Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Propping up my eyelids with toothpicks...

I’m pooped. I should be in bed but tonight is our weekly watering night (thank you, city of San Antonio and your restrictions) and only from 8 to 10pm. So I have to stay up and move the sprinkler around. Avery is at an off-duty job until 10 anyway, so I’m going to try to stay awake until he gets home.

We’re getting our windows replaced in two weeks!!! You have no idea how thrilled I am about this. We have old, single-pane casement windows on our home. Half of them are painted shut, two are cracked, and several don’t have screens. But in two weeks we will have double-pane windows with screens that we can open…and just in time for the nice fall weather!

Today was my grocery shopping day plus coffee at my in-laws. I really enjoy getting out of the house but boy am I exhausted by the end of the day! Or, by 5-o-clock, I should say. The kids watched two VeggieTales videos this evening just so I could pick up the house in peace and get them straight to bed afterwards. Yes, I know I’m a bad mother.

Grocery shopping was successful though. I’ve been gradually trying to incorporate healthier food into our diets while still staying under budget. Things like cutting out high fructose corn syrup, buying more organic produce, and cutting out processed foods. This week I went to three stores and came home with this:

Target: $18 for lunch meat, Coke, Annie's mac n cheese, and ice for the cooler.
Sprouts: $20 for eggs, produce (minus bananas and lettuce), and trail mix.
H.E.B.: $47 for the rest of the produce and everything else pictured.

I haven’t even been couponing much recently because I don’t really have time for it. Plus the coupons for produce and organics are few and far between. Still, I used four coupons for this trip (guac, napkins, mayo, and Oxiclean) plus a $5 off total purchase at Sprouts. I mostly focused on shopping the sales. Aside from the wipes, trail mix, cheese, Triscuits, bread, tortillas, and C-Boost, everything I bought was on sale or I had a coupon for. The mac n cheese, oranges, apples, green onions, milk, and eggs are organic.

Tomorrow we’re having homemade fish sticks for dinner with the cubed potato/sweet potatoes that Jess recommended on Facebook and leftover broccoli. I have to remember to start dinner by 4 though because AWANA starts at 6-o-clock and we’ve been having a hard time getting out the door on time.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today, kids. Remember, God made you special and He loves you very much. Goodbye!

(See? I told you we watch too much VeggieTales!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Long overdue

My kids are growing up too fast. I never thought I'd say that because, honestly, seeing them reach new milestones is fun and exciting. But now that they are developing personalities and characters of their own, it's more apparent than ever just how important my influence is in raising them to be strong, confident, and God-honoring individuals. And frankly, that is a terrifying realization.

Shiphrah started Cubbies this year. Memorizing verses is a breeze for her but adjusting to a room full of three and four-year-olds has been a challenge. I think she might actually adjust better if I wasn't in there with her, but I didn't realize that until I had already committed to being a leader.

Kirk is our "problem child" right now. He's becoming increasingly stubborn and obsessive over getting his way. He's actually taken to saying "I don't want to behave!" or "I don't want to be good!" repeatedly when he's upset. We're struggling to come up with a good discipline structure for him. Last night something was bothering him and he cried/yelled/whined/screamed until 2:30 in the morning. Avery practically had to spank him to sleep because he kept yelling his demands "want juice, not water!" "leave door open!" "don't want to behave!" "don't want to go to sleep!" It was a frustrating night, to say the least. Avery finally gave him a vitamin and having that in his mouth calmed him down enough to fall asleep. This morning he was cheerful up until Avery got home from his off-duty job. Then he threw a fit about having to eat lunch and wouldn't stop screaming until we put him to bed for his nap.

Ronnie is your typical toddler...for a boy, anyway. He gets into everything and wants to do everything his big brother and sister do. He wears me out! He's still not sleeping through the night but usually only wakes once and goes back to sleep easily once I nurse him. He's still nursing three to four times a day, mostly after naps and at night. He's probably going to give up his afternoon nap soon but right now I can still get him to nap for about an hour around 3 or 4-o-clock.

I'm surviving, but not really able to focus on anything other than the kids these days. I try to do some extra cooking or cleaning at night after they go to bed but then I'm terribly exhausted the next morning. Still haven't figured out a really good schedule that works for all of us yet.

Trying to get back into blogging a bit though. Mostly for my own benefit...I've missed it. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Homemade sandwich rolls

Being short on bread products forces one to get creative. I had made a loaf of whole wheat bread last night but wanted to try my hand at making sandwich rolls/hamburger buns for lunch today. I recently bought The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook but was disappointed to find that nearly all the recipes called for extra gluten or other ingredients I don't keep on hand. So I went scouring the internet and found a recipe I could adapt to my liking.

- 1 cup warm water
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup and 2 Tbsp oil (I used a combination of canola and olive because that's what I had)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups white bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp water

- Add all but the last two (egg and water) ingredients to the bread pan in the order listed (don't forget to put your kneading paddle in first!).
- Select "dough" setting on machine and start.
- When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough into thirds, and then each piece half, and then each of those pieces in half again (giving you 12 pieces of dough).
- Press ball flat between hands and place on greased or parchment covered cookie sheet, pressing to about a 3 inch circle. (Use two cookie sheets.)
- Let rise in a warm place 30 minutes or so until double in volume.
- Combine beaten egg with water and brush over rolls.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Delicious homemade sandwich rolls!
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Additional tips:
- The recipe originally called for all white flour but I substituted a cup of whole wheat to make it slightly healthier. I'm sure if you used all white they would come out even fluffier.
- I always have bad luck getting my dough to rise just left on the kitchen counter. So I usually preheat my oven to the lowest setting, let it cool down until it's just slightly warm (probably between 100-110 degrees), and then let the rolls rise in there. Otherwise my rise time is always several hours long.
- Freeze whatever rolls you don't use in the first two days...homemade bread goes bad so much faster than store-bought!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kids and such...

It seems like every time I try to catch an afternoon nap, Ronnie decides to cut his short. Yesterday I didn't even try for a nap; Ronnie slept two hours. Today he slept 30 minutes. And now I have a monster headache and a grumpy baby. Ugh.

I did figure out a possible reason behind his grumpiness, extra nursing sessions, and nighttime fits: my cycle started today after being absent for nearly three years. That was a bit of a surprise. They say that affects your milk supply, right? Maybe Ronnie's not getting the quantity or quality that he wants.

Despite the Sunday blues, I did have a pretty productive day yesterday. Got a few loads of laundry done, swept and mopped the floors, and did some yard work. Unfortunately the floors don't really look any better because I had to rush when the kids popped awake from their naps. And when we were outside they decided to start dumping buckets of sand onto the grass when I wasn't looking, so we had to cut our outside time short.

Speaking of the kids, I've decided to tackle the fighting problem by immediately taking away whatever they are fighting over. It'll create more tears to deal with but I'm hoping it'll discourage the fighting better than my spanking/scolding has been.

My neighbor just offered to watch the kids while I rest. Hmm...while that's tempting, I think I might just do some de-cluttering and cleaning instead. Being kid-free while doing chores will probably help the headache just as much as resting, I think. On the agenda: finishing the laundry, sweeping and mopping the kitchen, cleaning off the computer desk, and dusting. I'll try to vacuum the bedrooms too since the kids will be gone but I just did that last week so they're not too dirty.

My husband surprised me by mentioning that he has tomorrow off. He had told me that last week and I completely forgot. But then he offered to work an extra shift Thursday to cover for an officer's funeral. So it'll be a normal two-day weekend after all. Still, I'm excited that it starts tomorrow instead of Wednesday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Sundays are rather depressing for me. The church we're attending has been without a pastor for over six months now and has been steadily declining in health for over two years. We had all but decided to leave at the end of my husband's deacon term when the pastor left suddenly a month later. Since he was the largest part of our decision to leave, we decided to stick it out a bit longer and see if the church could recover. Half a year later and still no closer to finding a new leader for our church. I think we've decided to give the church a full year and then start looking elsewhere. I'm dreading that step though because my husband is rather picky about churches and a few of the things on his list make it very difficult to find a new church. All that to say, I miss being convicted, encouraged, uplifted, and inspired on Sundays. I miss learning something new every week and having that close fellowship of other believers.

Aside from church itself, the pre and post-church experiences are stressful in and of themselves: rushing around to get ready and then rushing home so that Avery can leave for work. And then while most others I know are enjoying relaxing afternoons with their families, I'm fighting the kids to go down for their naps and then collapsing on the couch in exhaustion while the piles of unfolded laundry stare at me. Yuck.

Anyway, sorry for the pity party, I know I just need to look for fulfillment in my personal relationship with God instead of relying on a Sunday morning "high." I've just had a hard time going without that after growing up with it for nearly twenty years.

I'm tired. Ronnie is still giving me a hard time at night and I can't figure out why. He screams at the top of his lungs every time it's time for bed but yet won't let me nurse or rock him to sleep unless I let him scream first. I know he's tired but he just gets so hysterical. And last night after he woke up to nurse around midnight, he threw a major fit after I unlatched him before he wanted to let go (I let him nurse for 20 minutes when he's normally done after 5) and wouldn't calm down until I nursed him again. You'd think he was 3 months old instead of nearly one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Morning grouchies

It's 10-o-clock and the bad part of our morning is finally coming to a close. Before I was a mom, I loved mornings. The start of a new day, the peaceful morning air...........yeah, that calm doesn't exist anymore. In fact, it's anything but calm. Avery and I wake up groggy thanks to Ronnie's nighttime antics, Kirk (the 2-year-old) wakes up crying for his daddy, and Shiphrah wakes up whining about wanting a movie/vitamin/breakfast/whatever. I usually end up yelling at the kids in frustration and at my husband for not helping deal with the situation. Ugh, mornings are downright miserable.

I wish there was a way to change that, but I can't think of anything other than getting up before the kids. Kind of hard to do when one of them sleeps with you.

Despite the morning grouchies, I can usually redeem the day by the time the evening rolls around. Yesterday the kids and I hung out in the backyard: playing in their new sandbox and splashing in the baby pool. I also got the rest of the laundry put away and some other chores done after they went to bed.

But then 10-o-clock rolled around and Ronnie decided he didn't want to sleep anymore. I already let him nurse non-stop from about 2am on, so I was determined to get him to go back asleep another way. Yeah......that didn't work out so great. I'm hoping he's just teething and not creating a really bad habit.......

Today is the start of hubby's weekend. He let me sleep in for an extra hour this morning so hopefully I can keep my energy level up the rest of the day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

God is gracious

It's been so long since I've really blogged, I wonder if anyone is still reading over here. Give me a hollar if you are, so I know whether to just start posting notes on Facebook.

God is gracious and merciful. Every day he shows me more grace than I could ever deserve. That said, life is good and difficult and challenging and frustrating. And that's just in a 30-minute period.

Ronnie, who is 10 months old now, is still waking at least twice every night. Or I should say, on a good night he only wakes twice. Most nights it's at least three or four times. I'm exhausted and when morning comes I nearly always turn on a movie for the munchkins and go back to sleep for another hour or so. This is a bad habit I desperately want to break. Let's face it, it's just not good parenting to let a 10-month-old, 2-year-old, and 3-year-old have free reign of the house for that long. Just this morning my husband realized he had left his boot knife in easy reach for the kids to find. They didn't, thankfully, but it still scared me to think about what could have happened.

We started a vegetable garden for the first time this year. While I'm really excited about it, I'm realizing that tending to the garden and watering our newly established backyard is taking an extra hour every day that I didn't really have to give. Not sure what to do about that, except stay up an hour later at night, which directly affects the exhaustion issue. Speaking of gardens, how worried should I be about birds (cardinals, bluebirds, etc.) hanging out in there? I know they'll eat the caterpillars, but will they also eat my young plants and eventually my tomatoes? Right now they just seem to be playing in the water when I have the drip hose running, but that could change.

We seem to be in a cycle of sickness right now. Two weeks ago Ronnie got some kind of virus where he ran a high fever for six days. Friday the older two started running fevers. Thankfully they never seems as miserable as the baby but it's still hard to know they're feeling poorly.

I'm feeling discouraged and overwhelmed by everything I need to do but haven't gotten to. If I kept a running list it would be pages long. I get things done here and there but it seems like once I get a handle on one area (like the laundry), other things pile up. And when I get to those things, suddenly the laundry has gotten unruly again.

And Ronnie is already awake. The kid will not take decent naps anymore and he's nursing every hour and a half. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, it's only adding to the regular exhaustion.

But God is merciful. My children are nourished, clothed, and happy. My husband is the best partner I could have ever asked for. The house isn't falling apart and the dishes aren't piled higher than the top of the sink. We enjoyed a good rain last week, the first for us in 2011. God is holding my family in His arms and I am so undeserving.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Picture Post

Just a few pictures of my growing munchkins...

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My beautiful 3 1/2 year old. Still not much hair but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll need her first real haircut by her fourth birthday.

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Kirk just turned TWO. He's talking in phrases now and trying to do everything (and more) that his big sister does.

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My baby is 9 months old now.  He's finally developed a taste for something other than mama's milk, although he spits out anything with much texture (other than cheerios) so I feed him a small bowl of pureed foods once or twice a day.

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My handsome husband with his kiddos.

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Our beautiful yard that we've been working so hard on for over a month now. Just a few final touches left!

I'm so proud of her!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's embarrassing that I haven't blogged since November. Here's a little bit of what has been going on around here:

♥ My little girl turned THREE and is well on her way to being the brightest, most talkative, amd most contrary 3-year-old on the planet.

♥ My middle son turned TWO (I honestly cannot believe he's already that old!) this month and is starting to be interesting in potty training and over the course of a month has gone from speaking only a dozen words to speaking in phrases.

♥ My baby is almost 9 months old, although you wouldn't know it by how much he still nurses (all.night.long). I'm tired but he is the happiest baby on earth and loves following his older siblings around.

♥ We're using our tax refund to re-landscape the backyard. We added a paver patio and put bermuda sod down (yay for grass!). We also paid my FIL to build a shed for us. OH, and I got a new washer/dryer set!!

♥ Because of said landscaping, I am horribly behind in the housekeeping. It's impossible to start a project without letting something else pile up.

♥ I'm (surprisingly) still not pregnant. This is the longest I've gone between pregnancies and it's kind of nice. Probably has something to do with the fact that Ronnie still nurses 10 times a day and doesn't care for solids yet.

♥ I can't think of anything else. Mostly the same old, same old around here. Sorry for being so scarce!