Friday, July 30, 2010

From My Kitchen: Italian Chicken

This chicken dish is super fast, super easy and super yummy. It was borne out of desperation one day when I needed to get some supper together in a hurry.

I thawed some chicken breasts, grabbed a can of seasoned tomatoes, tossed in some additional garlic and turned out a delicious meal in 20 minutes. Eat my dust, Rachael Ray!

If you aren't a fan of garlic, you can skip the extra, but for my taste it needed a little more kick.

I'm not sure this even qualifies as a recipe, but here it is:

Trippin' Mama's Italian Chicken
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
1 clove diced garlic
1 C. chicken stock or chicken bouillon

Salt and pepper chicken well. In a deep skillet brown the chicken in olive oil, a couple minutes per side. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes (juice and all) and chicken stock (or water and chicken bouillon) to the pan and cover. Poach for approximately 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Note: It is important to poach the chicken. That means your liquid should only come up a little less than halfway on the meat. If you don't need all of the chicken stock, that's fine. If you use too much liquid you will be boiling the chicken, and I find that it loses the nice juicy, meaty bite. It can even turn out a bit slimy. This is one reason I don't like to cook chicken in the slow cooker.

Remove chicken from pan and slice. If you didn't use all of your chicken stock earlier, or if you want a little more sauce, throw some extra in the pan now. Put roughly a tablespoon of cornstarch in 1/3 C. cold water and stir to combine. Pour into hot tomato and chicken stock mixture and stir to thicken. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat.

Serve over thin spaghetti or vermicelli. Top with parmesan cheese or even a little mozzerella if you're feeling especially indulgent. Add some nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce and revel in the fact that sometimes simple really is best.

We love to serve up the leftovers by piling the chicken and tomato sauce on some nice crusty rolls with a slice of provolone or some mozzarella for a knockout sandwich.


© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Big Elk And A Broken Elbow

We have a rule in our house: "No using insurance while on vacation."

It stems from one of the very first vacations Jeff and I took after we got married. It was my family's reunion and we chose a campground in Estes Park, Colorado for the get together. It was fantastic! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was amazing, the campground was nice, and the wildlife was everywhere.

The animals, in fact, were the downfall of our vacation.

The first night we were there it rained. (Because what's a camping vacation without rain?) So we headed to town to eat and check out a local brewery. Just as we left the restaurant a herd of elk began to walk across the parking lot. My brother-in-law got very excited. More excited than he should, considering he lives in Montana and sees elk all the time. Although I will grant you that these boys were big and CLOSE! But anyway, he started shouting for someone to grab a camera.

Jeff took off for our vehicle, which was one of the closest. He slipped and fell on the wet parking lot. He popped right up and rubbed his elbow a bit, but none of us gave it a second thought.

Fast forward to midnight, and we were in the emergency room waiting for an x-ray. Sure enough, he had broken his elbow. A very nice doctor, who happened to be from the Frozen North not far from where we grew up, put him in a splint and a sling and gave us a prescription for pain medication. Then he informed us there was nowhere in town to fill it that night.

So we headed back to our tent. In the woods. With only Tylenol and elevation as treatment. That's not exactly what we had in mind when we decided to rough it.

We spent the few remaining hours of the night not sleeping in our tent. Jeff tried to get comfortable many, many ways, including by resting his very heavy splinted arm across my abdomen. Did I mention we were in a tent with no bathroom handy?

To add insult to injury, we had scheduled a whitewater raft trip for the next morning. Which meant that most of us headed off to have fun while Jeff stayed behind. My mom hates the water, so she never planned to go rafting, so she took care of Jeff. That rally only involved taking him into town to get his pain medication and finding him a pair of sandals to wear since he couldn't tie his shoes.

We got back late that day, and tried hard to pretend that it wasn't really much fun, even though we had a blast. By then Jeff was well stocked with pain meds and had spent most of the day in a drug-induced sleep, so he was in a pretty darn good mood considering.

It was not the vacation we planned, but it's one we certainly remember. Since then "Don't use the insurance" has become part rule, part mantra, and part standard for judging the quality of a vacation. It's a pretty low standard, I'll grant you, but it works for us.

I'm guessing that rule may get harder to follow with four kids in tow...

Play along with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Work-Life Balance and Other Myths

The other day I got an email from a friend and former colleague whom I just learned is expecting her second baby. Her first will turn one at the end of this week, and the second is due in December, so they will be close together.

She wrote: "I don't know how you balance work, four kids and a house. You are seriously Superwoman. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with just one baby and no "paying" job."

Superwoman? Ha! Far from it girl. Why just this morning I realized that if I didn't get it in gear and do a load of laundry I'd be out of underwear by tomorrow. And for a minute I contemplated just going to buy more. That's not exactly the way a superhero would do the job around here.

Over the years I have learned that  it's a myth that you can "balance" work, kids and life in general.

So I don't even try.

My method is more like the guy at the circus who spins the plates on the poles. In order to keep things moving you have to let some other things go. The trick is to figure out which plates you need to keep spinning, and which ones you can let slow down -- or even crash to the ground.

So the house doesn't get cleaned for a couple of weeks. Or the blog gets a little neglected. Or you have to complete work assignments at midnight. Or the laundry piles up a bit. Or the kids watch a little too much TV one day so you can cook or clean. Eventually things change and you can put those plates back in motion, if you want to.

As long as the most important plates keep spinning, it's all okay.

And when things start crashing down right and left I just look around and wonder where the heck my lovely assistant is with that box of new plates.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seriously, Designer Diapers?

Is it just me, or have the diaper manufacturers lost their minds?

First Huggies introduced their Jeans Diapers. They say, "HUGGIES® gets fashion forward with new denim diaper design to help your baby stay trendy while keeping dry."

Perfect, because what every baby needs is a little more trendy in his or her life, right?

I'll grant you they are cute, but at 44 cents a pop? A pair of jean shorts is cheaper than a 25 pack of these diapers. And pretty stinkin' cute, too, without the actual stinkin' part.

Then yesterday I was flipping through this week's Target ad and I saw that designer ("and mom!") Cynthia Rowley has teamed up with Pampers to offer 11 colorful patterns for boys and girls.

"As a mom, I wanted other moms and dads to have more options in every part of their lives -- even diapers," said Rowley. "It's the first piece of clothing your baby will ever wear, and it should be special."

Thanks, Cynthia. I was just thinking the other day that what I need is more options. And at 65 cents a piece, these limited editions are quite the pricey option.

Triplets aside, I'm sticking with Target's Up & Up diapers at 12 cents apiece, and making my way through the potty-training minefield as quickly as possible.

Really, people. Let's focus. These are DIAPERS. That your child will poop in, and you will then THROW AWAY.

And since there seems to be an inverse proportion between the cost of an item and how long it lasts in my house, you can guarantee that every time I would put one of these trendy little wallet emptiers on one of my boys gastrointestinal distress would instantly ensue.

I guess this gives a whole new meaning to the term "disposable income."

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Must Be The Y Chromosome

What is it about the Y chromosome and remote controls?

The boys have discovered the couch and the remote controls in the living room (usually a no-kids zone). In the morning they all make a beeline there shouting "Memote! Memote!" They each grab a remote and sit on the couch as happy as can be.

You would think we could make them happy with old remotes, but somehow they know the difference between a working remote and a non-working remote. Seriously, I think this knowledge might be embedded on the Y chromosome.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whoops, There Goes The Blog!

Sorry for the unscheduled interruption folks. We've been having too much fun with Grandma and Grandpa D., Uncle Jacob and Aunt Judy to find time to post.

After we caught up on our sleep following the problems earlier this week, we dived into fun with the family. We had three days of chasing around the yard, playing at the park and wrestling on the playroom floor. I'll give you the full scoop later, plus a bonus recipe this week to make up for slacking off on Friday.

Hope you had a great weekend just like we did!
© Trippin' Mama 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Am NOT Nostalgic for This!

My kids are not the worlds' best sleepers. Far from it. But last night the boys decided to show us just how good we've had it lately.

Everyone was up multiple times, and when we'd go in to help one of the boys another would wake and cry to be held. Finally we had all three standing in their cribs SCREAMING at the top of their lungs.

Hmm. This is not going well.

Amelia, thank heavens, slept through everything. Which is nothing short of a miracle since the other night she woke up during a light rain because, "someone was tapping on my window."

There was no vaccination to blame, so I don't know WHAT the problem was. Perhaps the moon was full? Or they were revisiting their youth? Or they are, as I have suspected all along, conspiring against us?

No matter the cause, we were faced with the typical triplet problem of not enough hands for all the kids. So we patted and soothed and then finally gave up and left them to tough it out. After about 10 minutes Sam and Alex settled down. Then Isaac started to scream intermittently. And the other guys would start to cry. Finally after a half hour of that nonsense I'd had enough and went in to yank Isaac out.

Everyone started to scream and cry again.

So we pulled an old trick out of our hats. We separated everyone so those who were ready to settle down didn't have to listen to someone cry in close quarters. Then Jeff and I headed for the futon in the basement.

We laid there for a few minutes, struggling to get comfortable. And all I could think of was those early days when we'd put everyone somewhere and escape to the basement. Or I'd get to sneak off down there on a Saturday for a morning nap while Jeff took care of the kids. Then later that day he'd do the same.

We both thought that futon was the most comfortable place in the world.

I guess it just goes to show how exhausted we really were!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Growing, Growing, Growing!

On Friday the boys saw the pediatrician for a checkup. They are growing like weeds. Here are the stats:

Sam - 26 lbs. 2 oz., 33 3/4 inches
Isaac - 21 lbs. 5 oz. 33 3/4 inches
Alex - 26 lbs., 34 inches.

We have determined that 33 3/4 inches is precisely tall enough to reach the buttons on the television set without standing on anything.

This has led to Mom and Dad's new exercise plan: walking boys down the hall to their room for a timeout for touching the TV. They all know it's a no-no, but they all do it anyway. Many, many times a day. Times three boys. It's especially annoying when they get their fingers on the volume button, but even worse when they mess with the cable box. The first crime is loud, but the second one practically requires a degree in electrical engineering to fix.

Isaac is still hanging out in the 4th percentile for weight, but he gained just over two pounds in four months. It took Amelia a whole year to gain two pounds. Shoot, I can gain two pounds just by thinking about it.

At any rate, the boys are doing great. They've been very healthy and the doc is not concerned about Isaac being a bit of a lightweight, since he eats well and is gaining weight well.

The boys had a vaccination, which they did not tolerate very well. The actual shot was fine. Isaac didn't cry at all, but that night was horrible! Jeff and I both got about four hours of interrupted sleep, getting up with one boy after another, plus Amelia. I guess she just wanted to join the party. It was like we were back in the early days when the boys were tiny, only now they are louder and will randomly decide they want to play in the middle of the night, instead of going back to sleep in our arms. Oh, and they weigh a ton! Have you ever tried sleeping with a 26-pound weight on your chest?

Thankfully since it was Friday we were able to catch up on our sleep over the weekend.

Only one more doctor's appointment to go before we move to annual checkups!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

From My Kitchen: Blueberry Buckle

This recipe is an oldie, but a goodie. It comes from the Better Homes and Gardens "New Cook Book." My copy was published in 1965. My mom probably picked it up for me at an auction sale.

This old cookbook is full of great everyday recipes and kitchen standards. It also has a section on canning and some quaint advice like the tidbit to "Make sure the breakfast table looks as nice as for any other meal. Gay placemats, correct table setting, fresh centerpieces will make your family glad they got up!"

I cannot tell you how glad I am that the expectation of a pretty breakfast table has gone out the window. Seriously, isn't the yellow Cheerios box nice enough all on its own? Around here if you don't have the correct table setting it's because you forgot to bring your spoon to the table after you poured your own cereal. That's just the way we roll.

But I digress. Among the great recipes in this quirky, outdated cookbook is this delicious blueberry coffeecake with a cinnamon crumb topping. It's a favorite in my house, and we always take advantage of blueberry season to whip this up a few times. The only change I've made is to double the cinnamon in the crumb topping. Sometimes I'll even throw in an extra teaspoonful. The crumb topping is what puts this over the top.

It's highly unlikely this blueberry buckle will wind up on a table alongside gay placemats and correct table setting at my house, but sometimes I make a little frozen orange juice to accompany it. I really know how to do it up right!

Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Buckle
1/2 C. shortening (I use Crisco)
1/2 C. sugar
1 well-beaten egg
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
2 C. fresh blueberries
Cinnamon Crumbs

Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Spoon into well-greased 11x7 pan. Top with blueberries. Sprinkle Cinnamon Crumbs over berries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cut in squares and serve warm. Makes 8-10 servings.

Cinnamon Crumbs:  Mix 1/2 C. sugar, 1/2 C. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon (or more to taste). Cut in 1/4 C. butter until crumbly.

I guarantee this coffeecake is delicious whether it's served on a gay placemat or not.


© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

21 Months: Look How Far We've Come

Recently I've been talking with some expectant triplet mommies and pulling out preemie clothes for a friend whose baby was born a little early. It has sent me on a trip down memory lane back to the anxiety of a multiple pregnancy and those first hazy days of complete joy and utter exhaustion.

I look at these boys, 21 months old last week and Amelia, now 4, and I am not entirely sure how we got to this place. Time has moved by far too fast, and yet I remember days when the boys were tiny when I swore time stood still. I did the same things hour after hour endlessly. Days and nights became so much the same that everything melded together, fused, until time itself became solid, unmoving.

But like the river rushing beneath a solid crust of ice, time moved on. Visitors came and went. The seasons changed. My three tiny babies grew and grew. They learned to smile, to laugh, to roll over and sit up. Now, suddenly, they are 21 months old, learning new words at lightning speed, making jokes, and turning into a real tribe.

The boys have always been aware of each other and even buddies, but now they want -- even demand -- to be together. If one gets up from a nap to find he's without his buddies, he will ask repeatedly for them. If one gets in trouble and goes to his room for time out, the other two will wail for him. If one cries at night and has to be pulled from the nursery, you'd better hope the other two are sound asleep or they will send up the cry for their missing comrade.

This has made some things harder, like giving time outs when we're outside and we just sit down. Whoever isn't in time out will often come up and sympathize with the perpetrator, only to be told to leave their brother alone.

But, it has also made outside time easier. Since the boys like to hang together, we have less of an issue with one wanting to play on the driveway with the ride-on toys while the other two want to play on the swings or in the sandbox.

We've got a huge yard and I've always tried to give the boys as much freedom as possible, so when they want to separate, I just take up a lifeguard position where I could run to help any of them, rather than insisting that they all stay right together. But it is much easier to keep an eye on them and play with them all when they want to be together.

All of the boys are very verbal. I would guess they have easily 200 words. They are forever observing and talking to us and to each other. It cracks me up to watch them talk to each other and then laugh. I think they must be sharing some insider jokes!

The other night a fellow triplet mom and I were talking about how surreal it is to think about those early days. It's hard to wrap our heads around it all, because it was unbelievable then and it's still unbelievable. We were slaves to the schedule, but I'm sure we couldn't have told you the time of day with any accuracy most of the time. Sleep trumped showering, cleaning, laundry, eating ... everything! We juggled the demands of our triplets and our older child the best we could at any given moment.

We weren't perfect parents by any stretch, but we survived. And here we are, with children who have thrived and grown. With new friends we wouldn't have were it not for the arrival of our triplets. With a newfound respect for sleep and how long we can survive with very little.

Every age is filled with new challenges, and we're knee-deep in potty training, tantrums, expressing differing opinions (loudly!), difficulty sharing, and a little pushing and biting to keep things interesting.

But boy, oh boy, oh boy, how far we've come!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Bath Night Foods

One of the boys' favorite foods right now is yogurt.

They will yell, "Yogi! Yogi! Yogi!" when I serve it.

Which is only on bath nights.

You can see why.

Play along with Wordful Wednesday at:

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Potty Training: The Quest Continues

"So, Christy, how's the potty training going?" you ask.

Oh, you didn't ask?

Well, I'm sure you're dying to know.

No? You're not?

Well you can stop reading here then, because today's post is all about ongoing trials of potty training triplets.

Still with me? What a faithful reader! OK, we'll see how long you stick around.

We've been potty training for six weeks now, and overall I'm pretty pleased with our success. Our diaper use is down a bit, enough that I get a whole extra day's worth out of the Diaper Champ before I have to change the bag. Although that screws me up. I've always had to empty the diapers on Tuesday, and now that it's Wednesday it messes with my head. I know, it doesn't take much.

There's been a bit of a learning curve, of course. I have successfully proven that if you are potty training multiples this young you do not need more than one potty chair, unless you have more than one adult or more than one set of hands. Otherwise all you get is bare-bottomed chaos.

We have also proven that no matter how gross your mother thinks it is when you put your hands or even your head in the toilet, it will not make you sick or kill you. (Note to self: Clean the toilet again today.) 

We have been shown more than once that a child who cannot go on the potty in the course of 20 minutes will pee everywhere if left unattended for more than 30 seconds outside the bathroom. And then he and his brothers will play in it.

We know that M&Ms are an unbelievably good motivator for Alex. I hope they work this well when he's a teenager! If I had just Alex to train, I think he could be fully in trained in just a couple of months. Alas, that is not to be, but he does pretty well and often uses the same diaper from 10 a.m. until bedtime, so yay!

We have learned that even after six weeks, getting to use the potty is fun (for everyone except Mom & Dad, anyway) and it's worth screaming for your turn.

Thankfully the screaming has died down a bit. Unfortunately, since some boys must be given inordinate amounts of time to do their thing, if they go at all, it's not unusual to get to the third boy and find he's given up on waiting. Sorry dude, that's part of life as a triplet I guess.

I really need to switch to training pants, at least for Alex, because I think he would train faster if he felt wet. But I know that will add to my laundry load, so forgive me for being a little reluctant to jump on that train.

Some days we're really vigilant about getting on the potty lots of times. Other days we just try a few times because we're busy playing outside or mama's tired or there are errands to run. What I'm saying is consistency has not factored really heavily into our efforts here. And I think that's just part of doing anything with multiples. You need to be flexible and give yourself a break.

What we're doing works for us. Alex keeps his diapers dry most of the day. Isaac and Sam are still hit and miss, but are asking to go more often now -- sometimes even before they are wet -- so everyone is getting it at their own pace. For me, it's just been another change in the schedule, and I'm used to it now, so we'll keep plugging away until the job is done.

When we've accomplished this task maybe I'll use the diaper funds to redecorate the bathroom. I'm already tired of looking at those same four walls!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How About Three More, Mom?

The other day I took the boys to pick Amelia up at "summer camp" as we call it now that school is out. She'd had a great day and was telling me all about her field trip.

When we got to the van she greeted all the boys with a hug and a kiss. Then she looked at them and said, "Mom, I wish we had three girls."

I thought I understood.

"Instead of three boys?" I empathized.

"No," Amelia said.

My voice rose at least an octave. "In addition to the boys?" I said.

"Yes!" said Amelia enthusiatically.

"Oh, honey, I don't think Mommy will be having another set of triplets. Sorry."

"But Mom, I need a sister!" Amelia wailed.

"Well that's just one baby honey."

Amelia pouted. "No, I need three."

At that point I wisely gave up the conversation. And pondered just how much we've warped Amelia's view of the world.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

From My Kitchen: Cookie Dough Brownies

Sorry to leave you high and dry on the recipe front during my hiatus last week. How about a little chocolate to make up for it? Chocolate fixes everything!

This recipe for Cookie Dough Brownies came out of a Pillsbury Bakeoff winners cookbook. They are amazing! If you've got kids, these make the best bribe. (Oh, c'mon. We all do it!) And since they start with a mix they are easy enough to make that everyone can pitch in.

The cookie dough layer doesn't use any eggs, so there's no food safety concern. They do keep best in the refrigerator, but I like to leave mine on the counter for about 30 minutes or pop them in the microwave for just a couple of seconds to soften everything up before I serve them.

Here's the recipe:

Cookie Dough Brownies
1 (1 lb. 5.5 oz.) packaged fudge brownie mix
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 egg

1/2 C. margarine or butter
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Grease bottom of a 9x13 pan. Combine brownie mix, water, oil and egg. Beat 50 strokes by hand until just combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 33-35 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat butter, brown sugar and sugar until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Add flour. Spread over cooled brownies.

Melt chocolate chips and oil in microwave, stirring frequently until smooth. Spoon over filling and spread to cover.

Store in the refrigerator.

These are rich, so I cut mine a little on the small side. You can always have a second one. I give you permission. Just don't blame me when your shorts no longer fit.


© Trippin' Mama 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Children are excellent mimics. The emulate our actions and words, both good and bad. It never fails to make me laugh when Amelia or the boys imitate Jeff or me. Well, almost never anyway. They do occasionally pick the wrong thing to mimic. Oops. Surely they got that from television?
One day as Amelia and I were driving home we had to slow way down to squeeze between cars that were parked practically in the street near a neighbor's garage sale. Suddenly Amelia said, in perfect imitation of her father: "Really people?" Her intonation was perfect. I laughed out loud.

Recently the boys have started picking up anything with a handle--buckets, toys, trucks--and putting them on their arms while telling us goodbye. The sneaky little devils often employ this technique outside when they want to head off somewhere they know they aren't supposed to go. Hey, being all cute and saying goodbye doesn't make that OK, mister!

 Here's Isaac heading out with his truck just last week:

Since Jeff doesn't carry a purse, this is proof that I do get out of the house once in a while!

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We've Got Our Shades, So Let's Go!

So I may have been gone from the blogosphere for a few days, but believe me, I was NOT on vacation! We probably pushed the strollers 11 miles in three days. That's a far cry from sipping a margarita on the beach.

Although when I stop to think about it, pushing strollers is usually what we end up doing when we're on vacation.

Anyway, we had a great time despite the major workout. We picnicked at a state park, went to the zoo, and celebrated the Fourth of July at a parade.

Of course we had to have our shades for this beautiful weather: 




The playground was the hit of the state park, but while we ate, Jeff found a little frog. Amelia wanted to like it because it was "so little and cute," but she didn't want to get too close. It was funny to watch her.

The boys just eyed the frog suspiciously. Until it jumped. Then they all started saying, "Ribbit! Ribbit!"

I honestly was a little worried one of the boys might grab the frog and try to eat it. Anything that moves too slowly around here these days is in serious danger of getting eaten.

To add to the fun, Amelia and I camped out in the yard on Saturday night. It was perfect weather for sleeping outside, though the fireworks did go on until 11. I didn't really think that one through, did I? Amelia slept anyway, which was all that mattered.

Mom & Amelia
We ended our long weekend with a parade on Monday. I was sure Sam was going to freak out at the noise, especially since he sat through the last thunderstorm with his hands over his ears. But he never batted an eyelash. Not even when the Revolutionary War reenactors shot off their muskets right in front of us. I nearly wet myself, since I was facing the boys and didn't see it coming, but it didn't bother Sam at all.

The boys loved the music, and Amelia said the best part was when they threw candy. (Of course!) I got a little teary-eyed when the veterans paraded by us. The crowd cheered and men tipped their caps while the Sousa marches play. It was the kind of moment that makes you proud to be an American.

Throw in a kiddie pool, a couple boxes of sidewalk chalk and a few pounds of sand in everyone's shoes and shorts and that was how we spent the Fourth of July. How about you?

© Trippin' Mama 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

I've been gone from blogland for a few days. Several of you have asked if everything's OK. Everything is fine. Great, in fact.

It was an intentional hiatus. No power outage. No Blogger issues. Not even a long vacation where my Internet access was limited.

Just a self-imposed break.

What about my challenge to blog 365 days of the year, you ask? It's out the window. Because one of life's great lessons is that if something isn't working, you should change it.

I liked the challenge of blogging every day. Some days it made me stop and capture a story that I might not have bothered with otherwise. I liked the creative challenge of coming up with something.

But I don't think it made me a better blogger. In fact, I think the opposite was true. There got to be too many days when I posted something that was not as well written as I would have liked. Or I posted something other than what I really wanted to because I didn't have time to pull the photos together.

And more importantly, blogging every day didn't make me a better wife and mom. I won't blog when the kids are awake, so I have to squeeze it in a naptime or wait until after bedtime. By the time the chores are done it is late. By the time I write, it is even later. That leaves little time to spend with Jeff without being constantly interrupted by the kiddos. So when we go to bed, we often lay awake and talk for an hour. Less sleep does not make an energetic, enthusiastic mommy when the boys wake at 7 a.m.

Oh, and one other little thing: I've started working again. (Yay! More on that later.) I was fortunate enough to get a job doing strategic communications consulting on a part-time basis, mostly from home. I need to put some time and energy into that, too, and again, it has to happen in the evening or during naptime.

So, it is time for a change. A four-day hiatus was just the thing. Blog 365 is out the window and I'm moving on.

I'll probably still blog most days, because I really want to capture this time in our lives and because I do love to write. But I am giving myself permission to close the laptop and make a decent post a great one by finishing it tomorrow. I am putting my husband and my kids ahead of my blog
I'm trying to avoid becoming that guy we've all seen on vacation. You know, the one with his video camera glued to his eye the whole time. There's a difference between recording what's happening and being so absorbed in recording it that you forget to live it while you're there.

I intend to live every minute of this crazy, amazing life. And I intend to capture the stories and images, too, but when and how I want and in a way that works for me.

I hope you'll continue to join us for the journey.

© Trippin' Mama 2010