Thursday, December 31, 2009

Homeschool Grid

I finally got the chance to print out some homeschool grids like this one that my writing/mothering/homeschooling idol, Jessica Fisher, made. It has so far worked like a charm for us. We can do everything in one day or put it all off until Friday or do it all at a steady pace. Or do all the math in one day or put it off. It's great for teaching the kids how to pace themselves and get their work done ... great prep for college!

Previously I was using lesson plans that came with our Catholic Heritage Curricula workbooks, but we went at a different pace than they wanted us to. Then I was writing everything in a spiral notebook for each kid and that got to be a mess.

I put a blank homeschool grid on our bulletin board in the dining room each week so the kids can easily see it. That way if I'm busy with one of the other kids they can see what they still need to do for the week. And if they need help with something, they just wait on that box. When we've completed something, we put a cross through the box with a highlighter or marker. I save all the grids in a binder ... a tab for each kid. In Kansas we don't have to keep records, but I like to anyway.

Any homeschooling organization tips that work for you?

Happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Superstitions

Does anyone have any crazy superstitions like I do?

Like when my kids go with anyone in a car, I wave after them, then cross myself (Catholic-style) once for each kid plus the driver.

And when I REALLY need Divine Intervention, I not only pray to God, but also to everyone in Heaven who could maybe, like, PROD God (hey, it rhymes) to make sure my prayer gets to the top of the list. Like when my kid is sporting a really high fever or when Sam was in the NICU.

Who else, besides Tori Spelling, is nuts like me?

Monday, December 28, 2009

How to Make a Chore Chart


One of my best friends, Ellen, has 5 kids and is one of those totally on-top-of-it moms. She has this great (and cheap!) dry erase boards on her kitchen wall. Across the top she puts the days of the week, and down the side she puts the kids' names. Then she fills in their chores. I have a similar version at my house, except (1) I printed it out at home and (2) we completely ignore it.

These days I'm in new-baby mode still and just ask them to do things for me as I see them (bring up the laundry, put away silverware, take out the recycling, pick up their room, etc.). The boys each get $3 every Saturday, and $1 of that goes to church one week and savings the next week.

The boys call themselves my minions :-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Have a Very Merry Hairy Kerrie Christmas! I'm hanging out in sweatpants watching my kids open presents. Most likely my dad and stepmom are over. My mom and stepdad are coming over later. I'm happy. It's awesome.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

McLoughlin Family Christmas Letter 2009

I love getting Christmas letters, but hate writing them. My first draft always sounds like I'm trying to hard to be funny and like Mother of the Year. Then it sounds braggy. Then it sounds too self-deprecating, like I'm trying to downplay all my blessings and good fortune and am looking for something to complain about. So below is the final draft of this year's letter. I decided to just go with normal. I also added some cute little symbols, like a cross for Joel taking First Communion, a swimmer for Michael learning to swim, a music note for Callie wanting to sing (her first "when I grow up I want to be..." was to work at McDonald's), a present for Eva ripping into gifts, a smiley face for Sam hanging on me all the time, an airplane for Aron not traveling and a martini glass for me trying to concentrate on homeschooling (as if I'd rather be drinking). Enjoy ...

CHRISTMAS SEASON 2009
Dear Family, Friends and Neighbors,

Merry Christmas! We hope you are all happy and healthy. Here’s what’s been going on in our growing household:

Aron’s travel was minimal this year (he’s on his 11th year with CSI), which gave him some time to tear apart our main bathroom and redo it entirely. As of this writing he’s tiling the floor. He also took on the job of Den Leader for Joel’s Cub Scout den, takes the boys to Religious Ed class every other Tuesday night and took them on 3 fishing trips. He was the hero of the year when he put up a zip line that Ellen Jones gave us in the backyard.

I’ve been writing when I get the chance … assignments for Kansas City Parent, then selling the reprints to other magazines. I like keeping up my blog (TheKerrieShow.com), collaborating on another (WritingMommies.blogspot.com), writing e-books for fun and sales letters/blog posts for companies. I stare longingly at my scrapbooking projects while I concentrate on homeschooling.

Joel (3rd grade) received his First Communion in May, then in the summer tried his hand at baseball and started going off the diving board at the pool. He enjoys delivering our Meals on Wheels route, Cub Scouts and spending the night with Poppy (my dad). When he grows up, he wants to own some sort of nature sanctuary on Truman Lake.

Michael (1st grade) likes to make interesting things out of just about any material and taught himself cursive this fall. Although he doesn’t want to be an official Cub Scout until next year, Michael attends all the den meetings and participates in all the activities. He learned to swim on his own over the summer. He wants to work in a museum when he grows up and “make the art.”

Callie enjoyed going to 15 different nature centers and museums for the Ernie Miller Passport to Adventure. She likes to sing, dance and color and can write her name. She also loves to have her nails painted by Tutu (my mom). She wants to dance, sing and be a Rescue Hero when she grows up.

Eva is our Tasmanian Devil … into everything and keeps us on our toes with her writing on the walls and herself, dancing on the table, destroying her siblings’ stuff, etc. She’s a happy little imp and chases the other kids around. She enjoyed playing at all our different pools this summer and loves going “bye bye.” Currently we’re teaching her to stop unwrapping the presents under the tree.

Samuel Scott (a.k.a. Samwich or Spam) is our 7th family member. He was born October 7th weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces (labor started at 7 a.m. and he spent 7 days in the NICU due to meconium aspiration). He’s a sweet boy and loves to be toted around and held by his brothers and sisters, although he spends most of his time hanging out on his mom.

We’re praying everyone has the best year ever in 2010. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Love from Aron, Kerrie, Joel, Michael, Callie, Eva and Samta Claus McLoughlin

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Picture Out-takes

With a big family, it's hard to find the perfect time to get everyone dressed up with a smile on their face and antlers on their head. Our official Christmas photo that we're sending out has Sam nursing and you can't even see his face, but everyone else looked decent. And we had to bribe Eva with a candy cane to even get her to sit down, and you can just forget about those dang antlers. So here are a couple of the out-takes for those who enjoy Christmas pictures.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

English as a Screwy Language (ESL)

My friend teaches English as a Second Language, so I know she'll appreciate this one.

So in what universe does "ph" sound like a "v"? Apparently in this one, where the name STEPHEN sounds like SteVen. I should know; it's my son's middle and my dad's first name.

How come once you get to the number TEN, then you don't go Oneteen? Why do we have eleven, twelve, thirteen and fifteen when the rest of the teens are more logical? Why not oneteen, twoteen, threeteen and fiveteen?

Mom and I love when words are screwed up by people. Our current is "volumptuous". As in: Kerrie McLoughlin is volumptuous.

We also like "immaculant". As in: Kerrie's house will never be immaculant.

Gimme some more messed-up words, and be sure to use them in a sentence, Class!

Have a nice week. I'm taking it off to pursue Christmas Craziness.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Water Fun to Buy Some Time


People wonder how I deal with the younger kids while I homeschool the older ones. This picture shows one way: set Eva up at the kitchen sink on a chair and turn on the water. Throw in some plastic dishes that need to be washed, and you have one occupied 2-year-old. Sure, I have to change her wet shirt at the end of the session, but the Water Fun tactic usually buys me about 5 minutes to homeschool, which is like gold.

Oh, and thank you to the readers who told me to write about what I want to write about and not cater to everyone else. Good advice. And the hodge-podge blogging continues ...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Silver Christmas Tree!!! (and parental divorce)


Over the weekend my stepdad brought this aluminum tree over for me. His mom hits auctions and estate sales and sells on eBay, so she finds some really cool stuff. They think this tree might even be from the 1940s. It's the perfect size since I can't get Aron to commit to a full-size aluminum tree. This way, I get my very own little silver tree. My own little retro piece of fun. I teared up when he brought it over. Callie said, "It's so pretty I just wanna nurse it!"

I was heartbroken when my parents divorced when I was in my late twenties, but I must say they are now both happy and have married very wonderful and thoughtful people.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Target Sucks

I just heard a Target commercial where the mom is telling the kid her Christmas presents before she gets a chance to open them. I also keep seeing a commercial on TV where the kid tells her parents they spent too much on her presents and that she's been a bad girl. Her parents tell her they didn't spend too much (they went to Target).

Unfortunately, my kids saw and heard these commercials, as well, and you should have seen the look on their faces. It was like, "Um, did I just see that? Should I act like I didn't? Is Santa real? What the hell is going on?"

Target sucks. Didn't I hear something about WalMart blowing it for kids last year in their commercials, as well?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas for Computer Nerds

For some reason earlier this year I got a catalog for a company called Computer Gear. Just for fun, I opened it up and perused it and found some cool crap for computer geeks, engineers, Trekkies, and other nerds like my husband. My favorite item is a T-shirt that says:

"I'll try to be Nicer
If you try to be Smarter"

There's also a T-shirt with the Spam logo on it, which I want to get and save for my son Sam.

Monday, December 7, 2009

No-Bake Drop Cookies

When I'm freaking out for chocolate but have none in the house, I make these 7-ingredient cookies. They're fast and easy, and I usually have everything I need to make them.





You'll need:
1 stick of butter
2 cups of sugar
3 T cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 1/4 cups oatmeal (quick cooking works best)
4 t vanilla

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil (make sure it boils or they won't set up). Remove from heat. Add the peanut butter (stir), then the vanilla (stir), then oatmeal (stir). Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. They should be a little runny ... they'll firm up on the paper.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eva


Today my baby girl turns 2. We're heading to church, then plan to come home to frost her 2-layer circle Devil's Food cake and dig into it. Later we'll give her a gift, which is a baby doll with a stroller and bouncy seat. Her party is next Saturday.

Eva is our Tasmanian Devil (hence the Devil's Food cake). She writes on the walls and gets into EVERYTHING. She's the reason I can't leave out my scrapbooking stuff anymore. Heck, I can't leave out ANYTHING anymore! But that's okay ... she's our smiley, smart, cute, funny kid who is now starting to make sentences like, "I don't know. Bye bye." Which sounds more like "Unnobyby."

We love you, Eva!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Elf Yourself

Check out this link to a cool video of all 5 of my kids as elves, singing! At the bottom right of the box you can make it full-screen.

It's a lot of fun ... just upload a photo and you, too, can be dancing hip hop or singing as an elf. Hey, it's a time-killer!

Pampered Chef Stoneware

This is a weird mixed review. I love Pampered Chef's stoneware, especially the 9x13 baking pans. They bake everything so well and so evenly. Nothing burns, and they are easy to clean. Heavy, but still a good product. Twice now, though, I've had a 9x13 baker break in half on me IN THE OVEN WHILE I WAS COOKING A MEAL. And no, I didn't have the oven on high heat and hadn't put cold water on it or anything crazy like that. I figured you'd ask me that, since I'm so clearly NOT a great cook (or housekeeper, just ask my husband).

Frustrating and messy. I tried to get a replacement, but was beyond the 3-year warranty period. First I had to tell them the name of the hostess I bought it from and the date of the show. I was like, YEAH RIGHT. I can't even remember YESTERDAY, let alone when I bought a freaking baker. But I winged it.

So I love the product; hate the warranty. And the fact that it breaks during the cooking of a normal meal.

Has anyone else had something like this happen to them?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dreaming of a Peaceful Christmas

If you feel pulled in too many directions during the holidays, check out my article, Dreaming of a Peaceful Christmas, published in Edmonton's Child on page 19 and elsewhere this month. It'll take a bit of time to download, but hopefully it'll be worth it!

A different version can be found at Montgomery Parents.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shoot Me Now: Paint Colors


I've said before that I was born without that gene that makes a woman want to shop and decorate. Apparently God gave me EXTRA mothering instinct gene.

So we're (read: my husband mostly) redoing one of our 2 bathrooms since we'd like to move in the next few years (love the house, but live on a super-busy street where people like to drive drunk, speed and crash their car through people's fences and into their yards) and need to update every room in the house in order to sell it.

With every room he does, he gives me the courtesy of asking my opinion on paint colors. He knows I have no taste. He knows I can't make a decision. He's being nice. And so it is again with the bathroom. How many shades of WHITE are there? This white is too yellow. This one too orange. This one too blue. We've decided on Antique White, then had to decide on one of 6 different finishes ... the one that's easy to clean or the one that looks good? We usually go with something in the middle and hope for the best.

When Aron travels this winter, I've decided I'm gonna repaint the entryway (it's too light and shows all dirt) and work on the "girls' room" (they don't sleep in it yet) because it has a sports border and I wanna tear it down and paint the whole room. Any takers on coming over to help me? Keep in mind there will be 5 small children around, including Tasmanian Devil Eva.

The interesting thing is, I'd like to do this not because I ENJOY it, but to try to help my long-suffering husband out. I fear I may only make more work for him and also fear he won't like the color I choose. Ours is a strange, backwards, mixed-up household. But it works for us.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Taste in Overland Park, Kansas

Recently Aron and I went out for our Annual Date Night to a restaurant called Taste in Downtown Overland Park, Kansas. Here's us:


Here's what we ate:



Here's what Sam did while we ate and talked:


Here's the rockin' chocolate buffet on a plate we had for dessert:


The dessert came with a chocolate straw, which we made marijuana jokes about:



What do you want from me? My parents were quasi-hippies ... both with a great sense of humor.

Food rocked. Go there!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Poor DIL

I've already decided I will call Sam's future wife the SamWitch.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fireproof: Here Come the Kids

Tresa loaned us the movie Fireproof recently and we got to watch it last night and this morning. It was so clean, the kids even watched a lot of it, too. Aron's off this week and is supposed to be working on the bathroom remodel, but instead we slacked off and watched the movie ... Sam slept on me all morning and the kids played/watched parts of the movie. Callie has never met a movie she didn't like, just like her mom.

Anyway, it was a great movie. Loved it. Very cool. It had an important message even if you aren't religious in any way at all. Does anyone else think the main chick looks just like the Duggars' new daughter-in-law? Maybe it's her sister. Oh, and we think it's cool that Kirk Cameron didn't kiss the actress, but had his wife stand in and kissed her instead. Take THAT, Hollywood! They've been married 17 years and have 6 kids (aka a Catholic Starter Family).

I think they need a sequel, though. It would involve the characters having lots of kids. Heck, even a couple would test that Fireproof stuff. Aron's homeschooling the kids in some simple music stuff right now, and he's getting a little taste of active boys and trying to teach them during a time when they'd rather be doing something like jumping up and down or hitting their heads against the wall.

So, the movie would show what a marriage goes through when you have kids. Come on, people, together we can come up with an awesome sequel screenplay. Give me your plot ideas, and I'll throw them by Kirk.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tell Me What You Want. What You Really, Really Want.

Yes, I know this blog is all over the place, just like my brain. Once I got fired from a job with no other reason than that I lacked focus. Part of the problem was that I mostly just wanted to be a mom hanging out at home writing rather than a secretary at a soul-less PR agency.

So I'm wondering what's been useful to you on this blog ("useful" meaning like it made you laugh or made you think or made you mad or whatever). What do you want to hear more about? Options include:

-- Adventures in Homeschooling
-- Attachment Parenting (to include family bed, nursing, baby-wearing and all that touchy-feely parenting stuff that you either do yourself and feel a kinship with me or else you just like to make fun of me)
-- My life as a best-selling, headed-for-Oprah writer (meaning I've sold 11 copies of my e-book since July and have been published in about 12 regional parenting pubs to date)
-- General gripes
-- Life in general, to include being a Travel Widow plus all of the above
-- Recipes (that made me laugh just to type it!)

Love to all my bloggy friends and relatives, and a happy Thanksgiving. By the way, what the hell are you doing online right now anyway? Are you avoiding family? Have you just put the turkey in the oven? Is everyone gone from your house and you're happy to finally have some Alone Time? Many questions today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Say What?!

I'm spending too much time online when I tell my son to LOG ON to the boob, rather than LATCH ON.

Pray for me today ... going Christmas shopping with my mom and Spamwich ... where will I hide everything?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So What? I'm Still a Rock Star.

Last Friday Callie and I had a date. We went to the Paul Mitchell School and got CHEAP haircuts (95th and Antioch; $5 kids, $10 adults ... so I tipped the hell out of the students since that's all the money they see there). I woulda gotten even more layers, except I was worried about Baby Sam crying at home and wanting the Boob, so we took off. Anyway, here are some shots:




Monday, November 23, 2009

Huge Earlobes ... why?

What is up with all the white guys I see who are trying to stretch out their earlobes like I've seen in National Geographic? WHY? I'm truly curious. Have you seen these guys around town and on TV? It doesn't turn me on; it just looks painful ... and strange. Who's with me, ladies?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

deep-ish , controversial-ish thoughts ...

... from my facebook status updates:

i used to be so judgmental about out-of-wedlock pregnancies, even though it happened to me at 18. now i don't think it matters so much how a precious baby comes into the world, as long as it is well-taken-care-of and loved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dude, You Know This Tree Rocks


I'm a direct reincarnation from the 60s. I want a silver, white or pink Christmas tree SOOO BAD. Don't tell my husband, but I have a list in my mind of things I'll do or buy if he dies before me. Things like get a laptop of my own or order cable or put a TV in the bedroom. The Christmas tree thing is on this list. This year we get a REAL TREE. I didn't grow up with real ones and hate them. You have to water them and vacuum up after them. They are like having a dog. Also you have to buy them and dispose of them. I'm lazy and like artificial trees. How about you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food Hoarding Lies


So the other day all the chairs in the kitchen were taken and I sat on the floor to nurse Samwich. I looked over to see this ... a virtual pantry under my desk (carbs, anyone?). I knew Callie had brought all this crap up from our basement pantry and stacked it neatly under the desk. It cracked my mom and I up and she made a joke about Callie hoarding food since she knows we'll be running out soon (a complete joke ... I always have PLENTY of food around here ... especially chocolate, so I don't know why she has a box of brownie mix AND a whole can of cocoa).

The thing is ... she lied about it when we asked if she did it. And tried to throw her friend under the food bus. The boys didn't have food issues. They didn't lie. But these girls are a different story and I am in trouble, people.

I'm a little frightened about this girl of mine ... what do you do when your kid outright lies to you. You call them out on it ... such an obvious lie (like, "I swear the sky is gold"), and still they lie on. How to punish for this?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kids Making Christmas Lists


Have you started making your Christmas list yet? My kids have to start in October because all their relatives like to be done shopping by Thanksgiving. I pretty much just picked up 4 Toys R Us catalogs (pictured with Eva) this year and had them each mark one up with what they want. Joel marked just about everything, while Michael was more discerning. So I had them do a letter to Santa with only FIVE things they REALLY want. Then the fun begins. The shopping I do while they are with me (hiding crap under my coat). The shopping I do to help other people (relatives) out and they just pay me back. The binder I have to keep to keep track of who got which kid what so there's no doubling up. It's a full-time job, I tell ya. This year Mom, Samwich and I are going out to Toys R Us and possibly Target the day before Thanksgiving (Aron's off work and gets paid that day) to try to knock out most of it. We'll probably do a lot of drinking both before AND after the shopping fun. That means Samwich will be drunk, as well. (put the phone down ... no need to call the State ... I'm joking, as usual)

Wish us luck, and help me think of what I can tell the kids about where I'm going that day ... so they don't suspect ... jeez, I hope they don't read this blog and figure out a few things. I hope I've been cryptic enough. We'll see ...

(by the way, that's my husband with the holey shirt in the background holding Samwich and eating a Chipotle burrito ... he was all upset when I told him about the hole because he said that was one of his "honeymoon shirts" ... which means he bought it for and wore it on our honeymoon 11 years ago. so cute!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Disappointed Vs. Stolen or Lost

So someone VERY KIND (the mother of a friend of my kids) invited my 3 oldest kids to go to a very popular kids’ pizza place recently. Here are the problems:

1. The invite came at 4:30 when we already had a ham in the oven for dinner.

2. The invite came through the woman’s daughter to me and was discussed with my kid before it was discussed with me, so my kids got all excited first.

3. The invite was for a Saturday night, and this place gets seedy and crazy on a Saturday night.

4. I just had a baby and am in postpartum Mama Bear mode where all I envision is bad things happening to my kids. This woman has 1 kid to take along with my THREE (ages 8, 6 and 4) … how is she gonna watch all of them at once?

5. I can’t let her pay for THREE of my kids and I can’t pay for them, either (NICU bill plus about 8 other hospital-related bills that are coming in).

6. I once saw a CSI episode where a kid wasn’t stolen from this pizza place but was taken into a bathroom … this is why I can’t watch those shows anymore and stick mostly with reality TV-land (Flipping Out, Housewives of [fill in the blank], etc.), except for Gray’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters.

7. Aron had dinner to make and leaves to rake and couldn’t go with them to supervise. I have a tiny baby and didn’t wanna chase the kids around while navigating hundreds of other kids and simultaneously nursing my baby. Leaving him home was not an option because I’d been gone already that day for over 2 hours and just didn’t want to leave him again.

So … am I a bad mom or a paranoid mom or a really excellent mom or a hovering mom or what? I don’t really care. I’d rather have disappointed kids than lost or stolen kids any day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Music

Are you kidding me? Christmas music is on my radio as of the 1st of November AGAIN this year. On TWO channels. Let me get through Thanksgiving! What's the rush?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wiitards

I've been sitting on this one a while because I think this post may offend THE WHOLE WORLD since I seem to be the only one who does not own this Wii contraption. Perhaps if I played it for 5 seconds I would totally be hooked like the rest of the population of Planet Earth. Perhaps not. I’d rather be writing and creating and being snobby about it.

My neighbor is lovely in every other way, so I pray to God she never sees this snotty post, but she didn't understand why my 4-year-old daughter didn’t want to play their new Wii when she went to their house to PLAY.

You know PLAY, right? Or is that a foreign concept these days? And imagination. And creativity.

I know people who can’t afford to pay their rent yet they have gone out and somehow acquired a Wii. If I couldn’t pay my rent and got that kind of gift, I’d probably sell it and then … PAY MY RENT.

I know a woman who comes home from a long work week and plays Guitar Hero for hours, totally shutting out her kids.

A friend of mine who has a Wii tells me it’s a bunch of B.S. that it helps kids get off the couch, so it’s not like a mindless video game. She says it’s not like actually playing a sport, like bowling or tennis at all.

Do you have a Wii? Would you defend it to the death? Or do you agree with me, being all snobby and snooty?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Bday Aron and Animated Thanksgiving

Happy 43rd birthday to my awesome husband. Tonight we celebrate big with ... a Cub Scout den meeting at our place. Woo hoo! We do it up big around here!

If you have kids, check out this fun Thanksgiving site called Animated Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Taco Aficionado

Man, I love tacos. I was a taco fiend when I was pregnant with Eva, and one of her first words was TACO (referring to her vagina).

My mom tried the new stand-up, flat-bottom taco shells. They are easier to fill, but she said they break so much easier. My idea is that they sell taco holders in the taco shell aisle at the grocery store. You’d be able to stand 3 taco shells up in them separately, fill them without mess, then eat one at a time without the others falling over.

They could have plastic washable ones or paper disposable ones. I’m full of ideas, but have zero follow-through. So someone out there needs to manufacture my taco holders and don’t sell them at WalMart, for God’s sake, but sell them at the grocery store.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bumper Sticker Addict



Aron got me this for our anniversary. He couldn't choose hair color and says we all look Mexican. That's cool; we'll fit in better at our church. You can get these at this site.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Michael's Logic

This morning I hear Callie crying upstairs. In a house with 5 kids, someone is crying every 5 minutes, but still I go to investigate. Mostly because Aron's home today and I want to make sure I look like a good mom to him (yeah right ... he knows the truth by now).

Callie comes down the stairs and says Michael smacked her arm. I ask Michael why he did that, tell him we don't hit, blah blah blah.

He goes, "She said nothing hurts her." So he smacked her to show her that things do hurt her.

Today I'm going on a little date with my oldest son to D'Bronx to eat pizza and chat (his choice), then to Target so he can get a Nerf gun with his allowance so he can further terrorize his siblings and friends.

Eva is closing in on the age of 2 and can say the word "Plumpy" so cute!

Samwich is 1 month old today and starting to chunk up like a true McLoughlin. Nursing is going well ... still getting some formula each day, but at least I'm not shelling out billions of dollars on the stuff. What will I do when the free cans run out? If you leave the word "pump" in the comments section, I'll track you down and give you a spankin'. I hate pumping and get minimal milk, so don't even suggest it, Bloggy Peeps.

Catch ya later.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

PenMark Potions

So what are you going to do with your extra hour today? I'm gonna spend 1/2 with my family (raking a leaf pile for my kids to jump in, most likely) and 1/2 weeding through some piles of papers.

One thing I keep meaning to do is to write about the cool products from PenMark Potions. Right now I'm loving the Skin Repair Salve, but there are so many other great oils and lotions and they smell fantastic!

Penny is the cool chick who runs this little company, and she is also known as the Rock n' Roll Grandma because she used to cater all the best rock concerts in Kansas City. Oh, the stories she could tell (and she has ... click on the ABOUT US link to get to her Boomer Girl blog and to sample her memoir).

Check her out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Still Alive ...

Aron went back to work last week and took the Lovely Laptop with him, so posting has been sparse. He brings it home every night, but uses it for ... actual work til like midnight every night.

I've been also lost in the land of Cub Scouts, Halloween, thank you notes and completing our Passport to Adventure (you go 15 places out of 22 in KC and get a stamp at each place like on a passport ... then the kids each get a "price package" in the mail).

I've also been lost in Rich and Famous Land since I sold my 10th e-book ... I know ... VERY impressive. I'm headed for Oprah any day now.

Anyway ... I'm slowly working on more blog posts that don't revolve around pregnancy or baby brain. I have a particularly compelling one about tacos that I just have to somehow get off my home computer and onto a thumb drive and then onto the laptop. Sheesh. So don't give up on me, Bloggy Friends.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lame-O Baby Brain

Lack of sleep truly makes you stoopid! Right now Aron is at church with the boys scouring the grounds for good kindling wood for winter fires. Eva is playing at the kitchen sink. Sam is sleeping in a nice vibrating bouncy seat ... a rare moment out of my arms and off my boobs. Callie is watching some TV and hopefully staying out of trouble. I got some "me time" and submitted a bunch of reprint articles last night and today have been sending out invoices and being thrilled with some positive responses. Gotta go change a nice poop of Eva's, and she's waking up Sam with some good crying at me right now (tired but won't go to sleep).

Such is my life these days, and life is good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We Love Weddings (and Wedding Favors)

Who doesn’t love a good wedding? Aron and I love weddings, and now our kids do, as well. I recently came across this site for wedding favors that you should definitely check out if you know of someone who is planning a wedding or if you are planning one yourself.

I think that what guests take home from a wedding will remind them of the happy couple long after the festivities are over. For example, Aron’s cousin recently had a nice wedding reception outside of a barn. The decorations were amazing … beautiful flowers, Christmas-type lights, candles, etc. The take-home wedding favor was a beaded candle holder. Here are a couple of pictures from that wedding:



Whenever we light a candle in the special candle holder, we remember that evening fondly … a cool evening for August for sure. If I had our wedding to do over again, I would get these cute little candy jars with our names printed on them and fill them with M&Ms or some other naughty chocolate treat.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Woo Hoo!

Tonight I type as I hold my sleeping baby in my arms. Couldn't get to the task of uploading new pix, but will soon! Just know there are good ones of all siblings holding little Sam. On top of endometritis, I also have hypertension and am supposed to be just hanging out, which is hard to do. Anyway, more later, as Sam is screaming hungry now and nursing is going just okay so far ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 6 Without Sam at Home

Today I had to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with endometritis. Thankfully it was something simple that explained the chills, fever, huge belly and so on. I'm on antibiotics now. Got to see Sam at the hospital for a few hours also! I prayed as I latched him on, and I think I even heard a couple of tiny swallows, although my milk is far from in.

The plan is to bring Sam home Tuesday evening, so don't expect to hear from me too much after that! I'll be snuggling my baby and wrenching him away from all the friends and relatives who come to visit him!

Everybody have a great week ... I know I will!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Progression!

Saturday Aron and I got to hang out at the hospital for hours while my mom took care of the kids and they were actually GOOD! Eva didn't even cry ... amazing! Sam got his feeding tube out of his nose, moved to a big-boy crib, and I got to try to nurse him (so far I'm empty, but still pumping, and our nurse said her milk didn't come in until Day 10 while she had gotten to take her own baby home on Day 9). Saturday night Aron took the 3 oldest kids up there (only 4 people at a time, so no family picture so far). Here are some pictures! Ignore the creepy IV in Sam's head ... he wiggles too much to put it in his foot or hand anymore.







Breast Pump Fun



Callie agrees: you gotta take your fun where you can get it during stressful times. I hate pumping with a passion, but I'm doing it anyway for Baby Sam ... I usually have zero problems nursing (I do realize not everyone can or even wants to), so I love the cost, environment, convenience and diaper odor benefits. Today is Day #5 since he's been born ... wish me luck in getting that milk in for him so we can sit around on the couch all day nursing and watching Flipping Out and Mad Men.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

UPDATE! Meconium Aspiration, the NICU, Samuel's Birth Story and 10 Years Later!


Samuel Scott McLoughlin
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
7 pounds, 7 ounces
Labor started around 7 a.m.

Freaky facts first
All my boys’ names end with –el
My girls' names end in vowels
All my kids’ names and my own real first/middle name contain 11 letters
All my kids’ names start with a different letter so I can quickly jot down an initial when I journal about them or write an initial on a sandwich baggie
Only one of my kids’ births took our doctor away from his office patients; the others were born either at night, on a weekend or on his day off

Thank you, Tresa (my husband's cousin who is the closest thing I have to a sister), for posting about Sam's arrival here!

I woke up around 7 to contractions. Since my shortest labor had been about 5 hours, I figured I had plenty of time to get to the hospital. I lay around snuggling Eva, making sure she was asleep so I could get up and start timing contractions. They seemed very close.

I went to the kitchen to have a fruit popsicle (my breakfast for the last couple of weeks since I’d been waking up to my own personal summer daily!) and time contractions, but wasn’t getting anything regular at all. I called my friend Eva to get the rule on contraction spacing at 7:55. She said if I can’t talk through them, I needed to get to the hospital.

Each one hurt quite a bit worse than the last, so around 8 I started calling Mom to watch the kids, Aron, Sally the Doula and the doctor’s office. Accordingly, everyone took their time. Called Mom around 8:20 to find out she was just leaving her house, then had Aron try to call some friends, neighbors and finally his mom, who showed just in the knick of time it turns out.

Poor Aron! By the time he got home I was in deep labor sitting in the kitchen chair and was in pain nonstop, but I knew I had to get to the couch or lay down somewhere. I barely made it to our living room couch and hung out on my side moaning through the contractions, which had almost no break between them, which was freaking me out.

I couldn’t even consider the possibility of WALKING to the truck and RIDING in it on the way to the hospital, so I freaked out a little and spat out “911” at Aron, who was still skeptical at this point about me being in such hard labor. As he was on the phone explaining the situation, I’m yelling “5” at him … as in, “tell them this is kid #5 and they’ll haul some serious butt.” When I heard him tell them the contractions were 2 minutes apart I just about growled at him, “NO space between!!!!!”

Aron says to me, “The operator wants you to do a few things.” I glared at him. He goes, “He wants you to get down on the floor.” I glared more. “He wants you to take off your pants.” DUH … like I can have a baby with my sweats on! But I COULD. NOT. MOVE. I was thrilled when I heard the ambulance coming about 8:45. They were great about getting me on the stretcher and out the door. Eva and Callie were still asleep. Aron’s mom just arrived. Aron followed the ambulance in his truck. WHY oh WHY do they go normal speed to the hospital while telling you over and over NOT TO PUSH? I’m like, “HURRY UP … you’re an ambulance … if you can’t speed, WHO CAN?!”

The ride was insane. Imagine feeling like you’re dying and being hooked up to an IV (which doesn’t work and turns your arm purple), then another IV then having an oxygen thingie strapped to your face. Then having these guys asking you questions to DISTRACT you from dying! One of the guys went to my church, so I knew all my good cuss words were going to be wasted, and I simply breathed and panted the whole way, pausing only to spit out the occasional answer to a question like, “How old are your other kids?” or “Where do your kids go to school?” or “How old are you?” I think one was hitting on me with that last question, but I had to concentrate on not birthing no baby. I did, though, respond at one point with, "Could you please take my sweatpants ALL THE WAY off?" I hope that wasn't like a turn-on for them: me in my sexy blue sweats.

After a nice bumpy ride, they get me out and we stroll toward the elevator. Someone makes a comment like I can name a girl Ellie if I have it in the elevator. As we round the corner for the birthing room, I GOTTA PUSH just one tiny little time. And there was Sam’s head. Saw a bunch of people in the room, but not my doctor … they moved me from stretcher to bed (ouch), a couple of nurses pulled my legs back and I was told to push. FINALLY. I did, and there was Sam’s body. Covered in poop, evidently. The delivering nurse tried to suction out as much of it as she could. They took him away from me to clean him up and here comes the doctor. Then Aron showed up … because they kept him delayed in the ER. I’m so disappointed because he’s never missed a birth. I think we might chew out the ER person who held him up and make them invent a time machine to fix the situation.

I was so proud of my unmedicated birth, but then I was bleeding too much due to an old and well-used cervix, so the doc had to do a painful exam and gave me Stadol for the pain, which made me feel nice and drunk and weepy for the entire rest of the day.


I finally got to hold him around half-hour after he was born, then they told me he’d ingested meconium and they needed to take him to the nursery for tests and that I could not nurse then (hated that). I wasn’t too worried until he’d been gone a few hours and the doc came back in with another doc to explain that they needed to take him to the best NICU at another hospital. WHAT?!

So around 2 p.m. they rolled him in in his transporter box all hooked up to tubes, and when they took him away I cried harder than I ever have before in Aron’s arms. Second prize for crying goes to when we rode home on Thursday without him in our van.


Yes, you may call him a little poop. It’s some meconium aspiration humor and it is acceptable in our home, especially since he is going to be just fine! His tubes are out and as of this writing he is being fed with a tiny bottle while I try to pump milk for him. He still has an IV in for his antibiotics, which is the only reason he will probably have to stay until the middle of next week.

Thanks for all your love and prayers and good thoughts! And to our parents and very best friends for their support and to the nurses and especially to Ellen, who came up to spend the night in my room in a recliner (and hunted down Coke for me at 5 a.m.) while I slept in my queen-sized Murphy bed with Eva and Callie and tried desperately to get some sleep by deluding myself into thinking I was still pregnant and that was why my Sam wasn’t snuggled up next to me.

Obviously, we can’t wait to get him home! Aron’s home from work but working (you know how that goes), so I’ll steal the laptop when I can for updates.

*Aron’s probable birth story version: “Dang, that went FAST! Hated to miss it, but I’m sure she was beautiful while pushing.” (He has this great set of goggles, folks, and thinks I look good no matter what I’m doing … thank God I snagged him!)

This is how he was all hooked-up when we first saw him at the NICU:


Never fear, parents with a baby in the NICU, because the very next day I got to hold him and "feed" him (my finger in a binky for him; his food in a nose tube). Now he's only hooked up to an IV.


Here is Samuel today! Healthy and happy and ornery as any McLoughlin/Solsberg child would predictably be :-) Thanks be to God for our children.


By the way, here is a piece I wrote about how to support a friend with a baby in the NICU.

And this one is called Life After the NICU.

2019 update and here is Sam at double digits 10 years old!

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