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?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reserving Judgement...

In the last week I noticed something about myself.  I have become less judgmental.  Not to say that I was going around judging everyone, but everyone assumes something about someone at some point.  I am, however,  relieved  to say that I have been doing less of that lately.  And I have my kids to thank for that.

When you see someone out an about and they look like they have no idea what hygiene is, perhaps they do, but their baby kept them up all night.  I'm pretty sure the dh never went to work with 2 different shoes on, his shirt inside out, and his hair unwashed before he had kids.  Its just a side effect of being up half the night.  And sadly, thats happened more than a few times over the years.  So just because someone looks a mess, doesn't mean they are. 

If you ever ran across some filthy dirty kids while you have been out and you immediately suspect neglect, maybe rethink that.  For all you know they have been camping for 4 days and had to stop on the way home to use the rest room.  Here in AZ you don't get to camp in grass, you camp in dirt.  Wanna know what you look like after a few days with  no showers?  It ain't purtty.  I think it took a week to scrub the dirt off them. 

If you ever walk past a house or hear your neighbors yelling and screaming with the kids don't assume they are a dysfunctional family.  For all you know they are playing ghost hunter and then giving their kids a bath.  I actually got my toddler on video during bath time, just in case someone accuses me of abuse.  Kid can hit some decibels. 

And when I am the mother that has to think,"Oh my God, I hope no one thinks we are awful parents.",  its then I realize I should never think the same of someone else.  You just don't know. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daddies can be Smart too

Yesterday on the way home from work we popped a tire.  And by 'we' I mean the dh of course.  He popped a tire.  He wasn't very quick to share how it happened, and with good reason.  He ran into the curb.  That pops tires you know.  I knew that.  My mom did that once, thats really not fair because when it comes to driving shes done everything at least once.  But regardless, I knew curbs popped tires.  I tried to tell the dh, "Would you quit taking the turns like that?  You're gonna pop a tire!"  I couldn't understand why he has such an issue as I manage to drive just fine without hitting any curbs.  Finally, after about 10 "I told you so's" he tells me, "I was just trying to prove you right."  Now, thats a smart man right there. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vacation Part 3 - Vegas

Its a really desolate drive from Phoenix to Vegas.  Its a few hundred miles of nothing but desert for as far as your eye can see.  Kinda like being on the ocean, just the opposite.  If you broke down out there you would be in serious trouble.  Especially at night.  There is no lights. 

Between Phoenix and Vegas there are 3 cities, Wickenburg, Wikieup and Kingman.  And Wikieup is a gas station.  If you count Nothing there are 4.  You've heard of Nothing, AZ.  Its aptly named.  I think its a ghost town now. 

A boring road trip to be sure.  There are some cool Joshua Trees, which is a mix between a cactus and a tree.  Some really pretty canyons, especially as you get towards the Hoover Dam.  But really, just hundreds upon hundreds of miles of nothing.  If you believe in over population you have not visited AZ.  You will surely feel your smallness on Rt. 93. 

Our side of the Hoover Dam was ok.  I was worried with the Security Check point, but we got right through.  The Vegas side however had about 4 miles of back up.  We decided then to take the Laughlin route back home. 

We should have gotten out and looked around but it was very crowded.  Maybe next time. 

Once past the dam you aren't far from Vegas.  First we stopped at Ethel M Chocolate Factory, I highly recommend a stop if you are visiting the area.  The tour is free and you get a free sample at the end.  Be warned, you will want to purchase more.  Fresh chocolate right off the line is so much better and different than the stuff sitting around for weeks in your local grocery. 

From there we went to the M-n-M store.  Sadly the free 4d movie was under construction but I have been before and its a really great movie for the kids.  A lot of fun.  Definetly a good stop while you are there.  And if you go right next door at the MGM Grand is the free Lion Exhibit.  Real lions, not the giant one outside.

 Then on the other side of the M-N-M store is the Coke Store.  We didn't have time to go in there; another thing to add to the list for next time.

Yea, its an elevator, how cool is that?  From there you take the walk way over the street to the NY NY.  We have stayed there before and really loved it.  The ground floor where the gaming is has a replica of streets in NYC.  The storefronts are actual eateries and store fronts.  The next floor has an awesome arcade with a roller coaster that goes through. 

At this point we headed to the hotel to check in.  We went swimming, then grabbed some dinner at the hotel.  The people there were incredibly family friendly.  I was amazed at how many kids were there, families of all sizes, we saw plenty with 5 or 6 kids in tow.  I recieved so many wonderful compliments on my family, it really warmed my heart.  I guess when everyone is a stranger its easier to let your guard down and be nice. Really wonderful people there.  Of course there were the crazies, but they are everywhere anyway.  A patron at the buffet told me I looked young!  And then the server told me it was healthy to have so many, and maybe I could have 8 more.  I really needed to be lifted up, it was nice to hear so many compliments back to back. 

We went out after dinner to Treasure Island to see the Pirate show.  Really recommend this.  The fire scared the kids, but it was 30 minutes of singing and dancing, fireworks, canons, ships sinking, high diving fun.  Did I mention its free?  Everything we did in Vegas was Free.  Except eat.  And we have to do that regardless. 

We got in the van to go check out the rest of the shows like the Fountains at the Bellagio.  When I say Fountains I mean, Niagra falls going the wrong way.  It was really FOUNTAINS.  We wanted to go to the Freemont Street Experience but the kids fell asleep.  So we went back to the hotel and went to bed.  Which was one of the best nights sleep I have had in a long time. 

The next day we took in some shows at the Hotel.  We saw Magicians, and Clowns, Acrobats and High Wire acts. The dh loved the magic show the best, but I was not close enough for pictures.

We played in the arcade for awhile, the kids had a ball.  They hadn't seen an arcade so big before.

Prizes were won all around, but sadly we had to head home.  But we have a list of things to do the next time we go. 

The ride home was a bit more scenic, we went through Laughlin.  We saw many Rainbows on the way. 

There are 2 in that picture.  The bottom one we could see span the whole sky.  And we saw a Dustnado.  I don't know any other way to explain it.  It was the biggest dust devil I have ever seen, it had 5 or 6 mini dust devils inside it, just like a tornado.

So there you have it, for the cost of 2 hotel rooms (with AAA discount) and gas and food (which we would have had to pay regardless of where we went) we had a fabulous vacation.  You don't need to spend a lot to have a lot of fun. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vacation part 2 - The Fun

On Wednesday we had decisions to make.  We had an entire week off for vacation and now we had nothing planned.  Then entire southwest United States was covered in rain, and for the whole week.  There was no camping happening anywhere.  We had 2 choices, pay for a hotel or do day trips. 

Option 1 is rather difficult with a large family.  Most times hotels will not allow you to have more than 3 children and 1 adult per room.  So even with 2 rooms we have too many.  Suites are usually up to 6 or 8 people, so we still have too many.  Renting a house needs to be done far in advance as they fill up.  It was not looking like a good option. 

Option 2 did not look much better.  Day trips in the rain when everything we would want to do outdoors kinda spoils the fun.  The Grand Canyon would be a giant slip and slide and not in a good way.  Hiking would have been fun, trudging through inches of mud.  We tried that before, so we could see the water fall at the White Tanks. We have the brown socks to prove it.  Speaking of which, why are socks white? 

We weighed our options and decided we would see if we could actually get a hotel room in Vegas.  Surely, with their vast array of hotels, they would have something available to us.  We hit the jack pot on the first try (funny pun there).  Circus Circus allows 5 kids and 1 adult per room if the extra kids are under 5.  Just to be sure we called a few more places and they all said we had too many kids.  So we booked the Circus Circus for the next night. 

We went from having the van packed for camping to going to Vegas for a day.  What a switch.  We had to repack our bags, sweats and hoodies weren't gonna cut it there.  Took the camping stuff out of the van, made a list of free things to do while there and headed out first thing the next day.  Yes, we are crazy, but thats what makes it so much fun. 

A few years ago I never would have done anything like this.  I am a planner, a perfectionist.  I have to sit and think about every scenario before I even make a decision.  The dh on the other hand is a free spirit, just gets up and goes where the winds take him.  He will suddenly take a turn off a road and say, "Lets see where this goes." Hes taught me so much about living in the moment, to just go with the flow.  Its opened up so many doors for me.  Before I am sure I missed out on a lot of fun, because now I find fun everywhere when I am being spontaneous.  

Tomorrow I will finish my vacation posts with pictures from Vegas and all the incredible stuff we did. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Long Drive

It was vacation week for us.  We had been planning it for months.  We were going to escape the heat in Phoenix and head to the cool pines in Payson.  We had our camp site reserved, we spent all Monday cleaning out the van and packing it up.  Tuesday we headed out with a very ominous forecast.  Its about a 90 minute drive to the camp ground so I figured it wouldn't be long before we knew whether or not we could camp.

We arrived in Payson at lunch time.  So we stopped at the park for a picnic.  The weather was still fine.  We did get sprinkled on a little the way up but nothing to worry us.  We ate quickly because we wanted to see the Tonto Natural Bridge.  I guess I should have checked that website before we left.  As you can clearly see, it is closed on Tuesdays.  By the time we turned around from there to head to the campground it started sprinkling again. 

There was one thing I wanted on this trip, I wanted to see wild life.  There was all these Watch out for Deer signs, and I wanted to see one.   On our way to the campsite the Dh pointed one out for me.  It was dead.  Hit by a car.  So I guess I had to be really specific with my requests, "God I want to see a LIVE deer."  Thanks. 

We arrived at our campsite at about 2pm.  It was sprinkling a little, but barely noticeable.  We walked around trying to determine where to put our tent.  We wanted to make sure it was well trenched.  As we walked the rain got harder and harder.  Eventually we had to seek refuge in our van.  What started out as a sprinkle quickly turned into a down pour.  Our campsite became a river.  This picture was taken 10 minutes into the rain.

We decided to come back later, maybe the rain would stop.  We drove to the rangers station, and by the time we got there it was thundering and lightening so much my 6 yr old described it as the sky exploding.  We hung out at the ranger station for a while, tried to look out over the rim.  All you could see was fog so thick you could scoop it up with your hand.

Ok, we decided to drive further.  We headed to the lake.  Just as we pulled up a bolt of lightening struck the other side of the lake.  There was a mass exodus of swimmers running out and to their cars.  We drove right on through and didn't even bother trying to get out.  It was like the storm was following us.  From there we decided to go even further, maybe the fish hatchery was ok. 

The fish hatchery is really far back in the mountain, its a beautiful scenic drive.  The van was pretty quiet as everyone watched out the window.  I am sure my screaming, "A DEER!  A DEER!  I saw a LIVE DEER!"  gave everyone a heart attack.  The Dh slammed on his breaks, sure that a deer was about to come crashing through the window the way I was screaming.  I explained that it was ok, it was back there in the woods, just staring at me.  So my 12 yr old says, "Yea it was probably thinking, 'A HUMAN! A HUMAN!  Its a LIVE HUMAN!'"

We finally get to the fish hatchery only to see a sign that says they close at 3:30.  The time?  3:35.  This day was not turning out well at all.  We headed back into town, the storm followed us all the way there.  We were gonna stop at the park again only to have lightening streak down in front of us.  By the time we had to stop to use the restroom the entire sky was black, lightening was all around us.  We knew there was no way we were gonna go camping.  We headed back to phoenix. 

Wouldn't you know it, but that storm followed us all the way back to Phoenix.  But I got some great shots of the mountains, the lighting was perfect.

Our camping trip was ruined but our vacation was not.  I even told the dh on the way home, not to worry, that when our plans don't go the way we want often times what does happen is better than what we could have planned.  In total that day we were in the van for 10 hours.  Our children were Angels.  No one complained.  I couldn't have been more proud.  They even cracked jokes and made the best of the situation.  And hey, I got to see my deer.