Saturday, January 31, 2009

The last day of January

I went to the library today to check out 2 books and Season 1 discs 3 & 4 of Little House on the Prairie. I accidentally placed a hold on the 2 books with my husband's library card number, so the librarian told me that I couldn't check them out unless I had his card with me because that is their policy. I think that policy is absurd. I looked at her and told her that I goofed and accidentally used the wrong library card number when I placed the hold. It think it probably helped when she saw that the held books were 2 Shel Silverstein poetry books. She probably assumed, or at least hoped, that I was wanting them for my children and exercised librarianesque compassion. She sighed and told me that she really wasn't supposed to allow me, but that she would do it anyway. Then her compassion returned to annoyance when it was taking a long time to find my husband's library card number in the computer system because he has a very common name.

I just don't get it. Why can't a spouse check out a book that his or her spouse placed on hold? Isn't that what marriage is all about? Doing kind favors for one another? I will never be able to come home and surprise my husband with his held library books. However, this is the third time that I've convinced them to let me get the books without the library card, which makes me think that even the librarians think it's a ridiculous policy.

Often policies are a result of prior incidents and all I can think of is that they are trying to protect divorcees from library fraud. I suppose there may have been a string of crimes where evil ex husbands or wives check out library books that their exes have placed on hold and never return them, racking up exuberant library fines. The evilness of those people! Their evil revenge tactics are ruining it for the rest of us happily married people. I think I might need to write my public library and lobby for spousal permission to check out books without the card. Golly!

Now here is a video of Jason spending a whole minute getting on his shorts. I think his diaper is getting a little too big for his britches:

My favorite part of today was listening to Emily la la la-ing the theme song from Little House on the Prairie while she took a shower.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beauty comes from within.

When I was a little girl I always daydreamed about having my own little girls and dressing them up in pretty pink dresses with pretty pigtails and bows. I think I did a pretty good job getting Emily dressed and her hair done everyday. However, I think I've gotten a little lazy over the years and now I let Sarah dress herself.

Sarah's happy as long as she is wearing a skirt. I'm happy as long as they at least have on underwear. This morning I told Sarah I wanted her to wear pants because it's cold, so she put pants on too - a pair that's at least a size too small. My daydreams also included a clean house.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who dunnit?

The guilty party surely has some American cheese between his/her toes or possibly beneath his/her fingernails. I should probably go use some forensics to help me find the suspect.

The amazing senses

The other night at family home evening, Daddy was giving the lesson. Bradley was goofing off and laughing at something that Jason was doing. With a hint of anger in his voice, Daddy said, "Bradley! What did I just say?"

Bradley repeated the sentence, "When we keep the commandments, we get faith." Then he added, "WOW! I didn't even know that you said that!"

Isn't the brain amazing? It hears even when you aren't listening.

I didn't get a single thing done last night, but tonight I mopped my kitchen floors. It was 2 weeks overdue. Yay! And now here is a picture just for fun:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Full of good intentions

Tonight I am going to attempt to clean the downstairs. Notice the word "attempt." I always have good intentions, but there is just something about when the kids are finally in bed that makes me want to do anything BUT look at their toys, their books, their mess. So I will probably end up sitting on the couch watching TV or reading a book. Let me know if you need anything. I'll just be in the other room...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The other day Sarah asked me how babies got in a mommy's belly. As I contemplated to what degree I would take this discussion she said, "By magic?"
I thought that suggestion sounded like a suitable explanation for an almost-five-year-old because even for me the thought of a human being growing inside of me sometimes seems magical. But I thought I should at least clarify and give her a heads up for future discussions by telling her that it takes a mommy and a daddy to put a baby in the mommy's belly. She had a puzzled look on her face as she tried to figure out why a daddy was essential to this equation. Then the light bulb lit and she said, "Oh, the daddy puts the baby in the belly with magic!"
"Um, yeah it kind of works like that," I said.
Seeing that her fairy tale explanation of procreation completely satisfied her young mind, I decided to leave the whole magic wand discussion for a later date.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fantasy Reality

Tonight after bath time I saw Wendy and Sarah standing in a single file line outside their closed bedroom door. I asked them what they were doing and Sarah replied, "We're playing American Idol."

I could hear Emily inside singing Silent Night to the panel of judges who I assumed were Bradley, Jason, and Rachel. I gathered some dirty laundry in the other bedrooms as she sang and brought them to their room. When I entered, I witnessed her pleading with the judges to let her through to Hollywood. She was giving some sob story about how she had been practicing for 2 weeks or something. I left the room to finish my chores and as I passed Sarah and Wendy I heard Sarah say to Wendy, "We're the mudders (mothers)." I don't know if she meant that they were the mothers waiting to find out the fate of their daughter's singing career or if it was simply their young perspective of the show's contestants. I personally view the contestants as kids, however, I could see how my children might view them as adults, and in their minds adults = parents. As I walked down the hall I heard screams which led me to believe that Emily had convinced the judges to give her a golden ticket.

The rest of the children continued to audition. Wendy sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Bradley sang Frosty the Snowman. I missed Sarah's audition. Bradley was last one to try out and Emily, who was now on the panel of judges, made him anxiously wait for his result as she finished her last round of electronic Yahtzee (for real). David and I stood outside the door and waited to see if he made it. He opened the door with a sad face, but then surprised us by flashing his imaginary golden piece of paper. Yay! All four kids are going to Hollywood! I can't wait.

Now flash into reality. I'm going on blog pause for a moment because I have a house to clean...

(that's supposed to be a pause symbol)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our sixth first birthday.

Today we celebrated our sixth child's first birthday. This is the first first birthday we've celebrated with me not pregnant. That's weird. It feels awkward.

We went to the park and had a mini party. It was cold, but I was not grumpy. It feels good to be in the cold air. I guess I just don't like being in my cold house.

After the park we went home and I painted one wall of the kid's room. The good news is I love the color! The bad news is that it's going to take a lot more paint than I estimated.

After dinner we opened presents. Rachel got $20 from David's parents. Then she began to tear into a present from my parents...

...and instantly got a lot of helpers. It was some blocks. We didn't give her a present. This was my gift to Rachel:

A polka dot cake.

It's a double layer white cake with white frosting and the polka dots are those Necco old fashioned candy buttons that you peel off the long strips of paper. I've had them sitting in a kitchen drawer for about 3 years and thought it was about time to give them a purpose. The top of the cake was clawed this afternoon by a two year old who thought the polka dots looked pretty tasty. But I had some spares and I fixed it up.

"It looks yummy, but I'm sucking my fingers."

"Ok. Little bite."

"Yes. Good."

"Cake good too."

"Time out. Finger suck."

"Me want more."
And, yes, she did finish that whole piece of cake.

The cake was a hit and so were the party hats...

Happy birthday, Rachel! Even the sixth first birthday party is fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I don't like cold weather.

Cold weather makes me grumpy. It makes me grumpy at my kids. It makes me grumpy at my husband. It makes me grumpy at the librarian. Grumpy for no reason. Actually I was mad at the librarian because she wouldn't let my husband check out the books with his library card that I had on hold with my library card. I actually had to call the library and give them permission to let my husband check the books out and they said they would make a "special exception" this time and allow him to check them out with my permission over the phone. It makes me grumpy at my DVD player for not playing Barbie and the Magic Pegasus that my girls were begging to watch. It makes me grumpy at myself for possibly choosing the wrong paint color for the kid's room and not doing laundry today like I was supposed to. It makes me grumpy at my floors for not mopping themselves.

All I want to do is sit on the couch with a blanket over my lap and do nothing but a whole lot of nothing. I don't want to clean. I don't want to cook. The cold weather stunts my blogging momentum.

I'm going to go bake a cake right now. Not because I want to, but because I have a child turning one tomorrow. I just can't jip her on her first birthday. Not that she would care or even know, but I have five other kids that care and know. I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully in a better mood because it's supposed to be like 10 degrees warmer. I don't know how you people who live in the snow do it. You're awesome!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Actual Snow Day!

We had an inaugurational day today. A home school day in political science as we sat on the couch covered up in a warm quilt as sparse snowflakes fell to the ground. Yes, that's right. It actually did snow! Of course it didn't amount to anything, but the little precipitation we did have, was in the form of snowflakes.

Tonight at dinner I asked, "Who wants to be president?"
Emily said, "I don't."
Sarah raised her hand and said, "I do! And Emily will be the Christmas tree and..."
Before she could say that Bradley will be Santa Claus, I realized I may not have anunciated my "president" as well as I should've.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Monday Action

This afternoon I sat down with Bradley and Emily to talk about American presidents. We paged through a book that talks briefly about each president. We learned a couple of new things. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826? I also could not figure out why the book which covers Washington thru the second Bush had only 42 presidents. They keep talking about Obama being the 44th. I thought either 1) the news is wrong, or 2) I have a defective book. Well, come to find out, Grover Cleveland served two unconsective terms (1885-1889 and 1893-1897.) It was a relief to get that cleared up. Bradley was also excited that he shares a birthday with Laura Bush.

My dinner:
Family Home Evening
Sarah is hot or cold when it comes to her moods. There is very little in between. At Family Home Evening tonight she pouted because she lost the first round of Simon Says because she put her tongue back into her mouth when Simon didn't say. She sat on the couch and pouted during the next 5 rounds as Emily and Bradley played and Wendy and Jason tried to play. But after the rounds were finished, Sarah insisted that I take some pictures of her modeling her beautiful attire.

Ok, so she might not have the most promising career in modeling, but Sarah sure is lovable when she is in one of her good moods.

I did a little bit of self destructing tonight and watched The Bachelor. I just can't resist it! But I could not believe the group date where they made chest and belly casts of themselves that they painted to auction for Breast Cancer Awareness. HELLO!!!**!!! That date would've been my utter demise!! "A" cups just don't get you that far this early in the game. And sure enough, the girl with the flatest chest did NOT get a rose. Man! I feel for her.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still Settling

Sorry I have no pictures of the new bedrooms yet. They are still in quite a state of disarray and I'm anxious to paint, even though that will probably never happen.

Gosh, I don't have much to say today. Probably because it's late and I should be in bed. Let's hope I have more to say tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The New Masters

Reality hit today. We have six kids and 3 bedrooms, one of which is being used as my husband's office while he works hard to try to bring in some income. Fortunately, the bedrooms are large and the kid's fit just fine in the bedroom that they've been using for the past 5 years. However, we've been talking about a switcheroo for the past few months in order to give them more space and ourselves, the parents, more coziness. One thing we liked about this house when we bought it, was that each bedroom has it's own bathroom. So although we will be sacrificing our double vanity and nice big tub, we still have our own private cozy bathroom.

I always thought the size of our master bedroom was kind of ridiculous. More space means more clutter which means less restful sleep (all part of the fen shui thing.) I suppose some couples have luxurious bedroom sets that take up a lot of space, but we don't. We are still functioning headboardless and out of a dresser that we picked up beside a dumpster the first year we were married. (I did paint it and make it look nice though.) Our nightstands and TV stand are hand-me-down pieces of furniture from David's grandmother. They are cute and I like them. We still have to take down the Disney Princess Poster and I hope to paint over the pink walls with an ivory or light blue to match my quilt one of these days.

The kids are thrilled with their master bedroom. They have a queen bed, a twin bed, a large dresser, 2 small dressers, 2 cribs and a bookshelf in there. They always brush their teeth and shower in our bedroom anyway, so it's really not all that big of a deal. We still have to figure out the closet situation too. With 8 people's wardrobes, closet situations can be a mess!

I love my new room! I'm so excited to sleep in it tonight. I'll have to post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snow Day

Ok, so it didn't really snow today, but if there was any precipitation, I think it would've. It definitely did not get above the 30's. I had multiple loads of laundry to fold, so I told the kids to lie on my bed and watch some TV. I asked, "Who wants socks?" and they all replied, "I do!" My kids never wear socks unless they have to wear their sneakers or church shoes, but today they agreed some toasty toes sounded like a good idea. They all gathered around me with their 10 feet (Rachel was already wearing footed pajamas) and waited for me to put on their socks one by one. Then they all cozied up with a blanket and settled down to watch Little House on the Prairie. Unfortunately it was one of the later episodes in the series and the kids weren't too interested because Laura Ingalls Wilder was all grown up. So they got off the bed, took their socks off, and messed up my laundry as they played one of their imagination games. I think today it was "Save the Princess from the Sinking Boat" or something like that. I'll have to admit that laundry baskets do make great boats. But my whole snuggle-up-on-a-cozy-warm-bed-and-watch-some-TV idea totally backfired. I suppose I could've let them watch Wonderpets or Super Why, but I just wasn't in the mood for those shows today. I declared it a snow day and those shows are too educational. So after my 3 hours of laundry, I repledged to myself that I will never fold laundry as long as there are children under the age of 7 in the room. It just doesn't work.

Now all this cold weather really has me missing my Christmas tree and my brain can't function in the cold, so I'm going to go do a whole lot of nothing while I drink some hot chocolate.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I learned 3 new things today.

1. Empty peanut butter containers don't do well in the dishwasher. Who would've thought? I guess I should have thought before I put it in the dishwasher. It's too bad because I love empty peanut butter containers. They are great for storing beans. Dry beans.

2. I replaced the burned out light bulbs on the Christmas tree lights as I sadly took the strands off the tree. It appears that orange lights do not last the longest. Blue ones appear to be pretty hardy. My hypothesis? The factory line that makes the filaments for orange mini lights is not as good as the ones that make them for blue and red ones.

3. 11 times any number is that number with the tens digit moved to the hundreds place and the tens digit the sum of the hundreds and ones digit. I know. Confusing. Here's an example:

11 x 17 = 187 (Split apart the 17, add 1 + 7, and stick the sum, 8, in the middle.)

11 x 25 = 275 (Split apart the 25, add 2 + 5, and stick the sum, 7, in the middle.)

11 x 38 = 418 (That one is a little tricky because 8 + 3 is 11 so you have to make the 3 a 4.)

Get it? How awesome is that? How come I never knew that?

What else in the news?
Our tree is gone. I had no choice. The trash truck comes on Fridays and I just couldn't spend Rachel's birthday next Thursday taking it down. Although, now that I think about it, Monday is Martin Luther King Day, which means that the trash will be postponed a day. Dang it! I could've enjoyed it one more week. Sigh!

We undressed it slowly, carefully wrapping each ornament in white tissue paper and placing it in it's plastic bin home for the next 10 1/2 months. At lunch we (I) sang the ode I wrote 2 years ago, in thanks for the kind service he provided for us this Christmas season. Oh, how I hope Tree is reincarnated in the form of pine nuggets and comes to live in our garden this April. That would be cool.

I told my husband he would've made a great male cheerleader. Look at that one-handed lift with a six foot tree! GO TREE! We'll miss you! Come back again some day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Chicken Nugget Dance

This is the kid's new self choreographed dance. It is a 2 minute and 30 second interpretive dance about the Ketchup Queen (Emily) and her chicken nuggets. As you watch, you will see Boy Nugget (Bradley) prefers to be dipped head first, while the girl nuggets (Sarah and Wendy) prefer to tip toe daintily through the Queen's ketchup after she wakes them from a deep sleep in hot oil. Ironically, Nugget #2 (Sarah) is wearing red and yellow to represent the famous Golden Arch's McNugget, and Nugget #3 is named Wendy to represent the fast food chain with the best 5 piece nugget deal. The second half is freestyle dancing interpreted as the happy feelings of the body during digestion of nuggets. Toward the end of the piece you will see Princess Ketchup, just a tiny drip, crawl onto the stage, as a love conflict arises between the Ketchup Queen and Boy Nugget. Boy Nugget agrees to kiss the hand of the Queen but refuses to be kissed by her. We hope you enjoy the show!

And, yes, it's January 14, and I still have my live Christmas tree up. It's just so beautiful!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My retirement is looking secure.

Yesterday the kids played candy shop. What else do you do with 20 + lbs. of candy hanging around house? Emily was in charge. The shop was set up in the piano room. Each type of candy had it's place. The plain M&Ms on the piano and piano bench. Reese's cups sat on a red kid's bench. M&M candy canes were on a chair. Almond Bark and mint M&M's were by the Christmas books that were on clearance.

I sat and listened to them playing. I enjoyed what they were creating. Emily stated that she was the manager. She announced that she needed to hire an artist to paint a window display. Bradley offered and shouted out a verbal resume declaring that he was a good artist. According to Emily's reaction, he must have been great because he painted a delightful, giant, imaginary Reese's cup and M&M. Then Emily, a good manager, did not fire Bradley after his contract job was complete, and put him to work advertising with the "stack of flyers that she had in the back." They hustled and bustled getting the store ready. They named it Candy World because, "There is already a Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania." (They did their competitor research this summer.) Then they sent a special invitation upstairs to Daddy for their grand opening and sent him home with a bunch of free samples after he made a purchase.
I have high hopes for their future businesses. Like I said, my retirement is looking secure.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I need to get some things done...

I know I've been a bit long-winded the past few or so posts. So I'll simply leave you with this today. It's worth the 3 minutes and 50 seconds:

If you watch it in the evening, hopefully it will give you good dreams. If you watch it in the morning, hopefully it will start you off with a good day.

Now I am going to clean my kitchen, take down some more Christmas decorations, then plop myself down on the couch with some good donutholes and hot chocolate, and shamefully watch The Bachelor.

Have you now just lost all respect for me?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Love My Sarah

Sarah is my little midget kid. She was my second smallest at birth, weighing in at 6 lb. 1 oz. full term. (Emily was actually my smallest at 5 lb. 8 oz., but she was nearly 3 weeks early.) Sarah has always been at the bottom or below on the growth charts for height and weight. It's never been much of a concern for the doctors because both my husband and I are not the largest people. My husband was a pip squeak in his youth and didn't hit his major growth spurt until college when he grew to be a whoppin 5 ft. 7.5 in. I am about 5 ft. 3.5 in. We both round up when we state our height.

Sarah is also our kid with eczema. I'm not talking about a few dry patches of skin, but the backs of her upper legs have red inflamed skin that itches and bleeds. I've always wondered why she is my only tiny kid with eczema. I have some theories:

Theory #1: When I was 11 weeks pregnant with Sarah, I got this funky virus. One day, my palms started itching. There was nothing to see. They just itched. I remember driving in the car and trying to itch them while holding onto the steering wheel. It was one of those itches that wasn't able to be satisfied. Later in the day, my legs started to itch and my joints began to hurt. The really weird thing was that the bottoms of my feet were extremely painful. It hurt to walk on them. They felt lumpy on the bottom. I don't recall if I had a fever. I don't believe that I did. Since I was pregnant, I went to the doctor. He's a man that has been practicing obstetrics for probably over 30 years and I think I even had him baffled. I remember I explained my symptoms, he examined my skin, and then he left the room. I'm sure he was looking up in his medical books, what it could possibly be. He ended up sending me to the lab to test me for Parvo Virus (Fifth Disease). It was negative. Since my symptoms cleared up in a couple days, we did no further testing and it probably says in my chart, "funky weird virus." So I think that could possibly have something to do with Sarah's funky weird skin.

Theory #2: Her red inflamed skin causes metabolic stress because such a large area of her skin is trying to constantly heal. The hypermetabolic response increases her caloric needs. Since she is young and still growing, her body is constantly competing with itself for the average amount of calories that she does consume. Therefore, her body can never fully heal or grow properly, thus creating an eczematic midget.

Theory #3: The Pull Ups that she wears irritate the skin on the backs of her legs. However, this doesn't quite explain why she has some itchy red patches on her arms too.

Theory #2 feels like a motherly revelation. I am going to monitor her caloric intake this week and subsequent weeks and make sure she gets about 1.3 times the calories that she is supposed to consume and see if this helps her to heal and grow. I'm also going to make sure that she is getting adequate protein. I love using my college nutrition degree! It makes me feel like the $100 I pay toward my school loan each month, 11 years after I graduated, is still worth it.

Sarah is also very random sometimes. Perhaps her caloric intake is also affecting her brain synapses. Tonight I went in the bathroom to get her out of the tub and rub some shea butter on her legs within 2 minutes. I noticed that her hair was wet. She doesn't normally get her hair wet every time she soaks. I commented, "Your hair is wet."

She responded, "Yes, and I washed my crotch and my butt because it's going to be Valentine's day."

Although I was glad that she washed those parts of her body, I must have given a confused look to her. She sensed my confusion and further emphasized with wide eyes, "It is almost Valentine's Day!"

I couldn't dispute it because Valentine's Day is only 33 days away. I'm glad she is learning at an early age that it's especially important to wash crotches and butts on all holidays, especially Valentine's Day. I love my Sarah.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Potty Training Tips

I was recently asked for some tips on potty training. Not sure I have many. All I know is that it's one of the crappy parts of parenthood. Here is my history:

Started her at 18 months. Completely frustrating and Bradley was born when she was 19 months old. Started again at 2 1/2. Bribed her with a Snow White dress. LOTS of accidents throughout process! Accidents completely stopped at about age 5. She did get the Snow White dress after two weeks of successfully training.

He completely resisted training. He HATES when he fails at something. Christmas vacation after he turned 3, we spent a week training him since my husband was off work. I think we bribed him with chocolate. Bradley liked using the small potty at first and then he finally worked up courage to use the big potty. I don't like kid potties because I don't like dealing with dumping the contents into the big potty, but in this instance it proved useful. Bradley had much fewer accidents post-training than Emily and was completely daytime trained in one week. I can't remember exactly, but I don't think Bradley was completely nighttime trained until he was almost 5.

IMPOSSIBLE to train before turning 3. Kind of got the hang of it at age 3. LOTS of accidents! She gradually got better at having less accidents. Still cannot sleep through the night dry. I've tried. Huggies is making a lot of money off of me. It boggles me how a child can wet the bed and sleep in it until morning. The wetness doesn't seem to wake her up like a normal child.

Bladder of STEEL. This kid trained herself at age 2. Did not require any bribing. She was very self motivated. Very few accidents. She usually pees her pants if she holds it too long and someone is using the bathroom when she needs to go. She sleeps through the night dry, but I put on a Pull Up just in case because she shares a bed and I don't want to have to bathe children and wash sheets the next morning.

Showing interest. I need to start working on him.

Can poop and pee in diaper to her heart's content because I'm not starting her until I'm done with Jason.

From my experience, every child is different. Wendy is my proof that I'm not a complete failure. I think some children are just more physiologically capable of training early. I think bladder control is hereditary. I remember wetting my bed often when I was little (like until I was 10) and I peed my pants in first grade. So my poor kids! Wendy got lucky. I never use Pull-Ups in the daytime unless we are on a road trip. I like to keep the child naked (bottom down) during training at home until they fully understand how to use the potty. The naked approach was effective for Bradley. I think accidents are less likely when they are naked because there is nothing to catch it. It also helps with less laundry. However, the naked approach seemed to make Sarah think she could poop and pee anywhere in the house she felt was suitable. I learned with Wendy, that bribing is not necessary. However we started bribing her in order to get her to go all by herself. We gave her 5 mini M&Ms if she mounted and dismounted the toilet on her own.

I've heard of potty training at 4 months old, but I just can't do that. I don't have the manpower to be that attentive to my baby's bowel movements. Honestly, I think I've actually noticed Rachel pooping in her diaper (grunting and red face) like 3 times. Smell is what cues me to know that I need to change a diaper which is why Rachel has diaper rash right now, because I had a cold last week and she probably sat in a soiled diapers for a little too long. I've never read any books on the issue (maybe I should have). As long as they are trained by Kindergarten, I'm happy. The good news is that I no longer pee my pants (unless I'm pregnant) or wet the bed so there is still hope for Sarah.

I hope that helps. Like I said before, every child is different. I could probably use some tips myself.

If you find you are losing patience, don't blame yourself, blame the kid. It probably is their fault or their physiology. Meanwhile, stock up on Bounty - The Quicker Picker Upper and roll up your good rugs until victory prevails.

Oh yes, and my trick for getting pee out of carpet is when the pee is still there and you can see a dark wet spot, I take some masking tape and mark a square or rectangle around the spot. Then I take my roll of Bounty and blot it up until it is practically dry. Then I wipe it with a clean white cloth and spray some vinegar and water on it to avoid a urine smell. The masking tape is really helpful because the dark spot goes away after a few blots and then it's easy to lose track of where the accident happened, especially if you get a phone call or other distraction. Sometimes it takes me a whole TV show and LOTS of paper towels to get it all up, but it's important to me to know that my carpet is mostly clean, especially if it's new.

Is that enough potty talk for now?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Suffering Afflictions

Today I worked on:

New Year's Resolution #3 - Read entire Friend to my kids each month. (Not all in one day.)

Today I read the First Presidency message to them. As we read, we talked about the attributes of Christ such as knowledge and humility, charity and love, obedience and diligence, faith and hope. Somehow the discussion evolved to talking about the 10 Commandments, which led to talking about the "Life of Crime" Spongebob episode, which led to talking about the positive attributes of Spongebob, which are, by the way, hard-worker, happy, friendly, and innocent. When I managed to get the lesson back on track, I closed by reading the last sentence, "Both faith and hope will carry us across oceans of temptations, over mountains of afflictions..."

"What's afflictions?" Emily asked.

I explained that Daddy not having a job is an affliction. Some people have illnesses that are afflictions. I told her afflictions were trials. When we face them and endure them, we become stronger and closer to Jesus and Heavenly Father. Then I posed the question, "Can you think of any other afflictions that people might face?"

She thought for a moment and then responded, "Like maybe if you're 42 and not married yet?"

After I finished cracking up I said, "Sure, that could be an affliction." Then I continued, "...and bring us safely back to our eternal home and destination."

Then I fished out the missing letter magnets from beneath the refrigerator:

and we created this:

Choosing the Right + Keeping the Commandments leads to Faith (and happy parents.)

Then Emily played Wedding Planner and planned Sarah's wedding.

Mmmm. Love the Attire! And the Little Red Riding hood bride's maid. And the beautiful fake flowers that they plucked out of the green styrofoam from one of my vases.

The bride's dress is designed by Emily. It is a two piece original with a purple 100% cotton long-sleeved bodice and red polyester skirt. Need something blue? Not to worry, their is a Superman logo ironed onto the inside of the skirt to symbolize love, modesty, and fidelity in your new marriage. The neon green beads and Cinderella gloves tied around the wrists accessorize the bride perfectly. The lacy fisherman hat veil compliments this Emily dress and will make any child, woman, or old maid beautiful on their pretend or real wedding day.

When you are playing pretend, you are:
A. make-believing
B. making-believing
C. making-believe

Coming tomorrow: A word on potty training...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Better Day. A Great Day!

Excuse my bad mood yesterday. Today was a better day. My husband takes Thursdays off. We went to the park. We met a friend there. It was helpful having some extra hands to push swings because it's hard keeping six kids pendulating all at once. The kids had a great time:

Sarah liked the swings.

Rachel rode a swing for the first time. She just couldn't get enough licks of the crisp fresh air. She's always been my little tongue baby.

Jason liked the swings.

I noticed that Rachel always keeps her left-hand fingers in the ready position. You never know when you might need a good suck.

Even web developers deserve a good day playing at the park.

On the way to and from the park we stopped at Target.

Now this is what I call Food Storage:

How sweet is that?

24 (21 lbs.) bags of plain M&M's @ $0.27 each.
28 bags (19 lbs.) of Reese's mini cups @ $0.27 each.
4 bags (3.5 lbs.) of peanut M&M's @ $0.27 each.
3 bags (2.5 lbs.) of candy cane Hershey Kisses @ $0.27 each.
and 36 (4 lbs.) M&M candy canes @ $0.09 each.

That's a total of 50 lbs. of chocolate candy (about 980 Reese's Cups and 55 cups of M&M's) for less than $20. I don't care how unemployed you are, you can always find money for chocolate. Emily said it was definitely a 3 year supply of chocolate, however, my calculations tell me that this amount of chocolate will only provide 1 oz. of chocolate per person for 100 days. Man! I knew I should've gotten more!

Then we went to an Asian grocery mart to get some miso paste. When we went to the festival of lights before Christmas, John Tesh told us on his radio show that miso soup helps prevent crows feet, "because it’s loaded with soy isoflavones. If you had 3 cups of miso soup a week, and kept it up for 3 months, you would see a decrease in fine lines and improved skin elasticity. That’s according to Yale University School of Medicine, which found that soy isoflavones help repair skin tissue and diminish wrinkles." Soy we are going to eat miso soup every day for the rest of our lives. We trust John Tesh.

Then we came home, and I went running. What is up with that? I haven't run in like 8 years. But my husband encouraged me to take this rare era of my so-far-married-life in which I'm not pregnant and won't be for 3 months, to get in better cardiovascular shape. For some reason I actually listened to him and ran for like a half mile (5 minutes). I got terrible side cramps and walked the rest of the 10 minutes. I start small.

Then we ate our miso soup that my husband made (Delicious! I feel younger looking already!), sweet potatoes, and grits.

Then I tackled laundry.

Confession: I watched Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice while I folded a gazillion children's clothing pieces (that I supposedly will never be able to sell or donate in the future.) I don't normally watch those shows because of the garbage on them, but Tim Daly is pretty hot. I can't believe he's 52! Also, since my favorite show last season, Journeyman, was cancelled, I had to check out how Kevin McKidd was doing on his new gig with Grey's.

Yes, good day! The park, bargain chocolate, and promises of miso soup totally overuled dreadful laundry and bad legislation (see yesterday).

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

December 26th - The Day After

My photo collection is very slim the few days after Christmas. Our house looked like a war zone, I was burned out on photography, and busy helping play with toys. But I did get these three photos on December 26th.

She found the stash.

Playing with their new Skydancers from their Auntie.

One more picture.

Back to now...
After my manic Tuesday yesterday, today has me feeling a little blue. I don't know if I used up my energy yesterday, or if it's due to the fact that my husband drank the last Diet Pepsi this morning. The evening news didn't help my mood any. I had briefly heard a couple months ago about some new legislation that is scheduled to take effect Feburary 10, 2009 regulating the sale of items to children 12 and under. Basically if you produce or sell any item intended for a child under 12 such as clothing, books, toys, educational supplies, it needs to be tested and certified by a third party for lead and phthalates. The testing is very expensive. This isn't a problem for large corporations such as Mattel, Hasbro, etc. because they have lots of money. But it does pose a huge concern for the small entrepreneurs and crafters of children's items that are trying to make a living in a struggling economy. One Etsy shop owner estimated that it would cost her $25,000 - $30,000 to test the items she sells. Etsy shops featuring children's items will have to shut down if their items aren't tested. Thrift stores cannot sell untested children's items and will have to throw it all away, sending the junk to landfills. I even read that it will be considered illegal to sell untested children's clothing and toys at yard sales or even donate it to charity. How absurd is that? Can you just imagine the police going around to yard sales on Saturday mornings fining people who are selling children's clothing and toys?

Now, I'm all for protecting our children and ensuring their safety, but I believe this is a little extreme. It saddens me that the fun has been taken out of art of crafting and prospering from it. It saddens me that my future children may not receive a handmade name puzzle because the Perry family couldn't afford to have their supplies tested and certified.

I'm afraid that the one-of-a-kind charm will die because everything will have to be produced uniformly because it's simply not cost effective to spend $400 to test a $10 bib.

I don't like regulations such as these. It just doesn't seem to be completely thought out. Or the people thinking it through might just have too much money or lack of appreciation for handmade goods. Now I consider myself to have common sense some of the time, and in this case it seems reasonable to me that handcrafters could disclaim to prospective buyers that the item for sale has not been tested to conform with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and still be able to sell their item. Kind of like, "Buy at your own risk." Such labeling might decrease their target market, but at least they could stay in business. Also, why is government placing all of the burden on the manufacturer of the end product? Are the companies that are manufacturing or distributing the felt, fabric, buttons, thread, wood, paint, etc. required to test their products and provide certification to their consumers? That seems logical to me. Then crafters would have the option to only purchase certified supplies and could forego the expensive testing of the end products.

So why am I telling all of you this? I should be writing my congressmen. If you want to know more information and help get this law amended, here are some links:

A petition you can sign:

What's next? The banning of Christmas lights because they contain lead and children under 12 celebrate Christmas? I wonder how this affects Santa's workshop? I feel better now that I've lifted this absurdity off my chest tonight.

It's kind of ironic because before I watched the news today, I randomly pulled a book off the bookshelf titled, The Original Girl's Hand Book by Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard. I gave it to Emily last year for Christmas. It's a book originally published in 1887 and republished in 2007. There was a section on handmade gifts to make for Christmas. One of them was "Miss Nancy". Its a doll for children made out of the pith of a corn stalk. One line of the directions says, "... draw a face on the head with pen and ink, and glue half of a lead bullet on the lower end of the pith."

I'm sure the book will be banned February 2010.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I accomplished things today. That's cool!

Whewww!!! What a day! What a productive day! (I think.)

This morning I woke up at 8 AM, showered and got dressed. That's an accomplishment itself. I had an appointment at 9 AM to meet a friend at our church building to show her how to use the Mylar Pouch sealer. (On a normal day I would've woke up at 8 AM, sat in bed for a half hour, showered and got dressed at 2 PM.)

Then I went to get some blood drawn to confirm that I'm not pregnant or have some freaky thing going on in my uterus. My HCG levels were at at 10, which is good and now I just have to wait for Aunt Flow.

Side Note: OK - so I've never heard of Aunt Flow before. But a couple of months ago I was looking some pregnancy thing up online and people kept referring to "AF." I was getting so frustrated that I didn't know what "AF" was and I looked it up and learned it stands for Aunt Flow. Is this some new teeny bopper texting lingo? I'm so out of it. Also at our ward Christmas party kids were singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, with the little annoying echo line. They sang, "He'll go down in history. Like George Washington!" Since when did Rudolph go down in history like George Washington? I always thought he went down in history like Columbus. Maybe Columbus is a California thing? Anyway....

Then I went to the bank to deposit some checks.

Then I went to get my haircut. The last time I got it cut was in June. The hair stylist asked me why it had been so long and I told her it's hard to find the time. Although that is mostly true, I didn't want to tell her that I am a total cheapo and am only willing to spend an average of $3 per month on my hair. I didn't want my response to affect my haircut. As she shampooed my hair, she asked me if I worked. I told her I had six kids. She thought that was great and asked me if we were going to have more. I said we are going for 8, maybe more. We talked some more as I read the menu of prices:

$13 adult haircut regular stylist
$18 adult haircut master stylist

I wondered what qualified one as a "master stylist". I continued to read.

$18 adult haircut and shampoo regular stylist
$21 adult haircut and shampoo master stylist

My guess was that this woman was not a master stylist. I was wishing I had not opted for the shampoo so I would only have to pay $13. As she was finishing up my hair she said, "Christmas must be fun at your house." See? People really do say that! I'm not making it up. When I cashed out, she only charged me $13. Awesome! I gave her a good tip.

Then I stopped by Target to check out their 90% off Christmas stuff. Not much left. But I picked up a $0.10 ornament and some sort of FM Transistor that you can plug a MP3 player into to listen to in the car. It was a $1. I thought it was worth a try for my husband's poor neglected iPod that I bought him 2 years ago.

Then I went home to children still in their pajamas. My husband had some sort of online interview at noon. It wasn't really an interview; it was more of test. We don't really want the job because it's like 2300 miles away, but a job offer would be nice for a little ego boost.

Then I got a phone call from Brad from Pacific Benefits Group. For the past 3 months, I've ignored all health insurance calls because my husband's former employer has been paying for our Cobra, but Friday is the day that we are on our own and our COBRA payments could possibly eat us alive (hence the name COBRA?). I decided to give Brad a chance. I had checked out their website the previous night. I think I broke their application with our large family. When I inputted our family's names and birthdates, it processed ... and processed ... and processed ... and finally spit out a premium total of $1.00. Wouldn't that be nice? Anyway, Brad quoted me over the phone with a much higher number. However, it was still $400 less than COBRA. When I was transferred to the licensed insurance specialist for our state, he saw the list of kids and said, "It looks like you are fertile. Would you like maternity coverage?" I told him, "Yes." He asked if we were Mormon. I said, "Yes." We chuckled and he totally sold me on a good insurance plan.

I'm a little disappointed though. The maternity rider has a 90 day waiting period which means I can't conceive #7 until at least April 10th, which means I might not get my December baby. Oh the STRESS!!! You see, so far each member of the family is born in a different month:

January - Rachel
February - Sarah
March - Daddy
April - Emily
May - Totally vacant
June - Mommy
July - Wendy
August - Totally vacant and the month that the little aborted yolk sac was supposed to be born. Whatever. Her loss! I'm not sure why she had to hang on for 4 unnecessary weeks and wreck my chances for a September baby, because...
September - Totally vacant
October - Jason
November - Bradley
December - Totally vacant

So, if I conceive on the 91st day of coverage (just to be safe) the baby would be due on January 1st, 2009. So far all of my babies have been born at least 3 days early and my doctor only delivers on Tuesdays so he would be willing to induce me on Tuesday, December 29th. I don't know!!! It's cutting it close and it's also assuming Aunt Flow arrives at the proper time. And how does the insurance company determine when you "conceive"? Do they take the doctor's word for it? Oh the stress!

But I'm sure it will work out just fine even if I have a another baby in January. It just means I will have to have 11 children since I would have to double up anyway once we go past 10, unless I have twins. I think I'm thinking about this too much.

At least I have control over my children's names. Have you noticed that all my children's names begin with a different letter? That's actually my husband's neuroses. Jason was actually going to be Evan, but when we were in the hospital and writing the names on the hospital room white board, it became apparent to us that he would have the exact same initials as Emily which bothered my husband. I was hooked on Evan but then we kind of randomly came up with Jason. I didn't like it at first because my first thought is Jason from Friday the 13th. But thankfully my Jason is not horror movie scary:

Does Jason Voorhees looks like this under his tattered hockey mask?

My kids also all have middle names with double letters. (That's my neuroses that my husband wishes I would get over. But how can you stop the pattern after six kids?) I don't think it's as bad as having 18 children whose names all start with the same letter.

So while I was on the at least 45 minute insurance phone call, my kids made sure to take advantage of every unsupervised moment. Kids are smart. They know to ask mommy for things they can't normally have while she is on the phone. For example Sarah came to me with a little bottle of apple juice that I reserve for when we go out. There was an identical mama-sized one right next to it that I guess was not as satisfying. It's much more fun drinking juice out of a bottle rather than juice poured into a cup. I told her "no" several times until I finally came to a crucial part of the phone call. I wanted all whiny children at least 20 feet away from me as the customer service agent was asking for my billing info. So I caved and gave the silent go-ahead; a slight nod and look in the eye that says, "Are you happy? Now go away and don't bother me." Which, I guess, is interpreted by all children to mean, "Go ahead. Do whatever you want!! Drink it wherever you want! Please spill it on the carpet in the playroom! Watch TV! Put in a movie! Open a bag of marshmallows! Go punch the breakable ornaments on the Christmas tree! Go have a party! I'm just in the other room, not paying a bit of attention."

I don't suppose that getting off the phone and trying to get them to appreciate the fact that I was trying get them good health coverage would be very effective, so I let the mess slide. (I got slightly angry, but told myself I did a productive thing and tomorrow is a new day.)

Since I totally lost control of the day already, I made a couple of more phone calls, fixed my light switch. Check! for # 13 on my New Year's Resolution list. However, I replaced it with a toggle switch instead because I couldn't find a dimmer switch at Lowe's. I turned the DIY project into a science lesson for Emily and Bradley despite the fact that I know nothing about electricity except that you need to turn the breaker off before changing a switch.

My husband was still taking his test at dinner time. I told him I wasn't going to cook until he was finished. I let the kids fend for themselves:

They made cheese quesadillas.

My husband finished his test at 7 PM. We got the kids ready for bed (basically, they changed out of their pajamas into new pajamas.) I cooked some eggs sunny side up on toast, and a side dish of grits. We ate. I cleaned the dishes. I mopped the floor. I blogged while my floors dried. Now it's time for bed.

It was a good day. I talk a lot on good days.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Name the States

Today David gave Emily an impromtu assignment to write as many US states that she could think of. This is her list:

1. Texas
2. Ideo
3. South Carelinena
4. North Carelinena
5. Nevada
6. Calefornya
7. Mane
8. Aleabama
9. Looeeeseana
10. Gorga
11. Vrgina
12. West Vrgina
13. New York
14. Codthrodo
15. Howhyye
16. Washington
17. Orgen
18. Floorda
19. Alsca
20. New Hamcer
21. Montanna
22. Ohio
23. Areizona
24. illinowy
25. New Mexio
26. Okelahomema

Now can you guess the state?

What did Santa Bring?

Is it totally lame to blog about Christmas on January 5th? I have to do it. It's one of my New Year's resolution. Here it is:

Santa must have thought is was lame to eat popcorn out of cookie dough containers. He gave us some real deal popcorn containers and some Goldfish for Bradley because Bradley doesn't like popcorn. And check out that giant candy cane! We hung it on our tree.

An ironing board for Emily.

The box doesn't tell the height of the toy. It goes up to Emily's knees, but she still liked it and now Mommy and Daddy don't have to watch her drool over it every week at Walmart.

Bradley got his well-wished for Zero Gravity Micro.

I was a little leary of him asking Santa for it, afraid that it might mark up my walls and ceiling. However, the thing is pretty cool. Good job, Santa! Bradley told me later that he wanted a red one, but I guess he didn't specify color to Santa. A lesson learned by a six year old - Santa needs details!

A Barbie head for Sarah.

When I see the thing out of the corner of my eye, I think it's a seventh kid. Her head is huge! (Barbie's head is huge, not Sarah's.)

Do you think she was excited?

A Royal Princes coach for Wendy.

I guess Santa couldn't find the Barbie Dream House that the other kids requested from Santa on behalf of Wendy on our December 23rd trip to see him. Santa must know you can never go wrong with Little People, especially princess Little People.

Stacking cups for Rachel.
It's a good thing Mommy and Daddy gave her a walking toy to help walk off that cheek chub.

A big bouncy ball for Jason.

Santa must have seen Jason play with Daddy's big exercise ball and thought he needed one of his own in toddler size. Jason liked his present, but I think he was more excited about the unregulated chocolate eating on Christmas morning. His goal was to eat as much chocolate as possible during the chaos before Mommy and Daddy set any limits.

One of the best gifts ever!
My parents gave me a removable shower head per my request. I can't believe I've been living without one of these things for the past 7 years! Bathtime is so much more enjoyable now. It sure beats rinsing kids with an old red plastic Pizza Hut cup.

The kids also got a bag of Marshmallows in their stocking. It was a hit with Rachel. You can see Jason in the background enjoying his chocolate.

It was a good Christmas! I was exhausted the whole day. I can't even imagine how exhausted Santa must be after a season like this!