Ordinary Days

I woke up on the second last day of June and found her hanging by a thread.  I had to laugh...I said, "I know JUST how you feel June. But we made it!  We survived-just barely, but we survived."  
I might wake up and have a conversation with a wall calendar but I'm still standing.  

Little boy legs...covered with bruises and scrapes always.  

Miss Dare Devil showing off.  

And in my favorite dress.

An arsenal.  Dare to enter.

Have you ever done the butterfly kit with your kids?  We have a few times and we've enjoyed it so much.
This was a Christmas gift for Andrew and of course we had to wait till warm weather.  He handled the entire process himself and we released some beautiful butterflies.


A summer fort.


Safety Certified

Patrick graduated from Safety Town last week and learned lots of good stuff.

Safety sure has changed since I've been a kid.  We had no car seats, heck no seat belts (or maybe we had seat belts but didn't have to wear them?)...I remember bouncing around in the back seat with my sisters.  I got to laughing one day when I thought of all the unsafe things we did.  How many rabid raccoons and chipmunks and you name it, wobbling in the driveway in broad day light, did we take under our wing? Patrick had a whole session put on by the animal control officer. We would plummet down the hills on our bikes, pedaling to go faster, with our bare heads. We ice skated on creeks and ponds we tested ourselves...if we made it out to the middle it was deemed "safe". We ate berries that I'm sure in large doses could be poisonous. When I look at the things my mom used for us as babies-little seats, swings-all of which I'm sure didn't have five point harness systems-I wonder how we survived.  I sure do remember talks on stranger danger at school-the most terrifyingly inappropriate film was shown to us little first graders, and it scared the beejibbers out of us. I don't think I talked to strangers till my late 20's and I can still see scenes of that film in my head.  Don't take candy from strangers, was really the lesson behind it all, or you might end up dead in a drainage pipe.  Eeek!

Anyways-I loved Safety Town.  I love their approach (gentle, no murder scenes involved).  Patrick received a little certificate and a great deal of pride.  What I really wish he would receive is a little stamp that would stay with him for life-sort of like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval-a lifetime guarantee that he will stay safe always-through the daring boy years, into the invincible teenage years, and then beyond.  It would let my mother's heart rest a little easier.  Wouldn't that be great?


Ten Months

Janey is ten months old today...which is just about one of the best ages ever if you like squishy, silly, happy, loving, cuddly, funny babies.
And also if you like to never sit down.
We have started building barricades in rooms.

On a different note,
tonight is a full moon.
My baby nephew or niece is going to be born tonight maybe, just maybe.
Full moons can make that happen sometimes you know.

The moon is called the Strawberry Moon this month and doesn't that sound delicious.
Do you know that every full moon has a name?
I made my kids memorize all of them because I think it's so fun.
It gives every month it's own little special signature.

Here are the Native American full moon names:

January: Wolf Moon
February: Snow Moon
March: Worm Moon
April: Pink Moon
May: Flower Moon
June: Strawberry Moon
July: Thunder Moon
August: Green Corn Moon
September: Harvest Moon
October: Hunter's Moon
November: Frost Moon
December: Long Night's Moon


Ordinary Days

A little video clip that Isaac made of himself and a cousin that makes me laugh.   Summer days are the best.

Abbey with my cousin's cute little boy, Johnny, and of course, Janey.
That's called a work out!

Jeff's Father's Day gift: A closet clean out along with some new shirts.  Abbey helped him organize his ties. 
We discovered a tie-hoarding issue, and decided we don't have to buy him a new tie for the next 30 years or so.

I love when these roses start to bloom.  They come and go all summer long.

My sweetest little bed-head baby.

These are the only photos on my camera's memory card...all I've had time to shoot.  My blog isn't on my priority list, in spite of my intentions to keep up with it for memory's sake, so this is the best I can do.  And honestly, I'm not sure I can (or should try to) put a coherent sentence together with my over-booked, tired brain.

These first weeks of summer have been crazy busy, but so fun also.   I can hardly catch my breath.  The logistics of two teens working/practicing and sharing a car, and three kids who need to be different places at the same times, and a baby who is still nursing and needs somewhat of a predictable schedule is enough to leave me quite tired at the end of the day.  Next week Safety Town (Patrick) is over which frees up our afternoons considerably.  I've been to the grocery store twice a week at least.  I think I need to buy an extra fridge?  Don't know if I want to do that, because garage space is precious.

Janey loves the pool and is so darn cute in the water.  Patrick and Andrew are doing wonderfully on swim team and our second meet is tonight.  Isaac and Abbey are working and having fun with friends.  Matt is meeting up with friends around town on his bike, and doing a basketball camp in the morning.

So far I haven't been able to read more than one chapter of a book.  I did manage to get to the bookstore to pick up a book for Matt, and I wrote down about ten books for myself that looked really really good-one day I will buy them all and lay on the couch and read away.

The weather has been splendid-just the right amount of rain (the minimum to keep things green is the right amount:), a beautiful storm here and there at night a couple times, hot days followed by cool days, open windows, no mosquitoes (yet), a little breeze, lots of sunshine, puffy clouds, who could ask for more?

Summer is the best.  Being a mom is the best.  Babies are awesome.  Teenagers teach you to stay optimistic and find the glass half full :), and work on your communication skills, a husband-can't imagine life without the help and sounding board and support, kids have a voracious appetite for life in general and it's contagious.  My days are not easy but I wouldn't trade them for the world.


A No-Recipe Meal: Calzones

This recipe is for BIG calzones, or enough to feed my family, plus some kid's friends.

Thaw, and let rise, 2 or 3 loafs of frozen bread dough.  (I usually throw these out in the morning.)

Give each bread dough a cookie sheet and remember to spray lightly with the non-stick spray.

You need:
1 lb. sandwich pepperoni
1 lb. cooked salami
1 lb. provolone cheese
1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 big tomato sliced thin
Green and or red peppers sliced very thin
Small onion sliced very thin
Parmesan cheese
(You can add any other favorite meats, cheeses or vegetables...I like to add some feta and fresh basil.)

Diced garlic or garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Pasta sauce for dipping

Once bread has thawed and risen, dump about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over bread dough and smash down onto cookie sheet like you are making a pizza. Flip over a couple times to make sure olive oil is coated everywhere on sheet and bread.

Down one long 1/2 layer ingredients with a single layer of each meat and then vegetables and then cheese.
(We make a "boy's" and "girl's" calzone...lots of veggies and cheese for the girls, no veggies and extra meat for the boy's.)
Fold over and seal edges all around.
Ours always end up looking like a giant crescent.
Sprinkle top with Italian seasoning and parm cheese and garlic.

30 minutes @ 350 degrees.  If the top is getting too crisp halfway into cooking time, cover loosely with foil.
Slice and serve with pizza or pasta sauce for dipping.


Ordinary Days

I signed Andrew and Patrick up for swim team, something we have never joined before. 

Andrew brought home his journal from third grade.  His teacher took the time to answer his entries back throughout the whole year, and I'm sure she did the same for all the other students.  That is a darn lot of work, and one very very dedicated and committed teacher we are lucky enough to have at our little school.

Janey and her bunny collection.  When I set this little photo up, one of the kids said, "How does she already know she is supposed to put her arms around them like that?"  I said, "Because she's a girl and all girls are born loving stuffed animals.  It's a natural instinct."

Working on reading before kindergarten.  I use Bob books and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We usually only need to get to 20-30 lessons and they are off and reading.

Speaking of reading, this is what I am reading now and have been reading for weeks, and I have a stack of others from the library but I just can't find the time to sit down much during the day, and stay caught up with everything and everybody.  This might not be the summer from plowing through novels but heck I'm not giving up.

My days are busy and will be for a long time, but sometimes, as weird as this sounds (and it does sound weird), sometimes I just think about how much I wish I could just live on this planet Earth forever.  It's a pretty darn good existence for me, and I love it here.


Apple Roll-Ups

Here's a great recipe I found in my favorite cook book.  I changed it a little to make it much quicker to assemble.  (I also renamed them Apple Roll-Ups because I roll them up-they are really called "Stuffed Apple-Cinnamon Rolls" but the stuffing part takes too long for me.)

They taste so good and I have started doubling the recipe, to eliminate any arguments over who gets how many.

Here's what you need:
1 package of refrigerated pizza dough-I use the Pillsbury Thin Crust kind*

2 cups shredded apples (peel first)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons milk

1. Preheat oven to temperature on pizza dough container instructions.
2. Spray a pie plate with non stick cooking spray.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough.
4. Mix the apple filling together in a bowl.
5. Spread the filling as evenly as you can over the rectangle of pizza dough.
6. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough.
7. Using a knife, slice the dough into 10-12 pieces from one end to the other.  Place little round rolls into the pie plate, any which way.
8.  Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of dough.
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes and then top with glaze.

*If you want to make dough from scratch this recipe is the one to use.


Ordinary Days

It's finally warm enough to have kitchen sink baths and there is nothing cuter in the world to me than babies in kitchen sinks.  

 My peonies are in full bloom.

I love when these shrubs blossom every year-and they smell so good.  

Janey loves her little meals.  We skipped the whole baby food stage (I always buy a few jars and then it sits in my cabinets untouched) and I waited till she could eat tiny cut up people food around eight months, which is the way all my babies liked to start eating.  She doesn't like to be fed by anyone but herself (does anyone? especially when you can't say "yuck" "no more" "stop shoving that into my mouth"?), and she has mastered the pincer grip so away she goes...although I often find a bundle of "missed the mouth" food in the bib pocket, she manages really well.

I just had Janey's photo taken.  I've always gone to Target with a coupon and a baby that's around nine months old and asked for plain white background and then ordered a few 8x10's.

Here are all my babies, about the same age.  All I know is that Patrick and Janey do look a lot alike, and Andrew...well...that child inherited 100% of his father's genes.
 Isaac and Abbey
 Matthew and Andrew
 Patrick and Janey

Do you think Abbey and Janey look alike?  I don't, but I love how they both hold one arm up for balance.

 Some things are meant to be remembered.  Abbey went to the mall after school on the last day, and then came home and said, "I think I am allergic to the mall, and I think I hate shopping."  Talk about inherited traits!  I laughed so hard and wrote it down to remember it forever (and remind her often)...I had wished that non-shopping gene would rear it's lovely head soon!

I have a nineteen year old!  That's crazy.

Speaking of teenagers...my mom gave this card to Jeff and I loved it.  There is such a learning curve that comes with raising teenagers.  It's a lovely and maddening age and it takes more work and time and love and patience than any other stage of parenting.  It can also be a lot of fun to see teens blossom into really awesome young adults, and I think keeping your eye on the bigger picture is also key to the "fun" word.  :)

The annual Memorial Day 5K run.  Jeff came in first.  He would definitely want me to write that.  Last year Matt tapped him on the shoulder as he flew past him, so this year Jeff ran himself into the ground to not let that happen again.  And Matt beat Abbey which is a new twist, but only because she played lacrosse this spring instead of crew, where the coach makes them run a gajillion miles every practice, so she wasn't in tip-top shape, or so she says.  And yes, Andrew, 9, ran the 5K with a time of 26.30.  HELLO!  I was nervous about letting him run and Jeff made it clear that if he was going to run with the "big kids" he was going to be on his own.
This is the same boy who came in almost last for all his cross country meets when he was just five years old.  He would give high fives to all the spectators and smile the entire race, looking for his fans in the crowd. 
 I don't think he really understood the "race" part back then.  And his legs didn't seem to be co-ordinated to bump it up a notch.  The next year he improved a tiny bit-he started to notice that a lot of the kids finished before him, and that frustrated him, but he didn't give up, he worked harder.  Every year he got a little better, those legs started working a little more gracefully and now in third grade he is an excellent runner.  We are so proud of him!