The Lusiak Life

A whole lot of crazy and even more love

Things I’ve learned this week 2/2/13

What I’ve learned this week:

 

Daniel Tiger is still awesome. My kids are constantly singing the songs from the show. This week it’s all about going to the potty. “When you have to go potty, STOP, and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way!” We were constantly asking the kids to wash their hands after they used the restroom with lots of whining while they were at the sink, but since Daniel Tiger told them to, they are washing all day long.

Snow days aren’t nearly as fun when you’re an adult. So maybe snow days could be awesome, but when everyone has been sick and you can’t actually play in the snow, it’s just another day stuck in the house.

You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Well I learned that lesson all over again. This is the third week we’ve attended a new church. A HUGE church. We’re talking about thousands of people at every service. Before a had a ton of people recommend the church to us I had never even thought about stepping foot in the doors. Not once. Why? Well, because it’s huge. It has the nickname of Six Flags Over Jesus. I thought I would literally get lost trying to find the classrooms my kids would need to go to, or really get lost trying to find the room I had actually dropped them off at after services. Or find my car. I mean they have 6+ cops out each Sunday morning directing traffic.  I was judging without every stepping foot in the door. I was wrong. Yes, the church is large. There are tons of people at each service and at first it was hard to figure out which classroom I had left the kids in, but the messages have been amazing and it doesn’t seem like a HUGE church once you’re seated and listen to the word of God. I am so blessed to have found a new home.

God works in mysterious ways. Let me give you a little back story for those who have not been following the blog. (We’ve been trying to decide where to send the kids to school for months now. We’ve visited public and private schools. Hated some, loved others. Hated the price of tuition at most. Not because we thought the school wasn’t worth the cost, but because we just couldn’t afford those costs. I’ve been praying for guidance. For God to help show us the school that is right for our family and how we could make that school work for our family if it happened to be a private school with high tuition costs.) Well one afternoon after visiting a school we made a quick stop to Costco to pick a few things up and ran into a friend of my husband’s that he knows through the food business. We started talking about schools and churches. He recommend the church we are now going to and a local christian school. A few days later I mentioned on Facebook about still trying to find a church for our family and he again mentioned his church. The next day his wife “friended” me on Facebook and that following Sunday I decided to try their church. You remember, the church with thousands of people. Well I just happened to be walking out of the coat closet and his wife was walking by. Crazy lady that I am, I yell at her that I know her husband. We realize we had just become friends on Facebook and she invites me to sit with her during service. After service she helps me back down to the children’s area to pick up the girls and we start chatting about all things mom related. She mentions she is a Regional Vice President for Arbonne and how she loves the flexibility if gives her to still be a huge part of her three kids lives. That was 2 weeks ago today. We’ve talked plenty of times since then and now I’m thrilled to say that I too, have become an Arbonne Independent Consultant. I’ve prayed about it since meeting her and realized maybe this is what God was trying to put into my life. First, how crazy is it that we met the way we did. Then for her to have such a great business that I could be a part of that could allow me to still participate in my kids lives as much as I wanted, but also allow me to make some extra income was incredible. I truly think God meant for us to cross paths that Sunday morning outside of that coat closet.

Going to that church for the first time was scary. Starting my own business is scary. Deciding where my kids will go to school is scary, but I don’t want to live my life constantly saying, “What if?”

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A few things I’ve learned this week 1/26/12

It’s amazing the things you learn each week. Everyone of us learns a ton of new things every week. No matter how old we are, we are always evolving. I see my girls learning, little, yet amazing to them, things every day. This week has been all about rhyming at our house. K is thrilled that she knows that CAT and HAT rhyme. N is slowly but surely learning how to blow her nose. It’s the little things when you’re 3 :) I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed all the new things I learn each day or week. I’ve never stopped to take the time to really marvel at that new piece of history I just learned in a book, a new recipe or food I’ve tried, or how to finally get a stain out of a favorite shirt. 

Starting this week I decided to try to keep track of the new things. Even if they are super simple and may not mean anything to anyone else but me. Hopefully I can keep doing this every week so I can continue to realize how much I really don’t know or understand about this crazy world. It’s also a great feeling to know you’ve just don’t something you’ve never done before. So, here is the list of a few things I’ve learned this week.

1. You’re never too old to play Uno on the living room floor. My girls got a Cinderella Uno game for Christmas and it’s been a huge hit this week. They learned how to play and that’s all we’ve done. I’ve played more games of Uno this week then I think I played my entire childhood. It’s amazing to see N learning her colors and numbers from a game too. She has no idea she’s learning. Just having fun and that’s how it should be. I also love hearing them yell “UNO!”

2. Raspberry leaf tea will never be able to replace the love I have for chai tea lattes.

3. Apparently K “rocks out” with Daddy in the mornings on the way to school. Tony’s schedule has changed a little at work and he is now able to drop K off every morning and she is loving the Daddy time. Another thing I learned this week is that they apparently “rock out” to songs Mommy doesn’t let her listen to. Like this one:

Please excuse anything offensive in the song. Today was the first time I’ve ever heard it. I was actually changing the channel on the radio when it came on and K started singing it. Of course when I ask how in the world she knows this song, her response is “Daddy and I listen to it all the time on the way to school!” Now I have 2 kids running around the house yelling, “I got $20 in my pocket.”

4. Gentle yoga classes are amazing. It’s a great way to start the day.

5. Another great way to start the day is just by getting dressed as soon as you get out of bed. Crazy huh? I’ve always been one of those people who rolls downstairs every morning in my pajamas while I fumbled around the kitchen trying to get milk for kids and chai tea started for myself. This past week I’ve made myself get dressed before coming downstairs. It’s made my entire day flow better. I think I may actually be getting more accomplished in those first few hours of the morning then I used to.

6. Laundry is never ending with kids.

7. I could sweep my house 4 times a day and there would still be crumbs or dog hair somewhere.

8. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the coolest new show on television. Yeah I said it. It’s like reliving my childhood. Every time we watch it I noticed something else that I used to love from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. If you haven’t seen it, please take a few minutes to watch it one day. My kids LOVE it.

9. I learned something else from Daniel Tiger this week. “When you get so mad that you wanna ROAR, take a deep breath and count to 4. 1…..2…..3…..4.” It works. Try it. And if it doesn’t calm you down at least a little, it makes you smile :)

10. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been ending my days by participating in a Bible study through Good Morning Girls. I’ve really enjoyed learning about Luke, but something I’ve gotten even more out of is reading through Proverbs. I read the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month. I’m learning tons of things this way. Reading God’s word right before bed really allows me to think about what he may be trying to say to me as I drift off to sleep and is there really any better way to fall asleep each night?

Well…there it is. The list of things I’ve learned this week. Have you learned anything new this week?

School: Still in the same boat

Since my last post about school I feel like researching schools has become my full time job. You know, besides that other full time job of being a stay at home mom. Tony and I have been researching all of our different options and still don’t know what the plan is. We’re essentially in the same boat we were a few months ago. We have accomplished a few things though.

First- Our application for public school has been sent. The district we live in requires we submit an application in January for the upcoming Kindergarten year. The process is a little crazy if you ask me. It’s not as simple as “everyone in this neighborhood goes to this school.” We had to pick from 7 different schools. List them in order of preference and then wait. Wait until May to see which school she is assigned to. Although we haven’t decided if public is the right choice for us, we also are not against her going to a public school. Since we won’t know what school she is assigned to until after the majority of private school application periods are over though, we feel like we need to continue our school search just in case she is placed in a school we do not like.

Second- We’ve decided homeschooling just isn’t going to work for us, for now. I just can’t imagine trying to homeschool K and N and have a new baby in the house. I know many homeschool families do it all the time, but it just isn’t something I’m willing to attempt right now. We were able to enroll N into a 3 day preschool program for next year so she gets some time away from the house and with kids her age. We think it’s something she REALLY needs right now.

Third- I’m the most wishy washy person alive. Ok…maybe not alive, but at least that my husband knows :) One minute I’m researching homeschool, public schools, or private schools. The next minute I’ve decided she WILL go to public. Then private gets thrown in the mix. Taken back out. Thrown back in….hey what about a charter school? So she will only go 2 days a week? Seriously. Did our parents have all these options when we were growing up? I remember every kid in my neighborhood went to the elementary school in our neighborhood. No questions asked. That’s just where you went. So is it better now that we have options? Or was it easier then because it was laid out for you. I’m not sure.

So now that I’ve told you that what we’ve decided so far…wait have I? Has it even changed since the last post? I don’t know anymore. I do know this past week we had decided private school was also off our list. Even with financial aid from the schools, could we still afford them? Did we want to spend the money on them? Were they really that much “better” then public schools? So we went to bed Wednesday night deciding that public was the route for us. That lasted 12 hours.

We had planned on visiting a private school open house on Thursday, but had decided the night before not to. On the way to drop K off at Pre-K we changed our mind once again and stopped at the school to check it out. 2 hours later we walked out realizing how different public schools can really be from private schools. We also realized how expensive those private schools can be. As in a mortgage payment expensive. Even with the possibility of receiving financial aid, we were still talking about A LOT of money. Well…it doesn’t hurt to just apply for financial aid and it doesn’t cost anything, so we figure why not. Just see what happens. Of course 2 days later I’m thinking we’re crazy again. Why is a school that expensive? Yes, the small class sizes were amazing. We’re talking 10 or so kids in each class. Academics seemed great and the teachers and students were all wonderful, but we’re talking about serious money.

Then I started to look back into another private school I had thought about before. It’s less then half of the cost of the other school. Which makes me wonder what the difference could be between those 2 schools. They both have small class sizes, great academics, sports, etc. Now the plan is to visit that school this week and just see what the difference is. We’re still in the same boat as before. Clueless as to where she will go, but hopefully after visiting this school this week we will have a better idea. Hopefully. Wish us luck.

 

Anyone else feeling the pain of deciding what school is best for their child?

Merry Christmas and a little news!

Merry Christmas from the Lusiak family! 

Merry Christmas from K

Merry Christmas from K

We woke up very early this morning so we made sure we beat the kids downstairs before they woke up. We had to make sure we had our coffee and tea in hand before the craziness of Christmas morning started. Sure enough, by 6:45 the kids were downstairs and ripping paper like it was their job. After one small meltdown about N’s new bike though. Apparently Mommy was NOT supposed to set her on it!

N and her new bike

N and her new bike

 

After opening all of our presents from Santa, it was time to open the one present that we had all been waiting for. Last Thursday we had our 20 week ultrasound to find out the sex of baby #3. We asked the ultrasound tech to place the gender in a box for us to open this morning. After much anticipation…..It’s a girl!

20 weeks

20 weeks

Poor Tony. 3 little Princess. Good thing he brews his own beer! Now time to relax and wait for Christmas dinner. I hope you all have a blessed day and a Merry Christmas!

Peppa Pig is a big thing around here!

Peppa Pig is a big thing around here!

 

 

She doesn't look happy here, but they have loved playing this game all day

She doesn’t look happy here, but they have loved playing this game all day

School: How do you decide?

My oldest daughter is 4 1/2. This coming August she will be leaving the home everyday for 6 hours to start her educational journey as a kindergarten student. Or will she?

I had never imagined that homeschooling my children would ever be something I would think about. I always envisioned my future, their future, to be public school for 13 years of their life. Go to school each day at 9 and come home at 4. I would have all day to either finish my college degree, hang out at home baking cookies, or finally help take over my dad’s business. Now that the idea of my child going to Kindergarten in a few months is actually a reality and not just a day dream, I’m second guessing everything.

At first the question was just what school do we send her to. Private? No way. There is no way we could afford to send 3+ kids to private school. Have you seen the cost lately of those schools? $5000+, per child! That’s not including all the extras either. Like uniforms, books, lunch, extra activities, and the list goes on. So with private off our list we started researching public schools. The county we live in is crazy. You are assigned a “cluster” and in that cluster is 6-10 schools that your child might go to for Elementary. Each person has their reside school, which is the school closest to their home. There are also magnet programs in each cluster, a few schools close to your home, and in my case, 3 schools that are on the opposite side of time. When I mean the opposite side of town, I’m taking about an hour and 10 minute bus ride to and from school each day. That’s over 2 hours on the school bus. NO WAY! After visiting a few schools we started to narrow down which schools we would want the girls to go to. Then I found out from the principal of the school I really liked that the only way for us to get a spot at the school was to first get into our reside school, then in May file for a hardship transfer. Not exactly what I call easy. So my next stop was our reside school and while I didn’t “love” it, it wasn’t horrible either. Nothing made me scream “This is the one!! Oh my, look at that. Look at that curriculum. That classroom.” This, that, and so on. Nothing made me run in the other direction though, so I guess that was good.

So a week or so later I start trying to decide what order I will put our cluster schools on our application when I suddenly couldn’t focus on anything except all of the homeschool blogs I had on my blog reader. Then I turned to Pinterest and the school stuff I had pinned there. Suddenly I was considering homeschooling. (I should mentioned that last April a friend and I visited a homeschool convention. Neither of us really knew what we were doing or what to expect and ended up getting there just a few hours before they closed the door. We had just enough time to get through half of the exhibition hall and purchase a few random toys and books.) I also joined a local homeschool email group. Each day I get emails from families regarding things from co-op meeting times, recipe swaps, to yard sale info. I finally decided to send an email out to the group asking for help. I received an amazing amount of responses telling me that the doubt I had in public school was normal. Many of them started out the same way, or even sent their children to school for a few years only to realize it wasn’t working. So many people told me about different books to read, not to stress too much about Kindergarten, that it was so easy to homeschool at that age and to just try it.

I was lost. I’m still lost actually. I’ve signed up to go to this year’s homeschool convention again, but this time without the kids and with a plan to attend some of the sessions with amazing speakers. I’ve started researching kindergarten curriculum and trying to decide what I would use if we did keep her home next year. I’ve looked at co-op options and I know, if we do homeschool next year, we will join one. I’ve been reading books, searching a million blog posts, and asking friends and family what they think. Weeks later and I’m still lost.

I never thought I would be in this situation. Not knowing what is best for my child’s education. I always assumed public school was where we would end up. I seriously NEVER considered homeschooling, but here I am. One minute I have decided we will absolutely homeschool next year. Then the next minute I’ve decided there is no way. K will go to public Kindergarten and N will go to a 3 day 3 year old program. I never realized how hard this decision would be. Is it supposed to be this hard? Am I just crazy?

 

In the next few weeks I’ll be continuing this series of posts as we continue to research our options. I’m sure there will be a lot more back and forth about our decision, but hopefully we will be able to make one and feel confident about our choice no matter what others think. Please continue to check back and leave comments or questions. I know I’m not the only one with this weight on my shoulders right now…right?

Time for Christmas Cut Outs

It’s that time of the year. You know, when you’re rushing around like crazy in endless traffic jams trying to get all the gifts that your kids keep adding to their already never ending Christmas list.

In our house that means it’s also Cut Out Cookie time! Tony grew up making them every year with his family and we’ve continued the tradition with our kids.

Notice the dinosaur? N HAD to have a dinosaur.

Notice the dinosaur? N HAD to have a dinosaur.

Here are the ingredients that you will need for the famous Lusiak Cut Outs:
1 1/2 Cup Sifted Confectioners Sugar
1 Cup Butter
1 Egg
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Almond Flavoring
2 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
K helping mix all the ingredients.

K helping mix all the ingredients.

First you will cream your butter and sugar together. We use our Kitchen Aide anytime we bake and I highly recommend it!

Next add your egg, almond flavoring, and vanilla. Mix that together just enough to blend it all nicely.

In a separate bowl measure out your flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. You will then slowly add your dry ingredients into your first bowl.

K got tired of slowly measuring our the flour and decided using her hands to scoop it into the cup was much easier

K got tired of slowly measuring our the flour and decided using her hands to scoop it into the cup was much easier

Once everything is blended together you will want to cover your mixture (we used clear plastic wrap) and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours. Now…if you’re in a hurry like we usually are, we just tossed ours in the fridge long enough to cool it down, but it makes it much harder to roll the dough and and get your great shapes. If you have the time, please let it refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
Blending all the ingredients together. Did I mention I love our Kitchen Aide?

Blending all the ingredients together. Did I mention I love our Kitchen Aide?

When you are ready to pull your dough from the refrigerator, go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. You will want to break your dough into a few smaller sections so it’s easier to roll out.

Start by making sure you have flour on the surface you plan on rolling the dough out on. We just used our kitchen table. Roll your dough out to about a quarter of an inch thick. Now..this is where we differ in our house on these cookies. I like my thicker then Tony does. So just use your best judgement on how thick you want them to be. Cut them into your desired shapes with your cookie cutters and then bake for 5-8 minutes.

Once your cookies are cooled down it’s time for the real fun to start! We spread plastic wrap all over our kitchen table for easy clean up. We also divide all of our different colored frosting into separate bowls and pull all of our sprinkles out so the kids can just go at it.

Helping Daddy cut the cookies out.

Helping Daddy cut the cookies out.

For the icing for the cookies we just throw some powdered sugar and milk into the mixer and start mixing. I would say a cup to a cup and a half of sugar for every tablespoon of milk. It’s really nothing we have ever measured out. We also add a little bit of vanilla extract to our icing. Again, it’s just something we mix together until it seems right. Word of caution though, start slow!  It’s much easier to add more milk to thin down your icing then it is to add an entire 5lb bag of sugar to  try and thicken up a soupy mess because of too much milk at first. I am the person who always puts too much milk in at first and we end up with 3 times more icing then we needed because I keep having to add sugar to the mixture in order to get the icing right.

Once everything is mixed together and ready to go, separate the icing into smaller bowls and color with food coloring. We use a butter knife to add the icing to the cookies and then let the girls put sprinkles on them.

The cookies don’t always look the prettiest when you have a 3 and 4 year old helping decorate them, but they still taste amazing and the girls ask to do it every year!

Working hard on her dough

Working hard on her dough

What is your family’s must have treat at Christmas?

It’s amazing the difference a week can make.

I week ago today my third baby was due. I’ll never forget that baby or that date, December 5, 2012.

It’s amazing the difference a week can make.

If you had asked my about the baby I am currently carrying a week ago, you would have probably gotten the “happy face” response. “Oh, things are going well. Yes, the girls talk about the baby. Yes, Tony wants a boy. Due in May. No Tony, I don’t want to take a picture this week, maybe another day.”

Ask me today and it’s like things have taken a 180 degree turn. I’m now honestly looking forward to this baby. I can’t wait until next Thursday for the BIG ultrasound. I think it’s a girl, but that didn’t stop me from buying the cutest little boy outfit on clearance at Kohl’s yesterday! I’m happy about waking up every morning to see the bump grow little by little. I’ve finally let Tony take a picture of the “bump.” I am now ready for this baby, instead of always thinking about the baby that would have been.

I guess in my mind, until I passed the day that our little one should have been born, I couldn’t think about this new baby. All of those months before that baby’s due date, should have been his/hers. I guess deep down I felt like I was doing the baby an injustice by not honoring them until the very list moment of what would have been their turn in my womb. Now that we are past that date, I can begin to think about this baby’s “turn.” Don’t get me wrong, I still think about the baby that we should be holding right now. Wondering all about what they would have been like, but the pain has gone away some. The feeling of guilt has gone away…some. It really is amazing the difference a week can make.

18 week belly picture.

18 week belly picture.

Today was the day.

December 5, 2012. The day my third child was expected to enter this world.

May 28, 2012. The day I found out my third child was no longer in my womb. The day I still think about constantly. The weeks that followed that day will always be imbedded in my memory. The emotional roller coaster, the physical pain, the guilt.

Today is the day my baby was due and even though there is another baby growing inside of me as I write this, I mourn for the baby I lost over 6 months ago. It’s amazing how you can mourn for a baby that you will never meet even though there is a healthy one growing inside of you. I wonder what Christmas would have been like this year with 3 little ones in the house. If that baby would have been a boy or a girl. What they would have looked like, what their cry would have sounded like, who they would have looked like.

There are days that I still don’t feel like I’m pregnant again. Days when I can’t imagine what this baby will grow up to be, because all I can think about is who THAT baby would have been. Am I crazy? Does this happen to other women who have had miscarriages? I wonder a lot about that too. I know a few women who have had miscarriages, but besides one close friend, I’ve never really talked to anyone about the feelings you have months after it happens. In fact, I don’t know of many women who can tell me that they’ve had deep conversations about their miscarriage with someone other then their healthcare provider or spouse. It’s even hard to talk to family about it sometimes. I mean how can you possibly be sad about a baby you have lost when you have 2 healthy kids at home and another baby on the way!? Well I am and I have all those things. I have a wonderful 4 year old who can’t wait for this new baby to get here. A 3 year old who is determined it is a girl and shall be called “Banana Head.” Guess what though….even they still ask about the baby that “died” or “didn’t show up.” In fact, every couple of weeks my oldest asked me if I’m sure this baby is going to come out. If my 4 year old still has feelings about a baby she never met, never felt kick inside her Mama’s belly, didn’t have a name, or a sex yet, then wouldn’t it be understandable that I still have feelings about that baby? The baby who was inside of me.

I think I could talk about this for days. About the serious roller coaster of emotion and the guilt I still feel sometimes. I wish more women talked about miscarriages openly with each other. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so crazy for feeling this way still. One day. I pray that day is before my children start having children. For now I will continue to work through things the best way I know how and continue to write about those feelings as they come here on The Lusiak Life. I hope others who have had miscarriages know they aren’t alone when the feeling of sadness strikes as the oddest time. It happens to all of us. It doesn’t go away over a few weeks, or a few months, but hopefully over time it will become easier. Hopefully.

Be an Influenster!

I stumbled upon Influenster.com a few months ago after seeing a friend post all of the free stuff they sent her to try out and review. After checking the website out and realizing how easy it was to get started , I signed up and started working on my profile.

Fast forward a few months-

Influenster has since relaunched it’s website and now offers an even easier to use site. The website allows you to ask questions about products ranging from mascara to diapers, to books and cupcakes. You can also write your own review of the products that you may love or hate. The more active you are on the Influenster website, the higher your score. That’s the key people! You want a high score. High score=Vox Boxes. Vox Boxes=free product! Who doesn’t love free stuff? I’m currently waiting on the Cosmo VoxBox to arrive and I can’t wait to find out what’s in it. (Keep checking back over the next few weeks and I’ll be reviewing all of the products they send!)

What to be an Influenster too and possibly earn free products or prizes? The first step you need to take is visit   http://www.influenster.com/ Once there you can sign up and start working on your profile. Influenster has made their new site very easy to navigate and my favorite part is how they lay everything out for you, like how to earn new badges, things you should be working on to improve your score, like reviews or blog posts. It even shows you the VoxBoxes you are getting and the product badges you can get. Oh yes…product badges. These pop up from time to time and ask you to complete a few simple steps like watching a video, “liking” a facebook page, or writing a review for a certain product. After completing the tasks, you are eligible to win that product. It’s just another way to earn free product and seriously…who doesn’t love free stuff?!

If you have any questions about how Influenster works, or would like a personal invitation to the website, please comment below and I’ll be happy to help.

Dino Lingo Review

I was recently asked to review Dino Lingo, language learning programs for kids. We decided to watch the Spanish Animals clip since my oldest daughter has started learning a few basic spanish words at school. The clip we watched can be seen at http://youtu.be/Vz5SLt5u4Oc.

My girls, 4 & 3, loved the beginning of the video. My youngest is in love with dinosaurs right now, so she was immediately hooked even before the music started. My oldest daughter repeated the spanish words for cat and dog without asking her to do so, but unfortunately became uninterested around the 2 minute mark. My younger daughter followed right behind her from the table.

Although by children didn’t seem to be interested in the Spanish Animals video, I think if we would have viewed a video about colors or numbers they would have really enjoyed it. I also think if there would have been some english with the spanish, then it may have kept their interest a little more.

Hopefully in the near future we will be able to view the numbers and colors spanish video.

We were able to view Dino Lingo complimentary through Influenster, but if you think your child may enjoy one of their many language programs, please visit their website at http://dinolingo.com/languages/spanish.html#.ULlJkI5R-0I.

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