Monday, January 31, 2011

Reminiscing, Routine, Rhythm, Rescue, Random, Reiteration



Here is a picture of the three girls taken on Dec 23, 2006. I can hardly fathom wearing short sleeves and having green grass and leaves in Dec. What a difference geography makes on the seasons. Houston's "autumn" comes at about Christmas time -- and you have to pay super close attention or you might miss it-- since spring starts around the end of January.

Today was a normal day. We got up. We got ready. We ate breakfast. Trent went to work and drove Julianne to school. Catherine and Madelyn caught the bus -- at the NORMAL time -- Adam had Monday club. I made it to the gym. I love routine. We haven't had it for some time due to the weather, but today we did.

Today at the gym, I swam laps for an hour. I haven't done that since I was 18 years old and practicing for the high school swim team. Sure I have done some laps over the years, but never all by myself for an hour. I LOVED IT. There is this silent rhythm about it -- knowing when to breathe and when to blow out air. Listening as your ears bob up and down in breastroke. Using all of your body to do butterfly. It was awesome. I felt at home. I don't need any music, any entertainment, anything to swim. (now put me on a treadmill and I need all of those things) Swimming just feels so right to me. I always describe swimming as a "finesse" sport. There is a certain gracefulness about good swimming. You don't muscle your way through 100 laps (well, I suppose you can do it that way but it is not very efficient). I had a great time also because all of a sudden I realized that I still had it in me. Here I have not been swimming for a while (although I have done a lot of cardio) and I got in and swam and swam fast. I used as a benchmark this young guy in a lane 2 over from me. His strokes looked good, he was younger than me and clearly in better shape and yet, I could do every lap faster than him. (he was not privvy to my comparison nor to my glee at beating him with every lap) In fact sometimes he would take a break and I would swim another lap and sometimes I would only kick or only pull and I could still keep up with him. Yes, I know it sounds stupid, but for me it was a reminder that I am not all that old or washed up and the nice strokes and style that I worked for hours a day on for my whole growing up are still there.

It has been a big relief for us to hear that our friends who just moved to Cairo at the first of January have been safely evacuated to London. Moya and the girls got there yesterday. We are all anxious to hear if Stanley has made it out today.

I am in love with root beer (diet of course)

WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH SNOW. All that talk of routine can be thrown out the window for the rest of the week. Snow, sleet, freezing rain, snow, plows, shoveling, delays, cancellations, early dismissals -- well they are all back on the table. so much for enjoying today.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I could just eat him up!

It is just so fun to have this baby of ours around. He is cute all the time.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adam reading to Owen

I have a picture just like this of me reading to my sister Carrie in the crib. Adam is so sweet to his brother.

Julianne as a server at pasta night

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I wish I had something other than SNOW to write about

But I don't. Snow, snow, snow. It has consumed us these past 30 days. And to think that on Christmas morning, while my kids opened up snow tubes (from Nana and Grandpa) Trent and I both wondered aloud "maybe this year we won't have snow???"

If we were a ski resort -- we'd be open.
If we were an airport-- we'd be closed.

I have kept loose count of the inches -- we were 56 inches 2 days ago. Yesterday morning we got 6 more and then last night we got 18 inches.

That is a grand total of 80 inches in 30 days.

There is simply no where else to put the snow. We had to fill a wheel barrow and take the snow to other places along the driveway as the piles are so high that it is difficult to throw the snow that high in order to clear the driveway. But the kids have been big helpers. Trent and the girls were outside cleaning up by 7:30 this morning. The snow plow came around 6:30 am (funny thing -- the kids sure struggle to get up and going on school days -- but on snow days they are bounding with energy!)





and here is a video -- my first uploaded HD video

The Snowy Day -- January 27, 2011 from Jamie Handy on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another fun filled snowy day

The kids headed off to school this morning with the BIG storm looming. It was supposed to start around 4:00 this afternoon. Imagine all of our surprise when it started snowing heavily around 9 am. I abandoned hope of making it to the gym and headed down to the basement for some quality treadmill time. By the time I got back upstairs (exactly 42 minutes later -- which is the length of one episode of 24 that I watch on my iphone's netflix app while on the treadmill) it was apparent that the snow was not going to stop for a while. The phone quickly range informing me of an early dismissal day. I don't mind delayed starts or early dismissals because those don't eat away my summer days.

The boys and I hung out at home. Owen was so cute. He was so smiley and happy that I just had to take his picture. Adam thought he was so cute too and would lean in to kiss him. As soon as Adam got a little close to Owen, Owen would start to cry. It was so cute. Adam tends to be a little "in your face" with Owen. We are working on helping Adam understand boundaries a little better.


The girls got home and we just hung out. I saw the mailman drive by so I sent them out to get the mail. It was already starting to get dark so I sent both Julianne and Catherine. They quickly brought me the mail and then went right back outside. They had decided to surprise their dad by doing all the shoveling. Madelyn was not about to miss out on the shoveling fun. All 3 girls shoveled for nearly 2 hours. Trent was so happy for all their help. He got home around 7:30 and the girls were so excited for him to see all their work.



Of course by 7:00, the "big" storm had finally arrived. All their shoveling efforts have now been sufficiently undone by mother nature.

The only question that remains . . . will we have school in the morning?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not another snow day

Weather truly is UNPREDICTABLE. Last night we watched the 11:00 news. The weather was all about the "big" storm that is coming Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. There was absolutely NO talk about snow the very next morning. So I was really surprised to get the automated phone call from the schools announcing a 90 min school delay. I sat up in bed and looked out the window and it was snowing very heavily. We had already gotten 3 inches of it. It proceeded to snow until about noon. Julianne rode to school with a neighbor and so was spared walking in the snowstorm to the end of the driveway, but Catherine and Madelyn were not so lucky. Here they are all bundled.

This is point where Catherine asked, "Can't you come out with us????" To which I replied that I would be watching from the window because I couldn't leave Adam and Owen all alone and I couldn't possibly bundle them both up either.

Aren't they cute girls? Even in a hundred layers.

It is nice that I can watch them walk all the way to the end of the driveway. The bus was about 15 minutes late, but they seemed to be having fun standing in the snow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

this feeling that I am getting old (er)


I am walking down memory lane lately -- so here is a photo right after Julianne was born. She was born in June. I made both her and I these matching dresses for Trent's sister's wedding in August (back when I had time to sew???). I really do like sewing, I just don't seem to have the time, energy, or . . . fabric stores around me to inspire me to do any of it. I have some high ambitions for a crazy quilt or two -- hopefully soon.

I laugh at the picture -- first, I had bangs back when bangs weren't "in". And now that bangs are "in" I don't have them -- I suppose I will always be trend "reversed".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Owen's many faces


the drooling face

the smiling face

the "my cheeks are so heavy" face

and the face that we all have to kiss -- especially Adam
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another bath picture

Bath time is happy time for everyone. Especially me-- because it means bedtime is close.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All the kids!

It was another snow day here. Second snow day of the week and with the holiday on Monday it was a long week of being cooped up in the house.

But today I ventured to take all five kids to the aquarium all by myself. I was worried it would be crowded- that every other mom would be there but I was wrong. It was empty. Just us and a few of our friends. We had a lot of fun.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lightroom, New computer

I bought Lightroom a while ago but quite frankly my old computer just couldn't quite handle that program so I haven't used it until today. My new computer is up to the task and I have all the space to put ALL of my old photos onto one computer and so today I have been on a walk down memory lane. This one of Catherine made me smile so I thought I would share -- It was taken way back in Apr of 2004 when I had just 2 sweet baby girls.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Owen at the gym

I am loving my gym membership. Time to myself. Time to exercise. But does owen love it??? You be the judge.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The new hairdos

I cut their hair Sunday night (Julianne also got a haircut but just an inch). They love it and so do I because it is easy to brush every day).

Monday, January 17, 2011

My new favorite salad

Gorgonzola cheese
Almonds (or any other nut)
Salad dressing --combine in blender
2 cups red wine vinegar
4 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs grey poupon mustard

Once well blended, turn blender to low and drizzle in
3/4 cup olive oil

(this dressing recipe easily makes 50 servings but it stores well in the fridge)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More ice melting

We came home from church today to even more water. It was above freezing and so what snow is left on the rook is melting and still getting in the house. So Trent headed back onto the roof in daylight! (which means I could get a picture).
We have shoveled and salted and knocked down icicles and sealed with foam and used every bucket and towel in the house and hopefully now the wood floors will dry out. It's a mess!!!!
(and when I say we what I really mean is Trent). Let's hope tomorrow when the sun comes out that we don't spring a leak again.

Ice melts

I am a day late on this blog post. Mainly because the highlight of the day kept changing. But this is the real hightlight (or lowlight as the case may be). Yesterday we arrived home from Costco to find water EVERYWHERE. We had about 2 hours before going to a dinner event and we were able to determine that due to heavy ice on the roof some of the snow was melting and pooling on the roof and somehow traveling through the windows in the master bedroom and down into the kitchen and hall. (we had water on the countertops in the cupboards and coming through one of the hallway light fixtures). Trent decided that the quickest fix would be to get rid of the snow that was melting on the roof. So he climbed out on the roof and shoveled snow off it for 2 hours. I mopped up the water inside and it seemed like it worked because the dripping stopped and we had no more water that evening. I wanted to get a picture of him shoveling the roof but it was too dark and would have required me going out on the roof as well. (it didn't seem too smart for even Trent to be out there, so I opted not to go out to get the picture.)

I did make Trent wear a helmut. I figured if he fell off at least he had a ton of snow to cushion his fall and with a helmut on he would be somewhat protected.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sisterly Love


I was trying to get a photo of Owen (because he was looking so cute) and Julianne was helping me hold him and reposition him. She was trying to get him to smile and being so entirely sweet. I caught this moment right at the end. Owen had had enough. Julianne was loving him anyway.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Now that's a lot of snow!!!!

Here is a picture worth 1000 words. Do we have snow? Tons. Trent shoveled for three hours doing the walks and cleaning up after the plow.

Sooooo big

Owen is getting so big. He is 3 1/2 months. But the little converse shoes and his desire to stand all the time make him seem like he is 10 months old. Slow down baby.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow day!!

16 inches and still falling.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thankful for the geniuses

I had a busy day. I got all the kids off to school. I took Adam and
Owen with me to the gym checked them into the kids club and ran a 5k
while watching an episode of 24 on my iPhone Netflix app (my favorite
app). Then to Stew leonards for milk and groceries (since we are
having another big storm tomorrow). Then to home depot for some
random stuff. The place was crazy. Then home to shower.

Then to the apple store. Madelyn's iPod touch was freezing. They
looked at it and replaced it. Yeah!!!

Home again and then to the church for activity days. Now we are home
where we will be for a while if the forecast of 24 in of snow holds
true. School is cancelled for tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Catherine is 9 years old!!!!

Catherine had a great day. She went to school. Her mom was the secret reader in her class. We had hamburgers and oven fries for dinner (with lots of ketchup). Instead of cake we had brownies with mint frosting (her favorite!!). Catherine loves art. She loves to read. She is a great sister and daughter.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Boy's Bath time

In the laundry room where it is a little warmer than the rest of the house my boys take their baths. One in the big sink and one in the baby tub. Happy and cute and warm are they!!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Birthday Party


Lots of little girls . . .
Lots of pizza . . .
cupcakes . . .
movie . . .

Catherine doesn't turn 9 until Monday, but she sure had a fun party today. (and I took the picture with my birthday present. . . a NEW camera!!!!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

One year older and wiser too????



This birthday post has been hanging over my head. You see once you start a habit like posting your weight on your birthday it is an easy thing to do provided your weight is the same or less than the year before -- because you have already come to terms with that number. But I love having this silly accountability -- it really does motivate me.

So here are the details . . . I am 35 years old. (is that possible???) and this morning I weighed 156 lbs. (yes, I just had a baby 13 weeks ago) but I so wanted to be back at my happy 153.

I am excited for the next year. I joined a gym. I registered for a triathlon this June. I am on a biggest loser team that starts Monday. I am determined to be well below 153 by my next birthday. I have never lost weight before (besides baby weight) and have been really quite happy at 153 for probably 10 years. But that number puts my BMI slightly above the "overweight" mark and I would like to get in the healthy range. I figure now is as good a time as any.

Other than that, my goal is to post a photo / post every day this year. Last year I had the goal to do one post a week on each blog -- (i didn't make it!) but what is life if you don't have high expectations for yourself. I love the quote "Aim for the moon, if you miss at least you'll be in the stars."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ticket system

I have over the years tried a variety of ticket reward systems for my kids and have finally worked out a system that works great for us.  Several people have asked me about it so I figured I would do a post about it. 
First, we have pink tickets and yellow tickets (which we call "golden" tickets)
It takes 10 pink tickets to earn a golden ticket. 
Everything fun (literally everything) costs a golden ticket.  For example having a friend over, going to a friends house, a half hour of TV, or a half hour of computer time.  Golden tickets can also be redeemed for money 1 golden ticket is $1. 
I wanted the kids to understand that even their playdates require work from Mommy (driving them or picking them up).
Now pink tickets are easy to earn.  Any chore will do it. 
these are all worth 1 ticket
putting a pile of laundry away (somedays an ambitious child will see that I am folding laundry and wanting a lot of tickets will put away everyone's laundry and can quickly get 7 tickets)
emptying a section of the dishwasher
doing any chore that mom gives you
making your bed
Some tickets are time sensitive -- for example I don't give tickets to the kids for eating breakfast (since they genuinely want to do that), but they do get a ticket if they are finished with breakfast 25 minutes before they have to leave.  Same goes for getting dressed (they each have a time by which if they are fully dressed and ready for the day they get a ticket). 
20 minutes of instrument practice (flute and violin at our house) is worth 5 tickets.  (as I mentioned yesterday, piano does not earn tickets -- that is on a separate money based system (reflecting how important them doing piano is to me)).
Why has this worked so well?  First, there is not a lot of tickets to keep track of -- in previous efforts at tickets the kids would accumulate 60 or 70 tickets and it seemed like tickets were coming out of my ears.  Plus with that many tickets it was easy for the kids to "steal" from eachother and from the ticket stash.  Now the most they ever have is 9 pink tickets and a handful of golden tickets.  Second, the rewards are easy to offer.  When all 4 kids watch a TV show, I get 4 golden tickets turned in.  I watch their golden ticket levels and try to offer new fun surprises to keep their levels down -- For example I sometimes have a fun craft to do with mom and it costs 2 golden tickets.  There has been no stealing of tickets because each child is acutely aware of how many golden tickets they have at any given time.  In the past, a lot of my rewards were toy or treat based and I felt like I was constantly buying junk or junk food.  This way has worked out great.
What do I do if they really want to . . . have a playdate but don't have a golden ticket.  I quickly give them 10 fast assignments.  This is often how I get those last few pesky things put away. 
So far not a single golden ticket has been redeemed for money.  They all get regularly used each week by tying a lot of the normal things to the rewards.  I love it when all the kids want to watch TV but none of them have a golden ticket.  My kids suddenly turn into fantastic helpers.  I get 40 jobs done in a matter of 5 minutes (all with no complaining) and then they sit and watch TV (quietly usually) and I get something done.  It is seriously a win-win situation!!!!!
Maybe this system will work for you too. 


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bailey button triplet boots

Julianne was home sick today. By mid afternoon she was feeling much better. She has been needing some new boots for a while but taking all the kids shopping isn't exactly the most fun thing to do. And I just wasn't sure what boots to get her or what size. So we spent the afternoon shopping. Trent and I had been discussing her boot preferences for several weeks trying to decide if we should get them. We both find them to be outrageously expensive. (and not exactly our favorite look either). But she (and every other girl in our town) loves them. So today I compromised. I was willing to pay half. She has to pay the other half. Since she doesn't have the money she has to earn it. My kids don't get an allowance but I do pay them to practice the piano ($1 a day and if they do all 7 days in a week they get a $3 bonus-- so they have the potential for $10 a week and the practice doesn't count if there is any whining involved). She has been slacking off on piano lately (mostly because she has been practicing the flute) but I want her to do both. So this is kind of a win win. She now owes me 9 weeks of piano. The deal is if she didn't practice the day before she can't wear the boots. She already practiced tonight so she can wear them tomorrow. These are tricky situations as a parent. You don't want to spoil your kids, and you don't want them to have to follow every trend. And yet you want them to fit in and actually wear them (and she did need them). I would love to hear how my friends balance needs / wants and brand name must haves with their children. She is one happy girl with her fancy button boots.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Maybe the oldest thing I own

Aside from a few family heirlooms this old master lock may be the oldest thing I own. I got it when I started 6th grade for my locker. I used it all of middle school, high school, college, and at various gyms. Since I joined la fitness I had to get out my trusty lock once again. I sure wish this lock had taken a picture every day. Think of what it has seen over the last 24 years!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Adam ready for Monday club

Adam loves to go to his school on Monday's at Nellie's house.  He is all ready with his lunch, 3 books to share, and his new CTR ring from his new class in church (he is in the CTR 4 class -- which stands for choose the right and his age).  Yesterday, Trent showed Adam how he still wears a CTR ring.  This morning Adam asked me how old daddy was and then pronounced, "so daddy is in the CTR 36 class???"

Saturday, January 1, 2011