Fashion Runway!

The girls set up a "runway" complete with a spotlight. It was actually quite dark in the house but you can't tell with the flash on the camera. Matt & I got tickets to the show. It was as adorable as the pictures show!

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Singing at school

I made a quick run to the school to see Claire "sing" (more like chant) a MLK song for school. It was adorable, precious and cute. She was so scared about this school assembly. She was mostly concerned that she wouldn't be standing next to her friends. She ended up right next to one of her good friends. She was too shy to do the singing but did tried a few hand motions before her hands ended up in her pockets. It was reminiscent of her preschool experiences except this year she had a big smile on her face.

I found myself thinking about how much I love Claire, how sweet she is, how generous she is and how she will make a wonderful wife and mother some day. And I realized that before too long I'll be rushing to the school to see Katherine in a school performance.

Health update: Anna is eating and was painting this morning, so she is on the upswing. Katherine has a 101 fever. I'm guessing she picked up something from the Dr's office. She had her hands all over everything there yesterday. I am just really tired. I'm hoping for a restful weekend.


The menu for February

I plan the whole month at once - it only takes 3 or 4 hours and I'm pretty much done. I also do the shopping list at the same time.

Well, this month I took it to the next level.

I typed it out in Word instead of printing it and then hand writing it in. It looks so "professional" and clean. I then took the calendar and printed shopping list to the store last night in a plastic sleeve. I felt so much more classy than a mom of 3 kids. Like I paid someone to do it all for me. :)

Here's a pic of the menu for anyone interested. (Click on it to see it larger.)

I try to include a reference to where the recipe came from. This month is "Try to be sure we are getting enough Protein" Month. So, lots of tofu, fish and TVP (textured vegetable protein). If a recipe calls for chicken I will be substituting tofu and likewise with beef and TVP. (Except for the empanadas.) I also ordered some TVP that has been formed into more "meatish" textures and shapes. We'll see how that works out!

This month I hope to start a new blog chronicling our food adventures.


Another day at home.

Anna is on the couch, barely awake. I've never seen one of my kids sick so long. I'm trying not to worry. I'm sure she's fine. Matt says she'll start feeling better soon. She is eating, a little. But, it looks like no school this week.

Katherine is enjoying lots more TV than usual. I'm feeling a little cabin fever. Praying for sustenance and compassion for myself. God has been faithful.

Today we have subzero windchills and snow on the ground from last night. But, we have sunshine and clear skies. So, I am not complaining.

Claire is line leader this week at school. This is such a blessing for her, she normally would never get to be in the front of the line. She would let others go first and also be sure to stand next to her best friend. It was great to see her beaming as she led the line into school today. She has blossomed so much this year and has made many friends.

Thanks for checking in!


What a difference

I was at home worrying (of course) about how Anna was doing when the phone rang. It was Anna calling to tell me all about the hospital and the IV and the nurses. I immediately stopped worrying. This was the girl I had been missing. She had been unable to even speak more than one word at a time all day yesterday. Now she was talking and smiling again.

She came home around 9:30, tired but talkative. She got saline solution and glucose solution. They even ran diabetes tests because her blood sugar was so low. I am counting on today being a day of slow recovery. I'll be happy if she has enough energy to complain again!

No word on what made her so sick. Some kindof virus we think.

Thanks for all your prayers. I was sustained by them yesterday.


Update on Anna

I decided to call the nurse hotline. They asked me a gazillion questions and then said that I should call 911 and have an ambulance come for Anna. Eek! I worked hard to not freak out. The paramedics came and said - oh, she's fine. We'll take her if you want but she seems fine. So, I decided to keep her at home.

Later - when she was noticeably not improved and refused to drink any water at all, I decided to take Anna to the doctor. They said that she seemed very dehydrated and I should take her to the ER to get some IV fluids. She was just laying on the doctor's table, struggling to get up and keep her eyes open. I get a little worried when I have a hard time waking my child up. She also has severe stomach pain and a low grade fever - nobody seemed too concerned about that though.

So, we walked over and Matt met us there. She wanted him to stay with her and honestly, I think that is better. I would just worry and worry and cry. Now I can do all that in the privacy of my own home. Plus Matt has been on Mom duty all weekend and I'm sure another night of making dinner and putting the two little ones down would just wipe him out.

Keep us in your prayers. I'm sure she'll be fine, but I think I need them.

Anna's health

My poor Anna.

We headed back to IL yesterday morning, leaving my brother's house at 5:30AM. Anna slept all the way to the airport, slept the whole first flight and then laid on the ground while we waited for our connection home. The flight to Milwaukee was similar except she was terribly airsick and I got to experience use of those little bags in the pocket. (Frontier's are quite nice actually.) After landing, she managed to walk the whole way to the car and then was barely coherent as I drove home. I seriously considered stopping at a hospital, I was so worried. Instead I stopped and got her a popsicle which she really enjoyed.

She has not been able to keep anything down, despite feeling a bit better yesterday. Last night she was up several times throwing up water. I'm already feeling anxious due to the return to 15 degree weather, absolutely no sun, not taking vitamins for several days and no hope of getting the ymca for a while. So this is a bit hard to handle. But, I am so thankful to be home. I missed Matt & the girls so much.

Keep her (and me) in your prayers today.


Claire's new look

Claire didn't really want long hair - it just kept on growing. So, she's been bugging me for a while to get it cut. She looks adorable and also had a great time taking her 6 inches of hair to school to show the class.

Snow play

These pictures are a bit overdue, but just too cute to keep to myself.


So, I'm supposed to head out the door at 4 am tomorrow morning. I am pretty much ready - the bag is packed, the instructions for husband are written and lasagna will be made today.

Except that my travel companion (aka Anna) came down with something yesterday. I am so hoping she is all better by the "morning" drive. The fever is gone so she should be fine, right?

And I'm forced to take a day of rest at home with her and Katherine to make sure she is all better and resting.


The menu

Monday: Vegetarian Burritos
Tuesday: Eggplant
Wednesday: Soft Tacos
Thursday: Soup - Chicken Enchilada w/out chicken
Friday: Empanadas
(I leave to go to AZ for the funeral Sat. morning)
Saturday: Mini pizzas
Sunday: Lasagna (made before I leave)


Blog tribute - Evelyn Munsil

Me & Grandma - 1977

Family & Grandma - Feb. 2008

My Grandma Evelyn died today. She was 96 years old.

She was an amazing, strong, determined and caring person.

My childhood summers usually involved a trip to Grandma & Grandpa's house for a week or so. I wish I remembered those trips better. And I wish there were more pictures to document the memories better.

Me at Grandma & Grandpa's house on the beloved swing

I remember struggling to understand why we had to reuse the napkins, how a big pot of chicken flavored broth was going to be dinner, why she made logs out of newspaper and why every bottle and jar was saved. I later understood that she raised 7 children, many through the depression years, with little income and a lot of know-how.

I don't know much of her life story although I tried to figure it out by going through her drawers. I would pull out old, old glasses, jewelry, toys and pictures and imagine what she was like many years ago. I remember once finding a picture of my Great Great Aunt (I think) when she was about 8 or so and being astonished to find that she looked exactly like me! It was startling and yet comforting in a way.

The much loved three wheeler Grandma let me ride around the neighborhood.

Grandma used to take me out with her on errands, to see her sisters and friends. To the church, to the store, anywhere really. I just loved her way, the way her hands looked, the way she talked to me. She never seemed to tire of me and my incessant talking. Except when it was nap time. I remember struggling to understand why two grown adults would sleep in the middle of the day!

She was religious about keeping her yard tidy. She would be out there every day picking out the bad weeds and grasses by hand. She used to say that she just didn't want to stop moving and picking things up - it was just her way.

She saved things, everything really. I loved to look through the collection of cards she had kept from all my Dad's birthdays. Some of them were 30 or 40 years old and I loved to read them and play with them. She also kept my Dad's old magic set - I played with that every summer and then eventually got to take it home with me.

I haven't seem much of her over the last 10 years but my love for her has stayed strong. She was consistent, calm and seemed to just keep on going no matter what the challenges. I'll miss her.


Self-care and Why I left Facebook

So I made 2 lists.

1. Reasons to quit Facebook
2. Reasons not to quit Facebook

The first list was 3x as long as the second. And the reasons were convincing. Facebook is a big, huge vacuum-esk time-sucker. The minutes and hours seem to just vanish with little to nothing to show for it.

A close friend of mine just wrote a blog praising social media and the wonderful things it has done for her - both personally and professionally. I love that she has had that experience!

I certainly have not. I find myself learning things about people that I never cared to know really. I also find that I spend some part of my day thinking about how I would phrase it on FB. Come on! That is just ridiculous. I want to use that part of my day thinking about how I might reach out to a neighbor or how I might be a better friend/mom/wife. I also feel unsure about safety. I try to keep my profile and information private but never feel confident about that.

I don't have any problem with FB as a program/idea. I think it is a great way to keep in touch and share pictures and also find encouragement. It just turns out that, for me, this was not happening. I found myself commenting on others and then feeling bad - like what I wanted to say didn't come across and I sounded mean. At least in email you can have a personal one-on-one conversation, not just spit out comment phlegm on a whim. I found myself feeling down and discouraged after my time on the computer. I get worn out and lonely reading about everyone else. I'm not sure why I'm that way and I don't know that anyone else experiences that. I also ended up cruising through photo albums of friends of my friends. That seems like a huge waste - I don't even know these people and yet I am looking at pictures of their dog and their birthday party. Strange.

So, I'll miss my true friends on FB, I'll miss the family and their posts the most but I won't miss the time wasted on my computer, the constant distraction from my kids, and the almost insatiable curiosity to check and see what my "friends" are up to now, 15 minutes after the last time I checked!

I'm feeling better already.

Taking care of myself.


Christmas Pictures Part 2

Katherine's new "house". It is as big as it looks, if not bigger. They love it! And it makes a winter spent inside more bearable.

Matt models his new sweatshirt while also enjoying a superb English Muffin (thanks Dad!)

I don't know what this is about - but she is just so darn cute!

This is how we do the day after Christmas! Anna made hot cocoa mix at school and gave it as a gift to the family. It was so good.

Christmas Pictures Part 1

Stockings are opened before Mom & Dad get up. I got up to take some pictures before they were completely done!

Let's pass out the gifts. All the kids got to help out this year.

Anna got Claire a book for Christmas - it is based on one of their favorite TV shows. Nobody knew she had done that but her. It was precious.

Anna snuggles with her new pillowcase from Grandma.

Back to life

So, here we go - school starts again tomorrow. I think the kids are ready. I am so thankful for all the fun times we have had over the break. And I finally have pictures downloaded!!

My menu:
Sunday: Thai Red Curry Stir Fry
Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Skillet Dinner
Wednesday: Persian Eggs with Pancakes & Fried Rice
Thursday: SOUP night (Thanks Jane!)
Friday: Pizza night
Saturday: Mini Mexican Pizzas

Should be a fun, yummy week!