Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Hullabalu

I wasn't sure if I'd make it to this year's Halloween party, but I got a good night's sleep the night before and was able to attend. (My WONDERFUL homeschool friends were already going to make sure that my kids could attend, whether I could or not.)

The mummy race was a GREAT game that we played for the first time this year. It's destined to become a classic. My Indian brave (you can just see his war paint peeking out of his mummy bandages on the far left) lost the race, but enjoyed it, nonetheless. On the right, you see the remnants of a game well played (and the kids had almost as much fun racing to clean it up!)

Next is a pic of my St. Fancis doing the monster mash after loosing a game of hot potato. Many of the kids (the boys in particular) were hesitant to participate in the dancing. My children had no such inhibitions, and eventually, even the older boys joined in.

The craft award goes to the mom who had a couple of 2x4's leftover in her garage. She used her circular saw (Cari's quite a multi-talented lady) and cut them into squares & short rectangles. She had her kids sand down the edges (I would have gotten sooo many whinney complaints about that part) and the older 2 (10 & 11 yr old girls) drove a large nail in the top of each. Then she spray painted them all orange all over. It was a BRILLIANT craft. She brought paint shirts & paint & let the kids paint their own jack-o-lanterns. Then she had raffia & black ribbon cut for the kids to tie onto the nail top. They all looked sooo cool. The picture at right is my Cleopatra in front a paint shirt rushing through the craft (she rushes through ALOT of things) -- someday we'll laugh at how much we have say, "Sweeheart, S-L-O-W D-O-W-N!! I thought my kids did a particularly poor job (the were much more into the dancing & ripping toilet paper apart), so when we got home I had them draw jack-o-lantern faces with permenant marker. The results were so pretty that I'm going to keep them for decorations for next year!! (and I don't usually decorate for Halloween!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Complain - again

We're talking about induction.
I'm about as miserable as I can be without actually being in labor. Being off the progesterone has not been fun. I feel shaky and out of sorts. My skin is crawling and it almost hurts to wear clothes (not because they're too tight, but everything is hypersensitive - temperature, texture, sounds, smells...) I want to cry, alot. I'm having a really hard time sleeping - as I relax, my body will have a huge desire to move (pace, wiggle, flip flop) or I'll hear a non-existant doorbell in the middle of the night and be fully awake with my heart racing. My mind won't process information and everything seems disjointed - like a dream state. I'll see water running and hear water running and not be able to put together that they're coming from the same source. I'm nauseous and having a hard time eating or drinking & the baby doesn't appear to be gaining much of anything the last 2 weeks.

We've got it tentatively planned for Saturday...maybe I'll go into labor on my own.
I'm just holding onto Jesus really tightly -- it's about all I can do.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote of the Day

Ds#3 commenting on my increasingly large tummy :
Mama, if the baby gets too big, it'll explode inside you.

Thanks, honey. That's so reassuring.

Jealousy & Thanksgiving & Prayer requests

Anne answered my tag about homeschool books here, and then she went and had her baby before me!! I'm jelous and thrilled for her all at the same time (especially as I'm in pain with this baby kicking the )*(*$ out of me since 3 this morning.

Congratulations, Anne!!!

I was due 3 days ago and no sign of baby, yet. All 6 of us had colds this weekend with a couple kids having it much worse than others. Friends brought in dinner (of which I was sooooo thankful - Thanks Kerri & Julie!) and I'm ...REALLY ready to have a baby (although anxious, too -- as I recall it sort of hurts). My midwife is fine with me waiting another week and a half or so until my body goes into labor --- which is just what I told her I want -- but do I really want to wait?? (picture of my midwife's waiting room last week with some of hers & some of mine all watching TV together first thing in the morning)

I just heard from another friend that her new baby had to be in ICU due to severe breathing problems after a C-section birth at 36 weeks and her new baby blew a hole in her lung from the effort of breathing. She's home now, but has to be on a monitor and has had a couple of episodes where her breathing is an issue. Her parents had to learn CPR before she could go home. Please keep baby Maria in your prayers.

A dear friend of Dd#1 was diagnosed with a recurrance of cancer. She's 12, was in remission from brain cancer 2 years ago & just underwent back surgery, but they couldn't remove all the tumor. She will undergo intensive chemo in the upcomming weeks as she heals from surgery. Please pray for Emilija and her family.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

Ds#4 has been obsessed with the thought that his new baby brother is inside a water balloon.
Mama, can we cut you open to pop the balloon, so the water spills out and then
we can have the new baby come out?

Talking about being cut open by a 5 year old and constant badgering about popping the water balloon inside me hasn't been very comforting, lately.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kids "Helping" Accident #548 & 549

Dd#2 (did you suspect someone else?) asked if she could bake a cake. She's done this many times on her own...so, OK. I stayed in my recliner in the other room. Dd#1 came in to tattle that her sister was making a layer cake. Even though I discourage the kids from making 2-layer cakes (more dishes, more mess, etc.), she's done that before...and the directions are on the box...and she can read...so, OK.

I came into the kitchen an hour or so later. A cake blob greeted me in the oven, along with every baking utensil & ingredient known to man (many that were not required in the baking of a boxed cake) was on the counter and the table. First I had the girls start to clean up their mess. Then, I turned my attention to the cake. It turns out she'd used a 5" round, an 8" round and an 8" square to make her layer cake. There wasn't enough batter, so she'd mixed up 2 cake mixes. Since there weren't directions for the "layer cake" she'd conceived of, she'd thought she'd wing it. "Yes, I know how to make a cake like this." I walked away in disgust, turning my attention to the mess in the kitchen, and let her continue to poke the cakes at 4 minute intervals waiting for them to get done. Low & behold, it was time for the kids to leave for Religious Education classes and the cakes still weren't done. After she was in the car, I realized that she'd turned the oven off after the first stabbing (to detect for doneness) and had only been setting the timer over and over, without the oven being on.

An hour after she left (it really was Divine Mercy that she had to leave) I had the cakes baked. They did turn out.

Oh...#549 - As I was cleaning up her cake mess and opened the fridge... the blender base (that I'd asked her to wipe down and put away 3 days in a row) fell on my head.

P.S. The blender does not belong ontop of the fridge, but under the cabinet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Story 1997

Early in spring 1997, we finally decided to get a puppy. (Well, I decided and pressured Dave until he gave in). He always said we’d have a dog and I firmly disagreed. Then I saw a puppy in a pet store and started doing research on breeds assuring Dave it was just an academic interest - we weren’t getting a dog. I fell deeply in love with Golden Retrievers - Dave’s dream dog. I overcame all Dave’s rational objections (not enough space, tremendous training time, Dd#1 being only 1 yr old...) not with reason but with pouty faces.

We started an intensive search for the perfect puppy and were about 2 weeks from making a final decision when we found out we were pregnant. We thought we were about 3 weeks along, but were really almost 2 months pregnant (all that puppy talk distracted us from charting NFP). Dave swore the puppy thing is my maternal instict kicking in and next time, he'll get me that puppy BEFORE I get pregnant (hindsight hint - it didn't happen).
The pregnancy (other than being miserable because that’s the nature of my pregnancies) was uneventful, healthy, and happily much easier than with Dd#1. In the first 2 trimesters I was frustratingly exhausted and threw up most of the time, but as with Dd#1, the more time went on the better I felt so that by the due date I felt just like every other pregnant woman.

Throughout the pregnancy we were expecting a boy. The ultrasound was pretty conclusive and that baby was kicking the ....out of me. At a stress test 4 days before I got induced, we found out she was a girl. We were stunned and went to the hospital without a name chosen. Dave was holding me to my promise to have a Jessica after we compromised on Dd#1's name. I still didn't like the name and couldn't reconcile calling her a name I didn't like.

Dd#2 was born in late November and weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and was 21 inches long. We went to the hospital for induction at 11am and they broke my water at 2pm to get things moving (my contractions just petered off). After 2 pushes she was ours at 4:09 in the afternoon.
My big fear during pregnancy was Dd#1's adjustment to the new baby. She was incredible! She was more in love with her new sister than we were (if that's possible). She wanted to hold and touch and be near Baby all the time. They were both such a joy and a blessing. (They don't always feel that way about each other, now.)

It amazed us how hard it is to get work done on the house with children around and yet how motivating that same factor can be. The big project of that year didn’t start until 6-8 weeks before my due date. Dave completely gutted and renovated our upstairs bathroom. What a messy, difficult job at an already stressful time. Dave said that 3 out of the 4 holiday seasons we’ve been together we introduced extra stress : 1994 we bought a house and moved, 1995 we had a baby, and 1997 we had a baby and redid the bathroom - you’d think we’d learn timing. He ripped off the walls and ceiling down to the wood & lathe and put up new drywall, redid the electrical and most of the plumbing. He left the old-fashioned tub, but built walls and tiled them to create a tub/shower with new fixtures and lighting. He ripped out the sink and installed a vanity, medicine chest and lighting. He ripped out the recessed toilet (who recesses a toilet into the wall?) and reinstalled it fixing all the walls. He ripped up the flooring and had carpet laid. It was definitely stressful not having much use of our main bathroom while I was 9 months pregnant, but when it was done a year later, it looked and felt wonderful.

My new baby had a broken collar bone we didn’t know about until she was 2 1/2 weeks old. The pediatrician said I'd broken it pushing her out. That was the last baby I allowed to be induced, those labors are more difficult and I didn't want to chance doing that to my baby again. That year was a rough Christmas. We had our new baby with a broken collar bone, it took 3 1/2 weeks - almost Christmas, until she stopped crying with the pain and could finally start sleeping. We all caught some wicked cold and had to miss some of our families’ Christmas celebrations. I had to go to bed for a few days when I had problems healing from having the baby. My mom helped out a ton that December. I’d been exhausted, discouraged, drained, and frustrated. David was exhausted, stressed, and frustrated. It seemed like a miserable Christmas. As I looked back on it, it was a most beautiful Christmas. Dd#1 must’ve watched "The Little Drummer Boy" over 100 times that month, while cuddling with the baby and me as I nursed by the Christmas tree lights. Friends and family showered us with what we needed to get through. Isn’t it funny how time can do that to a memory? The distance of time blurs our memory, or does it bring life into sharper focus so we can see what was really going on?

As winter turned to spring I had a very difficult time adjusting to 2 children. I had a hard time bonding with the baby since I didn’t get much one-on-one time with her. She was a lovely baby with a fabulous disposition and so easy I questioned the pediatrician that something must be wrong with her. Dd#1 had slept through the night at 6weeks, but at 1 1/2yrs, Dd#2 still woke up several times in the night. As Dd#2 turned 6months old, I started sleeping a little more and though the girls had opposite nap schedules, I realized I had my coveted alone-time with Dd#2. As my brain began to clear when she was around 9 months old, I realized I'd had post partum depression. It didn't feel like depression, but it was classic symptoms.

The baby was incredibly physically strong (which was one reason I was sure we were having a boy) and was about to crawl at 8 months...until I fell down the steps carrying her. My feet went out from under me and I fell half way down the steps landing on her leg, but her head cracked hard twice on the edge of the steps. After 10minutes of uncontrollable crying she started falling asleep. Dave rushed home and we took her to the emergency room. They checked her out (while she screamed the whole time) and said she was probably OK and sent her home. All weekend she cried on & off and favored that leg. By Monday she was still very uncomfortable (she was a very stoic baby and it can be hard to tell the difference between a surprised cry and just fussing), so I took her to her doctor. During the x-ray when they had to twist her ankle and hold it while I held her thrashing screaming body still to take the picture. After that painful x-ray, we found a broken ankle. A broken ankle doesn’t sound bad, but that was my 8month old baby I had hurt and had to hold down while they hurt her again. I barely remained standing and can hardly breath every time I think of that afternoon. They put a cast on her leg and she immediately felt better and didn’t need much Tylenol after the cast. She looked so adorable and pitiful.

The cast was on for 2 weeks and during that time I took both girls (yes, in her cast) to a friend’s parents’ home in Tennessee for 5 days without Dave. My kids were as good as could be, but pretty unhappy. Dd#1 desperately missed her daddy and both girls missed home and their normal schedule. I was never so happy to get home!! I won’t leave the state without Dave again. What was I thinking? There’s no lasting effects, but Dd#2 had been just ready to crawl when we fell, and I think that it delayed her development for at least a year. But boy could she move fast!

Dd#2 subsequently had a very high tolerance for pain and almost never cried as a baby (unless she was hungry). She was quiet and content to stare at everyone's face -- such a happy baby. She didn't sleep much and caught every cold that winter. Dd#2 was such a sweet baby. Her eyes would become brown and her brown hair had a blonde spot (all her hair eventually turned blonde and her blonde spot turned white). She wanted to be held all the time and ate past the point of being full. Daddy was so much better at burping than Mama (but I had nursing down pat.) She started her "terrible two's" at 13 months and they didn't start to ease up until she was 4 years old. We came to find out that was just her personality (and an additional reason for homeschooling). I pulled out the "boy" blanket I crocheted for our new baby and it was so soft and comfey -- but I couldn't put those boy colors on my new baby girl, so she rarely used it.

Now, Dd#2 is the most excited in the house about our upcomming new baby!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

8th Grade Education

At http://www.truthorfiction.com/ they show this as "unproven". From the intimate knowledge of my grandfather, who got his highschool diploma in the 1930's and the knowlege that provided him, I don't doubt that this was an 8th grade graduation test. I also have a couple of 8th grade grammar textbooks from 1911 and am blown away by the information and analysis required by 8th graders then. I got it in an e-mail, but was so impressed by it, that I thought I post it here.

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , KS , and reprinted by the Salina Journal. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS, 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie", "play", and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 65 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus .
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States .
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) (Do we even know what this is???)
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocal, diphthong, cognate letters, and lingual.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi-, dis-, mis-, pre-, semi-, post-, non-, inter-, mono-, and sup-.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco .
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of: Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? This also shows you how poor our education system has become... and, NO! I don't have the answers

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baby Story 2000

With the cradle sitting out and all the baby items around, each child wants to know who I bought/made what for and birth stories are abounding. Here's one about DS#3.

Ds#3 made his thrilling entry (we were expecting our third girl, not our first boy) in 2000. He weighed 7lbs 12oz and except for getting a little stuck and bruised was healthy and wonderful! Dave was busting his buttons to call everyone with the surprising news of a son.

This was the first time a baby came without induction for us and it wasn’t the romantic image I had expected. Dave is notorious for sleeping through night-time happenings and when I woke up at 3am with contractions (although I didn’t tell him that’s what I thought they were); Dave only wanted to go back to sleep instead of giving me the back massage I'd woken him up for. Angrily, I decided to let him sleep. I went downstairs and cleaned the kitchen until I couldn't deny that this really was labor. I showered and called my girlfriend about an hour after I'd woken up to come take me to the hospital thereby leaving Dave in his bed. She refused when she found out Dave was still sleeping. I told her I'd just walk to the hospital myself - we lived about a mile away- rather than take that horrible man who would rather sleep than help me during labor (he still didn't know I was in labor). She threatened to come wake him up herself (by throwing rocks through his bedroom window if needed) and call the police to come pick up a pregnant lady in labor walking by the side of the road in the middle of the night if I didn't wake him up.

He woke up when I switched on the light and curtly told him I was going to the hospital with or without him. Then I proceeded to curl my hair with a curling iron and blurry-eyed, he couldn't understand why I wouldn’t speak to him. By the time we got to the hospital (about 5:30am?) and the nurse was asking him questions about my labor progress, he politely suggested she talk to me since we were having a bit of a communication problem just then. Thankfully (for me) he’s wonderful at assuaging my anger and I forgave him just as the contractions got tough.

Ds#3 was turned so I had front and back labor, which made natural childbirth more difficult, and I asked for pain killers once. My girlfriend, who was Ds#3's Godmother-to-be, and Dave were shocked, but the nursed talked me out of them by reminding me of the side effects, but giving me the choice. Praying with Ds#3's Godmother in the delivery room was an exceptional experience...and I’m so thankful I didn’t leave Dave behind. (I think he would’ve been a little upset...)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kelty for Mayor

While their daddy is gone for the evening, helping with the campaign, the kids chose to spend their time engaging in their daddy's passion...

What's your favorite homeschooling book?

I've read...a few...(that's putting it mildly), but not as many as some people I know.
My old stand-by favorites are :
  • Catholic Education : Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn - it was from this book that I internalized the "greenhouse" analogy (We're trying to raise an exotic flower in a caustic environment - a child that attains Godly virtue and balance despite the world's standards [in the world, but not of it]- and can withstand the violent winds of his environment. The only way we can strengthen this exotic flower is to grow him in a safe, loving environment, until he is strong enough to be able to withstand the caustic environment without immediately withering.)
  • The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer - I began to see the value in utilizing the child's God-given "stages" of life to promote academic excellence, rather than fighting against the child's nature. This was my first introduction to a "classical education" and while I don't use this book as a bible, I do refer to it once a year to sharpen and define my own choices, rather than rely on the book's suggestions. It's a jumping off point for me.
  • Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss - contains the striving for beauty in the everyday that I sorely lack and great literature, which I love. It's a Catholic Charlotte Mason style way of learning that I don't attain, but I do admire.

I'm wondering what your response will be. I'm tagging Amy, Heather, Anne & Jen who can post their favorites on their blogs, or you can place a comment here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

Dd#2 to both her brothers who were making mindless, annoying noises with their tongues :
You're so immature.

She TAUGHT them how to make those noises and at any second might join in with them...

Pregnancy Complaints #349

This last part of pregnancy has been tough. I don't even feel like blogging or talking on the phone. The physical pains already described here in this space haven't diminished -- some more have crept in. Serious insomnia even with taking Benedryl every night (although I'm getting lots of reading in). I've also been struggling with intense mood swings (they don't swing all that positive, though) and depression. Dave and all my friends and my midwife have all been working hard to keep me on an even keel, but I'm still fairly tossed by the waves of what's going on inside of me.

Dave and I had a long talk today (after our fight last night- we didn't throw anything at each other, it just felt horrible) and I thought from last night that he didn't want to be my friend any more. It was a terribly painful realization last night. Today, I told him how desperately I've needed him and no matter how much I didn't want to be so needy right now, I just am. He said that each pregnancy takes HIS best friend away from him and that he knows this is hard on me, but it's hard on him, too. I told him that I missed me too and I can hardly wait to get back the person I used to be. We agreed it's just hard all around. He understood me. Then, after making sure the kids were packed and shipping them off to his mom's, he took me out for dinner. My painful realization last night was a misunderstanding perpetrated by both of us struggling to keep up with this. Life is hard, but God is good. (terrific Pam Thum song)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting to know you

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? A drug addict adulterous mistress who had breast cancer and committed suicide in a movie my mom saw called "Valley of the Dolls." I've never had the desire to watch the show and isn't quite what I would choose for my children.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? yesterday. Pregnancy hormones are doing a number on my emotions this last month.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING yes - It's neater now than when I was in school. Since I starting homeschooling and knew I'd be an example to my children, I polished it up.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? ham (when it's with swiss & miracle whip)
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? I'm working on our 5th
Yes, but not too good a friend. I don't think I'm as good a friend as my friends are to me.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? honesty is more biting, so I don't feel a need for it.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS yes, with the exception of a finger tip that needed sewed on when I worked at Arby's (for a short time), I've never needed surgery.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I would be seriously tempted...but when I went white water rafting and ended up under the boat 2 times, I promised God that I wouldn't needlessly risk my life anymore.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? captain crunch
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, but my shoes are rarely on.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I am, but only by the grace of God.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Atz Chocolate Chip Mint
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their overall appearance and how they carry themselves.
15. RED OR PINK? neither
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? my mouth gets me in the most trouble.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my Grandma Handlin
18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? none for either. I walk around the house in a big t-shirt when I'm pregnant. (Aren't you glad you don't live in my house and are subjected to such a sight?)
19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE shredded wheat cereal
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the kids fighting, whistling, asking questions of each other, cabinets closing as the whistling one is emptying the dishwasher, the dogs nails clicking on the ceramic tile as she paces from kid to kid hoping to be fed (since they're in the kitchen)...the general clamour of our day
21. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? normally, I'd be a pale blue aqua, but I'm a little off right now, so I'm a seafoam green that's a little too bright - life is taking more effort and I'm forcing myself to exert the energy to keep up.
22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Brewing coffee, baking cookies, pumpkin spices, lemon-scented cleaner, a slight smell of bleach
23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? my neighbor, Katie, who wanted to make sure I was doing OK
24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Diane has one of the most ougoing fun personalities of anyone I know -- OF COURSE I like her!!
25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? there's not a single one
26. HAIR COLOR? dark brown
27. EYE COLOR? dark brown
28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I have a hard enough time just keeping track of my glasses, let alone a tiny see-through disc. And I just can't bear the thought of sticking stuff in my eyes all the time...nope.
29. FAVORITE FOOD? the reality is NOTHING sounds good lately. I guess non-pregnant would be homemade german chocolate cake heated with Breyer's vanilla ice cream on the side.
30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? definately happy endings, no contest
31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? The last memorable one was The Pursuit of Happyness
33. SUMMER OR WINTER? I honestly like them both (and have things I don't like about each). 34. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs, but I'm not even too keen on those (I don't like being touched, much).
35. FAVORITE DESSERT? I already described one, so these are my runners-up ...

Mrs. Smith's Razzleberry pie (I love raspberries) heated with vanilla icecream
Pumpkin pie with whipped topping (I can only eat small amounts of this, but love it)
Brownie topped with vanilla icecream & a little fudge with a lot of toasted pecans

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I'm finishing up a book about President Bush's first term in office and media bias against him and I'm about to start Helena by Evelyn Waugh for a book group I'm in.
WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? We don't have one. The kids lost it, so we're just scratching up the pull-out keyboard drawer of our desk.
37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? A Heroes episode I taped
38. FAVORITE SOUND? Silence -- ohhh yeah!! (and church bells - which signify quiet to come)
39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? neither -- I guess of old music I like Electric Light Orchestra and ... ummm... Steve Miller Band (don't let my kids listen to that music, though).
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I like to throw parties...I don't know that it's a talent, though.
42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? in town

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Cookware Set

This is another e-mail discussion I'm having with friends about what cookware we use and what we think of it. This is my response :

I use Analon Titanium and LOVE it. I've only had the set for 3-4 years.

+ In learning to cook (and not minding their mama), the kids have cut through the non-stick coating by using metal utensils, but nothing has started to stick, yet. + Even in frying refried beans in the 14" skillet for 3 hours (where the water boils out and you replenish it) and burning them terribly and leaving the pan overnight (something I do often), NOTHING has ever stuck.
+ Other 12-14" skillets I've had didn't distribute the heat as well and food didn't seem to cook as evenly as it does in these pans.
+ The bottom is smooth (one of the brands has ridges in the bottom) and so there isn't a problem with thing sticking.
+ You're supposed to be able to put it in the dishwasher if you use liquid detergent. I use powder, so I've rarely tried this, but thought it was cool!

- It does have smooth rivets that hold the handles on, and occasionally, I'll have to use my Pampered Chef scraper to get dried egg off the rivets (the kids go a little crazy when they scramble), but it comes off easily and quickly.
- The other negative may be that the heat-resistant handles get hot when placed over another burner that's turned on. It doesn't happen quickly, though, and it wouldn't occur to me to pick up a pan without testing the handles first (it has occured to the kids who forget to use a hot pad).
- It's also SERIOUSLY pricey -- but I'm so thrilled with the way it cooks and how nice it's stayed even though I stack it all together in my cabinets, that it was worth the price for me.

http://www.amazon.com/Anolon-Titanium-Dishwasher-12-Piece-Cookware/dp/B00008CM50 - this set doesn't contain the 14" skillet (which is one of my most-used pans in the house). Amazon customers gave it GREAT reviews, too!

http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Cookware-All-Cookware_Sets-Hard_Anodized_Aluminum - this is the website I used to compare reviews of cookware set. I read most of the reviews of the major cookware sets and chose Analon Titanium from that.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Blessing of Animals

I tried to talk Dave out of it. I tried to talk the kids out of it. I thought he was crazy. I knew I'd never do anything so insane (mostly). At church for the Feast of St. Francis, they had the Blessing of Animals. It sounds sweet doesn't it? Kids bringing their puppies to get a blessing.

Unless you have multiple children (which he does) and are planning on taking a dog that's afraid (therefore freaks out) with other animals - especially dogs. This is not some tiny lap dog. Maggie growls & goes crazy at the sight of other dogs 30 feet away through a pane of glass (which she broke last year trying to go through the window to get to the dog 30 feet away). This is a full-grown black lab who is incredibly strong and can take any of the kids and I on a ride if she decides to run and we hold onto her leash. This dog can't be walked because she won't mind (she doesn't heel, or stay...) She's super sweet in the house and adores all humans -- just not other dogs.

So, he took all 4 kids. A dog who will be 2 feet from other dogs. And a blind hamster to get blessed. I'm totally thinking it isn't worth it and stayed home in my recliner and sent Dd#2 with the digital camera. This is a picture of DS#3 with the blind hamster, Eaty, in a rubbermaid container after it's been sprinkled with holy water. Dave said he had a hard time keeping DS#3 from jumping off the half wall while he held the hamster container -- he knew that our son would hit the ground with the poor hamster still in mid-air in it's container. Eaty appears to have survived the ordeal.

I guess Dave had a hard time restraining Maggie and said it's nothing I should try. The kids told me that everytime a dog barked or howled, Maggie joined in. It was incredibly sweet of him to try. He said Ds#3 appreciated it the most, since Eaty is his miracle pet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Just Say Yes

I read an article about a homeschool mom looking back at the end of her journey. It was about things she'd done right and things she'd wished she'd learned earlier along the way. This piece of advice struck me. I think it's a small thing that I can do to be more positive :

Just Say Yes.We seem to have bought into the "Just Say No" mentality: No, you may not have dessert because you didn't eat your supper. No, you may not play with your friend because you didn't finish your chores. I realized that I could turn those no's into yes's and turn the responsibility into a positive thing for my kids. Yes, you may have dessert as soon as you finish your healthy food. Yes, you may play with her after you finish your morning jobs. I was not "The Bad Guy" anymore. After all, I was giving them permission to do what they had asked (if it was truly an acceptable option). The responsibility was now in their laps. If they did not get dessert, whose choice had that been? And whose "fault" was it now if they didn't finish their chores and get to play? Aha! The concept of personal responsibility!