Friday, August 31, 2007

Jiggety Jig

We're heading back home today. We've been staying at my parents during the week for the last month, and now Sweet Hubby is coming back home for 2 weeks before he leaves again for the last 2 weeks of his training. So the hardest part is over. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it'd be because it was great fun (and so relaxing!) to stay with my folks. They take great care of me even though I'm grown with kids of my own. And the kids just love them to pieces...the popscicles and chocolate rice krispie treats probably have something to do with it, but as Mom says "Bought love is better than no love at all."

As fun as it's been, I'm so looking forward to having my husband home. I miss sharing the everyday details with him and having him a part of my daily life. My parents are my parents and I enjoy them and I'm comfortable with them, but not having Sweet Hubby around is like missing a part of me.

And it'll be good to get back into routine. My parents' house is so neat and organized even when we're here, that now I want to go home and make nice of every room in the house. Then when I come back to real life, I remember that it'll probably take me a week to get everything back in order from this trip and then I'll spend the next week getting ready to be gone for 2 more weeks. Then I'll be gone for 2 weeks and spend the next week getting back to normal. So realistically, I'll be lucky if I get things in order before Christmas. If I ever actually do get things in order. Organization is not one of my strong suits.

Home again, home again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The simplest pleasures

I've been looking for a while for some big, chunky pencils for Stephen and have surprisingly been unsuccessful. He's just not getting the hang of holding a crayon to write, and I'm having a hard time explaining or showing him since I never leared to write correctly anyway. My mom finally found some chunky pencils (at a grocery store of all places) and brought some home. I used them with Stephen this afternoon and it was like a whole new world of writing was opened up to him!

"Wow, Mom, this is better!"

"These are really good!!"

"I like these pencils Grammy got!"

And then when he made a little mistake, without thinking, I took the pencil from him, turned it over and said, "Here, let's just erase it." His eyes lit up.

"There's an eraser!? This pencil can do anything!!"

And this, my friends, is why I'm going to homeschool these precious children. I wouldn't miss a moment like that for the world.

The Ultimate in Procrastination

Zachary: Mama, I need to go potty!

Me: Then, go, silly goose.

Zachary: (long pause) Neh, I'll go tomorrow.

Works for Me Wednesday--keeping baby clothes organized

When Stephen was a baby, he wore his clothes for a loooong time because he was so little for so long. And then I was bad about putting away things that didn't fit anymore and then we ran out of room for all his clothes. And then it would take me a weekend to sort through everything and get it all put away and by that time, I had newborn stuff mixed with 12 month stuff. Which, you know, made it real easy to sort through when Zachary came along. Yeah, right. Anyway, here's what I do now.

  • I have all baby clothes sorted in boxes in these categories: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and 9-12 months (after that it's 12-18 and 24 month/2T, etc).
  • I keep the box that we're in (for instance right now we are in the 6-9 month box) empty in Marc-Adam's closet. The previous box (3-6 months) is sitting next to the changing table. I know it doesn't look very attractive, but it keeps me organized.
  • As I get him dressed, if something doesn't fit, I put it in the box. If it does fit but only once more, then I make mental note and when it goes through the laundry and gets put away, it gets put in the box.
  • When I realize that none of the 3-6 month clothes are fitting anymore, I do a sweep of his dresser and closet for any leftover 3-6 month clothes to put in the box (but by this time most of it's already there, so it only takes a few minutes). I throw in some cedar "packets" I made and the box goes in the attic.
  • Then I pull the empty 6-9 month box out of the closet and put it next to the changing table. Usually by that time I can start unpacking the next box (9-12, in my case right now) .

And the whole thing starts over again.

This process keeps from having to spend hours sorting through all the clothes. And has a byproduct, it also keeps me from getting all teary about the clothes that don't fit and how big the boys are getting.

As always, check out Rocks in My Dryer for more tips!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ketchup packets are NOT a food group

Yesterday, my mom and the kids and I went to Chick-fil-a for lunch. While we were getting the kids set up with their lunches, Marc-Adam got a hold of an unopened ketchup packet and started sucking on it. I let him play with it for a few seconds and then took it away and distracted him with a bit of banana and moved everything out of his reach. When we were all just about done, he started gagging and choking a bit on what I thought was a piece of chicken. Then it seemed like he got it worked out. So I gave him another bite. He started choking again. I gave him a few seconds to see if he could work it out and when it was clear he wasn't getting out (because he wasn't breathing) I got him out of the highchair, turned him almost upside down and started beating on his back. A piece of chicken fell out and he started breathing again. I thought all was right. But then he starts gagging and choking again. At this point I'm a little more than freaked out and I was just getting ready to start hollering to see if someone could help, because obviously I couldn't handle this on my own. Just then I get a glimpse of something in the back of the roof his mouth. Against everything that I've been told about a choking baby, I did a sweep of his mouth and yielded.....a pointy corner of a ketchup packet! Not off the one he had been sucking on, though. I have no idea where (or when!) he got it from. I don't even tear the corners off the ketchup packets when I open them.

His lunch was over after that.

Then yesterday afternoon, he crawls into the kitchen where I am with something obviously in his mouth. Before I can get to him I see it's something sparkly and when I dig it out (which thouroughly ticked him off) it's my wedding ring. I had taken it off while putting lotion on Zachary and then the phone rang and jumped up to get it and left my ring on the floor.

It was a great day for me as a mom yesterday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cheetos are a food group, right?

You know it's time for a trip to the grocery store when the kids eat Koala Crisp (kind of like cocoa pebbles, but gluten free) and cheetos for dinner.

And then the next day they have tater tots and bananas for breakfast.

And the next day they have mashed potatoes and yogurt for breakfast.

Funny thing is...I still haven't gone to the grocery store except to get milk...and the aforementioned bananas and yogurt. I can't imagine what they would have eaten if I hadn't gotten those!

(I have to add that the reason I didn't do actual grocery shopping when I picked up the milk, bananas and yogurt was because I refuse to do real shopping at the grocery here in our town....$100 worth of groceries at any other store would be about $150-$175, so I only do pick up things we need immediately from that store.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007


This kid has more hair than the previous two put together!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fired up!

This weekend I attended my first ever homeschool conference/convention. I went into it with a few shaky ideas about how/what I wanted to do. I was still even feeling a few doubts that I wanted to homeschool at all.

I sat in on a few seminars and got my hands on every kind of curriculum I had heard of, plus a few I hadn't. I joined a group specifically for moms starting out homeschooling (Smoothing the Way). Now, I am fired up! There is no doubt in my mind anymore that homeschooling is the right decision for our family and now instead of just planning to homeschool for a few years, I'm reallly hoping we can do it for as long as possible (as long as everyone wants to). My ideas about curriculum and our "style" are solidified and now I'm just waiting on having enough money to purchase it. Technically Stephen wouldn't start kindergarten until next fall and Texas' compulsory age is 6, so I'm not in that much of hurry except that I'm really excited. And not to mention he is soaking things up like a sponge lately (he's reading!) so I don't want to waste time. But we are still reading a lot and he has what he calls "circle books" which are fun workbooks that he enjoys.

So in case you are interested, here's what we are going to do for Stephen's kindergarten year (assuming I don't find anything in the next year that I like better....and as always, I reserve the right to change my mind). For math, we'll be starting with the Math-U-See primer. Sweet Hubby and I both got to attend seminars lead by Steve Demme, the creator of Math-U-See. We fell in love with the program (as much as you can fall in love with math) and him. It's more affordable than some of the other programs, and it's supposed to teach math in a way that makes you actually know it and learn it rather than memorizing facts. For reading/writing, I'm still slightly on the fence, but it's just because of the price. As of now, I'd like to use Sing, Spell, Read and Write. It's quite pricey (retailing on the website for close to $300, but I've found it on ebay for less than $200), but it covers 2 years worth of curriculum. The way both the older boys memorize songs, I think this would be a great one for us. And Stephen loves to play games which this curriculum has a lot of. I've been told to just focus on math and reading at this age, but Stephen loves science stuff, so I think we'll use Backyard Scientist (an idea I got from Katiebug) and do science once or twice a week. I'm also planning on doing social studies "projects" once a week and I'll put that together on my own. I'd also like to do some kind of bible curriculum, but I'm having a hard time finding ideas for something for preschool/kindergarten age (I'd like it to be something I can do with all the kids, or at least Stephen and Zachary). I've found something called Disciple Land, but I'm not sure about it and it looks like it could get pricey quick.

We'll also be starting Accountable Kids as soon as we're back to a normal routine. Right now, I think it's just too much with all the back and forth during the week. I think the kids could handle it, but I'm not sure I can. And my mom bought the kids Financial Peace, Jr. which we're all super excited about. Stephen's obsessed with the calculator and he's working toward saving for a fishing pole. The kids love the FP Jr. books so far and Stephen talks about them all the time (and what he would do if he were in those situations).

So if that wasn't enough links to keep you busy for a while, I just don't know what will! :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Is this normal?

For me, part of being a mom is needing validation that I'm not alone--that other moms deal with the same things or that other kids have the same issues. I used to be a part of an online forum where I could get that kind of validation, but I don't visit that forum anymore. So here I list things about my kids that make me think "Is that normal?" Some of them I know are normal (or I know they're not) but they're just fun/cute/weird and maybe worth sharing. Feel free to tell me your kids do the same thing or the things that you wonder about. Whatever you do, don't tell me my kids aren't normal. I'll start with Marc-Adam, because he seems to be less weird...probably just because of his lack of years.


  • repeatedly throws his head back and then brings it forward again just as if he's in violent agreement with you
  • loves to be held upside down and throws himself back if you hold him upside down once while holding him...he's only 9 months old
  • loves to suck on the dry erase board eraser (ewwww!)
  • insisted on buying a pair of glasses that look like they might be a cheap knock-off of a pair in Elton John's wardrobe--he then proceeds to wear them upside down because he's ears aren't stiff enough to hold them up
  • when you tell him to close his mouth, he opens his eyes wide and lifts his eyebrows half way up his head...he also makes this face when you ask for a kiss...we've now begun to call this look "Zachary's scary eyes"
  • has developed a Peewee Herman laugh
  • randomly throughout the day insists on a change of clothes, simply because he doesn't want to wear what he has on anymore
  • LOVES watching (and participating with) Sit and Be Fit
  • gets totally freaked out by the videos of people losing teeth or their dentures on America's Funniest Home Videos
  • holds his ears when he's scared
  • will turn up the TV/computer/music until it's the only thing everyone else in the house can hear
  • regardless of how many times I've corrected him, he leaves the toilet seat down to tee-tee and puts it up to sit down for his other business
Well, after putting this list together, I'm pretty sure I have my kids might be a little on the weird side. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On my own

Sweet Hubby officially started his training for his new job yesterday. The training is about 2-2.5 hours away from where we live, so the company is putting him up in a hotel for the duration of the training. He gets to come home on the weekends, but that means the kids and I are on our own during the week. Being the wuss that I am, I came to my mama and daddy's house to stay during the week and we'll go back home Thursday afternoon or Friday morning to wait for Sweet Hubby to come home.

So during the training, he's having to share a hotel room with someone he''d never met before yesterday. That's just so weird to me. I can't imagine having to do that. Sleeping in the same room with someone you don't know. Showering with someone you've only known a few days sitting in the other room. Weird weird weird.

While we were packing I got the suitcase out to pack the kids' things in. Stephen wanted to know what I was doing with the "soup cases".

And I told the kids last night that even though we were at Grammy's house, we weren't going to watch TV all day like they normally get to do when they come to visit. I told them we're going to act like we're at home and do the things we do at home. Stephen said, "But Mom, we're not at home! This is Grammy's house!" Poor kids, I hate to take the fun out of Grammy's house fort them, but we're going to be here for 20 days out of the next 30. He'll be comatose in a month if he watches that much TV.

Friday, August 03, 2007

What's a mom to do?

I'm really bothered by the recent news stories of dangerous products coming from China. First it was pet food, and now toys. Thankfully, we don't have any of the toys listed on the recall list of Fisher Price toys, but that's only because on one shopping trip Stephen decided against a Diego play set and got something different. What bothers me most this time is that it's toys. Fisher Price nonetheless. I'd bet we'd be hard pressed to find a home with a small child in it that didn't also have some kind of Fisher Price product. I can think of several things, just off the top of my head that we have right now. We trust in names like Fisher Price to make safe toys for our kids. We spend so much time, energy and money keeping things safe in our homes and then we go to our nearest department store and unknowingly let our kids pick out something covered in lead. And now I look at everything my kids touch with a suspicious eye and a sick stomach.

My mom told me about one family who boycotted all things made in China for a year. The mom of the family had the idea and she said that her husband and kids were a hard sell at first (here's a Reuters story about them). They didn't do it because they have any negative feelings toward China (who would blame them if they did considering the way human rights are treated?) but she wanted to show Americans how "deeply tied they are to the international trading system". When I first heard about the boycott, I thought it was a little extreme. But now I wonder....

Here's an article about another family who boycotted all things made in China for good. This family boycotted because of the "corrupt" Chinese government among other reasons. It's a thought-provoking and convincing read (although, even though the writer said she's Catholic, I didn't like her references to "Mother Earth").

So here's what I struggle with: Would it make a difference if we boycotted Chinese products? Is the myth mentioned in the second article actually true that it wouldn't matter if we did? Should we get a behind a boycott on anything made outside the US in hopes of making a difference for our children and for the children workers half way around the world? Would only buying American made bust our budgets? Is it even possible???

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I really enjoy Sweet Hubby working the 2-10 shift (see previous post) until around 6:00pm and he's not here for dinner. I ate two meals with him today, but I really felt lonely at dinner. And since he'll be back at work at 7am tomorrow, I won't get to really see/talk to him again until tomorrow evening. But at least he'll be home for dinner.

The right decision

In case you were wondering how things have been since Sweet Hubby changed jobs, here's a little update:

He hasn't officially started his training yet. He leaves at the crack of dawn Monday morning for that. He's been at his "home store" all this week, meeting his associates, "sponsors" and bosses. It seems like he's really enjoyed the challenges he's had and just being able to do something different has made all the difference in the world.

All week he's worked 8-5 or 7-5 until today when he's working 2-10. And can I just say that so far, I'm loving this arrangement? He got to spend lots of good time with the kids this morning and we got to have breakfast and lunch together. We had all the conversation we normally have during a 24 hour day, but we got to have it all in person (albeit with a few more interruptions) instead of over the phone like we usually have to do. We've had to start making some decisions regarding our new health insurance, so it's been awfully nice to discuss that.

And speaking of insurance, it turns out that with a specific plan that we'll probably get, our premiums will be a tenth of what they used to be. Which means we'll be seeing more than $200 more each month in his paychecks just from insurance. And that means we'll be able to afford another vehicle that we're going to have to get.

So, we feel like it really was the right decision for him to change careers at this point in our lives. It looks like it really is going to be a blessing.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Yet another contest...

This contest and the last one are ones I'm really hoping to win (by the way, 5 Minutes for Mom extended the Horizon Organic Milk giveaway, so you have until tomorrow night)...

5 Minutes for Mom is at it again with another cool contest. They've "teamed up" with Best Buy and are giving away a 37" flat-panel LCD HDTV! So cool! Go get yourself entered! (I'd be lying though if I said I'd rather have that than $300 of free milk! :) )