Finding My Groove

fall is here

Well, it has been a month of adjustments around here. The kids are adjusting to school again. I am adjusting to having all three kids in school all day. And I am also adjusting to a new part-time job. I wasn’t really intending on going back to work so soon after school was back in session, but a nearby library was looking for someone for weekday afternoons. I interviewed and got the job. 

I’m working a lot more more hours than what I had been working at “my” library, and it is much busier. The time goes by quickly, but the vibe is very different — definitely not as personal. It’s just taking some getting used to. Since I work afternoons and don’t get home until after 5, I’ve been trying to get everything I need to do done in the mornings — cleaning, appointments, phone calls, dinner prep. My husband telecommutes, so for now it all works. He is able to get the kids off the bus and get dinner going. 

I’ve been ridiculously emotional lately — I think all these changes are causing it. It is strange to not have any little ones at home during day, and I think that is the hardest adjustment for me. I definitely miss it. Luckily, they all love school so the fact that everyone can’t wait to go makes it easier. But there’s also the realization that baby and toddler days are officially gone. And while I know our family is complete, and I really don’t want any more kids, there is a little part of me that is very sad about this.

Stupid things set me off, like driving by our local Friendly’s and seeing that it had closed. I immediately got all teary, remembering how we used to go there all the time when Jake and Noah were little. When we first moved up here, dinner at Friendly’s and walking through the mall was our standard Friday night out. 

Change is hard, even for grown-ups, I guess. Everything just feels different. I can’t explain it and I probably sound like a fruitcake. But like the kids, I will adjust. It only takes time.

In the meantime, I’ve set aside my Stitchcation Afghan and I’ve been working on an infinity scarf. Believe it or not, the yarn is by Red Heart! It is so soft, and the colors are just beautiful. I think RH gets an undeserved bad name. Their yarns (even the SuperSaver) have really improved since I first started knitting and crocheting 10 years ago.

infinity scarf

Outside, it is definitely starting to look like fall. My burning bushes are turning red. Leaves are falling. The days are shorter, and the evenings are cooler.

burning bush

mums

A couple weeks ago, Drew had the brilliant idea to take some extra bricks we had lying around and build a firepit. So on weekend evenings, we’ve been enjoying an outdoor fire (complete, of course, with roasted marshmallows). Saturday night we decided to do sparklers for no good reason other than that they are fun!

sparklers

My parents also visited this weekend. Dad helped Drew paint the back of the house (it’s a huge project, let me tell you), and Mom cleaned up my front garden because she actually enjoys doing that 😉 It looks a thousand times better! I would have gotten around to it (probably), but I am very appreciative that she just did it for me. After my last bout with poison ivy, I’m still kind afraid to touch anything green without wearing a hazmat suit.

So all in all, things are good! My weepies, I’m sure, will subside. I am fortunate to have (so quickly) found part-time work that works with our schedule (because really, the kids are only home for about an hour and a half before I get there — it’s not THAT bad). And really things are just moving right along.

How are things with you?

First Day of School 2014!

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I know for most of you, the first day of school is a memory already. But unlike a lot of other areas, we don’t go back in August… it’s always the Wednesday after Labor Day. In other words… today! And for us, it was an important day because our littlest started Kindergarten!

But let’s start with the oldest. Jake is in seventh grade. No longer the youngest kids in the middle school — hooray! I remember when I was in seventh grade (not in a middle school — just a regular classroom back then), our teacher had a foozball table in the corner of the room, he picked his nose, and was known for various quips that I still remember (such as “There is no ‘noise’ in Illinois!” — he’d get aggravated when people mispronounced it). Ha! I think he’s looking forward to getting back into his intramural clubs, though. 

jake

Noah is in fourth grade this year and actually has the same teacher that Jake had, so I know what to expect (which is kind of a nice change). He’s looking forward to seeing all of his friends again, and I think he’s looking forward to being in class just in general.

noah

Of course, for Laura, school is pretty much old hat. She loved preschool last year (and has several of her pre-K buddies in her class). And she spent two weeks at day camp this summer, so I’m not worried about her in full-day K. (Although for the first few days, the little ones are dismissed early to ease the transition).

laura

waiting...

the bus!

It was very sweet watching Noah let Laura go in front of him to get on the bus. I think it’s going to be a great year!

 

A Day at the Fair

photo 1 (1)

I’ll be up front with you: I’m not one of those people who lives for the county fair. In fact, the last time we went was, oh… about six years ago. I looked back through my photos and it was 2008. Laura wasn’t even born yet! Typically, the crowds and traffic make me anxious, but this year Jacob got free ride tickets for moving tables around with the scouts. So we decided to go this year.

And you know what? I actually had a graet time! Yesterday we went around 3:30, we didn’t hit traffic (yes, believe it or not, even though we only live 10 min. from the fairgrounds it IS possible to get stuck in horrendous traffic), we got a great parking spot… everything just worked out.

We started in the arts & crafts builing and I was so happy to see that one of my friends did exceptionally well in the culinary category. She won best overall, as well as several specific awards. Then… imagine my surprise to see a blue ribbon on someone else’s fair entry… Laura’s! The kids actually did the barnwood painting at day camp in July and if parents agreed to have the project enter the fair, it was done. I believe she is the first Bancroft to win a blue ribbon in the Dutchess County Fair. (Though truth be told… next year I am seriously considering entering a few entries into the knitting & crochet categories).

photo 2 (1)

Of course, we walked through the 4H barns and ran into some familiar faces. I didn’t take any pictures but oh, were those piggies cute! And the chickens… if I were not concerned about wolves, foxes, and bears I would definitely have some backyard chickens here. But for now I will just admire those at the fair.

The kids had a great time on the rides. Noah surprised us and said he wanted to go on this ride that swings you way high… like almost over the top. A bit reluctantly, I said OK, and well, he certainly learned that he is more like his mom than his dad when it comes to carnival rides. Nevertheless, he made it through and got off with a smile. That’s my guy!

Dutchess County Fair 2014

Laura loved the carousel. (And the up and down motion of the horse was about all I could take — yes, I am a total wuss, LOL!). She went on a few other kiddie rides and had a great time.

photo 2 (2)

I am happy to say we did really well when it came to fair food. There were so many tempting treats: fried dough, tempura, pizza… lots of bad-for-you, but oh-so-good treats.

photo 1 (2)

Drew and I got gyros for dinner (which were absolutely delicious and worth every overpriced cent), and the kids got burgers or hot dogs. Later on, everyone got to pick a treat. Drew got a chocolate-covered banana, Noah got a walk-away sundae, Jake got a candy apple, Laura got cotton candy, and I got a fresh-squeezed lemonade.

photo 3 (1)
It was definitely a fun way to spend a Thursday evening.

Nine is Fine!

Happy birthday, Noah!

Yes, August is a crazy birthday month for us. There’s my mom, Drew’s mom, Drew’s brother, Jake of course, and Noah. Yesterday was Noah’s special day — he turned 9!

Our weekend was full of celebrating. Saturday evening the boys had some of their friends over for a LEGO-themed party. Drew did all the work for this one — I can’t take any credit at all. The kids played LEGO games, built LEGOs, and designed their own mini-figures.

Birthday Party

Birthday Party

For the food, I made pizzas that resembled LEGO bricks, along with hot dogs, chips, and veggies. It was simple, but the kids all liked it!

Birthday Party

Birthday Party

We ended the evening by showing “The Lego Movie” on the outdoor screen. Some of the boys’ parents and siblings also came for that — such fun!

Yesterday we had our family party and that was a great time, too. Again, the food was pretty simple, but sometimes that’s the best. I made a tray of sausage & peppers, a tray of meatballs in marinara, pasta salad with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, rolls, and salad. We’ve been enjoying the leftovers 🙂

Birthday Party

Today has just been getting the house back in order after a weekend of parties. Dishes, laundry, putting away gifts… My allergies have been crazy today so I took a Benedryl and that wiped me out!

Tonight I plan to watch a movie with Drew and Jake after Laura is in bed (Noah’s at his grandma’s for a couple days), and doing a little crochet. Now that I’m halfway done with my afghan I’m getting itchy to start a new project, but I won’t. I’m going to finish this one up, border and all!

Well, time to get Laura’s bedtime routine going… hope you had a great Monday!

Almost a Teen

So hard to believe that 12 years ago yesterday I became a mom for the first time! This 9lb 6oz. baby came into the world and forever changed our lives.
Jake - August 2002

Jake - Fall 2002

Jake’s a baby no more, that’s for sure! My middle schooler loves Doctor Who, Boy Scouts, Magic: the Gathering, composing songs, playing XBox, writing stories and drawing comics…. oh, and eating! I always thought that TV shows joked about teenage boys eating their parents out of house and home but I am learning how true it is!

Jake's 12th birthday

We started the day with presents, and the birthday boy’s breakfast. Then we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse, where he got up on the saddle and the waitstaff did their thing. He didn’t seem the least embarrassed! (And yes, he did eat that entire burger – I felt full just looking at it!)

Jake's 12th birthday

Jake's 12th birthday

We picked up some Boston Creme donuts on the way home for a special birthday dessert. We are having parties all weekend, so everyone will enjoy cake then. Jake is just as happy with the Boston Cremes, I think 😉 They are his favorite.

Jake's 12th birthday

Next up: the teen years. I am so not ready for that so I think I’ll enjoy 12 as much as I can!

A Birthday, Rain, Cats, and Lavender

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Hello friends! It’s a wet, humid day here in the Hudson Valley. I don’t mind the rain, but I could certainly do without the mugginess. Is it awful that I’m already starting to look forward to autumn? It hasn’t even been all that hot this summer, and I do remember how I froze all last winter, but… I’m kind of ready for sweaters and fires and general coziness. That’s just me, I guess!

So, first things first… a very happy birthday to my mom today! We called her first thing in the morning and the kids all sang to her. Hope you’re having a great day, Mom!

I’m trying so hard to remember to post more often. Really, I am! It’s not that I don’t think about my blog it’s just that I’ve found myself choosing other things in my spare time. Usually watching a show or working on my Stitchcation blanket, which is oh-so-slowly coming along. The squares that use the FPDC and FPTC stitches take me so long because I have to hook them up ever so carefully or else my stitch counts end up way off. But after tonight I should be half-way there. I seriously doubt it will be finished in time for the end of the challenge (Labor Day), but oh well! It will definitely be finished for my birthday in October. 

Back in June, a friend and I both bought lavender plants at the Country Living Fair. Mine was absolutely flourishing! I was so happy! And then… I overwatered it. Let me tell you, I have learned that lavender does not like a lot of water. It went from healthy to ill beyond repair sooner than I could make it right. I was bummed because it smelled so wonderful. I confessed to my friend what I had done and we laughed over it. (Hers, incidentally, looks great!) How sweet is this: as a thank-you for taking care of her cats while she was away, she gave me a huge, healthy, new lavender plant! It is just gorgeous. I promised to be more careful with this one!

Let’s see, what else is new… Oh, I’m so disgusted with FedEx SmartPost. Back in July I took advantage of a sale on a summer sticker bundle that ErinCondren.com was having. It was some summer-themed repositionable sticker sheets, markers, the new coil clips, and a lotion sample all in a pouch. I had a bunch of referral credits, so I decided to treat myself. I also picked up the original sticker sheets. Here’s where I made my mistake: I decided to save $2 by not using FedEx Ground. Oh, friends, I have learned my lesson. The package was shipped out on 7/29. The last tracking update was from somewhere in Maryland on 8/1. My EDD was last Friday, which came and went. After dealing with “FedEx SmartPost Trace Research” team, they could not locate my package anywhere. It’s just lost. Vanished into this air. I know the issue will get settled, but it’s so frustrating that a company whose business is delivering packages loses them. 

Well, I guess that’s about all… Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. How can he be 12 years old already? I remember when he was a colicky baby I read this saying somewhere (I’m sure you’ve all heard it too): “The days are long, but the years are short.” How true that is!

Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

justme

 

Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

hello, summer vacation!

flowers

summer planter

Our summer vacation official began last Thursday when Noah finished up his last day of 3rd grade! To celebrate, we set up the sprinkler and I made chocolate chip cookie sundaes. I was so ready for for school to be over with, and I know the kids were, too.

Ah, summer… Lazy days, ceiling fans, roses, lemonade, all that good stuff. But let’s keep it real, kids. There’s also poison ivy, mosquito bites, humidity, and plenty of bickering. It all evens out, you know. But the first few days of break have been pretty good, I will admit. The summer will be broken up by various camps and day trips, and I’ll do my best to keep my kids from getting too bored (while at the same time keeping my sanity).

Yesterday Drew drove Jake to his first camp of the year. The local Lions Club generous sponsored him for a week of NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) camp. What a great opportunity! He will spend the week learning about wildlife, natural resources, and outdoor skills. This is right up my Boy Scout’s alley and he settled in quickly. This week Noah is at Cub Scout day camp, and he was beside himself with excitement! It should be a great week for both of them. 

It’s been ages since I linked up with Sandra‘s Happy Homemaker Monday, so no time like the present, right? 

As I look outside my window::: It’s a little cloudy, but really comfortable out this morning! The heat and humidity are supposed to rev up as the week goes on, so I’ll enjoy this while I can.

Right now I am::: Trying to decide if I want to run some errands today or save them for later in the week.

Thinking and pondering::: About an upcoming test I need to have done after my last thyroid ultrasound. I’m not too worried about it, but I just want to get everything done and over with already.

On my bedside table::: Oh, it’s just a mess right now. Lotion, medication, a water glass, various knittle needles and crochet hooks. I need to get it all straightened out and re-organized.

On my tv this week::: Not too much. There really hasn’t been anything getting my attention on Netflix lately.

Listening to::: Laura giggling as she watches “Poppy Cat.”

On the menu for this week:::
 M: leftover pizza
 T: BBQ chicken
 W: London Broil
 T: Leftovers
 F: Hot dogs/hamburgers
 S: ?

On my to do list:::
— Drop off registration forms for rec camp at the town clerk’s office
— Drop off clothing donations
— Dust/Vacuum
— Bank deposit
— Work in garden (cut some things back, plant some perennials and annuals)

Happening this week:::
Day camp for Noah, 4th of July, picking up Jake on Saturday. Not much else, which is fine by me!

What I am creating:::
I think this week I might dig my granny stripe blanket out of the closet and start working on it again.

My simple pleasure:::
Crossword puzzles – I’m obsessed with them lately!

Homemaking tips:::
Rubbing a lemon on your stainless steel sink will help remove hard water spots.

Looking around the house:::
Things definitely need tidying up. After giving the kids a little slack over the weekend as their summer vacation began, there are plenty of toys and crafts that need to be put back in their places.

From the camera:::
My blueberry bush that the kids gave me for Mother’s Day actually has some blueberries!
baby blueberries

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

This Week

Country Living Fair 2014

Ah… the school year is finally winding down. The last few weeks have been so busy! Four concerts, Field Day, Court of Honor, and Preschool Graduation (just to name a few) have kept us on the go. But summer is actually in sight!

Today was Laura’s preschool graduation. What a sweet ceremony her school put on! Drew wrote and performed a song with the kids — abosultely adorable. She was in tears the other day because she’s going to miss school so much. I reassured her that most of her friends with be in Kindergarten with her in the Fall. “But it won’t be the same!” she said. Awww… So bittersweet.

Laura's preschool graduation

Last weekend a friend and I went to the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck. I will have to do an entire post just on the fair because it was SO much fun. Next year I think I’ll opt for the two-day pass and get my mom to come on one of the days. So many pretty things and creative ideas. But more on that soon.

My crochet has been tucked away for now, just because there hasn’t been the time for it. But I have been busy in the garden planting blueberries, rhododendrons, various perennials… My dad was able to get me some lilacs another lady had dug up, so tomorrow my parents are bringing those down and I’ll get them in. I adore lilacs and just pray they take so I can have blooms next year!

Hope you all have been well. I miss my little corner of the bloggy world!

Spring Break

Yet again… more time passes between blog posts than I’d like. What on earth is it about this year? I feel like there just isn’t anywhere near enough time to get everything done.

Sigh… Anyway! We are on spring  break this week and I could not be happier! At this time of year I am just burned out. Tired of driving around. Tired of activities. Tired of that face you have to put on when you see other parents from school. (Don’t laugh — you all know what I mean. Sure, there are parents you are friends with and hang out with and love to see. But then there’s everyone else, LOL…) So yes. I am happy to have a week without obligations.

The kids and I went up to my parents’ last weekend. Poor Drew was sick with a horrible cold, so we left him home to rest. It was great seeing my family, and the kids all loved spending time playing with their cousins. We had an early Easter of sorts, complete with a delicious turkey dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Needless to say, the kids all had a blast!

Monday morning we got home and I worked in the afteronon. Yesterday a ton of library books came in for me — yay! I always feel like I won the lottery when there’s a big stack waiting for me.

library books

I was desprately craving Polish food. The craving was partially brought on by being in WMass for the weekend and partially by a conversation about kielbasa that I had at work Monday afternoon. It wasn’t the greatest, but as the saying goes, I did the best I could with what I had. For something different, I sauteed onions and topped the pierogis with onions and sour cream as I’d seen many other people do. Meh. It was OK but in the future I will stick to melted butter and breadcrumbs like my Babci always did. For me, that is traditional. And it certainly is tastier.

polish food

Today I’ve just been puttering around the house. Of course, we also woke up to this scene:

snowy april morning

Yes… snow! It poured all day yesterday and I am surprised any stuck. There was a huge temperature drop, though. I ran to the grocery store yesterday afternoon and it was 62 when I went in and 47 when I came out an hour later! Of course, it’s all melted away now. But it is still chilly enough to have one last fire going in the wood stove.

I have also been excitedly waiting for the arrival of my UBP14 prize! I won the Magic Bullet system from Jen over at PoorPaleo! Guys, I remember nursing Noah in the fall of 2005, watching this infomercial in the wee hours of the morning. I was riveted. I wanted a Magic Bullet so bad. But I had a blender. I had a food processor. It was a want, not a need. But to win one? Oh, this was the universe’s way of telling me that one really belongs in my kitchen. And look how excited I was to get it!

new magic bullet

The kids were psyched too. They are always asking me for smoothies, but I hate dragging out the blender. I think this is going to work out great!

I guess that’s about it. I’m trying to get out of my blog funk. I’m constant fighting with myself internally over how much is oversharing… should I try to blog more recipes or craft ideas (sticking to a niche)… or should I just write what I want? I know. There’s no right answer. And really, it’s my space I should do with it as I please. I don’t know why I find this to be such a struggle. It shouldn’t be.

Well, I’m off to finish up some laundry and get dinner started. Nothing fancy tonight, just some Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice Soup and sandwiches or salad (letting everyone choose). Hope you all are having a wonderful week! And I think I’ve finally got my  mojo back, so my ramblings here shouldn’t be so few and far between.