Thursday, April 26, 2007


Thanks to those of you that prayed for my son's surgery today. Everything went pretty well and I managed to (mostly) hold it together. I was doing really well and was in a good state of mind until about five people in a row came in to tell us scary things and then tell us not to be scared. UGH! I had done a good job of helping my little buddy understand what was going on and he was not afraid, but once people started telling him "Don't be afraid!" and "If you are feeling scared you can just squeeze my thumb..." uggh! THEN he started looking afraid and I got teary.... Fortunately he didn't see me crying. The nurse and anesthesiologist swooped him off to his room so I think things we mostly underway before he had much time to get freaked out.

When he woke up he was really upset and crying a lot which was expected (I guess it's normal) but it's hard to watch. Later he told me the air he had to breathe was stinky and he didn't like it and he was crying, and he also wanted to know why I didn't come with him. When you tell your child that parents aren't allowed to go with them for that, it seems like a weak excuse. I hadn't prepared him for having to go with the nurse alone because I wasn't even sure if that was the way they would do it, and once we got going with all the people coming to scare us with the details of everything that would be happening and could go wrong, I couldn't bear to ask about it since I knew it would make me cry just to squeak out the words.

Thankfully little ones are very resilient. Moreso than parents, I think!

I'm glad to have it behind me, but still feel like I have a whole bunch of tears held back behind a dam.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ONE Fundraising Campaign contest

Mary over at Owlhaven is running a little contest, giving away a copy of Bono's book On The Move. Go read all about it here.

Prayer Request

Just a quick pop in to say that my 4 year old son is having oral surgery tomorrow under general anesthesia. We would appreciate your prayers for safety for him and sanity for me. I've been very emotional about this and would like to be able to go along to the surgery center and put on a brave face so I don't scare my little buddy. Better yet, a peaceful spirit would be a good thing for me to have. I'm not much of a faker. :)


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Now Running The Mothering Triathlon: DOLLYMAMA!!!!

I have been running a triathlon here. My husband is away at work so I'm flying solo with the kids. Let's see what I'm made of, shall we?

First round: Drop oldest kid off at school at 6:30 pm for band concert. Return home to pick up 5 siblings and take back to concert. Find seating for 6 in crowded gymnasium bleachers. Sit through concert and small children asking in stage whispers,"Is it over yet??" after every song. Grand finale: Make a hasty exit with the entire group when the 5 year old declares, "I have to go POTTY!"

Second round: 12:45am. Wake up and enjoy a little game of My Kid Puked In My Bed (and on the carpet, and on the bathroom floor, and on me.....). Start the laundry brigade. Strip the bedding off the bed. Clean the carpet (if possible). Clean self. Clean kid. Go back to bed and try to sleep while feeling very, very paranoid that at any moment you will be showered with vomit again.

Third round: Who cares if it's Saturday? Get up at 6:10am in order to drive your kid to the drop off point for his band trip to an amusement park. Rotate pukie laundry. Notice that three other kids are already up. You might as well make some breakfast for them and plan to stay up now that you're already out of bed.

(Hopefully this is going to be the last of the thrills and chills for today. But what are the chances of that??)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Words from the Wise...

My mom left a comment on the previous post that reminded me of something funny. Here's what she said:

Long past due in my humble opinion! You have run yourself ragged feeding the troops for years! I think the dinner call and time limit is a great idea as well. Eat it or don't, it doesn't matter but there will be NOTHING else until the next meal even if they threaten to faint or die :). You go girl!!

My mom is not one to go around foisting her opinions on her children. In fact, I would say she shows superhuman strength when it comes to not saying things that I imagine she would like to say. :) She's amazing.

I can remember one time, though, when I had just 2 little ones and my mom came to visit. I think it was probably when I was about to deliver my third child. She was observing my crazy efforts to cater to my picky children's whims for meals and snacks, and finally offered this observation (very gently):

"Honey, I think you've taken the concept of Demand Feeding too far."


Too true!

I've laughed and laughed about that daring comment over the years. An understatement, to be sure!

I'm happy to report that meals are going fine. I have not have to send any complainers to bed yet, so that's great. I was serving lasagna last night and some of my kids don't like pasta with sauce on it, so I decided to refresh the concept of Not Complaining in their minds before it got to be dinner time. I said to my littlest one (4 years old), "Now, you don't want to complain about what we're eating, do you? Because what will happen if you complain?"

He sweetly looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said, "If I complain I get to go on the beddy-bye train."


No complainers, and they all ate and even complimented me on the meal. (even the one that hates sauce the most)

I also taught them the fine art of nicely asking for a small portion if the item is not something they enjoy eating, and the difference between asking in a nice way, and asking in a way that is a form of complaint. They did very well.

My daughter, the picky one, is even showing signs of progress. The first night's meal ended up being something she likes, so there was no challenge there. Then last night she was invited to go to a church supper with a friend of hers. I told her that if she went she would have to follow our rule of trying the food that is served before eating bread and butter or whatever. I was pleased to hear that she did actually give the spaghetti a try even without her mother there to make it happen.

The meal helpers jobs are coming along well too. it's kind of a pain to have to make the effort to round up each kid as it becomes time for their job, but overall I think they are fine with doing what they do. My two kindergarteners are enjoying wiping off the table and setting it. it's great for counting (how many forks do we need?) and sorting, etc.

In my enthusiasm about my 16lb weight loss I started thinking about losing more weight, I realized what all of you probably already know:
You can lose a pound a week by decreasing your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. Considering that a lot of people consume way more than 500 calories of coffee, soda, and juice, I am thinking this should be fairly easy for a lot of you. (just think! Give up that little bit of beverages, and in a year you'd be down 52 pounds!!) Unfortunately (or not), I don't drink any coffee, soda, and almost no juice, so it's not as simple for me to cut those things out, but I decided to start keeping track of my calories in order to make sure that the eating stays on track for at least a pound weight loss every week. My workouts are extra.

So, today is day three of keeping a food journal. I have been surprised to see that actually I was already doing pretty well on eating even less than my goal. Yesterday I did feel hungry (and cranky!!) through the day because I knew lasagne was coming up for dinner and I wanted to be able to enjoy it. So, I skimped on the eating earlier and had a nice enjoyable dinner and all was well and still ok in the calories dept.

I don't like having to look at calorie info for every thing, and I do find that it makes me feel paranoid about every little thing I put in my mouth. I don't love that, but think this is probably worth doing for at least a few more days or a week. If I could lose 2 pounds a week that would be really groovy, and I'd be 20 pounds lighter before our trip in June.

Blah blah blah weight loss, blah blah blah boring. Ok, enough! Have a good day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

16 pounds is a much more impressive way to say it

I was thinking that by saying, "I lost three more pounds" it kind of lacked the WOW of
"HEY WORLD! I lost 16 pounds so far this year!!!" :)

It's only about a pound a week, but I'm happy with that. If I only lose a pound a week, I'll be mighty close to my target weight by the end of the year. Either way, I'm moving in the right direction and that's a good thing.

Last night's dinner here was so crazy that I don't know if I can explain it well enough. Although my kids know how to behave properly at church dinners, restaurants, or if we have friends visiting, they are fairly monstrous when we relax in our own little society.

First there is the whining. What is this food? What's it made of? Do I like this? I don't think I like this. Can I eat something different?

Then we have one eater whom, to call her picky, would be one of the grandest understatements in the history of the world. This is a child for whom picky eating is both a fine art as well as a prison of her own making.

With 5 boys, ages 14, 8, 7, 5, and 4, there is no end to weird noises, odd body language, getting up and down from their seats, belching, farting, and potty talk.

Last night was particularly bad in most categories. My husband and I started out trying to get one bad behavior under control, only to have 2 more pop up in it's place. It was ridiculous. He finally stomped away from the table to drive the oldest kid to a school activity, and I sat at the table giving the kids a lecture about how Today Is The Last Day You Are Going To Act Like Wild Hooligans At the Table.

After dinner I did some thinking about how I helped our family make changes in other areas that were out of control. (for MANY years our bedtime situation was completely insane, but now I can get 5 kids to bed in 5-7 minutes with very few problems) I remembered that the most successful thing I've done is to obsess about getting the first thing under control first. So, that's what we're doing.

Today I am launching my REVITALIZE DINNER plan.

First, for the wild meal behavior, we now have a reminder poster on out kitchen wall that reads:

You get a...
on the
Bedtime Train!!!

Interestingly, many years ago when our second child (the picky one) started being picky, I wanted to implement a rule that if someone came to the table and complained about the food, that they would immediately head off to bed without the meal. Knowing that it would only have to happen once or twice to convince the kids I was serious, it was a rule I was willing to stick to. but my husband thought it was too harsh.


He bitterly regrets that decision now that we have 1-5 complainers at each and every meal. So now we are going with my plan. I fully expect that my grocery bill will be lowered for awhile, and that kids are going to be VERY ready for breakfast most days, because it is going to take some serious drill sergeant behavior on my part to keep up with this. But, have no fear--I'm going to win this one.

Once we get them to stop complaining, I'll have to figure out what comes next. What would you think is the next top priority?:

eating your food
not farting at the table (trust me, it's for comedic value, not because he can't help it)
basic table manners and etiquette
staying in your seat

Let me know what you think.

I have also made a Mealtime Helper poster that gives each child a meal-related job to do. Until now I have done all the work before, during, and after the meals, and it is ridiculous. Now I have kids set up to clear and wipe the table, set the table, unload/reload the dishwasher, do the handwash items, and help put away leftovers. This morning when I showed them the chart they were all excited about the jobs they'd been given.

Last, but not least, I have informed Miss Picky Eater that her days of eating her own special meal are coming to an end. For a few weeks or a month (depending on how well I remember, and how well it's going) she is going to have to eat one bite of each thing we have eating. (Then she can eat whatever alternative meal she was going to have.) After we get used to the one bite thing, it'll go up to two bites, etc. I have to believe that she is going to get to like more and more things, or even if she doesn't, that it'll do her body good to have some different forms of nutrition.

I'm also giving her a time limit on getting the bites done (5 minutes) because I am not willing to have everyone's meal ruined with a whole bunch of drama.

And, if she doesn't want to be a good sport about it, I have a nice long list of privileges to take away, starting with talking on the phone to her friends. It's a good long list, so I am pretty sure she'll see things my way.

Diplomacy is one of my strong points. You should have heard the super-positive spin I put on this plan when I told her about it last night before she went to bed. She didn't even look miserable about it. (which only leaves me wondering if she doesn't believe that I'm going to follow through, or that she is plotting some way to try to thwart me)

Of course, my husband won't be a dinner tonite, so I'll be running this mission on my own. Should be exciting, don't you think??

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mom My Ride

This video is hilarious. Enjoy!

So now we know that when business gets busy, Dollymama readers get ignored. Sorry, folks! I can't do it all.

I've been meaning to put my two cents worth in on a movie our family watched. Like a lot of other families, we were looking forward to the DVD release of Happy Feet. I'm going to be a fuddy duddy and say that I do not consider Happy Feet to be good family-friendly entertainment. Waaaaaay too many references about sex. We will not watch it again.

Last night we watched Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" which explains the problem of global warming. I think that for a lot of people who may have been brought up without much consciousness about environmental issues (like me), this movie is an important one. It is interesting and explains how global warming happens and what the results are in our world today and what can happen to our world in the future if we don't make a change.

I was disappointed that there wasn't any practical information given on what we can do as individuals to make a difference. Fortunately, there is a web site that tells some very simple, basic things we can all do. The information can be found here.

The only thing I thought was kind of ridiculous about the film was it's political jabs. Yes, I'm sure that the current administration could have done more to help curb the problem, but a president doesn't have the luxury of focusing on one pet project all the time like Al Gore does. If he had left politics out of it I would have appreciated it. I think it dilutes his message.

I've been reading soem good books lately:

Unto The Least of These by Nathan Shaw is an excellent book about the need for Christians to care for widows and the fatherless. One of the things I most appreciated about this book was information about Bible times and history that confirmed my belief that divorced people qualify as widows and the fatherless as well. I borrowed this book from a gal at church whose husband abandoned her and their three children, mainly so that I could understand and empathize with them better. Now that I am reading it, though, I see that we are surrounded today by widows and orphans that desperately need healing and God's love (and God's love ministered to them by God's people!). I am also thinking this through from the perspective of someone considering adopting children that are fatherless. Really, our society is full of people who have these wounds, so I think it makes sense for as many compassionate people as possible to become more understanding of how to best help them. Read this book!

I am also enjoying a re-read of Anna Quindlen's Loud and Clear, which is a collection of her essays. I just love the way she makes me think a little (or a lot) harder about subjects I had already made up my mind about.

I have accepted a gig as columnist over at in the Moms of Many category. You can go see my name in lights there if it gives you a thrill. :)

Today I went to work out for the first time in about a month. Between spring break, kids and me being sick, and just being too darn lazy to get over there, the weeks had flown by. BY know what? I lost 3 lbs. while I was away, so I guess my eating is helping anyhow. We're going to a family wedding in June so I'd like to drop off a some more weight between now and then. Must. Keep. Working. Out. and. Eating. Less!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm a Rock Star

This is the time of year when my husband and I start deciding what to do for each of the children for school next year. We homeschooled for about a decade, and have have some combination of kids in school for the past 4 years. So, homeschooling is always an option if we feel the individual kid needs it.

I go back and forth between feeling like I can or cannot do a good job homeschooling my kids ever again. Mainly, now that our "baby" is 4 years old, it seems that the hardest part of trying to homeschool with babies underfoot is over, so I think it could be done if we needed to. Now that life seems more manageable, I find myself thinking more and more about the benefits of homeschooling, and feeling like the time for it will come again.

The other day when I went to my daughter's class to take treats to share with her class while we celebrated her 11th birthday, her teacher said to me, "You've got to read what your daughter wrote."

She handed me a portfolio piece that my daughter had recently written. They were supposed to write a reflective piece about someone that had helped them learn. This is what she wrote:

Dear Mom,

I am writing this to tell you how much you helped me with reading and writing. The thing that helped me the most was the "Children Learning Book."* I can remember that you would sound it out then I would sound it out. or when you would give me some paper and tell me words to write and that helped me because I can write long stories that rate a 4 in the grades. Also you helped me understand things in the books we read. If you did not teach me I would be the oldest person in preschool. You have done so many things that have helped me now. Mom, you are the reason why I get straight A's in school. It is because of you and your nifty, little ideas that got me back on track.

I'll be the first to admit that at first I tried to avoid reading and writing and I wanted to stop. I used to think reading was horrible and I despised it. Thinking back it was a huge struggle for me to read and so I turn away from writing just the same as I did reading. I thought it was a waste of time and energy. But you helped me by putting the "Children Learning Book" in my face and tried to help me read and after that I devoted myself to it after I knew how. Now every day I dash down to that same book and read, read, read. Now I know that reading and writing are very important in the massive world of learning. Finally I could write with elaborations and details because you kept putting that learning book in my face.

I used to spell words horribly. I would spell words like "y z w m" and it never made a word at all. it was a mumbo jumbo mess of "words." Thinking back I thought every thing I wrote was a word, but I was wrong. My reading was also stopped by that writing jam. What influenced my change? It was your box of rice.** You opened it up and wrote "c a t" then you told me to write it and say it and I did. This helped me have a picture in my mind of what the word looked like, and I remembered it in my head and for some reason it helped me spell the word perfectly, with no mistakes. Now I can write words like that with little trouble. Or some times I can go find the words I needed in books. You have helped me become an independent person. Now I know that there are other places than the rice box to find words when I need help.

My goal is to be able to read and write very well so I can go to colege and get a job. And if I can read and write then maybe they will double my pay or give me a promotion. This all points down to you, the one that has put the book in my face, the one who got out the box of rice. You are the one that helped me get to my goal of being a successful person in life.

To sum it up I would like to thank you for all the things you have done for me and for all the hard work you have done to help me. I want you to remember that you are the reason I am what I am and you are the one who has helped me with my reading and writing. You are the one who put me up when I was far down in a never-ending hole until you filled the hole up with a million gallons of dirt that brought me back up. Thank you, Mommy; you are the best mom of the world. One time I want to thank you for every thing.

Your daughter, _____

WOW! WOW! Isn't that amazing??? I'll tell you....affirmations like this make me feel like a million bucks! And, to know that my child still remembers and appreciates so much from her few shorts years that she was homeschooled just made my day! She remembers things that I had forgotten.

I myself have risen up to call my own mother "blessed" many times, but I had no expectations of being on the receiving end of such a thing for a long, long time. What a breath of fresh air!!

*The book she is talking about is Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons." It is my favorite resource for teaching kids to read. It's inexpensive, simple, and quick. Much better than spending hundreds of dollars on a phonics curriculum.

**She is talking about a Tupperware container I had that had uncooked rice in it. The container was probably 8"x12" and shallow. The kids would use their finger to "write" letters or words in the rice. They would also say the letters out loud while they did this. The idea is that by moving, saying, hearing, and feeling the letters, it will stick better in their brain. Sounds like it worked for her!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ok, Well, scratch that...

My MIL just called to say they aren't going to be able to get here. She's been getting progressively sicker since they left home yesterday afternoon. They stayed overnight at a hotel but are now heading back to their home. I'm sorry she's sick and that we will miss getting to see them, but this is does simplify my day a little bit.

Now I will do my penance by re-joining Flylady. Here I go!

In Times Like These....

I wonder why I didn't listen to the Flylady.

My in-laws are due to arrive here later today.

The kids were on spring break all last week so I'm way behind on everything.

The house is not ready.

Their room is not ready.

I have several errands I need to do this morning.

And my youngest child kept me up all night because he has been running a fever. Now I get to take a sick child around with me while I get things done!

Sounds like the start of an "exciting" day, don't you agree?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A little bit 'o culture

One of the things I love about Netflix is the wide variety of films and cultural experiences I can share with my children.

Tonite we are watching Cirque Du Soleil's Dralion performance from 2000. It's been fun to share this with them, since our opportunities to see CDS are fairly limited here in Kentucky. :)

Now I have several would-be contortionists and balancing acts going on in my family room.....

Aside from that, our chickens are probably at least three times larger than they were when we got them less than two weeks ago. It is very cold out so they are still living indoors. Our house is starting to smell rather barn-like. As soon as it gets warm they are going out. They are cute, but definitely outgrowing the live-in space we have available.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Win a Dyson Vacuum!

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting another great contest--this time for a Dyson Slim Vacuum! Check it out here.