Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Toby enters the "terrible" two's!

It's official - time has passed too quickly. Two years ago I was holding my brand new nephew in my arms enjoying the feeling of being an aunt for the first time. Now he's running around, talking, making his opinions and feelings known, and he can even climb onto a bicycle. Where has the time gone?

Sunday was Toby's birthday party. Lots of Toby's favorite people were there, including 3 other little kids between 1-2 years old (Catherine included). It was so entertaining to watch 4 toddlers running around the house, "sharing", and having a blast.

Jen had the best idea: cake before presents. Yeah, that's fabulous - let's get them hopped up on sugar, and THEN overwhelm them with tons of exciting new toys to play with. When the cake was brought out, Catherine's eyes grew wide and she ran over with an extremely expectant look on her face. Boy, did she know what was coming!

But really, the cake eating went quite well. 3 two year olds sitting at the table, eating quite nicely with their forks - wow! (the 4th little kid is quite a bit younger, so she was in the high chair) It was quite a change from their first birthday parties, you know? ;)

Catherine was quite the party girl. When Toby didn't want to have anything to do with opening presents, she helped me carry presents over to him - with a little party blower in her mouth. Too cute!
The best present, and certainly Toby's favorite - his very first bike! He doesn't have pedals on it yet, because he hasn't really learned that yet, but it's awesome for him to learn the balance that comes with riding. And he loved it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

another quick story to add...

I never have too many stories to tell!

We were at Toys R Us tonight getting a birthday present for Toby (he's turning TWO this weekend - heLLO!!!). Stephen had fun taking Catherine to the boys' section, because that's where all the CARS are! ;) He found the wall of hot wheels and started teaching Catherine about the different cars. He picked up a cool red one to show her, and I said "Catherine, can you say Ferrari?"

She paused. She looked at me quite seriously and said "VROOOM!"

Stephen smiled and said "that's my girl!"


Funny Catherine stories, part 4

It's been a while since I've simply boasted and shared fun stories of what Catherine has been up to.

A couple of my favorite sounds: when she says "owie" but it's surrounded with giggling. Example: She'll be running around giggling and laughing, then fall down or something, then get right back up running and giggling again. It's the best.

My other favorite sound: she started singing yesterday! This was all on her own - I was folding clothes and she was playing by herself. She started singing to herself and then suddenly I realized - it was "twinkle twinkle little star"!!!! Wow!!!!! She got so excited when I started singing it with her, I think because she realized I recognized what she was singing, and then she "made" me do it 3 more times with her! And she knows a big part of the song, too! I thought the most adorable sound was her laughing - now it's her singing. It just warms my heart to no end.

She's learning her numbers, but in her own special way. She usually starts with 2, will sometimes repeat 3 after me, always misses 4... but 5 through 9 she has down. Her favorite number seems to be 5. If I ask "how many?", she sometimes shouts at the top of her lungs "FIVE!!!" And when we successfully start at 1, after I say 4 she will again shout at the top of her lungs "FIVE!!!"

Her favorite thing right now is Dora. Oh lordy does she love her Dora. She can say the names of all the characters, can start to sing the songs, and gets so excited talking about it or seeing Dora when we're out shopping. She does have a limit of how much TV she watches each day because we like to minimize that as much as we can, but when she has the option it's DORA, DORA, DORA!

There are so many great little stories to tell. I'll have to be sure to keep this going a bit more. I suppose I can only whine so much about how crazy my life is before I start to want to talk about how great my life is. =)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breakdown #3

Yes, another one. It's getting old. Seriously old.

If someone invents how to duplicate yourself, or create another 8 hours in the day, or... well, you get the picture. Would you let me know please? Maybe I should add that to my Christmas list - 8 more hours in each day.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A new beginning... again.

One of the things that has suffered with all of my craziness the last few weeks is my healthy eating and activity. Even though I wasn't doing all together that well and not really losing weight, I was still hanging on. But now - ugh. The comfort food when I'm stressed, the munchies when I'm studying, the sitting around - it has really added up. And it has only been adding to my stress because 1) knowing that I'm failing myself and 2) not feeling well due to not being healthy.

Along comes my knight in shining armor - my uber-supportive husband. He has been asking a lot how he can help with my maxed out level of stress. And although he doesn't like hearing that he can help by doing more housework (ha!), he has been really trying. Among his ways of showing support, I am most appreciative that he has managed to get me motivated again about being healthy. Get this - he is going to do my food plan with me! Not only simply not complaining that there's only healthy food in the house, but sticking to it outside the house too. Counting points and everything! And by teaching him about what's on the core list, how to calculate points, and which healthy guidelines to follow, it has pushed me to wanting to be back on the plan. Too cool.

We did a lot of grocery shopping over the weekend to get stocked with healthy food and we're getting committed to keeping each other in check. And I finally weighed myself to begin measuring my new success, which I haven't done in weeks. And... ha! Like I would write it hear for everyone to read! Honestly, I'm not really wanting to admit what the scale had to say. Just like I'm not really wanting to admit the score on my exam last week... oh boy...

So... as positive as I am trying to be, I still feel like "well, we'll wait and see how this goes". One way or the other, I am looking forward to hopefully feeling better. And the show of support just makes me love my husband even more.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I can barely contain myself! We have a house!! I'm trying to control the excitement a little bit, because it's not officially offical. (read: it hasn't actually closed yet) But everything leading up to the closing has gone really well, and we say it's a go! We had our offer accepted, we have the financing all lined up and ready to go, and the inspection on the house actually went really well for being an older house. There's not much that will stand in our way now; it's just a waiting game to hear that it's official.

The inspection showed some concerns, but nothing really big. And certainly no deal breakers. It was all things that we expected. The roof looks good, but it needs cleaning. We need to update the drainage system from the gutters. The house is built partly into the hillside, so it's a big concern to get water away from the house. But that's if it ever rains, which it never does around here! ;)

We also need to get a couple of appliances, and a couple of windows need to be fixed. Besides the little bit of things that need to be done now, there's definitely a lot that we would like to do to the house during our time there. For example, the upstairs bathroom needs SERIOUS updating, but it's totally functional for now. There's a ton of cleaning to do, but really... it's ready to go.

OK, more details:

1832 sf (house), 7000 sf (lot)
3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
Full living room, dining room, PLUS a separate family room
1 car detached garage with power and a garage door opener (Stephen is thrilled of course)
Lots of storage everywhere - great space in the kitchen, master bedroom has his & hers closets, and the closets in the two other bedrooms are about 4 feet deep with equally wide storage cabinets above. It's near the end of a dead end street, so it's super quiet. And PAVED alley access (which doesn't happen very often in Tacoma).

There's so much more to say about it, and I can't wait to share more pictures and stories about the whole scary, exciting process. And of course, a house warming party will be a top priority once we get settled in.

Well, really I won't have too much of a problem controlling my excitement. All I need to do is start thinking of all of the packing and moving we get to do in the next 4-6 weeks, and that makes me look like this:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

fun with grandma and grandpa

Last weekend Catherine got to spend time with each of my parents - yeah!

First her Grandpa Pat and Abuelita (aka Alicia, my stepmom) came over Saturday afternoon. It was a couple of hours just hanging around the house - great fun! They got to see her in her true form, at home where she's the most comfortable. She was super, super shy at first and stuck very close to my lap. But she still talked with them, so they got to see how much she's talking now, and she started to get excited showing them her favorite things.
And then she really let loose - she initiated a chasing game with grandpa! She ran from one end of the house to the other, giggling constantly when he chased her. And then he was reminded of the energy took to chase down a toddler - she wore him out pretty quickly!

Catherine running in their chasing game - check out the hair blowing behind her!

The next day she got to spend a bunch of time with Grandma Trudy. My mom had spent the night after being out late with us at Bachtoberfest, our huge choir event. So Catherine got to see her first thing in the morning. It warmed my heart to see how excited she was to see grandma right off the bat. No shyness here! We played, we had breakfast, and then we got to do a little shopping for some good quality girl time. We had a great time watching Catherine go nuts at the little playground at the mall.

Catherine showing grandma how she can blow bubbles with me.

Before my mom had to go, Catherine made her cry (and me too) by saying "I love you" to her. So sweet!!!!

I would rather be...

... staring at a microscope for two hours than desperately trying to memorize all the bones - and all the names of each divet and process in each bone.

... at home doing dishes and scrubbing floors than studying for the exam.

... studying for 5 hours than earning 60 bucks at work for the same amount of time.

... on a tropical beach hearing the waves, feeling the sun, with a pina colada in my hand than studying.

... spending time with Catherine and Stephen than any of the above.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Study break

A quick update for this mother's load while I take a much-needed study break:

Thanks, friends, for the supportive words. No word yet if there are any drastic changes in the future. I had a second bit of a breakdown today. I have an exam tomorrow that I'm not feeling prepared for, I had to skip choir rehearsal just to study, I have to let my mom down because I have too much going on to help her move, and I had to cancel hanging out with friends this weekend too. I feel like I'm having to disappoint everyone around me, while I still don't feel like I'm getting everything done. Stephen is trying to understand and is being as supportive as possible. But I'm so stressed right now; I'm not sure what will happen.

House hunting - we might have a house! Not the first one that we put an offer on - that just wound up being too much in all the wrong places. This one really seems to be working. We put in an offer and they accepted! Next is the house inspection - unless they find something that is worth breaking the deal, we'll be moving in by Thanksgiving! Wow! We are so excited, but nervous for the inspection. It's an older house, so who knows what may show up.

I can't go into huge details about it now, but there will be more to come. We're calling it the country house because it has a great country feel about it. What do you think? No, seriously - what do you think? I'm excited to share, but nervous about making such a big decision. Any thoughts?

Anyways - that's enough for now. I'm not sure that my brain could handle much more at this time. I'm going to get back to studying now and hope that my head won't explode. WIsh me luck.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

time management

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize that you may be over your head? Oh boy...

Here's my attempt at organizing my life.

My current responsibilities (and I'm just going for bigger categories here, not individual items on my to do list):
- Catherine (being able to spend time with her, waking up, bed time, shuffling to and from daycare, and overall being the best mom possible)
- School (8-12 hours of class a week plus an additional 15-20 hours a week needed for studying)
- Home (daily chores, overall care, paying bills, food shopping - whatever is necessary to live in a clean and healthy home and have healthy food to eat. At least as much as possible. If you could see our home right now, you'd know that cleaning is not high on the prioroty list. But it needs to be healthy.)
- Work (20-25 hours a week, plus 1 hour a day minimum in commuting)

Not listed: choir, personal care, exercise (ha!), time with Stephen, time with friends and family, and never mind the things that I would prefer to do on my own if I ever had time to myself. Also coming up: holidays and - hello! - MOVING!

It's only the 3rd week of school, but I'm beginning to think "how much longer can I keep this up?" I'm feeling guilty about not spending enough time at home with Stephen and Catherine. Because my class is in the middle of the day, I work evenings and weekends - the only time that Stephen is home.

I generally get 1-2 hours with Catherine in the morning, which constitutes breakfast and getting ready. Then I drop her off before class and Stephen picks her up at the end of the day. After class I head to work with maybe a bit of time for studying in between. I get home between 9-10pm; Catherine of course is already asleep and there's barely time for a debriefing with Stephen before he gets to bed.

This isn't every single day, but it's often enough that I'm going out of my mind. What do I do? If I want to spend more time with Catherine, I often don't get to study as much as I need to. If I need more time to study, I might even call in sick to work. Where does it stop? I'm in school to get a good career and help support my family in the future. I'm working to help bring income in to help support my family now. And I'm with Catherine - well, that needs no explaining. I feel like either way I go, I'm betraying my family.

I told Stephen last night that I've been thinking about that time when I need to stop working to focus on Catherine and school, and realizing that time may be coming sooner than I planned. I think I freaked him out, and for good reason. I don't bring in much money, but we're talking about buying a house. I could see dollar figures pass through his head as the panic threatened to set in, but he was trying to be supportive with the words coming out of his mouth.

My priorities are clear - work is at the bottom of the list, but then I'm not helping with our family income like we need. What to do?

No, seriously. What do I do?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Name change

I love the new name I finally picked for my blog. It's all incompassing of my life at this time - the load of everything that comes with being a mom. Because even though I have so many plates on my table right now, the brightest and prettiest of those plates is my little girl. So "the mother load". That's my life. =)


So yeah, I kicked the exam's ass. Missed only one question - 98%. Not that I like tooting my own horn, though. ;) It's quite a relief considering that I have been pretty wound up about this class.

Update also on the house hunting. We're probably passing on the house that we first put an offer on. They still haven't given us an answer and really aren't being upfront about the process. Our realtor doesn't like it and neither do we. Stephen's dad came out to help with a pre-inspection inspection of sorts. It's the bonus of having a structural engineer in the family. He pointed out some things about the house that we didn't notice at first. And in discussing it more, we realized that all the "little" things that we wanted to do to the house were really adding up. The reality is that we don't have a lot of time or money to do a ton of work on a house.

So... back to the drawing board. But we hadn't really abandoned the drawing board in the first place. We've seen a handful more houses. We'll see some more and see how it goes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

first exam

I just finished my first exam for a&p about 15 minutes ago. We have a short break before resuming lecture (seriously - I'm brain dead enough right now). I feel like a true 21st century student. I am sitting cross-legged in the hallway with my laptop and wireless access. I'm enjoying jamming to some good Billy Joel tunes with my mp3 player that is clipped to my jacket. My cell lies beside me, as that's my primary timekeeper these days. I'm wired up and ready to go.

(end tangent)

Anyways, I was saying about my test. It was actually much less difficult than I thought it would be and I think I did pretty well. (crossing fingers) We'll see how that compares to the actual number on my score. It still doesn't change how much my brain is hurting right now. Ugh.

... we didn't start the fire... though we didn't light it but we tried to fight it...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The election is only 33 days away! This may seem like you have plenty of time to register to take part in the voting, but did you know that many state's deadlines are VERY soon? For example, Washington state's deadline is in 2 DAYS!

If you're already registered, good for you! If not, it's time. I don't care who you vote for. OK, I care a little bit ;) But I certainly won't tell you who to vote for. I just think it's important that you get out there and vote.

Don't know where to go? Let me help!

State-by-state information for deadlines and links for registering:

Not sure if you're registered? Washington state has a great site to check your status, and other states should too - you can follow those states at the link above. But here's Washington's link:

A great site for voting women: links for registering, education, and checking issues:

If you can't find information for how to vote through your state's site, here's the link for the national registration form:

Get out there! Register! Vote! If you need help, answers, or support, it is out there. Let's make this a great turnout!