Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scott's New Computer


Here's the world's cheapest toy. It's a book that we (stole) got from Nick's house last time we visited, and for some reason, Scott thinks it's his computer. Remember back here, when he babied his vacuum cleaner? This is a lot like that. But hey, it makes him happy and stretches his imagination, and (best of all) keeps him away from the actual laptop. And seriously, have you ever seen a cuter kid? I didn't think so!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

Well, I've certainly been in a blah mood lately. Yes, I'm thankful for healthy children and plenty to eat and a roof over our heads blah blah blah. I'm just bummed lately! I don't know why. It's certainly not like this is the first Thanksgiving we've been away from all our families, so that can't be it. I don't know what's wrong, I just was not feeling it. In fact, if I hadn't already spent the money on the dang turkey, I woulda just blown off the whole shebang and we would have eaten a frozen pizza. We should have invited someone over, maybe that woulda motivated me along a little better.



But I powered through Thursday despite wanting to cry all day, and woke up Friday sick as a dog. Ava had it Thursday and I guess she passed it along to me, so we both spent Friday laying on the couch coughing and waiting for Daddy to bring us nice cool glasses of water and more Tylenol. Lucky for us, we have him, and I am thankful beyond words that he didn't catch whatever this is. You know how people are always talking about 'oohhh, my body just aches, wahh' Well, I never really understood what they meant, but now...oooh, buddy. I GET IT. I felt (feel) like I got hit by a car or something! It's definitely weird. I took a (three) sleeping pills last night and didn't move again until after nine this morning. I feel like I'm getting better, but I can't kick this cough. Thank the Lord, Ava is almost one hundred percent better. Scott and Dub have the typical runny noses (which Team Engelbrecht has twelve months a year, regardless of the weather) but they don't seem to be feeling badly at all.



I did leave the house for a few Black Friday deals yesterday, and one of them was...Photoshop Elements! I'm so excited! I've always wanted it, but it's usually about ninety dollars, so I've held off and it was on sale and with a mail in rebate, I snagged it for fifty bucks yesterday at Staples. So my honey loaded it onto both computers for me and...I don't know what to do with it. I can't for the life of me figure out what my plan was with this one. All I know is, I wanted it to edit my photos. Exactly what I wanted them to look like is eluding me completely. I sure hope it's my foggy head from all this medicine and that when I feel better, I remember...otherwise, what do I do with this program? Anyone out there use it? Anyone know how to 'photoshop out' the zit on my forehead or the snot on the kids upper lips? How about 'photoshoping' someone into a picture, you always hear people say that on TV...



Anyway. Here's some un-photoshopped pictures from yesterday. Well, actually, this first one is from Wednesday. These are Ava's "turkey wings" that she made at school. Doesn't that just make you want to go back to preschool? :)









Here's Dub at the beginning of our Thanksgiving...










And here he is closer to the end! Poor guy. Yes, for those of you wondering, he still cries all the time. Apparently the prevacid isn't fixing whatever his problem is.



He was fascinated by the big tin-foil covered pan in the oven. He seriously spent at least an hour total gazing lovingly at that poor turkey.






Here's Scott, ready to chow down.






And a slightly more polite Ava. Yes, that's her cowgirl Halloween costume. She wears that sucker a lot.






And Warren, eating his very first Thanksgiving meal. Maybe the fact that we don't bother with baby food anymore is part of his never ending crying...what do you think? He's been crying for six months, he hasn't been eating real food very long. I don't think that's it.

We hope you had a fun (and not so ornery) Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Weight Watchers Update

Boo. Remember how excited I was back here when I finally hit the 30lbs mark? I promptly took a week off the next week and gained FOUR POUNDS! Now, I didn't actually think it was possible to gain four pounds in one week. I mean, even at the ends of my pregnancies where I was eating everything in sight and finishing off with a liter of Mt Dew at each meal, I never gained four pounds in one tiny little week. But, apparently it IS possible, and I'm the proof. The proof is in the pudding, or rather, on my outer thighs.

So five weeks later, I have finally re-lost enough to hit the thirty pound mark again. And I know it happens to everyone, and my leader was nice and supportive, but it was still really embarrassing. And not to beat a dead horse, but I still don't know how it happened. I mean, I took one week off! And to be totally honest, I don't think I went too too crazy. I ate the things I wanted to eat, and yes, I did finish off at least a dozen cupcakes, but I sort of did that a lot before WW. What am I going to do in Guam, where there is no WW? And even if there were, I can't spend the rest of my life paying forty bucks a month to lose two pounds. I've been doing this for thirty four weeks now. That's LESS THAN A POUND A WEEK. And worse, it's more than ten dollars a pound!!! So I'm not totally sure it's worth it.

Add that to the fact that I consistently work out five or six days a week, and you'll understand my frustration. I think the main problem is that I don't want to look 'good for a mother of three.' I secretly (well, not after this) want to be so skinny that someone says 'Wow, look at that lady, she needs to eat a muffin or something.' I know it's stupid, but I've never been super skinny and I've always wanted to! But it's just not going to happen. I'M STARVING!!!

So here we go into Thanksgiving, with ten pounds of potatoes waiting to be mixed with butter and sour cream in my pantry, and not just one but TWO pies in my freezer. And what some of you might not know (although you MUST if you've ever seen me eat) is that I have ZERO self control. We made brownies a few weeks ago and I thought I ate a few, and Nick opened the container and said 'how many did you eat?!?!' and I answered with what I thought was the truth 'like, two or three?' WRONG! I had eaten SIX BROWNIES without even realizing it! And they weren't even that good! No offense honey. So maybe I need to go to Overeaters Anonymous or something instead of WW. Ugh.

Well, that's enough weight obsession for today. I'll be sure to rant and rave next Wednesday after I've proven that not only can you gain four pounds in one week, you can gain FIVE!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

running for the vaultcheese!working on my dance moves
Well, Ava had her very last gymnastics lesson on Saturday. (And yes, I know that that's a dancing outfit she's wearing. It's what she wanted, and I didn't want her in a leotard because they don't have those little skirts. I know that four year olds don't need to be modest, but that's my style. So boo.) It was sorta sad, just because the teacher was talking about everyone coming back the second week of January for the next level of class, and I knew that we won't be coming back. To my surprise, I've really started to like it here in Connecticut! I know what you're thinking, 'just wait' and I'm sure you're right, as soon as it starts to really get cold, I'll be ready to go, but for now, I like it. I LOVE our house, I like our neighborhood, I love the kids' school...it's so pretty outside right now...I just like it. Who woulda thought it, right?


Guam is starting to feel more and more official. The Navy bought our plane tickets, and I figure those must have cost a fortune, so they're probably not gonna back out now, right? Let's see if I can remember the specs. We're leaving from Orlando on Wednesday, March 17, at six thirty in the morning. I think. That's going to SUCK big time, because we'll have to wake the kids up at what, four? So they'll be tired and cranky, but so tired and cranky that they won't want to sleep. And it's a short flight, so even if they do fall asleep, they'll have to get up right away anyway. Ugh. We layover in Houston, but not for long (I think) and then we get on board a big plane for our FOURTEEN HOUR FLIGHT TO TOKYO. I'll say that again, and this time I'll put it in italics to stress it for you: our fourteen hour flight to Tokyo. We get to Japan at two thirty local time, short layover, and then I think it's another four hour flight to Guam, where Brandi has graciously already offered to pick us up from the airport.


All right, I know that it's not the end of the world. People fly all the time. Kids fly all the time. But somehow, I still can't quite wrap my mind around the idea of being trapped in a tin can, for fourteen hours, with my three children, aged 4, 2, and 1. Will they sleep? Will they cry? Will there be room in the aisle for them to play, at least a little? Maybe just take a walk every few hours? Will they watch TV for fourteen straight hours and fry their brains? Will we get in trouble if we give them Benadryl? I mean, the big kids really do have terrible allergies...and when we get there, what do we do about jet lag? Brandi said her kids adjusted pretty quickly, but I know that when Nick and I went to London for Christmas seven years ago, I had a REALLY hard time, and that was just a few hours. Guam is exactly on the opposite side of the globe, so it's exactly the opposite time over there. What if the kids want to be awake because it's seven in the morning, but I think it's nine at night and I want to go to bed? All of you who know me know how I am with sleep...I'm hoping that my four years of working nights at the hospital will help with this. I switched back and forth pretty easily, so maybe it won't be all bad...right?


All right. I feel a little better now that I got that out. And, as a little retail therapy, I bought this fantastic Vera Bradley tote the other day. You know, as a carry on? For the fourteen hour flight? That made me feel better too!
So did looking at these messy faces. Surely these cuties can't wreck too much havoc on one little flight, right? Oh yeah, I wanted to mention that the big flight is set up in threes, three seats on the left, three in the middle, and three on the left. So we've got three seats on the right and two in the middle. So it'll probably be Nick and the big kids on the side, and me and the baby in the middle. When we're sitting. Do you think the flight will be full, or do you think maybe there's a chance no one will have to sit next to me and the baby? Fingers crossed...Brandi, how was your flight, full?

Menu Plan Monday



Seriously, Monday again? I don't really understand what's happening with Time. The days themselves go by so slowly, but the weeks and months are just flying! Pretty weird. Anyway. Another week, another menu. What's on your menu this week? Big Thanksgiving plans? If you need a few ideas, head over here for some inspiration.



Sunday: Chicken legs on the grill. Ahh, my absolute favorite dinner. Thanks babe!


Monday: Chicken Taco Salads


Tuesday: Cannellini bean and sausage soup (I've had this recipe on our menu at least five times and I've never actually made it. Come hell or high water, we WILL have this soup on Tuesday! And it better be worth it!)


Wednesday: Chimichurri steak salad (new recipe from my Pampered Chef book) Nick will make while I go to WW.


Thursday: Thanksgiving. We're not going crazy crazy, since it'll just be us. Ten pound turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (ew!) stuffing, and I have a bag of cranberries I need to figure out how to fix. And, of course, pumpkin and apple pies. Yes, I said pieS. And I intend to partake of both. I've stopped losing weight at WW anyway, I may as well enjoy it.


Friday: Tex-Mex Turkey Soup (actually a little more excited about this than Thanksgiving-but don't tell anyone. That's weird, right?)


Saturday: Turkey Quesadilla Suizas (new, obviously).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Revamp

Obviously, I'm decorating for the holidays! It seemed silly to decorate for fall when Thanksgiving is next week, so I decided to skip right to a Christmas Blog! I hope it gets a little cute. Fingers crossed that shabbyblogs.com comes up with some holiday themed headers, because I made this one on scrapblog.com and I HATE it! All of a sudden their super cute stuff is no longer FREE! And I'm not gonna pay to decorate my blog, so for now, that's what you get. I'm still paying off all the real live decorations I bought last year for Christmas! For the first time ever, I got up at four to hit the post-Christmas sales on Dec 26. And I got some GOOD stuff. Hopefully you'll see some of it next week, after we get our family photo taken! Anyway, gimme some time, this blog will be as cute as ever in a few more days. Gotta figure out this photobucket business.

Update: Check out my "about" and "kids" and all those buttons! I MADE those myself, from stratch! Normall, you go to websites and grab them for free (or even worse, you pay someone else to make them) but I did it all by myself, I didn't even have to ask Nick for help! I'm like some sort of computer genius or something!

Finished My Book

Disclaimer: This post is a rambling about my new Stephen King book. If you don't care about the book, don't read this post. If you don't want any spoilers about this book, or you're the only person in the entire world who doesn't know how Harry Potter is going to end, don't read this post.



Phew. Well, I finally finished my book Wednesday night, then had to face the world that I'd neglected for eight days straight on Thursday. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Praise the Lord that my husband doesn't mind picking up the slack. You should have seen him the weekend Harry Potter seven came out. I literally read for forty eight hours straight, stopping only to shower and sleep a few hours. And as soon as I finished, I flipped it over to read it again! Although the second time around I slowed down considerably.


While Under the Dome was no Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was still superb. Stephen King is absolutely, positively, my totally undoubtedly favorite author. Without a single doubt. Yes, when I was in the thick of the Harry Potter phenomenon, I really really appreciated JK Rowling. I mean, no one can deny that she's so so super talented. But, then I found out that Stephen King loves her too! And that sealed the deal for me, Stephen King wins. Maybe if she writes something else totally different from Harry Potter and it's still fantastic, she can be back in the running, but right now, if I had the opportunity to meet anyone in the whole entire world, it would be Stephen King.

I always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember. It never dawned on me, and it wouldn't have worked anyway because I had to join the Navy to pay for college so I really had to go the nursing route, but it never dawned on me to get into the publishing world. I never want anyone to read my own stuff, but I could have tried editing, or any of the thousands of things that they do in a publishing firm. Duh! Oh well, maybe when I'm done staying home with all these kiddos.


But, back to the book. Fantastic. Tons of characters (just like the Stand), tons of action, tons of things that make you think...it was so good! I mean, hello, it was 1072 pages and I got through it in eight days. That should tell you it was pretty good. The basic plot is that this magical barrier has slammed (yes, slammed, quickly and harshly and with consequences) down over this entire town, all along the man made borders (making you think it's a man made barrier). Sounds pretty stupid, yes, but it's not! The whole book takes place over nine days, and this small town goes from a bunch of normal people to a bunch of animals. I mean, ANIMALS! It doesn't help that the guy who's sort of like the mayor is a power hungry drug lord, but hey, the regular people voted for him and put up with him all these years, right?



As usual, I wish I hadn't read the end first. I really slowed down at the end, because I already knew who was gonna make it and how. I don't know why I do that, but I always do! When HP7 came, I had Nick staple the last hundred pages together so I literally couldn't read the ending first. But, I did sneak a few peaks, so I knew Harry was gonna make it, and that Snape (my favorite fictional character of all time) wasn't. Ugh, why? WHY DO I DO THAT?!?!?! But I always do.

I know a lot of people think that Stephen King only writes blood and gore horror, but for those of you who've never read any of his stuff, there's more too it than that. And a LOT of it isn't like that at all! I mean, yes, there's blood and guts and horror, but not every book is all Carrie and Cujo. Although, I read Cujo and it was probably the most terrifying thing I've ever done. The horror though, is in the psychological suspense. His shorts stories now, that's a whole different ballgame. Those suckers are SCARY and I don't usually even glance at the pages. (shivers in discomfort)


Anyway, there's this one character who just really grabbed my heart in the book, Sammy Bushey and her baby Little Walter. That would be first name Little, middle name Walter. Geeze. Sammy is a skanky slut, sort of a lesbian, and smokes a lot of weed, but for some reason I just fell in love with her! He doesn't get too deep in her back story, but he's such a great writer that you know it anyway. She's had a rough life, but she's pretty happy in her trailer outside of town. She's got this baby, she's only like twenty, I think, and her husband left her a while back to live in the meth lab that the 'mayor' runs. She's just out there minding her own business, seriously.


The first time you meet her, I didn't really like her because she seems to dislike her baby. But then you see her again, at this big town picnic type deal, and she's wearing her baby in a front carrier, and that just about did it for me. Sammy is minding her own business, and this rent a cop type pushes her down-all the way down!- while she's wearing her baby! But the way she responds is how you know that she's sort of used to being kicked around. Poor Sammy Bushey. When Dobby dies in Harry Potter, I literally sobbed for almost an hour, I was just devastated. I was almost as upset when Sammy Bushey dies, but she makes sure Little Walter is okay before she does it, so it was sort of sweet. Bittersweet. I don't know why I identified with this girl so much, but I really did. And if Little Walter hadn't made it out of the Dome, I probably wouldn't be singing SK's praises so much.


He's not above letting kids die in his stories you know, in fact, another lady wearing her baby in a front carrier is, in fact, mowed down by her neighbor in this very book, and they both die. But we don't know them, so it's not very upsetting. And everyone saw the movie Cujo, right? Happy ending, boy's okay? Well, shocker- he dies in the book. The mom finally does in the dog and makes it to the front door (it was unlocked the whole time, ain't that a kick in the head) but the kid dies from dehydration. Anyway, if SK had let Little Walter die, I would not think he's so amazing. Alas, he IS so amazing, hence, Little Walter makes it out by the skin of his teeth. Actually, I made that up. The book specifically says that Little Walter is not affected at all like everyone else when they run out of air. Huh, what are you gonna do.


Anyway, point being- fantastic book. Check it out if you get a chance, but it's super heavy, so be sure to lift with your legs. I'm off the reread Insomnia, my previous Favorite SK Book. Or the Stand, also my previous Favorite SK Book. Poor Nick.

Update: I just googled some book reviews (I know, that's what you all do on Friday nights too!) and I just loved what one of them said! I was starting to think that it was sort of weird how much I fell in love with skanky Sammy Bushey and this guy up and says "King also admires women, particularly mothers, and there are numerous examples of maternal love here- from a white-trash girl's heartbreaking relationship with her little boy..." So I guess that takes care of my second life in editing. How come those words never came to my mind when I was trying to explain Sammy and Little Walter to you? This guy also mentioned that people compare SK to Charles Dickens. I just love him! And I love it when other people love him too! It's a pretty good review, here's the link if you're interested. He also agreed with me that King's last few books- The Cell, Duma Key, and Lisey's Story- weren't too Kingish. Enjoyable, but not really what you're looking for when you pick up an SK. He also put into better words than I could that the ending, while totally fine in itself, is sort of a bummer when you find out that little kid aliens dropped the dome because they were bored and wanted to see what would happen. But still, as stupid as that must sound, just read it! It's so good!

Another update: I hope this is the last one, because even I myself am starting to think I'm a loser. Here's the NYTimes review and he says it a lot better than me too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pictures

In my constant quest to Keep the Kids Up Till Two so that they'll nap until Nick gets home, we stopped off at the Big Park today after school. I wanted to stay until like one thirty, but Warren was having none of that. All my Prevacid praises? Boo. That kids cries just as much as ever. I guess it's his big giant horse tooth trying to break free on the top right. GIMME A BREAK KID! You're not the first person to ever cut a tooth!

But don't tell him I said that. Look at that face!!!





Teething on the swing. I'm sure it's sanitary, right? Those pesky flu germs can only survive, what, a week on something like a swing? It's probably fine, right? :)






But seriously. Why is that tooth so BIG? There's a baby about his age in OCF and his teeth are teeny tiny cute little things. I have a sensitive spot for teeth, considering the Snaggle I've dealt with all my life.






Now, these next shots aren't great since the looks on their faces leave a little to be desired, but Dad, if you're reading this, this is the kind of shot I'm looking for. That background being the way it is? I put my f-stop at 22. Any higher (bigger number) and it turns my whole shot dark. Why does it do that? And changing the f-stop is affecting my shutter speed, even though I don't tell it to slow it down. Ugh. I need to drag that book out of my car and actually read it.

Weekend Disaster

Well, if you've been wondering where I've been lately, I'll just tell you. Stephen King released his latest book last Tuesday, so I headed down to Target to pick up my copy, having no idea that it was a 1072 page dinosaur the likes of Insomnia or The Stand. And ya'll, it is GOOD! I mean, it's totally fantastic, I'm so excited! I'm currently on page 673 and so that's where I've been all week. Poor Nick. When I've really got my teeth into a breathtaking story, that's pretty much all I do. I thought I wasn't neglecting the rest of the world as bad as I usually do, but Nick gently pointed out the other night that I have been. And he didn't even ask me to stop!

BUT, I feel like maybe if I blog about the horrible wreck that was my weekend, that might put it into a little perspective and make me feel better before I have to face another Terrible Tuesday.

We got tickets a few weeks ago to see the Transiberian Orchestra in Hartford this past Saturday. Now, I guess maybe I knew that it was in Hartford, but I didn't really pay attention to that part, I figured we'd just head right up the road. Anyway, way back then, I asked this girl that assists with Ava's gymnastics classes if she babysits. She and Ava are BFF and it just seemed like a great fit! She said yeah, and I got the impression that she babysits all the time. I warned her that Ava is the OLDEST and that I have two YOUNGER boys too, and she said that was fine. I kept mentioning it at gymnastics and church over the next few weeks and she always said it was fine.

Then I was talking to her mom at church and the mom mentioned that she'd come over for a while to help out. That got me thinking that maybe the girl was nervous, so I set asked my friend Erin to keep Warren for the night. I mean, I have a hard time with all three and I'm their mother, so I just figured it would be better all around if she just kept the big kids.

THANK GOD.

I left notes all over the kitchen, suggestions for snacks (that I prepared and set aside in the fridge) and dinner and dessert and our routine for bedtime and all that good stuff. Just helpful hints, things that I expected to happen over the course of the evening. And when she showed up at four, I told her all of this too. Then we headed out.

She called at about six fifteen because Scott was crying. Now, whatever, that's fine, I'm glad she called. But I'd told her that if Scott got sad (which I KNEW he would) to send him upstairs to get a blankie and his pacifier. So when he got on the phone SOBBING, I told him to go up and get his stuff, and he said okay and he did. The babysitter got back on and I told her that since it was getting so late, maybe they could just watch Cars until bedtime. She said they'd been watching TV since I left.

Huh?

I texted her right before the show to see if everything was all right, and she didn't answer, so I called her too. She was laying in bed with Ava and she said that Scott had gone to bed after she gave him another cup of chocolate milk. What I didn't understand at the time was that Scott had just taken the cup upstairs and climbed into bed on his own. I mean, my poor baby went to bed all alone!

The show was absolutely amazing, I mean, seriously, breathtaking. We left just a tiny bit early because I wanted to get home by midnight and I texted her when we left and asked if everyone was still down, had they woken up, that sort of thing. And she never answered, until like forty five minutes later she replied "are you almost here?" What?

So we finally get home and (over)pay her and get her home, and as I'm cleaning up the kitchen I start to notice some things. For one, all of the Halloween candy, including about half a dozen packs of Pez, is gone. So that explains the tummy ache she'd told me Ava had. Then I notice that there are TEN WRAPPERS from fruit snacks in the trash. She let my kids eat TEN PACKS OF FRUIT SNACKS. And the dinner that I'd made? Not even touched. Same with the snacks I'd set out.

All right, whatever, she fed my kids a bunch of junk. Obviously, she hadn't known what to expect when they started crying or when they told her that they were allowed to eat all that. But then when we got upstairs to check on them and the weren't in the jammies I'd laid out or wearing DIAPERS, that's when I lost it. I mean, I specifically told her that they had to wear diapers to bed! And I set them out, she would have had to step over them to get into Ava's room! LITERALLY!

The next morning, Ava told me that she didn't play with them or do anything fun. I'm so upset! Is this stupid? I mean, I know that in the long run, it's not that big of a deal. But Nick and I NEVER do this kind of thing, and I just wanted it to be better! I feel cheated. I feel like the kids were cheated. Mostly, I feel like if we'd left the baby with her, someone would have died.

Maybe this was her very first time babysitting. If so, she should have told me. When we offered to ask our neighbor Pearl to come over and help her when Scott was crying, she should have said yes. And I do feel sorry for her, because it's hard to get our TV to switch from DVD back to regular TV, so it looks like she had NOTHING to do from eight till midnight. But at the same time, I TOLD her how to switch it. And she should have texted me if she needed help switching it. So I can't decide if I'm angrier (more angry?) with her, or with myself. Either way, I can't imagine she'd agree to babysit for me again, and I don't know that I'd ask! Why is this so difficult?

Ugh. There. Now I'm done, I'm not going to think about it or talk about it ANYMORE. Alexa, if you're reading this, we miss you. You're a thousand times better!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Babies Don't Keep

I've seen this on some other blogs, and I think I even read it in a parenting magazine once. I don't know anything about copyright laws, so here's hoping I don't go to jail for sharing this with you. That's my latest irrational fear, that I'm going to go to jail for stealing music on the internet. People really do jail time for that! I think. And unless the guy from Prison Break is there to comfort me, I am terrified of jail, that's the main reason I never did any of the standard teenage stuff when I was younger.

Anyway. This poem is perfect for me. Makes my eyes sting every single time I hear it.

Song for a Fifth Child
By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

No, I don't like to get on the floor and play barbies with the kids, and I don't particularly enjoy taking them to the park, or any of that other good-mother-crap. It's just not my thang. But when one of those big kids comes over to me and says "I wanna hold you" (which is what they say, we don't know why they can't say 'I want you to hold me' but whatev) I do it. Always. Almost always. And Warren...I could hold that guy forever.

In one of the loss classes I took during my oncology days, the leader was telling us about one of her patients who'd lost a baby at about two months. This mama went to the grocery store a few months later and was frantically grabbing up watermelons and cantelopes and bags of apples. She later told the leader that she was a madwoman, in a total frenzy, absolutely panicked. People stared at her and asked her if anything was wrong. She told the leader later what she'd been doing.

She'd forgotten what if felt like to hold her baby. The weight of him, the way he rested in her arm. So she went to the grocery store to try and get back that feeling. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE!!!

So, how blessed am I! My children, three out of three, are all perfectly healthy, they want for nothing (they may disagree) and they're even good looking. So yes, everything else can wait. Because babies- and toddlers and preschoolers- do not keep.

PS-if your heart is breaking about that lady in the produce section, I later learned that a lot of bereavement groups have special teddy bears that they fit small sandbag weights into for a desired 'heaviness.' Terrible that such a service is needed, yes, but oh, how wonderful that it is available for those women.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


It's another week of new recipes for us. I think I might have been too ambitious this week- some of these recipes had some pretty unusual ingredients I had to pick up yesterday. Once again, I came in way under budget for groceries, which is great because we ate out twice this weekend, and next week I'll have to pick up formula. Warren is finally eating more food than formula though, so that should be tapering off soon...Feb 25 can't get here soon enough! Do you have any idea how much cheaper than formula a gallon of whole milk is?
Anyway, here's what Team Engelbrecht will eating this week.
Sunday: quesadillas (carry over from last week bc we never made it)

Monday: chicken vindaloo (new recipe from an old Cooking Light magazine-looks sorta like a stew. Here's hoping I didn't overestimate my culinary skills...)

Tuesday: pretzel chicken with cheddar mustard sauce seriously, so good. It's probably my favorite dish, my signature. I used to make it all the time until the kids got scared of the food processor bc it was so loud, but then we got a new processor that's a LOT more quiet, so I guess I'll get to make it more often. Deep fried food is good on weight watchers, right?

Wednesday: chili not to overuse the word, but seriously. This is so good! Since I started cooking about five years ago, I've tried at least ten different chili recipes, and this one is hands down the best. I do tweak it just a tiny bit though, email me if you want to know the changes we make.

Thursday: whatever we take for OCF

Friday: chicken and basil calzones (new from another Cooking Light magazine)

Saturday: shepard's pie (new recipe from that old 'weeknight dinners' cookbook that I bought when we first moved in. I lost it, but we've been doing some serious cleaning and I found it last week! How great!)



So what's on your menu this week? If you need any ideas, head over here for some inspiration!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Isn't that HILARIOUS! Maybe you have to have three or more to get it...but it is totally true. It's like, the most ACCURATE portrayal of life with three kiddos that I've ever seen. I got it from a blog that I secretly stalk, so if you see it on hers, know that I stole it. What can I say, you gotta get your material from somewhere, right?

Wordless Wednesday

we LOVE prevacid!!!

Tuesday

So, normally I hate Tuesdays. The weekend is obviously fun, and then Mondays are pretty great because, well, I take the big kids to school and get to lay around all morning while the baby sleeps. Nice recovery from the weekend. Not that our weekends are wild and crazy or anything. But Tuesdays...oh Tuesdays, how I usually loathe thee. The big kids are underfoot all day, it's getting cold, the weekend feels like it's years away...it's like being a stay-at-home-mom punches me in the face every Tuesday morning.

Not today.

Today started out a little rocky, but Warren did sleep all night. He woke up at twenty to five, I put his paci back in (WHY can't he do that himself? WHY WHY WHY!!!) and climbed back into bed, but I couldn't get back to sleep because I was worried about Nick's alarm going off at five. What? What a stupid thing to be worried about. I was scared that it would scare me. Ugh, I'm such a neurotic loser. I eventually must have dozed off, and then Nick got me up at six to work out. Because I asked him to, not because he's a relentless drill insturctor. Although he did make an unkind comment about paying for Weight Watchers while I ate all of Scott's Halloween candy...

Anyway, I decided to skip the workout because I just didn't feel like it, and sometimes working out in the morning backfires and I'm super tired and hungry all day. But Nick stuck around till seven anyway, so he unloaded the dishwasher! I know, that seems like such a small thing, but I hate unloading the dishwasher. Silverware, ugh.

And things kept getting better! The baby wasn't crying! I had his follow up for his ear infection on Friday, and we saw his regular PNP, and I (of course) started crying and told her that he cries all the time. And she listened! And prescribed prevacid! Just like that! SHE LISTENED TO HIS MOTHER, BELIEVED THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG, AND TOOK STEPS TO RIGHT IT. Can you imagine? What a novel idea!!! That's why I prefer NPs, no offense Drs. Snow. You guys are great, seriously, but you're not here, so...

So the baby was playing (somewhere) and the big kids were in the playroom and I had like an hour to play on the computer and eat breakfast and just do...nothing. It was so fun! Right on routine, the baby got fussy at 8:30 and he went down after like, two minutes of rocking. Then I dragged out the Preschool Box, which is just a plastic bin filled with flashcards and a few learn-your-shapes wipe off books that the kids, for reasons I can't fathom, just LOVE. I mean, they literally squeal with excitement when I pull it out. Unfortunately for them, I don't pull it out often because they have to be TOTALLY supervised to use anything in it. And really, not even just supervised so that they don't tear it up, you actually have to be engaged with them. You know, mother them a little? We all know of often I do that.

So that took another forty five minutes, then we had snacks and they went back to the playroom! Baby woke up and I did the unthinkable- got all three dressed and loaded into the van, and we went to the grocery store for some tomatillos for tomorrow night. Yes, I- Queen of Never Leaving the House if I Can Help It- took all three kiddos to the store! And they were FANTASTIC! Super listeners, obedient...it was like having someone else's kids. A Good Mom's kids!

So as a reward, we stopped at the Big Park on the way home. Not to be confused with the little park on our corner, the Big Park has a REALLY tall slide. And swings. Which I refuse to push the kids on, because if it were up to Ava, she'd spend the entire time on the swings. And I have magazines to read. Uh, I mean, I have a baby to take care of. Yeah, that's it. The baby.

So that brings us to 12:30! Halfway done! Home, lunch, Dora, all three in bed by 1:45. Sigh in glorious relief because I've done it. I only screamed at them ONCE all day! Honest to God! That's HUGE for me, seriously! And, anyone who knows my kids knows why my day was pretty much over at 1:45. Those kids can SLEEP. At least the big ones. Ava got up at 4:30, and I woke Scott up at 4:45. And that's typical. I figure God blessed me with such amazing sleepers because He had a little trick up His sleeve called Warren.

Although, I can't lie. Today, a VERY non-typical day for him, Warren slept for two and a half straight hours this morning, and two and a half straight hours this afternoon.

So my heart is happy tonight. I hope no one is too jealous of my Best Day Ever :)

PS Meryl, if you're reading this, I feel really bad. I don't hate doctors. I just hate the doctors that I've dealt with. And if my kids weren't healthy, run-of-the-mill boring patients, I would want them to see an actual doctor. AND, going against the grain even more, I PREFER teaching hospitals because residents try harder than attendings! I like the idea of all those eyes on me when I'm a patient. So I'm sorry I said that about NPs. They're not better, they're just different.

Monday, November 2, 2009

School Pictures

Oh yeah, I forgot all about these! Remember when you were little and your tacky mom would make you take a tacky school picture? I'M THAT TACKY MOM! I literally almost cried today when Ava's teacher handed me these. I'm really that mom!

Portrait Session

We took the kids to get their pictures taken about three weeks ago. I went and picked them up and then forgot all about them! But I sorted through them today, so if you want any, shoot me an email. I scanned some of them in a little crooked, but you get the jist :) Oh yeah, and my scanner is pretty dusty, hence the flecks of crap all over their faces. .

And, in case you're wondering why Warren is wearing two different shirts, lemme tell you a quick story. I took him on a separate day to get his pics done, and then had the big kids go another day and we did those two and the group shot. Well, on Warren's day to go alone, I grabbed a shirt from the stack of Special Picture Clothes and we all loaded up in the van and went to the mall. It wasn't until I was settled at Penny's and getting him changed that I noticed that the shirt I'd grabbed was a 2T. Scott's shirt! So I called Nick (who was in the play ground at the food court) and told him to run to Gymboree and re-buy the same shirt, so that I could take the one I'd already bought back. He called me from the store and described two shirts to me, and I picked the one I thought I'd bought before. Wrong-o. Hence, the two shirts. Just in case you were wondering.