Friday, January 29, 2010

Goal #1 of 2010: Reading

I have always loved to read fiction. But, I have a problem when I read fiction: I get really crabby, lose sleep and don't do anything else.

Basically I get addicted to the book.

So I haven't been reading very much fiction. When I do pick up a novel I give myself strict guidelines - like I can only read it when I am using a stationary bike or after every single thing on my list is crossed off.

I have had a stack of nonfiction accumulating on my nightstand. Parenting books, nursing books, marriage books. Books I have really been wanting, needing to read.

Parenting books- they have good ideas, good suggestions etc, but mostly they just help to keep me focused on the task at hand: raising my children.

Nursing books- I have some career goals and I like to keep learning, reading through these would be beneficial to my job.

Marriage books- This has taken a bit of a backburner, because honestly, if you read parenting books you are reading marriage books. Parenting books teach you how to stay calm, how to listen to the other person, how not to be controlling, how to only change what you can. Marriage books kind of say the same things. As do self help book. So though I will probably throw in a couple books on marriage, these are not toppest priority. Although if you have any suggestions I will take them.

So my goal for 2010 is to read 1 chapter a day of something. This has been awesome because I add it to my daily list as a simple "chapter". It only takes about 10 minutes to get through a chapter, and when it is on my list I get it done during the day because it takes less time than say "Polish all the woodwork in the house" which may be one of the other things on the list. I can do it while the kids play, while I am making lunch, while they are in the bathtub. And it keeps me focused on my parenting for the day.

I didn't think that one chapter a day would get me very far, but it is the end of January and I have already read "Bringing up Boys" by Dobson and am almost done with "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Cline and Fay. Next up is one about raising up a Daniel which I need to get from my mom and the "strong willed child". Then I may take a parenting book break for awhile and concentrate on something else.

Any other life changing books I should read?
(keep adding suggestions to my last post about good, easy kid chapter books. Maybe I will keep a list and let you know how my kids liked them!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The boys and I love to read.

I am so thankful that from an early age they were willing to sit on my lap for long periods of time listening to fairly lengthy books. (I have been told that they could only do that because I read so fast, that I can get through "A Baby Sister for Frances" in the amount of time it takes an average person to read "Goodnight Moon". But whatev.)

And they don't wreck books either, which is an extra bonus.

So I gotta tell you it is SO FUN to be able to move into even longer books with more intricate plot lines. I love to watch their earnest little faces wondering if they are following. Oh, but they are. They catch it all. And they ask questions. Lots of questions.

Of course we do have some problems. There are three of them and I only have 2 sides. And a lap that is getting smaller daily. So there is a lot of jockying for position these days.

We have also added books on CD for car listening. We rotate between the books, Adventures in Odyssy and music CDs. I never realized though until we started listening to books on CD how much time per day we were spending in the car. It is pretty crazy when you can finish a 2 hour book in 2 days.

These are the "bigger" books we have read:

The Littles Series (they LOVE all of these)

My Father's Dragon

Elmer and the Dragon

The Other Dragon One (can't remember the real title)

Magic Tree House 1-10 (I do a little editing in some of these and we discuss a lot)

Trumpet of the Swan

Charlottes Web

Stuart Little

Mr. Popper's Penguins (in middle of)

4 Boxcar Children books (they like the exciting parts, but there is a lot of talking in some of these)

A Cricket in Times Square

We have also been reading the little stories out of "What Every 1st Grader Should Know" which covers basic fairy tales etc. And then of course we just get our regular books from the library.

Any other suggestions? We started Little House in the Big Woods once, and they liked the chapters with Pa and wild animals but the descriptions of the 9 patch quilt and the rag doll did not impress them. I will read them Farmer Boy this year though.

Star Wars Art

The boy's room is covered in Star Wars Art.

The picture on the left is the first one Deacon drew for his friend Colin. Can you guess who it is? (I know small motor isn't actually my kid's thing- and if drawing Star Wars makes him want to write and draw, well, I am all for it!)

Here is a close up. See the smiling face? (Sorry these are sideways- I took them horizontally)

This is the second attempt. He decided not to use the first one because Yoda was smiling, and well, "no one smiles in Star Wars. They are always serious. Because they are cool."

See Darth Vader? I need to work on my handwriting. I wrote it out for him, and obviously my "d" in Vader looked like a "c and an l" because that is what he copied. Oops...

My personal favorite? Jabba the Hutt or as the boys call him, "The big worm". Does Hutt have one T or two? It is Hutt, isn't it?
Must brush up on my Star Wars knowledge. Noah is getting laughed at by his coworkers for sitting at his desk answering a bunch of questions about SWs when the kids call. I told him I was just going to have the boys send emails and he could circulate them so all his coworkers could have a shot at answering too.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Controversial Monday: Human bed warmers

Have you seen this news story about human bedwarmers ?

Of course it is a European thing :)

The whole thing seems creepy to me.

Then again, I have a really hard time using a public toilet if I see the person who was in there right before me.

Which is kind of funny, because I am not a germaphobe. And I don't have any squemishness about public toilets in general. It just creeps me out if I actually see a person come out of a stall and than have to go in right after.

But I digress. Or maybe I don't.

What do you think about a Human Bedwarming Service? Would you take a job like that? Would you accept a service like that? Or is it just creepy?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Noah was at the Y before work the other morning. He was walking out about the same time as a middle aged woman. The woman, he said, was dressed up and obviously heading for work.

She passed by 2 elderly men sitting by a table shooting the breeze.

Noah passed by a couple of seconds later, just in time to hear one man say to the other, "Boy, they sure look better when they leave than when they come!"

We laughed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Towels in the Tub

I know some of you caught this on twitter or facebook, but I thought I would repeat here for documentation of my life purposes.

The boys were taking a bath this week and decided to take all of the towels from the linen closet (save one blue washcloth) into the tub with them.

Nice. Wet, heavy bath towels lining the tub.

They wanted me to go downstairs and get them some new towels to dry off with, for they were cold.

Of course I didn't. I handed them the lone washcloth and we had a little convo about consequences for our actions.

Gotta love natural consequences.

So they dried off, got dressed and warmed up.

Somehow, I don't think they are going to go down that particular path again.

There will always be a new one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Controversial Monday (on Tuesday)- Paintball Edition

One of my goals for this year is to do some reading (more on that tomorrow). One of the books I am currently reading is "Bringing Up Boys" by Dobson.

I have had this book for a few years, but when I started it at that time, I was in the throes of spit up, sleepless nights and breastfeeding and quite frankly I had no interest in reading about social pressure on boys, feminism and boys and schooling for boys.

So I shelved it.

But now it is applicable, pertinent and very interesting to me. ( I am sure I will be sharing some more things I am learning in regards to parenting in 2010 in the coming days).

He covers a lot of information and statistics in this book. It has solidified my desire to homeschool my kids (he likes homeschooling, but does not think it is the only way) and to severely curtail violence in media.

Which brings us to the topic of the day.


My boys have swords and toy guns. They also like to use my thermometer and curling iron as guns. We have rules in the house, though about weaponry.

You don't shoot at or whack unarmed persons.
Be aware of what is in your space.
No head hits.
You don't aim your gun at any person unless you guys have come to some sort of shoot out organized game.

I don't even encourage that.

So when one child walked up to another one with his ping pong gun and shot him in the chest, the gun was removed for 3 days- even though it didn't hurt and the other child didn't care.

I don't want my kids to get desensitized.

I don't want them to crave the power of a weapon.

I don't want them to look at a person, any person, laying on the floor begging for mercy and still shoot them. Even if it only with a nerf weapon.

Mercy triumphs over judgement.

So I don't care if they play with nerf weapons. But I want them to respect the weapon. Embrace the responsibility that all men with firearms should have.

But paintball? Where does that fit in?

Noah and I take opposite sides on the paintball issue. He loves paintball. I think it is a travesty. It makes me uncomfortable to make sport of shooting and eliminating people.

I think it aids in desensitization.

In the same way violent video games do, it gets you used to pulling the trigger.


So, what do you all think about violent media? How about paintball?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Little Crazy with a Side of Irony

I have all kinds of things I have been wanting to blog about, but I haven't made the time to sit down and type anything out. You see, I have 3 kids and 1 on the way.

Last night Noah and I were talking and suddenly realized that 7 weeks is not actually that far away. Now, we aren't ones that are apt to freak out about things. We know that a baby doesn't actually need much, and we can probably pull out the baby clothes on the day of it's birth if need be. But we haven't talked about Noah taking any days off work or where the kids are going to go etc. I haven't preregistered at the hospital either. I should probably do that.

I have decided to pull out the cloth diapers I used with Deacon and use them for this baby. We will see how that goes :)

This weekend Deke and I walked down to the ice rink to practice skating.

It was actually kind of funny, because as soon as he could take 3 steps without falling (and I do mean steps, not glides) he was trying to figure out how to spin and turn and do tricks. He also pretty much thinks he is awesome, which I think is a universal characteristic of 6 year old boys.

Eventually he grew tired of the effort and so he went back to boots and we were playing a little hockey. Except we were on boots and we only had one stick; so it wasn't really hockey. He won the first "game" and we went on to a 2nd. We each had a couple of "goals" and it was decided that the next goal would win. I came in for a shot and he did nothing.

"Mom, do you know why I didn't try to stop you?"


"I want it to be fair, and I already won once, so I thought I would let you win."

I did think it was sweet, but the competitive side of me (which is rather dominant) immediately made me want to tell him that I was not playing at 100% either game and that it is crazy for him to think that he could beat me at any sport at this time in his life. But I didn't. I graciously accepted the win handed to me and we walked home. He offered to pull the wagon.

Maybe he will be a gentleman yet.


On the way home we passed our neighbor who washes his car a lot. He had been out on our way to the rink and had been chopping ice at the bottom of his driveway. It was actually on the street in front of his driveway, his entire driveway was clear of even the slightest hint of ice already.

Anyway, as we passed him for the 2nd time we noted that he had completed removing all of the ice from the street, and was now standing on his driveway with his hose spraying it off, presumably melting anything that may have escaped his careful scraping.

Now that, my friends, is hardcore.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Overheard in the Kitchen

N: "Is this butter or frosting?" (pointing at the bowl on the counter with a spoon in it)

J: "It is butter frosting. Don't judge"

N: "I wasn't judging, just wondering if it was for the bread."

Later the butter for the bread was found in the utensil drawer. Who knows?


D: "I think that restaurants are a really good thing. Just think. There is always someone there to bring you drinks, and food and ketchup."

N: "I like restaurants too."

D: "Why can't we go more?"

J: "It is expensive, it is cheaper to eat at home."

D: "But they make the food. They bring it to you. They get you what you need!"

J: "Yeah, you are paying for the waitress/cook/host to be your mom."

N: "You see, Deke, at home we just pay for the food. Mom does everything else and we don't pay her. That is why it is cheaper to eat at home."

D: "I still like restaurants."

N: "I do too."

Monday, January 11, 2010

8 Random Things

1. This week my chapstick became officially too low to use. I think this is the first time this has happened to me, I always lose it (or lose interest in using it) before it is gone.

2. I am really, really bad at putting new plastic bags in the trash cans at work. If you tie the knot too far in, the bag won't stretch over the can, and if you make it too big, then your bag falls into the can when you throw stuff away. *sigh*. Maybe that can become one of my work goals for the year. (and yes, if you were wondering: I am a well paid RN with a 4 year degree, and yes I often do empty my own trash cans.)

3. My to-do list before the baby comes is not getting any shorter. This is due to 2 factors:

a. I try not to leave the house in zub weather so I haven't been able to get the supplies I need.

b. For some reason I feel like I am requiring about 10 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. This means that I have very minimal time to accomplish everything on my list before the kids go to bed.

4. "Mommy, Deacon and I are the big police. You don't need to be a the mom police because we are already big. You are the mommy Robber because we only have one little robber who needs a mommy." Even though I may not have picked up my ACLS book to study yet, I have been getting a fine education in Star Wars Trivia and into the workings of my little boy's minds.

5. We continue to eat out of the pantry and deep freeze this month. This has cut down on our grocery bill, however we did host a dinner gathering this weekend and that combined with me sending Noah to the store means we are not as far ahead as I wanted to be.

6. The door is not back on one of my bathrooms yet. The boys think we should just leave it off. Not having a door streamlines (ha) the going to the bathroom process.

7. I am going to have to get rid of my soft, fleecy clothes. The boys say I am the cuddliest, warmest person in the whole house and they climb all over me constantly. I love them, but that causes me some serious stress.

8. Deacon started basketball last night. He is so excited and everything he tells me starts with "Coach says...". I am happy for him, but Monday nights are going to be a tough night to get everyone in bed...

Controversial Monday: Resolutions

I love this picture of Deacon. Look at that expression on his face. No smiles for this kid. As he tells me, "smiles are not cool". Where does he get this stuff?
I allowed him to eat one of his cookies. He picked the biggest one.
I always pick the biggest one too. Or the one with the most frosting.
We had friends over last night. They brought a chocolate cake. It weighed 7 pounds.
It was really good.
The boys and I have not made any resolutions about cutting down on cake for the New Year.
I actually don't make resolutions at all. I review the past year.
I set goals for the new year.
Goals that are measurable. You know, read X amount of books. Compete in X amount of Tris. Change X amount of diapers. Work X amount of hours. Pass this test. Teach child this specific skill.
Stuff like that.
I am working on the list.
Do you make goals and resolutions for the New Year? Do you think they are beneficial or wastes of time? Any good systems for keeping track of them?
(I actually had a really good controversial Monday topic for this week, but than I forgot it. That has been happening a lot. I will try to write it down if it ever flits across my mind again.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

4th Vs 1st

Well, we are on the homestretch, folks. 8 weeks until this baby comes and boy do I have a lot to do.

This pregnancy feels very similar to my 1st pregnancy. My mom says I only say that because those are the only 2 I can remember, as #2 and #3 happened so quickly that they are just a big blur. And that may be true.

Here are the top 10 things that are different about a 4th pregnancy versus a 1st:

1. Maternity pants have been called off. Yes, my friends. With my 1st preg. I was all excited about maternity clothes and all that jazz and started wearing them earlier. 32 weeks now and I am still wearing my low rise post partum jeans, my totally cute green pants (which were free, I might add) and of course the all important yoga pants and scrubs. I have not even tried on my selection of maternity pant, and really am hoping to hold out until at least week 36.

2. Instead of my list consisting of "fold cute little clothes and rearrange them weekly", "wash all the baby stuff in Dreft", "take a nap", "pack hospital bag", "put linens in crib"- it now consists of "Take all the boys to Y daily to avoid wall climbing at home", "repaint and organize main floor", "cut out 1/4 of each boy's wardrobe to make room for baby stuff", "get baby stuff down from rafters in about 7 1/2 weeks" and "try to convince 2 year old that he doesn't need his bed any more so that we can turn it back into a crib." Or we might just forget that last one and buy a new pack and play to stick the baby in.

3. I no longer am taking the time to look for names on the internet. Instead I am scanning the names on the rosters for my kid's classes and reviewing the names of kids who submit things to the magazines my kids get. Oh, and listening to suggestions from my own kids, who are convinced that the baby should be named "Dark Vader" or "Princess Leia".

4. We aren't doing prenatal classes. Instead I got to spend a significant time today explaining to Deacon how the baby comes out and why it is not appropriate for him to see the birth canal.

5. Not spending much time daydreaming about the baby or about how labor will go. Most of my thinking is being directed toward wondering how I am going to keep this baby safe?!?!

6. With Deacon I bought a boppy and cute outfits etc. Things I am thinking of buying now? A running wheel for the burley and a new sort of carrier for the baby so I can "wear the baby" while I do other things. (Wouldn't it be an awesome workout to have the baby and Lincoln in the burley and the other 2 on bikes so that I could get runs and inline skating in that way this summer!?).

7. Focusing on how I am going to feed my family those first blurry eyed weeks. Starting to plan my big cooking days and menus so that the boys in the house will still have food. I didn't really think too much about that with Deacon. It was just Noah and I and we can both fend for ourselves.

8. Instead of taking as many on calls at work as I can, I am trying to pick up as many shifts as I can before the baby comes.

9. Wondering not so much how we will adjust to a new baby, but rather how the baby will fit into our already established family (which makes me even MORE curious as to the gender of this baby than I even was with the 1st)

10. Spacing my MD appointments out as long as possible in homes of skipping one. With my 1st
I loved going to my appointments. Really, what else did I have to do? (besides work). Now it is SUCH an inconvenience. They still want me to come though, and since I am a compliant person I do- I just stretch it out as long as possible.

The Garbage Can

2 weeks ago there was a garbage can in the middle of the street in front of our house. There was garbage all over the street.
It was garbage day, so being the good cold-hating neighbors that we are, we waited to see what would happen.
It wasn't our garbage can, and looking up and down the street it wasn't immediately apparant who it belonged to.
The garbage man came by, picked up all the garbage and left the can upright on the side of the street.
And there it remains.
It is really bothering Noah and he has been intending to call about it and ask the garbage people to pick it up, but he hasn't yet.
Last night he came in and said, "You know that garbage can out in the street? It is really slowing down traffic on our road. I think I will leave it there and even put ours out next to it!"
Sounds perfect. If the city won't do anything to slow down the traffic, we may as well just start instituting our own roadblocks.
Maybe we can make our own speed bumps too.
Welcome to life in the 'burbs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Controversial Monday: To budget or not to budget. That is the Question

Over our almost 10 years of marriage we have never really budgeted. Of course I have jotted things down a few times just to get an idea of what's going on. And of course I budget in my mind.

We have just never felt the need to write one out. We have been fortunate enough to have wiggle room from month to month and since we both firmly believe in spending less than we earn, it has never been a problem.

And besides that, I like the freedom and flexibiltiy of not being tied to a budget, just some general guidelines.

I am pretty sure that if we had a budget I would become a budget Nazi.

I am a rule follower, remember?

Noah is a rule breaker.

A budget could lead to fights.

Which is why Dave Ramsey says if you are married you need to come up with a budget together.

Easier said than done, dear Dave.

Here is a letter I could write to Mr. Ramsey.

Dear Mr. Ramsey,

What do you do when you want to make a budget with your husband but everytime you sit down to work on it, all he does is write you love poems?



Maybe some of you can relate.

Anyway, I decided to make a budget for this year. I figure if we save money without one, just think of how much we could save with one. At least that is my hope, I am a little leery to mess with an already working system...

But my suspician is that things won't actually change much. I have a feeling I do more budgeting in my head then I realize and that since we don't routinely buy stuff we don't need, that things will stay about the same.

So, give me some advice on this Monday. Do you budget? Are you super strict? Does it give you more freedom or less freedom? If you don't, why don't you?