Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tis the something

I have beeen off in la-la land a lot lately. I have zero excuse or explanation. I just don't find myself with the words to compose a blog post easily like I used to do. I'm currently sitting here in the quiet of my house, with a fire in the fireplace dying down to barely a hint of an ember in the back, and a few cracks at random. It's been nice not to have the central heater kick on since the house is insulated better than our old dwelling was.
I keep seeing on Crackbook posts from people about their Christmas decorations going up already. Totally not a grinch here, but if I put it up now, I'll be tired of it in 2 weeks. And I leave my tree up till the Epiphany, so we're talking it's already up a while as it is. Plus I need to get my duff in gear and clear the stuff from in front of the front window for the tree. I just thought about putting it in the family room, because come Christmas morning, if it's cold enough for a fire, I surely do not want to be opening gifts farther away from the warmth of the fireplace than the couch.
So there ya go people. I just talked myself into not sharing my tree with the neighbors. They'll get to see some other lights in the window or something.
Now, if you'll excuse me...there is a load of laundry containing clothes for work that I need to move to the dryer...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fishes & Loaves

I hosted Thanksgiving. My brother brought his girlfriend along. I love cooking, and even more so for holiday or special occasions. I have never had a dry bird because I cooked it upside down (self basting, cooks faster since you're not opening the oven and losing heat). This year I followed Leanne Ely's instructions for roasting the bird and making gravy. Visit www.savingdinner.com for the Holiday Meal instructions. Saving Dinner is one of my favorite cookbooks. I think next time, I'll use her method, but I will go back to upside down bird and/or leave it in the oven less time. I also had a large pan of sweet potato casserole. Sis gave me the recipe several years ago, and it ended up being the same recipe Pioneer Woman posted. My brother and I have fond memories of special meals at the neighbor's with her broccoli casserole recipe. My husband required collard greens, and macaroni & cheese. I put the mashed potatoes in the crockpot to keep warm. Note to self: check to make sure the crock pot is set to "warm" and not "high" (which are right next to each other). Everyone commented that it was good stuff. I didn't sleep well because Mini-Human is having issues. So today the pace of cooking a feast and sleep deprivation caught up to me. Thankfully, there are enough leftovers in my fridge that I don't have to cook for a few days. Even after making plates for my dad, brother, and brother's girlfriend, I still have a TON of leftover food. Apparently I can't cook small portions. We're all big eaters, so I make extras without batting an eyelash. I may have to run some more leftovers to my dad. The leftover turkey practically filled a Tupperware Thatsa Bowl Mega Bowl (42 cup capacity). As I packed up the food, the story of the fishes and loaves came to mind.

The ample leftovers mean that I can do some baking. I have grand plans of marvelous theory to bake stuff every year. It might actually happen this year. For now, I'm recovering from the cooking, and hanging out with my family watching Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special.
And I just remembered...I need to find my advent wreath for the table. I don't know if it will stay on the table since the Little climbs up on the table frequently.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You still love me?

I've neglected my blog a good while. I see I still have the same number of followers. I'm currently cooking a couple things in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. As I type, the Broccoli Casserole is in the oven, and the sweet potatoes are on the counter cooling so I can get them out of their skins and turn them into Sweet Potato Casserole. I got the Broccoli Casserole recipe from the neighbor who lived 2 doors down from my childhood home. I'm sure Joann got it from the fine folks at Campbells or something. It specifies using Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix. Nonetheless, I always loved it when we ate a holiday meal at her house. When I got married, moved to Camp Lejune, and came back for a visit, I asked her for the recipe because I wanted it to make for my first Thanksgiving meal that I cooked. I've made it numerous times, and over the years, my kids have decided they don't like it. Devildog has never eaten it except the first try. Oh well, more for me and anyone else who does want it. I may have to run to the store to get more sweet potatoes though. That is one dish that goes fast and gets piled on the plate. My sister gave me the recipe probably 8 or 10 years ago. Then Pioneer Woman posted about her sweet potato casserole that she grew up eating. It's the same recipe my sister gave me. I'll do the regular mashed potatoes tomorrow morning and throw them in the crockpot to keep them warm. I'll probably use my electric skillet to keep stuff warm too, kind of like a chafing dish type thing. I'll likely use my small crockpot (the little dipper sized one) for gravy.
And now I must stop yapping at the keyboard and go make the next casserole. The sweet potatoes have cooled enough to handle. In the time I was waiting for the potatoes to cool and the broccoli concoction to bake, I went in search of my older daughter. I found her in my father-in-law's camper, watching tv. Apparently the tv is better there - because it's Papa's. I have no idea how long he'll be parked in the driveway or if he's going to use an RV park or how long he'll even be here. As he says "Whenever A.I.S. occurs"

Sorry for such a boring blog now...it used to be fun to post, so I'm sure remotely interesting to read. I swear, home ownership has not made me boring. Life just grabbed me by the horns and swung vigorously.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fire

I've had too many coals in my fire for many months. I still have a few more than I would like to be keeping there. My t0-do list keeps growing. And it all came to a boiling over on Thursday. Sis came over to sit on the kids so Devildog could work and I could continue working these resets that I was beginning to loathe. I was handed 3 extra to do because someone else decided to shirk that responsibility. And 2 hours later, Devildog was back home.
He got fired for something someone else up the chain of command failed to follow up on, and when it came to the hot seat, that person threw my husband under the bus to save their hide.
I hope they remember the faces they stepped on to get where they are. I hope they are haunted by them. I have my suspicions of what may have happened in the situation. As angry and hurt as we are by this, Devildog is also relieved of the stress of that job. I do find it a tad funny that the manager tried to frustrate Devildog into quitting and still couldn't get him to quit after 10 months of the foolishness. Silly manager - Marines are tough, disciplined, and will work hard. Never underestimate the determination of a Marine. Never underestimate the strength of that Marine, his wife or their kids. What this individual fails to realize is that he did not win. What he did was set in motion a chain of events that any "numbers guy" worth his salt would know is bad. Turnover. It costs more to search for hire and train replacements. In the long run, remember the phrase "it's cheaper to keep her".
I wish this individual luck finding a replacement who can fill some big shoes. My husband's departure stung all the other employees. These are people that asked to transfer to whatever department he was in, because he took care of his people.
He was taught that you take care of your customer, you take care of your people, and in turn they'll take care of you and the job in general. If your customers and employees are not satisfied or happy, they'll both go elsewhere, and badmouth you on the way out the door. I strongly believe that everyone should read It's Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff, and Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails by Barbara Corcoran. These are not just lessons for managers, but for the underlings too because eventually some of them are going to be put in charge of something, and they ought to do it well when they get there. So when you have a Devildog in charge of something, things get done, and done well. Nothing is going to be "unsat".

And in this instance, taking care of his people, has come back around to several others keeping eyes open and ears to the ground to help us find a better opportunity for him. An example from Barbara Corcoran's book cites a situation where a bid was out for something, and the person in charge of securing the bid hired Barbara's company because in a previous job, Barbara was nice to that person. It was a very lucrative contract - all because she was nice to someone several years prior. Michael Abrashoff inherited the worst ship in the Navy, in every possible way. Literally zero retention/reenlistment, failed every inspection and mission. Simple things like waiting his turn for meals instead of taking advantage of "Head of Line" privilege as an officer, garnered respect from his crew, and they became willing to work for him.

So here we sit facing uncertainty, and trying very hard to quiet our inner control-freaks. (at least mine anyway, don't know about his). Apparently, I still needed to learn that whole trust thing, and "Let go and Let God". I have to keep telling myself to get in the wheelbarrow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hackles and Chickens

My grandma Mac was one of many in the family with a 6th sense. My siblings and I have some form of it, and there have been many times it made an appearance in our lives. My dad told me a few times how his mom would say "Something's gonna get to the chickens", and a couple days later, the remnants of a fox's lunch would be discovered.
This past week has been a series of otherwise innocuous events, but when you add them up, something's rotten in Denmark. My hackles are up, and I don't like being one of the chickens either. In the last week, we've had no fewer than THREE different solicitors for alarm companies at our door, wanting our business. Saturday, I saw the electric company technician slow and park next door. He then knocked on the door across the street, and waited for an answer. Lather, rinse, repeat a couple times. Then he went to the hose and it looked like he took a drink from the hose. Odd, and I'm sure against the company policies. I was trying to use my camera zoom to get a truck number in case it was needed. Then in the middle of that, two young guys pull up in a black Ford Focus and the passenger takes a picture of my house. I tried to get a picture of them, but my angle and timing missed their faces and the tag number. Then tonight, the doorbell rings and my oldest child answered the door without looking through the peephole, asking who it was, or just plain old ignoring the door. To top it off, the person asked if the parents were home and my son answered with "no". The urge to smack him (and then some) came to mind.
So all these scenarios keep playing in my head, and these are the kinds of things that I've had playing in my head for many years. One of them involves me telling an intruder to bleed on a non-carpeted floor because I am not trying to replace carpet.
And yes, we've told the children not to answer the door to anyone they don't know. While the new house is in a nicer neighborhood, it's not a secure compound either. It just all makes me suspicious of a lot of people and things and I don't like that feeling.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grace in unusual places

I am sitting at my table, with a teething 11 month old close at hand (er...my hind end really) who wants to be on my hip at the same time I need to be working busily to get things done. This would be one example of God telling me to "slow down, it'll get done." The new house is almost completely painted, and what isn't painted can be done later. The master bedroom has been primed and that's the one room left to paint that needs to be done before we move in that room. The carpet in the kids' rooms will be installed Friday. So that leaves me back at the dinky rental to once again focus on getting things done there. I've been so focused at the new house and then when we get back to the rental my brain is in "get kids to bed" mode, that I did not notice that there were lots of messes that weren't here last week. Or if they were, they were contained enough that it didn't assault my senses. So this morning as I waited on my sister to get here to sit on the baby for me so I can work a couple hours, I found myself starting to get cranky and sniping about my family. Then for some reason one of the ladies in the MOMS group I facilitated came to mind. Thinking about MOMS sent my brain to the week we covered finding every day graces - including in your laundry. That Grace is hidden somewhere amid piles of papers for the shredder that got kicked around when the shredder overheated and the task abandoned. It's buried under the clothes and socks my loved ones removed and cast aside where they stopped moving. It's hidden by empty plastic bottles that were set on the side table and knocked over by the rambunctious monkey baby.
I'm just thankful I bit my tongue the other day when my oldest made comments about how he hopes the new house doesn't get messy etc. I just leered at him and waited for him to walk away. There's some grace for you - knowing which brick wall on which you should avoid smashing your head.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

painting is work

I know it's work, but with a baby underfoot, it's an adventure too. We have a lot of painting to do, and it's mostly because I don't want to have to paint after we move into it. I want to get it done and over with and move in and enjoy the house. Sadly I am not an octopus, nor am I Superwoman. Progress is slow, but if it were not for the help of my Father-in-Law, it would be even slower. Teenagers are only so helpful. We (I) want to have a housewarming party before the next round of birthdays at the end of September and beginning of October. After that you've got Devildog and my anniversary, a major rivalry football weekend that takes place here, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, another household rivalry football game, and Christmas, New Year's, and my birthday. So the timing is key. We are excited, our friends are excited for us, and we just want to get this work done so we can live in the house before the baby finishes her doctoral thesis.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eyeballs and Elbows

That's where Devildog and I are in debt - albeit secured debt, it's debt nonetheless. We signed our lives away Monday morning.

On this:








And my wrist and hand still hurt from the closing. Then you add the first day of school and the million forms (asking for duplicate info on all of them ::eyeroll::), and I think my hand will fall off before I can start painting the new place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eleventh Hour

I'm notorious for eleventh hour things. But in just under eleven hours, Devildog and I will be signing our lives away on a mortgage for a house. None of those usual "we are buying a house" emotions are striking my chords. There's not a lot of squee. It's more of a "it's about time" feeling.
Right now there's a lot of tension in the house since the two teen boys are a bit at odds at the moment, yes at 11:44 pm. School starts tomorrow. One is going to a different school and displeased about it. The other can't find his ID and is packing things in a box in an attempt to find it. It's not where he left it, and he didn't think to look for it earlier in the day before his brother was trying to sleep. There are a couple slammed doors, a slinging of a trash bag into the yard, and I'm sure words exchanged. I'm trying to stay out of it, but I also need to keep them from waking their sister in the next room, or Devildog at the other end of the house. Add to this, the baby has now been kick-started and wound back up with the excitement, at a point when I am usually laying her in the bed for the night. Those two polar-opposite boys are long overdue for their own rooms. Now that they're almost grown, we're finally getting a house with separate rooms for them. Talk about an eleventh hour move right?

Ugh. It's all I have to say on the subject at this point. I'm tired but unable to go to sleep. Tomorrow should be interesting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Greetings and Gallon

Today is the last weekday before school starts. Clone and I went to greet her teacher who "ramped up" with my daughter this year. Last year there were 2 teachers, then they ramped up, taking half the class with each of them. This eliminates the get-to-know-you stuff going on the first couple weeks, and the teachers can jump right into teaching because they know most everyone's learning style. Everyone was excited to see each other and Clone was met with some quizzical looks of "I know you somehow". She cut her hair off a couple weeks ago when she was in Charleston with the relatives, so she looks rather different from the last day of school. From there, I went to the blood bank to donate blood, but had to go back home because I forgot my ID. Mind you, I forgot it 2 days ago, and it was in THAT pair of shorts, not the ones I wore yesterday. Back again, those vampires were happy to see me. Why? Because I'm the universal donor.

However, not only did I come away with a snack and a soda, but I got a nifty flower made out of the bandage material. I've not encountered this particular guy at the blood bank before. But one of the other girls that works there is in treatment for breast cancer, working with exposed peach fuzz and all, determined that she was going to get up and live her life, because sitting around the house watching traffic gets old quickly. She said she normally wears a scarf, but it's just been too dang HOTTTT for that. You could fry some chicken on the sidewalk around here, forget just the egg.

Since we're moving, I may not be visiting that location for the vampires to get me. Sis tells me the location out at the beach is closer to the new house. I didn't have the heart to tell them. I also know the staff rotate locations, so it's entirely possible we'll see each other at the other donor center. AND, to top it all off, today was a bit of a milestone for me too. I donated what amounted to the top of my first gallon of blood!

So, I got a license plate with a 1 gallon sticker.I'm not sure where it's getting installed, or if it will be indoors or on the mom-bus.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunny Beaudelaire

She's a character in the Lemony Snicket movie. The baby sister, who my own baby daughter resembles in some ways. Mini-Human is teething at a constant daily rate and has bouts of misery every. single. day. She occasionally chews on the furniture too. Tonight, she climbed up in the chair next to where I sit at the table, and as she stood in that chair, began to chew on the back of mine. It looked a bit like Kilroy, but it makes me shudder a bit. I would not be surprised to enter the room and find my MiniHuman hanging from the table like Sunny Beaudelaire, leaving teeth marks in the wood, babbling incoherently.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dead Roses

I am sitting here, trying to process some things, so bear with me a moment or few. I've been in this small 1100 square foot house for a little more than 6 years. We've grown to have a love/hate relationship with this house. There is always new hope in moving to a new place, and dread of schlepping your worldly belongings somewhere. Today's adventures took me to the laundry room, which equates to the "dungeon" of this house. It serves as a closet of sorts for Devildog and me, because our bedroom has no closet. It serves as extra storage for the stuff most people house in their garage. Well technically it IS the garage, except it's been enclosed and we now sleep in part of it. Anyway, I came across some roses from my mom's funeral, that had been wrapped in newspaper. I know I need to part with them. They're dead flowers. Dead flowers carry negative chi, according to the tenets of feng shui. Dead flowers kill a mood too. I was in what I call 'mission mode' pecking away at sorting through things on the shelf over the machines when I found them. I knew they were up there, but ignored them.

As I unwrapped them, with the intention of rewrapping them for some reason, I looked at them and knew I had to release them. They're dead flowers for pete's sake. They serve no purpose for me, they don't make me smile, they have no home here or will they in the new house. No problem right? Well for some reason I started getting emotional over some dead roses from my mother's funeral. Five year old dead flowers wrapped in newspaper shouldn't strum heartstrings. But they did just that to me. I looked at them a minute, and then took them outside and laid them under the loquat tree by the road. I couldn't just throw them in the trash, and we don't have a yard waste bin since the trash guys took our other garbage can (if they didn't leave it in the road it wouldn't get hit by cars). It was a logical step for me.

Except, doing that just did not feel right. I keep thinking I should take them to the new house and set them under a tree there. It keeps feeling like I'm leaving part of my mother at a house where I have no roots, nor ever intended to plant roots. And it just feels wrong. I sat down here and started blathering about it in my cleaning chat room (yes, question me later on that one), and in an IM to another person.

Then I had a bit of a revelation. When Mom died, she did not want Dad in the room with her. After 35 years together, you know a person, and Mom knew Dad would not handle watching her die very well, despite his iron-stomached stint at Walter Reed as an orderly tending the sickest of sick. She figured there would be the puddle of Dad goo that we would have to clean up and take home to the house they shared in all that. But it felt so very wrong for me to leave my mother alone, septic, smelling of horrid infection that is the "smell of death", but still present enough to know Dad was out of the room and actually try to leave before he and my brother got back. As soon as he returned, she perked back up. I think if they'd stayed downstairs five more minutes she would have accomplished her mission to leave without him there to see it. In my gut I knew I should stay, but I was driving Dad home. I could have sent him with my sister, but didn't. When I got home, I sat down and the phone rang. I knew it was the hospital calling. "Your mother has expired. I'm sorry for your loss." Perfunctory but polite. I asked what time she died. "11:16." She knew when Dad was safely at home again and held out long enough till she let go. They both were "home" at the same time, one last time.

Somehow I equated leaving those flowers from my mother's funeral to leaving my mother. Logically I know those flowers are not my mother. It still feels so very wrong to leave those dead roses by the tree at the roadside, like I felt it was wrong to leave her in the hospital alone to die. So, I've decided to take them to the new house and leave them by a tree there. I ultimately will release them, but it won't feel like I'm abandoning them - or my mother by the side of the road here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Updates and progress

Well here we sit, still in the rental, but the loan package is knocking on the door to the underwriter's desk. I need to get some things together and sent to the lender (preferably before it gets in the underwriter's hands so it will expedite things), and lack the energy and MoJo right now. I should be doing some form of packing, cleaning and decluttering. I'm blogging instead. If things move along, we could close on the house next week. The little 5x10 storage unit I got to stash things temporarily is filled - and not as much of stuff I intended to store in there, but things that were given to us for the new place. Blessings nonetheless and I'm just going to smile and keep going. We could feasibly be able to move out of the storage unit before the end of the month, and put that money elsewhere.
I told the landlord we are moving, and actually advised them back in July when we put in an offer. They'll need to budget for carrying costs and repairs from 6 years of us living here. It's not rode hard and put up wet, but it's not pretty either. My goal is to clean and paint the new place, and correct a couple things ("amateur workmanship" as the inspector called it) the first week, move the next week, and then once we're in the new house, come back here and help get this placed squared away so the landlords can rent it back out as soon as possible.
I'm tossing a bunch, but could still stand to toss more. I've offered stuff on freecycle, and there's going to be a big bunch going to the thrift shop.
And then there's the whole school starting in a week and and a couple days and I have not really done any supply shopping. We're going to need notebook paper for sure. Three kids (two in high school) use a lot of it. I think I have the other basics covered so if nothing else, they won't show up empty-handed come first day of school.
Ever have a day where you feel like you've made no progress, even though you probably have?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Progress on several fronts

Well it's been like a month since my last blog, mostly because I feel like I'm chasing my head as it rolls down my street.
In any case, we put in an offer on the 2nd, we got word the sellers' bank approved the short sale contract on the 23rd - the day we started our vacation. Devildog's friend called the next day saying "hey, I'm moving to Denver, come tell me bye". Devildog said "dude we're in Charleston visiting family", asked when friend was leaving, and then hung up to talk to me about our departure date. We cut the trip short by 2 days, the first day so Devildog could visit the friend before they left, the 2nd day was just so we'd have some quiet at home before kicking back into gear at work. I did get some packing done last week, but not as much as I wanted to do. I got some packing done this week, but not as much as I wanted to do. Last week, we did the inspection on the house and the VA appraiser was there. We are still waiting on the appraiser's report to go to our lender. I've been keeping everything in a binder and each set of paperwork has its own sheet protector. This makes fast turn-around from me to the lender and realtor and closing attorneys. Plus if Devildog needs information, it's all right there. He can answer a question just as easily. In terms of VA loans and short sales (individually, much less combined), this transaction is progressing at an amazing rate of speed. However, at this very moment, we are currently awaiting the appraiser's report before we can proceed to getting in line at the underwriter's desk. The lender sent us the other documents a little early because we are confident the appraisal is on par with the asking price. I decided to get a storage unit temporarily so we could make some elbow room in this house while we wait on the new one. As I type, there is a stack waiting by the door to get loaded in the mom-bus and taken over there.

The older 3 kids are still on vacation. The boys are hanging with Father in Law, Sister in Law and future Brother in Law. The Clone is at camp. The pictures they post online show some very happy girls enjoying themselves immensely. Next week the two boys have orientation at their respective schools. We are hoping to be closed on the new house by the time school starts so we can just fill out forms once with the new address and not have to redo them after the move. Plus, 8 miles difference means a different high school for at least one of them. If Beast doesn't get his summer credit recovery work done with a quickness, he can not return to the magnet school, and has to go to the neighborhood school.

Mini-Human is up and running (literally), climbing and eating most everything you put in front of her. There's the language development, and stuff like patty-cake, waving, and other means of communicating - mostly shrieks and grunts and other caveman noises. She does make sounds resembling words like "up", what sounds like a deaf person saying pattycake, pattycake etc.

Me? I'm trying to cull as much as I possibly can before schlepping it to a new place. I keep reminding myself that the clutter costs $1 per pound to move it. I've tossed a LOT already and I could certainly stand to cull a LOT more. I keep thinking about the people on Clean House being asked to put something in a yard sale, and seeing a co-host sidebar saying "well if she isn't going to part with X, then I'm not going to give her Y in the redo" or "If she's not going to part with the entire collection of A, then I'll be forced to include it in the redesign and it simply won't be as nice as it could be". I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around that concept. I somehow have difficulty releasing the clutter into the wild. I strongly suspect it's that side effect of being raised by a parent raised during the 30s and the Depression. While my cheapskate tendencies come in handy plenty of times, I need to trust the process and know that it will be ok if I don't have half the stuff I currently possess. Talking it, typing it, and reading it do not always translate into automatically accepting it. I kept thinking about the prime example: pre-baby clothes. I still kept a lot of them because I have myself somewhat convinced that I will be able to wear them again. I have told myself that if I don't fit into them next summer, they have to leave my house. In addition, the size I was before had fewer options for me because the manufacturers figure females that size apparently have no curves.
Now if you'll pardon me, a little person is at my feet demanding my attention, and boxes at the door await transport. I'd so rather be shopping for a bridesmaid dress at the moment.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Unexpected findings

We looked at a bunch of houses a couple weeks ago. We'd planned on looking for 2 days in a row, but the 2nd day, something came up. There was a round of bad moods, with a long conversation. I was going to resume the search with the rest of the list I forwarded to the realtor. Then a phone call with a question was met with "Let's just put in an offer on the house on B. Lane"
::blink blink:: "wha? .... ok" So we did that Friday. Given the circumstances we expected the sellers to accept our offer. We picked up our copies of the sale contract today. We are waiting on approval from the sellers' lender for the short sale.
I was not expect to find something in the neighborhood we found. We're cautiously optimistic. I've gone from praying to find the right house to praying that we can pay the bills and keep up the house if the bank approves the deal.
We apparently liked the place, because we were there looking around for like an hour, and the realtor was able to talk at length with his son, and take about 10 other calls. I talked to the next door neighbor who happened to be outside, and asked about the house. She seemed nice enough and said most of the kids in the vicinity grew up and it was a lot of older folks and empty nesters or people with early adulthood kids still at home. Lord, just don't let us be the bane of the neighborhood with 4 busy (aka loud) kids, and the Devildog with his friends.

I'd hoped to not tell the kids till after we got the contract back, but Devildog told them about it already, so we're getting a lot of questions about the new place.
Who's sharing a room?
Can we get a cat? (no pets, I just don't want any animals, regardless of "whose" it is etc)
What school is it assigned? (Oldest, b/c the other 2 are in magnet programs)
What is near it? (Publix, McDonald's, and named off several friends nearby, the PAL, the Fort, it's a quick ride to the beach via the WW, and my sister is moving out across from the state park at the beach, so she'll be nearby too.)
Can I use Aunt C's addy to go to the other high school out there? (::shrug:: that depends on a couple other factors, as well as the aunt and roomies' permission.) I think that school may have German, which would alleviate the need for him to take 2 years of a foreign language, instead of the 2nd year of German. I think. This other issue has to be addressed and he has to comply with all rules otherwise it's not gonna work or happen. I think he's attempting to do things different, but I remain cautious to my expectations and his delivery.
Who knows, maybe an extra 900 square feet with some elbow room and less chaos/clutter will help his mindset. It will likely help mine. Living 6 people deep in a dinky 1100 square foot hovel as I've come to call this place, makes everyone in it a little cranky for lack of turning space.
Again, the phrase "cautious optimism" is the prevailing theme on many fronts. We'll see how it goes, however long it goes for waiting on the bank approval. I was fully not expecting to find something this early in July. I was expecting that I'd have my paper clutter sorted and disposed of before we found a house. Which reminds me, I need to finish that bin of stash-n-dash paper, and my goal is to be done by the week's end. Oh and in that bin, I found my power of attorney paperwork...go figure.

This is what I have left to do:









And this is the stuff pulled from that bin that needs to get filed.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Burdens & Birthdays

Today is my 17th BirthING Day. He's survived this long without me killing him, and that alone is a miracle. He's literally half my age, and acts it. We'll see if he survives to age 18. He's made some unwise choices, and carries a lot of perfectionism. If he can't do it right, he just rather assume to not bother. It's causing him problems. It no longer causes me problems so much as him, because I no longer assume responsibility for his choices. Besides he's long become outside the influence of his parents. We're just a couple hard-nosed old people who know nothing. So we left him to his decisions and the accompanying consequences. In turn, he no longer gets anything beyond basic food and shelter from us. It wouldn't surprise me if he has characterized us in an unpleasant manner, but I actually expect that. I figure eventually he'll own his choices and behave accordingly. Till then, I just follow St. Monica's example.

This morning was also the recommittal of my mother's remains in a new resting place. The ground for a new National Cemetery had not yet been broken when Mom left Dad behind. The next closest National Cemetery with space available in 2005 was down in Bushnell - quite the drive from where we are. With the promise of moving her as soon as we could, that's where Mom went. Finally in 2007, the new one opened and Dad was antsy every day, trying to save as much money as he could to get Mom moved. We couldn't just get a moving van and bring Mom to the new place, it had to be done by a funeral home. The exhumation and reburial was at no cost to Dad, but transport was. For his 83rd birthday, my oldest sister got the paperwork going and helped Dad get it done. So today, 2 weeks later, and on my son's birthday, Mom was reburied in the cemetery closer to home. Dad can finally relax and stop fretting about it, worried that he would leave us burdened with moving her.

We met Eileen, one of the volunteer auxilliary women who attend each burial, as a silent witness so no one is ever buried alone. My mother's reburial was not unlike her deathbed and funeral - a mix of every thing we are. Lots of bantering, some ribbing and some solemn moments. I'm sure Eileen did not expect us to be, well..., US. In her beautiful line of work, she sees those left here, suffering in their darkest of days, and probably rarely gets a family that has ample levity to share. We all met at the main building and drove my sister's car to the grave, and I left my camera in the mom-bus. I did have my phone with me though. It's very interesting to see how they do such a job. As they filled in the grave, tamping the dirt, my brother said something about tossing a box of Imitrex in there with her. I had to ask him to explain. He said that she had headaches all the time and was always taking Imitrex, and here they are pounding on her head with a tamper.












Dad didn't fall apart as much as we expected that he would. I think he's just relieved that he has mom closer to home. When we met members of the staff there or the guy from the funeral home, Dad kept referring to us as "her children" like he had no part in creating or raising us. I beg to differ, as I find myself repeating stuff my Dad used to say all the time. He is the reason we all have a sense of humor in the first place. I am thankful that for his birthday a couple weeks ago, the beginning of an unburdening began for him.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

To market, To market

That's the song I'm singing to the house I know Divine Intervention is sending our way. The houses I am looking at in our budget and neighborhoods we're willing to live in are not jumping out and biting me. It's a bit annoying because I would like to find something soon. Of course I'm not seeing it because a) it's not there, not being on the market yet, b) this current house is not ready enough to vacate, nor have I decluttered enough (doesn't look like I did anything at all, because essentially I haven't), and c) I'm known for 11th hour everything. I was even born at 10:28 pm. My best papers in high school and the little bit of college classes that I took ages ago were written at 1 in the morning. I guess it's part of my wiring.

I'm being patient. I don't have much choice really since work is busy right now. I have a feeling work will be busy for a while. The boss asked me to cover some recently vacated stores, adding to my 12 store list, making it 13 on my assignment list, plus another 5 to fill in till a replacement is hired. Then Clone is going to camp next month. I think I have a slow week next week, because this week is already jam full. I think that's when I'll be able to squeeze in the Mini-Human's 9 month checkup and a camp physical for the Clone.

Yet, I'm up beyond the 11th hour, blogging. In my defense that's only because the Mini-Human was up till 2. You read that correctly. UP. TILL. 2. She fights sleep like a trooper, and I need some time to decompress. Unfortunately for my knitting, I can't pay attention enough to knit at this hour. That sweater pattern requires note-taking and attention. That's not possible when I'm not brain-cooperative.
But wait! There's more! For the low low... oh wait, wrong market. No I'm just tired and feeling overwhelmed by a lot of things. My shoulders reside in my ears almost permanently and my back dislikes me often enough. Anything more that I say on it, would be whining, and per FLYLady, I'm not allowed to do that. So I'm going to just crawl in my bed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A new house needs a few things

You may recall me saying we are restarting our home search. The timing is stellar, since work is gearing up for resets too. Devildog works a crazy shift schedule that makes it inconducive for anything. So I am feeling very overwhelmed by all this, even before it starts full swing. I'm wired to be that way. Right now I am working on 15 minute blocks, and this one consists of feeding the baby while I blog. She's almost asleep and I think my timer's about to buzz anyway. I need this kind of structure today, as I'm working myself up over all of this work around me and that's just foolish. But I am dreaming too. I'm mentally thinking of the stuff I simply want for the new house, not even the needs. Among them for anyplace we live is a Kitchenaid mixer. I've tried to win one from The Pioneer Woman several times. My chances are slim because she has so many readers. The author of one of my favorite cookbooks is giving away a red one. While you're there check out what else is Saving Dinner and how you can save yours. Some of my favorites to cook come out of Leanne Ely's recipes. I have found a few things that I now love that I wouldn't have thought to eat before. Kale is one of them. Food can be an adventure, and on a smaller scale and budget then this adventure we're on right now with buying a house.

Now if you'll pardon me, my timer buzzed a few minutes ago. The baby is now out of my arms, and the rest of my list beckons. I'd still just much rather knit though.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sit down, Mommy's tired

Well we've hit more milestones. There are 2 bottom teeth. If she is going to escape, I'd rather she do it safely. So I taught her how to climb off things feet first. She will now also arch back when she's on my hip to indicate she wants down, and NOW. She's been standing on her own for a couple weeks, and I knew it was inevitable - and soon. It's now. The mini-human is walking. She and her 3 older siblings all were early walkers, Beast started at the end of 7 mos, Oldest and Mini-Human 8 mos and Clone was my "late" walker at 9 mos. With each of them, everyone was amazed that they walked so early.
She loves being outside. The other day Beast & his friend went outside to play with the basketball, and Clone was immediately out the door with them. Mini-Human was near the door and the last one out didn't make sure the storm door latched. I was knitting and counting stitches and heard no noise, then a click. I called her name and got no answer. I grabbed my camera and went to the door because in my gut I knew she was up to something. Sure enough she was on the doorstep reaching for the dirt and leaves just beyond the concrete. The next day I was outside and opened the door for her. She demonstrated how she got out the door, hanging on to the door and the frame till she could get off the first 3 inch step, then plopped to her bottom and crawled away from the door. Here we go again....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Doing a "Dora dance"

I just got done replacing the fill valve (aka float valve) on the toilet. It's been running for ages and I've told Devildog it needs to be fixed. I changed out the flapper and that helped but moons later it started running a lot again. Well this past week I've noticed a lot of running water sound in there and lifted the tank lid this morning to find the water running straight into the overflow drain. I lifted on the float part and it didn't shut off the water, so I turned off the supply and wrote a note on the mirror in dry erase marker. It asked my crew to please turn off the water supply to the toilet. In my travels today I stopped to get the fill valve that Devildog forgot to bring home from work. I was unwilling to wait for him to do it, risk him forgetting again, plus I knew I had enough skill to master that.
It would have been much much much faster if the baby was asleep or just not in my unsunny regions. Eventually I did get it done. It's one less thing Devildog has to do, and one more thing I now CAN do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Restarting an adventure

I had a blog post all typed up and damn if Blogger didn't eat it.

Reader's Digest: We got a preapproval for a mortgage again. We're now looking for a house. There's a debate between a 3 bedroom or a 4 bedroom. We have 4 children and the age differences between the younger 3 spans enough that a 4 bedroom is merited. The Devildog thinks we can handle living in a 3 bedroom. I know the limits of my sanity, and Devildog forgets those limits.

We'll see what the market has available for us and I'll get back to you.

Monday, May 31, 2010

keep trying baby

I was looking through post titles, and found the one about the baby getting mobile back in January. Then 4 months later she's started another level of mobility. She's not walking on her own yet, but she's been thinking about it, and attempting it. She takes half a step and loses her balance. She's been rising to stand by herself without having to pull up on something else for support for a week or so. It's kind of interesting to watch her and you can just see the gears turning as she attempts these new developments. She keeps getting back up and trying again till something shiny distracts her for a minute. I keep hearing Dori in Finding Nemo, except it relates to my baby walking, not fish swimming the deep blue sea trying to find a lost offspring.
However, I'm also in a deep dark sea trying to find a lost offspring in my oldest son. But it's at that point in a parent's and a child's life when the parent can not convince the child of anything on a map being correct, so that child must swim the ocean and hopefully win against the currents and riptides. I think I may be in the territory that is familiar to St. Monica with regards to her son St. Augustine.
To say the least it's a bit stressful, and I've got so much going on that my ability to sit down and knit on that sweater I started is limited. Sadly even my mundane project I can work in the dark is needing repairs before I can proceed with it. I'm bound by the activities and naptimes of a certain little person who sees fit to only sleep in short spurts of time resembling a joke for a nap. I wear my shoulders in my ears more often than I should, and that is also compounded by a co-sleeping-to-nurse-baby-at-night-and-get-some-sleep-too arrangement. The chiropractor asked me how long we planned to nurse. My answer "as long as it takes, I have no idea" was not enthusiastically received, but the chiro is there to realign me and his concern is that I keep UNaligning myself. Prime example is right now as I type, I'm sitting with my legs crossed (hello vericose veins!) leaning back on my tailbone that was broken 9 years ago, with said baby on my chest - asleep for a power nap. Nevermind, she just squirmed and fussed till I put her tummy down on my lap...not that it's much better. I can't reach my knitting. And my coffee needs to be warmed.
And also as I type this my birthday girl is now awake after fighting sleep to stay up till midnight of her birthday. I got "first wishes" as the new tradition in my family goes. It's a little contest we all have to see who gets to wish the birthday person a Happy Birthday first, as in - stroke of midnight 12:00:00 birthday wishes. And now that the baby is up (5 mins later, I tell you it's a power nap for this girl. She fights sleep!), I can go warm up my own coffee since the older spawn haven't gotten that for me.
I have no idea what we're doing this Memorial Day/Clone birthday. I did make California Caviar and a tomato-cucumber salad just in case we do something. Now that I have replenished the mayo supply, I can also make potato salad among other things. Devildog was trying to get something thrown together with a friend. Any excuse to hang with a long missed friend right? We did take Clone to see the new Shrek movie in 3D with a friend yesterday. The girls absolutely loved it, as did we. The baby was a little restless and fussy, but we timed it around Devildog's work schedule, which happened to coincide with Mini-Human's naptime. It's a good story line, and I enjoyed the movie. I don't go to movies often, and I definitely didn't feel like it was a waste of money. I forsee buying this when it comes out on DVD. At least that way, I can pause the show when someone gets fussy.

And I read this before posting, wow what ADOS I have. It's probably due to interrupted insufficient sleep, lack of adequate coffee this morning, and my shoulders trying to get to my ears out of habit. I think I'll go make a french toast brunch for the Clone. I bought a loaf of Texas toast bread just for the occasion.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blue Sleeves, a beginning

You can't tell because the stitches make it roll, but there's about 2 inches of knitting. And I'm on row 8, of sleeve #2. I'm doing two at a time. The general premise is that if I screw up, at least I'd be consistent, and the sleeves should come out to be the same length.

The yarn is smooshy and nuzzle-worthy. The needles are sharp and just zippy enough with some grip. I may be a convert to wooden needles now. Ah, how I would absolutely love to go shopping on the KnitPicks website again soon.
I may need to wait so that I can get the FLYLady Calendar before school starts in August.

Sorry for not being more talkative.

Monday, May 24, 2010

An attempt at DE-stressing

I realized earlier this week that I have not been knitting in ...um, well a while because I think it was the last midnight knit in at my LYS (local yarn shop) that I attended. And even then, because Mini-Human was demanding much of my attention, and I was distracted untangling someone's yarn for them, and talking to Persnickety, and tending the baby, and deciding on a sweater pattern (AGAIN, after someone sold the yarn I was going to buy from them to make a different pattern that others went through some effort to get me), and playing with the yarn winder (want one of those for as many times I frog projects), and stuffing my face - I didn't really do any knitting. Well since knitting helps me alleviate stress, my lack of knitting may be contributing to it since I'm not doing anything to unstress myself. I was bored with the 3 mundane projects already started. I was waiting to cast on the sweater till I got my KnitPicks interchangeables. I have a set of Boye interchangeables and decided that since I like knitting and enjoy it more than crocheting, I was going to invest in a nicer set of interchangeables. I used part of the tax return to indulge my craft with good tools. It was time to start that sweater.
So, I stopped at the yarn shop Friday so a friend could meet the yarny folks after I gave her a preliminary lesson of a knit-on cast on. Once there, she decided a private lesson would be wise. I also took Clone who didn't knit anything and Mini-Human who got a hold of 3 balls of Cascade that I quickly saved from her fast fingers, and wound two skeins of my sweater yarn into nice flat cakes so I could do two sleeves at once on my new tools. I was spending so much time rewinding yarn, I once again, knit nothing.
Mini-Human is changing her sleep pattern, and I'm hoping to get longer snippets of time to knit again. Last night I swatched, this afternoon I cast on.
Let me just say that simply swatching for this sweater and the initial casting on for sleeves has been enjoyable, and so far I'm really liking my KnitPicks Harmonies. Plus they're pretty. And the cable is flexible. I'm trying to get my brain to wrap around this 2 at a time idea but it's fighting with me. I can't find my stitch markers so I can designate a color to each sleeve and keep track on paper. Not only am I moving on from squares and rectangles and into a sweater, but I'm modifying the pattern. This requires math, and me to write down what I am doing with each row and sleeve. I did say I was ATTEMPTING to de-stress. I pray this sweater does not add to it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Busy, Noisy Baby.

I know it's been a month since my last post. It's been crazy, head-rolling-down-the-street busy.

The mini-human shrieks, growls, grunts, crawls, pulls up, lets go,and stands for a few seconds on her own. And like her mother, SHE EATS. She's still a mama-milk monkey, but holy mackerel, don't let her see you moving food to your face. She wants it. I got the kids a barrel of pretzel snaps (the square grids) last week and while it's almost gone already, MiniHuman has had her share of them. As my kids are, someone dropped one and missed that fact. The baby being mobile, jumped on the opportunity. I was in another room, so I missed the whole episode. I returned to the room to find the baby leering at her sister as Clone was eating pretzels. I picked up the baby and told her the pretzels were not hers, but she could have some puffs. It's a Gerber Graduate puffed grain snacky treat thing that makes many babies squee. Mine just wants to eat. In any case when I picked her up, I asked why she smelled like pretzels. Clone said "oh. I gave her one" ::facepalm:: I guess it's good these are not overly salted like a lot of others I've acquired. I told the kids she can't have them because of the salt. Nobody listens to me. Nor do they pick up after themselves. She still manages to get pretzels.
Well tonight was no exception. She was shrieking at me - either to be fed or her pants were full. She goes from zero to sixty quickly and it all sounds alike. She had been whacking stuff behind me on the floor and she was there a while. I smelled something foul and assumed it was cleanup time. I soon discovered that she had sounded an alarm, but there was no content to match. I did find this when I went to change her though.
I don't ask. After the first one, you figure those buggers will manage to get almost anything in their diapers by the sheer fact that there's just enough gap and they've got the dropsies at the correct angle. Given the not so soft edges, I guess I'd be complaining too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

moving onward and upward

Well it's been a busy couple weeks since my last post. I'm feeling in over my head on a lot of things. I am feeling like a failure on many fronts. I'm not sure what crawled up a few unsunny places but it needs to find its way to the septic tank or sewer lines. I am not naming names, pointing fingers or giving examples. It's multi-faceted and multi-pronged. No one thing is stirring my pot, but sure as the night sky is dark, the devil's making me use my broom. A LOT.

My stinkin' thinkin' is not helping the situation. I've taken to saying "urg" in place of some choice words, or something directed at an individual.

But the bright spots in my days include those times when my oldest isn't being a jerk, and actually being cooperative and reasonable. He's more often surly than not, and has a completely different way of thinking than I have. He's a sweet child, with incredible brains. We're not seeing eye to eye with some of his choices. It's when Beast takes the baby to play with her, just because, or more impressively when I'm at my wits end with her (and she with me). It's when Clone comes up and hugs me, and writes stories with accompanying pictures. It's when she asks to read stories to her little sister, even though her sister can't sit still long enough for me to change her diaper, much less hear a story. It's this little baby who I argued with God that it was perimenopause and that He was not entrusting another child to my care, because look at what we did with the first one - eesh. She's exploring her world, and we're learning to communicate in our own way. Let me just say, she's very vocal - and it's more apt to say that she's training me to recognize her language. She's been pulling up on things, and has occasionally let go for a second before plopping on the floor. More recently, she's using more leg power than arms to get upright. This week, she's making the next move towards cruising. She's occasionally transferring from one place to a place next to it without sitting down first. She's doing well with food - and prefers what WE are eating, not the stuff in jars. She goes nuts trying to get our food. We're working on pincer grasp, waving, drinking from a cup, and answering to her name. She gets baby puffs to snack on, a sippy cup of very diluted juice to learn how to drink from it, and she's doing well with both. Her laugh is infectious, and her smile gives me a 'mommy melt'. My favorite is the squinty-eyed, wide-mouth belly laugh. It's even better if she's kicking her legs. To laugh with full abandon is an awesome gift. I love that she can incite laughter from each of the older 3 kids with her cuteness.

Oldest was going around tonight naming colors in Spanish - a language he dislikes to the point he took German when he was in SC. I was a tad puzzled by this, but we live in Florida, so if he learns multiple languages - go for it. However, Mini-Human was looking at her big brother like "dude what the heck are you doing?" I suspect she's going to perfect this look and use it on her siblings for years to come. It will most likely be well deserved.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter - come and gone

I went to Mass as usual. I hope you're in a chair. Oldest voluntarily came with us. No lightening struck him as he entered either. Lots of my friends were genuinely surprised and happy to see him. As usual the baby got passed back and forth. My friend MS usually ends up holding the baby. Today Mini-Human was also with Oldest and his friend that accompanied us. The lady behind them asked if it was their baby. She was obviously a visitor or she attends a different Mass time. It seems that almost everyone knows who my baby is. Anyway, MS takes Mini-Human up to Communion with her, and today ended up walking all the way back around after Communion because the other end of our pew was full of people who didn't go up to receive Communion. Beast is an usher, and was last in line. He nabbed Mini-Human from MS, and finished his "route", with his baby sister tucked into the crook of his arm. I could hear "aww" in whispered waves as he walked past the pews. Then he took her with him to the back of the church and the other female ushers were gushing over the baby.

We then went to the store for a few things and I came home and started the side dishes. The ham was in the crockpot. I <3 my crockpot, and I don't use it enough - even though I have 3 of differing sizes.
I decided that instead of making the Dr Pepper ham recipe I got from an old board buddy a few years ago, I would try this one instead. I was lacking the brown sugar, but it was good nonetheless. It would definitely be better with the brown sugar. Devildog requested black eye peas, cornbread and pan roasted potatoes. Nah, he's not a starch-lovin' kind of guy at all.
As a last minute addition while I was in the store today, I decided to get a couple cucumbers and tomatoes. My friend BL made this cucumber-tomato salad last week for her dinner the day she "borrowed" the Mini-Human. I got the recipe from her and there might be half a cup of it left in my fridge now. I'm sure Oldest will finish it in the next 18 hours.
We dyed eggs using food coloring, and I much prefer that method to the tablet kits. I already have the very handy & versatile food coloring, and I only need about 5 or 6 colors. It appears that my crew prefers blue and green with a little pink and orange for variety. Clone broke out her white crayon for drawing pictures on the eggs. Just a tip...if you want to over-dye something, wait for the blue to dry first before you dunk it in the yellow. The yellow doesn't recover from being assaulted by the blue.
The kids' Easter baskets were not what I would have liked, but they were better than they could have been. Mini-Human's had a book and a bath duck. The older 3 got the bunny, some jelly beans, gum, Reese's, Twizzlers, trail mix and lollipops. The boys got travel hygiene kits and the Clone got a set of headbands. She wasn't happy with that. I told her not to be ungrateful. She thinks she's a big kid, and expects that when the boys get grown-up things, she should too. Mom & Dad's basket had new coffee cups with intact handles and free of chips on the rim. She would have been happy with a new coffee cup too I think.

Like this Easter, having come and gone, so move my children too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Milestones

Clone is just a tad more than a month away from receiving First Communion. This special occasion calls for a white dress, white shoes, and white veil. A couple friends offered to loan me their daughters' dresses. I would have done that if I couldn't swing the money for it. Thankfully I was thinking ahead and started looking early. We have the requisite white dress. It's a lightweight, slightly adorned number with a layered skirt. She needs a veil too, and I decided that I can make one a lot cheaper than buying one. It could just as easily get more expensive though too. However the least expensive I've seen is $10 for just the veil - no means to affix it to her head. The clips, headbands, combs & crowns add up. For some reason the price triples because it's "bridal" supplies. She wants 2 layers (so she can pull one layer over her face - she watches too much "Say Yes to the Dress"), a tiara, and a decorative edging. We scoped out some trim today. We found one trim that is adorned with something similar to what's on the dress. I will also look in a couple other places to see if there is anything else that strikes our fancy. I'm not overly fond of the tiara idea, but I did see a hair comb with a small tiara somewhere recently. She's a bit of a peanut and I don't want to go overboard with the whole princess getup either, so the smaller the tiara the better. I happened across the dress in a second-hand store while still waddling pregnant with the Mini-Human. I found the shoes (heels - the Clone swooned!) in another second hand store. I told her the ONLY reason she was getting them was because she needs white shoes for this, they're dressy, and she is ONLY going to be permitted to wear them to church. I don't let her wear heels for a number of reasons. First of all I don't believe little kids have any business wearing heels outside of very special occasions, and I'd bet I have a thousand podiatrists ready to back me up on that one. Second, she has my feet. I won't even explain my feet here. Neither of us have time for that right now. So, heels are special occasion shoes only. This special occasion, all the girls dress up like little princess brides. My tomboy diva princess wants a tiara on her veil. I'm just glad I lack the skills to knit lace, because I was briefly (and I do mean BRIEFLY) tempted to knit a veil for Clone. Perusing Ravelry's projects pages of veils revealed that I can not spend 6 hours each day for the next month knitting a veil. It might have worked if I started it last year or even the year before. But some tulle, a decorative hair comb, some lace trim, needle, thread, possibly beading wire and/or hot glue - that I can do. And I can squeeze it in while Mini-Human takes naps.

Mini-Human is getting so big and I'm like "WAIT, SLOW DOWN!" She'll be 6 months old this weekend, and she's crawling, pulling up on things, trying to walk (she REALLY REALLY wants to GO and she just hasn't developed the physical skills fully yet, but the desire is there), and trying to sit up on her own. Tonight I left her in the den on her tummy, went to another room, and immediately came back to find her sitting up all by herself. Beast was 4 feet away watching tv, so he totally missed it. She was very proud of herself as she played with the office supply mini catalog that fell on the floor. There was no repeat performance so I could send a picture message to a certain list of people. A watched pot never boils, and a watched baby never performs on demand either.

While these milestones are awesome to watch and make me smile....I am so not ready for them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Mobility

She's pulling up on stuff. She's been scooting with AUTHORITY, and started pulling herself up on things. First it was the FisherPrice rocking chair thingy. Then there's the Exersaucer. Then Thursday it was the toybox. Tonight (Friday) I laid her in the crib for bed. She was fine for a few minutes and complained. Beast checked on her and she was standing up facing the wall. He laid her back down, put the mobile on for her, and so far I haven't heard anything else.
She's crawling. I witnessed it with my own eyes - legs moving with the knees on the floor and the 90 degree angle, with coordinated movement of actual crawling.
She's sitting decently on her own if planted somewhere, but she's too busy and nosy to stay there usually. She is trying to push herself up into a sitting position on her own, but still only gets to 45 degrees usually.
She's kicking both legs at the same time. She'll do this while laying on the floor or in the crib, WHILE nursing, and even while sitting in your lap. But she hasn't made the correlation that if she's in the rocking chair and does this, she can entertain herself and rock as long as she wants. She's more inclined to flipping over in the chair to scoot down out of it and play with the seatbelts. She tries to do this while the seatbelt is fastened with her behind it.
She was unfastened in the baby bucket on the floor and crawled up to the top of it and flipped it over. She apparently expected that because she was not even the least bit surprised. She looked annoyed that I was picking her up off the carseat. I got the scowl.

She's moving too fast. They all moved too fast. Here I was thinking she'd be held so much she wouldn't walk till she was a year old. I was dead wrong there. She's held plenty, but she loves exploring - at least till she gets caught under the futon or dining room chair and can't figure out how to escape. I don't know why I expected anything different from this baby that I didn't get from the older 3 kids. Nope, this one decided to be uber competitive and Devildog thinks she'll be walking before 7 months. Beast walked at 7 months, Oldest at 8, and Clone at 9 months.

You can bet future blog posts will include me saying "Sit down please, Mommy's tired!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Perspectives

I have one, and it's colored by my experiences. I can't say I've always had stellar experiences, but I can say some of those experiences make me dig in my heels even more - and sometimes to my own detriment. I'm a hard-headed Irish woman, I doubt anyone would expect any less of me.
My own perspective got reeled in really quick today. Devildog's phone rang while he was asleep. As I sometimes do, I answered his phone. It was our friend C. I commented that he sounded thrilled to be alive...um, oops. Yeah, I got a big shock from him, saying his son J. was in the hospital. As it turns out, J has Type 1 diabetes, and his blood sugar had been over 500 this past weekend when he was at his grandparents' house. GP, as he's called, has Type 2 diabetes and sometimes the other members of the family will spot check their blood sugar levels. Gma told C & S about the high reading and said "get him to a doctor". That was Sunday. J already had an appointment on Wednesday for a camp physical, so C&S decided to ask about it at the appointment. The nurse took the reading, and promptly said "Take him to the hospital. NOW." They did, and J was admitted Wednesay evening with a blood glucose reading of 540. By Thursday, they'd gotten it down to 243. Normal for J is 120.

The silver-ish lining in all this is that C has struggled with weight for ages, but his diet always reverts back to what it was previously. With the diet that J needs, the family will all be following it, and C hopes to gain control of his weight and avoid the fate his dad has met, and now his son must tend.
The real ass-kicker for J? Thursday was his 13th birthday. It was spent in the hospital with a life changing diagnosis. Happy Birthday, welcome to adolescence, and oh yea, you're diabetic. Enjoy the hospital stay. (and I say that with all the dripping sarcasm my regular readers know I possess.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Springing

It's been a challenging week to say the least. The oldest has decided that he's old enough to do his own thing, regardless of what his parents (or the law for that matter) have to say on it. He's become a gadabout. It got nasty Monday night. I have not seen him since Monday, except briefly Wednesday night - and only because I had a police officer round him up, and even more briefly Thursday night. He's got his side of the story that he tells his friends and their parents, garnering him a place to sleep for that night. I'll spare everyone the details of the latest drama, because really, do we need to feed THAT llama any extra fodder? It's something else Satan is doing to throw heaps of sand on my sidewalk, in hopes of me slipping and falling. I've got a broom, and friends with brooms. He can survive without us (paraphrasing his words here), and that much is plausible. But survival is less heinous when one avoids burning one's own bridges. My oldest sister taught me that 20 years ago. (GAH, I feel old writing that!)

The bright spots in my week involve the younger 3 kids.

I had to tend the baby a second while on the phone with a friend. I handed the phone to Beast for a minute, who shared thoughts with that person. When I got the phone back, the friend was duly impressed by the location of Beast's head on his shoulders.

Clone went to the yarn shop with me today so I could read over a pattern there for a sweater I want to make for myself. When we got home, I was talking to my friend (the one who taught me to knit) about the pattern. After I hung up the phone, Clone asked me to make a sweater for her please. (She keeps stealing my blanket and it was only a matter of time before she asked me.) I'll sit with her soon and we'll go through Ravelry first, and then other sources if need be to find one for her that I can manage. I need to stash-bust anyway right?

Mini-human...well she's very interested in whatever we're eating. She makes chomping motions with her mouth, and it's funny to hear her smacking her lips while she's playing on the floor, scooting around with authority like she does. She's trying to sit up on her own, pull to standing, and figure out that whole moving the feet thing - SIMULTANEOUSLY. She's got opinions already and is rather vocal. She's not unlike any of the other kids were as babies, and I wouldn't expect anything else from her either. She's got 2 new-to-us pieces of equipment, and loves them. The Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler rocker is her favorite at B's house. Clone loved sitting in one at C's house as a baby. Mini-Human turned herself over in the rocking chair, slid down till her feet hit the floor, and then stood in front of the chair playing with it. Devildog walked into the living room tonight and was somewhat dumbfounded by her antics.
And the Evenflo Jump & Go - entertained the older 3 for hours. The older kids had the Graco Bumper Jumper actually. Beast used to walk his way as far forward or backward as his legs allowed. Then he'd pick up his feet and swing back and forth till the momentum slowed. And he'd repeat. We'd see him playing in the doorway and a couple seconds later we'd see him flying. We'll see how Mini-Human does with it, but so far she's enjoying that too. I wouldn't be surprised if she followed Beast's springing running start.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

another yarny WIN

WOOT WOOT FREAKIN WOOT!
I goofed, but left it because I'm not frogging back. I'm so excited it's rediculous. I was getting annoyed because I couldn't get this pattern wrapped together with my brain. Finally it clicked and I was sailing from there. I figured out what I needed to do to mark stitches.
Because I was making too many knit vs purl/purl vs knit mistakes, I needed to pick back freqently till I could visualize the stitch patterns. So I had to mark not only the point in the pattern as instructed, but I also had to mark my slipped stitch too in case I had to pick back the entire row.

Yes, I'm excited about a yarn pattern. At almost 2 am. Because I finally figured it out and have now cast off the item from my needles.
I'll post pictures later. You muggles probably will never understand my excitement. The project defied me, and I ripped it back to cast-on 3 times. The 4th time was my charm. I am so gonna make this in smaller sizes for my girls now too. Well not now-now...I need sleep. Later-now. Clone will be so excited for me when she sees it in the morning.

just WOOT! It's all I can say.
I did my own version of THIS.

Monday, March 8, 2010

At last, it's FINISHED

I have been knitting this since June 2008. I cast off February 23, 2010. In my defense, during that year and a half, it did hibernate a LOOONNNNNG time since I was working on that Neverending-baby-towel for Heather D & her daughter. Then it was just plain too freaking hot and I was too freaking pregnant to touch it. Then I had a new baby and she took all my time and energy. If I didn't have 3 older kids to entertain her and tend her I may not have finished it till June of NEXT year. So last month, I got down to the last skein of the Baby Clouds yarn in my possession. I could see light at the end of the tunnel.
The yarn was freecycled to me and I don't expect to ever use this yarn again. When I got it, I was only crocheting, not knitting. I didn't know how and hadn't found a friend to teach me. This yarn is horrid for crocheting, and works up easier in knitting. So said Heather herself, but it was another year before I was able to get a lesson out of her, and it was only because she was moving halfway across the world to an Upper Midwestern State that I squeezed that lesson out of her even. It's extraordinarily forgiving of errors, but that's just because the yarn has ulterior motives. It was out to get me. I refused to be defeated by this yarn in 2006 when I acquired it. No way in hades I was going to concede defeat after this much time either.
Now to remind the children that this is MOM'S blanket and of all the others they've stolen from me, this one has personal investment and I'm not interested in sharing too much. I was so very excited to find that I had reached a point in the project that I could call it done and be happy to have a fuzzy string of scrap yarn leftover.

My text message to Heather at 1 in the morning?
"WOOOHOOO!!!! CASTING OFF THE BABY CLOUDS WRAP! i refused to be defeated by this yarn 4 years ago and damn it i win."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fowl Play on words

I got a phone call from Heather D, who taught me to knit and taught the oldest to play violin. She was sitting on the couch with her 1 year old daughter, working on a knitting project she designed (LOTR Tree of Gandor). Her PhD Student husband came home to find some BBQ chicken in the works. He turned to Heather, and asked "Is the chicken done knitting yet?"
So I had to tell her about a funny from Beast. He was making brownies and needed eggs for it. He held one egg up and said "Look Mom, it has eggzema"

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Schedules

I'm making an effort here to NOT whine about this new schedule that is starting this week for both Devildog and myself. He gets new hours, I get a new service schedule. Instead of working my big stores weekly and being assigned the little stores on the service schedule, I'm now given the little stores in one lump group and get to schedule them however I want as long as it's done in the first 2 weeks of the month. I'm trying to keep an open mind about it, but this is coming exactly the same week Devildog's shift changes too. Thankfully I've got menus planned for the week to get us through it. I do believe the crockpot will be my best friend in all this, as much as Devildog dislikes my frequent use of it. I'm not his stepmom, and I have an arsenal of recipes that I know work, and others that I have been really wanting to try making. I don't quite understand his disdain, and I make no apologies to him for my adventures with food. I'm not fearless, but I loathe boring food after growing up with a mother who could screw up a box of mac & cheese. There's a difference between comfort food and same-old-same-old. Usually you WANT the comfort food, and you ask for a peanut butter sandwich when same-old is served.
Plus, the KP duty between the boys changes hands today too, as it's the first of the month. I'm not sure where Devildog is going with this method he's devised, but I am going along with it. There are very distinct personalities between the boys and it's an exercise in tongue-biting and rosary-reciting with these two.
Recalling the advice my sister gave me at the start of 8th grade when I whined about the way they worked our class schedules...

The only constant in life is change.

And she's right.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Universal Donor 2

I am what you could call a Universal Donor. My husband, the Devildog, has some dominant genes, and all four kids have his blood type. Not one of these suckers have mine. Story of my life, it seems like I've got what everyone (in my house at least) else wants or needs.
However, last year when I donated blood in January, little did I know I was going to need to keep that blood. OOOPS. No wonder I had a stronger than usual reaction to the donation. It was December when I finally donated again. So, that meant it would be February when I could donate blood. I dragged 3 of the 4 kids with me. It's a long story why, and I won't bore you with it. MaNiC MoMMy does a virtual blood drive and her deadline looms, which is the only reason I'm getting around to posting this. I live by flying by the skin of my blessed assurance apparently.

In any case, I went to donate and the vampires - they love me. I have good veins that behave and don't roll. I had the Oldest Boy take the picture. It was difficult for him because he wasn't on the front side of the camera this time. He followed instructions better than Devildog did last year though. He got more than just my arm in the picture. However, he caught me looking down at something, and I look like I've got my eyes closed. And then when I was done, we got freezer pizzas from the grocery store even though I really wanted the kind from a pizza place (name withheld), and I went home and had to have a nap. This is why I schedule my donations for Fridays. I can go home and slack around and not do anything the rest of the day. And I'm incredibly thankful that even though I have FOUR spawn, they are spread apart in age and they entertained the mini-human till she needed feeding...because I've got the good stuff somebody else inevitably wants or needs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

sippy cup rant

I just have to vent and maybe someone in a marketing department will do a search for sippy cup and my blog post will appear in their findings.

WHY THE HECK DO ALL THE DANG SIPPY CUPS HAVE TO BE SPILL PROOF??????

I don't want valves and mechanisms that prevent the liquid from spilling. There is a time and place in this world for such inventions, just not when I am teaching my baby to drink from a cup. On the other hand, the only other non-spill-proof models I've found have an air hole in the top which allows physics to work as it should and the entire contents of the cup flow freely out of it. All three older kids had a Tommee Tippee cup that had two handles and a weighted bottom and slanted spout in the twist on lid. They were very readily available in the mid-90s for the boys, and it was a miracle that I even found one by the time Clone arrived in the early 2000s. I thought I was done having babies (God keeps laughing at me), so I gave away that prized sippy cup. Now with Miss Must-Be-Upright, they're NON-EXISTENT! I've been looking on ebay, amazon, etc to find one and haven't started scouring the second-hand stores yet to find just one. I can't even find a picture of it online. And no, I don't want one that is so vintage, I'm hesitant to give it to my child. I'm one of those weirdo parents that insist on teaching their baby to drink from a cup with the added lesson of cause-effect-consequence. As in, tipping the cup causes the liquid to move out of it, and that effect in excess causes the consequence of junior getting to clean up their mess. I've done similar things with nursing. Fall asleep or play at your workstation and it is removed. Yes, she's nearing 5 months old and maybe it is early to start this stuff by some standards. Honestly, those opinions can fall by the wayside and I'm going to do what is tried and true for my household. If the baby is grabbing for my cup and trying to drink from it, I give the baby a drinking test. Using a small regular plastic cup and a small amount of water, I see how the baby handles drinking from it. So far the attempts are going well and she's actually swallowing water as often as it it's dribbling down her chin.
I do have some other options in this adventure of cup-training that I didn't want to have to use. I may explore those ideas while I continue my search for this dinosauric contraption.

And just so you know, I am absolutely biting my keys on the rest of my rant involving parental choices and manufacturers' responses to those choices. I may be a slacker mom, but there are some things my kids have learned that their peers should have been taught.

baby yammering

It's a baby post. Just thought I'd give fair warning in advance.

My cousin J had baby #2 very late Valentine's Day. It was almost the day after, it was so late. They have a little girl who is just shy of a year old, and now she has a little brother. My friend Kristin had her long-awaited baby boy last week. All these babies.

My own is moving forward with leaps and bounds in her developments. I have long forgotten where her siblings were at this age. I just know that I am not ready for all this mobility. She's been rolling a lot, and she does so with authority. She's sort of scooting, and trying to get up on all fours. She gets rice cereal, and has come to expect it daily. I've long held the practice of putting baby in the high chair at the table with us at dinnertime. Baby gets toys if not old enough to eat what we're eating. Thankfully tonight I made her bowl of cereal at the same time I got my own bowl of chicken & dumplings dished. She saw us spooning food into our mouths and started making fishfaces to tell me she wanted some. The rapid open-close-open-close was funny. She does well with spoon feeding. Like the older 3, if you don't keep that spoon shoveling, she gets vocal. Varying noises are emitted from high pitch shrieks and low 'aaahhh' to things like "nin-gah!", and "na na na na". Clone's word for food was num-num and well, I'm guilty of reusing it. Apparently I'm being mimicked by Miss-Must-Be-Upright.
She later went to sleep a few hours and got back up - you guessed it - hungry. Snacktime was more like it. She spent as much time eating as she did excitedly telling her guardian angel all about her day. She wasn't talking to ME, I can tell you that much.
She's makes no bones about declining an offered pacifier or toy. It gets thrown, her head turns away and she makes a "nuh" noise. In turn, if she wants something, she'll do everything she can to clearly indicate as much, including kamikaze nosedives. She and I are learning our "language", and I think this is happening much earlier than it did with the older 3 kids. Of course by this point, with 4 kids, my brain and memory fail me often, I'm lucky my bra is under my clothes and not on top of them when I leave the house.
She chews on most anything she can get in her hands, or get her mouth onto. It's almost like having a puppy, minus the splintered table legs. And I can't tell you how many times I've reread this post to correct the baby's "help". I'll need a new desk soon. Baby drool is pretty potent stuff and I'm sure the veneer on my sawdust & glue furniture will give out in no time. As I type this, I'm sure my keyboard is at risk for shorting out from drool. She's standing on my lap, smacking the keyboard, chewing my fingers, and knocking things to the floor. Cats do that...come to think of it, she DOES sound just like a cat sometimes when she's talking or crying. I tell people who offer me a pet, "Um, no thanks I have 4 kids that do the exact same things as a pet, but at least I can make an attempt to get slave labor out of the kids, minus the shedding."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A new member of the "mommy club"

My friend Kristin just had a baby boy today. He was a week late, and not nestling into mom's pelvis. The doctors induced, and after a 24 hour process that was not going anywhere, the decision was made to do a cesarean birth. Once they got in there, they found the reason he didn't move down was that he danced so much his cord was wrapped around him. I sent her a text to tell her I'd been thinking about her and praying for her today, and she responded that she needed it. I then said that I told the baby to send her guardian angel to watch over the baby and help him get outta there, and that I was sending mine to help her get the baby out too. I'd hoped that maybe my speedy delivery vibes would help her somehow, since there was some Buddah-belleh rubbing going on earlier last year. Oh well, I'm only *so* helpful at any given point. At least she now has her heart's desire finally. It's been a tumultuous journey for her to get here, and she made it.
Congratulations, Kristen and Jere.

brain = fail

I got logged out of my blog dashboard by one of the kids hijacking the computer a few minutes when I wasn't parked at the desk. Subsequently the site wants you to remember your password in order to get back where you want to be. It took a week to figure it out, and I have GOT to go in and change my security question. WTH was I thinking...nevermind.
I recall mentioning the multitude of passwords I have.

Earlier I whined about my body saying "get a new job". I heart my chiropractor. I'm feeling much better after an adjustment, a session with the TENS on steroids, and a weekend of resting my back. I was told to make use of my sister's birthday gift - an exercise ball and rebuild my core muscles.
In other news, I have managed to get some more knitting done recently. Not that anything is even close to finished. Two projects were started in the Summer of 2008, and neither is finished. So what do I do? Pick up another project. Clone took a "learn to knit" class at the library and the yarn that was donated for the class is Paton's Soy Wool Stripes and very splitty. I traded some cotton yarn for her SWS and swapped the project she started onto my size 10s from her beginner sticks (one red, one blue) and while she tried to figure out a knit-on cast on (it's all I know how to do - long tail scares me for some reason, but so do yarn overs right now), I looped away with it. It's a self striping yarn if the project is narrow enough. Once again dropped a stitch, thought I rescued it, and later realized that I bungled that one too. The Yarntender might consider offering a class on rescuing stitches, for people like me.
Of course, knitting while doing other things that involve the mini human makes for mistakes. Not only has she started to go mobile, she's now found her feet. The ped thinks she'll walk early, but the others did too.

I think a large portion of my broad and long term brain failure (aside from the copious number of kids) was my lack of the FLYLady calendar. It is worth every single penny spent on it, and so am I. I finally got the money to buy it and some other stuff, and that arrived Monday afternoon. But nonetheless, I've been at a loss of cognitive function quite a bit lately. Sleep deprivation, work, 4 spawn, funky shifts, and general ADD all get thrown in one of those industrial "Will it blend?" machines.

My running joke this week (or any other time really):
brain = pile of yarn barf - yarn

Then amid all this my friend Persnickety had another birthday, further proving to the doctors that all they really do is merely PRACTICE medicine, they can't call themselves a medical super league. I still have her Christmas gift in my den.
And my other friend Chrissy (who never bothers to blog anything anymore, or ever) had another birthday too. She's older than I am, about the same age as my two older sisters. Her husband bought a new honkin hube boob toob ... and was smart enough NOT to say it was her birthday gift.
And then later this week, I have an appointment with the vampires to donate blood now that I am eligible again, for MaNiC MoMMy's virtual blood drive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What I ought to be doing

I'm sitting here in the quiet of my house, Howard Miller clock chiming the quarter hour, listening to the rain. I should be sleeping, but I'm playing online. I could at least be knitting to finish up that fuzzy turquoise wrap, or crocheting the last of that market bag - both started in the summer of 2008. In my defense, they got set aside while I worked on a neverending baby towel for my friend Heather. I did use up some green varigated cotton yarn I disliked but got because it was on clearance for $2 for that huge skein. It was originally like $8. But ALL that yarn for the same price as a little ball you could get a only potholder from? oooohhhh...yarn bargain! Ya, I'm more selective now. In any case, I destashed yarn I didn't like on a project I wouldn't dare repeat the same way, if ever again. The recipient is Heather's daughter and the little girl LOVES it. If only Devildog's Aunt Donna had taught me continental knitting while I was working on that thing...I threw every single one of those stitches. I may have shaved a few months off that project too. It took me a year because it hibernated during the green-and-freshly-planted phase of growing a human. Then I was too tired and miserable most days to do much after work. Plus it was just to blazing hot in this house to touch yarn. But I got it done just shy of the one year mark. This is why I don't start more than one project at a time. I work slowly, sporadically and it takes forever to finish something. Meanwhile my project list grows lol. But I suppose I will back away from the keyboard a while and do something that is actually PRODUCTIVE instead for a little while, even if it's a mere 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back again

When I was pregnant, I had some excruciating pain, often resulting in my inability to even move the slightest bit without stifling a scream. My OB referred me to physical therapy but I knew in my heart that was not what I needed. It was an alignment issue and physical therapy wasn't going to correct that. I needed a chiropractor, but very few are willing to manipulate a pregnant woman, and even fewer (if any) are willing to do so if she's never had prior chiropractic care.
So when I had the baby, I waited a couple weeks to see if delivery improved things or made anything worse. There were improvements but I felt very grossly out of whack. So I went to the chiropractor, and that first adjustment was a shock to my physical person, and at the same time a huge relief because all those nerves weren't being mushed and pinched. X-rays revealed a partially sacralized L5 vertabrae, and the disk between L5 & S1 having some issues. It isn't clear if it's genetic or an injury. The side that had the extra bone growth was the side with sciatic pain during pregnancy as well as other times-usually when I was out of line. I was going for adjustments twice a week for a month, then once a week for a couple months, and now I'm down to every other week.
The past couple weeks or so has been very difficult in terms of mobility. Bending forward to do things like pick up stuff or put the baby in the crib have brought back the excruciating winces. My aunt was a nursing assistant and injured herself during a team lift of a super-obese patient. I called to pick her brain and ask what it felt like when she injured her back. Similar stuff it seems. I am not sure what will follow but it's a bit unnerving to say the least.
I'm hoping and praying it can heal with time and a new job. I told my dad that I was having problems and he said not to have pins and rods put in my back, going on to say "Look at what happened to your sister". She got hurt on the job nearly 20 years ago, and opted to have a fusion with metal rods. Short story of it all, lack of mobility (not sure if it's injury induced, surgically induced or patient non-movement) and she's now majorly obese, diabetic, and has congestive heart failure.
If I ever have to have surgery, I will certainly be exploring the option of using my own bone marrow like my aunt did. She's allergic to every metal there is. Her replacement knee is ceramic coated. Her fusion was done with her own bone matter. But for now, I truck along carefully and use the TENS unit to keep the muscle spasms at bay. I'm going to the chiropractor later this week, and will definitely mention this development to him.

There are some other medical issues in the household needing attention but due to some other factors (no names, situations or fingers being pointed), I doubt attention will be sought anytime soon. So keep us in your prayers.