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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photo Op Thursday

Went and did my 7 miles today - but the funny thing was that I found "the trail". Every time I leave the boys at playschool to go walk/jog, one of the teaches asks me if I've found "the trail" yet. I knew more or less where it was, but could never find it - until the other day when a young runner went across the road a few hundred feet in front of me and then disappeared into the trees. When I got to the area I looked and I found it - today I decided to take it.

What an amazing find - it was absolutely gorgeous - and running on the mulch felt so much better on my legs and feet, especially since it was at the very end of my run.

Then there's also what I refer to as "Flowerbed Lottery" - since this is our first summer in this house, we have no idea what's planted where. We have flowers coming up all over the place...

Nothing really profound to say. Just felt like sharing some pictures. Now I need to get 5 little munchkins to bed so that I can attempt to get some sleep.....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trying to get out of the slump

Ugh. That's about all I can say right about now. I have been in such a slump the past week or so. Starting off last week with the flu certainly didn't help, but the weather has turned bitter cold again (yes, 30's are considered bitter cold after being in the 80's already) and I haven't been able to get out and walk/jog like I had been. Instead, I have been sitting around eating myself stupid again.

But now, the kids are back in school, including my 5 year old who has been out for a month (I can hear angels singing "Hallelujah" right now...or is that me?) so maybe I can get back on track. The boys have playschool in the morning, and even though it is supposed to be cold and rainy and just generally downright disgusting out, I am going to do my best to go for my walk/jog and get back into it again. I have barely over a month to get ready for this half-marathon, and at the current rate, I'm going to be dragging my fat rear end over the finish line in 18 hours instead of my goal of 3.5.

That's something else that I've been thinking about - there's no way to get ready for a race like this when I can only get out kid-free twice a week. So I think that I'm going to try to continue doing the walk/jog on those 2 days to work on some speed, and then plot out a 10ish mile route that I can do on the other afternoons when I only have my youngest with me. I can't go for speed when I'm pushing the stroller, but it should at least help with the stamina factor. Sounds good in my head - we'll see if it actually works.

Then the She-Beast had an attitude problem again this morning and greeted me with a dead battery. I am getting so sick and tired of this kind of crap. So this afternoon I actually went to one of the local dealerships to inquire about a mini-van that they had listed on their website (of course it had already been sold) and I talked to their finance guy. Luckily, it isn't going to be too hard to get me into something newer - but it is going to take me a month or two to get the down payment money together. He is willing to work with me so that definitely helps. Now, everyone just hope and pray and send happy thoughts that the She-Beast will continue limping along for another couple of months, please?

But anyway, I need to get away from the computer for a while, straighten up the living room, take out the trash (I hate trash night), and maybe try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I have to be up early to get the boys dressed and fed and to playschool so that I can do my walk if I'm going to do it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5 years ago...

So today was the day that I have been dreading for a while. Five years ago today, I married my husband. Today should have been a day of celebrating, but instead it turned out to be a day of reflection and mourning.

It's funny - we spent barely more than half of our marriage living together. Although we got married in March, he still lived in Massachusetts and I still lived in Kansas. We had a long-distance marriage until that August, when he was finally able to move out here to be with me and my kids. At that point, I thought that life couldn't get any better. I finally had the man that I was so deeply in love with living with me, and we started trying for a baby immediately. It didn't take long - I was pregnant by October. :)

But while we were trying to build our life together, it was already falling apart. It didn't take me long to realize that he was an alcoholic, but it took me a long time to admit it to anyone, including myself. We tried to make it work - he even went to rehab at one point - but it just didn't work. The final straw came in May 2009 when the alcoholism just became too much for me to handle anymore and I asked him to leave - for good this time. It was by far the hardest decision that I ever made in my life, but I know that it was the right one for me and for my kids.

We lived together for about 2 years and 9 months. Not very long in the grand scheme of things. There are so many good memories, but also so many sad ones. Today I have been thinking about all of them. The day that we got married was crazy. I had flown to Massachusetts to see him and his family for a weekend, and I had taken my barely 2 month old son with me. We had a great time, I met some of his family, and then I was scheduled to fly back out that Monday, I believe. We got the crazy idea to elope and we rescheduled my flight in order to make that happen. We ran all over Plymouth that day making the necessary arrangements - we had to get a waiver to avoid the waiting period, which involved going before a judge, we had to go to a convenience store to get money orders to pay the fees, had to make several trips to the clerk's office...but it was a fun day and we got married. We went back to his house and told his mother and celebrated.

Looking back now, I know that we rushed into it, and realistically we never should have done it. But we did. It certainly didn't turn out the way that I wanted it to, but I have to believe that everything that happened did so for a reason. It has all become a part of me, and a part of my life, and it has played a part in who I am today. I know without a doubt that I loved him very much, and in a way I still do - I miss the good times that we had and wish that there could have been more. But it wasn't meant to be. When he was sober, he was a wonderful, kind, loving man - and I will always miss that man, the one that I fell in love with.

I have shed more than a few tears today, but I know that it is all a part of the healing process. This day will pass along with all of the others, and the pain will fade even more with time. For the most part, I have come to accept his death, but there are still those moments where it sneaks up on me and smacks me in the face. It hasn't even been two months yet, and I know that it will continue to sneak up on me for months, even years, to come. His death is a part of our lives now, and we are going to go on living. Our son will hear the happy stories about his father, and he will know that he was a good man, despite the demons within him.

Our wedding portrait :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Catch up time

Yes, I know, I've been slacking again. But truth be told, there just hasn't really been anything terribly exciting going on. It's just been more of the same ol' same ol'.

This past week was spring break for the kids. OK, here goes a little bit of a rant - why on earth do school-aged kids need spring break? What's the purpose of it? Is it really necessary to give them a full week off of school? It's not that I mind having them around - really, I don't - but what I do mind is the mess that it makes of anything that might have at one point in time slightly resembled a schedule or a routine. When I was growing up, we sure as heck didn't get an entire week off of school - we might have had an extended weekend for Easter, but that was it. And we survived. Our parents didn't have to deal with finding things to do to keep us entertained for the week (isn't that what summer vacation is for??) and we weren't any worse off for it. But, whatever. That's what they do, so we deal with it.

Of course, it did involve a major shift in our schedule because Ex1 and his wife were taking the 3 older kids to Missouri for a few days, but that was no big deal. I would have liked to have spent more time with the kids, but again, we'll survive. And thankfully, everything returns to normal on Monday. My 5 year old's preschool is supposed to finally reopen after unexpectedly shutting down a month ago, so I am really looking forward to getting him back into a routine - that kid does not do well with change. And once the boys are back in playschool twice a week I can hopefully get back into my walking/jogging routine, even though the weather doesn't look fabulous for the next few days.

I have just over a month to finish getting ready for this half-marathon,and I'm starting to have doubts. The most I've been able to do at one shot so far is 7 miles - not that I don't think that I can go farther, I just haven't had time without any kids to push myself more. I need to see what I can do about making that happen, and soon. I need to plot out some more longer routes so that if I can have some more kid-free time, I can go and push myself and do it. (Note to self: do that this week, somehow.)

I've finally been able to do some more sewing. It's just been me and my 3 year old for the past few days, so I've been on a sewing frenzy, which has been nice. I'm kind of stuck on my current project right now, as the last piece isn't working *quite* the way I wanted it to. So while I'm sitting here typing and playing computer games, I'm rebuilding it in my head to see if I can figure out a way to make it work in real life the same way that it works in my head. Then I can finally get that one out of my head and make room for more ideas.

I did take the boys and go to a friend's son's birthday party this afternoon - that was an experience, considering that the 5 year old spent the majority of the time at the party in the corner. Ugh. Attitude. Have I mentioned that he *really* needs to go back to school on Monday? I did? OK.

Anyway, like I said, nothing major going on. I've been trying to catch up on stuff that got blown off during the flu days - there are still mountains of laundry that I haven't finished - but tomorrow is NASCAR day in this house, so while the race is on I will get lots of laundry folded, and it will get put away during commercials.

Now, I'm suddenly getting sleepy....maybe I should just call it a night and crash, since we have to get up somewhat early for church. Or, I'll just sit here and play stupid computer games. We'll see.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Still kicking...

No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth for the past few days. Honestly.

Instead, I was sick. Generally, when I get sick, it's the sniffly/snotty/bronchitis-y type stuff that takes a few days to rear its ugly head completely. Instead, I got slammed with THE FLU.

I should have known that something was wrong when I was so exhausted on Saturday night that I went to bed early and slept non-stop for 10 hours. 10 hours. Really? Instead of waking up feeling refreshed, and rejuvenated, I just felt.....eh. I chalked it up to sleeping too much and loaded up the kids and went to church.

After church we came home and I changed clothes and started laundry and all that typical post-church stuff. Then the headache started. Around the time I said to myself "oh wow, I think I'm getting a headache", someone slammed a sledgehammer into my head (ok, not literally, but you know what I mean). Luckily the kids could sense that I wasn't joking when I warned them that if they didn't stay quiet, I was going to sell them to the gypsies, and they managed to keep things to a dull roar while I laid on the couch, fetal position, moaning in misery.

Then the chills hit. And the hot flashes. And the aches and pains in every joint in my body. Yep, it was the flu - I went from feeling "eh" to "OMG just kill me NOW" in less than an hour. My daughters were amazing though - they kept the boys amused, made scrambled eggs for everyone for supper, and got everyone to bed at a reasonable hour while I supervised through one barely open eye from the depths of my blanket on the couch. At some point I moved from the couch to my futon where I tried to sleep. However, the hot flashes and chills made for a miserable night.

The girls made scrambled eggs for everyone again in the morning (yikes) and then I managed to get up and get moving for a while. Sadly, no matter how sick I am, I can't just take the time to lay around and sleep it off - life continues on whether I want it to or not, and if I'm going to lay around, the kids are going to burn the house down (or worse). We ran some errands and did some things that needed to be done, but by the time we got back to the house I was miserable again.

I crawled back onto the futon and thought that I'd be able to sleep it off - no such luck again. I was up and down all night - hot, then cold, then hot, then cold, couldn't get comfortable, had to pee, thirsty, etc etc etc. By the time I got up this morning, I felt somewhat better. We had a ton of errands to do again (including meeting Ex1 to get the 9 year old's ears pierced) and we picked up some pizza for supper (just because I felt better didn't mean that I wanted to cook) and we came home and relaxed.

So, now that I'm feeling better, I thought that I would get caught up here and play around a bit....the girls are crashed out on the couch and loveseat - but sure enough, just a few minutes ago I was summoned with the ever-famous "Mmooooommmmmm........I think I'm going to throw up!!!!" as my 11 year old sprinted to the bathroom. She hasn't actually done it yet, but it could prove to be a long night....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whew. Tired me.

So the day turned out to be just as crazy as I had predicted. We got up (late) and got all 5 kids dressed and fed and ready for school, but still managed to get to school on time - always a bonus, as far as I'm concerned!

The two younger ones and I came back home and did some straightening and stuff before we took off for playschool at 9:00am. While they were in school, I did my 7 mile walk/jog. The wind was brutal, but if I'm going to be doing this in Kansas, I need to get used to it. The weather was beautiful despite the wind - we had an unseasonably warm day and it was just gorgeous out. After playschool we ran back by the house to get the mail and grab a few things for the rest of the day. We stopped and got them a quick lunch and then headed to my friend's house for the next phase of the day.

Once we got to his house, I helped him put a ramp on the back of his truck so that we could go get the rototiller from another friend. We went to her house, got the tiller loaded up, and then took his daughter to preschool in Wichita. After we dropped her off, we headed back to his house to start Project: Garden.

We measured out the area that we wanted - keep in mind that this is going to be a 2-family garden, so we're thinking BIG. The area is 50' by 75'. Huge. We got it measured out and staked off and then I had to go pick up my 6 year old from school. I went and got him and then we got gas for the tiller and picked up some supper for everyone and headed back to my friend's house.

The boys all played outside (my girls were working the book fair and were staying with their father tonight) and I started working with the tiller. I've used a tiller several times, so I know that they take effort, but I always seem to forget from year to year just *how much* effort they take. Holy aching muscles, Batman. And of course, the field where we're putting the garden is full of stickers that are like BB sized balls with 1/4" long harpoons on the ends of them - I opted not to wear my sneakers since I only have one pair thanks to the orthopedic lift that I have to have and I wore my fake crocs instead. They were pretty much useless against the stickers, and were generally annoying in the dirt, so I ended up doing the majority of the tilling in my bare feet.

As exhausting as it was, I loved every minute of it. As I was tilling, I was watching the kids play on the trampoline in the yard, and I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the dirt on my bare feet. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze going, and for once there weren't a million things going through my head. It's hard to believe that I could feel relaxed while wrestling with the loudest piece of machinery ever created, but I really did. Everything just seemed right in the world. It was a very strange feeling, but there are a lot of things that are falling into place in my life right now and while I still haven't wrapped my head around most of them, I feel like I am starting to accept things as they are. It's odd.

After 2+ hours of tilling (and not getting a very large area done, I might add) I went inside and we all had supper. Then I rounded up the boys and we came home. All 3 of the little dirtballs got baths, and then the 6 year old read stories to the other 2 until bedtime. They all went to bed without arguing (the benefits of being exhausted) and I got into the shower.

And now here I sit, playing on the computer and reflecting on the day. For being completely physically exhausted (so much so that I might be in bed by *gasp* 11:00) I feel so GOOD right now. The last few years, and especially the last few months have been such a rollercoaster of emotions but things are finally calming down. Although my life is crazy chaotic and stressful at times, it's so much better than it was before. I'm ok with not being in a relationship - don't get me wrong, I miss the idea of having someone around but at the same time, I don't feel like I *need* someone to be around. I'm starting to look at my accomplishments and be happy with myself. I've been analyzing and over-analyzing every decision that I've ever made in my life...while there have been some horrendously crappy ones, there have also been some good ones. I'm coming to terms with the bad ones and I'm thankful for the good ones. I know that everything that happens is for a reason, and I'm not beating myself up (as much) over things that I've done in the past. I'm reaching a stage of acceptance that is just totally foreign to me.

Anyway, before I start rambling even worse than I already am, I am going to go take my ibuprofen for my aching body, straighten up a few things, and go to bed. I have to get up early tomorrow to get the 6 year old to school, and then if I can still move, I am going to try to get some more tilling done. We aren't planning on planting anything for another week or two, but I want to get that done so that we can get it really ready for planting....

This is of course, assuming that I can lift my body out of this chair, which is highly questionable at this point in time....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crazy days.....

I don't even know if I can remember everything that I did today....

Woke up horrendously late at 9:00am - we were supposed to be at my friend's house by 9:30-9:45 to drop the She-Beast off to get her fixed. Jumped in the shower, got the boys dressed, and took off by about 9:40. We went straight to the garage and dropped the She-Beast off and then my friend picked us up, then we picked his mother up, and we headed to Wichita to run a few errands with him while we were wheel-less. We went to lunch and then stopped at WalMart to get some stuff for the garden that we're going to do together this summer.

We went back to get the She-Beast, and the verdict was not as good as I had hoped. He was able to replace a few parts, but it's basically a band-aid solution, as the oil is still going to leak. The engine is basically shot. So, we can keep her limping along for a couple more months, maybe, and then she'll probably go for scrap. As much as I hate her at times, she's still mine, and I'll miss her in some sick and twisted way when she's gone - even though I will hopefully be driving something newer by then.

Then I loaded the boys back up, met Ex1 to get the older 3 kids and we came home. I made supper (tacos) and got the older 3 ready to go to church with their father. After they left, I intended to clean and get the younger 2 ready for bed, but I got a text from Ex1's wife asking me to *please* bring a clean pair of underwear to the church, as my darling 6 year old had had yet another accident. *sigh* So we did it, but while we were out we stopped and grabbed stuff for the kids' lunches tomorrow so I don't have to actually make them anything. My idea of packing a lunch is throwing something pre-made and pre-packaged into a lunch bag and sending them on their way. Lazy, yes. Convenient, yes. June Cleaver I am not.

Then I got the younger 2 into the tub (and threw a load of laundry in the washer) and got them ready for bed, then started cleaning the living room...then the older 3 came home, dealt with the drama that always comes with that, and sent them all to bed.

Now, what I should do is....flip the laundry to the dryer, start another load, make brownies for the 6 year old's bake sale (I do NOT feel like doing that) and get some sleep. Am I going to do any of that? Jury's still out on that one.

Tomorrow will be worse. Up at 5:15, shower, dress, get 5 kids up and dressed and fed, load up the She-Beast and head to school by 7:15, come back, take the boys to playschool at 9:00, walk/jog 7 miles, get the boys at 11:00, go back to my friend's house, help him put the ramp on his truck, go pick up a rototiller from another friend, take it back to his house, drop it off, go with him to drop his daughter off at preschool, come back, plot out the garden and maybe start tilling, get the 6 year old from school, home, supper, baths, bed....back up at 5:15am on Friday....

Where's that clone when I need her?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fun with facebook, a sewing frenzy, and stuff

I've been having way too much fun on facebook today. If I haven't admitted it before, I'll admit it now - I'm an addict. Hello, my name is Amy, and I'm a facebook addict. However, sometimes the addiction is used for good - I get informed of current events (true or not), I hear gossip from back home, etc etc etc. Today's news wasn't all good - a school bus driver from back home was seriously injured when a deer was hit by another car and thrown through the windshield of the bus. But the students were truly heroes in the situation by removing the deer from her lap (yikes) and administering first aid until EMS workers arrived.

On a good note, Phelps and his cronies will not be attending the funeral of the Crouse children tomorrow - such a relief. That is such a heartbreaking situation, and he and his buddies would have made it so much worse.

On a funny note, a friend of mine who I went to high school with in PA now lives in Arizona. One of my best friends that I met in KS also lives in Arizona. I never really thought much about it before, until he posted a picture that included his address, and I jokingly suggested a stalk-a-thon. Then I got curious and plugged both of their addresses into mapquest. Sure enough, a guy I know from PA and a girl I know from KS live 16 miles away from each other in AZ. Small world, huh?

Non-facebook-related, I called around and got some information on getting the oil hemmorhage in the She-Beast fixed. At this point, it appears that she will be going in for outpatient surgery on Wednesday. Now, cross your fingers, say a few prayers, and send happy thoughts our direction that the surgery will fix the issue and that I will not have to remove life support from her that day. As much as I curse her at times, I do kinda' like her and I can't afford to lose her. Not yet.

I have been itching to sew again for so long, but just haven't had the time or the initiative or the energy. After spending the past few days cleaning - really cleaning - the house, I felt like sewing tonight. So I did.

So I busted out the quilting gloves and a project that I started months ago, and started working. I think I almost forgot how much I enjoy sewing. I know that I could easily stay up all night working on this, but I can't.

So I am going to force myself to quit for the night.

I have to get up early, get the boys to playschool, walk my 7 (yes, 7) miles, come home and shower, get a couple of extra kids, go take care of Connie for a few hours, get home, send the extra kids home, then go to 3 back-to-back parent/teacher conferences. Yay me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mother Nature should be shot

Two days ago, it was 72 degrees outside. Yesterday was beautiful, though not as warm. Today, it was cold and gross. We had a thunderstorm this afternoon complete with sleet and hail. Now, guess what? Yep. The ground is covered with snow. SNOW!!! But it's supposed to be in the 60s and 70s most of the week.

I spent the day cleaning and organizing, because well, that's what I do. As I was buzzing around the house, I had the fleeting thought that I should put the kids' winter coats away, since they're hanging on hooks in the living room and look ugly. Luckily it was only a fleeting thought. Guess I'll wait until June to wash them and put them away.

I didn't get nearly as much cleaning done as I would have liked to, but the living room looks significantly better. I got my desk cleaned off and did a ton of shredding - it's amazing how quickly the "to be shredded" pile grows when the shredder itself has self-destructed. But, I finally splurged the other night and bought a new one and broke it in quite nicely today. I could probably fill a 55-gallon trash bag with everything that I need to shred - like laundry, that seems like a never-ending job. But, it's part of my Master Plan to get the house cleaned up and organized. I have a massive pile of paper that I need to go through and either file or shred, but that will be tackled a bit at a time.

My 5 year old left to go with his father late tonight, and won't be home until after noon tomorrow - I had hoped to get out and walk in the morning since I'll be down to just one kid, but that's not going to happen with Mother Nature throwing a hissy fit. I did get out yesterday and did 6 miles with the stroller, so my pace wasn't so good - but at least I did it.

And of course with the time change last night, I was all sorts of messed up when I got up this morning. But, I did manage to drag myself off of the futon at 9:30, got showered and dressed and got the boys dressed and we made it to church by 10:03. Not too shabby - we just had a huge breakfast when we got back home.

So, on tap for tomorrow is more cleaning (go figure), laundry (imagine that), probably no walking (grrrr...), and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to bust out the sewing machine to work on a few projects that have been sitting near the machine taunting me for the past couple of months. I swear, I am going to get them done. Soon. Oh, and of course I have about a dozen phone calls to make and all the other mom-ish stuff that has to be done.

But for now, I think I am going to throw in a DVD to eradicate any more mentions of basketball coming from the TV, and I am going to go to sleep. With only the 3 year old here, I have the opportunity to sleep in a bit tomorrow, and so help me, I'm going to take advantage of it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

CSI: The Boys' Room

So, I had all sorts of fun stuff running through my head to post tonight, but it all went away as soon as I walked into the boys' room to get their pajamas and saw this.

Yes, that is my 6 year old son's Raggedy Andy doll, handmade by my mother when he was a baby, strung up on a dresser with rubber bands.

Andy has since been rescued, the rubber bands have been removed, and he is sleeping peacefully with his abductor.

Kids. Gotta' love 'em.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Does life ever slow down?

I swear, I keep telling myself that I'm going to write something on here every day, and I keep falling down on the job. Things have been so crazy hectic around here that sometimes it seems like I go days without sitting still - or when I do sit still, all I can do is stare at the computer and play stupid games because I just can't think anymore.

We've had kids in and out of the house constantly, a spur-of-the-moment sleepover last weekend, running back and forth to take care of Connie, the usual errands, constant laundry/dishes/housekeeping, trying to keep the She-Beast running, getting kids to school, etc.... Just when I think I have a schedule set for the week, something changes. Next week we have parent/teacher conferences, book fairs (must remember to make snacks for bake sale), hopefully my 5 year old's preschool will reopen (it had BETTER reopen), plus all the other usual stuff. Then the week after that is spring break and our schedule is all sorts of off for that.

And in addition to the normal laundry, I got a bunch of clothes for the girls off of freecycle (love me some freecycle!) and I had to wash all of that and sort it, and then I made the girls go through all of their clothes to get rid of stuff that they don't want. So now we have a big bag of stuff to go back ON freecycle. It's a hassle, but at least it gets the stuff out of here - as long as the freecycler who wants it actually picks it up as arranged. But that's a pet peeve I'll save for another day.

The good(?) thing is that the kids don't have school tomorrow, so we don't have to get up *quite* so early, but we're also taking the She-Beast to have a friend look at her at 8:00am so we still have to be up and functioning earlier than usual for a day off. But hopefully we can figure out where the oil hemmorhage is coming from and then formulate a plan to patch her up.

Then it's back home and/or run errands and/or go to the library and/or any number of other things. Have a few extra kids for an hour or so later in the afternoon, and then I have this nagging feeling that I was supposed to do something tomorrow evening - eeek! Can't remember if I did, so if I had plans with someone, I hope they're reading this and will remind me. Then it's up early Saturday to get the older 3 back to their dad's house, go take care of Connie for a few hours, then possibly to a friend's house to possibly start a garden, do some walking, and hopefully enjoy some hot tub time (I know you're reading, so *hint hint*).

Sunday is church, hopefully more walking....and it just goes on and on and on and on....

Maybe, just maybe I'll get a day off sometime in the near future. No kids, no schedule, no responsibilities. I can eat bon bons and watch movies and do nothing all day.

Oh wait....I think it is impossible for Hell to freeze over. Darn it.

So maybe I'll just give up for tonight and go to bed - although as I look at my bed, I see two bodies on it. Guess I'll couch it for the night.....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kitchen Time Machine

Thanks once again to the Wonderful World of Facebook, I found myself tripping down memory lane tonight with some friends from back home. This time the topic of discussion was the Shrove Tuesday delicacy known by the Pennsylvania Dutch as "fastnachts". A fastnacht is a wonderful thing - it is similar to a donut in some ways, but its texture reminds me more of a funnel cake. There are about as many different recipes for them as there are spellings of their name, but they are simply wonderful.

Folklore states that fastnachts came into being as a way for families to use up as much of the fat in the house as possible before the fasting of Lent began. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fastnacht Day back home in central PA. I have not had fastnachts for years - I vaguely remember my mother making them a few times, but we usually got them from any number of pre-Lent church bake sales. People eat them in different ways - some slice them and spread butter or molasses on them, some eat them plain, some (including me) sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Anyway, I decided to make some tonight. I went online and started digging for recipes. I finally settled on one of about 50 that I found, and started the process.

Kneading the dough, under the curious and watchful eyes of my youngest. (Photo courtesy of my 5 year old!)

The dough had to rise for about 2 hours....

Roll it out and cut 'em....

What's that sound? Oh yes, the sound of my arteries slamming shut....

Drain them, because that removes soooo much of the fat...

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and enjoy!!!

With the first bite, I was instantly transported back to my youth....it's amazing how something as simple as a fastnacht can bring back so many memories from decades ago.

Now I know I'm going to have to walk twice as many miles this week to make up for that - but that's the whole idea of Fastnacht Day, isn't it?

Friday, March 4, 2011

What a day

Yesterday ended up being one of "those" days - the kind that make me remember why I named this blog what I did.

I got up in the morning -later than usual, which added to the chaos and got the day off to a not-so-stellar start, got all 5 kids ready for school, made breakfast, loaded them up in the She-Beast and got the older 3 to school and then came back home. That was all done by about 8:00am.

Then I took the youngest two to playschool, did my walk/run, and brought them back home. I did a little bit of cleaning and got a shower and got dressed. It was about noon by then.

Then one of my "extra" kids came over and she played with the boys while I continued to do laundry and dishes and all the other household stuff. We left just before 3:00pm to pick her sister up from school, and then we came home.

The kids then played outside while I cleaned out a couple of flowerbeds and "de-Sanford&Son-ized" my porches. They have been stacked full of so much crap and clutter that it was driving me insane, so now the stacks of crap and clutter are in the garage - which will be cleaned out (again) whenever I feel like doing it. Two of my older three came home in the middle of this, so if you're keeping track, I had 6 kids at this point, with the oldest being 9 years old. They ran and played while I worked for about an hour or so outside.

We came inside and my oldest then got home. Seven kids in my possession now. Shortly after that, I got two more extras (up to a total of 9 now) and then the first two extra went home (back to 7). I started supper, got snacks for everyone, and continued to do laundry and dishes and refereeing and whatnot.

It was probably 6:30 by the time supper was ready. We all sat down to eat, and then a plate was accidentally knocked to the floor under the table - it never happens in a place that's easy to get to, does it? There I was crawling under the table to get to it and to pick up all the food and clean up the mess. Luckily, the plate didn't shatter (for a change) and can still be used - there's just a chip out of it, but still. (*mental note: add plastic plates to shopping list)

The remaining two extra kids left at 7:15pm and I proceeded to sweep and mop the kitchen floor (nasty) and get baths started for everyone. Luckily the girls can handle theirs themselves, but I had to give all 3 boys baths and get them ready for bed. Of course, there was bickering and punching and drama mixed in among all of this...it wouldn't be a typical evening without it. Then we got homework finished and everyone was in bed by 9:00pm.

I finished cleaning the kitchen (well, at least I did what I thought *had* to be done and left the rest of it, did some more laundry (because that's what I do) and thought about cleaning the living room. Around this time, I realized just how incredibly exhausted I was and decided that the mess in the living room would wait. I crashed at about 11:30pm. I always put a movie in before I fall asleep, just to have some background noise, and I honestly don't think that I lasted more than 5 minutes into it before I was out cold.

It started all over again this morning - up at 5:45 (only 30 minutes late today), in the shower, dressed, made breakfast - luckily the girls started out the morning cooperative and they got the boys up and dressed and then they all ate breakfast, but then there was drama when it came time to actually get out the door. *sigh* But, I got the older 3 to school by 7:30, stopped at the post office to check the box (stupid junk mail) and got my 5 year old to his appointment at 8:00am. After that we came home and guess what? I started cleaning.

At this point I don't have any extra kids scheduled for the day. The boys and I are going to hang out and *gasp* clean until about noon, when we'll head up the road to take care of Connie for a few hours. Then it'll be back home, supper, a playschool "thing", and then bedtime for the kids.

At least I don't have to get up early tomorrow. I think.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I started jogging. Wait...really? Did I just say that?

It's true - on Tuesday, I took the boys to playschool and then left from there and started walking. I figured that it made more sense to just leave from there then it did to drive home, go walk, then drive back to get them. If I just walked from there, I could walk more. (Funny how my brain actually works sometimes.)

Anyway, I had pre-mapped out my route with the intentions of going 6 miles. I know what pace I have to keep in order to do the half-marathon in the allotted time, so that's what I focused on with the app on my phone. When I was about halfway through the 6 miles, I was feeling pretty good and I got a crazy thought in my head - could I jog? So I tried....and wow! I did it! And it felt pretty darned good too! So it only lasted about a block, but still - I did it. I walked some more, then jogged a little bit. I did this 4 or 5 times throughout the 6 miles.

Today, I started out on the same route, but I jogged more. I think I shaved about 4-5 minutes off of my total time, so I am very happy with that. Surprisingly, I'm not as sore as I thought that I would be *knock on wood* so hopefully I can keep it up. It's just tough to find time when I don't have any kids with me, as right now that only happens two mornings per week.

But, other than that, it's been more of the same old stuff. Constantly cleaning and doing laundry and doing dishes and wrangling the kids and everything else. Toss in a few more battles with the IRS and smoke rolling out from under the hood of the She-Beast and it just makes the first half of the week complete.

There is actually so much more going on in my head right now that I can't even begin to sort it out. But, I'm working on it, and maybe once I do I'll share some of it. I'm still trying to wrap my head around some things that have been going on lately and until I can do that, I can't possibly make it make sense to anyone else.

Kid duty calls....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Walking with a purpose

So I'm still planning on walking this half-marathon in May - on May 1 to be exact. I haven't been doing as much walking to prepare for it as I should, but now that Mother Nature seems to be back on her meds and the weather is straightening up (*knocking on wood*) I plan to get out and walk more. I am doing this walk/race for purely selfish reasons - I want to be able to say that I walked a half-marathon with a prosthetic hip (and it'll help me get in shape in the meantime).

But a mere 6 days after the half-marathon is done, I am doing another walk, for a totally different purpose. My great-nephew, Corban, is an absolutely darling 3 1/2 year old little boy. He loves to play and to do the typical little boy stuff. When my niece brings him to visit, my kids have a field day playing with him. In so many ways he is just a typical little boy. But there is one major difference. Corban has cystic fibrosis, a horrible genetic disease that drastically affects his life and the lives of those around him.

On May 7, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is holding their annual Great Strides Walk for CF. The walk is designed to raise awareness and money for research into this devastating disease. The walk is held all over the country in the hopes that money raised will be used to find a cure.

My kids and I have participated in this walk twice - we missed it one year because I was out of town for a wedding, but I plan to continue participating in it every year until a cure is found. Luckily, this is not a competitive walk - it is a leisurely stroll around the Sedgwick County Park on a Saturday morning, which is exactly what I will need after walking 13.1 miles a few days earlier.

Please, if you are able, help us out. Go to www.cff.org and click on the Great Strides link - see if there is a walk in your city in which you can participate. Look up our team - Team Corban - and make a donation in our name. I don't remember the exact figure, but I believe that 90% of all money raised goes directly to research. This is a fantastic cause, and with everyone's help, hopefully we can eventually make "CF" stand for "Cure Found"!!