Sunday, July 29, 2012


Okay, so remember when I posted these pictures of our basement last year?

Well, that is, of course, not at all what our basement looks like every day.  In fact most days it looks more like this...

and this...

Even the pictures make me want to tear my hair out!!  And it was causing some serious problems between the kids and I.  I hadn't taken too much notice of it for the first year and a half that we lived here, but when I started using the treadmill a lot back in January...and was actually spending time down started to get to me.  So our weeks became full of moments where I thought I was going to go insane from the mess and the kids whining about having to pick up.  We just needed to find a new way of dealing with it that would keep me sane and allow them to be kids.

So, we came up with a two part compromise.  Part one, the "no-toy zone".  We rearranged the couches a little so that there was a section set apart that included the couches, treadmill, and the tv.  I designated this the "no-toy zone". No toys, at anytime, are welcome in the zone.  That way when I am on the treadmill I have this nice clean space to look at and space to stretch.  See what I mean...

this was taken the same day as the toy explosion in the pics above

Part two, was that Saturdays were designated "pick-up day". Only on Saturdays, but ALWAYS on Saturdays, the basement must be completely picked up. We all know it and just as the kids like to remind us during the week that it isn't Saturday, they also know what is expected of them when it is Saturday. And really it has worked wonderfully. But just to make things a little sweeter for the kids, this also means that each Saturday they get to then sleep in the basement.

Oh how they love it!  We set the tv to a channel for them so that in the morning (at 7am) they can turn it on and watch cartoons until 8am, which also gives Anthony and I a nice quiet Sunday morning.  Everyone loves it! Sometimes it seems like parenting is all about finding the right system for your family.

By the way, during the summer, the kids have the option of cleaning the basement any day of the week, resulting in getting to sleep in the basement that night...but that has yet to happen.  Oh well. = )

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crazy Pregnant Lady Math: Garden Edition

Well, I'm not exactly sure that this was the best year to learn how to grow a vegetable garden.  Or maybe it was because every year after this should go much better.  Why?  Let's do a little math...

HOT weather + ZERO rain + VERY pregnant mama + VERY busy daddy = some serious garden failure

Okay, so the gardening hasn't gone that bad and I have really learned a lot, but it has been tough.  I mean, seriously, check out this week's forecast...

It's crazy!  How can I compete with that?!  I've done what I could and have already thinking about how I plan to attack things next year.

But before I start into all I have learned, here's a quick reminder of what the garden looked like this year...

Okay, so here is what I am thinking...

  • Goodbye broccoli!  It was just a big, ugly mess that produced nothing...definitely not worth it.
  • Goodbye arugula!  Okay, so maybe this was just because of the heat, but our arugula ended up tasting WAY too strong and we just had to yank it all out.
  • Goodbye cilantro!  I have another spot that I grow a couple of herbs, so maybe I will throw it in there, but we just don't use it enough.
  • Less lettuce.  We just aren't a salad-as-a-meal type of family and we had way too much lettuce.
  • Less tomatoes.  They just got massive and took things over.  I guess I have just decided that I need to simplify things a bit next year so that the maintenance is a little more doable.
  • More potatoes!!!  So I will need to find a way to keep those plants tamed too, but we seriously had the BEST mashed potatoes the other night.  Probably our favorite harvest this year.
  • Picking our favorites.  This year I let someone else do all the seed ordering for us, which was really great, but each family has their own tastes and I think that I want to pick things myself next year.

Well, so that's what I have learned so far!  Despite the bad math that has been this summer, it has been a really fun adventure this year and we look forward to the rest of what we harvest and planning for next year.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July's Books

Okay, so here are my books for this month...

Classic:  The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. You've seen the movie, but have you read the book? Well, since we are halfway through the month already...I have!  This was one of my bookstore grabs.  It took a little bit to get into it because of the writing style (very historical), but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed it.  It's not the love story that the movie is, but I didn't even miss that.  I've told Anthony that I think it is one he would really enjoy and I am anxious to watch the movie again, just to compare.

Spiritual:  Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster.  I've read bits of pieces of this one, but am anxious to go through the whole thing.  I feel like we all to often chalk up our spiritual lives simply to what we believe and where we go to church, when there is just so so much more to it than that.  And when it comes to the various spiritual disciplines that we practice, I think that we tend to find just a couple that we are comfortable with and stick to those (or maybe this is just me).  But there is so much that we miss out on when we do that.  My hope is that reading this book will remind me of all those ways that I forget to come to God in.

So there you go!  Happy July!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What the kids have been up to...PART TWO

Softball.  It has become part of what defines our summers.  And I have to admit I love it.  Watching the girls play on a team, seeing how they have improved, talking about things like playing hard, doing their best, having fun...I love it.

This was Adele's second year playing.  She was on the same team as last year and just had a blast.  We experienced our first sports injury at the beginning of the season when she was batting and the ball hit the knuckle of her right thumb and broke it.  It was a real bummer because she had to sit out for three weeks, but she was a great sport about it and still went to each game and helped and cheered her team along.  Oh, and when she busted it she ran to first anyway, before bursting into tears because she knew that that was what a "real" athlete does.  She would have been the third out, but instead batted a run in...we were so proud of her.

Adele is really a great person to have on your team.  She isn't the star by any means, but she is so teachable and absorbs everything her coaches or Anthony and I say to her.  She loves to learn all the rules and just really seems to enjoy all the little parts of the game that most kids don't pay any attention to.

I've talked a lot with her about how only one or two people will ever be the stars, but how being a really consistent and dependable player is really the best thing for a team.  And let me tell you, this sweet girl is a great team player. I'm just so proud of her.

Elise put on a glove this year too.  She was such a blast to watch.  The first game she couldn't stop looking over at all the family that came to see her and wasn't paying much attention to the game.  After the game, I told her that her team was counting on her and that if she didn't focus on the game then I wouldn't let extended family come watch her.  She was SO FOCUSED all season and I was so proud of her.

Her style of play is great.  She plays so hard and yet somehow does everything with this certain daintiness that just makes me giggle.  She is just so girly, even with a mitt on her hand.  I love it.

My favorite moment of her entire season was during her last game on Saturday.  It was a short game because of the heat, two innings was all.  She did great on both her at bats, but was really amazing when she played first.  She fielded a ball and got an out and then with two outs, the pitcher fielded a ball and threw it to Elise and she actually caught the ball with her foot on the base!!  Okay, so maybe this doesn't sound that exciting to you, but it was the ONLY catch and out that our team had the whole season.  We were SO proud of her.  And the way she seemed genuinely surprised that she made the catch just cracked me up.

What a great (and very hot and dusty!!!) season.  Can't wait to see them play again next year.

Monday, July 9, 2012


So, remember when Adele got some fake frames for her birthday?

Well, she has worn them almost everyday since, to the point that it is weird to see her without them!  And wherever she goes she gets continual compliments.  They've become her trademark!!

Then, last night the unthinkable happened.  They broke.  Adele was giving Anthony and hug and they snapped.  Tears flowed. We talked about how the glasses were just a thing and not something to really lose ourselves over.  She pulled herself together, but was clearly heartbroken.

Luckily, the kids had all been given a little money recently and so this morning we loaded up the car and headed to Claire's...

And now I have three very happy and "stylish" (at least how it has come to be defined in our house) little girls.  Oh, and one very disappointed little boy who kept asking if we could go to Target to see if they had boy glasses there...poor guy.

They also happened to have Adele's old pair still, so I replaced those for her too.  You gotta teach them that things aren't what is important in life, I know that, but that doesn't mean that supporting their style every now and then is the worst thing in the world!

Friday, July 6, 2012

What the kids have been up to...PART ONE

I wanted to share with you all some pictures of the girls playing softball this summer when I realized that I had never posted a few things from Nate and Lucy this spring.  So, before we get to what has been going on now, let's take a quick trip back!

Nathan did a little gymnastics again this spring. Tumbling is good for a little man's soul and Nate just loves it. His teachers seemed to enjoy his lighthearted little spirit, although there was a constant need to refocus the little man who was always ready for the next activity even when he was mid-balance beam!  My favorite thing about watching Nate was the way he would run full-speed at everything and ALWAYS end with a big crash on the funny.

Lucy entered the world of dance this spring with a little tap and ballet.  She really loved every moment of it and I have to say that there is something about a little girl in pink dance gear that just seems so right.

Lu also graduated from preschool!  So so crazy.  How am I going to put this little peanut on the bus this fall!?!

Of course, Nathan was there too, finishing up his first year of preschool.  How handsome is this little man?!

And...oh goofy.

That was it for us activity-wise in the spring.  The spring was for the little ones to do something extra and the summer has been for the older girls.  PART TWO = Softball!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Can't wait...

...for this guy to have a brother.