Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hump Day

Compared to yesterday, today was relatively quiet. I got Nick's and the girls' rooms cleaned up. I also made some headway on some of my school work and finally got my classroom observation scheduled for this course. The public schools have half days tomorrow and Friday so with Aaron home to watch the girls, I can go observe a science lesson at the charter school.

I've been trying to actually make healthy dinners without too much leftover. Monday we ended up finally throwing out a bunch of leftovers that just were not getting eaten. We had one pot of what had started out as beef chunks over rice. Over the weeks, leftover veggies, meat, and potatoes had gotten added to the mix. So even on the days is was being eaten, it ended up gaining more than was consumed. In my defense, it was not me who added the additional stuff to the pot.

Yesterday I experimented with pork chops. I took the boneless chops, rolled them in italian seasoning, sliced them down the middle, but not all the way through, and tossed in an italian blend of grated cheese. Stuck them in a casserole dish, mixed a can of cream of mushroom soup with a couple cans of milk and poured it over the top and covered with aluminum foil. Baked it at 400 for about an hour. Near the end, I removed the foil and sprinkled more cheese on top. We had it with mashed potatoes, green beans, and french bread. All the meat got eaten and only had a small container of potatoes and gravy and a bit of the green beans left over.

The green beans got pulled out tonight. I had pulled out some ground turkey in thoughts of making a meat loaf, but it didn't defrost in time. I still had another package of pork chops in the fridge, so browned those in oil and seasoning salt (okay, maybe not as healthy as it could be), mixed up some brown gravy and made some rice in the rice cooker. Had that with the other loaf of french bread. Again, all the meat is gone, a lot of gravy and a little rice are leftover. Probably still some beans.

Tomorrow we'll do the meatloaf and the gravy and green beans can be pulled out again. I'll have to make some more potatoes - thank goodness for potato pearls. One week at a time. We'll see how well I keep this up. I really do want to have good meals for my family, I just never was much of a cook. They say anyone who can read a recipe can cook, but that's like saying anyone who can read a knitting magazine can knit. I still can't figure out how do anything more than a single chain. At least knitting doesn't involve the possibility of blowing up your kitchen.

Naw! I'll stick to trying to cook. Leave the knitting to those who make it look good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

4th

I stole this idea (well not really, she did challenge others to do this) from my friend's blog spot. Here's what you do:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 people to do the same

Well I'm skipping step 4 and just inviting anyone who reads this to do the same.

So this picture was taken at Legoland when I took Aaron and Daniel for vacation a couple of summers ago. This is called the Creole Queen and is a lego replica of a steamboat found in Mississippi/Louisiana. I took a picture of it because my brother served his mission for the LDS Church in Louisiana and I thought he'd get a kick out of seeing it made out of legos.

The whole trip was a nice break for us. It was the first vacation I had been on with just the older boys since before Neil and I got married. But if anyone is considering Legoland as a family vacation, I would highly recommend it. It's not just for the big kids - it has tons of playground areas designed for the little guys. And it's nowhere near as crowded as say Disneyland, even on the weekends.

Whirlwind Day

Today was supposed to be easy. Send Cierra to Joy School, get a sitter for Rachel, go to the dentist. As much as I dislike going to the dentist (I've been a lot lately between me and the kids), it beats what today turned out to be - exhausting.

I had actually been at the dentist yesterday getting the temporary crown for my root canal and some other fillings taken care of. I left the girls with a dear friend warning of sniffly noses and a dry cough. When I picked them up 3 1/2 hours later (yes, it really took that long and the dentist is not that far away) she mentioned that the sneezing had gotten really bad. I thought maybe it was an allergic reaction to the cat, though they'd never seemed to have an issue before.

Nope, not an allergic reaction. Cierra woke up a couple of times last night screaming in agony and Rachel crawled in bed with me and moaned most of the night. So after dropping the boys at school I took the girls to the doctor's office. Since I was a walk-in, we had to wait for them to find a slot to slip us in. That wasn't going to be until 1:10. Since I was already on that side of town, we decided to go a little further and make a much needed trip to the breadstore. As we headed for the store, I remembered that there was a Goodwill close by and thought that would make a cheap killer of time. Cierra picks out everything doll-related at Goodwill - well at any store she goes to actually. No scout uniforms, but did find some cute clothes for the girls and some t-shirts for the boys. Cierra did get one doll and Rachel picked out an electric keyboard - pink with flowers.

As we were checking out, I received a phone call from Neil. He had uploaded some new software and couldn't find the old information that was supposed to have been backed up somewhere on the hard drive. So he wanted me to send up some prayers. What I did learn is that you can't take shopping carts out of Goodwill because of the long pole they have attached that prevent you from getting through the doors. So I finished up the phone call, figured out how to get the bags into my hands and still manage to hang on to both girls.

Next to the breadstore. That was fun. Cierra and I each took a cart. I filled hers up with bread and mine up with all the goodies. In the midst of this fun, a bird flew into the store and Cierra thought it would be great fun to help the employee try to chase it out. We finally finished our shopping and headed out.

We still had a couple of hours before the appointment so we made a pitstop at Anna's Linens. The girls picked out bathtub toys, pillows, various dishes, beds-in-a-bag for the family (although they were mostly concerned with their own), and I think they were looking at some new shower curtains. Of course they were sorely disappointed when mom didn't actually buy this stuff, but it did kill some time. In fact, I misread my watch and thought I had 1/2 hour to get back over to the drs. office. Nope, the bank clock let me know I actually still had 1 1/2 hours. Not enough time to get home, but too much time than what I'd hoped for.

Next stop was a quick stop at the animal hospital. Made an appointment for Brody to get his shots and neutered. Then took the girls for lunch at McDonald's. Finally it was 1:00 and time to head to the drs. office. Cierra was confirmed with an ear infection and Rachel just has a head cold. The dr. wrote us a prescription so now we had to go get that filled. Did some grocery shopping while we waited and finally got home in time to unload the car and go pick the boys up from school.

I'm so glad there are no meetings tonight. I'm in for the night and ready to crash.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guys just don't get it

With all the recent meetings and activities, the house has taken a back seat in priorities. So today, with nothing else on the agenda, is cleaning day. I banished the little kids to my room to watch television while I started in the kitchen. Two hours later, I am putting the cushions back on the couch and finishing up the mopping when they come in wanting food. That's fine. I tell them they must eat at the table. They sit down and I hop on the computer to work on some school work while the kitchen floor dries and the kids eat.

Here comes Cierra with the mop in tow. I tell her that it's not time to mop the hallway because I have to sweep first and she needs to put the mop back. She's fine with that, but that mommy instinct kicks in and wonders about the status of the kitchen floor. Right on target, she and Rachel have slopped mop water everywhere. I kick them out of the kitchen just as the phone rings. It's Neil asking how my day is. So I rant to him about having to re-mop the kitchen. His response is that I'm lucky it's just water.

Note to guys - it does not make the cleanup job any better or easier to know that you once helped mop your mom's floor with shortening. And quit saying you're sorry!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Week Ending January 18, 2009

What a long week. I should keep better notes, but I'm too exhausted. Otherwise I would post more often.

Monday is the last day of my school week and that is when everything is due. So I spent the majority of Monday on the computer posting assignments. Other than that, it was a quiet day with nothing major going on.

Tuesday I took Cierra to Joy School and then went to the library and park with Rachel. Aaron had a half-day so I picked Cierra up from Joy School and headed to the middle school for Aaron. Later, after picking up the boys, I took Aaron to band practice. They were calling themselves Armegeddon but have changed the name again and I can't recall what it is now. It started with a B I think. Tuesday night Neil had his 11-yr-old scouts at the house and I tried to keep the little kids out of his way.

Wednesday was just a regular day once I got over the anxiety of Neil having to be in court and whether or not I should join him. My visiting teachers came and visited in the afternoon and I persuaded one to watch the girls for me on Thursday while I went to my dentist appointment. Daniel had scouts in the afternoon, then the boys had scouts later that night. I also had a meeting at the high school for an Engineering program that Aaron is interested in. So we went to that and Aaron ditched scouts and joined me for some quick grocery shopping.

Thursday Cierra had Joy School and I went and had pictures done as a present for Valentine's Day for Neil. After Joy School, I took the girls to my VT's house with some lunch and headed to the dentist. Two hours later I have pretty teeth and a follow-up appointment for this week. I need a couple of crowns and a root canal - which surprisingly doesn't actually hurt so I had no idea I had that kind of damage.

I don't recall much of Friday. School and housework as usual. Saturday Neil and I had an all-day Wood Badge Staff development. It makes for a long day. The older boys had a merit badge clinic so I had the son of a friend watch the little kids for us. They liked him and his mom laughed when he mentioned they are picky eaters. She thought it was funny because he, himself is a picky eater. I never thought they were picky, they're just choosy about what they want at the moment. It's not quite the same thing.

Saturday night Aaron went to a party for a friend and I tried to get stuff done for my primary lesson. Sunday Cierra was my only student and she had a meltdown so we went home early and left Neil to deal with the rest. After some lunch and an afternoon nap, Neil headed over for an OA chief's meeting then came back to get changed so he and Aaron could go to a Priesthood meeting.

Well, I'm off to another scout meeting. I really need to cut back on that volunteering stuff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is it bedtime yet?

It's been a long day. Neil had to go to court this morning to fight with the ex over stupid stuff. He didn't think I needed to go because it should just be a quick ruling on the need for counseling and giving (or not giving) power the ex thinks she should have. Court was at 8:30. I got a phone call at 8:00 to set up an interview for 9:30. I dropped the two younger boys at school at 8:15, got a phone call asking how soon I can get to the courthouse. I make a phone call to my visiting teacher to see if she can watch the girls. She's getting her daughter out the door and says she'll come over as soon as she gets dressed. By the time I've returned home from the school, Neil has called back saying I don't need to come after all. Apparently, his lawyer didn't show up at 8:00 and he was getting a little freaked out about whether or not I needed to be there when the ex showed up with her mother. Luckily, the lawyer showed up and calmed his nerves, and I was able to come down from overdrive by taking care of various chores.

I called back my VT and told her she was off the hook. She made an appointment to come visit me later in the afternoon. Neil got back from court about 9:20 and I made it for my interview on time. I am up for a teaching position at the charter school where my children attend. Because it is a charter school, I do not have to be a certified teacher as long as there is a plan in place to become so. I have about 4 classes left and about 80 hours of observation time to complete to start my student teaching. That's enough of a plan for the school. The school board meets on the 20th so I'll hear after that if the position is offered.

After my interview I was able to talk with Neil about the outcome of the hearing. Basically it was as we expected. He needs to attend counseling as do the kids and his ex. Everything else she was requesting was summarily denied and there is a tele-hearing in March to review the situation then. He then went to work and I tried to get some school work done.

My visiting teachers showed up at 1:30, we chatted for about an hour when I had to go pick Aaron up from school. We got home and it seemed like I sat down for two minutes when it was time to get the younger boys. We got home, got homework taken care of, and Daniel and I left for cub scouts. After scouts I dropped off Daniel, picked up Aaron, dropped off another scout at his house and Aaron and I went to a meeting for an engineering program at the high school. He registers for classes next week. I have a hard time realizing that he will be a freshman. He's a good kid and I have been blessed that he hasn't pulled away or become beligerent.

Once the meeting was over, we ran to the grocery store, picked up a few items and came home. I'm fighting a headache - I think the media room may have recently been painted because it's a fume headache. Kids have been in the shower and I need to get them together for scripture reading and bedtime business.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jane Austen

I forced myself to finish Sense and Sensibility. I think I kept wanting Jane Austen to live up to her reputation. I honestly cannot comprehend why she is considered such a notable writer. I consider myself well-read and I try to read a variety of genres. Jane Austen writes dumb stories. I will not read any more of them.

Flying

Everyone else was at school so I took Rachel Rachel to the library and then the park. She decided she wanted to swing. She swings in the baby swings because she likes to fly. This requires no hands on the chains and she has learned from experience that letting go of the chains on the big swings causes her to fall, not fly. After a couple of big pushes she let go and was flying as she says "like a bird." "Are you a bird?" "No, I don't have feathers."

We then discussed what could and could not fly. Birds can, chickens can, ducks can't. Cats can't, cows can't, people can. "Can you fly if you jump from the roof of the house?" "No" "Can you fly if you jump from the hood of the car?" "No" "Can people really fly?" "Yes" You'll never convince her otherwise.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cactus

As we were driving to the dentist, Cierra (politely even) tells Nick "Excuse me, you've got to see this cactus." Pointing out the window she laments that it only has one arm. Nick replies, "That's okay, when he gets older he'll get lots of arms, like a spider and an octopus."

Week Ending January 11, 2009

This week has been pretty busy. Not much going on Monday, but Tuesday Cierra had Joy School and a dentist appointment. Daniel also visited the dentist to finish up some work started over the Christmas break. Cierra didn't do so well so was referred to a pediodontist. I called him that afternoon and scheduled a consult for Wednesday. That night I had a Cub Scout Day Camp meeting and a Pow Wow meeting. Luckily they were both down at the council offices so I split time between the two and left feeling that both had been a waste of my time.

Wednesday I took Nick and Cierra in for their dentist consult and left with a Thursday appointment for Nick and a double booking for both of them on Monday. That night I missed a t-shirt design meeting for Wood Badge and the older boys skipped out on their combined youth activity because neither were interested in watching movies.

Thursday Daniel woke up - well really didn't wake up - so I let him stay home with the girls while I took Nick to his dentist appointment. When we finally got home, I packed a lunch for Daniel and took him to school only to learn that he was not completing his assignments and received some in-depth information on a research paper he is supposed to be working on. So rather than go to Roundtable meeting, I stayed home and attempted to coerce him to put some effort into his research. It ended with him throwing his note cards to the ground and me sending him to bed.

Friday the two older boys had a campout and once they were dropped off, we locked up the house and vegged for the night. Saturday I helped out with some Cub Scout Leadership training for the district which took up most of the day, then came home to catch up on laundry and get the family ready for Sunday. Which included preparing a primary lesson. I do miss having the later church schedule because I actually have to have everything together Saturday night including cutting out things and no time for last minute brain storms to actually be put into effect.

Sunday was rather quiet. Church in the morning and an afternoon nap. Of course mixed in with the whole week was my continuing education online. I'm studying methods of science this course and while science has never been my favorite subject, it is exciting to learn of better ways to teach it so the students are involved rather than just lectured at - which is pretty much what my science experience was.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trips to the Dentist

I remember why I don't like dentists. But the kids needed to go so I took them back in September for a cleaning. They all needed work so I scheduled them to go during Christmas break. Both Nick and Cierra did not do well with just a local anesthetic so the dentist referred us to a pediodontist. I liked him better. Not only will he sedate the kids before doing work, he doesn't find it necessary to put crowns on teeth that will most likely be falling out within the next year.

Today was Nick's trip for sedation. He didn't like the taste of the orange soda they gave him - possibly because it was laced with Valium and Demerol. But he did get to wear the gas mask (nitrous oxide) and he got a new toothbrush that lights up and a car and Scooby Doo stickers. He also got a milkshake since he's only supposed to eat soft foods until the numbing wears off. Overall I think it was a positive experience and if it means he doesn't mind going to the dentist in the future, I'm happy to pay for the sedation this go-round.

Monday he goes back to finish his work and Cierra joins him. Too loopy kids - woo hoo!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Week in Review (12/29 - 1/4)

I get a weekly email from my dad. I tried doing it for a while, but decided my life wasn't that interesting. But I know there are people out there who like to get an update so I'll post my weekly ramblings here and others can come catch up on my life if they so choose.

Last Monday Neil started a new job. He had been laid off with a decent severance package in September and I was getting used to him being around helping out with the kids in the morning. He had done some house-painting for a couple of weeks in October, but decided he didn't particularly care for that kind of work. He's not sure what exactly he is supposed to be doing in this job, but I imagine he'll figure it out or make it up as he goes along.

The kids were still home all week for winter break and decided they wanted a New Year's Eve party. So I made them clean the house in preparation.

Tuesday I went to do splits with the missionaries. I was going to be with one sister doing appointments and door-knocking, while the other sister went with another member to Mesa for a meeting. Unfortunately, the other member didn't show up so the splits were cancelled and both sister missionaries went to Mesa. I stayed and chatted with the lady they live with. She's a member of one of the other wards who is familiar with the Taggart family. So I got her caught up on all the Taggart children and I learned a bit about her own family.

Wednesday was mostly house-cleaning getting ready for the party. I had ordered a 9-foot subway sandwich and was starting to get concerned as more and more people called to say they couldn't come. By the end of the night we only had 3 feet remaining which was quickly disposed of in the next couple of days by the family. We set off some fireworks (time to go back to New Mexico to restock) which makes the dogs go nuts, said good-bye to our guests and did a little cleaning before heading for bed.

Thursday everybody slept in, but we did get the Christmas stuff put away and I even did some re-organizing in the garage. The kids went running off to play with others in the neighborhood and I caught up on some movies I had borrowed from the library.

Friday I returned material from the library and went to lunch with a friend. I did some grocery shopping and got home in time to get Daniel ready for his first scouting campout. Aaron went to a friend's for the night so it was just me and the three little guys. They watched movies and I played on the computer until about 11, then we went to bed.

Saturday morning was a primary activity for the kids to meet their new teachers. Since I sub, and had a sub assignment for the first two weeks, I sat in for the regular CTR6 teacher. Neil and Daniel came back from the campout to be there as well since Neil has been called as the Valiant 11/12 teacher. The turnout wasn't so good, but we enjoyed donuts and juice and played some games. Neil had promised to help a friend move some appliances to and from a rental house so he was gone for most of the afternoon. I was feeling achy so took it easy until he got back. Then we went and did some shopping at Sam's Club before coming home and locking up for the night.

Sunday we had 9 am church services. After church we ate some lunch then took a nap. Later we made dinner and then read scriptures and sent the kids to bed at 8.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Day

I realized today was my last day of real freedom before the kids go back to school. It has been a luxury to be able to run errands without having to drag anyone along. After leaving a short list of chores for the kids, I ran over to the library to exchange materials then called a friend to see if she was available to go to lunch. We went to a restaurant called Chompie's. I know they're a chain but don't know how universal. I had a half sandwich and a small bowl of soup. Glad I went with the small portion - I had to bring home the sandwich. After chatting for a bit and getting my therapeutic fix, I filled the car with gas and did some quick grocery shopping.

Aaron has gone over to a friend's house to spend the night and Daniel and Neil are off on Daniel's first boy scout camp out. Alyx and Derek are at their mom's house for the weekend so it's just me and the little guys. They're being entertained by Caillou and I'm looking forward to a quiet evening with Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility." I wasn't impressed by "Pride and Prejudice" but she's such a notable writer, I thought it only fair to give her a second chance.

Princess Shoes

Rachel received a princess dress up set for Christmas. It came with purple shoes which she loves to wear and clip-clop around the house. This evening she wanted to wear them and couldn't remember where she had left them. I told her to go check her bedroom. She walked into her bedroom and began calling "Where are you princess shoes? Where are you?" When that didn't work, she then yelled "Come out, come out wherever you are!"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

So I'm trying to start the new year out right by actually keeping track of daily thoughts and happenings. We were up until 1:30 with friends and cleaning up a little of the mess made by the various poppers. Much more cleaning to do today but both trashcans are full and garbage man does come until tomorrow.

I'm thinking about resolutions. I guess we're supposed to make them, but I have found that having a list of goals isn't really my style. I know in my head what I want to do and I either do it or I don't. I don't need the guilt associated with being unable to scratch anything off the list.

Plus, it's not like I have any really bad habits like smoking or drinking or excessive overeating that I need to modify. No, my bad habits are more about attitude. So my one resolution that I'm really going to work at is to just be a happier person. Yeah, life can have its challenges, and I'm definitely facing some of my own. But complaining about them won't make them go away so I can either figure out how to get through the challenge and go forward or realize that the challenge is just one of those things that you have to live through until opposing forces are changed in some way I have no control over and just muddle through the best I can.

I also figure that if I'm happier then people around me will find it harder to be negative and will either get positive or go away. It's a win-win in my opinion.

So Happy New Year! I'm going to go put away all the Christmas trappings and set some part of my house to order.