Monday, August 27, 2012

Books for a steal: 17 books for $8.78

2012-8-25

Over the weekend, one of my besties, a besty since the 4th grade, came for a visit from Houston, TX. We covered a lot of ground in one little weekend. Sandwiched in all the flurry of activities included a visit to the Goodwill on Saturday, because I received an e-mail stating that nearly everything would be 50% off just for that day.

I picked up 17 books for the bargain price of not quite $9. That same amount of money would buy one (meager) brand new Dr. Seuss book at Target or some store equivalent. Felt like Christmas had come early.

***

Isabella insisted on getting "I'm a Big Brother."

But, there is no "big brother." Christian is the youngest. We do have a big sister, though; we have three of them.

But, I really want that book, Mommy.

Really?

Yes, Mommy.

Well, okay, then.

***

One book caught my eye. And the rest are the kids'.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The flower garden

Yesterday, a good friend of mine, Amy, met my kids and me at "the flower garden." Really, it's more than that, but that's what my girls call the place. It's Hudson Gardens. The girls love, love, love flowers, and so do I.

 2012-8-17

 2012-8-17

The girls also are fascinated with bees, and, so am I. The truth revealed is that I don't really like bees. Especially since I've been battling a internal house infestation of bees. Yes, I am aware that it isn't the honey bees that are showing up inside my house. I'm getting yellow jackets, hornets, and some wasps. Honey bees are good bees; I'm telling the girls.

 2012-8-17
 The honey bees keep our flowers around and looking beautiful.

Good company, good company. Dearest Amy. My girls. The twins will make their debut in the not too distant future here.

 Little model trains at Hudson Gardens.



 2012-8-17
 2012-8-17

 2012-8-17


We like to climb trees. See? And, see bees three (above). Dr. Seuss we read, yes we do.


 2012-8-17
 2012-8-17

 2012-8-17

 And we enjoy making faces.

2012-8-17

And here's the rest of the clan.

 2012-8-17

2012-8-17

Frog citing!



Victoria insisting on me photographing her writing in the sand. "V."

2012-8-17

Isabella wanted a photograph of her work. Can you tell what it is. A heart. She's been bringing up the fact that Jesus loves EVERYONE.


The girls and I could not get enough of the magnificent beauty.

2012-8-17

 2012-8-17
2012-8-17
Hobbit's Cove in the gardens.

2012-8-17
2012-8-17

2012-8-17
2012-8-17

We had such a great time, the girls said we needed to stay all day long. Their consolation was that we were to return to the gardens today, meeting another friend. So many things to see.

 2012-8-18
Melissa and Camille.

2012-8-18
2012-8-18
2012-8-18
I had to make-shift envelope for all the little things the girls were collecting - pedals that fallen to the ground, leaves, seeds, etc.
2012-8-18

Hello Camille!
2012-8-18

Dude, look how big some of these pumpkins are!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

The violin

 2012-8-15


2012-8-13

My eldest, my first born, my five year old will be starting violin lessons in two weeks!

I'm nervous. I'm excited. I could very well wet my pants.

I was four and a half when I asked my dad, in the garage, when my sister was having her piano lesson, if I could take lessons. I am so thankful he took me seriously and my mom and dad gave me that opportunity. "Are you sure?" "Are you really sure?" "You will have to practice everyday."

"Yes, Daddy, I am sure."

I had 12-13 years of formal piano training, including private lessons, instructions on music theory, piano competitions. I won my first piano state audition when I was seven or eight years old.

***
I am no longer the child. Now I am the parent, being asked by my child to take lessons. She's been asking me for a few months, now, to learn the violin. I had asked a piano teacher/friend from church for a reference. I got the reference. We observed this gal teaching. And we've made our decision, the teacher made her decision, and Isabella shall start in two weeks.

I'm nervous. What if Isabella doesn't stay interested? What about this short attention span of my daughter's? My involvement, as part of the Suzuki method, is integral to her learning. How will this go?

Can't guarantee what will happen. But, beginning with what I do know, my parents gave me a chance. Since we're a family of musicians and lovers of music, I have to see about this chance for Isabella. Victoria desperately wants to join her sister. But, this teacher's only taking one new student, for now. So, we shall see!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The turbo kick that KICKED

Last night, I went to the gym for the first time in forever. At least six and a half years. Since I first became pregnant with my first child. Don't ask; it's a long story.

This came on the back of having lifted weights for six years, three days a week, every single week. I was benching around 90-100 pounds regularly. At a weightlifting competition in Missouri, I dead-lifted 220 pounds, without any grips. Cardiovascular health, the more important, well, that's a different story. I wasn't in great shape. But, I made my attempts to do it a couple of times a week. The elliptical machine was my weapon of choice.

***

Fast forward six and a half years later, three pregnancies later and four children later. . .

My friend invites me to a turbo kick class offered by a 24 hour fitness that's offering a free 3-day trial. Dreaming about being healthy and getting back into shape, I said yes. The class was last night, Monday night. I dragged, dragged, dragged my feet and didn't find a babysitter until yesterday late morning and didn't go online for a free online 3-day pass until yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure what my hesitation was, beyond having a full realization of just how out of shape I was before even having set foot in the gym.

But, I had company. Going with someone to exercise is so much easier (for me anyways) than going on my own. And, it's free. And, I had childcare lined up. What could beat that?

***

That one hour Turbo Kick (yes, that was the actual name of the course) totally kicked my butt. KICKED MY BUTT. I stopped 4-6 times to drain my 32 ounces of water and to catch my breath for a minute. Four to six times; yes, that's right. Pretty pathetic? Probably. But, I put out there ahead of time that I'm pretty out of shape. And the instructor was moving at the speed of light, non-stop.

I dared not stop or rest long, because I didn't want to look bad. Who cares, right? I was in the very last row. Who's looking? That's what a bit of competition does to me. My leg muscles - the muscles by my knees, my quadriceps - were KILLING me. I was trying to do everything everyone else was doing. I was trying to keep pace. The difficulty was the bullet pace, the different movements of the arms from the legs, constantly changing directions. What the? What the? Now what are they doing? But, I stayed the whole hour and I didn't run away. I finished.

Never mind how red in the face I was. Or how out of breath I was. Or that I was feeling nauseated. I finished.

Determined was I to continue with some weightlifting before calling it a quits for the night. But, I had enough sense to stretch out first. Six and a half years ago, I had worked up to 110 pounds or so in bench press. I decided to try just the bar first, which is 45 pounds, to check my coordination and balance. Then, I did between 55 and 65 pounds. Since I didn't have a good spotter, I didn't venture more than that. Did some other stuff . . . rows, dumb bell bicep curls, dumb bell hammer curls, skull crushers, etc. I had to try dead lifts. Again, I tried the safe bet first: the bar. I had to be able to lift the thing off a bar, put it on the floor, and do my repetitions without wraps and without injuring myself. I could do 6-8 repetitions of 95 pounds. Though that's a far cry from 220 pounds, not too bad for not lifting weights for 6 and a half years, eh?

The sad news was that after all that stuff in the gym, I was feeling pretty sick. Nauseated. Not very capable of holding a conversation with an employee about possibly joining. Even sitting and putting my head between my legs didn't make me feel better; I felt worse.

I came home and had a banana, took a shower, and went to bed.

***

Woke up this morning at about 5:30, when my twin alarm (guess they were hungry) shouted at me. Didn't feel too bad, until I got out of bed and attempted to pick up the twins. My back's sore, my legs are sore. I definitely had a work out last night.

This morning, I ate like crazy. Had brussel sprouts, turkey, and bacon (a dish I made yesterday) served over rice; I consumed 3-4 servings of that. Not exaggerating. Then I proceeded to have part of a smoothie I made yesterday (made with whole milk yogurt, frozen strawberries, bananas, and some coconut oil) and some kefir yogurt.

***

Now I am ready to eat some more (not even 2 hours later). Can I go back to bed, first?

I'm glad I went to workout. Wouldn't have taken  back a thing or changed a thing. Except maybe I should have stretched out before engaging in the killer turbo kick class.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Cooking therapy

These days, I seek sanctuary and peace, in my "pediatric house," by cooking. That's right, cooking. Not out of a box, like Hamburger Helper. Not out of a can, like Campbell's. Cooking from scratch.

A few samples of what I've been making include: clam chowder. Making clam chowder from scratch, the right way (fresh clams, etc.) has been hard. I haven't lived in places where I can purchase clams (that aren't canned). Until now.


Or risotto with seared scallops. The scallops were exquisite. Melted in my mouth. I've not had risotto out of a box. And I'm glad I haven't.


Most recently, I made stuffed red peppers.


Finding a time where a child, or two, or three, or four, isn't in dire need of my attention is a bit tricky, though. But, I'm committed to not serving my children processed food. Fresh food is the way I go, as challenging as that may be, to find the time, energy, and where-with-all to do it.

I'm eager for more dishes to make. Any suggestions or requests?