Monday, January 25, 2010

Another one bites the dust...

Can you tell what is wrong with this picture?

Can I just say that glasses and 3-year-olds do NOT go together. At all. Under no circumstances. Here is another $25 down the drain. Thank heavens for warranties as we have certainly gotten our money's worth from that baby! Zoe has needed glasses for just over a year, and this is our 4th pair. Yes, 4th pair and as you can see from the above picture, we are working on our 5th pair. Glasses and 3-year-olds do NOT go together.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little practicality

I love reading tips about how to make my mom/wife life easier so I thought I would share this one with you all:

Cooking Co-Op! My friend Chelsey was in a co-op in the town where she lived before moving to J-town, and really wanted to get a small one started again and I got recruited. I'm so glad I did! I've never done anything like it before but it is really awesome. So there are 3 of us in the co-op: me, Chelsey and our friend Kayla. Kayla has 3 kids and Chelsey and I both have 4. We decided to each pick 3 meals to make each month. So for example, I made 1) enchiladas 2) vegetable beef soup and 3) tuna casserole (not my favorite, but Max requested it!). So I make 3 batches of 3 meals. One for Kayla, one for Chelsey and one for us. Before this all started, we all went out and bought the exact same Pyrex 9 x 13 pans with lids, and big bowls with lids. So I spend one Sunday afternoon cooking all day...making 3 batches of 3 meals takes a while, but it is so worth it!

So when we are all ready to trade, I get 3 meals from Chelsey, 3 meals from Kayla and the 3 that I made for us. Nine meals all ready to go. We do only make main dishes so we still have to come up with the sides but that's really the easy part. We are lucky because we have a deep freeze so plenty of freezer space. Take a meal out the day we're going to eat it, let it defrost in the fridge, stick it in the oven and we are good to go. I would highly recommend giving it a try with your friends. We all get some much-needed variety in our dinner plans, and the cost and effort is well worth the time that I DON'T have to spend planning meals all the time. Enjoy!

Here's a super, super easy Cooking Co-op recipe that I used from last month:

Beef Enchiladas

1 pound hamburger
1 20-oz. can red enchilada sauce (Old El Paso is the best)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas

Steps: Brown the hamburger. Add half the can of enchilada sauce and about a cup of cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Proceed to fill the tortillas with the meat mixture and roll them up. Place them in the pan side-by-side. There should be room the pan for about 7-8 enchiladas. Make sure you don't (like I sometimes do) put all the meat in the first few enchiladas...then you will run out at the end. :) Anyway...fill up the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and they are heated through. Serve with sour cream on top. YUM! All of my kids like this one...that is a feat!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's another snow day!

Don't know about any other of my midwest friends, but I am tired of getting my Vitamin D through a darn supplement! I want the sun to come out. Here are a few glimpses of what we have been doing on our most lazy snow (I mean ICE!) day...
Tate found some straws that looked like fun to play with!
Zoe and Charlie cuddled on the couch next to the fire watching "Super Why!"

Max doing his favorite thing...showing me a dunk in his undies. :) I got wrangled into a game of one-on-one and trust me, I lost!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Babies

There is a fun thing going around on Facebook so instead of announce my musings to the world, I will announce them on my blog! My babies birth weights:
John Maxwell 7#9 oz
Charles Gregory 8#3 oz
Zoe Tamenech Courtney: who the heck knows? She was born in a hut in an Ethiopian village. :) She was 16 tiny little pounds when we brought her home at 12 months old. For comparsion, my giganto-baby Max was 16 pounds at about 3 months of age. Seriously.
Tate Jeffrey 6 # 12 oz. Had a lot of extra fluid with this little monkey so thought he was bigger than he actually was. Smallest baby, hardest labor. Go figure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This is disgusting...

You may know my stance on abortion, you may not. But this is appalling. Even if all of these baby girls were born and able to be adopted out of country, the adoption situation in China is tenuous at best, with most families choosing other programs (countries) in order to feel confident they will actually get a child someday. What has the world come to?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Our "Real" Christmas Letter

Anyone else roll their eyes a bit when you receive those flowery Christmas letters, detailing children's accomplishments, world travels, and marathons completed? Don't get me wrong, if I ever complete a marathon, trust me I will be sending a Christmas letter to everyone I've ever met telling them all about it! :) But everyone has struggles, goals left unmet, and more of us than not have just average children (still worthy of praise and pride, however!). So here is what my real, honest, transparent Christmas letter would be if I were to ever be on top of things enough to send one. Enjoy!

Dear Friends and Family,

Well it is January 4th, 2010, and not only am I just now getting around to writing a Christmas letter (even an end-of-the-year-letter would be tardy at this point!), but I also went to the post office to mail my very last Christmas present today. Procrastination and perpetual late-ness remain huge character flaws of mine, ones that I don't see changing anytime soon. Regardless, we actually had a really good year in 2009. A little about each of us:

Buck: Patience of a saint, and puts up with waaaaay more from me than I do from him. I will wax on about how wonderful he is! He did accomplish a lot this year, personally and professionally. He managed to keep his great job in this tenuous economic environment, sacrficing in order to not lose a single employee (or cut salaries) at their company. He and his partners at Foster Group are quite an inspiring team. We are definitely looking forward to stronger economic times this year! He completed the Des Moines Dam-to-Dam run in June and the DM half-marathon in October (not going to brag about myself but have to do it about someone in our family!) He spent most of his Sunday afternoons in December building a giant stage for our basement with his Dad, that was the kids' big Christmas present. It is totally awesome!

Mr. Max: 7 going on 30. Already knows where he's going to college (Drake...DUH!), wants to be a chef and move to Arkansas (where we spent our family vacation this year...because they don't have tornadoes there). Lost his two front teeth right before Christmas and will roll his eyes at you if you say "did you ask Santa for your two front teeth?". This kid is the most amazing big brother to his 3 younger siblings. Thoughtful and kind, but will do just about anything to get out of picking up around the house (seriously...he offered me 5 bucks one time!).

Charlie-Man: Oh, our sweet 5-year-old. Smart and yes, manipulative, will do just about anything to get out of going to school. He will start kindergarten this September and is the polar opposite of Max in this area...doesn't want to go to school, doesn't want to play soccer, just wants to be HOME (he's his Mama's boy!). He loves tae-kwon-do, though, and is enjoying his hip hop dance class because of the costume he gets to wear for the "big show". Chars is also quite the talented drummer, and will keep us all giggling at bedtime with his prayers and songs in funny voices.

Zo-Zo: This precious girl is a month away from turning 4. With her new pink glasses and "crazy hair" she is sure to melt your heart with just one smile. Zoe is goofy and smart, learning her letters and already a pro at colors. Dance class suits her very well, and we are going to be adding gymnastics just to help her get some of that energy out! After I made a big "boo boo" with her hair (novice mom of daughter with African hair! Guilt galore!), she is patient and for the most part forgiving when I have to comb through it every day. She loves dresses and wrestling with her brothers and I can't tell you how many times I day I have to say "Zoe, please let go of Tate!" Such a great sister for all these boys!

Tater-Bug: Our sweet baby turned 1 in November, and is content to continue being a baby. We are naughty and still rock him to sleep, even when every sleep book you pick up says that is a big no-no. Buck and I both are treasuring these baby moments. Tate has taken several tentative steps and is getting closer and closer to being a full-fledged walker. He needs to be where the action is, and has already figured out how to get up and down stairs so he can find whichever brother or sister will let him play! He has a ready smile (even when he was miserable before the blessed ear tubes were placed!) and is overall a wonderful little guy, such a joyful addition to our family.

And me: Well, it's been a rollercoaster of a year. I had no idea last January where I would be right now, and I'm happy that I'm happy where I'm at! Does that make sense? Starting a midwifery practice is a tricky thing. We (my business partner Lori and I...I always say "business" partner because just saying "partner" sounds a know...) :) had a great set-up...our own business, great supporting physicians backing us up, a growing list of clients coming just from word-of-mouth. But leaving a 6-year-old, 4-year-old (at the time), 3-year-old and less than 2-month-old is tough stuff. Having a couple of completely sleepless nights and then being up all day with said children is not as easy as it sounds...and I'm no spring chicken anymore! This almost-mid-30's thing is definitely taking a toll, mostly on my need for sleep! So...very long story short, we are closing our "new" midwifery practice. Purely out of choice, and we are so grateful for the opportunities we have had, the births we've been part of, and most of all, the clients who have allowed us the honor of caring for them (well, for the most part!). ha!

I will be a mostly stay-at-home-mom (Lord help me! Seriously!), keeping a PRN (like a substitute) position at the perinatologists' office where I've helped out for the past 2 years. Our practice will continue through the end of May, until all of our current patients have delivered and had their postpartum visits. After that, I am looking forward to what is next...or not...whatever the case may be.

I'm still fighting my stupid migraines. Stupid family history! I'm pretty much single-handedly keeping the makers of Imitrex and Treximet in business. You're welcome. I've tried it all, and pretty much the only thing that works on a long-term basis is being pregnant. Which isn't happening. No big baby news in this letter!

Also, my sister got divorced this year. As much as it totally sucked for me, my kids and my mom, it sucked worse for her and her kids. It was tough. But it also solidified my knowledge that being married is a lot of hard work and committment...not making that effort can really lead to hard and devastating consequences. Buck and I are looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and this is the year that we have been "together" as a couple for longer than we weren't together (the first 16 years of our lives!).

Overall, I'm thrilled looking back on 2009. Believe it or not, we made it the whole year without a trip to the ER. As soon as I write that, lightning will strike and I will be posting something from the ER tomorrow night. But still. That's pretty darn good for us. I am in the process of taking off 20 extra pounds of baby-baby-baby weight, and am looking forward to setting some exciting goals for 2010. I'm working on not being so cynical, and definitely not being so critical and opinionated. I love my friends, and I want to keep them! Thanks for reading this "real" Christmas letter, and for letting me be open and transparent with you all, and with myself. I'm truly blessed, and I know it. Thanks be to God!