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.