Thursday, April 30, 2015

Books that I read for fun in April

Last year, I spent the last half of the year documenting the books that I read for fun.  I have decided that I need to continue that as reading is important part of how I relax. Books that I read for fun are books that I have not been asked to review and that I have chosen to read, well because I like to read.

I did get some things read this past month, maybe as an escape to all that is going on. I don't know. I have found that I am getting into trilogies and series....and so here is what I read for fun in April.... (Disclaimer: if you click on the book picture, it takes you to the page on Amazon.)





Here are the books I read for fun in:

March 2015
February 2015  
January 2015
Books from 2014

Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday odds and ends

I know, I know I have been a bad blogger....I get inspired, then I write....then I have no inspiration and life gets in the way and I don't know how to put my thoughts onto this here blog. Therefore today, I just have tidbits of this and that to share and that is okay....



First up....this has been a hard, emotional week for me. There are things going on involving decisions that need to be made and it is frustrating to me because it all comes down to finances and I am just ready to throw my arms up and say forget it. 

Source

Secondly....speaking of blogging, I have joined together with a bunch of other bloggers who have formed "Bloggers United" which is a group that is meant to help form a community of bloggers who support and comment on each other's blog to hopefully help each blogger make a little more money on their blog and just to be a supportive group. This group was founded by the lovely Sonya Ann over at "A Mom, Money and More." (You should go read her blog, it is fabulous!) and this group features many of the blogs on my blogroll. (I hope to have it updated soon with a new list of the blogs featured in Bloggers United. 


Thirdly....speaking of Sonya Ann, she is currently enjoying herself in Las Vegas (a place I have never been). While she is away she is hosting a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift code. If you want to go enter, please go here to do so....there are many different ways to get an entry into her giveaway! 




Fourthly and finally----it has been a long week and it is only Wednesday....I think that I would like some blueberry-pomegranate chocolate chunk ice cream that I bought earlier today....so I am off. Hope everyone has had a great Wednesday! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I decluttered all my clothes today...

Today started off good, then went bad, then went good again. 

My dear hubby let me sleep in for a bit. I had to get up around 10 as he had to leave at 10:30 to go to work. I felt off when I got up, but I think that is just because I am not used to sleeping in.... 

Then, I told Rebecca to go get her glasses on. She came to me and the screw in the side was almost out and the side was really loose. I got out my eyeglass kit and went to screw the screw back in and instead the screw fell out and I could not for the life of me get it to go back in or for the holes to even line up. I worked on that thing for over an hour to no avail. I was so frustrated.....

When Bill got back home he suggested we get the kids out of the house for a while. I think he really wanted to get me out of the house.... We went to Walmart to see if their vision center could fix Rebecca's glasses. Thankfully they were able to! YAY! While we were there, I picked up a tote to put camping supplies in and some new socks for Jacob and Rebecca. I think there is a sock monster here in our house because Jacob's socks keep disappearing. I found 4 packs of nice socks on clearance for $2.50. Yay! 



After Walmart, we went to Bob Evans for a late lunch. I had their blueberry brioche french toast. It was really yummy. The service there was lousy though, so I am not sure when/ if we will go back. 

When we came home, I decided to get something done. I had read an article that a friend posted on facebook about minimizing their wardrobe and cleaning out their closets. I had been thinking over the last several days that I have all these clothes and I don't wear most of them because I don't like how they look on me or they are too small, etc. So I decided to tackle my clothes. Here are my before pictures: 

dresser before

closet before (I share with dear Hubby)
 

I went through each dresser drawer and decluttered. Then I went through ALL the clothes and shoes in my closet and tossed the clothes I didn't want on the bed. 



I tried on each piece of clothing and each shoe. What I was left with, is clothes that I really like and will wear. I also ended up with a much neater closet and dresser AND 4 garbage bags FULL of clothes and shoes to donate!

closet after

Dresser after--that is empty space in the drawer!

 
4 bags for Goodwill!


It was really freeing to go through my clothes, etc. Yes I felt guilty because I spent money on these clothes that I never wore. Yet now when I look in my closet I know that I wear EVERYTHING in there and that I like what is in there. I don't feel bad about what is in there because I know that it all looks good on me and I like how it is looks. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to keep on top of laundry and will help me feel better about myself. I highly recommend doing this project for yourself! 


Well I am off....hubby and I are going to have a date night tonight. I think we are going to order pizza and play Scrabble. Should be a fun night. Hope everyone has a great Saturday night! 




  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thank you and feeling a little better today.....



First of all, I want to say Thank you to all of you who left such sweet comments and words of encouragement on my last post. It has been an emotional roller coaster of a week for me and I think everything just came to a head. Your words of encouragement and prayer really lifted my spirits and helped me to see that I am not alone and that it is okay to be discouraged and overwhelmed. That just makes me human. 

I know that I am overwhelmed because we are in the midst of figuring out what is best for the boys. As Mysti pointed out in her comment on my last post, it does seem like we are doing a lot for Benjamin. That is because he qualifies for these services through our local public school system when he turned 3 years old. He turned 3, April 2. It was recommended that Benjamin not start going to preschool in April for 2 months before summer vacation began. Instead we could have him receive the therapies for those 2 months if we were willing to meet up and take him to the different places. Then we would take the summer off, and in the fall he would enter preschool where he would receive OT, PT, Intervention, and Speech during the preschool hours.  We felt that this was the action that was in the best interest of Benjamin, as I know how important early intervention. And honestly, Benjamin is doing great with the therapies. It is just hard on me...but as his mom, I will do what I need to do to help him have a great start to his life. 

As far as Jacob is concerned, we are in the beginning stages of figuring out his needs. He has been having OT at school since November for a vision issue that we figured out and he is loving that. We have applied for a scholarship to get OT services for him next year when he is in Kindergarten. We will have to see what, if any, other services that he will need next school year. 

It is just very, very overwhelming to comprehend and to live. I will admit that today I felt a little better and I think that is because I get 2 days off from therapy appointments. After Benjamin's OT and Speech appointment this morning, he and I spent the morning running errands and just hanging out. We went to Walmart, a local grocery store to get bacon and hamburgers and to Goodwill. I just needed to focus on other things and just veg for a bit. 

Part of being a mom is also not neglecting or forgetting about Rebecca. Mysti, thank you for pointing that out. I am trying to make an effort to spend at least a little bit of each day with her one-on-one. She is my social butterfly, so I am trying to make sure that we are allowing her to do things she enjoys including being involved in American Heritage Girls, playing softball in our local girls league and just doing other things with her to make her feel special. 

I am trying to be a good mom, and I hope that I am doing enough. One thing I do know is that I will not become an alcoholic because of this. I drink maybe 1 alcoholic drink every 6 months, that is just not my thing. I do need to figure out how to deal with stress though without eating chocolate and carbs! That is my vice. Just have to figure it all out. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I can see why some people become alcoholics....

I can now see why some people can become alcoholic when dealing with a ton of stress and seeing no other way to deal. 

I have been dealing with a lot lately. 



Benjamin was diagnosed formaly with autism in October of 2014. We have been managing appointments, evaluations and theraphies since then. This has been upped since he turned 3 on April 2. Now we have added in therapies that are being done through our local school district. His schedule (which means my schedule) has become....Speech through our insurance on Mondays, occupational therapy on Tuesday, Board of DD visitation on Wednesday, physical therapy on Thursday, and Intervention OT and speech on Fridays. Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out in order for us to give Benjamin the best possible foundation that we can give him. It is a struggle sometimes and I am overwhelmed but we are taking this day to day. 

As if that was not enough, we, as well as school officials, think that Jacob may also be on the spectrum, but more on the asperger's side. We are having initial testing done next week and we will go from there.  Jacob is a very bright child, however there is definitely some social behaviors that are not normal that he is exhibiting and some other nuances that have been bugging me that seem to be different behavior. 

And if THAT were not enough, my husband, at the age of 43, has been diagnosed with asperger's. To me that diagnosis only puts a name onto some of the quirks that Bill has. He is still the same person that he has been, but it helps to explain why he does and feels certain things certain ways. He has taken the diagnosis hard, but I have to remind him it does not change who he is. It just gives a name to his differences. I don't know what this means for him, but is something that we will have to work through and work with. When Bill called his mom to tell her, she denied that he was diagnosed and is in denial that he falls under the spectrum. 

I don't know what all this means, except it is adding a lot of stress to my life. These 3 men are the center of my life, along with my daughter, and I can only hope I am being the support that they need. There are times that I am frustrated, upset, anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc. by these diagnosis and what the future looks like. I don't know sometimes how I can handle any of this. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward because that is the only option I have. 

And if all THAT were not enough, my mother had to have a heart catherization done on Tuesday and she had to have a stent put in as one of her arteries was 95% blocked. She was very close to having her 2nd  heart attack. That scares me because I am so like her in so many ways and I know that heart disease can be hereditary.  Then you add in the everyday stress of busy job schedules and everything else and it is no wonder I am not an alcoholic. 

I am not really sure, why I am sharing all of this. I just need to get it out I guess.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Locked In!!

I was locked-in at school with 25 girls ranging in age from 1st grade to 7th grade!! 

This weekend (Saturday-Sunday) I helped to chaperone a lock-in at my daughter's school. Her American Heritage Girl troop was sponsoring a "Friendship Lock-In." We had 25 girls that attended and I will admit it was a lot of fun. Being one of the troop leaders and the troop shepherd I really needed an effort to be there. 



Our Troop President had lots of fun activities planned, including a friendship obstacle course...



spin the bottle (to paint their nails)...



crafts (they made a Mother's Day gift for their moms and a friendship bracelet for their friends)...


pizza and salad picnic for dinner, and to cap off the evening they watched "Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast" on the big screen while munching on popcorn. 



 

We turned lights out at 11:30 with an anticipated wake up call at 7:30. The girls took forever to go to sleep. I haven't heard so much giggling since I was in school ;)  I think I got a total of about 2 hours of sleep. Most of the girls were awake by 7am as well. 

Sunday morning, the girls cleaned up their areas and got ready for mass. One of the things that sets the American Heritage Girls apart from other scouting groups in the emphasis that they put on the Christian faith. So we wanted to end the "lock-in" with all of us going to mass as a group. 

Before mass, two of the board members made homemade cinnamon rolls for the girls for breakfast and then the girls played marco polo before it was time for closing ceremony and heading to mass. After mass, all the girls got picked up by their parents and I came home and crashed. I was so tired, but it was well worth it to hear the laughter of all the girls. They all said that if we did another lock-in they would want to come back so I will take that as a success. 

Have you ever been "locked-in" as a kid or as a chaperone? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Take me out to the spring musical!

For the past several weeks, I have been hearing renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" being sung at home by Rebecca in anticipation of her school's spring mini-musical show.

Every year, in the Spring, the Kindergarten through 3rd graders learn songs that they sing along with a "story." The Fourth graders learn to play recorders and the Fifth graders learn to play drums. They then put on a performance in the afternoon for parents, grandparents, etc. Today was the day for this year's mini-musical performances. 




This year's theme was "Baseball." Rebecca's class recited the poem "Casey at the Bat" and did a great job. 




 I was not able to see all of the performance as Benjamin was being too loud to stay in the gym and I had to take him out, but the part that I did see I enjoyed and Rebecca did a great job. 

After the mini-musicals, they had a mini art show set up that displayed the K-5th grade art works from this year and Rebecca had a piece displayed--her self portrait.


I am so proud of her.  It was a fun afternoon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Restarting that weight loss thing....


 I have been really bad. I haven't weighed in here since January 28!! I have been so bad! On January 28 I weighed in at 224.6lbs. I would like to say that I  am still at the weight, but that is not the case. The previous 2.5 months have been bad with my eating and with Easter candy and stress eating, etc. I know that and it is really hard to have chocolate in the house and not eat it. 

After not feeling well this past Sunday, I decided that something needed to change. I NEED to make a change, not only for me but also for my family. My mother is having heart issues again. I don't want that to be me and I don't want to put my husband and kids through what is going on with my mother. I NEED to make a change. My pants don't want to fit very well right now and it is coming up on capri and shorts weather and I want to be able to fit into some of my clothes.

So that things that I have decided to do are: 

  •  I have decided to do a food diary. That way I will write down everything that I am eating and I will see calories and fat grams that I am consuming. 
  • I am also going to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables through the day. I will include at least 1 at breakfast and at least 2 at dinner. (Ideally I would also eat a side salad at least once a day with lunch or dinner) 
  • No snacking at the computer or after dinner. (the last couple of months I have found that I have been snacking on chocolate when I sit at the computer, or at night after the kids go to bed.) 
I have made these rules up to hopefully lead me to live a better lifestyle. I am going to focus on eating right now for the next month to try to make these things a habit. 

I am doing this because as of this morning I weighed in at.....228.4lbs. That is unacceptable. Things need to change and that change starts NOW!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Benjamin got a big boy bed!

Benjamin is our last child. We are done having children and our family is  complete with the 3 children that we have. That being said, when he goes through a milestone it is bittersweet for our family. This weekend, another milestone has occurred. 

We decided that it was time for Benjamin to transition from his crib to a big boy bed. Most people were still amazed he was still in his crib. But, he has only tried to climb out once and that was a year ago and he fell out of it and has never tried since. But at 3 years old, it was time. 

A few weeks ago, I ordered Benjamin a matching bed to the one that Jacob has. We got it in less than a week. Then we had to get a mattress. I did not want to spend a small fortune on a twin mattress, however I also didn't want to just order any mattress online that was less than $100 and with no good reviews. When we bought Jacob's bed, we lucked out and got a Serta mattress at Big Lots for $99. It is a good high quality mattress. I decided to check online and Big Lot's still had Serta twin mattress for $99.99. A couple of weeks ago, Bill took Benjamin into the closest city with a Big Lots (around 45 minutes away) for some blood work. Unfortunately, they were out, and the manager said they were selling like hotcakes.  Today, Bill found himself available this afternoon, so he decided to call over and see if they had any instock. The manager said he had gotten a big shipment of them in this morning, so Bill headed out to get one. Bill said when he got his, there was only 1 mattress left...so they are still selling like hotcakes. 

Once he got it home, Bill disassembled the crib. Then he had to clear out a spot in the basement to store it, which involved taking some broken shelves and things to the garage. Then taking the crib down to the basement, with the intention of passing it along if/when we know someone who needs a crib. Then Bill had to assemble Benjamin's new bed and then I got to put his new sheets, etc. on it. 



Then it was time to reveal the bed to Benjamin. He absolutely LOVED it. He kept going from one side to the other and smiling.








At bed time, Benjamin was a little scared and cried because he did not have his crib. He got out of his bed 3 times and I had to go back in and put him back to bed. The 3rd time, he got out, turned the bedroom light on and went to play. I just went in, turned the light off and put him back to bed. And Benjamin went to sleep! He did wake up twice in the night...once he cried for a minute but was not out of his bed. The other time, he cried and climbed out of his bed to the door, but I just picked him up, gave him a hug and put him back to bed. And he went back to sleep.


Can't believe my little boy is growing up! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

So how did I do on my weekend to do list?

Yesterday, I posted my HUGE weekend to do list that I hoped to accomplish..... so now the question is how did I do???

Well here is the original list with those items completed marked off....
  • Pay bills (AEP, Directv, Mastercard, Geico, Time Warner, etc.)
  • Figure out where to get Ben a mattress for his new bed
  • Research Straightalk phones (Bill and I both need  new phones)-- DECIDED NOT TO DO THIS UNTIL BILL CAN COME WITH ME TO LOOK AT PHONES
  • Balance checkbook
  • Clean out the closet upstairs off the bathroom (this huge walk in closet is a mess!)
  • Figure out spring/summer clothes situation for the kids, especially for the boys
  • Have Rebecca make a design for her First Communion banner and go buy the supplies needed
  • Complete 3 chapters in Rebecca's First Communion workbook-- WE COMPLETED 2
  • Clean both bathrooms
  • Laundry---do about a million loads to catch up ;) (I ended up doing 10 loads)
  • Straighten up bedroom
  • Clean out underneath couches and loveseat to find missing toys
  • Date night dinner with Bill
  • Rebecca has softball practice
  • Lesson plans for tutoring job
  • Art lesson plans for school job 
I also ended up cleaning the dishwasher out, bathing all three kiddos, got Benjamin's big boy bed all put together, cleaned out the boy's dressers, and swept the boys' bedroom. So I am feeling pretty good about this weekend. I am exhausted but feeling good about what I got accomplished.

The job that was the biggest was to clean out the closet upstairs off the bathroom. It was an absolute mess! Here is proof: 





It was absolutely horrible!!!!! So I began to sort, sort, sort and sort some more. This closet holds toiletries for the bathroom, it is Rebecca's closet to hang her dresses as her bedroom does not have a closet, we store winter stuff in here, air conditioners, and fans, as well as extra clothes for the kids that they need to grow into, etc. It has a lot of uses, but becomes messy very quickly. 

I was able to get it all cleaned in around 3 hours. I sorted through all the kids' clothes and bagged up what is too small for them to wear and stored those clothes that will fit them next winter. I was able to figure out what the needs are for summer/spring for the kids' clothes (thankfully not as much needed as I originally thought). 

The final product: 


Everything is all nice and neat. In the picture, you can see the 4 boxes and 7 trash bags of clothes, etc. that I collected that will be heading off to Goodwill. I am so happy that this project is done. Now to keep it this way. 

So, I am pleased with how I did. I feel better about our home and hopefully, can keep up with my to dos as next weekend I have LOTS of plans that do not have to do with home cleaning. 

How was your weekend? 


F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm

After a great night's sleep at our hotel, we headed down to their free breakfast. The standard fare was offered... cereal, toast, eggs, ...