Izzy’s Soccer Season Finale

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Basically since Izzy was conceived I’ve wanted to put her in a soccer program. I can’t really explain it either – I didn’t play soccer in my youth and I don’t really understand the game either. Maybe I’m just one of those parents who wants to live vicariously through their children.

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I would never make her do something she didn’t want to do – but it did seem a little bit like fate that she was so obsessed with balls as a baby. 😉

As we’re already members of the YMCA, we decided to enroll her in their fall soccer season and it was great! Given that she’s only three we didn’t have high expectations but I really only wanted three things:

1. For her to get used to taking directions from someone other than me,

2. For her to get exercise and our undivided attention with an activity since she has to share so heavily with the twins, and

3. For her to have fun, of course!

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All of my hopes for this season were fulfilled! So I’m a happy momma. She definitely takes after me though and is kind of oblivious when it comes to where the ball is on the field. 😉 And mostly she wanted to play with the other girls rather than run into them and steal the ball, but that’s okay. She spent the whole hour on the field and ran in the general direction of the ball, which is about all I could really expect from someone with my genes. =P

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Today was our last soccer game. I’m thinking about signing her up for swim lessons this winter, but come spring if there’s another soccer season, I hope she wants to do it again! =)

Recipes to Remember: Potato Kielbasa Skillet

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In honor of that study saying that processed meats caused cancer, I decided to try out this Taste of Home recipe that includes both kielbasa and bacon.

Just kidding. I just love kielbasa. And I love bacon. And those are literally the only two processed meats we ever eat and we eat them maybe once every other week so I’m not gonna stress.

I mean really – who doesn’t want a pan full of frying kielbasa and potatoes…?

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But anyway, I have made recipes with kielbasa and cabbage before and while I enjoy them personally Korey isn’t huge on cabbage so I thought I’d give this one with spinach a try.

It. Was. Awesome.

I substituted marjoram for thyme because I loathe thyme but otherwise I followed it to the letter (well, I also doubled it) and I don’t think there’s a single thing I would change. And even though I thought I would miss garlic and very nearly added some anyway, the mustard/cider/brown sugar sauce is divine.

I will most definitely be making this again!

Recipes to Remember: Slow Cooker Pork Roast

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A friend introduced me to this AllRecipes recipe a few months back. It’s not very often that a recipe I find online makes it into a regular rotation with me but I’ve made this a couple times since then. Tonight was one of those times!

I’m actually not a huge fan of slow cooker meals. Trust me – I want to be! But I feel like a lot of meals just don’t turn out right in them – especially chicken. I cannot for the life of me make a decent tasting chicken dish in one. I have even converted chicken slow cooker recipes to stove top because of this.

However – pork and soup almost never let me down. This is one of them! Also, I learned through this recipe that you can make a quicky gravy by taking the meat out of the slow cooker and whisking some corn starch into the remaining juices then letting it sit and cook for another ten or so minutes to let it thicken up.

So I have this room…

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Confession time: we’ve lived in this house for four years now and I still have a ton of unfinished spaces. Partially because of money, partially because of babies, partially because my motivation waxes and wanes unpredictably. Well, this is one of them.

In my life before twins, it was going to be a library/office for me. It’s rather large for that purpose, but I have rather large visions, and I was going to fill it with my computer and a sewing machine and craft tables and well. All that fell by the wayside once we had twins.

After twins I started to get the idea that I wanted to turn it into a play room. The kids could have their own TV in there, tables for blocks and Lego’s, boxes to put everything in, and we could reclaim the living room as an adult space. But it was back-burnered forever because of cost, because I didn’t know where to put the stuff that’s in there now, because I had three small kids and nap schedules to maintain and potty training and every other thing.

Well. Since lightening struck our house and killed our TV, we decided to get another one. It turned out we could repair the old one on the insurance’s dime so now we have a TV for that room. And minus the couch I want, that was by far the biggest expense.

Concurrently I decided to turn the fourth bedroom upstairs into an office. One day I want all my kids to have their own rooms but let’s face it, we’ll probably move to make that happen, and while they’re little there’s no reason they can’t share as they have been. But that solved my bookshelf problem and I’ve been setting the office up slowly but surely so I could move everything up there.

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My end goal is to get a bunch of this IKEA kallax furniture for the far wall where the bookshelves rest now. I love the idea of having all their toys in boxes to fit in there. They can be themed or not but I can carry the brick box around the room picking up bricks (and I can also conveniently place some toys out of their sight/reach.)

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I also found these matching activity tables, which rocks!! I really wanted a regular train table but I think two of these will suffice. They cost the same as a train table and honestly I’ve heard even the $250 ones don’t hold up that well, which is a bummer. But these match the look of the bookshelves and offer the same space so I’m pleased with this find.

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I ultimately want a long sofa like the one pictured above but that’s also quite a bit of cash we don’t just have lying around so we’ll make do in the mean time.

Also I’ve got a whole movie poster theme going on that I think will be super cute and a great way to fill the space on those long long walls.

My dream is to set this all up Christmas Eve for the kids to come down to that morning because Izzy gets soooo excited about stuff like this but let’s face it, that would be a serious amount of work for a few hours at night and I might not have the money to acquire most of this stuff by then. So that’s probably not going to happen. But at least I can set up their play kitchen I got them for Christmas in there. 😉

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So here’s hoping I maintain some motivation but I plan to clear out (and hopefully sell) those bookshelves this week…! *fingers crossed*

Recipes to Remember: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I found this Food Network recipe and selected it purely because I wanted chocolate chip cookies but I had a very limited amount of butter and this one required much less than most. 😉

Another plus? This one doesn’t require beaters so it’s quiet to make after the kids are in bed – ha!

But I’m really impressed with how they came out! I’ve made this recipe twice now and they’re great because they rise well and best of all? They taste exactly like the kind of cookie dough you find in ice cream. Which of course leads to…

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And seriously. Who doesn’t want cookies and vanilla ice cream?

Monday is Grocery Day

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If you had told my twenty-two year old self that one day I would dutifully fill out a dry erase board every Sunday night with meals for the following week and then actually follow it… I would’ve laughed you out of the room. But, none the less, seven years later I would be doing exactly that.

I’m not really a list maker and consistent organization doesn’t come naturally to me at all, but it truly is the only way to manage three kids under four. Even with just Izzy we could hem and haw over dinner and then go out to eat. But now that results in a stressful, expensive meal and a late bedtime so I try to avoid it becoming the routine.

I have a few general meals I can make pretty easily that I know will please (spaghetti, pizza, my chicken “pot pie”) and then I add some more complex meals or different recipes so I don’t get bored of cooking or eating the same “kid friendly” stuff every week. (Breakfast and lunch are typically pretty slap dash and generally consist of the same four or five things. I can’t force that level of organization into my life – ha! – and I like to make sure they eat a good lunch they enjoy in case they don’t like dinner.)

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Then, once the big list is made I make an even more specific list. Anyone who knows me is probably in shock right now because I know I am just writing that – but it’s true.

I use my meal plan to write out a grocery list using the app Our Groceries (which is far from perfect but I like to be able to move the items around in the order I’ll find them in the grocery store and that is surprisingly not a feature found in many grocery apps.) I find if I don’t write out everything I need I WILL forget stuff. Every. Time. I’ll even forget stuff I realize that I forgot to include on the list while standing a mere two aisles away. That’s enough time to be asked eighty questions by Izzy and totally lose an errant thought. 😉

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Then it’s off to Publix! I swore I would never use one of those big double carts, but now I am soooo thankful for them. I try to complete my shopping before they nap just to get it out of the way. Generally they are in a good mood – not so much today, but generally. 😉

Thankfully I know the store so well I can get through it pretty quick, and the people at Publix all know me and are super helpful when I need anything.

… If only they’d come home with me to unload my car! =P

Our Weekend

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This weekend was actually pretty lax for us. It started with a Halloween party at the YMCA. The My Little Pony costumes I’m working on weren’t really finished so I just stressed Izzy up in her play costume, which she still loved. The babies really enjoyed wandering around and dancing to the Halloween music as Izzy played little carnival games. Then we went to our favorite restaurant, The Marietta Diner.

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And we promptly remembered why we stopped when Orin dumped his water on himself in refusal to believe that a cup with a straw does not need to be lifted up over his head and Zelda tried to climb into the table a thousand times. 😉

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Saturday was soccer for Izzy and then my birthday! Korey had to go to a conference and so my mum came with me to soccer and then we went back to her place for a bit for lunch, cake, and piano.

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Well. And also a nap. For Zelda, Orin, and all Izzy’s babies… =P

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Izzy was upset that I took this picture because she feared I'd wake her babies up.

Then daddy came home and we ate pizza and chilled. Just how I like my birthdays. =)

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Sunday was the most lax day and I got up to clean carpets in the office so I could set up bookshelves up there to move everything in the current “library” up there. I’m trying to turn what was once destined to be a library into a play room for the kids so we can reclaim our living room as an adult space. Our living room is huge and a real pain to clean because pretty much every toy the kids own can fit under the sectional and the media cases in there. -_-

Which I’m well acquainted with since I cleaned the living room today too!

I’ve been moving the babies to one nap a day so they’ve been sleeping a long time, which is great. And they’ve been sleeping better at night, too. Orin has been doing especially great after his tubes and I’m really glad that we got the procedure done. He is so much more energetic and happy now – I’m so thrilled he is finally feeling better.

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Which, I just HAVE to share these two cuties! During bath time tonight Orin started crying and Zelda came over to give him a hug then leaned forward and “talked” to him in the most soothing baby babble I have ever heard. It was enough to make this momma’s heart melt.

Now, if only I had actually made out my meal plan for the week, I could call this weekend a total success! 😉

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

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Well. This book.

So far since getting my kindle this book has taken me the longest to get through – 20 days. There is a reason for that.

The basic structure of this book consists of six different stories from six different perspectives. You read through them until the center one, which is double the length of the rest, and then read back through the first five in reverse chronological order. Generally I find this kind of structure gimmicky and went into this book expecting there to be a point to this. Unfortunately that point isn’t readily apparent.

What ends up happening is that you read through an hour of one character and then it radically shifts to a completely different universe, with a different tone, mostly different characters, and the implication that the previous section was fictional. Additionally Mitchell uses a literary device I hate – where the writing attempts to mimic speech. And I understand why he did it, but the middle story is incredibly difficult to get into for this reason.

Also – I’m incredibly bad at remembering character names. Especially when you were introduced to them 400 pages ago. 😉

I have read a lot of negative reviews on this book, wanting to agree with them, but the more I think about it, the more I think I get why he set the book up this way. And I think it’s actually kind of ingenious.

The point finally became apparent to me somewhere in the second section of the The First Luisa Rey Mystery where it comes out that the whole Swannekke power plant ordeal was supported by the department of defense because uranium was a byproduct. It occurred to me then that he was playing in reverse now how human greed and selfishness brought the world to its end.

Mitchell really hammers this point home in the end of the last chapter when he reiterates how Meronym told Zachary that people had “a hunger” in their hearts, “a hunger for more” as Goose tells Ewing that the only law of survival is “the weak are meat the strong do eat.” And Ewing extrapolates that “one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself.” That “in an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness us extinction.”

And that is exactly what has happened. Mitchell carries you through these little worlds, exposing you to truths of human nature, and then wanders you back through how we ended up there, showing you that connection, that interacting and being with the people in your life, is what makes humanity great, and selfishness and greed will tear us apart. Far from being pretentious, the last line – “Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?” – encourages the reader to be the positive influence the world needs because if we all work together, the world will be a more positive place.

The idea is far from novel and I’m not sure the format was particularly conducive to getting the point across effectively. There is a lot that seems pointless and extraneous. But I’m left with the lingering feeling that I should immediately reread it and watch the way he builds towards the point now that I understand better what Mitchell was driving at.

Ear Tubes for Orin

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Unfortunately my very first real post doesn’t get to be very happy. Today Orin had ear tubes placed in his ears for recurring ear infections. Korey had the same procedure as a baby and apparently it does run in families. I’d hoped that we would be able to avoid this – Izzy had never had an ear infection as a baby – but ever since his very first one as six months old the possibility has nagged at me.

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None too thrilled to be awake at 6:30 am...

We held out a long time too! He would go two or three months without one and then it would crop up again. Orin was considered only borderline eligible for the procedure until he got THE infection of his poor little life at the beginning of August when we were in Pennsylvania. We ended up having to go to the ER even – another first he graced me with. 😉 But that infection never seemed to go away no matter how we treated it – every two weeks we were back at the pediatrician for more medication. Finally they referred us to a pediatric ENT.

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But he perked up enough to play!

The practice I selected is associated with Children’s where Zelda had her heart surgery so I was familiar and comfortable with them. And while I do try to limit medical intervention and no one likes to see their children have any surgical procedure, I definitely felt relived when the doctor said he was eligible and a good candidate for tubes. It was a no brainer for me. Orin has been a miserable little man for the past three months – it was time to fix this once and for all.

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Pre-op with momma!

We had to go in super early this morning for the procedure and while initially Orin wasn’t too impressed, he perked up enough to play for a bit. I always feel like they’re going to start getting suspicious any time I only take one of them somewhere – ha! He misses his sisters greatly when they’re not around – even though they’re usually taking his toys away from him. 😉

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So so tired after being up for three hours and no food!

The worst part of the experience for me was reliving Zelda’s heart surgery. Every building in the Children’s network here in Atlanta seems to be branded the same way so the pre-op room looked distinctly like the one Zelda was in where I had to leave her over night so many times by herself. And the hallways were just the same as the ones I had to roll her down to meet with the anesthesiologist before surgery. But thankfully this procedure was so minor and the anesthesia so minimal I wasn’t really scared or nervous for him. I just think the experience of your newborn going into major surgery at a month old and five pounds is one that will never leave you.

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In a great mood after our nap.

And thankfully he did great! He didn’t cry much coming out of anesthesia and he immediately gobbled down a bag of goldfish. 😉 The doctor said his case was textbook and that everything looked fine. Most miraculously, except for some obvious moments of discomfort and pain, he seems like he actually feels better than he has in months! I was a little nervous he’d be groggy and upset the rest of the day, but he was back to playing and laughing and chasing his sisters as soon as we got home. 😀

I am really thankful for the great doctors and the great care we continually receive at Children’s and I am optimistic that this will make a big difference in the quality of Orin’s life. =)

About Zelda

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Zelda Fae – Fae for how small she was compared to her brother on every ultrasound – is the most daring, adventurous little baddie you could pack into a girl her size.

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Her water broke early and she was born via c-section less than a minute after Orin on May 2nd 2015 – six weeks early and weighing only 3 lbs 11oz.

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Unfortunately the reason she was so small on all the ultrasound was because she had a heart defect where the aorta is too narrow and she wasn’t able to pump out enough blood to keep her body functioning. We found this out four weeks into her NICU stay and immediately she was transferred to Children’s here in Atlanta for non-emergency heart surgery.

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After the surgery she immediately picked up and began blooming into the feisty like spunk we know her as now! =) I never imagined that tiny little baby who only had the energy to sleep would become the most loud, daring, dangerous kid in the family and on the playground. Other parents watch her scale walls in a two leaps with the same mix of fascination and horror that I do. All I can do is shrug and spot her. 😉

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Definitely this one is not going to make my life easy!!