Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: Powerball

So, there were actually winners last night, but only 2.  That earns them, payout option of around $190 million EACH.  Even after tax that's close to $100 million.  Now I wonder who really needs that much money.  On paper can you even spend that much money?  Could you decide what you could spend every cent of that on?  I'm a numbers person.  I love

But $100 million dollars isn't exactly donate 10%, pay off your cars, house and student loans change.  If I did that and paid for all 6 kids college I'd still have over $89 million left.  Even if I toss in houses, cars and college for all the immediate relatives I'm still above $88 million.  14 day Disney Cruise for 25 doesn't even dent it.  I like my pretty new van but a big extended cab pickup for hubby.  Maybe a bigger house.  Yeah, not even close to spending 3/4 of it.

As you drive around town or listen to the radio it hits you what can really be done with that much money.  That half built church on the corner, I wonder what it would cost to finish it?  A gym for my own church?  Sponsor the next 10 years of VBS at the local church we enjoyed doing this past summer.  I wonder how much it would be to pay off all the layaways at my local Walmart?  I wonder how much it would be to start a charity that sponsors people who need money for ABA for their Autistic child.  Or even just the $1000+ it can cost to have a child privately evaluated for Autism.  Scholarships for moms who don't qualify for financial aid, to go back to college.  I wonder how many "drive thru differences" I could make?  Wouldn't it be fun to just start a TV show where you go around making a person's wish come true?

Even just living expenses.  If I invested just half of it in a safe, low yield investment like a CD I could live off the interest alone and I'd be living way above my current standard of living.

Or I could just blow it all on a $2 million house in each state.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: fleece carrier cover

So you have a Kinderpack with Kool Nit or a Bamberoo with Solarveil, don't ditch it come winter, cover it.  Or cover any other carrier just for extra warmth.  This same tutorial can be used for a woven fabric when it isn't so warm but you will need to serge or zig zag all edges after you cut but before you sew together. 

You can also make this as a no sew using fleece (fleece does not fray, woven fabric does so you cannot do a no sew with a woven).  To make as a no sew you will need to add 4" to both sides of the hood and sides.  Once you add those 4" you will not do any of the sewing, you will instead cut 1"-2" strips on both sides of the body pieces and hood pieces.  Lay the carrier between the 2 body pieces and then tie 1 strip from the front piece to 1 strip from the back piece everywhere except where the carrier straps need to come out.  Where the carrier straps need to come out you will just cut off the strips.  That leaves only the tie downs at the bottom of the carrier to worry about.  You can either do the variation that covers the waist strap and add 4" to that and tie around that, though you would have to untie to remove it.  Or do the cover the waist strap version, adding 2" to the back and 1" to the front.  Buy stick on velcro and stick it onto the extra and wrap around and velcro closed.  Or you can cut a hole at least 1" from the edge of the bottom and tie your ribbon onto that.

To start you need the carrier you are making it for, you can use measurements as well but having the carrier handy is a good visual.  Lay the carrier out and measure the carrier across at the widest point.  For a carrier with seat darts this will not be at the waist.   Add about 1.5" for 1/2" seam allowances and 1/4" topstitching.
Then measure from the bottom of the waistband to the top of the carrier.  If your carrier has a hood and you want your cover to have a hood you need to have that on/out and measure to the top of that instead.  If your carrier does not have one and you want one, measure your child's hat or coat hood (or child) and add several inches for growth room and if the carrier does not come up as high on them as a coat would.  This is the size you need for a carrier that does NOT cover the waistband.  The extra length is going to accomodate for when the seat is filled in by child, any stretch, and any seat darts.  If you want the carrier to also cover the waist band you will need to measure the height of the waistband and add that.  Or you can measure the carrier 3D instead of flat, meaning measure from the bottom of the waistband, into the seat dart, and up to the top.  Whichever method you use, if you are doing around the waistband you will then need to add 2" to accomodate the velcro or snaps. 
Now cut 2 pieces of fleece to the height and width you just determined with your measurements and adding.  Fold that in half so the sides are even.  Lay a childs coat or jacket hood on top (or you can use a plate) and cut a round portion out at the TOP ( if your fabric has an up and down you need to pay attention to this) FOLDED edge.
Next open the fabric back out flat.  Next you need to look at your shoulder straps.  Most are attached at an angle.  Lay your carrier, lined up and atop your fleece.  Mark where your angle is, keeping in mind you will also have an extra 3/4" for seam allowance and topstitching, as well as possibly more if your carrier is not as wide at the straps.  Therefore your carrier will not be flush against the side of the fleece.  It needs to be centered instead.  Cut at an angle along the mark then cut up into the hood angling so that you are going back out to meet the full width (or your hood will be too small at the top).  For symetry I then fold it back over and cut exactly the same from the other side but you can also just repeat this for the other side,  Your resulting 2 pieces will look similiar to this (sorry, all 3 times I forgot to take a picture and I'm a bad artist).
Fold it back in half so the sides match again, right sides together.  Sew from the back of the hood (what looks like the top middle of the "heart" on top of the diagram above) forward to the front of the hood (the edge along the side).  Repeat for other body pieces.  Opened up (with the hood top folded down to lay flat) and laid out this is what it will look like now.
Place right sides together I pin the corners together, then the seam of the hood.  Then to mark where I do NOT sew I also pin on each side of the hole for the webbing on the body.  You know the angled portion isn't sewn because it is the shoulder strap hole.  But to determine where the webbing will be be, measure your carrier, from the body of the waist to the bottom of where the webbing meets the body.  Make the hole wide enough to fit the BUCKLE.  If you made it to cover the waistband too, measure the waistband, add 2" and mark each side with a pin.
Once pinned sew from 1 bottom edge (or pin) up to the pin marking the webbing hole.  Then sew from the top of the webbing hole to the angled area for the shoulder straps.  Repeat for the other side.  Then sew around from the top of one shoulder strap hole, around the hood to the top of the other.  Turn right side out and smooth.
If you made it to cover your waistband, now attach velcro or snaps to close the bottom.  If you made it to not cover your waistband you need to attach ties or straps to keep it from riding up too high.  You can use ribbon, bias, finished fabric, etc.  I made this one with snap straps, I attached the snaps to ribbon.  The finished project picture I made with tied ties.  Measure your waistband and add an inch, cut 6 ribbons that length.  If you want them to tie on, add enough to be able to tie them, cut 6.  Pin one on each body piece, for a clean edge fold the bottom up about 1/2" before you pin.  Pin them next to the side seams and in the center. 
Topstitch around the bottom edge making sure the entire edge is folded up about 1/2".  At the ribbons backstitch and restitch so you have a total of 3 (or more) lines of stitching there to reinforce the attachment.
I then topstitch, this helps keep it in place and smooth.  I sew 1/4"-1/2" in from the side seam.  Sew from where you started at the bottom (or pin), to your hole for the webbing.  Then from the top of the hole to the bottom of the shoulder strap hole.  Repeat for other side.  DO NOT topstitch closed your holes.  Topstitch around from the top of the shoulder strap hole, around the edge of the hood to the other shoulder strap hole.  Now place your carrier with the hood down, stuffed, or removed, atop the cover matching up the shoulder straps to the holes.  Mark the top of your carrier.  Top stitch along that marking.  This will keep the carrier from sliding down too much.
Contrastly, if you use the hood a lot you can mark where the hood straps are and leave holes open for those in the hood, as you did for the shoulder straps and webbing, when you are sewing and again when top stitching so the hood is covered but usable for sleeping.
Now attach velcro or snaps to your straps if you didn't make them long enough to tie.  Stick it on and cuddle a baby.
This is my first tutorial and I didn't take near enough pictures.  So if anything is unclear let me know.  If anyone makes the no sew version and takes pictures and posts them let me know and I'll be happy to link to it.  I promise next weeks will be better.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just another manic Monday

Every Sunday people around the globe dread Monday. I hate the idea of having to get up early again or taxiing kids around for the week. However, on the weekend I run from the kids. By that I don't (usually) mean run and hide. I mean I try to keep the house semi livable without tripping over kids.

During the week I have 1 home half the day and add 1 the other half, until the rest get home from school. That isn't enough to be underfoot so I stick to my cleaning "schedule". Yes, I have a schedule, but that's a whole other post. When there are 6 kids (or more) in the family room I don't even attempt to clean around them. I clean the living room instead. When they make their way to the living room to read, i clean the kitchen instead. When they make their way to the kitchen for a snack, I clean the dining room instead. And forget cleaning the main floor bathroom while there are that many people in the house, someone always has to use it. I feel like my day is spent being chased into different rooms.

Therefore I spend my weekends only getting by in the house. Instead I do laundry, clean up the yard, clean out the car, clean upstairs, etc. By Sunday my house is looking quite cluttered. Sunday I start to look forward to the catching up I can do on Monday. Yes, a part of me looks forward to a Monday.

When I wake up Monday and start to plan my day, I am soon reminded that my daughter has therapy smack in the middle of my day. This isn't a new thing, she's had it at the same day/time for a year. I guess in all the "excitement" to clean, it just slipped my mind. That only gives me the morning because right before therapy 1 gets off the bus and right afterwards I pick up 2 more.

My Monday afternoons are spent with toddlers who only napped in the car and kids that are tired from a long day back at school. This particular Monday was also spent juggling bedtimes alone since hubby flew out early that morning. Maybe I'll catch up on housework Tuesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Sharings

Today I didn't make it to a morning mass with the kids. Hubby was serving one of the masses and my son's birthday party is this afternoon. I'll be going sans the small ones this evening instead.

So I have no experiences or ideas to draw on from today. I want to, instead, share some general information that will help on any day. Sundays, mass especially, is a day we ask more of small kids. That makes expectations even more important.

Coming up with an expectation is more than half the battle. It's like coming up with a goal. If you make a goal to triple your salary this year, most people will not meet that goal. If you make the goal to lose 30 lbs this month, most people will not meet that goal. The same applies to our expectations for our children. If you expect a 2 year old to sit, quiet and still, for an entire hour that expectation will not be met. Developmentally a 2 year old does not have the ability to sit still and quiet for an hour. Any other day of the week you are happy if they do that for 15 minutes in front of an interesting, toddler friendly TV show.

Just as you cannot lose 30 lbs in a month, they CANNOT sit still that long. CANNOT is the key word. It isn't that they won't, it's that they can't. One is deliberate and one is not. Would you punish your husband for something he cannot control? What if he started getting grey hair and you didn't like it? Even though it may not be something you want seen in public, it also isn't something he can control.

There are things a toddler can do though. They can look through a book. They can sit down. Once you have realistic expectations you can teach them to your child. You can remind them of the expectations before you go somewhere. You can remind them when they forget. Kids do forget, just as adults forget. If you expect anyone to never forget anything then your expectation is unrealistic. Kids are learning and may need more frequent reminders as they learn. Hurting them, embarrassing them, and punishing them will not make them remember faster.

The great thing about having realistic expectations is that you will not get upset as frequently because they are not being met. By getting upset less you are more easily able to keep your cool longer. Keeping your cool is a wonderful example to set for your children. That is a skill that will help them throughout life. Because, "You get more bees with honey".

To help set realistic expectations you have to understand the developmental level of your child. The book series "Your .... Year Old" has a book for each age. The books are short and easy reads. They cover a child's emotional, social, and physical development though. You would want to know what you were in for before you climbed a mountain. Raising kids is even more important than that. Why not be prepared?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some new ideas

I've seen everyone else doing them forever and I really like organization so I think I'm going to give it a try. A new blog "schedule". Not something every day, but an idea for many days to give me a jumping off point, or a shove to do a post I've been avoiding. We already have "sharing Sundays", so we'll go with "manic Mondays", as a tribute to my first blogs. My first blog was to chronicle all the helmet decorations we did when my son wore a Docband for Plagiocephaly exactly 5 years ago. To this day, that blog, which I maybe post to once a year, continues to get many hits from parents wanting decorating tips/ideas or before/after pictures. Because of that, and the lack of resources, I have left that blog up even though I don't post to it. After that, I wanted to start a family blog, as a spinoff from that one I named it Manic Mommy. Then I promptly forgot about it. Manic Mondays will usually be about the coming week or the weekend past. It will talk about how I (plan to) handle (or should have handled) the chaos.

Tuesdays will be Tutorial Tuesdays since I've promised so many people tutorials for fleece carrier covers, ponchos, crochet patterns, help with their Ergo, etc so this day will be a tutorial, sometimes sewn, sometimes needlecrafts, sometimes no sew, sometimes just help. Hopefully, having to fill my Tuesdays I will get in here to get all the things people are waiting on.

In shamelessly copying everyone else, I will make Wednesdays wordless. Of course today is far from wordless but I'll include the pictures I would have shared for a wordless day anyway.

I am tossing around a "thoughtful Thursday" to get me into trouble. It would be a day when I share my opinion on a conversation or question that has come up that week, a current event, or something that's gone viral. But my opinions tend to make my mouth (or fingers) explode, and get me into trouble. Is it worth it? What do you think?

That leaves 2 days. I would like to have a review day that I share information on a place we've traveled/visited, the book I'm reading, or a product we've tried. I can't come up with a catchy title for that day. Maybe I want something general so it could also be used for giveaways and contests? Decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday Sharings

Last week the priest gave a wonderful homily on love. This included parental love, familial love, and unconditional love. It talked of loving others as God loves you. It also talked about discipline, which means "to teach".

During this homily, as usual, some children got restless. Some parents struggled more than others. One small child was dragged out for a spanking. Right as the priest finishes preaching love a child is facing a spanking. It wasn't a child who was hitting, or more disturbing than any of the others. It was an average small child, one who developmentally really couldn't sit still and quiet for an hour. It was a child who wanted something but either wasn't being given it or wasn't being understood. It could have been any child in that mass.

In other words, it wasn't the child, it was the parent. I always look for the good in people. Maybe it was a parent who was frustrated. Maybe the parent already had a rough day with the children. Maybe it was a parent who didn't know an alternative. Maybe it was a parent who thought this is what was the "right way" (you know what happens when you "spare that rod").

I waited a week to write it. I wanted to find the right words. I am human and have no right to judge. I needed the time to let go of my feelings for the parent before I could let my sorrow, for a child raised that way, be expressed in a constructive way.

God does call us to protect the weak. That doesn't just mean the abused, sick, or hungry. That also means the children. Not just our own children, but all the children who are not receiving that unconditional love.

I've decided to spend Sundays sharing. I will share a tip, a website, a bible quote, a book title, a product, a craft, etc. I will share something that could possibly help your child make it through an hour mostly sitting. Or I will share something that will help you understand where your child is developmentally. I will share something that will give you an alternative. Maybe it will instead be a prayer for you, something you can have in your head to help with your frustrations.

Today I will start with something small since I've already talked so much. Today I share the Serenity Prayer. Because a child's developmental level is something you cannot change. It doesn't matter how you punish, you cannot make a 2 or 3 year old be capable of sitting perfectly still and quiet for an hour. Just as you can't make a 1 or 2 year old, going through a separation anxiety phase, stop crying when you leave them in the nursery. Or just like you can't make a 1 or 2 month old sleep through the night. That doesn't mean that every part of every developmental stage is easy. It does mean that accepting that it cannot be changed can help you relax about it.

It also takes courage to change the things that are not developmentally appropriate. It takes courage to discipline a child. It takes courage "to teach" them rather than just punish then. It especially takes courage to discipline them in the way they need you to when you are out in public. You have to be able to ignore the scrutiny around you. Some of that scrutiny is just in your head, it isn't real. Some of that scrutiny is real but it doesn't matter. How you treat your child is something you have to live with, not them. It can take a lot of courage to realize that and then move forward, remembering who does matter, your child.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Saturday

It is early, 7:23 am to be exact.  Yes, I know that isn't particularly early.  It is a Saturday though, don't people sleep in on Saturday?  Even though I have 6 kids I do sleep in on Saturday.  Of course, "sleeping in" may have different standards than others.  I usually get up at 6:30 am so 7:30 am is sleeping in.  L usually sleeps in too, we sleep in together.  The other kids are old enough to walk downstairs and turn on the TV.  If L wakes up she is old enough to walk downstairs and watch TV with older siblings.

So, why am I up before 7:30am on a Saturday?  Nope, it isn't even for anything exciting.  Usually S is the first one up so she opens the gate, goes downstairs and turns on the TV.  Today A beat her to the gate.  A cannot open the gate so A screams.  Does S open the gate?  No, she instead tries to find out what is wrong.  A screams again.  Did I mention that A usually sleeps in too?  Soon I am awake.  If A is awake it must be at least 7:30am.  But I can't be sure because my phone died in the night.  My phone charger died too so I can't even plug it in without borrowing a charger from the husband or kids.  I guess I'll get up.

It is freezing, why is it so cold?  I go downstairs and check the thermostat.  That is when I get the double bad news.  It is 6:40 am and it is 66 degrees in our house.  Yesterday it warmed up enough to switch to the a/c but I forgot to turn it back to heat before bed.  I turn the heat to 72 then go cuddle the kids in a blanket on the sofa watching TV.  I walk to get myself a blanket and the lights flicker.  The power had gone off then on again.  This resets everything. 

So here I sit, way too early in the morning, waiting for the heat to turn back on from "wait", the cable box to reboot, and someone to wake up and take pity on me.

The great thing about mornings like this is that you know the day can only get better.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sometimes its better not to know

I love my kids, don't get me wrong. And it's so much fun to watch them grow and learn. When your kids are delayed in any way, that learning elicits even stronger feelings. You celebrate every single word that comes out of a speech delayed child. The first pun from an autistic child is more than just humorous.

Some days though you can't help but have the passing thought, why did I want them to talk? Admit it, when your're not even sure your 4 year old has taken a breath in the last 30 minutes, the thought crosses your mind. When your 2 year old tells you "no" for the 37th time that day, you think it.

Soon your kids learn to spell. No longer can you ask your husband if he's up to taking the kids to the "P-A-R-K". With spelling comes reading. Then they start reading the newsletters from school: Sonic night, Wendy's night, Movie night, you can't get anything past them. Don't take them shopping once they can read. "But mom, it's on sale".

Before they can read they learn the basics. On some long days you don't even know the basics. As I sit nursing a headache my kids want Popsicles. Ok, sure. I make my way to the freezer and hand the 2 year old an orange Popsicle. She glares at me. I hand her a purple Popsicle. She glares some more. What do you want L? Blue. I empty the brand new box looking for a blue one. Obviously I don't know my colors today, because the box clearly shows it doesn't even come with blue.

Friday, November 2, 2012

These are a few of our favorite things

The holidays are coming and the big question is, what is your 1 (2, 3, etc) year olds favorite toys. As this question came up again my daughter was playing with a pair of rain boots. That brings me to our favorite "things", not necessarily "toys".

For the crawler, our favorite thing is anything they can pull up on, push, bang with their hands, empty, throw, etc. A full laundry basket is a good one. Ok, they like push toys and activity tables. But a full laundry basket (full of anything, not just laundry) is stable enough to support them pulling up but still able to be slowly pushed around (as oppose to some push toys that go so fast they fall down). When they're bored of that they throw everything out one by one. Soon they land on their bottom as the basket tips on its side from less weight. From there they empty the rest and move on to playing with the basket. Eventually it ends up upside down. Now the larger side is down so it's more stable and they pull up on it again. They can bang on the bottom like a giant drum and push it around some more. You just gained 15 minutes of independent play from something you already had in your house. It grows with the child too. Soon they become climbers that will get in and make it a nest, car, boat, rocket, house, etc.

Toddlers favorite toys are the dishes. You can buy plenty of toddler size kitchen toys. Or you can raid everything plastic you have. Soon your toddler is using your little pot and wooden spoon as a drum while wearing your colander as a hat. When that gets old they start using your plastic ware as stacking toys. The really fun mom even lets them take a plastic pitcher and some cups onto the porch or into the tub to practice pouring. If you want to get mommy if the year you can even let them "wash" them in the sink. If your not so brave, some large (in other words, not choking hazard size) Pom poms, balls of socks, old jar lids, or homemade bean bags can be put in and out of them. Bonus, this is a good time to practice colors, shapes and counting.

Preschoolers love being like big kids. Give them a coloring book and crayons and they will color for a bit. But give them a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and they'll "write" and do "homework" like the big kids for much longer. Do you want to step it up a notch, google a cooked playdoh recipe (cooked lasts longer and has a better consistency than the no cook recipe and homemade crumbles less than store bought plus uses so much salt they don't try to eat it after the first taste). The staples for any craft friendly pantry are flour, salt, cream of tartar, dawn dish soap, glycerin, white school glue, starch, rice, kool aid packets, and cornstarch, with these and a couple plastic containers your ready for any rainy day.

School aged kids can get by with bags and blankets. With the blankets they can make forts, tents, castles, puppet theaters, hammocks, etc indoors or out. With the bags they can pack flashlights, snacks, sticks, rocks, leaves, socks, etc for crafts, picnics, and play. Sticks become guns and swords (for both boys and girls whether you like it or not). They can also be crafted into wands, mobiles, etc. Rocks are good as hammers, weights, money, treasure, or painted as paperweights or pets. Socks become balls, treat sacks, beanbags, gloves (or animal "paws"), or puppets. Leaves can be pressed, printed, rubbed, used as tickets, money, for a collage, or hung from the stick mobiles.

All the older kids need is a library card and the imagination you have been nurturing with the above "toys" since they were born. A ball or box thrown into the mix for any age doesn't hurt either. Those too tight clothes you have figured out you'll never fit in again, the heels your afraid to walk in, and a pair of rain boots add the perfect "outfit" to their make believe play. You'd be surprised what you can do with a t shirt (smock, cape, mane, ninja mask, purse, etc).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallows' Eve

Yes, we celebrate Halloween. Personally, I think November 1st should be a school holiday everywhere. Not only is it a religious holiday (and All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation so we're at mass part of school anyway), but you tell me what teacher is getting up that morning and saying "it's going to be a great day, kids that stay up late gorging on sugar are always so well behaved". Ok, that's totally a whole other post.

Years ago I loved going out trick or treating with the kids. Camera in hand my first went trick or treating her first Halloween as the obligatory pumpkin. Mind you, she was only 4 months old so I had to eat all the loot. Or rather, I had to fight my husband for all the loot, except the lollipop Nana snuck her. The 2nd Halloween she was a cute bunny (which my youngest will be this year, though she calls it "Oreo", the name of our pet rabbit). Then she was Tinkerbell, every year cuter than the previous. I had no choice but to follow her snapping pictures.

It continues from there. Her sister was born and soon we were matching. Her sister's first Halloween they were Blue and Magenta. Then they were Lilo and Stitch. A third child didn't stop us. That first Halloween the baby was a frog, um, I mean toad. As in Neville's toad, since the bigger girls were Harry Potter and Hermione. They were 3 Pokemon next.

I had big plans for 4, 5, and 6 kids. Fresh beats and their mini mes? The whole Sesame Street gang? The whole cast of The Wizard of Oz. 4, 5 and 6 kids wouldn't stop me. But Tweens would stop me. Apparently a Fresh Beat is not cool to an 11 year old. And they don't make Big Bird costumes for teens.

Halloween is supposed to be scary, who knew?  Soon my kids were creating their own costumes, a Crowl?, a mad scientist, etc. Or they want to be something scary, dementors, phantoms of unknown origin, witches, bleeding Scream, and so on, the more mysterious the better. There goes matching. A 4 yr old girl thinks of nothing but princesses, and a 5 yr old boy wants nothing to do with royalty.

Now I prefer to stay home and pass out candy. I love to admire the creativity in costumes, see the most popular character that year, and admire the cute pumpkins and peapods. My husband has the same thought though. Either that or he wants to eat the Halloween candy after we go out to walk around.

So tonight you'll probably see a rabbit and a mermaid, rabbits swim, right? Scream and his skeleton bride. And 2 unknown phantoms. Me, I just get to pull the wagon that will hold their bags when they get too heavy. I'll take a couple pictures before we leave the house but my paparazzi days are in the past.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"If you lie with dogs...", the Lenten update

Quite a title, huh?  I'm sure you are completely confused, Lent was months ago and has nothing to do with dogs. Well, my grandma had 2 sayings.  One was "if you lie with dogs your going to get fleas".  The other was what you needed to do instead, "soar with the eagles".  Not until this Lent did I realise how much this also applied to modeling for our kids.  Modeling for our kids is probably the best way to teach them what is important to you.  You know the saying, "practice what you preach".

So how did Lent teach me this applied to the influences I allow myself too?  And why am I updating about Lent now.  Well, it's been over 6 months so I've now seen the full effect of something that changed at Lent.  Every Lent we give something up but we also try to add something.  Usually the "give up" has not much to do with the church, instead it is more about sacrifice: chocolate, sweets, caffeine, (now that I think about it, it's mostly foods, hmmm, I guess that shows what's important to us, I will need to contemplate that), etc.  Then the "add" is something religious, prayer, bible study, charity, etc.

This year the "give up" became an "add".  You see, I had noticed that the country music I listened to with the kids wasn't as "clean" as I thought it was.  My impression was that if it didn't have people "pumping and grinding", didn't talk about "big buts", didn't say "so take off all your clothes", and there was never any "F bombs", it was "clean".  Therefore, country was the cleanest music I knew. For years the fact it wasn't was there.  B wanted to know what Tequila was and why it "makes your clothes fall off".  Then she wanted to know what a "4 letter word that started with S" and would cause concern was.  That progressed to one day her accidentally slipping and singing along, "...kiss my a**".  Soon my smaller kids were singing about how "rain is a good thing" because it "makes my baby feel a little frisky".  Or going for a ride on my big green tractor, my baby liking to fish, and their favorite music video was "Stuck Like Glue" (if you haven't seen it, look it up, though hilarious it isn't kid appropriate).  So we gave up "inappropriate" music for Lent, though I just told the kids I gave up "country music" for Lent. 

I couldn't go from country to pop, rap, alternative, those were all steps in the wrong direction.  Kids music CDs got old fast.  Classical is nice and soothing, even the sad or angry portions of a classical composition don't seem to ramp you up.  There are 2 problems with classical.  First, when sitting in traffic you can't sing along to distract yourself.  Second, our classical station has just as much talk as music.  This wouldn't be a problem if our CD player worked in the minivan but one of the kids jammed something in it.  That leaves only one thing, Christian.  That's when our "give up" became an "add", we "added" Christian music.

By the end of Lent though I was noticing a difference.  I was calmer.  This is one of the things I didn't actually notice until I tried to go back.  After Lent I turned the radio in the baby's room back to country, to listen as I put away laundry.  I soon realised that listening to an "angry american" rubbed off a little anger.  Listening to a woman take a "...Lousville slugger to both headlights..." got me to thinking, "well he deserved it".  And if Montgomery Gentry doesn't give a damn, why should I.  Not to even mention the amount of sexual innuendos (and not so innuendo) I now noticed, after nearly 2 months of the emphasis being on how "family friendly" the Christian station is. That lasted about a day before I turned it back to Christian.

Yes, even what you listen to, or the people you surround yourself with, can effect you.  If one of the kids is having a bad day it can irritate me.  If I am irritated soon everyone is irritated.  Yes, a "smile is contagious" but so is a bad attitude.  Just as my optimism can rub off on my husband, his pessimism can rub off on me.  If you surround yourself with positive people you will slowly become more positive and optimistic.  If you are a naturally positive person, negative people can effect you.  Some of those negative people just need your influence, your ear to listen, your shoulder to cry on.  Some of those people don't want to be anything but negative and mean.  And if you lie with those dogs your bound to get fleas.

I have explained it to my kids, for years, in terms of buckets.  Everyone has a "nice" bucket and a "mean" bucket.  If someone is mean to you they fill your "mean" bucket.  You can chose to "let it go" by dumping that bucket out or you can scoop some out and give it to someone else.  Of course if you give it to someone else you are filling their bucket so they can scoop right back out and give it back again.  Which bucket would you rather fill?  If you fill other peoples "nice" buckets but dump out your "mean" bucket soon you will only be passing around the "nice" and they'll be no "mean" left.

That isn't to say that my kids "mean" buckets are empty, it's a work in progress.  Hopefully singing about the "voice of truth" will be a better influence than singing about "shaking her fist".  Besides, its much cuter when your 2 year old sings "holy, holy, holy" as opposed to "all your ever gonna be is mean".

Facebooking It

Well, I have another new post in the works and many more from the vault to post.  But today I wanted to make it easier for those that find Facebook easier than email.  Now you can follow "that" mom on Facebook.  That way you can get notifications of new posts right on your wall.  Plus you can "share" the posts with your friends.  This will not be a very active page, it will have no more than 1 post per day.  If I don't have a blogpost that day I might post a little blip about an adventure of the day but I won't post one on the same day as a blog share.  I want to make it easier, not clutter up your wall.  This also makes it easier for y'all to interact with me too.  If you have a question, want some tips, or curious about my opinion on something you can post it to my wall.  I will never use your name in my blog posts but I may use the topic.  This also allows those businesses a place to go.  There has been some interest in participating in giveaways and you can now contact me through Facebook.  Because of Facebook rules all the giveaways will still be hosted on the blog.  Businesses can also contact me through Facebook if they are looking to sponsor a review.

This will also serve as my "Wordless Wednesday", just check out the profile pic of the page on Facebook. 

Want to join us, just click here -------> I'm That Mom 

Friday, October 19, 2012

So, how many kids DO you have?

I mean, it isn't like I've ever been asked that question. So, I had other plans for today's blog post but I couldn't resist this "chart" from I thought the idea of a Nickmom was silly (for lack of a more appropriate word). But the first week it was on, as usual, Nick Jr had been left on. Hubby was out of town so not there to rush to change the channel. 10pm rolls around and the background of the TV makes me bust out laughing. I spent the next hour laughing at Nickmom. I didn't agree with everything, everyone said. i don't have to agree for it to still be funny. I wasn't sure that all "mom" humor could be maintained long term. Then I considered that I'm still being surprised by the kids, after 16 years. Maybe it can continue. If it doesn't get repetitive on topic then I think it will be a success.

Though there are some opponents. I can't count myself among them because I don't think my kids should be up watching TV at 10pm. But ask me again the next time I'm sitting up at 2am trying to distract a toddler who's cranky and too congested to sleep.

Anyway, back to the graph. Totally cute but I question if it was a collaboration. I mean, did a mom of each of these categories write it together? I say that because I've been in many of these categories. I think 1 child is pretty harsh, they couldn't have done something "cutesy" like "Congratulations, your in the "club"". Or they could have gone with the question most parents of only children get, "when are you going to have another?". Because, obviously, kids are potato chips and you can't have just one. I think the "2 boys" or "2 girls" should read "2 or 3" because, at least in my area, it's still acceptable to "try for a boy" if you have 3 girls. By "acceptable" I mean you don't fall into the "freak" category yet. 6 should really be 5. I mean, there are minivans that seat 8 but have you actually tried to seat 8 in them. They can only really fit 4 or 5 carseats and no one over 5' tall. So all 6 kids would have to be under 12, but not all in carseats. If we're moving 6 to 5, that clears 6 for "is it a blended family?". I think you need to be at least "Just the 10 of us" size to get a TV show. So let's bump 7 up to 8. That leaves 7 clear for "what religion are you?". In other words (because I've been asked it both ways), are you Catholic or Mormon?.

What part of the chart do you fall in? How right do you think it is? Or did they leave you off completely?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

And the winner is...

The winner of the doll pouch and matching bag from Sew Attached is ...
True Random Number Generator2

Julia Mangan, check your facebook messages

The winner of the gameday cake pops from Sweets by Sarah is....
True Random Number Generator6

Stacy Szehner, I will get your information to Sarah

The winner of the shirt or onesie from Cee.Jay.Elle is ....
True Random Number Generator2

Leslie, I will get your information to Ami.

Thanks so much for playing.  Congratulations to all the winners.  Though I will be down to only occasional wearing next year, I will still do a Babywearing Week series.

Last minute surprises

Last night we got another giveaway added. Cee.jay.elle has graciously offered a baby/toddler size t shirt or onesie that will have the design

You know the drill, like Cee.jay.elle on Facebook and up to 3 extra entries by sharing this post at the places you frequent. Don't forget to comment below to let us know what you've done. Last chance to enter Tuesday's, yesterday's and today's giveaways until 8pm tonight. Drawing with will be tonight just after 8 pm (or whenever I can get all my kids in bed).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A sweet end

Tomorrow is the last day of International Babywearing Week. Since babywearing has such a sweet spot in my heart we wanted to do a sweet pre celebration. Sweets by Sarah has kindly agreed to help with that. She is donating a set of "gameday" cake pops in your favorite team to the winner. The "celebration" will be tomorrow when we announce the winners of this and Tuesday's giveaway. You still have time to enter Tuesday's if you haven't. The same routine for entering today's. All you have to do is "like" the sponsor on Facebook, Sweets by Sarah then comment below that you have. You can earn up to 3 extra entries by sharing this post on your Facebook, Twitter, Google +, message board, blog, or group then share the link below.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

International Babywearing Week=giveaways (yes, plural)

As y'all know, babywearing holds a soft spot in my heart.  That's why I kicked off my return by kicking off Babywearing Week.  Well, today I said, why not kick it off with a bang.  I'm a little too accident prone to actually use anything that goes "bang" so instead we'll do the next best thing, giveaways.  And yes, I did mean to make that plural.  We will do them all week, with the finale being the drawing by

We will start off with one from Sew Attached, in other words, me.  Yep, in case you hadn't heard, I opened up a Facebook store in my abundant spare time (you know, with #5 going off to 4K and all).  This giveaway is for a knit doll pouch with matching cross body bag for your toddler.  It is in a nice unisex "sky" color and will fit up to about age 5.  The bag will fit a cute little board book (or in our case, the Kindle Fire) and will fit even longer than that.

The above picture are the actual items being given away, I couldn't take action shots because my children were in the middle of making messes so couldn't come anywhere near them.  Below is an action shot in another color.  If you prefer the one below, that color is discontinued, but you can bid to win that set in the upcoming weeks at TBW Benefit Auction.

So how do you win?  First, like the donor, Sew Attached on Facebook.  Then comment below.  That's it, no need to follow the blog (though you'll probably want to so you don't miss the rest of this weeks giveaways).  You can get extra entries by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, a message board or group (where it isn't against the rules, don't go breaking rules and blaming it on me), etc and commenting with the link.  You get one extra entry for each place you share but there is a limit of 3 extra entries to make it fair for everyone.

Good Luck, and check back all week for more Babywearing Week posts and giveaways as well as Sunday to see who won.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Welcome back

It has been 6 months since I posted. I know everyone has been waiting. I know I failed miserably at my goal to post a whole year. For weeks I've been meaning to get back at it. Every week I read my Aunt's blog posts and am reminded I need to post. Every week I get too busy, or put it off for a "special day".

As we welcome another year of International Babywearing Week I've had several things happen that just seemed to come together for a good blog post on Babywearing. Therefore I decided the first day of IBW would, not only welcome IBW, but would welcome me back to Blogger.

Last year I posted about what Babywearing was, what it meant to me, and my history. This year I want to talk about how uniting and universal it is.

As you see me on any given weekday it is pretty obvious I am a stay at home mom, from my (very) casual dress to the kid (or more) in tow. That's probably where the obvious ends (unless you see my van). I have 1 or 2 kids with me, neither are still nursing age. And I am a pretty average mom age (well unless I don't dye all my grays). Would you be able to guess I was once a young mom? Would you be able to guess my religion? Could you tell my socioeconomic class? That I have 6 kids? That I have a child with special needs? My hobbies? My political affiliation? I bet you can't.

Even when I have 6 kids in tow you really don't know anything your assuming. Your first guess? Hmm, maybe that I'm on welfare (not sure if that would be because of my kids or my dress), would be wrong. I'm not and I never have been. But does that really matter? In this economy especially, people with 2 kids have just as great a chance to need help. 2nd guess, more than one father, again wrong. Again, does it matter? If the children are being taken care of, what does it matter? Lastly you start assuming religion or hippiness or whatever else would possess a seemingly same person to have 6 kids. Society's value given to children has really influenced the way people view them in all aspects.

I've posted about the mommy wars before. Stay at home vs working, breast vs bottle, etc. But can you tell those things by the cover of every "book"? The great thing about Babywearing is it blends right in there. Everyone is doing it. The reasoning behind everyone's choice to babywear is so different. That makes the people who do it cover such a vast array. Working moms do it, some even at work. Stay at home moms do it, even when they aren't home. Breast and bottle feeding. Those in Europe and those in the Americas. The ones that don't wonder how they can. The ones past that age wish they had.

Everyone mom, dad, grandparent and caregiver can use an extra hand. Even when you don't need an extra hand it's well worth the strain it saves on your back.

I walked through the corn maze this weekend and saw a mom of only 2 wearing her baby. I alternately wore my 2 and 4 year olds. I didn't bring a stroller. I had thought of a stroller but thought the inconvenience would outweigh the handiness. I saw people parking and leaving their strollers. I saw someone with the same nice one I would have brought, struggling through the sand, no stroller does sand well. I saw another mom that really would have loved a carrier. I can't imagine what her arms and back felt like when I saw her still carrying her baby (no stroller in sight) over an hour later.

I see the same thing in the mall or the store. A mom trying to juggle baby and a stroller or cart. A mom trying to calm baby without carrying them, so as to avoid the juggle. It happens to moms of 1 or moms of 10. It doesn't matter if you have a $15 stroller or a $400 stroller (trust me, I have both), its still not fun to push and carry (if you don't have a sling).

Babywearing isn't new, every single country has its own history of Babywearing. If your lucky enough to live in a country where it's still passed down, you already know. Other lucky people have a friend or Lamaze teacher (who first told us) share it. Some find the info in a book. Some frazzled moms stop a mom in the store who is more than willing to rave about her "3rd hand".

Once you have it, you have something in common with people of all walks of life, people from all over the world. The mom of 6 can compare to the mom of 2. The mom with the $200 wrap can commiserate with the mom with the sheet out of the linen closet. A baby in Africa is worn the same as a baby in Asia or America. When it comes to Babywearing there is no question, it is the best solution for moms convenience and baby's security. In that one little thing, there is no war.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Autism Confusion

The day the new Autism statistics were announced to be 1 in 88 children, I started this post.  It was right as we were coming into Autism Awareness month, another day that I'd start a post.  I was still working on this one.  Here I sit today, still working on this one.  As the statistics came out quietly, they still shot through the internet.  They lit up Facebook pages, message boards, and conversations the world over.  The conversation always seemed to turn to the opinion of those actually dealing with Autism. 

The questions started pouring in, "so what do you think about the new statistics?", "what do you think caused the increase?", "how realistic do you think they are?"  I'd love to have all the answers.  I'd love for anyone to have all the answers.  I'd love to say that it is vaccines.  But I worry how my friends with Autistic kids who've never had a single vaccine would react.  I'd love to say it's the hormones and antibiotics in dairy and meat.  But I wonder how my vegan friends with an Autistic kid would react.  If I said it was a reactive attachment issue, I may insult all the attachment parents of Autistic kids.

The next best thing to say, would be what the government is trying to say.  It's just a response to better diagnosis.  You look at the study information and the sample group used is 8 years old.  That means anyone not diagnosed yet wasn't counted.  Do you know how many kids are not diagnosed until 9, 10, 13, 15...?  I'd love to know more about the cities used, not what they tell us but what the parents in those cities are actually saying.  Is it easy to be diagnosed in that city?  We are rural suburban, but we are only 30 minutes from the state capital.  I'd describe our area as average.  I say that because there are definitely rural areas that have it much worse.  Just as I am sure those living near a much larger university medical center have it better.  Using our city as an example, it can take years to get an Autism diagnosis.  If you are lucky, or you are more moderate, or you are a boy you may get a diagnosis sooner when someone, in the know, spots the signs.  Even in a perfect world you could be put on a year + long waiting list to go to one of very few places that diagnose Autism here.  A place that doesn't take insurance so it is even harder for the middle class.  They take Medicaid so if you have that you're good.  If you're upper middle class, you have the cash or flex to pay.  If you don't fall into either of those categories you have to come up with the $400+ per visit (and it could take 4+ visits) cash, on the spot, to pay for your diagnosis.  If you happen to have a doctor that is willing to refer you, and knows where to refer you, you may be able to get into the Disabilities and Special Needs, Autism division for free (and a much longer wait).  If you aren't in a perfect world, and you don't have a textbook case of Autism, you may be bounced around early intervention, school districts, special education, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, etc as you possibly place hope on misdiagnosis, just looking for an answer.  With diagnosis occurring like this, and the number of people I know of, with children over age 8, still waiting for a diagnosis, I find "better diagnosis" to only mean that the rates are going to continue to rise then.  Because we are far from good at diagnosing Autism.

Do I think those numbers are padded?  Sure, I think that some kids are being diagnosed by people not qualified to make that diagnosis.  Sure, I think kids are being diagnosed with Autism to receive better services.  Do I think that is the majority?  No way.  Even the small amount of children that fall into this category, I am sure are countered by the number of children still waiting for diagnosis.

I have written and rewritten because the only thing this post does is create confusion.  I have no actual answers in this post.  I have tried to clean it up, I have tried to say something knowledgeable, but all that's there is confusion.  I realised that is all anyone has.  Confusion.  I tried writing about the "cures", the other controversies.  Gluten free diets, organic, chelation, supplements vs Applied Behavior, therapies, special education.  But I have no answer for that either, because I don't know any kids who have been "cured" from true Autism.  I've seen significant improvement on both sides but Autism is still there.  Adding that debate only added more.  Confusion.  The debate between research funding and treatment funding.  If you think that the only sides are Autistic parents and Neurotypical parents, it is far from the truth.  There are those for a "cure" and those against a "cure".  There are those that feel strongly about 1 way of treating vs another.  There are those with strong feelings about a cause.  But it all leads the same way, there is still no "cure".  All that's left is more.  Confusion.  We all want an answer, we all know there is no point in dwelling on the past.  Yet we all search every aspect of every day of our child's life looking for where this came from.  You think if you knew the answer you could fix it.  Every single Autistic child is different.  What you worry about, a different child never had, what they worry about yours never had.  Confusion.  This is the face of Autism.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Don't count your chickens, err children...

On my hiatus I had left some posts written but not posted. Here's one from the spring, enjoy.

Before they're actually in their beds. Yep, hubby is out of town again. Thursday is our busy day this season. There are pros and cons to having a busy day. If you have a really busy day that means everything got squeezed into that one night. That usually means you get another night off. Right now I don't have to do anything on Tuesdays. The con is you could be somewhere for hours. Thursdays I have to drive to/from horseback riding, writer's club, football, soccer, and teen leaders. After being out from the time school gets out until 8pm we are so ready to crash.

My saving grace, allowing me to get things done in a timely fashion, is kids that fall asleep on the way home, in the car. Just like clockwork the babies fall asleep 5 minutes into the ride. Everything is working in my favor.

The other kids are arguing, as usual. I guess I should pay closer attention to their arguments. I start hearing mid argument. S: really?!, If you were that tough you'd be able to bite the top off your bottle. What does J do but try and prove his toughness. The screams wake up the babies as we pull into the neighborhood. Nosey B had to look, and then comment on the blood. Did I mention J takes after his dad and hates blood? Even bigger screams, these babies aren't going back to bed.

As we pull in the drive it seems like its all falling apart. Trying to get everyone out, trying to check Js mouth, and well aware that no one will be in bed by 8.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hopes and Dreams

This is not the post your expecting, it's not the hopes and dreams of
my future. It's not the hopes and dreams for my children's future.
Those are all such a short post, I simply want them to be happy,
healthy, and cared for.

Instead I want to talk about what every person hopes they never have
to do without and what they dream they had. Money is so many peoples'
answer to that and it seems so simple. What would you do with the
money? If you had more money would you spend more and need even more?
Would money buy you more time in your day? Would money slow time?

Obviously I couldn't do completely without money since my answer costs
money. Sustenance costs money too. The one luxury I hope to never do
without is a smartphone. I bet you weren't expecting that answer. I
thought about it when the new preliminary report came out, yet again,
saying cell phones can cause cancer.

My smartphone is #1 my way to keep in touch with family. #2 it runs
the family. You thought I ran the family,but without my phone I'd
have no idea where to run. My entire calendar is in my phone (and
backed up with google sync). I truly would forget dentist appointments,
field trips, soccer games and IEP meetings without my phone. I wouldn't
even be able to call and check the appointment times because we threw away
the phone books in favor or google.

Another study comes out
I find myself, instead of giving up my phone, contemplating the severity
of the situation. I mean, does it increase my risk 100 fold or just 2 fold?
Can I use it just a little or does it have to be none? Is it a treatable
cancer? Yes, I sit trying to justify even the small risk to myself and children
(who can drain an entire battery playing Temple Run or Police Chase). I spend
months pouring over IIHS and NHTSA reports before buying a car. I keep my kids
rear facing in carseats longer. We avoid artificial sweeteners and dyes.
Yet here I am justifying a cell phone. But, the truth is, I haven't seen
anyone without one so I can't be the only person out there justifying it
to myself or even just flat out ignoring it.

I'd give anything for more time in a day. More time on earth. More time
for my childrens', and my own, hopes and dreams. Ok, apparantly I mean, anything
but give up my cell phone.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Silly Putty Personality

Yes, with 6 kids I'm still brave enough to make messy crafts like
silly putty. I guess I should probably point out we don't actually
make "Silly Putty" because that's some patented, copyrighted or
something, brand name. But we call it silly putty because 1st, we
have no idea what else to call it and 2nd, try explaining to a 4 year
old that it isn't really "Silly Putty".

Silly putty is easy to make but made or bought it's much worse than
playdoh, much like bubble gum. Previous adventures in silly putty
making have resulted in having to cut it out of the carpet. Other
adventures with it included very carefully and time consumingly
picking it out of a child's hair to avoid having to cut it out. Would
you believe she put it in her own hair? And no I don't know why,
according to IQ tests, the SAT, TIP, etc she is really highly gifted.

Yet here I am making it again.

It's no surprise silly putty is so messy and sticky, it's made out of
white glue. If that's not sticky enough the only other ingredient is
laundry starch. So needless to say it's messy from the second you
decide to make it. We all know different kids have different feelings
to getting messy. So we start with pouring the glue. Everyone loves
that part and I was smart enough to let everyone have their own bowl.
Next we add some starch to start. Everyone is even nicely taking
turns. Next we start to stir with a spoon. Though this seems easy we
are already starting to lose them. "This doesn't look like silly
putty", "I need more", "how long do we stir it". Now for the hard
part, kneading it with their hands. Now reactions range from "cool"
to "no way". Some quickly finish getting theirs into silly putty
while others would rather complain that it's sticky, it's not working,
and theirs is ruined.

This is where mommy gets to work out her hands, I think I kneaded at
least 4 of them. It started out as just A2, she immediately said no
way. Not that she played with it after either. She touched it then
immediately wanted to wash her hands. It's interesting that media
make toddlers out to be so messy. She even portrays herself that way
by walking around daily with her face entirely covered in something.
Yet, in reality, the second glue (or syrup or ketchup or...) comes in
contact with their hand it's the Apocalypse.

The next to need help was J4, he wasn't sure what he was supposed to
do and wasn't sure about it once he started. However once it was done
he did play and let it run through his fingers.

S6 would have patiently done it all day but I helped her get finished
up and she was fine with me helping. But once done she wasn't all
that impressed with it.

B11 pouted and whined about how she needed more of this or that. She
was certain her's was ruined. She adamantly did not want help.
Though, she did enjoy kneading it and had she not been so stuck on it
being ruined I sm sure she would have had fun. After a 5 minute
ordeal of how unfair life is she let me help and had a lightbulb
moment that her's was fine. When I wouldn't let her take it in the
living room or bedroom, though, she was done with it. But that's ok,
my carpets have thanked me and I won't have to listen to hubby rant.

E14 is the only one I didn't have to do, in true science loving
fashion she enjoyed herself. Though she remembers our previous
adventures in silly putty whereas some others didn't.

Yes, that means we went through all that for nothing. It didn't even
buy me 5 minutes of play. Let's just hope E14 gets a good grade for
the project she used it in.

How to make your own putty: officially the recipe calls for 2 parts
white (or school) glue to 1 part liquid laundry starch. However I
pour in some glue, add a bit of starch, work it in, add more, work it
in until it's the consistancy I want. I do this because it doesn't
really "mix", you have to work or knead the starch into the
glue/starch mixture.

. Plus, it seems an exact measurement never yields the same results.

Silly putty is so much like kids. Making silly putty never happens the same way. The amount of each ingredient is always slightly different, just like each kid needs slightly different things. Despite the same technique used, each silly putty has a slightly different result, just like siblings all turn out differently once grown. Silly putty is moldable and reactive to the person using it yet it will always be stretchy and sticky. Just like you can mold a child but can't change their personality. If you add too much starch you get slime, not enough and all you really have is a runny glue. There is comparison to kids from making to playing with silly putty. Just as you can clearly see each child's difference as they make and play with silly putty.

I wrote this post last year and never got around to posting it. This weekend we made it again at an event at the university. It's interesting to look back and see how the kids had grown but their "silly putty personality" and reactions didn't change at all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where have you been?

Yep, I'm sure y'all noticed me MIA. I could use the excuse I have 6 kids, except I was doing just fine until October. I can't believe I made it all the way to October with my New Year's resolution then fell short in the home stretch.

So what did I do from October to now? Holidays. I kid you not. My holiday season starts at Halloween. I have to shop before Halloween for Halloween but also for my niece's birthday right after. Ok, I confess, this year I didn't even shop for her. I did think about it, I even went shopping. I can't even figure out what to buy my own teenager. I was clueless, I sent money. After that I have a son, nephew and another niece with November birthdays (plus Thanksgiving and Black Friday). Then I have a niece, nephew and my own birthday in December (plus Christmas). We followed Christmas with a trip to Florida before my mom an daughter's January birthdays followed a week later by my other daughter's. Yes, in our house "holiday" season is Halloween to Valentines.

I did do some crocheting. I made a nice sweater that I need to get a picture of plus my husband's own afghan. I did have my son's football season. I did have my daughter's therapies. And my husband started traveling again. It's not like I did "nothing".

Oh oh, and the reason I stopped posting. My phone died. I hate change, what an ordeal. I decided, since I loved the Google and Amazon interface to go with an Android. I loved how user friendly it was. It didn't even last the whole weekend though. Then I went to the dark side and got an iPhone. The kids LOVE getting to FaceTime Daddy when he's gone. I love the reliability. I don't love that it doesn't work with the Kindle app or Google products as easily as the Android did (ok and I liked that little alien robot guy). I have spent the last few months figuring out what I never wanted (a touch screen) and learning how to do the blog, etc on the iPhone (ok, and trying a few games).

I am hoping to spend the next month getting the rest of my done but unposted posts up. Maybe I should set a goal for posting this year. Instead I will just hope not to catch the stomach bug the kids all had, at least not on Fat Tuesday. Then think about this Lent since last year I completely failed at every plan I had. Baby L is older this year (though not any less cranky) so maybe there's hope this year. As with everything else, my mantra will have to be "one day at a time".