Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant


I've always wondered about those crazy people....but apparently there are enough of them in this world that they were able to make an entire television series out of it.

Y'all.  Come on.

Come.  On.

I actually saw body parts trying to bust out of my belly each time I was pregnant.   I'm thinking if I hadn't known before, that alone might have made me go "hmmmm."

Is there honestly anyone out there who wouldn't have known you were pregnant?

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where Did These Pigs Come From?

We've had to have a come to Jesus meeting in our house.

You know how sometimes you think you're doing ok...everything is rocking along just fine and then all of a sudden you are forced to stand back, gasp, and exclaim, "Where did all these PIGS come from and why are they sitting around my table eating my food?"


Well that's what happened last night when the manure hit the fan, so to speak.

Like most families, our lives are crazy.  Busy.  And mealtimes are about the worst.  Trying to get food on the table, get three small kids fed, get everyone something to drink, more ketchup, an extra napkin, another helping of chicken, more milk, pass the salt, get your feet off the table, stop hitting your brother, say excuse me, no potty talk, sit up, use your fork, chew with your mouth shut, "we don't say butt" (see earlier post), and on and on and on.....

And then one night everything is completely out of control, someone spills their milk, and you LOSE it., I tell you.

When I calmed down I realized that we really haven't "practiced" using good table manners.  I mean, we remind them all the time....but I don't know when we truly practice it.  We stay on them, and we expect them to behave at the table, but in the midst of an already crazy scene, sometimes it's all lost in translation, especially on little minds.

I discovered this little game (on this website)  a while back and decided it was time.  So I rounded everyone up (NOT at mealtime), and we brainstormed what is and is not proper mealtime behavior and made our list of rules.

Then we made a game out of it.

Everyone is reminded of the rules at the beginning of the meal and each child gets 4 quarters to start out.  Each time a rule is broken, they lose a coin and put it in the middle of the table.  The person who loses the LEAST amount of coins at the end of the meal gets everyone's coins.

You won't want to do it at every meal, but after a few times, the rules should start to stick and you can do it only as needed or when you need a refresher course.  As they get older, you can make the rules more complex and take it to a whole new level of proper etiquette (boys standing when girls walk in, boys holding chairs out for girls, proper placement of silverware, etc.).

We just played at lunch today and it worked great!  Except that Stuart lost all his money when he peed his pants in the kitchen chair.


Monday, June 21, 2010

We Don't Say Butt

I don't know if the link below will work or not...I'm sure there is a better way to put a video on here but I have no clue how to do it.  So this may or may not be for your viewing pleasure.

Anyway....let me explain before you click on that there video number 14.

You know how kids think that the word "butt" in any form, usage, or context is simply hilarious?

Well whenever I would hear my kids say it, I would immediately respond with "We don't say butt...we say bottom."

Por ejemplo:

"Hey Mama...what's for dinner?"  Me:  "Chicken."  Them:  "I love chicken...especially chicken BUTT!"    And then hilarious laughter (from them, not me) follows.  So with a straight face I would say, "I'll be glad to save the chicken bottom for you because we don't say butt....we say bottom."

So Stuart, the three-year-old, a couple-a-dozen times or so a day would say (just to say the word "butt")...."We don't say butt, do we Mama?  Noooo.....we say bottom."

But the funny thing was, he would talk in this weird, British/French/Euro sounding voice when he would say it.  So I couldn't help but laugh.  Which doesn't make me a very effective leader.

I almost got it on video one day, as you may or may not see here.

Enjoy! (maybe)

Video 14

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Going Bananas

We love to make smoothies around here.  In fact, we all have at least one a day...and I have some great recipes which I'll put on the eatin' page.  But I digress.  That is not the point of this post.

I like to buy ripe bananas, peel them and freeze them to make these wonderful treats, so I try to stock up when the stores pull the ripe bananas and reduce them for quick sale.   It's cost efficient, and the frozenness (is that even a word?) of the fruit gives the smoothie the perfect consistency.  It's a win-win!

Besides, I have a strange disorder that I inherited from my mother, who inherited it from her mother, where we can't sleep unless there are bananas in the house.  It's a sickness, y'all.  I've sought treatment.

But again, I digress.

So I was running low on frozen bananas and sent my mate to the store to see if he could help replenish my stash.

Heaven help me.

He returned with more than fifty pounds of bananas.


Want to see what fifty pounds of bananas looked like?

And there were more on the island behind me.  I couldn't fit them all on the counter.

My hands are stained from peeling all those bananas.   And I ran out of containers to put them in.

The girl who helps me clean every other week happened to be here yesterday and when she walked in I was standing there taking this picture of all those bananas.  As she walked off she said, "ahhhh.....mucho platanos."

And I think I heard the word "loco" under her breath.

But I sure did sleep well last night.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One of Those Days

[caption id="attachment_1626" align="aligncenter" width="314" caption="where the hell is my pickle fork? i can't have anything nice with you kids."][/caption]

i sent this card to the other mommy, esq. a few years ago.

couldn't help but think about it today.  so appropriate.

today i am cleaning....organizing....going through things....

and saying bad words.

i've discovered the recliner is broken....there is a huge unknown mysterious spot on the carpet....i've found kitchen utensils in the bathroom and toothbrushes in the refrigerator.  nary a single dvd case has the correct and corresponding dvd in it, and someone or some thing peed on my down comforter.

the kids all want to go to the pool and are driving me crazy.

i haven't brushed my teeth since last night.

some days it's like shoveling snow in the middle of a snowstorm while herding cats with socks on all at the same time.

ever have one of those days?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Talk to the Spoon

Because the spoon (a la earlier  "How to Travel (Alone) With Kids" post) was an instant favorite among our readers in travel tips, I thought I'd share a picture.

As you can see, they are on Mr. Spoon's good side.

You do NOT want to be on his bad side.

You do NOT.

ps.  I do realize it is, in fact, a fork and not a spoon.  But there is a reason we call it Mr. Spoon.  Stuart, the youngest, cannot speak clearly.  And when he says fork....well, let's just say.....the "o" part of it sounds more like "uh" and there is no "r" sound.  So it CLEARLY sounds like a different word.  That is not intended for general audiences, if you catch my drift.  I can see it a store....I reach in my purse and he starts yelling "Get the fork away from me!"    And the store is packed.  And everyone turns to stare at the three-year-old with the major potty mouth.

Because that would be just my luck.

Monday, June 07, 2010

How To Travel (Alone) With Kids


Unless you have to.

Like only if you are being chased by knife wielding members of  the Taliban and your only means of escape is to load up your three (under the age of 6) children and set off on a 7+ hour road trip with them across three states.


Trust me.

But if you choose to ignore my sage advice, and are determined, here are a few tips.  From one who has done it and lives to tell of it.

~Have a co-pilot

Mine was a wooden spoon (fork actually that I've never seen much use for in the kitchen but found great use on small bottoms when needed) with a smiley face on one side and a most unhappy face on the other.  Mr. Spoon sat shotgun with me from Georgia to Alabama and on several occasions turned his unhappy face towards my brood in the back who had to quickly make Mr. Spoon happy unless they wanted to visit with him.  Up close and personal.   If you know what I mean.

It works, y'all.  It works.

~Give everyone a cup of water, a pillow and a small snack

And announce that you will be unable to meet any further needs until you stop.  You cannot change out movies.   Pick up dropped toys.  Search for lost pacis (don't judge me).  Or refill drinks and snacks.  So don't ask.

Unless you want to talk to the spoon.

~Be Prepared

I have a market basket that I pack with all the essentials and tote it back and forth from house to van on a daily basis.  For road trips it's stocked with pull-ups, wipes, band-aids, a wet wash cloth, baking soda (a wet wash cloth + baking soda will take puke smell  out of me), extra zip-loc bags (to separate anything into three's that needs to separated, i.e. ONE cookie/chicken nugget/piece of gum...also known as forced sharing), a couple of plastic grocery bags,  a bottle of water and, of course.... Mr. Spoon.

~The Radio Will Play Louder than Screaming, Whining and Crying

No explanation needed.

A personal caveat:  I left with the kids on our road trip on a morning that dear husband was already out of town on business.  That means I alone (in addition to normal duty!) packed everyone, loaded the van (including the psycho dog), tidied house, dropped said psycho dog off at kennel and traveled with the kids all day from Georgia, to Florida, to Alabama.  In Alabama 9 days later, repeated the process (sans psycho dog) to travel 5 hours to Florida to meet dear husband halfway in Florida for a beach vacation.

Upon returning home to Georgia, dear husband informed me that he stripped the sheets from our bed before he left and I'd find them in the dryer.  After a long day of traveling, and eagerly anticipating sleeping in my own bed for the first time in two weeks, I was somewhat dismayed to discover not clean, fresh sheets in dryer, but rather smelly, mildewed and damp sheets that didn't manage to dry on their own over the FIVE days they sat there!

What the....

So I walked up to dear, sweet husband who clearly meant well and sweetly said, "You know, dear, sheets dry much better when you TURN THE THING ON!!!!"

To which he responded that he meant to.  He really did.

And I do believe he did.  And we actually laughed about it.

But the best part of this story is when he said (with a smile on his face), " just don't understand.  It's hard to get ready to go on vacation when you're all alone. I didn't have anyone here reminding what all had to be done before I left!!!"

Blank stare.  Crickets.

I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Bless his heart, y'all.  He was all alone.

I can't imagine.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Homeschooling? Are you Crazy?

This is the first thing most people say when I tell them I've made the decision to homeschool my kids.    The follow up comment is usually something like, "Wow....good for you....but I could never do it.  No way.  Not for me.  But...really...good for you."  Then, especially if I'm talking to someone who lives in the same school district my kids would be attending, it's followed with, "Well you know the schools are really good here if you change your mind or if it doesn't work out."

Honestly, my reasons have nothing to do with lunacy, or some sort of magical powers I've been given enabling me to take on this great feat.  Nor is it in any way a condemnation of the local schools - public or private.  My reasons are personal, and simple.  I've hesitated talking about it much on here but after some discussion with Kim, and because this is going to be such a part of our lives and, therefore, our blog....we felt we should address it head on.

I love being with my kids.

I truly enjoy my kids.    They aren't perfect fact, most days they are as far from perfect as they could be.  They pitch fits.  They talk back.  They throw temper tantrums.  They argue with each other.  They mess things up.  But they are my kids and I love them more than anything.  And more than that...I like them.  I miss them when I'm not with them. I can't spend a night away from them without hearing their voice, and even when I need a break from isn't long before I ache to be with them again.

For the past year and a half I worked full time and I left them all, every morning, and didn't see them again until dinner time.  The only "quality" time I had with them was the time it took to throw some food on the table, throw them into the bathtub, throw them into bed, and then throw myself down in utter exhaustion, fatigue, and remorse.  And guilt.  And sadness.  Because no matter what I was doing all day, where I was, who I was talking to....all I could think about were my kids.  Wondering how they were doing.  What they were eating?  Were they happy?  Sad?  Lonely?  Excited?  Were they saying something funny?  Doing something great?  Or maybe something not so great that needed correction and attention?

The satisfaction I got from the high points of my career did not even come close to the sadness I felt on a constant basis being apart from my children.  Not even close.

But here's the thing....

I didn't have a choice.  I had to work.  And to me, it made being apart from my children so much more difficult because I didn't have a choice.  There were no options.  And that's how it is for most working Moms.  There are also Moms who are called to their professions and who enjoy working....and I was one of those Moms at one point too.  So I understand it from every angle.  But for me, the decision was simple when we got to a point where I did have options.

I am now at home full time and that's where I want my children.  With me.   Now that I'm home I don't want to send them away for 8-9 hours a day.  I just don't.  So there.

The Well Trained Mind

For some reason that I don't now recall, I picked up a copy of The Well Trained Mind a few years ago.  My oldest child was probably about three at the time.  I knew nothing about homeschooling....had never thought of it....had never even met anyone who homeschooled.  But I read the book, and everything in it resonated with me.   I quickly breezed through it and told my husband I wanted to look more into homeschooling.  The first thing he said was, "Homeschooling?  Are you crazy?"  (see I told you it's the first thing everyone says).    Then he said, "Why in the world would you homeschool when the schools are so good here?"  I didn't press the issue because I knew it would be years before I'd even be in a position to make such such a decision.

But I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Or heart.

After checking out The Well Trained Mind from the library numerous times, I finally decided to buy my own copy, which is now underlined, highlighted and well read because it's what I'm basing my own homeschooling on.  If you want to know more, I'll be listing my curriculum on our homeschooling page and will be talking a lot about classical education.  But for now I'll just say that this book was what started me on this path.  If you're interested, go to the library and check it out.  And you can renew it as many times as you want!


When all of my kids were in school (last year I had one in kindergarten, two in preschool and a nanny in the afternoons), it seemed that some days I could barely keep track of what everyone was doing.  Many days started before dawn trying to rouse my six-year-old from a dead sleep and starting the morning already stressed out trying to get him to hurry up and eat, hurry up and get dressed, hurry up and fix his lunch, hurry up and wait on his ride, etc.  All I did was yell at him!  HURRY UP!!!!

By the time he left the house,  my blood pressure was already elevated, and then it was time to try to get the two little ones fed, dressed, pottied, lunches fixed, snacks prepared, backpacks packed and myself dressed so we could rush out the door.  Not to mention if heaven forbid it was LETTER OF THE WEEK or some other special day when I had to send a magazine picture and canned good with one child, a bag full of "lettered" items with another child, a special t-shirt on one child for a field trip, a special snack for another child to share with his class, etc. etc. etc.  Some days I thought I was losing my mind!!!  It made me so crazy that I actually sent my four-year-old to school in her pajamas one day thinking it was PAJAMA DAY, only to find out it was the class Christmas concert instead.  She was dressed in flannel Dora pajamas with light-up slippers while her classmates were in smocked Bishop dresses and mary janes.  I think I was nominated for Mother of the Year after that....

My point is....I felt like I was riding Mo Mo the Monster every day and was yelling "I WANT TO GET OFF!  I'M ABOUT TO PUKE!"

Now that we are homeschooling....if someone doesn't feel well, they can sleep a little longer.  If it's not a good day for a field trip, we do it another day.  If someone needs to just sit in Mama's lap and be rocked for a few minutes when they wake up, we do that.  It is so nice.  So.  Nice.  No schedules.  No tardy bells.  Nothing.

Deep breath.  Ahhhhhhhhh..................

There are probably more reasons I could list, not the least of which are....we want our kids to get their values from us....we want them to bond with each other....and on and on.  Maybe I'll go into some of those later.  Let me just say that, in the couple of months we've already been at home together, I've seen an amazing bond evolve between my three children.  And life is much simpler.

And I like it.

And to those people who ask whether I'm certified to teach?  Yes, yes I am, actually.  But even if I wasn't....I'm not certified to parent either.

But I do the best I can.

Don't we all?

Like Kim...I'm a little nervous.  A little apprehensive.  Like I'm jumping off a high dive!  But I'm excited.  And plan to take it one year at a time.

Actually, one day at a time.

Join us on the homeschooling page to keep up with us on this journey!

Here we go....