“What’s Your Blog About?”

I was recently at a blogging conference and the most common question (naturally) was, “What’s your blog about?”  Sometimes I get confused about this blog and what it is supposed to be and what I want it to be.  Well, this definitely isn’t a business blog.  I don’t have an obvious niche, like travel, fitness, or fashion.  I don’t attempt to give out advice or counsel.  I guess I would be classified as a “Mommy Blogger” because, well, most of my posts are about my family and home.  Just a Mommy Blogger, not a Super Mommy Blogger.

I’m not one of those bloggers.  You know what I mean.  Super Mommy who does everything and does it well.  “I homeschool my 13 children, except for the 14-year old who is in college.  Last week I taught the 8 month old and the dog how to use the toilet.  My husband and I built our own home from the trees we cut down on our property and hand-planed.  I garden, can, dry food, bake bread, grind my own flour, and I am a master winemaker.  I make my own laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, household cleaner, furniture polish, furniture, soap, and toilet paper.  I am an extreme couponer and rebater.  Our meals are planned, prepared, and frozen six months in advance.  My hobbies include scrapbooking, quilting, archery, recycling, rope-making, back-packing through Europe, and rebuilding passenger airliners.  I also make scarves out of dryer lint.  I donate blood daily and send care packages to the troops overseas every week.  I am the Scoutmaster for 2 Cub Scout troops and lead a 4H club.  In my spare time, I help under-privileged animals by hand-making clothing for naked mole rats.  And I work full-time.”

Yeah…that’s not me.  I just talk about my plain, regular life.  My life.  Sometimes I might share a recipe or project, or inspire my readers in some way.  My blog may be humorous, poignant, or gross at times, but it is what it is.  It represents me.  Faith, family, home…I’m working on it!  Hopefully, you find it worth your time to read.

 

This is Gross

NOTE:   The contents of today’s blog post is kind of gross and disgusting.  If you think you may be grossed out or offended by talk of vomit, don’t continue reading.  If your curiosity is piqued, and you want to read an anecdote that many people, especially parents, can related to, please continue.  And I won’t be offended if you laugh at my expense.

 

At 1 A.M.  My body woke me up with an urge.  “That’s what happens when 5 babies have used me as a trampoline!” taunted my bladder.  As I roused myself out of bed, I noticed a light coming in under the door from the hallway.  Someone else was up.

As I made my way into the hallway, I noticed the kitchen light was on, although I didn’t hear any noise.  I planned to investigate, but my first stop was the bathroom because I really had to go.  To my surprise, I found Mr. Dude, my seven-year old, asleep on the bathroom floor.  After hurriedly doing my business, I woke him up to see what was wrong.

“I threw up,” he said.  Poor kid!  I asked him how he was feeling, did he think he was going to throw up again, did anything hurt, etc.  No, and no sign of fever, either.  That was good.

“Did you make it to the toilet in time?”  I asked while I scanned the floor looking for vomit.

“No.  I puked in the kitchen.  I was going to get a drink.”

Oh.  That explained the kitchen light.

I tucked Mr. Dude back in bed and found a small trash can to use as a Barf Bucket next to his bed…just in case.  Then I made my way to the kitchen, bracing myself for what I would find.

First, let me explain something.  I don’t do well with vomit.  Not at all.  I get near it and I start gagging and heaving.  I know that isn’t an uncommon reaction.  Who wants to be around barf?  But I very, very seldom vomit.  In the twenty plus years my husband has known me, I have only thrown up once, and that was when I had the flu.  Before that, I threw up once in college from a suspected case of mild food poisoning.  You would need to go back to the mid-1970’s to find the rest of my puke-history.  Despite my personal non-regurgitation tendency, I do have a very strong gag reflex, and I swear, one of these days I’m gonna blow.

My husband usually takes pity on my and cleans up and takes care of the kids in these situations, but he was asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up.  Besides, I’m a big girl.  I’m a mom.  I can do this.  That became my mantra:  I’m a mom, I can do this.

Like the Little Engine That Could, I shuffled toward the kitchen, chanting to myself, “I’m a mom…I can do this…”  I was bound and determine to successfully complete this task alone, without waking my husband, and without gagging and heaving.  “I am mature.  I can handle this.”  I continued to coach myself as I made my way to the kitchen, mentally preparing for what I would find.

And I found it.  Mr. Dude must have only taken two steps into the kitchen before it all came out.  It was all right there.  After about five minutes of just staring at the mess, coaching myself to deal with it, I knew I couldn’t delay it any longer.  It was time to take action.

Paper towels.  I needed paper towels.  My eyes searched the kitchen for the ever-wandering roll of paper towels.  Found it…on the OTHER SIDE of the mess.  After muttering a few choice words to myself, I found a piece of construction paper on the table and put it on the floor to act as and island in the middle of Lake Vomit.  I carefully crossed to the other side, reaching the paper towel and letting out a little cheer for this small victory.  This mess was going to require a LOT of paper towels, and soon the roll was empty.  Crap.  I needed to cross back over to get to the basement to get another roll.  I utilized my construction paper-stepping stone once again, and soon had a new roll of paper towel in hand.  I proceeded to put a layer of paper towels over the mess, hoping to minimize my gut reaction.  However, it didn’t work.

As soon as I bent down to start wiping up the vomit, I started to heave.  I ran to the bathroom, gasping and gagging, trying to keep it together.  Again, I thought about waking my husband, but quickly dismissed that.  I WAS GOING TO DO THIS!  I was going to conquer my Puke Reaction and clean up after my son.  This was a form of motherly love and I was going to follow through, even if it meant adding to the puke pile myself.  After another self pep talk in the bathroom mirror.  I stood upright, straightened my nighty and marched back to the task that awaited me, determined to follow through.

And I did it!  I wiped up that vomit (with a nice thick layer of paper towels, lest some actually leak through and come in contact with me) without any more drama.  I then got out the bleach cleaner and sprayed the area, killing any nasty germs that might have the audacity to think they could infect anyone else in this house.  “HA HA!”  I thought in my best inner-superhero voice.  “Take that!  And that!  DIE YOU SCUM!!!!”

After thoroughly washing my hands and putting away the paper towel and cleaner, it was time to head back to bed.  I checked on Mr. Dude, who was sleeping soundly, and gave him a kiss.  I started toward my room, but I felt like I was forgetting something.  Aha!  I headed to the bathroom put my feet in the tub and gave them a wash.  Ahhh…much better!  After what seemed like two hours (although it was only 30 minutes) I returned to my bed, proud of my accomplishment and happy to have at least one clean spot in my kitchen.

Before I end, I thought I would share a few thoughts that went through my head during this whole episode:

  • I’m glad this wasn’t very colorful.
  • Thankfully the dog didn’t follow my or he would have “helped” with the clean-up.  (Apparently vomit is a delicacy for dogs.)
  • Whew!  There’s not a lot of liquid.  That would be bad for the laminate floor.
  • Well, evidently he had carrots today!  (A big plus for my picky eater.)
  • At least it’s not on the carpet.
  • It’s a good thing tomorrow isn’t gym day because sissy’s shoes were in the “drop zone”.
  • I am very thankful Mr. Dude is feeling better.  This appears to be a once-and-done thing.
  • Boy, this would make a good, but gross blog post.

 

It Started Already

It started already.  Just two and a half weeks into school and it already started.  The dreaded fundraisers.

Would anyone be interested in buying some cheese and sausage?  I can’t vouch for the quality of the product, but the pictures sure are purdy.  Yes, it is over-priced (in my opinion) but you are helping my son’s choir…somehow.  As long as you have your checkbook out, my other kids are selling cookbooks.

Kids, let me give you a piece of advice.  If you come knocking at my door trying to sell stuff, know WHY you are selling it.  “For school” is not an adequate answer.  PTO?  Athletics?  Music program?  If you don’t know, then ASK.  Ask the people who are telling you to sell the stuff what the money will be used for.  New playground equipment?  Classroom materials?  New Keurig for the teachers’ lounge?

And whatever you do, DON’T tell me WHAT YOU WILL WIN if you sell a lot of stuff.  “If I sell the most stuff in my class, I will win a limo ride to McDonald’s for lunch!”  This is my biggest pet peeve about fundraising, motivating the kids by prizes.  What is wrong with teaching the kids to fundraise because of the cause?  Why do we need to reinforce the materialism and teach kids to focus on their own personal gain?  Yes, it is important to learn to work for things you want, but kids also need to learn to work for the cause of a greater good, namely their school (or sport or competitive haggis-making team or whatever).

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand the importance of fundraising.  I have been in charge of fundraisers myself.  It is a thankless job that nobody wants.  Nobody wants to be in charge, and nobody wants to participate.  Yet, it is a necessary evil if we want to have money to accomplish our goals.  Money makes the world go ’round.

So please forgive me if you soon receive a postcard in the mail asking you to purchase magazines.  For the latest fundraiser, our three elementary kids each had to fill out eight postcards with addresses.  I’m sorry to invade your privacy, but my kids REALLY needed to do this to earn a monkey keychain.  Don’t worry, I got a little sweet revenge.  The school principal will be getting a postcard, too.

 

 

 

 

The Mysterious Mr. K

Six months ago, something happened that would change the life of our family.  We had a visitor.  A strange, mysterious, unexpected visitor who eventually became part of our family.

This past winter was particularly harsh.  School cancellations, very cold temperatures and large accumulations of snow were the norm.  During one such snow storm, I bundled up to head outside to run some errands.  I didn’t really want to go out, but it needed to be done.  As I opened the front door to walk outside, it pushed something aside.  I looked under the bench next to the door on the front porch and there sat a very small, confused-looking dog. I was in shock.  I didn’t quite know what to do.

I looked around at the snow piled deeper than he was high and wondered where he came from.  He couldn’t have walked through the deep snow.  The driveway and walk had been shoveled and was only lightly covered by newly fallen snow so he must have come that way.  With the falling snow and the falling temperature, I knew I couldn’t leave him.

From the door, I could hear the oohs and ahhs from the kids watching me.  When they asked what we were going to do, there was only one choice.  We had to take care of this little guy.  One of the kids got a towel and I wrapped up the little dog and we went inside. He was maybe five pounds.  I cuddled him in the towel to warm him and dry him while the kids madly scrambled around picking up possible doggy-choking hazards from the floor before I put him down.  After giving him some water and a cut-up hot dog (I know it sounds cannibalistic, but I didn’t have any dog food) the kids and I had a talk.

From the moment they saw him, the kids had been asking if we could keep him.  We had wanted a dog for a long time, but until the house got better organized and de-cluttered, I wasn’t going to introduce an animal into this environment to swallow some Legos or something and then have a hefty vet bill we couldn’t afford.  But the adorable creature that entered our house was melting that resolve.  After a phone conference with my husband on the matter, I told the kids we needed to make every attempt to find this dog’s owners.  If we couldn’t find his home, we could keep him.

My husband and I talked to neighbors and scoured the neighborhood and newspapers for “Lost Dog” announcements.  I called the local humane society and animal shelter.  I took him to the vet to be checked for a microchip.  Nothing.  Nobody knew anything about this little guy.  After a few weeks of caring for and loving this dog with somewhat guarded emotions, we let ourselves completely bond with him and called him ours!

Mr. K PicMonkey Collage

Mr. K has been a complete blessing to our family.  How this 8-inch tall dog made his way to our front door in the middle of a snow storm without anyone knowing is a miracle.  If you ask my 7-year old, he will tell you Mr. K is a gift from God.  While his backstory is a mystery, his present and future is certain:  he is one of us.  My little shadow, following me around the house, running in circles when he sees me first thing in the morning.  This is definitely not the large, playful, Frisbee-catching dog I imagined for our family, but he is just what we needed.  We love our Mysterious Mr. K and are very thankful he chose  us.

 

And They’re Off!

Today is the first day of school for my kids. Believe it or not, everyone got up and ready without much stress. We could have even been out of the house and hour early if we had needed to. I don’t even think my husband had to bark out his daily time-to-go mantra, “Socks! Shoes! Teeth! Hair!” We even had time for first-day pictures.
PicMonkey Collage
Back-to-school also means back-to-blogging. The other day one of the kids asked why I don’t blog anymore. I just stared at her blankly. I wanted to scream, “Isn’t it obvious? I have been busy being Mommy-taxi and you guys have been computer hogs. I haven’t had time!!!” Instead, I calmly replied, “I hope to start blogging more soon.”

Although this vacation from blogging was unplanned, it did have it’s bright side. I am now super-excited to get back into the swing. My blog ideas had gotten a bit blah this Spring. Now I am ready to make a fresh start.

Back to reclaiming my house! Back to working on my faith! Back to becoming a better me for my family! Let’s hope the kids have the same enthusiasm about the start of their school year.

A Farewell to Summer

This summer has been crazy hectic. I just counted and we had seven week-long activities: Cub Scout Day Camp, dance recital week, Boy Scout Camp, dance camp, American Heritage Girls Camp, 4-H judging week, and a mission trip for my oldest two kids. Also, several multi-day trips to visit my parents. Add in various doctors and dentist appointments, scout meetings, 4-H meetings and events, graduation parties, and other family stuff, and that makes one very full summer!
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And a short summer at that! The kids go back to school in two days. I am not ready (nor are they) to give up our summer break, but getting back into a regular schedule sounds appealing.

Do I regret my family being involved in so many activities? Yes and no. Yes, I wish we had more time. No, I’m glad my children had these opportunities. I feel like each one helps him or her grown in a positive manner. These are good things that my kids are in. They are fun and rewarding. Although it looks crazy and over scheduled, not one of them is in all of these things. This is a cumulative look at the schedule of a family with five kids.

As mom and family CEO, I probably bore the brunt of the craziness, but I don’t think the kids have any regrets about their summer . Each of us had to do some give and take and they were all good sports. The older ones picked up the slack with babysitting and some housework, and the younger ones didn’t complain too much about having to tag along to their older siblings activities. I am so grateful and blessed that my husband or I were able to participate in these activities, too. Jayson go to go to Boy Scout Camp for the week and to most of Cub Scout Camp, and I got to go to AHG Camp.

With this crazy schedule and the kids home fighting for computer time, I haven’t been able to blog lately. I am still here. I am still alive. Hopefully, I can get back into the blogging groove soon. Don’t give up on me!

The Kitchen Table

Something exciting happened at our house a few months ago.  We got a new kitchen table!  OK, so it isn’t lottery-winning-exciting, but to a 40-something stay-at-home-mom, this is super cool!  It was custom made for us by a local artisan.  Before we met with the maker to discuss our expectations for our new table, my husband and I had to evaluate our needs.

Size was a big factor in our decision.  Our most obvious need was a table long enough to fit our family of seven.  The old table only comfortably sat six.  Ever since our youngest was out of the high chair, the Dancer has (voluntarily) sat on a stool at the corner of the table.  We needed a table that we could all fit around. However, the physical space for a table in our kitchen was limiting.  Do we need an expandable table?  Drop leaf?  What about seating?  Should we keep our current chairs?  As my husband took measurements and the kids debated a new seating chart, I began thinking of how we use our table.

Our kitchen table is not merely a place to eat meals.  It is so much more.

The table provides extra kitchen workspace.
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It welcomes groceries as they are brought into the house.
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The homework hub.
homework zone

Game time.
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Home office.
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A magical hideaway for imaginative play.
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A place of refuge for a little dog in a big world.
DSCF2707Not only is our kitchen table a place where we share meals and conversation ranging from deep theological discussions to episodes of SpongeBob, it is a special part of our family life.DSCF2180 (1024x768)

We need a table that is strong and sturdy to support all of these needs, yet beautiful to represent the love surrounding it.  And that’s just what we got.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I please present our beautiful, new, custom-made kitchen table.
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And bench with storage cubbies (we decided to also use the kitchen chairs we already had).
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Many thanks for Kathi Jackley at https://www.facebook.com/kathikountrykrafts for crafting the perfect table for our family! She and her husband do excellent work at a very reasonable price. This table fits our family perfectly! And it fits our many needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Belated Birthday, Curly Girlie!

“She looks just like her Mama!”
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”
“There’s no doubt who her mother is!”

These are just a few of the types of comments we hear when people meet my middle child. I don’t think of the Curly Girlie as my Mini-me, but out of all of my kids, she does resemble me the most. And frankly, I am flattered, because she is beautiful! Inside and out, a truly lovely person and she has a lot to offer this world!

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At 11, she is in that tough spot, no longer a little kid, but just starting on the long journey to adulthood. I am in no hurry for her (or any of my kids) to grow up, and thankfully, neither is she. I’m not suggesting she’s baby-like, but rather, innocent. That quality is hard to find these days with all the crap the media exposes. She has a wonderful imagination and has taken an interest in writing. Maybe you will see her blogging one day.

Happy (belated) birthday to my Curly Girlie!

Is School Done Yet?

I blew up this morning.  Yet, I am oddly proud that I didn’t make a bigger explosion, as I could have, should have, or probably have done in the past.

After repeated urgings and requests to the children to get dressed for school, at 7:51 AM, two of them were still unchanged.  They have to be at school at 8:15.  The Oldest was already in the van ready to go.  That’s when Mama blew it.  After approximately 175 days of school, you would think they would have this morning routine down by now.  Clean clothes are sparse right now so last night I made sure everyone had clothes for today so I had their clothes out for them, ready and waiting.  ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS PUT ON THEIR CLOTHES.

Sigh…only five more days of school.  I am so ready for this year to be over.  Apparently, so is everyone else.  From other blogs I have seen and Facebook comments I have read, everyone is DONE with school.  May is usually very busy and spring fever hits as we count down the last days of school, but for some reason, this year is worse.  I am just sick of it.  Probably even more so than the kids.

That is probably why I didn’t have a bigger blow-up this morning.  I am at the point where I just don’t care.  Let’s just get this over with.