Monday, June 22, 2009

Ode to the porcelain throne


Ode to the Porcelain Throne
-by Sarah English

The throne of peace has been invaded
By my children three.
My sanctuary midst chaos
Is now a used-to-be.

Some how the wee ones have radar
That tell them when I have sat down.
They run to the door with lightning speed
Trying to knock it down.

A fight had broke out!
Someone's not fair!
I need chocolate milk!
He's pulling my hair!

I'm hungry and you're tho only one
Who is able to toast some bread!
I've fallen down, I'm bleeding!
And now there's a bump on my head!

Mommy! The chorus shouts.
When are you ever going to come out!?
We are waiting here, watching the door
And soon we will start to pout.

I sigh a goodbye
To these stolen moments alone.
A deep breath, a last glance,
Farewell to my porcelain throne.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers are so special

Ahh, Fathers day!
There are 3 men who have shaped so much of who I am and what my life is about.


My dad is a truly amazing person. He has somehow learned and perfected the gift of bringing out the best in those who are around him. People gravitate to him like the moon to the sun. (No wonder so many women are knocking down his door!) My dad sees the best in people and makes you believe that maybe, just maybe all that he sees in you might really be there. He has a great sense of humor and is probably the best natured person I have ever met. We tease him relentlessly and he takes it with a smile. I hope that he knows how much we love him and how irreplaceable that he is.


John, Jonathon's dad has been in my life the shortest amount of time, but he has still made a huge impact. He is thoughtful and caring and selfless. Every time he has come to our house, he has followed the old scout saying and has "left it better than he found it." We have a swing set that is played on every day, walls in the basement, painted garage doors and too many other projects to mention that have improved our lives. I remember a few years ago driving back from Cades Cove in the Smokies with him. I don't know if he was feeling especially talkative or if the mountains had rekindled his memories, but I learned so much from his stories of when he was a little boy and a young man. He told stories of when he was a scout and his years at scout camp and how he became a doctor. That was a priceless ride that I will never forget.


I save the best for last because the father of my children is the most important man in my life. Jonathon is an amazing dad. Every day he is asked to "jump" or "swing" or "play ball" or "play a game" or just "do something with me." Often before he even gets out of the car he is bombarded with requests just to be with one of his children, or even me. He is the funnest dad on the block. Every child my kids know wants to be at the pool with Jonathon, or Jump with Cedar's dad, or play with him too. I am eternally thankful for him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gardens Alive!

A few pictures to let the kids show off their gardens. We didn't plant sunflowers this year. We are concentrating on only edible plants. (Yes, I know, you can eat sunflowers, you know what I mean!) with a few stray morning glories that must have gone to seed and sprouted without our help. So far we have harvested more bags of lettuce than we can eat, 3 cucumbers and bowls full of blackberries.

I am hoping that we can get enough cucumbers when we are back from Utah to make green stuff. There is nothing quite like it in the stores.
Aspens cucumbers are going to have no place to go in a few more days. In a day or two, we should be well on our way to at least a cucumber or two a day from her garden alone.
Olive's garden has been the slowest to get going, but her tomato plant finally got a few little baby tomatoes, the yellow squash is big but no squash yet, and her cucumbers look like they might rival Aspens given the chance and a little time.

: italic;">Cedar's garden has a few little baby zuchini and lots of green tomatoes. I think I may need to bottle tomatoes this year. It already looks like we are going to have them comming out of our ears!

The harvest! (So far!)
Cucumbers a'la Olive

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Laundry


How many loads of wash does the average mom do in her lifetime? Do you think that Grandma Loveridge has reached 1,000,000 loads yet? These were my thoughts a few minutes ago as I was... you guessed it, doing laundry.

I was excited for the winter laundry to end. Sweatshirts and jeans and buckets of socks. Summer, I thought would be much easier. Shorts and t-shirts, swimsuits and blessed be the flip-flops... No socks! (Remember when those used to be called thongs? Jonathon had a funny thing happen with that little mix up many years ago. You should ask him about it one day.)

Now that we are in full summer laundry mode, I have found, that this season too, more so than last year, has it's laundry set backs. It's true that I have very few socks comparatively speaking,) and most of those are Jonathon's, so they are easy to fold. But with the swimsuit season comes multiple, and really, I mean multiple changes of clothes. Get up, get dressed, oh! Lets jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler on! Take off clothes, put on swimsuit. That was fun! Get dressed, in DIFFERENT clothes, Oh, it's hot and a friend invited us to her pool! Off goes the clothes again, on goes a swimsuit (probably a different one too!) Back from friends pool, new clothes again. Swim team time, suit back on, clothes left on the floor. Home from swim team, new clothes again. Bath time and jammies. Lets not forget that for each time a swim suit was put on a towel was also used. X's that by 3 kids and that just about equals 3 loads in one day.

Obviously, the answer is to install locks on the dressers and closets so that I can be in strict control of the number of changes of clothes they are allowed each day. I am looking into locks this afternoon...

Or, consider this little dilemma. You (when I say that, I really mean I...) put a load of white under garments in to wash. It is Saturday morning and you (I) would really like to get caught up so that something fun could be done during the day. Well, fun presents itself a little earlier than you know and you're out the door. Laundry still in the washing machine. Soon it is Saturday night and the laundry is long forgotten. Sunday comes and goes and because we don't do work on Sunday, the laundry couldn't possibly get done today. Then Monday is here and it is gone too. Finally, with laundry baskets overflowing, Tuesday is the get it done day. Without much thought, the whites that have sat in the washer for so long finally get dried and eventually folded and put away. Well, the next day, you (I) put on one of the said under garments and then head out in the hot sun and start to sweat a bit. EWWW! What is that smell. And then, to your (my) horror you realize that it is you, wearing stinky clothes. The procrastination of the weekend has finally caught up.

That's where I was a little while ago when I started thinking about laundry. Rewashing clean, but stinky clothes that I had left in the wash too long. I guess procrastination really doesn't pay.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Aspen



Aspen has had a memorable first almost month of summer. First she lost another tooth. I didn't even realize that this one was loose enough to fall out. She just came down stairs after flossing her teeth shouting, "I pulled it out! I pulled it out!" She really wanted to show Olive and Cedar so she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy asking if she could keep the tooth to show them. They were both asleep when it happened.

Next is that Aspen's garden, her "salad" is flourishing. I have planted lettuce several times, but all it ever was was food for the bugs and then it went to seed. But this year! Oh my goodness! Of the 3 heads that Aspen planted we have had salad, on sandwiches and this morning we picked the rest, three bags full because I am afraid it will go to seed before we can pick it off a few leaves at a time.

The most exciting thing so far though was last Thursday's swim meet. The meet that almost didn't happen. We had had a crazy wind, thunder and rain storm at 3:30pm. I told Aspen that there was no way they would go forward with the meet. We were supposed to be there by 4:00 to warm up. We loaded up and drove over in the rain and thunder. I had the kids leave most of their stuff at home because I figured we would just turn around and come home. I was very wrong! We hung around at the pool waiting and waiting for them to cancel until finally they said it was on. There would be no warm up, but we would still compete. Jonathon came from work and I hurried and ran to the store to get dinner and snacks before Aspen swam. She competed in the freestyle getting 3rd,

the medley relay finishing with her swimming the last leg and passing the other team to put them in first.

She swam the backstroke and placed 4th or 5th. It was too close to tell.

Then her freestyle relay took 2nd. Jonathon's comment at the end was that he didn't expect it to be so fun! It was a lot of fun and Aspen did great!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Journal Jar

Today's question is what do you do to save money?

On this one, I think I'm my mom's girl through and through. I learned to shop at Mom and Grandma's heels. "Sale" is a word I learned at a very young age. I remember my mom used to make my clothes. I remember a pair of nickers that I had to have. They were corduroy. I don't remember the color, but my mom made them for me. I remember her cursing that "Next time I'll just buy them." Because she broke so many needles while sewing them.

Well, I'm not much of a seamstress, and fabric is not so cheap, but I do have a few things that I do to save money.

First, though I am not as good as I would like to be, and this one goes up and down on my to do list, but I will often make a menu. I hate shopping at Wal-mart, so I stick to my favorite grocery store and plan around the meats or veggies that are on sale. When I make a menu, I usually spend 35% less on food than without one.

Next, I take out a certain amount of $ each paycheck in cash for food and other things that I buy a lot. When it's gone, it's gone. Even though we had the same budget for each pay period, when I used the debit card instead of cash, I almost always went over.

One of the ways I save, is when I take out that cash, I will "hide" $20, or $50, or even $100 away so I don't have it with me in my purse, so I can't spend it. This is what we use (first) when we go on vacation. Also, that 35% that I save with the menu, I hide.

I love, well, not love, but I like to go to garage sales, sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I get stuff that I don't need and don't even want after I get it home. But, then there is the times when I feel like I made up for that with some great finds. I get a lot of clothes from garage sales. I feel fine about washing them and I spend a ton less $ on kids clothes that way. I felt like I found one of those "finds" about a month ago. There was a sale that had exactly Cedar's size clothes. I totally outfitted him, in name brand clothes for the summer, for $13.00! And I have already lamented about dresses for Aspen. Yesterday I got her 3 really cute dresses for $2.00 each. I don't get all of their clothes that way, but if it's in good shape, I love it!

Notice that we now have a piano bench. This is my latest garage sale treasure!

Another thing. This doesn't seem like it would work, but it does. I have always saved Aspen's clothes (that aren't destroyed) for Olive. Then we will go "box shopping" before each season. Some day, Olive may have a complex about this, but until then... Anyway, a few years ago, one of the families that Jonathon home teaches fell on hard times. They have 4 little girls (now) 6 and under and 2 step sons. One visit Jonathon made he asked the normal, "Is there anything that we can help you with? Any thing that you need?" They said that if we had any hand-me-down clothes that their girls are all growing out of their stuff. When Jonathon got home and told me I thought that I could probably part with some. Maybe my least favorite things. As I got going through the stuff, my least favorite things didn't add up to much, and it looked really pathetic. I was being selfish and stingy. I had already saved a lot of money with clothes this way and I hated to think of what I would do in 6 months or a year when I needed those clothes. But, I have been taught better than that. Nobody in my family, or Jonathon's are selfish or stingy, so I decided that I didn't want to be either. I packed up everything except a few sentimental pieces and we ended up giving them many large bags of clothes and shoes. The mom of the family was really grateful and I felt good too. The part that is amazing to me though, that makes me feel like I am being taken care of, especially without being selfish with my stuff is that ever since I have started doing that, each season giving the kids clothes that they outgrow to either that family or another one with a little boy. We have never had to worry about clothes. It's like our little ward out here started, without even realizing it, a hand-me-down circle. I give to these families, but these other families give to us. Just last week, a friend of mine who has a 10 year old daughter gave Aspen a huge bag of clothes, some of them barely worn. Not to mention that they moved their daughter from a twin bunk beds to a full or queen bed, so they sent all of these really cute linens and pottery barn quilts and duvet covers. Olive keeps getting hand-me-downs from about 5 of my friends. She has so much that when my mom called to ask her size for something, I had to tell her not to get it, her closet is overflowing! So my suggestion for saving $$ is to be generous. We all know someone who has a child littler than ours. Ask them if they want your hand-me-down clothes, toys, whatever you are getting rid of. I don't know how many computers Jonathon has fixed up and then given away. But someone probably needs what you don't want.

Lastly. (Are you relieved that I am almost done?) Plant a garden! Even a little one in a swimming pool!Peas, fresh from the garden this morning. They make a yummy breakfast for my excited little farmers!
Aspen's lettuce has really flourished this year!
She is growing quite the salad!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

5K


Today was the day. Way back, on my 100th post day I committed to loosing some weight and running a 5K. I wanted to do it in May, but May is really busy! It worked out perfectly that there was a race this morning here in Morristown, so I signed up! I've really been trying to get ready for this. My biggest problem being that I love to go to the gym and run on the treadmill while my kids are having a great time in the child care. It's not the same as running outside. I am totally addicted to the treadmill's timer, MPH, etc... Not to mention the fact that there is a mindless movie going in front of me so I don't have to think about what I'm doing. But, it's been working and I have been loosing weight and I feel like I'm in better shape.

I was really nervous this morning. I heard someone saying, "I want to break 18 today." OK, I really hoped I wasn't last. There are no roses for last in this race. I have run outside a total of 1 time before today. (In the last little while that is.) I know what 3.2 miles on a treadmill looks like, but what does it look like on the road?

There were a lot of people there for a little Morristown race. The start was a lot of fun. I wasn't out of breath yet and you are running with this big pack of people behind a police car. It didn't take too long for all of the 18min. people to get pretty far ahead, but it wasn't until after 1.5 miles that it really started to thin out. The last mile had awful uphills. Although for Morristown, they were barely inclines, but for me, I thought I was going to die! Thankfully the last 1/4 mile was a little downhill and flat so I didn't pass out. The kids really wanted to run the last little bit with me, so Jonathon took them to very near the finish line and they ran.

It was a lot of fun, and I want to do the next one that is in Morristown, in August. It is a trail run. I think I should run outside a few more times before I attempt it though!

I almost forgot the good news. I finished a lot faster than I thought! Faster than I do, even on the treadmill!

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