Hot and Muggy

That about sums up how it feels outside. Hot. Muggy. It’s miserable. I can’t even take the kids out because it is just horrid. Where is fall???


I’ve read 27 of the 100 books

BBC believes most people have read less than 6 books in this list.
How many have you read?
Copy the list and put an X next to your reads.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
X 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
X 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
X 6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
X 8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Total: 4

X 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
X 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faul
X 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

Total: 3

X 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
X 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
X 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
X 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
X 30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Total: 5

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
X 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
X 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hossein
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
X 40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

Total: 3

X 41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
X 42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
X 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
X 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

Total: 4

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
X 57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Total: 1

X 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

Total: 1

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
X 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Total: 1

80 Possession – AS Byatt
X 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
X 83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
X 87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

Total: 3

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
X 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
X 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Total: 2

Grand Total: 27

Giving up my Diet Coke and other artificially sweetened stuff

I don’t really want to. I’ll start with that. In fact, anyone who knows me knows how much I love my Diet Coke. Not too many stories or experiments truly cause me to change my behavior. Heck, I smoked for some 10 years kn0wing full well that it was related to cancer, emphysema, etc. I didn’t excercise regularly until recently, even though I knew it was recommended, and I carry excess weight which leads to all sorts of health related issues. I’m smart, I see the data, but I didn’t alter my ways based upon data. I quit smoking because my husband, then fiance, has really bad asthma, and really prefered for me not to smoke. I started excersing because I needed some “alone” time and wanted to shop from somewhere other than Lane Bryant, and coincidentally (haha) the weight drops when you move more and eat less, go figure…a double whammy!

I’ve considered that all the diet stuff might not be good for me. I’ve thought about not using it, but I didn’t want the extra calories added from the real-deal versions. Of course, I kept on using the aspartame stuff, never really understanding why the silly bold declaration was even on the packaging. Hmmm….maybe it is because this stuff really isn’t good for people to consume? But wait, the government lets it be in over 6000 products, so it can’t be that bad for consumption? Can it?

I saw this website this weekend

I think it really might be that bad…so I’m pulling it from my diet and that of my husband and children.

What about the extra calories? Well, I guess I’m just going to have to make smarter choices and drink more water or unsweetened tea, and if I really want a soda, then I’ll have one, but not 3 or 4, and I’ll have to cut the calories from something more substantial, so I’m thinking soda might be off the table alltogether. I can do this.




***many in the scientific community have tried to discredit the experiment that I link to citing a variety of problems with the project design, but IMO, this is kind of like when a crime is commited and the police obtain direct evidence showing the guilt of the accused, but it is thrown out due to a technicality.

Football Season!

I love football season. I love the weather, what I call football weather is when you can wear jeans and a t-shirt comfortably all day and a sweatshirt in the evening. I love a crockpot of chili. I love the excitement of the game. But this year, what I love most is that Dustin is playing! This is his first year, so he has a lot to learn, but already I think he loves it. Last night was our first practice in pads, and the fact that he took several hard hits and still wants to play is a good thing. I was slightly afraid that after his first contact practice that he’d change his mind, but he has been really excited about playing.


Some alone time with the Dot

I took Dorothy out for an evening with Mommy while our boys went to the racetrack to see the drags, and maggie stayed with grandma. We had a great dinner together and she got to talk without competition from her very talkative brothers. She told me that she wants to go to a bunch of countries and buy necklaces, maybe even outer space. She has a loose tooth. She really, really wants to sit AT the same table as her friends this year. The answer this year is still no. It made her eyes water up, but I told her that I want her to be safe. I’ve mentioned this before, but she doesn’t remember her anaphylaxis, I do. She remembers getting hives as a 6 year old, but not the ER trip where they administered epinephirine before even admitting her or filling out paper when she was 22 months. We talked a lot about how it is no fun being different or special, how she just wants to be like everyone else and not have food allergies. The waitress gave her a balloon. She wanted to bring it home, but opted to release it because Liam is allergic to latex and she wouldn’t want Dustin to have a can of nuts in his room. She’s starting to get it….time…time will add maturity, which will help.

We ended our night by watching High School Musical. She asked if I’d watch #2 & #3 with her soon. I think we have a movie night planne.

Herding Kittens and Middle School

I’ll start with Middle School.

Dustin is officially a middle schooler. My mom (the saint) watched the kids and the daycare yesterday so that I could take Dustin out to lunch and get him registered for middle school. We had a great lunch together, talked about football, baseball and some other small stuff, then went to the school to turn in forms and pick up his SCHEDULE! Oh.My.Gosh. I cannot believe he now will change classes, have a locker, band, etc. Oh, I thought I was ready. I remember clearly how I used to encourage him to do things that would help him grow up, pushing for that first step, to take a shower alone, letting him pick out his own clothes, and so on. Each step gets him closer and closer to the ultimate goal of someday growing up and becoming a man, but I didn’t think I would be staring at the start of the end product so soon. He’s wearing deoderant now….I find myself more and more wanting to stop time and hold tight for a moment longer because clearly, the rollercoaster is going.


let me dry my eyes before i continue


ah, yes, kitten herding. I never want to tell people I *babysit*, babysitting is what the 16 year old up the street does. I provide a valuable service called “CHILDCARE”, but most people don’t really understand what that entails beyond watching kids and cooking their meals. I was describing my day to a friend and I said, “It’s like herding kittens. They are all so cute and cuddly, but I spend my days making sure that they aren’t climbing the curtains, removing them from couches and tabletops, rescuing them from behind furniture, and when they get too sleepy I put them back in the box (aka playpen) for a nap. Trying to get them all going in one direction is nearly impossible, even if they all have the same goal, be it eating or sleeping. It is incredibly rewarding, but at the end of the day I feel quite exhausted.”

Things that are working for us

One of my bff’s – Jenny over at More Laundry, link in the side bar – does this type of entry from time to time. I like it, so i’m stealing her good idea.

1. Crockpot meals. With a bit of forethought, I can have all the ingredients on hand at any given time, toss them into the pot, and 6-8 hours later, I look like a great wife/mom with a fantastic, delicious, and hot meal on the table. I have purchased several pots, so if one is in the wash, fridge, etc. it won’t hold up dinner.

2. Angel Food Ministries. For $30/pkg I can get $60-70 of food that my family will eat, plus for an extra $22 I can get the produce box as well. High quality food for low prices makes me happy, helps the wallet, and keeps the kids well fed.

3. New work hours for John. John switched to some much earlier work hours. Yay for flex-time! Already we are seeing the benefits of his being home earlier.

4. Pre-sugared Koolaid in a can. Laugh if you must, but this cuts down on mess, is easy to make in a hurry, and the convience factor wins on this. At the grocery it is expensive, but Sam’s Club makes the super large can much more affordable.

5. Disposable diapers at night and for outtings. I cannot begin to tell you how much this has changed the laundry. Seriously. I still love the cloth, but when I’m out and about with 4 kids, and I’m much more active now than I was when Liam was small, these are so nice to have on hand.

6. Requiring outside play during naps. Naptime has gone from 1.5 hours to some days as long as 3, with no added issues of late bed time. If anything, a well rested baby seems easier to put to bed at night.

7. Sports bras. So comfy. Easy to nurse with, easy to put on, just easy.

Well, from my list you’d think I’m trying to find things to make my life easier, more convinient, and less work…I think that may be true. With Maggie up, running and climbing, Liam into EVERYTHING, and Dorothy and Dustin with their own agendas and sports schedules, you can bet that my life is busy, so things that can help make it easier are definately pluses.