Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lack of Christmas Photos

This year we won't be sending on pictures in our Christmas cards.  I tried, I really tried but it just was not happening this year.  If the kids weren't the problem the lighting was, or my phone had to suffice and that just does not take pictures well.  I seriously considered photo shopping a couple of pics together but to me thats like lying.  Thats not MY family.  Everyone would know I had done something, drugged them or manipulated the pictures. 

On this one the lightening is so bad you can't see their beautiful faces.  Of course you can still see my 3 yr old sticking out his tongue. 

So I thought I would use this one, but again my 3 yr old can't be seen because hes too busy sticking his arm in Spongebobs mouth.  And my 6 yr old can't be seen at all because he is tickling Spongebobs armpit. 

So I figured we would go to Cabellas to see Santa and get a nice picture there.  Yea, I should know better.

Aside from the fact the baby is screaming the paint came off my oldests face when I put the picture in the card.  I took another  myself but you can't see all the kids. 

You can't even see my 6 yr old in there.  Next time I am doing individual pictures and making up a collage.  Wish I had thought of that 2 weeks ago. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christians and Christmas

Every year I get to be reminded from Christians how pagan and commercialized Christmas is.  You know that tree is down right evil right?  You'd expect I would hear this from atheists and other non religious folk but no, its always the Christians.  You'd think there would be enough evil in this world for them to worry about, that they could pick something at little bit more threatening.

Anyhow, This year it took a bit of a funny turn.  Instead of me doing the debating it was my oldest daughter and her friend.  This was not about trying to convince the friend how Christmas is not pagan or how Christmas is not evil but that everything can be pagan and evil if you let it be.  That everything is about what YOU make it into and not what it is or was meant to be or who does it or doesn't do it. 

I was impressed by her and she taught me some things.  It wasn't about making her friend agree with her, it was about her friend being able to see her viewpoint.  Not sure if she succeeded, but at least she can feel confident that instead of repeating what shes heard she was able to formulate her own opinions and points of discussion. 

I am a little jealous that it wasn't me who came up with her view point, that in all my years I hadn't thought of the things she thought of.  But I am too proud of her, for being able to think on her feet and not need her mommy and not just repeating everything shes heard.    

Friday, December 10, 2010

Because I am a hormonal mess

Being pregnant is great.  You get to be hormonal about things that normal people would never get upset about.  Innocent comments, a 3 year old who destroys a box of tissues trying to blow his nose, stupid vents in bedrooms.  The last one has got me particularly peeved.  We have a vent above the door in our bedroom, why I have no clue.  I have heard its for "ventilation", I would assume so given its name.  But WHY is it there? There are 4 other rooms in the house and none of them have a vent above the door. 

The problem I have with the vent is not that its just there, its that it lets in light and noise.  Its basically a window to the hall way.  Of all the rooms where we need peace and quiet, some builder stuck a vent.  We have a window in our room, we have an air conditioner vent, we have double doors.  We really don't need a vent to the hallway thank-you very much. 

This has come to a head recently as a hormonal pregnant lady is trying to get some sleep and what keeps me up?  Light coming through this vent.  When my kids go to the bathroom at night and flip on the hallway switch, the light, which is right in line with the vent, streams right through and wakes me up.  Waking up a pregnant lady is never a good idea.  Especially one who has to pee the second she wakes up.  So I get up and go pee and then try to get back to sleep.  I toss and turn, trying to find a comfy spot.  Not easy when you have severe SPD and a growing belly.  After a while I hear the other bathroom door shut and footsteps back to bed.  However the light does not go off.  I now have to get back out of bed to turn off the light and again find my comfy spot.  I could not care less if that light stayed on all night if I didn't have to see it, but no, it has to shine right on me. 

And then there is nap time.  Which is so fun when you have a window right out to a hallway that is shared with 2 bedrooms full of boys.  Heaven forbid any of them want to play in their rooms during nap time.  I can hear everything through that vent.  Which means a certain toddler wakes up and is grumpy the rest of the day. 

But did it bother me 4 months ago?  Nope.  But right now I think it was the stupidest design idea right behind the faux drawer in the bathroom (which has no reason to be there except that some builder was very cheap).  I am *this* close to buying one of those magnetic vent covers so I can get a night sleep in peace.  And do you think a normal human being could get away with an entire blog post complaining about a vent?  No?  See, its great being a hormonal pregnant lady. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scrub a dub dub

We don't have normal conversations in this house.  There is never a "How is your day?"  or "I think I will go sit on the sofa and read a book."  No, its always "Why is there bread in the towel drawer?" 

Yesterday I had a great conversation with my son.  I was so proud of him, it happened after he returned from the bathroom. 

Ds: I had to wash my hands twice.  Cause you know. 

Me: Why?  Cause you peed on them?

Ds: No. 

Me: Cause you pooped on them?

Ds: No.

Me: Then why?

Ds: I had to get a toy out of the toilet.

Me: There was a toy in the toilet?  Which one?

Ds: A tank. 

Me: Did you put it in there?

Ds: No, I just went in there and saw it in the toilet.  And the worst part?  I had already gone!

Me: Ewwwww.

Ds: Yea you don't want to know what it feels like to stick your hand in a used toilet to get a toy out.

Me: I already do. 

I am so proud of him that he reached in there and got it out without calling me to do it.  Thats responsibility right there.  No word from the other kids who stuck the toy in the toilet.

I hope you weren't eating. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Zombies and Fruits and Colds

I always have a listening ear out for what my kids are doing.  For one thing I can tell how much trouble they are in by the sounds they make.  Silence means its really bad.  But I also get some great blog fodder from them.  For instance, they were playing Zombie Reindeer the other day.  Complete with using one of the babies toys that have bells as the reindeers bells.  I went and asked them if the reindeer were zombies, does that mean Santa is a zombie too?  My 6 year old laughs and says nooooo, then he thought about it and said, "Oh I guess he would be."  If anyone needs some story lines for zombies my kids are full of them.

I'm not sure if this is a point of pride or if my kids are just weird, but lately my 5 yr old has been playing Fruit and Vegetable world.  Its a game he made up all on his lonesome.  He draws me pictures of this world, the fruit and vegetables are alive.  Maybe he thinks if he humanizes them for me I won't force him to eat them.

My 3 year old has a cold.  It started with a sore throat, but he didn't know what the problem was.  He said his mouth hurt.  I asked him to show me where so he opened his mouth and stuck his pointer finger back and said "Right here."  Of course it sounded more like "Whahahh Hhhhheeee"  I grabbed a flashlight to take a look and noticed it was red but there were no spots or swollen tonsils.  I told him he probably just had a virus.  He wasn't convinced so he took the flashlight and said, "let me see."  and stuck it in his mouth.   Poor thing woke up a few hours later with the worst cold. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bad Timing

I have weird kids, I am convinced of this.  Normal kids you ask what they want for Christmas and they can rattle off a list a mile long.  Not my kids.  Well save for the 10 year old.  The rest of them have no clue what they want and would probably be happy with just about anything.  I asked my 6 year old what he wanted and he said he didn't know.  "How about some coloring books and crayons?"  Sure sure.  "How about some sheets?"  Ok.  Really?  A 6 yr old is fine with sheets?  They are weird I am telling you. 

So I went to the mall to find a gift for said 6 yr old, the one thing I knew he would play with.  Phineas and Ferb plushes.  I had already gotten Phineas and Ferb and needed Agent P and Perry.  Well we get to the Disney store and they are all sold out.  Sold out of EVERY Perry there.  Even the ones the are like 2 feet tall.  Ok, they  had 1 left when we got there and someone else snagged it up before we could.  So we were given a code for free shipping on their website so we could get it there.  We decide to leave and what do we find?  The mall is closing.  At 6 pm!  Less than 3 weeks before Christmas and the mall closes at 6?  Well no wonder why the economy is in trouble.  They won't let us shop! 

We still had an hour before we had to pick up the rest of the kids so we decided to go to some stores outside the mall.  My 5 yr old wanted to go to "Barns and Ovals."  You know, Barnes and Nobel.  So did I but my daughter and the dh wanted to go the thrift store.  So we went there instead.  Which I guess was ok, they had vhs tapes on sale for 50 cents each.  Yes, there are people who still watch those.  They don't get scratched or broken as easily.  We lost 2 dvds this week because they broke! While we were there I found a book I had already bought my daughter for $5 and they had it for 99 cents.  I don't think I am doing really well on my shopping lately.  Its a good thing we don't have much money, its much less I can screw up. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Some Ideas for Christmas

Every family has their own traditions during the holidays.  We have ours that have evolved over the years, and I don't mind sharing what they are.  I know we just love them and maybe someone can get something out of our ideas like we have gotten from so many other families.

Each child gets to buy a new ornament every year.  With the idea being that when they are grown and move out they can take theirs with them.  On each we write the child's name and year.  This has created lots of memories and the kids look forward to it.  I was sitting in front of our tree recently and marveling at how you can see each childs personality, not to mention remembering all the past holidays. The years we can't afford new ornaments (we usually set a limit of $2 or $3 per child anyway) we make our own.  There are many places online you can find directions.  I'm not sure how we came up with this idea, but we have been doing it a very long time.

Last year we started the tradition of each child opening their gifts one at a time.  This way Christmas can last much longer, everyone can show off their stuff in their own little time frame and no one feels left out.  It also makes the children practice patience and its much easier to get pics of everyone.  I stole this idea from Sarah at Flinging Debt

My mom came up with a great idea last year of putting everyones gift into one box, so each child gets one box under the tree.  That way they are all the same size, children often feel bigger is better.  But also this is good for the years they might only be able to get one gift each whether do to money or just a decision to not give as much.  Another of my friends said to wrap every little thing so it seems like they get a lot even if they didn't.  You could even wrap everything then stick it all in a box and wrap that.  Whatever works for your family.

I know lots of families who do Birthday cakes for Jesus (Yeshua), go to mass, open gifts at midnight, open one gift the night before, put up the tree anywhere from thanksgiving to christmas eve.  There are so many wonderful opportunities to connect as a family,  the important thing is to find something that works for your family. 

Since we do both Christmas and Hanukkah tonight we will light the first candle.  If you celebrate Hanukkah you can still find plenty of ways to connect as a family and stay connected through those traditions over the years.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to getting some Rainbow Donuts this Sunday. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I am thankful for lightening fast washers and dryers even if it means I have baskets of laundry piling up for me to put away.  At least they don't smell like bodily fluids.

I am thankful for big fat babies to snuggle with and keep me warm when its cold. 

I am thankful for waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep, because its one of the few times I can feel my baby move uninterrupted. 

I am thankful for all my kids that makes my heart so glad.  Even when some of them are angry I still have plenty ready to come give me love. 

I am thankful for restaurant supply stores so I can buy pots and pans big enough to cook food for my family. 

I am thankful for stereotypes of large families - they make me look good.  And without them I wouldn't have much to blog about.

I am thankful for holidays where I have a reason to pig out and gain weight. 

But mostly I am thankful that God blessed me with 8 beautiful children and a loving husband.  For they are the ones who keep me humble, make me laugh and teach me more than I could have ever learned on my own. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You might have a big family if...

You're a little worried when dh comes home with turkeys that only weighs 21 pounds.

You have to double every recipe and that includes the one for the turkey.

When you are riding in the van with 3 kids they comment on how much faster the van goes without everyone in it.

You have more people than the waiting room at the doctors has seats. 

Everyone always comes to your house for holiday meals because its so much easier for you to make for 10 extra people than it is for them to make for 10 extra people. 

You have an entire box of saved shoes and you still can't find pairs to fit 2 of your kids.

Your neighbors aren't sure how many kids you have and assume that any kids hanging around must just belong to you. 

You have dealt with so many episodes of stomach bugs that when your toddler had diarrhea you actually ask your husband, "What did it smell like?"  Then not only does he describe it for you, he offers up what the next one smelled like without you having to ask. 

And one last one ala Jeff Foxworthy - You might be a red neck if (and I'm not saying for sure that I am) if you are hiding your kids Christmas presents in the broken dryer in the garage. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The guilty parent

A few years ago I offered some childrens craft books to a friend, she accepted saying, "I will put them in my guilt box."  I asked what she meant, and she told me it was a box full of things she wanted to do with the kids but never did, which made her feel guilty.  Since that time I have become aware of my own feelings of guilt associated with raising my own children.  I knew why I felt guilty, because society said in order to be a good parent I needed to provide them with every opprotunity in sports, music, art, and education and if I didn't they would fail as adults.  Afterall this is a dog eat dog world, and we as adults know what it takes to get to the top.  If we don't start our kids off with every skill they will need to succeed they will never succeed.  Right?  I don't think it quite works that way. 

First, I think lots of parents try to make other parents feel guilt to justify their own behaviors.  This is such an easy trap to fall into.  Everyone does it.  I've done it.  Its really hard to remove our own feelings when giving a friend advice, just talking to someone about something to help them work it out or listen to someone complain when we would have done things differently.  But, its their life to live and their decisions to make.  Not ours.  Even though something has worked perfectly for you and your family, and you want to share that with someone, that does not mean it would work well for someone elses family.  For instance, I have seen kids grow up to be wonderful young adults from parents I really doubted were doing a good job.  They weren't parenting in the way I thought they should, things that to me were very basic principles of parenting.  And yet their children not only turned out fine, they turned out great!  And I don't think it was inspite of their parenting.  They are their parents children,  for them and their family it worked for them.  It was their genes and their heritage and they knew what they were doing. Its been humbling. 

Second, we have forgotten what it is to be an individual.  We have become a society of beige. Where everyone is supposed to be the same.  Yes, we are all equal, but equal does not mean we all have to be identical.  My husband and I are equals but we are totally different creatures.  I like mysteries and he likes cartoons, I like peppers and he likes cabbage, I am self motivated and he is a follower.  Not everyone is meant to be a Bill Gates.  We all need to have different experiences to make us who we are meant to be.  If everyone has the same experiences we won't have the wide array of people we should have.  Just because you gave your child every opportunity in life doesn't mean they were meant to use them, likewise if you didn't that doesn't mean your child won't succeed.  Not everyone is meant to be a great sports player or musician.  Some of us are meant to be geeks, sitting behind a computer all day.  And thats ok too.  Instead of trying to get your kids to do everything everyone is doing, why not focus on what your child is really good at and let them pursue that.  I remember putting my daughter in soccer in first grade.  I am sure she enjoyed it, but she was never very good.  Now I can see my children are not athletes. While the dh and I both loved sports I don't think we passed on any of those genes to our children.  Most of our kids are so uncoordinated they can't even walk through the living room without tripping on a shadow and hurting themselves.  The nerd gene is strong with us.

Third, money does not make someone a better person.  You can spend all the money in the world on education and training and still have someone grow up and want nothing to do with that sport or be in any sort of high profile job.  Some of the best things in life are free.  If you can't afford to send you kids to a private school or dance lessons or sports camp don't feel guilty.  Its better to have your children grow up in a home where proper finances are taught than grow up thinking they can get everything they want.  They will be a much more rounded individual if they know how to handle money then expecting everything to be handed to them. 

Looking back at my childhood I can say all the years of gymnastics and soccer were fun but I don't think it made me any better of a person.  And having the opportunity to travel to different countries, see great works of art and meet incredible people didn't make me any better of a writer or a mother.  My husband didn't get to have any of those things and I think he is a freakin awesome person.  So stop feeling guilty already.  You are doing the best you can.  Thats what I finally came down to believing.  If God thought my kids needed all those things He would have provided them.  And unless you need that guilt box for kindling, donate it to someone who could actually use it. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting the birth you want

This is something people with a lot of kids have to deal with frequently. For most couples this might happen twice in their lifetimes.  However for us that means every year or every other year we have to plan a birth.  I know lots of women wonder what could possibly be so hard.  You pick a dr, you go to prenatals, you show up at the hospital for the birth and then you go home.  Whats there to plan?  For women like me who choose a homebirth or a birth center birth this can be much more involved and difficult.  Everything from getting insurance to pay for it to gathering birth supplies, home births and birth center births are rarely easily planned. 

For most women who plan a homebirth or a hospital birth the main problem is paying for the birth.  Rural Midwife addressed this topic recently but I found even as an experienced homebirth midwife she was missing key points to how and why women might not choose a homebirth.  For starters I have gotten to know lots of homebirth midwives personally.  Even when you choose a midwife for your homebirth it is not the same type of relationship you have with your dr.  But I have had the chance to go beyond that and really get to know a few midwives.  While they are more than willing, generally speaking, to work with you for payment or barter this is not something I would now ask a midwife to do.  From what I have seen those midwives who are willing to work out a payment plan or barter often end up with the short end of the stick.  Pretty soon their whole clientele is women who can't pay.  Midwives are left with begging for payment or turning women away because they, the midwife, can't afford to take them on.  Very few insurance companies will pay for homebirths or birth center births.  Companies like Aetna cite ACOG's statement for homebirth as why they won't.  Writing letters, threatening to go somewhere else, does little when a huge force like the ACOG is dictating policy. 

Secondly, paying by working, say by starting a small side business, trying to pick up work here or there to raise money for the birth you want, or asking people instead of gifts to help pay for the birth are also not feasible for many women.  It sounds great in theory and I have done it before, but realistically its not something most women could do.  Alternative births are not an accepted practice in this country with only 1% of births being planned homebirths.  Many people would not feel comfortable giving money knowing it is going to pay for a birth they would not otherwise support.  Opening a store is a great idea if not for the inital outlay it requires.  I have spend literally hundreds of dollars in supplies for my store.  Some women really have very little money, to the point where they can't pay their bills.  Life happens, even to the most well prepared.  I would never expect a woman who can't pay her electric bill to spend even $5 in supplies in the hopes of selling it for $30.  Thats called a gamble and when you are looking at no utilities for you and your family often the gamble is not worth it.  Further, scrimping and saving for a birth a few times is one thing, but doing it 10 times or so is something totally different. You are basically scrimping and saving for years and years, often forgoing other important items that your family needs.  At what point does the birth become more important than a family car?  Thats a decision every family has to make and it can be very difficult and not as simple as "If its important to you you can make it happen." 

I am coming at this from a homebirthers point of view.  I have had 6 homebirths, none of which insurance paid for.  We scrimped and saved for each one.  I have bartered for services, been on payment plans, gotten reduced fees, and yet I know there are times finances really do dictate how you give birth.  However, that does not mean you give up all hope for the birth that you want.  Even if that means you want a hospital birth or have to have a hospital birth but wanted a homebirth.  There are ways to compromise and get what you need and want. 

This is not for women who are simply looking for the cheapest way out.  If you can afford, even if it means juggling your finances and it wouldn't be a burden, the birth you want don't take the cheapest way out. You get what you pay for.  If you can afford the birth you want, then do it.  You will probably end up regretting it if you didn't.  But for those women, like myself, who really have hard choices to make there are ways around it. 

If you can get a free hospital birth because of insurance of some sort and simply can not afford the birth you want outside a hospital don't despair.  You can get close to a home birth if you educate yourself and plan.  We all know that nothing is set in stone, and everything you plan is subject to life happening.  But you can avoid some of the things that make hospital birth so unappealing to some.  #1 - get a doula.  Doulas have to attend a certain number of births before they can get their certificate.  These are typically done for free.  Some hospitals also provide them free of charge.  If you have access to one, use it.  Doulas are proven to reduce interventions.  This is not one of those things where you are asking a woman to take a hit on her finances for the sake of yours.  They really do need to have the births under their belt, and I would have been more than honored had someone asked me to doula for them so I could get my certificate.  Contact your local doula trainer for a list of names.  DONA is another good resource.  #2 read everything you can.  Libraries are free.  The more you educate yourself the better your chances will be of a good outcome.  Knowing you can wait a little at home before going to the hospital just because your contractions have a good pattern can save you from interventions like AROM.  No one is gonna take care of your body like you, learn everything you can about it.  #3 find a dr that supports your ideas of birth.  This is not as simple as walking into a dr office and asking if they support natural birth.  Most drs will say yes every time.  Best thing you can do is ask for recommendations from other women who you know had natural hospital births.  There are several online communities where you can ask for referrals, there are sites you can read reviews about drs.  And there are questions to ask that will tell you a lot more than the standard questions would.  Questions like, "How many births have you attened with the mother kneeling? squatting? in water?" will tell you how often they attend natural births and if those women are free to move around during labor.  If they have never attended a birth where the mother wasn't reclining you should probably look somewhere else.  Look for key words like "allow or let", "trial of labor", and if they throw out words like induction and c/s because of some precieved problem like your weight; that tells you the dr probably isn't on the same page as you.  The same is true if you want to have a scheduled c/s.  Some drs will tell you what you want to hear only to change it later on.  Choose your words carefully, ask questions that actually require an answer other than yes or no.  #4 - apply for exemptions from your insurance company.  This costs nothing and can get you the birth you want.  Google can be your friend in this.  There are women who have successfully done this, finding out how can help you with yours. 

Still, after all this, you can end up with a birth you did not want.  You can ask all the right questions, do your research and do everything in your power to get the birth you want only to end up disappointed.  But at least you can say you tried your best.  Regret is an awful feeling, and there is nothing worse than doubt.  Wondering if you had only done this or that, things that would have been free and easy, is not what you want to be doing after you give birth. 

After the birth of my second, which ended in a hospital birth with an epidural and pit after a planned homebirth, I did a lot of questioning.  What all the answers came back to was that it was an experience I needed to go through, things happened that I needed to learn first hand.  I wouldn't want to repeat the experience but I am glad I had the opprotunity to go through it and come out the way I did.  Which is how I got to this post today.  At one point it was me saying "If you want the birth you can make it happen" and "Don't like finances get in the way of the birth you want, nothing is more important."  And I am sad now for the women I said those things too.  Nothing is black and white.  I couldn't see all the extenuating circumstances that some women might have in their lives, but I do now.  I see them because I have lived them.  But at the same time I can't tell women to just do what they have to do.  I have to give them hope that they can have their homebirth, their birth center birth, their hospital birth the way they want to.  You can beat those finances if you just know where to look. 

Birth centers and Hospitals births are a bit more tricky.  Most hospitals will reduce fees if they know you are paying cash, some have already set up payment plans for self payers.  But they will most likely not accept any form of barter or try to work with you further. They are a business first and foremost where as midwives will often say it is their calling.  However, there are hospital that have charities connected to them that can help you pay for your birth if you can't.  I know this because I gave birth at such a hospital and they would have helped pay for our birth, even the whole amount, if we qualified.  Choose your hospital carefully, especially if you live in a city where you have that option.  Birth Centers often operate like midwives but have much higher over head.  So your chances of getting a reduced fee birth at one is not likely.  But some insurance companies will make exemptions for them, especially if you live in places where state law dictates they have to.  So know your laws, it could save you money. 

In the end, don't let other people make you feel guilty for having the birth that you had.  It was your choice to make and had they been in your shoes they might have made the same choices .

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They are still learning

I sent my 11 yr old daughter to pick up some shampoo when we were shopping.  She came back with a bottle of Placenta shampoo.  "How about this one?"  I am not sure why she picked it, I don't think she even had the faintest idea why she would even want placenta shampoo.  I told her no, not that one.  She asked why, "Look at the label."  I told her.  She took a quick glance, "Oh it says conditioner."  I am pretty sure she was picking that one based on color alone.

A circuit on one side of the house got tripped, turning off all the clocks of course.  Once we fixed it no one thought to fix the clocks.  The next day I finally went to find my boys because they still had not gotten up.  Apparently their clock said it was 4 am so they didn't come out yet.  Never mind the sun was shinning in their window.  A little trick to consider if you have kids like mine who normally are up before you are - or the sun. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

An invitation to small families

For what ever reason most of the time big families hang out with big families.  Usually not on our part, although we do enjoy the company of those that think like we do.  Just because the smaller families don't want all those people in their house and they are overwhelmed going to ours.  But we love families of every size.  If you have 1 or 4 you are still more than welcome to come by and play with the kids, have dinner with us, go to the park with us.  My kids don't care if you are an only or if you are one of 20.  I don't mind having to cook for 3 or 6 or 12 more.  We are already cooking for 10, and usually we have left overs.  Or we can just double the recipe.

I know we might seem scary.  You might be overwhelmed with the sheet number of people, but I can tell you from experience you do get used to them all.  Its no different than a teacher getting used to teaching a class of 30 or going to church and getting used to 200 people.  We are not weirdos, contrary to popular belief.  Not any more weird than you are!   

We do in fact like kids, even those that aren't ours.  We don't condemn you because you don't have the amount of kids we do.  Just as I am sure you don't because we do have a lot of kids.  I am sure we have more in common than we don't. 

So don't be afraid, make the friends.  Go talk to that big family.  Invite the kids over to play, go to their house and enjoy all the company.  You don't think your children would just love to play with all those kids?  The amount of kids we have following us through stores, at parks and events tell me that they would.  And I know my kids would love to have someone new to play with. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The joys of boys

After having 6 boys people assume I want a girl.  A girl would be nice, pink frilly dresses and someones hair to do.  But Boys are great too.  Granted they can be dirty and gross but that can be so fun.  Having the girls I do I know I might not get that girl who wants the pink frilly dresses.  I might get another rocket scientist who prefers pants.  I am not looking to unleash my feminine side vicariously through a baby girl.  So just a reminder to everyone how great boys can be. 

Don't worry, I pulled the chicken out after I took the picture.

Hes the one the dh said we didn't have a picture of not covered in something. At least hes consistent.

The other day my son said he was gonna draw me a picture.  I asked him if it would be a pretty picture.  He said, "Yup, a balloon zombie head."  Sounds um, pretty.  Sure. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

18 weeks

My kids say I look pregnant now.  I guess I just looked fat before.  I have a nice healthy (huge) anterior placenta so I can't really feel movement.  So for me I really do feel like I have just gotten fat. 

Yesterday we had our ultrasound.  We couldn't see a gender but it was nice just to know our baby is probably healthy. 

I am glad we did that yesterday and got to have all the warm fuzzy feelings, because today we found out come the New Year we lose our current insurance.  All that work to get them to cover the Birth Center only to have to switch to an insurance that doesn't cover any birth centers or homebirth.  To say I am mad would be an understatement.  My body is all flush and warm, all my thoughts sounds like the scene from Christmas Story where Ralphie beats up the bully.  I haven't checked, but I bet my blood pressure would make doctors faint. 

So it was a good thing I saw that sweet baby yesterday, or I might have already exploded today. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A first for me

I experienced something last month that was a first for me.  Something I never got to experience before.  I weaned my son.  Not that I hadn't weaned a baby before, but its the first time I had weaned 2 in the same year.  Back at the beginning of the year I wearned his older brother.  Even though he was by far the most difficult nursing child I had had, it still was hard to let go.  Weaning is weird like that.  Even though you know he is ready, even though you are ready it still hurts.  Its an end to a relationship that only you two shared, something you will never have again with that person.  Its sad no matter how prepared you are. 

As is typical for me, my toddler weaned after I got pregnant.  He was 17 months old, very typical in our family.  It was his choice.  I remember the last time I nursed him.  He nursed only for a minute.  Looked at my breasts, looked at me, knew it was different and just got down and walked away.  He was done.  He didn't need it anymore.  

I look forward to nursing the next one with renewed vigor.  I went from having 2 babies want me, need me to none.  It will be a lonely 6 months till the baby gets here. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bad Momma

I was in a hurry while changing my son recently.  He was complaining but I didn't see anything to complain about. His bum wasn't red, it was normally poopy, nothing sticking anywhere.  As I looked up to ask him what was wrong I noticed the problem right away.  I had his feet smashed into his forehead.  Opps. 

To be fair, he plays with his feet and puts them up to his head all the time.  He likes to suck on his toes.  But having them smashed into your forehead during a diaper change probably isn't pleasant.  Bad momma. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Horse Play

I sat watching my boys wrestle on the floor in the living room while I waited for dinner to be done.  I began  to wonder why I thought boys were easier than girls.  It was loud.  Body parts were everywhere.  Kids would fling themselves around the room trying to escape their brother.  A split second later they were running at their sibling.  There was rolling on the floor, bumping into furniture.  Screams and laughter mingled with the grunts and groans.  Occasionally one of the boys would come to be crying because they got hurt.  I would tell them they were fine and they would immediately go back and play some more. 

I realized just how good it was for them to roll around and rough house with their brothers.  Not only were they exercising they were learning some good lessons.  First and foremost that its ok to get hurt.  I have a few boys that are pretty wimpy.  You'd think the world has ended if someone accidentally bumps into them.  This was teaching them its ok, you don't have to over react.  It was teaching them to be tough.    The ones that are really drama kings weren't when they were playing.   They were getting their rug burns right there with their brothers and not even noticing. It was almost as if they were learning how to deal with the pain in a way they couldn't before.

They were also learning fairness.  My 5 yr old learned that one pretty quick.  He was just fine dealing out the pushes and laying on top of his brother, but as soon as his brother did it to him he had to yell and come to me to complain.  I told him if it was fun for him to do that than it was fun for his brother to do it to him.  If it wasn't fun to get laid on then maybe it wasn't fun for his brother either.  It didn't take long before he saw that whatever he did was gonna be done to him, so he better play fair. 

By the time dinner was ready the kids had worn themselves, and the carpet, out.  I was impressed that just by letting kids be kids *I* would learn so much.  Letting kids be kids is good for them. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Things you have to clean as a parent

As a single person there are things you never dream about cleaning.  Unless you are really weird.  As a parent its just par for the course.  You mentally keep them filed, ready to pull out the next time something happens so you can think to yourself, "Well at least its not as bad as when...."

This week I have had the pleasure of scrubbing face paint off 2 chairs, walls and my bathroom shower.  That is hardy stuff.  My sons hair stood up better than if I had used the strongest gel and hairspray.  If you don't mind a red tint and need a mohawk; try some red face paint. 

Then there was the vacuuming of the bathroom because my 3 yr old ate a poppy seed muffin in there.  Its not a play on words.  He really did eat a poppy seed muffin in the bathroom.  There was crumbs everywhere.  I knew no broom and mop was gonna get all those teeny tiny crumbs up.  But honestly I pull out the vacuum for just about everything. 

Thats just this week, and its only Tuesday. Then there are the epic cleaning episodes.  Like Vaseline in the recorder or packaging popcorn all over the down stairs.  Those things stick to everything.  Especially when they have been ripped into pieces.  Peanut butter all over the kitchen and sardine vomit all over bedsheets - These are things as a parent I wish I could forget but when something happens that I have to clean, its nothing compared to those.  Usually.  I am sure someday it will be surpassed. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Becareful What you Wish For

I am sure every kid has wished they could eat their desert for dinner.  That they didn't have to eat what was being served for dinner.  I know my eldest son wished those things.  I often heard him whine about how hated what I had made for dinner.  This week though I think he has changed his mind about how awful my meals are.  

My oldest son had to have some dental work done and now can't eat solid food afterward.  The poor kid is starving.  The dentist told him he could eat ice cream and popsicles, yogurt and mashed potatoes.  So thats what hes been doing.  You have never seen a kid get so sick of sweets so fast.  He told me yesterday, "Even the beans you had for dinner looked good."  Its made him appreciate that even though its not what he wants its still good and its good to eat.  And of course this happened right at Halloween so he can't eat any candy.  Not that he would want to after eating all that ice cream. 

I don't know how my kids are so strong. The dh and I are both so wimpy when it comes to dental pain.  I had 1 cavity filled and couldn't eat for days.  I came home and slept for 4 hours.  My son?  He was playing like normal and wanting to eat dinner and non stop talking all night with his brother.  Do they not have nerve endings in their mouths?  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I just want them to be happy

But that is hard when I have conversations like these with my children. 

My 3 yr old, in a whinny voice, asked me where his zippered pajamas were.  I told him we didn't have any zippered pajamas.  He said he wanted some, and again I told him he didn't have any.  So he told me, "Well go buy some then."  Buying zippered pajamas, when he already has about 4 pair of pajamas just isn't on my list of things to do.  But I do want him to be happy.  I guess I wish he were happy with the pajamas he already has. 

My 8 yr old brought me his history and asked for him.  The first thing I did was ask him if he had read the page yet.  Cause, of course you aren't gonna know what to do if you haven't read the page.  The look on his face spoke louder than any words could, but then he added, "Why do I have to read my history?"  Oh I don't know, so its easier to do the assignment?  How can you make a time line of Little Big Horn if you haven't read about it first?  Maybe I should have acted it out for him.  Heaven forbid he end up on an episode of JayWalking on the Jay Leno show.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hiking is Exciting

We love to hike but aren't able to during the summer heat.  So we finally went this weekend.  We had to start out easy because we are all out of shape.  Which became obvious with our last hike at the  Natural Bridge.  I guess one thing we forgot to mention, besides "Don't Step in the Horse Poo!" was "Don't touch the Cactus!"  Thankfully that happened at the end of our trip cause I wouldn't have liked to hear our son scream for 30 minutes while we made our way back to the van.  Our 3 yr old somehow got a cactus in his shoe.  The dh told him to wait and he would get it out.  Being 3 of course he just reached down and grabbed it.  It promptly stuck itself into his fingers.  So using his other hand he ripped it out of the first hand.  By this time he is screaming and dh is running over to him telling him to stop touching it.  I guess pain makes you listen cause my 3 yr old just stood there with a cactus hanging off his hand.  He did have some bruising and bloody spots but hes fine.  At least it wasn't a rattle snake. 

Later that night, after hiking and cleaning the garage, several of the kids fell asleep where they sat down.  Dinner was quiet.  My oldest said, "I feel so small."  There were 5 kids and 2 adults sitting at the table, but that was just small for what we normally have. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The dh had a drs appt today.  We had to find a new dr since ours left his practice.  I had seen the dr back in April when I had my wisdom teeth infected.  He was pretty excited that I was gonna be bringing 10 people into the practice! 

So when the dh went in today the dr comes in and says, "I think I met your wife.  You have 8 kids?"

Dh said, "Yup."

Dr said, "Yea. Thought so."

You don't forget people who have 8 kids I guess.  Sadly dh is about as messed up as his car.  He needs his hoses fixed too I guess.  Maybe the connection between man and car is greater than we think!  Let them work on their car - they might stay healthier lol. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pregnancy Update

I am not a happy pregnant person.  I am huge, well for 15 weeks anyway.  Its making me mad.  I can't wear my regular clothes and most of my maternity clothes is too big.  It wasn't until this weekend that I realized part of the problem is that I gave away some of my maternity clothes to someone who needed them.  At least I know why I have so little that actually fits.  I will need to go shopping (oh boo hoo lol).  I don't know whats happened but I have not gained any weight but I look 6 months pregnant.

This is me at 14 weeks this time.    In this picture I am wearing some regular clothes cause I refused to admit I needed maternity clothes. 

And here I am with #8 at 22 weeks.  What the heck?! Not fair!  I weigh the same as I did with #8 so thats not the problem.  I guess #8 destroyed my stomach muscles. 

Other wise I am doing much better.  I can eat again.  I can think again.  I actually cleaned the house last week. 

As a side note, what happened with the date on this picture?  Thats really wrong. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Field Trip to Tonto Natural Bridge

We went to Tonto Natural Bridge, outside of Payson, AZ.  This was our third attempt, and as they say, Threes a Charm.  The weather was fine, it was open, and traffic was not backed up 20 miles.  It was well worth all the attempts to go.  God has made so many beautiful natural wonders.  Of course it would have been nice to know there was one of those "Hope you don't have a fear of heights" roads to get there.  Could have warned the kids before they all started to pull their shirts over their heads.  My 5 yr old, who was on the other side of the van and could not see the sheer drop off said, "What?  Its beautiful!"  Yea, he doesn't even like freeways in town cause they scare him.  He would have loved seeing what I was seeing. 

But then we got down to the Park and it was beautiful!  Autumn is a wonderful time to visit.  I am kinda glad it didn't work out the other couple of times.  The leaves were changing, it was not too hot (although we should have worn shorts anyhow), and there wasn't that many people. 

If you go I recommend carriers for babies and holsters for your water bottles.  You will need to hold little kids hands and you will need good foot wear.  Especially if you want to walk through the arch.  The rocks are smooth and slippery.  There are several look outs that are not difficult to walk to.  If you are afraid of heights, don't bother going.  If you want to walk down into the arch you will get a good hike.  Its a mile round trip, down and up huge steps, with no hand rail.  But its so worth the hike.  It is simply beautiful down there.  There is swimming up and below the bridge but not under it.  So if you go during warmer months that is definitely feasible. Along the hike were markers for the different plants.  It was nice to learn what all the different trees and shrubbery was that we were seeing.  

Sadly this fat old pregnant lady is out of shape and had a rough time making it back up.  Man do I need to get into shape.  My legs will be feeling this for days.  Ahhh the memories.  Somehow my 3, 6 and 8 year old ran most of the hike back up.  Where do they get their energy?  If I could have 1/10 of that!  As it was I nearly passed out on the way back up.  And they ran!  I wasn't even gonna try to stop them.  I figured they could go for help if I fell over from exhaustion.  You'd think I was hiking the Grand Canyon.  Well, next time I vow to be in better shape so I can enjoy it more. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally some good news

We were very surprised to get a phone call that our insurance has accepted an exception for the birth center and midwife.  I am so happy and so relieved.  I don't have to pay anything except for my copay of $25.  I hated the thought of having to pay for the insurance every month and then having to pay for what it should cover.  Not to mention we can't afford all that! 

And your laugh for the day.  I was making dinner on the stove and was waiting for the water to boil.  After awhile I thought, "Geez its taking an awful long time for it to beep."  Then I realized the pot does not beep when the water has reached a boil.   I am too used to all my appliances telling me when they are done.  Good thing I didn't burn anything.  Can I blame pg brain? 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can you park in your garage?

Thats my criteria for having too much stuff.  If I can't park in my garage I have a problem. 

I am going through my closet.  It always starts out so simple. I needed to exchange my regular underwear for maternity ones.  Nothing like ripping 3 pair in a week to make you realize you might have out grown them.  Next thing I know the entire contents of my closet are on and around my bed in my room.

I discovered an entire pile of stained, really stained, baby clothes.  Why I kept them I have no idea.  Its Arizona, for 5 mos out of the year the baby can go naked.  Like I need a whole pile of stained clothes for him? 

Also I found 4 boxes of diapers in my closet.  Thats not including the one in my sons closet, or the ones in use, or the ones I already went through and bagged up for donation.  Thats a whole lot of diapers.  I must have hundreds.  Probably 50 in every size.  Easily. I think I have a problem.  A diaper addiction.  Someone needs to intervene.  I could survive a week or two with no water or electricity though.  Or the baby's behind could anyway. 

Which brings me to my point.  I have too much stuff.  I can park in my garage but clearly other parts of the house need help.  With 10 people we are gonna have stuff in storage.  No way around it.  I have clothes in nearly every size for boys.  I have maternity and nursing clothes for winter and summer.  I have school books for last year and next year and this year, which is a lot of books.  We have holiday storage and presents stored away.  We have memorabilia, important papers, wrapping paper and boxes for shipping.  Not to mention my fabric, not saying how much of that I have.  Some of that I simply can not get rid of, it would not be wise.  But 4 boxes of diapers?  Something tells me even I don't need that many.  And stained clothes, I think I can live without. 

As I purge I urge you all to do the same.  You will feel clean and free.  I know I will when I can walk into my closet again. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Its Time to Play

Its time once again to play: Words that don't go in the same sentence.   I am gonna go with the excuse that we are all insane and think our house is wire tapped  - we are just trying to confuse the spies.

Me to the children: "Why does the baby have cream of wheat on his toes?"

4 yr old: "What do mutants taste like?"  In response to asking what the funny looking item in the chex mix was...I told him it was a mutant.

Me to the 3 yr old: "Please don't play with your cheese balls." 

12 yr old: "I just caught the baby eating deodorant."  Good thing its Tom's.

Babysitter Uncle to me: "Ewan peed on the patio."  Sure, doesn't everyone do that.

"Wheres my head?  I can't find my head!"  From 3 yr old while playing with blocks.

"Liam, there is cheese on your shoulder."  Watches as Liam reaches around his back trying to get cheese. I don't know what was funnier, that he didn't know where his shoulder was or that he had cheese on it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tips on Freezer Meals

If you have entertained the thought of freezing meals for later use here are a few tips that will help you. 

When placing food in a plastic bag try to get it as flat as possible.  The less bulk there is the less time it will take to thaw when you are ready to use it. 

Label your food carefully.  Include the date you froze it.  You don't want to end up eating something that fell in the freezer 2 years ago and you think you made it 2 mos ago. 

Don't place freshly made bags of anything on wire shelves or baskets.  They will get frozen down into the ridges and holes and they are really hard to get out.  Learned that one the hard way. 

Freeze some individual portions when you are making the big family ones.  Instant tv dinners. 

And don't forget to use your meals. Keeping them all in one place in the freezer helps you to not loose anything and remember how much of each you made.  Just how long can you keep food frozen?  Depends on the food. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why do things always happen in 3's?

You know the saying bad things always happen in 3's.  People in Hollywood always die in 3's.  What is so bad about the number 3 that make life so miserable?  Can't it be enough that bad things happen at all, let alone multiple times over? Should I be grateful they don't come in 5's or 8's? 

On Wednesday we found out that our insurance will not cover the birth center I wanted to deliver at.  Nor will it cover my midwife.  Despite the fact our insurance does cover birth centers.  Maybe ours is too new, it just opened in August.  We will try again in January when the year starts again, but I am not holding out hope.  So now I have to find a new OB, thats always fun. 

This morning as dh was driving to work his brakes failed.  He was able to see the problem, the hose is ruined. But he then had to work in the 100+ degree heat to fix it (it is October right?  Where is fall?) with some duct tape.  This is the 2nd hose to go, so we are thinking we need to replace them all, you know before someone gets killed because the car dies during rush hour. 

Then #3 hit.  Nothing like walking out of your bedroom and into water.  Our washing machine broke, water overflowed everywhere.  Out in the hall, into the bath next door, down stairs through the ceiling and all over the floor of the bathroom.  While we have gotten it mostly cleaned up I hope no one minds if we don't shower tomorrow, we used all our towels.  The good news?  It was my last load of the day.  Sadly it was towels I was washing.  Oh well.  I see a laundromat visit in our future.  Oh more good news, that means I can go to a thrift store next door while I am doing laundry!  Always gotta look on the bright side. 

But this is the end.  No more bad things.  We did our 3.  Time for the trouble makin to move on. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Battling Morning Sickness

I have tried every trick in the book to deal with my morning sickness.  From keeping snacks on the night stand to eating beans and upping my b12.  Nothing has worked.  I have learned that I can not drink coffee, sugar makes me gag and sleep helps.  But nothing works to relieve it.  I spend weeks 6-14 or so in bed.  Even sitting is difficult.  Its not just throwing up we are talking about here.  Its like having the flu 24/7.  I am fatigued and my head swims.  I can barely function. 

But this time I did something very smart.  I am proud of myself.  I thought ahead.  I made freezer meals before the morning sickness hit.  I had 10 lbs of cooked and seasoned chicken, 10 lbs of taco meat cooked and frozen, 10 lbs of regular ground meat cooked.  That lasted me about a month.  I was nice to not have to think about what I was making for everyone when even looking at food made me ill.  When I had no energy and needed food NOW I could just grab a some chicken, microwave it and be eating in 2 minutes. 

Not only when it came to food, but I also made sure all the kids school work was all ready for them and done before hand.  I did everything I could as soon as I found out I was pregnant, because I knew a day would come that I would do nothing.  And I was right.  Planning ahead means a win against morning sickness.  It might have kicked my butt, but I showed it whose boss. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

There has to be a better way

What do you do with all your home movies?  First we had VHS tapes.  And that was bad enough cause they are huge.  But at least they don't get scratched.  Then it was VHSC tapes.  Smaller at least but more difficult to transfer to another media.  Now its digital.  I can put it on an external harddrive, burn straight to DVD, or store on some other storage device like a san disk. 

Heres where I am running into trouble. I can't store all that video on my computer.  I can burn it straight to DVD but have found out the hard way I need to burn 2 and store 1 because 1 will inevitably get scratched and need to be replaced. You simply can not burn 1 and delete the video.  Trust me, it will be gone forever.  So then I have to store these videos somewhere the kids can't get to them and then I am storing like 100 dvds somewhere.  Not to mention thats not cheap.  I can store them on a external harddrive or 2 or 3.  We had one once.  It went corrupt.  Everything was lost including files for dhs work.  Very bad. Would also be very bad if that had our only copies of home videos.  San Disks would be ok, small to store, probably expensive in the end with all that we would need.  But most likely would never go bad. 

Here was what I am thinking, given the amount of homevideos we have.  I need a media server.  Yea just for videos and music and pictures. I don't know how many pics other families take but we have to back up my computer every 6 mos because we take so many.  Something tells me if I ask for one for Christmas I will probably get it.  What the best gift for a geek?  Asking him to work on something totally geeky for you. I am insane, a sever for home videos. 

Oh yea, technology makes things easier.  Hmmm.  It was way easier when you had pics developed and put them in a photo album.  When you stored all your home videos in VHS format under your TV.  Although I must say a 4 inch video recorder is way more portable that the contraption my mom was using in the 80s. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where I have been

Mostly laying in bed or in the bathroom.  Thats because we are expecting #9.  Yay!  Sadly, that also means I get to experience my lovely morning sickness all day long.  Its like an extra gift.  I get a baby and to feel like I have the flu 24/7.  Then I actually got a tummy bug.  I don't know about you, but I don't think thats fair. 

The kids are very excited and all want a girl.  I think having a girl cousin really gave them the itch for a girl.  Either that or they really hate the boy name we have picked out.   I will be happy with whatever God chooses to bless me with. 

Thankfully I am nearly the end of the first trimester so I should regain some energy and be able to eat again.  Then you should see more of me. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Celebrating birthdays close together

When you have more than 1 kid you can have the possibility of close birthdays.  This happened to my brothers, my husband and his brother and to my kids.  I prefer having birthdays close together rather than all separate.  For one its much easier on family members and friends who only have to go to 1 party instead of 2 or 3.  And its easier on me who only has to plan 1 party instead of 2 or 3.  But really, we have no choice in the matter and we do what we have to do. 

But how do you do that?  How do you make it fair to both (or more) of the kids when they don't get their own party.  It saddens me to think that we have become that worldly, that materialistic that we even have to worry about it.  What is it teaching our children? 

What we have come up with is that each child gets to do one thing with daddy for their birthday.  Its with daddy, not with Mommy, because I get to be with them all the time.  Daddy never does.  I even get to be alone with them frequently but daddy never does.  This is great for bonding and for daddy who never gets to be there for anything.  And they get their special day, their one day. 

For their party; we have 1, usually between birthdays, and just celebrate both birthdays together.  In March we have 3, in May we have 2, in August we have mine and one of my kids, in September we have 2.  So that works out to only 4 parties a year instead of 8.  Much more economical..  The kids never complain that they don't get their own party, because they had their own day.  I think too, that it help deflect some of the attention.  For those that don't like being the center of attention, the kids who are shy, this allows them to have their party but not be the focus. 

This has worked very well for us the last few years. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do you want a big family?

I got this from Life in a Shoe and decided to ask my own kids.  I have asked them before and they always say they do, with some exceptions.

Adele (12) - I hope so, cause its nice to have kids around.

Ann (11) - Yea, cause kids are great.

James (10) - No, 1 or 2.  I don't want a lot of kids wrecking my house.

Joe (8) - Yes, Actually 3 or 4.  Cause I just do.

Liam (6) - Yea sure.  About 7.  Cause I like kids.

Ian (5) - Uh huh.  Cause I just want to.  I want a mansion with a basement.  And a dog and A cat.  5 cats.  And 2 fish is a big fish tank.  I want 10 kids.

Ewan (3) - Yes, Alot.  Some Alot.  I love Natalie.  (Natalie is my niece).

It should be noted that James was just fighting with his bother and sister about loosing a game so he might be jaded.  You can  tell which kid is the big talker.

My 15 year old brother told me, when I asked him, that he wanted 6.  He wasn't crazy like me and gonna have 8.

My 25 Year old brother wants a large family as well.

Now, my 27 yr old brother wants no kids, no wife, no girl friend (or boy friend).  All those things cost money you know.

As for me, I want lots of kids.  At least 8.  :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

13 Things I wish Teachers Knew

Disclaimer: I have no problem with schools.  They are a need, a necessity.  Not everyone can or should homeschool.  I have sent my kids to public school.  I have gone to private, public and was homeschooled as well.  What I have a problem with is the way that children are taught, the tying of hands of teachers, the outrageous expenses these schools shell out, etc.  

I read an article today and got steamed.  I think not reading news is probably better for my health.  The title was 13 things your Child's Teacher Won't Tell You.  Now, before I read this I am thinking its going to mention things like: The other kids don't like your kid, or I find the food you send with you kid makes me gag.  You know, stuff of that nature.  Instead the article highlighted things like #3:
3. We’re sick of standardized testing and having to “teach to the test.”
No way! I had no idea.  I have only heard about it in every article about education reform for the last decade or more.

Honestly, the one that bothered me the most was #9:
9. We take on the role of mother, father, psychologist, friend, and adviser every day. Plus, we’re watching for learning disabilities, issues at home, peer pressure, drug abuse, and bullying.
As if we didn't know that teachers were also baby sitters?   No, what actually bothers me is their attitudes towards me homeschooling.  Instead of a teacher taking on a roll of mother, I am a mother taking on the roll as teacher.  A roll that mothers know too well.  We teach them to walk, to talk, to go on the potty, to be polite, to look both ways when they cross the street.  When they show up on that first day of school it was their mother and/or father that got them there.  The kids don't show up peeing themselves, attacking other students and drawing all over the walls.  A teacher is thinking mighty highly of themselves if they think parents don't take on the roll of psychologist, chauffeur, friend, adviser, nurse, and more.

I think if I made a list of things I wished teachers knew about parents it would look like this:

1. We know our children better than you do. We spent numerous years with our children, day and night, before they showed up in your classroom.  When I say something about my kids take it seriously, I know what I am talking about.

2. Its not that we aren't interested in our children's learning, its that you rub us the wrong way.  Instead of getting into a heated argument we are avoiding you.  Yea, that's right, you aren't perfect and there are people in this world that don't like you.  Rolling your eyes at a parent is sure to make them just fall all over you in adoration. 

3. The schools policy on no brought in lunches is making my child sick and lethargic.  School food is crappy and kids don't eat well enough.  My daughter didn't loose 10 pounds because we don't feed her at home, but because school lunches are so awful she isn't eating at school.

4. Putting kids in time out during recess, the only time they have to run off their energy, is not going to help their behavior any. 

5. We actually like to spend time with our kids, but we often sacrifice that so we can make enough money to feed them.  Don't judge my absence on lack of love.

6. My kids wouldn't need a phone in school if the other kids didn't bully him or you scare him so much.

7. When my children come home with all sorts of bad behaviours I remember that it was you watching them all day.

8.  Kids are gonna get hurt or sick at school, we accept that.  We expect you to accept the same at home.  My kids aren't missing days because I am a bad parent, its because they are sick.

9.  My kids tell me all about you too. 

10.  I get paid nothing to raise the next generation of Americans.  To do what you do.

11.  We view homework the same way our kids do.  We hate it.  You have them for 8 hours and can't get done with everything?  How many hours a day do kids really need to be doing school work?  Do they get to sleep at some point?

12.  If we had a choice, we would use a private school.  

13.  We expect our children to do the best they can do, and we except them to be taught by the best.  If we settled for mediocre what would we ever have to strive for?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Its the most wonderful time of the year

Remember those commercials from Staples?  Well, homeschoolers get excited about school starting again too.  It means the return of schedules and structure, the departure of boredom and 24/7 computer games.  We are a week away from school starting and I couldn't be more excited.  I will admit to trying to find a way to start school sooner.

The kids aren't so much excited.  They know when school starts there is no lounging around in the am.  They will have to get up, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, do their chores, hopefully dress and then its school time.   Which is really quite relaxing.  Everyone is on one level for the majority of the day, I don't have to chase a baby out of 3 bathrooms, or worry about him climbing up the bunk bed everytime I turn around.  Kids are mostly quiet during this time except when they have a question.  We get to listen to music and the kids aren't running around being crazy.  Oh yes, its a great time of the year. 

Lunch is generally around noon (I start it during the 11 o'clock hour), the kids have a break where they do more chores (bwahahahah) and finish their school work or go play if they are done.  This is when I put the baby down for his nap.  I do have to do chores during this time: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc.  But the afternoon is for fun.  Kids enjoy crafts and reading or playing blocks. 

When dinner rolls around and the comes home the kids can get a little more crazy.  They watch tv or play on the computer.  Every year I say I am gonna find something for the kids to do during the summer so we still have that structure and so its not so crazy.  But then the heat hits and no one wants to leave the house so we never do anything.  One of these years I will figure it out.  Or we will move somewhere we can actually enjoy summer break.  Maybe I should do school all summer and have summer break over the winter months.  Maybe I have had this backwards the whole time.  Or maybe I will do year round school, that should make my kids happy! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We are doing our part

Have you heard the latest news?  The birth rate in the US is at an all time low.  Seems we aren't the only ones with this problem.  Mexico, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia,and   Taiwan, also have the problem. Basically everywhere except the middle east and africa.  And then their infant mortality is so high most kids don't make it to reproduction age.

Population Control folks should be thrilled. You would wonder why there is such alarm if we truly are over populated as we have been told for so long. 

Oh so we aren't.  Well I, for one, am doing my part. I should get a bonus or something.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It is 2010 right?

Cause here I thought in "this day and age" we Americans would be so much more enlightened than our historical counterparts.  Apparently I was wrong.  This week, a woman here in Phoenix was asked to leave a McDonalds because she was breastfeeding.  Sadly, this is not the first incident here in the valley like this.  Its happened before and its what ultimately ended up getting a law passed  protecting mothers for just such an occurrence.  Now we know that businesses who do this are ignorant of the law, or at least claim to be.  And they always issue an apology.  As if that makes it all better.  Regardless, this isn't about McD's or any other place stupid enough to do this sort of thing.  What this is really about is the comments, the common people who pass us as we breastfeed and what they really think.  Its about the attitude people have towards breastfeeding.  Not breastfeeding in public.  Just breastfeeding. 

People are woefully uninformed and misinformed about breastfeeding.  Take this comment as an example:

Put your kid on a feeding schedule and nurse before you leave the house. If you feel that you can't do that then stay home until the kid can feed itself.
Breastfeeding and Scheduling do not go hand in hand.  In fact it can be down right dangerous.  While some people have success with scheduling their breastfed babies feeds others have discovered it was totally ruinous.  One web search for breastfeeding and Ezzo will make you never ever want to schedule your babies feeds.  Not to mention the little logistical problem of not getting home when you planned, leaving earlier than planned or worse, not even going home at all.  For those that actually vacation, should we retreat to our hotel room every 2 hours to nurse our baby?  That would make for a splendid vacation. 

Or this comment from another poster:

Simply pump a bottle at home if you're going out or be sensible and discreet if you must in public. But don't just whip 'em out and expect no one around you to notice or "just not look"
If pumping were so "simple" then there would be far more working mothers asking businesses to accomodate them to pump while at work.  If it were so simple there would be no empty milk banks.  Further, most breastfeed babies will not take a bottle and if done too early can totally ruin a breastfeeding relationship.  If you don't know what that means, it means the baby will refuse the breast and only want the bottle.  Further, a little fact, this mother was covered.  And in phoenix on a 110 day, that is a mighty act of modesty there let me tell you.  I love how everyone just assumes breastfeeders whip it out.  I've been  breastfeeding for 12 years, 8 kids and I have NEVER EVER seen a woman whip it out.  I have never seen a bare breast.  I have barely even seen a breastfeeder in public.  And I look.  Cause typically I am sitting there doing the same thing!

Now on a couple of points that always bother me about these types of stories.  #1 - I have seen more ass cracks on women and fat men in public than I could count in a lifetime.  Hairy, sweaty, thongs, so low I wasn't sure if they were wearing bottom at all.  One look through People of Walmart is enough to make me retch.  Do I see people posting comments about how gross and awful that is?  No.  But I get 55 pages of comments about Breastfeeding with a Cover. 

#2 - Don't even cite modesty in 2010.  When you can get an iPhone app for porn, saw a commercial for it last night actually, I would say modesty has gone right out the window.  When you can view porn in McDs on your iphone but I can't nurse there, I would say thats a problem.  We had the sexual revolution, we've had ground breaking displays of sexuality on television from the first full rear nudity shot to obviously naked man and woman simulated sex, we can see nipples on magazine racks all across this country, but a woman gets kicked out of a store for breastfeeding with a cover.  Modesty?  Cover it?  Cover everything else first and we can talk. 

#3 - We have actually gone BACKWARDS as far as modesty and breastfeeding goes.  Before bottles and formula were standards for babies women had to breastfeed.  There was no 2 ways about it. If they couldn't another woman would.  These women did not stay home till their little one was weaned (often after the age of 2 or later), and they certainly didn't walk around with a blanket draped on them all the time.  No, they really did whip it out.  Where ever they were, whenever they needed to. A great example was posted by Rixa just yesterday.  For hundreds of years women have whipped it out and yet today in 2010 we can't do that anymore.

#4 - If you are a man, who feels he might sin if he sees a woman breastfeeding in public, then you have a problem.  Instead of blaming women, please seek help, as you obviously have a problem.  And avoidance is not the solution. 

 Oh, and just to prove how imodest we breastfeeders are here is a series of pictures that show you how I am just letting it all hang out.  Be sure to watch the background. 

Aren't I so indecent?  And thats at home where I don't even try to cover up.  Out in public I don't let my kids lift my shirt over my shoulder.  And notice how much is going on in the picture.  In public there is as much if not more going on.  Are we really that distracting? 

Now, one last bit of advice.  Don't poke the momma bear.  We tend to defend our young to the death.  Just back away slowly and no one will get their heads bit off. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kids are great....for comic relief

I love conversation with 3 yr olds.  Mine recently came into the kitchen naked, so I asked him why he didn't have underwear on. He responded. "I was killing a cricket!"  Which in his mind probably made perfect sense, not so much to momma.  I told him he could wear underwear while killing crickets.  He growled at me and said, "FINE!" and stomped away.  There must be something to killing those crickets I don't know about.

My mother has a poodle who happens to have a tick problem.  So my mother had his shaved.  Now, we have owned poodles for more than 30 years but this shave even left me laughing.  Poor thing was down to his skin even on his ears.  When I saw him I told my mom, "He looks like a chihuahua." My older kids heard this and passed it on and a few minutes later my 4 yr old was running over to us to tell us, "Mickey was a chihuahua this whole time!"

My 6 yr old asked me to help him put on a belt while I was busy.  I told him to hang on and he stood patiently waiting.  He said, "I thought I heard you say something but it was just my mind messin' with me."  I told him I did say something, I told him to wait. Then I asked him, "Does your mind mess with you often?"  He tells me it does.  This actually explains a lot. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Speaking Kid

To understand a kid and get them to understand you, you need to know the lingo.  And I don't mean the hip new words they make up so they think parents can't understand them.  Please, like that hasn't been going on for centuries.  Maybe we should start talking like we did as teenagers and they won't be able to understand us. I can see it now, I will tell dh our son is dirty, "Dudes grungy."  Son will be totally oblivious to the fact he is about to be sent for a shower. 

Anyway, you need to speak like they do to get them to do what you want.  For instance if you are arguing with your son that he needs to shower and he claims he showered last night this is how you win the argument.  "Well then if you showered last night how come you didn't complain when I told you last night that you have to shower in the morning?"  His response: "I forget easily."  So I say, "Well if you couldn't remember last night that you showered last night, how can you remember today that you showered yesterday?"  Not sure if I totally confused him or won the argument but he walked away.  I am counting it as a win for me. But only if he showers. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Teeth and the Night

What is it about teeth pain and the dark?  As soon as the sun goes down anyone with a tooth ache suddenly needs a morphine drip in order to function.  When I had my wisdom teeth out as soon as the sun set my gums would start throbbing like my heart had migrated to my mouth.  Babies, whose teeth haven't even poked through yet, seem to yield to this affliction as well.  Are our mouths connected to the tide?  Is there an ocean in our teeth?  What would happen if I got on a plane and started flying, staying ahead of sunset, would my babies teeth come in without pain? 

The last few nights have left the dh and I with virtually no sleep.  My toddler is teething.  He has eye teeth coming in and some molars as well.  He can sleep fine during the day but as soon as I lay my head on a pillow at night he wakes up screaming and it doesn't stop till 5 am.  At which time of course he sleeps fine again.  Maybe while hes crying next time I will put his mouth to my ear and see if I can hear the ocean in there.  There has to be some connection. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

When Less is More

We have 3 bathrooms.  3.  You would think that would be a good thing.  I am starting to think other wise.  First, its 3 bathrooms I have to clean.  Which isn't really all that fun.  Especially when you have 6 boys.  They are young and still learning how to write their name in the snow, meaning their aim is not that great.    Further, you have to remember to stock 3 bathrooms with the necessities: soap, towels, toilet paper.  The last one is kinda important. Well, I guess its important to those that care to wipe their rears.  I think some children feel wiping is optional.  My youngest daughter however, does not. 

This morning I stopped in my bathroom while doing some laundry.  Not 10 seconds in there do I hear "I NEED TOILET PAPER."  coming from one of the other bathrooms.  I yell back, "I am busy I will be there in a minute."  2 seconds later I hear, "I NEED TOILET PAPER!" I yell back, "IN A MINUTE!"  2 seconds later again I hear, "I NEED TOILET PAPER."  How can I hear her but she can not hear me?  And how come I can hear her but no one else in the house can?  Is there special sound piping in the house that leads to where ever I am?

Every few seconds my dd screams, "I NEED TOILET PAPER!"  By the time I leave the bathroom I am laughing: she never calls a persons name, never opens the door to see if someone is around to help her, never bangs on walls or the door to get someones attention.  Just sits there screaming.  My way down with some tp I pass my oldest ds who also has some tp, at least someone else heard her. 

The worst part?  After I told the dh about this he said, "Oh thats what I forgot to do this morning."  Apparently he ran out and forgot to put some in there.  If I had 1 bathroom at least I could keep it clean and well stocked, if not have a line down the hall for its use.  At least we would all have tp when we needed it. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What do you Need?

Given the way the economy is people are really reexamining what they truly need in their lives.  I saw it 2 years ago when it first hit the real estate market here and all our friends and family started to down size.  Not just down size, but declutter and live simply.  We, ourselvesa got rid of most of our stuff.  Some recent articles made me look at this subject again.  Over the last 2 years we have accumulated stuff again.  Some we bought, but people seem to think we are a dumping ground for all their unwanted stuff.  I have probably given away 2 van fulls of stuff that belonged to other people.  Yes, we have a lot of kids and need more stuff than your average family.  But that doesn't not mean you can dump everything and anything off here.  Call me silly, but I don't think we need MMORPG games and 10 popples.  So as I once again declutter, here are some articles to make you think.

How big of a house do you need? How about a micro house? Someone asked us on our vacation if we had a huge house.  I don't think we do, its 2400 sq ft and plenty big enough.  We could go smaller easily, but as a renter we have to have a certain amount of bedrooms even if they do go unused.  

How much stuff do you need?  Can you live with just 100 possessions

What have you done to save money?  How extreme would you go? There is 1 thing I would not ever do to save money and that is go without a/c.  It would mean death I am sure.  My neighbors did it one year and they lived in their pool.  I guess at that age you don't worry so much about skin cancer. 

What do you need?  Really need?  How does it affect how your kids act and think?  Are we being the examples we should be?