Super Cool Lego App

Found this iPhone app today and have been having fun ever since.


It's That Good!

The Many family has been eating at home lately. This is huge for us. We love to eat out. But we realized that we were spending all this money at restaurants and decided it was time to pull it together and start eating at home.
I really feel like the kids are eating better because of it. We have a salad most nights...and the kids EAT it! I know, sounds crazy, especially if you know August's eating habits.
August is our first child and we had no friends who were having kids when we did so we were pretty much on our own. These days I watch some of my friends who are having kids now and am amazed at the community they have surrounded themselves with. I'll be honest, I'm a bit jealous.
We fed August baby food. We didn't know about all the easy homemade food you can make and I feel that this early experience with food made him a bad eater now.
By the time I had Hazel I was working with kids and had access to many other moms who shared their wealth of information on what baby's can eat. I was making fresh food for her and freezing food for her and she'd eat and eat and eat. To this day that girl will try anything. My sister had her eating sushi when she was 4, she wasn't even phased when Aunt Kat called it Nemo.
So the idea of Hazel eating salad everyday is not surprising...but August?
A few years ago Ann gave me this cookbook. If you are in need of a go-to cookbook, this is the one you want. I haven't made a bad thing from it.
Tonight I made their Chicken Cesar Salad. I've made it a few times before without the chicken, but tonight it was going to be the main dish so I threw the chicken in it. It is SO GOOD! The best part is that there are no raw eggs in it. They use buttermilk to bind it instead. The kids eat it up. Two servings for both of them. It's that good!!



Things are changing around here. Amidst the arguing between August and Hazel and the problems at school we are seeing our son change from a little kid to a *gasp* preteen. He turned 11 back in December and if you've been here a while you'll remember that year 10 wasn't the easiest year for us. Eleven hasn't been a ball of fun either but we're seeing changes.

We've given August an alarm clock. I feel terrible doing this cruel thing as I hate alarm clocks.
The other night we had a few families over from school and one of the dads was telling us that his son (born the same year August was) has an alarm that he sets every weekday. Not only does he get up on his own, but get this: HE TAKES A SHOWER EVERY MORNING!!!! Yes, you read that right...those of you who have sons may know that they generally do not enjoy taking showers. In fact, I'll be telling August to take one tonight and instead of him just complying he will try to tell me that he just took one. At this point I'll remind him that he "just" took one two nights ago and that he smells because he had rollerskating in PE today...he'll finally huff his way to the bathroom where I'll ask him if he brought in clean underwear and I'm sure you can guess what his response will be...
Anyway, can you believe that? A preteen who is self motivated to get up and be ready for the day? Well the alarm clock will go off tomorrow morning at 8:00am. I'm just praying that he crawls out of bed right when it goes off so that I don't have to hear it.

About a week ago August asked if he could start packing his own lunch. This request came after he told me that one of his friends had a Nutella and jelly sandwich in his lunch. I suggested that he probably packed it himself and that his mom had no idea what he was eating. I thought he was joking about wanting to pack his lunch so I didn't bother answering.
Then, at the beginning of this week he asked again. So I let him. The first day he packed an almond butter and jelly sandwich, chips, an orange and a zbar. The second day I suggested he pack a sandwich with meat in it which he did. He's since gone back and forth between almond butter and lunch meat. He always packs a piece of fruit and a bar with is sandwich.
I'm pretty okay with his new found independence.

Next year will be his first year in middle school. Not sure that I'm ready for that, but I am ready for him waking up on his own and packing his own lunch...baby steps, baby steps.



Each year the kids' school encourages families to participate in the National Turn Off the TV week. We generally don't have the TV on Monday through Thursday. At first we did this because it just made things easier for us. We set the plan with August and when he'd come up to one of us asking to watch Arthur or Lazy Town we'd look at him and ask what day it was. He quickly caught on and learned that he shouldn't even ask. The plan worked so well that we just continued it. At this point I'm not sure we'd even have time for the kids to watch TV during the week. What with School of Rock and the school play, then add the hour and a half (if we're lucky) of homework on top of that and we're rushing for dinner to be done before 8pm so that Hazel can get her reading in before lights out. So, when the note came home that this year's event would be starting January 8 and continue through the 15th we just assumed we'd all do it. Hazel was excited to sign the contract while August conveniently kept forgetting his. When you have a mom who works in your school it's really hard to get away with anything...so I just grabbed a new contract and had him reluctantly sign the form.
Friday night has typically been our movie night but last Friday we changed it up and played Pictureka together. Man, Hazel is good at this game. She can find the needed item so quickly it's shocking. It was already a late night and we could only fit 2 rounds in before bed...but we survived the first night!
Saturday we made waffles together and spent most of the day out of the house, ending with pizza at the Nyssen's. We had to inform them that we weren't watching TV/playing video games because the boys are now programed to go right to the game system when they see each other. The kids spent their time going through all of Francis' new toys while the parents had great conversations over the kitchen table.
Sunday was another busy day with little time spent sitting...and then, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...we made it!
On the 15th the school welcomed all the families who participated to come back at 6:00 to play board games and use the gym for a few hours. I had some running around to do between play rehearsal which ended at 5:30 and the family event so the kids went over to our back yard neighbor's house to eat a quick dinner and hit the school.
Once we finally made it home a strange thing happened. It got very quiet in my house. August slipped into his room and Hazel disappeared to her room. I was rather tired from subbing and then going right to rehearsals so I just sat on the couch for a minute before I walked around my silent house wondering what my children were doing.
August was found on his bed with his DSi and earbuds...Hazel? You guessed it...same thing. They stayed this way for at least 1/2 hour before I encouraged them both to hit the sack.

I don't feel badly about them retreating to their personal game systems. I think they already have limited screen time as it is but I'm thinking that we might want to change our policy up just a bit. Two Friday nights in a row spent playing board games...it was a good thing. Friday night might be the only night that we don't feel that rush to get things done. No one needs to get up early the next day so bedtime can be flexible. Homework can wait until sometime Sunday meaning that we can have dinner together without rushing...which just might leave us some time to sit around the coffee table with a game or two...wanna come over?


First Day Back

*Hazel is trying to look like the little brother in A Christmas Story while August is just trying to stay awake.

Morning came very early today. The rain didn't help matters when we were trying to pry the kids out of their beds. It sounded like a Midwest type of rain, with hard drops splashing on the windows. The sky was still dark when we turned music on in each kids room hoping to ease them into their first day back to school.
I have to say, it wasn't a terrible morning. We usually walk to school but I knew that with the rain coming down like it was it would start the kids out too wet and miserable, so we drove the 6 blocks. August kept saying he knew he was going to fall asleep in class so we prayed about him staying awake. Hazel was too preoccupied with wearing her new boots and choosing which new shirt she'd get to show off which led to a long discussion on being happy for your friends when they tell you about what they got for Christmas.


Break in the Schedule

Today marks the end of our vacation.
I was really looking forward to this break.
By the middle of December the Many family was tired. Waking up was becoming the most hated thing. My phone alarm would go off and I would audibly grumble at it before tapping the off bar. Trey would roll over and beg for 10 more minutes while I would shuffle down the hall to Hazel's room- knock, knock, (muffle, groan, groan) and then August's- knock, knock (silence), knock, knock, (huff), knock, knock ("OKAY!").
I would have to splash my own face to get motivated for the fight that was quickly approaching. My arsenal ready with words like, "You have 5 minutes to get out of bed before I start taking things away from you. " and "We have 15 minutes left for breakfast." and "Put your plate in the sink, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, put your shoes on, put your coat on. Do you have your lunch?" With an extra, "What are you going to eat for lunch today?" when one or the other had left their lunch sitting in front of the door. Mind you, they had to walk right past it in order to forget it. And then the, "Run back and get it and then hurry up and catch up to us."
Makes me tired just writing about it!
Needless to say, we were all very ready for the break in schedule. And so, that first day off school? We all slept until 9:30am, which, remarkably was the exact time I'd told the kids the TV could be turned on during the break.
On Christmas morning I was awoken not by my darling children excitedly panting for gifts. It was my phone repeatedly buzzing and buzzing with pictures of my brother's kids opening presents at 7 in the morning. My kids were still dreaming of American Girl dolls and video games. August and Hazel, who by this time were regularly waking up at 10:00am, finally tip toed out of their rooms at 9:00 all sleepy like but willing to push themselves with the realization that the gifts waiting for them would make it worth it all.
Gifts were opened, hugs were given, pictures were taken and sent and then the house was quiet again. I poked my head in August's room, expecting to see his nose in a book or to hear some blip, blip, bliping from his DSi, but instead I found him in his bed trying to take a nap. "You tired August?"
"Huh? Yeeeessssss."
Today marks the last day of break. I woke up to a quiet house at (hold on to your hats folks) 10:45am. A quiet house. Dogs still in their kennels, husband still snoozing and the kids doors closed with no sounds coming from behind them.
I had to wake them up. At 10:45 in the morning. Tomorrow is going to hurt so bad.