Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Lazy Sunday

I have craving a lazy Sunday for a few weeks. Ahhhh...here it is. This morning, we went to church and Sunday School and then came home to eat leftover pasta for lunch. Right now, I am cuddled under a blanket with our new kitty (who now has a name--Zamboni) and a cup of tea, watching basketball with my husband, and catching up on some computer work. I have big plans later to watch Beauty and the Beast with my three-year-old. Delightful. It feels nice to relax. This one is short and sweet, folks. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A New Kitty

We have been talking about getting a kitten. A few weeks ago, we took our kids to the Humane Society to look at potential kittens. Turns out, the ones we were looking at were no longer available. Try leaving the Humane Society with three children and no animal. They would have taken ANYTHING home at that point. "Mom, how about this one?!? Let's take this one home!!!" They were getting pretty desperate. We bribed them with pizza and the promise of a kitten someday soon when the right kitten becomes available.

Displaying IMG_1294.JPGThe right kitten found our family yesterday. I picked up my excited children from school and off we went to the Humane Society. My oldest, who is 7, kept saying, "I can't wait to get there!!" You could feel the energy and anticipation in the air. It filled me with joy knowing how excited they were.

When we got there, all three of the kids were all smiles. After we were able to play with her for all of 2 minutes, my oldest was sure she was the right fit for our family. He told me that at least eight times. I agreed. It has been a long time since I have had a kitten, and I had forgotten how darn playful they are. She was adorable racing around the room, playing with everything as though she had never seen toys before.

We brought her home with us, and it has been so fun seeing the kids interact with her and take care of her. They are fascinated with her. This is the first time they have had a kitten, so this is all new to them. It's fun to see them learn. They are gentle and responsive to both the new kitten and the dog, giving the dog lots of attention, too, so that she knows they still love her. I love seeing this nurturing side of my kids. Right now my son is rocking her like a baby. Swoon.

Now if we could just agree on a name...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Thankful

Today and everyday I am thankful for waking up next to the best man I know and our three beautiful children sleeping down the hall. I am thankful for a warm and loving home we share and a job that leaves me fulfilled everyday. I am thankful for my health and the health of my family. I am thankful for being raised in a home full of love and for friends who make my world even brighter. I am thankful for experiences--good and bad--that have shaped me. 

Today I am also thankful for a three-year-old who got dressed this morning without any drama about wanting to wear a princess dress or, "I don't want you to do my hair!!!!" It was quite pleasant dressing her this morning. I am thankful for co-workers with great senses of humor who make me smile and laugh every day. I am thankful for the pumpkin pie my mother-in-law sent home with me today. I am thankful for dinner laughter with my family and story time with the five of us all snuggled in under the covers. 

Life is good. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ice Skating

Earlier today we took our kids ice skating at a local indoor rink. We have been wanting to take them ice skating all winter. You know how these things go. A month or so ago we planned a family date to go ice skating. All of the outdoor rinks were closed due to abnormally warm winter weather here in Wisconsin. We found an indoor rink with open skate on a Friday night. Awesome. Got there. Open skate cancelled due to high school hockey. Not awesome. Luckily, our kids are troopers and apparently used to disappointment. They rolled with it. The promise of hot chocolate helped.

So, finally, today we made it ice skating. Our boys were pumped. Our daughter is the youngest at three, so she is definitely along for the ride. Until we got there. We put the skates on her. All was going well while we walked out to the rink. She took one look at that ice and she was NOT having it. No, she did not want to skate. No, she did not want the walker/helper skating thingy. She would be held and that was about it. We are talking full-on tears. No screaming, though, so there is that. She looked adorable in her little striped wool sweater and pink hat, though.

Meanwhile, our seven year old is off and skating with the walker. He was figuring it out and eventually put the walker away and started actually, kind of skating. Our five year old clumsily used the walker for awhile but quickly ditched it in preference of being on his own. "I'm going to do tricks!!" He excitedly told me when I expressed a bit of concern. Pretty soon he started jumping on the ice. Sometimes he stayed on his skates, and sometimes he kissed the ice.

While all of this is happening, I am praying I manage to stay upright and that there is no unfortunate incident that involves an ambulance ride. So far so good. My jumper is still spending a fair amount of time on the ice. Our oldest son is back to using the walker after a run-in with his dad caused him to fall and bang his elbow. No ambulance ride needed. Our daughter has ventured out a bit with her dad kneeling on the ice behind her.

I am thoroughly enjoying this lovely family outing and am mildly impressed with myself that I have not managed to injure myself yet even after my five year old learned that holding onto Mom is not a great option at this point. I turn and see a sight that will forever be penned in my memory. No, this is not where an ambulance enters the scene (spoiler: there is no ambulance today). There is my little girl, in her striped sweater and pink hat venturing out onto the middle of the ice with her dad holding onto her two little hands. They were both smiling and I felt my heart swell. My husband has the absolute best balance of patience and persistence when it comes to helping the kids try new things and conquer fears. Our children have the best dad. And I have the best partner.

I smiled and enjoyed the moment...and then I took a picture.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dinner: The Playbook

I enjoy cooking. Scratch that. I enjoy eating. I enjoy eating delicious food that does not come out of a package...preferably food I can feel good about serving to my family. Don't get me wrong, we eat our fair share of blue box mac and cheese and oven-bake pizza, but I was noticing more of that and less of the kinds of things I wanted to be serving to my family on a regular basis. On my ideal weekend schedule, there is plenty of time for meal planning. It seems to be the easiest thing to drop during a busy weekend.

I am trying, yet again, to turn over a new leaf when it comes to menu planning. I recently read the book, Dinner: The Playbook by Jenny Rosenstrach. As I read through the recipes, I decided meal planning and prep did not have to be lengthy and time-consuming, but I did need to add easy and healthy meals to my repertoire. So out came the issues of Real Simple that have been collecting dust on my nightstand. I started marking recipes.

And now, on this lovely Saturday morning, while I sip coffee in my sweatpants, Dinner: The Playbook sits next to me waiting for this week's recipes to be chosen. Creamy Greek chicken noodle soup is first on my list. It looks wonderful and will make for a lovely lunch I can look forward to all week. Spaghetti with brussel sprouts and shallots looks pretty good for dinner one night this week, too.

Happy cooking to you...and happy Saturday!!

Friday, March 3, 2017

What is Saving Me Right Now

A blog I follow and love, Modern Mrs. Darcy, monthly publishes a post entitled, "What is Saving My Life Right Now." I love these posts because sometimes the same things are saving me, and sometimes I get a new perspective. And, so, here is my list of what is saving me right now.

1. Nighttime Tea. Each evening, after the kids are tucked in to their beds, I make myself a cup of tea and settle under a blanket to finish off the day.
2. Peace and Calming Oil. After my tea, I put Peace and Calming in the diffuser and head to bed. I love how it smells and it calms me right to sleep.
3. Elliptical Time. Most mornings, I set the alarm for 5:30 and hop on the elliptical for 20-30 minutes. Honestly, some mornings working out is the LAST thing I do, but I feel so much better on the days I do it. Doing something healthy for myself in the quiet of early morning is the right way to start my day.
4. Date Night. My husband and I have date night tomorrow night. We used to try to get out for date night once a month...which turned into every other month and before I knew it, I couldn't remember the last time we had a date night. So, this winter, we are getting back to our once-a-month habit. Last month, it was WONDERFUL and relaxing to just be together without thinking about the million of things waiting to be done.
5. My Local Library. I love going there. It's like when Norm would arrive at Cheers and everyone would say, "Norm!" Except that it is a library. And there are books. And no one serves me beer. I love taking my children there and they feel at home. The librarians all know us. I can get just about any book I want there. We are SO LUCKY to have this library in our small town.
6. Fridays Off. I am absolutely and completely lucky to work four days a week. I will work four days a week as long as they let me. Yes, of course I still do work on my off days, but I have flexibility. I can spend time with my daughter who is not in school yet. I can run errands and get ahead on cleaning and laundry. Fridays off gives me the time to not feel like I am drowning.

These are some of the things that make me breathe a little easier and remember to relax and enjoy the scenery of life.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Read Across America Day

Today was a big day at our elementary school, as I am sure it was at your school, too. It was Read Across America Day. My kindergarten son excitedly wore his Cat in the Hat costume, complete with the hat. My 1st grader was excited about wearing his pajamas to school. I was excited to read Dr. Seuss books to excited, pajama-clad kiddos. I was also looking forward to the pie-throwing event at lunch. All kids who met the reading goal went into a drawing to have the chance to throw a pie at the principal. It went even better than I could have hoped. I was a little nervous. It went so well. The kids chanted each others' names. Everyone was happy...even my whipped-cream covered principal. He was such a great sport. Best. Principal. Ever. The kids loved it. 

It is days and moments like this that make all of those less-than-stellar moments worth it. Those smiles. Knowing memories are made. Having a 4th grader say, "Best lunch ever!!" Seeing the excitement. Honestly, our students won't remember us because of the work sheet on possessive pronouns we gave them. No. They will remember the way we made them feel. They will remember the memories and the laughter. They will remember throwing a pie at their principal. 

Overall, Read Across America Day was a success. So much reading was done today and there was so much joy. I was able to share Dr. Seuss trivia, jokes and activities with my students. We had community readers come and read to our students, including one of our town librarians and the police chief. I got to read If I Ran the Circus to my son's class. I am so blessed to be able to teach in the same school where my children go. It was a good day.