Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Kids, Me, Parenting

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. As of yesterday, I am coasting more quickly towards the big 5-0. At 46, I can still say I’m in my “mid-40’s”, but I’m closer to 50 than 40. You know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit. Other than the lower back pain I have every morning, and the various muscle aches I get when I weed the front garden, and waking up in the middle of the night a lot more often, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the 40’s. I’m guessing the 50’s will only get better…and worse. Better emotionally and spiritually, a little worse physically.

2. As I’m typing here in our schoolroom, I glanced around for a moment and caught sight of one of our dogs. Both used to sack out in the living room on the couches for their naps. One day I had the bright idea to bring downstairs the unused cat bed. Jake, being a small dog (22 lbs), and loving anything that squishes him and puts him into a small space, immediately fell in love. See?

Jake in Bed

How cute is he??

3. Driving the carpool home yesterday afternoon, what started out as liquid precipitation (aka RAIN), about 2/3 the way home switched over to frozen precipitation (aka SNOW). Now, I don’t know about your part of the country, but southeastern PA is not known for getting snow in November. It’s even rare in December. This does not bode well for the upcoming winter. None of us, and I mean NONE OF US, want to live through a repeat of the winter of 2013-2014. Please, Lord, come quickly? 🙂

4. Counseling is going well, I would say. And God is doing that thing He does, you know, where you’re working through something and all of a sudden all you hear is songs and sermons and messages about that particular topic? Yeah, that. I’m working though Connor’s death and now Ravi Zacharias is speaking on his new book about suffering. James MacDonald speaks about it. There’s a new song out about it. I GET IT, GOD! (not yelling in a mean way, but in a good way!)

5. I didn’t put this on Facebook, but I’ll say it here: Ethan was kissed ON THE MOUTH a couple of days ago at school. Um, WHAT? The teacher talked to both the girl and Ethan, and then had a general conversation with the whole class. It would never have occurred to Ethan to kiss someone–he’s just not there yet developmentally–and he was kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. My youngest, Catie, has a major crush on a boy at school. She’s 11. He’s 13. I don’t think an 8th grade boy is going to want to have anything to do with a 6th grade girl, but oh, man, I was not expecting all this romantic stuff this year! Bennett and Laura don’t have that yet, for which I am extremely grateful.

6. I just yesterday found out that iPod Touches can do FaceTime and texting. I am extremely excited about this, because it has the potential to put off the phone conversation for a year at least. If they can text and talk to their friends, they don’t need a phone! And it’s cheaper, because there’s no monthly fee. I just have to pay for iPod touches, which, ok, I’m not thrilled about, either, but it’s better than the cost of a phone!

7. A casting director is going to get back to me today about whether Ethan can try out for a Comcast commercial for blind 6-12 year olds even though he’s 13. I’m of two minds…it could be a wonderful experience for him. On the other hand, the filming would be mid-December for three days. That’s three days I’m (or Jim is) not home with the kids, including the day of Laura’s Christmas concert. So, yeah, mixed feelings. But we want to have Ethan do neat things, and quite frankly, how cool is being in a commercial?! Oh, the struggles of being a parent. Hard, but so darn worth it!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Counseling, Family, Recipe

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Screech! It’s past the middle of September! How did we get here?? We’re finishing up the third week of cyber school and I’m STILL trying to get some semblance of routine with driving, home facilitating with school and housework. Oh, and laundry. I’ve had to re-wash laundry 4 times this week because I kept forgetting about it. And I can’t even blame it on the washer–it’s on the same floor I’m on practically all day (not in the basement, where I forgot about it all the time).

2. On a more serious note, I had an intake evaluation for counseling this week. Deep breath. Boy, was I nervous! I have done counseling off and on for more than 20 years for all sorts of things: family relationships, addiction, marriage, etc. However, it’s been awhile since I’ve done it. Talking about any of my issues, especially addiction, is difficult. But I had reached the point where, honestly, what I’m doing is just not working anymore. So I think a professional’s opinion and input would be rather helpful at getting me past where I’m stuck. (which I will cover in a future post, I promise!)

3. This was a banner week in my extended family. My parents celebrated their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. SIX ZERO, people! That’s amazing! According to Google, without which I would be completely lost, it’s their Diamond anniversary. Way to Go Mom and Dad!

Also in my extended family, my sister and brother in law celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. On the same day. I remember being so happy for my sister at her wedding. We adored (and continue to adore!) the man she chose to spend the rest of her life with. May they one day celebrate their 60th too!

4. I had a neighbor over for coffee this morning. While that doesn’t sound like much, we’ve been in the same neighborhood for 6 years or so, have children the same age and are even both believers. And this is the first time we sat down to chat. Ever. So yeah, I’m looking forward to more coffee talks with her. Women friends ROCK.

5. I made these Fish Tacos this week. YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!! One of the best things I’ve had in a long time. I love when what I make at home is restaurant-good! Mine weren’t QUITE this picturesque, but they were delicious!

6. The girls and I watched the 2nd half of Singin’ in the Rain this week. a) they both loved it b) they want to watch the rest of it c) I wonder if I can translate that to seeing OTHER wonderful musicals? Because there are so many out there!

7. My mother in law contacted me for the person I used for Connor’s gravestone 13 years ago (for her mother’s marker). I knew exactly where the information was (notebook from that time period) and she was still in business. My MIL remembered that we said how wonderful she was and wanted to use her as well. I think that people who work in the “death industry” (for lack of a better phrase!) tend to be extra-nice. I’m sure there are jerks. And maybe the people we worked with were jerks to others–maybe they were extra nice because it was the death of a baby. I don’t know. But everyone was SO kind to us and I’m glad that at least one of them is getting more business because of that.

For those of you who follow my posts, I just wanted to give you a quick shout out. It kind of freaks me out that people do that. So Hello! Thank you! I appreciate you! Feel free to comment! 🙂

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Family, Kids, School

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I know, I know, it’s been awhile. Sorry! End of summer + beginning of school year + a death in the family = blogging going out the door.

2. My husband’s grandmother, Grammy, passed away in August. That he HAD a grandmother at 45 is amazing to me. My one and only grandparent, Nana, died when I was 6. So when I married this wonderful man who just happened to have four living grandparents it was incredible to me. Not only that, but the ones who lived near us were terrific people. I LOVED having adopted grandparents. It filled a hole that I didn’t know I had. Five years ago or so we said good-bye to his grandfather and now have said farewell to his grandmother. The memorial service was so wonderful–she was much loved and everyone had kind things to say. Yeah, there were some funny stories, but overall the tone was one of respect and fondness for a delightful woman. You will be missed, Grammy.

3. The beginning of school has been hectic. New carpools, new schools, unexpected purchases of school items because the gifted school wants them….I really don’t miss public school. Really. But sometimes I miss that bright yellow school bus. And being alone. I’m NEVER ALONE.

4. Many years ago I attempted to be an ebay seller. Didn’t last long. Craigslist is hard because we are between the Philadelphia and Lancaster sites. Enter Facebook! Our local area has at least four FB selling sites. It’s WONDERFUL. I can buy and sell and meet the person at the local WalMart. So far I haven’t had a bad experience, which is saying something!

5. This past month we also had 6 trees removed. Five were really, really ugly pine trees lining the right backyard. The original owner planted them as Christmas trees. And they were ok until they grew and grew and grew and YUCK. The 6th was a pin oak that we actually liked, but it more than halfway died in the brutal winter of 2013-2014. Now we just have little humps of ground up stumps, which will rot away and get covered with grass seed next year or so. And our backyard looks massive!

6. I’ve got my coffee drinking down to science now. And this is huge for a former die-hard tea drinker. I completely blame Keurig. They made it possible for me to have one cup of coffee, mad with the light roast that I like. I add two level teaspoons of sugar and..ahem…three tablespoons of light cream. And that makes coffee taste wonderful. I know I can’t actually TASTE the coffee…that’s the point. Coffee does not taste good. But boy is that caffeine hit amazing!

7. Something else that happened in August that’s rather noteworthy: My triplets turned 13. Yes, people, I have three teenagers and one tween. Two of the kids are already taller than me, one is only a half-inch shorter and the youngest is only an inch shorter. THIS is why I married a tall man! I wanted to give those kids a fighting chance at some height!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Clutter, Kids

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. We’ve been back from vacation for a week now and I have to admit, I’m enjoying it more than I did the week away. That’s a pretty sad statement for a vacation, isn’t it. I guess we really ARE homebodies!

2. For years, Bennett, Laura and Catie attended Good News Camp, which is run by the same people who do Good News Club, an after-school Christian club. The camp is crazy-inexpensive and they’ve always loved going. This year, for the first time, Laura and Bennett were too old to attend. The director called us in the spring and asked if Bennett and Laura would be willing to be “jr counselors” in their kiddie camp, for 4-6 year olds. They were dubious, but I made the decision for them. Yes, they would. After years of receiving, they would be the givers. The first day both were rather nervous. When I picked them up, they were utterly enthusiastic, thrilled and delighted. They want to do it again next year. Let’s hear it for mom pushing the kids to do the right thing!

3. With summer and easier schedules here, my clean-out-the-clutter itch is back. In our schoolroom we have a large closet–as in double wide. It was originally a coat closet, then morphed into the catch-all for our then playroom. Then we put lots of shelves in it and it was lovely for a few years and then it became a massive mess again. Yesterday I went on a spree and got rid of a lot of things the kids just don’t play with, listing them for free on a Facebook group. We got rid of SO MUCH JUNK! Now, I also have a pile of stuff (like DSi’s) that I’m not giving away and that need to be priced and listed on the same site. But I’m loving the new look of the closet!

4. Reading up on the Christian Left. Not feeling like I’m fitting in lately with the right side of the fence, but don’t know that the CL is the right answer for me, either. I think I’m more a combination of both. It’s confusing being me!

5. The triplet’s 13th (!) birthday is in 6 short weeks. We’ve been saying for a couple of years that we would do the cellphone thing when they turned 13. I’m somewhat regretting that statement, but thinking that maybe it’s time to let them prove they are responsible enough for them.  AT&T’s new “no contract” thingy is surprisingly cost-effective for a family of 5 or 6 phones when compared to what we are paying now. Unfortunately, it’s also the massive outlaying of funds for the actual phones that’s just too horrible to contemplate. 😛

6. Speaking of responsibility, Catie is dealing with it right now. This week she got both upper braces put on and got her ears pierced. She’s still figuring out the eating thing–I never had braces so don’t understand why it’s difficult, but apparently it is. But she’s been doing great with the earring care. Twice a day she cleans them and spins them. So proud that I haven’t had to remind her once!

7. Just found a WONDERFUL program that lets you change your computer’s country of origin–Hola. Now, this might sound silly and why would you want to do it? But if you’ve ever wanted to watch a video from another country (Hello Sarah Richardson on HGTV Canada!) and couldn’t because it wasn’t your country, it’s VERY handy! I’ve been gorging myself on her new program Real Potential that we can’t see here in the States. WooHoo!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Kids, Me

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I have never been so thankful that our house was on high ground as I was this week. HO…LY…COW that was a LOT of rain! Chester County (my county in PA) had 120 road closures due to flooding. Jim drove 2 hours to get home, when it normally takes one. So very, very grateful that the sun came out yesterday and today and the lakes/streams/creeks/rivers are all receding.

2. If you know my reading habits at all, they lean VERY HEAVILY towards fiction. As in, the only non-fiction book I ever read is the Bible. But when one of my favorite (and longest reading) bloggers writes a book about her conversion, well, I’m going to make an exception. I read Jennifer Fulwiler back when she emailed me directly when I made a comment on her blog–before she become superstar Catholic blogger. So, this weekend I’ll be cracking open Something Other Than God and giving it a read. I’ll let you know what I think (and how I managed that non-fiction thing!) in a post this coming week. 🙂

3. Addiction-wise it’s been very interesting around here of late. Not that I’ve fallen (or even plan to, thankyouverymuch), but I’ve changed accountability software several times within the past month. I’ve had Covenant Eyes for YEARS. It seemed like it was fine. But my old PC was crashing over and over and over and…we finally bought me a new one (which, ok, I needed anyway, but not right this second!). We had to uninstall CE to switchover. All of a sudden, no crashing! 😦 So, yeah, CE was incompatible with Google Chrome (and Firefox). Enter X3watch, brought free of charge to my PC from XXXchurch. Seemed to work fine until the reports came out. If an ad was on a page, it flagged the ad. If a bad word was in the comments, it flagged the word. And when I say flagged, I mean it literally took the word (f bomb, s bomb etc) and put it on the report. No bueno for my accountability partner….language is a huge trigger for her. I contacted their support, but they couldn’t change it, but were grateful for the input. Onto #3, the latest, My AP (and husband) haven’t gotten reports yet, so I can’t say yes or no yet. I’m hoping it’s a good fit, though. Such a pain in the tushie, this addiction!

4. Laura got her braces off!! Back in February 2009, she got a palatal expander, followed with braces for 10 months. They were hoping to do things early enough to stave off the need for regular braces. It didn’t really work, so July 31, 2012 she got on full braces top and bottom. Oh, the rubber banding we’ve been through! So yesterday we went to the orthodontist for hopefully the final time. They removed the braces, made molds over her teeth (nasty process!) and made upper and lower retainers. I was picturing something with metal, but no! It’s clear plastic, like a whitening tray or those expensive braces that don’t have wires.

5. We are HUGE (and I do mean GIGANTIC) Marvel movie/tv show fans. Not enough to pay yet for the theater, but enough that when I got a “get a free movie” through Redbox, my first and only pick was Thor 2. That and the new Captain America are the only two we haven’t seen yet. And S.H.I.E.L.D. is KILLING me every week. Most of the season was “good”, but didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat.  Good guys always winning will do that. But when the world fell apart due to Hydra, and Ward ends up being a bad guy, wooHOO is it getting GOOD! And I can’t believe there’s only a couple left until the end of the season!

6. Speaking of TV, we unfortunately pay a lot of money for it. Too much money, in my opinion. I’ve been researching options for cheaper viewing. Our two year contract with FIOS is up mid-July, so I have a little time, but not much. Between the two DVR’s and the package, we are paying almost $100 each month. With all the internet-based options out there, I want to get rid of FIOS and try something else. Suggestions anyone? (ditto for the landline phone!)

7. A family member is having a wedding later this month. We are not in the wedding (although Jim is going a reading)…we are merely attending the wedding. Clothes (it’s cocktail attire), gifts, hotel…So far we have spent $745. It’s insane. I’m not complaining, but I can’t imagine how much people who are IN the wedding are spending!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Kids

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I’ll start with a familiar phrase: I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! This is busy time at our household–school and after-school stuff, paperwork, taxes, etc. The blog tends to go to the bottom of the list and then off the list completely. But I’ll at least try to keep up with 7QT’s from now on.

2. It’s been one heck of a week here. Let’s start with the dog, Jake. He has a partially torn ACL (ligament in the knee). Thankfully it’s only partially torn, because otherwise it’s a $2000 surgery. Now it’s the nigh-on-impossible task of keeping him quiet (as I type he and Coco are wrestling in the living room) for at least a month. We are opting to get a brace, which will basically immobilize the joint and make it easier to heal while having normal life at the same time. But the appointment is two weeks away and then the brace takes two weeks to make after that. So, yeah, we’ve got to find a crate somewhere, or the partial tear is going to be full.

3. Let’s move onto the 1st child, Bennett, who went to the pediatrician first thing Monday morning with what ended up being walking pneumonia. He’s on Albuterol, Azithromycin, Robotussin with Codeine  and a humidifier. Holy COW can that kid cough loudly! He’s actually had to sleep downstairs a few times this week so the other kids could sleep. Thankfully, he seems to be on the mend. Also thankfully we are doing cyber school so he hasn’t missed one day. If he was in traditional school he would definitely have missed several!

4. 2nd child, Catie, was eating Fun Dip…you remember it from when you were a kid, right? Paper pouches of powder with a white candy stick you dip in..yeah. that. Well, she bit on the stick Wednesday night and broke a molar. Whoa. First thing Thursday we went to a not-so-close branch of our her dentist, who looked at the tooth and thankfully determined it was a baby tooth, and that it need to be pulled. But they didn’t have any availability for a few days. Our regular branch didn’t have any availability for a WEEK. Enter yet another branch, who could fit us in that afternoon. Drove home, took the kids out to lunch (more on this later), then later that afternoon got her tooth pulled out in three pieces. Her adult tooth was well above the gum line, so the tooth would have come out soon anyway. Dodged a bit of a bullet on that one!

5. So. Lunch. With Bennett and Laura doing cyber school, I try to be a nice mom here and there and take them out for either lunch or a special snack. They don’t buy lunches at school anymore, so I try to make up for it a bit. I gave in to peer pressure and we went to Chili’s. I had them order off kids’ menus, but learned the hard way that, unfortunately, we have hit the sad milestone of kid menus no longer filling up my older kids’ stomachs. We got some extra fries to help, but from now on they will have to get regular meals. 😦

6. If any of you watch The Chica Show, you actually have seen one of my kids. There was an episode called Chica’s Sense-sational Day, and had a blind boy using a cane, meeting Bunji and getting a hat. That, dear readers, was my Ethan! It was on NBC last week, but has been on Sprout in reruns for a long time. Catie and I are in the background very, very quickly. I’m in a peach top and Catie is dressed like a cow.

7. After a winter for the record books, Spring has FINALLY reached Pennsylvania.  We had tons of rain earlier this week, which washed away the last of the snow. Temperatures are regularly in the 50’s, although we keep having rain and lots of mud. We just saw the first crocuses on our front hill, but haven’t seen any grape hyacinths, which usually pepper our front lawn. Birds are regularly chirping and it’s actually starting to FEEL like winter is over. We are very, VERY thankful.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Health, Kids, School, Sick

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday


Last week’s #1 topic was my sickness. If you are grossed out by grossness, don’t read this week’s #1.

1. So last Friday I posted that I was on Day 14 of being sick. I hadn’t gone to the doctors, not because I’m anti-doctor, but because it really just felt like an annoyingly long virus that I needed to last through. Saturday morning, though, I got up and took a shower. I felt worse–like my health was going downhill instead of up. I blew my nose and it was BRIGHT (like the 7 Quick Takes label bright) yellow. YUCK. I went to walk-in hours at my doctors and lo and behold! I had a sinus infection! WooHoo! Z-pack to the rescue! (I’m allergic to penicillin).

2. Within 48 hours of starting the Z-pack I felt like a different person. My voice was back, instead of sounding like someone who had smoked for 75 years. I wasn’t coughing all day every day. My energy was back. I would say that today, Day 21, that I’m at 95%. I’m still needing to keep tissue boxes handy, but I cleaned and vacuumed the living room yesterday AND started washing the couch cushion upholstery that got chicken broth spilled on it on Day TWO of this whole fiasco.

3. I’m not one to talk about products (no one is paying me for it!), but I wanted to gush a little bit this morning about a new hair care product we just stumbled upon. I got a free sample in the mail yesterday of Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. It’s AMAZING. Our daily issue is Laura’s hair. She got my curls and Jim’s crazy-thick hair. This has been the bane of our mornings for YEARS. We’ve been working with a stylist with a good cut, growing it out to try and pull some of the curl down (so far that’s not working!) and trying product after product. Before we found this, gel seemed to be the best answer, except it left her hair sticky or crunchy, neither of which is good. This morning she showered and toweled dry her hair. I put the conditioner in and blew it dry a little on low (because she was leaving the house and it’s 10 degrees out!). Her hair looks, feels and smells AMAZING. I’m already trying to find it online (WalMart carries it, but not in our local store). If you have thick and curly hair, I HIGHLY recommend this!

4. I ventured out after our snowstorm to Bella Med Spa for my consult and first laser hair treatment. After talking with the technician, I opted not to do my upper lip. There wasn’t enough dark hair to see a good return for the money. The technician said some people think it feels like tweezing (no big deal) and others feel like it’s needles being stuck into the follicles. I unfortunately fell into the latter category. She rubbed an ice cube on a part of my chin and then immediately lasered it. OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH. And that was on a low setting! I smelled a burning hair smell (lovely) and managed to just grit my teeth and bear it. After 2 hours there was no pain or itching and the spot just felt like my chin again. It’s worth it to me, in the end, for no daily plucking.  I go again March 7th.

5. The above-mentioned snowstorm netted our area about 8-10 inches and two snow days. We are now up to four snow days and I’m guessing they are going to start taking days from their spring vacation. Which is already short. Another reason to like cyber school. No snow days!

6. Jim and I were talking yesterday about weather in general, and how the weather channel tries to hoop everything into a bigger deal than it really is. Naming a winter storm, for heavens sake! I’m 45 and still can remember days out at the bus stop waiting in single digit weather. Or in the snow. Sure it was freezing (literally!), but it was winter and you dealt with it. Now it’s a polar vortex and Winter Storm Janus and we must FREAK OUT ABOUT IT. Oh brother!

7. I emailed Catie’s every day teacher and her gifted teacher, asking them if they would fill out teacher recommendations for the application process for the gifted program of PALCS. I haven’t heard back yet from her regular teacher, because she’s out sick. Her gifted teacher’s response was as follows (direct quote):

“Thank you for thinking of me with your request.  Unfortunately I will not be able to help you.  I am not a proponent of charter schools and can not support one.  I wish Catie the best of luck as she continues her schooling and will be happy to help you in the future if it doesn’t require that I aid a charter school.”

Wow. Just…..Wow. I instead emailed her teacher from last year and she was quick to respond that she was thrilled to give Cate the recommendation she needed.