Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Come on, SHIMMY!"

"Keep those arms up - I don't want to see you put them down!"

"I want to see pretty hands."

"This part is called seduction, I want to see seduction on your face, not exhaustion ... but not too much seduction either!"

These are some of the many quotes I have heard over the past month on Monday evenings and Saturday afternoons.  You see, this is the time that I turn our household over to Monte, load up my gym bag and hit the road to go to the gym and take in a belly dancing class.

Belly dancing?  Are you serious?!  Yes.  Completely, totally serious.  I was definitely skeptical of it initially, as my sweet friend, Trish, had invited me to join her in the classes.  I had mentioned to her how I am starting to spend more time working out in effort to rid myself of some of this extra baby weight, and she told me that these classes were an excellent workout.  So I decided to give it a try.

The first class was a little bit hard for me, as I will admit to feeling completely self-conscious.  However, Maggie (the instructor) took no time at all to put my fears at ease and make class a fun time.  It doesn't matter what level you're at, this class keeps you working, keeps your heart rate up, and keeps you having FUN!  I think this is the only workout class I've ever taken where I'm not staring at the clock all hour, just begging for it to move faster.

There are some moves that I'm still not good at.  I'm okay with that.  I have a really hard time keeping my arms looking pretty when we're in the snake song (I really have no idea what the name of the song is, but I know it tells me to move like a snake!).  I'm okay with that, too.  I love the class because all of the women involved make you feel amazing about yourself.  I love the class because of the modesty and character of the instructor.  It doesn't matter your age, your size or your dancing ability (trust me, there are women in class who are young and old, skinny and round and everything in between!) .. all you feel is love and support from these women, who likely have experienced the self-consciousness of the class, too!

In fact, I'm enjoying the class so much that I finally decided it was time to purchase a skirt of my own.  You see, I have been borrowing a skirt from Trish since my first class.  While it is a lovely skirt, I still am feeling like I want to be able to return it to her and use a few of my own.  So, after browsing for awhile, I found a few skirts that I think will be perfect.  I'm excited to try this one out the most (though I will lay out the disclaimer that I definitely cover myself up more than the mannequin in this picture!):

I love the leopard print it has!  So Trish, sometime soon you can count on getting your skirt back! :)

If you're free on Monday evenings or Saturday afternoons, come join us - you won't regret it at all (Shawn, you would love it)!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pretty much forever ago (and by forever, I mean about two or three months ago) I was browsing the aisles at Costco (which is a very dangerous thing to do without a specific list!) when I came across the most perfect bulletin board.  Why on earth would I get excited about a bulletin board?  I'm glad you asked!  You see, I have a rather narrow wall in my office that I've wanted to have a bulletin board on for awhile so I can use it to hang family pictures and different things of that nature.  So, when I came across this bulletin board and saw that it was very reasonably priced, I became extremely excited!  I bought said object and brought it home, showed it to my wonderful husband and asked for his help in hanging it.  I put it away in the corner of the office to keep it out of our way.  That was a very bad idea.  A month or more passed before I realized it was still not on my wall, so I politely asked my husband to hang it.  Unfortunately, he forgot again.  So, this past week when I asked yet again, he asked me to write it on the dry erase board that hangs on our refrigerator, and he promised me that he would get it done.

That Saturday, I headed out to meet Trish for belly dancing class (more about that to come in another post, I promise!) and was gone for about an hour and a half.  When I came home, this is what I found hanging on my wall:

Not only did Monte hang the bulletin board for me, but he arranged all of the thumbtacks that came with the board into the shape of a heart to let me know how much he loves me! How wonderful is my husband?  I haven't hung anything except a calendar on this board because I enjoy seeing that heart so very much!!  I'm sure there will come a time when I replace the heart with pictures, but that time just isn't here yet!


The other day, I was really wanting to find a Bumbo chair to buy for Ethan, as to give him the opportunity to sit up more regularly instead of always laying down on his back or in his swing.  After many emails were exchanged, I was able to pick one up locally for only $25! Once I got it home, we immediately washed it off and put the baby in it.  I think he likes it!

Man oh man is my baby boy a cutie!  I may be a little biased, but I'm definitely smitten! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As my husband and I sit here chatting, I'm realizing that it is now 10:05pm and this is truly the first time today that I have had down time to do as I please.  I just finished ordering our groceries (yes, with a 10-week-old baby and a five-year-old son who must come with me, I choose to grocery shop online!) after figuring our our extensive meal plan for the week.  I must admit that I wish I could contain all of my grocery shopping to online only, but alas with a family of seven people, we go through food much too quickly for me to make a once-a-week online order.  It's not uncommon for me to also stop by the grocery store several times a week amidst picking up my daughter from her after-school activity.

Maybe I should rewind a little bit and let you know what a typical day in our house now looks like.  I wake up anywhere between 4:00am and 4:30am when Ethan first wakes for his bottle.  I feed him and do my best to stay awake myself during this time, as he usually doesn't appreciate it when my hand slips and the bottle falls on his face! :)  After this early morning feeding, I am now trying to get in breakfast and a workout before he wakes up for his next bottle, which is usually about an hour to an hour and a half later.  I feed him again and lay him in his swing as I head for the shower and spend some time getting ready.  I see the two older kids (Claire and Iain) off to the bus shortly after 7:00am.  Around 7:30am Colin is waking up and ready for his oatmeal!  I remind him to go potty and make him his breakfast.  While he is eating, I feed Ethan yet another bottle.  After this feeding, I get both Ethan and Colin ready for the day, bath time included when necessary.  At 8:20am I see Ellis off to the bus.  If Ethan, Colin and I are lucky enough that we get to stay home for the day, we end up back in the living room where I can rock Ethan in our rocking chair while enjoying some morning cartoons with Colin (yes, I am a mother who allows my child to watch a little TV every day *insert big GASP here!* tehehe!).  If we have somewhere to go, we're packing everything up and heading out the door to run errands, drop Colin off at preschool, go to MOPs or, on an especially wonderful day, go to visit a friend (usually my sister).

If we spend our day running errands, Ethan usually tends to sleep through most of it, as he does really well being in the car or in his stroller ... or riding in his car seat in the cart at Target!  If we're home, however, he seems to be needing my attention at least every 20 minutes.  Amidst his many bottles, I do try to sit him in his swing, his bouncer, his bumbo seat or his crib for awhile so I can try to do some laundry (of which right now I have three clean loads in baskets needing to be folded, a clean load in the dryer, a wet load in the washer and two more loads waiting to be washed on the floor ... and that's just Monte, Colin, Ethan and my laundry as my older kids wash and dry their own laundry!).  It's not uncommon that I do let my sweet little baby cry for awhile (and by awhile I do only mean a handful of minutes) so that I can get little tasks done around the house, as I feel like if I don't allow him some crying time, everything else will fall apart.

I make sure that Colin gets lunch (almost everyday having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, per his request) and try to make sure that I eat lunch as well.  Now that I'm working to lose some of that baby weight, I'm far more conscious about what I'm eating, but I'm also more aware of when I'm eating, which is a good thing because I don't allow myself to get so busy that I miss eating lunch; though that doesn't mean that lunch isn't accompanied by a crying baby!

After lunch is usually Ethan's nap time; he might just lay down for more than an hour and truly sleep for that time.  While he's sleeping, I really do make it my priority to devote 100% of that time to being with Colin, whether it be playing a game of Candy Land or Banana Express, or drawing in his drawing book, or reading stories to him, or playing with his Legos, or sometimes even playing army or hunting with him - that time is his time with me and I do make it a very important part of every day.

An hour later it's very likely that Ethan has already woken up, as somehow his nap doesn't last long if he's not being held or not in his car seat!  So it's another bottle for him and some more snuggle time (which I definitely am not complaining about!), amidst Colin telling me stories and goofy jokes (which usually make no sense whatsoever!).  Around 3:00pm, Claire and Iain come home from school bringing the mail in the house with them (though lately it has been only Iain, as Claire has been staying after school for the extra curricular activity that she's involved in).  I spend some time chatting with them about their day and going through the mail, often with the baby attached to me in his sling.  At times (like now), I don't get the chance to go through the mail and it piles up for a few days on our desk before I get to look at it.

Right around 4:00pm, Ellis comes home and often brings with him a lot of excitement, energy and chaos!  I spend a few minutes chatting with him if it's possible, though he often jets right by me, grabs a snack and puts on his outside gear to go and play in the snow!  Oh, also add another bottle feeding for Ethan right around this time!

At 4:30pm I'm usually packing up the baby and Colin to go with me to pick up Claire from school.  If I have any groceries that I need for dinner that night, or that I need in general, I plan on making a stop by the local grocery store to pick them up on our way home.  Once we arrive back home I usually am making another bottle for Ethan, oftentimes passing him off to Claire to let her feed him this bottle so that I can either start dinner or help Monte make the dinner that he has already started (and lately, it's been much more of Monte completely taking care of dinner while I take care of Ethan!).

We eat dinner around 6:30pm, clean up, feed Ethan another bottle and then have some kid down time.  We chat with the kids, we take care of random tasks (like tonight, setting up Claire's cell phone, which the company screwed up several times), if I have the energy I might do some cleaning, or we might have the kids help out with some of the jobs around the house (above and beyond their regular chores).

8:00pm comes time to get Colin and Ethan ready for bed.  Colin is changed into pajamas, gets his teeth brushed and a Bible story read to him before he gets tucked in and prayers said at 8:30pm.  We end the night with hugs, kisses and "I love you's" before closing his door for the night.  Then Ethan gets his diaper changed, gets his pajamas on and is getting ready to have his final bottle of the evening.  At 8:30pm, Iain and Ellis are given hugs, kisses and "I love you's" and they retreat to their bedroom to read for awhile before bed.  At 9:00pm, Ethan is wrapped up in his swaddling blanket, given a final bottle and tucked into bed around 9:30pm.  At that time, Claire is told to turn off her lights, and we give hugs, kisses and "I love you's" and she heads off to sleep.

Find time in here to do a few more tasks (like make a grocery order online!) and I find that it's after 10:00pm and I'm finally receiving the first truly free moment of my day. So, while Monte may be completely right in the fact that my blog is "screaming for an apology" for me having been absent for so long, I am yet discovering my schedule and trying to figure out the best way to fit everything in and make everything work, and my blog has fallen by the wayside in the process.  I have many topics to blog about (like the bulletin board in my office, the belly dancing classes I'm taking with Trish twice a week, my sweet Colin's fifth birthday, our holidays and much much more) and hope to find time to squeeze it all in, but I'm not promising anything.

For now, I will just let you know, from me and my blog we're both screaming: I'M SORRY I'VE BEEN GONE FOR SO LONG!!!  :)