Friday, October 30, 2009

Rough Week, Keeping Things in Perspective

Yes, it's been a bit of a bumpy week in the Hill Household. Monday, I was gone all day at the annual CASHA (Capital Area Speech Language Hearing Association) Fall Workshop. I had fun wearing my "treasurer" and "continuing education administrator" hats while hubby was at the helm at home. Monday night, we had three extra kiddos here and it ended up going quite smoothly! Unfortunately, all the coffee I guzzled all day kept me up past 2 am, so I was more than a little tired on Tuesday morning! I was looking forward to getting back into my routine of cleaning/laundry/etc. Before I even got started, however, the school nurse called to tell me NCH had a fever! So after dropping KBH to preschool, I picked up my sickie kiddie, hurried to my flu shot appointment, stopped home to switch over the laundry, dashed back across town to get KBH, hustled home to meet CAH's kindergarten bus, fed everyone lunch and put them all to bed for naps! Phew!

(Photo of NCH, laying on the treadmill...too tired to move!)

Wednesday, NCH's fever continued. We watched "Beethoven" parts one and was actually nice to just snuggle four kiddos on the couch. The rained poured down outside all day, but we stayed warm and enjoyed a jammies day. I was quite ticked when I realized I had to RIP OUT SEVEN HOURS worth of knitting I had done over the past two nights...I had started a new project and made a major was just that kind of a week.
Thursday, NCH was STILL sick! No fever, but he looked pale and was quite tired. Hubby stayed home with the two boys so I could take KBH to her preschool Halloween parade. Later, we watched "Beethoven" part three, organized the basement and collected two large bags of toys to give to Operation Christmas Child.

(Photo of KBH in her Tinkerbell-Princess-Fairy costume)

Today, NCH didn't seem healthy or strong enough to send to school. He didn't even seem to mind missing his Halloween party (so I know he's not all better yet.) CAH headed off to school in her Laura Ingalls costume,

(costume made by my mom...a very talented seamstress!!)

and KBH asked all morning, "When can I go to gym-mattresses?" (That's how she says "gymnastics.") We finally got to gymnastics and suddenly she became lethargic and listless, sucking her fingers and asking to go home! I am hoping she's not sick, but it seems quite likely at the moment (although she doesn't have a fever yet.)

(KBH getting her achievement ribbon award from Coach Craig)

Tomorrow is Saturday...usually some of the kids get to go to the dump with Dad. They love going to Stewart's for a treat afterwards...the highlight of the week! But tomorrow, hubby is working a side job all mommy will do her best to keep the day fun.
So yes, it's been a bummer of a week. I haven't done anything except wait on people, do laundry, make lame dinners and think of all the things I'm not getting done. But if I keep things in perspective, I remember:
1) I get to hug my kids and watch movies with them as we snuggle on the couch.
2) Mucinex and motrin are easy, quick kids are home with me, not in the hospital. They are not hooked up to oxygen and IVs.
3) Just this week, I have been praying for
- a terminally ill baby,
- a very premature baby,
- a single mom healing from a horrible car accident,
- a friend who just lost her brother,
- families who continue to grieve for children they lost to cancer,
and the list goes on.
I guess I didn't have such a tough week after all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Easing into Fitness

Yes, I just blogged this morning about not being motivated to exercise, count points, etc. Tonight, however, I went for a nice run...5K, in the dark, on a new route...and it felt great! Here's the new "plan" I came up with as I was running (bear in mind, I'm usually a "band-wagon" fitness person - I'm trying to avoid fads and quick fixes this time):
1) try to get back to running 30 minutes or 3 miles, 3 times a week
2) eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (often I skip meals, but graze on crackers or junk all day)
3) drink more water
4) do NOT eat after dinner (chew mint gum or brush teeth, but no more TV snacks!)
5) I may try to reduce my coffee (only because I LOVE to add flavored cream.) I won't eliminate this entirely.
Hopefully I will see some results after a few weeks of following this plan (which is really just common sense and healthy!!!) It would feel great to get back to my weight watchers lifetime goal weight and stay there.

Recent Thoughts

I haven't had time to write a "real update" so here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind...
- Did anyone notice that the price of instant hand sanitizer has doubled (and, in some cases, tripled) in the last six months?!!
- The most peaceful, blissful moment I had in the last week was immediately after sipping a tall decaf nonfat peppermint mocha no whip from Starbucks...yes, it was truly amazing!!!!!!
- Price Chopper is totally OUT of peppermint mocha coffemate cream! I have tried 3 stores and I found plenty of the pumpkin and the caramel flavors, but a giant empty spot on the shelf where the peppermint mocha belongs! I even asked a manager and he said, "Yeah, I guess we're all out." I hinted that this might be a popular flavor and perhaps they could order more!
- When trying a new recipe (and you're trying to stay on a tight budget), it would be wise to scan the list of ingredients and be sure there is not a key item that is a high-priced item! I am trying "Emeril's Chowder of Love" (Emeril "Bam" Lagasse, 2000) and I had get 4 cups of clam juice...sadly, I could only find it in small bottles, each costing nearly $3. Let's hope this is a yummy soup! I also am trying a Navy Bean soup next week and it requires a ham hock...I had no idea what this was, and I didn't have any ham bones lying around. I still have to talk to the butcher about it. (Buying a $20 ham just to make the soup isn't practical for us!)
- Last night was "Crazy Hair Night" at AWANA. The three older kids had a BLAST getting their hair styled in crazy ways and then sprayed with blue hair spray! NCH sported a Mohawk, CAH had 4 pig tails and won a giant Hershey bar for best girl hair in the Sparks class, and KBH thought she wanted her hair just like her sister's, but when she saw herself in the mirror, she burst into tears! In the end, she was happy with it.

- I am obsessed with Pancho's salsa. Seriously. I love it! We got take out Saturday night (hubby had been away for 2 nights and I was just not up to cooking)...some got Chinese and some got Mexican...I ordered the large salsa and medium chips. It made a meal for me for dinner Saturday night, lunch and dinner on Sunday! Yum, yum, yum...I can't get enough of that salsa!
- I thought about counting Weight Watchers points today. I didn't weigh in last month (I knew I was over my lifetime goal weight.) I was hoping to get back on track this month, but I am not motivated AT ALL! I have only been running once every two weeks, my clothes are tight (I am loathing jeans...if I wear them in the morning, I can't wait to change into sweats later in the day!) A friend once talked about "shedding her winter coat" during the spring. Fall must be my time to "put on my winter coat"! Oh well...
- I still haven't gotten a flu shot yet. I'm not sure about the H1N1 vaccine, but I've never had a problem with the regular flu shot. The kids have all had the regular flu shot, too. I am waiting to see what to do about the H1N1 for them as well.
- The Precept Bible Study class on Revelation that I was really looking forward to is turning out to be frustrating, as NJH cried for me the last two times. He's also been crying through nursery and Sunday School at church. I feel badly for him, but I just wish he would go in happily and play! I know, this too shall pass.
- I've been having a ball decluttering and organizing. The storage room and office look SO much better! I still have lots of shredding to do (old receipts and bills), but the majority of the work is done. I just wonder WHY do I keep so much stuff??!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ten Years of Wedded Bliss

Ok, so maybe it hasn't been "bliss" every moment of the last ten years. We certainly have been busy building a life together though!
To think we met at Diamond's Night Club in Rochester, New York, on August 23, 1995. It was Ladies Night and I had an audiology exam the next morning. I was three months into my graduate program at Geneseo and my friend, Kathryn, and I had decided we just couldn't study one more minute. We were on the dance floor and suddenly I saw him: Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome! He and I hit it off and before we knew it, we were wearing out a path from LeMoyne to Geneseo...over time, we chipped away at one another's tough protective shells and fell in love. By the time Frank asked me to marry him, on December 11, 1998, we had moved from Auburn, New York to Niskayuna, New York. My engagement ring was hanging on our Christmas tree at 1060 Baker Avenue in the upstairs apartment. What a romantic time!

Ten months later, we were married - October 9, 1999, at Niskayuna Reformed Church. Family and friends came to join in the festivities before my hubby and I headed off on a week-long cruise - Tampa, Grand Caymen, Cozumel and New Orleans...
Next came a series of mostly highs and a couple of lows:
May 2000, we bought our home in Clifton Park,
February 2001, we were thrilled to be pregnant!
March 2001, we were overwhelmed see two babies on the ultrasound!!!
April 23, 2001, sadly, we lost our twins,
July 2001, we discovered we were pregnant again,
September 11, 2001, we lived through the darkest day in our history,
October 2001, we had a romantic get-away in Cape Cod at a gorgeous bed and breakfast,
November 2001, we saw on an ultrasound that our baby was a boy!
March 25, 2002, we became the proud parents of a sweet baby boy!! Life has not been the same since! Of course we were delighted to become parents, however our couple-ness had changed and the weight of responsibility will remain.
February 2003, hubby threw me a surprise 30th birthday party!
January 2004, we discovered we were pregnant again. But suddenly there were complications and I was on bed rest off and on for the remainder of the pregnancy.
August 9, 2004, we became the parents of a precious little girl!
June 3, 2005, Frank turned 31 and we were quite surprised to discover we were pregnant again!! (I told Frank while we were having dinner at Garcia's restaurant...he promptly ordered himself the biggest margarita on the menu!!!!)
January 3, 2006, we became the parents of another baby girl!!
A few weeks later, we started couples counseling...the sudden addition of so many children in such a short time, on one income, left us feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and without much time to be together, just the two of us. We began to look forward to the weekly counseling sessions (thankfully my parents watched the "herd" for us)...we began to add dinner out to the agenda and soon fell in love all over again.
January 2007, we "graduated" from counseling...and a few weeks later, we discovered another little Hill was on the way!
September 26, 2007, the last Little Hill was born, a boy this time! Frank had decided that "this was it" and our herd was complete.

The above timeline only includes the human changes to our household...Frank (along with his dad and a few friends) has completely transformed our house in every way possible...retaining wall, new roof, new siding, new windows, new floors, finished the basement, remodeled bathrooms, new deck, new patio, and the list goes on and on. While I admit to whining and complaining about every new idea (the cost - financial and time, were great), I have to say it all turned out beautifully.
Frank and I may be night and day opposites sometimes (and we may drive one another a little crazy), but I am confident that God knew what He was doing when He put us together: when we take the time to communicate, we really balance one another out. Hopefully we can be the team God wants us to be to raise our four children, our treasures from the Lord.

Happy 10th Anniversary, Beloved!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Much to do on a Monday!

Yes, it's been a busy day, many tasks to be done. Besides the usual (stripping beds, laundry, etc), I decided to switch around bathing suits and beach towels with coats/boots/winter gear. The kids have had a ball trying on hats and mittens and snow pants! I am reminded again of the blessings - healthy, growing children and oodles of winter gear to choose from, thanks to thoughtful friends sharing hand-me-downs with us. Sometimes the trying-on process gets overwhelming with 4 little ones, but I am so glad I do not have to spend time and money in a store with my herd!

Good stuff:
1) Last night, KBH learned her bible verses for AWANA and earned her vest and handbook!
2) In the van, we were listening to a bible songs CD. CAH was singing "I Cast All My Cares Upon You...I lay all of my bird-hens..." and she stopped and asked, "Mama, is it bird-hens or bird eggs?" (The word is actually "burdens", so we had a wonderful discussion about burdens and what it means to cast your cares on the Lord.) I didn't dare laugh, as she was so sincere, but how cute is that?!!
3) After kindergarten, CAH organized her own craft time...she set up play-doh for herself and her younger siblings. It was quiet and they sat at their little play table for 45 minutes! I think I need CAH to "run groups" more often!
4) After school, NCH asked if he could get NJH up from his nap. I found the boys snuggled together on NCH's bed, as NCH read a stack of books to his little brother. These are the moments I am treasuring in my heart!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Super Soups

Fall is definitely upon us. It's time for apple picking, lighting autumn candles and making hearty soups. Here are two soup recipes we tried this week:

Sara's Taco Soup
8 Slices Chopped Bacon (I had turkey bacon - might be better w/regular bacon)
1 Chopped Sweet/Vidalia Onion (I used 1/2 an onion)
1 Chopped Red Pepper
7 Cups Prepared Chicken Broth (I think I used a little more than 7...4 cans)
2-4 Chopped Chicken Breasts (I used 2 HUGE ones)
2 Cans Kernel Corn, Drained
2 7.5oz/215mL Jars Taco Sauce (I used the smooth Ortega mild)

Grated CHEESE FOR GARNISH!!! (I used sharp cheddar)


Cook bacon. Do not drain! When cooked,
Add chicken, onion and pepper. When chicken is cooked on outside,
Add broth, taco sauce, and corn.
Boil, reduce heat to med-low, and cover.
Simmer 20 mins.

I served with tortilla chips and shredded cheese...would have been fabulous with fresh cilantro! Even a little sour cream.

Thank you to my 2nd cousin in Canada, Sara, for this very yummy recipe!

And sorry to my friend Linda, who likes photos with her recipes...I forgot to take a picture!

Another delicious soup recipe is the Copy Cat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli. This can be found at: