Friday, December 31, 2010

Soft and Stinky

I am sitting in the rocking chair in the living room. All is quiet. Everyone has abandoned me except the squirrelly girl in my arms who FINALLY decided to drift off while nursing. I switch her to my shoulder, where she grows limp and snore-y, and shnorkly.

I'm thinking about my sister with her new baby, Marek. I'm imagining holding him and having him fall asleep on my shoulder, limp and soggy, stinky and shnorkly.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Patchy Posting


I know I haven't been really regular at posting but it's the Holidays and I've got a lot of irons in the fire. Not the least of which is an on-going project to do some work for my local Patch site. If you don't know about Patch, read on:

It's a venture to get local news to individual communities. It was started up some time last year and is spreading all over the U.S.. Check out www.patch.com and then click on your state and maybe your own city to see what's going on in your hometown!

I also happen to know the editor and he asked me to "write something" (very descriptive instructions, I know!) for our Patch. I did, and he published it yesterday!

Here's a link to the story I told about my dad and how he made Christmas time very special for us every year: Click on the word PATCH
I've told the story before, I'm sure. I thought I had told it on here, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Then, I remembered that I had actually told it to our mom's group a few years ago and I remember how I was amazed at the reaction from a lot of the women in the group.

I think that people didn't have such rich traditions as my parents started in us. It made me understand just how important it is to HAVE traditions, even if it's just little ones, such as: "My mom and dad ALWAYS have us say prayers as a family before bed."

Kids form their memories around repetition, don't they? It's so important for them to have "something to hold on to" when their thumb doesn't taste so good anymore and their favorite blanky can't go with them to their office job. The comfort of a good family tradition will make them feel warm and snuggly even out in the cold, dark and lonely world...at least, that's what it has done for me!

So, read that story, curl up with your kids on these cold winter nights, and start some new traditions of your own. It's never too late!

P.S. My 16 year old daughter took that picture of my dad. She's very talented!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nice Ice For Sale, Ten Cents A Pail


Analise and Niklaus, making the best of the dome-crushing 2010 blizzard.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Freakout

I thought about doing "a post a day" in December but Lord only knew it wasn't happening. The transmission went out on the big gray bus, my baby sis had her first baby, I had to do a job for St. Michael Patch (our new local news site...check to see if you have a Patch.com site for your town!), I put Trina in a few classes at the high school, and there are many many many other things still on the schedule until before Christmas.

I can't wait until Lent.

Lent is more of a time waiting than Advent is. Advent seems to be a little more "bustle-y" for our family and it's not a matter of going around freaking out about gifts. It's more of a time of everything-falls-to-crap and we're playing catch up all month.

Maybe it's the same for a lot of other families. I know that things aren't all bad or dramatic (like a new baby or two!) but it feels like I've been on overdrive and it's always one step forward, then WHAMO back about 10 steps. I need to focus more on the 'reason for the Season'. Of course, everyone needs to be reminded of that this time of year, right?

Part of my new project was to visit businesses in the area so I got to see a lot of what was available in my town and I've actually gone back to 6 of the businesses (so far) to purchase something in the past 3 days. I stopped by a computer refurb store and bought a computer so this one doesn't have any pictures loaded up on it yet for that oh-so-exciting picture people always want to see with a new post.

I'll illustrate with words:

I look like an old lady with about 10 new wrinkles, unshaven legs, barely showered body, haircolor that's all worn out, my house is a disaster area, my kids are ignored, my hubs is yelling at me to stop writing on my blog and get back to work, and I gotta gooooooo......

Adios. Until I have a minute to breathe.

P.S. My legs are always unshaven this time of year. I just threw it in for your extra added enjoyment.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Soft and Stinky

I am sitting in the rocking chair in the living room. All is quiet. Everyone has abandoned me except the squirelly girl in my arms who FINALLY decided to drift off while nursing. I switch her to my shoulder, where she grows limp and snore-y, and shnorkly.

I'm thinking about my sister with her new baby, Marek. I'm imagining holding him and having him fall asleep on my shoulder, limp and soggy, stinky and shnorkly.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Seestairs, Seestairs

Around this time of year, I like to get into the holiday season by watching the classic "Christmas Movies".

Here's a short list of the Advent MUST SEEs:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Elf

and, of course, White Christmas

To tell you the truth, I only just watched White Christmas for the first time about 15 years ago, right around this time of year. We were living in an apartment in Monticello, and we had these neighbors, who rented a house on the other side of the parking lot. The mom was a few years older than me and was very...different from me. She was about 6 ft tall, chain smoked, was divorced and re-married to a five foot tall Mexican. They had a couple of children together and their names were the first and last name of a famous Mexican guitar player. The man they named their kids after, happened to be a cousin of the dad of the family.

The kids played with little Trina and were very sweet, if not just a little rambunctious. The kids had very little discipline because their dad didn't work and their mom worked all the time. All in all, they were a nice family and they always had time for a visit. One day, the little girl (who was about 7 at the time) asked me if I'd watch a movie with her. She pulled out her FAVORITE tape and the whole family spazzed out when they found out I'd never watched it. The dad, especially, was aghast. "You mean you've nay-ver seen the White Christmas? Aye! It's the BES! OH! (singing in flat, out of tune voice) Seesters, seesters dare wear nehvar sohch deevoted seestairs...?" When I blankly stared at him (I mostly was just so surprised he had suddenly become so animated!), he looked at me with a "HOLY GUACAMOLE, I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THIS AWESOME MOVIE BEFORE!" look. Clearly, me never seeing this movie was something he needed to remedy so, I settled down to watch this SOUPAIR movie with the family. After about 10 minutes, the dad was asleep, snoring on the couch.

I thought the movie had REALLY bad acting but the songs were good. When the movie came to the famous "Sisters" song, I finally figured out what the Mexican dad was trying to sing and it took all the couth I could muster to not bust a gut. The dad woke up at the end of the movie, scratched his stomach and offered me a beer. He then asked what I thought of the movie. I politely declined on the beer issue, and told him I liked it very much, thank you. He eyed me, warily, and asked if I wanted to borrow it. Of course, I borrowed it and watched it again. I needed to see what it was about that film that moved this family so much. It's almost like it provoked instant happiness in this family and it was OBVIOUSLY something on which they all agreed.

I still can't figure out what is so great about that movie. The only thing that I like about it is the sisters song. I felt so sorry for Rosemary Clooney because she was such an ugly duckling compared to Vera-Ellen. When I looked up Vera-Ellen on IMDB, I saw this unfortunate paragraph at the end of her bio:

It was discovered that Vera-Ellen silently battled anorexia throughout much of the 50s before doctors had even coined the term or devised treatments. Moreover, she developed severe arthritis following her retirement and was forced to revert to dance lessons again in order to combat it. If that wasn't enough, she had to endure two failed marriages while losing her only daughter, Victoria Ellen Rothschild, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1963. These tragic events turned her into a virtual recluse. Little was heard for decades until it was learned that she had died of cancer in Los Angeles, California, on August 30, 1981. Less remembered today compared to several of the big stars that shared the stage with her, Vera-Ellen was a lithe and lovely presence who deserved so much more. Nevertheless, she has provided film lovers a lasting legacy and deserves to be called one of Hollywood's true dancing legends.


Whoa. No thanks. Hollywood sucks the life of the soul, doesn't it? By the way, I learned that Rosemary Clooney's son, Miguel Ferrer is the crabby boss guy on Crossing Jordan. Also, he was in Robocop. He's George Clooney's first cousin. Weird.

So, around about this time of year, every year, I watch that movie again, wonder if I'm missing something about how great it really is, wonder what ever happened to that strange family, remember the Mexican dad's rendition of the sisters song, and I giggle.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Most Frivolous, Stupid Post I've Ever Posted

Prince William is engaged. I thought when he was very young and when he became a teenager that he was going to be a VERY good looking man and I always thought, "Poor, poor Prince Harry, he's so awkward and funny looking. He'll always be 'second best'."

Recent pictures of the two, however, have altered my original thinking.

Prince William is looking an awful lot like his dad. He's got that funny shaped head, goofy horse teeth, and those sharp features are seeping through.

Prince Harry is turning out to be a very handsome man.

This opinion has been confirmed by my teenage daughter and google searches of images, at all ages, of the two.

Also, Prince Charles might be suffering the effects of all of those years of royal inbreeding. He's pretty much a total nutcase these days.
The End
P.S. I will never talk about this again.

Friday, October 01, 2010

New Stuff Never Gets Old

I can't believe I've known this child for 5 months and had no idea that she had this...this...this THING inside her mouth that entire time!


Oh, it doesn't look so...well...so obnoxious at this angle, but just you wait...

And THIS is only half-mast!


Here it is. Yes, it DOES look like those Tom & Jerry cartoon shots where Tom's tongue comes out of his mouth and Jerry walks up it like its a set of stairs. This thing is so weird, I just HAD to capture it in all of its glory and present it to you for your careful observance. Do you think she might be some kind of alien, switched at birth when I was taking a bath in the hospital? She looks otherwise normal, but I have my suspicions.

(We were both laughing so dang hard, it was almost impossible to take these pictures! It's this weird new trick she's been doing and there's no rhyme nor reason to why she does it...I think she just LIKES to do it, so she does!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Momento Mori

*"Funny when you're dead, how people start listenin'..."

Sure like them there lyrics, yup I do.

Allrighty, so here's what's going on in my head this week:

What are my final wishes?

I've already expressed, to many people, some of these desires for my unfortunate demise but I figured I'd keep a place for all of them, right here on my blog, for all to see eternally, forever and ever, amen.

1. Everyone must wear black at my funeral. No clown colors.

2. I want a black cover for my coffin, no white. This isn't China and dead doesn't mean white...it means black. Dead, dead, deeeeeeeduh. Death=black.

3. I don't particularly like cut flowers so, if you MUST, bring something my kids can plant in the yard and that won't depress them so make it something pretty that you can't kill...like my favorite, LILACS!

4. I won't be a ghost and I won't come back to send you any messages, or leave you pennies, or make you feel like I'm watching you when you're picking your nose, or read my caringbridge page (if someone made one for me), or read facebook, or even this blog, or whatever so get over it already. I will either be A: in Heaven and won't want to leave but I'll put in a good word for you...or B: in purgatory where there is not escape so pray for me instead of look for me in the corner of that picture where you thought you saw a Laura shaped shadow...or C: in that other place (I don't THINK I'll be there, but one just really never knows and I'm pretty sure you can't leave once you get there, anyway so the issue of whether I'd be around to bug you if I went there is probably moot.).

5. If there HAS to be music at my funeral, please make it Latin chant? Just, just PLEASE don't torture me with the "Yoo Hoo" song at one more stinkin' funeral? You KNOW which song I mean: "YOO HOO dwell in the shelter of the night..." and YES, I do realize that I probably won't be there to punish you with a major haunting if you play that yoohoo song, but you don't know that FOR SURE, so, just to be safe. NO YOO HOO SONG!!!

6. Closed coffin. I don't want people's last sight of me to be in fake makeup and for people to see my chewed up fingernails wrapped lovingly around some rosary that should be left to my kids. Nope, I don't want to be dressed at all and I would PREFER to be cremated but there's no guarantee that every little dust bunny would be buried in sacred ground so bury me in a cheap coffin, no frills, not fluffy satin blankies, no artifacts, no jewelry (I'm not a time capsule, for pete's sake!) and no clothes. I want the worms to do their darndest RIGHT AWAY. No mouldering for years and years. Blech.

7. No leaving trinkets and notes at my graveside. I can't read them. I'm DEAD. I can't touch or enjoy anything left where my stone is placed, so offer it to some living person. I don't even need flowers brought there. Just visit the site to make sure nobody's desecrating it, say "howdy, Laura" and give me a quick wave (if you must) and a prayer. That should do the trick.

8. You may briefly sob and carry on at my funeral. You can go ahead and make a giant posterboard of pictures of me but only if they are at least 80 percent of me making faces or dressed in a funny costume. I want people to remember me as a person who made them laugh, not as some forgettable whiner who wasn't very good at math and who was quite selfish and boring when you really think about it. Also, most of the pictures should be of my kids because they got all of my good features and that's how I'd like to be remembered.

9. I want pall bearers to ACTUALLY CARRY out my sorry carcass. No "honorary" wimps, only real life giant men get to carry my coffin. If you followed rule number 6, it shouldn't be a problem. Yep, that's me! "Light as a feather, stiff as a board!"

(I reserve the right to change my mind and add to this list. I don't expect to keel over anytime soon, I've just been thinking a lot about death since my 38th birthday is coming up. Forty is one foot in it and I've been feeling my mortality lately.)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Identity

I have been emailing a good friend. I used to babysit for her, back when I was a teenager. Her son has babies and I see him and his family in church. He knows who I am (sort of, I did babysit him when he was in diapers) but my friend recently informed me that her daughter-in-law said they saw me in church and referred to me as "that red-haired lady".

Wow.

I'm a "THAT"??!!! I am some old, busybody, red-haired, stalker, crazy woman who smiles too much at babies, asks too many nosey questions, and pays too much attention to them in the back of church? That's worse than that skinny usher lady with the bossy demeanor, or that goofy looking usher guy who says the responses too loud, that guy who wears overalls to church, or running/stomping/screaming kid who continues running/stomping/screaming even when they bring her OUT of the sanctuary!!! Come ON! Seriously? Oh, man.

I'm going to introduce myself to them the next time and remind them my name is Laura and maybe invite her over for a visit with her kids.

I just can't be a "that lady".

Oh, and to be fair, guy-who-wears-overalls wears his NICE overalls to church.

Friday, August 27, 2010

That One Kid

I just enrolled Matthew in public middle school part time. It will be his first time in a public school setting. He'll have to check into the office and out again. He'll also try the school lunch. He was only going to take Spanish, Industrial Tech, and Gym during that third period (rotating days) but the counsellor told me that it wasn't next to lunch (the only "class" he was REALLY interested in haha) so I signed him up for science and math too! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! THAT'll show him! I told him it's not it's all cracked up to be, but he's a boy and might actually enjoy it...lunch, that is.

He and Wade were in the backseat the other day, talking about how he'll act at school, since he's the only one in that school who will have that weird schedule. I told him that he could invent an identity for every class. We came up with cool states he could possibly have come from or some kind of secret spy identity. I told them both about what the witness protection plan is all about and how he could say that "Matthew N." is just his cover name and his real name has to be kept a secret or some nefarious group would find him. I told him he could really achieve the status of "The Most Interesting Man in 8th Grade", if he played his cards right.

No matter what his secret identity story, or how shy he decides to act, I know he'll make a lot of new friends and the teachers will really enjoy teaching him. I've already got the office staff excited about a new student. I think that they are jazzed about proving to a home educated child that public school is not bad and can be a good thing (we already know that, but I'm okay with the teachers/staff going that extra mile to try to prove it heh heh heh!).

Matthew just turned 13 and though I've been trying not to highlight the older kids, out of respect for their privacy, I have to say how proud I am of the man he's becoming. He just finished firearm safety training and I watched to see how he responds to someone else teaching him. He sat at attention, took notes, followed along, all with a cool expression...as if he's been public schooled his whole life. He didn't offer any know-it-all answers (even though he DID know everything they were talking about), but I know he's taking it all in and he even studied when he came home.

I know that doesn't sound like any big deal, but since he mostly hangs around public schoolers, he's under the impression lately that he's a freakazoid because he homeschools and that homeschoolers are anti-social weirdos who regularly wear capes and pretend to joust well into their twenties.

I set him straight and show him how he knows all kinds of different weirdos from all walks of life, but then he points out to me how I'm married because I went to public school.

?

So, since I won't let him go ALL day and get institutionalized and zombiefied by "The Man", and since he wishes to experience life outside this pukey, poopy, chaotic, baby crying, "I can't concentrate when people make NOISE!", no I didn't yes you did no I didn't yes you did infinity...household, we compromised with this modified schedule for the school day. I think it's just perfect! Wouldn't you just LOVE to go to school at 10am and then head home after lunch around 1:30ish?

I don't usually like to predict what my children's vocations will be, but I can see that kid in the military. He is obedient, hard working, dedicated, strong, smart, handsome, and makes friends very easily.

He's also a total goofball with a smart-a sense of humor.
I think he was switched at birth with some other baby because no one else in this house is like THAT.

By the way, doesn't it bug you that NO spell checks recognize the word "homeschool"??? That's always kind of bothered me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Something Different For A Change Of Pace Myself And I Have A Dream A Little Dream

There once was a man from Siam
Who ate lots of beans and Spam
Al Gore came to scold
the neighbor, he told
He forgot to recycle the can


I only re-wrote it twice. Oh yeah, I'm just that good.

Here's another one, just off the cuff:

(Jennie's twins: A Haiku)

Plural pals, sleep now
Mama waits to snuggle you
two more cute Herbst-es


But, what I started with was this:

Jennie hears two hearts
"I'll be as big as a HOUSE!"
Little stinkers laugh


I need to slow down and just get things done around here. I was hoping this weekend would be my "get the school stuff organized" weekend, but the humidity is up and the A/C is DOWN. Yikes.

Okay, going down the wrong path now so it's time to screw around again:

Doris the cat went to jail
for getting caught out in the hail
"I didn't expect
that I'd get so wet
and now, I'm hairless and pale."


Got hail-pelted cats on my mind, I guess.
Oh, here's another one for Mike:

Beer: A Haiku

(I love the title, it's so contradictory in that it's so earthy and sophisticated, all at the same time, don't you think?)

It's called a "Beer Club"
A whole bunch of microbrews
One giant headache


Of course, how could I not end this fabulous post-etry without a tribute to my beloved:

Butch was a husband I had
the kids and I called for him, "DAD?"
We looked and we looked,
could not find where he booked...
he was in the garage being bad.


Okay, that one was kind of for Mike, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crush

I've got so much to be thankful for. I could list it all but I'm sure it would be a boring thing and too long of a list to read. I have the list in my heart, and that's good enough.

I also have much to regret and be embarrassed about. I've made so many mistakes this year, it's crushing me and my family under a mountain of worry and all of these "running away" feelings are just my coping mechanisms taking over and it's not good.

When the people around me lose hope, I usually fight back with tons of optimism and fixits galore, but I'm getting very tired and not really finding those reserves that I need to help prop everyone up. I HATE. I have a lot of anger and hate in my heart for the things around me that seem to be pulling me down into that sin of hopelessness and useless regret.

Debbiedowner is back again, full force. As much as I love the season of fall, it always happens this time of year. I think I kind of know why. It's because it's the time of year that I feel most accountable to "the Man". School starts, activities for the kids rev up, we have to be certain places at certain times, winter is coming and so are the bills that come with colder weather, the holidays, and school books, kids are not used to the "buckling down" and get more anxious and their fighting starts to make me feel like a failure. I can't keep up.

I really can't keep up. I've been fooling myself for 2 years that things FOR SURE have to get better and that the economy will turn around soon and that there will be more work for Butch and I can make "extra" by doing something at home...it's all a total farce. Work is NOT coming for Butch and, in reality, his income will have been cut nearly in half by the end of the year (with the bits and pieces taken off in such a slow, menacing way, it was hard to see at the time:lay offs, injury, half days here and there, etc.). The sick irony of it is that his job was always "recession proof" in the past. Every time he'd come home and say "Things are going to slow down! They hinted at it in the office!", I'd just laugh and say "Yeah, right!" because it never did...BEFORE. Now that it's a reality, it has me stumped. How do we move forward when we can't even pay for the here and now? How do people live like this?

We've always been stretched, and suffered hard times early in our lives together...but this is just...so bad. We have each other and we have a great family, but everyone in it is suffering similar worries. What happens when we can no longer lean on each other for support, for fear of pushing the other person over the edge?

It's going to be a tough rest of the year. We are going to have to make some hefty decisions and I really don't know what to do. I hate being a slave to debt and insecurity.

There are a lot of "I"s in this stressed out rant. Depression is a very selfish thing.

Hopehopehopehopehopehopehopehopehopehopehopehope has to be the mantra/prayer. I just can't find it right now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ahhhhhoooooooommmmmmm

We were just wrapping up the day and Trina and Matty were working on new voicemail greetings on their phones. It was a pretty noisy environment (when is it NOT???) but I heard Mari repeating, in her teeny voice, an odd sound.

She often does repeating sounds or sings little songs to just herself. It's usually very funny but this one took the cake.

The kids have been watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox all week (which reminds me, I gotta bring that thing back to the video store). It's a VERY weird movie but in one part, the cool cousin that comes to live with Mr. Fox tries to calm himself with some Yoga that he presumably learned in his somewhat Bohemian upbringing. It's a way that the author illustrates how kind of naturally cool he is.

I saw Mari, earlier, playing with this mat thing that has bamboo across it. I think Anna used it to decorate in her dorm and the girls inherited it. I thought I had thrown them away but good thing I didn't because then, Mari wouldn't have been able to turn it into the PERFECT "yoga mat". I grabbed the camera before she had a chance to realize what I was doing:














Then I tried to get a better picture by using the flash and she did this:

...and told me "Mom! That noise is ruining 'my thing'!"

Yoga girl with pizza face should know she will NEVER achieve total peace and tranquility as long as she lives in THIS family. I think that she will still try, though. She's a very persistent little mouse.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Counting My Curses

Did you ever just feel like a dang dog some days? Not a nice, fluffy, pampered richie dog but a street dog with matted hair and a mangy attitude? "Poor Me" has been my attitude for most of this summer. Every day I try to stick to the schedule and live and appreciate the moment but, all along, the underlying worries fill the back of my mind and come creeping out at night. I don't get any sleep most nights.

Just when I think we can maybe see the light of day, some family thing blows up or Butch's elbow blows up (which was the case last week...he's better now but the damage is done with one whole week of no income) and I'm ready to slink into the gutter or snatch up the whole family and move to some Amish community in Canada and hide out for the rest of our lives.

Of course, if we lived incognito and separated ourselves from society, I couldn't share things like this with you:

And we would lose contact with the friends, family, and really awesome neighbors and I don't think I can survive without them.

I'm really tired of trying to arrange the days to keep everyone happy and healthy. I'm tired of not being able to keep up with the repairs, messes, and maintenance that this life requires. I hate living in "bare minimum" mode and I feel like I'm failing to make this house a home. Having a new baby is always stressful (and joyful, don't get me wrong!) but it's particularly stressful in the summer months when the older kids really want to go and DO things but I really need them to help out around the house and I have trouble finding friends for them to hang out with that aren't already occupied with their own family fun.

Now, I have to get into "school mode" and that is terrifying to me, as I don't know how I'm going to pay just bills, much less a whole bunch of school materials costs.

I know, it's a huge debbiedowner (whonk whonk whonk whooooooonk) post, but I DID put the blissfully unaware, happy baby video in there, right?
Don't worry, I know how much WORSE things can be. I know of a lot of sick/dying people and of miserable problems that so many people around me are suffering. It sure doesn't make me feel any better. It really just makes me feel a lot worse about the state of humanity and the point of all of this.

Maybe I'll feel better by the next post...but probably not.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Last Minute

I don't have enough minutes in the day, just like you, probably. I have a LITTLE bit of time when the baby takes a nap. When she does her nice, long, power nap, I usually take the time to tweak the house and do all the stuff that I can't do with one arm. I know I can rely on a bigger kid to hold her and play with her for a few minutes, but I find I spend most of my day holding and feeding the baby (not complaining, it's actually quite nice!) and that doesn't leave a lot of time for deep cleaning/intense cooking.

My pal, Rebecca, is having a recipe sharing dealio. It came just in time, as I'm making a meal for a new baby's family tomorrow night. I have a network of people at church who always inform us when someone has a new baby and we try to lighten the load of the family by bringing over a meal, over two weeks, several days of the week. I'm also going to take this time to really thank all the nice people from church, my friends, neighbors, and family who helped us right after we had Evangeline. They came to visit, brought nice outfits and gifts, and also brought MEALS! It was so so so helpful and appreciated. I recommend bringing a meal to a family of a new baby. Even if the mom is up and running soon after the baby is born. I had already re-started my running as early as two weeks after Lina was born, but that doesn't mean that I had a bunch of free time and energy. It just meant that I knew I had to go for a quick walk or jog to start to get back into shape to help this family stay moving. Having someone bring over a meal after a long, hectic day showed the older kids how important it is to foster friendship and fellowship. It also shows them how people are mostly kind and want to help when you are in need. You are not alone in the world when you have such wonderful people surrounding you and praying for you. I made meals for some moms in the past and brought my older kids with me so they could see how to help someone that you might not even know and how to stretch yourself, even if it's just a little bit, to reach out to people in need.

You never know when you are going to be the person in need, right? Well, I didn't do it to get it all to come back to me, but it DID come back to us...times 100!

Here's a link to the post about recipe sharing and the recipe I'd like to contribute is: BEEFY BEANS

I know, it sounds disgusting and it probably is...but it takes ingredients you already have around the house and it keeps the kids quiet (except the ones who object to beans, maybe).

2 lbs of Hamburger
1 big can of brown beans
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 giant squirt of ketchup

Brown the hamburger and then add everything else. My kids eat it in a bowl, kind of like "chili" but way sweeter and way more gross. If I'm feeling really fancy, I'll make some broccoli and some rolls. Everyone here likes it even though it's probably super sweet with all of that high fructose corn syrup and sugar. I'm sure you could sub with non-hfcs ingredients and the kids would never know. For some reason, they love this junk.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baby Bling

Innocent, naturally stunningly beautiful babies do NOT need it...but every girl likes a little extra embellishment now and then!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Not ANOTHER Baby Picture!!!!???

OH YES, it is. Evangeline fell asleep on the porch swing. Trina had been reading on the swing just a few minutes earlier and it was such a cute scene, I snapped it:


We've been busy this summer! Babysitting, baseball, family camp weekend, splashing in the little pools in the front yard, 4th of July celebration prep and party, and Weazy's birthday this week have all taken up all of our time. Most of that is over (except the babysitting!) so I WAS going to take the time to do some posting but the stuff hit the fan in the middle of the night last night and we've been infected by the bubonic plague or something and everyone is sick. Butch has been out of town so I'm on my own for this one. I need a nap but I have a whole bunch of little kids who want to go outside now. Buh-bye.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Marierola

I have to get Tommy on video saying Mariela's name. It's really worth hearing and hard to write out to perfectly describe how it sounds.

My friend, Michelle is SUCH a great photographer that she even got Mari to pose for a bunch of pictures while I was upstairs getting the baby to sleep for the sleepy shots. I'm interrupting my baby pics to show you some of these 5th baby pics. I just love how she batted her eyes for Michelle and vamped all over the place. I blame the sudden change from camera doubtful to camera ready on the show "Toddlers & Tiaras" which I watch with much disgust yet can't look away. Mari's seen it with us and she just loves the sparkly dresses and practices her stage walk in the living room. NO, she will NOT be one of those insane freaks but she DOES say that she wants to be a "makeup girl" when she grows up.

First, here's Mari in a typical family shot where she's required to smile (Evangeline's baptism day May 16th 2010, edited by Trina):


And here's what she can do when Michelle says, "Hey, Mari? Why don't you sit there and I'll take a picture of you?":









Sunday, June 06, 2010

One Month Old Evangeline

I'm going to call Michelle to do some special Fall pictures of our family and maybe get some nice pictures of Trina for her sweet 16 birthday this Fall. She took these amazingly juicy pictures of Evangeline a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted to capture EVERY little beautiful thing that I saw in her, since I never know if the baby in my arms will be the last baby born of this jiggly belly. Michelle really knows how to "grab" those incidental shots when most people would be busy fixing the camera or changing the lighting and all that other stuff that doesn't matter much. That's how she managed to get a shot like this:

In that half-second, gassy moment, she spied the smile and snatched it!

I normally don't like over edited pictures but this one is just breathtaking. She looks like a china doll:


I didn't know when Michelle would snap a picture so I just pretended that she wasn't taking any at all and then she took this shot as I was trying to position sleeping Evangeline. E fell asleep so easily, upstairs in Michelle's daughter's room, in the rocker while nursing, so we were able to get the sleeping and awake shots even though Michelle likes to get the infant/newbie shots when they are 10 days or less. I'm so glad she agreed to do it and took a chance on E!

I also don't normally like a lot of gaudy props but I trusted Michelle and we got many great shots like these (I brought some cute outfits but I'm SUPER happy we didn't get a chance to change baby into any of them because 1. It would have made her cranky, she loves so much to be nekkid and 2. she looks extra cute nekkid) :


Trina and Mari were there with me to help and play with Michelle's youngest. I'm so glad they were with me because we used Trina for a hand model since my hands are stumpy and U.G.L.Y. and hers are perfectly proportioned and pretty. She didn't come prepared for pictures but Michelle took this one, sorta sneaky-like and it turned out very sweet:

Notice the difference between long, graceful Trina fingers and short, squatty, man-hand, chewy-nailed mama fingers?


More pictures and comments to come...be sure to visit Michelle's site! I link to it up there on my sidebar (you can't miss it! Thanks, Regina!)...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Promise...Just ONE More Thing...(UPDATE*)

*THERE! It's perfect now! I guess in between her breaks for tea and scones and all manner of decadent treats, she's managed to wave her magic wand and alakazam my blog to beautifulness! Thanks, Regina!

...Before I post those pictures, could you email me with a screen capture of what you see when you go to my blog? Here's what I see on my screen:


Regina is helping me and made this supercool new header (using a picture that my other supercool friend, Michelle took, along with all of the other pics of the baby that I'll be posting soon) and background in her tons of spare time. Gosh, I wish I had that kind of life with the bon bons and massages...anyway, she sent me a pic of what it looks like to her and the words are perfectly in between those two light blue lines on the sides. I'm just wondering what it looks like to everyone else.

Meanwhile...just to give you some eye candy to chew on (since we can't all be gorging ourselves with bon bons, toffee, and truffles like SOME people)...

Mmmhmmmm, I KNOW! Super yummy, right?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hang On!

I've got a billion things to do today (apx. 1.3 million more than USUAL) and a headache, to boot...(here's one more just to tease you)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sneaky Peek...

More jaw-droppingly stunning photos to come soon. For now, here's just a taste (don't want to make you faint from too much cuteness all at once!)...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shhhhhhh

Elizabeth McKeighen is my friend and her job as a librarian is being threatened because she dared to stop a 10 year old from viewing porn on the library computer. This is a travesty and makes zero sense to me.

Please read this article and offer Elizabeth your support.

HERE

Friday, May 14, 2010

Heebies

Personal prelatures have always creeped me out just a little (especially unofficial ones like RC). They just seem like cultish offshoots of an already wonderful faith that doesn't need the extra embellishment. I know that a lot of people are happy with their decisions to go that route, though and if it helps to bring someone closer to God, on a personal level then hey, cool beans.

I may someday change my mind about that (when the kids are all grown and I need a little spiritual enhancement?) but I would NEVER N E V E R send my son off to a boarding school/pre-seminary place. I wish I could say that "I totally understand that that couple prayed and they totally trust the people who are in charge at that place and it's totally safe...etc. etc." but there's NO WAY nuh uh, never, nope, no-way-jose that any young, unformed boy should be let loose in the wilderness of sin and degradation like that. Nope. I draw the line there and I DO make judgements of parents who think it's hunkydory to send their (let's say) 11 year old son to live with a bunch of stranger boys and men in a community with NO MOTHERS???? Sure, it may be that there are 99 percent wonderful humans there with only the most chaste of intentions toward mentoring the young boys to the priesthood...it's that teeny little germ of ickiness and sin that snuck in on the ONE percent person(s) that spoils the whole lot and spreads the sin like a nasty disease that lasts for generations. Sheesh, the whole purpose of my raising the children is to model to them what a loving, TWO PARENT household is so they can discern what is their vocation for life. They can choose whatever they wish (with careful guidance)when they are ADULTS.

Boys can hide for a LONG TIME when they've been abused in some way and then WILL go on to abuse. It's a fact. Even if it's just witnessing something a little bit bad...NO JUST NO.

I'm sorry that I don't have a more trusting heart. I know that there are a lot of false accusations toward men in the Church and that there are FAR more instances of abuse toward young boys in secular life or other churches than there are in the Catholic Church, but there is NO WAY that it is safe to EVER put young boys and men together in a group, safely. Not with the society we live in and the unfortunate sins of people in the past.

That being said, I've not commented on the whole LC thing because I know a lot of people directly involved with RC (I was asked to join years ago and always had an "ew" feeling about the situation) but I read this article today and it pretty well sums up how I feel.

From the article (and part of why joining RC always felt forced, cultish, and creepy to me):
"...2. At the beginning of his work, the delegate ought to consider informing the members of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi that, as they gave themselves to these institutions without knowing the pathologies of their founder, they are free to leave these institutions without sin, guilt, shame, or remorse.

Such a statement is essential to stop the moral blackmail that (according to credible reports from the families of Legionary seminarians and students in Regnum Christi schools) continues today: “Since you came to us it is clearly God’s will for you to be here, and you will be turning your back on God’s will and sinning if you leave . . .”"

Anyway, none of this will make sense to you if you don't know or care about RC. Full disclosure: I was in the RC backed FAMILIA program for the four years. It was really nice and I had no problems with it other than it was kind of boring and repetitive. It was also a little misleading in that I didn't even know it was an offshoot of RC until a few years into it. That was super odd and just the beginning of why I think personal prelatures are cultish and weird.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Luke At Me



No, luke at me, don't luke at me, I'm a stah, don't you knoh who I ahm?

Last year, I was nominated for the Crescat Blog Awards under the category "Most Bat Shit Crazy Blog". I did not win. (was it because of the profanity? Were my friends and family offended by the "S" word? C'mon, even if you never SAY it, you know you THINK it. Probably a LOT.) I think I should have been happy I didn't win? I sort of pride myself on my quirky thoughts and weirdness so I have to admit I was more than just a little disappointed. Especially since I changed my layout just before I even knew I was nominated for that thing and look at all the creepy bats flittering around (yeah, they're still there!). I mean, how perfect? I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDAHHHH!

Oh well, now I've been nominated in a different category. I don't think I'll solicit votes this time. I want it all to be fair and square. (scroll down to the last category called: Blog That Needs to be Updated More Often) I want to win on my own merit as a blog that millions of people wish was updated more often because of the supreme wit, intelligent subjects, laugh-your-butt-off humor, etc. that I offer each time I deign to press my delicate fingers against the keys to create such bloggems as THIS, THIS, THIS, and don't forget, THIS ONE. For fairness' sake, I have to harken back to THIS ONE. Don't say I never gave ya nothin.

(P.S. Here is one of my very favorite posts with lots and lots of pictures of a cute baby.)

I'm totally NOT posting these pictures and links to garner more votes. I would never use my beautiful and not-at-all-goofy-looking offspring in a cheap, desperate attempt to get you to feel guilty about voting for someone else in this contest.

BUUUUUT...if I DID win this year, because you all love me so much you stop by early and often to vote over and over again for me me me and only me...I might just get a teeny bit happy about that. I'm so much more pleasanter when I'm happy. Eets okah, yew cahn luke at me again...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hot Mama

I can sneak away (in between baby feedings) and run to the local grocery store to get some essentials. I took a trip to the local (about a mile away) Coborn's yesterday. I was waiting for the meat counter guy to cut up my pork chops and I noticed something kind of funny.

Maybe it's because Butch has been out of town lately, I feel a little lonely for him, and my hormones and emotions are a little...out of WHACK...but I started to get hot in the face and felt like giggling uncontrollably. I looked around me to try to figure out what was the problem. My eyes got big and I realized...I was SURROUNDED BY MEN! There was a 30'sish guy coming at me from the right, a giant motorcycle man on the other side of the flat freezer, two guys (father and son?) coming at me from the left, at least 6 guys behind the meat counter, and more coming around the corners! It wouldn't have been so overwhelming, had two of the men not had very distracting things written on their shirts. I didn't know where to look. I am usually a "look-you-in-the-eye-smile-say-'hi'" kind of gal...but I just nervously darted my glance from there to here, the lobsters, anything to get my mind off of laughing hysterically and looking like a crazyperson. I had to stand there and wait for the guy behind the counter, so I was TRAPPED. I started to sweat, wonder if I had remembered deodorant, felt the giggle bubbling up, and wished there were at LEAST ONE girl I could exchange rolled eyes with or to buffer all the testosterone in the general vicinity.

I felt like I had walked into a bar...a MEAT MARKET!

The two guys with the funny T-shirts happened to end up standing right next to each other by the ground beef. I finally got my chops from the butcher and turned around to find Weazy and Mari (who were looking for a cake for my dad and his twin sister's birthday that we were having at our house) and ran smack into those two guys. I couldn't resist and asked them if I could take a picture of the motorcycle man's t-shirt. He said "SURE!":


The other guy laughed when he saw what I was doing and I asked HIM if I could get a shot of HIS t-shirt, too. He puffed out his chest, proudly and I took a shot of that one (and probably blushed even more...really, my face was probably all blotchy and red and I wanted to laugh some more about how ridiculous I must have looked). I didn't feel particularly "HOT" yesterday, but I was feeling SWEATY!)


I think I'll bite the bullet, pack up the baby and some big helper kid, and head back to Aldi's the next time I need some meat. It's much safer there.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two Books

I put in a request, on facebook, for a book suggestion. I trust Jim's opinion so I chose his book, East of Eden (also, because he actually GAVE me a copy to read hahahaha!).

I PURPOSELY didn't read any other reviews before or since reading these books. I hardly ever do, because I find it colors my view of the book while I'm reading it, and that ruins it for me. I know a lot of people like to have a lot of people's opinions before they read a book, so here ya go! If you are NOT one of those people, do not continue to read!

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
I had to read The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men when I was in school. I really loved those books, so I was excited to read this book (even though I thought I had read it back when, it turns out that I'd only seen the movie a long time ago...didn't even remember what the movie was about). It started out with so much background and family details and history, it was a little hard to get into. I was also only a couple of weeks away from delivery and couldn't find a minute to read. I'd take the lazy way out and read a quick article online or check fb. I brought the book with me to the hospital, though. Because the kids were all sick at home, Butch stayed home with them and Trina stayed in the hospital with me so I got in some good hours of reading time!

There were SO many beautiful and good lines in this book! Despite graphic details about evil, whorehouses, beatings, abuse, and many references to the ugliness of life in the early part of the century, I can still call this great book!

It was mostly a fictionalized version of the details of life for the people who grew and lived in the late 18-early 1900s around the place where the author's family came from. It contained a lot of true parts of his own family tree but included a lot of conjecture based on family stories and rumors. It was kind of historical fiction meets family tree.

I sensed the author put a lot of his own attitudes and feelings into the many different strong characters in this book. One of the most important characters with the most impact on all the surrounding characters was the author's own grandfather. He describes him in such loving detail, almost to the point of repetition, that you can tell the author thought a lot of his grandfather and wished to honor his memory for all time and for the rest of his family's sake.

The only thing I find "wrong" with this novel, is that the author gets kind of unfocused on what he wants to mainly parlay with the story. Is it a family history? Is it a re-telling of the book of Genesis? Is it just a bunch of intertwined stories of people and their lives? I finished the last few chapters with a feeling of disappointment in where the story ended up. I guess, at that point, I was actually expecting a certain amount of drama that never really delivered. It's almost like the author sensed he was over dramatizing a true story and pulled back.

The book is VERY concentrated on the virtue and vice of each character. He seems to want us to truly understand that man has both good and evil inside him that that we have the CHOICE to act upon those characteristics. One or more of the characters seems to be born evil with no chance of redemption, so the theory that we have a choice doesn't follow there. The book is VERY heavy on multiple philosophies (as discussions by many of the characters) so you can tell the author is a deep and heavy thinker who enjoys getting others to think deeply as well (without over dramatizing). I love that kind of writing, so: GOOD JOB, JIM! You nailed it!

The Shack, by William Young
The book The Shack was recommended by a number of people but my neighbor just happened to be finishing it and handed it over just the other day. I finished it in one afternoon. I hadn't really heard anything about it, so I read an article about the author before I read it. It seems the author has MAJOR issues (was raised by missionary parents and was abused by tribespeople, had an affair after having 6 kids...yeah, issues). The book is all about a guy whose daughter is abducted and murdered by a psycho. He gets invited to the shack ( in which she was presumably killed) by God. God appears to him in a trinitarian form of characters. They are all non-white people. I had a lot of issues with this book.

First of all, a lot of the theology in the book is bogus. It's a very imaginative and private view of God, personified by the author. It seemed like his own way of working through the factors of forgiveness while indulging himself in countering years of religious abuse by his idiot parents, who ever thought it would be a good idea to raise a child in a third world country surrounded by heathens. Blech. I already had major issues with parents who choose this kind of life for their children, now I'm convinced it can't lead to any GOOD to bring your healthy child to a backward land to "preach the Word of God". If this author's mind and behaviors are any indication of what could happen to a perfectly innocent child in that circumstance, NO THANK YOU!

It was a quick read and a fair story line, but the author got WAY hung up on his own philosophies and his own brand of theology (all the while denigrating all of the thousands of years of theology of the Church...trapping the reader into thinking "gee, if I don't really believe this author, I must be one of those zombie church-goers and not a real Christian/believer"). If I were a parent who had a child brutalized in this or in a similar way, I'd be horrified and UNcomforted by this man's vision of "heaven" or eternity with God. I also found myself tuning out when he kept stressing that theory that dark is just the absence of light. I get it, already, it's just not TRUE that that's ALL it is. Evil is it's own entity. Evil does exist. The author contradicts himself with this theory by saying that God was with the girl during the evil act. The obvious problem there is that evil still WAS, even in the presence of God. The author had a lot of help writing this book, you can just tell. He's not a very good author and the story sags quite a bit in the middle and end.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Very Advanced

One and a half days old, and we captured her first smile already. We figure she'll be walking by next week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Evangeline


(Ah've decided that purple is her signutuh culuh)

Evangeline Susan Nielsen

Born at 1:35, Friday afternoon, April 16th, 2010.

10 pounds 3 oz.

21 3/4 inches in length

I wish I could post the video of her being born. It was such a funny delivery. I had all my sistahs there and they were SO helpful. I'll try to re-cap the adventures for you.

Here's what happened from MY perspective (I've seen the video and it's SO much different than what I was perceiving! The second med they put in my epidural line made me super groggy and nauseous so I was closing my eyes for most of the actual delivery. Closing my eyes made me have a very interesting conversation with myself.):

I got to the hospital with Trina (Butch decided to stay home and just ease the kids into the day so they wouldn't be alone for so long, since we didn't know how long things would take) around 6am. They hooked me up to monitors and tried to start the pitocin but I insisted that they wait until the epidural was placed. That was a good move.

I was dilated to 3 (which was one more than on the day before, so it meant I was already sort of starting labor. I estimate that I would have had her within three days, had I gone "naturally". My due date is today, Sunday the 18th!).

They finally came in and placed the epidural and started the pitocin around 10am (it went a lot faster than it sounds...lots of paperwork and fussing anyway.) then the action started. I was checked about an hour into it and the contractions finally came around 3 minutes, consistently. Meanwhile, all my girls started filtering in as I texted them with updates. My "go number" was 5, and most of them rushed over as soon as they knew it was going pretty fast. Here's everyone "helping" me (before things got intense. The truth is, they are actually more involved in the actual delivery than we parody here in the picture!)


(Oh, Butch finally came, he's taking the picture!)
The picture didn't include Krista, who hadn't seen a baby born before (except her own three). She walked in right after I started pushing. I just saw the video and it was super funny. I pushed, then someone walks in and I say "Oh, HI! Yay, you made it! then I started pushing and had the baby!). Also, it doesn't include Anna, who was in California at her coffee convention thingie. She missed a good one, but she and her new husband get to be the godparents. Oh, did I mention that they are expecting their first baby???!!! They announced it at Easter and we are all so happy!

When things started to hurt, I panicked because that had happened before, and I got nervous when the anesth. didn't come in and bump my meds (he told me if the pain got above 5, to call him) so I had to endure some pretty nasty contractions before he came in and gave me a big bolus of a different medication into the epidural line. It worked and things moved pretty textbook-like into transition. I got the shakes and felt more pressure so the doctor checked me and told me I could push any time. I told him that I could, but that I didn't want to, yet. He told me "that's just fine, we'll let her come down by herself" and I was happy. I could hear her heartbeat the whole time and knew she was fine, so I just fought the nausea and tried to remember to breathe. Rachie was right beside me so I whispered that I was going to try a "practice push" with nobody watching, to see if that did anything. She conspired to hide and distract while I pushed. I realized that I was feeling a little pain with the contractions, and that holding my breath and pretending to push, actually made the pain go away so I told them I was ready to "push".

In my head, I was having the following conversation:

Me: I feel like puking, I need to abandon this "pushing" facade (I really couldn't feel anything to push, so I was totally faking it), and just try to puke, maybe I'd feel better?

Me: Yeah, you could do that, but if you do, then it will take longer and you will be doing this thing forever. How about just keep doing the holding the breath thing and fake it some more until you pass out. THEN, you won't have to puke and maybe the baby will come on her own?

Me: Good idea. They're telling me to "push" again, so I'll really put on a good show this time and maybe my face will turn red. I'll throw in a grunt or two for show.

Me: Heh heh, that would be a hoot.
I had to keep from stopping the "pushing" charade to make comments on what I was feeling and thinking. I thought "they'll never believe I'm pushing if I stop to make conversation!".

So, I "pushed" a bunch more. I never ever felt a baby like this. She was bouncing, moving, kicking, twisting and totally awake from the moment I got to the hospital, until hours after she was born. I've NEVER had a child kick her way out of the womb before! She was pushing and twisting all the way out! That totally distracted me front the queasy feeling that I kept having. I had estimated 8 lbs, 7 oz when we did our last minute guesses (that we post on the wipeoff board). The nurse won with a guess of 9 lbs, 13 oz! She said, when the baby's head was out, "Do you want to feel your baby's head?" I sneered at her, "No, YOU can feel it."

I HATE when people want you to look at or feel the baby before it's totally OUT of the body. I also hate when people say "PUSH". I think I've mentioned that before.

The nurse was perfectly nice, I just didn't get a chance to warn her.

Right before I started to really push, Weazy started crying and ran into the bathroom and puked her guts out. Butch was attending to her during the whole birth. I think he'd rather help a puking child, than watch a baby be born, so I'm pretty sure he was okay with that arrangement. We chalked it up to nerves (which was weird, since she'd seen Tommy be born and was perfectly fine with that) but it turned out, 4 of the six kids had a puking stomach virus all day Friday and most of Saturday. No fever, no previous indications, just violent, sudden vomiting that didn't stop for 24 hours! Other than Weazy being at the hospital right when her barf-fest started, it was pretty good timing! If I had stayed home and went into labor on my own...EW. What a mess!

So, Evangeline came out and woofed in a big wad of fluid but it got suctioned out quickly, she was perfect (perfectly CHUBBY!) in every way, and now she's sitting in her brother's arms, squeaking and looking slightly orangy.

It was the quickest (5.5 hours), least painful, least stressful, best delivery I've ever had. If this were my first baby, I'd have 6 more HAHAHAHAHA!

Butch is my total hero for keeping things in order around here despite the barf-o-rama. Mom came and really stepped up with the keeping up on wash and trying to make the kids feel better. I really itched to go home right away since I felt SO good. I almost feel like myself only two days later! So, I decided to steal away during the night and came home around 9pm last night. I loved "sleeping" in my own bed. The baby was sleeping a lot and I actually had to wake her for some feedings, just to be sure she can start the milk and get rid of the jaundice before it takes hold. She's a good nurser and is so sweet to look at and play with. She's a charmer. She's being fought over quite a bit today.

I'll post a bunch of pictures of our visitors and Evangeline. The only non-family visitor, besides some of the sistahs, was Meredith who was there for the birth, because she happened to have an appt. at the clinic next door, but had her daughters with her. She went to the waiting room and, I didn't find out until later, kept an eye on Krista's kids until after Evangeline was born! She also ran out and came back later, by herself, for a nice long visit and brought a huge goodie basket of awesome, useful stuff. I can't thank her enough! She included some note cards for thank-yous but I think I'll do some personal emails instead, since my handwriting is so horrible, they'll think they got a card from the doctor's office.

Thank you, EVERYONE, for prayers, for being there, for helping me with the other kids, and for just being friends of our big, crazy family.