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Archive for July, 2011

Let me tell you about procrastination.

When Mr. Rogers’ mom was alive, she knitted. What did she knit? Sweaters, of course. She made one a month and at Christmas, she gave away 12 sweaters as gifts. The sweaters on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood were the sweaters his mom made for him.

Ever since I read that, I’ve wanted to borrow that idea. Mind you, I don’t know how to knit. I do know how to crochet but in this age, I just don’t see my teenage daughter jumping for joy on Christmas because she got a crocheted cardigan. Still, I like the idea. Make one gift a month and give them to loved ones. I don’t even have to come up with gifts for 12 people so I could spread it out over more than a month or fill in the gap with other things like birthday gifts or things for myself. Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday are good examples. She loves homemade stuff. (Although she kind of turned her nose up at the last afghan I made her. I thought it was bright, cheerful, and pretty. I don’t think she agreed. I haven’t seen it since.)

I first heard the story about the Christmas sweaters in 2009. When I heard it, I had something like 7 months to work on things for my family. At that time, we didn’t know there was a little Perrin in there so there were four kids, my mom, and Louie. Easy.

Except I never did it.

So I made a list after Christmas, and I planned little crafts for each kid. There would be a blanket for Perrin, crocheted of course. There would be Barbie clothes for Kimberley. I think there was going to be a stuffed animal for Olivia, made of yarn.

Never happened.

Christmas 2010 came along and everything was purchased. The kids were happy with what they got. I got the best present of all because Ronald decided he’d had enough of living with his dad after 4 months and he wanted to come home. Still, no crafts.

So I made my list again.

This time, I was going to make a Bears afghan for my sister-in-law and her fiance. I was going to spread that out over the months, and work on it as I finished up everyone else’s gifts. Wow, that seemed brilliant at the time. The orange yarn is still sitting there, untouched, and I never even bought the blue yarn. It’s just as well since I don’t speak to my sister-in-law and therefore not her fiance either. Too bad. He’s a nice guy. He reminds me of Kevin James. He even kind of looks like him.

Anyway…

April came along and I had this great idea that I’d do quilts for all five kids. I thought maybe I’d make one for my mom if I had time, and I’d make one extra square from each kid’s blanket and put them all together for a blanket for myself. I have a photo on Facebook from when I finished the first square. It was April 23rd. After that, I sewed two more squares. I did this by hand. Then I cut the fabric for a fourth square, tossed it all in the Joanns bag it came in, and there it sat because I couldn’t bring myself to cut those tiny pieces of fabric.

It is 3 minutes til midnight on July 31st and I just got the top of the first quilt assembled. I’m going to need at least two weeks, maybe a month to quilt the thing. Somehow I don’t think everyone’s getting a quilt this year.

 

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Categories: crafts

Friday night foodie: Salsa

July 29, 2011 2 comments

I found this recipe online and have tweaked it a bit. I’d credit the original writer but I don’t remember where I found out. Here is my version:

1 pound (about 4 roma) tomatoes, seeded
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (use caution or wear gloves)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp and 1 small onion, divided
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp lime juice (lemon works too)
a small sprig of cilantro, cut into tiny bits

Run tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and 2 tbsp onion in food processor until chopped small (I just use the slapchop now because it cleans up easier). Add to a saucepan, and add oil. Bring to a simmer; cook 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice small onion. When 8 minutes is up, add onion to saucepan and simmer another two minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Categories: Food

Curb your selfish attitude.

July 29, 2011 2 comments

By now, we’ve all heard of and/or read the blogs going around the internet telling us how rotten children are and that they should be not seen or heard in any number of places, from airplanes to restaurants to grocery stores. One such article speaks of Whole Foods offering specific hours where children are not allowed in the store, and rather are allowed in a play area/daycare type setting at the front of the store.

We’ve all seen that kid. I’m not talking about the child that is autistic, or the child that is just having a bad day. We all know we’ve seen that one kid in a hundred whose mother isn’t paying a bit of attention to him and he’s running around, doing anything he pleases. He may have rammed you with a shopping cart, or banged into your table while you were doing homework at a fast food joint and his mother laughed about it. He may have ran out in front of your car while his mother didn’t notice because she was on her cell phone.

The thing is, that’s one kid. It’s not every kid. It’s not my kid.

I expect my children to behave in public. I pride myself on it. All but one is neurotypical and the one that isn’t is content as long as it isn’t too crowded or loud, and I’m right there. My kids are friendly. They may ask how you are today or tell you a story about their day at the park. They will not ram you, shake you, or run out in front of you. If my youngest has a bad day, he may cry. Please don’t touch him or get in his face, and you probably won’t have to worry about that anyway. My children may have a bad day here and there, but for the most part, they know how to conduct themselves in public.

Obviously there are kids, especially the 1 in 10 that are autistic, that may get loud or take off running. I’m sure that behind them, you’ll see a mother chasing them to try to protect them and you from harm or being disturbed or whatever. I’m not even talking about those kids. Saying those kids need to stay home is equal to saying that the man driving his wheelchair scooter down the sidewalk should stay home because he may cross in front of you in traffic.

I’m talking about the other 9 out of 10 that don’t stim, etc.

I completely understand why a person wouldn’t want to have children disturbing their meal in a five-star restaurant. If a child is going to sit there and cry, they shouldn’t be there. It is up to the parent to either arrange for a babysitter or remove the child until he or she is calm. A good indicator for me of whether it’s okay for us to be somewhere with our kids is whether that place has an easily accessible high chair.

That does not mean, however, that when I take my child to a restaurant with Family in the title, that I am deserving of dirty looks from the man who took his date to said Family restaurant on Valentine’s Day because he was too cheap for more than burritos and lite beer. Yes, this happened. Also, it’s worth noting that at this Family restaurant that I chose because my babysitter/mother-in-law bailed at the last minute on Valentine’s Day, my infant slept through the entire meal, my toddler was content to eat her quesadilla in peace, the owner’s six children ate quietly at a table in the corner with their mother, and the guy that looked at my baby’s bucket carseat and gave us a dirty look (it was cold and he was sleeping – don’t flame me for using it) was the obnoxious one that everyone else hoped would leave.

You know what I hate more than crying children in a diner? Twenty-something boys that come in and pour sugar all over the table, then drink an entire bottle of syrup on a dare. Those are the idiots that should be banned. I’ve seen that too.

I see both sides of the argument with other situations. I have no problem taking my children to an early showing of a movie or not taking them to one that has adult subject matter. My husband works second shift. A 10 AM showing is actually ideal for us. That may not work for everyone, and I don’t see the harm if your child is quiet or removed if not, as long as the material is child-appropriate. I am way too cheap for First class seats on a plane, and I don’t pick my seat ahead of time (kids or not) because it tends to cost more. Whether I have my kids with me or not, I try my hardest not to sit by the guy glaring at any passing child over his laptop. He doesn’t strike me as the guy I want to be stuck next to for hours, kids or not. I really do try to be respectful of others in those situations. I try to gravitate toward families, even when I don’t have kids with me, because they’re more understanding of all situations. Chances are, they don’t want to be stuck on a plane with their kids for 8 hours either.

However, and this is the thing that gets me most, don’t tell me when I can grocery shop.

First of all, I can guarantee that I spend far more money on food each week than someone that has no children. Hello, I have two teenagers! When it comes to food, I am a big spender. When I’m told not to bring my child somewhere, I don’t go there either. Without me, you also don’t have my money. Hey, though… if you can sustain your business with the syrup drinker and the glaring man, go for it.

I wouldn’t leave any of my children with an underpaid grocery worker that I’ve never met, because that just sounds like a really bad idea. Someone in a thread elsewhere said something along the lines of “Hey, that’s not so bad. I get to grocery shop alone and my kid gets to slide on a slide!” No. If I don’t want my kids with me, I will make my own arrangements to leave them somewhere else. I will not be forced to leave them at the front of the store.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t leave my youngest in a typical daycare so I can work. They don’t have the training to take care of a disabled child. Why on earth would I expect it of a grocery store? In my head, I imagine this grocery worker to be a young person that got a job there because he or she could get easy money to sit and text on a cell phone. This is not good enough for any childcare, but especially not when my child is disabled. He can’t even sit straight and has to support himself with one hand. He’s certainly not going to climb a slide. I’m not going to set up an IFSP for him with Whole Foods so that I can buy organic milk.

Therefore, for me, this seems to tread a fine line between being ridiculous and infringing on my son’s rights under the Individuals With Disabilities Act. So I guess that puts us in that category with the kids that stim that I mentioned above, in some sort of way.

No, I don’t think I’m a special snowflake that has a right to force my kids on someone else when they’re out in public, but I don’t think anyone else is so special that I should make my children stay home for them either. I’m not asking someone to listen to a crying baby while they eat their lobster, but don’t tell me that I can’t keep my children with me when I shop for food.

Lucky for me, we don’t have a Whole Foods but if we did, I’d still shop at Kroger.

Categories: In The News

Grrrooowwwllll

July 28, 2011 4 comments

It’s been one of those days where every time I sit down to write witty commentary on my life, real life gets even wittier. Right now I have one kid chasing the other one as she runs away with the empty cloth diaper bin.

So many topics cross my mind but I have a hard time staying focused long enough to write a decent blog about it. I’d like to write out my thoughts on the movement to make business establishments “childfree” but I know that will have to come later. For now, I’ll leave you with a funny. First, watch this.

For years, my husband has done this thing where he nips my nose and growls like a puppy. It was inspired by those creepy dogs on AFV that talk while they growl. It started off as “mama” and “I love you” and it has evolved to just being a playful puppy. No matter how mad I am, I can’t keep from cracking a smile. He does it before sexy times. He does it when he thinks I’m mad but I’m not. He does it when he wants to hear me laugh. It’s been going on for about 5 years and I laugh because he’s doing it, then I laugh harder because I know it’s dumb and I’m laughing anyway.

So the other night, he was doing the puppy thing, and afterward, I said “The maple kind??”

Categories: Videos Tags: ,

And you thought yours was bad…

July 28, 2011 2 comments

A lot of my readers and friends know the history between my mother-in-law and myself. For those that don’t, settle for the short version of the story. We call her Marie, like Ray Barrone’s tv mom. The only difference is that tv Marie keeps her house clean. Our Marie doesn’t. The meddling, veiled insults, and being convinced she’s the queen of everything? Yes.

She’s not all bad. She does have her moments where you almost want to like her. She loaned the hubby gas money so he could get to work a few weeks back and then told us to hold on to it and pay it back after about a month, so we could catch up on other things. She did this without us asking. She also loaned us money to help get a car when both of ours died horrible deaths in the same week last year. Then when we got married, she told us to keep that money and consider it a gift.

Those things make her sound like a real peach and while I do appreciate them, it doesn’t excuse the way she turns on a dime and claims to love a specific person (whether it be one of her kids, her husband, her sister, or another person) one day and then the next day she tells them they’re a horrible bastard and she wishes they’d die. She’s… off.

When we went on our honeymoon, she kept the youngest two kids. I wasn’t pleased with the way she cared for them, and my husband wasn’t either. A huge fight ensued and I made the decision that I was done with her. I don’t care if the hubby takes the littler kids over there to see their grandma because they’re blood and I won’t get in the way of that. I’m an adult though and I’m not going to sit and take it.

So for the most part, I haven’t had anything to do with her in 6 months. When he takes the kids over there, I go shopping or do homework at a restaurant, or I just stay home. I use it as my baby free time each week, and I also don’t have to get sucked into her web of crankiness. The only time I ever hear from her is when there’s bad weather. Now, in her defense, I understand that she’s worried as a mother and grandmother. Still, I’m able to see a weather report and I know what a tornado is.

Tonight was one of those nights. I knew as soon as the weather turned sour that she’d be texting. I was right. I told her we were fine, that I’d keep her posted, and that we’d go to the basement if we needed to. All of these things are true, of course. I did text her later to let her know that the tornado passed over us, and we were okay.

As a side note, I don’t think that was very funny, Mother Nature. I watched the tv and put moving any kids off until the absolute last minute. As the tornado reached the town to the west of us, I ran upstairs to get little man from his crib and I came back downstairs to hear something to the effect of “There’s a tornado overhead. Nevermind, it’s canceled.” I’m sure glad there wasn’t a tornado but really? Couldn’t it have faded away 3 minutes sooner? Funny one. Ya got me this time!

Back to what I was saying… my mother-in-law got wind of the idea that my husband is at work tonight. He works in a hospital so they have power because of the generators and anything could happen but it’s reasonable to assume they’re safe there. That information wasn’t good enough for her, though. Oh no. First she calls the house phone. I didn’t want to talk to her so I let it go and she texted to ask me to call my husband and have him call her before he left work.

I know her MO. She thinks she’s going to talk him into staying at her house overnight. I know better. I know he’s going to be extremely busy on a night like this, driving people to their cars and helping nurses get patients into the hallway. Then you have the homeless people that pretend they attempted suicide so they have a dry place to stay. It’s hospital policy to have a guard sit with anyone that has made a suicide threat. Then someone has to drive around to the other buildings to make sure there’s no damage and so on. People need to be relieved from lunches. You get the idea. If I call when there were previous threats of tornadoes over my house and scare my husband half to death just to tell him to call his mother, he’s going to be rightfully upset with me.

She knows this. That’s why she won’t call. She doesn’t want to get snapped at. So I told her the storm knocked the phone out and I’d try to call him later. She was satisfied with this. She wouldn’t tell me what she wanted, specifically, but it did basically come out that all she wanted was to have him sleep at her house because the roads might have flash floods. Every time it rains heavily, there’s a flash flood warning. When everything flooded in 2007, it made the weather people paranoid. Now it’s like an inch of snow in Southern California. Everyone freaks out.

I’ll tell him to call her when he gets home. That’s good enough. He’s a big boy. If the weather is too bad for the road to be passable, he knows to turn around.

So that’s the story of my mother-in-law, at least the short version. This catches us up so I can just write in the present tense from now on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pace by the window because the mother in me is just as paranoid as the mother in her.

Categories: Extended family

July 26, 2011 4 comments

My laptop is on the fritz. I was washing the dishes last night and silly me, I depended on a 9 year old in the other room to keep an eye on the little ones. She had her nose buried in the portable dvd player, watching a movie she’s seen 100 times, and she was letting her little brother sit on the laptop and bang on it. When I opened it up, my first thought was “Wow, that’s a cool screensaver…. Oh shit.” It looks like Picasso learned graphic arts.

It will work if I plug it into an external monitor but it’s a hassle to unplug the monitor from the desktop. I’ve got a few options open to me so it’s not a total wash but for now, I backed up the photos and I’m leaving it alone. My, oh my, do I ever hate the keyboard on this desktop though so if you don’t see many updates for a while, that’s why. Then again, I’ll probably do the hooking up of the laptop after the kids go to bed so they can’t pull at it and maybe I’ll update then. That is, if I can look at the monitor for the desktop and remember that the mouse isn’t going to work for it.

Since I don’t have the laptop at the end of the couch anymore, I logged on to check my email on my phone and I saw that my school had determined two grades on English assignments. I signed into the desktop to check. I got a 90 and a 95. Neither grade is bad, but I’m still annoyed. One of the questions was something along the lines of “Name 5 things that proofreaders check for.” In my list, I named indentation. I got points off because I didn’t call it paragraph indentation. What the hell else would I be indenting?

A couple of the earlier grades were in the 70’s so all in all, I pulled an 88 percent for the course. That’s acceptable, I guess. I just think they were too strict with the grading. Whatever. As long as I get the diploma so I can go on to work in lunchlady land at the kids’ school once Perrin gets into preschool and get a college degree, I don’t care.

I’m waiting for a shipment of science books now. I checked earlier and it said it was being prepared. Hopefully it hurries up. I need something to do now that the internet is inconvenient.

In the meantime, maybe I can finish that quilt I started in April!

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Nice to meet you!

July 25, 2011 1 comment

My main reason for coming here is  because I’m tired of a certain other journaling site getting hacked because of some battle over Russian politics. I just want to write about cute things my kids do and idiotic things that the youngest one’s doctors do. Since I can import to that other site through wordpress, I’m giving this a shot.

My name is Carla. I’m 32 years old and I live in the midwest. I’m obsessed with nail polish and love being on the internet. I’m not so obsessed with housework and other boring things, so sometimes I have to give myself peptalks to get stuff done. It gets done. I just don’t get excited until after it’s over.

(Louie) I’m married to a wonderful man that I’ve known for a total of almost 7 years. We got married last November. He’s a hard worker, working on second shift, so my evenings are usually spent alone with the kids in this zoo we call a house. When he’s off work, we’re usually running errands or off doing something. Due to the nature of his job, his schedule is on a rotation and he’s only off on the weekends about every 5 weeks. He does get time off though and that’s our family time. It’s also his woodshop time. I love that his ‘thing’ doesn’t take him away from home and I can count on him being here on his days off but when I get pms, I have severe jealousy over power tools.

I don’t have any pets, cats or otherwise. I have plenty of kids to make up for it. Sometimes they even pee on the floor. That’s where the five little kittens come in. Remember the story about the three little kittens losing their mittens? Well mine lose mittens, socks, homework, toys, money, and I don’t even want to know what else. Meanwhile, I lose my mind.

(Brittany) My oldest daughter is 14 going on 40. I think that’s the case with all kids that age. Some days she’s my best friend and some days I’m checking the calendar to see if she’s 18 yet. As the oldest, she feels she’s entitled to certain privileges that the other kids aren’t. Like half of a paycheck. Or a homecoming dress when the only money I have is to be used to get to my uncle’s funeral. She’s a good kid. She’s just selfish sometimes because she’s a kid. She’s never had to be an adult so I try not to expect her to think like one. Some days that’s easier said than done.

(Ronald) My oldest son is 12. He’s in Arkansas right now with his dad/my ex-husband because he had to miss the scheduled summer visit due to summer school. He has a heart of gold but he’s also a master manipulator. He will bend over backwards to help his elderly grandmother but he will lie through his teeth to get out of doing homework. But hey, at least he willingly showers.

(Kimberley) My middle child is just that. She’s 9 and spent a good portion of her life as the baby. Then when she was 7, she got a new baby sister. Ten and a half months later, she got a new baby brother. She doesn’t act out over it too much but she does like to milk not getting enough attention when she gets into trouble for something. “It’s just that nobody pays attention to me!” I really doubt that has anything to do with why you didn’t do your laundry.

(Olivia) In case your math skills are failing you after reading the last paragraph, kid #4 is 2 1/2. She has witnessed so many changes in my life, whether she realizes it or not. It’s astounding how different life is, just in the little time she’s been alive. We’re in the throes of potty training right now. Most days she does great. She hasn’t worn a diaper in a week. Today I’m beginning to wonder if she needs one. She’s at that age where every other sentence that comes out of her mouth is blogworthy. Yesterday, she told me her pee is a snake – an anaconda. Thanks, Diego.

(Perrin) My youngest son is really my light. I love all of my kids, but this one has taught me so much about acceptance and not having control over life. He was born at 33 weeks in September 2009, and although he didn’t have any serious problems (just a little trouble eating), he must have had issues with oxygen before, during, or after birth. At 9 months, he wasn’t sitting up. He wasn’t crawling. He wasn’t scooting. He just rolled around. I consulted the doctor and she said he was fine so I consulted the NICU follow up clinic and they referred us to EI. Then we were referred to a neurologist. That’s how we got the MRI done that determined that our son has Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) which is the leading cause of cerebral palsy.

At 22 months, he can sit unassisted but he has to lean on one hand or work out his own posture to make it so. He’s crawling. He’s cruising. He has the will to walk. We just have to improve his core strength so it can happen. He can walk with a walker, though, and his daddy made him some really sweet little parallel bars out of wood. It’s a work in progress and it always will be. He now sees the neurologist, a physical therapist, a developmental therapist, an occupational therapist, a pediatric ophthalmologist, and now an ENT because he’s going to get his adenoids removed in September.

He’s on baclofen (a muscle relaxer) and it has been our miracle drug. He couldn’t do 75% of the things he’s been able to learn to do in the past 6 months or so without it. He wears glasses to correct lazy eye. He had AFO’s (a type of brace) but they didn’t seem to help. They had to go inside shoes and the shoes had to be three sizes too big to fit over the braces. Ever try to walk in clown shoes?

We’ve made a lot of progress though, and I am very thankful for that. You’ll often hear the phrase in these situations that you are your child’s advocate. That gets proved over and over.

A few other things about me:

I love to cook. Somehow this translates online to me being some kind of domestic goddess. I’m not. I’m just hungry.

I’m still nursing my youngest and don’t intend to stop any time soon. I don’t care how you feed your kids. Just as long as you do.

I live in a very small town. I let my older three kids go across town any time they want. When the entire town is 8 blocks long, that’s easy.

I keep a garden. I was raised by a dad that did the same thing. Some things are second nature to me. Everything else is trial and error. This includes learning the difference between a cucumber plant and an okra plant, and learning to grow more than one radish seed.

I think that about covers it. From here on, I’ll just write and leave it to you to figure it out or ask questions. I’m pretty sure that most people will already know me anyway since I intend to import this directly into that “other” journal.

Categories: Uncategorized