Sunday, August 31, 2008

And just when I thought everything had gone wrong....

Would you believe that on top of all the recent business-related hijinks and messes, that my computer crashed yesterday? And then I tried to get on my son's computer, and it wouldn't work. Hours later his computer *was* working, only to have it stop working within 5 minutes of me trying to catch up on my work.

Obviously I wasn't meant to spend time on the computer yesterday! ;)

Instead I....

baked bread
made product to fill a large order
started reading Perfect Madness
taught my kids Pig Latin (or, should I say ig-pay atin-lay?)
cooked dinner
and relaxed a little bit

My computer is getting fixed by my son's computer genius friend. Apparently we had a virus. Now the problem is that I can't find my file with the recovery disc in it. Yeah, the deck is stacked against me these days. Hopefully we can find it online somewhere.

I keep asking myself, and God (if God is listening) if all of this means something. Is there a lesson here I should be learning? (How about, "When you have your web sites hosted by someone that starts to give you reason to think you cannot trust him, get thee away to new hosting!") Am I supposed to go in some other direction? Today I prayed, "God, what am I supposed to do?!" All I heard was, "Well what on earth do YOU think you should do?" :) It's funny how sometimes God sounds just like me....

So, what should I do? Do the next thing, I guess. Get the computer fixed. Start using an external hard drive to back up all of my stuff. Keep trying to figure out what to do to restore my businesses back into working order. Keep trying to find someone to help me get my new shopping carts looking nice and working properly. Keep pressing on with homeschooling. And do my best to not get my knickers in a twist in the meantime.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brave Enough to Admit It: I don't like Dave Ramsey's class

I was over at Alana's blog today and read her post about Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace book and class. She got me ranting and raving, so now it's my very own blog post!

First of all, the class is not necessary. Talk about a waste of $100. Get the book from the library and read it for free. If you are like us, it will take you a long time to get a $1000 emergency fund, and as soon as you do, you're sure to have an emergency that will cost well over $1000. Lather. Rise. Repeat.

The class...we took it....and I hated it. Absolutely hated it. Listening to the testimonials about how people "paid off $45,000 of debt in 5 months" was baloney, considering that this usually means that they sold off their boat and the extra car, thereby eliminating their debt. I would listen to those testimonials and think about constantly having more month than money, nothing to sell off that was worth anything, and us already doing absolutely everything we could do to bring in money. We were not magically going to pay off even $450 in 5 months at the rate we were going.

Or the information about how, when you want a $3000 Dining Room Set, you need to budget X $ per month to save for it. I cannot imagine when the day would come when I would be buying $3000 worth of anything but half a year's worth of food to go into my non-existent dining room.

To me, Dave Ramsey's class is for people that have plenty of money and plenty of extras, but lack the good sense to manage it all properly. For people who are already with their backs up against the wall financially, certainly the principles can still be applied, but it will take you a long time just to get through the first two steps. Just start with that and do what you can.

Now, I will say that if I had known about Dave Ramsey's teachings BEFORE I even got started as an adult, I certainly could have been in a much better financial situation for lo these many years. I teach my kids very often about the importance of saving up so that they can buy their first car, so that they can get a decent job, so they can save for their future, etc. I tell them how much money we spend on our mortgage payment each month, and how darn nice it would be if we could have saved up enough money in advance to buy a house with cash.

I think the plan is good. But I think you should read the book and start with step one first. (Hey--I'll save you reading the book. Step One is to save at least $1000 in an emergency fund.) Step two is to start paying off your debts using the debt snowball. Basically, line all your debts up, smallest to largest. If you have anything extra you can chunk toward the smallest debt, do that and keep doing that until you pay that off. Then you take the amount of money you were paying on that bill and chunk that money plus any extra toward your next smallest debt. Keep going until you pay that off, and keep on going until the only thing you have left to pay off is your mortgage. Then save up 3-6 months of living expenses. And then go read the book again. By the time you get all that done there will probably be at least one or two or three newer editions of the book for you to enjoy. :)

There is also the concept of planning out where all of the paycheck will go before it gets into your spendy little hands. And the dread Cash Envelope System. Some people really find it helpful. For us, none of it really clicked. The paychecks here aren't the same every time, so we don't get to map out everything in advance. And shopping with cash stinks for moms with kids in the car at the gas pump (let's unload 5 little kids including a sleepy baby to cross the parking lot to go in and wait in line in the convenience store!), and moms who have to grocery shop with children and find it difficult to also tally their grocery costs all through the store (while also keeping everyone together, consulting her list, sorting through the coupons, and fielding requests for special items by hungry and/or bored children), in order to not go over the amount of cash in their envelope.

I feel my blood pressure rising with irk just thinking about it.....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fun Game to Teach Multiplication

My 10 year old son needed some help learning multiplication facts, so I turned to my friend Google to see what I could find. We got a free download of this cool game Timez Attack and boy howdy does he love it. It is set up a lot like a playstation game and I would say is extremely appealing to boys in general. Seems like a good tool, and he was out of his mind with excitement that he could play Timez Attack and it would count for school. :) Check it out!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recommended Reading: it'll take you 2 minutes

I just loved this post about the value of intangibles, and other gems. The part about the mother and their popcorn and soda parties just about made me cry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stress and Aggravation

So if you ever visit either of my business blogs, you might already know that I am in the midst of a Code Red situation with my web sites. The short version (ha! short! You should hear the long version!) is that my web host company has apparently gone belly-up. Their web site is gone, the owner is incommunicado, and along with those pesky details is the bigger issue--the security certificates on my sites that allow it to be safe for payments to go through at checkout, has gone down with the business. So, the business sites are still there, but nobody can make it through the checkout. Sadly, this is the case for both of my businesses, plus tons of other ones out there.

So I'm in the process of moving to new shopping carts with new hosting. Which is an easy way of explaining that I have a whole humongous ton of work to do. Basically, everything that I have worked on and paid for to be done with my web sites for the past 2 years now needs to be undone and redone. Quickly.

While also homeschooling five children, and doing all of the other wife and mom things that I do in regular life, of course.

Try not to be jealous, please.

I have worked with many different techie guys to see if there is any lesser evil way for me to make this transition. There isn't. So yesterday I had to notify all of my customers that within a couple of days the sites are going to go down, and I'm not sure how long it will take to get them back up. I'll have to literally "turn off" the present sites and have no more access to them, and then "turn on" the new shopping cart/site which will then need to be customized with my design and have all of the products loaded into it. Which could be seriously time consuming. If all goes really, really well, maybe I could do my smaller site in a day. But, not much in this process has gone really, really well thus far, so I'm not counting on anything like that on the horizon. (hoping, yes. counting on: no.)

So it's a crazy, crazy time here. Right now I'm doing ok. I got all of the stuff off of site #1 yesterday, and tomorrow I will start working on getting the new version of the site going. In the meantime I'm working on taking the stuff off of site #2, and hope to be working on getting the new version of that one on Saturday. Wish me luck! (and you can watch my Twittering in the sidebar to the right, which may be all of the updates you will get from me for a couple days....I just don't know what to expect from this ride)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Candle Giveaway!

This week you have an opportunity to win Mia Bella Candles over at the Baby Boutique Blog. Go check it out! (and tell your friends too)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Newsy Bits From Middle School

Today I heard an interesting story from one of my daughter's friends that was visiting for the day. A mutual 6th grade friend of theirs was walking through the 8th grade hallway at school, and was stopped by an 8th grader who asked her if she'd like to buy some pot. The girl said no.

When the friend went and told a teacher, she was told, "If it happens again, let me know."

Somehow, not having my daughter in middle school this year seems even better.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More On My Love Affair With Etsy

So I've perused literally hundreds of pages of crafty artsy goodness over at etsy, and to save myself from having to post about every. single. one. of the fantabulous finds that made my heart sing, I learned that I could create a Favorites list, and then a little graphic goodie for my left sidebar to show off just a few of the lovelies. So, if you enjoy seeing what's what on etsy, or just want to see what I liked, clickety click on over there and have a gander.

I would like to say that I have absolutely NO intention of acquiring every single one of the birdie items on my favorites list. That would be, like, totally wacked. I just added 'em to the faves as I saw 'em, and they sure did add up! I do not want to become like the goose/cow/teddy bear craze of the 1980s with my birds. Nosirree I do not.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

On Friday morning my 8 year old was on the phone with his dad, getting a fatherly motivational speech because of his bad behavior. The 7 year old was sitting at the table doing his school work. He says out loud, "I wanna talk to dad and tell him that I have had GOOD behavior."

Which was quietly followed by a mumbled,

"....'cept for the kicking....."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Etsy, How I Love Thee

Since I've been painting and painting the main living area of my home, I've got a hankerin' to also spruce the place up with some adornments. I decided to go to the best place I know for unique and awesome stuff--etsy.

For those of you not in the know, etsy is like a handmade, unique ebay. (well, no auctions maybe it's like the coolest craft show or flea market in the world....) Tons of stores full of handmade wonderfulness. Absolutely awesome.

First I noticed that the cool birdies in this photo were from etsy. So off I went to do some hunting, and the gal that made those was kind enough to make some birdies for me too. Here's my birds:
Cute, eh? (Though one of my boys said that only one looked like a bird. The others he declared a seal and a dolphin.... I can see what he's saying. But I like 'em just the same.)

Yesterday I was in a mood to look some more, so started browsing, and fell in love with this:

I got the last matted print of this and I am so excited! I love it, love it, love it! Will be so excited when it arrives.

And apparently I have a newfound love for all things bird. Behold a few more things from my wish list:
Another print by the same artist. I love so many of the pieces at that shop!

Then there's this adorable birdie dish towel. Too cute!

And these cool mobiles have got me thinking about where I could put them......

I found this pillow to be really interesting, even though it seems to fit solidly into the category I like to call "Cute Ugly." I think this would look great on one of my dark red love seats.

It wasn't 100% gone to the birds, though. I did find a few non-birdie items that I thought were really fun:

I got a kick out of this Keep Calm and Carry On print. Seems like a message I could stand to be reminded of on a regular basis! Apparently this slogan was used on propaganda posters in England during Word War 2. Fun, eh?
And I love this pumpkin magnet, just because it's almost fall and I love all things pumpkin. :) So cute!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Need a Laugh? Here you go....

I found a hilarious web site tonite: Baby's Got a Bad, Bad Name. It's full of commentary on the banter about baby names that goes on all over the internet in pregnancy-related bulletin boards. Too. Funny. To. Miss.

Behold, a few snippets:

For a girl I was thinking of naming her Quinlynn or Quinnlyn or something spelt similar. I can't find it in any books. What do you think of this name? Does it sound feminine?

No, it sounds like a 19th century cure for malaria.


The name I really like and haven't told my husband yet is Aemezolina Mercedes. I love the huge name, but I think I would call her Mollie for short. It is an Indian name that I have changed a bit. Versions of it are also African and Latin. As far as I could find it has a rout that means, tower or strenght. I also like Isadora, but have much more passion for the first name. I would love help.

Well, the first step is admitting you need help. Good for you.


does anyone like these names... blaine thomas tatiauna jane kendal landon chloe lynn trenton daniel kerin elizabeth many rude things can we come up with to play off of Tatiauna? I got six in 30 seconds! It's like a Boggle game!


MY first daughter name is Unique Melanie [last name] I wanted her fisrt name to be unique and she has my first name s her middle. I am 7 months pregnant and if its a girl her name will be Angel or Destiny Lanell [last name].If its a boy his name will be Maki(ma-ky-i)Donte'

Alright, I'll give her credit for skipping to the chase and just naming the kid "Unique." None of this Amberashlynn Daysharla crap. Save everyone the time and tell them exactly what to think. But, damn it, there's no way on this earth you can make people pronounce Maki with three syllables. Not unless you pay everyone on earth at least $50. More to the Japanese, who will laugh their asses off that you're naming your baby after a type of sushi.


if i had a little girl i would name her Catatonia Calliope. catatonia meaning catatonic or in a coma and calliope meaning beautiful voice. i know its a tad odd but i like it!

See it means she has a beautiful voice. With no brain activity. And drools and needs a catheter. And is played at circuses!


My to-be husband has a thing for "unique" names. He likes names such as "Veto" and "Enobi". I like what I call "cool" names. Then names such as "Kiki" and "Jack". We were having dissagrements with baby names till I smacked him upside the head and phrohibid him from naming my children.

Well, I phrohibid you from having kids at all.

Although, it is nice to know who originated the slang use of "cool" - it's this lady! ("They're what I like to call --big finger quotes-- COOL names.") And now we know she's prone to violence against her fiance for wanting to name kids Veto so they can star in Schoolhouse Rock segments about the three branches of government!

Help me, Kobi-Wan Enobi, you're our only hope!


What is a nature realated name for a boy? I am pregnant with a boy and I already have four girls. My girls are Summer Skies, Autumn Night, April Shower, and Spring Flower. Please help I am due in November.
Star Light

Star Light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, let this lady be a mental patient whose "children" are actually straws she stole from the hospital cafeteria.

how about:
Winter Snow
Forest Greene
or Sage August

How 'bout Oy and Vey.


There are many pages of hilarity here. So next time you need a good laugh, this is the place to go.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I bet that a lot of you would enjoy checking out the Lunch Tote giveaway that I've got going on over at The Baby Boutique Blog this week. Hurry! It ends Saturday morning!

Homeschool: Where The Style Is

One of the perks to homeschooling is that it doesn't matter what anybody wears. Mom can go around in her PJs all day and still teach algebra and read great books. The kids can wear the same clothes they wore for the past three days and nobody complains. Not that either of these things would happen at my house, of course, but in theory, it could.

Behold my youngest on a recent school day:
The ordinary shirt and shorts were complimented by zany Spiderman socks, a beaded necklace, and a homemade Indian headdress.

Later the look morphed into this:

Yes, that's a homemade loin cloth, folks. It's easy to make! All you need is a pair of underwear that mom doesn't mind if you cut and tape. Add some fabric pieces, adorned with markered Indian pictographs. Just use some duct tape along the waist band to hold the fabric in place. Next, slice the underwear up the sides so that people can get a convenient peek at your nether regions. Voila! Your loin cloth is complete.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finally: A site dedicated to one of my major pet peeves

My major pet peeve: Stupid church signs. You know the ones. The ones that try to be witty and clever in some way, instead of just telling you what time church services are. I have seen some doozies, and now I found a site that features even more, but with gut-busting commentary to go along with it. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Mom: Heart of a Boy Scout

While growing up, my mom always cooked big. There was always enough dinner for seconds, thirds, and friends to be invited to dinner at the last minute. (consequently we also always had plenty of leftovers, which I still think ROCKS)

When my mom would bake, she didn't just bake two dozen cookies or one pan of brownies. Instead, she had what we called Bake-a-Thons. She would make several different varieties of cookies, and lots of 'em. Our big chest freezer in the basement was always stocked up with baked goods.

You might think that we had a super large family or something. We didn't. 3 kids, 2 parents. (Disclaimer: Nobody was fat, either.) But my mom always knew how to be prepared, and do it up big.

She hasn't lost her knack for it, either.

While visiting my mom earlier this summer I decided that I simply had to document the comedic sizes of her bulk-store purchases. You will soon see why it is that, if there is a total economic breakdown, I will be heading straight to my mom's house, because I know that my whole family could survive there for a good, long time, based only on the items she has on hand right now.

Behold: Big Bags of Brown Sugar. I think these were five pounds each.

Four-and-a-half pound bags of chocolate chips!

Cooking oil by the gallon!
(Looks like you're gettin' low, Mom. Add Canola oil to the shopping list, please.)
Looks like we could make a decent amount of chocolate chip cookies with what we've got available. Right?

Now, if condiments are near and dear to your heart, you shant be disappointed, my pretties!

A gallon of soy sauce might be a lifetime supply for me, but at my mom's house, not so much.

Ditto on the five quarts of Worcestershire sauce.

Ketchup was available in these large sizes, in a six pack,
and in more regular sizes--they aim to please down there at my mom's. Southern hospitality and all, I guess.

Since my family of eight, plus my brother, sister, and other family members were visiting at the same time, we used a lot of disposable plates and utensils. This pack of 360 pieces of cutlery got us through the week in style, plus there will be plenty more for the next 4 or 5 visits!

At one point during the visit I was putting away leftovers and used up the last gallon ziploc bag in the drawer. For a moment I feared that we might not have any more, but then I remembered where I was, so I went a-hunting through the various pantry areas and...jackpot! There were just a few more ziploc bags available.

Like, only 152 gallon sized, and 216 quart size. Phew! Nothing to worry about here.

When all of the cooking, cleaning up, and fun is done, things are similarly worry-free in the laundry room. Jumbo jugs of laundry detergent promise to do 210 loads.

And the fabric softener has about 174 loads per container. She has no fear of scratchy clothing or towels there. No sirree!

Sadly, I did not get photo documentation of the contents of the extra fridge or the large upright freezer. I assure you that there are meals a-plenty in both.

The only thing that worries me.....Mom, do you have a generator?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

From the Bones of Birthlove

Years ago I was a member of the amazing web site After awhile the site closed without warning or explanation, and people have been missing it ever since.

I do miss being able to refer pregnant women to the pages of birthlove, because it was information and passion for natural birth like noplace else. But the saddest part of not having birthlove available was that all six of my birth stories were there, plus a journal that I kept when I went way past my due date with my fifth baby. For all but one of the stories, it was the only place that I had those written. For whatever reason, I had not saved copies.

I've felt sad about this for a year or more. I had thought about trying to contact the site owners to see if they would be able to email me my stories. Procrastination kept me from it, and then when I went to get their address yesterday, I couldn't find it.

Thankfully, in my search for information I ended up finding out about the Way Back Machine at This wonderful resource had a lot of the birthlove site available. My computer's internet filter didn't want to let me in to see if my stuff was there, but my husband was at work and ended up being able to cruise his way around the bones of birthlove and find our stories! I am still waiting for the last one, but oh-my-goodness I am SO happy that I have these back!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...My Kids Just Keep Getting Older

My oldest...he's 16 today! Wow. You can read his birth story over at The Baby Boutique Blog.
You can read about his 15th birthday here, his 14th birthday here, and the quite amusing and interesting saga surrounding his 13th birthday in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and finally, Part 7.
(**Oh my goodness. I haven't looked at my archives for a really long time. I have seriously amused myself with reading my own writing tonite! I think I am my biggest fan....)

Back to the issue at hand: I now have a 16 year old.

I don't fear the driving. He's going to do great. I am looking forward to all of the fun of teaching him how to drive.

What I want to say to you is what everybody says: They grow up so quickly.

For me, what I didn't realize about that is how early they start to grow up and away. It's long before they turn 18. Long before 16, too. I thought I would have a lot more time, but I've had much less of it than I expected to.

Children *should* be growing up and out and onto their own lives. I don't regret that. It just really does go quickly. And when I see my child turning into an ultra-cool person, I don't want him to go up, up, and away too fast. You know?

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Doggie Update

Marlee-the-rescued-dog is living the high life here, with plenty of food and clean water, warmth, shelter, safety, TLC (all of which she apparently didn't enjoy in her previous life), PLUS perks such as hand-sewn beaded monogrammed capes to wear on cool mornings. For a deaf, geriatric, half-starved dog, it doesn't get much better than this!

Marlee is still very weak. The vet noticed that she has very poor muscle tone. Our hard floors are quite slippery for her, and often she is unable to stand up or walk on her own. Sometimes when she tries to get up and walk out of her kennel, as soon as she gets on the hard floor her legs splay out in four directions and she collapses. P-i-t-f-u-l, I'm telling you! The poor, poor thing. She is just so bad off in so many ways. She sometimes eats and drinks while laying in her splayed-out position, and we usually need to help her get up and walk out of the house when it's time to go out. She isn't strong enough to go down the deck stairs, so we have to carry her down those too. She can walk alright once she gets on the grass, and is learning to use just one corner of our yard for the bathroom.

She does so few "normal dog" behaviors that it is a news item around the house when she does. "Marlee ate a piece of food off the floor!" "Marlee licked her own paw!" She's really just the more unusual dog I've ever met. It sure makes us wonder what on earth she has been through in her life to be in such a condition.

Last night she was kind enough to bark to be let out a mere FOUR times after 12:30AM. Thankfully my husband was here to take care of that. (and the accident that happened when he didn't get to her fast enough) We are trying to get her digestion settled into a more predictable, non-nocturnal routine, but since she came to us starving, it's not completely straightforward yet.

Eyes of Wonder is BACK!

Eyes of Wonder is one of my all-time favorite blogs, both for it's gentle inspiration, the calming music, and the beautiful photography. The author closed the blog almost a year ago, for a variety of reasons, but YIPPEE! she's back!! I'm thrilled.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Do you Kirtsy?

kirtsy! It's hard for me to keep up with all of the cool social networking things going on around the world wide web, but every now and then I get brave and jump on another bandwagon to see what it's all about.

I hated My Space, what with it's tacky looking layouts and trashy pictures everywhere. Get me outa there!

I joined Facebook awhile back, and that's safe and nice and mighty fun when an old friend from 7th grade pops back into my life!

I just started Twittering today (more on that later) so we'll see how that goes.

Kirtsy is something that I think is pretty durn cool. What's Kirtsy? it's like...your best friend who calls you up to say, "Hey did you see the great sale?!" or "Oh my goodness! You have to read this!" Basically, it's a way for women everywhere to point everybody in the direction of the stuff on the web that you find and love. A shout out for all your favorites. A courtesy call to everybody who hasn't already found what you love.

And, of course--you get to find out what everybody else is thinking is so mighty cool, too.

Go check it out. Get a feel for the thing. And then you can start Kirtsy-ing anything and everything that you love. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Serendipitous Connection

At the Ice Cream with an Author event I had an interesting experience. As we arrived in the meeting room there was a woman making up name tags for each person. She looked familiar to me, and when I saw her name tag and she introduced herself as Freear, I felt like I already knew that was her name. Obviously with a name as unusual as Freear, it's not likely that I've met many people with that name. But it struck no surprise with me. I felt like I knew her.

All through the event I kept looking at her and wondering how I knew her. Initially I thought she worked at the library, which would make it easy to understand how I know her. But, she wasn't a library staff member. She was there as a good friend to the author that was speaking.

After the sit-and-listen part of the evening was done, Freear and I gravitated toward each other. I told her that I felt like I knew her from somewhere, and she told me she was thinking the same thing about me. We reviewed the various ways that we might have known each other, but there were no intersections that we could figure out.

Still, it felt like we had some sort of connection, which still has me thinking.

She has a very peaceful vibe about her, and seemed like one of those people that you should make sure you try to keep in your life. I didn't want to wig her out by acting all "hey do you want to be my friend" or whatever. But I have a way to contact her, so I'm gonna.

Whether we've met before, or just had some sort of easy connection, I believe life's too short to let it slip by.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ice Cream With An Author

My daughter won a grand prize at the summer reading program: Ice Cream with an Author. We got to meet Kentucky author Patsi Trollinger, who wrote the book Perfect Timing, which is about Isaac Murphy, a highly successful African-America jockey in the 1800s.

Each of the ten winners got to bring a friend, and they made it really special for the kids, with decorated tables, balloons, and even some cute gift baskets with inspirational items to encourage creative writing.

Here's me and my daughter at our spot at the event:

Patsi shared with us the long process that she went through to get her book published. It took her 11 years, over 8000 pages of research that she read, 31 rejections, and probably over a thousand pages of rewrites. Wow!

She was a really fun and interesting person to get to talk to. And she was wonderful with the kids, asking them for their book recommendations, and answering lots of questions.

Patsi also brought gifts for the kids. Each child received a small handmade origami box that contained little items that were meant to give them inspiration to write stories. Our box had things like a small round band aid, a little circular mirror, a kernel of dried corn, a fake pearl, a couple of beads, a sticker with an outdoor scene on it, and some other neat little doo dads. I loved the idea of having surprising little boxes of inspiration for my kids when they can't think of what to write!

At the end of the event each child had an opportunity to chat with Patsi, and they each received an autographed copy of her book.

It was a really fun event and I felt so blessed that we got to go do a cool mother-daughter thing together.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Things are Looking Up

FINALLY after four days, my sites are back up. What a relief.

So now I've got a deaf dog AND my web sites. We'll call it a good day.

Meet Marlee

So the doggie that we rescued from the road lived through the night. However, we hadn't realized how chilly it would get. The poor thing is so skinny that she was shivering when my husband went out to see her this morning. She couldn't even stand up.

We got her wrapped up in some blankets and brought her into the house. Here's how she looked around 7am:

Such a sweet face!

Here's a full body shot of her this morning. The picture doesn't show it that well, but her hair is very coarse and full of burrs. When you pet her you realize that she has almost no body fat at all. She's very, very thin.
In this picture you can sort of see the back of her neck and the bad condition of her fur. She looked a lot worse in person.

We called our local vet and were able to get her in there bright and early today. Thankfully, what they learned is that although she is very underweight (only 24 pounds) and somewhat dehydrated, she doesn't seem to have any illnesses except for some worms. (yumm!)

The vet said that he would guesstimate her age to be 5-7 years, so we were way off there. We had thought that she was maybe 6 months old.

And, the big twist is that she seems to be deaf. Which explains some of her behavior when we first found her in the road. Oh, she has cataracts too. So she probably couldn't even see me at first either.

After we got her home my husband gave her a hair cut to get all the nasty crud off of her, and then it was bath time:

She was mighty dirty. Here's what the tub looked like afterwards (and, yes, it was actually a clean tub before she got in there):

The big question at the vet's office was: What is going to happen to this dog now? Did we want to keep her?

What can I say. My compassion for the hungry, sick, and needy of the world extends to animals as well.

So now apparently we have a dog. At least until we get her back to health and see what's what.

The kids are so excited. They are saying things like "This is a dream come true!" and "God sent us the perfect dog!" Truly, the dog is rather ideal. Not even the slightest bit of aggression. Very submissive. She seems to have almost no expectations from people, either good or bad. We wonder if she has been around people very much at all. She is very calm. Of course, she doesn't have the strength to be anything but calm. So, things could change as her health improves. The vet thinks that she should gain around 12 pounds to be at a normal weight.

I can see that it will be a challenge to figure out how to train a dog that can't hear. She doesn't react to any finger snapping, clapping, or vocalizations. How on earth do you correct and teach a dog like this? I will be googling "training deaf dogs" right after I'm done writing this.

We brainstormed about possible names for her. We thought about having a Name That Doggie contest here on the blog. The kids were suggesting things like "cocoa puff" and "oatmeal chunk" and "jasmine." As I was watching the dog out the window and thinking about how cute she is, and about her being deaf, I thought of the talented deaf actress Marlee Matlin, and realized that Marlee would be a perfect name for her. Everybody agreed.

So, meet Marlee, my deaf, worm-ridden dog. My guess is that she's here to stay.

I read this article about a free healthcare clinic set up near the border of Kentucky. I read stuff like this and just cry. Both for the people in need, the people that helped, and for our country that has this wretched situation where health care isn't always available for those that need it. It seems to me that our nation lacks love and compassion when our own people suffer without such a basic need.

Visit Remote Area Medical. Better yet: Donate
Learn more about The Health Wagon and donate here
Save the Children is here, and you can donate here

If you are someone that is leery of donations to organizations that you can't see with your eyes and touch with your hands, how about if you make a trip to the grocery store (or to your own pantry) and buy a bunch of stuff and take it to your local food pantry. Maybe you could buy things like Band Aids, Tylenol, Vitamin C, and basic first aid items. Just recently while I was at the food pantry a man came in with a cut on his hand that was bleeding. All I had to offer him there was a tissue to clean up the blood. He went on his way, looking for some help.

There is so much need all around us. It doesn't take that much to help. You'd be amazed at how rich you are if you could see what you have through someone else's eyes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Skipped church both because I wasn't feeling that great, and because I would have had to go alone (husband was working), and keep all six kids with me for a 90 minute meeting afterward. No thank you.

Waited to hear from a potential new web host, since my web sites are down thanks to my web host being completely MIA. Potential host did not call. So then I called the other company I was considering, and when push came to shove they were not going to give me the service that I was told I would get when I talked to someone there last night. Which caused me to not be sure what I want to do. So now I have had no web sites working for over 3 days, and I am not entirely sure what to do about it. At this point I'm too tired to make a decision, so it's another day of no web site while I try to figure it out.

We rescued a dog from the road in front of out house. It was just standing in the road, not even making an effort to move when cars would slow down and go around it. We went outside to call to the dog and see what we could do to help it. The poor thing stayed in the road and did not seem to want to come to us. It was getting toward dark and we felt sure that she would be hit by a car soon if we didn't make her get off the road. So we fashioned a leash with a child's belt, and got her to our yard. Gave her some water and got a donation of dog food from our next door neighbor.

This poor dog looks to be about 6 months old, and is extremely thin. She does not react toward us with any aggression at all, and although a little timid, doesn't seem like she's been abused. Looks like just a case of severe neglect. The poor thing. :( Initially I was going to call the dog warden, but once we got a better feel for what she was like, I felt that she would probably be put down right away because of how sick and weak she seems to be. We decided to feed her and keep her in our fenced back yard overnight, and see what we can do for some medical care/evaluation for her tomorrow morning. The kids are hopeful that fate has brought them a doggie......

One of our neighbors was driving by while we were leading the dog home. He stopped and told my husband that he had witnessed what looked to be a truck dropping off the dog in the road near our home. All I can say is that I hope we can get this dog healthy and safe. She seems to be very sweet.

I always feel so sorry for animals, having to live at the mercy of the humans around them. Obviously this dog was not well cared for wherever she was before tonite, so I'm just going to believe that if we can get her healthy, that her life can only improve.

So now it is 11:33pm. I'm a homeschooling mom about to not get enough sleep. I'm a business owner without my web sites. And tomorrow I need to figure out how to get medical care for a dog that's not mine, with money I don't really have.

Try not to be jealous. ok?

The Ultimate Gag Gift

I just found out about an amazing niche market. Why oh why didn't I think of this?
PoopSenders will send cow, elephant, or gorilla poo to the victim of your choice. By the quart or the gallon. Wowza.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

To Bring a Smile

This guy traveled to 42 countries to make this video. He has a pretty interesting web site that explains how he got this idea and how he was able to do all this traveling.

Places I would like to visit now that I have seen this:
Iceland, Portugal, the Netherlands.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Like the responsible homeschooling mother that I am, I stayed up until midnight to finish Breaking Dawn.

I'll give no spoilers--worry not!

I liked the book. I was surprised at several unexpected twists and turns, which is always a delight for me.

I enjoyed the way things wrapped up. Smart, fun, not too heavy, not too cliche.

A fun series. I'm glad I read it. But I'm glad that's the end of it. It's hard to have to wait for new books in a series!

Movie Review: There Will Be Blood


Excellent as a sleep inducer


Menacing, unpleasant music
Hard to follow and understand

This is one of those movies that drags on forever, and I keep hoping that it's going to wrap up in a way that makes it all make sense.

Two and a half hours of your life that you can't get back. Not recommended.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Another Jewel in My Crown

I've shared with you about my Rock Star Mom status in the past. Today I got another jewel in my crown. Behold:

My oldest started 10th grade today. He came home with a pile of papers for me to sign. His instructions were something like, "Just sign these and don't even bother looking at them because they are stupid and don't mean anything."

So of course I took the pile of papers so that I could read every one.


In his Algebra 2 class the teacher had a survey for the kids to fill out. Smart woman, methinks. She asked questions that would help her know more about the kids and their personalities.

One of the items was: The person who has had the most influence on my life is ________

My kid's answer? My Mom

Woo Yeah! I love that. :)

Of course, this is the same child who also gave the following answers:

The best move I've seen recently is: Brokeback Mountain

My favorite movie of all time is: My Little Pony Island Adventure 2

My favorite TV show is: Sex and the City

Are there any medical conditions/allergies that I need to be aware of in the classroom? Tourettes

Isn't he a gem? Don't you wish you could get a kid like this of your very own?!

Since my son is oh-so-very witty, I have given him a dose of his own medicine. Not only did I sign the bottom of this survey, but also included a little note for his teacher:

I would like to assure you that my son has never watched Sex and the City OR Brokeback Mountain. But My Little Pony Island Adventure 2 is definitely one of his favorites of all time. In fact, we will probably show it at his 16th birthday party, which is coming up soon! If my son's music career doesn't work out, he can always be a professional comedian. Wouldn't you agree?

Have a great year.

P.S. He doesn't have Tourettes.

Poker Chips-- Good Things Happen

The food pantry work went much better this past week, mainly thanks to me bringing The Long Arm of The Law. (also known as my husband) We got a whole bunch of boxes filled, plus my daughter and I were able to do some badly-needed reorganizing that seemed to make the food pantry director very happy. I also set the kids up with the potential to earn a chip for good work, good attitude, and observance of the safety rules. (they earned 'em, too!)

What are the chips, you say?

I have a set of poker chips. I started out with the super cheap ones that are white, red, and blue. (found them at Walmart by the playing cards and games) Now that I have five kids at home full time I got the heavier, more expensive set that has five different colored chips. Each of my at-home kids has a color for their school stuff. (more about that later) The kids have opportunities to earn a chip for things like getting their chores done properly and on time, getting their school work done without fussing, and so on. Pretty much any time I need to dangle a carrot or want to give a reward, I use the chips.

Later on the chips can be used a currency with me for things they want. I have not worked out the full plan yet, since the school year hasn't officially begun. But, my plan is for them to use their chips to purchase being able to watch a movie, time to play video games, picking something out of my Treasure Box, and so on. I am also having a group chip available for each school day. If all five kids earn chips for their chores and their schoolwork on a day, then a group chip will be earned which can be turned in for a Family Fun Night which might include a special movie and dessert, pizza, or something like that.

I'm hoping that the positive peer pressure will work to my advantage.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chapman Family on GMA

If you didn't get to see Steven Curtis Chapman and his family on Good Morning America today, you can see it here.

Back to School Blast Seminar ONLINE!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Photo Mosaic Fun

I got this fun idea from Sooz.

The concept:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:
1. What is your first name? Dolly Mama
2. What is your favorite food right now? turkey and cheese sandwich
3. What high school did you go to? FHS
4. What is your favorite color? Dark Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Heath Ledger (not so much a crush, just my favorite male actor of all time)
6. What is your favorite drink right now? water
7. What is your dream vacation? oceanside
8. What is your favorite dessert? something chocolate
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? peaceful and free
10. What do you love most in life? meaning and truth
11. What is one word that describes you? unique
12. What is your flickr name? I'm not tellin'

1. Stretching at Dolly Mama's, 2. Pizza Porn, 3. 07 10-06 FHS homecoming 130, 4. REDDEST ROSE, 5. In Memory of Heath Ledger, 6. Water is life!, 7. Sun Setting Over the Oceanside Pier, 8. Chocolate Chip Cookies, 9. Free your thoughts....., 10. Arghya - Varanasi, 11. Joy of life, 12. Girasoles acariciados por el viento .../ Sunflowers kissed the wind ... (Dedicada a mis 7500 visitantes/Dedicated to my 7500 visitors)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Guess What I Just Got......

Oh yeah! Thanks to my alert thinking, I got myself on the reserve list at the library weeks ago. So now I'm the first one to get it. Woot!

You can find me curled up reading for the next day or two.

Back At It--The Love Hate Relationship with Schedules

Around these here parts, school starts on August 7. Since my high school son will be heading out the door bright and early that day, I plan (hope?) to start homeschool with the remaining five little learners that day as well.

Seeing as how it's coming right up, I got out my pocket PC to look at all of the ideas I've been writing to myself over the past many months, to help me be more organized, and I also picked up my copy of Managers of Their Homes in case it had any good ideas for me.

I read MOTH way back probably more than 10 years ago, and we thrived with our MOTH schedule for years. Then we fell off the wagon (bedrest and a baby avalanche will do that to ya) and every time that I've tried to get back on, the schedules have felt like a turtleneck with a too-tight neck.

And we can't have that.

But somehow I need a plan. I have observed the kids and their behaviors all summer long, and usually about once every day or so I say to myself, "And if I had a schedule, this would not be happening right now."

I think I'm going to call it my Day Map. A map to get me from A (waking up!) to B (going to sleep!) on a route that includes all the things that need to happen in a day to keep all the wheels spinning.

Hopefully I can find a route that doesn't feel like a noose.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

17 Years

Today is my 17th wedding anniversary. You can see a photo from way-back-when here.
This year, we're celebrating by my husband's knee being hurt and me being sick and sniffling. Romantic, no?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Interesting Conversation #1

At the checkout line at the funeral/going-out-of-business sale there was an older lady in front of me. She looked to be approaching 70. She tried to get me to leave the line to go get some pancake syrup for her. Since I was the one person in the line carrying my groceries in a hand-held basket instead of a cart, my arms were really tired, and the next lady in line behind me was trying to move in on my spot (seriously!), and I did NOT want to run the risk of losing my place in line, thus bumping myself back behind about 5 people with full carts, I did something very out of character for me. I pretended I didn't really know what she wanted, but told her I'd be happy to watch her cart so she could go get it herself.

Call it setting boundaries, if you will.

Once she got her syrup and got back into line in front of me, she turned to me and said, "You know, you can't always trust people with your cart."

I'm not really sure what she meant by that, but I said, "So did you think I looked pretty trustworthy?" :)

She grinned and patted my arm and said that she did. She had been sure she could trust me with her cart.

I told her that I felt I was a pretty trustworthy person, and that I even had six kids. Old folks usually love to get talking about large families, so it tends to make a good conversation starter.

But this lady surprised me. She said, "Oh! I feel so sorry for you." And she said it like she really meant it.

Thankfully, after the morning I was having there at the bone-picking of the store, this just didn't hit me as being a big deal. I just said, "Really? Why would you feel sorry for me? I have six of the most wonderful children in the world!"

She shook her head and told me that she couldn't imagine how I do it all. We chatted a bit, and she said that she supposed that actually I was very, very blessed. I told her that I am one of the most blessed people she will ever meet. She smiled. She shared with me that she had always wanted to have a baby, but it had never happened for her. She said that she had cried about it for years. Then she said sadly, "I guess God knows best."

I really didn't know what to say to that. Yes, God knows best! God decided that you shouldn't be blessed with any children, and I deserved six. Not.

That was the only part of the conversation that left me speechless.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Painting Saga Continues

Last week I told you about the bad case of Painter's Remorse I was having, after trying out an orangey color on the walls. Since then the creamsicle color has been on one wall, and the green on another.

Recently I found one of those color sample brochures at Walmart with a yellow that looked like exactly what I wanted. Warm and friendly. Yeah.

So I went to WM yesterday to buy a gallon of it to try out.

And there was nobody at the paint center.

So I walked over to the photo area and asked them to call somebody for me.

Which they did.


And nobody came.

So I walked out of Walmart with my paint sample

and promptly drove to Lowe's where I asked them to find a match for me. Easy-peasy.

So last night my husband put some of the yellow up.

And know what?

We don't like it!

For whatever reason, it's just not the right thing. It's a really light yellow. More like a baby's room pastel yellow. I was looking for a deeper yellow than leans a *little bit* toward orange or gold.

Alas, it was not to be.

But, heck--we bought a gallon of it. Might as well put it to use!

Today I have single-handedly painted most of the walls in our upstairs, simply to cover up all of the dirt and smudges and dried boogers and dents and dings. A very good use for a stray can of yellow paint, methinks.

We'll call it the base coat, ok?

So at least things can feel fresh while we continue our quest for The Perfect Yellow.