The Family

The Family

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day #49: Irene Shmirene

  Hurricane Irene. Really? It was the most lame hurricane ever. Or at least thats what I'm told; My people (cat included) and I evacuated. Yes, we were evacuees. I'm from Houston, people.  My dad was a Houston police officer and was not allowed to leave the city during natural disasters and my mom never wanted to leave without my dad, so we rode out every single hurricane that rolled our way. The word hurricane just doesn't phase me. It was something that was pretty common growing up and evokes no fear or sense of urgency in me. So evacuating is something I just don't do. My husband, however, is from Colorado and never had the experience of hurricanes. He is also a pilot in the Navy. The military hears hurricane and evacuate ships and aircraft ASAP. And Tyson pretty much always makes me and the kids leave as well. Honestly, I'm fine with stocking up on water and beanie weenies, topping off my gas tank, and making friends with neighbors who have generators. But my northerner husband prefers to get the heck out of dodge.
  Tyson has learned over the past five years or being married to me how to carefully phrase things.  Instead of suggesting we evacuate, he suggested we do a mini vacation to wherever I wanted within driving distance. Other than the beach. But anywhere else. If you know me at all, you know I'm a planner, a scheduler. I like to plan in advance. Way in advance. I don't do spur of the moment or spontaneous. So this was going against all of my natural instints. But Tyson persuaded me and finally I decided that as long as we had a hotel suite, I would survive. We packed up quickly Thursday night and left early Friday morning. Let me tell you, Best.Vacation.Ever. Who would have thought? Not me! I was envisioning sleepless nights in a hotel, screaming and bickering in the car, and misery. Yes I know, slightly dramatic, but I have learned with children to expect and plan for the worst. The absolute worst. So I was pleasantly surprised and just downright SHOCKED that our spur of the moment evacuation trip turned out so incredibly well.
 We are now back from a relaxing vacation; no laundry, no cooking, no cleaning for the past three days and now I'm refreshed and renewed. Plus the kids start school next week and this was some good quality family time. We came home to no damage, just a bunch of leaves and branches in the yard. Letting go  and being more flexible is a challenge for me, but a good quality to develop as a mother. I cannot control and plan for everything, especially hurricanes. If my husband wants to do a mini vaca every time we may or may not encounter a hurricane, I'm on board!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day #48: It's not easy being green, or is it?

   On to my next venture. I'm going to take on recycling. I am, admittedly, the world's WORST green/eco-friendly mother on the planet. I go through paper towels and plastic baggies like no ones business. And although we actually have curbside  pick-up for recycling, I still don't recycle. I'm just being lazy and not wanting to sort trash. But I've been thinking and asking some of my eco- friendly mother's for some easy tips. I gotta start slow. It's like a diet, if you take on too much all at once, it ain't gonna happen. So here is my proposed plan:

1. Use less plastic baggies for snacks and more Tupperware. Same goes for paper plates. But paper plates are so easy, especially when I don't feel like doing dishes. But alas, I will reduce my paper plate use! This also goes for paper towels (I can use a sponge/washcloth) and napkins (I have some cloth ones, I think I could handle a switch).
2. Turning off the lights when they are not being used. I blame my children for the bulk of this. But I'm guilty as well. just a little.
3. Sorting trash from recyclables. I am going to get another trash can and make it my recycle bin and put it right next to the trash can.
4. Reuse. I always forget that reusing an item is a form of being green and I actually do reuse my plastic baggies already. I will attempt to reuse other things as well.
5. I am hesitant to commit to reusable bags at the grocery story, that seems like a BIG step. Plastic is SO easy. I wonder if I can bring back my plastic bags to reuse? Does that count as being green?

That's what I'll start with for now and I'll see how/where it goes. These are all very easy changes. I guess when I hear "going green" I think of big inconvenient changes. I think of solar lighting, cloth diapering, and Hybrid cars. But it doesn't have to be big at all to make an impact.

Any other tips would be helpful; I'm open to suggestions. What green lifestyle habits have you adopted?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day #47: Recap

So I was thinking the other day, since starting this "project" back in March, how much progress have actually made? I mean, I've made a lot of statements, plans, and promises, but how many have I actually followed through with? So I started looking back through my previous blogs to see what I've actually done.
1. Couponing: Although I am no where near as successful as the ladies from Extreme Couponing, I have made some progress. I now get all my diapers and wipes through Amazon using my mom prime account; I love having them brought to my door once a month. Seriously, could it get any easier? I get all of my bulk paper items, laundry detergent, and yogurt (can you really have too much yogurt??) from Costco. I still clip coupons, but probably only save about 5$ when I use them. Hey, 5$ is a Starbucks coffee, so it's something! I justify this with the fact that I do shop at the commissary which typically has better prices than Walmart on most items. I guess I still need to step up my coupon clipping game, but I'm doing better than I was in March.
2. Doing more activities for/with the kids: I have to say I have stepped up my activities for my kids. I mean, I don't mean to brag but, okay yeah, I do mean to brag. I'm kicking but on the kid friendly activities! We go to the zoo, bike ride, Busch gardens, the beach, the aquarium, have make your own pizza night. We also have plenty of outside play time, play with play dough (although I have yet to make my own), coloring, cooking (with Savannah),  and reading books.
3. Reading with Savannah: I got a reading book that Savannah and I have been diligently working through. We have not made a whole lot of progress but we are still working on it, so that's what counts. She doesn't have to be reading novels by the end of the year, but if I can give her a leg up before kindergarten, then I'll be happy.
4. Luke: We have really been working on colors with Luke. Every now I'll ask for a blue crayon and he will actually bring me a blue crayon. But most of the time he brings me a different color! We have also been reading to Luke every night before bed. He LOVES his bedtime stories and sits still and pays attention throughout the book. So he will at last have that skill down when he starts preschool (yikes) in a few weeks!

All in all, progress (slow and inconsistent) has been made since I started this "mommy project" in March.  It is nice to look back and be able to see that I am moving in the direction I want to as a mother. Some days it feels like I'm standing still, other times it's one step forward two steps back. But in the overall big picture, I am moving forward. Slowly.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day # 46: Make your own pizza night

I think we are going to officially start a "pizza dinner night". I mean, who doesn't like pizza (besides Luke when he's being stubborn and trying to piss me off)? And I love the idea of the kids helping with the cooking, it's a good life skill to have. Pizza is so versatile too, so I think we could mix it up enough so we don't get bored with the same thing. Veggie, meat, chicken pesto, mexican, mediterannean, BBQ...the possibilities are endless! It may not be every week, but I'm thinking we could squeeze it in twice a month. So we test drove this plan Saturday night and combined it with a movie and it was a hit. 
   I bought individual pizza crusts for the kids, and a big whole wheat one for Tyson and I (He says it tastes a little like cardboard, I mostly disagree). I found sauce that is squeezable, so the kids had no problem squirting it out and spreading it around with their hands a spatula. I put all the toppings on the table: pepperoni, cheese, and veggies and let them choose what to put on. They had a blast! Throw in an animated movie and my kids thought it was the best.night.ever. Sometimes I forget how easy it is to entertain kids, they don't need Busch Gardens, bike rides, and tons of toys. Sometimes making dinner together and watching a movie is even better than all of that!
making pizza!


and this is why they ate their own pizza! Luke snuck in a few licks of the sauce!

Luke was pretty upset when I took the pizza away to put in the oven.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day #45: Boys vs. Girls

   I was told last week at the gym that the teacher had to take Luke's sippy cup from him him because he was hitting other children with it. Sippy cup as a weapon. Great.
   I have a confession to make. When I heard mother's talking about the difference between boys and girls, it always seemed it was the mother's of boys doing all the talking. Boys are more aggressive, active, and just...different than little girls. Well it sounded like a bunch of crap excuses to me. We were (and still are) pretty strict with Savannah:we made her eat what we ate, never let her sleep in bed with us, restricted her t.v watching, and consistently disciplined her. I attributed her good behavior and obedience to our solid parenting techniques. I mean, I must just be that awesome of a parent. Well turns out, I'm not. I know, I was shocked too. And I owe all those mother's of boys a big FAT apology. I secretly and quietly thought that yall just sucked (for lack of a better word) at parenting. Turns out, boys ARE completely different than girls! Yes, what everyone has been telling me for years, I now have seen for myself. Turns out boys really are more aggressive, more active, and, well, just boys! They like dirt. Playing in it, eating it, throwing it, spreading it around my carpet. Luke throws anything and everything. A ball, his sister's toys (after he takes them away from her), books, crayons, and apparently sippy cups. He loves taking his toys to the top of the stairs and launching them down. He takes his diaper off and pees and poops on the deck. He spits when he's angry. He is obsessed with any type of motor vehicle- trains, planes, helicopters, semi trucks. He loves to climb. He ate 8 chicken nuggets yesterday. He is all boy and he is completely different than my girl. But I guess, "boys will be boys". And that's not an excuse!