Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meal Plan Update

I have to say that I'm pretty proud of my meal plan for the two weeks that I did it. The only thing I had to go to the store for were milk and bread. Everything else lasted us really well. As a matter of fact, I only made about half of the meals and had plenty left to get us through this week too. Part of that was eating unexpectedly at other peoples' houses (Thanks Mom and Grandma!), and part of it was me being sick and not cooking at all. Me not cooking resulted in more sandwiches which, in turn, meant a run to the store for bread.

I'll be back next week with a new lineup of meals, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Yesterday, my 29th birthday, was the ultrasound for our little butterbean.

I was excited, but after Ronnie's surgery a couple of weeks ago, I got a little bummed because he wasn't going to be able to be there with me. It's not the first time he wasn't there. When I went for Elijah's big ultrasound he was on the road somewhere so my mom went and handled Ethan. After the appointment Ethan called his daddy and told him that there was a big boy in mommy's belly.

So, I had made arrangements for my mom to watch the boys and I was going to go alone. But then I found out that she was actually planning to go with me so that I wouldn't be by myself. Gotta love Mama! However, she caught that nasty virus that has been circulating (at hour house last week) and ended up not even being able to watch the boys.

A last minute call to Gram Jackie and I was headed out alone. I was nervous. I always am. I mean, there could be something wrong. Anything could happen and I'd be there alone to find out traumatic news. Can you tell that I suffer from realistic pessimism: thinking the worst that could happen because I don't walk around with my head in the clouds?

I got to the office. Didn't wait too long and it was my turn. My doctors are in a new office and I think they hired a complete new staff to man the place so a lady I had never seen came out to get me and we headed into the little room. I hopped up on the table and she handed me my "sheet." I mean really, we have to bare our bottoms and we get a piece of paper to hide them with? C'mon! She turned out the lights, turned on a screen on the wall, squeezed warm gel all over my huge belly and when she put the wand on me, there was my baby on the screen.

It brings tears to my eyes every time. To catch a glimpse into a miracle that God is performing inside of my body amazes me so much. How awesome that God has chosen us to bring another child into this world.

The tech was really good. She showed me all kinds of things: the reflection of the lens in the baby's eye, a weird vein that I have that forks inside the baby from the umbilical cord, all the little organs and other things. But when it came time to head to the diaper region, she had me close my eyes so I wouldn't see anything. It was hard, but I did it. While my eyes were closed she printed out one or two pictures and put them in an envelope for me to take with me.

And that envelope has been taunting me since Monday morning. I called Ronnie and he kept me strong at first and kept me from peeking. But then he turned on me and said to open it because he wants to know too. It has been so hard not to just look and find out already, but I keep reminding myself how sweet it will be to share the moment with Ronnie here too.

*Note: I started this post Tuesday night and was feeling pretty good about not looking. But now, on Wednesday morning, I'm finding it really difficult to not look. I just want to know! I really don't get how people can go the whole nine months and not find out!

Keep me strong!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who Am I?

I came to my blog tonight to see if any of the blogs on my blogroll had been updated. But before I started scrolling I glanced at my profile. I read it and thought to myself that a lot has changed since I started this little ole blog. 

This is what it said:
I am a full time mother to my three wonderful boys, Ethan, Elijah and Ezra. I am married to my sweetheart, Ronnie. And sometimes I work as a Spanish teacher at the local high school. I enjoy spending time with my guys, scrapbooking, baking cakes, taking pictures and blogging.

I am still a full time mother. To three now, rather than one. There is no such thing as a part time mother. You're either a mom, or you aren't. I am. And it shows in all aspects of my life. I take care of my kids, I play with my kids, I post about my kids on facebook, I talk about my kids to whoever will listen, I blog about my kids. In short, pretty much everything I do in my day-to-day life has something to do with my kids. Before I make any decision I think how it will affect my kids. Am I burdened by this? No. I find it a joy that I have children and I pride myself in trying to be the best mom I can be. I may not always succeed, but I try.

I am still married to my sweetheart. Sometimes we argue and I get mad at him, but I know that I'd never make it without him. He's pretty amazing, though I don't tell him near enough. Since I started Kidd's Kreations we have evolved so much as a couple. We've been married almost eight years now and we've had our ups and downs, but he still makes my heart skip a beat with that sneaky little grin of his. 

I think the biggest change is that I'm not teaching anymore. Never thought I'd say that, but it feels good. I had devoted 13 years to becoming and being a teacher. I thought I'd be a career teacher, retiring with 30 years, but it wasn't in God's plan for me. He may lead me back to education one day, but I'm not looking for it anytime soon. 

Then we get to my hobbies. I still enjoy spending time with my boys. There are just more of them now and we do different things. Time now is spent with homework and reading. We go to different kinds of places; we used to go out to eat, but now we prefer to make our own food and stay home to watch cartoons from the 80s on Netflix  We used to take off on a shopping trip at the drop of a hat, but its not as fun when you're wrangling a six-year-old and two toddlers. Now I cherish trips to Wal-Mart alone. We'd rather visit a museum, bounce house or park. You know, places where little boy energy is welcome. 

I used to love decorating cakes. Apparently I did it a lot. I have pictures of cakes I made and I have a ton of tools sitting in a cabinet that houses all my baking supplies. I think two things have contributed to the demise of this hobby for me; time and a bad wrist. Who has time (or patience) to make a pretty cake when there are all these kids sticking their fingers in the incing? And who's to say that if I did get one made to my expectations that it would still be flawless when it came time to eat it. That Elijah loves to stick his finger in for a taste of cake. Ezra hasn't had opportunity, but I bet he'd destroy on in about 2.3 seconds given the opportunity. 

Scrapbooking. Ha. I think I have about three finished pages to my name. One in a book for me and Ronnie when we went to my senior prom and a couple in Ethan's book. I did finally get the wedding pictures off the CD and make a digital scrapbook that I printed last year, but that is it! I wanted to scrap really bad, but I never had it in me. Maybe I'll get around to it one day. But don't hold your breath. 

Taking pictures is still something I love. I just wish that I were better at it. I started photographing others, but I always belittle myself and don't think I do a good enough job. I've taken a few more classes so maybe I'll really get the ball rolling on it sooner rather than later. 

And finally blogging has been an on/off thing for me. I still find it to be a great place to share thoughts that I normally wouldn't say to people, either because I'm too nice to them or because I don't want to bore them. Either way, it's nice to have my own outlet. 

So once I changed all that, I wondered what I needed to add since it looked kind of boring and bare. And I don't think I'm boring and bare. What fills my time? Who am I? My family fills a lot of my time. But we've already discussed that. So, what else? God! He's amazing and saved my soul. I fail Him daily, but He still loves me. I really try to be a better Christian, but it seems that I struggle with it constantly. 

And I really don't know what else to say about myself. It's like those scholarship interviews where they ask you your weaknesses and strengths...I always hated those. I'll see what I can come up with in the next little while. See if there's anything wildly exciting that I've missed about myself. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meal Planning

Now that I'm staying home, ya know, not bringing home a paycheck, I'm doing all that I can to save as much money as possible. One thing that I've gotten more serious about is meal planning.

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm no stranger to planning week's worth of meals at a time. My mom did it ever since I can remember and taught me how to do it too. I remember when I was in 4th or 5th grade, she had me plan the meals for the week of VBS so that we'd still get home-cooked meals and make it to church on time even though she was working. She had me sit down with her and plan what meals I wanted to cook, then I had to create the shopping list (we even checked the cabinets to see what we already had on hand) and then I had to go to the grocery store with her to shop while she tagged along. I don't remember what I made that week, probably easy things like spaghetti, but I do remember feeling appreciative of the work my mom did for the family and how important I felt knowing that my family, even my dad, would be eating my food that week.

That week, and watching my mom do the same thing for years, made me start doing the same thing when I got married. At first it worked well because I was in school and Ronnie was out of town all week, so I could buy several things that I liked and whip up whatever I was in the for that night. And then we'd eat out on the weekends. Then Ronnie got a job and was home more, but he didn't like having to think about what he wanted to eat on Thursday five days beforehand. I got a little out of practice, but I tried to keep my shopping trips to once a week.

Now Ronnie's out of town quite a bit again, but unlike before I have three hungry boys to feed. I'm finding it a bit more challenging, but easier if I plan out a week and shop for it. This past week I decided to be brave and tackle two weeks at one time. I felt crazy buying that much food, but it's so nice to look at my menu and know what I'm fixing to eat that night and knowing that I have all I need to make it.

I'll try to post what I'm planning and you can chime in with your plans if you'd like. Or you could offer suggestions because I tend to get in ruts easily.

Meals for this week and next:

M 2/11 HH
T 2/12 chipped beef gravy w/toast
W 2/13 eggs/bacon/biscuits
R 2/14 Cracker Barrel Chicken/mac n cheese/cream corn
F 2/15 pizza
S 2/16 lunch: baked potatoes;  hot dogs and ff
S 2/17  Lunch @ Gma Jackie’s ; pintos and cornbread before Ronnie preaches
M 2/18 Parmesan Chicken Bake/mac n cheese
T 2/19 salmon patties/corn
W 2/20 pancakes
R 2/21 tacos
F 2/22 pizza
S 2/23 tater tot casserole

This is just the rough list that I made myself. Things may get bumped up or back or I may add things here and there, but this is the main gist.

Difficult Parenting Moments

When Ethan was born, I was blessed to be able to stay home with him for seven months. Then I was blessed that my grandmother was able and willing to take care of him while I worked. I didn't have to worry about some stranger taking care of my baby or him bringing home of the icky sicknesses or bad habits that I'd heard about.

But around the time Ethan became a big brother I realized that he needed something different. He needed a place that could help him get ready for school by working with him on his academics and getting him accustomed to an orderly environment. I was a nervous wreck. But I wanted to help him any way I could. I started by looking up day cares on the DSS website that would be easy for me to get to on my way to and from work. There were several, but I didn't know anything about them other than what I saw on the computer screen. So I began to ask around. I particularly asked people at work who I knew had had children stay at day cares in the recent past. There were two pieces of advice that were offered over and over. 1.Stay away from X. and 2. Miss Martha is the best. Take him to her; you won't be sorry.

Miss Martha happened to be the grandmother, or Nannie, of a girl I had taught in the past. At the time, she had told me that the day care started at 2 years and that she did a great job. Of course a granddaughter would say that, but this girl was very mature and I didn't believe she would steer me wrong.

I made the leap. I called Miss Martha. She sounded sweet on the phone and scheduled a meeting for me in the evening to come over with Ethan. A few days later I found myself in her basement turned day care with my 2 boys. They played while she talked with me about her policies, expectations and everything else that goes along with that territory. I felt a little overwhelmed, but I had a good feeling about Ethan staying there.

Soon enough, Ethan was one of Miss Martha's babies. He loved her like another grandmother. She was nice, but firm, and she had high expectations. He did work, played, celebrated holidays and birthdays. He was writing his name, phone number and address. He brought home new work every week and would excitedly tell me about his visits with the book mobile where he would get his hand stamped. There were days when Miss Martha would tell me about something Ethan shouldn't have done and what his punishment had been, but those weren't very often. Ethan was thriving and Miss Martha had a big hand in it.

And Miss Martha was becoming a friend. We talked about lots of things in the evenings when I picked Ethan up. School, religion, her grandchildren, the kids at the daycare, my recommendations on a new employee, anything and everything could be brought up. She was working on her degree and asked for help several times. I gladly helped when I could and pointed her to others when it was something I didn't understand (math and biology). When anyone brought boy clothes to give away, she would sweetly offer them to me, especially after we had number 3.

By this time last year, all three of my boys were going to Miss Martha's. She wasn't with the younger ones, but she was over there as much as she could be. She worked hard to make sure her all of her facilities were what they needed to be for every child.

Last June, Ethan became a graduate of Martha's Day Care. Graduation was a fun event, which Miss Martha coordinated with songs, decorations, poems, and cake. It was just what a day care graduation should be. Unfortunately, our circumstances changed this year and I didn't have any kids at Martha's. I called her to tell her and she was understanding when she assured me that the Lord had provided several more kids for her to  care for and that she would move some in from the waiting list.

Sadly, I got a phone call Monday afternoon telling me that Miss Martha had died suddenly. She had been found unresponsive and never recovered. The most difficult thing I have had to do as a parent was tell Ethan that Miss Martha was gone. It hurts me so much to see him hurt. It's difficult to know what to say when I don't know the answers. Thankfully, we have our faith. Miss Martha lived a life that told me she would go to Heaven and it's been nice to relay that to Ethan. We went to the funeral home last night. I didn't force him to go, but I allowed him to chose. We waited for over an hour and a half - a testament to Miss Martha's life. She was the only person outside of family that I entrusted my children with, and I heard that echoed several times last night as kids ran around the funeral home. Thank you for everything, Miss Martha.