outside on the deck, once because we couldn't find the dining room table. But the other time was because we wanted to enjoy the weather!
We're eating well and ready to lose the poundage we put on over the last few months. I've been back on Mark's Daily Apple and am stocking the cupboards, fridge, and freezer with Primal friendly foods (minus the goods I bought to make chocolate peanut butter chip cookies for a neighborhood 4th of July party!). I've found a local CSA and plan to visit them personally to learn more by the end of next week.
We've got plans to start swimming as a family, camping, and hopefully fishing. Scott got a bike to commute with. The kids have made friends in the neighborhood.
Life is good. We're getting there. And we're happy to be headed in the right direction.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
"Hey, what are you guys doing?"
There ya have it. Apparently they're feeling comfortable in their new surroundings. I'll be making some cookies tomorrow for a BBQ at the neighbors. Nothing makes a house feel more like home than baking.
Tyler's bed got put together today. He was the last holdout...but the hardware was in one of boxes that got emptied today. Don't worry, though, he's been sleeping just fine on his mattress on the floor. He took a four hour nap today before Scott put the frame together!
We've met some of the neighbors and are sticking around here for eating and merry-making tomorrow night. Hopefully everyone enjoys our cookie offering and we'll get off on the right foot with our little neighborhood...because this is home.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Whew...I feel much better about sitting here on the computer now!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. I have clean sheets to put on the bed. :-)
Hopefully, I'll be on again soon, though, to fill you all in on the past couple of months. I'm sure everyone has been looking forward to hearing about everything, from my brother-in-law's wedding to what our new home is like. Let me know if you have any questions you're especially eager to have answered.