Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes-Gratitude


1. After writing this post a few days ago, I received the kindest messages from so many people. Comments on Facebook, private messages, and a phone call from one of my favorite ladies from Lawrence University. The support, the offers of help, and the love I was shown mean so much to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2. Because I was in such a terrible amount of pain this week, Will's commander did him a huge solid and gave Will a few days off from training to stay home and take care of me and the kids. Trust me...that rarely happens, especially during training. Especially when the soldiers are out in the field. So I owe Will's commander a huge thank you as well. I'm not kidding when I say I could barely get out of bed this week. I don't know what I would have done if I had to be on my own with Tony and Alessandra Monday-Friday, all day and all night.

3. I'm going in for my first epidural injection early in the morning of the 22nd. I've heard from numerous sources that the injections will make me feel like a brand new person (for at least 4-6 months). Hey, I'll take it. Any day that doesn't involve me crying in pain when I step out of bed sounds like paradise to me.

4. My mom is flying in on Wednesday to spend some time with us while Will heads back out into the field. Tony was thrilled to hear this news; he keeps telling me that Nana is going to bring him jelly beans in her purse. Sigh. Apparently, my mom is fulfilling her role of "never say no" nana quite well.
Yeah, pretty much.
5. I have a serious book addiction. Every time I see a book that looks even remotely interesting, I HAVE to have it. Naturally, the books I want are never available at the library, so thank goodness for Amazon Prime. You should see my nightstand right now. It's piling up with books, and they fall into three categories:
a. Finished it, but haven't put it away.
b. Halfway through it.
c. Haven't even started it, but I saw the title and review and had to purchase it instantly.

6. Pinterest gives me unrealistic expectations. One upside to my debilitating back pain this past week was that I had a lot of time to browse Pinterest while Will was tending to our brood. What are the chances that our landlord in Colorado will be cool with me adding a swingset, a garden, and a clothesline to his/her backyard? Hopefully high. I will refrain from asking if we can have a chicken coop or a beehive.

7. Sadly, next week we will have to say goodbye to our neighbors-turned-friends, RJ and Alana, as they head to Fort Bliss (RJ's very first official duty station). This is one of the unfortunate sides of military life, and I've found that it never gets easier saying goodbye to the wonderful friends we make at each duty station. Guys, we love you lots and wish you well. Hopefully we can be stationed together again (ummm, Europe, anyone?) in the future!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finally, Some Answers

  First, I would like to go on record and state that I'm making some huge sacrifices to write this post. I'm currently confined to my bed, and I'm using Will's tablet to blog. I hate Will's tablet. I'm a lover of Apple products, and Will uses a Google Nexus. This thing is weird, awkward, and an epic pain in the butt to use if you are forced to sign out of an existing Google account and sign in to a new one. Which, of course, I was. At a time like this, I close my eyes and fervently wish I could buy an Apple iPad with retina display, and charge it to my expense account. Never mind the fact that I am not currently employed, I have absolutely nothing that even remotely resembles an expense account, and if I voice my complaints to my non-Apple -product-owning husband, he will roll his eyes at me. Anyway. Moving on to more serious matters.

  I can't remember what it feels like to live without pain.

  I started having back problems when I was a teenager. I wasn't terribly surprised; all the women in my family experienced terrible back pain, and I was a musician. There were days when I would practice or rehearse for hours on end, and by the time I was finished my neck, jaw, and lower back would be aching. My mom took me to the doctor at one point, and he had no real advice besides, "try some stretches." By the time I was 18, I was going to a chiropractor and an orthodontic specialist regularly. By the time I started college, my back pain had become so intense that I began seeing a physical therapist and a massage therapist. I took a few yoga classes at the campus gym, and while everything took the edge off my pain...nothing was really helping.
My brother and I, Fall 1999


  Fast forward a decade. During my pregnancy with Alessandra, the pain in my back became unbearable. I received a referral to a physical therapist who specialized in pregnant women, and I saw a chiropractor to adjust my hips. (Tony was posterior, and I had had such terrible back labor with him, and I was willing to do anything to avoid that experience again). The PT and adjustments helped considerably, and I foolishly assumed my days of constant back pain were coming to an end. I had an amazing, painless birth with Alessandra, and in the days that followed I was far more concerned about milk supply and jaundice issues than lower back pain. However, as the weeks progressed, so did my lower back pain. I dreaded getting out of bed every morning, and as much as I loved wearing Alessandra, I would wince when I put her in a wrap or carrier. I continued going to my chiropractor, but the adjustments were no longer bringing me any relief. Finally, after two straight weekends of excruciating pain that caused my husband to miss both class and reserve detail, I made an appointment with my regular physician. She scheduled an MRI for me, which turned out to be a disaster. Despite me repeatedly telling the assistant that I was exclusively breastfeeding my baby, somehow the memo did not get passed to the radiologist. After drinking two repulsive "banana flavored" (yeah right) liquids, I was about to get injected with the dye when I once again asked the technician to confirm with the radiologist that the dye was safe for breastfeeding mothers.

  Spoiler alert: it wasn't. So, to no one's great surprise, the MRI results came back inconclusive, and I was back at Square One.

  The pain only continued to get worse after our move to Fort Benning. I went to a new doctor, who took my complaints seriously, and scheduled me for an X-ray and a repeat MRI. He also prescribed some heavy duty pain pills, which I hate taking (they render me completely useless, as they all have a sedative effect). This time, I had a much better experience with the MRI, and a few weeks later the doctor's office called with the results. According to my doctor, he found visible signs of spinal stenosis, and he wanted to refer me to an orthopedic/spinal surgeon. Well. Hardly what I would call good news, but I was extremely relieved to know that:

a. Something really is wrong, and it's not in my head.
b. I was being referred to a specialist who could give me options for treatment.
c. I was being taken seriously.

  I met with the specialist this past Friday. When he came into the room where I was waiting, he glanced at me, glanced back down at me chart, and looked up at me again. "You're 32." "Yes, I am. I'll be 33 next month." "You're 32." "Yes...." (I'm thinking, okay, we've established my age, why is this a problem...). The doctor sat down in his chair, and looked me straight in the eye, and told me I had some very serious issues for someone so young. He pulled up my MRI results on a screen, and showed me multiple places in my lower back where my disks were disintegrating. The tissue in between the disks was disintegrating as well. He asked me what I had been doing for the pain, and I told him every single treatment I had tried over the past 16 years; physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractors, yoga, pilates, acupuncture, essential oils, etc. He then asked me how I felt about surgery. I told him that spinal surgery was my absolute dead last resort. Don't get me wrong, I will do whatever is necessary to fix my back issues, but unfortunately back surgery doesn't always produce the greatest results. He agreed that we could leave surgery off the table for now, and suggested that I come in soon for an injection. While it is a short-term solution, at least it's one that can provide me with some relief and won't involve anesthesia, cutting me open, a long and painful recovery, etc.

  I don't really know how to describe how I felt when I left his office. I sat in the car for a little while with the air conditioning blasting, and not really moving or doing much of anything. I was frightened of the diagnosis I received; there was still a little part of me that hoped my back issues weren't serious at all, and could be solved with a quick pill or treatment. At the same time, though, I was relived that after all these years of living in pain, I finally had answers. And a plan for treatment. I don't like admitting when something is physically wrong with me. It drives Will absolutely crazy; the last few times he's (literally) dragged me out of bed to go to the hospital, the issues I had were not only serious, but life-threatening. So, Will is now proudly proclaiming that he's 3 for 3, and I'm 0 for 3. It's cool. I can take it.

  A few months back, I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers (Jennifer Fulwiler, at Conversion Diary). For the longest time, I've felt the exact same way she did. "Why didn't you vacuum today? There are dirty dishes in the sink! Alessandra and Tony are running around in diapers and underwear, you haven't even brushed your teeth, much less your hair, there's dog hair everywhere, you haven't dusted in at least a week....WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?" It was hard for me to admit that some days, the pain I felt was so excruciating, all I could do was flop down on the couch and count the minutes until Will walked in the door. I hated myself for my perceived laziness ("your husband works so hard all day, and he deserves to come home to a break, not shrieking kids in a messy house with a frumpy wife on the couch!"), my inability to just suck it up and deal with the pain, and my ingratitude. I mean, really, all I have to do is turn on a NatGeo special about the lives of Roma mothers in Slovakia, or women in South America or Africa who are trying to raise a family amid poverty, crime, disease, and war to make me feel like the most ungrateful, spoiled, laziest human being on the planet. God has blessed our family abundantly, and all I can do is cry about a little back pain?

  After receiving my diagnosis, I was relieved. Not because I was dealing with another potentially serious health concern, but because I was finally able to admit that something was wrong with my body. My inability to get off the couch and clean the house and cook dinner had nothing to do with ingratitude, or being self-absorbed. My back was giving out on me, and on the days when I tried to convince myself that nothing was wrong, and I needed to get over myself and take care of my home and family, I would massively overdo it. Then, naturally, I wound up paying the price tenfold, as I would be in such horrible pain the next couple of days I truly couldn't do anything for anyone.

  I don't know what the next couple of months, or the next couple of years have in store for me. I don't know how long I'll be able to continue getting injections before I finally have to have surgery. I don't know how the problems with my back will impact my family, and our everyday life. I am thankful, however, that the diagnosis I received is not life-threatening. I'll be able to get up every day, and go about my normal routine the best I can. I can cut myself some slack from now on, on the days I'm trying to do too much. I am beyond grateful to my husband and family, for their kindness and helpfulness. Not once have I ever been treated like a burden, or (my worst fear) a slacker. God has been so good to me, and I've found myself finding more comfort than ever in prayer and meditation. With God's grace, I will get through this. My family will get through this. Nothing, especially not a little spinal stenosis/disk disintegration is going to keep me down. I'll be hiking up those mountains in Colorado before you know it.

  (Yeah right. I am so not the hiking type).


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Dang (Greek) Quesadilla

So, am I the only one who thinks of this scene from Napoleon Dynamite when I hear someone say, "quesadilla?"
Sorry for the weirdness of this video. It's the only one I could find.

Anyway. When my brother was visiting last week, I wanted to try out a new recipe and I decided he would be my perfect guinea pig. I found this recipe on Pinterest (where else?) and I thought it looked healthy and tasty, and it met my requirements for a quick and easy weeknight dish. I modified a few things, however.

1. I could have bought boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked them and shredded them myself, but I cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Because ain't nobody got time for that.

2. I rarely (if ever) buy salad dressing, and after searching two grocery stores for the Lighthouse Opa Greek feta dill dressing to no avail, I threw in the towel and purchased a Tzatziki sauce. Probably not as low-cal as the former, but whatevs. 

3. I did not use an entire red onion. That would have been WAY too much, in my super duper professional opinion. 

Anyway! You will need the following:
assorted veggies and cheeses

Okay, I needed this. It was a long day.
 1. Slice the veggies and set to the side.
2. Spray the tortilla (one side only) with nonstick spray, and place on a pan over medium-high heat.
3. Spread the sauce/dressing over the tortilla, and add the veggies. Be careful not to overload the tortilla. As you can see, I totally failed at this.
4. After a few minutes, lift up the (unloaded) side of the tortilla. If it's browned, go ahead and cover the side with the veggies with the tortilla. Cook for a few more minutes, then carefully flip it over. Again, something I'm terrible at. If you're more skilled than I am, you likely won't have veggies and cheese falling out of your quesadilla all over the pan, and you likely won't be cursing.

5. When the quesadilla has been appropriately browned, slide it on to a plate or cutting board and slice it in half. Trust me, it tastes much better than it looks.
(Sorry. I forgot to snap a picture before snarfing down my dinner).
Happy eating! Original recipe here.

Ingredients:

4 — 9" La Tortilla Factory® Smart & Delicious™ Low-Carb, High Fiber Whole Wheat Tortillas
2 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded (about 1½ cups)
½ cup reduced-fat feta cheese crumbles
1 cup low moisture, part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese
1 red onion, diced
1 cup cucumber, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
½ cup Lighthouse® OPA Greek yogurt Feta Dill dressing

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On Raising Children, or, "I Have Absolutely No Idea What I'm Doing."

Two kids and we're still clueless.
  Will and I have learned a very important lesson in the past three years. Never make any major decisions (specifically, don't make any decisions involving family planning) on either a really great or really terrible day. Just the other week, the kids and I were having one of our best days to date. Everyone woke up in a good mood, we had a healthy breakfast, Tony was showering Alessandra with love and affection and she was giggling in response, the kids played quietly together in Tony's room while I got some housework done, they behaved perfectly at the grocery store (and I received a few compliments on my happy little crew), everyone took a good nap, and I had a tasty, healthy meal waiting for Will when he came home from work. At the end of the day, I was going on and on about Tony and Alessandra's exceptional behavior, how rested I felt, how clean the house was, and so forth. On days like that, I'm tempted to say, "More children, stat! Let's out-do the Duggars! I've GOT this! And why stop with 'just' more children? I'll grow all of our fruits and vegetables, and we'll get some chickens, and we can buy meat from a local farmer, so we'll never have to go to a grocery store again!" Then, predictably, I feel the icy cold smack back into reality.

  That evening, no one slept well. The kids woke up crabby and demanding in the morning, I was out of sorts from not sleeping more than four hours, Tony threw a fit when I told him he couldn't have a "shake 'n milk" (chocolate milkshake, for those of you not fluent in preschooler) for breakfast, Alessandra had diarrhea, the house became a disaster in what must have been some kind of world record, the dog kept trying to steal food, I couldn't stop yelling no matter how many pep talks I gave myself...you get the idea. By the time Will came home that night, I was a frazzled, overwhelmed, near-tears mess. "Why in the world did I ever think I we could have more children? Clearly, I can't even handle the two we already have! And chickens? Seriously, Marisa? Alessandra just dumped her plate of scrambled eggs on the floor and Murphy ate it. Why do you want to have MORE eggs in this house? And when the hell are you going to find time to garden? And why am I talking to myself?"

  Now that Will's schedule is crazier and he's gone for days or weeks at a time, I've had to do some reflecting on the kind of mother I want to be. I have to be able to hold it together by myself for long periods of time. I have to have patience with my kids (I'll be honest and admit this is one of the hardest things for me to do; I have a temper, and I've found myself yelling at Tony far too often), I have to keep the house from resembling the city dump, I have to make healthy meals for my family, and I have to keep our faith the center of our household. I also have to be realistic, and understand that no, not every day will be perfect, but by the same token, not every day will be stressful and miserable, either. If I take a few minutes to myself every morning, beginning my day with prayer and and my oils, I notice a dramatic difference in my temperament. I'm more willing to tell Tony for the thousandth time that no, he doesn't get to watch more than one TV show (without making threats about what will happen if he asks me again), I don't mind carrying Alessandra all over the house while I do chores (if luck is on my side, she'll agree to go into the mei tai or sling), and the bottom line...if I'm calm and patient, my kids generally remain calm and happy, if not patient. Those are the days on which Will and I try to make monumental decisions. Not days when everything is perfect, because that's not reality, but not days when I'm ready to collapse in a sobbing heap on the floor, either.

  Yes, I have been dreaming of starting a garden of my own for quite some time now, especially considering how much money I spend at the grocery store every month on fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Unfortunately, our living situation right now isn't exactly ideal for growing and maintaining a garden. It's something I fully intend on starting once we move to Colorado, though. The chickens...not so much. While I love the idea of buying fresh eggs and meats from a farmer's market, I'm going to permanently temporarily scrap the idea of owning chickens. Yes, we would like to have more children one day. However, being that Will is going to be gone for a long stretch of time, and we have a cross-country move coming up in the next 9-ish months, and I have some unresolved health issues (specifically, spinal stenosis) that I need to take care of before I start growing another human, I'd have to say that now is not the best time to add to our family. That's the beauty of NFP; Will and I are able to prayerfully discern every month if it would be a good time to try to conceive (TTC. Since I'm an Army wife, I'm a huge fan of acronyms). If we don't faint at the idea of having a newborn in nine month's time, fabulous! If not, that's okay too. It's all about moderation. It's okay to be excited about babies, new projects, and new adventures, as long as you don't make rash decisions based on something you saw on Pinterest. *cough cough*

  As for now? My little brother, who is not so little anymore, flew in to Georgia this past weekend to give me a hand with the little ones while Will is in the field. My in-laws are coming here on Friday to spend the long weekend with us. My mom is planning on coming for two-ish weeks in September, when Will's schedule gets particularly brutal. I feel so blessed that our families are able to help us out, and the extra pair(s) of hands goes a long way towards maintaining my sanity. One of the most important things I've realized since becoming a mother is that I simply can't do it all on my own. I don't want to think about how much of a mess I would have been if I didn't have the help of my mom, my mother in-law, and my sister in-law after the birth of Alessandra. I'm pretty sure I would have completely and utterly lost my mind (or fallen asleep behind the wheel) if my mom, mother in-law, brother, and aunt weren't able to help me out when Alessandra was three months old, not sleeping more than two hours/night, and Will was at Fort Lewis for a month. It's okay to ask for help when you need it. There's no shame in admitting you need a hand every now and then, and you're not less of a mother if you just need a break from the chaos once in a while.

Chaos? What chaos? 
  Bottom line? It's great to be ambitious, but it's also great to give yourself a break now and then. There is no such thing as the perfect parent, or the perfect house, or the perfect way of life. Figure out what works for you and your family, and don't underestimate the healing power of an iced coffee in the afternoon and a glass of wine after the kids are in bed. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes-An Attack on my Sanity


1. I am displeased, to put it mildly. About 40 minutes ago, I was congratulating myself for being so "on it" this morning. Alessandra woke me up I woke up at 5am, made my coffee, made a healthy breakfast for the kids (scrambled eggs and toast with homemade wheat bread, how domestic can I GET), got a load of laundry going, read a book to the kids, fed the dog and put him out, and was about to get the diffuser going in Alessandra's room when I spotted....

2. A roach. On Alessandra's bedroom door. And not just any roach, mind you-a huge, menacing, colossal roach who appeared to be sneering at me as I cowered in terror. This mama doesn't do bugs. So, being the calm, level-headed, rational woman that I am, I screamed at the top of my lungs, grabbed the largest shoe I could find, cursed the Army for sending my husband to the field (because really, do these mutant bugs ever make an appearance when our husbands are home? Of course not), and proceeded to beat the life out of that thing on my precious baby girl's door. Then I tried to MacGyver a Kleenex, a shoe, and a pen into a contraption that would keep the now smushed-beyond-recognition roach from touching my fingers. In a moment of weakness, I considered placing a call to our parish and begging Father McCarthy to come over and do an emergency blessing of our home.

3. This is one of the main reasons I could never (permanently) live in the South. Look, I'm not trying to downplay the North's pitfalls. Growing up in Wisconsin, I remember having to trick-or-treat with a snowsuit over my Halloween costume because we were getting hit with snow flurries at the end of October. The seasons (if you even want to call them that) consist of approximately 7 months of blizzards and bitterly cold weather, a "spring" that's really freezing cold rain that turns the afore-mentioned snow to ugly gray slush, and a summer that's hotter than hell with enough road construction to make you want to rip your hair out every time you're foolish enough to venture on to the highway. I get it. But...Wisconsin doesn't have ROACHES. Anyway. Moving on.

4. My brother is flying in tomorrow, to give me a hand with my crew while Will leaves for yet another long week in the field. Tony is very excited about his uncle's arrival; every morning for the past 3 days he says, "Mama, today is Saturday!" I'm glad that tomorrow I'll actually be able to answer in the affirmative.

5. I am the worst Catholic ever. I missed a holy day of obligation on Friday, due to miscalculating afternoon events (mainly, the grocery store with two small children), I missed confession on Saturday afternoon, because I was in bed with agonizing back pain, and I missed Mass on Sunday for the same reason. I'm not feeling too great about myself right now, although I do realize that being unable to get out of bed due to excruciating pain is probably a valid reason for missing Mass.

6. I need to start blogging more, as in, not just the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I have a bunch of topics floating around in my head, and never enough time to sit down and write a thought-provoking post. Yet another reason I feel like the lamest person alive lately.

7. This meme sums up my feelings about Georgia drivers (or more likely than not, their response to me blasting the horn at them for trying to cut in my lane without, you know, checking to make sure another car isn't already there).
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, August 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes-Feelin' The Burn


1. This girl has been WORKING IT at the gym, and at home with PiYo. Yes, I jumped on the Beachbody bandwagon, after last year's failed attempt at T25. I know a lot of people talk up the benefits of T25 (and don't get me wrong, if you follow the program and the health plan, it works!) but it was just too hard on my joints. The jumping up and down and bouncing around really did a number on my lower back. After an MRI revealed a diagnosis of spinal stenosis (I'm seeing a spinal/ortho specialist on the 28th to discuss my options for pain management), I knew I needed to take it easy with the workouts. Sooooo 3x/week I go to the gym and do low-impact workouts, and at home I do PiYo. It feels good, but wow I'm sore.

2. I really need to ask...who is my reader from Glasgow?? I've seen your location appear quite a few times on my feed, and if you haven't already introduced yourself, please do so! I sincerely regret not visiting your lovely country when Will and I were living in Europe. Scotland was one of the very few countries we were not able to tour, much to my dismay.

3. Will's schedule is about to get uglier than my 7th grade school picture. Lots of time in the field for the next 2-3 months, which means cranky kids and a stressed out mama. Pretty sure I'll be on the phone (yeah right...on the keyboard) begging for family members to visit and keep me sane.

4. Whoever keeps leaving comments on my blog informing me that I'm going to burn in hell....kindly knock it off. It was amusing the first time; now it's just getting annoying. I really don't want to resort to The Man tactics and delete comments, as that is SO not my thing, but I can only read so much about the "Vatican 2 heresies" before I roll my eyes into the back of my head.

5. Tony has been on an argumentative kick lately. I don't mean he's picking fights with me, but more like he just disagrees with everything Will and I say. When we're driving in the car and I play a new song on my iPod (I'm on a Gaelic Storm kick right now), Tony will ask me what it's called.
Me: "This song is called 'Heart of the Ocean.'"
Tony: "No it's not!"
I have to admit, it's pretty funny.

6. Speaking of Gaelic Storm, Milwaukee's Irish Fest is this weekend, and Gaelic Storm will be performing there. I'm so sad I'm not in Milwaukee right now...I've missed both Festa and Irish Fest this summer. Booo.

7. I'm looking for new, healthy, and budget-friendly meals to make during the week. My go-to menu is getting a little tired. Feel free to post your favorites in my comment section.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes After Waking Up Far Too Early


1. I remember when I was pregnant with Tony, I was talking to my mom about middle of the night feedings, diaper changes, what have you. I expressed concern that I would be so tired I wouldn't hear the baby, and he would scream hysterically in his bassinet while I slept blissfully unaware a few feet away. My mom laughed and assured me that would never happen. She said every new mother always senses when her baby will begin crying, and it's not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason, only for the baby to begin crying a minute or two later. Well, not only was she 100% right (of course), but I still find myself doing that now. Alessandra is 16 months old, and anytime she makes a peep, I am jolted out of deep slumber. I suppose it's a good thing, but it's hard to remember that when it's 5:15a.m and I am unable to get back to sleep.

2. Thank goodness for essential oils. After said baby interruption, I grumpily cheerfully roused myself out of bed, and immediately headed into the bathroom to apply my morning oils. Within 5 minutes, I felt ready to take on the day.

3. Both kiddos have a dentist appointment this morning, with a pediatric dentist who received glowing recommendations from a bunch of Fort Benning moms. I'm sure everything will go smoothly, from our 30-minute early arrival to fill out paperwork to the laying back in the chair while the dentist checks out their teeth.
Sorry not sorry. What can I say, I'm an 80's/90's kid and an avid lover of Wayne's World.
4. After much consideration, prayer, and conversation, we've decided to forgo preschool for Tony for the upcoming school year. The main reasons being:

 a. While the school (part of our church) and preschool program look lovely, I can't get past the fact that it's every day of the week, from 8:15-12:15. That's a long week for a 3-year old, especially since he's stayed at home with me since he was born. Unfortunately, there aren't any 2 or 3-days/week options.

b. It's $300 per month. Could we make it work? Yes. Would it put a hamper on saving for the (most likely) more expensive Catholic school options in Colorado? Yes again.

c. My mom is coming to Georgia for a long-ish visit in September, and she made it abundantly clear that she didn't want Tony in school the whole time. Plus, we're going to my cousin's wedding in NC in October, then possibly back to WI for a visit, plus Will may be attending some intensive (read: he'll be gone for 2+ months) schools in the upcoming months, so we may visit my family again, which means more time away from school...

5. Yeah, just not practical. While I still don't feel that homeschooling is the best option for our family, I don't see the harm in doing basic preschool activities at home with him for another year. I've ordered a couple of coloring books/preschool curriculum from Seton, and we're going to give that a go.

6. Army neighbors are awesome. They do things like invite you over for Wine Down Wednesday night (is an explanation really needed?) and give you things their kids don't use anymore. Tony has been finger painting up a storm since our neighbor dropped off a bag of finger paints and Play-doh (thanks, LaQueshia!).

7. I've decided that I'm officially over summer and these mutant Georgia bugs that are torturing my children. Just a few weeks ago, Alessandra was bit by (most likely) a spider during the night, and her eye was swollen shut the next day. Yesterday we took the kids to get some frozen yogurt, and upon leaving the store, Tony was stung right underneath the eye by an unknown bug. OVER. IT.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!