Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept 30: Menu Plan Monday (And Another Rant about how Awesome Plan to Eat Is)

First, can I rave about Plan to Eat a little more without being obnoxious and annoying? I just don't know that I've ever loved a paying website MORE than I love Plan to Eat. And I'm sure it goes without saying, but they're totally NOT paying me even a dollar to gush about them.  I just really do love it that much. The latest feature I'm obsessed with? It can suck itself into your calendar.

I use my phone calendar for EVERYTHING.  And I do mean everything.  I map out my weekly chores.  Things as basic as 'fold laundry' or 'mop floors' (which should actually be 'remind Nick to mop floors' because ya'll KNOW I don't do that.) I put embarrassing things like 'walking dead UK premiere' in it (Friday Oct 18 on UK Fox) and 'divergent three published' (Tuesday Oct 22) along with the obvious 'fly to Iceland' and Nick's call schedule.

So seriously, everything.  I don't want to miss a thing. (Are you singing? Just admit it.)

I used to type up the menu in it too, just so I knew what was coming up and could take whatever out of the freezer and stuff like that. But PTE does it for you, AND it's a clickable link to the recipe all done up in the website AND they have a 'cooking view' that you can swipe through WHILE COOKING!!!

Here's a visual step by step because it's a slow morning here and I'm pretty bored.
You Start Here, in the Regular calendar view. My PTE just happens to be green, who knows why. Kids are yellow, my stuff is Pink. I have to take Scott today, hence the pink. Yeah, hence!!

When you click the green box to pull up the 'event' you get this. I haven't set ANY of this up, it all just happened magically!! I didn't have to do ANYTHING!!!

When you click either of the red links in the 'event' view, it takes you right to this.  Then you click the 'cooking view' and viola!! You get to the screen below.

This one is super cool because it's big enough for me to read, and if you swipe over the numbered direction part (only that part though, which can be annoying) it swipes to the next step of the recipe!!


Whatever. If you're not using Plan to Eat, you're just being silly.  It's like less than a dollar a day. It might be less than a dollar a week, I don't know math.

Onward? I'm joining the link party at Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Well for Monday, I was going to make these Skinnytaste Italian Meatballs with zucchini noodles for me and some regular pasta for the kids, but we're grilling out with potential new friends instead.  Can't argue with that.
(Side note: I have recently become too scared to steal blogger's photos and post them, even with the image via link thingie. I don't know where this fear came from, but alas, it is there. Which sucks because I myself am always much more likely to try a recipe if there's an accompanying photo. I'm going to take pics of my meals from now on to work around this, but still, I try a lot of new recipes, so there's a lot that I just don't have pictures of. I'm so bummed!!)

Tuesday: Another new one, this time from Weelicious, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. Have ya'll visited the Weelicious site? It's hit or miss for me, sometimes her stuff seems doable, sometimes it's a little too cutesy for my tastes. This recipe she's got for the Chicken Satay is actually from someone else, a Katie Chin, who I should probably follow as my husband has a soft spot for Thai food.  I'm not a HUGE fan, I feel like every time I eat anything Thai, alls I taste is peanut butter.  Which you'd think I'd love, since I LOOOOVVE peanut butter, but alas.  (Apparently the word of the day is ALAS.)

Wednesday is supposed to be leftovers, but I'm thinking of maybe whipping up the Italian meatballs and zucchini noodles instead.  Leftovers are so gross.

Thursday: My own version of the Comfort Meatballs.  OHHHHHHH, how I've missed these.  They don't sell the McKormick seasoning packets here (they're very strict or something on preservatives and chemicals and all that dangerous stuff that gives food a shelf life of seventy five years). I will be on the hunt this week for a do it yourself version of the packet, but I'm terrified that it's the chemical garbage that makes it sooooooo gooooooooodddd and these will taste like dirt and I'll hate and my life will be ruined FOR EH VER.

And if you want the PW version, here you go.

I know I don't usually plan for Fridays, but I've been craving these, so I went ahead and added them: Chicken Teriyaki Burgers.  I'm assuming Nick does something different with these, so maybe I'll have him share with me and I'll give these a post- they're THAT good. In fact, I probably already posted about them.  I'll give it a google and see what I can come up with.

Saturday grill out or eat out or take out or something else out.

Sunday another roast, this time I think we'll try Jamie's Mothership Sunday Roast Pork.  Huh. He's taken it off his website!! Weird.  Anyway, here's the link to just his site, if you wanna have a look around.  That's really weird! Yet another reason to use Plan to Eat, if I'd just pinned this, I wouldn't have access to the recipe, but since I magically sucked it into PTE, it's there waiting for me, along with a detailed shopping list of things I need to create it.

Oh, Plan to Eat. You complete me.

So what are ya'll cooking this week? If you need a little inspiration, head over to Organizing Junkie for hundreds of ideas.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29: Last Real Day of the Thirty Days of Blogging

Well tomorrow is a Menu Plan Monday that I've already mostly typed out, so today is sort of the last day.  HOORAY!! I made it.

Takeaway lessons?

I love writing even more than I remember. Forcing myself to blog every single day wasn't even hard! Do I wish I hadn't drunk blogged last Saturday? OF COURSE. But I'm still proud that I did it every single day like I wanted to.

So yeah. I'm going to revamp this thing. I'm not trying to make money or anything like that (obviously, or I wouldn't be drunk blogging) but I would like to meet a few new readers. I love all ya'll dearly and I just know there's more gals out there I want to meet and connect with.

And literally, before I did this thirty days, I didn't really ever get what people meant when they talked about the 'blogging community.' But now I do.  Getting those comments is like heroin. It just feels GOOD, and getting comments from new readers is so fun.  So, any suggestions on how to grow this little slice of internet are welcome and encouraged.

More than anything though, I just enjoyed WRITING every day. Like most bloggers, I was a heavy journaler before Al Gore invented the internet. I would fill half the pages of a gorgeous notebook with my serial killer handwriting before finding an even cuter notebook at Waldnebooks in Edgewater Mall and switch to that one. I just LIKE to write. I like the way you feel when you transform the random swirling thoughts in your mind into flesh and blood WORDS. And yeah, putting them where other people can read them is daunting and scary, but it's also sort of exhilarating and fun.

I don't even know what I'm trying to say. I guess the gist is that I loved blogging for thirty days straight and I fully intend to keep posting quite a few times a week. Lucky you ;)

But the main gist is that the series finale of Dexter is in seventy five minutes and I went all fucking week without googling any spoilers!!! I'm so excited.  And proud!! This is HUGE for me, not peaking ahead. I will say that this final season has been lame, this final episode better be awesome or else I'll be pissed I wasted eight months binge watching this show on Netflix, and I'm so glad I didn't start this when it first started and spent the last eight YEARS on the edge of my seat like this. Binge watching on Netflix is just so COOL!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sept 28: A Day on the South Bank (Photo Overload)

We haven't been into London since August and that's just unacceptable, so today we headed in. Rough life, I know.

I haven't taken many pics lately, so I grabbed my camera before we left, and I've been using my 28-can'trememberthenextpart since Christmas, minus the week in Ireland (swoon), so I swapped out for my old lover, the 50mm 1.8.  I forgot how much I love that lens!!

I also forgot that the last time I used my camera was in a barely lit restaurant. So yeah.  I took most of these pictures OUTSIDE in the FULL SUN with an iso of 6400.

I am such a fucking moron.



My life is HARD.

Regardless.  They were having some sort of Food Truck Festival Type Thing down there and it. Was. Epic.  The smells alone were enough to put me in a coma.  DEAR LORD.

This was some sort of Malaysian Pancake.  With rice? I don't know. It was SO FUCKING GOOD.  I seriously don't think I've ever had something that good.

But almost as good as the actual food was all the signs!!

 I don't know who started the whole Hipster Chalkboard Revolution, but for this food truck thing, it was wholly (is that a word?) appropriate and well done.  Tasteful.  Get it?!?! TASTEFUL. (That's how Ava ends her jokes, by explaining them to us in ALL THE DETAILS.)

And typically, I scoff at signs that declare anything the best on the PLANET, but this was no lie.  This sausage was the best I've ever had.

And I've had a lot of sausage.

Get it? SAUSAGE.

I'm kidding.

But it was amazing.
 I did not sample any cheese because I couldn't find anyone offering free samples of cheese.  Lame.

And I don't drink wine, but I thought this truck was pretty nifty.

Despite all that amazing food, we somehow ended up eating sushi.  Gag me.

Then it started raining a little, so we headed into the aquarium, which was actually why we'd come into the city in the first place, before we discovered all the pancakes and sausage to be had.

Here's my nerd herd kids. I used to wonder how I ended up with such nerdy kids.

 Then I remembered who their mama and daddy are.

Get it? NERDS.
 Favorite shot of the day ^^^

Then we went to play at the Jubille Gardens park, which I think is seriously lame (when compared to all the AMAZING parks and gardens in this amazing city) because it makes a terrible backdrop in pics, but the kids like it because it's fun to play on. Whatever. Nerds.

So I have absolutely no pictures of the park. You're welcome.

But then I caught sight of this bride.

How fucking cool would it be to get MARRIED here?!?! I bet she got some amazing shots in front of Big Ben too.  Bitch. I hate her.

I guess when Daisy marries Prince George, I can probably get a few shots of her in front of Big Ben too.  And if you can't accomplish things yourself, the next best thing is forcing your kids to live your dream for you, right?

 I almost didn't post this because it's so blurry and seriously, SO BLURRY, not a single thing is in focus, but look at my baby's sweet smile.  Notice the lack of diaper bulk!?!?

Then this one, why oh WHY couldn't she be facing into the frame?!?! It would have been PERFECT!!!

Then I got cold so we bailed and headed home.  Guess what Warren did on the train?

So that was our day. I know I've said it like seventeen thousand times, but seriously: I love this city.  LOVE IT. My heart aches at the thought of having to leave.  Honestly. I love it so much.  It's just perfect.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sept 27: Five Minute Friday TRUE

Here's the details.
"1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.

Here's the prompt this week: TRUE


True is a GREAT prompt for me.  More than any other trait, I want people to feel like I'm TRUE. Honest.  Dependeable.  No, I don't have a clean house, and I'm not a very good mother, and I'm still pretty fat because I like to eat and I don't have any self control, and I watch too much tv- but I like to think that even though I have all these terrible attributes, I am TRUE. I stay true to myself, and true to my family.

I like to think I represent myself pretty accurately.  I feel like my children know I love them beyond all doubt, because I'm always honest and true with them. I like to think that the few close friends I have, they actually value me and love me for me, and not because I've ever put up a front, or misrepresented myself in some way.  Because with me, what you see is what you get.

And that's very important to me.

Should it  be? Who knows.  Should I try to hide the fact that I'm a terrible mother? That I'm thirty pounds overweight? That I kissed Ava this morning right after she'd kissed Daisy goodbye and she transerfed some snot she'd picked up from Daisy ONTO MY LIPS and I gagged and freaked out? Probably.  But Ava laughed instead of getting offended, so I think it ended up okay and besides that-


Time's up.

I feel like I need more than five minutes!!! But I guess THAT is the point, no? Ugh. Only three more days until I've blogged for thirty days straight!!! Despite what my sister said this morning on the phone, I haven't skipped a single day. And for some odd reason, this makes me extremely proud.  I might need to find a more productive hobby.

Anyway. If you're having a rough week (I myself am having a semi rough day, it started crap but got pretty better as the day went on) I can't encourage you enough to check out Lisa Jo's blog, even if you don't want to join in on Five Minute Friday. There's just something about her.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sept 26: Book Reviews for The Drawing of the Three, Deeply Odd, and Outlander

The end of Thirty Days of Blogging is near, and I can taste it. I'm gonna make it though!! I can't believe I have managed to come up with something to say for the past twenty six days.  You're so lucky.

Today is a book review.  Again.  I've almost made it through my year of books! If you're wondering just how neurotic I am, to have all these book pictures filed away and waiting, it's not as bad as you think. I've got a page in the works for my 2013 photo album slash scrapbook, and it's just a grid of all the books I've read this year. So they're all cropped and framed and ready, I'm just uploading them as they go.  So yes, neurotic, but perhaps not THAT strange?

Anyway.  Since I reread The Gunslinger earlier this year, I obviously needed to keep it going with Drawing of the Three. 

I like this story better than Gunslinger.  As badass as Roland is, he's kind of a dick, and he can be pretty boring.  So introducing Eddie to the mix is just SO MUCH FUN. I mean sure, he's a heroin addict in the beginning, but he's cool and funny and just fun.  I love Eddie Dean. 

I thought, going into the reread, that number two was the one where Jake is going crazy because his mind is splitting into what happened in the Gunslinger and what happens when Roland changes the past by not letting him get Pushed, but I guess that must be number three.  But other than that slight disappointment (I held out hope all the way until I only had like twenty pages left, even though I knew that story arc took up WAAAAY more than twenty pages...) this is still a fantastic book.  This and number four are my favorites from the series, if I remember correctly.  I guess we shall soon see, as I make my way through rereading the entire Dark Tower series.  I bet you can't wait.

Anyway, five out of five stars.  LOVED IT.

After that, I downloaded Deeply Odd.  

Do you read the Odd Thomas books? I like them.  I like Dean Koontz, even though his stories are basically all the same lately.   And I LOVE Odd.  Did ya'll know that there's an Odd Thomas movie?!?!

I had no idea!! And I absolutely LOVE that dude Anton Yelchin. Did you ever see Alpha Dog!?!?! I mean, yeah, JT sort of stole that show, but still, Yelchin was AMAZING.  He's amazing in every single thing he does.  Such a weirdo.  He was great in Charlie Bartlette, heart breaking in Like Crazy, and hello, Star Trek anyone?

Anyway, Deeply Odd was exactly what you'd expect from an Odd Thomas book.  Four thumbs up if you like this story, if you don't, you'd probably only give it two or three.  We're introduced to a new character, I can't remember her name, but she's the little old lady who shows up and demands Odd be her driver, and of course, she's just perfect for him.  I really liked her.  

I can't figure out what's going on with Anna Maria (is that her name? I can't even remember!!) and her pregnancy, and I would have liked to spend more time with the kid they took from Odd Apocalypse, but all in all, I really enjoyed this one.  Certainly better than Apocolypse.   

Last up for this post, we have Outlander.

Ahh, Outlander.  How I wanted to LOVE this book.  Everyone who reads it raves about it. EVERYONE. And I didn't hate it.  At all.  I just wasn't WILD about it. Please don't hate me.

For those you who've been living under a rock, here's the back of the book, the first in a series of seven (I think):
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I don't know. You'd assume I'd love it. I think my main problem was that Frank was a great guy and I felt really bad for him!! Claire was all right, a little annoying for my taste, and Jamie...I don't know.  I don't know why I didn't love this book like everyone else did. I felt like alls it was was Claire crying, getting into trouble, getting rescued, and having sex.  Over and over and OVER. That's it.

So. Three stars? I don't know if I'll read the next one. I want to give it a shot, but right now there's SO MUCH on my figurative nightstand that I'm not sure when I'll get to it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25: Time Management. Or 'Having Four Kids is Going to Be a Logistical Nightmare'

So I worked until we moved to Connecticut.  When I worked, things were rigidly scheduled, and more importantly, no one was home all day, so the house basically took care of itself.  Then all of a sudden, I found myself at home all day with three children under the age of four, with toys and laundry and shit and just JUNK piling up on every side.  What the hell happened?

Anyway. I didn't know when I started that most stay at home moms don't actually stay at home.  Did you? Apparently, a lot of gals spread their errands out so that they have something to do, somewhere to go, every day! And they join play groups and stuff, which I did know, and they go to the gym and take the kids to all sorts of sports and clubs...

Yeah, I didn't know that.  So I stayed home.  And I still do.  I order most of my groceries online (that's like a thing here!!!) but I do usually have to run in once a week for a few things.  But I make a point to only do that ONCE a week.  And I'm trying out a Friday morning Bible study.  But other than that, I truly do STAY HOME.  And I know it sounds like I'm looking down my nose at girls who run run run all day, but I'm really not, I swear.  I'd tell you if I was.  It's just that for me PERSONALLY (and it's OKAY to be different ladies!!) I get stressed and icky if I have too many things to do.  I'm a home body.

Anyway.  Because I don't go to the gym, my day starts at five.  Gag me.  I've tried every single thing I could think of to NOT have to wake up at five, and nothing works.  If I'm going to work out, I have to get up at five.  That's just all there is to it, so instead of crying about it anymore, I just do it.  Life goes on, right?

I usually hit snooze a few times and don't make it downstairs till five twenty.  I've considered backing up my alarm to four forty to make up for this...but I just can't.  That's TOO early.  There's a line, and the number FOUR is on the wrong side of it.  Before I start my workout tapes, I throw in a load of wash, which I like to 'prep' the night before.

 Obviously, by 'prep' I mean 'throw in front of the washer in a giant smelly pile.' Washing machines in the UK are just as tiny as you've heard, but we're very lucky to have two full sets, one inside and one out. They hold two towels, or an outfit for each of the four kids, or jammies for each of the four kids, or an outfit for me or Nick.  VERY SMALL.  So I do three loads a day, but the day before this picture was towel day, so I'd only done one load of clothes, hence the HUGE pile.  It doesn't help when those stupid kids wear a full uniform AND a full set of playclothes and get crap all over each, therefore sending down two FULL sets of clothes a day.

Anyway.  Start the wash, workout, lay on the floor wondering if I'm going to die or recover from the workout.  Thus far, I've recovered every time, but there've been more than a few close calls.

One or two of the kids usually gets up and comes down right before I'm done, around ten to six, and if I'm lucky, he or she will throw a bottle of water my way as I writhe on the floor.  Sometimes she'll even toss me my phone and I can check instagram while I wait for feeling to return to my legs.

Then I take the world's longest shower while Nick comes down and makes breakfast and unloads the dishwasher.  I pretend that I wake up early to work out, but really, it's so that I can take a thirty minute shower and no one will bother me because Nick is still here.  Except Daisy has the worst head cold so she's been taking showers with me to clear out her nose, but honestly, I barely notice.  She just lines up all the shampoo bottles and knocks them over for half an hour, she doesn't even whine about wanting her turn under the water.

Now, here's where the time management conundrum comes in.  Every. Single. Morning.

By the time I get back downstairs, it's usually between six forty five and seven.  The kids have either finished eating, or they're all pretty close.  I'm showered and 'dressed' and coffee is ready and Nick usually makes me a plate of eggs.  We leave at eight ten.  So we have AT LEAST an hour, usually about an hour and twenty minutes.  Alls that's left is get the kids dressed (everyone but Daisy dresses  him or herself) pack lunches and get in the car.

That's it.  Three things.  In an hour.

But every SINGLE day, it's a last minute race.  I don't get it!!! I really don't. I've tried everything I can think of, so please, feel free to offer any suggestions.  They're not allowed to watch tv until everything is ready, but I guess they all must lie to me or something, I don't know.  No one is EVER ready to get in that car at eight ten.  Never.

I have a special Morning Music playlist full of embarrassing songs to get me pumped and excited about the miracle of another day of life.  Hooray life.

I usually have to nuke my coffee two or three times in this hour.  Which is stupid.  I should just start in a travel mug, that would keep it hot the entire time.  And I always get my second cup in a travel mug to drive with, so it's not like I'm worried about getting it dirty or something.  In fact, the way I do it, I'm actually getting TWO cups dirty.  Ugh.  Idiot.  What can I say, I like having an actual MUG of coffee, you know? Luckily, my lover is the same way.  He gets me.

Packing lunches is the bane of my existence.  Yes, I know I should pack them the night before.  But it just makes me so mad, and I don't want to go to bed mad.  Ava's badass school doesn't even give you the option, everyone HAS to have hot lunch.  It's not like hot lunch in America either, it's GOOD.  Restaurant food.  I made that up, I don't know how good it is. But I do know it's uber healthy and Ava loves it, so what else matters?  Scott's school just started offering 'heated dinners' this year, he gets one on Monday Wednesday Friday right now to see if he likes it, but God willing, after half term we'll bump up to all five days.  Leaving me with only ONE lunch to make.  Of sweet Jesus, I can taste that victory and it is GOOD.

I used to refuse to cut the crusts off the sandwhiches.  I somehow felt very superior, very Better Than.  Ohhh, my children? They EAT the CRUSTS.  Idiot.  No one cares.  And kids are dumb, they love having the crusts cut off.  And it literally takes two seconds.  However, that's as far as my Creative Lunches go.  We (OBVIOUSLY) don't do bunny faces out of carrots and cheese roll turkey or make fun bento boxes or anything like that.  Ever.

And this? This is why Scott is my favorite.  While everyone else is nagging me about food and clothing and shelter, Scott dragged Daisy into the office and made cat masks for shadow puppets.  Yes, he made a mess and got into the art bins, which he's technically not allowed to do...but look at that face. You can't see that he's not wearing socks, which he continued to not wear all the way to school, and his tie is under his shirt, but whatever.  Look at that smile.

We somehow always make it out the door, although rarely on time, but then we magically have never actually been late for school.  I like to call that the Jesus Works conundrum.

This is the best I could do for a selfie.  I wear the same thing every SINGLE day- yoga pants, long tee shirt, cardigan, and either shoes that resemble slippers or my wellies, depending on the weather.  I used to get down about the fact that I didn't ever get 'dressed' but then I decided that was dumb.  I'm too fat to be comfortable in a pair of jeans, and I REALLY like to be comfortable.  You might say I'm obsessed.  So this is my uniform.  I personally think I look acceptable enough to run to the grocery store or post office if needed, but you, of course, are entitled to your own opinion.

See my new bag?!?! Squeal.  This was my reward to myself for potty training Daisy! After EIGHT FUCKING YEARS of non stop diapers, I can officially leave the house with NO DIAPERS.  None.  Do you have ANY idea what this feels like? Unless you had back to back kids, you really don't.  It's indescribable.  It truly is.  Anyway, I snagged a new bag that DOESN'T NEED TO BE BIG ENOUGH FOR A DIAPER last weekend.  These are sort of like Vera Bradley bags back in the states, all the moms around here have them and they're sort of so ugly that they're cute.

No? Just me? I can literally FEEL Angela rolling her eyes ;)

Because Nick's job here is part of the Personell Exchange Program, we're entitlted to be reimbursed for Private School, which we take full advantage of.  We didn't know this until we got here because the dude that Nick replaced was sort of a douche, but this sweet girl he works with told him as soon as he got here, so we scrambled to find schools.  Ava was accepted immediately to the first school I found....but it's an all girls school.  Scott got into one that I could have moved Ava to, but his is only year one and two, so she would have had to move again this fall.  So she and Scott go to different schools is my point.

Well, in England, they apparently start school at four, instead of five like we're used to.  But since the reimbursement (obviously) comes from an American company, it doesn't start till the fall after the kid turns five.  Meaning next year for Warren.  So he goes to a completely separate school.  (As a side note, next year, Scott will have aged out of his school, and Warren will be old enough to go to Scott's school for free, but rather than try to find Scott a new private school and move Warren from where he is to Scott's school, both boys will be going to the public school that Warren goes to now {assuming Scott is placed there, they don't do it by where you live like in Hawaii} and Ava will stay at her amazing girls school because I love it so much.)

My point is, I drop off three kids at three different schools.  And they all start and finish at basically the same time.  So we pay for Early Care for Scott, he goes first, then I zip over to Ava's school, which is on a nightmare of a street, and slow down just long enough for her to jump out and walk herself to class.

I know.

World's Worst Mother. If you could only SEE the traffic situation there, you'd understand.  And no one has ever actually SAID specifically that you HAVE to walk them in.  They did say that for last year when she was in the 'infant' school, and I did it, every day.  And it was brutal.  So now I don't.  Call CPS if you need to, but I think I've got a pretty good case.

Then I go up around the block to Warrren's school.

I keep some surf wax in the car run through the boys' hair right before they go in.  On this particular day, Warren got into the jar and helped himself.

He used about a hundred and fifty seven thousand times more product than I typically use.

Very stylish.

I do walk him in.  His parking situation is a little (but not much) better, and he's four.  So he gets the royal treatment.  Side note about parking and traffic, is this an England thing? The no parking lots for schools, no car pool lines, people driving like assholes thing? Or is it because we live on the outskirts of such a big city, is there not enough room for parking lots or something?

It's very annoying.

When I finally get home, it's just a tad past nine o'clock and this is the lovely sight that greets me.


I just KNOW it would put me in a better frame of mind to take care of this BEFORE we leave for drop offs, but I just can't.  No idea why.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what happens to my hour in the mornings.

My life is also full of bullshit like this.  I washed my extensive collection of cardigans LAST WEEK.  Why haven't I taken care of them?!?!? I keep them in a drawer, I don't even hang them up.  So all I have to do is carry them upstairs and shove them in the drawer!! Yet, here they hang, cramping my style and cluttering my mind.  Ugh.

So Daisy spends twenty minutes eating everything in the fridge (every day! Regardless of what she eats for breakfast, girl is ready for what can really only be described as LUNCH at nine in the morning) and I try to clean up the counters, run the dishwasher (it's really small and has to be run two or three times a day, gag me) sweep up the cereal that they throw on the floor instead of actually eating, and swap out the laundry.

Then I would love to say that Daisy goes outside for fresh air or we read books or do other enriching, soul building activities...but usually we reheat my coffee and sit on the couch so she can watch Wonderpets while I play on the computer for half an hour.

But then I do (usually) draw the line and get up and try to do things with her.  It's weird having just her, and it's new, AND she's been sick, so we don't really have a routine yet, but the end goal, of course, is to get some chores accomplished during this time.  Today she helped me organize a little in the craft room, clean the playroom (read: throw out two bags of toys) and sort through the piles of clothes all over my bedroom floor.  Then she was all snotty and whiney and gross so I fed her another tiny lunch and stuck her in her bed.

Now, you know how I can't figure out where my hour goes in the mornings? I never seem to accomplish anything, blah blah blah? Well, I know EXACTLY where my two hours goes during naps.  I accomplish EXACTLY what I want.  Which is almost exactly the same, every single day: make lunch, eat in peace with no one wanting a bite only to spit it back out, and drink my one and only Diet Coke.  Best time of day EVER.  Oh, and I watch tv.  Right now I'm binging on Fringe on netflix, but sometimes I watch whatever's on the dvr, or old Friends.  I usually pick up the kitchen, but not always. This is MY time.

And this day, I also happened to be working on my quilt, so I laid out FOUR ROWS during naps!!! That's a LOT for me.

Then, in an instant, it's ten to three and I've got to start driving again.  GROAN.  Warren and Scott get out within ten minutes of each other, and Ava and Scott get out at the same time, so Ava goes to After School care on the days she doesn't do extras, which this year ended up being just one day. So I go get Warren, race to Scott, then either go fight traffic for Ava on Tuesdays, or head home and Nick gets her after her clubs.

Curious? She's in Speech and Drama (? no idea) some sort of Karate, and Art Club.  I love her school SO MUCH.

Then we're home.  Most days (don't kill me) Nick is home before four.  I know I should make the kids do chores, but I just can't.  I feel bad that they've been in school all day, so I want them to play. I don't even make them do homework.  I'm such a sucker.  Over the summer, they were doing their own laundry, and Nick still enforces the ol' clean your room before we watch tv rule, but honestly, I'm a pushover.  In my mind, they've had a horrible, stressful day at school and I usually give them whatever they want whenever they want it.  Ugh.

I use this time for meal prep, playing on the computer, and sitting in front of my sad lamp if I need it.  Nick is pretty amazing (duh) and lets me bum around doing whatever, but he's especially understanding if I need to take half an hour and sit in front of that fake sun.

This day was especially awesome because it was Leftover Day, which means NO MEAL PREP.  Hooray.  I do actually love cooking, but I need a break.  Look at that gorgeous Diet Coke up there waiting for me.  I love you, tiny silver can of heaven.

Then we eat, try to do homework, clean the kitchen, Nick gives baths, the kids watch a show, and they all go to bed by seven thirty.  We've tried later bed times, but they still wake up before six, they're just miserable, so seven thirty it is.

By this time, I'm usually exhuasted from a long day of basically not doing ANYTHING, so we veg out, watch a show, play on the computer, fold laundry, read books, whatever.  Nothing overly productive, but we like what we like.  We're usually in bed by nine thirty (Nick gets up at four and he actually DOES stuff during the day, so he's tired) and I read until ten thirty or eleven, then it's over.

So.  Any ideas on how I can have a better morning? Get more done? Yes, I know the obvious answer is to cut out my tv time, but honestly, that's just not happening.  I've cut back a lot, and I don't see any more coming any time soon.

What do I do when we're not at Ava's amazing school, where everything is built in? What if all four kids want to do four different activities at four different places? What do I do when Nick goes back out to sea?

Why oh WHY did I have so many kids?!?!?

Ohhhhhhh yeah.  Now I remember.