Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Monday, February 24, 2014

MPM - Week of 2/23 - 3/1/14

Sunday: Sandwiches for dinner. Blue and Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts today so we are eating our "big meal" of the day there at lunchtime

Monday: Breakfast (bacon/sausage, eggs, and toast)

Tuesday: Whole Chicken in crockpot (making two to have plenty left over for freezer AND tacos), mashed red potatoes, corn

Wednesday: Chicken tacos - using yesterday's leftover chicken, refried beans in slow cooker

Thursday: Meat and veggie foil packets *new to us recipe*

Friday: Tuna noodle casserole - finally going to make it as we've had the ingredients in the house for weeks

Saturday: Cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, carrots and applesauce

There are so, so many recipes I want to try from 100 Days of Real Food, and 3 of the four above we've made many times before with great success. I have tried others that we didn't like, as well as many we have liked and want to make again. I hope to eventually make it all the way through all of their recipes, and I can NOT wait till August when her cookbook is set to come out. I already informed Jason that I want it badly!! I would also love Pioneer Woman's cookbooks. All of them. I've made several of her recipes over the last couple of years with rave reviews. Birthday's coming up in 6 1/2 weeks. Maybe I will get lucky and get a new cookbook ;)

Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Family Fun Day - a Winter fun list update

This Saturday, we had a family fun day, and knocked several items off of our winter fun list!

First we decided to head out for lunch, and since eat at a new restaurant was on our list, we chose Achatz Burgers. Jason was feeling a bit under the weather and decided against eating anything at the time. I chose a double cheeseburger with lettuce, ketchup and mayo and shared shared cheese fries with Jackson, who also ate a mini burger. Ethan had a single cheeseburger with lettuce and ketchup as well as a small order of cheese fries, and Alex chose a Koegel hot dog and chili cheese fries. We considered dessert - they had shakes, malts, footbeer or Vernor's floats, their "famous" pie and brownies, both of which had an option to be a la mode! - but were all very full from lunch.
Waiting for their food :)
After lunch, we headed off to the bowling alley for a quick game. Jackson fell asleep on the way there, and slept for the entire time we were there, almost an hour! Next time, I'm hoping he'll be awake and get a chance to try a hand at it. Jason won with 110, E came in second with 88, Alex was in third with 84, and I had a score of 83. The best part? We all had a good game, with some laughs, and no yelling or arguing!

We have been wanting to check out SkyZone for a while now, and decided to go ahead and mark it off the list too. The boys had a ton of fun jumping, even Jackson. Jason didn't want to jump, so he stayed off to the side and snapped some pictures on his phone - still waiting for him to send them to me ;) One of us had to go in with Jackson, and they split the main court areas in to two, one for bigger kids, and one for smaller kids (if I had to guess, it was 5 and under). The girl at the counter told me that we would "split up" with the older boys on one side, and Jack and I on the other. I paid for the 4 of us and bought our skysocks. She made it seem like - by saying I would be with Jackson on the side with the smaller children and parents - that I would be able to jump with him... Yeah, not so much. Actually NOT AT ALL! I was trying to show him how to jump (in a separate square from me) and having fun, when one of teenage girls that work there employees came over to our side, and told me to stay off the trampolines, and stay on the borders. I proceeded to tell her that I had paid to jump and I also had to stay with my TWO YEAR OLD and the other teenage girl her fellow employee at the desk had told me I was to go on that side with him and did not tell me when I paid $10 for 30 minutes that I couldn't actually jump with him. I was seriously ticked off. If I couldn't jump on that side with him, why had I paid good money? That was bad enough. I wasn't the only parent told that by her/others, and the two other parents I spoke with briefly also felt the same way about it, why pay if not allowed to jump with them? What was the big deal? I understand the whole safety aspect of it, but seriously, we were all adults and the parents of these toddlers and preschoolers. We know how to be careful and safe. It wasn't as if it was a older sibling just playing all willy-nilly. It just seems ridiculous. Also a dad was sitting on the border by the wall in the court watching his young daughter bounce on the square in front of him, and essentially got reprimanded for that. If these are the rules, why not just post them somewhere? Oh well. Not worth $40+ to Jason and I for 30 minutes. If we go back, it will be just Jason or I taking Ethan and Alex, as they did have fun. When Jackson gets a bit older, he may go back, but for now, not happening. He would have just as much fun jumping on a mattress at home for free. With his brothers. Or mom ;) My review: Great fun for older kids, still fun for little ones, but not worth the cost, in my opinion. Also the cost is somewhat high in comparison to the amount of time. If you pay for a longer time, the value is better ($10 for 30 mins, $14 for 60, etc). I'm not saying the concept is bad, but post the rules somewhere at least.

Since it was time to go home and feed our children some dinner, and Jason was finally feeling 100%, we opted for a movie night and pizza. The older boys each picked out a movie to watch and we made it into a double feature. We have Amazon Prime, as well as Redbox Instant right now, so we searched on each for something good to watch.

Alex picked out Free Birds. We all really enjoyed it, and laughing filled the living room. Ethan picked Ender's Game. Alex wasn't sure he wanted to watch it, but decided to sit through it anyway, and ended up enjoying it. I liked it but the end caught me off guard a bit with its twist. I had never heard of the book series that it was based on, but it perked my interest, and I think E might enjoy reading them, as well as Alex. We filled up on pizza so opted out of popcorn.

Other items we crossed off our bucket list this week:
Play Twister - this one didn't go quite as planned, but we made into our own version with Jackson playing along too, and turned it into a learning experience, while still having fun.

We decided to remove the following from our list: Make homemade Valentines; Make cupcakes for Valentine's Day; Melty Bead Ornaments; and finally Watch Frosty the Snowman - we are all just sick of seeing snow right now, so poor Frosty loses out ;)

At the suggestion of a friend and coworker of Jason's, we added Detroit Historical Museum. Ethan and I have been there, for a field trip, way back in 4th grade. It was pretty neat then, and I have heard they added some new exhibits. Also adding in a movie that we ALL want to see, and since it's been a while since we've gone to the theater - other than the movie "festival" that the theater did back several months ago with free, newer movies for the kids and $1 for adults, and then it was just the boys and I - I thought it would be a neat one to go check out: The Lego Movie!

With less than a month left of it being officially the Winter season, we are doing pretty good on our list, having done 19 already, and started 2 (swim lessons and winter reading club). We still have 19 items left, not including our Saint studies and books to read. While we finished our Ohio book, the Michigan book we picked out has been less fun and more of a textbook style book. Not the ideal read-aloud book for a family setting. Our series book #1, Anne of Green Gables, didn't really seem to catch the boys' interest too much, and we haven't picked it back up since day 1 of reading it, only making it to chapter 3. While I am considering changing the series, I'd like to at least finish the first book before giving up on it entirely.

Sorry for such a late update. However, as you may know from my most recent Facebook update, I managed to break my laptop's screen. When I went to get up to help Jackson with something, I sat it on the small stack of towels next to the recliner - which had was reclined at the time - thinking it was safer there than on the stack of library books on the end table. Unbeknownst to me, it slid as I closed the recliner, and while I felt the recliner bump it, I didn't think anything of it because it barely touched it and didn't smash it as it closes slowly with a handle. Honestly, I though a toy was stuck under there. I took care of my very unhappy 2 year old (who, by the way, is dealing with a bit of a cold and it had just started that day with a low-grade fever) and then proceeded to pick up the laptop, realizing at then that it was in fact the computer and NOT a toy that I'd bumped. I noticed a small nick/dent on the outside top, but figured it couldn't be that bad. Um, yeah, I'd share a pic but it's just depressing me. It's got a visible smashed/cracked area under the screen, with it splintered out and the whole screen is distorted. The actual glass isn't broken, thank goodness, but whatever is inside the screen is destroyed :( Since it is almost the same price to repair it as it is to just replace it, we are opting to replace it. However, I feel the need to hold off on replacing it for the time being. It can still be used, and is hooked up to our desktop dinosaur's monitor and works just fine. The desktop PC is rarely, if ever used, so we just shut it off and unplugged it and now the laptop truly replaced it. It's not ideal, as I like to write in the living room, but workable.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Change can be hard

even if and when it is needed. Sometimes, the desired change is better in theory than in action.

And, sometimes, maybe, just maybe, that change is much easier than anticipated.

Thankfully, this has been one of those times.

Let me set the stage. Explain how it all started. Way back in January (ha!), I made up a list of goals for each of the boys. Including Jackson. Knowing full well that all of his personal goals for the year would be implemented by mom and dad. Knowing at least a few were huge life changes for such a little guy.

Fast forward to Friday, sometime before 4am, the bazillionth time of Jack waking up, and me just moving him to our bed so I *selfishly* - my words - could get a little more sleep. The kicking, and squirming, and hands in the face started. Not really an ideal situation for any of the three of us to get more sleep. Jason spouted off to me - as nicely as he could for 4am while tired - that I really need to just put him back in his bed, etc. I lost it, telling him, yes that would be nice but he is wide awake now, hates the crib, etc. A *ahem* disagreement ensued, until about 10 mins or so later, Jackson and I headed to the living room to read 9 books (yes I counted!) and then watched Sprout for a bit.

6am rolls around, and Jason is ready to walk out the door and another small discussion occurs. I'm at my wit's end. I just want ALL of us to be happy, comfortable and sleeping well. Jackson doesn't really have a "schedule" when it comes to sleep. I'm tired of sleeping on the couch with him several partial nights a week and Jason doesn't want him in our bed because then he can't sleep for work and school.

After taking the boys to school, Jackson and I got to work. I sorted through the closet and all the garage sale/donation items still in the guest bedroom to make a list for next year's taxes, and placed all the bags and boxes for donation on the front porch temporarily. Then I moved the queen mattress, and box spring to the family room, as it was too heavy to move anywhere else alone. After taking apart the bed frame (just a simple metal frame), and moving that also, Jackson's clean clothes were moved from his dresser to the identical dresser already inside of his closet that was being used for storage. He doesn't have a lot of clothes to hang up, so it's perfect. With how heavy the dresser is, I like it out of his reach. He can't yet open the folding closet doors, so that's a blessing. Since the first dresser was now empty, it was also sat in the family room. Next was Ethan's desk, which got completely cleaned out and sorted through, before finding it's new home - also in the family room, but the only thing moved that will stay there. 3 trash bags and lots of heavy furniture later, the room was almost completely empty. We have a small wooden bedside table that we left, but removed the door and latch from so now it's a good cubby or possibly bookshelf for Jack.

In need of a new bed for Jack, as I know how much he dislikes the crib, he and I searched online and came across a Disney Pixar's Cars bed for less than $70! We are still going to use the crib mattress, and he loved the bed. It turns out Toys R Us carries the bed, as well as the right size bedding also in the Cars theme, so I ordered them to be picked up in store that day. We had to wait until after school to go get them, and when we did we also got another baby gate and a light-up Cars wall art.

When Jason got home, boy, was he surprised to see me putting together a new bed in an almost empty room, as he had no clue what I had planned. He had to help me finish, as it was a bit more difficult than I anticipated, but was a breeze with his help. Thankfully he also made some fish sticks and fries for the boys for a quick dinner.

After the boys had eaten, and we had our own dinner of Zen Salmon and a side salad, it was time to have Jackson check out his room. We moved some toys in there and made his bed all up for him. He climbed right in and laid down for a second. Since he wasn't sure what to think, and said "not bedtime, mommy" I figured, oh boy, this isn't going to be very easy, but we shall see...

Much to my surprise, come 9pm, he willingly went to his room, climbed in bed (coolest part for him I think!) and laid down. "Blanket, pweese, mommy?" All snuggled up, with his monkey by his side, we read a few books, and his eyes got heavy with sleep. After several slow blinks, his eyes opened no more, so I stood to leave after a few more minutes and finishing the book we had started, to ensure he was asleep. I shut off the light, and up popped his little head, with a frantic little voice saying "no mommy! turn on light!" I instead turned on his wall art, and went back to his bedside and sang several nursery rhymes, before running out and resorting to amazing grace and jingle bells :) This time he was surely asleep. I just had to quietly "sneak" out the door, and over the newly placed baby gate (he can open the door, and we don't want him to wander to the basement stairs or something in the dark, his door stays open, we can clearly hear him, and any of us, including his brothers, if need be, can easily lift him out in an emergency.) So now it's 9:30, and he's fast asleep in his own bed, in his own room, and the other two boys are ready for bed too. After "good night's" all around, even mama is tired and heads to bed. I figured I'd be up in a couple of hours with an unhappy toddler.

Well I was right about being up, but very wrong about the reason. He stayed fast asleep. I, however, woke up almost every two hours, worried, and had to peak in on him! He did wake once at 4, needing a diaper change, but it was sort of funny how it happened. I had woken for what felt like the umpteenth time, but just to use the bathroom myself, and on my way there, I walk right by his door. I heard a faint voice talking inaudibly, and then the unmistakable "mommy, diaper? MOMMY, diaper change, pweese?" I quietly entered his room, changed his diaper without taking him out of his bed and therefore barely disturbing him. I don't even think he opened his eyes, and he went right back to sleep until just before six.

Talk about change! I thought, oh it MUST be a fluke. Surely, this barely 25 month old little boy who has needed to cuddle almost every night of his life, couldn't possibly be growing up so much so fast! I mean, he stop nursing less than 2 months ago, had his second birthday just over 6 weeks ago, had thumb surgery on Monday and freaked out a bit after waking from the anesthesia, crying uncontrollably for me until they came and got me - thankfully only a couple of minutes - and now he was willingly going to bed in his own bed. AND sleeping through the night?! Impossible!!

Wow. I've been a fool. I honestly didn't think he was ready. Apparently, having his own "real" bed - as well as room - was what he needed. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to buy him a bed a couple of months ago at a mom-to-mom sale, but Jason had said nah, we didn't need it because he didn't have his own room, he just needed to sleep in the crib. Well we were BOTH wrong. Me for not thinking he was ready, and Jas for thinking the crib was just as good or better than a big boy bed.

Last night went smoothly as well. After watching Free Birds, and having pizza for dinner, Jackson got a quick bath before we sat and watched Ender's Game, during which he bounced back and forth between mom and dad, and even went to lay down for a few minutes. He wasn't ready to fall asleep though and wanted some cuddle time with Jason, during which he fell asleep. After the movie was over, Jason was able to lay him down without waking him - let me tell you what, it's much easier in a small bed than into a crib! - and he slept until about 4am again! After a diaper change, I sang him back to sleep until just after 6 when he woke up yelling "mommy, daddy, move gate?? PWEESE??" Instead, E decided to go in there and play cars and trains and go-go's with him and Alex joined him a few minutes later.

Two days in, and while I still woke a couple times to check on him, I did sleep a bit better myself last night, and he is gaining some confidence and sleeping longer stretches for sure! Plus, it's nice not getting kicked in the head or stomach or back ;)

So we can officially mark off "move to his own room" and "transition to toddler bed" off of Jackson's 2014 goals!! Now just to start potty training...

Oh and an update on his thumb! (This was also on our Health goals for 2014 - "Jackson's thumb surgery") I never shared a post about it, even though I meant to. Monday, we had to drive down to the D to be at the children's hospital there at 6:45, and hit a couple small snags. The first was just a bit of heavy traffic, and then the parking garage cost $3, up front, cash only. Oops, I didn't know that, having never been to this particular hospital, so I had to drive around until I found an ATM, and pull out some cash. That stunk as it cost me an extra $3 ATM fee! After finally parking, we were able to enter, only 30 minutes late now, at this point. My cell phone rings loudly, as I'm trying to contain Jackson's excitement for a new place, and figure out where we are supposed to go. Oh great the hospital calling. I answer, explain what happens and am told to go to admitting/reception to check in and then proceed to the surgical reception area after that. I checked Jack in and read him a couple of books while we wait. Finally, we get called back to fill out the paperwork, and I'm told we have an estimated patient responsibility of blah, blah, blah, will I be paying anything on it today? No, not today - we are STILL dealing with the other hospital mishap in billing for his other surgery, and I'm not interested in making a payment until I know the exact, correct amount from our insurance company and receive an actual bill, besides the fact that it's almost 2k for this... - she says something, half under her breath, about how they really like you to pay something the day of service. Oh, well sorry, don't have it today, I think to myself. She goes back to get something from the printer for me to sign, stating I understand the estimated bill, and here's where to send it, etc, and I hear her talking to another admissions lady. One says "oh, you have one too?" Other "yeah, ugh." something else that sounded like "I hate when they do that." but I couldn't be sure. Oh really? Great customer service so far...

Time to head to the surgical reception area, where we sat for just a few minutes, until called back to the "check-in" pre-op area. He was weighed and measured - almost 30 lbs and just shy of 36 inches - and checked over. The orthopedic surgeon, nurses, anesthesiologist all came over to talk to me and go over what would happen. His thumb was marked and we waited for what felt like just 2 minutes! They had me change him into hospital pants, socks and a gown, but Jackson was angry at me for taking off his car/truck jammies! No gown for him, just pants and socks. Then it was time for mom to put on a gown, cap, and mask - I got to go back with him, while they put him to sleep! YAY! much better, as he did not want me to leave or to leave me. We laid him down, and they put the mask on. He was not happy at all :( He cried and yelled, but was so brave too. After just a few seconds he started to drift off to sleep. I gave him a kiss and was escorted back to the pre-op area. Within 15 minutes, the surgeon came out to tell me the surgery was done, and went well. In just a few minutes, he'd be waking up and they should be able to bring him to me. After what seemed like forever, a nurse came to get me and take me the post-op wake-up recovery room, as he was upset and unable to calm himself. Jackson was very happy to see me, as I was him. He cuddled right up, and stopped crying within moments, drank some juice and fell back asleep. We moved back to the pre-op/recovery area, and waited for a bit. He woke up, had some more juice, and we sat for a few minutes. The nurse came in and checked him over. The anesthesiologist came in and said he was ready to go home :) IV was removed, we got him dressed and went over at-home instructions. He went back at 8:25 and I was signing check-out papers at 9:25!! How's that for awesome!? The morning didn't start out great, but the nurses, doctors and staff (besides admitting) were so kind, helpful and patient! We will definitely be using this hospital for any future needs for any of the boys - which hopefully won't be anytime soon of course.

We were able to remove the gauze in two days, but I did change it once after the first day, as it got quite dirty while he ate. Then the steri-strips fell off on their own by Friday, and the incision is almost completely healed already! They also used that glue stuff to seal it. His thumb and palm were quite swollen and bruised the first couple of days, and the bruising has slowly gone away as well as the swelling. It's still slightly swollen and sore, though no longer purple, and he doesn't like it getting cleaned after meals. We have to be super gentle but I don't want anything getting in there, or it getting infected. Bath time is the easiest time to get it clean of course, so we just do the best we can right after eating, and then clean it well at during his bath and let it kind of soak in the bubbles :) Bubble baths have become our best friend this week! Actually, we had to add more baby bath soap to our grocery list, as we ran out yesterday!

On top of all that, Alex managed to injure his foot on Wednesday during gym class while jumping rope. Instead of stopping, he continued to jump, went through the day limping and walked over to the HS for play rehearsal when it started hurting even worse. He went back to his classroom and then finally to the office to call me to pick him up early from rehearsal (he didn't even last 15 minutes!). I picked him and Ethan up rather than drive back a 3rd time that day to get E at 6:30, and we went home. Making sure his foot was ok, I made him stay off of it for the rest of the day, and sit out of gym class on Thursday. He just pulled or twisted something in the top of his foot when he landed funny on his toes. I let him know that he really should have stopped jumping right away, and kept off of it for a bit until the pain was gone, and that he got very lucky he didn't cause himself serious harm! He promised if anything like that happens again, he'll stop, take a break, and call one of us if necessary, so we can see the dr to make sure it's just a strain. Alex is fine now, and although it did hurt a little yesterday after we left Skyzone, he said it wasn't too bad at all. I reminded him that if he needs to stop jumping rope in gym this week because it hurts again, that's fine! Luckily they have tomorrow off, so he can take it somewhat easy and stay off of it a bit more.

It's been a pretty crazy week! After all that, we spent a whole day ticking things off of our winter fun list! Look for a nice, long post tomorrow for that. We had such a fun family day yesterday, and even though mom and dad are a little under the weather, we made the most of it, that's for sure. Jason is at City Airport for little while today, and plans to go tomorrow for a while too - he's off of work for the holiday at his regular job - so we are just having a lazy morning around here. Grocery shopping in a bit, maybe after Jason gets home, by myself. I don't know that we could all survive a busy Sunday morning grocery store visit. Although, they could help pick out things they want for snacks...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Party time! (Winter fun list update)

I'm just a *ahem* little late in writing this up, but this is the first chance I've had to actually sit when I had a good internet connection at the same time this week. Looking back at the blog, I realize now that I never posted last week for the bucket list, and haven't shared at ALL since the 3rd!! Oops! Guess we've been pretty busy around here. I'll have to share more later :)

Saturday, our friends from Learning Life with 3 Sons (who is also hosting the link-up for the winter bucket lists!) for a small "party" and helped us knock that off our list. I think we had a good time, I know my boys definitely enjoyed having some other boys to play with - Jason included ;) We had pizza bagels, and pb&j snowmen sandwiches for lunch, with lots of fun foods too. Buckeyes, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn (in snowmen cups), Olympic torches (cheese curls in ice cream cones), cheese/grape snowmen, powdered donut "snowballs", fresh whip cream, homemade marshmallows, organic candy canes, mini chocolate chips, pirouette wafers, and hot chocolate. The marshmallows were, um, different, as Julie so kindly described. I would say they were not so good in the finished product. At least 2 of the boys liked them - E and Julie's oldest son did - and they melted great and tasted fine in the hot chocolate, but plain, they were not really great.

We all went outside and played for an hour or so - less than that for Jackson and I, but he refused to nap. He wanted to go play in the snow. In fact, at one point while trying to settle him down, he laid on the floor pouting, and I asked if he was ok. "No, I not ok. I go outside and play with snow now, mommy?" Too sweet to say no to him. The others were alternating between roughhousing, a snowball fight and football, from what I could tell.

At some point during the afternoon, the boys played in the basement, and also played some "snowman slam".
We didn't play the one other game I thought they might like, but the video games got turned on for a bit with Julie's oldest and Jason playing a vs. game on the PS2 and the others watching them.

So we managed to mark the following off our list this week:

  • Have a party with friends
  • Make homemade marshmallows and drink hot cocoa
  • Make buckeyes
  • Bake cookies and take some to neighbors - this one was half done, we didn't take any to neighbors. However, Jason did take cookies and buckeyes to work today, so I'm counting that as the other half.

We've made some progress on the following:

  • Find and read a new book series to read - We've read the first two chapters and part of the 3rd in Anne of Green Gables.
  • Library Event - changing this slightly to a library activity, as in the winter reading club. It's a bingo board for the younger two and for the teen/middle school group, they keep track of each book they read. Both groups have an opportunity to win prizes. Since we are already upping our reading around here, this coincides with our personal goals for the year.
This weekend is open with no swim lesson or catechism, and the boys and Jason don't have school Monday, so I have great hopes to knock some "big" stuff off of our list!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

We always have a menu planned out around here, and follow it pretty good for the most part. I always forget to link up though over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for MPM, which I used to do on my "old" blog over the years. Maybe sharing it on here will keep me accountable to following the plan even better as well as continuing to find and try 2-3 new recipes a month as per our health-related goals for 2014. After choosing this week's menu, we may be able to adjust that goal to one new recipe weekly!

I'm including Sunday's meal plan too, as I generally plan from Sunday-Saturday. Lots of crockpot meals this week - actually 5 of 7!

Sunday: *Cheeseburger soup (c)
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: *Honey sesame chicken with rice (maybe serve on rolls for the boys) (c)
Wednesday: Roast, red potatoes, baby carrots (c)
Thursday: *Taco chili with multi-grain tortilla chips (c)
Friday: Tuna noodle casserole - my mom's recipe, slightly modified: 1 box of rotini, cooked; 3-4 cans chunk light tuna in water, drained; 2 boxes organic cream of mushroom soup; 1 can sweet peas, drained. Mix together in casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, I think? I'm just going to kind of wing it, as it's been a long time since I made this and I can't find my recipe card :(
Saturday: *White chicken chili (c)

*these recipes are found at graciously saved
(c) means it's a crockpot meal