Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Poem ... Because I'm Deep and Stuff

By Lorri Barrier

I am large in my skin
I make no apology
This belly grew three babies
Why should it be flat?
It curves with the memory of the womb.
These breasts fed three babies
Why should they be pert?
They swell with the memory of milk.
These hips carried three children
Why should they be slim?
They are full with the memory of life.
My bones are secret under flesh
My skin plump and white and fine
Mine is the face of Botticelli
Mine is the water of the Nile
Mine is the shape of things forbidden
Daughter of Gaia, grown beautiful and wild.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CAMRA Act of 2004 = Waste of Money!

This makes me feel a whole lot better about buying a fancy coffee once a week ...

From July 2008 Parents Magazine

“The Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) act would authorize $95 million to support research into the effects of TV, computer games, and other media on children. First introduced in 2004 by Senators Joe Lieberman, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sam Brownback, the measure has made little progress so far. But its sponsors say there’s a chance that an updated proposal will be considered this year. Show your support by contacting your elected officials.”

Duh. I don’t even have a 4-year college degree and I could tell you that less TV and more activity will make healthier kids, both physically and mentally.

Now, last time I checked, the USA was in DEBT. Where are we getting $95 million for such a stupid thing when our health care needs a tune-up, people are sucking money out of the welfare, disability and unemployment systems and kids are going hungry?

Man, it’s crap like this that REALLY makes me want to throw an Adult Content rating on this blog and go to town with the F-word!

But no. I am working on going Zen or Buddhist or some other kind of thing where I am a more calm person. Wish me luck. Or pray for me. Or whatever.

Updated 4/17/12: Michelle Obama's anti-obesity program for kids, anyone?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So You Think I'M Freaky?!

Okay, so there’s this thing called Elimination Communication. It sounds like it’s when a contestant on Project Runway or Top Model is told in a nice way that they won’t be continuing on to the next round and to pack their belongings.

What it REALLY means is when you’re with your kid 24/7 (yeah, like I am, so don’t even start with me on that part) and you can tell when they have to pee or take a dump. Instead of letting them do it in a diaper and changing it right away, as we all do (yeah, right), they are NOT WEARING A DIAPER. You are teaching a teeny weeny baby to potty train.

Look, I STILL have issues from when I was barely 2 years old and my dad would make me sit on the pot until I produced something, and I’m NOT talking about a hit musical here.

Is the point to save the environment by not washing or throwing away diapers? How would, for instance, someone who was ME do this? As it is, I pay one of the boys a dime to accompany Callie to the potty if Eva is sleeping on me or if I’m working on this world-renowned blog.

You obviously can’t do this and WORK (I have to add the words “outside the home” to be politically correct) because a daycare provider would laugh in your face. My parents would kick my ass if I came to visit and didn’t have a diaper on my kid. You can’t tell a 3-month-old, “I see your poopy-grunty face, but I’m doing dishes. Could you hold on?”

Sounds like a big ole mess to me.

If you do this with your kid, please enlighten me.

Then there’s this thing called Lotus birth where you keep the placenta attached to the baby after the kid is born until the umbilical cord naturally falls off. This is the kind of thing my daughters-in-law will be doing and castigating me for NOT doing. I’ll say, “But I breastfed for a long time and did the family bed and …” But they will cut me off with dirty, accusing looks.

Everyone I meet does something I would NEVER do, but for them it is normal. If we have learned nothing else, it should be that we are ALL freaky in some way. Don’t you love that?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Failure at Smoking

I promised I’d tell the cigarettes story (see 8/4/08 post), so here it is.

On Father’s Day Aron had to leave at 5 p.m. for the airport (did I mention his company couldn’t care less about holidays, birthdays, anniversaries?). We had been on a weekend vacation, so by the time we got back in town, there was no time for Aron to see his dad. I decided to pack up the kids and take them over to see my father-in-law. They were tired and Callie had a massive fit (think Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” … what was her name in that movie?) as we were leaving. I was already stressed, and this pushed me over some imaginary edge.

I stopped at a gas station on the way home and (yes, on a Sunday … gasp!) bought Marlboro Ultra Lights 100s in a box. I hadn’t smoked in about 10 years. I went home and had 2 drags out on the deck, thinking it would make me suddenly stress-free. Instead I felt like a fugitive … if you smoke these days you are a social pariah. ESPECIALLY if you have kids.

I tried again a few days later, but it just made me stinky and tasted disgusting. Oh, and the kids gave me a whole rash of crap about it. This is why I love the show “Madmen” … back in the 60s it was okay for a mom to be on Valium and smokes to get through her day! These days I’d give my left boob for a simple Prozac, except I’m not truly depressed.

The cigs were still in the van when we took our last-minute 3-week trip to Phoenix BY VAN. In Albuquerque we came upon a homeless woman, and the kids were fascinated. We chatted and I asked her if she needed anything (besides a HOME, duh). She (Vicki) said she’d love 3 bucks for some cigarettes. I asked if she’d smoke my Ultra Lights with 2 missing from the pack and she was thrilled. We also gave her some money and a bottled water. She told me how neat it was to have so many kids these days and to keep having them if they brought me so much joy (my mom probably wants to hunt this woman down and shoot her right now!).

So here’s the way I see it: When I was at a low point, I bought something that I thought might help me. It didn’t. But it did give SOMEONE a little bit of happiness (and I hope to God no cancer).

P.S. Also … in a rest stop bathroom on our way to Phoenix I spotted a magazine face-down on the sink. There was no one around, so I picked it up and it was the current People Magazine. I LOVE this magazine and someday when I am rich I will get a subscription. The Universe gave ME a magazine. Then it gave Vicki some cigarettes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Kid Quotes

8/21/08 Joel called Michael “diarrhea” and Michael called him … “DUMBarrhea”

June 2008 Callie (age 3), handing me her too-small paper diaper, “Um, Mommy. This does not work on my body.”

September 1 quotes …
Joel, age 7: “Michael, I’m God and you’re the Devil and I’m gonna boot you out of Heaven.”

Michael, age 5: “If you want to know how to spell cinnamon why dontcha get yourselves killed so you can ask God?” Well, that’s ONE way.

Callie, age 3: “And no trains did run over us. Did you think a train did run overed us?”

Eva, age 8 months: “Ma. Da.”

P.S. Reader, if you ever find a typo on this blog, for the love of all that is holy, please leave me a comment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lonely Travel Widows?

The neighbor who reports everyone to The City (no, I’m not going to call her the Lawn Nazi) just told me she imagines I get lonely down here in my house all day with the kids.

This woman has the cutest tiny dog, and Callie sprints from the house to go pet it when they walk by. So I have to follow to make sure she’s fine or else The Woman will report me not only to The City but also to The State. She already has expressed concern that my kids are going to randomly run into the street, even though I am always out front with them.

I told her every day is so different and we are so busy and usually on-the-go that lonely doesn’t occur to me when Aron’s in town. Six o’clock usually comes too fast … and I realize HOLY CRAP I’d better get something cooking for dinner!

Lonely? Not really. Some nights when Aron was traveling and the kids were happy in front of the TV-sitter (thanks for that cute phrase, Miss Chris), I would feel a little lonely, but it was nothing a game of Chuzzle and a trip to Pepperidge Farm wouldn’t cure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Freaky #4: Cloth Diapering (Nighttime)

Who else owns stock in Huggies?

I just paid $17 for 40 Disney Princess Pull-Ups at Target and felt like total schmoe after I did it. Who knew potential wetting of the bed could be so profitable?! At between 35 and 45 cents per night, you’re paying about $150 per year.

The alternative is cleaning up a peed-in bed every night. Even if you have a waterproof cover under the main sheet, you STILL have to change the kid, take off the pee sheet, put on a new sheet, and wash the pee sheet. Or be lazy like me and just put a towel under the pee kid until morning. Joel never wet the bed; Michael did maybe once. I’m telling you that GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT.

“But, Kerrie, you use those super-fun cloth diapers. Why do you buy those landfill-space hogs called Pull-Ups?”

BECAUSE THERE ARE NO GREAT CLOTH NIGHTTIME DIAPERS. And, I’ve heard, if you find a good one that costs a mint, it takes, like 3 years for the darn thing to actually get dry after you wash it.

I like the idea of those bed-wetting alarms. You hook it up to your kid’s underpants and if they start to pee, this alarm wakes them up and scares the crap out of them (well, let’s hope not).

P.S. Happy Ex-Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do What's Right for YOUR Family!

If you take NOTHING else from this blog, PLEASE let it be that my lifestyle is not for everyone. It’s also not for those with pacemakers, high blood pressure, mental illness or high cholesterol.

You have to be a SPECIAL kind of crazy to have a ton of kids and homeschool these days, but it works for our family.

Do what’s right for YOUR family.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nosy Neighbors

I am a pretty cool neighbor. The rental Girls Next Door have late parties, I close my bedroom window. The rental family behind me parks their RV so it blocks the sidewalk, I don’t care. The family two doors away has a house that’s falling down from lack of repair, it doesn’t really affect me (until I try to sell my house, anyway).

But there’s a older woman up the street who is incensed by things like this, and it doesn’t help that she walks her dog 26 times a day and sees all neighborhood transgressions.

She also gets riled up about long grass. I may joke about being reported to The State, but this woman would seriously report me to The City for long grass if it ever got that bad. After Joel was born and we’d been at the hospital, the grass was long and she made some passive-aggressive comment then, too. It’s like, HELLO … we’re nurturing new life here. Kinda too busy to mess with the grass!

Let’s keep in mind that Aron was gone all summer long. If I wasn’t mowing religiously, I was paying teenage boys to do it. Now that Aron’s home, it’s been over 2 weeks since he mowed due to rain, plans, etc. It’s pretty scruffy right now.

So today I see her and the crossing guard lady talking and looking my way. I wave; they stare. When she catches up to me she asks if Aron is gone this week. I say, “No. Why?” I know why, but I want to hear her say it so we can throw down.

(She’s got it in for me anyway since she taught Home Ec for years and I am a … GASP … homeschooler with hillbilly kids who don’t often wear shoes.)

Instead she says, while surveying the lawn, “Oh, I just hadn’t seen him and was wondering.” Sure you were.

Next time Aron leaves town for weeks on end in the summer, I’m gonna let it GROW and see how long it takes for a notice to appear on my front door! I’m so ornery.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Birth Lessons Learned From 4 Deliveries

-- Stop going to the hospital so early so I can spend more time at home with the kids (the fire station is close; if I actually start to deliver at home, they’d be here within 5 minutes and would be able to handle a hemorrhage).

-- Stop having water broken to hurry things along because it hurts worse and makes me panic when transition comes.

-- Have my doula friend come next time.

-- Eat while I have the chance (and pack my own snacks) because I practically had to beg for Jell-O at the hospital.

-- Continue to trust my instincts when they say all will be well and keep up the positive thinking and praying.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eva's Birth Story in 100 Words or Less ... December 2007

I am 36. Other 3 babies 1 week “early”; this one is a week “late.” Not sure if I’m in labor early morning, so call Mom anyway to come watch the kids. Snow starts on way to hospital. Slow progression, I can actually walk, listen to music without being annoyed. Start to finish = 7 hours, but not painful until water broken. No epidural. Time to push, oxygen mask, panic. Felt baby going back up after each push. Heard “vacuum extraction” and REALLY pushed. Got to check for myself: it’s another girl! Born 2 p.m., 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Callie's Birth Story in 100 Words or Less ... February 2005

I am 33. Repeatedly pressured to induce. I keep saying no. I wake from a nap with my sons and have large blood clot. I call an ambulance and must leave my boys at home (not alone!). The EMT talks of C-section, but I know nothing is wrong. Sonogram says all is fine. Friend/doula helps us through the birth. Five hours of labor, not too painful, no epidural, no broken water, out in 3 pushes. Aron cut cord. I get to lift the baby’s leg and see that “it” is a girl! Born 10 p.m., 8 pounds, 5 ounces.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Michael's Birth Story in 100 Words or Less ... April 2003

I am 31 and in labor at 5 a.m.? To hospital to see. Yep. Mom and Joel went to the park when my first cuss word slipped out from pain. Want water broken? Yes, so I can hurry in case Joel needs me. Writhing around, no epidural, some Stadol. Saying, “help me.” HARD contractions – finally I say, “Need. To. Push.” Nurses never believe me. Pushed not long, seemed fast, all is well. Hard labor = 4 hours. Got to see for myself that “it” was another boy! I cut the cord. Born 2 p.m., 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joel's Birth Story in 100 Words or Less ... June 2001

Some people dig reading birth stories — those who are pregnant and want to get prepared, those who have just given birth, those who just find birth fascinating. However, they can get a little lengthy. So here’s my 4-part series on short birth stories.

I am 30. In labor night before scheduled induction. Labor start to finish = 24 hours. Painful part – only 12. No epidural. Some Stadol — makes me feel drunk. Breathe in through nose, out through mouth for hours, concentrating on the rhythm. Broken water, catheter, lots of intervention. Pushing couple of hours in every position possible with no results. Finally I suggest vacuum extraction, and it’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Cord around his neck, blue, but all is well! I hemorrhaged, Pitocin needles in my hips, panic. Born 10 a.m., 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Money Story

Update 11/5/18 and this is our pool, pond, 8 acres and there's a house that came with it that we never could have imagined living in. God is good.

I get so excited when my husband plugs his travel figures (expenses, overtime) into my Excel spreadsheet.

I love December because I get to set up my household budget Excel worksheets for the coming year.

Who needs the Internet on their computer to have fun?

I was married for a few years when I was younger. The guy was not only physically abusive, but he was financially abusive. We wrote hot checks, finagled free food, made $10 payments on thousand-dollar credit cards, took out payday loans. Then there was the shoplifting. And the money we owed the IRS.

Anyway, after our divorce it took me some time to get my financial act back together. I say “back” because, before I met him, I had a nice savings account and a checking account with money to burn. I could pay for community college all by myself, and my car insurance, too. I had bought two (cheap) cars before I turned 19.

So imagine my excitement when I met a shaggy guy named Aron in July of 1995 who said he was about to graduate with a degree in Electronics Engineering. I’m no gold digger, but I knew security and stability when I saw it. It didn’t hurt that he was working his way through college as a cook (the only thing better would’ve been a pastry chef job)!!!

There’s something so hot about a man who has the sense to buy a house based on only one income, thinking ahead to a future family with a woman who has always wanted to stay home with her 500 babies.

While we’re far from being rich (and don’t even aspire to that), we have everything we need for now and for the future. A place to live, cars to drive, a way to educate our kids, vacations, a library within walking distance, a camera, no debt, family, friends, Excel spreadsheets and chocolate. And each other.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Messy House and Another Confession

I’m done apologizing for the state of my house. Step over the toys, step over the baby. Pretend you don’t notice the stains on the carpet or the dishes in the sink. Watch out for the kid with the Nerf gun pointed at your back.

While Aron travels, the kids and I usually trash the house all week. I pull out the sofa bed in the family room for them to laze around on, fall asleep on, jump on. We pick it all up on Friday.

Soon the kids will be old enough to do a wonderful vacuuming job as part of their weekly chores. I envision myself eating bon-bons and watching Rescue Me and lifting my feet up for them to vacuum under. Yeah, right.

I’d rather write or scrapbook than clean the house. I’d rather go to the park or pool or zoo with my kids. I’d rather play Scrabble with my husband. I’d rather have a root canal. I don’t think I’m alone.

It’s all my parents’ fault (isn’t everything?!). They were Chore-ly Abusive to me. You may not have heard of it because it’s a new diagnosis in the therapy world. It means they made me clean my room occasionally, do a few dishes, vacuum, dust, change the cat box, clean the bathrooms in a mediocre manner. People, these days making your kids do those things will get The State called on you.

As a result of that abuse, my cleaning reserves are all tapped out and it’s like the guy on Office Space says, “I don’t really like my job, and I don’t think I’m gonna go anymore.”

Sometimes good enough really is … good enough.

And yes, my kids DO know how to pick up after themselves. They are actually quite helpful. I just have to bark kinda loud sometimes to get them to do it.

While I’m confessing things … I watch “The Hills.” I like the music. And the scenery. But not the way they speak. Too much like a version of a Valley Girl.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reality TV Addict

In honor of getting TV time back, here are some of my favorite reality shows. Most of them are over for the season, but those of you with that newfangled cable TV can probably catch a marathon sometime this fall.

Bikini or Bust — Ashley Paige, who has been making famous knit bikinis for 20 years, is inspirational. Who knew she wasn’t mass-producing her awesome knit bikinis and that she was totally broke because she can’t find an investor? Watching her encourages me to go for my dream of being a writer. I’ll spare you the “overcoming obstacles” clich├ęs, Reader, because I like you.

Tori and Dean — Tori Spelling is paranoid like me and digs being a mom. I wish my husband was more like Dean … he lets Tori have like 9 TVs in the house.

Flipping Out — Jeff Lewis is a Type A control freak, which I can be. He is to the house-flipping world what I was to the proofreading world (dictator-like, noticing every flaw).

Project Runway — I can’t sew a button on a shirt (again with my husband having my sewing gene) but I love this “fierce” show. Heidi Klum (think she’ll go for one more kid?), the gay guys, the crying/fighting chicks … makes my daily life seem like cake.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List — She’s not for everybody. She is sick and wrong. I still love her.

Million Dollar Listing — Is Chad for real? He sells multi-million dollar houses, is supposedly straight, yet I SWEAR he wears lipstick and that mushroom haircut is killing me. AND he says REAL-A-TER. The word “realtor”, which he IS for a living, does NOT HAVE AN extra “A” in it. And I want to sock Josh Flagg in his smirky little face.

Jon and Kate + 8 — Bears some resemblance to my own life, only with twice as many kids. If their life is a natural labor, mine is simply an epidural labor. I’m tired; my metaphorical similes suck. Are they an annoyal to you? Tee hee.

Would you rather I be addicted to crack or Valium? Reality TV is cheap, doesn’t give me a headache or hangover and doesn’t interfere with my parenting in a negative way. In fact, it puts me in a good mood and makes me feel good about myself. Like when you come to my house and leave feeling good that your house is so much cleaner than mine and your kids are so much better behaved.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Misc. Plugs, Pix and Thanks

1. An awesome Christmas gift: Magnatiles (they are clear magnetic tiles and you can make the coolest stuff, like a 2-story stable like Michael's):

2. Thanks for the apples from your tree, Cathy! I actually made applesauce! And Aron is making a pie with the kids.

3. Thanks for the caterpillar, Zee. Here's what it turned into on Tuesday:

4. Before and after Cube Space Bags:

5. Callie nursing one of our zucchinis:

6. Twenty-three pounds of 9-month-old sunshine:

7. The best for last. The cutest thing ever. My daughter coloring with my grandpa:

Two more new posts below this one ...

No TV Day ... Ah, Hell, I've Lost Count

My dad says, “50 is the new 90.” I say shopping is the new TV. Today just for something to do we headed out of the house to drop some cash, which we rarely do.

First stop: The bread store. We are now a family who buys 10 loaves of bread at a time, plus various buns, cinnamon bread and French bread.

Next stop: JC Penney Home Store for a mattress/box spring, recliner and a round of pillows for everyone. Aron’s had our only chair for about 16 years. It eats remote controls, so one day in a postpartum fit I tuned the chair over, cut a big slit in the bottom of the chair and retrieved my beloved remote. It will be on the curb with a FREE sign on it soon. I’m not even messing with freecycle.

Before kids, Aron and I would spend HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS looking for the perfect sofa sleeper, shades, dresser. The problem is that I have retro taste and am cheap. He likes to buy classy, nice things (to put in our ‘80s decorated house). We don’t speak the same language. I am missing the girlie decorating gene. He apparently has mine.

Today I made it clear we needed to do this QUICKLY. He could’ve gone shopping without me, frankly. Because I JUST DON’T CARE that much about stuff like that and don’t enjoy controlling children in stores. He shopped for the mattress; I found a recliner in 10 seconds. My criteria: cheap, indestructible, thick fabric. We can buy nice furniture when our kids have moved out and then spend our days yelling at the grandkids to get off the furniture. I’m thinking plastic covers and plastic carpet runners. JUST KIDDING!

I, who hates to shop, got some kitchen towels since most of mine are fit to be burned. Here’s one:

I’ve actually considered buying an APRON. I watched a lot of Swingtown last week.

Let me stop here to do a plug for freecycle.org. Signing up is a pain, and you may get a ton of e-mail, but it is worth it when you so easily can get rid of a mattress to someone in need or post something that YOU want. I have posted that I’m looking for a laptop computer. Every writer should have one, right?

Last stop: Pizza Shoppe for dinner. WHY WHY WHY do restaurants have a bell that goes off when someone comes and goes? Kids LOVE those things. They are an instrument of annoyal (nominate that word for the next edition of Webster’s). Is it so hard to just BE at the front to SEE if customers come in? Must be.

Tomorrow = 2 things we didn’t get to do with Aron all summer: the zoo and the drive-in.

Monday, September 1, 2008

No TV Week, Day One

Yes, I have officially gone crazy, just as my dad predicted. You may send chocolate and coffee to the Funny Farm.

I'm sick of the TV taking over our lives. I think about it all the time, as a reward for me, as something to do while I nurse, while the baby naps. The kids plan their days around their shows, especially now that we have the converter box and 24-hour cartoons on Qubo.

So I'm instituting a no-TV week (well, 5 days, which is all I can handle, and withholding Saturday morning cartoons is just cruel). I chose this week because Aron is off work and he can get a taste of what I do all day. A little background: he didn't have a TV the whole 3 years we dated, so he could not care any less about the TV and is on my butt about the kids watching too much anyway.

My prediction is that by the end of the week we will be BEGGING the kids to go watch some TV.

So the plan is to play games with the kids, read to them, homeschool in an unschooling way, go to the park, walk to the library, do a toy purge.

I'll keep you posted ... ha! Get it? POSTed! Anyway ... tough crowd out there.


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