Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Personalized Christmas Ornaments ... Family Bed!!!

I got this at and got 500 MyPoints as well! Remember I've told you about MyPoints before, so if you sign up there, puh-lease use me (mommykerrie) as the person who referred you because I get a few points for doing so. Anyway, I'm coming up on 10,000 points soon and that means $50 cash in my PayPal account (I am choosing that option over getting a few gift cards since we need money for Christmas instead).

But I digress like I am prone to do. I dig this ornament so much. I don't collect much stuff these days since we don't have the space and I am turning anti-accumulation. I get rid of a bag of crap about twice a month these days and hit the Half Price Books to sell movies and books about once a month. But this personalized thing is so special because all my babies are in the bed together! If I get pregnant again someday, I'll just order another ornament with Aron, myself and the new baby on it and hang the ornaments together.

Personalized stuff can be costly ($15) but if you don't get it very often it is so worth it and so special.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Playing in the Leaf Piles

When I pulled up in the driveway yesterday from taking 4 kids shopping at Aldi, Aron and Michael had raked a huge leaf pile for me to drive through! They were going to hide in it, but were afraid I might run them over. Good thinking, guys!

Yesterday Aron was off work since he's been traveling so much and didn't get to take last week off. So he focused on the leaf raking. It was one of those days where the temperature SAYS it's like 40 degrees, but the sun is out and there is no wind so it's warmish in a fall kind of way.

Later I took the kids to a park (not the school park since we'd probably be kicked out, right!), then when we got back Aron had another huge leaf pile. The kids did flips into it, rode bikes into it, swung into it and more. The kids getting out of school were in awe of our cool pile and many stopped to jump into it. As Aron is off again, today holds more raking fun ... in the backyard.

Today over at Homeschooling Mommybot I give my version of European "explorers" because the history books are making me fall asleep.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pokemon and Thomas the Train T-shirts

I love when kids hit that stage where they want to be BIG. When the start knowing what they like and hunting it down. For example, Sam is in love with trains (like most boys, I know). So I tracked down an old Thomas the Tank Engine t-shirt that the boys had when they were his age. His face lit up when he saw it and he put it right on, even though it's huge on him! Notice the STILL unfinished kitchen wall behind him. I've been slacking on that little project.
One day we were getting ready to go to Pokemon Club at the library and Sam tracked down this Pokemon t-shirt in his brothers' closet and put it on. It looks like a dress on him, but he didn't care because he knew he was dressed appropriately for the occasion. In case you're wondering where to get Pokemon t-shirts, I saw one at Target that was of the new black and white characters but they only had 2 left in a size medium. Have a great Monday! My hubs is off work for a few days, so I have nothing left to do but strip the rest of the dang kitchen wallpaper (yes, folks, THREE layers dating back as far as 1966).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Inappropriate Parenting Comments

Sometimes things come out of our mouths (or in our emails) that are totally inappropriate. Those are the moments I love because they make us real! Here are a few of the latest funnies:

1. A guy I know sent out an email titled "Pimpin' Girl Scout Cookies" ... PIMPIN' them!!!! I pictured him with a big, purple furry hat and platform shoes sending poor, defenseless boxes of cookies out into the world to make him money. No offense to pimps.

2. The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association sends out their fundraiser and the tagline is "still hungry for a cure." The reason this is funny is because one of the characteristics of P-W Syndrome is that a kid's brain tells the kid that it's hungry all the time so the kid want to eat constantly.

3. At Bible Study, I noticed a mom who had her kid in those pants that snap from foot to crotch. I said something about his cool STRIPPER PANTS. Then I was worried she would snub me, but she LAUGHED. 

Thank God for people with thick skin and a sense of humor!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Starbuck's Carpet Picnic

When Aron's out of town, I like to do something special every now and then for/with the kids. Last week I surprised them by going to Starbuck's and spending a ton of money on stuff they always think looks good. We got peppermint brownie cake pops, red velvet whoopee pies, chocolate whoopee pies and ham/egg sandwiches. When we got to the window we got a free hot chocolate, which I split between the kids, adding some milk to make it seem like more. Then Joel made a fire (yes, his dad has taught him how to do it; he's better at it than I am because at least he knows to open the flue!). They put blankets on the floor and had a carpet picnic. It was awesome.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A-Z Quasi-Funny What I'm Thankful For

 I'm sure it will come as no big shock that I am thankful for my children and for my husband. I am also thankful for so many other things. Lemme do an ABC list for ya!

Aron, amazing, amorous spouse
Boobs with milk in them and industrial-strength BRAS
Callie, my baby girl, chocolate, Coke, coffee, Chapstick, Carmex, Camaros
Doing stuff
Eva, my baby girl
Friends (you know who you are)
God, going places
Homeschooling, Haters (they spur me on), our House
In-laws (yes, all of them)
Joel, my baby boy and Jordan, daughtersitter
Kicking ass and taking names
Michael, my baby boy and Mustangs and my Mommyvan
Never having to work at a day job again (hopefully)
Power of prayer, parents and steppies who rock
Qualms, having none
Reading, Reever the little singer girl
Samuel, my baby boy and sarcasm
Teenagers, God bless 'em and their hormones! I remember!
Vienna sausage
Xylophones and x-ray machines (what do you WANT me to say?)
YOU, for suffering through this post
Zoos ... any and all because I get to shirk my home responsibilities and play with my kids for the day

Add your own!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri

A few weeks ago we grabbed my mom and headed to Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri. So much history there! They have this gorgeous rose garden that is famous for it's many varieties of roses, some of which are very old.

isn't this the best tree for a kid to hang out on?!

The park is huge, even sporting a little lake with ducks!

To end the day right, we went to Baskin Robbins in Brookside for a boatload of ice cream courtesy of my mom, Tutu (Hawaiian for grandma, and no, she is not Hawaiian).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Son the Altar Server

This is Joel on his first day being an altar server! There are two more kids who do it with him, but I had to crop them out because I didn't know if their parents would be okay with having them on this raunchy blog! Anyway ... I was so proud I CRIED when he walked in. I CRY when they walk in for their First Communion (so far only 2 kids of mine have done it) and I am sure I will BAWL LIKE A LITTLE BABY and go all fetal when they get married. It's just what I do. It's my thing, my schtick. I try to tell myself to knock it off, but when I see one of my kids doing something all MATURE that shows they are growing up, the waterworks start. I really should carry more Kleenex. Thankfully, Aron often carries a nice snotrag around (I mean, I handkerchief), because he's all old school like that. I was hoping that having MORE kids would safeguard me from some of these my-baby-is-leaving-me kind of emotions, but it's simply not true. Crap, now I'm getting all emotional just writing this post, so I gotta go. Have a great day! Savor every single one of them!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Firetrucks are Cool, a Guest Post by Sam

Okay, so a few weeks ago some dumb kid set the recycle Dumpster at the school park on fire ... again. I don't condone that sort of behavior, but I do like when the firetruck comes to put out the fire cuz then we get to walk over to the school park and watch the fire hose and talk to the firemen and GET FIREMAN HATS!
And then I like to wear my fire hat ALL THE TIME.
Even while I'm eating. I think I love firetrucks more than the average Sam because on the day I was born, I WAS READY TO BE BORN. I mean, let me out, already. So I got labor started around 7 a.m. and by 8:30 I had Mom all freaked out and stuttering to Dad, "Call 911" and Dad was all like, "Nah, really? You're fine." And she's like killing him with her eyes, trying to say that there ain't no way she's making it to the truck in the state I've got her in! So the AMBULANCE came and the FIRETRUCK! And I was almost born in the ambulance, but not quite. It was cool.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Check

There are crappy times in the life of any mother, stay-at-home or not. I like to gripe as much as anyone about how I'd love to have a cook and a trainer and a cleaning lady and a personal secretary. I'd love to just homeschool and chill with the kids and chase them around and read and write and travel with my family and go on dates with my man and always dress fashionably and have great hair and makeup. So there's the Mommy Curse: to have these wonderful blessings and this great life, we have to deal with all the crap (sometimes literally) that goes along with it.
As we come up on Thanksgiving, I think we're called to really reflect on what we are grateful for, on our blessings. There are always two ways to look at things. Like, for example:

Sure, we are broke, but if we were rich we would probably turn into total JERKS like so many do.

Sure, your kids has autism or Down Syndrome or some other health concern, but at least he is ALIVE.

Sure, your marriage is in trouble, but there is always HOPE and HELP.

Sure, my husband travels for work, but that just means he has a JOB.

Sure, the house is always a mess, but at least we have a place to LIVE.

Sure, my car is dinged up and sometimes doesn't want to start, but at least we have a way to GO PLACES.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Junior FIRST Lego League Article at North Texas Kids

Check out my piece over at North Texas Kids about Junior FIRST Lego League! It talks about the program Michael was in at Pawnee Elementary and then tells how you can start one at your own kid's school or homeschool!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Accepting Help as a Mother

People, some days as a parent are just crazy, and you know I'm right because you've been there. Not EVERY day (thank God!), but some days are, as an example, like this:

  1. Your husband leaves town for work on a Sunday night.
  2. All the kids chase him up the street, waving to him until he's out of sight.
  3. You have to stay on top of the baby lest he run into the street. You've birthed 5 babies and really have to remember to buy some adult diapers next time you go to the store since you seem to be running after the littlest one a lot lately.
  4. The baby doesn't want to come home, so you pick him up and he gets pissy and knocks your prized Chanel glasses off your face and onto the concrete (I am SO not materialistic, so spending a fortune on glasses that make me look good and help me see AND carry my favorite designer's name was a big deal in my household budget).
  5. You have to wrangle the baby all the way down the street, and your middle child skins her toe ... bad. Like blood everywhere bad. You can't pick her up and let the baby run ...
  6. ... so a woman you JUST MET who has a dog on a leash offers to carry your bleeding child down the street to your house.
What a lifesaver. What a sweet woman. She got blood on her jeans. I love her.

**As we were cleaning up the toe, Joel came in with a bag of Scout popcorn with a hole in it. He said a critter had been chewing on it in the garage. There goes a $16 bag of popcorn that we will have to pay for AND replace with a fresh back from headquarters. Thank goodness for blogging ... what a great outlet. And for you, well, at least you can say your day was probably better than mine last Sunday :-)
During stressful times, I like to remember happier days, like when we went to Boo at the Zoo a few weeks ago and rode the train. It was a gorgeous day, and we were all together.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Milwaukee's Controversial Cosleeping Ad Campaign Is Ridiculous

Wow. I saw this when I flipped to The Today Show for 2 seconds yesterday. I was immediately pissed. Let me get this straight. I can walk into any clinic today and get an abortion with no problem at all, yet I am made to feel like the world's worst parent for sleeping and snuggling and attending to my baby's needs all night long, also getting more sleep for myself in the process, which makes me a better parent during the day?

I'm not advocating for cosleeping for EVERYONE. Some kids are kickers so the parents need their own space. Some parents need their kid to sleep in a crib for the sake of the marriage. Some parents just completely disagree with cosleeping. That's all fine.

 (*duh disclaimer: of course I don't want you sleeping with your kid if you're drinking or drugging or doing anything totally MORONIC like that!)

It's your CHOICE, just like abortion, right? Just like your choice to beat your kid or leave your tiny baby for a week at a time for a nice vacation. I'm just saying there are so many worse things people do to their kids than cosleeping! Cosleeping has been done around the world since the beginning of time. Americans are the ones who are checked out and detached and pushing down their instincts and emotions with alcohol, drugs (prescription and otherwise), cigarettes, food, and more!

I am biased. I have slept with all FIVE of my children at one time or another since June 2001 when my first son was born. I had the $500 crib and it never got used. Now my sons sleep without me, as does my oldest daughter. Some nights my 3-year-old even snuggled up with her sister instead of with me. Sam sleeps comfortably with Aron and I every night.

We had lots of different reasons for living life this way, and it has always worked out for us. It's a good decision FOR US. Don't shame us for making a parenting decision that is our right to make and likening it to letting our baby have a butcher knife!

I won't go into detail about my other kids, but Sam was in the NICU after birth for a week. You bet your ass I wasn't putting him in a crib without me. I missed him for that week and needed to bond with him. I needed to be with him trying to nurse because I had an infection and didn't have any milk yet. He had some breathing issues and it turned out to be perfect that he was next to me every night ... I was able to help him immediately when he needed help.

By the way, SIDS, anyone? I mean, let's get the stats on SIDS deaths (in a crib) versus cosleeping deaths. I'm betting most cosleeping deaths were also a simple case of SIDS, but because the parents were cosleeping, they are stupid murderers? Ridiculous. Let me go fetch those stats now ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Are Your Thanksgiving 2011 Plans?

So what are you doing for Thanksgiving this year?

We've always done this complicated every-third-year thing since my parents divorced and I got married at roughly the same time (ironic, no?). One year with my dad's family, one year with mom's family and one year on our own, which means we try to have Aron's family over.

Lately the "plan" has been getting blown up for different reasons, so this year we're on our own and decided that instead of cleaning the house like we're on crack and then cooking ALL DAY LONG (well, mostly Aron cooks all day long because he makes such cool stuff), we are going to ....

... hang with my mom's family. It's a long drive, but it's SO WORTH IT! All I have to do is make a buttload of mashed potatoes, throw 'em in the car, toss in a few kids and we're off. I might even wear sweats all day. Well, the homeschooling mommybot version of sweats, which is more like a light exercise pant that doesn't have elastic around the ankles. Oh, and Grandma has woods behind her house where we go on little "hikes" to a "stream" ... it's awesome! Instead of fretting all day, I might get to do some scrapbooking while chatting with my family :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Saying No: Answering the Phone and the Door

I'm often hard to get by phone. That doesn't mean I'm not home.

It means maybe I'm changing a diaper or handling a tantrum or have my hand up a chicken (OMG, who saw Adrienne Maloof on the Housewives wash a chicken with actual HAND SOAP?!) or am outside or in a foul mood and have no business talking to ANYONE.

Same for answering the door. I felt so badly about this, but I saw the candy salesman teenager guy get out of the minivan in front of my house to start selling on my block. It was days after Halloween, I didn't need a $5 candy bar, and I was tapped financially from Girl Scout cookies and Scout popcorn and raffle tickets (I want that Kindle!!!).

I saw him coming. My shades were open and my baby stood in the window. When the doorbell rang, the kids were not quiet. They were loud and I told them to please not answer the door. I told them just because someone comes to your house, you don't have to answer the door (unless they were invited; I'm not THAT mean!).

How do you handle those interruptions during the day?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saying No: Career Conflict

Nobody is forcing me to write but me.

I do have one weekly assignment, which is great. But when I push myself to write every idea I ever had, I am putting more pressure on myself that doesn't need to be there. The money is nice to have and sometimes necessary, but I could just as easily scale back on some things (like Taco Bueno and Starbuck's!) and instead spend writing time just sitting around watching my kids grow. Isn't that what I'm home for?

I'm challenging myself to do my writing research in the mornings before the kids wake up (or when I can't sleep in the night). Then I will write the bones of my pieces while Sam naps on me and the kids watch their educational shows or play together. I will set reasonable goals. My family must come first because homeschooling is my first job, and I don't get a redo on that one.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saying No: Too Many Meetings

I am wondering why both my husband and I have to be at a Cub Scout committee meeting. Oh, because I'm a control freak, that's why, and I'm being serious here. Because I want the best for our pack and I nobody else is competent enough to keep it going. That's just crazy. I'll attend when he can't (it's at my house, after all), but I'm thinking I'll skip the next one and instead take my kids to an indoor play area instead of spending an hour shushing them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saying No: Playdates When I'm Not Up to It

We all gripe about being busy. It's better than being bored, of course. But if we are so dang busy, why can't we say NO sometimes?

I give myself permission to sometimes say NO to a playdate if I am not feeling "up to it." "Up to it" means if I am not totally ready to be a pleasant and loving hostess. No, the kids aren't coming to play with ME, but sometimes I feel like I have to say yes because my son says he's bored or whatever. Then I feel pressured, which puts me in a foul mood, but I am the one who let it happen! I want to be in a June Cleaver frame of mind when my kids' friends come over. Just kidding, but you know what I mean!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teaching Kids Responsiblity: Joel Makes Dinner

 joel and jordan
our dining room, where we have dinner AND homeschool sometimes

Lately Sam has been running All. Day. Long. Since I hold him when he naps, I have to be creative when I plan for dinner. Sometimes it’s something I can make in the morning or at lunchtime and get out of the way. But sometimes it’s something that has to be made later.

So the other night Sam decided to crash around 5 p.m. I had laid out all the dinner stuff on the counter and had even put some brats on a cookie sheet with BBQ sauce on them in the oven. No, I didn’t put the kids in the oven; this isn’t Hansel and Gretel (they were bratwursts, as I’m sure you can figure out). As it got closer to time for Aron to get home I decided instead of throwing Sam over my shoulder to make dinner I would give Joel a little challenge.

I wrote up instructions for the 3 parts of dinner and let him go to town. He had to turn on the oven and set it to a certain temperature. He had to boil some water and cook frozen peas. He had to boil water and margarine and make stuffing. There was measuring involved and checking things.

He did so great! Everything was awesome, and he was proud of himself for doing it. The other kids asked who made dinner since Mommy was on the couch holding the baby, and Joel was able to say that HE DID IT!

Sometimes it’s hard for us parents to give up control over things like cooking or cleaning, but our kids WANT to help out. Besides, how else will they learn how to be on their own if we do everything for them? I’m hoping to raise my kids like my husband was raised … the guy could take care of himself quite well when I met him. In fact, he can cook better than I can and can even sew some.

Now. I gotta go because Eva has decided to wake up at 6:15 for some reason.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Sweet Husband Aron!

Today my husband turns 45!!! He will be cruising around in the red convertible Camaro I rented for him last weekend. Actually, he'll be driving to work in it and parking it. Then he has a meeting to go to and will be parking it. Then he'll run home to say hi to us and will park the Camaro. Then back to work he goes. Don't feel sorry for him, though ... he got to cruise around all weekend in it.

Tonight I'll make him manicotti for dinner with a salad and some bread. The kids will help me make him a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and real strawberries on it, served with vanilla bean ice cream. Jordan's coming over to hang with the kids so we can run out in the Camaro for some coffee for an hour.

I wish him a happy birthday! This is the 16th birthday I've celebrated with him. He is kind and amazing and great with the kids and puts up with me and that says a lot! I also love that he is not materialistic and that if he got $30,000 handed to him tomorrow he would not buy his own SS Camaro, but he would put that money away for the kids for braces and college and weddings. I love you, babe!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sam Makes a New Fashion Statement: Preppy Peace

Okay, if this picture looks familiar to you, it's because I just posted it yesterday as part of Aron's Take Your Kids to Work Day ... haha! Now I'm posting it so you might notice the finer nuances of Sam's wardrobe. When the kids wear fatigues and tie-dye, we call that look War and Peace. When Sam wore tie-dye and preppy plaid shorts (bought by Jordan!), we call that Preppy Peace. I am the master of fashion, let me just tell you. Yes me, who would wear black shirts with jeans or shorts every single day. I keep saying I don't dress great because I need to lose weight and get the money to be able to afford vintage Chanel, but who am I kidding ... that's too much work! Thankfully, Callie has some fashion sense. Hopefully I can share some of those pics on here soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oklahoma Earthquake Felt in Kansas City ... Freaky!

Around 11 p.m. last night I felt someone shaking my bed. I figured Eva was just shaking her leg or something, but it was too fast and shaking the bed too much. It felt like a dog was laying at the end of the bed scratching, only we don’t have a dog. Had our friend the possum gotten inside and under our bed and was shaking the bed?

Then Jordan, who was staying the night and sleeping in Joel’s bed, came in mildly flipping out and asking if we’d felt that. She said she thought someone was shaking her bed.

Then the other kids came in flipping out. Callie had been in her own bed and the boys were on the floor for a slumber party. Aron didn’t feel it much because he was sitting on his buns reading.

I didn’t know what was going on. Why was the water in the fish bowl moving? Was in a dinosaur stomping in our neighborhood? The apocalypse? When cars drive by with their bass boomin’, our house shakes, but not really the beds. Besides, that’s a slower rhythm usually.

Aron brought reason and said it was an earthquake. I remembered how Kansas is somehow near a fault line. This is going to be a great homeschool lesson for next week, showing the kids fault lines and talking about tectonic plates. Turns out the earthquake was in Oklahoma and it was felt all the way up to Wisconsin. Freaky!

How do they stand it in California? I don't think our structures in the Midwest are built to withstand earthquakes, just tornados (haha).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Downy Unstopables ... I Think My Nose Fell Off

Okay, my first problem with this product is that I think it needs two P's to be spelled correctly. But after using my free sample, I think it needs like 27 P's because the scent is too freaking strong to be something a human came up with.

My sample said to use the ENTIRE PACKET in one load of laundry. I knew my nose would probably fall off my face if I did that, so I just put in like 1/4 of the packet in a FULL load of laundry. After washing and drying my load, the scent was pretty strong on all my clothes. It hurt my poor wittle sinuses, like my new Glade Plug-In system I paid a buttload of money for.

Maybe I have a sensitive nose, but I can always tell when I'm around someone who has used the ENTIRE packet of their Unstopables. Actually, I can smell them from a mile away.

I don't get why we have to overpower things to make them smell "good." How about drying your clothes on the line outside for a FRESH scent? Okay, not always possible in the winter. But then you can dry them on the line in  your basement for that nice, musty scent.

I'm just sayin': if you have a strong nose, use this product in full strength. But be aware that you are killing the brain cells of everyone around you. It's on your conscience.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hanging on the Freezer Door is Not a Sport

I'm over here at The Parent du Jour today answering questions about parenting. I guess I once tweeted that hanging on the freezer door is not a sport. Here are some other things that are NOT sports but that could easily be:

  1. Jumping on the bed.
  2. Jumping from couch cushion to couch cushion.
  3. Trapping siblings in bedrooms.
  4. Extreme ziplining.
  5. Throwing sand in a sibling's eyes.
  6. Extreme scooter-riding.
  7. Ignoring your neighbor.
  8. Trick or treating.
  9. Christmas shopping.
  10. Add your own here.

I think my blog post title is a great title for my first parenting book.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Support a Friend With a Baby in the NICU

DANGIT! A friend at church just became a grandma again. The thing is her new twin grandbabies weigh like 4 pounds combined. That's 2 months in the NICU for them. I hate that. They'll be fine ... they're breathing on their own and all that ... miraculous! ... but I still hate the NICU thing for lots of reasons. It just takes me back to a sad time. Anyway, I write for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggies is that I write articles to try to help other people. If you get a chance, check out my piece 12 Ways to Support a Friend with a Baby in the NICU over at North Texas Kids. I don't get paid per page view or anything like that; I just want to get the word out about how stressful the situation is because I didn't realize it until it happened to me. I encourage my friend to get a Care Calendar going for her daughter-in-law to start getting meals and help ASAP! We're praying for you, babies, and all NICU babies everywhere.


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