Monday, August 16, 2010

Learning lessons from training a child with ADD

Gabe: what can I say? He continues to provide me with so much blogging material that I often forget the many funny things that come out of his mouth in a single day.

Today, he tried to "trick" Tim by putting a note on the front door that read,"Go to bak dor". Well, the neighbor kid saw it and followed the poorly written instructions and showed up at my "bak dor". I was cooking in the kitchen and just yelled through the door that Gabe was at another neighbors. Well, the little boy was annoyed,"but he said to go to the back door!" Me: well, sorry, but he isn't here. The little kid assumed Gabe was playing a trick on him and stomped off.
Gabe came home later, not seeing the note on the door anymore, asked,"did Dad go to the back door? I was playing a trick on him." Nope, Tim never saw the note. We removed it before we pissed off any other neighborhood kids.

Gabe's ADD is really showing up on many different occasions. At least, I think that's the reason for some of the really irresponsible things he does. Today, Abby tells us that the next door kid did Gabe's homework for him. Gabe said,"No, he just told me the answers, but i wrote them down" I wish my dad were here. He would get such a kick out of that. He would probably have a coughing spasm just trying to retell it to us over and over. Gabe is so proud to come off the bus, his homework completed. He still doesn't get that he actually has to complete it himself, not just have someone on the bus doing it for him. Last year, he enlisted a 3rd grade girl to do it for him. Unfortunately, for him, she moved, so now he uses another 2nd grader.

I'm working on explaining that he is CHEATING. I have tried many different ways of telling him this: "you won't know how to do it on the test and the teacher will figure you are cheating on your homework" "You're not learning anything if you don't do it yourself" But, from my observations, that kid with ADD, whose medication wore off an hour ago, hears,"you won't.." and then is fascinated by the cat that just walked across our fence, the fly that's buzzing in the kitchen, the crayon that just fell off the table, his own fingers, his nose he wants to pick, the fly that now landed on his yogurt, the sister that is whining about how their mother isn't helping her with the homework. It's almost like every moment is exciting and new! I understand some of what he feels. I am easily distracted. My kids say,"mom, Mom, MOM, MOM, MOMMMMMM!" before I answer them. And, I am not on medication.

We are trying to help Gabe understand that the medication can only do so much, and that he still must focus .even if it's not entertaining and learn self discipline. He needs to eat the right foods and not sneak that candy loaded with red dye or lots of sugar, because it will affect his concentration.

I need to learn that too. I used to lecture Ben on how everything can't be a party all the time. You have to buckle down and just finish a task. Good grief! Who just said that? Certainly not me! I live for FUN! I don't want to grow up and be responsible! Darn it! I want everything to be exciting, fun, and entertain me!

I need to learn that with all my kids back in school, I just can't have fun every day, and be lured by every distraction that passes by-the store that's calling my name, the computer, the t.v, the book I could spend all day lost in, the tub that I could soak in until the water is cold. I have to practice that self discipline I'm trying to teach my children, not only to be a good example of a day not wasted on self indulgence, but also because my lack of self discipline shows a lack of obedience to my Heavenly Father, and that lack of obedience shows a lack of trust that He will give me enjoyment even in the mundane, and sense of satisfaction that I am caring for my family by doing all those things that I don't want to do, that aren't fun unless my kids are home to entertain me while I'm doing them. What it really boils down to is that I don't want to trust God to make me content. So, what do I do? I "steal" those moments when they are out of the house, when I could accomplish everything without distraction, and I indulge myself, convince myself that I deserve to sit and read for an hour which drags into a morning, because I got them all fed, dressed (yeah, like they didn't do that themselves), made their lunches, and to the bus on time. I should get a pat on the back, right? For an hour of work? Wrong! Pathetic!

I expect more of my children, more of my husband, so what gives me the right to do nothing? Nothing gives me the right to do nothing. I'm not up in the middle of the night with a baby that needs to be fed. I'm not working outside the home and am tired at the end of the day. My volunteering hours haven't started yet. I have plenty of time to exercise and rejuvenate my body, clean, do laundry, shop for food, fill my soul with God's word, study His word, and even spend a little time enjoying friends. My cup is full. I am blessed with a husband who makes enough money to provide well for his family, so I can stay home and take care of them when needed. I am blessed that I can mentor younger mothers. I am blessed that I can have a membership to the Y to keep my body working (well, at least keep it from falling apart further). I am blessed that I have transportation, a phone, computer to make my life easier, plan meals, shop for discounts, schedule appts. I am blessed with a washer and dryer that work magically to do most of the work for me. I am blessed that I can take a morning each week and meet with other women to study God's word. I am blessed with a terrific school system that does a pretty good job educating my kids and with many Christian teachers in the schools. I am blessed I can meet with other moms to pray about our kids. My week is full. Why wouldn't I grab hold of the many blessings God has given me, instead of chasing after the fleeting things in this world that distract me and pull me away from what He has called me to do? I need to preach these lessons that I drill into my kids each day to myself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Adoption Day 2010

I clearly remember the day that we went to the courthouse 1 final time to finalize the adoption of Gabe and Abby. We invited friends who had also adopted as well as other friends, and some of our family from out of town were there as well. It was the final step in a 16 month process that had been a roller coaster of being jerked around by the legal system. We had multiple court dates, birth parent visitation initially, lots and lots of tears, mostly on my part. I am convinced that I would have never survived, our marriage would have never survived, our family would have been broken emotionally had it not been for our faith in a sovereign God. He knew all along how long this process would take. Nothing was a surprise or a failure to Him. All of it was orchestrated by Him, even the flawed legal system. God was in control all the time. Would I have done it this way? Never. I would have had those children adopted by the time they were 6 mo. old, like we were promised by our adoption workers, not 16 1/2 months! But, God knew what he was doing.

We had no one to rely upon but each other and God. Our kids saw our weaknesses and our struggles and our fears. But, they also saw us living out our faith-trusting in God like we had never before. We grew so much as a family. There were lots of fun times: watching the older kids get to know their new brother and sister, experience the joy of each new stage with 2 babies! That was lots of fun. Plus, they were so darn adorable!

It was a struggle though, every day through those 16 months not to give in to despair. At first, we had to deal with medical issues and developmental delays with Abby. To watch her now, listen to her read, you would never know those delays existed. There were fears of autism, brain injury, not to mention fears of the unknown years ahead. The medical and delay fears are gone as we see our healthy and developmentally on target kids now. But, it still has not been easy with the twins. We have dealt with issues that we never anticipated and are still dealing with some things that have perplexed us and shaken us. We have read numerous books written by experts on everything from ADD, anger, raising boys, raising girls, discipline, the strong-willed, the explosive, the hurting and the adopted child. We still have questions unanswered, but we know we can trust in the God who made our children to guide us and give us wisdom.
And, we know that He will never leave us alone to make our own way.

Have we ever questioned our decision to adopt? Yes, more than once. Do we know without a doubt that it was God's plan for our family? Yes, absolutely. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes, definitely. Has God used all of our children to bring about our sanctification? Yes, and we know that there are many more trials that He will take us through to make us more like Him and bring us to our knees. And, you know what? It's okay. It's okay that I freak out sometimes, because God never does. It's okay that I'm not in control of my kid's future, because God is and always has been and always will be.

I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My crafty boys

Yesterday, I bought some clay for Abby to use. I thought we might make some cool clay food for her doll house or maybe something for her American Girl dolls. I remember making miniature food with Julianne many, many years ago, but we had a book to follow. I have no idea where the book is now or even what it was called, so I looked up "Sculpey" on the Internet and found a website with some very intricate projects-no thanks. Then, I found some simple kids projects. I'm not sure what happened, but Abby went to the neighbors, and I got busy doing something else. Then, the timer on the stove goes off and Ben comes into the kitchen and takes a cookie sheet out of the oven with these lovely creations on it. I must have been in a time warp or lost in a book on the patio swing (more likely). I never saw them make them, but I thought Ben and Nate did a really good job, even if I did think Ben's hippo was a pig. Now, Gabe's creations? I'm not sure what they are, but he has already broken them in half anyway.

As we were driving home from Wal-mart, Abby asked me,"Mom, does Jesus know what pajamas I'm going to wear tonight?" I said,"Yes." Then she asked,"Does He know what I'm thinking right now?" Nate chimes in,"He's just like Santa, only not as creepy." I added,"And, Jesus is real". Abby said,"Santa is real too." (I usually try to avoid this discussion and talk about how there was a real St. Nicholas) Nate disagreed with her. I was trying to hush him in the front of the car and then she pipes in with,"I know he's real because part of his beard is stuck in our fireplace." Mmm, that's a new one. I didn't know we had part of Santa's beard stuck in our fireplace. I'm going to have to check that out, but I'm thinking it might be some of the insulation.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seasons and Jesus

Well, I'm finally back. Maybe this week I can catch up my life or it will soon be forgotten.

But, It's late, so I'm just going to relay a funny story that happened last week when I was trying to be the good mother and review some simple concepts with the twins before they had forgotten everything they learned in First Grade. Too late...

So, we're reviewing "time", which except for the half hour and hour, they have forgotten. I have this great book on "Time", called,"Telling Time", and I started reviewing months, which they thought were weeks. Come on! Then, I start going through the months and explaining/quizzing them on something we celebrate each month. It went downhill from there: Me: Okay, what is another thing we call January 1, that we celebrate with a party?" Gabe: July!-good grief!
Me: No, New Year's Day. Me: February, what do we celebrate on February 14th with a party, and hearts. G&A: Valentine's Day! Me: Okay, now March. What do we celebrate in March with rainbows...and what's at the end of the rainbow? G&A: a pot of gold! Me: and who does the pot of gold remind us of? Abby: Jesus! well, yeah, if we were talking about the 3 leaf clover, and the Trinity, but in this case, "Jesus" cannot be the answer to every question.

We then went on to talk about March coming in like a .... Gabe: leprechaun! Me: no, like a lion, and it goes out like a ... Gabe: mouse! After that, I asked them if they had ever heard of "April showers bring May...." again, the answer was not what I was expecting. Abby: thunderstorms! I said, "no, May flowers" Gabe said,"hey that's a little rhyme!" Now, I know they learned that in school. In fact, I know I have said it many times to them every spring when it was raining. I felt a little like the teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". All in all, it was an entertaining morning, and I definitely have my work cut out for me this summer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ben's senior luncheon

Today, was Pine Creek's senior luncheon. It's hard to believe we're already here, again. It seems like Julianne's was just a year ago, not three, and now, Ben's. We were there for 4 hours, and then we had to leave. I felt badly for the kids who were still waiting to be capped, the group waiting to sing, and the senior class president, Greg who was still waiting to give his closing remarks. It must have gone on for another hour, and over half of the tables were empty. Like us, people had places to go, had to return back to work, or pick up younger siblings. It was a very nice time. All of the kids had something nice to say about their loved ones who were capping them. Ben brought along Jon Diaso for support. I want to include what Ben had read about Tim, who capped him. I was so proud of both of them: Tim, because he is everything Ben wrote about him and more, and Ben, because he recognizes what a great role model his dad is and chose to honor him publicly. I love my family!

"I want my dad to cap me, because he has taught me what it means to be a man. He didn't teach me through words but through his actions. My dad has given up his money, time and dreams to provide for our family. He has showed me how to live a life of significance through humility and selflessness. He has done this through devotion to God and through sacrificing himself for those around him. He has never had to earn my respect, because I have never had to earn his love. My dad is a true man."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pumpkin muffins

Our family is pretty fanatical about pumpkin muffins. Most people only eat pumpkin during the fall. We eat it year round - with chocolate chips. My kids don't eat banana bread or pumpkin bread without chocolate chips. I've ruined them in that respect.

The first chocolate chip pumpkin bread I ever had was from our neighbor in AK. Her name was Mary Jane Baer, and I think I even have the recipe card from my mom's collection. It was full of butter and eggs and very good. I made that recipe after I got married for years, but then I found an even better recipe that had orange juice in it. I added fresh grated orange and that became my standard pumpkin bread recipe. We would make it every Sat. morning into muffins, so it would be quicker, and they were usually eaten up by the weekend. I have probably given over a hundred mini loaves to teacher, Sunday School teacher and friends over the years.

A few years ago, I joined Weight Watchers and found that my pumpkin bread wasn't so healthy (yeah, I was in denial). So, I tweaked the recipe, putting in some whole wheat flour, reducing the sugar, even cutting the fat in half. They weren't as perfect as before, but my family was still eating them. Well, now, I am unveiling a new recipe. It is definitely lower in fat, higher in fiber, and my kids are still eating it, but they know the difference-anyway, the older ones do.
I found this recipe from Cooking Light just recently online. BTW, I love online recipes. I love to just search and search and find something to make for dinner, or to bake. I would love to get rid of all my cookbooks, freeing up 2 shelves in my kitchen, and just store my favorite recipes from those cookbooks digitally. Someday, I want to take all my mom's recipe cards and scan them, so they will be in her handwriting and put them in a book for all the women in the family Some day.

Anyway, here is the new recipe, which I have tweaked, adding 1/2 whole wheat flour, some flax, and orange zest.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. canola oil
3 egg whites, 1 whole egg
3 c. flour, 1/2 white, 1/2 wheat
1/4 c. ground flax, or leave it out
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. each ginger and nutmeg
1 1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 bag of chocolate chips
the zest of one orange

preheat oven to 350
Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well. Combine dry ingred. in another bowl and add to wet. Mix until moist. Add zest.

spoon batter into 2 loaf pans coated with cooking spray and bake for 1 hour.

OR spoon into muffin cups and bake 27 min.

YUM! These don't last long around our house. I try to freeze them, and they barely get frozen before someone takes them out and eats them. My big boys eat about 4 or 5 at once, and Ben, will mash them up and add more chocolate chips and melt the whole thing in the microwave and consume a 1 /2 gallon of milk with them. It's disgusting.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Abby's birthday school snack

The twins are in separate classes, so I had to make twice the birthday treats this year. Did they want the same thing? Of course not! And, really why should they have to, because they're twins? They already share the same birthday, and usually the party, which we're not having on this year. So, I asked Gabe what he wanted. I was trying to steer both of them toward these very cute birthday cupcake ball things on, but no. Gabe just wanted chocolate cupcakes. I don't even have a picture, because they came out so bad. Because of the Feingold diet, I can't make cakes from a mix, which I never did until we moved here, and cakes from scratch fell time after time. So, I decided to just make the cake on the back of the Hershey's cocoa box, even though, I have a high altitude cookbook and they always turn out when I use it. Will i never learn? Probably not. I don't know why I didn't just use that recipe. I took out the cookbook, looked at it, and then used the one on the cocoa box. So, these cupcakes fell in the middle, after overflowing over the sids sticking to the pan and the adjacent cupcakes. I pretty much had to peel the top layer off of them, after cutting them from the pan (even though I used cupcake papers). I made the chocolate butter frosting, and let Tim frost them. There weren't even enough to cover all the kids in Gabe's class, so I had to take out some frozen peanut butter cupcakes that none of us really liked. Nasty. Some poor kid ate them though.

Abby, on the other hand, wanted fruit skewers with bananas, grapes, and chocolate dipped strawberries. She wanted cantaloupe and pineapple, but I drew the line.

It only took me about 3 hours to make 28 of them. I made extra, for the teachers, since they deserve some kind of treat that isn't a nasty cupcake. Why would it take that long to make a few fruit skewers? Well, I had to get pliers to cut the skewers down, then dip the strawberries, and hunt for a half an hour for something that I could sick the skewers in (an upside down colander) whose holes for the most part, were the right size for the skewers. I then added the grapes, which slid grape juice along the skewer, so I had to wipe that off, then the banana, wipe the banana slime off, then I decided, what the heck, add another strawberry: wipe more juice off the skewer. The end result was pretty. The teachers were impressed-what I live for-not really, but it doesn't hurt. And, most of all, Abby was happy and so were her friends. Yea! I did something right!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ben's 18th Birthday

Wow! Where has the time gone? I now have 2 adult children.

Ben didn't want to have a big birthday party.He told me,"I don't like to celebrate myself, it's dumb." Ben claims most things are "dumb", unless it's Madden football, Star Wars, Willy Wonka, Pooh, tuna melts,chocolate in any form and most of all milk, by the gallon.

So, he requested dinner out and a new cell phone he could text on and money. His favorite store is the dollar store, mainly because he likes to take Gabe there. Nate gave him a gift card to the Dollar Tree. Our friends, Jason and Carrie offered to take our twins to play with their kids. It's kind of weird to exclude them from Ben's celebration, but they wanted to play with their friends, and we knew Ben would have a better time without the whining, and attention getting tactics they use.

So, we had a nice dinner with Ben at Champs, and Ben got a Red Sox jersey from Tim's trip to Boston, his new phone (mentioned earlier) and Gabe and Abby gave him Willy Wonka bars and a stuffed Pooh bear the next day when we celebrated with cake. Ben was too full to have cake when we got home on Sat. night, so we waited until Sunday after church to have the infamous Linda's Fudge Cake (which we had also had the weekend before). It all seemed kind of anticlimactic to me, but he seemed to be happy with how things turned out.

It's so hard when your kids don't want to do things the way you think they should be done. Control. I just don't have it anymore, over the big ones anyway.

build a bear and life.

Gabe and Abby were invited to their little neighbor's birthday party at Build A Bear on Sat. They got to each make a bear, which they love to do. Not only did they get to go to the party, but the little girls' parents took our kids to and from the mall and then kept them for lunch and cake. So, Tim and I got to go out to lunch at La Baguette and really talk.

I have been preparing for a talk I'm giving to MOPS at the end of the month, so I wanted to talk to Tim about our early years of marriage, from his perspective. i knew from my perspective that they weren't great, and I knew that I was the cause of most of the problems, but I had forgotten what a selfish jerk I was. It was kind of depressing, but good. The best part is that God has been merciful and grown us up a lot in the past almost 25 years, and our marriage is stronger than ever. I just wish it could have been that way from the beginning.

Tying shoes

Well, Gabe finally decided to learn how to tie his shoes. He knew how, but he couldn't do it tightly every time. It's hard to find tie on shoes for little kids. They have velcro, or they might have a stretchy laces that don't need tying. We found some shoes he liked, and that day he worked on perfecting tying his shoes. He is now an expert.

Speaking of practicing... On Monday, I had to go shopping with the twins, something I rarely do, because it's usually not a pleasant experience. They were fine for the first 10 or so minutes until we got to the cereal, which also is conveniently the toy aisle (curse you King Sooper's marketing people). The whining began, but then Gabe saw the long empty (except for one lady at the other end) aisle (sometimes it's nice to have a kid with ADD!) He yelled to Abby, "A-bby, run to the other end and watch this!" I could see the wheels turning in his little blonde head. He planned to run the length of the aisle and then slide on his knees. I grabbed his arm before he could execute his plan, and told him to grab on to the cart. Abby then took off for the Easter (seasonal) aisle and he followed. I went to stand in line (good grief, we had only been to two aisles, and they still couldn't behave). I called them back, gritting my teeth and telling them to behave and stay with me.

We got to the check out, and I kept them busy unloading the cart. After that they moved down past the cash register to lay their arms along the conveyor belt and try to stop it. AAGH! I again, gritting my teeth , say in a low voice, "get your hands off of there. It's filthy!" The cashier and bagger are now snickering at this point. The twins are taking things off the belt and trying to "help the bagger" by keeping the items as far away from him as possible. I feel like I have Dennis the Menace and Ramona the Pest with me.

As we are walking out, I tell Thing 1 and Thing 2 that when we get home, they will NOT be playing with their friends or outside or watching TV. They will be practicing good manners. Gabe asks,"How long is that going to take?" I say,"As long as it takes for you to learn some good manners". Abby questions,"SOME?" I say, "I mean ALL good manners." Gabe asks,"How many good manners are there?"

I give up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Nothing much has been happening around our house this week, except the stomach flu. Nate and I are the only ones who have escaped it, so far, hopefully it won't happen to us. Gabe was home one day, Tim and Ben both stayed home two days. Tim worked both days as evidenced by the headset, or was he talking to his broker...? Yeah, like we have one of those.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;
He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. Psalm 104:31-34.

Tiger Cub Hike

Gabe with his friend Isaac on their hike Sat. with the dads and boys from their pack.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Going to the dr. in Denver

Today, Tim, Abby and I went to Denver. She got to come along because she had a fever this morning and didn't feel well. She spent most of the day in the car watching movies and napping. I met Dr. Miller at the Center for Bone Growth. I had a bone density test, which was normal, and then I met with the dr. He wants me to have two pages worth of blood tests (that's 8-10 vials) and some other tests done before my next visit to him in 8 wks. He is testing for all sorts of metabolic disorders to see if this is what is causing lack of bone growth in my ankle. He also talked about a drug called Fosamex, which promotes bone growth, or in rats, bone tumors. Yippee. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The ins. doesn't pay for it in non union of fusions, so it would be a fight.

That aside, the best part of going to Denver, is that my awesome husband maps out any TJ Maxx stores in the vicinity so I can shop for Polish pottery. I only found one piece, but we did manage to spend another 150.00 on all sorts of stuff we couldn't live without, not just at TJ Maxx, which is way better than the ones in here, in town, but also at Tim's favorite, The Container Store. Then, went to the Cheesecake Factory, to purchase the 10 lb Linda's Fudge Cake for Ben's birthday next Sat. (shhh, it's a secret). It actually weighs that much and has about a trillion calories.

Now, we're back home with all our treasures, Abby is wiped out, and I've got my ankle on ice, again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Priceless Quote

Tonight we were talking about something that happened during the day, and one of the kids said the word,"idiot", which then began a discussion of not using that word, followed by Abby asking,"who's an idiot", followed by more discussion about not using that word, which then prompted Gabe to say,"My imaginary friend is an idiot!" Which then made us all laugh, and Ben asked him,"what's his name?" Gabe replied,"George". Then, Ben said,"oh, Curious George?" Which made us laugh more. Explanation: On Sunday mornings, at breakfast, we usually watch Curious George on PBS. It's sort of a family routine, inside joke. When the theme music comes on, the boys sing along in a Louie Armstrong voice, and then I annoyingly mimic the monkey's response(which ,of course ,the man in the yellow hat completely understands) throughout the show. Good times!

Abby's buffaloaf

Tonight, Abby made dinner for us again. She is really learning a lot. She cut up the carrots and celery for the food processor, and she added all the spices and liquid ingredients for the meatloaf. I didn't make her use her hands this time, but she learned how to fold the bison in to the other ingredients and not stretch out the protein, which would make it tough. She even put it in the pan. Then, she ran off to play. Hey, I'll take it. I'm just happy she wants to help, and if it makes her feel important, then all the better!

Camera stolen!

I thought I kept losing my camera, but it turns out, Gabe keeps hiding it in his room and taking pictures. Here is one of the pictures he took of his good buddy, Austyn.


It is an endless battle to get the boys to clean their rooms. Ben and Nate are downstairs, so I rarely see their rooms, or try not to. They are bad. Ben believes cleaning his room involves just spraying Febreze all over everything, piles of clothes, the carpet, the bed, anything and everything. Nate just hoards all the laundry baskets and keeps his dirty/clean clothes in them all the time. Gabe, on the other hand, just never picks anything up. His room is a mine field of legos, clothes, books, toys, papers, rubber bands, pieces of wire, paper clips, and who knows what else. He can't focus long enough to clean his room, and I take risk my ankle, knee, and probably other body parts if I try to navigate the floor. I don't have a wide angle lens to document all the junk on his floor, so this picture doesn't do the title of this post justice.

Catching up again

The other day, Tim went grocery shopping and came home to proudly tell me he had found a basil plant. It's our favorite herb. Um, we have a problem...

Monday, March 1, 2010


Ben's last minute project for Psychology class. He made it out of Sculpey clay, baked, painted, glued and finished at 2 a.m. according to him.

I looks like some sort of dinosaur skeleton to me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good bread

Did I mention Tim is much better at forming loaves than I am?

I am up late tonight waiting for the bread to bake and cool. I remembered at 7:30 tonight that we didn't have enough bread for sandwiches for the kids tomorrow. I whipped up the dough in about 10 minutes. Thank God for flour, water and yeast!
And Thank you Jesus for bringing Tim home safely Friday night so he could roll out the bread dough tonight!

Chuck E. Cheese headache

This weekend we had just the twins at home. It was amazingly quiet. They kept themselves entertained with Bendaroos in the morning. Then, Tim and I asked them what they wanted to do with just Mommy and Daddy. Tim kept trying to steer them towards bowling, but they weren't interested in that at all. I suggested Chuck E. Cheese, and they were all over that. Even though we vowed the first time in 1983, when we took my nephew Josh to Chuck E. Cheese, we would never, ever, ever, enter another CEC as long as we lived, I opened my big mouth and suggested it, being the self-sacrificing mother I am.

We first took them to Chick Fil A with the strict instructions that they would not be playing in the contaminated, germ infested play area. Then, we took them to the germ infested, H1N1 swarming, rat trap of the Chuck E.Cheese entertainment wasteland, so they could touch every nasty surface and waste our good money for an hour and a half of nightmarish kiddie pleasures.

We had a coupon for 100 tokens for 15.00. Tim, not thinking, tried to get them to conserve their tokens by doling them out 10 at a time. He tried to steer them away from the token grabbing, ticket stingy games and to the ones that would give as many tickets for the 1 token they squandered. I watched this for about 20 minutes, and then I grabbed handfuls of tokens from the cup and gave them to the twins and told them to play whatever they wanted. Why would we want to prolong this agony any longer than we had to? Let them feed the tokens in to the games as fast as possible, so we could leave! And, they did. We still managed to get 214 tickets between the two of them and the few games Tim and I played. So, we probably spent as much time waiting in line to redeem our 214 tickets for junk as we did actually playing the games. Abby came away with 3 tootsie rolls (60 points) and High School Musical mini playing cards(40 pts.) which were dropped randomly throughout Costco later. Gabe got some sort of fake Nerf/cardboard shooting thing and one tootsie roll. Tim got a whopping headache which he termed the" Chuck E. Cheese headache", and we both said at the same time, "all I can think about is finding some hand sanitizer!" As we left the building, staring at the long line which had formed snaking outside the building. I wanted to yell, "save yourselves!" but I didn't.

After that, we went to the Palmer Park playground, which was very cold, but the twins didn't care. Tim wandered around while they played, keeping an eye on them, watching them jump, swing, slide, etc, while I sat in the warm van and listened to a book on tape.

We ended the day with some wonderful fluffy omelettes made by Tim and then the horrible movie, "Goonies", which I managed to escape in 1985 when it came out. The language was pretty bad, but the pre-teen Indiana Jonesesque plot entertained the twins quite a bit. It was rated PG, by '80's standards, which we forgot is now PG13. The twins didn't seem to notice the words. Abby thought they said,"shame" when they said,"sh**", and later, when they heard someone say,"dummy", she said, "Mom we promise we won't repeat that bad word". We'll see if that's really all they heard if we hear anything back from their teachers in the next few days.

Fridays and friends

What began as just babysitting the neighbor girls for a couple of hours on Friday, turned out to be 6 kids over for a playdate and pizza. All the kids ran around outside in the balmy 45 degree weather, screaming, playing tag (I think), rolling around in the dead grass and one kid blowing a whistle, which was confiscated. At one point, I looked out the window and saw all the kids running around with long portions of PVC pipe, and the neighbor boy swinging a fence post around. Thankfully, no one was skewered, and all the pipes/fence posts were also confiscated.

The kids came inside for little calzones and then the boys went downstairs to watch a movie, while the girls played with Bendaroos and watched "Cinderella". I was a little worried about what I had gotten myself into, being the only one over 6, watching all these kids, but all in all, everything was fine, and the kids were all picked up on time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Abby's hives

I think Abby has had hives for the past 3 days. I have been trying to find the culprit to this reaction. I'm pretty sure it's the Hannah Montana conditioner she found and used. I thought I had confiscated that when we went on the Feingold diet. Anyway, it started about 24 hours after she used it, and she probably didn't rinse her hair very well. She broke out in hives, I think after her American Heritage Girl meeting. By the next morning she had a huge red circle on her abdomen, and then red welts on her shoulders, down her ribs, and on the top of her feet. I gave her Benadryl and about an hour later, they were almost completely gone. They returned as the medicine wore off. Yesterday, she was still breaking out in random places, so I thought I would call the dr. to confirm that it was hives. The nurse was pretty sure that it was. She can't go to school if she has a rash, so she stayed home again. She had a very enjoyable day doing crafts, painting, watching "Little House on the Prairie" with me. I told her I used to watch it when I was a little girl, and she said,"you were alive then?" I told her yes, that I watched the show when I was 10 or 11. It wasn't until later that I realized she thought I was alive during the pioneer days, assuming it was filmed when it was set. I tried to explain it, but telling her that it was on in the 1970's, but was showing the 1800's, didn't make much sense. To her the 1970's might as well be pioneer days!

So, tonight, I gave Abby an oatmeal bath to soothe her skin,even though she hasn't had hives since this morning, and Gabe read his book to her while she was in the bathtub. Pretty cute. After the bath, her hives returned. Now, I'm really confused. We changed the sheets on her bed, took off some of the quilts in case excess heat is causing the hives. I'm just trying anything. I sure hope she can go to school tomorrow.

Ben's bloody eyeballs

Ben made these for his "King Lear" project to give to his Senior English class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh bother!~Pooh

So, about 2 wks. ago, I re-injured my knee 4 years out from my meniscus repair. I think I was squatting, and I felt my knee lock. It hurt to straighten it. So, after moving it around for awhile, I could finally walk without horrible pain. Since then, I have been babying it, not bending it more than 90 degrees, and it hasn't been too bad, not much pain. Well, today I pulled my feet under my chair and that was all it took. It hurt pretty badly, and after trying to put weight on it unsuccessfully, I just sat down again. It took awhile, but I think I maneuvered it back in place, and somehow I could walk again. I went to Target, took Nate to the eye dr. and then to a late lunch, picked up the kids at the bus, and made dinner. By 5:30, it was really hurting, so I have kept it elevated and iced since then. I had Ben dig out the crutches (or as Gabe used to call them,"wretchers"), just in case.

It hurts like the Dickens as Mom would say. It hurts behind the knee, on the side of the knee and under the kneecap. I don't think I'm going to just rest up and it will heal.

We don't seem to get sick in this house. No one has been sick since the fall, except for some coughs and sniffles, and even that didn't keep anyone out of school. No, we just get majorly injured.

It's going to be interesting making this doctor's appt. I will call the orthopedic group and tell them I'm a patient of Dr. O'Brien's but this is a new problem, one he can't help with since he's only an ankle and elbow doctor. Why do they have to be so specialized? Oh bother!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Caught up

Tonight, youth group dinner. While the big kids were upstairs hearing some fabulous talk from Anna, I'm sure, I was cleaning up, and Tim and the twins played in the gym. What kids wouldn't want to have an entire gym to themselves!

New smoke alarms

Tim bought 12 new smoke alarms last week to replace our 10 yr. old ones in the house. Sat. was the day to replace them. This was precipitated by his fire safety talk to the Boy Scouts 2 wks. ago. Being Tim, he really got in to it, giving them all sorts of fire safety paraphernalia to take home.

So, finding yet another excuse to wear his headlamp, he climbed the tall ladder in our living room to reach the smoke alarm at the peak of ceiling. What did the rest of us do? We all gathered in the living room to watch, of course!

He and Ben replaced 10 smoke alarms, and had to test each one. They are wired into the electrical system, so the power had to be shut off, (on the coldest day yet, 15 degrees), and then as they tested each one, because they are wired together, they ALL went off. We had an hour of dark silence intermittently interrupted by screaming sirens. Fun! For some reason, (Murphy's Law, Woodroof's Law) one of the alarms, in Abby's room went off at 2 a.m. this morning. Yea! Never a dull moment around here! That better not happen again! I'm just sayin'...

Friday night: Pizza night!

I made whole wheat pizza dough on Friday, and it turned out delicious. I had also bought some fresh mozzarella, which I find irresistible, and some basil. I had some "simple sauce" that I had made in the freezer, courtesy of Giada (bighead) DiLaurentis, and some shrimp: all the fixin's for great pizza. Tim is the expert pizza dough former, as he is the expert sugar cookie cutter, cake decorator, bread dough roller, blah, blah, yeah, whatever, I'm not good at those things.

So, when he got home, he rolled out my most excellent dough, and the twins got their own pizzas to create.

Lost camera: found!

Okay, so I lost my camera for about a week. Now, I'm playing catch up with the blog, and didn't take pictures every day.

One day, I was reading abcnews online and saw a headline called,"Tom Selleck, sandwiches and waterfalls" I, of course, being a HUGE fan of Tom Selleck in the 80s looked at the file of pictures, and I must say they are weird. But, Tom Selleck is still hot in his Hawaiian shirts with his hairy chest and short shorts. Why did we ever think that was sexy? So, I'm in my kitchen looking at the beautiful roses that Tim gave me, and there is the decapitated head of Ken, sitting on the counter. I thought,"hey, if Tom Selleck can be superimposed in a waterfall with a sandwich, why can't Ken's head be put in the vase with the roses...." It wasn't quite the same effect, whatever the "artist" was going for with Tom, but it entertained me for a few minutes. I really do think I have ADD.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dinner by Abby

Last night Ben made the buffaloaf, and Abby asked if she could make dinner tonight. I found some turkey thighs on sale at the store today, so when she got home, we found a recipe online for Herb roasted turkey thighs. It consisted of softened butter, thyme, rosemary, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Abby put all the ingredients in a bowl, and then I told her she was going to have to mix and mash it together with her hands. She said,"Mom, my hands are going to get all dirty" and I told her that they would but then she would be rubbing the mixture under the turkey skin. She was pretty grossed out, but she did it. She mixed up some chicken broth to pour over the chicken and we put it in the oven. They came out great. She wanted me to tell everyone that she made dinner. She also made rice pilaf out of the box. I foresee her making dinner often. She was so proud of herself!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bath time

Today, the twins got their hair cut as well as Nate. When we got home, it was after 5, and although Ben had made our Buffaloaf, I still needed to finish dinner and the banana bread I wanted to make. So, I told the twins they could play in the tub, rinse off the stray hairs and take a bath. They ran to their rooms to get all the toys they could find that were tubworthy. I heard Abby say,"If you want to play with G.I.Joe, you will have to take your bath alone". I thought that was pretty funny. I tried to convince Abby that G.I Joe wouldn't look much different from Ken (yeah right) in the tub, but she absolutely would not allow him in there with her Barbies (probably with good reason). Gabe conceded and agreed to bring a Ken doll he found, but who had been decapitated. As you can see in the picture, his head isn't sitting right on his neck.

Anyway, they went off to play, and I went off to make my banana bread. I am pretty confidant that they won't drown, since I can hear them clearly talking, playing with each other, and I know they would (hopefully) tell me if one of them was under the water and not moving.
As I was making my batter, I heard Abby say,"No, don't put Ken in the tub, he's the lifeguard!" They had the Barbie pool, which is really more of a hot tub, in the water, with lots of Barbies and Ken. It looked like a scene from "The Bachelor", not that I watch that show.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's dinner

I'm not sure who took this picture today, but we were in the throes of our Valentine's dinner, eating chocolate fondue. Yum! I made a bison roast, which I have never made before. It was so tender, so flavorful, and so low fat, only 7 g. per serving! I cooked it like a real Sunday dinner, which I never so, putting it in the oven before church. Tim put a dry rub on it first and seared it in hot olive oil, then I put water, sherry, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and beef bouillon in the pan and covered it. It was so delicious! I am definitely making it again.
We had fun making a candy bouquet for Nate out of his favorite candy bars, Ben got his favorite Ferrero Roche dark chocolate candy and the regular hazelnut ones, plus a large Reese's candy heart. I bought Tim a very large 10+ inch milk chocolate candy bar with whole hazelnuts, and the Ritter Sport dark and milk chocolate candy with hazelnuts he likes. Gabe got a stuffed gorilla and a little lego set, and Abby got a stuffed dog and ballerina Barbie doll. Tim gave me a dozen red roses, and I requested no chocolate, because I knew I would be eating it all week, which I did. We made dinner for the Youth group tonight and made heavenly hot fudge and served hot fudge sundaes. Mark Bates talked about love to the kids, and they also played the pass the lifesaver with the toothpick game. It was a great day. I still have to send off Julianne's gifts to her better late than never I guess.

I sure do love my family!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's gifts

Tim and I made these candy bouquets for some friends today.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gabe's Valentine's Day party

Today, I "helped" out at Gabe's party. I really didn't do much of anything except stand around and talk to the teachers and some of the other parent volunteers. There are always too many volunteers and way too much food. It was at 10 in the morning, and there were 3 types of cookies, mini cupcakes, cheese and crackers, snack mix and a chocolate fountain! Yes, a chocolate fountain for first graders. I remember one cookie and koolaid when I was in grade school. Everything has to be so over the top now days, like spending more on the goody bags for the party guests than you do on the birthday child. We were lucky if we got a balloon. Back when I was a kid, you were just happy to get to go to a birthday party. It was a big event. But speaking of valentines, Tim and I were talking with the kids about our school Valentine's parties. We made our Valentine's out of construction paper and put them into decorated tissue boxes. There were no lollipops attached to the cards, no snack bags, no fun sized candy, no ice cream coupons. We maybe had a coloring page. Now, we send in money so that the room mothers can order large quantities of crafts that no first grader can do without adult supervision, from Oriental Trading Company. I actually witnessed several moms going to different classrooms carrying large boxes from Oriental Trading Company, so you know they are all doing the same thing.
Nowadays, you don't dare just send in the card. No way! In fact, I remember Ben and Nate just throwing out the bare cards without candy attached, not even looking to see what kind of character was on the card or who it was from. It's really sad.
I don't know how to fix it, but I think it's a big problem. We're just perpetuating over-indulged, materialistic kids. My kids don't expect that kind of extravagance at home, but they know what to expect at a party, even a classroom party. Maybe, our kids' experience is not so different from most of the young 30 something parents that are giving the parties. I don't know when things changed from the simple to the over the top, but somewhere, in the past 30-40 years, it did change.

Oh yes, and right after the party, it was lunchtime. As one mother commented, whatever happened to parties at the end of the day right before the students were dismissed?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

valentine's sugar cookies

Tonight, after a long day at work and a meeting until 9:30, Tim came home and dutifully cut out the heart cookies for Gabe's class. He's such a good guy, and he is so much better at cutting out cookies than I am.

Gabe was so cute today when he and Abby were making their valentines for school. He wanted to write a personal note on each one, like, "I like sitting at the table with you" I like to play with you", "You are nice." Or, my favorite,"Catherine, you are good at riting" Oh, the irony! What a change from last year in kindergarten when it took them a couple of days to complete signing their names on the 22 valentines they had to do. Today, they went through the class list and checked off the names as they addressed their valentines and signed them in under an hour. Finally, Gabe prayed tonight for the kids who were sick and were going to miss the party tomorrow. Such a sweet kid.


Last night (really yesterday's post) we had the Brown twins and 2 of their siblings, Grace and Luke over for dinner. Gabe and Abby had so much fun playing with them. They are the most polite, well behaved children, and they have only been in this country a year! I think we need to switch kids and have Mrs. Brown give our kids some lessons in manners. As before, the little twins were perfect, so cute, and eat without making a mess. I have never seen toddlers eat so neatly! They also don't get into anything (except for dropping Abby's wand in the toilet), or touch breakables. Amazing! I guess I thought all twins would be little troublemakers like mine.