Saturday, April 29, 2006

Why I'm About to Be Another 30 lbs Overweight

My mom has a thing for cooking that multiplies in the pot. A pot of ham and beans turns into 3 pots of ham and beans. A pot of soup in my house, was never just a pot of soup. It is definatly a family joke. I thought I had escaped that particular DNA strand, but it was here all along...waiting for me. If you've never been to a Pappadeaux restaurant, you really should find one and go. While you're there, order the Fondeaux. You might even skip the entree, because the little bowl of heaven that they bring you will most likely be more than enough to satisfy. I crave their Fondeaux, dream about it, bribe Hubster to take me there so I can have more. Well, tonight I took matters into my own hand and went to Recipe Zaar and dug up *THE* recipe for the Fondeaux. So I set off to Albertson's, got all the ingredients and some fresh french bread, and commenced to making. Did I mention how good this stuff is? I decided that one appetizer sized batch wasn't going to feed my family of 7, so I tripled it. The sauce alone filled my fondue pot almost to the brim. When I added it to my vegetables and shrimp/oyster mixture, it filled my biggest skillet to capacity. Then, my family encouraged me to put in the other half of the shrimp and oysters, since they were there and all. Let me be the one to tell you: Triple sized batch of fondeaux+double the amount of seafood= Heck-a-lotta food. If I were you, I'd run out and buy stock in Albertson's french bread. We're gonna be needing some. Good thing this stuff freezes well.

Coming To My Senses

I took a page out of Itybtyfrog's book last night and decided to have the children help me clean up the whole house. My usual habit is to assign them an area, then gripe, moan and yell at them to get it taken care of. That really hasn't been working for me, and I'm sure they don't appreciate it either. So we did just what she said, we all cleaned in each room, and I really did get more work out of them this way. My seven year old *scrubbed pots*, guys. SCRUBBED. Like, with elbow grease and stuff. It was awesome. They really did help and here's the weird part: They liked it. They thought it was *fun*. I think I'll definately continue to do this. I've always counted working outside on projects with my family amoung my favorite activities, and I remember being a kid and HATING being "assigned" work, while everyone else did something else. But I also remember times when my Gram would see me working, and come join me, and how I loved her for it. How in the world did I ever lose sight of that? If my kids love me half as much as I love my Gram, I'll be the happiest mom in the county. Thanks so much for the reminder and wake up call.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mother of the Year

I love a good deal. I also love keeping my children entertained and away from the TV. Yesterday, I seized the opportunity to do both. I belong to an email group for selling garage sale stuff in my area. I got to thinking about a post I'd seen about a week ago for an easy set pool like this one. I emailed the lady and they still had the pool, it was in good shape and she wanted $50. So I ran it past Hubster and he thought it sounded good, so I set off for Small Town Texas about 20 miles from my small town. I was cruising along, minding my own business, drifting off a hill when I spotted a highway patrol vehicle down the road. Now, normally, I'd do a quick brake check since it is my habit to "drift" a bit above the speed limit, but on this day, I was doing just under the speed limit, and was not at all concerned. Imagine my surprise when he pulled over and Long story short, I missed the sign that signaled the beginning of Small Town Texas' speed trap, and so my just under the limit became 10 miles over and the nice officer decided that he would reward my ignorance with a $125(!!!) speeding ticket. Yeah, I'll be doing defensive driving for that one. Sheesh. So all of a sudden, my $50 swimming pool isn't looking like such a sweet deal.

You would think that would be enough, but, no, my saga continues. I brought the thing home, and I was obliged to set it up today in.the.rain. Why? You ask, would anyone in their right mind set up a swimming pool in the rain? Because I have children. That's why. And there would be no peace for me until they were swimmin' in it. So we set it all up and started filling it. The kids were happy that the rain was going to "fill it faster". Gotta love their sense of optimism. By the time it was full, it was after 6:30, and the kids had been outside with sweatshirts and long pants all day watching over it. Do you think 67 degrees and rain was gonna keep them out of that pool? Oh, HECK no! But, Hubster has taught me well. When E was a little guy, we lived in the wilds of WY. It gets seriously cold there folks. I mean like, SERIOUSLY cold. The boy would *not* wear a coat. Hubster finally convinced me that my parental duty ended with telling the child it would be wise to wear a coat. Sitting on him and physically bundling him into it was not necessary. His advice: Let him figure out why he should wear the coat. Worked then, works now. Instead of telling my excited youngsters it was entirely too cold to swim, and going into a lengthy discussion of why water is super-duper cold when it comes out of the well, AND listening to untold hours of whining, I said "You wanna swim? Knock yourselves out!" It didn't take real long for them to get good and blue, and truth be told, the water is probably *several* degrees warmer than it was when certain people, (who shall-remain-nameless-but-know-who-they-are, *koffDADkoff*) pitched me over the side of a boat into a lake in WY in APRIL. None the less, if the neighbors weren't talking before, they certainly are now. I mean, really, what kind of mom lets her kids swim in frigid water, in the rain? Mother of the year, that's who, so shut your mouths and let those kids enjoy that $164 pool I just paid $175 for.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I am from

Another Owlhaven project. I loved her I am from... post last week and really enjoyed doing the project myself. It was much more difficult to pare down my memories than it was to come up with ideas. I think I could do this exercise a hundred times and come up with something new each time. Anyhow, if you haven't tried this, there is a blank form to guide you and give your thoughts focus. Enjoy!

I Am From...

I am from bunk beds with wire springs, and blue striped pillows with embroidered cases that smell like wood fires, from three wheeled John Deere tractors and the A.M. radio playing while bacon fries in the morning.

I am from the stucco house by the river, near the cottonwood tree, where the sun shines more gently than the rest of the valley. From where trees and gardens don’t grow, and the wind blows her fury without mercy. Where living is carved out of snow and ice, and leisure is one step away from work.

I am from the sunny meadows, drifting snows and cool, damp, grasses. I am from lambs with long tails wriggling while they drink from old, glass, 7-up bottles and kittens that play in the straw. I am from cows that walk to the barn at dusk and tiny frogs that sing their songs in the night.

I am from Christmas Eve dinners around fresh cut pine trees that have more memories tied up in their collection than the things left under their branches. From flaming red hair and red hot tempers. From Becky and David, and Marian and Verne, and Eugene and Geraldine, and a man with no face.

I am from hard working perfectionists and people who know a little about a lot. From “You can do anything you set your mind to” and “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

I am from Saint Mark’s pre-school, and the Children’s Illustrated Bible on the bookshelf. Candle lit services on Christmas Eve and white gloves on Easter.

I'm from a little town that is hard to leave. I’m from proud English, and tight lipped Prussians. From patriots who served their country; some returned, and some could not. From grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, Schnitzel spices in the refrigerator, and Nana’s Apple Pie.

From the time when, three crazy old men raced their new snowmobiles and their old pickup trucks, and made their wives laugh at the stories they told. From Grandma Gerry’s strawberry patch, the County Fair, and the smell of Love’s Baby Soft perfume.

I am from picture albums tucked safely away, and boxes of photo’s awaiting their turn. From school picture days, proud moments and memories spilling out of my minds eye and onto the paper at last.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday- A spoonful of sugar

Today's Wisdom is brought to you from the land of snot that gushes like Old Faithful, coughs that hack and rattle, and a tiny little girl who can spit out any medicine, no matter how it is administered. I've tried reason, blowing in her face, restraint, begging, bribery, the girl just does not like taking medicine. Until I found Triaminic Thin Strips. *Insert the sound of angels singing*

At the risk of giving TMI, J produces so many goobers that she throws up regularly from it whenever she gets in a tooth, the wind blows and sets off seasonal allergies, or she has a cold. Keeping the snot under control is a big priority for this kid. B gets a nasty cough whenever allergies kick up. Enter the little grape flavored strips of paper that are saving my sanity, one day, or night at a time. Now, I'm no doctor, so realize this is my unprofessional opinion, and if you have any doubts you should check with your doctor. The strips don't come in an itty bitty size, so I cut one in half, and after making the mistake of putting the thing flat on J's toungue once, I stumbled on folding it into a little square, and viola! She chomped it right down! No tears! No wailing! No gnashing of teeth! And the best part? Get this: B and J were both coughing the other night in the middle of the night. I gave them cough strips IN.THEIR.SLEEP. Need I say more?

And since it's my party and I can choose to bestow more than one tidbit of unsolicited advice if I wanna: Check out Vicks Children's Thermometer's if you have a sick one. They stick under their arm, are easy to read, and continuously monitor their temp. Why? Because they are much, much cheaper than a digital ear thermometer, I've never figured out how to get a baby to hold a thermometer under their toungue, and the other end....let's not even go there. ;O) Sanity in a box:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Setting the bar too high

Maybe this should go for Wisdom Wednesday, but, I just love giving unsolicited advise. LOL No, really, the intent of my post today is to copy my new friend Nettie who posted in her blog today about the Tea Party she threw for her daughters birthday. I was thrilled to see that she made the same cake that I did when K turned 4!

Anyhow, I've always made a special cake for the kids for their birthday. It's my thing. I've made license plates for the big 16, Tweety Bird, numbers, just whatever came to mind. And for all the creativity, they weren't difficult or spectacular. But then I made a Barbie cake, and my adventure into 3-D cakes began. Now I've been faced with the pressure of coming up with better and better cakes each year! I will show you what I mean:

Here's the cake that came after Barbie:

Next came the Dragon Cake:

Then I was asked to make a wedding cake:

Who can forget the Pink Mini Cooper?

I can't find what I did with the photo's, but there was also a ladybug cake in there somewhere. Black and Red frosting is cute, but it's also a clean up nightmare.

And this last year, B wanted a Dragon Castle Cake. I totally cheated on this one! LOL

I really love Nettie's idea about only having "friend" parties every other year. I knew this last year as I was sticking Imaginext peices to the Dragon Castle cake that I was approaching burn out level. The wedding, car and castle cake were all within the space of a month and a half. Given that each cake takes most of a week for me to complete, I was beginning to feel like an indentured servant. Slave to the cake. And we've already established that I have issues with keeping the house up. Adding cake baking, making and decorating to the fray doesn't do that situation any favors.

I have people telling me all the time that I should sell my cakes. To them I say "NOT"! It's something I enjoy doing (most of the time) and the surest way to kill a hobby is to try and turn it into profit. Anyhow, my mouth preceded my brain again, and I offered to make my sister's wedding cake. So now the question becomes: The last wedding cake took 11 batches of batter, 4 batches of custard and 3 batches of butter cream; What can I do to top that?! :O)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Day Lived "Doing"

Some days, I get to the end and think, "I really should have taken some pictures" because there were things done that are really pretty ordinary, and yet, significant. There have been many days like this in my years as a mom and step mom.

We started the day by my finally giving in to the pleading and whining of K and B to teach them to sew. They've been after me most of the week, but with school and the babies bouncing off one another, it just kept getting pushed back. Yesterday I finally went with K and got some $1/yard fabric at Walmart, some poly fill and matching thread, so I figured I was out of excuses. They each made pillows and I only yelled a couple of times. Mostly while I was tearing apart my sewing machine to find out why the bobbin winding spool wouldn't turn, (Duh, helps if you oil it). Gramma will be so proud. K is ready to sew her wedding gown, and B is planning pillows for all the kids in the neighborhood.

Next, I decided to mow the lawn. Which, I don't really mind doing, but would never give up the rights to nagging my husband about why *he* never does it over that little detail. Upon attempting to start our old John Deere 160, I discovered that the little heathens took my key. One smack on the head to me for leaving it in the machine to begin with, but, urg. Still irritating. So I went to my friendly John Deere dealership, bought two more keys and decided while I was there, to replace the wheel on the mower deck that had been lost by a certain teenager who shall remain nameless. $38 dollars later, I left with my purchases, came home and assembled the wheel, put it on the mower and commenced to mowing.

K and J were in the yard, and J was not happy with the loud mower. I asked K to take her inside to D, as it was naptime anyhow, but J threw one of her world class bucking, kicking, screaming fits, and so I put her on the mower with me. I'm telling you, this is *my* kid. She settled right down, and rode that mower with me until the back 3/4 acre was done. She didn't cry, yell, try to grab the wheel, squirm, fuss, NOTHING. She sat there as happy as a clam, and I swear she would have fallen asleep had our yard been just a tad less bumpy. My grandfather used to take me out to the hayfield with him, place me on the fender of the tractor, and I would fall asleep as he baled hay. I used to wonder how it was that I never ended up *in* a bale of hay, but now I know. I was just quiet as a mouse and happy to ride around with the wind in my face and the smell of fresh mown grass in my nose, just like J was today.

Twice when we came in from mowing, J fell asleep on her daddy, happy and comfortable smooshed up against him for body heat. B and I spent some time in the hammock, talking about school and what next year might bring. K played with every kid in the neighborhood, eventually getting everyone involved in an impromptu soccer game.

Tonight, we had a date night. While D and her friend rode into the city to go to a Stake dance, Hubster and the little kids and I made fondue and crablegs, and sat on the floor in the living room (a big no-no) and stuffed ourselves while we watched a movie.

These are the sort of days that make me wish for that money tree out in the back yard. It isn't the idea of having things, it's the idea of having the luxury of spending our time with each other instead of having to make a living. Spending the whole day doing nothing much, and enjoying it more than doing "things".

Yes, today would have been a good day for a camera. But we were too busy just doing.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Things About Me

Joey tagged me for a six weird things meme, and then, mass tagged her readers with another meme, and since I don't want her to not play with me anymore, I'll play along.

Six Weird Things:

1. I cannot sleep in a house that doesn't have milk in the refridgerator.

2. I've never broken a bone, nor had a cavity. Ever.

3. The only place I'm not afraid of the dark is in my bed.

4. I cannot sleep in a bed with crooked blankets.

5. At the movie, I always get Raisinettes and popcorn. Then, I eat two peices of popcorn with one Raisinette, unless the Raisinette is big, then it takes three peices of popcorn to get the perfect mix.

6. When Urban Cowboy comes on TV, I have to watch it.

Yup. Looks like I'mafreak.

Moving on:

4 Jobs I've had in my life:

1. Telemarketer
2. Car Sales Representative
3. Truck Dispatcher
4. Bookeeper

4 Movies I could watch over and over:

1. Monster's Inc.
2. Shrek 1 and 2
3. All Harry Potter Movies
4. Urban Cowboy. (Where's those little blushing smilies when I need one?)

4 Websites I visit regularly

1. Recipe Zaar
2. (Private Message Board)
3. Credit Boards
4. Texas Chiropractic Association

4 Favorite Foods

1. Fondue
2. Salmon
3. Spaghetti
4. Guacamole

4 Places I'd rather be right now

Eh. There's no place like home. ;O)

4 Books I could Read over and over

1. Anything Louisa May Alcott
2. Harry Potter series
3. Jamberry
4. The Scriptures

4 Songs I could listen to over and over

1. You'll Think of Me by Keith Urban
2. Don't Know Why by Nora Jones
3. Unforgettable
4. How Deep is your Love by the Bellamy Brothers
That list could go on and on.....

4 Reasons why I blog:

1. I'm inspired by the wit and humor I see in other blogs
2. It's a good way to preserve memories since I hate writing in a journal
3. I like getting feedback on my thoughts
4. It makes me notice details in life

And since it looks as though I'm the last person in the whole blog-o-sphere to have been tagged, I don't have anyone to tag, who hasn't already been tagged. How sad is that?! LOL

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why I love this Kid

Or maybe more appropriately titled, "Why Homeschooling isn't for the Softy". B had to write a story today during Homeschool about George Washington. They gave several words for him to incorporate into the story, a whole page of lined paper to write on, and then the page can be torn out of the book, folded and he could write a title on the front of it, so it looks like a book. Here's what he wrote:

he wus th first President of United STaTeS H was Brave soldier He prayed ubowt God He lobeed the Bible.

Obviously *not* his best effort, but he did it with a smile, and the title? i Love mi mom and mi DaD

Despite the overt flattery to avoid re-writes, it will be in my save it forever pile. *sigh* Yup. Give me a cheery countenance, an attempt at sounding out the words to spell them, and a side of shameless manipulation and I'm putty in his hands.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday: Toys they can use

If you are a parent, you have too many toys somewhere in your house, I know this to be true. It's a relative thing, some parents tolerate more "stuff" than others, but we all can agree that the kids have more toys than they are willing to play with.

I gleaned today's bit of wisdom from another mom about three years ago. In her life before babies, she was a Kindergarten teacher...aka, saint. Anyhow, her playroom was a sight to behold. An entire room dedicated to toys and books. The unique thing was that all the toys were grouped together according to type/function/use. Up until this experience, my idea of toy storage was a roomy toy box. But upon dicovering how much better her toy area functioned, I was determined to put her technique to use. Having many, smaller compartments to store toys has increased the kids access to them, and facilitates easy clean up. I've done my room fairly low budget. The shelves are left over from a prior life in my pantry, the bins on the shelves are large dishpans purchased for $1.88 at Walmart.
The rolling drawers go on sale pretty regularly, and the old roomy toy box? It now houses all the stuffed animals that usually don't even get played with.

Each drawer/bin is labeled and there are places for "Pirates", "Barbies", "Dragon Set", "Babies", "Action Figures", "Horses", etc. There is a large Rubbermaid bin for dress up clothes, and buckets and baskets for toy cars and soldiers. Finally, there are portable boxes with lids for different kinds of blocks. Lincoln Logs in one, Gears! in another, wooden blocks in a third. These can be as simple as an old detergent box, or just an inexpensive clear box with a snap lid, the last one I bought cost $3.88. Now that B is older and gets more complicated building sets, I've discovered having the instructions is necessary, so I put those in baggies and toss them in the bin with the toy they go to. If they want to use them, they get them out, if not, the just stay in the bag and don't get torn up. It's also helpful to cut off par tof the box with building options pictured on it like I did with the Imaginext set in the second pic.

It sounded and looked complicated to me at first, but once I took little sections and sorted what we really had, it became clear how things could be divided and stored neatly. This has worked whether the kids have had their toys in their bedrooms or in a dedicated playroom, and it really has made it easier for them to play with what they have. The peices stay together, (for the most part), and it allows the kids to know what to expect in terms of clean up.

So go to the toy box, poke around inside and see if you could break things down a bit for your youngsters! You don't need to get fancy, and you don't have to do everything all at once. One of the nicest things about grouping toys together, is that it helps you sort out the good stuff from the "stuff-stuff". Only allow yourself one bin for "Misc". You know, all those McDonalds toys and Dollar store finds that really don't fit in anywhere else? You'll also begin to find that you think twice before purchasing yet another toy. Chances are once you know what you have, you won't add more toys to that category unless it's something you find real value in, and your kids won't clamor for more toys because they can find the stuff they want to play with!

Also, check out Rocks In My Dryer for "Works for me Wednesday". It's a new thing she's doing and I think it will yeild some fun ideas for simplifying life. Not something I'm particularly good at, my organizational prowress pretty much begins and ends in the toy department! ;O)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blast from the Past

The Big Yellow House post for today got me to laughing and running at top speed down memory lane.

It all started with a discussion with M who was about 13, maybe 14 at the time. I don't even recall what it was about, probably chores that were left undone or some such 13-14 year old nonsense. What I can tell you, is that M was not happy with the outcome of this discussion and was making a grand exit which included slamming the door on his way out. The door didn't sound right when it slammed this time. I turned around to find M red faced, jumping up and down holding his hand. All together now: "OOOOOWWWWWWWW!". I managed to keep from laughing until later when he had iced the injury and gone out, (shutting the door quietly behind him), to take care of what he'd origionally set out to do. I raced to the phone to call his dad, who also had a good chuckle over the self-inflicted lesson on "Why we do not slam doors". I know. We sound awful, but once you have your very own teenager, you won't be judging this reaction so harshly.

Anyhow, as you might expect from such an injury, a large blood blister formed under the nail bed, creating considerable agony and really driving home that "Don't slam doors" message. My husband comes from tough stock, he has had many dining room surgeries and patch togethers on the sidelines, usually administered by his equally tough father. So when the complaining reached critical mass, the hubster decided that the boy had probably learned his lesson and offered to relieve the situation for him. He explained the process of drilling through the nail, promised it wouldn't hurt (much) and the boy happily went off in search of the Dremel tool. His brother E was never far behind in those days and was delighted by the prospect of seeing some blood. Especially since it wasn't him under the drill. Once the OR had been properly prepped, the victi...I mean, patient, offered up the offending appendage. At some point between the time he placed his finger on the counter, and the time the drill started up, he chickened out. The ensuing howl, levitation and chant of "No! NO! NO!" was impressive to behold. This time, the laughter couldn't be contained, the testosterone level in the room reached the boiling point, and I had to leave the room. Somehow, between their laughter and M's redoubled efforts to steel himself for the procedure, E and the hubster managed to hold the boy still enough to make contact with the drill and complete the operation, but that moment of dawning realization remains the stuff of family legend, and cemented M's place as "The Dramatic One". I'm not sure if it was the fear of the consequences, or the heckling from us all over the years, but I'm proud to report that to date, no teenager has dared slam a door in our house since that day.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Playing along

Owlhaven asked her readers to "Take three photos in your home that are reflections of YOU!" So I'm playing along!

My first photo is of a dresser my husband bought second hand that we used in the boys' room for years, everyone pretty much hated the dresser. I repainted it and put toile paper on parts of it and it's my favorite peice of furniture now. I love seeing it first thing every morning and I think it helps me remember I'm not just a mom, I'm a talented woman with interests and dreams.

This is what it looked like before, in case you're wondering:

This second one is of the kids playing in the playroom/school room. I think we are a learning house, and I love teaching my kids back here and watching them pretend and grow. Being a mother is so much a part of who I am, I can't imagine life without my children in it.

My third photo is one that makes me laugh. It is a picture of my fridge, packed full of lettuce gleaned from a semi-truck that was involved in an accident and the lettuce was given away. I love the photo because it makes me think of my friend Ethel who took me with her, TWICE!, to go fill her van to capacity with lettuce. When I think of what fun we had, the cheerful way she thinks of others and her willingness to share good fortune, it makes me smile and remember not only her, but several other wonderful friends who have done so much to lift me up when things have been rough. I am a person with wonderful friends who isn't afraid to do something crazy every once in a while.

So there's my entry. If you haven't read her blog before, I encourage you to go on over and look around.

Population Explosion

When I decided to do the great egg hatching experiment, I figured we'd end up with 5, maybe 6 chicks out of the deal. Our backyard herd consists of 6 birds, and suits our egg needs pretty well, although I could do with a couple more hens, and one less nasty rooster. This is the scene at my house yesterday morning:

At last count, there are 16 chicks in the box, all dried off and pecking at their chicken feed. There are at least three more eggs that look like they are going to successfully hatch. That would more than triple my flock. That is a problem. Even if half were roosters, there are still too many. Worse, it is extremely difficult to sex baby chicks, you're looking at a 50/50 crap shoot at best. So, it appears that I'll be visiting my local Tractor Supply on a more regular basis and leaving them with a more significant portion of our paycheck. At least for a while. Maybe instead of a lemonade stand this summer, my kids can sell chickens at their roadside stand....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Not just teeth

I've discovered the root of my problem this past week and it wasn't *just* teeth making their way into the world. Seems my darlings J and K, and Wizard Woman's darling D, and quite possibly even your's truely, have come down with Fifth's Disease. After some snooping at the Primary Children's Easter Egg hunt, Taxi Mom confirmed that it has been going around and the symptoms we've been struggling with for the past several weeks are most likely the work of the virus. Fun times. So to the old bat who gave me the evil eye in Albertson's, (clearly suspecting the red cheeks), thanks for your concern, now back off, or you're next.

Sensing that his offspring were in danger of being eaten, the hubster paid D to take over childcare duties and offered to take me out of the house. It was a rare occasion indeed and to celebrate, I decided that I had to pamper myself just a bit, so I looked in the mirror, picked the biggest problem area and I got my hair did!
The last time Hillary, aka The Hair Goddess, saw this hair, the cut looked like this:

Yup. Momma deserves to get out once in a while, get crazy and spend $35 on a hair cut, and $10 on a tip. According to The Hair Goddess, it's a something momma probably ought to do more than once every eight months. Momma has a hard time releasing the debit card to the hand of the nice girl at the counter, but finally does and is allowed to leave the Salon.

I felt so refreshed by my day out of priso, er, I mean the house, I took the children to the easter egg hunt, which required having all dressed and out of the house by 10 am, not an easy thing for us unpracticed homeschoolers! Anyhow, baby J was quickly bored with the concept of picking stuff up that was left down (sounds too much like work to her!) but I was able to get a couple cute shots.

But at the end of the day, her big sis helped her discover the payoff.

Well, I'll have lots to say tomorrow. Tender thoughts on Easter, and also, tomorrow is Hatch Day! I know this is a fact because one egg pipped today, and on the advise of Ethel, after many, many hours with no chick, she advised that the chick was probably malformed and taking the shell off would do no harm. She was right. :O( SO we have the first chick casualty, but the kids weren't completely crushed, and two more have pipped in the last couple hours. So hopefully, I'll also have some Easter greetings of the commercialized fuzzy, small animal kind too.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is it Friday yet?

The grey matter has left the building. This has been a very, very long week. Darling J has decided to grow eye teeth, which entailed an extremely high fever starting Monday night, all day Tuesday, and a walking fever all day today. Which means I had a baby attached to me all day Tuesday and today, she felt well enough to not want to sit on my lap, but not quite well enough to want to play. Wiggle, whine, cry, beg to be picked up, rinse, lather, repeat. Good times. On top of all this fun and adventure, B has used the break in routine to take whining about homeschool lessons to a new level. Each day has been a fun filled two to three hour whine, complain and pout-fest that has made me lose my patience more than once. The fact that K is in the room breathing his air renders him unable to concentrate, and heaven forbid she should make a noise anywhere in the house. She's not interested in playing in the back yard with the attack rooster , she doesn't want to jump on the trampoline, and "it's too hot" to ride her bike. And just for good measure, we've had the pleasure of doling out the punishment of the century (raking and bagging leaves) because a certain little boy refused to own up to an incident involving his sister's shaving gel, the tub and the bathroom tile. Very often, I find that the punishment is usually worse for the parent than it is for the child. But I owe the hubster a big, swift kick in the rear for reminding the boy of his task during homeschool yesterday. Yeah, "Finish your homeschool so you can go toil in the sun at a task so large your seven-year-old-self will disolve into tears at the mere thought of what lies before you." The kid isn't dumb. He pulled out all the stops to help homeschool draaaaaaaaaaaag. But being the responsible parents we are, we will do our part to make him follow through, no matter how many phone messages he leaves my husband claiming he's "learned my lesson BIG TIME!".

On the plus side, I was able to clean up the playroom during the few snippets of time I was allowed by the feverish babe and the howling homeschoolers. I took the bags out tonight under the cover of darkness, mixed in with all the other trash bags for the week. I wish the trash truck came sooner in the day, but I think I can keep them distracted long enough to prevent any covert rescue missions. What is it about McDonald's prizes and dollar store trinkets that inspire such loyalty? The problem with cleaning out the toys, is that it's usually done when the toys are piled thick and deep and wide, and when they are bagged, they are "found once more" and surely deserve to be loved after their ordeal. Any how, I got a couple photo's for next Wednesday's wisdom and got to feel proud of myself for accomplishing one something, even though the rest of the house is in shambles. *shrug* I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday

OK. Daring One has Tip Tuesday, I'm going to have Wisdom Wednesday's. Not to copy or anything, I just love the idea of knowing what I'm gonna post about at least once a week, and my online friends at my mom's board all tell me I'm "The Wise One", so, Wisdom Wednesday's it is.

Actually, I've always aspired to be an advice columnist or a divorce mediator. Secretly, that is. People have been coming to me for advice for as long as I can remember. If you ever need someone to see your situation pretty objectively, I'm your girl. So. Since I'm lucky enough to have a small but significant number of people who seem to be reading my blog somewhat regularly, (Thanks so much BTW, I'm so flattered!), if you ever want my advice or opinion and you don't mind it appearing on Wisdom Wednesday, drop me an e-mail with Wisdom Wednesday in the subject line, I'll even change your name to protect the innocent if you want.

Since the email tide will probably be on the underwhelming side, you, (my lucky reader, you), get unsolicited advice on the subject of my choosing! LOL This should be fun!

Today I'm going to give you a peice of my mind concerning family finances, feel free to add your two cents worth! On the afore mentioned mom's board, a young mom vented about her feelings of having to "beg daddy" for money since becoming a SAHM, she felt like she didn't dare ask for money for haircuts and make-up, and that her husband was "stingy" when it came to buying clothes for the kiddo. My advice to the girl:

"Budget, budget, budget. You need to communicate with your spouse on money matters and it has to be a balanced conversation. There should NEVER be any question of your equality in this, or any other decision making process. If you are SAHM, you BOTH made the decision, and you BOTH benefit from it. The service you provide the family and the children must NEVER be devalued by your spouse. A family budget is made out of family money. Not yours and his seperate, yours and his together. How in the world are you going to save for a home, car or retirement if you don't work together? You need to sit down together, go over the income, go over the expenses, decide if you really can afford to be at home, cut back where you need to cut back, and make financial goals to work toward together.

You have to get real about money and get past the emotional factors involved. Emotions cost us dearly when it comes to money. Educate yourself. And if the family decision is for you to stay at home, neither of you should begrudge that decision. It isn't HIS money you're spending. It's the family's money you are both responsible for. Step up and claim your new roles with confidence, I promise you can't afford not to."

I will admit to being the luckiest girl in the world. My husband has shown nothing but complete confidence in the way I handle the family finances. He never once has been upset about me buying anything. But I'm afraid I'm the exception rather than the rule. Many of my friends come to me and vent that their husband doesn't "get" how much money it takes to run the house-hold. And these are women who I know to be frugal and responsible shoppers. These are women who shop at Walmart, find deals and clip coupons, even though they really don't "have to". And they resent the short leash their husband has them on. Especially when they don't get consulted about major purchases!

It comes down to the attitude, IMO. I think ALL moms need to make sure they take a pro-active role in the family finances, but SAHM's have some special hurdles to climb over. Sit down with the hubster and know where everything is at. Make goals together, and be accountable to one another. Don't be left in the dark about any aspect of your finances, and above all, don't be afraid to see that money as "Family Money". You both work hard for it, even if you don't leave the house. This is an area that really reflects what a couple feels for one another. I know without any show of doubt that my husband really, really, really values my contributions on the homefront, due, in part, to the respect he has always shown me with regard to money. He has never once made me feel inferior or made me ask for money. It has built confidence and inspired me to always do my best to take good care of our money.

And that is this week's wisdom!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Family Photo

It's hard to beleive, but this is the first family photo we've been able to take since J has been added to the fam! It's not the best, but it'll have to do.

We also re-discovered a toy today. Thanks to K's skillz with a screw driver and identifying batteries that have juice rolling around in the junk drawer, we had a little American Idol of our own this afternoon.

Actually, all it ended up doing was magnifying cute little singy tunes and not so cute whiney tunes all afternoon which gave mommy a big 'ol headache. It will be a while until they "discover" that one again.

Finally, I need to make it pretty here. And not just by plastering my family mugs all over. So, I'm going googling for stuff to make my blog pretty. If I get flustered enough to post my home phone number, please call and rescue me. All these brackets and letters and slashes and symbols skeer me, and I cry ugly. No lady-like droplets falling from my eyes, no sir-ee. We're talking puffy, red eyes and copious amounts of snot. *Sigh* Just one more reason I could never be Miss America.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Will the floor please open up and swallow me?

It had been a *good* day at church, no major melt down of the toddler or mommy, I even felt somewhat sustained and lifted up. Coming from the girl who has been dragging surly teenagers, wild gradeschoolers and a baby/toddler to church by HERSELF for the past year and a half, the significance of feeling the Spirit, *during a church meeting!*, is clearly recognized. But I guess my luck was bound to change sooner or later. I was making my way to the door, I was almost there, and I got asked the question everyone dreads: "Oh! Are you pregnant?" (Also known as "I didn't know you were expecting!", "When are you due?", and "Don't you know what causes that?")

Lemme just give you a 'lil hint: If you don't know the answer, don't ask. ;O)

I want to be perfectly clear here: I am not fat. I don't have a self-image or self-esteem problem. What I do have is three kids, and a body that likes to wait until the 2 year mark to go back to normal. All attempts to fool nature are doomed to failure, and I've just gotten used to the idea that my body likes to hold on to those extra pounds until the two year mark. Then it comes off with relative ease. Lucky for me, I also had a sympathetic, wonderful doctor deliver my last c-section and he did the very best he could to put me all back together this time. Ship shape. Where my muscles were torn in two down the middle, I've been carefully stitched up and I'm told that I can now nurture the glimmer of hope that I may one day have a *gasp* FLAT STOMACH. Apparantly, I wasn't really built well in that area, as I've always sported a pooch, even in my days as a cowgirl extrodinare with thighs of steel, buns that could crack walnuts and lats that inspired awe.

None the less, can we all say "Ouch"? It was painful and awkward. Probably even more for her than for me. Whine over.

So if you've struggled through this long, I'll reward you with a funny story. If there's anything I've gotten good at, it's having a little fun at my own expense.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to my BIL, the perfect one, and we had a wonderful dinner, celebrating with family for no real reason other than the fact that my SIL and her newish hubby flew down with her youngest son who had just come home from a mission to Tokyo, Japan. We talked, we relaxed, we chatted. We all decided to ride into town and see the Chiropractic facility owned by my BIL and FIL since the water therapy pool was now up and running, and go to the bookstore. When we returned, we had the munchies so we drug the food back out and commenced to eating. I chatted happily with my husband as he filled his plate, and turned to set my plate on the table in the other room. When I returned, I saw *my husband* leaning over the dishwasher, fishing out forks. I walked over, began to rub his back and was just about to put my arms around his waist when, his voice came from my left side: "What are you doing to my brother?"

Yeah, that was way worse than the "are you pregnant?" thing.

Even funnier was my newish BIL complaining to my husband to be quiet, he had wanted to see what was going to happen.

Thank goodness for me, I didn't go for the gratuitous grope that is so tempting when one finds ones spouse with his head in the dishwasher.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, April 07, 2006

No sweat

For some time, I've been formulating a theory in my mind. See, I like to vacum. There's something nice about the lines in the carpet, the wide open spaces and getting all the fluffy, well, fluffed. I'm almost a little sad when little footprints begin to take over the fluff, even though the first few, right when the fluff is fresh and the imprints are distinct, make me feel all mushy and maternal. Anyhow. Back to my point. I don't let the kids eat in the living room, I'm not a food in the kitchen Natzi, but, for the most part, food does stay in the kitchen. So, why, when I vacum in the morning, is the rug over run with crumbs by afternoon? My theory is this: I think the children sweat crumbs. I'm not quite sure how they do it, but I'm on to them now. I'm watching. Waiting. I may even send off to the government for one of those crazy grants so I can study the situation more in depth.

I've also had another thought. The person who comes up with zip off couch covers that can be tossed in the washer, deserves to be rich. I'm not talking about some cheesy slip cover, I'm talking about the upholstery itself. I know they say not to do it, but I zip the covers off the seat pillows and wash them about once a month. My seat cushions look great. The rest of the couch? Not so much. Oh well, I do what I can. Maybe when I'm done with the Great Sweat Study I'll look into modifying that upholstery. ;O)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm gonna get you sucka

After reading Kris' Target post and the Daring One's comment on our redneck post, I thought it might be fun to tell you a little about what makes us weird in our neighborhood.

We live in a quiet neighborhood. The lawns are nicely kept, the parents let their kids ride their bikes down to the end of the cul de sac, most everyone has owned their home for at least 5 years and you can order pizza to be delivered to your home. (That's how you know when you've moved too far out of town: Dominoes *doesn't* deliver.) Anyhow. We live *in* town, and like the other houses on our street, we have a one acre lot. But we have something (besides 6 kids) that the other neighbors don't have: Chickens. Yup. Right in the middle of my city street is our herd of chickens and the two ducks we inherited from teenagers who thought they'd be "cute". And I hold my head high, even though I know that all the crowing coming from my backyard has the tounges in the neigborhood wagging like the tail on an old hound dog. *Sigh* Yes, we are the laughing stock of the neighborhood.

We only have the chickens because my husband is a softie who forgets that cute small things grow into not so cute full size things. So when my kids walk into the local tractor supply and hear that cheep-cheeping, they know that if they look real cute and ask really nicely, Dad will buckle and they'll get to bring home some fluffy, down covered chicks. The first time it happened, my husband's hunting dog "played" with them one Sunday afternoon while we were at church and I was pretty sure the carnage was going to free me from chicken chores forever more. But the very next year, despite my threats to my husband that pens must be built before chickens are purchased, "OR ELSE", the little brown-eyed wonders did it again, convinced him to put the cart before the horse and brought home 7 little balls of fluff. This time, there were no hunting dogs to thin the herd. So when the beloved balls of fluff turned into crowing, feathered, egg laying members of the family, I knew we were in trouble.

It all started annoyingly enough. The hens start laying eggs, (everywhere, since we don't have a pen...Grrrrr) and the kids cry claiming "we can't possibly eat that! It's a potential baby chicken!" Then the roosters started taking every opportunity to chase the children. Finally, that game got old and we were able to convince them that all the mean, rooster chickens are best enjoyed cooked up in momma's pot. All but one:

Isn't he cute? He looks like he has pants on. He's covered in soft, silken, down and for the longest time, he would even allow the kids to pick him up and carry him around. Unfortunatley, since the demise of the larger, stronger roosters, he's now gotten a little too big for those downy, feather britches of his and protects his little harem with all the once repressed machoism he posesses.

Yesterday, I went out to check on the peach tree in the yard (which is COVERED in peaches, BTW) and for some reason, the little buggar decided that was *his* peach tree, thank-you-very-much, and Humph. Well, I've nurtured you, fed you, kept you alive this long little fellow. I've kept you in the world and I can take you OUT. I just can't do it with a large silver feed bowl. Or a rock. Or a stick. My aim deteriorates the angrier I get. So for now, I will carry my broomstick with my head held high, and I will be "Mommy, defender of the little people and protector of bare legs" And if the new gate I build this weekend won't keep you in the coop, you better watch your back, because it really is amazing how tender even the oldest rooster gets when cooked in a pressure cooker for 4 hours, and I'm not above telling the brown-eyed wonders you "must've ran away! Now dear, eat your chicken soup."

Cause I'm just mean like that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

You might be a redneck......

Today, K and I were helping J eat her first popsicle out on the front porch. K is talking to me and she says "Me and B were born in WY, J was born in TX." I say "That's right. She's the only one born here." She thinks about this for a second, then says, "So does that make her a redneck?"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Why he's the greatest.

Hubby and I were chatting in the wee hours of the morning this morning before he had to leave town and I was reminded of something he did a while ago. My husband is a teaser. He's always saying things that will make you blush or stammer and defend yourself. He means well, but sometimes, well, a girl just gets tired of the joking around. Anyway, I was trying to tease him back this morning and told him "You used to talk so nice about me! What happend to you!" He retorted that he never did any such thing and what on earth was I talking about. What I remembered made me all weepy and sentimental.

I was visiting the beauty shop, probably for hair and nails, since this was pre-baby days, and so I'd been there a while. I was summoned to the phone, since my cell was in my car, and spoke to my husband, telling him about when I thought we'd finish and I didn't think much more about it. But when I returned to the station where I was being beautified, and the receptionist came over and told me "You have the sweetest husband!" I told her that I did, indeed, have a good one. Then she related to me what had just happened. My husband called, and told her he'd like to speak to his wife. She said she'd be glad to help him, what was her name? To which he replied, "Just look out over the whole salon, find the most beautiful woman there, and hand her the phone."

And he was totally serious.

Yes, I love that man of mine.