Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anything Bad in Your Life ... You Brought It On Yourself, Dummy!



I sound like an old person when I say: they don't make things like they used to! I'm telling you that THE DAY AFTER our warranties run out lately, machinery is BROKEN! Broken, I tell you, broken.

So here is me standing over my washing machine that doesn't know how to fill itself up with water, the big dummy. And I am so stubborn that I am NOT calling the flipping service center to have someone charge me $100 to PEER inside it and tell me I owe another $300 to fix it.

Poor Aron is getting annoyed with all the broken crap in our home. There's some New Age writer person who says we all bring crap upon ourselves. Cancer, miscarriage, house fires, car accidents, you name it ... you made it happen, you all-powerful negative dummy!

I've pondered this a lot and am not sure I agree with it. You think on it and let me know where you stand.

In the meantime, I will be hand-filling (with a hose) my washing machine and attempting to remember to go down twice to do a rinse load to get the detergent out. Aron probably thinks I'm crazy but I REFUSE to give in to the MACHINERY MAN (Kenmore this time) on this one. I am grateful to have a washing machine and am grateful that all I have to do it stand there and fill it up with water instead of washing clothes down by the crick (creek to you) on a washboard.

Catch you Monday!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: Disneyland 1998

It's a little fuzzy, but this is indeed myself and my husband at Disneyland just mere days after getting married in October of 1998. We took off to California ... San Diego and Laguna Beach ... just a couple days after the wedding. We took Sunday to open wedding gifts and left on Monday for a one-week honeymoon.

Almost 14 years later I still dig the guy, even though we both look a little bit different and have the wonderful distraction of children and a house and homeschooling.

I love him even when he moves my stacks of papers to prominent locations in the hope that I will do something (ANYTHING!) with the stack instead of let it sit next to the potatoes on the shelf in the kitchen.

You have to be pretty understanding to be married to someone like me ... an only child who always had her own space, someone who is kind of a creative type who has papers and ideas all over the house, someone who isn't the greatest at cooking or cleaning. We're probably half "Opposites Attract" and half Similar.

I love you, Babe!

Bloggy peeps, I'll catch you later. I'm off to see The Hunger Games movie with my mom and oldest son.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

America's Favorite Coffee

I also asked on my The Kerrie Show page on Facebook what everyone's favorite coffee was. I gave them the choices of Scooter's or Starbuck's.

My dad wins with this answer:

"If I had that kind of disposable income I'd probably go on meth. For $5 I can have Folgers Black Silk all week! Besides, Scooter's sounds like a place where dogs with worms would go."

Somebody else answered, "Keurig chocolate mudslide." Intriguing. I've been thinking about those Keurig thingies. One in-law said theirs clogged a lot, but another in-law loves theirs. I love the idea of a fresh cup of coffee whenever I want it or when company comes and wants coffee. I have a coffee-maker that doesn't have a warming spot and now have no microwave, so if I could get a Keurig for cheap to try, I might just have to do it.

Aren't we spoiled, Americans? With our $5 coffees and our fresh cup of coffee whenever we want it at home? It's sickening, really, but I will try to enjoy it if I must.

Me personally, I like Starbuck's better but it's not good for my wallet. I had a gift card that I kept loading up and putting purchases on so I could get a fancy gold card with my name on it, but one of the naughty kids took it out of my wallet to play with it and there ya go. A sign from God that I should stay away from 'buck's?

Fast fact: In a book called Cloud Atlas (soon to be a movie), in the future a coffee is just called a starbuck.

There you have it, readers: the word on the street. Or the word on Facebook making it's way to this blog.

America's Favorite Donut

I recently did a little Facebook question about donuts and it was "Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts?" The answers were varied, but my favorite was from my friend in Colorado that I went to high school with named Stephen:

"Never KK!! It's like they put their chocolate frosting on with an eye-dropper! What are we, rationing for war?!"

Me personally, I like Dunkin's coffee drinks, and they are cheap. The huge iced coffee I get is only $2.29 (the caramel turtle is too sweet, and if I'm sayin' that, a normal person will be in a diabetic coma within 4 sips), and they have a punch card so you get a free one after a few purchases. I like KK's donuts better. I'm sure I would love the Mom and Pop shop donuts like Lamar's or Daylight (Kansas City specific places?) if I gave them a chance.

I just got my last freebie coffee last week and have to stay away ... need to fit into my swimsuit and the shorts I bought last summer AND save money for that new roof we need next year. The joys of home ownership!

Where is your favorite donut in America and what city are you in?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Prescription to Get Sudafed???

sudafed.com
I don't know how they do it in YOUR state, but in Kansas (and I think they are proposing it in Missouri based on what I'm hearing on the radio but not based on any good research), if you want any cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine you have to walk you happy butt up to the pharmacist and ask for it and show your ID and sign for it and they put you in a database, you crackhead! I tried to buy it at drugstore.com as a journalistic experiment (I'm here for you, people), but I got this message.


It's because pseudo (for short) is used to make crystal meth, so they think that by tracking nice, normal people coming into a pharmacy, they will potentially cut down on meth production or at least catch some people who are making it??? I don't know how many times you can buy it in a year without having the cops knock on your door, and I don't want to find out! You have to love this site, where they explain how to make it and then say don't do it.

So I heard on some talk radio how people in Missouri are all mad about how they have to go to the pharmacist to ask for their drug and how much extra TIME it takes and how badly they need their drug. And I wanted to slap this one guy. I'm like, hey, dummy ... just grab some freaking nasal spray if you want to be able to breathe. It's cheaper and it's easier and you'll be a little bit less messed up. (just don't do the 2-3 recommended squirts they say ... start slow, like with 1).

Breaking news (from 2011): Check this out: they are talking about making you have a doc prescription to buy pseudo. Isn't that a little crazy? Really, when I have a cold, I'm going to pay a $25 copay plus deductible to get a prescription for pseudo when NASAL SPRAY works faster?!

What do you think about all this? I don't really give a crap because I don't make meth and I flipping HATE pseudoephedrine. But I guess this is rocking some people's entire existence. And the government is worried about pot?! I think they have bigger problems.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Are You a Grammar Nazi?

According to www.urbandictionary.com, a Grammar Nazi is “a person who believes proper grammar (and spelling) should be used by everyone whenever possible … One who attempts to persuade or force others to use proper grammar and spelling … One who uses proper grammar and spelling to subtly mock and deride those who do not; an exhibitor of grammatical superiority.”

Yep, that’s me. It also describes many of my friends. And if some of the items below sound familiar to you, you may also be a Grammar Nazi:

  1. You don’t “do” texting because your can’t stand looking at abbreviations for words.
  2. You try to use proper grammar and spelling on Facebook, in email, on instant messaging.
  3. You cringe when you see ads, articles, billboards, etc. with grammatical and spelling errors.
  4. You drive your friends and family nuts pointing out errors.
  5. You might be known to clap and do a little dance when asked to proofread your niece’s 6th grade fiction story.
  6. You have a variety of red pens and love them more than shoes, chocolate, sports cars or The Hunger Games.




Us Grammar Nazis have to stick together, so when the folks at Grammarly asked me to check out their product, I was excited! Grammarly is grammar checker software that checks over 150 points of grammar, plagiarism, word choice and more. They say that "in 30 seconds or less, you will receive a detailed report on all mistakes and marked up text."


As a homeschooling mom, you bet your butt I try to teach my kids excellent grammar at all times. And when their friends come over, poor things, I'm correcting their grammar, too! I can't help myself. I want my blog posts to be fabulous, and lately it seems like I'm falling down on the job in the areas of grammar and spelling. So I popped this blog post as you are reading it now into Grammarly's easy grammar checker and got this report:



Grammarly found 28 critical writing issues and generated
10 vocabulary enhancement suggestions for your text.
Score: 47 of 100
(weak, needs revision)
Plagiarism
  • Plagiarism checking is turned off. To get information on plagiarism,
    re-run the report with plagiarism detection turned on.
Contextual Spelling Check4issues
  • Spelling (3)
  • Commonly confused words (1)
  • Ignored words
Grammar8issues
  • Use of conjunctions (1)
  • Use of adjectives and adverbs (1)
  • Use of qualifiers and quantifiers (1)
Punctuation2issues
  • Punctuation within a sentence (2)
  • Closing punctuation
  • Formal punctuation
Style and Word Choice14issues
  • Writing style (13)
  • Vocabulary use (1)



Say what? Weak? And here I thought I was perfect. What a shock to my entire being to learn that I need MUCHO help with my writing!


This product is also great for students and writers. I can toss an article into the grammar checker and it's like I just went through four years of college for an English degree, only Grammarly is much cheaper than college! Right now I'm dreaming of all my old articles I'm going to send through Grammarly and then send them out to magazines again (corrected this time!). I am going to be a writing rock star! Nobody can stop me now with the help of Grammarly!


Oh, and at my husband's work they are always writing reports for jobs. I shudder to think of all the errors that are most likely going on there ... and at companies and schools and in homes all over the world!


Grammar Nazis, we can fix the world one error at a time with the help of Grammarly! All you have to do is head to Grammarly's site and try out their software for FREE! Report back here, please. I'm off to contact Facebook about using Grammarly to fix all those bad status updates.




Pot Post Amendment and Evil Pseudoephedrine

Back in January I posted this about the legalization of marijuana. It was an opinion piece based on personal experience and the fact that I don't need the fuzz in my life, thank you very much. If it's not legal, I try not to do it (okay, so I speed sometimes and that is illegal ... are we going to nitpick every area of my life now, sheesh!).

Anyway, I heard from some peeps and I feel like I should add some serious information about what I will simply call "pot" because it's easier. Why is it called pot, anyway?

OH, and I recently took an allergy pill with pseudoephedrine in it and it WIGGED ME OUT! I mean, how does the stupid FDA decide what to put out there? And how is it that ONE pill is going to be just right for a 100-pound teenager AND for a 300-pound adult man? I'm somewhere in between the two, and it messed me up all night long. It was like taking a seriously crazy drug. I was pissed because I was sick, Aron was out of town, and I took this thing that made it so I could breathe, but it also was like putting my brain on speed all night long. I was half asleep, half awake and I understand why they use it to make meth! Never again!

Stay with me here ...

So I was like, "Self, why is a natural plant like pot (yeah, I know it's not the real name) targeted as being so bad? It helps heal people. It calms their butts down. It's better than most junk that the FDA says is fine. Let's bag it up, market it and sell it in stores like they do in California."

I'm pretty sure I interact daily with people who go home and smoke some pot. I couldn't really pick them out, though, based on anything they do. I'm thinking some of the proponents of the legalization of pot are smoking it on the sly PERHAPS, and you'd never know it ... they work, they raise families, they are normal people. They are often a hell of a lot nicer than some other people I know. I guess I'm for legalizing pot, but you can tell I don't smoke it because I'm too high-strung all the time (!). The legalization of pot would do me some good most likely. But I assume, and digress. Here's a great quote from someone:

"Got to take issue with you on this posting, because you don't have the facts straight. Not only does cannabis not kill brain cells and fry your brain, but it is curing people of all kinds of cancers and serious diseases. Why do you think it's illegal? Because western medicine and giant pharma don't want people curing themselves with a natural plant that we can grow ourselves. It would destroy that gillion dollar industry. 

There is plenty of documentation out now showing the research that is being done. The FDA has patents pending on the use of cannabis and the National Cancer Institute issued a statement this summer stating that cannabinoids (the active constituent in cannabis) has been shown to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. The world is finally waking up to the positive applications of cannabis. 

Our government desperately needs to change the federal laws on cannabis to coincide with the state laws to allow people to use it for medicine without the fear that they will be arrested. This is such an antiquated system and it is going to change in our lifetimes. I am very passionate about this subject and I could go on and on. 

I would really like to implore you to educate your following on this subject with the most up-to-date facts, instead of old out-dated beliefs, if you're going to bring it up at all. 

All us hippies haven't been doing this all our lives for nothing. It has been dismissed as harmful and foolish for a reason, but the truth is now surfacing. And just because something has been deemed illegal, doesn't make it bad. I understand you're position as a mom, but soon you won't have to worry about that. Those laws are going to change, sooner than later."


And this:



"Hopefully someday you will want to teach your kids the truth on this subject, for the next generation will be the ones benefitting from my generations struggles. This is a very important issue that will be of historical significance someday. This is an issue of freedom. Freedom to heal ourselves. Freedom from giant, manipulating institutions trying to control us. 

This issue is especially important for mothers to have the freedom to treat their own children with, not only this medicinal plant, but many others. This is the reason millions of women were burned at the stake, because they knew how to heal and administer herbs to their communities and men didn't like it, so they called them witches and murdered them. This an issue of freedom on so many levels.

There is an organization of young, educated, professional mothers in Washington, who are advocating for the change in cannabis laws, for these very reasons. NORML Women's Alliance. They are on Facebook."


Here are some links to blogs and videos that will educate you more if you are interested in knowing more:

The NORML Network blog

NORML Women's Alliance Facebook Page

Cured: A Cannabis Story

Shonda Banda -- Live Free or Die

Run From the Cure

The Shonda Banda Story


Latest Science: Non-Psychotropic Cannabinoid Inhibits Colon Cancer Cell Proliferation


I appreciate the people who sent me the educational links, but I have to make a quasi-joke now as that is what I do ... if cannabis helps with nausea, wouldn't it be great is pregnant women could use it in their first trimester to cure morning sickness with no adverse affects on baby? Maybe they'll all get a mellow baby? Just sayin'. (you know I'm all for B12 for morning sickness, though, folks)

Monday, March 26, 2012

IXL.com: Online Math Program My Kids Love!

  1. I don't love math. Since everything builds on something else, if you master something and then space out for a class, you are behind and getting Ds all of a sudden. That's my school career in a nutshell.
  2. Many math teachers are a snore. I had ONE decent math teacher from kindergarten through 2 years of college. She was a redhead who replaced a guy we couldn't even understand in 10th grade geometry. We still all flunked that year, which isn't really fair. The school hired a moron and we suffer!? Then this chick comes in and ROCKED IT! She didn't move forward until every single person understood. And she had a whole YEAR to teach in half a year.
  3. I can teach elementary math just okay. But I have to admit that Joel was doing fine until I started breeding again (Eva and Samuel) and my attentions were elsewhere. Michael is just "good at math" ... he just gets it. So he and Joel right now are basically at the same level, with holes to fill in by me.
  4. On my very own blog there was an ad for IXL.com and I clicked on it and signed up! For 3 kids it's only $14.95 per month. I didn't get the year membership because I wasn't sure it was for us. It's so  hard to find something perfect for your homeschooling family when there is so much out there to choose from.
  5. I love IXL.com because I'm a relaxed homeschooler. The kids can do as much or as little as they want each day (even weekends, holidays, summer), you can pick and choose the grade level and the skill you want to see if they know. If they are rocking it, they keep going. They can do it at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m.
  6. There are like over 200 skills for each grade level (not kindergarten or pre-K), and if your 8-year-old doesn't know odds/evens for 3rd grade, no worries! He can try out the 2nd grade stuff for odds/evens and even go back to 1st grade if needed.
  7. I feel like I'm doing SOMETHING instead of just avoiding math. Of course I'll have to teach some of the holes, but this seems to be a much more peaceful way of doing things. I sit at the table next to the kid who is working and am able to work on other things but be available. I can change a diaper or wash dishes if I need to, as well. The kids don't have to get 100% in every skill, but they WANT to ... and as they master skills, put time in and answer questions, they get "award" ... on a grid they flip over cards to find prizes on them like animals and farm stuff and other fun things.
  8. I highly recommend this program! As one kid is on the laptop doing math, I have the others doing a Story Starter or art or just independent play.
I'm looking for your online homeschool recommendations. I'm thinking of trying out abcmouse.com for Eva, for example. And I have a friend over at Virtually Yours who is making me want to check out virtual school options, except for I don't want to have 10 computers all over the house!

Updated 4/11/12 to add: We still love this program! And it looks like they'll be getting language arts stuff sometime, too. For only $14 per month 3 of my kids can do math, AND my 4-year-old can work on the PreK stuff (free) on one of the other kids' accounts. Sometimes I can leave them alone and sometimes I sit next to them and sometimes I have to help them through it. Comment if you have any questions.

Updated 5/18/12 to add: Still enjoy it. I love getting the emailed reports that say, "John has demonstrated 50% proficiency in 1st Grade." You know you and your child are really getting somewhere!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boy Scout Campouts and Ninny Babies

I try really hard to stay on top of things around here. I have a huge wall calendar that I have to look at every day. I have a huge planner that I try to keep important things in. I have a nice file cabinet for all the house and kid and homeschooling and writing stuff I need. Sometimes I miss stuff. I hate when I do that. I berate myself in my head and then try to physically kick my own butt.

So when the Scout leader (we're in the big leagues now, you know ... BOY Scouts instead of CUB Scouts) called to say there was a weekend campout coming up in a few days, I scrambled to check out the stack of Scout paperwork it was taking me forever to go through. I saw a little note about the campout, but apparently I need phone call reminders, and email reminders and a mailed, engraved, calligraphied invitation or I just don't get it through my head!

I told the guy probably not since Aron has been out of town and is catching up on all sorts of house things and Aron would want to go with Joel. He said the other 2 new boys don't have a parent going with THEM. I said WE are more comfortable sending his dad along with him. I felt like an overprotective shrew, so I checked in with Aron and Joel, and I was right. Joel doesn't really want to go with people he doesn't know very well for an entire weekend, and his dad can't go right now. Here are some of my reasons for doing what I did:

  1. He's only 10. Aron says the point of Scouts is to get the boys off the ninny (boob), but I want to know what the freaking rush is? He has years to get to that coveted Eagle Scout award, and can I please just GRADUALLY let him head into manhood?
  2. He doesn't go to school with these kids so he doesn't know them well. He has YEARS to get to know them. I'm sure by this time next year he'll be just fine going alone if he has to.
  3. I homeschool, so I'm overprotective by nature. I don't drop him off daily somewhere alone, so why would I send him away for a weekend alone with someone he doesn't know?
  4. I know THIS is controversial, but we don't really do sleepovers anymore unless it's with a grandparent. Isn't this akin to a sleepover, only AGAIN, with people we know even less well than the parents of a sleepover kid?
  5. He just recently got over his falling asleep issues.
  6. I understand that the adults are trained. I myself was a Cub Scout leader and did all the training, including the Catholic Church's VIRTUS training. Call me cynical, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
  7. This probably doesn't apply to his very first campout, but I've heard from an older Eagle Scout about quasi-hazing that goes on during camp. Other people tell me that's no accurate, but I trust this person very much. He acts like it's just something boys have to go through. I think it's bullshit.
  8. I know too many people who were messed with as kids or whose kids were messed with.
What would you do?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

People With Only One Kid Have It Soooo Easy

The other day I was at a homeschool park day with some friends. I was running off at the mouth like I do, this time about how hard it would be to have another kid now. I don't think it's particularly my age, although I am more wiped out than usual, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I'm caring for FIVE little people AND homeschooling them and and and ... (and it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that I'm about 20-30 pounds overweight currently).

So I'm griping with a couple of other pals with 5 kids (and one with 10!) about how hard it would be to have another kid and try to get out of the house with just me as the responsible adult. My friend with 10 kids had a good point about how as you have more, the others get older and can help out here and there with going places, Duggar-style ... like not having 100% responsibility for one of your children, but just help schlep stuff and hold hands across the street and things like that.

Then I realized I'm doing all this griping and my friend who *only* has one kid is just listening, not judging or anything, just listening. So I shut up. Only later did I realize that sometimes that ONE kid can be quite a handful, like that one kid can equal 4 of someone else's kids. Like not everybody with an only child should be felt sorry for, as in "oh, she probably couldn't have more kids." No, many of these parents choose to have ONE kid based on all sorts of smart reasons (for example, like they enjoy going on expensive family vacations and being able to pay for their kid's college education while they look at me like I'm insane for not being able to do those things for my children ... we all have different opinions, perspectives and priorities). And my friend should have said, "Shut the hell up, griper, and count yo blessings [typo intended so as to sound like a sassy chick!]."

I'm sure you know by now that I'm an only child. My parents wanted it that way. My mom says she might have had another if things had been a little different in certain areas of her life. Maybe my dad would have been happy with another if it had "just happened" (read: birth control failure).

I don't judge people with only children as if they are all selfish jerks who don't want the work of a big family. Some only children have special needs. Some are just a handful. Some are so wonderful the parents can't imagine having another. Some start older and only can physically have one. Some think people like me are the selfish ones, hogging all the kids.

I think we all have issues nobody even knows about that makes us choose things the way we do. Sometimes maybe it's God choosing for us and we have to trust.

So my blog title is kidding, I'm sure you've figured out by now. So put down the tomatoes and get away from my front door, kay?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Accidental Post: Stuff Versus People: Priorities

Aron’s parents wanted to get rid of a coffee table that Aron’s brother had made, and we took it because it was big and sturdy and similar to our other one. I’d had this old coffee table since 1996.

I LOVED this table. It was long and you could stand on it and it had 2 doors you could open and stash a bunch of blankets or chocolate in. But the reason I’m sad that we put FREE on it and drag it to the front yard is this …

The table had these ends that were open and big enough to put a basket o’ crap under, and all the kids used to climb through the ends when they were small enough.

The other night I watched Eva try to crawl through the ends of the new table, but the ends are too small for storing anything and too small for a baby to crawl through. This made me sad.

Yeah, I get why people love their stuff. It’s because MEMORIES are attached to their stuff. I know I’ll cry like a baby when we move from this house because it’s the house where I brought all my kids after they were born. Joel got upset when he was about 3 because we got rid of our Pontiac Grand Prix and bought a minivan. He was really attached to that car and the memories we’d made in it.

The fact remains that we can’t take any of it with us when we die. Maybe I’ll haunt this house I live in where so many good memories have been made, but it won’t be the same as when I lived the life here. Move on.

Your dead grandma won’t care that you broke her favorite costume jewelry, so quit crying over it. I’m willing to bet she’d much prefer you kiss your kids when you think of her instead of get all upset over something material.

Bottom line and bossy order of the day: Use your stuff, but enjoy the PEOPLE. Put down your cell phone for a minute and stare at someone you love or at a tree. Stop thinking your paperwork or shaving your legs is so detrimental and try to just live a little more for a few minutes a day!

I’m turning into a hippie! Peace out, homeez.

**Crap, I didn't mean to post this. I was re-labeling things to make the blog more simple to navigate and this was OLD and I accidentally published it.

Suing for Wrong Genetic Testing Results

  1. Do I really want a nurse taking care of me who got her degree online?
  2. Do we still need the Roman numeral system?
  3. How come "virtual school" is an online school system? Shouldn't that be what you call Unschooling?
  4. Why are DUI checkpoints announced on the radio? Isn't the point to CATCH drunks, not tell them to avoid the checkpoint?
  5. I went to a La Leche League meeting once and a mother said she was still nursing her son, who was 47-months old. My mom, who was with me at the time, says to me something along the lines of, "Last time I checked that was 4 years. Just SAY 4 years. You aren't fooling anyone."
  6. Isn't suing for bad genetic testing results like suing because you got pregnant while on a birth control pill or while using a condom? Let's all sue Trojan, kay?
This has been deep thoughts with Kerrie, who is here to make you think and to annoy you in general with her poorly formed arguments and "jokes".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where Do You Have Your Kid's Birthday Party? (and roller skating!!!)

In case you're wondering, this cake says, "Happy Birthday, Callie" and Callie decorated it herself last month for her party. We pretty much always have the kids' birthday party at our own house (cheapskates) and invite friends and family. As the kids get older, some parents drop off their kid and go to the spa (ha!) and some stay because they are not currently avoiding the obnoxiousness that is ME.

Sometimes we splurge on a bouncy house (that's a moonwalk to you and me) in the backyard but I don't think we've ever had a party for our kids offsite. No reason (cheapskates), it's just the way it is because we are so chill and zen and laid-back and go with the flow (sorda).

But I have to tell you I LOVE LOVE LOVE it when other parents have offsite parties to avoid the mess at their own house. I totally get it! We have loved going to a ceramics place and going to a huge bouncy house place and soon the boys get to go to a SKATING PARTY!

I am peeing my pants about the skating party because I used to skate in circles when I was a kid to Another One Bites the Dust by Queen and also Blondie songs and all that late 1970s and early 1980s stuff. Aron will be in town so I MIGHT sneak out and leave him here with the 3 littlest ones and go skating with my boys. I can't do any tricks. I'll likely fall on my butt and crack a hip. But it will be fun to help my boys get up on their skates!

So are you a party-elsewhere parent to keep the mess away? Or a party-at-home parent so you don't have to pack everything up and go somewhere and load the gifts up and bring them home and all that?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Want to Cryovac Your Kids?

I had Aron take this picture because, really, how many more days like this will I get in my life? Days where Sam falls asleep nursing in my lap and I hold him while I write or homeschool or read or watch TV with the kids or whatever? He's growing out of naps. He's talking in little sentences. Potty training is next, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Call me crazy, but I want to somehow cryovac my kids in time. They can still move around and stuff, they just can't get any older. Trust me, there are days when I want to FREEZE them for a few hours so I can have a thought in my head, but most of the time I just want time to stop.

A woman at Aldi last night told me to treasure this time (I only had Sam and Eva with me) because they grow into teenagers. You will think I am nuts, but I won't mind them as teens. It will be a challenge for sure, but I look forward to every day I get to hang with these kids God has entrusted to me.

Before you post a snotty reply about how you can't wait to have a clean house or go on a nice vacation or have sex uninterrupted, go easy on me. Remember that I was 30 before I had my first kid, so I had 6 years with Aron and a few years before that to be naughty. My kids are not my ENTIRE life, but they are currently the biggest part of it along with their dad. And I like it that way :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Do You Give Money to Strangers?

Okay, so last week I met who I will call the "Toys R Us Troubadour" ... a Bret Michaels knockoff playing guitar outside the Toys R Us with 2 little boys. Yes, you read that right. A guy. Playing guitar for money with a bucket that said "Hard Times" on it. Outside a toy store. With 2 kids.

Some of you right now might be thinking, "What a con artist! Those probably weren't even his kids! He probably is a lazy bum who borrowed his pal's kids during spring break to make some easy money. He probably didn't even tell his pal what he was doing."

Who knows? All I know is I have a big old bleeding heart and I don't think I would like myself any other way. Sure, I can be quite cynical, but that's more like about people I know and have experienced to be gamey or players or just plain nutso.

As for strangers, well, I give 'em money when they need it. Always have. Sure, I (I should say WE here since Aron is totally involved) give money to people I know, as well, like maybe a family member who has fallen on hard times. And I don't LOAN money because that has too much attached to it. If I'm going to give it, I have to just GIVE it and be done with it and kiss that money goodbye and have no expectations placed on the person I'm giving it to.

Most of the time I have to just pass a few bucks out the window on a freeway off-ramp (I don't carry a lot of cash!), but I prefer to talk with the person and get to know them as a human being, if only for a couple of minutes, you know? That's not always possible when I have wiggly toddlers and someplace to be that I'm generally late for.

This day, though, I had dropped off Joel, his girl friend who is 10 and Michael to shop for something they knew they wanted and had money for. Then I parked in front of the store and got out to give the singing dad some money and Veggie Chips and fruit snacks I have in the trunk of the mommyvan. I asked him how old his kids are (7 and 3 with 2 more back at the hotel with their mom, one special needs in a wheelchair, he said). They moved to KC from Seattle so he could start a drywall job but it hadn't started yet and then the paycheck would be a couple of weeks after that. He sang a song for the kids that was like something Mr. Stinky Feet would sing: goofy and fun.

Maybe those weren't his kids. Maybe he's a meth addict. Maybe God put him there to test my compassion. Yep, God, still intact, and I want to teach it to my kids, as well

Should we be scared of people like that? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm around people on welfare and food stamps and disability and state-funded insurance and state-funded daycare and state-funded school breakfast and lunch programs every single day of my life. I'm not scared of them.

Don't we all need a little help sometimes?

Finally got the Wyoming post with the stuffed animals with PICTURES. Click here for the part two. I'm working on part one.

By the way, if you've read or let your kid read The Hunger Games, weigh in over at Mommy Y today!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mama's Got a Brand New Heartrak Heart Monitor!

Ah, the fun of being 40!

Thursday I got to go to Olathe Medical Center to grab me a heart monitor. I've had palpitations for years ... no big deal. My dad had them and his mom also has something heart-related. Palpitations alone I'm not really concerned about because they don't affect my daily life and are not frequent.

But here's the power of reality TV: I saw Victoria Gotti on Celebrity Apprentice and had to Google her to see what the hell she was even famous for (besides her dad) because they kept calling her an author. Turns out she wrote a book about her mitral valve prolapse. MVP would NOT be a good thing to have because it would make me tired, and I can't afford to be tired.



So I finally decided to grab the heart monitor. It's so easy ... I just put this credit card-sized dealy jobber up to my heart when I have issues and push RECORD. Later I call a real person from a land line and download the recordings. I'll do this for 30 days. I don't have to wear anything around all the time.

So my points are:

1. Reality TV can be good. There is a reason for everything. Thank you, Mr. Trump, for choose Gotti for your show.

2. We need to take care of our health. I kept putting this off because I didn't want to leave the kids to do it, but they had a BLAST with Jordan (as always) playing outside, and I even got to have a nice lunch alone and get some writing work done. (only child = alone as natural habitat and it feels nice sometimes)

This is a full-service blog. I don't judge you for watching reality TV and I'm telling you to schedule some sort of -opsy today whether you need it or not.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Little Juvenile Delinquents in Kansas City, MO (Guest Post)

/Since I messed you over the last 2 days with no pictures on the blog (by the way, I can see the pictures just find when I go to the site ...so apparently I can see dead people, too?), here's a bonus post from Happy Elf Mom over at Homeschool and Etc. about a pressing issue that needs your opinion, help, attention, etc.


Less than two weeks from now there will be a vote on this proposal.  Any school-age child can be interrogated at the park or shopping center or... oh, just anywhere in Kansas City including the sidewalk in front of your house.  No crime needs to be committed for the cops to put YOUR kid into the paddywagon and bring him in downtown.  The officer simply needs to suspect that your child is truant.

First off, "compulsory education" is an oxymoron, but leaving that aside for the moment, there are about a dozen and one problems with this proposal.  I live about three blocks from Kansas City and parts of Kansas City are part of our school district.  Stay with me, now...

Today, my public-schoolers don't have school.  (It's Professional Development day, which means teachers are doing their dopey workshops and celebrating diversity and stuff.)  Kansas City School District (KCSD) schools are in session.  Were the law in effect today, my teens could be accosted for going to the park about a mile away from my house.

Guess what?  We also have spring break during an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WEEK than KCSD.  And sometimes we call snow days and they don't.  Add to that the fact that our district has ten elementaries, bunches of middle schools and high schools that all have DIFFERENT start and end times and you can see where an officer might be confused as to what time "school" is really in session when he's thinking of picking up some random kid.

And I don't think my district is the only KC-area district with a few differences in attendance dates and hours than KCSD.  Nevermind that KCSD faces *immediate takeover* by DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and DESE may decide to divvy up the district piecemeal to five *different districts* in the very near future.  Five different districts which may have different start and end times even within their borders.  Five different districts that have long weekends at different times.  (I'm counting about six in our district alone this year that are probably different from KCSD.)

I'm thinking cops have other things to do than carry ten different district schedules, and also worry about whether they're going to pick up the wrong kid sometime whose parents will start a stink in the media.  I haven't even gotten to this idea of homeschoolers being left alone just yet in my post, and I've been rambling for a while now.

HSLDA is currently collecting stories from homeschoolers who have been harassed or bothered in some way during the "school" day because of homeschooling.  They're encouraging members and other concerned people to emailLegalC@hslda.org and promise to keep stories confidential unless specific permission is given to use publicly.

Sometimes it isn't even about homeschoolers.  Sometimes it's about American citizens of all ages having reasonable rights.  I wrote HSLDA and told them that as of right now, I've *never* been harassed by police or school officials for homeschooling.  And I'd like to keep it that way.


Bloggy fans, weigh in in the comments section, please!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"I Love Ya Like a Love Song BABY!" by Callie and Sam

video
Who needs a TV when you have kids? DANGIT, they are entertaining! And I certainly don't pay for cable when I have this MTV-quality duo's video right here on my own blog and in my own foyer (that's a teeny tiny entryway for those of you who don't speak French). Enjoy Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Stuffed Animals Travel, Part Two

Dear Sam, Eva, Callie, Michael and Joel,

We had so much fun the other day we begged your dad to take us to work again with him.  So yesterday we went on another adventure, and once again we had so much fun, we wish you all could be here with us.

So here’s some pictures of yesterdays adventures.  Your dad sure knows how to start a day because he took us to sit down breakfast and we had ham and French toast with lots of butter and syrup .



So next we started up the mountain, it’s funny when he says that because we’re not actually driving straight up the side of a mountain, it’s more like we’re winding up between the mountains.  Anyway he said we gain about 2000 feet of elevation, which is almost half a mile up.  So here’s a picture of the valley where town is and we are just starting to go up.  Notice the mountains in the background with snow on them.





So about half way up Spike had to get out and tinkle.  So once he finished your dad let us climb in some sage brush.  I was kind of prickly and we got stuck, so your dad had to get us out.  We think we’ll go tree climbing with Joel some time so we can learn how to not get stuck.



We saw some funny signs on the way up.  We thought this sign was funny.  They put this up because there are deer all over the place up here.  Your dad almost hit one coming down the mountain last night.  He was probably going too fast and had to slam on the brakes pretty hard.  I’m glad he didn’t hit the deer.




This is a sign we don’t like.  H2S is Hydrogen Sulfide, which can be present if gas leaks from the pipeline or the well sites.





Anyway we got to work right away.  Your dad didn’t drink coffee because of lent.  So here’s the show where we talk shop.  Actually here’s where your dad complains about being away from home.





And two hours later when that got old we went outside for awhile and stepped on frozen puddle ice crunchies.



After awhile of that we decided to go north and get some work done.  So we got out the laptop, opened up the project and typed  for about an hour.





Next we inspected the cabinet for the 34th time for about an hour.  There are 6 cabinets out here so that took the rest of the day.





Well that was our day.  I told your dad to put this picture in of his Jeep.  He likes driving in the mud.  He actually had to clean the side windows off so it was safe to drive.




Your dad says we’re coming home today - yeaahhhh.  It sure will be nice.  We had fun up here but we miss you and can’t wait to get home to someone who doesn’t snore through the night.

Love you, XOXOXO, see you soon

Spots, Lucky and Spike

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When Stuffed Animals Travel to Evanston, Wyoming

Now for the exciting part of our day ... part one of two parts of emails from Daddy from Wyoming. I think you'll agree that he's a rockin' dad for sending these emails from the stuffed animals the kids send along with him and for also sending postcards to all 6 of us! Here's the first one:


Dear Sam, Eva, Callie, Michael and Joel,

We are having a blast out here, we wish you were here.  Here’s some pictures to show you what we have been doing.

We changed hotels yesterday, because the other place was a dump, and here at the Hampton Inn we get points for free hotel rooms on our next vacation.  Anyway the maid was really nice and snuggled us up together.  Callie you would like the bed it is nice and cushy, warm and soft.  We think Sam and Eva would have a blast bouncing on it. 



Your dad is taking good care of us and sleeps with us every night.  But we told him that we wanted to get out of the room and go to work with him and see what he did.  He said okay and we got to go the very next day.    He had to make sure we were safe on site because they have rules to keep us safe.  Here we are with our protective boots, hard hat and reflective vest on.



We had a good breakfast and he loaded us in the car for the ride ‘up the mountain’.  Here is a picture of us riding to work with him.  There is snow all over the place, and it sure is pretty.  The gravel road is pretty rough and bumpy.



He said that if he had a pick-up he would let us ride in the back, like he lets Joe and Michael do, but since he didn’t he let us hang our heads out the window instead.  Notice that your dad’s Jeep is muddy.  It’s warming up into the mid 30’s so the snow is melting and making a huge mud hole here.  He likes to go through the mud real fast.


He even let us drive even though we didn’t have drives licenses.  He said that we drove pretty good, but not as good as Joel.


Here’s what it looked like going ‘up the mountain’.



And here’s a picture of what it looked like up on top of the mountain.  Way in the background you can see another mountain range.


The first thing we did when we got to the top was to play in the snow.  We didn’t have Michael here to make us a snow fort so we just had a snowball fight and made snow angels.


The next thing we got to do was really cool.  We got to ride on some construction equipment.  The first thing we got to ride on was a gigantic front-end loader. Your dad had to put us up here cuz it was way too high for us to climb. It was greasy and dirty, but it was a blast seeing them move mountains of dirt.  Sam you have to try this you would love it.


The next thing was even awesomer.  It was an excavator.  When you grow up and run one of these Sam you have to take us along.  It was even greaser and dirtier, but boy can you dig a hole fast with one of these. 





Anyway gotta go now.  We love you all and you dad says hi and that he loves you all and misses you very much.

XOXOXO,
Spike, Spots and Lucky

And because I'm all proud to be an Amazon Associate these days, I like to tie in a book or other rec for you on some of the blogs because I love books and I like being educated about stuff. So here is a book for those who are travel widows with kids like me:





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