Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Resolution

My fourth resolution is to drastically increase the amount of living foods in our diet. I'd love to get us up to 70%, but I'm going to be shooting for 50%. Yep, thats it. After all my babbling about the others, this one is pretty simple!

We're making progress with the other resolutions. Trey bought a computer book that he needed for his robot work today, and he made a special trip to Softpro Books, an independent computer bookstore, to get his book instead of going to Borders or Barnes and Noble. I made a couple of t-shirt bags - a double whammy! I purged a bunch of old t-shirts from the closet, and now they're going to be used as grocery sacks!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Third resolution

My third resolution is to create a peaceful home for me and my family. I have budding neat freak tendencies that never seem to flourish! LOL. I feel like I am ALWAYS cleaning, and while I have four children, several pets, and a husband, I still shouldn't have to spend as much time as I do just to keep my head above water. I have a vague outline of a plan, but I'm sure I'm going to figure it out as I go along. The first thing I am going to do is to get ruthless about what stays and what goes. I plan on going room to room and purging - a lot. Watch out Freecycle and ARC - you'll be getting a lot of donations! We've created a "chore chart" that has the things that are expected daily of the kids. It has helped some. I've had people tell me online to "just let it go," "you're just creating stress for your children," and "you'll regret the time you don't spend with them." Well, that all sounds great and utopian. The problem is that it is crap. When the house is chaotic, people's nerves are frayed, so I am not creating stress, the stress already exists - we're living in it. We have less quality time to spend together because we spend extra time looking for homework, tennis shoes, pencils, water bottles, etc. We spend more money because we have to replace things that we can't find or things get broken. And here is the big one that I am no longer willing to overlook - I am also an important person and a member of this family, and I deserve to live in a peaceful home. So, I am not quite sure how everything is going to happen yet, but it will happen. My goal for January is to get the upstairs completely decluttered, and I will go from there. If anybody has any great suggestions for me, please feel free to pass them on!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where to buy?

I was reading an interesting news story and discussion a few days ago. It was about an African American family who have decided that for a year, they will spend all their disposable income by only patronizing businesses run by African Americans. They have $10,000 a month disposable income. That part I have a hard time wrapping my head around! LOL. Anyway, the discussion that followed the story was interesting. Some people (privileged, pompous white people) have been calling the family racists. It's not like the family said, "Hey, we hate everyone who isn't African American, so we're only going to patronize African American businesses." It is their money, and they're allowed to do what they want with it. Just like we have a right to do whatever we chose with our money. It's got me thinking a lot about where our money goes.

I am pretty careful about where I buy stuff, but my second New Year's resolution is to pay even closer attention to purchases and where they come from. There are several things I try to look for with a business. I prefer to patronize small businesses, and I prefer to patronize businesses that have high standards for their business practices (environmentally and ethically responsible) or benefit charity. We don't have the kind of disposable income that allows us to never shop at Target. We can make responsible choices though. One of our goals is to reduce our carbon footprint, so we will be making a conscious effort to reduce our consumerism. I really want to make sure that the things we do buy come from companies that fit the above criteria.

We did a pretty good job with Christmas. I love that our families are on board with similar ideals as well. At least, they haven't seemed to have hated the homemade gifts they got! LOL. Livi got a homemade dress from her grandma, and my SIL and BIL gave us homemade ornaments with pictures of our kiddos. Louis got two cool toys from Mom and Dad from one of the neatest stores ever All Things Renewable (Trey got me a couple of things from there, too!). I made Beth Ann a pair of socks and a scarf, Olivia a scarf, Ray a pair of pillows for his bed and a set of juggling balls with a bag, and a set of crocheted blocks with a bag for Louis. Louis got a couple of Blue's Clues (his absolute favorite!) videos that I got off Freecycle (the Harry Potter material for the bags came from Freecycle as well). I ordered sword and shield and my nephew Dylan's pull toy from my favorite wooden toy manufacturer Doodletown Toys. Trey's gift came from a small family owned company (of course, that was the only choice for his gift! LOL.). My MIL's gift was bought through a school fundraiser. One of my daughter Olivia's gifts came from a friend who had cleaned out things from her daughters' stuff. Louis also got a book from my favorite local bookstore The Tattered Cover. I think there were other cool things, but I can't remember off the top of my head right now.

Christmas morning felt good. It felt good see them open gifts that I felt good about giving them. I want to feel good about the purchases that I make. So my second resolution for the coming year is to make mindful, responsible purchases.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random pictures from today!

Olivia felt well enough to model her pretty Christmas dresses today!

Beth Ann worked some more on her pants. They're coming along nicely. I think she'll finish them up tomorrow.

Here is Ray with his favorite Christmas gift - a stuffed snake from his Uncle Ed and Aunt Lori!

We finished up the day with a family game of Wii.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas morning

Here's a few pictures and a video from Christmas morning.

Squishy's video

Here is a video of our ultrasound on Monday!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Aaaahhh, Christmas!

I love Christmas! I love Christmas! I love Christmas! We had a great day. I haven't downloaded the pictures yet because my computer was occupied with Ray playing games and me downloading Christmas programs! Those will come later. For now, I'll just say that I love Christmas. I love to watch my children's faces on Christmas morning. I love having a peaceful day watching the kids play with their new toys, staying in our PJs all day, snuggling on the couch watching a movie, sending the kids to bed yawning and exhausted, talking to my family on the phone, and feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life! Pictures to come later!

Christmas program videos - finally

It FINALLY appears that YouTube is uploading videos again, so I'll be posting videos of the kids' Christmas programs. Here's the first one of Olivia's school program. She was Mary!

Here are four of the songs the kids did during the children's choir performance of Paint the Town December!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve!

The children are snuggled all safe in their beds.............which means it's quiet!!! I really should go to bed because they're going to wake us up early, and there will be ripping of paper and playing with toys and general chaos, but it's so peaceful. The house is clean, the tree is pretty, the presents are wrapped, and if I could get my husband to STOP PLAYING WoW YouTube videos behind me - I COULD RELAX!!!!!

I think we may have found the missing link - "Monkey Boy!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Squishy" is a girl!!!

Well, I still haven't been able to get videos to upload to YouTube. It's getting pretty old. I also can't get them to upload to blogger. I don't know what's up. I'm going to try again tonight. In the meantime - we had our ultrasound yesterday, and everything looked great! We also found out that we are having another precious baby girl. We are thrilled and feel so blessed.

My friend Loelle sent me a link to this video. It is hilarious - mainly because I can completely relate. Everyone in the world thinks they're original, but I have gotten every single one of these comments except the daycare one. I'm sure I'll get that one once #5 makes her appearance. LOL. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


You may have noticed in some recent pictures that the boys' hair was getting kind of shaggy - especially Louis' hair! Today they all got matching haircuts. Aren't they cute?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas parties!

Today was busy! I'm too tired to post much. I have videos of Olivia's Christmas program, but YouTube is PMSing and not uploading stuff properly, so I'll have to try and get them on tomorrow. For now, here's some cute pictures from THREE Christmas parties today.
Livi as Mary:

Livi with her teacher:

Ray with the cookies he decorated for himself, Livi and Louis:

Ray's family tree at school:

Beth Ann with her teachers:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All this trouble for one little Squishy!

You know, I think I'm a pretty optimistic person. Months of feeling like crap have started to take their toll though. Today was a particularly rotten day. I just keep reminding myself that come May - it'll all have been worth it. I'm really looking forward to our ultrasound on Monday. I think it'll really help me. We're going to videotape it. Until then - here's a belly shot from today - 19 weeks 2 days. Squishy is certainly growing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baby steps to being greener

First, an update on baby Squishy - I love hearing Squishy's heartbeat. It was good and strong and in the 150's today. One reason that I haven't been able to feel Squishy moving as much is because my placenta is right on the front of my uterus, so Squishy has to kick pretty darn hard for me to be able to feel it. I still haven't gained weight (I've lost weight actually), but Squishy is growing fine, so all is well! Our ultrasound is scheduled for Monday, and we're very excited.

Second, I've been thinking almost nonstop about "greener" living since blogging about it last night. One thing that is really bugging me is how much fruit/vegetable waste that we are throwing out. We used to have a compost pile, but it wasn't very sturdy, and it just sort of fell apart. My goal for January is to get a usable compost pile out in my yard. Being vegetarians we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but we throw away a lot of peels, stems, leaves, etc. Now that we are eating even more living foods, we'll have even more fresh fruit and vegetable waste. There is absolutely no excuse for putting fruit and vegetable waste in the landfill. Trey wants us to build a compost bin. I told him that was great, but it HAS to be done by the end of January! He's already sent me links to two different plans. After Christmas, we'll get to work on one.

I'm already a pretty compulsive label reader, but I find myself getting more obsessive about it! LOL. Today, on the way home from my midwife appointment, the kids and I checked out a "health" food store called Sunflower Market. Color me NOT impressed. Having been a vegetarian for 16 years, the thought of eating decomposing flesh grosses me out beyond all belief. However, many people eat dead animals and therefore most stores sell them - even health food stores. I think most people can agree though that Hormel's precooked bacon in a bag is not even close to being healthy! Yuck. The icing on the irresponsible cake was when I found Nestle chocolate chips right beside the Sunspire ones. Nestle?!?! Give me a freaking break. One thing I like about Vitamin Cottage is they have ethical standards. Sunflower could take lessons. They did have some cool products though. The kids were out of toothpaste, so I was on the hunt for toothpaste that I was okay with them using. I'm really irritated that Tom's of Maine sold out to a major corporation, but they do still sell good products. Their children's toothpaste only contains: glycerin (vegetable oil), water, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, fruit extracts, carrageenan (seaweed), and sodium lauryl sulfate (comes from coconut oil). I also found some really wonderful smelling patchouli soap that only contains, water, olive oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, soybean oil, essential oils, and cocoa powder. Cool, huh? That's something I don't mind putting on the delicate skin of my children. It's kind of expensive, so I guess they just won't get to bathe often! LOL. It's made by Plantlife, a company in San Clemente, CA.

So, there are a few baby steps! Another way we help keep our footprint small is that Trey works from home. One of the perks of working from home is that he gets to sneak in some cuddle time in the middle of the day sometimes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Yes, it's a little early for the beginning of the year resolutions, but I've been thinking a lot about them. A lot of people don't like New Year's resolutions, but I am not one of them. Of course, I think I go at them a bit differently than many people do. My resolutions are not going to be an all or nothing proposition. I'm not interested in setting myself up for failure with outrageous changes that I'll never have the time or energy to complete. I want my resolutions to reflect the positive changes I want to make in my life, and I want them to be a continuing journey - not something I'll think about for the first two weeks of January, and then forget about. I think I'm going to add a sidebar item to my blog, so I can keep track of them, and I'll be blogging about them throughout the year. Pretty much every self help guru in the country tells people to set goals and to write them down. Well, my resolution list is essentially my written down goal list I guess.

My first resolution is to reduce the size of my (and my family's) carbon footprint. We already try to constantly live a "greener" life, and this will just be a continuation. Hopefully, it will be a more aggressive continuation of this goal. Our children are learning about things like carbon footprints, global warming, and recycling. I hope that living close to the Earth will become something that is just second nature to them. Tonight we had a talk with them about the effects of diet on the environment. We had a mostly living foods gazpacho tonight for dinner. I've been doing a lot of Internet searching and reading about living foods diets recently (it's been an interest of mine for years actually), and apparently my daughter has been paying attention. While we were eating dinner, she asked me if I was planning on "becoming raw." What a smart kid she is!!! I told her that no, while I wasn't planning on become "raw," I was trying to incorporate a larger percentage of living foods into our diets. We talked about the health benefits, but we also talked about how living closer to the Earth (and in doing so - eating closer to the Earth) are so much better for the environment. We told her that one of the reasons that we choose to be vegetarians is that it is better for the environment. I did stop short of using the meat eating Prius driver having a larger carbon footprint than the vegetarian Hummer driver! LOL. She really gets it, and I think the younger kids are getting it, too. Food is just one way to lower our carbon footprints though. We do it in many, many ways. My goal is to become very aware of how everything I do is a part of my carbon footprint and how I can tread softly to make that footprint smaller.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A different focus..

I have been posting a lot on my food blog and not as much on this blog lately. It reflects on my change of focus lately. For the first few months of this pregnancy, I was so sick. Lately, I have been feeling much better - still tired - but SO much better. I'm passionate about feeding my family healthy food (which includes baby Squishy!), and I can finally do that again. I don't have tons of energy yet. That is getting better, and I'm sure that being able to eat healthier is helping. So, I haven't spent much time on this blog lately.

Here's some pictures of the birthday boy with a couple of his Lego projects (birthday gifts that he loved!).

Livi "helped" Daddy with his Lego Mindstorm, so she had to have her picture taken with Daddy and the robot!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Day Without a Gay

Today was designated as "A Day Without a Gay." The idea was for people to "call in gay," so that people would see the impact that the GLBT community makes in everyday life. I know there are people who think all GLBT people need to disappear. I got to thinking about what my life would be like without GLBT people in it.

I would never have met the lovely couple (who've been together about twice as long as Trey and I) at church who brought over the lovely hand knitted baby wrap for Olivia after she was born. We still weren't very integrated into the church, and they made us feel like we were important and valued at the church. I have a great picture in my scrapbook of one of the ladies holding Olivia when she was still pretty small at one of our church camp outs. Yes, I go to a church where that is accepting and even welcoming to members of the GLBT community. Our church would look very different without those members, and it would be a sad change.

I wouldn't have one of my best friends in my life. A person who has known me since I was a kid, who has seen my successes and failures, who has seen me at my best and my worst, and still loves me. I would have never met her lovely wife, who I hope to get to know better if we ever get to move out of Denver!

I wouldn't have another dear friend in my life. The friend who shares me silly love of and obsession with the Oscars! The person with whom I get together every Oscar day for some serious Oscar watching, dishing, and noshing. I would never have gotten to spend time with her partner who I love being around.

I wouldn't have a family member in my life - someone whom I treasure and enjoy. I wouldn't get to have long talks with her when we get together. I would never had gotten to have the fun and laughter that I've had with her.

I could go on and on, but really I can sum it up by saying that I am blessed to have the GLBT people I know in my life. I truly feel sorry for people who have shut themselves off from the blessings that I enjoy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My boy is 7!

How did that happen so fast? I can't believe that "baby Ray" is already 7 years old. He's growing into such an amazing kid. He's smart, creative, sensitive, fun, energetic, athletic, and to his daddy's joy - he shows a flair for engineering! He's blossoming at school. I'm so proud to be your mom Ray. Here's some flashback pictures.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's snowing!!!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow - a lot! As in, let it snow so much that the kids have a snow day tomorrow. I HATE driving in the snow. It is one of my least favorite things in the world. I wouldn't mind driving in the snow, if all the idiots would stay home. Unfortunately, they like to get out there and drive like crazy people, so I prefer to stay home! The wonderful school secretary today told me that staying home because of snow - even if there is no snow day - is considered an excused absence. Hmmm, good to know!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Freaking Hilarious

Nothing to report today, but I have to share the funniest video I have seen in a while. Just click on the link and get ready to laugh! Funny or die

Ray and I cooked dinner together tonight and while we were shopping for ingredients, Louie and Trey got some snuggle time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finding Zen

I think I have been sick for so long that it is really starting to wear me down. My life feels so chaotic because I just haven't been able to take care of things. Luckily, I am starting to feel well enough to at least make lunches and cook dinners. I watched a TV program that I had recorded today while working on a present. It's called Living Fresh with Sara Snow. I love the show. It is fabulous. In one that I watched today, Sara was talking about how we need to take time for ourselves because usually everyone else gets taken care of, and we come in last. So true! I decided that even though I had tons of things to do that were probably "more important," I would take some time and focus on my bedroom. When Louis was born, I had created a little Zen Heaven in my bedroom, and it was so peaceful, and I loved being in there. Lately, my room seems to have become the dumping ground for everything. We had company, so the laundry that didn't get folded got put there along with other things. My room had become a stressful place to be instead of a relaxing one. So, I took some time today and really cleaned it out. Things got thrown away, toys got put up, clothes got folded and put up, things that had a home in another place got put back. It is a much more peaceful place. I'm sitting in here now with the lights off, the candles lit, and my son snoozing peacefully beside me. My life isn't anywhere near being rid of the chaos, but for tonight - after a long, pregnancy-safe temperature bath, and a lovely massage from my darling husband - I am relaxing in my peaceful bedroom and finding a few moments of Zen.

And for fun - more pictures. Trey bought this little outfit for Louis, and I think it's adorable (and fitting! LOL.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sick and tired

That sums me up in three words. Ugh. I really thought I was going to make it to choir today. I don't know what I was thinking. I keep telling people, "Oh, I'm feeling better!" I think it's as much to convince myself as them. *sigh* Things ARE definitely a little better though. I'm actually cooking again. Since I'm cooking us healthy food again, I'm hoping that I'll have more energy and feel better. One can hope! Trey and I joke with each other, "This had better be one CUTE baby!" LOL. Oh well - such is life. For today, I'll just go to bed early and hope a good night's sleep will help! Here's some cute pictures just for fun!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why bring food?

It's sort of become a joke in the movies: someone dies and people crawl out of the woodwork to bring the grieving family food - "Oh so sorry so and so died, here's a casserole." A few months ago, a young girl in my son's first grade class died. She had an asthma attack and ended up dying from it. I didn't know the little girl, but my son did. The girl's older brother is a friend of my daughter and a former classmate. Someone set up food delivery for the family. Today was my day. I was thinking a lot about why we bring food to people, sometimes people we don't even know. Does it really make a difference? Can it ease their pain? Does it help them cope with their loss? I don't think so. I mean, I suppose it's nice to know that people care enough to go out of their way and try and help. I know there's absolutely
nothing I can do to make their pain of losing their precious daughter any easier - NOTHING. They don't know me from Adam and won't remember my name. They might recognize my face at a school function, but that's all really. Here's what I hope comes of my bringing them food. I hope that for one day, it made their daily schedule a little easier. They have three other children. I don't know the pain of losing a child, and I hope I never do. I can only imagine though that there are days that they don't want to get out of bed, days they don't want to face driving to school, days that even the smallest tasks feel like mountains. But - everyone has to eat - especially children. If I can make today just a little easier to handle, then it's worth it. If this:

can help at all for just one day, then that's all that matters. I was also thinking about how different this loss was and how different it seemed to feel to everyone around me. Bringing food to someone who is sick or who has had a baby or even who has lost someone - is a way to show you care. There seems to be a separate element to this food train though. It's almost an offering to God/the universe/fate/karma. The loss of a child is almost incomprehensible. It doesn't make sense. Nothing about it feels right or sane in any way. Everyone holds their children tighter and watches them closer. I can understand why our ancestors used to be so superstitious about making offerings to gods. Some things are just incomprehensible and if an offering can help - then an offering we make. This food train almost feels like an offering - like, "See god - see how much we care - how much we DON'T take for granted." Superstitious? Sure, but I loved my children a little more fiercely today and I hope the universe took note.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time for the tree!

All of our family left this morning. It was great having them here. I feel blessed that I get along with both of Trey's siblings and their spouses. Unfortunately, they hit bad weather and had a crappy trip home. We're all really glad that we got to spend time with them. I snapped a few pictures this morning as everyone was leaving:

Here's another video of the massive pillow fight that erupted last night!

After everyone left, I got to do several loads of laundry (fun, fun), and then worked on Christmas gifts. I realized pretty quickly that I was too tired to do anything that took much thought, so I didn't get much done! Hopefully, I can get some sleep tonight. We did get the tree up and partially decorated. It's feeling like it's the Christmas season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More pictures!

Today we all went to the Denver Nature and Science Museum. Then after we got home and got to bedtime - the kids wound up and had a humongous pillow fight!