13 Kids & Counting "Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien

Foiled Again!

September 9

So, I was going to go back to work today. Got up, got everyone off, made my lunch, showered and drove across town.

To discover that my badge wouldn’t work on the door.

Turns out that I need another updated doctor’s note saying I can return to work since I took extra time off.

So I brought my behind back home and here I sit waiting for doctors to fax a letter to my work.

Maybe I’ll be back tomorrow…

Training so Far

August 29

Well I’ve gone out a handful of times. I’ve walked a total of 3 1/2 miles and rode my new bike 1.44 miles. Typically with one or more kids in tow.

Realistically, they slow me down with them wanting to hunt Pokemon and go to Poke-stops but I enjoy the company and the chatter.

But let me tell you, when you take 4 kids with you, the chatter gets to be a bit much! Jalapeno & his GF, Pookie & Mario all went on a 2 mile walk with me and oh my goodness(!) the chatter! lol

If I could get Apple to ride in the jogging stroller, I’d gladly take him though. He doesn’t chatter!

Also, on that same long walk with the 4 kiddos, I got a bug in my eye! Man does that hurt! I’m considering safety glasses just for walks at sunset now.

On today’s schedule: Walk for 30 minutes.

Learning to Run Again

August 28

So if you didn’t figure it out from my post about the book, Running Like A Girl, I have decided to take up running. But at this point, I’m just walking.

To motivate myself & to keep myself motivated I’m going to start talking about it on here.

I’ve also checked out every book that the library had available, because that’s just who I am. I research. Because I’m a nerd lol.

I’ve got Marathon by Hal Higdon, Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners by Nancy Clark, The Runner’s Diet  by Madelyn H. Fernstrom, and Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide. 

And I went on a spending spree on Amazon.com, too. So, I bought Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running by Dagny Scott Barrios, Running & Walking for Women Over 40 (because I’ll be there in the next 8 months or so) by Kathrine Switzer, The Non-runner’s Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais, The Non-runner’s Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett, Kara Goucher’s Running for Women, & Triathlete Magazine’s Complete Triathlon Book.

Also in other news, Daddy bought me a bike. A gorgeous new road bike.

Maternity Leave

August 19

I have to go back to work next week. In less than 7 days, I am expected to hand off my precious, tiny baby boy and walk away for what amounts to 12 hours a day, 4 days a week.

 

My heart is breaking. I don’t know how I did this the last time but oh my goodness it is SO hard. Just knowing it’s less than a week away is soul crushing.

 

My chest hurts. I am 2 seconds away from an ugly cry at any point right now. Just looking at his tiny face sleeping so peacefully is torture because I know in less than a week, he will be screaming for his mama, and his mama won’t be able to hear him and won’t come. And he will be so confused. Mama has always appeared when he cried. Why doesn’t mama come?

 

And there was the ugly cry. Complete with worried kids asking why I’m crying, and the 2 year old saying, “Don’t cry, mama.”

The US is at the bottom of the list when it comes to maternity leave. Estonia & Hungary both have almost 2 years if not more of PAID maternity leave!

Among 38 nations, U.S. is the outlier when it comes to paid parental leave

Granted my 6 weeks of paid maternity leave this time around is a lot better than what I had when Cookie was born. If I wanted to get paid, I had to work from home for the entire 6 weeks.

But come on, Senators, Representatives, can’t we do better for our youngest citizens and their emotionally tormented parents?

A New Me

August 16

I first read Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley last year about this time. It really struck a chord with me.

On the first page of the prologue she tells you a whole bunch of things that people say about running and then she says:

“These are lies.

Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic, and overwhelm you with self-consciousness.”

Still in the prologue, she admits to feeling “repulsed and intimidated” by the seemingly natural athletes.

FINALLY!!! Someone else who feels the same way I do!!

So I read deeper. And deeper.

I, too, am in my thirties and felt like I couldn’t run. I had stopped running when I was 16 and that was that. I was no longer a runner.

I was also at my heaviest weight ever. And I was miserable and not happy about it.

She started by walking. Now granted, she started by walking for hours at a time. I don’t have that luxury of time. I have a husband, kids, and a full time job. But I can walk, just shorter lengths of time. And I did. And I rapidly lost 20 lbs. I was very happy about that!

In that month, I did what is typical of me. I researched. If there was a book or a website that looked like it might provide me with info, I read it.

I found a whole new world! People run marathons. Regularly!

I had known that my father in law and mother in law ran marathons but my husband did not, so I had never really thought about it. I found out that my father in law had run a sub 4 hour marathon! I was (and still am!) in awe!

I started to dream. Maybe I could do this.

Maybe I could run a 5K.

Maybe I could run a 10K.

Maybe I could run a half marathon.

Maybe I could run a marathon.

And then I got pregnant. With the joy came the crippling exhaustion. I spent every moment of my free time in bed. I just couldn’t. They say that walking for 10 or 15 minutes can help alleviate the pregnancy exhaustion, but I couldn’t even put one foot in front of the other for 2 minutes. I had to reserve what little energy I had for work just to make it through my shifts.

I’m now 5 weeks postpartum. I see my doctor in one week to get permission to go back to work and to resume exercise. But I will admit, I have started exercising a tiny, tiny bit.

I took my new baby boy, and I walked down two lamp posts on our street and back again carrying his snuggly little body up against my chest.

And I’m reading Alexandra’s book for the fourth time. (At this point she seems more like a good friend.) And I’m dreaming again.

Maybe I can do this.

Best Laid Plans

April 15

As the saying goes, “The best laid plan of mice and men often go awry.” (And yes, I know that’s not the original saying.)

I had all these plans of posts outlined and my editorial calendar planned out. And I think I planned too much to do. Because I simply didn’t have the time. Plans are great, but if you’re working full time with a house full of kids, chances are you don’t have as much free time as you think you do. I quickly figured out that my grand plans and expectations were a bit unrealistic.

Every day off that I had, I had activities planned with no consideration for what else might be going on in my life that day. Sick kids, errands, just preferring to sit and knit or crochet made my plans unreasonable. So I’ll try again.

But I think I’ll spread out my posts more. Maybe start with one a week. So I’ll be back and I’ll see you all soon!

Homemade Pizzas

February 13

Are your kids like mine? Obsessed with junk food? Specifically pizzas, tacos, and hamburgers?

I have discovered at least that mine like the homemade versions of these better than the fast food versions.

That means that I can sneak in a little more nutrition when they aren’t looking at least!

We hadn’t made homemade pizzas in a while so I decided to make those yesterday on what was probably one of my busiest days off ever. Not my best idea ever I’ll grant.

But I had found a pizza crust recipe that I wanted to try out, so in between an eye doctor appointment for myself (the first in 15 years!) and Mario’s & Pookie’s parent teacher conferences, I made up a double batch of pizza dough & left it to proof on the kitchen counter covered with a clean towel while we went to those conferences. It doubled beautifully and was ready to go when we came home.

 

A couple things that the author of that blog failed to mention and I had to do a little digging to find is:

#1. Poke the pizza crusts with a fork, otherwise they puff up like pita bread. (And I still forgot to do this with the first batch!)

#2. Pre-bake the crusts with no toppings for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.

I had some assorted toppings: mozzarella cheese (of course), pepperoni, green pepper, white onion, pineapple, sliced black olives, and jalapenos (fresh, not pickled!).

We made individual pizzas so that everyone could have exactly what they wanted.

Cookie just wanted the green pepper. She didn’t even want the crust lol. She just kept snagging pieces of the pepper out of the bowl! But I did make her one with pepperoni, green pepper, & pineapple. She picked off some of the toppings and left the rest.

Everyone else loved the crust though! The double recipe made enough for 14 individual pizza crusts.

And a few things that occurred to me after the fact:

#1. Don’t wear a black shirt when rolling out pizza dough.

#2. Use a little bit of olive oil spread on the tops of the crusts when prebaking so that they brown a little better.

#3. And next, I want to try making my own pizza sauce!

 

Seriously some of the best crust we’ve ever made! I really encourage you to go give it a try!

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

February 12

IMG_2882These are a family favorite! I thought I’d share as I’m making them tonight to put in the kids lunches.

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 – 16 ounce package of white chocolate chips

12 ounces of maraschino cherries, drained & chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

In your mixer or large bowl, cream the butter & sugars together. Scrape down the sides.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well.

Then add the vanilla, mixing well.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. I add it in one heaping tablespoon at a time.

Once the flour & butter mixtures are thoroughly combined, (Don’t worry if it seems a little stiff, no matter how much you drain the cherries, when you chop them, you’ll be adding some liquid into the batter.) gently stir in the white chocolate & the cherries.

On ungreased cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, place the batter a tablespoon at a time, approximately 2 inches apart. (I was out of parchment but they still didn’t stick!)IMG_2877

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on sheet, then move to wire racks to cool completely.IMG_2880

This recipe makes about 3 -4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies! Mine made 45 cookies.IMG_2887

In Honor of Library Lovers Month – My Favorite Books!

February 9

My favorite books have changed and evolved and some have lasted through the years.

Maybe it would be more appropriate to say there are books that have stuck with me through the years. Books that I read and re-read just for me. Books that I read once and made a big impression. And books that I may have only read once but are on my list of books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do.

 

Books that I read and re-read:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

I can’t speak highly enough of these. One of my prized possessions is a 50th anniversary leather bound edition of all three in one that my dear husband bought me about 12 years ago.  I’m on my 16th read through of these since I discovered them in middle school.

The Harry Potter series

I’ve read these through about 3 or 4 times and I’m in the middle of reading them aloud to our Pookie. (We’re 2 chapters from the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, so I’m hoping to start Goblet of Fire next week. So, this one fits on the list of books for my kids, too.)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

I read these all by the time I was about eight or nine. I return to them from time to time.

Somewhere in France

I only discovered this book last year. I’m not really a big reader of historical fiction, but the picture of the lady in blue on the cover drew me in. Captivating is the only word I can think of to describe it. I read it twice before I had to return it to the library.

 

Books that I read once and made a big impression:

Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, & Pool of Twilight

Another trilogy, this one by James Ward & Jane Cooper Hong. Based on the role playing game by the same name as the first book, this is the first Dungeons and Dragons series I ever read.

The Dark Elf Trilogy

This is another Dungeons and Dragons series by R.A. Salvatore. Fabulous series! So much so, that when I worked at Book Culture in NYC, and I was given a chance to recommend a book for the wall, that the first in the series, Homeland, was my pick.

Sense and Sensibility as well as Emma.

Both classics by Jane Austen. Both I was inspired to read after seeing movies based on these books. Both much better than the movies. Except maybe Colonel Brandon. Alan Rickman just blew that role out of the water. He was made for it.

Eat, Pray, Love

 

Books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do:

Little Women

Another classic book. This one I read when I was about 10 or 12. I don’t think I will ever get over Beth.

The Little House on the Prairie series

I’ve started reading bits and pieces of Little House in the Big Woods to my kids. Even Jalapeno said he may have to rethink reading that series. But being as he is in high school now, I’m sure these will only be read at home.

The Outsiders

This one I discovered in middle school, along with Rumble Fish. Both books about society’s misfits. I identified with them both probably more than I should have and probably more than my parents would have liked (if they’d ever actually read the books).

 

So, what books make your lists?

 

Motivation

November 29

It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything right now.

I want to go for a walk but it’s bone-chillingly cold outside, and, quite frankly, I’m just exhausted.

I am currently working 2nd shift s0 I’m not getting home until after midnight, averaging going to bed by 12:30am and I’m still getting up usually by 7am.

Occasionally, I’ll get a nap but not every day.

I have all these projects that I want to do, like I’m still working on Mario’s Dr. Who quilt, a secret surprise for the kids that I have to finish by the 1st of December, spinning some wool, getting the Christmas decorations up, but all I want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep.

What do you do to get your motivation back or keep it up when winter hits?

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Welcome to Life in My House. My husband and I have 14 kids, 8 of which live at home. Plus my parents live with us, too. The age range in our house is 10 months old to 80. My husband and I both work full time and it truly does take a village to raise a family when you both work. Join me to learn what it’s like to have this many kiddos, share my joys, my frustrations, and watch me figure this whole working mom thing out.


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