Thursday, December 23, 2010


I was just reading over at Night Owl Mama's blog her post about Santa and her family's take on the whole Santa experience. At the end, she poses the question, "Do you believe in Santa? Do your children believe?" which I thought was a great blogging subject, so here goes.

Do I believe in Santa? No. But that is not to say that I am against Santa either. When I was probably around seven years old, I remember feeling absolutely crushed by the fact that there was this man, who flew all around the world, after making presents for every child in the world (because Santa was a kind man and gave presents to *EVERY child* - more on that in a minute) and yet, no one cared enough to give presents to Jesus. It was HIS birthday and everyone else got presents. I was crushed. I could not fathom the idea that someone who gave up so much (His Life!) for everyone (who would chose to believe) was so utterly abandoned and forgotten on His Own birthday!

This might also be the part to mention that I was the only believer in my immediate family. My mom and her husband were not believers and focused only on the Santa aspect of the holiday. My grandmother, however, was a believer and in part from her example, I came to my own personal relationship with God. But that's also another post for another day.

But anyhow, back to the story, I was completely distressed over this whole idea of Santa and my grandmother was comforting me. I was sobbing in her lap over the unfairness of it all and I asked her if Santa was real. I don't know what caused me to doubt that, but I just remember having to ask. And my grandma told me, "Honey, there isn't just one man who is called Santa. Anyone who gives of themselves, their time, their money, their talent, anyone who chooses to help another person, they are a Santa. So yes, there is such a thing as Santa."

It kind of sounds off to me now, but back then, it made complete sense. Maybe that is because she followed it up with the story of Saint Nick. Yeah, I am sure that's why it made more sense. But anyhow, she essentially told me that the whole North Pole-dwelling, reindeer-raising, rooftop-landing Santa was not real. But that did not stop the Santa gifts. It was a conversation we had once and we never discussed it again.

Now for the story about Santa giving presents to EVERY child... When I was growing up, if I asked for a gift that just wasn't possible for that year (either because it was too expensive, it wasn't a good idea for a kid my age, or wasn't readily available) it could be explained away by the fact that EVERY child got a present from Santa. You see, Santa gave presents to EVERY child. The children who had perfect or nearly perfect behavior got the presents that they most wanted. If a child hadn't been perfect or hadn't apologized for something that they had done wrong or really tried to fix the things that they had done wrong, well, they would still get presents too, but it just might not be the presents that the child wanted the most. Growing up, I never knew any child that didn't get any presents. I lived in a highly impoverished area (the poverty rate of my grade school was at least 90% of students) but the kids were often sent home with a bag (or parents picked them up) with presents for the kids "from Santa." It was a wonderful thing, really. I knew how hard off most of my friends and neighbors were, so I figured if we all had presents, surely EVERYone else must get presents too.

When I became a mother myself, my husband and I discussed at length whether or not we would tell Natty about Santa. We treated Santa entirely as a fairytale and the Santas at the mall and such? Simply actors. We focused strongly on Jesus' birthday as being the sole purpose of the season. And that was just fine with us and with our little Natty. We did tell him, though, once he started school (a private, Christian school) that he was not to tell any other child that Santa was just a fairytale, because some children believed that fairytales were real.

But somewhere along the way (I do believe it was my mother-in-law) Santa crept into our lives and our holiday. And well, over time, it has evolved. For the last few years, we have given "Santa gifts" that come in Santa themed wrapping paper and has a Santa themed gift tag and has distinctively different writing than Mom or Dad's.

Natty is 10 now and he mentioned Santa the other day and I looked at him and since it was just the two of us, asked him, "Do you believe in Santa?" and he looked at me, incredulously and said, "OF COURSE!"

Today, on the way home from the mall, my little four year old, Punky, was talking about Santa and how the North Pole is a different land than the one that we live in. I told her that it is a magical land. And she said, "Yes! Like Pixie Hollow!" (where Tinker Bell lives for those who are not in the know of all things fairy) I told her she was right, that it was like Pixie Hollow. Then I asked her if Pixie Hollow was real or pretend. And she said it was a pretend land. And then I asked her if the North Pole was real or pretend. And she said, "Real! No, pretend! Well, maybe it's kinda like pretend real," which I found adorable. We have never discussed the whole concept of Santa with any child except for Natty. But we watch the movies, we have the decorations, we give the presents, but we don't actually discuss it.

So, do my children believe? I haven't the slightest clue. And you know what? I like it that way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Traditions in the Making

I think my mother-in-law must have found my blog. Yesterday when we were over there, she gave me some ornaments that she had picked up from the store for us. She had gotten a special ornament for each of our children. For Natty, she had picked out a violin ornament, JoNo got a soccer ball wearing a Santa hat, Punky got a cupcake and Boo got little car vehicle ornaments. Natty plays the violin, JoNo loves soccer, I call Punky "cupcake" and Boo loves cars and trains and planes and all things like that typical of a three year old boy.

She said that she wanted to give them each an ornament every year so that when they grow up, they can take their ornaments with them as starters for their own trees. Awww!!! I love it! How great is that?! That is one of the kinds of traditions that I would love to have with the kids. Maybe Grandma can give them each a special ornament as part of Christmas and we will put them up in their own little boxes so that they are protected from year to year as well as being able to tell whose ornament is whose. I think I'd also like to buy the kids ornaments for past Christmases from the time they were born. Something that would be symbolic for each year. For instance, a football for the year that Natty played football and Cub Scout ones for the years that he was active in Scouting, a book for the year he learned to read. For JoNo, I would do something with math for this year since this is the year that he got moved up in math class. Things like that. It could be a lot of fun!

I am even considering making them each an ornament every year as well. Using just random Christmas designs and putting a year and the kids' initials on each one of them. The interesting part though, will be with JoNo and Boo's initials. They have the same initials. "JDF" But usually, when I am abbreviating something, JoNo's intials are in all caps and Boo's initials are in all lowercase letters.

So, anyhow that's what is on my mind at the moment. Traditions and making memories is what has been running through my brain lately. Does it show? Oh? It does. I'm good with that! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If you love someone, set them free...right?

Well, it seems that I am managing to get on here once every other day or so. I guess that is okay too though. My mind is still on relationships. This one is a different but related one. I have been friends with this one woman since eighth grade (aka fifteen years). About five or six years ago, she was living with this guy (who is now her husband) and he was not good to her or her kids (he has since changed that and is really wonderful to and for them). She was thinking about leaving him and I fully supported her in that thought process. I supported her and whatever decision she decided to make in that case. Anyhow, she ended up not leaving him (obviously) and they got married. And guess who organized their wedding? (If you guessed that it was me, you would be correct!) Almost immediately after they got married, he decided that he didn't really want her to be friends with me anymore. Because I was friends with her ex-boyfriend and he was afraid that I would "hook" them up together. Not going to happen, but okay...

So, we weren't in contact for quite some time. Then we renewed our friendship via social media (I think it was myspace) and we even went to their church with them as their guests a few times and I was there when she and her husband and her sister all got baptized. It was beautiful! And I thought we were pretty much past the whole fear thing again.

But then one night after they bought their house, they had a house-warming to celebrate and it just so happened that the same night, my other friend (her ex-boyfriend) needed a babysitter for his daughter, so the daughter was staying at our house for that night. And I talked to both of my friends, my girl friend and my guy friend to see if it would be okay if the daughter came along with our family to the housewarming party. My girl friend knows the daughter and they actually get along really well. The guy friend was okay with it, but when I called my girl friend to ask her, she said that we were not invited to come anymore, because we had the other friend's daughter with us and the daughter (and now I) were just reminders of her ex-boyfriend and she wanted to cut all things to do with her ex-boyfriend out of her life. Never mind the fact that she and I were friends BEFORE she and said guy started dating. Never mind the fact that they dated for two years when they were thirteen and fourteen. Never mind the fact that she decided to sleep with him years later when I wasn't in contact with either one of them and she was separated from her husband at the time. Never mind any of that. The fact that I was babysitting his kid was enough reason to cut me out of her life. I tried to reason with her briefly and then decided that it wasn't worth it, and that if she didn't want to be friends, that was okay too. It wasn't worth my effort, my energy or my heart to try to keep a relationship that wasn't wanted by the other person.

So, we parted ways. And, as you may be able to tell from my post the other day, the guy and I are still friends. And recently, the girl friend decided she wanted to be in contact with me again. This happened before the guy friend and I went out that night to talk. So we have been talking here and there. She "can't" be friends with me on facebook because her hubby is on there too and would see that we are friends and he is still not okay with it.

I have responded to her when she sends me messages but I haven't initiated any contact with her at all. I have talked this over with my hubby as well and we rather feel that if she wants to be in contact and be friends, since it was her hubby that decided it was not okay to do so, that we should have his blessing to be friends again. I hope that makes sense. But I do feel that we should have her hubby's permission to be friends again. She wants to sneak around and be friends behind his back, emailing and texting when she is at work or at least when he is not at home. I don't want that. I want to either be friends and be allowed to be friends, or walk away. Maybe that is harsh, but I don't want to go through this again and I also don't want to cause a wedge or any negativity between her and her husband. I just need to figure out how to go about that...

And at the same time, it breaks my heart to know that this is what I need to do. I don't want to do it because I really do desire a friendship with her and if I say this to her, she may turn away completely and walk away. And that would hurt. But it would hurt more to hide our friendship from her husband, have him find out about it and then restrict her from being friends with me again, and continuing to not trust me or her. And that would hurt even more, I do think.

Not to mention that I want to do the right thing. Which would be to honor her husband's wishes and be supportive of their relationship. Even if I don't agree with husband's wishes. It is the right thing to do. It just doesn't make it any easier. And I am dreading doing this because of my own fear of losing her once again. Even if I don't really have her right now either.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hodgepodge Post

Yesterday, the final of our four children got sick. There was a stomach bug going on at work and I brought it home to share with our family. I got it first. Two weeks ago to be exact. But I persevered and I stuck it out and worked through it all. Then a week ago this past Friday, it really hit me. I was sick on the way to work. And by sick, I mean, emesis. I got to work, worked for two hours, had another round of emesis and then continued the last six hours of my shift. Drove home, stopping on the way at a rest area to sleep. Then continued on home and then I slept that Saturday from essentially 8:30am until Sunday morning at 8:30am. I think I actually got up for a couple of hours in there somewhere and did things that needed to get done, but I don't exactly remember to be honest.

Then on Monday, Boo got sick. Wednesday, Punky got sick. She got sick fifteen minutes before school got out and got to hang out with Pastor until Dad picked her up from school. Natty got sick on Friday at school and Grandma picked him up, then Saturday, JoNo finally got sick. So now, all four of the kids and myself have gotten hit by the stomach bug. Hubby so far has evaded it. Hope that he will continue to not get hit by it. I need him to be well.

The weather here has been interesting. Thursday and Friday had temperatures in the fifties. Saturday, I drove home from work in blizzard-like conditions with a whopping temperature of five degrees. Woohoo! Saturday night, driving to work, the roads were clear but we had both a wind advisory and a windchill advisory. The windchill was something like -30 degrees. And this morning, when I left work, the actual temperature was -7. Brrrrr! It's cold around here! And a friend of mine on Facebook had a status that accurately portrays the way it feels around here. I don't know where she got the quote but I like it! "It's colder than a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg." Um, agreed.

In other news, a local novelty store burned down today. On a Sunday morning. In 9 degree weather. You should hear the jokes going around here about that one! You should read the articles about it that are available in our city's newspaper. You can read the actual article here and then the funny follow-up article written by a journalist that I loved reading for years. Her article is available here.  Hilarious! Love your style Cindy!

It just so happens that Cindy and I met early this year. We both happen to play an awesome game called Cribbage. And we both belonged to the same Cribbage league. The night that I played against her was an awesome night for me! I was excited to meet her. (She beat me by the way.)

My late Grandma K. taught me to play Cribbage years ago, but I had forgotten how to play it and when Hubby and I got married, he taught me how to play. For a long time, we played cards together after the kids went to bed at night, but before we went to bed too. But I work nights now and we haven't really had much opportunity to play cards anymore. We also used to play pitch and liverpool and pinnocle with a couple of friends as well, but my night time work schedule has made that difficult to do as well. Boo. I miss cards!

Work last night kicked our butts. I just wrote out (and then deleted) the basic flow of the way things go at work as far as side jobs and who is supposed to do what and when. But suffice it to say, that last night, nothing (or nearly nothing) worked as it was supposed to and it sucked. I was so exhausted when I got off of work! I made it most of the way home though, without having to take a nap! That was some serious progress in my opinion! And I work tonight, but have tomorrow night off before starting another four day stretch and then my schedule goes all weird. We are supposed to have block scheduling (same shifts that repeat two weeks) but this month, it went all wacky and weird. Before I had one four day stretch of work and two three day stretches and now I have two four day stretches and one two day stretch. It's weird. But I'll work it just the same. I am seriously looking forward to Christmas week though because I have three days off that week and although the schedule is really odd, I will definitely take it! I need a little break. Starting that week, I work two days, have a day off, work a day, have a day off, work two days, have a day off, then work the next four (or maybe it's the next six?) days straight. Then will go back to the block scheduling, which may change yet again, since someone is taking over the actual scheduling. I am pushing and hoping for a Sun-Thur night schedule so that I can work, come home, get the kids off to school and then sleep! I drive three hours a day (more than any other person who works there) and being able to sleep while the kids are at school is really important to me! Plus, because I would be working every Sunday night, it would also keep me working four weekend nights per month, as we are scheduled every other weekend at work (so four-five nights working a weekend every month) If I did every Sunday, it would be half of every weekend, so possibly the same as working every other weekend. A girl can hope, can't she? :)

But it's time to stop talking about work and to start getting ready to go to work, so I will depart for now. Sorry for such a hodgepodge post about so many different things, but it just happens sometimes. And now, I feel ready to start my work night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Relationships and traditions

Since I said that I was going to be coming back to posting, I have been trying to come up with a topic. Something that I really felt like writing about. But I was coming up empty and it scared me. Scared me that maybe I had lost the knack for writing. But then today, while watching a show online, a topic came to me. Relationships.

Not just any relationships. My kids' relationships. With each other. Now and in the future. Wow, now there's a lot of sentence fragments. But you know what? It's my blog and I'll use sentence fragments if I want to. I talk in fragments too, so just pretend that you are listening to me instead of reading my words.

So for the background information...two kids stayed home sick today. Punky and Boo both were home sick from school today. It doesn't affect me much because I sleep during the day. The only part of it that actually affects me is whether Hubby is being attentive to them and the noise level that they create. Then, when I woke up early this afternoon (much earlier than I needed to or should have - will have to sleep some more later) I decided to check my voice mail messages, since I saw that I had missed a call from the older boys' school.

It was the health tech. NattyNu threw up at school and they had wanted us to come pick him up. They called my phone and got my voice mail. They called Hubbys's number, but it was his old number that I didn't realize had not been updated yet. Then they called my mother-in-law, who gave them Hubby's number. But Hubby had misplaced his phone (it's under the recliner that I'm currently sitting in, but I'm too lazy to retrieve it at the moment) and left a message on his voice mail. Then they called my mother-in-law back and she went and picked Natty up from school. I found all of this out from the tech at the school, then went up to let Hubby know that Natty was at Grandma's house and he should get in touch with her or go pick Natty up or something.

He left to go pick up Natty and then ended up staying over there so that Natty, Punky and Boo could all nap. None of them are feeling well and they all need the extra rest. I was here at home and couldn't sleep, so I decided to catch up on a couple of shows that I watch online but haven't had the chance to since we didn't have internet at home. One of the shows was a Thanksgiving episode. That's how far behind I have been on my shows, which as you might be able to guess means that they aren't that high of a priority to me. I enjoy watching them, but I don't feel that I have to watch them right away and the world will crumble to pieces if I miss an episode.

Anyhow, that is a complete side note about television. Back to the story at hand, I was watching the show "Parenthood". It is a show about a couple who have four grown children with families of their own, and basically the day to day things that happen with this family.  They are actually a close knit clan and the cousins are friends as well.  Anyhow, it got me to thinking this afternoon about my children.

I wonder what it will be like, twenty or thirty years from now, when they have their own children.  Will my children be friends?  Will my grandchildren?  Will they all stay close to "home" to raise their own families or will they fly the nest?  Will they be more attached to our family or to their spouse's family?  I mean, I know what I would like to see happening in thirty years.

My desire is that they would each have started their own families.  That they are all married and happy and have children of their own.  Married and with children are not requirements, but just as this is my blog and I'll use sentence fragments if I want, this is also my dream and I can make them all happily married with children if I want.  There's nothing wrong with wanting that for your children, now is there?  Nope, I didn't think so either.

Back to the dream for my kids... So they will all have their spouses and children, and they will live reasonably close to "home" and they will talk to each other and love each other and want to share their lives with each other (and with Hubby and me as well).  And their children will play together and be friends and will develop wonderful relationships with one another.  They will all come over to our home for a holiday (even if it is not on the actual holiday) and we will have family traditions set up that they each cherish as well and want to continue and will feel like the holiday is not quite complete without it.  It will be something that they want their children to experience and enjoy and share as well.

And now that I have really thought about what I'd like to see happen in the future and have a goal in mind, I have decided that it's time to put that into action now.  Take the steps to make that happen.  I just don't know how to really foster strong relationships between them.  I didn't have a sibling until I was twelve.  My closest thing to a sibling was my best friend, Nick.  We have been friends since we were two.  We're both 29.  We have known each other longer than we have known even some of our own family members.

This is a picture that he took with his phone one night recently when we were hanging out together and having deep, meaningful conversations over (cough, ahem) mixed drinks.  But regardless, I want my children to have the kind of relationship with each other that Nick and I have now.  Only I want them to actually spend more time together than Nick and I do.

But it is really being impressed on my heart to help the kids build that kind of relationship with each other right now.  So now I am thinking of ways to do that.  Or at least trying to think of ways to do that.  Punky and Boo already have that kind of relationship.  They are the best of friends (and the worst of enemies when they want to be, which thankfully is not often).  JoNo and Natty are developing that as well.  They often play together and they share many friends, in spite of having a gap of three years between them.  And when their friends are not available to play, they willingly play with each other.  That's a good basis, correct?  I'm sure hoping so!  And Natty also has a good, albeit different relationship with Punky and Boo.  JoNo and Punky have a pretty good relationship going as well.  They get along and fight about even amounts, but that is where JoNo and Natty were before as well.  And they are different genders and they have that same three year age gap between them also, so I am hoping that their friendship will come with time, just as Natty and JoNo's did.  JoNo also seems to get along well with Boo.  They enjoy playing with the same toys and watching the same movies and doing many of the same things.  So I think they are well on their way also.

Maybe that is it?  Maybe I just sit back and let their friendships among each other develop naturally?  Maybe just provide them the opportunities to build those relationships with each other.  Say no to some of the outside activities that really draws our family apart from each other and say yes to the activities that draw us closer together?  Just as we have been doing for quite some time.

And maybe at the same time, throw in some family traditions that we have every year that we all look forward to.  The one tradition that we had that we did EVERY single year from the year before we were married (in 2000) until this year (2010) was our "Friends Thanksgiving".  Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we would have friends over for a full all-out Thanksgiving dinner.  The kind of meal that I had growing up with tons of side dishes and everything.  We didn't do it this year because I had to work overnight that Tuesday and Wednesday both. :(  But maybe that's part of what is causing me to think about this - the lack of one of our traditions.  I would definitely like to start new traditions with the kids as well.  For instance - with Christmas presents, like I mentioned in yesterday's post.  I'm also interested in doing a Jesse Tree project each year as we gear up for Christmas.  I had forgotten all about it.  I heard of it last year and thought about it for this year, but then forgot about it this year until I saw Michelle's blog the other day.  And it was a great reminder of something that I want to do with my kids.  I'd really like to start a meaningful tradition to go along with every major holiday that we celebrate and put our own spin on it too.

But it's time to grab a quick rest before I go back in to work tonight.  I'm exhausted and I still have 3 hours of driving, 8 hours of working and 1 hour of an in-service ahead of me yet.  *yawn*  So tired!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back again

It's been awhile again but I'm back and not planning to go anywhere anytime soon! We have had quite the past two months. In October, Boo started school and has been doing well with it.
This was as close to the boys' first day of school pictures that I could get Boo to cooperate with. He didn't want to stand next to the tree but he would push the play mower around and occasionally look up at the camera too.

That month, I also started a new job an hour and a half from where we live - so long commute every day but well worth it! I also got into a bad car accident that following week. The van was totaled. Miss Punky was in the van with me when it happened. Another driver ran a red light and hit us in an intersection. Thankfully, no one was hurt and we have already replaced our van with a new one. It is newer and has fewer miles but does not have all of the bells and whistles that our old van had. It's also a bit smaller as well, but it works for our family anyhow.

Then in November, Hubby and I went for a week-long, kid-free mini vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Hubby's aunt and uncle own a second house (which we all refer to as "the cabin" even though it's actually a two bedroom house and not a cabin) where we stayed. It's on a private lake and has it's own beach and it was just gorgeous! We definitely want to do that trip again!

And now, we are geared up for Christmas. I have some of the Christmas shopping done. Hubby is done and we got a big gift for the family as well. And then the kids I decided were going to get gifts in the following categories: an outfit, a game, a puzzle, a book, and a toy. I feel that giving them each one thing in each category is sufficient. What do you all think?

Oh - and I normally don't discuss knits on here because I have a different blog for my knitting business, but I just have to share these with you! I was making a knit hoodie sweater for my dear friend's son and I, um, messed up my gauge so one of our teddy bears ended up with a sleeveless version of the hoodie.

Well that will conclude with the catch up posting.  Stay tuned for regular posts!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back with the pictures as promised

My handsome boys before their first day of school this year.

JoNo is going into first grade.

NattyNu will be in fourth grade.

Silly faces at the bus stop. Hoping to get some silliness going this morning to put them in a good mood for school. They were already pretty excited.

Here comes the bus, but the boys were looking the wrong way. Actually, they were telling some of the other boys waiting that the bus was coming.

NattyNu getting on the bus for the first trip to school.

JoNo getting on the school bus for the first trip to school.
Once again, it has been a large chunk of time since I last updated this blog, but without internet at home, it presents a challenge to post regularly.  We have had a good summer.  I have been working 55+ hours every week, which seems to be typical over the summer.  Families go on vacation a lot during the summer and therefore, need care for their loved ones in their absence.  I do love providing in-home health care.
We have attended a baseball game for our city’s team, the kids have gone camping a number of times, boating and just going out to the lake to go swimming.  They have gone on long bike rides with their grandpa.  My six and nine year old boys each rode 14 miles in one day, which is just astounding to me that they were able to do that.  They have more stamina than I give them credit for (and trust me, I give them lots of credit for stamina!)
Let’s see, we have also gone to the park and gone fishing, we have gone on a mini vacation to Worlds of Fun, where my nine year old, NattyNu, actually rode the Mamba.  He claims that he really did like it, but he didn’t want to go on it a second time.  I loved the picture that was taken but unfortunately, we did not buy a copy of it, although I would have loved to do so.  The ride that six year old, JoNo chose to go on the most was the Fury of the Nile.  That child definitely takes after me, as I am not a fan of roller coasters either.  Meanwhile, Punky and Boo were both at home with Grandma.  Punky split her eyebrow open while we were down there and had to be taken in and have dermabond applied to seal the wound.  According to her, “glue holds little girls together” which I thought was an adorable perspective.
We made two separate trips to Missouri (apart from the Worlds of Fun trip).  One trip was to get my mom and bring her up to spend a week with us, the next trip to take her back home.  She moved to Missouri in mid-April without telling us, then came back for a week and a half unannounced a week later.  Then, while she was up here visiting with our family for that one week, she apparently made plans to move back up here, because just last week, she called Hubby and told him that she was living here again and had been for about a week.  I don’t understand her need to sneak around and hide and lie but I do my best to deal with it.  I had a feeling when she was here visiting that she was making plans to move back, but she denied it and told me an elaborate story to cover her lie.  It’s just very disappointing.
The boys start school tomorrow morning (well, technically, since it is after midnight that I am writing this, I guess it’d be later this morning).  Their open house was on Monday evening and they met their teachers, saw their new temporary school building and I finally got to meet the Cub Scout leader for their school’s Pack.  The boys will be starting up with it this year.  NattyNu was in Scouts in first and second grade at his old school, but when we moved to their current school, he didn’t transfer Packs.  Now, he finally will.  And JoNo is finally old enough to be in Scouts this year.  They are both really excited about it, as am I.
Punky starts her school next Wednesday.  I am excited because she is going to be going three days a week and in the morning, which means that she will be able to have a nap in the afternoon.  Boo will be starting school five days a week, in the morning this year.  It seems odd that the youngest child will be spending more hours in school each week, compared to his next oldest sibling, but it’s because he will be in the early childhood special education class and needs the extra time offered.  He may also start an intensive speech language therapy program with at least two sessions per week in the afternoons.  His language development has really been improving.  He is putting together a lot of words and phrases and mostly social ones.  He is also starting to use words independently that he had previously only used as part of a phrase.  For instance, when he would call our dog, he would say, “Freddy, woo hoo.” Woo hoo was his substitute phrase for whistling.  But now, he is just calling the dog by his name, and is starting to give Freddy separate commands as well, such as “Freddy, up!” or “Freddy, down!”  It’s really cute and I am so proud of him!  I think he actually knows and uses more words than I realize.
I signed up to be a Tupperware consultant this past week and I have my first party scheduled for this coming weekend, so if you know of anyone interested in having a party (and is within an hour’s drive of me – aka Southwest Nebraska area) let me know and I will host their party – or if you or someone you know want to host an online party, I can do that too.  Just let me know if you are interested in it.  I am a little scared about doing it, but even if it doesn’t turn out well, I would have made a great investment of money for the amount of product I would end up being able to keep.  It’s also not a venture that I entered into lightly.  I have been considering doing this for at least four months.
I have also started knitting again.  One of my online friends, who has become a dear personal phone friend as well, has been trying to convince me to start knitting for profit again.  I haven’t done that seriously since the early part of 2008.  Last year, I think I made something like $1,500.00 for the year in profits off of knitting.  But as I am working nights and have a lot of time on my hands, I am considering it.  So while I was at my inlaws’ house today, I set up my business promotional supplies orders for both businesses, updated the blog that I have associated with my knitting and will be starting to update the blog some more before going live with the full scale sales and advertising.  I have been busy working on some armwarmers for my friend’s two daughters and have made a number of hats for my children, a friend’s new niece and have a couple of extras as well that I will most likely end up selling online.
So, that is where we stand now.  Hoping that with the kids back in school and my work schedule slightly more settled down, I will be able to post more frequently.  I am definitely going to attempt to do so.  I will also be posting a link on the sidebar to my Tupperware site and to my knitting blog.  But my knitting blog will not lead back to here.  Just so that you know ahead of time, so you can be prepared to use your back button to get back here, unless you want to bookmark this site or both of them.
But for now, I will end this and will hopefully be back later to post pictures of the kids before their first day of first and fourth grade.  And before their first (and likely only) year of riding the bus.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yet Another Catch-Up Post...

Well, for starters, we no longer have internet at home, hence the inability to post regularly.  Although, I must admit that I rather like the fact that my husband and children are no longer controlled by computers or the internet.  Okay, maybe they weren't controlled by them, but some days, it sure felt like it.  When my children are whining and complaining and fighting over who gets to be on the computer first, I think we have a problem.  And granted, they mostly play educational games online but still...too much of a good thing is still too much and turns it into a not good thing.

Second, I quit my job at the gas station.  I had been having some severe health problems, which I think I may have posted about (I could open up another tab and check but I really want to just continue on with this post and not get distracted, which is likely to happen.) and I have started back doing home health care.  I have a lady that I do private duty healthcare for.  Basically, she is in charge of her own care, she hires, fires, schedules, trains, etc. and I take care of her.  It's private duty because I don't work through an agency - it is essentially self-employment - and that is how I claim my wages at the end of the year when ol' Uncle Sam wants his share.  So, anyhow, I'm back working for her.  Just for reference, I refer to her in everyday life as m'lady, due to HIPPA regulations and such.  Even though she doesn't care and has invited my whole family to come to a party at her house.  Even though my whole family has met her.

But I'm back with m'lady and I am so happy about that!  I work overnights for her, which to me is a huge honor to know that she trusts me enough to take care of her while she is asleep and not able to direct her care as much.  Mostly I do household stuff, but there are other (very important!) things that I do for her in the middle of the night.  And I love working for her.  I had forgotten how peaceful it was and how fulfilling it was to work for her when I was away from her.  After being able to go back, I remembered something that I thought last year after arriving at her house after an especially stressful day with my extended family, which was, "I'm so glad that I work tonight.  I definitely needed a good dose of m'lady to renew my spirits and energies."

So, to make a long story short, I am no longer at the gas station.  I am working for m'lady and I recently was hired on for a position doing home health with an agency here in town as well.  I have been assigned to two people so far and both have cancelled before I even started with them, so I have yet to actually work a shift through the agency, but soon...hopefully and most likely, next week I will be doing a shift (actually two as it is currently scheduled).

I have also been busy tutoring.  A friend of mine, Gabby, is in Intermediate Algebra in college and I have been helping her and a classmate study.  And then another girl that Gabby introduced me to, Angie, is taking Accounting I in college and I have been tutoring her in that as well.  I love math and numbers and accounting in particular.  And I love teaching!  And I'm pretty decent at doing it too...just sayin'.  :)

I will also be starting to help a lady with some accounting-type stuff.  It is m'lady's sister.  The sister owns a bed and breakfast and she needs help with some data entry and learning how to use QuickBooks.  I had never used QuickBooks myself, but I got online, looked it up on youtube for a tutorial and voila! I found one.  And I am really really excited about it.  So excited about it that I think I scared the sister a bit when I called to tell her that I had found some information on the program and could teach her to use it and how it works.  Apparently the words assets and liabilities and equity and such scare some people, especially when spoken with intense enthusiasm.  :)  But it's all good and I didn't scare her off.  I think I will be starting to work with her this weekend, with any luck.

This weekend will be a different one, as my inlaws will be getting back from a vacation in Florida.  We have been at their house this week (hence the internet capabilities) and when they get back, we finally get to go out and celebrate Hubby's birthday with them.

May has been an interesting month for us.  Punky's birthday was on the second and she turned four.  Then Hubby's birthday was on the sixth.  Inlaws left for Florida on the seventh and will be getting back on the sixteenth, which is when we will be going out for the birthday celebration.  They were gone for Mother's Day as was my own mother.  We had an evening with friends that night instead.  Gabby and I went to pick up her friend (the one that is in her class right now) and we brought back pizza with us.  And then when Gabby's boyfriend got home from work, he joined us too.  We just spent time together, playing cards and having a good time.  It was a lot of fun.

I know that this post is jumbled, but I'm just trying to get all of the things recorded that I have missed recently, so I apologize for the lack of order and flow in this post.  Well, I guess that is all for now.  I'll try to get some pictures from our zoo trip up soon too.  It'll be dated for the second of May, but I assure you that it will actually have been posted on the fourteenth.  :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Saturday

We celebrated Easter a day early with my father-in-law's side of the family.  We got to see cousins that we don't get to see very often, which is always a wonderful time.  We love visiting with them!  Unfortunately, I didn't pull out my camera until it was almost over.  However, I did get some great candid shots of my kids (and my youngest brother-in-law) playing together outside.  I will say though, that I did not get one unblurry picture of Boo's face, so the all the shots of him are from behind (as he was generally running off from one of us).  Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Catching Up

Well, I must say that I have not updated my blog in quite some time. Life at home and work both have been extremely hectic as of late. I don't even know where to jump in from, but I guess I have to pick a spot and jump!

Well, there is nothing major that has happened since I last blogged. Hubby is still wanting to homeschool the kids this fall. It is not really financially feasible as we both need to work and MIL is not supportive of homeschooling and would not watch the boys during the school day.

We are keeping our eyes out for options though. I did find a job opening recently that is for night shift (11p-7:30a) that pays well enough that Hubby would only need to work a minimal number of hours, which in turn, would allow for us to homeschool the kids and not be reliant on MIL to watch the kids at all. It would work out beautifully!

For right now though, I'm still working my daytime job at the store and just trying to make ends meet. It's super stressful at the store right now because all of the direct store management are on power trips. And they are all tripping each other. Which is kind of amusing until one of them falls on you. Nothing like taking one for the team, ya know?

I am keeping my eye out for other jobs though. I met with the insurance rep for our company and after reviewing the policy, I would be working simply for the insurance. Not my idea of a good time. I mean, seriously? I would take home something like 20 dollars every two weeks. Maybe. Which leaves the whole question if I'm only taking home 40 dollars a month, how does that work exactly? I think the people who write these insurance policies may need to take another look at what the average employee is paid. I think that insurance needs the overhaul - not the healthcare system as a whole. Just imagine if the insurance companies operated with more of the ideal of a Health Savings Account…you put money in, it rolls over, you swipe your card for medical expenses only and voila, you aren't paying exuberant amounts of money for something that you are not likely to use the full benefit of. Crazy concept, but it just might work. So, anyhow, that's my thought on that topic. There is more to it related to politics but I'm not going to jump into that topic, just yet.

I have ended up taking this whole week off of work unexpectedly, as I was hospitalized on Monday after what the doctors thought might have been a stroke. When the tests came back negative for that, they began doing other tests. All came up fine. I have a (mostly) clean bill of health. I am overweight and need to lose weight, there are some fatty deposits on my liver which will go away when I lose the pounds. I have a cyst in my nasal passage but that isn't anything to worry about and I have some nodules on my thyroid glands that look like they could develop into tumors (or something like that) and I will want to get that checked out, but for time being, the doctor said not to even worry about that.

So, anyhow, after a CT and CTA (cat scan and then a cat scan with contrast - which I cannot tolerate), a ton of bloodwork, an MRI, an ultrasound, and a lumbar puncture (yeeee-ouch!) they couldn't figure out what was causing the symptoms. So after a night in the hospital, they sent me home. On the way home, I developed an insanely fierce migraine headache - most likely related to the lumbar puncture I was sure. I went home, took pain meds and slept for most of the next twenty hours.

Woke up Wednesday in tons of pain and with dizziness and blurred vision again. Hubby called the nurse line and they told him to call an ambulance. I told him no. We would take our own vehicle, thankyouverymuch. So eventually we did. Got in to the hospital and they started an IV and more pain meds. Diagnosed it as a migraine. (Well duh! The question is why?! From the lumbar puncture? I was supposed to be back at work on Wednesday from the doctor's original plan - but I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to manage even being at work the following day!) Doctor said no work for an additional two days to give the spinal fluid time to build back up and for me to get a bit more rest.

I got home and was reading on BlogFrog about headaches and migraines and then I decided to do a little bit of research myself - I typed in migraine with my original symptoms and came up with something that sounded so much like what I was experiencing initially, that I wonder if maybe that wasn't it. It's something called a hemiplegic migraine. You can google it, that's what I did. Well, rather, I googled the symptoms and came up with it as a possible answer, you can google the term and come up with the definition. That seems fair enough. But anyhow, after another round of severe pain early on in the evening, I am doing much better.

Also, something else occurred to me tonight. Do you remember how I mentioned before that I was struggling with some things? Well, it became apparent tonight, that I'm not struggling with those issues as much anymore. It's not even a struggle. A struggle is when you have to make a conscientious decision to resist whatever it is, and its not even happening on a conscious level. It's all happening without me even thinking about it. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Needless to say, my marriage is doing extremely well too. Hubby and I had a pretty soul-bearing talk today, in which I made some confessions to him about negative things I have felt or thought and he forgave me. It was a really difficult thing to admit and to be held accountable for, but it was so very important and necessary.

I think that even with all the stressful things we have going on in our lives at the moment, that we are closer now than we have been a short while. We have periods of ups and downs. And as I was commenting to a friend of mine, our downs aren't quite as low as they once were, and if I look back on it, I can see how far our downs have come up. I hope that makes sense to all of you. It made sense to her - but then again, she knows how low our downs were and how not as low they are now.

A while back, I had a Lia Sophia party and my order came in today. I was so excited! I was able to get a lot of things that I really wanted for really cheap. One of the things I wanted to get was a jewelry set for Punky Pie. She loves jewelry so much. So I had decided on this necklace, ring and earring set for her. The only thing is that she doesn't have pierced ears. But she liked these earrings so I think maybe she might be willing to get her ears pierced now. Anyhow, this jewelry set was supposed to be for her birthday (May 2) but when Hubby saw the jewelry today, he got really excited about it and we discussed giving her the set for Easter instead. And then when the kids came home from Grandma's house, he looked at the jewelry boxes that Punky was eying and looked at me and so I agreed. So Hubby gave Punky her ring and I showed her the necklace and earrings. We decided that she could wear her ring before Easter if she wanted to, but her necklace had to wait until Easter morning. Anyhow, I couldn't help but take a picture of our matching rings. I love how it looks too!

But I think it is time to wrap up this post as it is getting pretty lengthy and I want to get back to normal blogging again. So, for now, I bid you a great evening! I'm sorry for the absence but I'm back now! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Once again, I am feeling very conflicted. There is a lot of conflicting emotions and turmoil going on inside me right now and I just want to run away. I want to run off and start fresh. I'm threatened and I feel scared. I'm not even sure what to do.

I'm trying hard not to internalize these issues. I'm trying hard not to keep them, but I am recognizing that it's what I'm feeling like doing. I'm trying to put on a brave face for those in my life. I don't want them to know the fear that I'm feeling. I don't even want Hubby to know it. I want to be strong and to take care of things. I want to fix the things that are wrong.

But I can't. Or at least, I can't do it alone. I need to talk to Hubby, to turn to him for support and help. And to do it without blaming him.

I'm angry as well. Anger is a choice and it's a secondary emotion to the other things that I'm feeling - threatened, scared, etc. But yes, I am choosing to be angry. Maybe even hostile. I haven't decided if I am going to go that far just yet. But I'm getting there.

I feel like a choice that we want to make, for our family, is being condemned. I feel as though I have been...persecuted isn't quite the right word, but it's in the same category. Maybe it is the term that I'm looking for. I don't know. And I don't know who I can trust anymore. There were many people that I thought I could trust and that I want to trust and I don't know. I don't know who I can and cannot trust right now.

I love my kids, I love my Hubby, I want to do the best things for all of us. Right now, though, not only do I not know what that is, but I also do not know how to do it. Every choice I make or think about making, conflicts with what I want or need to happen. I am just so completely confused.

Facebook Fan Page

If you would like to join, you can become a fan of Organizing Amid Chaos on Facebook by clicking on this link to go to the page and then by selecting the option to become a fan under the picture.

Oh - the link might be helpful too!

If you become a fan, come back here and leave me a comment, telling me who you are! :) Looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Time For Me Thursday

Today I did a couple of things that were for "me" that I'd really like to share with you all, after all, that's what Time For Me Thursday is all about right?

First off, if you have been following along, you will know that I have a number of house projects all going on at the same time and amazingly to me my house (*not including my bedroom, bathroom or closet) looks great! Sure, it could use some minor picking up - as could probably anyone's house with many small kids running around, but for the most part, it is looking pretty darned spiffy right now. Including the playroom - even though I still need to do a major toy sort and such in there. And the laundry / laundry room and basement have been coming along quite well also! It's awesome!

But getting that stuff to that point with Hubby was not the things that I did for *me* today. What I did for me also benefited my kids. After Punky got done with preschool today, I took her out to McDonalds for an ice cream cone. I have these coupons for free items from McDonalds (from Valentine's Day) and I just thought that she could use a little bit of a treat. She'd had a good day at school and I just wanted to share that special time with her. (Plus, it gave me a chance to get out and about for a little bit!)

The second thing was really the same as the first thing, only a different child. I took NattyNu out for an ice cream this evening after supper. I had to run to the pharmacy to pick up JoNo's breathing treatment solution boxes (one for home, one for school) and I stopped by my mother-in-law's house on the way over there. But anyhow, before I left the house, NattyNu asked if he could go with me, because he wanted to get some ice cream too since Punky had her ice cream still when we got home from preschool so it wasn't a secret that she got some this afternoon. I had told him earlier in the day that he could get an ice cream after supper so this was a good time to go get one for him.

So anyhow, NattyNu was with me when I got the prescription and then we headed towards the McDonalds by our house. When we got to our usual turn to go home, I didn't get into the turn lane since I was going to McDonalds and not directly home. Apparently NattyNu had forgotten about the ice cream (but let me assure you, had I tried to go home, he would most definitely have remembered!) and he asked me what I was doing. I told him we were going to go get ice cream and he was excited about it all over again.

The whole time we were gone (probably about an hour or so) we had a wonderful chance to talk and for him to just let everything out - things that are going on at school both good and bad. And it was a chance for me to just listen and be there with him and for him. I think that lately I have been very high-stress and haven't given him this much needed time. But the truth is, I need it too. I need this time to connect with my kids and I am actually very grateful that I got some alone time with these two kids today. I had alone time with JoNo yesterday (at the hospital, but once he was starting to do better, we had time to talk and spend together, etc. too)

While we were out, I picked up a cone for JoNo as well. But when we got home, he was already asleep for the night, so I handed the cone to Hubby instead. He LOVES soft serve ice cream! But he really really dislikes cones. So he at the top half of the ice cream and I ate the cone half. It was kind of funny and reminds me of the anecdote about the old couple sharing a meal at a fast food place. That story is kinda gross but it's really sweet too (in a way).

I still have not had a chance to really talk to Hubby about the issues I mentioned earlier today, but I plan to do that as soon as I finish typing this up. Then we will be heading back downstairs for some more fun and exciting time with laundry! Wooo Hooo! Yee haw! (Okay, I did not really just say that!) :)

Pulling Away

As I was driving today to drop Punky off at preschool (after her changing three times to get the "right" outfit for school today) I was thinking to myself about all of the stressful things going on in my life right now. Although, really it's the stressful things that are going on in all of our lives right now, but the way I was thinking about it, was the selfish "in my life" way.

And then something hit me. When things get stressful, I withdraw from Hubby, from the kids even, from everybody. I try to figure out how to fix it and make it better. And if I am going to be completely honest, I would have to say that I even withdraw from God. I don't pass my burdens off. I take them, I keep them, I internalize them and I try to solve them. Granted, there are some things that I can solve but I don't need to keep the problems and internalize them. I should be coming to God and to Hubby with these issues (even though Hubby already knows what the issues are) and discuss these problems in my life and in my family's life with both of them.

But I don't. My first initial reaction is to, as I said, keep it. I own it. And then when things end up negatively, I am upset for not having help in one aspect or another. It's a very confusing place to be in and I'm sure from Hubby's perspective, it's even more confusing!

I think I do this because of the way I learned to do things growing up. I learned VERY early on in life to depend on no one but myself. I was the only one that I could depend on and if I couldn't depend on myself, then there was no one else that I could depend on either. And while I do see some validity in that thought process even still, I know that there is more error to it than anything else. You know why? Because I am human. There, I said it. I am only human. I make mistakes, I fail, I don't follow through. And there are times when I am undependable - even to myself. The only person that I can really and truly depend on 100% of the time is God. Need to keep that one in perspective, for sure.

But anyhow, I just came to this realization today and I thought that I would share it with you. And now I am curious - do you do this too? If so, why? How does that work out for you and your husband or family? I suggest that you make a commitment to change that. Learn to change your initial reaction. I think we usually are able to recognize our initial reactions once we realize what they are. And realization and recognition are the first steps to changing a behavior.

I need to take some time today to sit down with Hubby and really discuss all of this. And to apologize to him for pulling away from him and let him know that I will be working on it in the future. And I think I also need to work on how I approach Hubby with these kinds of issues as well. Because I don't think I do such a great job a lot of the time. Which is also probably a contributing factor into not turning to him with tough issues. I have a lot to work on already and I haven't even talked to him yet. Wish me luck! And good luck to you too!

Abstract Concepts

My nine year old understands a number of abstract concepts. There was one this morning that he didn't understand and it's hard to write about but I feel it is necessary to do so at the same time. Not sure why, but I feel like it's important for me to just get it written down.

This morning upon waking up, NattyNu told me that he wanted money for the book fair at school today. That today was the last day to buy books at the book fair. And he really wanted a new book. I explained to him that I didn't know about the bookfair and that I don't have any money until next Thursday when I get paid. He had also been at his grandma's house earlier this week and could have asked her to buy him the book. She is the one that buys most of his books, because while we have money for our basic needs, with Hubby's recent job loss, even taking care of our basic needs has been put into jeopardy. But I did not tell him that part. I just said that I didn't have money for books right now.

He was understandably upset. He said that he doesn't understand why there even is such a thing as money. That whoever invented money just wanted to make people die. Because if you don't have money, then you can't have a place to live and that if you don't have a place to live, well, then you die. That was his reasoning. And it broke my heart.

But what I said to him was that we have money for that stuff. We have money to take care of the things that we NEED. We just don't have money right now for extras. That he doesn't need to worry about not having the things we need, because we had money for that stuff and we will continue to have money for that stuff in the future as well. Just not extra money for extra things this week.

I am concerned that NattyNu is stressing out over this. I mean, I think it's important for kids to realize that just because they want something doesn't mean that they will get it. But I also wonder where the concern for basic needs is coming from. I have a feeling, based on experience, that a certain family member is saying things to him that a kid shouldn't have to worry about. And my heart is very conflicted about that. Because to avoid this situation, I would have to keep him away from this person, which means that I would not be able to work, which would mean that we wouldn't be able to pay our bills and take care of our basic needs, you know? Yet, if I work and continue to have NattyNu around this family member, then he will continue to hear these negative things that he doesn't need to hear about, or focus on. So, there is much conflict within my heart right now.

There is also another issue in regards to work for me and school for the kids. With JoNo's health recently, I don't know that he is really getting much out of his public school education. And with my working during the school hours, it would be very difficult for me to homeschool him full-time. At the same time, it's difficult for me to work evenings because that is also when JoNo's health issues tend to flare up the most, and same thing with overnights. I'm afraid that with the amount of work that I have had to miss due to his health, that I will end up putting my job in jeopardy. My boss says that my job status is just fine but I do know that one of the assistant managers is very grumbly about me missing days when JoNo is really bad.

So, I have a lot of stuff to try to sort through and figure out in regards to all of that. I'm finding it very hard to balance being a mom to a chronically ill child, a special needs child and two other children, plus a wife, a homemaker, and an employee. Plus my mom expects me to be ready and available to help her on a moment's notice. It does not work well at all. I have gotten better about telling her no, that I cannot do this or that, to the point that I am saying no more than I am saying yes - and I am only saying yes when I actually can and it doesn't hurt my family.

Another thing that I am feeling challenged and stretched in regards to is the housework. I am trying very hard to get things done around the house and to keep the house up, but I feel right now like I am fighting a losing battle - against my family. And I'm exhausted. I'm overwhelmed. And I'm crabby and hormonal as well. I want to go back to bed for another hour or so and let Hubby be up and in charge of the work and the kids, but at the same time, I'm sure that would actually produce the exact opposite effect in the long run.

I'm not sure how to keep going on at this point, but I'm also not sure that I can take a break and get some relief either. I will tell you later how it goes...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Social Spark

I signed up for a program called Social Spark. It is a program that allows bloggers to earn income by writing posts for different topics and products. The site is really easy to navigate through and the sign up process was simple. You simply fill out some information, grab a code, put it into your html layout so that you can prove that your blog does indeed belong to you and then you are good to go. It does take awhile to get your blog approved, but in the end, I hope it will be worth it. There were a number of different posting opportunities when I signed up (and there still are!) but I have not really perused them yet.

It appears that this is also a place to meet and get to know other bloggers. You can have "friends" on here and there is a mailbox system as well. I would think of it as something like a social networking site for bloggers. I haven't gone through and looked at other bloggers' profiles yet, but I will eventually.

I plan on doing maybe one sponsored post per week or so. I don't want the blog to be all about sponsored posts (nor does Social Spark) because I want to share my journey to organizing my home and my life with all of you and maybe, just maybe, to help you with your organizing as well.

If you'd like to sign up for Social Spark and see what it's all about, you can do that here. In the meantime though, stick around for regular posts!

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of IZEA the parent company of Social Spark. All opinions, experiences and endorsements given were my own. Although it is a sponsored post, I would not write it unless I was going to be completely honest about it.

Asthma and other related health news

I am trying not to feel frustrated with my son's health issues. I just feel so bad for him! The son I'm referring to is JoNo. He started school at the end of August. Since then, I am quite certain that he has missed probably 30%-40% of his schooling due to illness.

Every single time someone in our family got even a slight cold, JoNo would end up with severe breathing issues that would last for 24-48 hours. Sometimes we would end up in the emergency room, sometimes we were able to get him through the night without a breathing treatment. And it almost always would turn into croup.

Well, after our latest round of "croup" a week and a half ago (roughly), JoNo again became very sick and croupy. I made him a doctor's appointment today and we went in to discuss these issues with the doctor as well as to get JoNo checked out.

JoNo was having difficulty breathing even at the office (at 10am!) and the doctor said that he was really wheezy when he listened to him. He also had mattery eyes, red ears and throat. Oh and a fever too. After checking him over, Dr. W concluded that JoNo has RSV - respiratory syncytial virus.

Some info from the CDC's RSV homepage:
"Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Most otherwise healthy people recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States. In addition, RSV is more often being recognized as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults."

And likely this has been going on for awhile and he has been misdiagnosed by the ER doctors when we have needed to take him in for breathing treatments. How frustrating is that!

We also found out that JoNo has what is called mild intermittent asthma. It's pretty much breathing difficulties brought on by colds, viruses, and that sort of thing. Which explains why he would end up getting "croup" every time one of us got sick. It's his body's reaction to illness.

So, now we have a prescription (with refills) for an MDI (metered dose inhaler), a steroid to help reduce the asthmatic flare-ups and Dr. W also recommended that we keep honey readily available for JoNo as well because of the phenolic compounds in the honey being a very inexpensive, readily available cough suppressant. It helps coat the throat which also can lead to decreased coughing fits. And JoNo gets such severe coughing fits that he cannot catch his breath.

I did a little research about all of this when I got home and this is what I have found out about the phenolic compounds from the website. (I am also copy and pasting the information below.)

"Phenolic compounds, or phenols, are substances that plants, such as fruits and vegetables, require for growth and reproduction. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., phenols may help protect the body against diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Phenols also hold antioxidant properties, so various processed foods now contain them for added nutritional value. Incorporating phenolic compounds into your diet may increase wellness and strengthen your immune system."

So there you have it. That was the sum product of my morning. Exciting and informative huh? You want to know something interesting? Hubby and I both had asthma as children and now as adults, we have mild intermittent asthma ourselves, but didn't know the actual term for it. We also had no clue about all of this additional information that we found out today.

And can I just say, (if it isn't already apparent) that I just love our pediatrician? We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful, devoted, caring, loving and Christian doctor for our kids! He has been such an important part of our parenting. He encourages us as parents, and he honestly treats the whole family, not all by medicine. He is a valuable part of our support system and we have a wonderful relationship with him. I am thankful that he is a part of our lives!

Tackle It Tuesday

Well, my tackle for today was nothing super fun or exciting. Well, for me it kind of was, but for most other folks, it would probably be pretty ho-hum. But you get the privilege of hearing about it anyhow.

Today...(drumroll please) Hubby and I worked in the kids' playroom. We are roughly halfway done with the initial sorting and purging process. Maybe more than that really. Maybe as much as 75% done. I didn't figure that we would get it all done today, but if we had really tried to, I think we could have. But we weren't breaking our necks to get it done. We were just plugging away at it. I've had a migraine and muscle tension in my neck all day so the fact that I was even contributing to the cause was a miracle in itself.

The other big tackle that I worked on today was laundry. I didn't get it started until later in the day, but even still...I got five loads washed, three loads dried and folded. One is still in the dryer and that fifth load is still in the washer. I'll get much more of that done tomorrow. I'll just have to start on it earlier.

Some other tackles for today included paying some bills and working in the kitchen. I still have a ton of dishes left to put away (I left them out to air-dry today after washing them) but I got (as far as I know and have found) almost every dish in the house clean. That is a major accomplishment for me! So YAY!

And tonight, unlike most of our Tuesday kid-free nights, we have a child home. Because he is sick. With croup. Again. I thought kids weren't supposed to get croup after age 3, or at least rarely after that until age 6? He's 6 now and has had croup three times in 2010. THREE times! It's getting to the point that I am almost tempted about putting him in a bubble and just keeping him by my side 100% of the time. Every minor illness turns into a major one for him. It's hard - on him, on me, on Hubby, on JoNo's schoolwork, on daycare (aka mother-in-law), on my work. It's just plain hard, but I don't know what to do for him exactly. It's not as if I can keep him entirely secluded from all outside colds or illnesses. We have four kids - three of them are in school. I work in retail. We collectively come into contact with thousands of people every single day. I don't know what to do about this. Well, I do know what to do about this, but I just cannot do anything just yet. Or maybe I can. We might have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. If we do, I may talk to our doctor and get his input on my idea. I'll let you know what my idea is and what his response is to it, if we do go in to see him tomorrow.

But it is late and I am tired and JoNo is actually sleeping right now, so I am going to call it a night. Have a great night folks! (Or day, depending on when you are reading this.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Great Laundry Sort

We have a lot of clothes. That is an understatement, by the way. We have way too many clothes. When we can go months without needing to wash clothes (provided that all the clothes were clean to start - usually doesn't even come close to happening) you know that it's time to start a major purge session.

The hard part for me is knowing what is a reasonable amount of clothing. I was discussing this with Katie the other day and it's hard. The limits she suggested (which are pretty major considering where we are coming from!) seem really unattainable, although I know that they are good limits. I don't think I'm ready to quite go there just yet, but I'm willing to get much closer to her limit than what I currently have.

So, to start: I am going to have all of my work shirts (four polos with embroidery on them, six polos without embroidery, my zip-up hoodie and my windjacket) and my work pants (khakis or slacks - I try not to wear tan khakis to work as they are trashed by the end of the day usually) all together in the front of my closet. I plan to have seven pairs of pants explicitly set aside for work.

Then there are the nice t-shirts I have. Ones that can be considered casual or dress casual. I want to keep seven of these. I'd actually like to keep about fourteen of them, but I'm really pushing myself on this.

I have a few really nice shirts. Ones that I could wear to job interviews, etc. They are definitely more of a business attire. I like to wear these paired up with other things when we are going out. I really dress them down and by doing this, they end up being very versatile pieces. I'd like to keep seven of these.

For regular jeans, I'd like to have seven pairs. Same with slacks (not for work) and skirts (if I have that many. But if I don't, I won't be keeping ones that I don't like just to have them, I'll only keep the best of the best)

I forgot to mention dresses. I don't know that I have any dresses that I really feel fondly enough about to keep, but if I come across them, I want to keep no more than four dresses.

I'd like to have seven bras left over after the purge and I'm thinking about a month's worth of undies. I admit it, I have lots of undies. And only having a month's worth of undies left over is a HUGE amount that I will be getting rid of. And for socks, I'd really like to have a month's worth here as well.

There are probably a few more "occasional" pieces that I will keep as well, but what you have just read is my goal for my closet/dresser purge.

I will let you know when the purge is finished how close I came to these goal limits and also how much I got rid of (and into which category the items went).

Okay, it's in print, it's on my will become reality. Yeep!


I have been reading through lots of blogs from the 28-day challenge, and now I'm feeling motivated to do my kitchen. Which scares me. There are other areas in my house that need way more work than my kitchen does. Areas that aren't even functioning as they are intended and my kitchen, well, it does.

So, now I have a dilemma. Do the project that I feel motivated to do? Do the project that needs to be done the most? Focus on the project that needs the most work and satisfy myself with a little bit of work in the kitchen afterwards as a reward for doing the big jobs? Hmmm...gotta say that I like the last option the best. But another scary realization...working in my kitchen as a reward? *shudder* When did that happen? What is happening to me? :)

Okay, so for real, I need a game plan for this week because I'm hosting a party here next week and I have a limited amount of time to get a number of things done.

Tuesday's Big Project: begin the playroom clean, sort, organizing process. It's a HUGE project and will take all day long with Hubby's help. There is so much going on in this room right now and we need to get this room together before the party next week, as I have told friends that they can bring their short people with them.

Tuesday's Reward Project: take inventory of all food in the house (pantry, fridge, freezer and deep freeze), organize food storage cupboards

Wednesday's Big Project: continue on playroom clean, sort, organizing process but the main focus of this day will be: laundry (this includes washing, drying, folding, hanging, putting away AND sorting and purging as well. The purge piles will be: donate/freecycle, garage sale/kids' store/craigslist, and toss. I will also be sorting out some clothes that the older boys have outgrown that Boo will eventually grow into.

Wednesday's Reward Project: organize the corner cupboard (I only have one!)

Thursday's Big Project: don't have one scheduled for this day as I am working 7a-5p, have card night from 7:30p-10p and then will be working again 1a-7a

Thursday's Reward Project: not sure that I will have time for this one, but if I do, I think it will be to clean out the two junk drawers in our kitchen

Friday's Big Project: continue on the laundry and the playroom work (if not done yet) begin putting our bedroom together as it is supposed to be

Friday's Reward Project: pots/pans, cooking containers cupboard

Saturday's Big Project: continue on the other projects (playroom, laundry, our room) as needed

Saturday's Reward Project: all the drawers in the kitchen

Sunday's Big Project: continue on the other projects as needed plus the other cupboards in the kitchen

Sunday's Reward Project: counters, sink and fridge

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu plan is going to be as simple as can be. We have a lot of leftovers to use up, so that will make up a large part of our week's menu.

Monday: leftover beef and rice
Tuesday: leftover chinese food
Wednesday: leftover pizza
Thursday: leftover chicken noodle
Friday: a beef pasta dish
Saturday: kids pick!
Sunday: beef brisket in the crockpot, mashed potatoes

Lysol Giveaway

By reading through some of the posts on other people's blogs (who also participated in the 28-day challenge) I came across this one. Kelli, at Feeding Four is hosting a giveaway for Lysol's new product, No Touch Hand Soap System. It's very cool! You should head on over to Kelli's blog to check it out too! Here is her post for the giveaway. But stick around and read. She has a very delightful way of writing that I enjoy. And if you are reading here, I'm guessing that you would also enjoy reading there!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Den/Classroom REVEALED!!!

Okay, this is going to be a very picture-heavy post. So just be forewarned...

This is the room that I introduced to you all at the beginning of the month:

Now this is the part where it is going to get so embarrassing to share. Because I went around the room and took individual photos of each and every area. I literally took a picture about every two feet around the room so that you all could get a real good view on what I was working with. Except that I didn't want to share them all upfront. I figured that it would be well enough to share them now that I'm finished. So here goes. Starting at the corner closest to our sliding door entry - the main entry for our family.


And then a close up of those armoire doors and then a glimpse inside, shall we?

And beginning to move to the right to go around the room, we next come across the deep freeze and the bagging station I set up when I had a paper route. Which ended before Christmas. Having this area set up at that point in time was great. Because I needed it. But now that I no longer need it, it was a problem and things would get dumped onto the deep freeze instead of being brought in and put away. I was definitely one to blame for that.
The next problem with this area was the fact that the kids would take their shoes and coats and backpacks off right at the door - which is fine, except that they didn't have anywhere to hang them. Usually they got dumped on the other side of the door (which you will see at the end of this post) as the deep freeze dump spot was Mom's spot to put things.


Now the children have a nice (and attractive) place to hang their coats and put their shoes. The shoe mat I brought down from the living room, where our front door is. We never use our front door. The only people who use that door are service technicians, Boo's teacher and service coordinator and our friends, Chris and Missy. It just really didn't make much sense to have our shoes stored up there when down here is where they should be stored. Granted, I do have off-season stuff still stored up in the closet by the front door. It's close enough to have easy access to it in our rapidly changing climate, yet still put away and out of sight.
And then continuing on to our entertainment center:

I had this decorated for Christmas (then I decided it could just be called winter decorations, as an my reasoning for not taking the decorations down yet) and the book storage was a good idea initially except that the shelves were too deep and too cramped for the amount of books we had to store. And because of that, the kids would end up just stacking the books on the shelves. And we all just threw extra "stuff" on the shelves when we needed to do a quick pick up in this room. But the extra "stuff" never got removed from the shelves. There was also a gap between the entertainment center and the freezer where things would inevitably fall and be forgotten about, lost, or whatever. And it was hard to get inbetween there to clean it out because they were cramped together too.
But that is no more, as you can see from these after photos:

The next area is where my desk was. Here is the before picture of my (unusable) desk:

I cannot even tell you exactly why or how this desk ended up looking that way. I think that just because the whole room was cluttered and messy and whatnot, it just literally got lost in the mess too. I really wanted to have a desk to sit at and work, so when I brought this one in from the garage, I had high hopes. Those hopes lasted for, oh, approximately, ten minutes, I'm guessing. You'll have to continue to reading to see what the desk looks like now though. Because where my desk was before, is where the deep freeze is now:

By having the deep freeze here, it allows for a couple of things. One, it is no longer as convenient to bring things in and just leave them sit on top of the deep freeze because I am already so much closer to the kitchen already. The second thing is that we no longer have this congestion at the sliding door caused by people coming in, trying to set things on the freezer, take off shoes and coats, etc and allowing the heat to escape from the house out into the cold outside.
Next up is the before picture of the area next to Hubby's desk and then Hubby's desk:

We had developed some bad habits of eating at the computer. Well, technically, we still have those bad habits, but now we have laptops and so we can still eat at the computer if we want. We just bring the computer to the table. But then that seems really rude, so we just haven't done that either. This desk is mostly used by Hubby and the kids. Hubby uses the desktop and his laptop about 50% each. I use my laptop 100% and the desktop 0%. I don't think that all of the mess at the desk was from me, but since I haven't been sitting at the desk, it has been, um, a lot better. Which is totally embarrassing. I would love to say that it was all Hubby or the boys, but I'm afraid that is not the case at all, as you can tell by looking at those areas now:


Now for the stairs. Who wanted to attempt to get to the stairs to climb up before:

But now that we are in the after state, no worries and no problem!

Next up is NattyNu's desk area before:

Yet somehow, he always was able to get his schoolwork done and handed in on time. I don't quite get it. I do know that his desk (and well, to be quite honest, any flat surface in the room) ended up being a holding spot for things. I would pick things up for him at the store and leave them for him on his desk, expecting him to take them up to his room. That didn't happen often enough, and since we have rearranged and decluttered and organized, etc. in this room, I haven't been shopping for those extra kind of things. Thus eliminating the need for that. And I think from now on, I may just take the items up and put them away when I bring them home to alleviate that issue to start with.
And now NattyNu's desk are is Punky's little converted desk area:

I do realize that her "desk" is just really a small table (repurposed) but I felt that it was important for her to have her own little spot to work as well. She likes to do "school" worksheets and color as well and the boys would get frustrated with her when she used their desks. Since she isn't all that responsible just yet with art materials, she doesn't need to have drawers to store those kind of items. Instead, she "checks them out" from me. They are actually stored in the armoire, but the kids are not supposed to get into the armoire and so far, that has been working out well.
And the stand before it was Punky's little desk:

And NattyNu's desk area now:

Then it was JoNo's desk. Here is where his desk was before and in pretty much the same state as NattyNu's desk was also:

And where his desk was is now a neat bookshelf, featuring NattyNu's "Magic Treehouse" collection on the second shelf and the box on the top shelf is where I put my papers to recycle:

Next was the couch, back when this was the family room:

But now it is my desk area. Here is a couple of shots so you can see how nice it looks now. I love how functional it is! And yes, I have picked up the GameCube game and the pop lid. :) In case you noticed. I just didn't see them before I took the pictures.

And next to my desk is another bookshelf. I love this bookshelf (mainly because it's mostly mine!) The top shelf has Christian novels and Bible studies and devotionals and such. The second shelf has cleaning, organizing and self-help(ish) books on the left and then fun reads on the right. The bottom shelf has my binders and my box of words for homeschooling for next year. Oh and to the left of the bookshelf is my file system (in the blue file box) and on top of that are my laptop bag, Hubby's laptop bag, and my old laptop bag. My old laptop still happens to be in that bag as well. But I haven't been able to quite yet part with that paperweight. And to the right of the bookshelf is a little travel sleeper bed that I plan to list on craigslist or take into one of our used kids' stuff stores.

Okay, so much fun! But it's time to move on...back to the old yucky family room photos... This time of the end table. My oh my how we covered that thing in stuff!

But now that is where JoNo's desk is. Doesn't that just look so much better?

And then finally to wrap up the room... This is the shoe shelf, and the bottom of the shoe shelf and the floor in front of the shoe shelf. I cannot believe that we actually allowed that mess to exist. But the truth was, some of it I just didn't know what to do with. Or where to start. I was totally overwhelmed by it all.

But here we are now. Little Boo's corner for art. Notice the fact that I didn't have to take multiple pictures of the area? Lovin' that!

So, now a quick overview shot. Let's see that whole room before picture again:

And the after shot?

Oh yes, so so so much better! I can work, the kids can work, we can play, we can create. So much better than it was. And when we gear up for homeschooling beginning this summer, we will be good to go!


1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

The hardest part of the challenge for me was that we only have two trash cans and it only gets picked up once a week. :) In addition to that, there was also the added issues of changing our minds about what would stay and what would go and where it would be placed and how the room was going to function. We changed our minds a few different times. And some of the pieces were in a few different areas before they ended up in their final homes.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

Well, for one, it's much easier to maintain the desk areas because everything now has a place. The older boys, while they still have drawers (and they do keep stuff in their drawers) no longer have art supplies kept in their drawers. It is much easier this way because now I can keep track of who has what and make sure that it gets put away when they are done using it. The same idea is true for my desk as well. I now have a designated place to put things, my files are set up and easily accessible. Even if the kids have pulled down a bunch of books, it only takes a few minutes to put them all back. All of the soft cover books go on the top shelf, hard cover on the second shelf, workbooks on the third shelf and textbooks on the bottom shelf. It's easy because everything has a place and everyone knows where that is. The labels I put up around the room help out some as well.

3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

We threw a lot of stuff away and recycled a lot of things as well. Some of the stuff actually belonged out in the garage and some of the things were moved to the kids' playroom. The couch, end table and entertainment center were all moved into the kids' playroom, for instance.

4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?

A big one for me was to sort out our books into like categories and then to put them on the shelves available. Another was repurposing the armoire. I really wish now that I had taken a picture of what the inside of the armoire looked like before, but I didn't. It was basically used for overflow items for the bathroom (the door right next to the armoire) and for excess candles, etc. Just miscellaneous stuff. I used the inside of it for the art items storage area and then brought in the two sets of plastic drawers for storage within the area. I do not have an exact plan yet set up for those drawers but I'm thinking that they may become a spot for the kids to store their special papers from school. With two drawers left over, for something else. I also took an extra file box and used that to store all of the kids' art supplies. Now all of the supplies are contained in that one box. I may go back later and further separate it out, but for right now, this works for us. I also took a random tote from within our house and put all of the kids' construction paper in it.

5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?

Honestly anymore, I don't even care if I do win the challenge. I won this room. But since it is a challenge/contest and it would be really cool to win it, I guess I would have to say that I think I should win because of the total transformation of this room. This room went from one that was simply passed through to one that is used. It allowed my family to become closer and communicate about all of our individual needs as well as our family's joint needs for this room. I learned a lot about our habits and ways to change our home to fit or to alter our habits. We never had the shades open in this room as it is on street level and it was an embarrassment but now we often have the shades open and it looks so much more welcoming. We look forward to doing similar transformations in other areas of home as well. Some of them we will do on the blog, and some not on the blog. But for anyone who is interested, the playroom is next...