Thursday, October 29, 2009
What?! Excuse me?! That is your response?! You have got to be kidding me!
I politely but curtly said that my car clock is set to local time and temperature, and perhaps they might want to consider making sure their clocks are set to that as well to avoid future discrepancies regarding accurate time. She assured me they had done so already this morning after my call.
To her pointed comment about people waiting until the last minute, I was seething, but responded that I do not close my preschool until 5:30 and that my husband was not at home so I had to bring both my boys under the age of 2 with me. It took me a few minutes to get out the door, a few minutes to get to the library, and a few minutes to get them both out of the car, but that I was at the door at 5:53 and was unable to be served. I had not intended to wait until the last minute. In fact, I had actually tried to get the books the night before, but was unable to make it until 7:45 the previous night (on Tues and Thurs they close at 8) and a librarian was standing guard at the front door, shooing people out and not allowing new patrons inside, so I didn't bother to get out of the car since that night I had not requested the books yet and I would have had to search for them myself.
Her attitude was that of making an obligatory phone call, but not caring much about my experience. She was in a hurry to get "call disgruntled library patron" checked off her to do list for the day as she rushed me off the phone and talked over me when I replied to her comments. Her apology was insincere and her reasons for her employees' actions were weak. I'm all the more irritated and fired up to write a letter, but based on the comments I received on my last blog post, I'm thinking I need to take time to get my facts straight first, and possibly find out who the chain of command is and who to write to (if I decide to do that) before I publicly attack the library. I feel validated knowing that so many people share my concerns and frustrations, so thank you for that!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
-Though I live a stone's throw (literally) from the city of Saginaw limits (in Fort Worth) and within about 3 miles of the library, I have to pay a yearly non-residents' fee to use the city of Saginaw library. The closest Ft Worth library to me is over 10 miles and through heavy traffic.
-You can only borrow DVDs for a day and the late fines are ridiculous!
-You can only check out 5 hardback books, but all the children's books are hardback, so if you are a teacher, tough luck, you only get 5.
-They are closed on Mondays!!
-The summer reading program for kids was weak.
-They do not have a computer system in place that allows for requesting books to be held, I have to call every time.
-When they say their hours are until 6:00, that really means 5:50. I showed up tonight at 5:53 to pick up books that were already at the counter on hold for me, and the doors were locked. A worker looked right at me and ignored me. There I was at the door with my 2 kids under the age of 2, needing those books for my lesson tomorrow, and nope, can't get in.
-They say they will pull books and hold them for you if you request it, but when you do request it, they think of every reason in the book not to be able to do it. "We're too busy today." "We're shorthanded." I understand telling me that every once in a while, but I have gotten this response at least 7 times. Fine, just fine, I'll let my 2 year old run rampant in the library since I am usually a single mom and have him (and Sam) with me - which is why I can't go find my own books -then the crotchety old library ladies can reshelve all the books he pulls off the shelf!!
I know there are more reasons I am angry, but I can't think of any right now and I need to go do laundry. Should I write the letter?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
1. I'm LONELY!! Ben is always gone and I'm bored and I love my children and my home, but I am ready to get away from both for a while!! Plus, I have no one to talk to. I'm around kids all day and get very little adult interaction!!
2. I'm frustrated with the weight loss plateau I'm on. Okay, well, that isn't exactly true; I am losing, but it is taking FOREVER!!! I hate feeling so pudgy and out of shape! I hate that most of my jeans make me look like a streetwalker when I try to get into them, so I don't and just look fat in other pants. Dresses are good, I should just wear dresses...
3. I found out about something not-so-good that had been going on that I didn't know about, and it is partly my fault becuse I had failed to take care of something and partly my fault for being so naive and trusting. Now I am embarrassed that I was so blind. I feel really stupid, even though it really isn't that big of a deal.
4. I'm stressed about handling so many responsibilities on my own all the time! AND worried that I may not be balancing them all very well.
5. Happy and empowered - well, that is because I was at the gym running myself skinny on the elliptical and I was jamming to a song I liked on my MP3 and feeling strong and confident.
Hmmm...I should live at the gym.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Baked Potato Soup
1 1/2 cans of chicken broth
1/2 cup of water
1 TBSP minced onion
5 TBSP butter, melted
5 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups half and half
1/8 tsp oregano
4 cups cubed potatoes with or without skin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp parsley
In a large pan, mix broth, water, oregano and parsley. Bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes and add melted butter. Stir in flour slowly. Add salt and pepper. Add half and half.
Cook until bubbly. Add potatoes. Cook until done over low to medium heat, and stir occasionally. If you cook too fast, the soup will burn before the potatoes are done. Garnish with chopped onion, crisp cooked bacon and grated cheese.
2 cups Bisquick
3/4 cup buttermilk (or the milk/vinegar substitute, but it isn't as good)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 TBSP of butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I prefer using garlic salt because the powder flavor is too strong for me)
1/4 tsp dried parsley, crushed fine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick, milk, and cheese in a medium bowl. Mix by hand until well combined. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 3 TBSP each) and spoon onto a lightly greased or nonstick cookie sheet. Flatten each biscuit a bit with your fingers.
Bake for 18-20 min or until the tops of the biscuits begin to brown. In a small bowl, combine the butter with the garlic powder. Heat this mixture for 30 seconds in the microwave, then brush a light coating over the top of each biscuit immediately after removing them from the oven. Sprinkle a dash of parsley over the top of each biscuit.
Great for eating while cheering on your favorite football team! ENJOY!! ;)
Jackson and Samson at the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago.
Here is a brief run-down of what is going on/coming up for the Blake family!
In true Fall spirit, we have recently visited both a Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch and Boo at the Zoo. Then last night we went to our ward's Trunk or Treat. We got there late because we were coming from a baby shower for a good friend, but Jackson was excited to once again don his Spiderman costume and say "Twicka Tweet!!" When we came home from the zoo, he kept requesting his candy bucket, saying, "I want my Twicka Tweet, Mama!" Unfortunately I have yet to capture the boys in their Halloween costumes, but Jackson is Spiderman and Samson is Superman. I wanted to get him a costume that was a little more unique, but he was SOOOO excited to be Spiderman, and after all it is HIS Halloween experience, not mine, so I relented. We did see about 10 other Spidermen at Boo at the Zoo though. Jackson was the cutest though, but of course, I am biased, haha.
Ben finished up his Internal Medicine rotation which was an extremely hard rotation for us. He starts Surgery on Monday which he is both excited for and nervous about. He is afraid he is going to love surgery and want to go into that field, but he doesn't want to love it because a surgeon's work schedule is not conducive to a lot of family time. He starts out in Orthopedic Surgery, then he does Vascular Surgery, then finishes up in General Surgery right before Christmas Break. He gets 2 weeks off for Christmas, but I doubt he gets any time off for Thanksgiving, so it looks like the boys and I will be venturing off to Galveston alone this year. Good thing there will be plenty of family around to help me! It is always hard to spend time in a house not baby (or toddler) friendly. The amount of things I will have to pack to salvage some semblance of a vacation for me endangers the level of space we will have in the Jeep!
Samson turned 5 months last Thursday. He is very close to being able to sit up on his own now. He can hold himself up, but he leans too far forward and gets angry because he isn't quite strong enough to sit himself back up straight. I also moved his bath location to the tub now, and I just lay him down in a very low level of water. Like Jackson did, he enjoys being surrounded by the water and having his legs free to kick and explore it.
Samson can also roll over both ways and scoot himself around a little on his blanket to get the toys he wants. He can't really crawl, but he finds a way to get what he wants. The other day I started group time with Samson in the living room on his tummy playing with some toys. We started group time and our songs, and he began to protest from the other room that we were having fun without him. By the time I got back in there to check on him a few minutes later he had somehow managed to position himself facing the doorway to the playroom several feet away from the blanket. It was as if he had decided that if I wasn't going to come get him despite his vehement demands, he was going to find a way to get in there himself! (He really likes to sit in the doorway to the playroom in his Exersaucer and watch the kids play, but lately, I have been trying to keep him separate from them as much as possible since we have had swine flu and strep throat going around.)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This blog is for the sole purpose of documenting this funny story since I am so bad about keeping up with baby booking or scrapbooking.
Last night we were watching Monsters vs. Aliens in the living room as a family. Jackson was cuddled up with me on the couch. ("I wanna lay down too-oo!") Suddenly, he turned to me and animatedly said, "Mama, I wanna show you sumtin! C'mere Mama, I wanna SHOOOW you sumtin!" With that he got up and ran into the playroom, looking behind him to make sure I was following. It was so cute that I had to get up and follow him and see what he was so excited to show me all of a sudden.
He ran all the way through the living room, into the playroom and to the other side of the playroom near the train table. I followed him, and as soon as I got to the train table, I said, "Okay, buddy, what do you want to show me?" He stood there for a second, giggled, and took off running past me, clambered up on the couch and laid down in my comfy spot!! Laughing heartily, he said, "MY BLANKY!" and covered himself in my blanket.
AAAHH! Outsmarted by my own 2-year old, hahahaha! Lil stinker stole my spot!! He had to have planned the whole thing out! There we were sitting on the couch and he must have thought, hmmm, this spot is nice and warm, but I sure would have more room to stretch out if I can get my Mama off the couch! How can I accomplish that? hahahahaha
**WARNING** The following section is a bragging zone! Blatant bragging will follow. :)
Here are a few things Jackson can do now:
1. Q: What is your name? A: My namis Jasson. Q: Jackson Garit Blake? A: No, my namis JASSON!
2. Q: How old are you, Jackson? A: I'm ("I") 2.
3. Q: Can you spell your name? A: J-A-C-K-S-O-N (sing-song)
4. Q: Whats your phone number? A: 817-238-**** (not gonna put my phone number on here, but it is cute because he says the sevens like "sebben".
5. The other day, I was in "trouble," and he told me to go to time out and started counting. When I count, I usually give him till 5 and then he gets a spanking, but Jackson kept counting unitl he hit 36. haha, I guess he is a more lenient disciplinarian than I am.
6. Tonight he brought all the kids center stars to the living room table. He was counting them (there were 5) and he picked one up, looked at it for a minute, and said, "Iss S's star (he actually said her name, but I don't want to name her here). That peaked my curiosity so I asked to find V's star. He looked at all the stars, picked the correct star, and said, "Right dare, iss V's star." We repeated this until he correctly recognized all the kids' stars!
7. He is able to do a lot of the work with letters that my preschoolers do, including cutting and pasting, although I only let him use scissors when I am right there to help him. (I don't let any of the kids use scissors unless I am at the table, too.)
8. I catch him "reading" all the time. One of his favs is "It Looked Like Spilt Milk." I'll catch him "reading" it to himself (recalling, really). "Sometimes it looked like an angel. But it wasn't an angel."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
At my last weigh in, I was 1.5 lbs away from my end of October goal! My total loss in pds since giving birth to Samson= 27.5 lbs!! I have to lose that last 1.5 lbs or I'm going to do something drastic!! It is getting tough to drag myself to the gym in the evenings because I'm not getting much sleep lately. Sam is teething and waking up multiple times in the night, then Jackson has been waking up early!! So I go to bed late, wake up several times, then get up early! After I close at 5:30, I make dinner, we eat, and by the time I'm ready to go anywhere it is 7:00 and I'm exhausted and the boys ideally need to get in the bath and start getting ready for bed at 7:45 (notice I said ideally, because that is SOOO not happening lately).
I only went to the gym twice last week, and I haven't been yet this week. I hope to go tonight but I have a few errands I HAVE to run, so I don't know if I'll have time.
My next goal is going to be to lose another ten lbs and be in the NEXT weight class AND to lose this stubborn belly fat, so focusing more on my abs than I have been. I'm giving myself until the end of the holiday season - January 31st because let's face it, I'm SO going to eat a bunch of junk and with all the travel, I may not get to stay on a workout schedule. If I can't lose 10 lbs in 3 months...well, I just will, that is all there is to it!! ;)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Color words - On Monday in group I wrote out my "Monday Morning Message" while the kids watched me. "Dear friends, Apples are red, yellow or green. Pumpkins are orange. Love, Mrs. Colleen" Then I asked them if they could help me find the color words in the message. I let a child find the word red (giving clues like it starts with a letter that says "rrr"), then the word green, then the word yellow, then word orange.
Arts and crafts - papier mache apples (balled up newspaper with papier mache (flour and water mixture) soaked paper towels, let dry for several days then paint desired color and hot glue a piece of stick on top for a stem. Warning - very messy!!), "stained glass" pumpkins (I drew out a pumpkin shape and cut out the middle so it was just an orange outline of a pumpkin. Then I cut a piece of clear contact paper to match my pumpkin shape and stuck it to the pumpkin outline. Kids stuck orange squares of tissue paper to the sticky contact paper and then I stuck them to the window for a Halloween decoration. This was easy - even Jackson could do this without assistance.)
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater - We discussed the rhyme, found the rhyming words (and played a rhyme game where I said a word and they had to make up a real word or a silly word that rhymes with my word.) then we found all the letter P words int he rhyme, sang our letter P song, acted out the rhyme with flannel board pieces. We talked about rhythm and how nursery rhymes and poems have rhythm, then we slapped our knees to a beat and read the rhyme to the beat. Later we did a story sequencing activity with the rhyme.
Using our 5 Senses and Prior Knowledge to Compare Apples and Pumpkins: What color is the apple? What color is the pumpkin? How do apples grow? (trees) How do pumpkins grow? (vine) Which is heavier? What does the apple smell like? What does the pumpkin feel like? What does the outside of the pumpkin feel like? What does the outside of the apple feel like? We opened up the pumpkin and the apple. What do the insides of the apple and pumpkin feel like? Are they the same? How are they different? Make a prediction: Which will have more seeds, the apple or the pumpkin? We scooped out all the seeds and put them in groups of ten. Then we counted by 10's to find out how many seeds were in our pumpkin. They got bored after we got to 270 seeds and so we quit counting. :)
Decorating mini pumpkins - Mummy - you can use sterile gauze or cheesecloth. I used sterile gauze because it was easier to find, but I cut it to be half the width. We wrapped it around the pumpkin and used to glue to keep it in place and added googly eyes. Spider - we painted the pumpkin with black acrylic paint and let it dry during naptime, then added black pipe cleaner legs and multiple googly eyes.
Next week when we learn about Spiders and Bats, we will use our cute spider as a story starter during group time when we make up our own story about a spider. We will also do various activities with the Anansi the Spider legends, The Very Busy Spider book by Eric Carle, the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet, and the song The Itsy Bitsy Spider. We will also learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction by reading several non-fiction books about bats and spiders to compile facts about each, then reading fiction books and discussing how the books were different. We will write our spider facts on a large newspaper stuffed spider and then display the spider in a fake web in the corner of the playroom. We will write our bat facts on a large newspaper stuffed bat and hang it from the playroom ceiling. We will also continue to focus on color words (black, brown) and the letters S and B, and the number 8. Our arts and crafts will be turning a black tagboard number 8 into a spider with 8 pipecleaner legs and 8 googly eyes.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I was walking on a path. I knew it wasn't the right path for my destination, but I didn't care. I chose the path, but I suspected it was taking me away from where I was supposed to go. I stayed on it. I knew there was another path, a better path that was for sure going to take me where I was supposed to go, but I wasn't sure how to get to it and I knew it would be difficult if I tried to. I decided not to try. I kept walking on the path I had chosen, but the way became wet and muddy. My feet stuck in the mud with every step, but I kept walking. It got dark and I couldn't see far ahead of me anymore, but still I kept walking. Then, when it became most difficult for me to continue walking, I fell into a dark, muddy hole. I was stuck. I couldn't get out by myself. The hole was too deep.
Being stubborn as I am, I was determined to climb myself out. I tried several ways to get out, but all of them failed. Suddenly I felt very alone and the enormity of the situation became unbearable and for a moment, I gave up. Then I heard a voice above me telling me how to get out. I wasn't alone after all! I had to make an effort to follow the directions I was being given, and a few times I slid back into the hole a little, but I kept trying. The voice stayed with me, encouraging me, and I kept following the directions until I was most of the way out of the hole and then a hand reached out and helped me the rest of the way up. The voice had saved me!
He helped me find the right path, the path I should have chosen in the first place, and he stayed with me. It got light again and this path was easier to walk upon. I wasn't alone on this path. People I loved walked with me, and as long as I stayed on this path, my Savior never left me. He was always right there walking beside me, giving me directions to my destination.
I never wanted to leave my path again because I knew that other path was out there, and if I didn't follow directions, I might accidentally stumble upon it again and become lost or even fall back into the hole. On this path I was safe.
I put my Fall wreath on the front door.
I changed my blog background from a summery one to a Fall one.
I made pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies.
I pulled warm weather and too small (or too big in my case...YIPPEE!) clothes out of our closets and then bought some Fall clothes for the boys and for me.
Then today I made chicken and dumplings (a family fav - recipe below) to welcome Ben home from a 30 hour shift and warm us up while we watch the Cowboys game.
I'm ready!! Bring on the FALL!!
Easy Chicken and Dumplings
whole fryer chicken (without neck and giblets)
4-5 medium potatoes - peeled and chopped into medium chunks
Cheap Refrigerated Biscuits
In a pot filled with enough water to cover the chicken, boil on medium-high heat a whole fryer chicken (without neck and giblets) for about an hour to an hour and 1/2. Pull the chicken out to cool.
Dump 4 cups of chopped potato in boiling chicken broth. Boil the potatoes until softened (but not mushy) about 15-20 min. While potatoes are boiling, debone chicken and cut into chunks or shred. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and add to the pot with softened potatoes and broth. Spread out biscuits on a cutting board and roll them out. Run a knife over flattened biscuits to slice into chunks for dumplings. Add dumplings one-by-one to boiling broth mix.
In a glass jar with a lid, add 1/3 c of milk, 1/3 c of flour, salt and pepper. Close lid and shake vigorously. Add to broth mix to thicken.
Note: You should add the chicken, biscuits and flour mixture in quick succession or the potatoes get too soft.
Should serve about 6-8 people.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Today I am watching more DVR'd conference and I just finished Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk which made some comparisons between our relationship with the Lord and a parent's relationship with their child. My mind has been in this vein of thinking of late.
I was reminded of a long drive last week where my mind wandered to thinking about my children and inwardly smiling (as they were in the backseat asleep) as I thought about something funny Jackson had done that day and longed to get home and cuddle up with Sam in our big chair. I thought, "Is it possible for me to love my children any more?" as my chest swelled with love and pride. Then a thought, not of my own, came to me, "Do you love the Lord more than you love your children?" (I also came to the conclusion that I could be guilty of being too proud of my children. I would hate to have to be humbled in that area because my pride has swelled to a sinful level.)
Immediately I shrunk down in the seat of my car as some examples came to me.
I always read a book to Jackson and later check on both boys before I go to sleep. Do I always read my scriptures and say goodnight to the Lord through prayer before I go to sleep?
My boys are in my constant thoughts - How can I be a better mother, a better teacher? Is the Lord in my constant thoughts? Do I actively look for ways to be a better daughter, a better learner?
I think about how to teach my children to love the Lord, serve Him, and build a relationship with him, but I don't always do that for myself.
I make sure my children are fed. Do I always feed His sheep?
Food for thought for me...
Elder Oaks talk went in a different direction but it got me thinking a lot. It was really good. Here is a link in case you didn't get to hear it.
I am doing good with working out, even tho now I can only work out after a long day and I am usually exhausted. I still somehow manage to get myself up to the gym and get in a workout about 3x a week. After all, it is usually the only me time I get all week long now that Ben is working at the hospital so much. I still have a few pounds to go to get back into the 140's, but I have given myself an ultimatum. Either get there before the end of October or drastic measures will have to be taken. I cannot afford to go buy new jeans and I can only fit decently into one or two pairs right now, so it is time to just get it done. Just Do It!! (to borrow a phrase from Nike and Pres Hinckley).
Another issue is this belly fat. It doesn't seem like it hung in there this long last time. Hmmm...Last time I did a lot more Pilates and I did 200 crunches a night with my ab roller while watching TV after I put Jack to bed, but now we have our bedroom TV in the loft instead and it is right outside Jack's bedroom. I'm afraid that would be too loud. Plus, it seems that with two kids, by the time I get them both down for the night, I am pooped myself and not really motivated to get on the ab roller. I'll have to figure out a new plan that works for me.
Anyway, little by little, I am making progress!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Jackson and Addy watering the flowers in Sara's backyard.
Riding the carousel at the zoo, Jackson's first carousel ride. He did NOT want to get off his horse.
I pushed the double stroller around at the zoo with Samson strapped to my chest. It was exhausting, but we all had so much fun!!
Playing together in the playroom. These 2 kiddos were like 2 peas in a pod. Addy was a great big sister figure for Jackson; he hero-worshipped her and wanted to do whatever she was doing. She was kind and fair with him. It was sweet to see them get so close because they live 5 hours apart and don't see each other often.
See below for recent pics of Jackson and Samson...
Why is he wearing a Mr. Potato Head Santa beard, you might wonder? We wondered that for a while, too, until one day he was frantically looking for his "facemask" and couldn't find it. My goofy kid! Now he won't ever watch football with daddy without his football and his "facemask".
Stuffing his face with his favorite, Cheetos, on our zoo trip picnic with his cousin Addy.
See the next post for pics of Sam...
Pre-teething drool...This was such a funny face, but it came out blurry. This is how we will tell their baby pics apart. Sam always has his hand in his mouth, while Jackson was a pacifier baby until 6 mos when he decided he wanted nothing more to do with it. Sam rarely will take a pacifier. He prefers his hand. I think he'll be a thumb sucker, but he comes by it honestly. I still can't keep my hands out of my mouth. I am a nail biter.
Sam loves the Exersaucer. He babbles at the toys and reaches out for them. He likes to be facing the kids tho. He wants to be able to play AND see the action around him.
In the last 3 weeks or so, he has started to roll over from back to front and front to back. He now chooses to sleep on his tummy. I'm loving it because he sleeps deeper than way, and that means less interrupted sleep for ME! I thought this was a cute picture of him looking at the mirror on this toy.