Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas, Take Two

The husband, Maren, Sully and I returned yesterday from Michigan where we were visiting my in-laws.  There, we had our second Christmas.  The kids received a few more gifts, the best of which was just getting to spend time with their grandparents.  The husband and I got the gift of two afternoons spent with just each other.

Thursday we walked the street(s) of downtown South Haven.  We visited a few antique stores and had lunch at a local cafe.  It's a very picturesque little town situated right on Lake Michigan.  There were actually quite a few people wandering around along with us, probably due to the relatively nice weather for December (a balmy 40 degrees or so,) but I can imagine it's quite a bit busier during the summer months.

Friday we decided to do some wine tasting so we drove to the Fenn Valley Winery.  We skipped the tour and went straight to the tasting room.  I liked the Edelzwicker and the Lakeshore Demi-Sec, both sweeter, lighter, white wines.  Chris really liked the Meritage and I must admit it was quite good, a very strong, dry, red, but I can only imagine the headache that would ensue if I actually chose to drink a glass of it so that one didn't make our list of ones to buy.

After wine tasting we wanted some lunch.  Whenever we're in a new place I google for the best local restaurants and search for a place that isn't a chain and that the locals rave about.  We really wanted to try Ranch House Ribs but they are only open in the summer months.  Major bummer.  A very nice clerk at the winery suggested Salt of the Earth in Fennville, but they aren't open for lunch.  Major bummer.  So, we ended up at his second suggestion, Phil's Bar and Grill in Sagatauk.  Let me tell you, if you like chicken wings and are in Western Michigan, this is the place to go!  I wish I had taken a picture of them because they were bigger than any chicken wings I've ever seen.  And, they weren't covered in the traditional buffalo sauce or bbq sauce, but instead were tossed with an ancho-chile citrus glaze, which was out of this world.

We made one more stop at Bob's Meat Processing to pick up some bacon because I read that their bacon is even better than Neuske's.  We bought thick cut bacon as well as some maple smoked bacon which we tried yesterday and it was very, very good.

Saturday, Chris and I realizing we couldn't possibly sleep one more night on the air mattress, drove home with Maren and Sully.  Shannon and Quinn got to stay in Michigan for a few more fun filled days.  It's weird being home without them.  Today I made a bowl of popcorn and no Quinn appeared smiling coyly not wanting to say she wants some but clearly wanting some.  I miss them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas

I was awoken this morning by Maren wanting to eat. As it was 5:00am I figured I would just get up and stay up. Oddly, I was the only one up for two full hours. I figured the other kids would be up by 6:00am and dying to see what Santa had brought them but nope, they actually slept in until nearly 7:00am. It was nice to have some time just Maren and me and coffee, let's not forget the coffee (made while holding Maren, see, there are her little Santa feet.)

Being up alone gave me the opportunity to pop the overnight french toast into the oven and have it baked by the time everyone got up. I tend to only make this on Christmas Eve but I'm not sure why I don't make it more often as it's pretty simple and tastes pretty good.

Once the kids got up it was all crazy fun from there on out.  I managed to stop them from running down the stairs long enough to snap a pictures of them in their new pajamas and robes.

And new footie pj's for Sully.

Santa was good to all the good Terry children.  Quinn got a My Little Pony castle.

Sully played with a new race track.

 Shannon helped Maren open her musical monkey.

 And last, but certainly not least, Shannon played his new WiiU.

My gift, a beautiful Mission style secretary desk, is not scheduled to arrive until mid-January, but watching the delight in the kids' eyes today was gift enough.  What a very merry Christmas it has been.

Friday, December 21, 2012


It's not even the new year yet but I'm trying to get a head start on my biggest resolution for 2013 - Simplify.  To that end, I just spent easily half an hour opening every email in my inbox and hitting the "unsubscribe" button for any company where I find myself deleting their emails day after day after day rather than opening and reading them.  And there were a lot of those.  Starting in 2013 I hope to spend a lot less time dealing with my overflowing in box.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And Just Like That


Tuesday after I finished my work I got out of the house for a while and ran a bunch of last minute Christmas errands.  As I headed out it started snowing big, fluffy flakes that coated everything in beautiful, pristine white.  I love the look of the bare trees covered in snow.  What I don't love the look of is five minutes later when cars have driven on the snow and it all starts to turn grey and black.  What I also don't love is the time it takes to outfit four children in puffy coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots.  Winter is a lot of work!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Balancing Act

I'm typing this with my laptop balancing on the arm of the chair and Maren balancing on my leg.  She's sleeping so quietly, her little chest rising and falling with each breath.  Last night was a pretty good night.  She ate at 7:00pm, had a little snack at 8:30pm and then slept from 9:00pm until around 2:30am when she woke up to eat again.

It's coming on Christmas and despite my best efforts I'm running behind in my preparations.  The tree is up and decorated and a bunch of presents are wrapped and beneath it, BUT I still haven't gotten presents for a few important people and worse, I still have no idea what I'm getting them.  I really wish that the adults in my family would stop exchanging gifts but I have yet to get them to agree.  I love giving presents but what do you get people who have everything they need? After years of giving pictures of the kids I think that's getting a little old.  Last year I had the kids make some gifts for their grandparents so maybe today I'll hop on Pinterest and try and find some easy, kid friendly, crafts they could make.

So, let's add kid's crafts to the list of things to get done.......a list that keeps getting longer instead of shorter.  I've been doing better getting things done since I've been home but it's still a balancing act.  I have more time to do laundry, straighten up, organize, etc. as I'm home everyday but at the same time I'm trying to balance my desire to get all that stuff done with just spending some quiet time with Maren and some fun time with the rest of the kids.  In two short months I'll be back at work full-time and all the kids will be that much older so I really want to enjoy these moments.  And, I want to figure out a plan to maintain a better sense of balance once I am back to work full-time.  I think I could do that if I hired a full-time housekeeper but as that isn't a real possibility I'll have to find a way to make it work with just the husband, the kids and me.

Right now it's quiet time but in another five minutes Shannon, Quinn and Sully will be up and it'll be fun time!  Or at least breakfast time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The good:

Maren slept through the night!  I headed upstairs around 9:30pm and she came with me and fell asleep lying on my chest.  Maybe an hour later I swaddled her up, put her in the rock 'n play and went to sleep myself.  At 4:30am I woke up because she was stirring but she didn't actually wake up until maybe 5:15am at which point she was so hungry so gulped down an entire 4oz bottle in record speed.  Now, having been through this before, I know that her sleeping that long last night is no indicator that it will happen again anytime soon but one can hope, right?

The bad:

Despite what could be considered a full night's sleep, I woke up yet again with an absolutely horrible migraine.  It's nothing new, as I've suffered from migraines since college, and, after each child I've had a month or two of very frequent migraines I assume from my hormones trying to get back to normal.  But, knowing it's normal doesn't make me feel any better.  Thank goodness for Frova but even that magic pill hasn't been able to completely take away the headache I have this morning.

The ugly:

So, as if it wasn't bad enough that my head feels like it's splitting in two, when I headed into the kitchen to make my morning cup of coffee I started to feel a little sick, reminiscent of morning sickness and I even threw up a little.  After throwing up for nine straight months I was really hoping for more than just a three week break!  To add insult to injury, as I lifted my head out of the kitchen sink, I caught my reflection in the window and holy huge bags under my eyes.  Ugly.