Sunday, May 31, 2009

Struggling Through a Work Weekend

How to get through a work weekend at the hospital:

1. Try to get all home tasks done before your Friday shift
(miserably failed at this one this weekend)

2. Avoid thinking, dwelling and obsessing about the weekend before the weekend

3. Find out what your husband's plans are for the weekend.

4. Give husband strict instructions about house cleanliness codes if he has people over while you are gone.

5. Try not to feel bad that your kids are dancing around excitedly because you are going to be gone. They love you, they just like to have a little more room in your bed.

6.When you are at work, wishing that you could devote more time and attention to your job, remember "for everything there is a season".

7. Daydream about being an ED nurse when you hear a trauma called over the loudspeaker.

8. Refuse to acknowledge the state of your house. You can clean it next week.

9. Make sure you have plenty of starbursts!

10. Everyhour remember how much money you just made and make a list of things to buy

just 8 more hours...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little Boy's Paradise

The boys could have spent their whole vacation at this park in Sioux Falls...
See all those rocks and all that water? No railings. They could go anywhere and climb on anything. Well, anywhere that their mama would let them. Which was pretty much anywhere she or the Daddy man would go.

See the big boy jumping the gap? See my little boy hanging on the rail watching?
We didn't do that. I gauge my level of recklessness on where the nearest Level 1 trauma Center is located. It wasn't close enough.

Here we are heading down the into the crevice. See Roman's hands on his head? He does things like that when "it is so scary!"

Daddy and the boys

I am pretty cool - even though it looks like I only have one arm.

Helping Roman avoid the muck.

Lincoln was so funny. He loved climbing on the rocks and dancing. While we were waiting for the light show to start he did this whole rolling all over the grass thing to amuse himself. He also amused the teenage girls nearby. And his mom and grandma.
While at this park Roman stated that he needed to use the bathroom. I took him to the public facilities and he decided he didn't need to go. Something about the poop smeared all over the walls turned him off to the idea. Oh, and the crack in the toilet. He doesn't like broken toilets. On a side note, he was pleased as punch when one of the bathrooms we went to (and believe me we saw the inside of A LOT of bathrooms) had a "cover, just like ours".
But I digress. Anyway, he apparently decided that pooping in his pants was less disgusting than pooping in the available toilet. Well, he thought that until he did it. Then he very quickly realized that the toilet may have not been so bad after all.
I threw his pants out. What else could I do? And do you know what? It never happened again.

Family Vacation was a Success!

Deacon wanted to see Mt. Rushmore.
I had never seen it.
Noah had never been there either.
So we thought, "why not?"
Let's take the preschoolers on an 1800 mile road trip to see the faces!
So we did.
(I can think of a lot of "why not" reasons...but the kids actually did great and we all had a good time)

First we stopped to see my grandparents. My Grandpa Andy is 92 and my Grandma Vivian is almost 85. They were happy to see the boys. See my mom there in blue? We brought her along to be the "Granny Nanny". She was invaluable as an extra set of hands. And it gave us the all important 1:1 ratio.

These are just some pictures I snapped as we drove along through what we call "Teletubby Land". It looks more like the land where the Tellytubbies come to play in real life, only there are no fake rabbits or creepy baby sun.

Those windmills are so HUGE. Noah gave us a little lesson on how they provide energy. He is handy that way :)

Well, I have mountains of laundry to finish, miles to run and milk to buy. Oh and flowers to plant....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Family Shot

Good thing it was shot from behind, so you can't see all the tears...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sweaty Head Reduction Plan: Summer '09

We got a lot of sweaty little heads around these parts. And though they don't smell HORRIBLE, it is not exactly like a walk through the lilacs. This summer, I am taking matters into my own hands and creating a new plan to minimize the amount of sweat that gets wiped on me.

1. Polar fleece to be banned from wardrobes and bedding as of June 1st

2. Mandated monthly haircuts with buzzer set at a 3 (this also helps with wood tick/deer tick isolation and eradication)

3. Baths QD and prn (for you non nursing types that means "every day and as needed")

4. Personal fan for Deacon at bedside

5. Central AC in use despite the cost

6. Mom to keep a towel at hand for wiping off heads.

7. Mom to keep a towel at hand for wiping any residual sweat off of herself after hugs

8. Plenty of water and popsicles to increase coolness and hydration on the hottest days.
(to come: sticky popsicle residue reduction mission for summer 2009)

9. Pairs of shorts or boxers instead of full sets of pjs

10. Lots of pool time, that way I can't tell if it is sweat or just wet. It makes me feel better.

Oh, how I shudder at the sheer volume of fluids lost.

But oh how I love those sweaty little boys.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jr. Asparagus

One day Roman came downstairs and plopped down next to me at the kitchen table. "Look what I made, mom! It is Jr. Asparagus!"

And sure enough, it was!
Surely this kid has a future in modern art.
(By the way, the cup was full of water. There was also water all over the bathroom counter and floor, but who am I to distrupt the flow of artistry...)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Lincoln!

Lincoln turns 2 today!
This is the 1st time I have had a 2 year old without still being in the new baby fog!
He is silly.
He is charming.
He gets into everything.
He just wants to be one of the gang.
And he is.
And he is loved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Day

It has been a pretty crazy day, as if it ever isn't crazy around here.

The baby pulled a piece of furniture over on himself- thankfully he was unhurt and up and running quickly after the incident. He then managed to use some special almost 2 year old evade and escape techniques and very nearly got left in the front yard alone, which is, I am pretty sure, what he was going for.

Later in the afternoon I read Deacon 5 chapters of his chapter books. Yes. 5 books, 1 chapter was read out of each. And they are all about the same characters: The Littles (a tiny family that lives in the walls of normal sized people's houses). He insists that we read them all at the same time even though it seems awfully confusing to me.

Later I went to pull some food out for supper and noticed that our freezer/fridge was no longer functioning as a vehicle for food preservation. Maybe something about the 95 degree day pushed it beyond what it could bear. We did know that it was on it's last legs, so we were not too surprised.

We ran over to our local appliance center and bought a new one, which will be delivered tomorrow. Most of the food was stashed in the deep freeze, and our refrigerated items are being lovingly babysat by my friend/neighbor Jamie and my parents. It is so nice to have your people close at hand :) Thanks, guys :) Someday I am going to do something nice for Jamie and my parents, but so far they just always bail me out.

Noah's parents stopped over and Chris helped Noah create space for the new fridge. They seem to enjoy whacking things with hammers. Thanks Chris!

I thought it was bedtime, but now Noah is putting the bathroom back together. He is becoming quite the overachiever :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Settlers anyone?

The counter is done. Well it still needs to be sealed.

And then we need to put the sink back in.
And pick a new faucet.
And caulk everything.
And plumb it.
And put all the hardware back on everything.
And resize the mirror/buy a new mirror (the new back splash is taller than the old one).
And put a new light fixture.
And reinstall the toilet.
And re-caulk the shower

When does it end?

(Thanks to Billi for the idea of tiling the counter. Thanks to Julie for letting me buy hexes! :)

Like a crazy machine

I have been a total blogging putz lately. And it is not like I have a lack of things to say, I really don't. I still have to finish up the updates on the kids- I only got through 1/3 of it before something called me away. And I have innumerable scraps of paper sitting around with different thoughts scrawled on them. Not that I could read them, but maybe I could figure out one word to jog my memory.

Now for working:

Up until Friday night I hadn't worked a shift for 2 1/2 weeks. (I am a nurse in a medical intensive care unit downtown. I usually work 8-16 hours a week). I got SO MUCH DONE! I felt like I had all this extra time, lots of energy and I was super industrious. I am codirecting preschool VBS in June, and I got a huge chunk of that ready and organized, my garden planted, trip to Mall of America, some new friends over etc.

You know how when you work full time and then you take a vacation day, or a week, and you feel like you can get so much done? Or if you are home with your kids all the time and then they go to G and G's for the day and you are amazed at how productive you are? Well that is how I felt with an extra 8-16 hours a week (plus drive time!).

But I know that if it went on too long it would just melt into the other hours of my day and probably really not help me be industrious. I would probably just read more.

So I think I am going to just periodically (every couple or 3 months) stop working for 2-3 weeks. Just to rejuvenate, concentrate on home projects etc. It is one of the perks of working per diem, so I may as well take advantage of it :)

The other thing I discovered is that I spend much more money when I am not working. I have all this extra energy so I have all of these places I want to take the kids- but more than that I have all of these "home projects" I want to do, and actually have time to plan them! Which leads to more work for Noah.

I think he may secretly like it when I work because it keeps my energy level down a little and thus he has less "projects" to help me complete. Basically I demolish, and he builds. It works for us!

So here is the question of the day:

When you have time off of work, do you take advantage of it to do "big projects" or to tackle something you haven't had time for? Or do you just sit around and relax? Or do you always leave home and go on an actual vacation?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update on the Kiddos

This is for the grandparents, great grandparents and aunts out there.


The kid talks constantly and is always coming up with "experiments" and "hypothesis". He is learning how to read, and likes to direct the super hero games, and do "cool guy" moves. He is working on monkey bars, and pretty much just likes to hang on things, climb things and explore. Except for the climbing wall at the Y. He can get freaked out about some things, I think he is starting to have a sense of his own mortality.

We were at the mall the other day and D and R wanted to go on the escalator. Noah was pushing Lincoln in the stroller so they took the elevator and we agreed to meet two floors up. I was hanging on to Roman's hand, and the folded up umbrella stroller and we all stepped on to the escalator. Deacon did fine. So we turned the corner to go up the next one. And there I made an amateur mom mistake. Roman and I stepped on first, and I turned back to watch Deacon get on. (WHY DIDN'T I HAVE HIM GO ON IN FRONT OF ME?) He freaked out. He was doing the thing that jump ropers do- timing the jump etc to get the rhythm. Only he was too freaked out to commit.

And he stood there at the bottom while Roman and I got further and further away.

There was no way I was going to be able to run back down it and help him- I had a stroller and a Roman, afterall. I felt like I was watching my child be carried away in flood waters and I had to decide which one to save. So I did what any good mom would do, I started yelling encouragement and instructions down the escalator...but my voice was fading as I got further up.

Then they arrived.

They being two sweet looking 20 something girls.

They quickly sized up the situation and walked up to Deacon and said something (I couldn't hear what, I was being whisked away). Deacon turned away from them. I yelled, "Deacon! Let them help you!" as I clumsily helped Roman and I disembark.

He wouldn't look at them. They looked up at me.

The mall has exceptionally slow elevators, but for Noah's trip they must have mustered up a little extra strength, because I saw him and Lincoln walk off and look for us. I ran past him saying something like..."here is Roman, keep an eye on Deacon...I am heading down". Thankfully he has been a dad of 3 active little boys for 2 years now and assessed the situation quickly. I dashed around and down as fast as I could, thanked the 2 girls who had sweetly hung around to protect him at that end, took his hand and up we went.

I applauded his unwillingness to go with strangers, but did mention that if mommy is standing there yelling that it is ok to let them assist you on the escalator, that it is ok. "Just listen to mommy, ok?"

Escalator drama, it is a new one for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tri training

Since Momma Bear asked for further information about my tri training, I thought I would go ahead and write a post on it. Momma Bear is one of my good blogger friends and she writes comments on my posts, which makes her a good friend indeed. Click on over and see her (and look at her AMAZING header photo. I hope she never, ever changes it even when the pictured foot is a size 13)


This year I am following the same 20 week training program that I used last year. It is designed for "back of the packers" for an olympic distance tri. I would like to try a more intense program at some point, but honestly, at this stage in my life this is all that I can do. The program consists of 6 workouts a week spread over 5-6 days. There is a long swim, bike and run and a short swim, bike and run. The times go up by 10% every week with every 4th week being a 40% reduction for a "rest" week. I think the 1st week total time is a little over 4 hour time commitment and by the end it is 8 + hours a week.

I wish that I had done this before I had kids. Or when I just had 1 or 2. I don't find it that "hard" persay to do the workouts, what is hard is finding the time. Balancing Noah and my exercise times, each of us with a job, kids, volunteer work, home projects, family stuff, friends is hard to fit it in. But it is possible.

I choose to work and I choose to exercise. Both of those things are arguably selfish, so I refuse to let anything else slide in my pursuit of them. If I did either too much so that I was actually unable to volunteer at church or homeschool my kids, I would have to let something go.

But I digress:

I actually am finding that I like to swim. I have gotten to the point that I swim all front crawl and don't really take breaks. I swim at the Y while the kids are in the Kids Stuff there. Swimming is my favorite discipline because it is the one where I have seen the most improvement. It also has really helped my cardiovascular help and has improved my run because of it. The chlorine destroys my hair, however.

The bike is the most discouraging, but in other ways it is the easiest. It doesn't take a lot of work to ride a bike, but it takes a lot of work to go fast. And in the races everyone goes really fast and has super expensive really fast bikes. I have a decent bike but realistically it is never going to go as fast as most of the other racers bikes. Also, the bike workouts are the ones I miss the most. We have trainers in our basement, but it is really more beneficial to be out in the elements. Which means I can't do it while the kids are at the YMCA. The bikes are also so LONG that it is hard to find time for them, especially if we don't have a babysitter and so we can't do them at the same time.

I do most of my runs at the YMCA around the track, but I try to add some outdoor runs in as well. My run times are gradually improving, but I really don't like to run. The problem is, the faster I get the further I have to go. Not that much motivation to go faster. Not much to say about running. It stinks, but it is cheap, you can do it anywhere it probably gets you fit the fastest. So I bite the bullet and do it. I usually listen to Mark Driscoll sermons while I run.

So that is about it. I find I need to competition and the program to push myself to exercise. Otherwise I just go to the Y, run 3 miles and go home. And unfortunately, that is not enough.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Did I tell you that I have committed to a couple of Tri's this summer?

Well I did, and now I am biking, swimming and running.

A lot.

I am also eating too much.

I asked Noah why some parts of me still look the way they do when I have been exercising like crazy. He told me that people that manage to lose that last bit of fat watch every single calorie and when they consume it.

That doesn't fit into my lifestyle of random sugar consumption, Chipotle Burritos and starbursts.

So I guess I will give up that dream.

P.S. By the way, Happy Mother's Day! I have not been organized enough to plan any Mother's day posts (although I did come up with a cute craft at 11pm sat night for preschool Sunday school). I don't like Mother's Day. It is so hard to balance 2 year olds who don't know or care that it is Mother's Day, an overwelmed husband, a mother, a mother-in-law, grandmas etc...

Friday, May 8, 2009


Deacon was born in Terre Haute, IN. We lived there for a couple of years while Noah was getting his Master's Degree. We had a great time. But it was also a hard time for me.

I really missed my family a lot. I had only been a nurse for a year, and had accepted a job in TH working fulltime 12 hour nights in the ICU. I had never worked ICU, and I had never worked 12 hour shifts or nights before. It was kind of stressful.

We got connected with a church right away, however, and we made friends quickly. Those friends were definitely a God-send for me.

During nurses week at the hospital one year I won a gift certificate for a massage. I know that most of you know this, but for those of you who don't: I don't really like people getting all in my space. And getting a massage is a little in my space.

Let me just say it like this: I don't like people touching me.

I am anti-massage.

I graciously accepted the certificate though and thought I would maybe give it a try. Until I saw the name of the masseuse. He was a middle aged gentleman who sang in the choir at our new church. I knew him because his wife and I had worked together on the christmas program at the church. He had forgotten the candles in his garage on the day of the production.

So that was pretty much never going to happen. If there is anything worse than getting a massage from a stranger, it is getting a massage from a middle aged man who sings in the choir at your church.

So I decided to give it away.

No one wanted it.

Noah thought it was too creepy to get a massage from a dude.
My friends thought it too creepy to get one from a man they knew.
One of them did admit that he was "in pretty good shape" for an older man, but still declined.

I ended up giving it to the youth pastor, who felt sure she could find a good home for it.

I like to think it kept some poor naive soul from searching for a massage at the "International Institute of Health and Happiness" in downtown Terre Haute.

Now that place was sketchy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Own Son, Buying into Commercialism

We have a sock drawer for the boys. Just one drawer with all the socks in it. They wear what fits. Or what doesn't fit as the case may be.

I am sure that will appall some of you.

But probably not as much as the fact that we have an underwear drawer too. Just one underwear drawer. They wear what fits. Or they don't wear any of it - to each his own, right?

Anyway, Deacon is getting bigger and the current socks in the sock drawer don't really fit him. To be perfectly honest, only 38% of the socks in the sock drawer currently have matches, and of those 38% only 23% of them actually properly fit anyone in the family.

I found some bigger socks stashed in the basement. One of them was a pair of Nike athletic socks. I gave those to him, stating that they were sports socks.

He has been wearing them for the last 3 days, and they stink.

I finally convinced him to take them off so that I could wash him. I told him that I would take them to the store and buy him some socks that fit him.

"ok Mom" he said. Then he pointed to the Nike symbol. "but I only want ones with this on them."


Noah and I are mostly anti brand name. We try not to be walking advertisements and we mostly buy off the clearance rack.

And now our 5 year old is requesting Nike socks??!!

Noah says no way will he get them. "We are a Hanes family" was his exact quote, I believe.

I am leaning toward buying them for him. He wears all garage sale/hand-me-downs, he needs new socks and well, bottom line is I am still traumatized that he says I am always saying "no".

What will happen?

Only time will tell.

Nike socks today, Abercrombie shirts tomorrow?

(or no shirts, whatever the case may be)...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An Exclamation Mark of Negativity

The other day Deacon told me that I am "always saying no".

It made me a little sad to hear him say that, and as I reflect on it- he is right.

I am always saying no.

just today...

"no, baby!" as I sprint after him as he runs across the front yard on his chubby little legs.

"no, ick!" as he tries to eat the Donut that just fell on the garage floor.

"NO!" as I catch Deacon and Roman trying to pull each other up the stairs with a rope.

"oh, no" when I look into their room and see every blanket, pillow, mattress, and cushion in the house piled on their bedroom floor.

I could go on...

"Stop!", "Get down!", "Not now!"

I kind of feel like my whole life is an exclamation mark of negativity.

I tried to talk to Deacon about it. I tried to explain that I am just trying to keep them safe. And they kind of keep coming up with unsafe ideas. Throwing rocks at the house for "practice", impaling themselves on the top of the fence, getting hung out to dry on a tree limb, putting the leaf bag over their is always something new.

And something that sets off an alarming "NNOOO!" from me.

I read this book that said that 80% of our interactions with our kids should be positive and only 20% should be negative (which includes even simple commands such as "put on your shoes").

I figured it out and to combat all of my commands, my "no's" and my "stops"; I need to be hugging, kissing and affirming at least one of them once every 17.8 seconds. All day long.

I'd better get started.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I've Got a Case of Preschool Mom Envy

We have chosen to homeschool our kids.

Noah would not have married me if I had not been willing to homeschool.

I am not going to back down.

We really feel like this is what is right for our family.

But sometimes I get a strong preschool mom envy.

I let my mind wander to what my life would be like if I had sent the boys to preschool.

And if I was sending Deacon to Kindergarten in the fall.

I would have 2-3 mornings a week in which to clean, do errands etc with LESS KIDS!

My, but that would be amazingly productive.

In the fall Deke would be gone every morning AND I wouldn't have to be fitting school in at home amongst the needs of 2 other children.

I am pretty sure my house would be cleaner.

I am pretty sure I would have more "me" time.

I am pretty sure I would have less complicated grocery excursions.

But you know what?

I like being home with them.

And I love teaching Deke about Abraham Lincoln.

And about Daniel Boone.

And that Texas Roadhouse isn't really the name of the state- it is a restaurant. It's just Texas, Deke.

And I will plod on. With toys all over the backyard, stacks of homeschool materials in the closets, American history in my head and an entourage in the grocery aisles.

I will try to let my preschool mom envy go.

I will try.

Monday, May 4, 2009


After the unfortunate incident with our lawn mower last fall, a new mower was on the "to buy" list for this spring.

We had decided which one we wanted to get, and since I was running up to the store to get something else anyway, I was just going to pick it up myself. There are always men at those stores that have been hired just for their brute strength and ability to haul stuff out to SUVs and Minivans.

At the last minute I remembered a stash of cash that we had. Now, we almost never have cash. I sometimes will get cash to pay a babysitter or garage sale, but that is usually it.

We are people who put everything on credit cards. Credit cards that we pay off monthly.

Some people have trouble with credit cards and claim to spend more money when they can just whip out the plastic. I, on the other hand, spend more money when I have cash. You see, when you spend on a credit card, you have to revisit your purchases at the end of the month. When you use cash, you don't.

I really don't like revisiting my purchases at the end of the month.

But I do it, and it helps me grow because it forces me to think about what we bought and if we needed it or not.

Anyway, I told Noah I was going to use the cash to buy the lawn mower. Then I paused showed him the money and said, "I am buying my lawn mower with the cash I have scrimped and saved from my egg money. My husband makes me cut our grass with a scissors, but I have been saving for nigh on 3 years now, and I finally have enough for a machine." He laughed, and I told him that was kind of how I felt about using cash for a big purchase.

So I went to the store and I bought the mower and I used the cash.

And it felt really weird.

Somehow it feels more "adult" to use a credit card. Somehow I feel richer when I use a credit card.

Paying in cash seemed somewhat humbling, as if I didn't have good credit.

As if I had to SAVE for a purchase. Imagine that.

Do any of you feel strange spending cash for big purchases?

Do you spend less if you use cash? Or credit?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Economical is in the eye of the consumer

Trying to do home improvement projects with 3 small boys is no easy task.

Trying to do anything with 3 small boys is no easy task.

Trying to home improve frugally is no easy task.

Trying to do anything frugally is no easy task.

We are currently overwelmed with non-easy tasks.

My parents graciously took the boys on an overnight Tuesday night so that Noah and I could do a few things. Basically we visited Alethea (our new niece) in the hospital, grabbed dinner and came up with a tile game plan. Then Noah went to broomball, I went to work. We both arrived home in the early hours of Wednesday morning to catch a few hours of sleep before the day officially began.

I do better sleeping from 4:30am-9:30am then I do from midnight to 7:00am.

Last night Genna came over to watch the boys so that we could get down to business and finish the bathroom. So we headed to the store to get some cheap tile in order to tile the countertop.
We looked around at all the beautiful tiles, designs, colors, options and... prices.

We finally got a chance to talk to a sales girl. Noah told her we were looking for "economical" solutions for a custom sized vanity countertop.

We maybe should have used the word "cheap".

We were offered a "popular" choice that is a "very economical" option. It would have been $420-$650 and that didn't include the sink. Noah said we were looking for something more economical than that. He still refused to use the word "cheap" or "frugal".

We were directed toward Tile Boards with names like "Neighborhood Park" and "Night on the Town."

It would have been fine, except we were going to have to buy by the box for about 4 square feet of countertop. So we conferred and eventually settled on a Tavertine Hex tile that we could get 4.3 square feet at a time. We got a tile to cut for edging, some grout and a sealer.

Noah asked the girl if she had a smaller bag of grout. She gave us a opened half bag and charged us 1/2 price. Saved us $11.

She rang everything up and gave us the total. It was twice what we expected. She said, "wow that is a good deal, isn't it?" Noah and I glanced at each other.

I could see him adding up numbers in his head. He is a math whiz. I am sure he could see me adding up numbers in my head as well. I was a math tutor.

We glanced at the invoice. The culprit was the sealer. We didn't say anything and took our loot out to the car.

We can always return it.

But before we do, we are going to make sure the sales lady we got the half bag of grout from isn't working.

I am sure she is still laughing.