Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye bye 2008

Tomorrow begins the difficult task of trying to remember to write 2009 on our checks. And since we don't write many checks anymore compliments of the check card, that may take a while.

Anywho, Toby's back up and kicking. We ended up not having to unpack and repack the wound. Why the change in treatment? Several days post-op I took him back in to get the wound cared for by the ENT doc. It took four adults to hold him down. I looked at them and asked, "and I'm supposed to do this how many times a day???" He said, "just drip peroxide on the packing. It will wick into the wound. Do that 2-4 times a day." Thank you very much! A week later Daddy took him in to have it unpacked. With a brief talking to Toby lay on the table without so much as a nurse holding his hand. :) So, now we're down to changing the bandaid several times a day and dripping peroxide on the wound. He's on the upswing. And the final diagnosis? Atypical tuberculosis. Something about rugrats eating dust bunnies in old houses. I don't understand either.

As Jim recently noted, Avery is talking up a storm. Her favorite thing to do in the van is call, "Mama...Mama...MAMA" until I answer her and then she proceeds to give her dissertation on some sort of topic that only she understands.

Others have noted and we agree with them that Evan has softened a bit around the edges. Don't tell his friends, but he's spent hours playing house with Avery this break! She gives him a baby doll and a dolly stroller, takes one for herself and they stroll around our basement. Very sweet. He's great with the other brothers as well. Despite the fact that we have Toys R Us in our basement they've discovered the cast-aside costume box and have entertained themselves for much of Christmas break running around with bare chests and plastic weapons playing Indians.

Aidan is still Aidan. Being the middle child he is very content to do what the others are doing. He was so proud of himself for doing "tons" of preschool work one morning. He's so happy to just do what the others are doing!

And finally, we have a big announcement from the our family! No, put your jaw back up, we're not pregnant. We've finally joined the world of high speed internet! The only problem is that in switching over I've lost my bookmarks. So, if you know I read your blog, or you wish I would, could you please leave me a comment with a link to it so I can??? Yes, that includes you Leah, Em, Jen, Mel....

Thanks a bunch and have a great 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big day for a little guy

The Monday before Thanksgiving Toby woke up with a big swollen lump under his jaw. Figuring it was allergy related I gave him some ibuprofen and benedryl and started to wait it out. That Tuesday when he woke up it was bigger and had a purple tinge to it. Jim took him to the doctor where he got a shot of antibiotics, a blood draw and a prescription for some antibiotics. Ten days later, the thing is still not smaller, but that wasn't supposed to alarm us, after all, we were told that it could be a couple weeks before the swelling went down.

The swelling continued to not go down.

This past Friday Toby woke up wiht the big swollen lump under his jaw which also happened to be red, hot and hard. I took him in to the doctor where he got another blood draw, an appointment with ultrasound to look inside the lump and a referral to ENT (ear, nose and throat) to check it out.

So, Monday (just a couple days ago) he got the lump ultrasounded and had his appointment with ent which resulted in a treatment plan which involved an "incision and drain".

So, Tuesday (just yesterday) Toby went in for his first real surgery. I took him in at 8:00 and they did all the pre-op questions and forms. At 8:43 Grandpa showed up to make sure his Toby was going to be okay. At 8:44 they wheeled Toby off to the OR. Grandpa and I sat in the "holding tank" to wait for him to come back. Yes, everything turned out just fine. He came through the surgery with flying colors, came through the anesthesia with flying limbs (he was very delusional when he came out, shouting, kicking, screaming, pulling at the bandages, unconsolable, a shot of something in the iv and he settled down).

I took him home around 11:30. Once home he proceeded to eat seven mini-corn dogs and two hot ham and cheese sandwiches. I figured he would be fine! He went to bed last night at 5:30 and we saw or heard nothing out of him until 8:00 this morning!

So, now begins the fun. We leave the bandages as they are until Friday. Dr. ENT removes the bandages, cleans out the wound and re-packs it. Then my fun starts. Every day, several times a day, I (or someone appointed by me) will be unpacking the wound, scrubbing it out with peroxide and re-packing it.


So, how is your week going???

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nutritional Education

This morning Toby stumbled into the kitchen.

"Morning Tobs! What do you want for breakfast?"

"Ice cream." (He'd seen the box of rock salt in the same area as the cereal is kept. Since it has a picture of ice cream on the side we assume he thought it was some sort of ice cream cereal or something. Hard to know what goes on in the three-year-old brain.)

"Okay, you can have ice cream for breakfast!"

I then got out the ice cream, bowl and spoon for him. He looked at me like I was from Mars. Jim looked at me like I was from Mars. I dished up some ice cream for Toby, handed him a banana and a glass of grape juice and told him to dig in.

Aidan came down.

"Mo-o-o-o-m!!! Toby's eating ice cream for breakfast!!!"

"I know. Do you want some?"

"Uh, well, sure!"

So, I dish up the same breakfast for Aidan.

Evan came down soon after.

"Mom, you're giving them ice cream for breakfast?"

"Yup, do you want some?"

"Uh, no." He pours himself a bowl of cereal.

So, I gave half of the kids ice cream for breakfast. Avery slept in past the ice cream hour so she got oatmeal. Hopefully they'll remember the day that Mom gave them ice cream for breakfast. But just to make sure, maybe I should do it more often. Not on a regular basis of course, but a handful of times in the upcoming years. Just so they remember that I wasn't always intent on following the rules.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does this count?

The other day this was our menu for lunch:

mashed potatoes and gravy (I did add some cauliflower to the mashed potatoes, extra veggies!)

Boring? Yes, but very kid friendly!

I'm running out of fresh ideas for lunches. What do your kids like? What do you remember having for lunch as a kid?

Christmas gifts

Last night I had a Hallmark card moment with Evan. He was in the shower, I went into the bathroom and noticed that there was no sign of a towel or anything that could be used as a towel (I don't think he'd use the purple fuzzy bathmat!). I asked him what he was planning to do and he very politely asked me if I would please get him a towel. I did of course and brought it in to him. With him still safely behind the shower curtain I got, "thanks, Mom. You do a lot of stuff around the house that you don't really have to do, you buy us lots of Christmas gifts. You don't have to do any of that, so, well, thanks. I appreciate it."

What a great Christmas gift!

I was also in email conversation with my mom earlier in the week. The long and short of the conversation resulted in my offering to make a donation to a charity in their names rather than buying them something they don't really need and would just end up cluttering their smallish apartment. I emailed her a list of possible charities that *I* would choose, she chose something different. Mom, tell us all why you chose the Hospice of *Your old hometown*!

We have recently "adopted" a child through Compassion International ( If I had someone ask me to pick a charity I'd make a special gift to our other "son" Adrian in Equador.

My question for discussion is this: If someone offered to donate to a charity in your name, what charity would you choose? Something political? Something that helps kids in Africa buy shoes? Something that helps kids next door buy shoes? A food shelf? A humane society? An elder care facility?

What would you do???

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Aside from hosting Works For Me Wednesday, Shannon also has a special guest blogger on Thursdays. In her "What I'd Like You To Know" series Shannon invites women who have had various experiences to share with the blogosphere how to help other women who are experiencing such things. She's invited women with multiples, infertility, women with large families and women with only one child to tell us the things that are helpful and the things that are hurtful to say when we encounter other women in that situation. Today she has asked Tara Mock to share about coping with post partum depression. You can read Tara's post here.

I am including the link to her discussion because I have experienced post partum depression. It was quietly lurking in the background after Evan and Aidan's births, but reared it's ugly head full force after Toby was born (and was a pretty difficult baby). While my ppd didn't look like this Tara's, it was evident to my friends and family that I needed some help in getting through it. And so, in a tear filled conversation with the nurse line at my OBs, I got started on the road to help.

I heard a talk at my MOPS group this fall that stated that women are more susceptible to bouts of depression at certain times of their lives. Those times include the onset of puberty, pre-menstrual, post partum, peri-menopausal, and menopause. So, basically from the time we're thirteen until the time we die! And here's the kicker, Christians are not exempt. Praying more, having more faith, spending more quiet time, that doesn't necessarily make a difference. Sometimes your brain needs some chemicals straightened out and sometimes that involves medication.

So, if you suspect you or someone you are close to could use some help getting through this valley, do them (and their family) a favor. Mention it to her. Offer to watch her kids so she can go to talk with her doctor. Make her dinner so she won't have to feed her family a frozen pizza, again. And most of all, pray for her, pray with her and encourage her that it will get better.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Taking Time to Make Time

Since the move I've not really been cooking much. I attribute part of that to my crummy oven which I'm hoping to replace before too long, but the other part is that with the unpacking and getting settled in and the last week and a half of kids and adults being sick, I have just not been doing much in the kitchen department.

One of the bonus features of this new house is it's chest freezer. Imagine the deep freeze that your grandma had in the basement. Now go back in time about fifty years and imagine that freezer. That's the monster I have in MY basement! Today I began to fill it. It currently contains:

11 batches of chili ready to go for our freezer meal swap next week
4 batches of the gravy for beef tips and gravy (waiting for the 1/8 a cow coming in a week or two)
2 batches of the guts for mini cheddar meatloaves (waiting for the 1/8 a cow coming in a week or two)
2 batches of anniversary chicken
2 batches of taco meat
5 cups of browned ground beef ready for spaghetti sauce or whatever
4 quarts and 2 pints of instant oatmeal mix (storing this in the freezer for lack of anywhere else to put that much oatmeal!)

I feel like I'm forgetting something, but who knows??? :) And that's what I did today. What did you do???

Tater Takes A Turn

Yup. Aidan's turn.

Thus far Evan is the only one not affected by whatever stomach virus we have had. Pray that he doesn't get it. He's a lousy patient! ;)

I'm buying stock in clorox wipes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A fun giveaway

I entered my name on a fun giveaway post with the stipulation that I would in turn host the same giveaway on my blog.

Here are the rules.
"I will make a handmade gift for the first 3 interested people who comment on this post and I have 365 days (ample time) to do it in. I can assure you, it won’t take that long to receive your gift…but it will be a surprise when you do…one of those “when you least expect it” moments. You must have a blog to join in and be willing to do the same for three other people."

So, I'm looking for the first three comments! You need to have a way for me to contact you in your comment so I can get your snail mail address so I can send your present! Yes, those who I know in real life are eligible as well!

EDITED TO NOTE: And, just to shake things up a bit, I've set the comments to "hide" so leave a comment, you never know if you're one of the first three...until I email you asking you for your address!! Also, you must be able and willing to keep the ball rolling with the Pay It Forward giveaway on your own blog!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

Hi, it's not Tara. It's Jim hijacking Tara's blog.

We would like you to know that 33 continues to be a disaster for the usual author of this blog. At about 12:20 a.m. she made her first of several offerings to the porcelain deity. I took the opportunity to head for the basement and sleep on the couch, insulated from the reality of what else is going on in my house.

So let's hear the menu for Thanksgiving:

Breakfast: cereal and pop-tarts as usual.

Lunch: Pancakes for those who can; saltines for those who can't. I make outstanding pancakes. You should try them.

Dinner: Pizza and green beans for those who can; oyster crackers for those who can't.

Thank God we did not try to drive to South Dakota yesterday. Avery's still hurling frequently and Tara's in rough shape as well. I have done most of the everything today including almost finished painting the boys' room.

Did someone say this was a vacation??

Jim, not...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

33? So far, not so good!

Last Friday I turned 33. Birthday wishes came in and a couple of fun gifts were had. (Hats off to Aunt Teresa! Love the bag and fun goodies inside! Kudos to everyone else also, fun stuff!!) Last Friday Mel and I took the five kids we have between us to our indoor playground. Last Friday Mel and Emily arranged for Emily to drive about 1 1/2 hours down to surprise me for my birthday! Yeah, Mel! Last Friday was opening night for the play Jim directed, so we postponed any celebrations so that Jim could, well, do the play. I rented a RedBox movie that was the girliest girly movie I could find, put the three littles to bed early, made buffalo popcorn chicken from the frozen department at Walmart and watched my movie. Alone. And ate my buffalo popcorn chicken alone without having to share even one little nibble. It was lovely.

Then something terrible happened. Saturday. I woke up on Saturday morning with the worst back pain I have ever had in my life. I said multiple times that I'd rather be having a baby than this pain. I was not able to stand up and breathe at the same time. Literally. I could not brush my own hair and could barely stand to have Jim do it for me. And Saturday was the matinee for the play. And we had already arranged for a sitter (and I wouldn't have missed it even if I WAS having a baby!). So, I hauled my sorry little self to the school with Aidan and watched the play. It was great, full of fun and mystery and comedy and even a few written in one liners about today's economy! :)

Sunday I could at least walk and breathe at the same time, though lifting the kidlets was pretty much out of the question. Sunday night Jim and I took the fam out to Applebee's for a high falutin' kind o' evening. We had a gift card of course, so the feeding of the five thousand only cost us $16. Woo hoo!

Monday Toby woke up with a swollen cheek. Weird. So I gave him some ibuprofen and benedryl and watched it. Nothing happened. Mommy instinct wasn't too terribly concerned since there wasn't a fever, no decrease in appetite or activity and his immunizations were up to date (and he probably hadn't been exposed to mumps anyway). Jim and I told ourselves that if it wasn't better in the morning then someone would take him in.

Tuesday...bump still there, seems to have more of a purple tinge than it used to. I go to MOPS and call the doc from there. We make an appointment for 2:45. Avery's MOPPETs worker tells me that she may not be feeling well because she was a little clingy today. Okay, duly noted, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday after lunch. Begin the long afternoon of washing crib sheets, blankets, pillows, hair, and making sure that the beloved pink blanket is clean at all times. Call Jim and see if he can swing taking Toby to the doctor because dang it I cannot possibly take three kids to the doctor the littlest of whom happens to be a veritable fountain of yuck. Jim can manage. He doesn't do fountains of yuck well.

Tuesday afternoon passes with more yuck from Avery. This on top of a diagnosis for Toby. He has an infection in the submandibular gland. What the? That means he has to have a shot of a mega big antibiotic in his leg, a blood draw and a round of mega antibiotics for 10 days to culminate in another blood draw on Friday to see if the antibiotics are winning or if the infection is winning.

Tuesday night we decide that between the yuck fountain and the jaw infection we should maybe ought to consider canceling our trip to South Dakota to visit the relatives. Boo. :(

And Wednesday? Well, my back is still tender, not up to 100%. Avery has been napping for over four hours which is marvelous. Aidan and Toby are trying to slowly drive me to the loony bin. Jim and Evan are out somewhere in town cleaning some old guy's gutters.

If this is a preview of 33, I'll skip it thankyouverymuch!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yeseterday morning I was talking with my friend, Mel, and asked her what her plan was for the day. She said she was going to go to Walmart. I had a couple of things to get/return to Walmart and other errands in that area of town, so I offered her a trade. She would return my movie, sell my kid's too small winter coat, pick up my milk and chicken and return my light bulbs. I would watch her two kids. That's a total of three stops she could make speedy quick because she didn't have her two kids with her and three errands I wouldn't have to do with three kids in full winter gear. It took her approximately half a nanosecond to agree to the deal and she brought over her kidlets a little while later.

Remember how sometimes it is actually less work to have extra kids? Well, yesterday that was mostly the case. I got a bunch of housework done and also got the ugly 80s country blue floral wallpaper removed from my kitchen! With FIVE kids in the house ages 5 and under! Woo Hoo!

So, what works for me? Swapping errand running for child care! Shannon has lots of other ideas linked up at her place. Zip on over there and see if there is something for you today!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Adventures in moving

Why I haven't blogged...

Hummm, I fell of the moving truck and have been in a coma for the past week? Nope. My computer has been in storage for a week and a half and I'm just now getting back online? Sadly, no, the computer was up and running within the first 24 hours. The truth? Moving has pooped me right on down to nothing. At the end of the evening when I would usually write my arms hurt too much from lifting of both kids and boxes that I simply cannot do more than move the mouse around clicking aimlessly on other peoples' blogs. :) Pathetic, I know.

The house is great. I love it. Jim has come around and loves it, too. We joke that we must be the only 30 somethings in America who are downsizing. Square foot for square foot the house IS actually bigger than our last house. It has more individual rooms, the rooms are just smaller than most of the other rooms so things that used to fit together no longer fit together! I've got junk flying out of the house on freecycle deals. Right now I'm trying to figure out a creative way to have a desk on the main level. There is a mini desk type area in the dining room. My computer monitor takes up half of it. The keyboard takes up a quarter of it. Various dumping ground junk takes up the rest. Not very conducive to work I tell you! Hello, Mac or Dell people? Send me a laptop. I'll love you forever. :) And while you're at it? Send me some high speed internet. I was on slow dial up before. Looking at my numbers I'm half the speed I was at the old house. Oh well. Money is earmarked for other things like groceries and other household stuff right now!

The kids have done phenomenally well with the move. Everyone is getting settled into their rooms. Evan has decided he's into football, specifically the Vikings, so he's going to have a football themed room. Aidan and Toby currently have a hot pink and black room with a SpongeBob lightswitch plate (teenaged girl here before). They'll end up with a camo decor. Avery has a white room with white trim, mostly white carpet and a white door. She's getting pink or purple on the bottom with a fun girly buggy butterfly border and white or yellow above it. Thank you goes to Lowes for having their in-stock wallpaper and borders on clearance for $5 and $3 a piece! I'm all stocked up. Now to get painting...

Well, Toby's the only one I have to take care of right now. Aidan and Evan went with Dad to go pick up the last remnants of our life in the country. Avery's asleep. I think Toby and I will go swap out some lightswitch covers. Knowing Toby all I'll have to do is make sure he doesn't stick the screwdriver in the sockets! :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bye bye guineas

We move tomorrow. That fact was pretty real last night as we, and by we I mean Scam and Jim, moved out my washing machine and dryer and loaded them on the truck. Today I finish boxing up (and tossing out) more junk. The kids have been abducted by aliens. I hope after the move to unpack a box and find my real, nice, well behaved children again.

The two guinea hens we have left are on the deck. They're huge, ugly and I think they're saying goodbye. Every now and then one pecks on the window. And every now and then one poops on the deck. Sorry, Em!

So, I'm off to finish packing up the stuff we won't be using in the next 20 hours. Yikes! Just twenty short hours until we close on this chapter on our lives and open a new book. And part of those hours will be spent sleeping (hopefully).

Okay, I'm shutting down now. I'll see you from our new house in a few days!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November 5, 2008

To my conservative readers: With the turn of the election, please remember to pray for our nation, our leaders, and yes, even our president-elect Obama. Pray that God will soften his heart and turn him towards Himself. Pray for the safety of our troops, pray for discernment for our president and his advisors. We still live in one nation, under God, indivisible.

And to my liberal readers: Don't blame me, I voted for McCain. :)

Edited to add a hilarious moment from my morning. Avery was toddling around the parlor/office area. She made a mad dash for the stairs, climbed up a few, turned around and hollered at the top of her little toddler voice, "bye bye, see ya!"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Just a quick reminder to go vote today! And if you live near me, let me know if you want me to come watch your kidlets for you while you go take care of your duty as an American citizen!

Monday, November 03, 2008

I won something!!!

A week or so ago I found a link to a link to a link to a website with a giveaway! There were several prizes available one of which was a free blog header design. Well, you're looking at that winner!

Melissa in the land down under (again with Australia!) worked tirelessly while I slept the night away. This morning I woke up to this beautiful design! I absolutely love it, but it is posing a bit of a problem. My good friend Mel also has the same problem. You see, whenever Mel gets a new pretty notebook (not the plain spiral ones, but the pretty journal-type ones) she hesitates to write in it for fear of messing it up! In trying to find just the right topic for my first "pretty" post, I couldn't figure something out to justify using up some of my pretty new blog!

Okay, so that doesn't make much sense. But, between the packing and the laundry and the packing and the wiping and the packing and the other myriad of things that this mamma has to get done in a day it was the best I could come up with! So, thanks again, Melissa. I love my new pretty blog and promise to write in it much more frequently once we move!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've Gone International!

Hello! If you're here from Tina's blog, welcome! Pull up a chair, sit back with a cup of something nice and warm to drink (since here in MN it's nearly freezing!) and enjoy! Take a trip through the archives if you're really bored. :)

And, if you're one of my regulars, I've gone international, Australia to be specific. And while I'd love to say I'm live blogging from the land down under alas, I am only appearing as a guest blogger on her blog! I've been reading Tina's blog for I have no idea how long now. She's witty and she also has a whole houseful of young'uns, five to be exact. So, if you're interested in seeing what else I have to say today you can head over here!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tutu day!

With Halloween coming the boys have been spending lots of time upstairs with their costume box. I will take them to a local church party and they can dress up, but I won't spend a dime on their costumes. They've had tons of fun playing with the wide variety of costumes. However, I notice that all of the costumes are distinctly "boy" costumes. And the costumes that *could* be for a little girl are simply too big. So, I broke my spend-no-money rule and invested in some tule and elastic to make Avery a tutu! I found the easier than pie instructions here, spent a whopping $5.80 on tule and elastic for results that can be seen here on Mel's blog. What, you don't think I'd make a princess fairy tutu for Avery and not one for her Little Miss A do you???

Edited to note that her Little Miss A is the one in the pink shirt and dark hair. Avery is the one with the purple shirt and the lighter hair.

Friday, October 24, 2008

She's a girl

Evan had to make a model of a Little House on the Prairie house in a shoebox a few weeks ago. We have yet to disassemble it, but that doesn't seem to matter. Avery is sitting in front of it, taking the little lego people out of it, rearranging the lego and clay furniture, and making little toddler "conversations" for the people. It is so darn stinkin' cute! Any guesses what's on her Christmas or birthday list???

Don't read this blog unless you have lots of time!

Every Saturday Shannon gives us some new things to read. Sometimes it is a fun article, sometimes it is a cool website she found and sometimes it is a particular blog entry from someone she reads. Last Saturday 6yearmed was on the list of things to read. I have no idea what else was on the list because I never made it back to Shannon's blog! Jim and I spent all of Saturday and Sunday fighting over the computer to catch up on every one of her entries! Danielle has chronicled her years of med school and all the other different levels of doctor-ness with excellent writing, poignant stories and a great dose of humor and reality. When you go read her blog bring with you a tissue. You'll be laughing so hard you'll cry in one entry and so touched by the raw humanity you'll cry some more at other entries.

You're welcome and I'm sorry you won't be getting anything else done today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This is my 201st post! Happy 201st post, reader!

For my 201st post I would like to tell you how disgustingly easy I am to please. As you know, Jim and I are hauling the family back to town and giving up our rural life for a more in town life. When we moved out here we had to give up our in town phone number in exchange for the rural town number. Well, I called the phone company recently and discovered that our old number is still available! So, yeah for us, we get our old phone number back!

I know, pathetic the little things that thrill a SAHM. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

I thought of this post actually two weeks ago, but with getting ready to move and all I forgot to post it last week! What works for me this week is making lunch ahead. I know many people make their kids' lunches the night before (and if you don't you totally should, it takes a ton of pressure off the morning!). I take it a step further and more nutty. Three weeks ago my favorite bread was on sale. I bought three loaves and made 32 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, put them in individual baggies and then back into the bread bag. Evan (and Jim) can now just whip out a sandwich, throw it in his lunch box, scrounge for sides and he's done! And the best part? I don't have to clean up a jelly mess every morning from where he made his own sandwich!

You might ask, "how lazy are you? It only takes five minutes to make a sandwich for heaven's sake!" Yes, it doesn't take long to make a sandwich. But, it only took me thirty minutes to make and clean up from making thirty-two sandwiches. Even if you're really fast I highly doubt you can do it in under a minute!

One thing to note if you're going to do PBJs ahead of time. You do have to spread the PB on both slices of bread so the J doesn't soak into the bread as it freezes and thaws. I used crunchy on one slice and then a really thin layer of creamy on the other slice, just enough to cover it.

You can also do meat and cheese and have the same results! Try ham and cheese on a bun, wrap it in foil and freeze it. Let them thaw for a few minutes, then pop them in the oven for a hot ham and cheese for dinner one night!

Works For Me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A recipe for you!

My good shopping buddy Mel and I were in our favorite store yesterday. It is not the cheapest store in town, but they provide the valuable service of taking care of our kidlets for us, so I'm willing to shell out a few extra bucks for groceries! We have shopped together for about eight years now and have quite the system going. Nine times out of ten we're able to manage to get a week's worth of groceries for two families into one cart and we have a grand ol' time doing it. Yesterday the cashier actually asked us if we share a day care or something because of our shopping habits!

Yesterday Mel pointed out a new produce item...broccoli slaw. It has broccoli, carrots and cabbage all chopped up into skinny teeny strips, mixed together and packaged into a nice little rectangle of veg. She decided to buy some and pass it off to her family as cole slaw. I read the suggested recipe on the back and decided to give that a go. They suggest mixing the broccoli veg mix with a chopped apple, a can of pineapple bits and some vinaigrette dressing. I'm making that for tonight and calling it "tooty fruity salad".

Maybe I should go back into bloggy hiding if the best I can do is make up stinkin' jokes...

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Should Be The Healthiest Woman in America

All the laundry I do must be for my health. At least my family must think so. And I'm glad they're looking out for my best interests because you know what I found in the dirty laundry pile this morning. A clean shirt. STILL ON THE HANGER!!! Come on people, at least take it off the hanger if you're going to try to pass of a clean shirt as dirty! Even better would be to bunch it up a bit so I think it's dirty! :)

Another Toby gem showed up yesterday. We were watching PBS when Toby asked, "Mom, why can't I see my eyes?"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

Today's Works for me Wednesday is about a personal decision that all parents must make. Some of us start before that little line on the pee stick turns pink, some don't even give it a thought until little junior is two or three. Yup, we all have to consider how, where and when we're going to educate our children! :)

I am part of a MOPS emailing group. Recently the question was raised "what preschools do you recommend? My son is three and not yet potty trained. Where can he go?" Several mommies praised their own choices of schooling, this preschool does this, this preschool does that, I couldn't be happier with my choice etc etc etc. I entered the conversation with the following response:

Evan went to preschool at a local church. The
price was right and it fit our needs. Aidan is doing "homeschool
preschool" this year because I didn't like the options in [my rural] area
and commuting to town just wasn't financially responsible. I think we'll
continue on this track even when we move back to town. The experience of
preschool just isn't worth it for our family. Also, the kindergarten teacher Evan had says she can't tell the difference between
kids who go to preschool and those who don't after about a week in

So, there's another option for you! :) As for his "social needs" he
gets them during MOPPETS, Sunday School and plenty of other play dates
not only with kids his own age but of various ages as well.

In a nutshell, homeschool preschool works for our family!

I'm not even really good at homeschool preschool. I had grand visions of Aidan and me sitting at the dining room table with crayons, scissors and glue during the littler siblings' naptimes. Nope, I kick his heiney to bed with the rest of them right after lunch! And you know what? He still knows his letters, can count past thirty, voluntarily gets out his spelling and penmanship books to work on throughout the day and can even tell you which direction you're headed! So, my theory is that there isn't really such a thing as "pre-school getting them ready for kindergarten". He can stand in line, wait his turn, wipe his own heiney, use scissors correctly, and share. I know many children in older grades who can't do those things! I think he'll be more than ready to go to kindergarten next fall by doing his preschool work at home!

So, homeschool preschool works for me and my family. Click here to go find out some other things that work for some other families!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Why I'm a Bad Blogger: A List

Hello, my name is Tara and I blog here sometimes. Since I haven't blogged in a really long time I thought I'd catch you up in a quick and easy format...the list.

1. We had relatives come from SD. My mom and dad, brother, sister and her three kids all came for the September birthdays! Yeah for relatives coming! It was a great time helping Evan turn 8 and Aidan turn 5. Mom and Dad stayed at the Herb Hotel (thanks!) while Adam, Wendy, Logan, Savannah and Makenah stayed here. Where di we put six extra people? Well, Avery moved into our room in the pack and play which freed up her room. Wendy and her three kids slept in there while Adam slept on the couch! Easy peasy. :)

2. No sooner did they arrive than I caught the plague. My voice? Shot. My lungs? Gone, I think I coughed them up sometime last week. Oooo, it was a terrible time to be the mommy. I still had to corral three kids at home all day, cook and make sure all the people who live here with me had clean underwear! Now? Residual cough, but everything else is pretty much up to speed.

3. We bought a house! Despite the fact that I was surely dying of the plague we managed to write an offer (and it was accepted!) on what I consider to be the perfect house for our family. It is a FIVE bedroom house much closer to work and school for Jim and Evan, two living areas so I can have a pretty living room and a separate play room for the kids. It has a double garage with actual working garage doors. And the best thing? It sits on a full acre of fenced in yard. Perfect for growing children who need to run and romp! Provided that about three dominoes ahead of our own domino fall, we're moving in on November 7th.

4. So, I've been packing like a crazy woman. Jim took a full trailer of junk to the dump this morning. SP who lived here before us left us a tremendous amount of "debris" aka: junk. So, we hauled it all out of here lest Jay and Emily who are buying our house curse us for leaving them SP's junk. :)

5. I'm sure there are other reasons for my not blogging, but I can't think of them right now. Tonight Evan and I got to start building a dioramma of Little House on the Prairie in a shoebox. He's so excited about it! "After all, Mom, it's not everyday you get to build a model of a house!" Can I save it for Aidan to use when he's in third grade??? Sadly, I did not get to buy new shoes in order to get a shoebox for this project. Sigh. What a responsible Mommy I am that I had one and even knew where it was. I guess when Aidan's in third grade I'll have to do better!

So, that's what I've been up to. How have you been?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Should this be a problem?

The majority of today was spent packing. No, we don't have a house picked out yet (Em!) but we've got an offer out on a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. In town (mostly), a full acre of fenced yard, decent sized living area and, get this, FIVE bedrooms! They're not massive, but they're nothing to sneeze at either. So, with the reality of moving day in about six weeks looming over my head I've spent my afternoon today upstairs cleaning up and clearing out the kids' bedrooms. Given one hour each I could have them totally emptied out and that includes disassembling the crib. Give me a helper or two and we could make quicker work of them than that!

So, housework on the main level has gone completely by the wayside. Why can't the upstairs AND the downstairs be tidy and clean at the same time???

Anyway, before my major project upstairs I was cleaning up the dining room after lunch. Aidan (barely 5) took Avery (19 mos) out on the deck (since she's good with stairs I figure, why not?). A few minutes later he calls into the house:

"Mom, Avery's off the deck. And she's heading, she's heading west."

And yes, for those inquiring minds who want to know, she was!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Iron Jawed Angels

I saw an email last night about what life was like in 1905. No Coke, no tv, and just a handful of cars were just a few of the things that have changed in just one hundred (and three) years. Less than one hundred years ago there was another difference in the United States. Women were not allowed to vote. Last night Jim and I watched the movie, Iron Jawed Angels. It is an HBO portrayal of the suffering that a group of young women endured to give me a voice in the government which I am under. I urge you, women readers especially, to find a copy of Iron Jawed Angels and watch it. I found mine at the library. I am willing to bet that if this small MN town can find me a copy, your local library can find you a copy as well. Click over to your local library's homepage and search for this movie. Reserve it sitting at your computer (yes, even you over there in your jammies) and watch it.

Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and hundreds of other women silently protested outside the White House all day every day asking President Wilson to bring women the vote. They stood through Washington DC rain, snow and bitter winds, but they stood. When the United States entered WWI and the country rallied around President Wilson these women still stood, asking him to bring the democracy to women that he was supporting in Germany. While on the picket lines the mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and granddaughters were beaten, spat upon, jeered and violently thrown into prison. Their charge for standing peacefully in front of the White House gates? Blocking traffic.

As a result of her outrage against their unjust treatment, Alice Paul was thrown into solitary confinement and when she refused to eat was transferred to the mental ward in the prison. There she endured abuse, neglect and a feeding tube shoved into her stomach. And we're talking 1919 prison medicine here, not 2008 gentle flex tubing and anesthesia.

On November 3 of this year we are moving out of our house. We don't know where we're going as of now. We could be in our home, or we could be in a temporary housing situation. Either way, you can bet that on November 4 I will be exercising my right to vote. I will not be too busy, too tired, or too ignorant of the candidates to vote. I will not say that I have to stay home with the kids, or that I have to work. (US law provides employees with up to two hours on election day to go vote.) I will figure out where to go and what documentation I need to bring with me. I am an American woman for whom hundreds of women less than one hundred years ago fought to give full democracy to.

On November 4, 2008 you will find me at the polls. Where will you be?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Quick update here. Our house is sold! And we close 7 weeks from yesterday! And, thus far, at that point we'll be a little bit homeless! We've got some possiblities, but many are those foreclosures you're hearing so much about. Great deals, mostly, but one thing they don't tell you up front is that a house that a bank owns takes FOREVER to buy. You'd think that the bank would want to unload such a millstone, but you'd be dead wrong. Why? Nobody can tell us.

So, we are looking into some creative ways to have a roof over our heads while waiting on the Lord to provide a house for us to really have. If you know of anyone who will need some housesitting or something like that for a few weeks in November, PLEASE let me know!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Potty Training Boot(y) Camp

I am part of a MOPS email group in my area. Recently the topic of potty training came up and while I am not a potty training expert by any stretch of the imagination, I have potty trained three boys and given this advice to other Moms so I thought I'd share my ideas with the rest of you! So, welcome to "Tara's Potty Training Boot(y) Camp"! Pull up a (potty) chair, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Many parents have tried potty training for a while and then gone back and forth from diapers to pull ups to unders to pull ups to diapers. No wonder the kidlets are confused! (Yes, I did that with ALL THREE BOYS!!!) First, I would give it a short break. Give him a few days to just revert to diapers totally and completely. But, talk about it. "You use a diaper now, but in a few days you'll be out of diapers and will have to use unders like Daddy does!" "Remember, when you're potty trained you can have gum!" (Or whatever incentive you'll give to a mostly potty trained kiddo). "You're not quite big enough right now, but pretty soon you'll put your poops and peeps in the potty!" (We call them that, of course use whatever vocab you use.) "Oh no, I've only got three more diapers! After that we'll have to use unders." (I use pull ups at night so I just call them night time or nap time diapers.)

Also during this time make sure you're getting obedience in other areas. If you're telling him to pick up his toys and getting a big fit you shouldn't expect that he'll obey when you tell him to sit on the potty.

Clear your schedule for a few days for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp. You don't want to have to feel like you need to put him back in diapers for Sunday School, MOPS, grocery shopping or play dates. Make sure you have at least two to three days to dedicate to the project. Gear yourself up for it too! Stock up on M&Ms, jelly beans or whatever else would be a treat. Stock up on incentive treats for the kid, too! :) At first, give him one for just sitting on the potty (you could set a timer for a minute to make sure it's a good try). After a while he gets one for peeing. We also up the ante and give two for a poop!

My kids were a HUGE fan of the sticker chart. Do a google search for "free potty training chart" and you'll get some. Draw a little picture on the bottom of the paper of the incentive (we took the potty trainee out for donuts with a full chart.) One sticker for a pee, two for a poop. Talk about the incentive every time you get a sticker on that chart!

During potty training boot(y) camp I dress the kidlet in a t-shirt and underwear. NO PULL UPS! You want him to feel the wet and feel uncomfortable. Have him check frequently (by touching his pants) to make sure he's still dry! The goal is to stay clean and dry. Reward him for staying dry as well as for peeing on the potty. Yup, tons of treats during Potty Training Boot(y) Camp!

One thing I notice with a lot of parents is that they ask their child if they want to go sit on the potty or ask them if they have to go. "Humm, lets see, I'm playing with my toys and you wonder if I want to stop what I'm doing and go in and sit on the boring ol', nope!" Tell your child it's time to go to the potty, don't ask him if he needs to go. (This carries over into the rest of parenting too, but that's another topic.)

I set a timer to go off every 30 minutes all day long. When the timer goes off tell him it's time go to sit on the potty. Be sure to give lots of drinks and salty snacks which will encourage thirst which will encourage needing to go potty! After a few days lengthen the time on the timer. When you're really feeling brave eliminate the timer all together and let them take the reigns.

Eventually he'll pee on the potty. At that point you have a potty party! Now, some kids get freaked out when Mom starts clapping and shouting so take your own kid into consideration. Most Moms I know have a potty song of sorts. Ours is simple. "Pee pee in the potty! Pee pee in the potty! Pee pee in the potty! Woo!" Done in a chanty sort of voice while shaking a little booty and a big round of applause at the end.

He'll get it. Keep at it. Try to stay positive and when he has an accident try to encourage him that he'll get it next time, no big deal. Also, have him clean up the mess to the best of his ability. "Oh man, you're wet! What should you do? Okay, take off your unders and put them in the laundry (we had an ice cream bucket dedicated for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp accidents). Get some clean unders out of your drawer and put them on."

We have a "diaper drawer" in the living room which I filled with clean unders and pants for Potty Training Boot(y) Camp. I'm also sure to change the name from "diaper drawer" to "unders drawer".

By the time naptime comes around that first morning everyone is ready for a break. I put my kids back in a pull up for nap at first, but right away after nap back to Camp! :)

I've found that once they get the feeling of pooping on the potty they pretty much never go back. Try to hit the potty around the time you notice that he's pooping during the day or watch for clues that he's going and try to catch him and take him to the potty.

Once you've got a couple days under your belt it may be time to venture out into the world. I put training underwear (NO PULL UPS) on them with plastic pants. Have him carry a small backpack or bag with extra clothes (and wipes and a plastic bag for the wet clothes) just in case. Give him that responsibility. He's a big boy now.

Once you've had Potty Training Boot(y) Camp for a few days you may experience a battle of the wills. This is typically when Moms guess that their kids are just not ready and give up. If you're even the slightest bit sure that they're ready and that it is just a matter of wills, press on my friend, press on.

And there you have it. That's how we do it around here. I've heard that girls are easier to train. Anybody willing to share differences you noticed between training boys and girls???

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

Yesterday and today Mel and I had a garage sale. No small feat with at least three baby/toddler people and one to three kids under five years old. Yes, that is a total of at least three kids and up to six (and I may have missed one!) at any given moment. It went well, but not the point of this post. :)

The housework has sort of taken a back seat to this endeavor. Tonight I plunked the boys down in the tub and started in on their room. I needed to finish getting out the winter things since Minnesota has entered upon the weird season of freezing in the mornings while roasting by noon. I hate dressing the kids in this season! Still, not the point of this post.

In all my loving wife-ness, I decided to give Jim a choice tonight. Would he prefer to have me finish up the boys' bath and leave their room a disaster while he did other things that needed to be done, or would he rather have me work on the boys' room while he finished bathtime?

I came downstairs to find that Jim had brought in a new bathtub toy.

Yes, that's a toad. In the bathtub. With my three sons.

I am going upstairs. I have a bedroom to clean.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Evan and Aidan's birthdays are just 5 days apart. Since Aidan was a scheduled c-section I had the option to have him scheduled on Evan's birthday. Everyone I spoke to told me to let them have their own birthdays. Well, turns out that they would have (at this point anyway) loved to share a birthday! They have to share a birthday party anyway because I am NOT planning and executing two separate kid birthday parties within a week of each other!

This year they've been hitting the legos with a passion seldom seen in small children. At least twice in the past few weeks I've fed them breakfast, they've headed upstairs to Legoland and I've not seen them again until dinner (with one forced break for lunch). They have a huge bedroom (which they share with Toby). Most of their toys are in the closet which leaves the entire floor space open for playing. Having a lego theme for their birthday party was an easy choice (and one they could readily agree on!)

Above is the picture I'm going to use for the invitation. The untrained eye would not notice that the creation in front of them is actually a lego party. Yes, complete with lego ladies, a table full of pizza and a dragon eating one of the guests. Hopefully our lego party does not have any casualties. :)

Happy LABOR Day!

I saw this meme on the infamous Rocks In My Dryer blog this morning. I thought I'd play along simply because I know my subject matter has been, well, literally lacking these days. But, before we start the fun, a quick house update. The people who are buying our house have a buyer for theirs! They have one inspection to successfully get completed and then we can move! We start the house shopping on Tuesday. Pray for a quick and peaceful shopping trip!

Now, on to the fun!

How long were your labors?

Kid #1, 17 hours.
Kid #2, 0 hours
Kid #3, 0 hours.
Kid #4, 2 hours.

I sorta cheat. I have had 3 scheduled c-sections. Baby 4 I actually went into labor and was in actual labor for a couple hours before the c-section.

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1, The doctors told me. I was induced.
Kid #2, See above
Kid #3, See above
Kid #4, Contractions every 3-5 minutes made it sort of obvious. Initially I was having contractions on and off for days. I finally went in to be checked just before the biggest blizzard of 2007. I drove myself to the hospital. The doctor came in to check me and commented, "I can tell we're in labor here just by the way you're gripping the bedrails!" I was in surgery about 1 1/2 hours later.

Where did you deliver?

Baby #1 at a very clinical teaching hospital. They induced on my due date because I was gestational diabetic.
The rest of them were delivered at a smaller county hospital in town. They have an excellent birth center and I cannot help but wonder if having Evan there initially would have prevented the induction to nowhere. Oh well, I've got four beautiful babies and since you can't take it back, I'll wear my scar with honor.


Nope. Just a strap of leather and some whiskey. OF COURSE I HAD DRUGS!!!


I'm sure answering this part would just insult your intelligence.

Who delivered?

Doctors. I can't remember any of their names except the last one was Dr. White. I think.

If you want to play along with this meme, just cut and paste the questions into your own blog, and leave your link with Shannon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WFMW: Homemade Pedialyte

I've spent the last 10 days with sick kids. It started with Avery and spiraled and swirled and shuffled through the whole passel o'young'uns. Finally, in a crecendo of bodily fluids it hit Aidan and Evan right smack dab in the tummy in my van and in the parking lot of Shopko. Ahem. As I was saying. I bought pedialyte. I figured that there was a homemade version out there, but in the state I was in I was in no state to try to find it myself! So, to my loyal WFMW readers, here it is:

Homemade Pedialyte

1 quart sterile water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
You can flavor with kool-aid powder, though I think I'd just add a splash of apple or white grape juice to the individual cup.

That is all. Water, sugar, salt and baking soda. You've probably got all those ingredients in your cupboard and can whip up a batch of this to keep your sick little ones hydrated for pennies instead of paying $4-$6 or more for the store bought stuff.

(This is not intended to be medical advice, if your mommy instinct tells you to take your baby in to the doctor, please listen!)

Shannon's been on break from blogging, but is back this week for Works For Me Wednesday! Click on over there for LOTS of more great practical ideas like this one!

(Oh, and if you're here for the first time, welcome! Sorry I don't have everything nicely organized on the sidebar, you know how it is with the kids and all. Feel free to snoop through the archives though! And if you know how to organize all that, let me know!)

Six Years Ago Today

Six years ago today I woke up. The day was bright, but my heart was not. I made a doctor's appointment for late morning to be examined because I was bleeding, not just spotting, but bleeding. Six years ago today I miscarried. I was thirteen weeks, one day pregnant.

Over a month earlier I started spotting. I went to the ER and it was there that the journey began. I had an ultrasound and it was then that I found out that I was carrying two little blessings! I saw two little jellybeans wiggling on the screen and two little hearts thump thumping away. Jim and I began to tell our friends and family of the twins. Evan's response was, "two babies? We'd better call the doctor!" He was not quite two years old at the time! Over the next few weeks we rejoiced in the fact that we were going to grow our family VERY quickly! I joined online groups for moms of twins. I went to a Mothers of Multiples group meeting (where all I learned was how to play Bunco). I researched what I would need double of and even went so far as to purchase a twin stroller and matching car seats for our little bitty bitties. I found a good deal and was confident in my body's ability to carry twins.

On the morning of my twelve week gestation mark I remember waking up and literally breathing a sigh of relief. Miscarriages only happen under twelve weeks, and so I woke up glad to be carrying the twins and naively looking forward to continuing to carry two babies. My goal was to carry them till February figuring I'd deliver sometime in the middle of February. My due date was March 3 of 2003. 3/3/03 :) I figured that since I'd hit the 12 week mark with two in utero that it would be smooth sailing from then on. Of course, I might deliver early, but surely it would only be a little early. I never imagined that I would be anything more than a mother of twins with an older singleton (and who knows who else after them!).

August 23 was a Friday. I was shopping with my girlfriend when I felt a little gush. I went to the bathroom with my heart in my throat. I think I knew then that it was the beginning of the end. I called the doctor's office as soon as they opened on Monday morning and requested (probably not so politely) to be seen at the first available appointment. I dropped Evan off with friend Kelly and went to the appointment. After a few questions by the nurse practitioner I hopped upon the table for her to try to find a heartbeat with the little doppler thing. She didn't find one. She also didn't offer any trite answers like, "its still early" or "sometimes the baby is hiding". She simply got on the phone with the ultrasound department and made me an appointment.

I went out to the ultrasound desk to register knowing in my heart that one of the babies was gone. Surely we would find one little jellybean wiggling around on the screen. The ultrasound tech (the same one who discovered the twins) squirted the goop on my belly and began the exam. She kept the screen turned away from me the entire time so I merely watched the ceiling waiting for her to tell me that one of the babies was dead, but that there was still one dancing around in there. After a while she turned off her machine and said that she had to go talk to the doctor. At that point I was fairly certain that they were both gone. It's always a bad sign when they have to go talk to the doctor and don't talk to the patient. They sent me back to the waiting room and after a while I was called back to talk to the nurse practitioner. She told me that both of the babies were gone. They measured seven and eight weeks gestation, so had evidently died several weeks earlier. My body just hadn't gotten the message. She told me to go home and just "let nature take it's course" but that if I started bleeding too heavily or wanted to have a d/c to get it over with to come back in and they'd take care of it.

Not sure what else to do, I went home and started making phone calls. Jim was at in service gearing up for a new school year. I called the secretary at the school and left a message to have him call me (this before our cell phone days). I called my mom at work. I called Kelly and asked if she could keep Evan a little longer (she graciously did). I called my best girlfriend Mel. That afternoon turned into a little bit of a blur of tears and wandering the house wondering what to do next.

Eventually Jim picked Evan up from the sitters, we had dinner and settled down to our evening. That evening turned into a blur of cramping, contracting, hemmoraging, a call to Kelly to come to the house to stay with Evan, an ER visit, a plummeting through the floor blood pressure, questions, pokes, IVs, prods, a stretcher ride to the OR with my hands holding my soon to be empty belly, a gentle nurse anesthetist stroking my cheek as I went under the anesthesia and finally, waking up in the recovery room not pregnant.

Because it was late (around midnight) when I went in I was given a room on the post op floor for observation. Because of the trillions of liters of fluids they'd pumped into me in the ER I slept very little and kept my night nurse hopping with my requests for a bedpan every hour on the hour. She was great. She brought in two little white keepsake pillows and some trite poetry someone had donated to the unit for women in my situation. She talked with me or let me talk or just went about her job quickly and quietly. It really is true what people say about the nurses, they run the hospital. A bad nurse would have made the situation all the more unbearable and I am forever grateful for the good care I had from the nursing staff.

The next morning I woke up (can it be waking up if you never really slept?) and the doctor came in to chat. He actually pulled up a chair and sat down at the bedside which I think was a really caring thing to do. I asked if they could tell if the twins were identical or fraternal, boys or girls. He merely shook his head; adding to the questions that would plague me for months to come.

My physical healing came pretty quickly. The doctor did such a good job with the d/c that I was physically back to normal within a week or two. Naturally, the emotional healing took a little longer. I cannot say that I can pinpoint when I felt better, but as time has a way of doing, it healed all things, including the loss of twins.

So, now six years have passed since that one event. I have learned some thing as a result of that experience. I believe I have learned not to take a healthy pregnancy for granted. I have gone on to have three other healthy, happy, full term babies. If the twins had lived I would not have the spunk of a 'Tater, the fun of a Toby or the blessing of an Avery. I belive I am able to comfort other grieving mommies with the comfort I have received. The outpouring of support after the loss was just tremendous. I have a box full of cards, notes and keepsakes. I am honored to be called upon for advice when friends have other friends experiencing loss. I am glad to be able to give them suggestions on things to do and say and not do and not say.

Should you find yourself on the grieving end of a miscarriage, please know that the hurt and pain does get better. I will not tell you that "at least you can get pregnant", "at least it was early", or "there must have been something wrong with it". I will tell you that while you may never get "over it" you will get through it. You have to take the time to grieve this loss in your life, however that looks for you. Cry, write a letter to the baby, talk to someone, read books about grieving mommies, plant a tree or make a donation to your hospital of some keepsakes for other mommies who are leaving the hospital with empty arms. Take some time to grieve. And eventually, you will be able to string one good day after another until the loss fades to a memory.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Tote-ally big problem

I have just a couple of areas of what we might call a "collection". I once won a contest for having the most pairs of shoes (20-something). I also recently lost a bet with Jim over how many pairs shoes I actually had (though if we hadn't counted slippers which I'd inherited from his mom and shoes I'd planned on getting rid of anyway I would have totally won.) It cost me two hours of working in the garage on things that were dirty. Being a not so much outside sort of girl, he REALLY won the bet!

I also have a bit of a bag collection. I have totes, purses, diaper bags, library bags, little bags for just a wallet, big bags for a weekend away and everything in between. One of my favorite things about going away for a weekend is picking the bag that will fit everything just right with no extra wasted space. I'll pack a diaper bag (with just diapering supplies), a food bag, a things-to-do-in-the-car-for-the-kids-that-will-hopefully-buy-me-a-moment's-peace bag and a purse for myself in addition to the suitcases for the clothes and stuff. I'll sometimes even bring along an empty collapsable bag to pack dirty laundry in! Most of my bags were free from events or really cheap from garage sales and thrift stores. I love nothing better than to find a cute bag that totally suits me for under a dollar or two.

Well, I've been storing my bag collection in a rubbermaid tub in the basement for the past year. I'm finding out, however, that this is a REALLY bad idea. Why? Well, while we don't have a wet basement, per se, we have a dampish basement. And when fabric items are constantly exposed to a dampish basement fabric items start to get black dusty like stuff on them. Yup. My collection is infested with mildew.

Now, maybe all is not lost. Once I'm caught up with laundry from four kids being sick for a week (and they were) I'm planning on spraying all my bags with some magic and washing them in the washing machine. Hopefully I'll be able to write another post soon and inform you all that all is well in bag land and we'll all live happily ever after!

If not, look for me at garage sales. I'll be hitting them hard and heavy in the coming weeks in an attempt at re-building my stash!

(And if any of my readers happen to work in a bag production sort of business, let me know. I'll gladly accept donations...)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Conversations that you'd never expect...unless you have boys

Mom, upon finding scissors with crusty boogers on them: Aidan, did you cut up boogers with the scissors?
Aidan: They're not boogers. They're bloody boogers.
Mom: Why were you cutting them up with the scissors?
Aidan: Because I didn't want to leave them on the towel that was hanging over there.
Mom: Aidan, go clean the scissors. (Mom exits and puts all towels in sight in the laundry.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally, Tara's back!

I think the reason I've not been blogging lately is because I don't think much has happened. I wake up, feed a bunch of kids, drink coffee, wash dishes, dress kids, change diapers, do laundry, feed more kids, wash more dishes, drink more coffee, change more diapers, do more laundry etc etc etc ad naseum. Last week we shook things up a bit. I bit the bullet and booked us two hotel rooms!!! In a hotel with a pool! I also got us some tickets to the Science Museum of Minnesota! Woo hoo, we went on vacation! :)

Last Wednesday after lunch we loaded the van up and headed to the Cities (for my non-MN reader, yes, you, over there, that would be the Twin Cities aka: the Minneapolis and St. Paul area). We checked into our hotel and I took the boys to the pool while Jim stayed in the rooms with Avery so she could theoretically nap. I was brilliant enough to have the foresight to book adjoining rooms so Avery could go to bed in one while the rest of us could watch TV or just hang out in the other. After a dip in the pool and a quick shower, we met our friends Ben and Emily and their two kidlets for dinner. In Wisconsin. Now, having very little knowledge of Cities geography when Emily suggested that we have dinner at a diner in Wisconsin I thought she'd lost her marbles. Turns out that we were only about 15 minutes from Wisconsin. So, we had dinner in Wisconsin! The joint had decent food, but wasn't the most family friendly place in town. The kids did fine, but we were all anxious to get back to the hotel and more swimming!

Thursday morning we were treated to an extended continental breakfast in the restaurant adjoining the hotel and then we were off for the Science Museum. Jim and the kids had a lot of fun exploring the various science-y things while I pushed Avery around in the stroller. I am sure Avery was grateful for the few toddler friendly exhibit areas where she was able to get out and play a bit, too. We splurged on tickets for the Star Wars exhibit which my little Jedi nerds in training loved. The boys all got to try their hands at building a hover craft out of legos (and electromagnets) and all the males attempted to drive an actual hover craft which was a lot harder than it looked. :) Avery loved part of a movie presentation where a droid with huge expressive eyes jabbered at the audience. She jabbered right back at that robot! Turns out I believe the droid was speaking "Avery" and not just jibberish! Toby's highlight of the day was found in the dinosaur exhibit though not for the dinos themselves. He was over the moon with delight at seeing a display of the palentologist's tools. Toby the tool man, that's him! Evan and Aidan both loved the Star Wars exhibit for the props and costumes from the movies.

We headed back to town Thursday afternoon stopping to drop off our borrowed stroller and to pick up our computer (which had picked up a nasty virus that eventually started flashing inappropriate pictures across the screen). Jim and I put the kids to bed fairly early to try to get everyone caught up on their sleep. Didn't work, but at least we tried!

On to the current...Evan and I went back to school shopping today! Now armed with new folders, pencils and a ton of other junk, Evan is prepared to begin the third grade in just a few more days. Aidan asked me if he could go back to school shopping with Evan and me next year. I think I shocked him when I said, "yes because you'll be going shopping for kindergarten next year!" Man, how the time does fly by.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Loggin' boys

Yesterday Jim and Evan went to Auntie Alice and Uncle Roy's farm to chop down some of their dead trees. If we don't end up selling this house the plan is to put in a wood burning stove so they were out gathering up firewood to keep us warm during the long cold Minne-snow-ta winters.

Evan learned a lot. He learned how to wrap a chain around a dead branch to pull it down. Uncle Roy taught him this. Part of wrapping a chain around a dead branch involves being lifted up 10-12 feet in the air in the front end loader. Glad I wasn't there!

He learned how to load six foot lengths of log into the trailer in an organized fashion. He learned how to toss the kindling branches into a brush pile and to differentiate between brush and usable logs. He also learned how to cuss. :)

"Mom, did you know Uncle Roy says, 'what the he!!?'"
"Okay, but we don't say that word in our house."
"Why not?"
"Well, it's a swear word." (When used in that manner of course.)
"Man, there sure are a lot of swear words!"

I think the other swear words he knows are butt, stupid and heck. :)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Not Bad!

create your own personalized map of the USA
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Not bad for a little ol' Iowa girl!

What you can't see here is the eastern states. I tallied up that I've been in 28. :) I've got some traveling to do! Anyone want to send me a trip to their state so I can cross more off the list??? :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Party Time!

Yeah, a new post from Tara!

I am in need of some creative inspiration. Summer has sapped every living brain cell I have left and I need your help! Aidan has been an avid finger sucker now for coming up on five years. He sucked the middle two fingers of the right hand. Since it was more than one finger he didn't get a tight seal and I've spent the last years of my life wishing there was a chalkboard I could go scrape my fingernails down instead of listening to that slurping sucking sound! This summer I think he was finally ready to give up on his habit so I helped him along. I bandaged up the offending fingers, wrote on the bandaid "no no" and drew a smily face and a donut. Why a donut? Well, I also promised him that if he could quit I would have a donut party for him!

So, this is where you come in. Beyond just having some friends over for a playdate and serving donuts, what else can we do? Maybe a game or a craft project to make it a little more memorable for him and to celebrate his giving up the fingers!

Okay, hit me with your best "donut party" ideas!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Garage Sale Day!

It's Garage Sale Day!
It's Garage Sale Day!
Everybody Loves Garage Sale Day!

That's the little ditty we sing as we load up the van full of grubby boys and the pink one to go to garage sales on Saturday mornings. Most of the time we strike out. The sales are all duds (if we can even find them). Come one local small town garage sale hosts, post some signs with arrows for heaven's sake! You write too small for me to see your address and most of the time I don't know where your street is anyway! Grab a big ol' fat sharpie marker and just draw a stinkin' arrow!

Today, however, we struck the big time. Travelling around our two little local small towns I found the following gems. And if I had a high speed internet connection I'd let you see pictures, but alas I do not have high speed nor do I have all day to putz around with dial up and show the pics. So, sorry! If, however, you'd like to fund me some high speed internet, call me. :)

Okay, first the non clothing items. I found two twin sheet sets for the boys for a buck a piece at two separate sales (they're not matching, but then again neither are the boys!) Since I'd purchased their other ones at garage sales years ago it was time. :) I found one of those old white tupperware plates with the dividers that you feed babies from even though I think technically it's supposed to be a relish dish. It didn't have the lid, but I don't need a lid! It did have the little triangle shaped holder that screws into the center hole where you can't clean. It was a quarter. I found myself a pair of summer dressier sandals in excellent condition for a quarter. And I got an old heavy wooden tool storage thinger that I'm going to let Evan clean up and paint to display his lego creations in. Free. (And it will provide me with an afternoon's peace as he cleans and paints it and further hours of peace as he creates lego creations to put in it. Double score for me!) Also at the "free lego displayer" sale I got a cool purple travel coffee mug for a whopping $.50. Woo hoo! And it doesn't even have the name of a gas station, college or other event stamped on it, bonus. :) I also found a little pillow that Avery can have in her bed at night. I think at 17 months old she's old enough to have a pillow now, right? I can't even remember when I gave the boys pillows!

On to clothes. I know. Try to hold down your excitement, would you? :) I found 5 pairs of fancy designed socks for myself. A nickel a pair. Yes, people here still price things for a nickel! I found some Disney store two piece summer pjs for myself. They have Grumpy on them. Perfect for most of my mornings :). Adding in a Gap t-shirt I walked out of that sale spending a whopping $.75 for the lot. They were each priced at $.75, but they were down to 1/2 off by the time I got there! Two other sales netted some casual stay-at-home-mom-who-wants-more-than-sweatpants-but-is-sick-of-ill-fitting-jeans pants for $.50 a piece.

Are you catching a theme here? With the exception of the free wooden lego thinger I did not spend any money on the children! :) I was able to fill some gaps in my wardrobe (okay, technically I didn't NEED Grumpy jams, but hey, they were $.37 1/2 cents, give me a break) and have fun doing it! Yes, going garage sale-ing with four kids was fun! Evan tooled Avery around in her stroller (giving some of the garage sale hosts mild panic attacks, but I knew he was safe). Aidan poked around in the toys and books. Toby found a jack in the box at one sale and entertained himself and the other people there for the entire time I was there (and I took my time!). I think I like that my kids are getting older. Yes, I cherish those little kid times, but it's also great that they're getting old enough to trust to entertain themselves at a garage sale without being a total nuisance, crying, begging for junk, and screaming when I say not today.

So, now I'm off to wash my finds and maybe go play legos with the boys who aren't napping today. I think they'd like that!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My works for me Wednesday is a pretty simple idea. It might be totally obvious to you and if so, I thank you for your time and have a nice day. I live in MN. It's pretty warm here. We don't turn our a/c on unless we're actually melting into a little puddle. And our upstairs only has one a/c vent. And it's in the boys' room. So, sometimes when I wake up I'm sorta on the warmish side already. I also have a little coffee addiction and must have my cup o' joe to jump start my morning. Enter the problem; who wants to drink a hot cup of coffee when it's already warmish? Not me! So, I've worked out a system whereby I get my jolt of caffiene and get cooled off at the same time. Iced coffee! If McDonalds can charge upwards of $2 a cup (yes, Mom, people pay good money for cold coffee) I figured I could make it myself for less, much less! I brew my pot of coffee at night, pour it into two mason jar cups and pop it into the fridge. In the morning I splash in the flavored creamer (vanilla chai spice is the flavor of the week, but anything you like would work great), drop in a few ice cubes and hit the computer to check in on my favorite blogs! And that's it! If I forget to pre-brew the night before I brew in the morning, pop one cup in the fridge for later and put one in the freezer for 1/2 hour to chill it out quickly.

Works for me! For more brilliant ideas you know the drill! Click here. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Evan's most recent

Dang. Blogger keeps being not so nice. I'm trying to upload pictures to show this to you because just describing it isn't so good. Oh well. Use your imagination. Here's the post with the descriptions instead of the pictures. :)

Evan had a ball carrying around this duffle bag the other day:

(Picture: Evan lugging around a medium sized dark blue duffle bag. Isn't he so strong looking? Man, that bag looks heavy. Wonder what he's got in it?)

And this is why:

(Picture: The dark blue duffle bag with a smiling blond head sticking out the zipper!)

They've even worked up a little "magic show"! Aidan crawls into the bag, Evan zips him in and then gives the bag commands like "roll around" "roll the other direction" and even "bag, speak!" at which point the bag giggles like a lunatic! It's quite cute and even made Grandpa smile this afternoon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


What works for me today? Living with no mortgage! Sound impossible? Well, for the average American it is. However, we've found a smallish house with a smallish yard in a smallish town. And if we'd combine our assets we could pay for it in cash. No mortgage. Why is this house so affordable you may ask? Well, it's got some issues. For starters, it's got REALLY bad decorating. The living room is stark white with aqua painted quarter round on every edge of every wall, floor and ceiling as well as around the windows. And it's got a lot of windows. The carpet is in horrible shape and there's a 1x3 spot on the dining room floor where they might have started to stain it but gave up. Weird. The dining room has wallpaper boarder with neked baby angels on it. The entry to the basement is in the bathroom. The room that would be Avery's is yellow. REALLY REALLY yellow. And the kitchen? It is huge. New cabinets, flooring in good shape, nice wainscoating, a sunny window. And, um, a "skylight". That is of course to say a leaky roof. :) So, a new roof would be top on our list of repairs.

All that said, if we had no mortgage payment we could TOTALLY swing this deal! In doing so, we could save a ton of money over the next couple of years, sell, make more money and buy a nice house with a big yard to raise the kidlets in! So, while it isn't possible for most Americans, living with no mortgage works for me!

If you'd like to find a post of something that would really work for you try Shannon's blog. There's bound to be something there that would work for you!

(And if this post sounds totally disjointed it is due to the fact that Sesame Street is on in the background and they're talking about loud, louder and loudest. It's pretty hard to think straight with Maria, Oscar and Slimy shouting and playing trumpets.)

***UPDATE*** Well, it turns out that living without a mortgage would have worked for us, but it seems that it's hard to buy a house that someone else has already bought. Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A simple recipe

My Works For Me Wednesday post is a simple recipe that I've been making for a couple of years now. It is really easy to make, doesn't require the use of a hot stovetop or the oven (which is a bonus here right now when it's in the 80s and humid). And another bonus? It is relatively inexpensive to make, especially when compared to the storebought version. What is this cheap, easy and cool recipe? Laundry soap! Yup. Laundry soap. :) I have been making my own laundry soap for a couple of years and actually prefer it to the store bought stuff. My girlfriend Mel gave me a tub of store bought soap not too long ago when she went to a chemical free hippie version. I'm so glad to be nearly done with it so I can go back to my homemade blend!

Ready for this magical potion? Here you go!

Homemade Laundry Soap

1 bar Fels Naptha soap (This is found in the laundry product aisle of the grocery stores in the area. Walmart might carry this product but I don't usually buy it there. If you cannot find this brand or have sensitive skin in your household it is okay to sub in other bar soap. I've done it a couple times and it works just fine.)
1 cup washing soda (I buy this at Cub foods. Call around to your grocery stores to see if they carry this. It is NOT the same as baking soda so you cannot sub in one for the other. This comes in a bright yellow box.)
1 cup borax (The only ingredient that Wally World DOES carry!)

Grate the soap. Gently stir the other ingredients in together. Or dump it all in a big ice cream tub, put the lid on and shake it around to mix. Use as powdered. I can make a x4 batch in about 20 minutes using a hand grater. This lasts for months and I do a couple of loads a day. If you have a food processor you can use that to do the soap, but for my money it's more work to get the thing out, put it together, wash it, dry it and put it away than it is to use the box grater I use for my cheese.

Use 1 Tablespoon per load or 2 Tablespoons for a really grimy load. Yes, only 1 Tablespoon!

This works in the high efficiency front loading machines. If you have some extra stinky clothes (like potty training accidents or wet towels that have sat for too long) toss 1/4 cup borax in the machine before you start it up.

And there you go! A simple, non stove, non oven using recipe that will benefit your family and your budget! Works for me!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Long overdue

I have been a bad blogger this past week, but I have a really good excuse. Our computer was in the shop. Nothing big, nothing exciting, nothing expensive, so that's good. The bad news? We might have to upgrade to high speed someday. :)

We were just settling back down from having Keven here when Jim's birthday sprang up. Knowing we'd be beat, we didn't plan much. Jim invited a few people over for lunch on the fourth (which for those of you who don't know is his birthday). I invited a few people over for lunch on the fourth. One of those people happened to be his best good friend Bubba who lives in the Chicago area! It was a total and complete surprise for Jim. He and I were sitting in the living room at 11:20 pm on Thursday night just chatting when we heard the door open and shut followed by heavy footsteps on the kitchen floor. I knew what was going on, but Jim's life flashed before his eyes as he was certain we were going to die right there in the living room! Once he recovered from the utter shock of seeing Bubba in his kitchen we had a great weekend.

I'm sure there are many other things to report from the past week of non-blogging, but my heart is more than heavy tonight. We know of a young woman named Christine. Late last fall she got pregnant under less than ideal circumstances. She nobly chose to give her baby son life and put him up for adoption. Last Thursday night she went in to be induced because the baby wasn't growing like he was supposed to. She labored for 24 hours without progressing and was sent home. When she returned to the hospital the next day the baby did not have a heartbeat.

Friends and strangers who read my blog, please be in prayer for this young woman. She has gone through so much to give this child life and to give another family a chance at a son only to lose him in the end. We know that this baby boy is safe in the arms of Jesus, and our prayer is that his brief time on this earth will point those who love him to Christ.

Thank you, Friends.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good enough for me!

Mom: Aidan, why are you crying?

Aidan: Evan didn't put his deodorant on and I don't want his stink on my blanket!

(No, Evan doesn't use deodorant. Some days I think he should, but I'm not ready for that. In the meantime he can take a shower more often than the brothers!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Let the punishment fit the crime."

Do you have imagies of Haley Mills in a camp shirt and tan shorts? If not, then you're probably not old enough to remember the old Disney version of The Parent Trap. Anway, it was the inspiration for a bit of creative discipline at my house today.

Evan and Keven have been at each others' throats. Nearly literally. They've been snipping, snapping and crabbing at each other all day long displaying the most stinkin' attitudes I've seen in a long time. So, I cured their stinkin' attitudes. My magic potion? Let the punishment fit the crime. I thought one might end up dead if I did what the camp director did in the Parent Trap. I wasn't about to sacrifice a child just to teach them how to get along! So, I instituded a little creative discipline. Stinkin' attitudes get stinkin' work. One scrubbed the bathroom, toilet, potty chair and floor (and with all the boys in the house I don't have to tell you what a stinkin' job that was!) The other boy took out the trash, scrubbed down the walls and floor around the garbage can and scrubbed down the garbage lid.

So, while I had another great post thought up for Works for me Wednesday (tons of other bloggers do, so click over to Rocks in my Dryer), I'm going to have to put that one aside and focus on this one instead! :) "Stinkin' attitudes get stinkin' work" works for me!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tattle Tale

Go to jail,
don't forget the ginger ale!

Over the past week and a half of having our nephew, Keven, my children have learned the fine art of the tattle. They give you just enough information to make you think about detaching your heiney from the chair, but not enough to actually get in trouble for tattling. Or doing ANYTHING wrong.

Keven just came in the house. "Aunt Tara, Toby's nak@d." I'm sure I'm supposed to be concerned that my three year old is outside running through the sprinkler in the buff, but really, I'm tired. I asked him if Toby was hurting anyone. Keven may thing we are the weirdest family on the block simply because I'm too tired to care that Toby is letting every square inch of his little self enjoy the sprinkler! I think I may take some Popsicles outside. But first I have to detach my heiney from the chair!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Great Expectations

I think I've mentioned a time or two that my nephew Keven is visiting us for two weeks (one down, one to go) thus taking our kid count from four to five. Sometimes it feels more like fifteen, but that's beside the point. I have never been so tired in all my life! And that includes being up at night with baby nurslings for years on end! At the end of the day when Jim asks me what I'm planning on doing I tell him, "as much nothing as I can manage to squeeze in." It doesn't help that this week is Vacation Bible School at church and I'm in charge of "tour leading" a group of kids ranging in age from 4 to 5th grade. Lovely. Fun, but lovely.

So, how do I manage to keep a house tidy-ish (I subscribe to "Good Enough Housekeeping"), keep five kidlets occupied and fed and clothed and entertained? It's really easy. Great Expectations. I read it to them until they're either comatose or begging to wash dishes or some other drudgery chore. No, I'm kidding. I have great expectations for the kids! My kids do chores. They work, they entertain each other and their TV watching is really limited. I have found that children will do what you expect them to! But, they will rarely do more than you expect from them and will only do less than you expect if you allow them to.

I have tons of examples bouncing around my head of this, but I will only entertain you with one story. Every day I sit the children down to do schoolwork. American children spend the first two months of every school year re-learning what they learned the year before (academically and socially). They also lose a month to teacher workshop days, Christmas/Winter/Spring break. That leaves just six months of actual new learning! No wonder American children are so far behind the rest of the world, but I digress. I would rather have my kids have a head start on the school year by never stopping the learning. So, every day Evan and Keven are doing two third grade reading/English/Spelling papers (two sides each) and one math fact/skill paper. Having been with me now for over seven years, Evan knows that when I tell him that he's to read the paragraph and answer the questions he is to read the paragraph and answer the questions. Keven, however, takes those directions to mean read the questions and guess. Since Evan does what is expected of him it usually takes him approximately twenty to thirty minutes to do all of his school work. Keven believes somewhere inside himself that if he acts really cute then I will let him lower my expectations. I think not! So, today we spent two hours reading the paragraphs, looking for answers to the questions and underlining them so I know he found the answers and didn't just make a good guess. Lest you think I'm being cruel, he is getting some breaks in there to run around the house, sharpen his pencil, and generally squirrel around! :) But, I'm not letting him lower my bar!

I know that there are some children who are genuinely not able to do what is asked and require certain adaptations. I respect that. But in general, a steadfast requirement for excellence will be met. There will be much gnashing of teeth, and the kids will probably complain as well, but once the bar is set, and set high, kids WILL rise up to meet it! And that's what I'm working really really hard on for the next week! :)