Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh, the Choices We Must Make....

Do I starve the children and live in a shining castle or feed the children and live in squallor? I don't seem to have the time for both cleaning and making meals.

It feels like if I make a good meal, it takes all my time in the afternoon, I make a hideous mess, and don't have time to clean up the mess that I made for the meal or the time to regain the cleaning that didn't get done while cooking. If I clean, I barely finish wiping up the last crumb at about bedtime and our kids have existed on cold cereal, toast or nothing (according to them) that day.... Oh, woe is me! And to make myself not feel whiney!!! Distressing!

I can't complain though....exactly why I can't still evades me but I'm sure I can think of something.

***Thinking.................thinking............thinking.............................................THINK, THINK, THINK!!!***

1. I have a darling baby...fussy, but darling!!!
2. Our other kids are becoming more and more helpful...and complain less and less when I ask them to help.
3. My husband spend 1 1/2 mos at home while laid off. I think he gets it how hard it is to keep up with especially so many shoveling when it's still snowing....and when you add in a very fussy baby....nearly impossible!
4. Ummm.....hard to think with all the chaos here! Our littlest toddler, our little fella, is extremely nice and gentle and loving to his baby sister. He looooves her and kisses her whenever he can....and he only kisses her on the head or forehead or top of when he has a booger nose he doesn't infect her at least.
5. I have really been enjoying my big oldest two are a blast to bring to school every morning and we get some really good gab time in.
6. My two middle girls have really grown up since we started homeschooling. They are really responsible and dependable.
7. Our 1st grader also has shown some considerable changes since she started homeschooling this year. She was really full of outbursts much of last year and most of the summer. When we started the school year, she somehow has just mellowed out and is extremely diligent when it comes to doing her schoolwork. She wants to learn every day and works hard.

There, I really do have a lot to be thankful for! :)

Oh, yeah! AND we have a BLIZZARD coming...similar to the Halloween Blizzard of '91. Remember Kristin and Joni? We had such of a blast being snowed in with lots of friends and family! And when it came time to start shoveling our way out, remember how we could hardly even find the cars in the parking lot...seriously! I can't wait!!! :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hmm, Chocolate Toxicity...Is There Such of a Thing?

Those mint M&M's I mentioned the other night? I ate probably too many of them and just as I was tucking in to sleep that night, about 1am, I suddenly had a wretching stomache ache and then eventually diarrhea. I was up for hours, between sitting on the toilet and wondering if I was going to puke. I finally went to bed about morning I was fine.

I gave those mint M&M's to my 11 y.o. She was thrilled!

P.S. I didn't give my daughter the mint M&M's to poison her, btw. I just knew she wouldn't eat them by the handful after handful after handful like I did. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Manic Monday...

Today was one of those days... our car broke down about a week ago and today was E's first day back to work. We weren't able to figure out what to do about the car so E had to take the van to work. I should have brought our oldest two girls to school but couldn't so a neighbor's carpool friend took them but then one of the kids had to be out of a seat belt because there were eight in a seven-passenger van. I'm kind of rigid about seat belt usage so I knew we had best cure this car situation quickly.

Thank goodness one of my sisters had an extra car that we could use for a while until we get some funds saved up to either fix this car or get another one. Needless to say, a month and a half with both my income and E's stopped suddenly, we didn't really have the extra cash to fix the car right away.

I called our insurance lady to have her switch our insurance from our broken down car to the one we will be using. She went on and on that my sister should still have insurance on the extra car they don't drive, "I mean, home owners' insurance wouldn't cover that car if the house would burn down and the car was in the garage and was damaged!" Her point was that they should have it insured. Just drive it under their insurance.

Lady. This isn't my car. I don't know if it is insured. It isn't my business if they don't have insurance on the car they don't even drive. It isn't your business if they don't have insurance on the car they don't even drive. JUST SWITCH OUR INSURANCE, FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!!! I told her, "Look. If I get into a car accident with their car, I don't want to do damage to their insurance rates when it isn't their fault and they're being kind enough to lend us their car! Just, you know, to be courteous, I would like to insure it while we drive it." She finally agreed that it may be a good idea. I told her, "Hey, we've done this before! You've advised us to." (I think) :) Grrrr. You're fired, Lady! FIRED!!! I argue 20/7 with my kids, 2/7 with my hubby, and 1/7 with my pets. Knock it OFF!!!! I don't have the energy to argue with YOU TOO. I mean, I PAY you to insure my vehicles. Don't ARGUE with me!

Okay, so then E gets home from his first day back at work, we eat, I nurse one baby, change about 6 others' diapers, bathe one and air out his behinder 'cause he has diarrhea and poops about every 3 minutes....then to try get out the door with all the kids to get to my sister's house to pick up the car. E helped her hubby change the tires from summer tires to winter tires. I told my sister, "Now that's a new concept to me. Summer tires? Winter tires? I remember.....uhhh....maybe putting chains on the tractor tires maybe, but on a car? Never heard of it before!" They are just so sophisticated. And she did have to mention the cool rims the summer tires all I will do is pine for those summer rims! No, actually, as cool as those summer tire rims are, and they are cool, nice looking, the winter ones are just fine. Cuter than our van rims! :)

So, as we were getting ready to leave from my sister's about 11pm or so (way past our bedtime....or at least our imaginary bedtime, or dreamed of bedtime, no pun intended), it started snowing gigantic snowflakes on top of rain. Great. And I had my sights set on stopping by the store for gum......and, um, mint M&M's. Shhhh, don't tell my baby 'cause then she will insist on being gassy all night. If she knows nothing about the M&M's, she should be fine....I'm thinking. :s

So, we drove all the way home noticing the roads are still just fine, just wet. By the time we got to our town, I knew I was safe zipping to the store quick for some refreshments to reward myself for my wearing day.

Now I'm making my plans for my home school day tomorrow. Today we had our first really nice, productive, 100% complete day since Baby was born, just as I had planned. Yippee! A big celebration for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh, Rats!... Izzy G... and other such updates!

I've been trying to get myself self-disciplined to start posting often, even if not every day, at least a few times a week. So, here goes...I always have many things a day that happen that are so blog-worthy. Let's see how many of them from today I can remember.

We had to take off for a while today to tow our car home from a neighboring town, where it had broken down Sunday night. Upon our return home, one of the girls found our pet rat's cage tipped over and the rat was missing. Our cats had apparently gotten the cage! Were we going to find the rat alive or dead, hurt or unscathed?

Well, we found Briggs (the rat) hiding in the bedroom behind a little drawer set in the corner of the room it "lives" in, unhurt and happy to see us. Whew!

Izzy G, the other day, tells me, "Mom. I have had these clothes on for years! I have to change already! Find me new clothes!" Well, she got an instant response. Her oldest sister got such of a kick out of it that she dropped whatever she was doing to go find her a complete new outfit. Well, little Miss Izzy G wasn't to be so easily satisfied, it turns out. She didn't exactly care for the darling, even matching outfit that was found for her.....she's really into pink, you see. This outfit was all gray and cream in color. So, since the years thing worked for her once already, she decided she was ready to give it another round. Within hours of changing, and with sparkling clean clothes on already, she tells me, "Mom. I have had these clothes on for years and years! I think I need to change already."

*side note: Now, as I am typing, this is the Izzy G dialogue that's going on. From the basement, where we have laundry hanging up (our dryer is out of order): "Mom! There is laundry hangin' out for me! Can I change?" I told her, "Yup." She brought some clothes up and she had a pair of darling jeans I bought for her on ultimate clearance, clearance from Children's Place for a couple bucks...I always try get her to wear them but she tells me she doesn't wear jeans. Well, she put them on, came out of her bedroom and asked, "Should I wear these?" I told her, "Yes! That looks good." She says, "It doesn't look cute though!" Grr...she is just too prissy! She's back downstairs looking for 'leggin's'!*

Well, there's more, always more, but my beautiful baby is fussing now so I must go attend to her. I will probably be adding more on later today...this post took me since last night to write so I think I will just add as I can, in bits and pieces, or I will never get a chance to blog 'til my kids are all self-sufficient. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our little Angel Princess has arrived!

I have other really, really good pictures of her but they've been emptied onto the big computer, which isn't connected to the internet. I could use a flash drive to transfer them but I'm too lazy..I mean, do that at this point. Maybe later..?!

She's always got lots and lots of loving going on around her...everyone gravitates to where baby is, holding her, holding her hand, holding her pacifier in...can't get enough of her!

Big sister goofing around with the younger ones....see baby nestled in on the crook of her arm? She's a natural with them all!!!

Best Buds, these two are! Still goofin' it up!

And here they are again, just chuckling over their photo shoots! And there's baby, hanging out with them. Isn't she just too tiny? Gasp. I forget from baby to baby just how small they are!

Well, she is 2 weeks old already! I have been getting so crabby at myself for not getting on here and blogging earlier but I guess, after having 8 kids, one is entitled to be a little putzy at getting around to announcing Baby's birth, right? I've been doing lots of holding, nursing, nuzzling, loving, and healing for the past 2 weeks. Oh, and tending to fever-ridden little darlings as well...that tends to take up a little time, energy and focus too!

We are on Round Two of fever bugs since our little dolly has come home. Our Izzy was the first one to get a fever with the first bug (that showed up the day my hubby, E, was laid off from his job). Now we've slowly made our rounds about the household with that one and she nicely popped a fever again tonight! This bug has added the joy of severe sore throat and headache though, thank you very much! Our Viva actually bypassed Bug Number One but yesterday got Bug Number Two that features the sides of sore throat and headache. I'm assuming that's what Little Izzy has now.

But onward to the joyous news: our Baby Girl, born 2 weeks ago (my due date was this coming up Friday, so I once again lucked out and delivered early). She weighed in at a tiny 7 lbs, 4 ozs. For our babies, that's tiny. I still just hold my breath changing her clothes or diaper cause it feels like I'm going to snap one of her teeny, fragile little limbs!

One of the first days home from the hospital, Izzy kept exclaiming over and over again, "Oh, I just love our new baby! I just lOVE her!" Then she would add, "I love her name too! ......What was her name again?....oh, yeah (after I would tell her)...I LOVE that name!"

Well, after about a week of having this lovely baby in our home, Izzy decided that she doesn't like her anymore. "I don't like her. I don't like that baby. Not anymore." I would ask her why. She would just answer honestly, "I don't know. I just don't like her." Then one day, as she was telling me that she doesn't like this baby anymore (and always in between she would be proclaiming her love for her), I told her, "Look at her! Look at her watching you. You're her big sister and she loves you!" She told me, "Well, I do love her. I just don't like her. But I love her. I just don't always like her. That's okay, okay?"

Our little guy just loves the baby to pieces! His whole head gets swallowed up in his grin when he sees her, holds her, or just pauses by her bassinet to chat to her. So far so good with him! I'm always on guard though.... :)

Baby has really been such of a joy and blessing to have around. She's easy to take care of...just feed her, burp her, change her diaper and give her at least several long stretches of just holding and rocking her...or even kicking back in the recliner with her on your chest, and she does just swell! She has minimal complaints.

She's a keeper!
And, last but not least, this video clip says it all. Big Bro taking care of his little sister already! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A New Path...

The economy has finally bit us in the backside. My husband just got laid off from his job of 20 years. What a shock that was!

Just last week, E was told he was to go down to 3 day weeks. We've had that happen twice before over the last few years. His place of employment has surprisingly kept him busy thusfar all these years. Although we were a little concerned due to our baby due to be born at any point now and me being off work, we figured that we would be fine with the 3 days plus the little unemployment benefits he would receive during this slow time. We then found out that he wouldn't be receiving unemployment benefits for some reason. He explained it to me but I didn't really get it too well.

Well, on his first morning off, on this little mini- or partial-layoff, he got a phone call that he is being laid off fully, indefinitely.

We had a few hours of pure shock and utter disbelief, both of us just huge-eyed and wandering around the house, many times wondering out loud, "Now what?" Then a kind of peacefulness settled over us. We both agreed, this too has a reason for happening. Life happenings aren't just random, there is a reason for this too and we will someday understand why. Maybe we will even be happier for it, you never know.

Now we have decided to have him just help out around the house in the next week or so until baby is born, until he finds out one way or the other if the lay off looks for sure permanent or not, and then go from there.

Well, I will have to say, he makes a better housekeeper than I have been the last few weeks. He has had me lay low, just resting up for my possibly last weekend of work, and has totally taken over the house, the meals, and the kid cares. Wow, I never knew how nice that can be! Sometimes when he is just bustling around, doing all the stuff I usually worry about, I pull myself out of my chair and putz around along with the rest of the crew, trying to do my part. He just chuckles and tells me to sit down and relax, that I've done all this for so many years, it's about time he contributes, especially now that he has no job. What a dear man!

I truly believe we will be guided in the direction we are meant to be guided. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this time waiting for baby, and count the many blessings I do have.

If all else fails, we have a solid Plan B. If E doesn't have any promising job leads by the time our baby is about 6 weeks old or so, I will plan to pursue full time hours as a nurse. I don't like to even think of that since my heart is with my other full time job-being a mom. I, however, recognize that it is a huge blessing that I am a nurse and probably can find work to support us.

Things are going to be incredibly tight for us for a couple months but we will survive and probably be more insightful, grateful, and wise for it all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"No Shirt, No Shoes...."

My husband, getting kids ready to go to Sam's Club, tells Izzy, "You need to remember to wear your shoes. You can't go into the store without them. There is even a sign on the door that reads, 'No shirt, no shoes, no service.'"

Izzy: " But you don't need to wear pants?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Hubby and his Guitar-Playing Girlfriend...

Let me tell you about this hubby of mine! Just the other night (in DreamLand), I found out my husband has another family. Don't really know how he has time for them when we keep him so busy. I was quite surprised to find this out, and asked him, with a bit of wonder and maybe a bit more of sarcasm, "Anything else I should know? Do you have a girlfriend as well that you want to tell me about?"

He answered, just as casually as I would have asked him if he would like mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, "Yeah, I do. She has blue hair and she plays a guitar." Well, you know how things in DreamLand can be. I instantly had a mental picture of this...ahem...guitar-playing girlfriend of his. She had brown hair, not blue, and she wasn't even cute!!!! I wasn't even as devastated as I was astounded. I mean, this man has never even indicated he likes guitar-playing girls. Piano player? Yes, I could see that. But guitar player and not. even. cute?

Well, on my way home from bringing the girls to school the next morning, my mind snapped back to this image of the not-even-cute girlfriend of his. When I got home, I parked the van, pulled out my cell phone and texted him this,

"Last night in DreamLand you casually told me you have a girlfriend, who plays guitar. I mean, she wasn't even cute! So, you better tell that guitar-playing girlfriend of yours that she better watch her back! I'm gonna keep an eye open for her and if I see her, I'm going to sneak up on her and bust her guitar!"

His reply: "Well, maybe you should take up playing guitar and then I would have a cute guitar player. :)"

Ain't he just great? :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homeschooling Life....

These pictures ended up getting posted rather randomly, so with no further ado, and in no particular order....our life as mostly homeschoolers, and a couple of non-homeschoolers: (there are two posts of pictures only, then a very long post about our decision to homeschool and our journey thusfar. This is in no way an attempt to say homeschooling is the way to educate your children or to say public schooling is bad. This post was spurred mostly by comments or questions I've run into from others that closely echoed my former feelings, questions, or concerns I've had in the past about homeschooling. Now I've felt that it's time for me to reflect and give my observations and opinions regarding these concerns):

Here, our first grader is working on a phonetic based reading program online, something that she does in her downtime as she waits for her lesson in Math. She has a 2 y.o. closely observing her (and learning at the same time)......

And our baby boy, busy in his own fashion of homeschooling...a self-taught smarty pants, reading a book and working on mom's computer at the same time, and quite smug at the sounds he's able to produce on that keyboard! :)

Ahhh, some rest after a long day's work!!! It's a tough job keeping these school kids in line but someone's gotta do it!

And a tea party put on by the two big girls (one is not pictured due to a camera shy disorder...any pics of her are purely by accident on her part or by extreme trickery on our part). See the diligence of the first grader? She had a math project to finish and was not to be distracted by a tea party! One can party and do a project at the same time, I learned. :)

And the nummy cake so lovingly made by one of the big girls. They each had a concoction that is their specialty that they asked to make for this tea party.

Homeschooling Life....And the Non-homeschoolers..

Working on the number line with integers...

Making use of her down time waiting for her Math lesson...playing chess on the computer....
Here, working still on Math, playing Chess, and in background, on couch, 1st grader working on Starfall (phonics-based reading) with a serious 2 y.o. onlooker....
Back to public school for a year, after homeschooling for about a year and a half....
Our two "out the door" schoolers, along with their friend and neighbor that goes to the same school.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

To Homeschool or not to Homeschool...That was the Question!

Just a word of precaution: This post could get a little lengthy so you might want to go grab that cup of coffee out of the microwave that you've reheated a few times and kick your feet up...If you're not interested in the topic, just skip down to The Story of the Dizzy Husband, "What is a Bee Sting?"

What came first, my thoughts to homeschool or the Columbine school massacre? I don't remember for sure, but I do remember three things from about the same time frame.

1. I worked with a nurse who told me about her neighbor children that homeschooled. She said that they all knew how to bake, cook, sew their own clothes, grind wheat berries for flour, and were all very intelligent, advanced students. She said that they were the most grounded, responible, respectful children you could hope for. Plus, they were nice....and great babysitters!

2. I remember the Columbine shootings taking place and, having very small children that would some day be in the school age group, I really began to imagine one of my own children potentially being in a similar horrific, life-scarring situation like that. I just felt that although life is life and everyone just has to learn to roll with the punches, and we can't protect our children from everything, I at the same time felt that no child should ever have to witness violence of that nature. Even if it doesn't result in death. Bullying, battery, teasing of peers just isn't the most natural occurence in the adult world. It can happen of course, but once you're an adult, you will always have a choice to move on from a bad work situation and will be hopefully mature enough to know when it is a situation that's fixable and when it isn't. As an adult, you can differentiate what is your problem and what is someone else's. A child in school doesn't have much of a choice and to an extent just accepts circumstances in school as normal. Then they internalize it, whether it is bullying and taunting of them or not. It sets a precedence of how they perceive "normal", and really, think of it. How "normal" is a set of norms set by your peers?

3. I remember having an intense yearning to school my children at home some day.

Since then, we moved into a town with a great school system and our oldest daughter had looked forward to school for so long, and we really didn't have any reason to keep her from going, that we just went ahead and sent her to public school.

We enjoyed many years of the kids going to school. The years, though, were speckled with things here and there that made homeschooling come to mind again and again. Not intensely. Just a niggling thought in the back of my head. A couple of these things include:

Our second oldest, from about kindergarden on, begged me off and on to homeschool her. I don't know what provoked this intense desire on her part to homeschool but I believe it started when she overheard me talking to someone and saying that I had always wished to homeschool but just really didn't have any reason to pull the kids out of the public school system.

She usually brought up her wish to homeschool at the beginning of the year, so I felt that, since it was possibly just anxiety with a new school year beginning and maybe a fear that she may not make new friends, I would encourage her to just give the new year a chance. I always say, if you try something new for at least two months and still don't like it, then go ahead and make a change. Most of the time, after about two months, things have settled into normal and you're happy where you are (this even pertains to me when I have begun a new job in the past..I always make myself stick it out for at least two months and have never quit a job after that point until other reasons way down the road have come up).

One thing that really started bothering me about public schooling, especially after we began having more and more children and especially after we started having more and more children in school, is the volume of homework they brought home that began to invade our weekends and holidays, bleeding into our family time. Then there were "family projects" that dictated how we spent our family time. I started resenting that during the only time I ever had my kids, we were consumed by what homework still needed to be done and what family projects needed to be done, what materials needed to be bought for these projects, etc. It was getting so stressful and time- and mind-consuming, I felt that my life was dominated by school. I never thought of it so much in those terms...I just felt that it was just because we have such of a large family of course it is going to impact us more, and that because I am not organized enough, that is just how it goes. I should just be more on the ball, better organized, etc. Side Note: Since beginning to homeschool, I have become much, much more organized just because I don't have the added distraction of "all that" that comes with so many kids in public school. Oh, another Side Note: The two girls that do go out the door to school, go to a charter school that doesn't believe so much in homework other than math, an essential life skill. One of my daughter's teachers even told them the other day that he tries not to give homework, or at least not much, because he feels that they do have a life and they shouldn't have it consumed by just school and homework. Bless his heart!!! :)

With that being said, I still didn't really get much of a push to begin homeschooling until my now seventh grader was in fifth grade. She had stomach aches more frequently, and asthma issues, that required her to stay home more and more. One Sunday night as she was getting ready to go to sleep, she asked me to come over to her bed. She told me she had a really bad stomach ache and didn't think she was going to be able to make it to school the next day. I told her that's fine. We'll plan on her staying home unless she feels better in the morning. She then asked me, "Why do we never start homeschooling? You keep promising and promising that if I just try the school year out and don't like it, I can try homeschooling. We never do though!" I was kind of surprised and asked her, "Do you still think of homeschooling? I guess I never realized you still thought about it because after school starts for the year, you have just dropped the topic and haven't brought it up. I assumed you were then fine with going to public school." So I decided right then and there, we would at least try homeschooling. The next day, her stomach ache was gone and she was so happy, peaceful, relieved.

Shortly after we pulled her to homeschool, the next two wanted to also homeschool. They never had even expressed interest in it before but I think they thought it sounded fun. I thought, why not? If we're going to be homeschooling anyway, why not really homeschool. Our oldest daughter really enjoyed going to school so she wasn't at all interested in our new adventure. She has always done quite well in school so I felt that, for my sake I would love to have her home but for her sake, at that time, keeping her in her school was the best for her.

Shortly after beginning our homeschool adventure, I started noticing some changes in the girls.. changes I really hadn't anticipated or been looking for. I had worried a bit about the "socialization" issue, as did everyone else that I told I was homeschooling. However, the more I spoke with other homeschooling moms and the more I did research, I learned that socialization really doesn't become an issue with homeschooled students. Not any more, or maybe even not as much as, the random public schooled kid that has social issues. There are plenty of those out there that because of public schooling end up with some pretty distorted social skills that take sometimes years after high school to get to a healthy balance. I was pretty surprised though, after the initial bouncing off the walls and fighting with each other, the girls started to settle into a routine. They learned to get along better and they all began just settling into a peaceful coexistance. Then, the unimaginable happened. The two girls who couldn't stand the word "love" began to say, "I love you" to me. They began giving hugs again...something I hadn't seen them do for probably a couple years. The one that couldn't have any physical contact with anyone, began sitting on the arm of my rocking chair at any given opportunity and even sliding herself in beside me, snugged right in at my side. I could not believe it!!! My husband began commenting to me how much these girls have changed. He said that they come talk to him and tell him stories of their day, they smile all the time and actually sit and visit. They used to be so hyper and so stand-offish. I had just assumed it was partly due to a phase they were going through and just partly due to their personalities. They are both very "tomboyish".

Once, when we were talking about behavior in general, my oldest one homeschooling said that the two others were always so poorly behaved on the bus and that the younger one, in first grade, had actually had a boy down on the floor of the bus and was kicking him and he was crying. I was horrified!!! I asked her why on earth she was bullying and assaulting kids. She scowled and didn't say anything at first, then she did something she never usually did. She started sobbing and said, "I was just sick of him doing things to me! Every day he would punch me and pull my hair and kick me. I just got sick of it and finally did it back to him!" Tell me, what part of your life down the road are you privvy to battery and assault....and it's just accepted as "normal"....and you really can't get out of it? These are kids, that should be given a sense of security as they are growing and developing and learning. I think that most of us just feel that since we all went through the whole school thing and school bus thing, it's just a normal part of life. We all got through it okay and it prepared us for "real life" after school. It actually made me very cautious after I got out of school. Although I was always pretty comfortable with myself and very, very fiesty, so most people didn't mess with me, it still took me most of the way through college to realize that this setting was different. I don't have to be so self-protective for fear that someone will make fun of me. We were all there, paying to get an education, and no one person was any better than the next. There, it didn't much matter who wore what, who drove what, or what kind grades people got. We were all just happy to pass one class and move on to the next. So... so far, no comparison to my experience in elementary, junior and senior high school. No comparison at all! And sadly, it took me that long, almost 3 years, to realize it.

Okay, back to "socialization". What exactly does that word mean? According to the dictionary, the word "socialize" means: To make social; to fit or train for a social environment; to adapt to social needs or uses.

Now, when you think of it, when a child is in a classroom of peers, the age range of all the kids around him/her is within 12 months of his/her own age. Who sets the "norms" for social skills in this situation? The room full of peers. The teacher can try influence it, and probably does a really good job of steering it in a healthy direction. However, when that teacher is done, and the class moves on, your child is still with that same group of peers, grade to grade, year to year. They are the ones that will praise what they think is worthy of their praise, and laugh and ridicule what they think is "weird" or "different". Are they yet qualified to do so though? Children learn enough social skills at home in presence of their siblings, parents, extended family, church friends, and social groups you choose for them to be involved with. Our kids have actually become much more confident and well-rounded in their social skills. They can easily interact with peers or younger kids or older kids or kids' parents. I have had countless comments from people, both within our extended family and out and about in the world, about their behavior and friendliness, etc. Part of it, I know, is just a result of being in a larger family..they get used to helping out in public with the little ones or I won't bring them anywhere and such. But I feel that it's been much more frequently noticed and commented upon since we've begun homeschooling.

Oh, and one other thing, what if the teacher you have entrusted to teach your child and be a big influence on his/her life and shaping of values, turns out to have some morals and standards you hugely disagree with? Because think of it, your child is with that teacher more than he or she is with you during the school year. I haven't had any real bad experiences with teachers...only a few that I didn't care for so much and I think weren't exactly the best positive role models for my kids. But, one of my nieces once had a very "diverse" teacher, I believe for Language Arts or Social Studies or something. I think she was in middle school at the time. This teacher, who was a strong, strong advocate for diversity and diverse thinking had the kids write a paper. She posed a question that had something to do with dating and the kids' views on how intimate they would be or how much they should be allowed to do on their first date or something. My niece, who by our faith, doesn't believe in premarital intimacy or too young dating, wrote the paper with her views, feelings, and beliefs portrayed in the paper. She simply stated that since she didn't believe it was right to even get intimate, she didn't feel it to be an issue for her how much she would be able to or should be able to do. The teacher failed her work on the paper...not only failed it but gave her a zero. No matter how my niece tried to defend her points, the teacher told her she was to rewrite the paper following her guidelines and requirements or she would not get a point for the assignment. Conferences came up soon after that and my sister was livid and went in to speak to this teacher. The teacher first argued with my sister but after my sister laid it out to her, questioning her diversity, after all she had tried to instill in her students' heads about diversity, and asking this teacher exactly how diverse was her thinking, the teacher finally agreed to back down and give my niece the credit she had earned for the paper. Oh, just another Side Note: the teacher was openly gay and had made it pretty clear to her students...tying this in to the diverse thinking they should have about all walks of life. That hypocrite!!!

Oh, and one other area of concern that many have is how do you know if they're "keeping up" with kids their age? I really don't know for sure but I do know this. We learn every day, we love learning and have fun doing so, and at the end of last year, they all tested out well above their grade level on most, if not all, subjects. They're learning. That's the most important thing.

One fun perk: I get to spend so much time now with my kids and they seem to love it too. I get to teach them extra things now too, like baking and cooking (what better way to teach fractions in many, many ways than to have them follow a recipe and have them double, triple or half the recipe?) We're going to have an archeological dig in our sandbox soon to illustrate how history is made and how really it is up to interpretation as to what really happened way back then. All the kids will make their own history (with emphasis on "story") of what they think "happened" in that sandbox based on the same objects found in the dig.

And I get to teach them living skills, such as cleaning, how to do laundry (sorting is a math skill taught as early as kindergarden...seriously!), how to crochet and knit, some of the Finnish language as well as Latin that my 5th grader and I will begin to learn this year.

Okay, enough of that! This strong viewpoint has been slowly developed after I began homeschooling, by the way. I simply began homeschooling because it's something I always had wanted to do, was pushed enough by my 2nd oldest daughter, and just thought, "Why not?" I mean, we could always re-enroll them if we wanted to.

Oh, last side note: the daughter, who had always wanted to homeschool and finally pushed me to when she was in fifth grade, just went back to a form of public school (charter) this fall and is doing really, really well. She loves it, is super confident and grounded, is very responsible and self-driven and tells me she feels all this positive is due to homeschooling. This was my real test to the socialization worry. She went back with much more advanced social skills than when she began homeschooling. And it was nothing to do with me. I didn't ever get around to getting them into any community classes or anything like I thought I would. She just had a little reprieve from all the distractions and side shows at school, had time to mellow out and breathe, grow, and learn to get along with those around her: her family, her neighborhood friends, her exteded family and church friends. That's all.

Monday, September 6, 2010 a bee sting?

Today, one of my nieces called and told me that she had gotten a bee sting between two of her toes yesterday. By about 2 or so this morning, she woke up with her toes swollen. The swelling extended into her foot. There was also redness and incredible pain going through her whole foot. She was wondering what to do.

I asked her many questions, told her she should probably have a doctor look at it to determine if they consider it an allergic reaction because if she has developed an allergy to bee stings, she may need to carry an epipen with her. I told her I would look up some more information online to see what I find.

I got off the phone and my husband said, "It could be an infection." I asked him, "Can you get an infection from a bee sting?" He kind of looked at me blankly for a second and said, "You can get an infection from anything! And that could be dangerous." I said, "Yeah, I suppose you can...I hadn't thought of it I guess. Have you known of someone getting an infection from a bee sting though?" He just kind of looked at me and I don't think he even answered me..

After our conversation continued onward a little, he suddenly asked me, "What's a bee sting?" I looked at him blankly and said, "A bee sting." He said, "What is it though?" I looked at him in utter disbelief. What part of bee sting is he not getting? Our two older girls were in the room too, so a couple of us looked at him and said, "A bee sting, you know, as in a sting from a bee!" He got this little brief look of sudden understanding and just meekly said, "Oh." He didn't say anything for a moment. I think he was nonchalantly trying to move forward, wondering if he could just casually continue on to the next matter at hand. We, in the meanwhile, were all still just staring at him, wondering what kind of explanation he could possibly have for not getting something as simple as a bee sting! When he realized he wasn't getting off the hook without at least some further explanation, he kind of sheepishly chuckled and said, "I was wondering what you guys were talking about. I thought it was a beasting." I said, "It was." He said, "No, like one word...a beasting. Like beast-ing. I thought it was some condition I had never heard of...and you all seemed to know what it was!"

So later, as I was doing my due diligence and researching bee stings for my niece, I read from Wikipedia, "Bee Sting: A bee sting is stricly a sting from a bee." I read it to him. He seemed relieved to get a technical definition.

The man is brilliant. Sometimes, he just lacks common sense!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Willy!!!!

My young son has decided that life sometimes is best lived without a diaper.

Well, young man! You should at least learn to march right to the bathroom when you decide to piddle.... and aim at the potty chair, when you're in there, not at my leg! Hmph!

He first ripped off a poopy diaper, left it in one of the girls' bedrooms, and deposited a puddle by the dining room table. I discovered the little yellow puddle, cleaned it up, cleaned him up, put on a fresh diaper, and went to wash my hands. While I was in there, I decided to go to the potty myself, and while I was sitting there, he marched in, started chatting to me, and as I was looking down at him, I noticed what looked like a string blowing around (I assumed blowing from the vent air) .... then suddenly felt warmth and something wet draining down my leg. It was a little yellow string...or stream...! I yelped, he stopped mid-stream, walked a little bit away, then as I was looking at him, laughing and laughing, he proceeded to unload another stream right in the direction of the bathroom vent!

By this time I was just howling and trying so hard to tell him to stop all this nonsense already!!! He just looked at me and finished draining his bladder!

My goodness, kiddo! I mean, I understand freeing Willy every once in a while but please!!! Tell Willy to just keep it in his bladder unless he's at least aiming at the potty chair!

On the positive note: As I was cleaning up one of the puddles, one of my lovely daughters said, "Well, on one hand it's not so bad! The cleanup always smells so good!" I have Pine-Sol and water in a spray bottle so I don't have to get the mop bucket out for every little mess.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Miss Izzy!

Yesterday: I was sitting on our over-sized recliner, leaning forward, pouring over some homeschool material when I hear this chirpy little 2 y.0. voice say, with utter disdain, "Oh, yUUck! What's that?" I asked her, "What's what?" She said, "That!" I had to look back to see what she was looking at and I see her hanging on the arm of the chair to my right, staring at my back...or, a little lower. I was aware that my shirt and my pants weren't quite connecting so I asked her, "What? Is there something on my back? Or...are you talking about my...uh....plumber's crack?" (They all know what a plumber's crack is) She said, "Your butt crack!" (I know, I know. I shouldn't allow them to say butt, but....) I was getting up right then to go to the bathroom so I proceeded to do so, with my delightful little Izzy following close behind, with her little button nose crickled up but with a very pleased and entertained look on her face, saying, "Hee, hee! I saw your butt crack sticking out! Your crack just keeps comin' outta your butt, hah Mom? Hee, hee, hee!" I had to (a-hem) crack up over that one!!!

And, one more Molly/Viva exchange: Molly was busy telling me a story or explaining how she would love to redo our whole house (and I have to admit, the girl has a lot of really good ideas) when Viva walked up and very clearly, and very impatiently, was waiting for a chance to say something. She tapped her foot a little. She tried to get a word in edgewise. But, Molly wasn't done! She sure wasn't going to pause in her idea telling for her sister! I finally waited for Molly to pause between sentences and glanced in Viva's direction and gave her a nod to go ahead. Viva asked her quick question, I answered her with an equally quick answer, and she was on her way back downstairs. As she was retreating down the stairs, Molly did a low gutteral sound in the back of her throat, obviously displeased and annoyed with the interruption. Viva quickly paused as she was ready to twirl down the second flight of stairs and asked, with disbelief in her voice, "Did you me?" She sounded just floored. Like Molly had never....growled... at her before! We (Molly and I) just cracked up as we heard her feet patter the rest of the way downstairs. They are just too funny sometimes.

Oh, and yet another of their latest: Molly, just out of the shower, tells me, "And don't worry, Mom. I cleaned up after myself!" I've been just nagging them to put everything back how they found it (foot towel hanging over the tub edge, baby ducky bath back in the tub, their towel hanging up, dirty clothes out of the bathroom) after they shower. I glanced at her and realized she had showered so praised her for her good deed. Viva, deeply absorbed in her book, apparently missed the exchange (or acted like it at least) and glanced up and told Molly, "Jeez your hair is greasy!" Molly, without a pause, replied, "Thanks! Like your face?" and they both proceeded to chuckle. I guess Molly's latest quip to every insult Viva hurls her way is, "Yeah. Like your face!" and it usually fits the exchange....somehow! They are just too much, those two!!! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Birthday Party and Such...

The Party Setup
All Decked Out....Compliments of the Big Girls

Birthday Girl

The Guests
The Party After the Party (A Tea Party)

We had a fun and relaxing day for Kai-Kai's 6th birthday. I had worked the night shift before so wasn't really sure how I was going to hold out and pull it off but I didn't have to worry. My husband took a bunch of the littlest ones out to pick up the last of the party supplies, my second oldest swept, mopped and did the last minute pick up, I worked on baking the cake and some Finnish sampyla (buns), and dishes, and our oldest decked the place out. She did much better than I could have ever done. I told the girls that this is it, decorating now officially is their job! They love it and I love it!
The nice thing is we have enough family to have plenty of kids to come as the "real" party guests and of course moms and dads and siblings are welcome to entertain the rest of us and we all feel like we got to have "friends" over, not just the birthday kid. :) Another nice aspect of family filling the whole guest list is Mom doesn't have to stress about anything needing to be fancy. Family doesn't're supposed to be able to just truly relax in the presence of family and they still love you the same, whether we pulled it off perfectly or not.
We missed Joni (my sister) and her family this year though! We have enough kids the same age that we usually have them for most of our parties too but this year they are overseas!!!

Okay now some fun stories. We have plenty of these usually, I just forget to post them:

Funny little Izzy story: Tonight, looking out the window and seeing some very dark clouds in the sky, combined with it just getting dark for the evening, gasped and said, "Oh! Look! A (tornado) is comin' to bonk down our house! Better hurry downstairs!"
And....I was just finishing a poopy diaper on our little guy when I noticed Izzy straining and grunting. I personally had just had my fill on poopy diapers for the day so I asked her, "Hey! What are you doing? Are you pooping?" She turned and nodded. I told her, "Quick! Go poop in the potty chair!" And her quick reply, "Uh-uh! I'm not potty-trained...I'm NOT!" I told her, "Well! I think it's high time to get potty-trained!" And our Kai-Kai then gave her input on the matter: "You know what though? The potty chair for is when you aren't potty-trained. You know why? 'Cause there's no water in it!" Good big sisterly advice! I needed to say no more. :)
And, some fun big girl stories...I forget to post these. Sometimes I get too focused on the cute little kid stories that go on around here. These big girls are just getting to be a hoot, I'm telling you! So I just have to share some of the fun things they come up with:

Today, making a birthday cake and decking out the house for Kai-Kai's 6th birthday, we just kept a rolling dialogue, the oldest two and I. One of very many humorous conversations:
Molly, putting up streamers and curling pink ribbon, decorating the cake and such, decided to cut up small pieces of the curled pink ribbon to put right on the cake. It was darling. Viva, obviously a little concerned for the safety of us and our guests, asked, "What if people think these ribbons are edible and try eating them and...choke?" Molly: "Oh, no one's that dumb!" Viva: *sigh* "I guess that means I stand alone!" (in other words, admitting she was a little....dumb...?) And we laughed and we laughed....and Viva looked blankly at us and said, "What?" But this is all just a part of her humor. Sigh, what I have to live with, my big girls developing their own sense of humor and I have to hear it all the time....we do really have a good time with it!

We just got a couple of free, super cute kittens. I know! More pets!!! These girls have a way about them sometimes...that's another post in itself! So, anyway, after we had had them for a week or two, one of them appeared to be ill with something. It just slept, hardly did anything, didn't play, eat much, drink much, etc. The girls were highly concerned. They were bugging and badgering us to bring it to the vet. We tried to explain to them that by the time the diagnostic labs would even be back the cat would either be dead or just isn't worth putting tons of money into it at this point...let's just wait and see. We have so much food that falls on the floor that they gobble down before we get a chance to sweep it up..we had just had chocolate cake about the time it fell ill. I was pretty sure it was something it ate.

We had girls begging and pleading, scheming and plotting, "I will sell my Nintendo DS...and all the games....and give up the DSI that I will earn for getting my black belt in karate...and all my next year's Christmas and birthday gifts..." was a couple of the girls' promises. Then as I was doing laundry, one of the girls came downstairs with the cat and said, "Now look, Mom. You gotta see this. Watch what happens when I put this cat just curls up in a ball and doesn't do anything." She puts it down on a pile of laundry, which it proceeds to roll down, and pick itself up, and walk away. She says, "Hmmm, well, now watch it. It will just sit down now..." It didn't. It kept walking around, quite perkily... She didn't quite know what to say. She just said, "Hmmm, he looks pretty good now!"

News spread fast throughout the household and minutes later, the one that had promised to give up her Nintendo DS...and all the games...and the DSI she was gonna earn... ran downstairs all excited. She said, "Wow, he's looking just fine now! I am so glad I didn't actually sell my DS...and all my games and stuff. That would have been such of a waste of money!!!"

That story has much more...mostly including Dad and Viva bantering about bringing the cat in (Viva) and practicing being a vet and trying to diagnose the illness herself (Dad's argument). Somewhere along the way, they discussed the possibility that the diagnosis is probably the Tamiflu...which then Viva triumphantly announced the next day, "I am going to tell Dad that I've diagnosed it! It was the Tamiflu!!!" not realizing that Tamiflu is actually an antiviral medication. I had informed her of this but she apparently wasn't listening. We've had some fun, at their expense (cause I think Dad was in on the original possible diagnosis of maybe Tamiflu), with that diagnosis!!!

We have a really bantery household...we rib each other all the time!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm Trying to Simplify... whole life. Can you tell? I've turned my blog background into simple white. There. Except, how on earth do you remove that blasted "cutest blog on the block" logo from the upper left-hand corner? I mean, I'm not even using their background right now. Or banner. I tried to remove it from the HTML spot where I originally put in on but no such luck.


Funny(ish) story: Last night I was browsing around Walmart with a bunch of my kids and a couple others, yakking on the phone with one of my sisters about which prepaid cell phones are the best to buy, when I heard from a group of teens behind me (a boy's voice), "Aurinkolasit," which means "sunglasses" in Finnish. I promptly turned my head and asked, "Missa?" which means, "Where?" I saw one of the two girls who was walking with two boys gasp and put her hand over her mouth. I heard one of the boys echo after me, "Missa?!?" Then I just laughed and told them in Finnish that I had guessed they were Finnish when I saw them earlier in the store.

I saw them later outside of the store, sitting on the curb so I went up to them to chat a little. I told them I had seen them earlier in the store and just thought that they looked Finnish but had kind of forgotten they were in there so was surprised to suddenly hear, "Aurinkolasit," behind me...

One of the boys said in perfect English, "That was me!" as the other boy was explaining, "Yeah, the funny part is, the one who said it was an American. I didn't know he knew any Finnish, so first I heard, 'aurinkolasit' suddenly, and turned and said, 'Huh?!' and right away heard, 'Missa?' right after. I was so surprised, like, 'What just happened now?'"

I laughed and asked the American boy, "Have you been in opisto (a school) in Finland?" He said, "No! I only know about six words in Finnish, and that was one of them! I just felt like saying it!"

So, without even trying, two Americans kind of messed with a few Finns' heads for a moment there! :)

Funny Izzy story:

Couple weeks ago I had a friend over here, trying to visit. We had constant conversation flowing, however, from my two year old. Suddenly, at one point, she spied my 5 y.o. didn't have undies on and got irate and told her, "Yuck! You don't even have undies on. That's 'gwoss', go put a diaper on!" Our 5 y.o. told her, "You go put a diaper on!" Izzy happened to be standing right in front of me so it looked like our 5 y.o. was looking at me. Izzy just looked at her incredulously, then swung her head in my direction, looking at me with a chuckle and said, "You don't wear a diaper! Haah! Right? You wear undies! Right? Great BIG undies, right? Like THIS big, right?" and flinging her arms out wide!!!

Well! Maybe big, but not that big!!!

But I just laughed and agreed with her. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Well, What a Day!

Today, for what may be the first time in my life as a mother...well, maybe the first time in my life as a mother of more children than four, should we say?....I made a To Do List. And stuck to it. Like glue. Kinda. I didn't get the laundry done. Otherwise my very, very long list got all checked off!!!

I mean, I'm really to the point in life I don't even make those dreaded lists 'cause I'm sure to fail, then I begin to feel like a failure and get depressed, then quit making the what's the point?

This time, I'm not sure what was different. Maybe it was that the majority of the list was phone calls. They were very important phone calls. Calls to clarify car insurance information. Calls to verify health insurance information. Calls to clarify boat insurance information. Calls to find out that although the boat insurance was clarified, it was never back to clarify the boat insurance information. This was in between about 6 diarrhea diapers on one kid, washing diarrhea bedding, diarrhea clothing, diarrhea trails on the floor...oh, and I was just informed that one of the kittens pooped on the floor. That one's easy 'cause the kitties are the girls' responsibility and if they don't take care of it, the kitties go 'cause Mama's pregnant. Whew! Now I was informed that it wasn't in fact kitty poop but a lint ball....?.... In addition to all the phone calls, there were important computer issues to deal with..setting up an account with the above-mentioned boat insurance so I don't have to try to remember to keep up with the payments every month..they will be automatically processed. Checking if our Finnish twins updated their Facebook, mop floors, run the dishwasher the fifty times that were required to catch up on dishes....Wow!

The girls baked two Finnish cakes, did their jobs, and are behaving quite well today.

I was able to make a fresh garden vegetable soup...most of the veggies picked straight from the garden, washed, and tossed into the pot...along with some meat.

How do days like this happen? I mean, I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth but I just don't get it. Usually my days just continue on the path of my post from yesterday....all that before noon....and after noon....and until midnight...and starting again in the morning!

Well, with that, I guess I better go address that one more diarrhea diaper I just heard loading up...I can just see our diaper supply disappearing before my eyes today. I have to go bust into my van stash cause I just ran out in the house. And dig every diaper bag out that I find. And dig into a few more corners. We should last until our Sam's Club run tomorrow. Crossing my fingers!!! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Twins!!!

They came, and they left! :(

This summer we were blessed with the presence of 17 y.o. twin girls from Finland. They are just about the nicest girls you could ever wish to have in your home. They were friendly, outgoing but not at all overbearing, helpful, patient with the kids, couldn't ever find a better package deal. They helped without us asking, did the dishes, took care of their own laundry, bedroom, bedding, baked, cooked....many times I would have to run an errand or just do some outside work, leaving my oldest two in charge, to come home to a meal cooking. They weren't here to be our nannies for sure, they were here to learn English and just kind of hang out with our family, but they were kind of unstoppable, those two! They are the oldest of 11 kids, so they are used to working hard. They many times told me they do much more at home so to them, they just preferred to keep busy.

Sadly, our camcorder charger was lost the entire time they were here and our camera for part of the time had dead batteries, then when I finally remembered to buy batteries, the memory card was missing! I finally bought a cheap memory card but then couldn't find the camera! We used their cameras the last night they were here and got some pics and they also promised to send me pictures that they took over the summer.

We will miss them greatly!!!!

Here, one of the girls is giving three of our girls a lesson in baking sampyla, a Finnish bread/bun that we fell in love with!

We will miss these girls greatly and hope to see them again!

As I was typing this post, I got a return text from one of them saying their trip went well and they will soon be home in northern Finland. They haven't seen their siblings yet...the kids are all waiting to see them, I'm sure!!!! :)

It's Only Noon AND.....

I've already changed a huge poop, have another two waiting for me, wiped up two spilled milk messes, cleaned up puke, and now my baby spilled a huge cup of milk!!!!!! Thank goodness for big girl helpers, my second oldest is mopping that last milk mess oldest also changed a pee diaper.

I have been trying to make my way to the dishwasher, to no avail. Whenever I get near, I get either my 2 y.o. or 1 y.o. hanging on me or the dishwasher door. I always try to have morning time be primarily kid time, then try to make up lost time after my littlest one goes to sleep but sometimes could I pleeeeaaaase at least get the dishwasher going to do its work while we sit????


Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Totalled Car, A Near-Kiss With a Deer, and New Parakeets

Well, I wish I had pics to post here but I need batteries for the camera first...

Friday night, after a late night discussion with my husband, I decided to go for a quick drive to a neighboring town down the freeway. I was cruising along right around 70 mph, when suddenly, right in the left lane was a deer running full tilt, not slowing down, not even noticing me cruising along full tilt. It was just there suddenly, running out of the ditch and straight into my path. I hit the brakes as hard as I could, knowing instantly that I would never avoid hitting it but just hoping to slow down the best I could so I could minimize damage to our car and me.

It was such of a scary feeling to in one instant see this huge deer coming right at me, then in a split second hitting it with such of an impact, the entire car slammed and lurched with tremendous force. I could see this huge deer airborne...imagine, going nearly 70 mph in a pretty small car...and then imagine the speed at which that deer was coming at my rider's side of the windshield. It was coming with lightning speed. It had hit the car pretty high up on the front right corner so it came slamming at the windshield extremely fast...I could see it coming through the glass....instantly following the slamming force of the car being impacted, glass was shattering in a fine shower all over me, and I could hear a howling wind and feel cold air swirling around in the car. I was in a panic because I could see the deer coming into the car! I pulled over to the shoulder, thinking, "How am I going to get this thing out of my car? I have to get to the shoulder and get out before I begin to get thrashed with the hooves!" I was looking over at the windshield, in the sudden darkness after impact, trying to see the gaping hole and see where the deer was lodged. I then noticed, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, that the windshield was intact but the rider's side window was gone...the deer had flown into that window (I think it's head maybe) and then was gone!

I had left the house without my cell phone...something that is entirely against my grain. I had been up north Wednesday and Thursday and had lost my charger in the van and hadn't gotten around to finding it so that I could recharge my phone, so my phone was dead. I remember thinking, "Oh, I'll be fine without it!" Another thing I usually don't do when going to Walmart in this particular town is go down the freeway. There is a back road that goes directly to Walmart but this time I wanted the peaceful drive down the freeway, since it was pretty late and I knew traffic would be light. I also had this thought pass through my head as I turned in the direction of the freeway instead of the county road, "I hope I don't regret this turn..." thinking more down the line of hoping I don't get too relaxed and start speeding and get pulled over. I kept my speed at 68-70 the whole time.

After hitting the deer, I was totally in a daze, pulling onto the first exit I could, then slowly driving to the first gas station I could think of...Holiday....wondering what I do next. The whole time the wind was swirling throughout the car and I kept hearing glass shifting and settling into the door.

As I pulled into the Holiday parking lot, I saw the attendant in the gas station glance in my direction and do a double-take, staring at the car until I parked. I just sat there for a few seconds, looking at my lap full of tiny pieces of glass. I looked on the seat next to me and saw the same, my purse, which had been unzipped was full of glass, as well as the seat, the dash, the floor, the cup holders.... I tried to brush some of the glass off me, only to succeed in cutting my finger. I got out of the car and shook my pj pants off...I had taken off on a whim in my pj's (they weren't too bad though...just a long-sleeved black t--shirt and plaid cotton pants)!

I got into the gas station and asked the guy what one is supposed to do after hitting deer on a freeway..thinking that it may be still in the roadway. He went back and asked his manager, who said to call the non-emergency police to ask them. I told the guy, "The weird thing is, I think that deer ended up in my car (partially) for a moment. He said, "Yeah, I noticed it really got the side of your car too!" I hadn't even looked at the side of the car but when I went out later, I saw the whole passenger side door dented in with deer hair stuck on it. What happened is when I hit the deer on the front right corner, it was just high enough it came flying at the windshield but, I think, just as I was hitting it, I may have swerved to miss it and it was, as a result, spun around and then the front of it hit the rider's side door, bursting the window, then continued on its journey onto the freeway or shoulder. I think that deer was dead right away...there was blood and poop all over the front and side of my car.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Well, almost a week later and not even having the time or energy to recheck my writing above, I'm going to finish up and post, so pardon the mistakes or repetition of details if there are any. :)

About the parakeets:

After we posted on Craigslist that our parakeet was missing, we got many nice texts and emails, giving tips on how to find him. One email we got, though, was one woman from a town quite a ways away from here that offered to give Viva two of her parakeets because she had five and didn't have the time anymore to spend with them.

Long story short: after much communication with her, we met her in a neighboring town and she gave us two parakeets, one mainly blue and one mainly green. She also gave a small cage, many parakeet toys, a huge container of bird food, a cuttle bone, and so on. What a very nice person.

After that, Viva has been communicating with a vet tech who is going to vet school specializing in birds. She has been giving many very helpful tips (some of which have undoubtedly spared the poor newcomers much trauma and stress...maybe even their lives) on integrating them into the household. They aren't very tame yet but Viva is patiently working with them. I don't doubt a bit that they will soon be as tame as Reggie was. Something tells me this girl may very well become a vet someday.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And the Pet Saga Continues....

Argh! Okay, we were down two pets already, right? We just got rid of our two dogs. We were down to two pets, a parakeet and a rat.

Well, you see, Viva's parakeet, Reggie (he was oh, so vain...loved to perch and stare at himself in the down right twitterpated to see himself) loved when our daughter opened her bedroom window so he could listen to and try mimic other birds. She decided she would bring him outside, in his cage, so he could get fresh air and listen to other birds. Well, this very tame, very friendly bird that was a friend to all in our household, decided to go touring and flew right out of his cage when Viva opened the door to pet him. He must have gotten confused or disoriented outside and didn't know how to stop flying or where to perch, so he kept going. And going and going and going. He is gone. Lost.

So, I decided to post an ad on Craigslist because I just saw that someone had posted a found parakeet right in our area and first thought it was ours. Then noticed the date was in April. That gave me the idea though to post our lost parakeet, in hopes someone would find him and, if not return him, at least let us know he's okay.

Hmph! This was one pet I always told the kids I could handle having forever cause, even though he was very vain, he was nice. And tame. And soothing and comforting to have around, warbling in his quiet (usually) way!

I hope someone finds him. Even if they don't return him to us, I hope someone finds him and feeds him. He's got to be hungry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Perfect, Perfect Sunday...

This is the post I was writing in my head last night, as I was sitting out in the balmy breeze, watching our bonfire die down...holding my 2 y.o. on my lap, singing, "I see the moon," song over and over to her as we gazed at the 3/4 moon...the breeze feeling like a tepid ocean waves lapping over my skin...and NO BUGS!!!!

We started this perfect day sleeping in a bit, well, until 8:30 or so. Usually I work nights on the weekend and am dragging my sorry self home about 7:45 and then proceeding to try to function, getting kids ready for Sunday School and church, trying to keep my eyes open. Instead, I had stayed up just a little too late, enjoying the company of my kids, then was sick with vomiting and diarrhea (sorry if TMI) until about 3 or a little later, but still felt fabulous when the first rooster-child crowed to get up.

Sunday School is done for the year so we just slowly got ready for our annual Sunday School picnic. On our way, we swung by the store for paper products and moseyed our way to the park.

At the park, the weather was perfect. A bit muggy but the temperature was nice and there was a lake breeze blowing right up to the picnic area. The playground was more sheltered from the lake breeze and directly in the sun, so the kids got quite hot. They took care of that though...they all (except for the youngest two) went swimming in their clothes, over and over as needed while I just sat up visiting with ladies, keeping half an eye on the girls...keeping track of who was where and so on. We just stayed there 'til we felt like going home, which wasn't until close to 6pm. We went home and cooled off in the house a little, then everyone went out for sidewalk and driveway chalking and I stoked up a bonfire for hotdogs and marshmallows.

We ended the evening with showers and just hanging out, a couple of the girls playing Battleship and the rest of us just vegging...the little ones one by one falling asleep in various places.

How could a Sunday get any better than that? :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Viva!

My dear second born child, Viva, was born 12 years ago today. Since my husband left out of town very early this morning, we brought her out for her birthday meal yesterday. Just my hubby, Viva, and I went.

We had a jolly good time..beginning our adventure at the laundromat, putting four loads of laundry drying (our dryer isn't working and I refuse to have it serviced until our basement is clean). We left them drying and went to eat nearby.

I recalled her birth story and recounted it to her:

I was at work that day, two weeks before my due date. I was supposed to be gradually passing out my work load to my coworkers over a course of a couple of weeks, but thusfar, it hadn't happened. I just kept getting more and more on my plate, adding on a very complex client that required extensive wound care, colostomy changes every day, and very vigorous and diligent assessments since she had many serious diseases.

I went into the office that day and tried to tell my supervisor, who was coincidentally on her last day working there before moving out of state. She just laughed me off, saying, "Oh, I've heard from so many people that the second baby feels like it's going to fall out for weeks before it actually is born. You won't be having it yet!" I told her, "I think I may not be back Tuesday (it was Memorial Day weekend, so we were off Monday)." She just blew me off. The new supervisor who was taking her place came to talk to me later and asked me, "Is there anything I can do to make your transition easier?" I told her, "Yeah. Pretty much get report from me right now on all my clients because thusfar I have not been able to report any of them off to anyone. If I go into labor and have my baby this weekend, I will not be in any shape to start handing out clients on Tuesday morning, and they will need case managers!" She just took a notebook, pen and without any questions, started taking notes on all my clients. I was so laughing or blowing me off. She just took me very seriously and took over!

That day, as I was leaving the office at about 3:45, for my 4:00 appointment, pretty much right after I finished giving report on my last client, the receptionist said, "See you Tuesday!" I said, "Never know! Probably not!" She too just blew me off, "Oh, Darla, trust me. We will see you Tuesday! You aren't waddling enough. You're not going to have that baby yet. The second one always seems like you're going to have it a lot longer than the first." I just said, "Don't be too surprised!" and left for my doctor's appointment.

I got to my doctor's office, he checked my cervix, and said, "YOU are in ACTIVE labor! You are dilated to 5 and about 80% effaced. I can't believe you aren't really feeling this!" I told him that I had had inconsistent contractions off and on all day but nowhere near the every 5 minute, consistent mark. Also, I hadn't had any contractions in a while. He told me that if I begin to have any organized contractions, even if they aren't consistently every 5 minutes apart, get to the hospital. If I don't start contractions again, be at the hospital by 5 a.m. because it wasn't safe to be dilated that far, effaced that far and not be somewhere near the hospital. He said that I would surely have an ambulance baby otherwise.

We went to pick up our daughter from my sister's and decided to eat out that night nearby..during which I started getting some contractions again. We ate and brought our daughter back to my sister's and started meandering toward the hospital. I still thought we were way premature on going there so we decided to go to Sam's Club to stock up on diapers for our new baby. My hubby insisted on pushing me in a wheelchair since it's a big warehouse and he didn't exactly cherish the thought of catching a baby in the middle of the store.

We then drove to the hospital. Sat in the parking lot. Decided to go to a nearby bookstore to get a baby name book. For this I sat in the van. And started to get a little more intense contractions. But still....not THAT bad.

Off we then went, back to the hospital. Sat in the parking lot. Finally decided we might as well go in and at least sleep overnight there than go home and have to get up by 4 am to be there by 5. We called up and told them we were coming up...that my doctor said I was already to a 5...and so on...anticipating that they would probably try send me home but at the same time, knowing they couldn't because after being at a 5, they really can't.

I went up to the L&D floor, got settled in my room, got checked, and the nurse or doctor that checked me said, "My dear, you're at a 7! Your baby is on it's way!" 20 minutes later, dear Viva was born! Of course, I left out the cervix details for the most part; that would have made her a tad uncomfortable!

AND, now tonight, she and I went shopping for a little bit and bought her.......shhhhh....a bra! AND, we had that talk! You know, about periods, arm pit hair, shaving, deodorant, and so on. She wasn't exactly really chatty about it but I was! :) I told her, "I'm sorry if this is a little awkward. I know it was for me when I was your age but, I got my period 27 years ago and now it's as normal as big deal!" She was quiet for a moment, then asked, "What's like peeing?" I said, "The topic of having a period is to me like talking about peeing...everyone does it. All girls eventually get their period....have to shave....gotta use deodorant...etc. Just as normal as peeing!" I'm not sure if she agreed but she seemed to be fine with it all. I got a jump start and got the next one down some little bras...such cute ones too. I mean, with my dear second child I have meant to get her some and do the talk for over a year now. I better not miss the boat on the next one or she will be graduating before I remember! Sheesh!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Sob! After much heart-wrenching and agonizing, for probably the last two years.... we finally decided that 1. we don't have the time and energy a dog requires and really deserves, and 2. the dogs really needed more dog needs met, like getting out on walks, socializing and being socialized to other dogs and people. We have sent our dogs away!

Our Great Dane went first, although we had intended for our Yorkie to be gone first, out of respect for our first-born dog. (We just kind of kept forgetting to bring the Yorkie to the humane society..or started out to bring her and realized that we forgot her food at home and since rehoming is such of a big huge thing for a pet, she just had to have her familiar food to start out with. Plus, as I found out when I actually did bring her, she is a geriatric dog. With such of a late-in-life dog, you just can't throw those kind of, she has hardly any teeth left in her old age, which is typical for older Yorkies..they just don't hang on to their teeth too well, so we felt it necessary that she has her canned food there)

Our Great Dane was adopted by a Great Dane Rescue. We felt that, being he is a giant breed, which requires giant commitment, knowledge, sometimes patience, he should be sent somewhere that we can feel confident that he won't go to just any home. With this agency, he first goes to a foster home, to a home that is very familiar with Great Danes, where they iron out any wrinkles the dog may have, even to the point of working with a canine college or specialist if needed, then screen any adoptive family that is interested in him. The screening involves even a home visit before adoption, a very thorough interview process, and a post-adoption home visit to ensure proper placement.

The transportation people that came to pick him up were so kind as to come into our home for about a half hour to listen to us ramble on and on about what he likes, dislikes, his habits, and just how well he does with little ones...and on and on...then he left with them in style, in a black Mercedes with a leather interior. He looked happy to be going for a ride and seemed very comfortable with the transport people.

We've seen his pictures on the website now of him in his foster home, got a report on how he's doing, and just beamed to hear that he is minding his manners and overall doing just great.

We finally got around to bringing the Yorkie to the humane society on Monday. We felt pretty comfortable to have her there, since small dogs tend to be adopted very quickly and especially knowing that Yorkies are quite an expensive breed, and being so small and easy-going, she would be gone quickly.

Well, after many long and agonizing days, waiting for her to be posted on their site (they first go to the intake center, where they are screened and monitored and such for several days, before going to the adoption center) we finally saw her posted there today, only to see her unposted by tonight. She's already been adopted! So good for her, although I have to admit that she looked so cute and so her on there, I was a little bit sad to see her and then to know she is gone now and no longer ours!

I do believe though that our decision was made for the best interest of us and our dogs and I'm sticking to it! I still, though, find myself ready to throw a scrap of food to the nearest dog, only to remember they are gone and my baby would be the one to happily scarf up on it.

Just yesterday Izzy had the crust of her bread in her hand and yelled, "Ma-ac! Maaa-ac! Where is Mac?" I had to remind her, "Mac went away. Remember?" She asked, "When is he coming back home? Tomorrow?" I had to tell her, "He isn't coming home, honey!" That was hard. She also had picked up on the fact that he was going before he actually left and several times would turn to me and ask, quite out of the blue, "Is it sad, Mom? Is it just sad?" I would ask her, "Is what sad?" She would say, "Is it sad that Mac is going away?" Argh....too hard!

Also, just yesterday, I mentioned the name, "Mac," and my baby right away turned his head to look at the stairs, waiting for Mac to come up.

We haven't missed Honey, the Yorkie, so much. She was with us a shorter time and was such of a small presence in a much hugely present household, she just kind of kept to herself...and is only about 7 lbs vs. Mac's 130 lb presence.... that we still just kind of feel like she's there, somewhere, like she always was.

We all continue to "hear" them, here and there...Mac stretching and shaking his head in his loud way down in the basement before he came rambling up to see what was going on. Honey scratching herself, which would result in her paw hitting her carrier...only to catch ourselves and remember they aren't there. We've turned it into something more fun than sad though. Suddenly someone will say, "I just heard Mac coming out of his crate," or "Oh, Honey just sneezed!" Or someone will say, "Sh! I hear something. Oh, that was Mac's toenails on the floor downstairs." and we all just kind of smile. I'm pretty surprised that no one has corrected anyone yet. Our girls can tend to be over-diligent about setting others straight on their facts, so I'm happy no one has said, "Nope! Can't be, 'cause Mac/Honey is gone!" Everyone just goes right along with it! The funny thing is, we all actually do hear these noises and instinctively hear them as one of the dogs! Kind of a fun way to gradually let them go!

Mac, in his foster home

Honey, in her listing picture at the humane society

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Announcement!

I just realized I haven't yet mentioned that we are expecting another baby! Oh, where have I been? I can tend to go into hibernation mode during my first trimester of pregnancy, and I believe that is exactly where I have been this pregnancy as well, no exception from the others. I am not exactly sure of my due date but I do know I am due in the fall sometime.

That makes number eight for the number of children, number ten for the number of family members! So fun to be hitting double digits finally. Not like we felt we had to have many, many children. We just hoped we would be so lucky as to have a large family, like we both grew up in. It looks like we just may be getting that wish! Now, with any luck, we will have twins. Each pregnancy we cross our fingers but so far haven't been granted two-for-the-price-of-one yet! :)

Hmmm, looks like we may have to do some finishing of our basement soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Naming the Nameless...

So, we (my daughters and I) collectively decided that it is time to give the poor dears blog names. I am giving it much thought and deliberation and will try to give them names that, although will not be their own, will have some significance to them in some way. See, I have gotten to the point that saying Daughter #1, Daughter #2, Daughter #3, Daughter #4, Daughter #5, and Daughter #6 is a little impersonal and flat for a bunch of girls with so much life and personality. Baby Boy isn't so bad but a bit boring.

First, we thought that giving them flower names would be just grand. Names like Rose, and Daffodil...Daffy for short. One would think that anyone would be slightly insulted by being named "Daffy".. but not my girls. They chuckled and giggled at the thought of it...thought it would be fun to be given that name! Daisy is another name that was brought up. The problem with flower names? I just don't think I could think up 7 of them that I like! And what flower has a masculine enough sound to fit my little guy? I might have to use Daffy and Daisy for a couple of the girls though. The rest will just have names or nicknames that we've used for them.
Okay. Our first-born, first teenager......hmmm....Joni, remember this one? This is the first nickname that comes to mind: Lolly-Palooza. A little too long though. This one will be a little difficult and I'm sure she will veto whichever one I come up with, finding a more suitable one for herself. Which is just fine, of course. It's just that I am at work, it is night, she is asleep...I will have to come up with one myself for now. And I pick....Molly!

Second-born: Viva! That's the name she was given by her 2 year old sister so that's what her blog name shall be: Viva.

Third-born: Here's either Daisy or Daffy....hmmm...even though my natural inclination would be to say she's the one to be called Daffy, since she loves to act a bit daffy at times, for a name I think she would rather be called Daisy. Let's stick with that for now; she's Daisy. Actually, no. Her nickname has been Fia before and she liked that. So she shall be Fia.

Fourth-born: Now this one would probably like to be called Daffy, but she's about as un-Daffy as one could get. There's one nickname she had for a while when she was quite a bit younger. Betsy. I think that I will go with Betsy. I hope she likes it! :)

Fifth-born: We call her Ky-Ky. Since that already is her nickname, that will also be her blog name.
Sixth-born: She has actually started to, from time to time, call herself Izzy. It's not her name, it's not her nickname, we don't even call her that but she has told us, out of the blue quite a few times, "My name is Izzy!" So Izzy she shall be.

Our Baby Boy and seventh-born: For some funny reason, this kid has had quite a few nicknames in his short life. He was Ah-dah to Izzy right after he was born. That's how she said his name. So that's how everyone else said his name. Weirdly, it's a girl's name in Finnish, but spelled Aada. Then he became Yo-yo. If you knew his real name, you could see where that came from. Now, Y0-yo or Yodie...again, pretty close to Jodi...poor kid! But I think I might just have to stick with Yo-Yo. I know, it sounds mean but he's a pretty cute Yo-Yo! :)

So here we are, with no further ado...presenting my children:


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