Multitasking…

treadmill desk

In a busy life filled with homeschooling, work, children, writing, sewing and many other things, I always find it hard to find time to work out.  It’s frustrating at the end of the day knowing I’ve failed once again to find time for exercise.  I want to be healthy and every day I feel my health deteriorating a little more as I spend day after day sitting at my computer working and writing.  I’ve spent days standing and working, just to change things up before but it’s not much better.

The more I thought about it the more it became clear that something has to change.  I can’t change the amount of hours in a day, and work still has to get done and I refuse to give up writing or my enjoyment of gaming.  So I tried to think up a way to get some exercise while doing these things.

My first thought was to get a stationary bike, but who has the money for that.  Then I remembered a clip I had seen on the news of a woman who put a desk over her treadmill and walked all day.

Brilliant!

Since it’s the holidays and money is tight, Daddy and I found a make shift desk for the treadmill (the leaf for our kitchen table) and I’ve been walking and working (and sometimes gaming) ever since. I started off really slow and I’ve now worked up to 2.8 miles per hour.  Balancing is harder while trying to use the computer on a treadmill.  It’s still not a brisk walk but it’s much better than sitting, plus I can do it for a long time.  The first day I walked while I worked for 4 hours and burned 1000 calories.  Not bad while invoicing.

Four hours is a long time, it’s still hard to get that many hours in a row, but most days I average 2 hours and more than 500 calories.  I’ll take it.

……………

On a totally unrelated note…

Isn’t this the cutest little guy in his first time out?!!

time out

Mysterious Ways….

Today the Milk Monkey went to back up daycare.  One of the “perks” of Daddy’s job is 20 days of daycare per child.  It really comes in handy for those days when all my concentration needs to be on work, or just for general catching up on things.  All three of the kids had some days left but the Milk Monkey had most of his because we only just started sending him near the end of the year.  So since he’s the one that occupies most of my time during the day we’ve been sending him to back up every day this week.  He loves it there and really enjoys playing with his friends, so it’s a win-win situation.

This morning my little guy woke up with a rash on his cheek and his eyes were red.  This happens, between the hives, the runny noses and the rashes we’re pretty use to it now.  I gave him his dose of Children’s Claritin, something the allergist wants us to do until our next visit in January and sent him on his way.  Sure enough, mid afternoon I got a call saying the Monkey needed to be picked up because he has a rash.  I have no idea why they waited until afternoon, maybe because it looked worse after waking from his nap, probably because the Claritin was wearing off.  I don’t know.  I tried to explain his skin sensitivities and the rashes and hives but they still wanted him picked up.  They said the only things he ate that was different was rice and black eyed peas.  The allergist has determined the triggers are not food related. A few minutes later they called back and informed me he needed to see a doctor before he would be allowed to go back.  The second call made me feel like they think I’m a bad mother – like I made light of a critical situation.

We’ve been dealing with this for a while now.  We’ve seen our sweet little baby covered head to toe in hives, we’ve slathered his little diaper parts in various creams to try and get rid of rashes that won’t disappear, we were the ones who comforted him when he got pneumonia from the constant nasal drip when the doctors kept telling us it was just a cold.  That is why I didn’t freak out about the rash on his face.  I understand they don’t know all this and they’re just looking out for his best interest, which I appreciate.  It’s just that even though he is the third child in our family, I still second guess most decisions I make, especially in the areas where I don’t have any expertise like medicine.  I don’t want to be the hypochondriac mother but at the same time, I don’t want to ignore his needs.  It’s always a fine line.

Nevertheless, Daddy took him to the doctors to see what was up.   The doctor agreed it’s just a rash because of his sensitivity.  As he was checking him out he found that the little Monkey has a small ear infection so he prescribed some antibiotics for that.  I guess the rash was a blessing in disguise.  He hasn’t had a fever and he hasn’t been pulling at his ears, so there was no way anyone could know.

I’m thankful for the way the day turned out even if it was frustrating and my motherly pride took a hit.  The thought that my little Monkey could be in pain without us knowing is just too sad.  I’m thankful for the daycare women who insisted we take our little guy to the doctors, even if it wasn’t for the reason they thought.  I’d like to think I would have caught on to the ear infection if he had been around me all day but I probably wouldn’t have unless he was showing more signs.

When I think of the saying that God works in mysterious ways, I think of situations like this.  I don’t believe he brings sickness to His children, but I do believe He can use a situation to whisper in someones ear to help us when we need it.

Pictures with Santa

Yesterday we went to the mall to visit with Santa.  Ever since my little Princess was born I would match her Christmas outfit to our Little Professor’s, but now that we have the Milk Monkey I’ve taken it to a new level.  I dress my boys in the same outfit.

I love it!

I realize I probably only have a couple more years, at most, to enjoy doing this.  For now the Professor humours me and even gets a kick out of it, but I know the year will come when he will be too old to wear the same outfit as his little brother.

Before we get in line to see Santa I like to get a picture of the kids standing in front of the gigantic tree.  I do it every year.  However this year the little Monkey didn’t want any part of it.

His two older siblings tried to convince him, they tried holding him in place as he screamed and they tried to encourage him to stand with them, but it was just not going to happen.

The Milk Monkey just wanted to explore.  There were too many bright and sparkly things to check out.

The Princess and the Professor were more than happy to pose for me!

The Princess even more so than her older brother.  She loves having her picture taken!

After our visit with Santa, the kids asked to go on one of the Merry go Rounds.  The little Monkey had never been on one, that was their argument, so Daddy and Nana J took them to ride it while I did some Christmas shopping.

Daddy took many pictures and it looks like they had fun, even if they Little Professor could barely get his legs to fit!  I’m pretty sure he’ll be requesting rides every time we go to the mall, just like his brother and sister, to which I will almost always reply “no”.  Nana J and Daddy of course are another story!

  

  

Decorating the Tree…

Last week we decorated the Christmas tree.  The Milk Monkey thoroughly enjoyed the whole process along with his brother and sister.  He wasn’t quite sure what we were doing walking around checking out trees but he was excited.  He seemed aware that we were doing something special.

When he saw the tree tied to the top of the truck, he pointed and shouted “ook ook” (look look), and when Daddy brought it in the house he grinned big and mischievous.  Having a tree in the house was the ultimate fun for him!

This year the Little Professor took over my job of holding the tree steady while Daddy tightened the base and secured it in place.  He was very proud of himself.

I was very proud of him too!

The Princess also took on a new job.  She stood behind the tree and passed the lights back around to Daddy.  It was fun at first but she was glad when it was finished.

  

The kids did the majority of the decorating.  We let them place all the ornaments where ever they thought looked best.

I think they did a fabulous job!

After the tree was finished we celebrated with Hot Cocoa while we watched the Polar Express.  The Milk Monkey was very impressed with the movie.

He’s getting so big!

It’s a joy to watching experience everything!

We’ve kept the tree lit along with a roaring fire all week and it’s so beautiful.

I’m enjoying Christmas so much this year!

 

I’m On The Edge…

I’m on the edge,

the edge,

the edge,

the edge,

the edge,

the edge,

the edge,

I’m on the edge…

 I’m not a Lady Gaga fan.  I don’t have anything against her, I’m just not into her music. Last year there was a commercial that played a clip of the song over and over again, so unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, those are the only words I know.  As I clung to the edge of my bed last night a little Milk Monkey wiggled and jiggled beside me, coughing his little croup cough – that part of the song was the only thing that ran through my head.

And yes, I woke up singing it too.

Even still, I loved having my little guy in our bed.  At one point he opened his little sleepy eyes ever so slightly and whispered a little “hi” to me with his raspy, wheezy voice.  A little while later he wrapped his small restless arm around my neck and gave me a snuggle.  If it were up to me, I’d have all my kids in with us.  Daddy and I have very opposite views on co-sleeping.  I would love a big room where we could fit the crib and the bunk beds in.  It just makes sense to me to keep my little ones safely close by, but Daddy prefers they be in their own room and even though the Princess may back me up, I’m sure the Professor prefers his own space.

We came to a compromise a while back.  The babies get to sleep with us for the first 8 -12 months of their life.  They had their own cribs next to ours and it was wonderful. With the Milk Monkey we bought a co-sleeper for the side of the bed and it was the best baby item I’ve ever purchased.  I highly recommend them.  It’s so close to having the baby in bed with you while keeping them completely safe.  Eventually, each child transferred out of our room to their own, usually quite easily, except for the Princess.  Nothing was easy with that little one when she was a baby.

Even with all the co-sleeping we’ve done with the children in the past, it’s very seldom they try to get in bed with us.  I credit our early co-sleeping days to that.

Our little Monkey eventually went back to his own bed, where he could get the mist from the humidifier and I managed to get some space on the bed, but not much as Daddy hogs most of it anyway.

The Road Less Traveled…

I have this problem where I have to take something simple and easy and make it much more complicated and difficult.  For example when I made the Princess’s quilt, the first quilt I ever made, instead of following a kit I made my own pattern.  I bought the material on my own and I came up with my own layout.  Now I’m working on a quilt for the Professor and of course, I’m using my own layout again.  Maybe the next quilt, I’ll use kit…maybe.

So when my little Princess asked me if I’d sew her some clothes for her American Girl doll I knew a typical pattern would never do.  The pattern pictures show ill fitting clothes on the front of the envelope.  They all look homemade and really plain compared to the actual American Girl doll clothes.  I’ve made one outfit from the patterns months ago and it just didn’t measure up.  I knew I had to take it up a notch, so I called upon my pattern making skills back from my college days and started creating.  I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t send me to school to make doll patterns for their future granddaughter, but at least it didn’t go to complete waste.

 

I still have much more to do.  My pattern making skills are rusty but they’re coming back to me.  I’m excited to see the finished project and I’m even more excited to give my little girl her new doll clothes on Christmas morning.  I hope they measure up to the ones from the store.

The List

I have a list of books that I created 9 years ago – books that I want to read in my lifetime.  Not all the books are literary fiction, nor are they classics.  Very few are main stream books, at least they weren’t at the time they were added to my list.  Some actually have been turned into movies…Life of Pi, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Lovely Bones to name a few.  Some of the books I added because they were so original – The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse,  and some actually are classics – To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984.

Today I decided to show the Little Professor my book list.  He was really impressed by the idea.  I encouraged him to make a list of his own and he thought it was a great idea.  That, of course, made me smile.

Not every book I read is from my list.  In fact, the majority of books I’ve read have nothing to do with my list.  I’m not sure how to explain what qualifies a book to make the list.  Each book has earned it’s place because something about it spoke to me, whether it’s the title, the description or the author.  Some books I read years ago and added them on my list to read again – The Handmaid’s Tale.  Not every book has started off great, some were very slow going at first but I’ve yet to finish a book and find it not worthy of being read.  I haven’t read every book on the list yet, but I’ve read quite a few of them.

I’d like to share my list with you….

Title Author
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Diary Chuck Palahniuk
Fahrenhiet 451 Ray Bradbury
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
The Dogs of Babel Carolyn Parkhurst
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Susanna Clarke
The Know-It-All: One Mans Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World A. J. Jacobs
The Hollow Choclate Bunnies of the Apocalypse Robert Rankin
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon
The Stones of Summer Dow Mossman
Shade Neil Jordan
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
The Alchemist Paulo Ceollio
East of Eden John Stienbeck
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
Grapes of Wrath John Stienbeck
Saint Training Elizabeth Fixmer
Flyboys James Bradley
The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis
Blessings Anna Quindlen
Unless Carol Shields
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Great Gasby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Lord of the Flies William Golding
The Time Machine H.G. Wells
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
1984 George Orwell
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
The Chrysalids John Wyndham
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

My Wonderful Life…

This morning, as I was getting out of bed I was met by a toothless boy who insisted I needed to stay in bed and have a cup of coffee first.

He took off down the stairs yelling, “Daddy, Mummy needs a coffee!”

A few minutes later there were footsteps coming up the stairs and a Little Professor complaining that he wanted to deliver the coffee.

Instead, Daddy appeared with two mugs of coffee and we actually sat for a little while drinking coffee together…alone.

That never happens!

We enjoyed our time while listening to the chaos going on downstairs.

Eventually, it came to an end and we made our way downstairs.  Daddy built a fire and then disappeared into the kitchen.

A little while later he returned with homemade, from scratch, Banana Coconut muffins!

Yes, that’s my life…coffee in bed, roaring fire in the morning and homemade muffins worthy of small town bakery!

No complaints here!