Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Mammy and Pappy

My Mammogram and Pap smear that is.

I was excited today to go get mine. I found out that there is a program where women at a certain income level (that would be me) can get free mammograms and paps. Woo-hoo! Since we don't have insurance, I was long overdue for these important exams and was thrilled to know there was a program to help me out.

The pap was quick and easy, and the doc was female which always helps. She then sent me to the famous "Mammo-Queen" as this lady is known in our town (she rides in a convertible in the annual 4th of July parade sporting a tiara and a sash with Mammo-Queen on it). She's very much a biker chick and is very laid back. She put me at ease immediately with her chatty personality even though her language was sprinkled liberally with curse words. She let me know that she didn't think it was right that I had to wait so long in the waiting room due to the amount of paperwork that has to be processed for this program, and punctuated her points with plenty of F-words. It was just a bit unusual from the normal doctor's visit.

After I got dressed the Mammo-Queen came back and told me that my breasts are lumpy, bumpy, fibrous and are "very busy breasts", so I am not to freak out if I get called back to redo my mammogram. I had to chuckle at the thought of my breasts being very busy. It kind of sounded like they had a life of their own that I was missing out on!

At any rate, thanks to a state program that involves way too much paperwork, and the famous cursing Mammo-Queen I'm good for another year. Hurrah!

Monday, June 23, 2008


I resisted as long as possible, but finally gave in and got my kids Webkinz about a month ago. Webkinz are a lot like Beanie Babies, but these little critters come with a tag that has a special code which gives you access to their site where you can play with your animal online. The kids earn Kinz Cash by playing arcade games, and buy their animals furniture for their rooms, or food (because you have to play with your animal and feed it to keep it healthy), or toys, or clothes. You get the picture.

I like the Webkinz because they are a great bargaining tool. If the girls spend so much time reading they can have so much time on Webkinz World. Or if chores need to be done, there's no Webkinz until the job is complete. It's a great motivator.

I also confess to being hooked on some of the games (Solitaire and Tile Towers specifically). After the girls go to bed I'll log on and play games with the Webkinz. I'm earning them Kinz Cash, so it's time well spent, right?

Well, Nat was thrilled because she got 4 new Webkinz for her birthday. She got one at her party on Thursday, then 3 more on her birthday day. She was so excited about them that she cut all the tags off at the same time, and then later when we went to go register her pets, we didn't know who's tag went with whom. Now you would think that the brilliant minds at Webkinz would've thought about this, but they didn't. There is no way of finding out which animal belongs with which code until you plug it into the computer.

And even better, the first thing you enter is the name that you want for your pet and the second thing is your secret code. After that the picture of your pet pops up with it's own little profile. Oh and the best part is, that once you name your pet there is no way to change it. It's etched in virtual stone.

Thankfully the pony she got had already been entered the previous day, but we were now faced with three animals with three codes and no way to know which one was which.

We took our best guess, and entered the first name: Snakey. Nat was sure that this tag went with her snake. After the secret code was entered...drum roll please...up popped the picture of her Siamese cat. Nat was not happy. This is where I was losing my patience and lectured her about being so hasty with the darned tag removal. Of course that really wasn't helpful at this point.

Well then we entered the second tag. We had a 50/50 chance of getting this one right. Ok, name: Pandy because it's a panda of course. Secret code entered ...up pops the picture...and it's her snake. Ooops!

At least the last one we knew would be the panda and since the name Pandy had already been assigned to the reptile, she chose Oreo instead.

Nat can be very picky and particular, so the situation was becoming quite stressful for her. Thinking quickly, I told her that just as she has to have a different name to log on to Webkinz and can't use her real name, her pets have their own special "user names" now too, and she could name her actual stuffed animal whatever she wanted. For some reason she was quite satisfied with this explanation and disaster was averted!

I think the tag removal lesson was well learned if nothing else, and I gave myself points for coming up with a solution that she actually embraced. Whew! That was a close one though!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Baby is Six!

My number 4 child, Nat, turned 6 today. I don't even know where to begin with her. She's been quirky and unusual from the get-go.

I'm six today!

She was born on the side of the road in a motor home for Pete's sake. That's just a really long and kind of hilarious story in itself, but I think Jeff Foxworthy may have a new redneck joke, "If you were born on the side of the road in the motor home your family was living in at the time..."

She was born just 2 months after my mom died and little Nat brought back so much joy into my life, and really got me through some rough times. What a little blessing she was during those really hard days.

Being the fourth child, she got to learn a lot of stuff on her own rather than have me hover over her and protect her. I think that's been good for her (or at least that's how I'm justifying my lax parenting style). She could put a band-aid on her own owie before she was 2 years old. Of course then she'd use the rest of the band-aids in the package as body art. She learned early that you don't want to put them on your face however-ouch!

It would get a little annoying because she'd have band-aids everywhere and then they would be dangling by a thread, but heaven forbid that anyone try to take one off. She would absolutely freak. I would try to get the danglers while she was sleeping but somehow she would feel the slightest tug and wake up channeling the Tasmanian Devil.

Awww...cute sleeping girl. Note band-aid on leg that will soon become a "dangler".

I remember at preschool graduation as she stepped up to the stage to get her diploma I saw something drop and realized she'd lost her "dangler" that had been haunting us for the better part of a week right there in front of everyone. I had to smile. It was such a Nat thing.

Nat is what we call a good eater. She will eat almost anything, and she's not afraid to try something new. She loves zucchini, beans, raw peppers, meat of any kind (although it's all called chicken), and she eats raw cilantro by the handfuls. She doesn't like hot dogs, baked potatoes or pizza (go figure) but anything else is fair game.

She's quite a lot like her father, and likes to collect and save random stuff. It seems like even the most odd or mundane item develops sentimental value to her and then she can't part with it. She has so many ordinary rocks, little notes and drawings, pictures cut from magazines and the like it's overwhelming. I try to weed out what I can when she not around just to keep it under control.

She went through a blanket jammie phase that lasted a good year and a half. She would only wear blanket jammies that entire time (and who was I to argue, again because she was #4, I knew there would be bigger fish to fry later). She had a few secondhand blanket jammies that she would cycle through, but then it got to the point where she would only wear her Clifford jammies. Pretty soon ol' Clifford was getting pretty small and threadbare and I searched the internet and the thrift stores, but couldn't find a replacement anywhere. Luckily about that time it was time to start preschool and even stubborn Nat knew that you don't wear jammies to school. We went school shopping and found some nice outfits, of course we couldn't buy any pants because she somehow got the idea that if she wore pants then someone might think she's a boy. (I'm not sure where that came from, again I blame her father's genetics). Well, then she narrowed down her outfits and began to wear only her "Disney skirt and Disney shirt" on a daily basis. For almost the entire first year of preschool. She had quite the reputation at preschool from the get-go.

About this time she not only wouldn't wear pants, but if she did try a new outfit and someone were to say she looked "cute" that would be the end of the experiment and she would refuse to wear the offending clothing that caused her undue attention from then on. We would have to tell people, "Don't say she's cute, just try to ignore her." Quirky, quirky!

Our Nat isn't all quirky and stubborness though. She has a fantastic sense of humor, she's super smart and she loves animals of all kinds. (She once had a "pet" ant she named Caramel, although it was actually whatever ant she happened to see at the time. "Look! There's Caramel!"). She also can't say her R's yet and they sound like W's, so she still has a very cute little girl voice.

Nat with Gatsby and sporting the famous Clifford Jammies

We all love our little Nat. She is a joy and I look forward to seeing where her quirkiness leads her in the future.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Dinner

Sis worked and then spent the evening with her dad, and Nat and Shel and I went to church then I helped them cook dinner and dessert for their dad.

First we made an apple pie.

Public Service Message: with pre-made pie crusts, it's so easy, and when someone makes you a pie it's so impressive. I highly recommend pie making for those that want an easy way to make a good impression.

Seriously, look at that thing. Who would not be humbled when presented with such a treat?

Then the girls made chicken and rice and spinach salad.

It was a hit. They had a good time and were so proud of their accomplishment.

At our house when there is a female in the kitchen doing more than boiling water for ramen or mac and cheese, it's a big deal. My husband does almost all the cooking. He really enjoys cooking, so who am I to get in the way of his enjoyment? I don't want to be known as a fun-sucker after all. Plus he can look at the all the random stuff in the cupboard and fridge and throw together something edible. I however, need not only a recipe but all the correct ingredients as well. Imaginative I'm not.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Week Off-Day Five

Same format: got chores done, went to a local body of water. I was lax in my picture taking, sorry.

While we were at the pool a family I knew took a table near us, and the mom (whom I know because Nat and her son went to preschool together) set her sleeping baby in her little car seat in the shade and got into the pool with her visiting sister and her other children.

A short time later her little one woke up and let out a squawk so I went to check on her and was greeted by a happy little face that was ready to play, so I unbuckled her and brought her to my table. My friend saw me and I gestured to her that she was ok. A little while later my friend came out to check on the baby and make sure that the baby wasn't inconveniencing me (hah! I didn't mind getting my cute baby fix at all!) She then told me her sister (from San Francisco) freaked out a bit when she saw some strange lady playing with her little niece. She came over to my friend and said, "Do you KNOW that lady?" Yeah, it's one of those small town things.

Later Sis and I went shopping for Nat's birthday. Sis has worked on her high school video yearbook for the last 2 weeks so has missed out on most of our fun outings. Sis loves to play Slug Bug, even at her age, plus she likes to yell Banana! when she sees a yellow car, and it works the same way as Slug Bug, whoever spots it first gets to slug the other. The driver (me) is at a distinct disadvantage since I can't scan the horizon and every random parking lot for yellow cars and VWs.

Because of my sunburn on my shoulders I told Sis she could not punch me there any longer, that she would have to find a place below my shoulders and above my thighs to aim. Well then she would hit me in the boob and laugh her hiney off, especially because it would startle me and I would let out a scream. It was a fun trip, let me tell ya!

I also found out there is yet another car game, as if Slug Bug and Banana are not enough to keep one occupied (or defending oneself, as the case may be). Apparently when you see a yellow light you yell "Jorge!" and hit the ceiling of the car, and the last one to tap the roof has to take off an article of clothing. Hmmm. As if teenagers need another way to get into trouble in the car!

I had no idea that this was a game, so the first two times Sis did this I thought she had seen someone she knew named Jorge and had accidentally hit the roof trying to wave to him. Oh, silly me!

Today it's back to the old grind, I mean my NEW grind. I thoroughly enjoyed my week off. It was so peaceful around here without extra kids, and I feel my nerves returning to normal. Plus we had a blast. Yay.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Week Off-Day Four

Day four. We didn't do anything productive. We skipped right to the fun outing instead.

We met our long time friends at a local lake. My friend's kids are 22, 20-the boys, 17, 15-the girls, 11, 8-girl and boy. We met when our oldest boys started t-ball together long, long ago. Then our oldest daughters became friends. Then she had #5 and I had #3 (Shelby) and then she had #6 when Shel was 5 months old so the three of them grew up together too like our older ones. Then along came Nat, the baby of the group and I don't know why my friend didn't have another to give Nat a playmate. What a slacker!

We had 3 years where we were neighbors which was a lot of fun. Since we moved down the hill a bit we don't get together like we used to, but this summer we're going to try to remedy that since I don't have a herd of daycare kids tying me down.

I picked up my little niece to give my big niece a break. Baby Zach is not fond of sleeping at night and his apnea monitor goes off a lot, so she has been really run down.

I've got a thing about taking pictures of little girls holding hands and walking away from me. I think it's the cutest thing ever. Here is Nat and her little cousin Emma.

Fun in the boat.

Grandpa Rocky stopped by with frozen treats for everyone.


Shelby and Sarah fishing. They were inseparable.

File this under "At 43 you should know better". Yeah, I was just sitting in the shade so I "didn't need" sunscreen. Duh. and OUCH! Just be glad that I spared you a photo of my shoulders and cleavage!

And lastly Suey got dressed up in Shel's rash guard.

What Does It Mean?

My week off has also been my week of disturbing dreams. Starting Sunday night, each night I've had a dream that startles me awake at 3am. It's really starting to tick me off.

Sunday's dream involved a crazy old guy chasing me and me trying to hide from him. At the end I also had the kids with me and was trying to hide them too. That was probably the worst one.

Monday involved a lion, Tuesday a ginormous wolf that was after me and Sis, and last night an angry mother bear guarding her cub. I climbed to the top of a dead tree and just when I thought I was dead meat, the bear spoke to me in proper English. I assured her I would no longer go anywhere near her cub.

So, what does it all mean? I wish I knew. Maybe it means I'm getting too much sleep. Now I just wonder what threatening critter awaits me tonight.

My Week Off-Day Three

On day three we took the best of the girls' outgrown clothing to a consignment store that I frequent. I've had good luck dropping off clothing and toys and making a little money on them there. I let the girls each pick out a new outfit and I found 2 nice pair of jeans for me. Total bill $25. I love that store.

The girls show off their "new" outfits.

We then had to go get some of life's necessities like sunscreen, Motrin and toilet paper.

Then it was off to Kung Fu Panda. The fight scenes were a bit intense for Nat, but we all enjoyed it. I think Nat ate her weight in popcorn. Who knew she could hold that much?!

I've been enjoying my week so much that I even forgot it was my dance night. That's extremely unusual for me as that's a night I look forward to all week. It dawned on me as we walked in to see the movie. Oops!

As soon as the movie was over I took the girls home grabbed my dance bag and headed back down the hill. I was only a little late. The ladies I danced with at Rakkasah came this week and we had a wonderful time chatting and teaching them one of our dances. Hopefully they will begin dancing with us on a regular basis now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Week Off-Day Two

On day two of our 5 day extravaganza, we went through Nat and Shel's closet and dresser drawers. Not a task for the weak of heart!

Shelby is really good about getting rid of whatever she doesn't like anymore or that doesn't fit. Nat however is a whole different story. It seems every article of clothing has some sort of sentimental tie for her and it's so hard for her to get rid of anything. She is SO like her father. Sigh...

I can be pretty cunning though, so with a little distraction and a lot of hiding her outgrown treasures amongst Shel's we were able to make a considerable dent.

We followed up that chore by cleaning Baby's cage. I know, we're supposed to be having fun this week, but there are things that have to get done too, and we usually end up even making our chores fun somehow. The girls like to rearrange his cage and give him special treats after the dirty work is done (mostly by me, big surprise).

For our special outing we went to visit baby Zach and gave him the present the girls picked out for him a month ago and have been anxiously waiting to deliver to him.

They were all thrilled to get their chance to hold him especially our resident baby hog, Sis. I really didn't get my fill, but I guess it's ok if I share him a little! (I'm so generous, I know.)

My niece had to show us his tiny fanny when she did his diaper change. He really has no butt. It's pretty hilarious. Poor Zach though, he had all his girl cousins standing around giggling over his little hiney. I'm sure that constitutes some sort of baby abuse.

I love his little preemie outfit. The pants were just too darned cute.

After Shel and Nat were in bed, Sis and I stayed up and watched 27 Dresses. It was good chick flick fun! Oh man, that James Marsden is very easy on the eyes, that's all I'm saying.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Week Off-Day One

So on the first day of my 5 days off, this is what we accomplished:

Shelby attended her first day of summer school, and LOVES her math teacher, plus one of her best friends from school is also attending, so she has a buddy.

When Shelby got home we went through all the shoes and the dress up clothes in the girls' closet and got rid of at least half of each.

I then tackled the Mt Everest of laundry, and the dirty dishes.

Then we went to the pool.

Since I'm not much of a water person, I took along a knitting project that I haven't touched in about a year. I knitted Nat a poncho last year then started on Shelby's and it ended up on the back burner. Well now come fall she will finally have her poncho too.

Then baby Zach stopped by on his way HOME! Yay! My niece had to drop off her surplus milk to be stored in our freezer. Let's just say she's been VERY productive. She said the doctor and nurses kept pulling more and more bags out of the freezer, and everyone was surprised at the amount she had stored. I'm sure the NICU is glad to have the freezer space back!

Little Zach came home on his 5 week birth day. His due date is still a month away--July 4th. He looked tiny in his little car seat, and the girls were thrilled to catch a glimpse of their new baby cousin finally!

After the girls had their bath, we had ice cream sundaes. Yeah, I could get used to this whole having days off thing...

Jump For Joy

Well, Friday was my last day of in-home daycare after 3 years. My family was very happy. Even though the kids were good friends with all the kids that came to our house, they were really tired of sharing their toys and their mom, and also really tired of other kids messing up their room and breaking their toys. Mike was tired of having the yard trashed, sprinkler heads broken on a regular basis, coming home to a chaotic and noisy home, etc, etc. Sis, well she was tired of it from the start!

I bought a fancy cake from the grocery store because if you read the previous post you can understand that I really didn't have much time for cake baking in the past week. I hated paying that much money for a cake, but I wanted it to be extra special plus it's a tax write-off. By the way it was chocolate with raspberry filling. Need I say more?

I also bought 2 huge beach balls and the kids reminded me of one of the reasons why I'm quitting when it came time to blow the balls up. I had one foot pump and eight kids who wanted to use it, so we had to settle for 10 pumps per kid. One of the boys got fed up and started blowing up the other ball by mouth. It was going so slowly that I told the kids to up the pumps to 20 each. One of the girls forgot her place in line and did two pumps before she remembered, so then when it was her turn the other kids made SURE that she only got 18 pumps. At other times arguments broke out when someone did half a pump and wanted a do-over. Does a half pump or slip of the foot count as a pump? Let's get a jury to decide. Sheesh! Well, due to all the referreeing and politics involved, the boy who was blowing up the other ball on his own finished long before I did with 7 "helpers" and a foot pump!

We did all have a good time though. The kids ran through the sprinkler, argued over, uh, I mean, played with the balls, played with the parachute, and enjoyed the cake and ice cream.

When it came time for goodbyes I kept it low-key. I was actually getting a little sentimental about it all. So I told everyone I wasn't going to actually think about it until Monday, and pretend like it was a regular Friday goodbye.

It was in some respects, a difficult decision to make. I was affecting a lot of families and affecting the kids of those families, so the guilt factor was extremely high. However, I'm really enjoying my new job. I get to work with actual GROWN-UPS and we talk about grown-up things. It's fantastic. Plus when I'm done I clock out and go home. Yay!

So today, I'm thinking about it. And...I'm ok with it! There are some kids I will really miss, but we will see them, and they can come for play dates and such. other job doesn't have me scheduled until next Saturday, which means I have a whole entire week OFF! WOOOO! I'm not really sure what to think. We are going to work on getting this house back in order and getting rid of all the excess stuff, and we're going to make time to do some fun outings too. I'm SO excited!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Week That Was

In addition to the usual stuff, my week was as follows:

Monday-pool party with Shelby's class

Tuesday-field trip with Nat's class, and started teaching my Bellydance Fitness class at the local health club.

Wednesday-pick up 3 year old niece and run errands while the other kids are in school, attend dance rehearsal in the evening, take girls to the park afterwards.

Thursday-pick up 3 year old niece, head to school to help with field day with Shelby's class, have hot lunch with Nat. Later take the dog to a Rabies Clinic at the local Moose Lodge.

Friday-help with the kindergarten barbecue, run to the local gift shop to grab a gift for a party the girls are attending tomorrow, go back to school to pick up girls, watch all the teachers, aides and principal do an end of the year dance in front of the loaded school buses (it made me tear up, goodness how sentimental am I?), then I gathered up the girls to race to the store to pick up the cake I ordered for THE LAST DAY OF DAYCARE WOOOO! and made it home 5 minutes before the bus unloaded my charges onto my front lawn. (I will write about the last day of daycare festivities tomorrow.)

I'm feeling a bit tired...I wonder why...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Love It or Hate It

Shelby's girl scout troop went to Club Libby Lu last weekend as a special treat with their hard earned cookie money.

They got their hair and nails done, had some sparkly stickers and lip gloss applied and got a bright pink sequined tank top to go with either a super cool DJ headset, or a tiara. The gals that work there then led them in a dance.

Nails are painted, then sprinkled with glitter, because there's really no such thing as "too sparkly"

The girls had so much fun, and I thought it was super cute, however when I Googled Libby Lu to find out more, I found message boards where women where either venomously against the whole thing, or like me, found it to be harmless fun. No gray area here. BLACK or WHITE.

Hair do's are liberally (and I do mean LIBERALLY) sprayed with glitter hair spray, because again, there's never too much when it's sparkly. (Shelby's gone to a pool party and had several baths, and she still has glitter on her scalp!)
Some women said they would never allow their daughter to attend a party at Libby Lu because they think it is "trashy and inappropriate" and is sexualizing young girls by making them look like "prostitutes" and even "pedophile bait".

I think it's just dress up fun. The tank tops weren't skimpy, the hair do's were fun and age appropriate, and the make-up was minimal. I would've eaten this up when I was this age, and I personally don't find any harm in it. I was just really surprised to see that there was so much controversy about it. I highly doubt letting a girl go to Libby Lu is setting her up to pursue "the world's oldest profession". Seriously, get a grip people!