Friday, August 30, 2013

The Easing In

The first two weeks of school are pretty much the glory days of the year. Mainly because the routine has been established and the kids are away for a few hours, yet none of the "extras" have started yet. And by that I mean after school activities for both the kids and me. There is an "easing in" to the school year that I have always appreciated. Piano lessons start next week, gymnastics begin on Thursday, soccer sign-ups a week from Saturday, my ladies Bible study starts mid-September. This year I have been especially grateful for this slow pace because I have spent the last week feeling as sick as I have felt in a long time. Turns out when you combine strep throat with bronchitis and a stomach virus, you feel like you are dying! Without the help of my family, the Galloway ship would have sunk. Because you know when Mom goes down, the whole house turns to chaos. Thankfully, things didn't get too out of hand this time, and I have been doing a lot of resting. A week later, after a doctor visit, antibiotics, prescription cough syrup and a bland diet, I am feeling human again.

Today I just hung out at home with Lucas all day, taking advantage of the easy pace. Letting him guide our time. Oh there was Memory and Candyland and books to read. Then there was the above activity I like to call "the poor man's swimming pool." He had a blast filling the tub up with water, letting his dinosaurs and spider-men go for a swim, then dumping it out and doing it all over again. I am so glad we were able to chill out all day. I think I am on the mend, people!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oh Sweet Lorraine

You guys....I just spent a good fifteen minutes sitting in front of my computer doing an ugly cry. My friend shared this link on Facebook this morning and I clicked on it while I was waiting on my van to get an oil change. I quickly realized I couldn't be in public while watching this video. I needed to be alone with a box of kleenex, but oh it is such a good story involving love, loss and music. As the story suggests, in light of the crap that was the MTV video music awards the other night, this proves that there is still something pure and wonderful happening in music. I know so many friends who are musicians, and who are producing real, raw, powerful, good stuff, like sweet Fred in this story. I wish more of them were highlighted. So I'll do my part to share the love. Please take a few minutes to read the story and watch the video about a 96 year old man who entered a song writing contest after losing his wife of 75 years just a month earlier. He was no musician, not even a singer, but he wrote lyrics that expressed his love for his beloved wife and shared their story beautifully. In light of my mom's passing two years ago, it hit me extra hard as I thought about my dad reflecting on their own 41 years together. There were so many good memories.

Ok, go watch. I'm going to have to go re-do my mascara now since it all just washed off.


Oh Sweet Lorraine

Also, you can buy this song on itunes to support Fred!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


In spite of the week we've been having, Lucas felt well enough to start Pre-K today! He was excited. He couldn't wait to show everyone his new Justice League lunchbox and his cool gray and neon green tennis shoes which make him run super fast. After we dropped Hannah and Leah off this morning, it was finally his turn to go to school. Since he just turned four at the end of last month, we opted to do a year of private Pre-K at a nearby church to see how he handles it. If he is ready for kindergarten next year, he can start at the public elementary school down the street where his sisters also attend. Or, if we feel he needs another year of Pre-K, he can do a second year at the public elementary Pre-K program. As a teacher, I know the benefits of being the older person in the class instead of the younger. Do I want him to graduate high school at 17 or 18? Do I want him to start college with the "maturity" of a brand new 18 year old? Is there anything wrong with keeping him "under my wing" one extra year before sending him on his way into the real world? These are things we'll have to consider. But for now, we just have one happy, eager, sweet little guy who really enjoyed his first day of school. 
Ready to go inside!
Sitting at the table coloring a picture. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Sickness Roller Coaster

The sickness roller coaster continues at our house. Lucas has definitely perked up as far as his personality goes. Even his appetite has started improving too. Naturally I thought he was on the mend. Then the diarrhea started. You have not truly lived until you have cleaned liquid poop off every crevice of your child and the bathroom floor. On top of that, I started running a fever yesterday afternoon. I had woken up with a horrible sinus headache and it spiraled downward all day. Today was not a whole lot better. I am so over the sickness! 

Because of this, Lucas and I spent our third day in a row at home. Here's a glimpse of our day. 

In addition, we read a stack of books, played outside with the water hose and the super soaker, and folded laundry together. I will just say, we are ready to get out of the house! I'm heading to bed early hoping that both of us wake up feeling better. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Glimpse Into His Personality

*First off, let me update you on my boy's health status:  Today he is much improved! In addition to the nasty stomach virus he picked up, he also developed pink eye! I do think he brought every possible germ home from the pediatrician's office! We started him on some antibiotic eye drops last night and by this evening, his eyes were looking much better. And so far no one else has contracted either the throw-ups or pink eye. It's a miracle! The only lingering effects from his sick weekend are his lack of appetite and low energy. These go hand-in-hand, really. I know after I've had a round of the stomach flu it takes a while to build back up to my normal eating habits. He starts Pre-K on Thursday, so he's got a few more days to rest and recover!

Now, on to the topic of my post. Since the girls were in school today, Lucas and I spent the entire day just hanging out at home. I wanted to give him as much R&R as possible, so we kicked back on the couch reading books, watching movies, and playing games. One thing I've come to know about my boy is that he is happiest around other people. He does not like to play alone. Sometimes this drives me crazy-- like when I need to get something done and I try to encourage him to go to his room to play with his train table or dinosaurs. My girls were good about independent creative play, but Lucas just isn't interested. He wants someone to play with him every time.  However, Lucas is most content when he is helping. His face lights up and he is as happy as a little clam when you recruit him as your helper. With Mike, he loves to help clean out the garage, put together a new toy, or wash the car. With me, he loves to help water the flowers, make the bed (he is a pro at putting the pillows on) or unload the dishwasher. But his very most favorite thing to help with is cooking. He has always shown a real interest in both cooking and baking, which I love.

This morning, I turned the TV on and up popped an episode of Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten was making a delicious-looking flourless cake with a fresh raspberry sauce. Lucas sat transfixed as he watched her put the cake together and then take a bite of the finished product.

"I want to make that cake, Mom! Can we make that cake today?"

"Let me look at the recipe, Bud. Maybe after your nap, okay?"

Later in the afternoon, when he woke up from a short hour long nap, the first words out of his mouth as he came around the corner from his bedroom were, "Did you find the recipe, Mom? Can we make that cake now?" Honestly, I had forgotten about it, so I took him to the computer and we sat down and researched "flourless cake recipes." We finally found one for which I already had all the ingredients and off we went to the kitchen.

After a thorough hand-washing, we got started. He intently measured, poured, stirred and mixed all the ingredients with just a little guidance and direction from me. Which, by the way, flourless chocolate cakes are really pretty easy. Who knew?! When the girls walked in the door after school, they were met with the heavenly aroma of chocolate cake baking in the oven. Lucas proudly told them, "I made a delicious cake today!"

Once the cake was out of the pan and completely cooled, we made a simple chocolate glaze to go on top. Unfortunately, I had no fresh raspberries (or strawberries or any other kind of berry), but he was still very pleased with the finished product.

We ate the very decadent, rich cake for dessert tonight and it was SO good. But here's the funny thing. Lucas isn't a big sweets guy, and he didn't even want any! He was happy enough to simply be a part of making something that he knew his family would enjoy. It was the process he loved-- spending time with me and seeing his family appreciate the fruits of his labor. What a thoughtful little guy he is! I thought today proved to be an interesting glimpse into his ever developing personality. I think I'll keep him.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Puny Boy

This boy has been pretty puny since Thursday night after getting four immunization shots earlier that afternoon. His fever has ranged from 99 to 102, but I know fever is common after shots, so I haven't been too worried about that. But then this morning at 3:00, he came wandering into our bedroom saying he was really thirsty. I pulled him up on our bed and went to the kitchen to get a sippy cup of water. He took a good drink, then we both laid down so I could scratch his back a minute. He felt warm, and I was about to go get some Tylenol when out of nowhere he sat up and proceeded to puke all over our bed. It was a lot, people. Mike, who was sound asleep, had superhuman reflexes and jumped out of bed narrowly escaping the foul liquid. The next hour consisted of stripping the bed, washing the sheets and bathing the sick boy. Finally we were all back in bed, and we slept soundly until 7:30 or so. Thinking the worst was over, and hoping it was a one time event, we got ready to take the girls to a birthday party. We stopped by Target on the way to pick up a gift (shame on me for waiting until the last minute), and while we were walking up to the registers to check out, Lucas decided to puke again all over my foot and the floor. Thankfully a lady took pity on me and went to grab an employee who sprinkled that funny white "sand" to soak it all up. I was on my own with my foot though. Throw up in your shoe? It's gross if you were wondering. We quickly left and I dropped the girls off at their party. This afternoon Lucas has been alternating between sleeping and waking up to throw up. All he has been ingesting is water, and it is just coming back up. He just can't keep anything down. If he is still vomiting tomorrow, I might take him to an after hours clinic. Here's my question--is this related to his immunization (MMR, DPT, Chicken pox and polio) or a separate virus he picked up? This is one of those times I wish I could call my mom. Hoping he feels better tomorrow! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Roasted Broccoli

Tonight I needed a good side dish to go with our dinner. I checked the veg drawer and saw we had some lovely, fresh broccoli. I'm all for steaming it with a little butter and salt and pepper, but tonight I wanted something different. I turned to Google for a little help and ended up combining a few good ideas into what you see above. And it was delicious! It turns out that roasting it at a high temp creates a crispy texture and a deep, almost nutty flavor. Trust me--you will love it. I don't have exact measurements; I just eyeballed it, so I apologize for that. I trust you can make it work! 

I took two big bunches of fresh broccoli and cut them into florets. Tip: from what I read you want your broccoli to be completely dry, so wash it in advance and make sure you dry it well. Next crank your oven to 425 degrees. Place the florets on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Finally add three or four chopped garlic cloves. Make sure it is all combined and then roast those sweet little florets for 20-25 minutes. They will get nice and brown in spots. You want this because those crispy brown places are divine. When they come out of the oven, hit them with a little fresh lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Finally, add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese if you desire. That's it! We inhaled the whole pan and had some serious garlic breath, but it was totally worth it. 

Third Grade

Here are my beautiful, funny, smart 3rd grade girls on their first day of school. The morning went smoothly even though I didn't sleep well the night before. My brain kept thinking of all I had to do in the morning to get them ready. I was dreading it. But then morning came and all my worrying was for nothing (as it usually is). I heard my alarm, the girls got up and got dressed without complaint. Breakfast was eaten and lunches packed. Even Lucas was easy for me and got ready quickly. We had time to take a few pictures and we got to school15 minutes early. Lucas and I walked the girls to class and the acted like, "We got this, Mom!" I am so proud of my big girls. And the report at the end of the day was two (or should I say four?) thumbs up. Hannah said, "It was good to be playing at the old playground again." And Leah told me, "We did so much fun stuff I don't know where to start." Here's to another great year at Deer Creek Elementary!
                           Silly shot
                  In front of their school

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting Ready for School

Well, it has been just over a week since my last post and what have I been doing? Did I fall into a well like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie (my favorite episode, by the way)? Nope. Did I somehow wander into a time warp and get sent back to the 1950's like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future? No. (Although that would be cool). No, instead I have fallen victim to the great "get ready for school race" sponsored by my children, Hannah, Leah and Lucas. Here's what we've been doing:

* Haircuts-- all three got snipped at Super Cuts this past weekend during their "half-price kids' cuts" special. Score!

* Back to School Clothes Shopping-- I went out with all the crazies and fought the crowds during Oklahoma's Tax Free Weekend. We got new shoes for all three, jeans for the girls who keep insisting on growing taller, but not bigger around. This poses a problem because they need length, but not width. Their top half is easy to fit. Their bottom half-- not so much. But, we found slim jeans at The Children's Place which fit them well, and I picked up a few cute $5 t-shirts too. From the age of 2 to 6 my girls lived in dresses. Every single day they could, they chose to wear a dress. It was easy breezy. And awfully cute. But now that they are 8 they are not into dresses anymore. They run and play and do the monkey bars and turn cartwheels at recess and, "Mom! Boys would see our panties if we wore dresses!" Even with me pushing "cartwheel shorts" underneath the dresses, they have entered the world of t-shirts, athletic shorts and jeans. They will do the occasional tunic or long shirt with leggings, but that's about it. Dresses are for church or special occasions now. Whahhhh!  Our shopping also included new backpacks and lunch boxes. I always loved getting a new backpack too.

The girls' new backpacks. Can you guess which one belongs to which girl? I'll give you a hint: Hannah likes things neat and orderly while Leah embodies the term "free spirit."

 I picked up this cool set by Rubbermaid for the girls' lunches. I've been inspired by 100 Days of Whole Food to pack more of a variety of healthy lunches for my girls while cutting down on the amount of waste too. The blue part in the middle is an ice pack and all the containers snap together. We'll see how it works!

* School Supply Shopping-- Okay people. We spent just over $100 at three different stores on school supplies. When did this get so complicated?! Apparently no one in OKC had "jumbo glue sticks" so I was forced to buy the regular ones hoping they were alright (and they were). And remember when school supply shopping was fun because you got to pick out your own Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and your cool strawberry scented erasers? No more. The school list is very brand specific now. I'm not arguing that Crayola crayons are better than the store brand. It's a fact that they are. But why must you make me buy the super expensive scissors? And why do we need 4 pair? Oh well...I won't complain. You are only shaping my child's future by giving them an education. Whatever. :)

* Fitting in all the fun things we can before school starts!-- We've been swimming with our friends three times, went to see Despicable Me 2 at the theater, went out for ice cream, played at the park, went to our friends' houses and they came to ours, etc. It has been a whirlwind of activity over here in my hiz-ouse!

*And lastly, I participated in my first ever Body and Soul Instructor's Workshop. I'll be on stage leading a cardio/strength class once a week, so I needed some special training. The workshop was from 9 am to 9 pm last Friday and I came home sore, sweaty and excited about the fall session.

Here's all the instructors who participated. I'm on the top row, fifth from the right in the blue shirt. 

So with all of that going on, I just didn't have a lot of time to write, but I promise to be more consistent now that school is starting tomorrow and our life will resume a more orderly schedule. For the most part anyway! I'll start off with an adorable first day of school picture in the morning! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Barclay Road

This is the first house Mike and I lived in. After marrying in June of 1999, we lived in a one bedroom apartment until we found this little place in September of 2000. We loved it right away and were thrilled when it became ours. Built in 1952, it featured beautiful parquet wood floors, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and all the charm of a mid-century home. In December of 2004, we brought our twin girls home from the hospital to this home. I logged many hours sitting in the rocking chair in their nursery, nursing, snuggling and patting to sleep my two baby girls. That nursery had the most delicious, buttery yellow walls. I remember the day Mike painted them while I rubbed my enormous pregnant belly with excitement. Oh, the memories in this place!
We moved out of this house in April of 2007 when we decides we needed more than 1100 square feet and one additional bathroom. Since then we have driven by, but never walked through. We would slow down and peer in the windows like creepy stalkers trying to see what the new owners had done to the place. And them, by chance we drove by yesterday to find a for sale sign and an open house!  We took the opportunity to go inside and show our girls where they first lived. The realtor was cool with us snooping around with no intent to buy. I stood in my old kitchen with the original 1952 oven and bright red countertops that we installed back in 2002. I remembered all the meals I prepared and dishes washed in that place. I walked around the backyard listening to the familiar sound of the wind rustling the leaves in the enormous, 50 year old oak tree. I found the birdbath my mom gave us nearly overgrown with vines in the corner of the yard. In the bedroom room Mike and I shared I could still picture the way the sunlight poured through the blinds in the morning giving the room a warm glow. It was pretty wonderful to reflect on those seven years living at 2243 Barclay Rd. And even more amazing to see where life has taken us since.

(The kids being silly in the girls' old room). 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer in One Shot

This is the epitome of our summer. Swimming, sun, friends. Life is good. My friend,
Angie, drove up from Dallas this week with her three kids to visit. We are soaking up all the fun we can get while she's here. I love how Lucas is really going for it in this shot. Arms outstretched in full abandon. I sure love these kids.