Tag Archives: Family

Moving right along


Things have been fairly smooth and steady around our house lately.  Each day, I have been thinking about my goals.  I am finding that this is leaving me a little more calm.  I have direction now that I didn’t have before.  With that direction in mind, I am better able to realize that the bumps we encounter in the road and the detours we take are just that.  They are not the end of the world.  They are not a complete derailment.  This is good. 

That being said, last week was a fairly busy week.  Things just happened.  We hit several bumps in the road.  Wendesday the garage door went kaput.  The tired old thing just didn’t want to open.  Thankfully Aaron was able to get someone out to look at it on Thursday over his lunch.  $400 later, we have a new garage door opener.  Meanwhile, I was returning from my lunch when I got a phone call.  Anna was burning up with a fever, so I was off to daycare to pick her up.  Friday morning, I attended the funeral of a friend’s mother.  Then I spent the afternoon nursing Anna back to good health.  Satruday brought a bit of a break.  Anna was well enough to go to a birthday party in the afternoon and then we all turned around for an impromptu get together with some of my husbands co-workers.  I must admit, I had serious doubts about this shindig.  It wasn’t clear to me how many children would be present.  Without other children, the kids would’ve been terribly bored and I would have heard about it.  Thankfully, we arrived to find that there were a total of 11 children there, ranging in age from 4 months to about 12 years.  Yay!  When we left 4 hours later, I was stunned.  Both of our children were well behaved all evening.  Unfortunately, we paid dearly for that on Sunday, as it appeared that their good behavior had run out and their unruly behavior was being fueled by lack of sleep.

This week, things have been fairly normal.  No surprises.  That’s exactly the change of pace we needed this week.

I must admit that I am worried today.  Tommy hasn’t had any huge behavior issues lately at school.  There was an incident 2 weeks ago in art class, but that wasn’t huge.  He didn’t get to do the project that day, but because he apologized and corrected his bad behavior after the 2nd warning, he did not miss out completely.  Today is the day he will get to make up that art project.  So why am I worried?  He’s been struggling with keeping his hands off of other people’s property.  3 of the last 5 school days he has been moved to yellow for this.  I’m worried that today he might go too far, perhaps while in art class, and end up losing his 2nd chance for that project.  I really don’t want to see that happen.  We talked this morning about being on our best behavior today and making good choices.  Now it is up to Tommy to make it happen.  We shall see.


The year ahead


I’m not normally one for New Year’s resolutions, but I must admit that I have spent a significant amount of time contemplating the year ahead.  We have things that we have chosen to tackle this year.  We also have a number of things that need to be addressed, that need some resolution.

Those things that need resolution, they’ll be…well…they’ll creep up in due time and we’ll just have to roll with the punches.  That’s just how life is.  (I’m sure I’ll get around to talking about those things as they come up.)  We’re largely a roll with the punches, live life by the seat of our pants kind of family.  It works for us…or so we thought.

Late last year, I gave a lot of thought to where we’re headed, as a family.  I thought about all the dreams that Aaron and I have for our home, for our kids, and for us.  It hit me that many of these things will never come to be as we envision them if we don’t start making preparations.  Today marks 6 years since we moved into this house (and bought our van).  In that time, we’ve painted a handful of rooms and filled a few with new furniture.  We’ve hung some pictures on the walls and replaced a few appliances.  We’ve talked about all sorts of things we’d like to do “someday”, but never really gave much thought to their execution…until now.  This is the year that we’re going to make things happen.  We have come to the realization that we just have to take the bull by the horns and start making things happen.

First up, converting our house to a true 4 bedroom home by converting the loft to a bedroom.  Along with this, we’ll be tearing up all the upstairs carpeting and replacing it with laminate flooring.  Once this room is complete, it will need a coat of paint (probably pink) and some window treatments and it will be Anna’s new bedroom.  Once she’s settled there, then her old room will get the new flooring and Tommy will move in.  No paint needed there, as the blue paint already coordinates with his shark/ocean theme. 

Of course, this isn’t all as easy as it sounds.

The loft is currently Aaron’s “office”.  No, it is not needed for daily business, but it can’t exactly be packed up for months.  It will need a temporary home until Tommy is out of his room, and even then I’m not sure what its ultimate destination is.  Realistically, I would like to move the kids “playroom” upstairs and Aaron’s office downstairs.  This requires a bit more work though.  The plan here is to have the rather large sliding glass door in the current “playroom” (designated by the builder as a sunroom) replaced by a window and a regular door.  Once this is done, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to keep the tile that is in that room right now, or if it will have to be replaced right away.  There are many unanswered questions here.

There’s also painting the living room and adjoining dining room, which will probably spill over into the foyer and up into the upstairs hall.  The vaulted ceilings will probably require us to hire someone for this.

Pleasant Surprise


I have a rule in our house.  I will not start decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving.  It drives me nuts to see Christmas stuff in stores immediately after Halloween.  I think that the radio stations that start playing Christmas music the 1st of November are taking it a bit too far.  I am adamant about this rule mostly because I don’t want my children to overlook Thanksgiving.

But, I must admit that I broke my rule today.  Many of my neighbors went out today to hang their outdoor lights on such a beautiful day.  (Personally, I enjoy a chilly day for hanging lights…makes me feel more in the holiday spirit.)  On our way home from church today, my husband asked me if I would mind if he bought some things to make our house extra festive this holiday season.  Heavens no…be my guest!  So, this afternoon, after a quick stop at the park with the kids, we headed off to Michaels and went crazy.  I have never seen my husband like this!

I technically wouldn’t have broken the rule if we had simply bought some decorations…but it didn’t stop there.  I was so excited about the stuff we bought that I just HAD to get some of it out and up as soon as we got home from dinner.  Oops!

Nature’s Beauty


Life has had me a bit down lately.  Too many gloomy days and too much on my mind…recipe for trouble.  I’ve been craving some good fall foliage for a while now and I finally got it.

Sunday was a beautiful day to be outside.  While it wasn’t the warmest day we had this week, it was the first break in the string of cold, dark, rainy days we’d been having.  I knew we couldn’t let this one slip away.  So, we headed out to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  I must say…the sprained ankle I came home with was a small price to pay for the joy that I got out of the sights that afternoon.

First, a stroll through the Waterfall Garden…

Waterfall Garden

What’s this?  Both kids willing to pose for a quick pic…nicely!  (I think this was motivated by sympathy for mommy’s “owie”.)

Kids @ the Garden

The stunning fall color I was dying to see!!

Stunning fall color

A major step in the journey


We’ve observed for a while now.  We’ve consulted with many people who know him well.  Many of those people agree with my mother’s instinct.  The rest think its worth at least looking into, and can’t give us any hard facts in opposition of our belief.  Even my own mother (whom I feared would be my biggest opposition) says “It sounds like you’re on the right track.”  The more I read, the more sure I am of this.  And now that I’m watching him from a different angle, I really see how much help he needs.

I need some answers.  I need some tools, not only for me, but for him too.  We’re not in this to “fix” him.  We’re in it to help him.  Today we’re taking what I hope is a big first step in this journey.  I”m crossing my fingers that I get through it without crying in front of someone I barely even know.

A little taste of fall


Truth be told, I was kind of hoping for a substantial road trip this weekend. I am dying to see some great fall colors, and I would love to see them right along with some of Wisconsin’s beautiful rock formations. Unfortunately, mother nature was threatening to dump an obnoxious “wintry mix” on our road trip, so we decided to stay local.

We actually took two separate nature hikes this weekend. The first of those trips was a visit to the Volo Bog. My son had visited the bog for one of his summer camp field trips, but the rest of us had never been.  It’s a cute little place actually.  They have a visitors center with all sorts of hands on nature things for the kids.  They have 2 nature trails.  The shorter of the 2 is a 1/2 mile trail complete with boardwalks through the bog.  (This is the one we took.)  The longer of the 2 is a 2.75 mile, more difficult hiking trail.  Perhaps we’ll get a chance to go back there in the next couple of weeks…provided it doesn’t get too cold out.

Pond Reflection

Yes, it was definitely a beautiful outing, but it appears as if fall color may be a few weeks off around here.

Early Fall Color

Freezer Cleanout: Week 3


Yes, I know I didn’t write about freezer cleanout week 2. Just take my word for it that we did cook something from the freezer that week, but it just wasn’t worth writing about.

This week’s cleanout night featured frozen Mahi Mahi filets. The prep I used for the Mahi Mahi can be used on a wide variety of fish. So far, I’ve only used it on Mahi Mahi and on Sole. What I do is my own version of blackened fish, first introduced to me on our family’s spring vacation to South Carolina. (Some of the best blackened Mahi Mahi that I’ll probably ever have!!)

In a small bowl, combine paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt and garlic powder.  You’ll have to play around with the ratios of these ingredients depending on how spicy you like your fish.  Typically, my mixture is largely paprika, salt and pepper, with just a pinch of red pepper.  Mix these ingredients thoroughly.  Lightly coat thawed fish in olive oil.  Sprinkle spice mixture generously over both sides of the fish.  Cook fish in pan with olive oil over medium heat.  The cook time will vary depending on the type of fish and the size of your pieces.  One thing I’ve learned is that its best to only flip the fish once.  Most fish gets more delicate when cooked, and multiple flips makes for a big crumbly mess.  (I see this much more with the Sole than with the Mahi Mahi.)

So, I am by no means an expert at cooking fish.  But, I have certainly eliminated the bland fish blues in our house.