Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Too much TV

With the cold running through all the kids and me (thankfully it was mainly head colds - and there is still a lot of coughing heard around here), we spent much of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday watching TV. So much so, that by Sunday evening I was feeling more ill and quite a bit dizzy.

We watched movies like National Treasure, Jeremiah Johnson, Singin in the Rain, The Incredibles, and others I can't recall. We watched Alton Brown's show, Feasting on Asphalt on the Food Network. It was fun to snuggle with the kiddos, drink our waters, half-nap and half-watch the shows. But it really was too much. Since there wasn't much physical activity, none of us slept great during the nights and by Sunday evening I was over TV - just like Mama Bernstein Bear.

Monday, dh's day off, we said, "no more TV." Instead Dh challenged Hannah and Ellie to a game of cribbage. Whoever beat him first could pick what we ate for dinner. First game, Ellie and I beat David and Hannah - woo hoo! Ellie picked hot dogs and chips. After naps, I taught the whole family to play a new domino game I learned called, "Chicken Foot." We had such fun. Abby and I were a team and Sam helped Dad; Nathan was able to do it all by himself. We played the whole game which took all afternoon and into the evening.

This morning, the little ones played with their trains or colored and Hannah and Ellie made up games with the maps on the wall. This afternoon after my nap (yes, I'm still feeling sick, having the cold settled in my sinuses), I awoke to find the older three playing Chicken Foot by themselves. I was so proud that they did that, I forgot all about all those hours of TV watching. I think I'll offer a treat tonight - yep you guessed it, we'll probably watch some TV. :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sick Kids

It is no fun to have sick kids, although there are some benefits. Like the extra snuggling, the extra sleeping, the extra "quietness" of the child. But that is often overshadowed by the cries of discomfort from the child, the extra laundry, the extra thought to meals, the realization that daily chores will fall behind, and that this might spread through the whole crew.

So I do what all moms do. I remind all to wash hands and to cover noses and mouths when coughing and sneezing. I have the kids wash the doorknobs and light switches, while I wash the bedding, and clean the bathroom for the umpteenth time. I encourage extra fluids, and I give them their "pizza" medicine. I make jell-o and chicken noodle soup and I give in and we spend a lot of the day watching movies (another benefit).

The count is now 2 down, 3 to go (although I hope not!). But really I can't complain. This is the first illness this winter and it seems to be a pretty mild one. Plus all the kids know how to use a bucket which is one more thing to be grateful for.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


In the spring of 99, my dh bought me a very good set of Calphalon Non-stick cookware. I loved it - it cleaned up nicely, cooked things well and I raved about it. So much so, that my bil bought the same kind for his wife. She and I were really enjoying these great pots and pans.

But then, the non-stick coating seemed to be wearing off. I noticed it, and so did my sil. This happened gradually over time while we kept using them. Then we both noticed how bad each of ours were getting. Mine I think were a bit worse than hers, and we were both just sickened by this outcome. This was suppose to last and not wear off. We had spent a lot of money on these kettles. So she and I now despaired over the kettles, disgusted that we had been "sucked" in to these sorts of pans.

My two saucepans were getting very bad so much so, that I told my dh that I wanted to replace them with stainless steel as they wore out. I was over the non-stick coating. I told all sorts of people my displeasure with these kettles. I was ready to throw them in the trash and never look back.

Ahh, but dh happened to think about a warranty. He went and looked, yep, there was a lifetime warranty on the kettles. So I called the number, got the address, found out the info, packed and shipped the two bad kettles away the week before Christmas. The representative had told me that I would get new kettles, that they had yet to find kettles sent back that were not defective and therefore didn't get replaced. So we waited.

Christmas came, and the kids bought me two new stainless steel saucepans. I loved them and was amazed that dh went ahead and bought me new ones when we should be getting "new" ones to replace our old ones.

This week, the new ones came. In the box brand spanking new- model saucepans to replace the ones that had worn out. These are very nice and look and feel much more durable than the last ones. Happy day! I can't believe I actually was sent replacements. Now we don't feel like our big money purchase 8 years ago was a waste. Calphalon stood by their product and warranty. Good for you Calphalon. I'll gladly cook with your pots a lot longer and when the other pans start to wear out, I'll know that they'll send me new ones.

I'm back on the Calphalon bandwagon. Any company that will stand by its product for a lifetime warranty (and mean it) deserves accolades!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kid's Words

Anyone who has been around little kids know they often mis-pronounce many of them. I have found it to be one of my favorite things of being a mother. It makes the child that much more endearing to me, knowing how to solve their code and hearing their cute little voices try to converse. I know I've forgotten lots of them (yeah, yeah, I didn't write them all down), but I remember these:
1. "looloos" - Hannah and Ellie said this for noodles (mac-n-cheese in particular).
2. "b-el-b" - Hannah said this when refering to her new baby sis, Ellie.
3. "mer-mer" - Nathan said this when seeing Santa or a snowman or saying "Merry Christmas".

And currently we hear these that I really get a kick out of:
1. "lapstick" - Abby says this about lipstick or chapstick.
2. "pupcakes" - Sam says this about cupcakes

So yesterday Abby asked if she could put on lapstick and Sam said "yea, pupcakes" when we had those for dessert. There is no use correcting right now (believe me the oldest three try all the time) - they hear it the right way, their mouths haven't caught up yet. Besides I know this won't always be the case, the oldest three are all speaking clearly for anyone to understand.

So I'm enjoying these last few baby-talk words and wondering when I'll notice that they aren't there anymore.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Silver Lining

A silver lining that came out of Abby's hole-in-the-head (of which you can see the pictures of the stitches) is that we took the plunge and upgraded our cell phone. No longer will we only have one - David did NOT like the fact that he could not reach me during those panicky minutes which turned into an hour upon hearing the message of us heading to the ER - we now will have two! No longer are we with T-Mobile which has given us horrible coverage in our area - we now are part of the "network."

Thanks to my sis, who works for Verizon, she could answer all our questions (and any more that will come up when we start using our new phones) and set us up with a plan and phones that would work for us. Woo- Hoo! I now can call my mom and many of my siblings for "free." And we even splurged and got the headset, so I can walk around and talk, hands free. Another Woo-Hoo!

David said I'll be lethal - never wanting to get off the phone with my mom or even my dear friend Amy (whom I never seem to run out of things to talk about with her). I don't think I'll be *that* bad. I mean, I know I have other responsibilities - like cooking, and cleaning and school to teach, and emails to read, and blogs to read and write. But I know there will be days when all I'll want to do is talk and I can't wait to try out my new "toy." :-)

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Two neighborhood kids came over to play last evening. Nathan, Abby, and Sam went outside with them to sled down our little backyard hill. Next thing I hear is Abby crying very loudly and she, Nathan, and the friend are at the backdoor trying to get in. Blood was trickling down Abby's face, Nathan said she sled down and hit the tree.

I bring her in to look at what I thought was a bloody nose. After lifting her hat, I saw what it really was - a hole in her forehead! Yikes! I clean it up, put some pressure on it, have Hannah and Ellie help with the pressure, as I run outside to ask the other kids for sure what happened. I send the two neighborhood kids home and tell my kids to get in the van. Hannah calls dad on the cell (who was out making shut-in visits) and leaves two different messages that we were going to the ER because Abby has a hole in her head from hitting the tree sledding. It is 4:30pm.

I gave Abby some ibuprofen to help with the pain and during the whole trip to the ER, I'm worried about her falling asleep and if there is any big danger (she was complaining about it really hurting and hurting, especially when she closed her eyes). By the time we arrive at the ER, the ibuprofen had kicked in and she was feeling better. They check us in and I realize that my wallet is at home by the computer where I was in the process of ordering something! This looks good, I bring in 5 kids, I'm not wearing my wedding ring, and I forgot my wallet with the insurance info. Oh boy. He understood and I told him I expect my husband to be coming, he'll have the insurance card. We proceed to wait in the lobby. David still hasn't arrived, and I'm beginning to wonder where he is. It is about 5:40pm.

The nurse calls us back and I go with Abby, leaving the other four in the lobby with the books and their knitting. The nurse weighs Abby, and then cleans up the wound located below her hairline and puts a "malt" on it to begin to numb the area and then proceeds to check her temp and pulse.

She then leaves and I peak out the ER doors to the lobby and spot the other four playing hide-n-go seek. Silly kids. I go tell them they can't do that and then go back with Abby. I look out the doors a few minutes later and Sam doesn't want Hannah to help him to the bathroom, so I go back out and after the bathroom, I bring them all in with me. David has finally arrived, panic all over his face wondering what had happened. It is about 6:30pm. The check-in guy comes in and asks for the insurance card. See, we really do have insurance!

We all sit in the little room with Abby who is lying on the bed. The doctor comes in and asks Abby what happens and Nathan then informs us that Abby had pulled her hat down over her eyes before sledding! The doc laughs and says he'll come back and take a better look at it in a few minutes once the "malt" has taken full effect. Before he comes back, I take the restless other 4 back out to the lobby and David remains with Abby. It is about 7:00pm.

When the doctor came back to look, the hole was all the way to her skull. He cleaned it up, even letting Abby use a mirror to look at it. He had a resident come in and look too, because, "we don't get good lacerations like this all the time." He put 5 stitches in to close the wound, and then told us he would like to get a Cat scan just to make sure her skull didn't fracture. He didn't think so, but since the wound was open all the way to the skull, he wanted to make sure. We waited longer for that and then for the results. As he expected there was no damage and we were free to go home. It is now around 8:00pm. We finally go get something to eat, Abby picked Culvers, and then headed home arriving around 9:30pm.

Abby was a real trooper. She never cried or anything while the doctor was working on her. She slept all night and this morning is acting quite normal. We'll have to keep basitrasin on her stitches per doc's instructions. They used nylon stitches so I can bathe her with no harm, and next week we'll head back to the ER for them to remove the stitches.

What a night! This was the third trip to the ER in 3 years and we are surely hoping it will be the last for a long time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Boys - Oh Boy

What is it with boys and bathrooms?

Six year old son comes hollering, "Mom come look at the bathroom." I holler back, "why what's wrong?" His reply, "I don't know, I can't explain it, just come."

So I come along and check it out. Yep, you guessed it - pee-pee all over the seat and step-stool and floor. How can the 4 year old miss the toilet completely? Why do I assume it is him and not one of the three duaghters? Hmmm?

I clean it up, sparkling clean yet again, at least till the next time. I even have the 6 yr old and 4 yr old swish and swipe all the bathrooms each morning, but it doesn't always help. They'll need to use it again, and I'll have to clean it again.

How does my sil do it with 4 boys? She must have to daily scrub the bathrooms. Poor dear - oh wait - that's right, she actually *likes* to do that. Maybe over time, some of that will rub off on me. :-)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My sisters and I gave my mom a digital camera for Christmas. She has had a fun time using it. Today, in the mail, I received the disk from her first development of pictures. What fun to see all the people. And wow - what great pictures - we did good sissys!

This picture is of my mom (on the left) and my mil. I hosted Thanksgiving and they all were here. It is neat and oh so nice that they get along so well. I have definitely been blessed with great in-laws and understanding parents. None of the Debra Barone in-law problems here. The other neat thing is that my mom and my mil are only 2 months different in age. I'll let you guess who is older and what that age might be. :-)

Realizing who I am Part II

Another realization: I'm not very loving. I've never been the sappy, cry at an instant type of gal. I did become more that way during all the pregnancies and that was weird! But now that my body is back to "normal" the tears flow less and the loving, compassionate side has faded away to the stern, get it done side.

This matter came to my attention yet again this morning. The realization has been showing signs for some time, but I've just not admitted it until today. I need to be more compassionate and loving to my kids, especially the older two. I need to hug them, and love on them, and show them my love.

This will be hard for me - it is so much easier to do with the little ones. But they were little once. I need to remember that "littleness" and *act* like I how feel. I do love them, and cherish them and want them to know that.

So I better go - I need to go hug some girls. :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Realizing who I am

Granted, I know I'm weird. I homeschool; I'm a stay-at-home mother of 5 children; I cook our meals; I can and freeze food for us to eat; I'm a Lutheran - Missouri Synod Lutheran - confessional Missouri Synod Lutheran. But when something else happens to show me just how weird I am, I still shake my head. I don't think of myself as weird, this is life - this is normal. Right?

My dh and I hosted an Ephiphany party for the Altar Guild (newly formed group that just completed their first year). It was lovely - I fixed various hors d'oeuvres and punch and coffee. We all sat around visiting and eating. We look forward to doing it again each year.

The next evening dh and I attended the circuit Epiphany Party for the Pastors and their wives. The host couple provided the ham and the rest of us brought certain dishes to pass. I brought the dessert: homemade ice-cream, gingerbread cookies, and Ritz cracker cookies.

So what made me realize I was weird? I used my china for my party - covered the table with a tablecloth, and tried to make things look extra special. Only my kiddos used paper plates and cups.

At the circuit party, we ate on paper plates (remember this was a real meal, not just appetizers) We were served wine in paper cups. I know it might make for easier clean-up, but I don't like it. It just left a bed taste in my mouth.

Yeah I know, I'm weird.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday afternoon

The house is clean (well at least the main floor) and it is Sunday afternoon. Usually we're watching a football game or a NASCAR race; relaxing, dozing, enjoying each other. But not today. David found out last night that two people are in the hospital (different directions from home) and one of the ladies has possibly been in since Tuesday. So after a quick lunch of leftovers, he began the drive to Rochester, and then hopefully time will be on his side to make it back to Mankato for the other hospital visit, before coming home to get me for the circuit Ephiphany party this evening. He'll be tired tonight.

The kids and I can't even curl up with books on this cold afternoon. Instead, neighborhood kids have come over, and I'll work on thank-you's before sending the extra kids home, the little ones to nap, and walk next door to help take down the church's Christmas decorations. Then I need to make homemade ice-cream to take for dessert to this evening's gathering. Whew.

Tomorrow will be our own undecorating and waiting for the plumber to come solve the problem of the stinky smell wafting through the basement. But at least we should all be home - together. And that will be very nice.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Clean Home

I realized I need a clean home. Not one that is untouchable, unlivable, museum-style clean, but one that things are, for the most part, in their proper places, the vacuuming and dusting are done at least weekly, counters, tables, etc are pretty much clutter free. Right now I don't have that and I realized yesterday *that* was what was driving me nuts.

I think the realization occurred because I knew we were having the Altar Guild Epiphany party in just a couple of days. Yikes! With being gone the first three days this week, and wanting to do some schoolwork the last couple days, cleaning has taken a back seat. Plus our "weekly home blessing hour" ala Fly Lady has flown out the window during the month of December. And so, I was short with the kids, yelled more than I needed to, despaired, and still did nothing about it.

Ah but lovely dh as we journeyed last night on our shopping marathon (me losing it more still) said we would all do our "home blessing" Friday evening. Oh how I love him. So this morning, as I looked upon the dirty floor, the books scattered everywhere, the dust, the kids not doing what they should, I'm smiling, because I know it won't last, I'll have help tonight. The house will be "clean" once again, and hopefully, hopefully those weekly home blessings won't be so disrupted in the coming months.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Being refreshed

Having a mini-vacation is quite renewing. We had planned on driving out to family after service on New Year's Eve. But we finally were blessed with snow - quite a bit. So we left New Year's morning and drove 40 mph for about half the trip. But it was worth it. I continued reading aloud "The Prisoner of Azkaban." It kept the whole car quiet the whole trip (about 3.5 hours). Unfortunately, we still had about 20 pages left upon arrival. That evening, I finished those pages for everyone and then we all watched the movie on their projector tv - quite cool. What fun.

That wasn't the most renewing part though. The whole thing aided our ability to return home refreshed. Sharing with a fellow pastor/homeschooling family the struggles, frustrations, disappointments, joys, strategies, ideas, etc. was quite nice. Watching movies (one of our favorite - The Wedding Singer), a taped concert of Heart (great!), part of the Blue Collar Comedy tour (git-r-done!), eating great food, the cousins playing together, enjoying good beer at the new "Wein and Stein" restaurant (amazingly cheap even!), staying up way too late, and sleeping way to long in the morning.

The drive home was uneventful - the roads had cleared. This time I read aloud the daily Bible readings David and I had got behind on, and we pulled into home, happy, refreshed. I was reminded of the times Jesus had "went away from the crowds to pray." We all need that, and thanks be to God, we are blessed with those opportunities.

Yesterday and today it is back to work - David will be burying a wonderful, faithful, woman today. Her fil was the pastor of this church back in the 20's. It was for his family (also with 5 kids) that they built our parsonage. She and her husband have been married 60+ years and they are a great example of a faithful marriage, and faithful believers. We are sad to have Helen away from us, but are so delighted that she has been called home to her eternal glory where she has been crowned with righteousness and sings forevermore in the presence of her Lord and Savior.