Thursday, May 28, 2015

Afternoon Off

I finally had an appointment to get my hair colored yesterday afternoon so I took that as an opportunity to treat myself to an afternoon off.  The hair salon I go to is right in the heart of Milwaukee's Third Ward, a great downtown neighborhood made up mostly of lofts and condos, tons of restaurants, little shops, art galleries and home to the Milwaukee Public Market.  So, I hit up the build your own pita place in the market and then headed back outside to enjoy my Mighty Goat pita, (spinach spread, goat cheese, red onions and tomato) a good book and some sunshine.

I fell in love with Margaret Atwood after reading the Handmaid's Tale and have in the years since read almost all of her books.  Right now I'm reading Wilderness Tips which is a collection of short stories. 

Unfortunately, even before I could finish my pita, rain clouds rolled in and so I had to head back inside.  I choose to console myself with coffee and a tiramisu cup.  

Although it was a wonderful treat, it's something I seriously need to start cutting back on.  The treats, not the afternoons off.  Since having Sean Patrick, I've lost all my baby weight and started gaining it all right back, except this time, without having a pregnancy to blame it on.  If I don't get things under control real soon I won't be able to fit into any of my clothes when it's time to head back to the office!  What's that saying, I'll start Monday?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Long Weekends

It was nice to get an extra day off from work yesterday to celebrate Memorial Day.  Quinn and I bought a flag on Sunday while running errands and she was so proud to display it in the yard yesterday.

Although the weather wasn't great, I did get the chance to at least get outside a little bit and smell the flowers.  The lilac bushes I planted in the backyard are blooming.  The smell of lilacs is my favorite part of spring.  I just wish they bloomed a little longer.

Quinn and Maren slept over at grandma's house Saturday night and returned with some beautiful Lilies of the Valley for me.

Yesterday, Chris took the four older kids out to his parents' house while I stayed home with Sean Patrick and continued to work on my sorting clothes project.  I managed to get through all of Shannon's clothes and packed away everything that he's outgrown.  Every time I do this it makes me a little sad because the time is just passing too quickly.  I've now gotten through Shannon's, Quinn's, Sully's and Maren's clothes but I still need to get Maren's summer clothes out of storage.  There's just so much of it!

While working on sorting through Shannon's clothes I also did some laundry.  After one load, I opened the dryer to this:

One of the kids had left a purple crayon in their pocket and it melted all over their school uniforms.  I tried washing it all again after stain treating everything, adding spot remover boosting pods to the washer and picking the hottest water and longest soak and stain cycle possible and it barely made a dent in the stains.  So, now I'm trying a long, long soak in the sink with oxi-clean.

I guess the bright side is that it's very near the end of the school year so even if I never get the stains out these aren't clothes they will be wearing over the summer.  The downside is that I bought everything big so that they could hopefully get two years of of everything.

As the laundry soaked, Sean Patrick and I hung out and watched some movies before the rest of the family got home.  It made for a relaxing afternoon.

This morning it's back to work.  Chris is fishing this morning so I was on my own with the kids.  I think I did a pretty good job of getting everyone up, dressed, fed and out the door on time for Quinn and Shannon to make it to school.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Busy Life

Right now I feel like my life is an amazing mix of so busy and yet so tranquil.  It's hard not to feel peaceful when you're holding a sleeping baby.

Since I had Sean Patrick I have been working part-time from home and will continue to do so throughout my three month maternity leave.  It's a nice combination of keeping me in the loop with my work but also having time to just be with Sean Patrick and the other kids.  I have been making dinner almost every night and during the days I've been tackling some bigger projects that I just never seem to have the energy for when I'm working full-time.  Right now I'm in the depths of sorting through all five kid's clothes, packing away what is too small and digging out the hand me downs that will fit the younger kids.  The plan has always been to keep all the kid stuff until our last child grew out of it and then give whatever is still half-way decent away.  Maren being our last little girl, I technically should be not packing her too small clothes away, but instead giving them away.  However, I just can't seem to bring myself to do that just yet.  Realistically and practically I know Sean Patrick is our last baby.  We have neither the room nor finances for another baby.  And, even if we did, there is no amount of money that can defeat age.  And yet, I just can't seem to wrap my head around that just yet so I continue packing away little girl clothes.

Apart from work, the baby and organizational projects, we've been keeping busy with celebrations.  We celebrated Chris' birthday by going to our favorite birthday celebration place, Organ Piper Pizza.  The organ music show keeps the kids entertained so we can actually sit and eat a full dinner without anyone getting too antsy.  This was also our first time taking all five kids out and it went amazingly well.  Sean Patrick actually slept through all of it even though we sat right next to the room housing all the organs pipes.

Right after Chris' birthday was Shannon's first communion.  He looked like such a little man in his shirt and tie. 

Shannon was pretty excited to receive communion for the first time, although he ended up liking the wine better than the host.  And, in the end, I think he liked his cake best of all.

The next weekend was Mother's Day.  Chris and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast that he made with the help of Home Chef.

Frittata, bacon, frisee salad and English muffins with maple butter.  It was so good and so easy to make!  Home Chef is a service that allows you to pick from around ten meals a week and they ship you the recipes along with enough ingredients to make two servings of each meal you've selected.  Although the service mainly offers dinner selections, they do sometimes have breakfast options and each week they have a fruit/nut snack option as well as now offering smoothies.  We've ordered a few times now and have really enjoyed all the meals we've received.  It's a nice, convenient way to cook at home without having to track down new recipes and do all the grocery shopping yourself.  A definite downside, however, is the packaging waste.  Everything is shipped in an insulated box and then each meals ingredients are in separate bags and then often times single ingredients are in even more bags.  There is no waste of ingredients however, unlike how I often times find myself throwing away ingredients I bought to use in just one dish.

If you haven't tried Home Chef and would like to, I have six free boxes that I can gift so just leave a comment and if I have any left, I'll gift you a free box.

After Mother's Day came our first Brewer's game of the season which should be like celebrating the beginning of summer, but here in Wisconsin is often more of a reminder that summer is still a long way off.  The Brewer's haven't been playing very well this year and the game I took Shannon to was no exception.  They lost but we still had fun with our good friend Bob tagging along with us.

Finally, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this month.  It's amazing how quickly ten years have gone by.  We went back to the restaurant where we had our reception for an unforgettable four course meal.  If you love French food and are ever in Milwaukee, you should make it a point to eat that the Lake Park Bistro.  Not only is the food amazing, but so is the view as it looks right over Lake Michigan (and also the exact spot where we had our wedding ceremony but that probably doesn't matter much to anyone but us.)

This was not our first time returning the Lake Park Bistro but it was our first time using Uber.   Knowing that we were going to enjoy a few cocktails in addition to a bottle of wine with dinner, we decided not to drive ourselves and opted instead for an Uber ride.  Uber is relatively new in Milwaukee, a city where it's never been easy to get a taxi even if you're downtown.  So, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy Uber was to use.  A few minutes before our babysitter was set to arrive, I logged into the Uber app and requested a car.  There's a map that shows you where available cars are that are near you and you receive an estimated wait time for a pick-up.  I put in our destination and got a fare estimate which was definitely below what a taxi would cost us.  Once I scheduled the pick-up I got a picture of the driver along with the information about the car that would be coming.  It was all so easy.  Both our ride there and back home were pleasant with very nice drivers.  Our first ride even came with a surprise:

I don't see us using Uber too often but definitely love that there is a cost-effective and convenient option for nights like last night where we know we'll be drinking or even if we're just going somewhere with limited parking and being dropped off and picked up would be easier than driving.  If you've never used Uber and want to give it a try and also get $20 off your first ride, you can use this link

The Home Chef and Uber discount links are affiliate links.  If you choose to use either, I will receive credits to my accounts with these services.