Monday, January 30, 2006

Save Me From Frivolous Lawsuits

I'm sure you heard about this lawsuit last week. A mother is suing Kellogg and Nickelodeon for using kids TV characters for advertising. Basically these companies are aiming advertising at children - young children.

While I'm not exactly for turning our children into monsters that want everything they see on TV, I really can't get behind this lawsuit either. Kellogg and Nickelodeon are really just doing what they do. It seems to be the parent, in this case, that's falling down on the job.

What happened to the word NO? No, you can't have that, No, you don't need that. No, you can't watch TV all day, every day.

We are the parents. We chose what to let our kids watch on TV. We chose what to buy at the store. Our job might be a little harder because our kids see their favorite TV character on everything from food to toys, but it doesn't change the fact that it is our job to teach them self-control, good food choices and money management.

The article points out that "the lawsuit assumes that parents can't turn off televisions, have no control over the food they buy and can't make their kids go outside to play."

Enough said.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away . . .

Rain is the bane of every mother trying to get her kids on the bus in the morning. The Big Three (what I call my three that go to school, the younger two I call the Itty Bits) had to run through the rain to catch the bus. In my defense it wasn't raining nearly has hard two minutes before. It's a judgement call, and when there's two little ones to have to schlep into the mix, the call usually end ups on the side of what's easiest.

Option One:
Give the kids umbrellas. Sounds easy and at one point they did each have their own umbrella. However they played with them and broke them. Now the only umbrellas we have are in the cars, negating the simplicity of the whole umbrella thing. In addition I don't have one big enough for all of us, so there would be fighting over who got to hold the other umbrella, someone would complain that their arm was getting wet, and I'd be yelling before 7:30 am. Never a good way to start the day.

Option Two:
Load everyone in the van and drive them to the top of the driveway to wait for the bus. In theory this is also sounds like a simple solution and I've done it a time or two. It does have a couple of drawbacks. The van is not parked in the garage, therefore the kids get wet fighting over who gets in the car first and waiting for the others to get in. And then getting out of the van means they get wet again. And what do I do with the Itty Bits? You get the picture.

Option Three:
Rain coats. Sounds very reasonable but honestly the expense (as small as it may be) times 4 (because the oldest Itty Bit would insist on having one also), multiplied by the few times they'd need them and the hassle of storing them when not in use, equals not going to happen. So I don't win mother of the year.

Option Three:
Stand on the porch until the bus stops at the stop sign right before our house, then run. By the time they get to the top of the driveway the bus is waiting for them. This is the option we usually use unless it's a deluge. Of course this only works because we know the bus driver will stop at our house even if the kids aren't out there. I turn the porch light on as a signal that they are coming (not that I've ever discussed this signal with the bus driver, but he seems to understand).

So this morning my kids ran through the rain that was heavier at the time of the running than at the time (2 minutes previous) that the decision to run was made. M & E's hair will not be in the pretty glossy state it was when I sent them out the door. They will arrive at school looking like partially drowned rats, but so will half the other kids, so I can't be the only mother that made her kids run through the rain.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Of Ear Infections, Shots, Genetics and Resolutions . . . And Maybe A Dash of Grammar

Ear Infections and Shots
A week ago I took P into the doctor for what I was sure was an ear infection. 2 points for mom - P had a "raging" (to quote the doctor) double ear infection. Off we go to pick up another antibiotic (it just isn't the Save Me home without at least one antibiotic in the fridge). After 2 doses of the pink stuff P was showing signs of feeling better, or at least the fever was gone. After 3 doses all she wanted to do was sleep. After 6 doses she didn't want to sleep or eat and even threw up once. But I decided to write it off to the continuing snotty nose and the new tooth (#4 thank you very much). After 3 more nights without sleep (and a 5th tooth just to keep us on our toes) I had her back at the doctor. Both ears were still infected. I'm dreading the new antibiotic which would most likely be one of the white ones (which all mom's know taste twice as bad as the pink ones and are much harder on delicate bums) when the doctor utters the sweetest words I've ever heard -"I think we'll just give her a shot this time."

This is the point where I jump for joy. No fighting to get medicine down and then praying it stays down. But poor P, you say. No one likes shots. Ah, put P is actually very good at getting shots - she doesn't even flinch and there is very minimal crying. We do have to go back tomorrow to make sure she's getting better. If she not, it's another shot. I'll keep you posted (I'm sure you're dying to know).

I have a confession to make. When I was young and my hair was longer, I used to chew/suck on the ends of my hair. Gross I know. Get over it.

My hair has been short for almost 20 years now except for a couple of occasions (my first 2 pregnancies) when I decided to let it grow out. On those couple of occasions I realized that this hair-chewing habit was not one I had broken, but was merely unable to do because of the length of my hair.

Last year E expressed in interest in growing her hair out. So we have been working to that end. However a few days ago I noticed E doing something eerily familiar -- you guessed it, she was sucking on the ends of her hair. She's very good about stopping when I call her on it, but when do I say enough and make her get it cut?

At the beginning of the year I had 5 resolutions. One of them being to blog everyday. So you may have noticed I'm not doing very well on that one. I do have a couple of very good excuses:
1. It is difficult to blog when ill.
2. It is even more difficult to blog when one's child is ill (see above).
As for the other resolutions, the previous excuses also apply.

Back in my day we took the PSAT (do they even have that anymore?). Part of the PSAT was the TSWE (Test of Standard Written English for those who may not be as old as I am). My freshman and sophomore English class revolved around being prepared for the TSWE - after all if we wanted to be National Merit Scholars, we had to do well on the PSAT including the TSWE.

I don't recall my PSAT scores (although it was good enough to make me a Nation Merit Scholar) but I do know I earned a perfect score on the TSWE thanks entirely to the teaching of Mrs. Houghton. I only bring this up so that you know I do have a good working knowledge of the English language (even if it is not always evident).

During my freshman writing class in college the question of the proper use of parentheses and the dash and if there was a correct time to use one and not the other. The outcome of the discussion was that, other than parenthetical documentation which obviously uses parentheses, the parenthesis and the dash are pretty interchangeable, but that most writers preferred one over the other. At the time I was a committed dash-person, but as you can see I have morphed into a hybrid of a dash-person and a parenthesis-person.

Just thought you might want to know.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So I've Missed Two Days . . . .

I'm not doing so great on the resolutions -- I've missed two days of blogging, and I haven't started exercising yet. But in my defense on both counts, the sickies didn't leave with the old year. So far I've had strep and P (the child formerly known on this blog as I) has a double ear infection . . . again. While the first left me laying on the couch moaning the second left we laying on the couch with a moaning 1 year old. Neither condition is conducive to blogging or exercising

Enough excuses. Today's topic . . .

I am eating chips and salsa for breakfast. I had it for lunch and dinner yesterday and at least twice the day before. Separately, I don't like anything that goes in salsa. But put it together and I can't get enough of it. My favorite at the moment is Tostitos Medium restaurant Style, although I do run it through the blender before eating - I don't like chunks in my salsa.

Next topic . . .

The breakup of M and E has been quite successful, although M has had a hard time sleeping through P's wakings. I did have to warn E that she would not have her own room for long. Since M took J's space in P's room, J would have to move into E's room when he was ready (okay when I was ready for him to move). Well E latched onto that and was adamant that J needed to move up NOW. So last Sunday my baby J (okay he's 2.5) moved upstairs out of my room.

This is a good thing and without E's pushing I might have put it off for months. All this room switching has had the added benefit of getting us out of the habit of laying down with M and E every night. It was easier to lay down with them then to tuck them back in 12 times each night. But now it's just not feasible.

Now I'm off to catch up on my shows. I love my TIVO.

Monday, January 09, 2006

'Til Death Do You Part . . . .

My husband owned a house when I met him. He therefore already had appliances -- an ancient fridge, an even more ancient washer, a new dishwasher that was louder than most sporting events, and an oven that was very adequate for our needs, but nothing special.

During the first seven years of our marriage we had to replace the fridge, the washer and the dryer. The fridge died a slow death that allowed us to purchase a replacement and have it delivered without losing anything but the mayo. The dinosaur side-by-side fridge was replaced with a lower-end, but not rock-bottom, freezer-on-top model because I hated the side-by-side.

When it was the washers turn to go, it two was replaced with a good, but not fancy machine.

The move to our second home required replacing our gas dryer with an electric one. Again, we were modest in our spending, and it's been a good dryer. It's not it's fault that it doesn't match the washer that became our 7th anniversary present when the previous washer died an early untimely death at only 2 years old. This time I insisted on a front-loader, with out really realizing what that meant price-wise. But once decided I could not be swayed.

The move brought into our lives a oven and a dishwasher that, while they worked, were old and ugly. Unfortunately during our four years with them I could never find sufficient cause to replace them. They each tried once to die, but were easily revived with inexpensive parts.

Our third home is a new, semi-custom, job for which we picked out all new kitchen appliances. This time we splurged - but just a little. All black and shiny they are beautiful.

There's a side-by-side fridge with water and ice in the door. Apparently appliance purchases are a little like labor - time makes the pain seem less than it was. I had forgotten how much I truly disliked the side-by-side model, although the water/ice in the door was a big draw. We bought the fancy microwave with sensors and programs for all kinds of things. It makes a perfectly popped bag of popcorn every time - regular or snack size. Which is a good thing - that's about all we use it for.

The silence of the dishwasher is lovely. The location of the silverware basket - not my favorite. I thought having it in the door would be great, but really it's not. I have to think twice as hard about how I load the utensils to be sure they will all get clean. I just don't have the time for that kind of attention and planning now that I have to load faster than Little Miss Grabby Hands can unload.

But these are big ticket items. Not easily replaced. It's not like hating the way a sock fits, so you toss the pair and replace it a few bucks. Nope these are here for the duration. And we bought Whirlpool so we really are in for the long haul. 'Til death do us part.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

C is for Cookie . . .

And G is for girl scout and for the first time in a very long time a girl scout came to my door selling cookies. YIPPEE!! And thankfully we can pay her when the cookies arrive, which gives us almost two months to "save up" for our cookies.

Usually I don't even know it's cookies season until little gangs of girl scouts start hanging out in front of the Walmart and Kroger selling their addictive treats. I pounce on them before they can pounce on me. I am an eager cookie buyer, hoping they will have my favorite cookie - Dosie-Dos (as we called it when I was a girl scout), also known as the Peanut Butter Sandwich.

It seems to be a rare commodity. Either it's a big seller and they are always sold out before I find them, or they aren't a big seller and the few other devotees have found them before I have. Either way I sometimes don't get my fix. I then have to prowl the surrounding towns looking for girl scouts selling cookies, hoping that this will be the location that has my favorite cookie.

Aaahh, but this year, I was able to preorder as many boxes as I my little heart desired. There will be no cookie shortage at our house this year. I will have four beautiful boxes of Dosie-Dos.

Only 4?? What was I thinking? Get that girl scout back here. FOUR boxes won't last me two weeks. I have to have more than four . . .

Friday, January 06, 2006

Just a Random Thought

Have you noticed that every cover of O magazine has Oprah on the cover?

I know at some point in the magazine's history there have been others, but always with Oprah, if my memory serves me (which is iffy, really, I do have 5 children). And lately, it's only been Oprah.

Does this strike anyone else as, I don't know, I hate to say vain, but . . . .?

It's her magazine and she can do as she pleases. It does, I suppose, lend a bit more "authority" to the publication. Reminds us it's hers (just in case the name doesn't do it).

Anyway. Just need to get that off my mind.

If Only I Had More Shelves . . .

While reading WorkingMom's most recent post, I too realized that I'd love to live in a catalog -- I'm not overly picky about which one. Just somewhere where everything has a place. I could even be happy in a catalog form the Container Store.

I want to be organized, I can see in my head. But, alas, like the unpainted masterpieces, there is a missing connection between my head and reality.

I suspect, but can not prove, that the missing connection is money. Okay, I could prove it, if I had the money, but since it is unlikely that I will, in the near future have the money, my theory will have to remain just that.

I am quite good at creating space and finding space and using space. I have fully grasped the concept of using vertical space. I love shelves. I am completely happy with wire shelving (which you'd think is inexpensive - and relative to the more decorative options, it is - but even it adds up quickly) Cool a hyphen within a parenthesis, more on that in a later post, at least in the less public places of my house - laundry room, closets, garage. I just need more of them.

But I would probably also need a family as keen to be organized as I am. All the bedrooms have plenty of closet space - I designed them that way. I have even provided them with as much shelving as we could possibly fit in. And still there are toys all over the floors. I give them buckets for each type of toy (barbies in their own box, dinosaurs in another, ponies in yet another, you get the idea) and still there are toys on the floors.

The Husband went to considerable lengths to find the perfect bedside table when we moved into the new house so that he would be able to adequately house the things he must have within an arms reach of the bed - every CD he owns, a novel or two, a couple of puzzle books, things he will only need once a month, if that often, but would rather die than have to walk downstairs to find. (Love ya lots Husband, but you know how I feel about your corner). And then he has moved the hope chest to prevent I, the wee one with sticky fingers and more curiosity than George, from getting at his stuff (a move I agree with in theory because it keeps me from having to constantly pull her out of a newly found treasure of choking hazards), but which created what the Husband called a "box to put all things in!" Egads!

So I can understand his need to keep his things close (as much as it drives me batty) because the next most logically place for him to keep these things (if he were willing to let them be on acompletely different level of the house - which I'm not really sure he'd agree to) would be in the basement computer area which houses a lot of things, mostly in slightly organized piles that only I understand, which I'd gladly organize, but as of yet as not had the benefit of properly arranged vertical storage.

If Only I Had More Shelves!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year . . . Not

Five days into the new year and I'm sick. Strep. At least it's something I can take a pill for. But I have been in real trouble if my mother didn't live with us.

The husband go the kids off to school this morning with only minimal assistance and then my mom took over while I laid on the couch waiting to go to my doctors appointment.

I know how spoiled I am, how lucky I am. Life without her here would be markedly different. The clothes would get washed, but rarely folded. The floors would get swepted but not nearly as often. I'd be much more dependant on my Zoloft. I could go on, but needless to say I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Here's hoping I feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We Need a Patch for That

After reading this post by the Weirdgirl and having struggled with giving FIVE children their medicine I've come to the conclusion that we as parents need to be lobbying the pharmaceutical companies for an amoxicillin patch.

Really if they can put nicotine and birth control in a patch why not amoxicillin? There must not be any parents working there.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Save Me From Fighting Twins . . . Again

For perhaps the first time in their lives the twins are sleeping in seperate rooms.

After many nights of "she's bothering me" from one or both, I finally decided a threat was in order.

"Do I need to put one of you in I's room?" I asked, thinking for sure they would decided they really didn't want to be seperated. "I'll go," M immediately replied.

"But she'll be scared," E piped up. Ah the voice of reason, I think. "She'd better take a night light."

So the mattress has been moved and all seems to be quiet. We'll see how long this lasts. I'm not moving clothes or toys yet. I don't have the patience or wisdom of Solomon at the moment and I'm sure that process will take both.

Save Me From Children Who Will Eat Spaghetti But Not Elbow Noodles . . .

I mean really they are the same thing, just the shape is different. Of course this phenomenom also manifests itself in chips -- sour cream and onion Lays are good, but sour cream and onion Pringles are not. Again it's just the shape that's different. Shredded cheese is a definite yummy unless it's preshredded in a bag, and then it might as well be poison. Shredded cheese must be shredded from the block within sight of the shredded-cheese-eater or it will not pass the taste test.

Of course I do have my own food hang ups. Green and cooked - not going to eat it. Orange and cooked, yellow and cooked are also no-gos. And don't get me started on store-brand Cheerios. They are not the same!

At least I have one great eater and another one in training. Joran will eat almost anything and toothless Isabelle is well on her way to following her older brother.

And then there's the oldest of the bunch who wants to be a chef, but refuses to taste anything new.

Save me.

originally posted Aug 24, 2005

Save me from incomplete thoughts . . . .

So it would seem I didn't really finish my thoughts from last night. But I think you get the picture. School starts in a week. YIPEE!

So whats got me thinking tonight? Not much. Maybe I'll expound on the youngest of the family I.
I is 7 months old. She has mastered crawling and all that goes with it (rolling over, going from sitting to crawling, crawling to sitting, etc). She's not very speedy yet, but she can get where she wants to go, although the hardwood floors do give her fits. And now she is showing signs of wanting to pull up. I am in so much trouble.

She loves to stand. And better than standing is jumping. We all have little bruises on our legs from her tiny toes. When you hold her she can't be still. She's always wiggling and if you let her stand on your legs, she's jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping.

I thinks the world revolves around her big brother J (age 2). You can see it in her eyes -- they light up when she sees him. I know that sounds like romance novel drival, but it actually happens. Didn't believe it was real until I saw it. She also loves his blanket, even though he's not into sharing it. Whenever possible she likes to get her hands on just a piece of it.
Ihas several family nicknames. The big kids call her Issy. J and the adults in the family call her Belle. Of course I can't stop with just one. Sometimes she's "Issybit", other times she's "Ittybit" and worst of all sometimes she's just "Bit." So I, when your in high school and for some odd reason your still known as Bit -- I take full responsibility. Sorry -- okay, not really -- your my itty-bitty baby.

orginally posted July 31, 2005

Save me from fighting twins . . .

School starts in 1 week.

This is a decidely good thing. Although it means I have to get up every morning before 7 am (definately not fun) and get the 3 big kids out the door while taking care of the ittybits, it is still a good thing. Although it means making lunches that at least one of the kids will complain about and force feeding breakfast to a sleepy crew, it is good thing. Although it means the beginning of fights over homework (which I'm told is exponentially harder now that we are in the 3rd grade) and bedtimes, it is a very good thing.

Because the beginning of school also means a return to a predictable routine. It also means the girls will have some time apart from each other, which will hopefully mean they won't be as likely to fight over even the tiniest of things. The beginning of school means a return of quiet --or at least what passes for quiet when there are still 2 kids at home. The beginning of school means a return to weekly visits with my best friend and shopping trips that don't require the patience of Mother Theresa to complete.

originally posted July 30, 2005

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Resolutions

I will write in my blog every day. I may not have anything insightful or thought-provoking, but I will write something. I spend enough time sitting at my computer everyday that it should be cake to spend five minutes putting down a few thoughts.

My biggest problem is that I write beautifully in my head. I'm witty and have an excellent turn of phrase. But as soon as I try to type it out, it disappears. I have the same problem when it comes to drawing. I can see in my head exactly what my hand should do to make the picture appear, but put a pencil in my hand and the connection is bad -- the commands just can't get through from my head to my hand. So the masterpieces remain locked in my brain.

So on this first day of 2006 how about a few more resolutions.

1. I will not allow my kitchen table to be junked up. It is not a storage cabinet.
2. I will exercise at least twice a week, beginning as soon as the kids go back to school.
3. I will send a flyer around my neigborhood annoucing my photography business.
4. I will scrap two pages per week -- I'm only 9 years behind.

I think that's good enough for now.