Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Last night, after a tough round of "boot camp" class at the gym, I came home to the kids in bed. (I love my husband...)

Greg wasn't feeling all that great, so he went straight to bed.

So there I was, 9:30 pm, and I'm wired from my workout. And I'm proud to say, I was a good girl.
I cleaned the kitchen and did some laundry.
Then I topped it off with ice cream at 10:30...maybe I should leave that part out of the story.

My point is, it was so nice to wake up with less to do.

If only I had that kind of motivation every night...a half hour or so of work feels so good the next day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Something about it...

Today was the first day in a long time that I've gotten my hands dirty.

I mean, on-purpose, stick-your (gardening-gloves-covered) hands-right-in-the-dirt-and-crumble-it-up dirty.
It felt so good.

When we bought our first house, I discovered that I actually enjoy playing in the dirt just as much as I did when I was a kid.
I remember going to my dad's baseball games as a child, and there was always a fresh mound of dirt there, left over from around the bases. The kids were like moths to a flame with that dirt. Even me, the one who was deathly afraid of worms, bugs, and all things dirty, loved playing in it. I'm not sure what we actually did with it...I just know we all had fun with it.

These days, it's in the form of gardening. There's something amazing about digging in the earth, burying something, waiting, and having something beautiful or fruitful come of it.

We bought our current house three years ago. Compared to our little yard in WNY, our half-acre seems like a massive, blank canvas to work with. It's been somewhat overwhelming. I've spent the past couple of springs anxious to begin, but unmotivated due to my massive pregnant belly.
But FINALLY, we have a spring and summer NOT pregnant. And it's ON! I'm ready.
I have bulbs to start my garden: onions, potatoes, strawberries and asparagus. And I'm going to get some tomatoes. We'll start there and see how that goes. I have my composter picked out.
I have seven areas of my yard that I want to landscape this year. Today, I planted bulbs in the first of the seven. It was in the smelly, but very rich, dirt around our pond.

It was therapeutic. I love it. It feels so good to get my hands dirty again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I can't believe I'm saying this...

If you've kept up with me, you know that this past September was a milestone for our family. My kids started "real school" for the first time.

When I found out I was pregnant AGAIN with Nadia, I immediately surrendered homeschooling. It was the only way I could think to survive another kiddo running around the house. Don't get me wrong; I know I am blessed and I love every single one of them. But trying to school two kids with three babies underfoot wasn't something I could even think about.

And my school-aged kids are doing wonderfully in public school. Kaleb is reading like a champ (he couldn't read at ALL this past September!) and Emily is in accelerated math and the advanced reading group.

I am SO proud of them.

A few months ago, I got nauseous at the thought of homeschooling EVER again. I knew we talked about starting again, but I dreaded it.

Not the past week or two.

I miss them. I miss having them here. I miss knowing WHAT they are learning and who they are spending time with. I miss seeing them "get it" when trying to figure something out.

I miss teaching them all of the "extra" stuff. Like cooking, cleaning, working things out as a family.

Could I really be ready for this again?
I sure hope so...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Always fit perfectly

It's spring. In Virginia.

Since we moved here 3.5 years ago, we've found that once March rolls around, you can count on beautiful weather. Not like where we grew up in Western New York, where there is always a threat of snow up until mid- to late-April.

It's great. The kids head out to play after school, we open the windows and air out the house daily, and we get out the summer clothes...

After three pregnancies in three years, I have been hitting the gym hard in hopes of also hitting the beach with confidence. Okay, not necessarily confidence...but at least some level of comfort.

I pulled out the bin of "too small" clothes the other day. Thankfully, some of them fit. Others, well, I wouldn't want to wear even if they did fit. I can't believe I wore so many tiny halter tops back then...
Some things aren't meant to fit mamas forever.

But yesterday, while driving home, Levi fell asleep in the car. As I lifted him from his carseat and his relaxed body snuggled into me, he reached up and held tightly onto my neck. When we reached his bedroom, I waited a moment before laying him down.

I loved the way he felt in my arms.

He's the size now where, when holding my neck, his little bottom fits perfectly into my folded arms, right below my chest and above my tummy. He's still light enough to hold for quite some time. His face fits perfectly into the crook of my neck when I lean my nose down to smell his hair.

My sweet almost-two year old.

That afternoon, I took some time with each kid to appreciate their size and how perfectly they all still fit into my arms. Nadia's tiny enough to feel good nomatter how you hold her. You can stick her on your hip with her butt on the inside of your elbow and tickle her toes all with one arm. She still fits just right in my arms for nursing. At 8 months, she'll be done with that soon, so I'm trying to cherish every moment I can.

Avery (3) is big enough now that she can completely wrap herself around me when I hold her. Once or twice a week, she wakes up to potty in the middle of the night. When she's done, she always wants me to carry her back to her bed. I don't mind, for one reason: her sleepy body snuggles right up against me on that 20-foot trip back to her bed.

My big kids are another story. I can't carry them around anymore. But Emily (9) is a great hugging height for me right now. Her head aligns just right with my shoulder, so I can tuck her in and squeeze her. She knows better than to think she's too big for hugs.

Kaleb (7) and I have a secret code phrase that he says when he just needs to be held, although he'd die if people knew what it meant. If he's having a rough day, all he has to do is look at me with those big blue eyes, say the phrase, and I'll have a seat and plop him on my lap. The world will stop for just a few moments, and no one else knows what in the world those silly words mean.

Oh, how I wish that I could go back to when each of my kids were tiny babies and savor them at that age. But one of the amazing thing about having a bunch of kids, born one after another, is that I get to experience hugs and holds of all stages.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's been a long four years

This weeks marks four years since we found out we were expecting Avery.

It was so easy (and, not necessarily expected!) to get pregnant with Emily and Kaleb.
Not with her. Believe it or not, Fertile Myrtle here had a hard time conceiving our third child.
I remember throwing my arms around Greg, exclaiming, "We did it!"
It was so sweet to announce to Emily and Kaleb, 5 and 3 at the time, that there was going to be a baby.

And I have been pregnant or nursing (or, usually, both!) ever since.

(the pic above: me pregnant with avery, fall 2006)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No, I'm really not joking!

This pretty much sums up my life:
multitask, multitask, multitask.

This morning, Greg called to see how my day was going. I was in the car, on the way home from the gym.

"How was your workout?"
"Good. I ran a few miles and then sat in the sauna and sorted coupons."
"No way...are you serious? You have to blog about that..."

So, yes, I am serious. I am the lady in the sauna at the gym, wearing the iPod, with a Ukrops grocery ad and a coupon book.

It was so much easier to concentrate in there than it is in my kitchen...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Of all of the electives that I could have chosen...

...I sure do wish I would have taken more classes in Computer Programming.
I'm having quite a time with this silly little blog I've got going. I feel so clueless, and my lack of knowledge is completely exposed.

Oh well.

I really should be spending more time cleaning my house or teaching my kids their phonograms than I do playing on here, anyway!

Pardon my clumsy blogging...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What really gets me going...

It was never my intention to be a stay-at-home mom. Not that I ever gave it much thought.
I was 19 when I met my Main Squeeze. 20 when I married him. 21 when I got pregnant and gave birth to our first child.

I'm not one of those women who grew up with a clear picture in my head of all that I hoped I would be as a wife and mother. If anything, I thought I'd be a glamorous mom of one or two, perfectly juggling a great career, marriage, and motherhood.
In reality, I didn't really even get a chance to figure out who I was as an adult before I found myself raising another person.

And here I am, an at-home housewife and mama of five. Sometimes, I'm less than thrilled that this is my job. But, most days, I feel blessed beyond words.

Being home with my darlings is great. But the truth is, we have seven people in this house, living modestly on one income. It may sound like a complete nightmare to some people. (Again, nothing like what I pictured in my head years ago...)
But I've found joy in the challenge of making it all work.

I get high off of bargain hunting. I want to tell everyone I know how much I save when I bag a good deal. I love the buzz I feel when comparing what I could have spent with what I actually did spend.

It's become a game to me. Meal planning is not the chore that it is to some people. Grocery shopping...well, I could say I enjoy it, but I usually have three kids that are 3 & under with me. But grocery-list-making is fun, and the anticipation of grocery shopping is fun. The actual act of shopping with all of the little ones is...not as fun as it could be...but it's still one of my favorite things.

It helps that I also love to cook. I probably try something new 2-3 nights a week. But it's also possible to be a frugal, kitchen-savvy mommy if cooking is something you're learning to love.

If you feel that you are spending more of your family's money than you should be on groceries, take-out, and restaurants, I want to encourage you. It's not as hard as you may think. It may require some thought. It may require some time. But there are ways to customize the process for your family.

I've become a devoted follower of Money Saving Mom. She inspires me and gets me excited about how far my family's dollar can go. She has a lot of great ideas for how to make meal planning and living frugally a top priority.

I haven't been a very devoted blogger lately. But I promise to try and share more of what I'm learning in this journey of raising a lot of people on not a lot of money in the weeks to come.

As a mommy, what do you get excited about? What gets you going?