Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You go girls!

Yesterday I read an article on Yahoo about a controversial marathon in Pakistan. What was so controversial about it? Well, women were running along side of men. Gasp..shock..the horror. You can read about it by clicking here.

Thankfully, despite the violent protests and constant threats, the mixed race was not cancelled, and with over 15,000 runners and 6,000 police officers, no one was hurt.

Although the fact that people can be so ignorant against women sickens me, I was somewhat amused by this article for 2 reasons:

1. First, I find it hilarious that the man who said this: "We have great support for the sports played by women ... but women should run separately and in a separate area,"...well, his last name is BUTT!!! How appropriate. How can you not laugh at" "Mr. Butt and other religious leaders also scorned the idea of Pakistani women running in shorts on the streets of Lahore."

2. Despite my scorn for the fact that a mixed race brings such violent protests, my goal for next fall is to run the Nike WOMEN'S Marathon. I will NOT, however, physically assault a man who just might be running beside me.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A ring leader

My Angel left me this weekend. I was so fortunate to have my mom stay with us for the month of January. She was a Godsend..helping out like only a mother could. She did my laundry, organized drawers, got up with the kids, took them to school, etc. And the best part was, I didn't have to ask her to do anything. She just intuitively knew what I needed. And being the sort of person who doesn't like to ask for help, even when I really need it, she was just what the "doctor" ordered. And even though I'm sure she was tempted, she never lectured me about needing to bundle my kids up better, or give Cameron some slack or provide more vegetables. She just knew that I didn't need the extra stress. She was great to talk with, never judgemental and was more than willing to occupy the kids while I snuck in a nap. We are truly sad to see her go. My husband even asked if we could pay my dad to let her stay!!!

So this morning was my first "opportunity" to try to get myself and all 3 kids ready and out of the house by 8 AM. Juggling it all was certainly a circus.

Here are some of the highlights:
-- Max decided that 5:30 AM was a good time to wake up.
-- While I was getting Cameron's breakfast, Max was upstairs in my room, rubbing my concealer tube all over his forehead (I have no digital camera since my mom is gone, or else I'd have a picture here).
-- While I was changing Ella, Max was in my bathroom, dumping a box of tampons all over the floor and playing with them.
-- When I was upstairs finding socks for myself, while nursing Ella, Max was in the downstairs bathroom, washing his cereal bowl in the toilet.

Good thing Ella has no idea what's going on, Cameron can basically fend for himself, and Max has a giant smile with giant eyes that make me melt, granting him mercy for all of his shinnanigans!!!

One thing I did discover this morning:

To save time, you can use the toilet and a blow dryer at the same time.

Mom, please come back!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A long time

Yesterday was my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. In a time when many marriages don't even last 5 years, I feel honored to have such roll models in my life.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's not made up.

Last night there was rain pouring down my windows.

January 26th, in Minnesota, and it's raining.

Global Warming does exist.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I read the following information on a website:
"Stay away from animals that appear to be drooling or foaming at the mouth"

But I think I'll keep this "kitten" close to me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

table manners

Cameron is a pretty picky eater. If it was up to him, he'd eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Peanut Butter and Jelly and Hotdogs every single day. And he almost does, considering that he doesn't seem to like anything I make, and hot dogs are just easy to throw in the microwave.

Max on the other hand is a garbage disposal. He'll eat practically anything, especially if it's YOUR plate.

Except for tonight. Tonight Max meticulously separated his pork pieces from his broccoli pieces. Then he picked up all the pork pieces in one fist and threw them across the table.

I guess he doesn't like pork.


Here's a picture of Cameron making a get well card for his friend who has the chicken pox.

Max found a different medium for the markers.....like his hands....

and his mouth!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

But Mom, I was dirty!

Max really likes his baths. So much so that tonight when I mentioned the word clean-up and bath, he immediately started picking up every single pot that he had taken out of the cabinet (which was all of them).

I went upstairs to start the water and walked out of the bathroom to find him. He and Cameron share a "jack and jill" style bathroom, so it has 2 doors. Apparently, Max went into the bathroom door as I was walking out the other one. While I was looking around for him, he hopped into the tub...with his shirt, diaper, and socks still on.

This was the THIRD time today I had to change his wet shirt. Once when he tried to "help" give Ella a bath. Once when he decided to play in the toilet and this last time as he sat in the bathtub, clothed. Maybe if we all bathed fully clothed I wouldn't have to do so much laundry!

Monday, January 23, 2006

More pics

I know I already posted today, but I couldn't resist showing more photos from this past weekend. And I couldn't think of a way to connect pictures of Ella with Flavor Flav (thank goodness). My mom leaves in less than a week...and so does her digital camera. So I need to share while I can.

Tasteless Flavor

I was rather fatigued today. I shouldn't be...both boys slept through the night and Ella only woke up once. But I didn't go to bed until after midnight. What kept me up you might wonder. Was it baskets of clothes that needed folded? Was it the disasterous playroom that needed cleaned? Was I reading the latest and greatest YA novel? Was I addressing all the envelopes for Ella's birth announcements (obviously rather late)? Oh, no....nothing so ambitious as any of that. What kept me up was....


I have admited before without much trepidation that I am a reality TV fan. But I must admit that I am quite ashamed about the fact that I am hooked on what is probably the worst Reality TV show ever. This show is like the Bachelor, except the "prize" is Flavor Flav. So each week on VH-1, I watch these scantilly clad, very young, mostly beautiful women, fight for the love of an old, ugly, twig-like has-been rapper. It is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. Yet I'm glued to the set, entertained by how vicious and pathetic these women are.

It should make me sick. I should immediately turn the channel based on my self-respect as a women, just as I do whenever I come across anything with Howard Stern. But instead, I tune in every Sunday night (repeated on Monday if I miss it) to witness this ridiculous spectacle.

I think this semester without a graduate class is going to lower my IQ.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wacky Wiggler

Another relative visit
Another toy assembled
Thanks Dad

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Private plumbing

Last night, my husband, son Cameron, my parents (who are visiting from New Jersey), and I went to the Timberwolves game against the Indiana Pacers. I grew up in Indiana, so we thought it would be a fun game for us all to see. We were mistaken. Although it was nice to get out, the game was quite boring.

HOWEVER, Cameron had some entertaining comments during the game. Out of the blue he turned to me and yelled over the noisy crowd,
"Mom, do girls pee out their butt?"
"What?" I asked in disbelief.
"If they don't have a penis, what do they pee out of?"
Not wanting to have this conversation in a sports arena seating thousands of people I quickly diverted his attention back to the game.

The question didn't surprise me, but I was trying to figure out what sparked such a curiosity in the middle of an NBA game. Suddenly it dawned on me that it must have been the scantily clad cheerleaders who decided to treck all the way up to the nosebleed seats to "dance" for us. Their skirts were so short and tight, you couldn't think of anything else but their butts.

I'm just happy Cameron's only thought right now about the girls was about peeing. But we might have some trouble when he's a teenager.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wasted life no more!

Thanks to my friend Jaye for sending the following picture:For our annivesary, my husband gave me a card with a cartoon drawing of a happy couple hugging each other in the doorway of their home. It says, "To the one I married. Looks like we're in this thing together!"

When you open the card, the picture of the couple folds over and they appear on the inside of the house, which is in complete shambles, with toys and such all over the floor, dishes piled in the sink, three kids at the table throwing and spilling their food, food bubbling over on the stove, etc. The caption on the inside reads, "Isn't it WONDERFUL?!? Happy Anniversary"

So I'm going to assume that he won't mind when he comes home and sees our family room looking like this:

Ella finds it to be quite amusing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

8 happy years

Yesterday was our anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 8 years! Because my mom is here, we were able to go out to dinner to celebrate without the kiddos. His toast to me...."Here's to making it past the 7 year itch"....how romantic!

We actually had a lovely evening at The Melting Pot Fondue. It was fun, nice novelty. The chocolate fondue dessert was to die for.

During our dinner, we talked about the fact that 12 1/2 years ago working at the summer camp where we met..who would have thought that we'd be living in Minnesota with THREE kids. In those days, we used to hear a baby screaming and turn to each other and remark, "Reason number 2321 why not to have kids" or witness kids fighting in a restaurant and say, "Reason number 4839 why not to have kids" or see a child running away from her mother in a crowded mall and comment, "Reason #5743."

Now, we laugh as we realize that our children exhibit each and every reason that we used to witness in other kids. But the difference is, we can quadruple the number of reasons why we're thrilled to have our little darlings. I mean really, who can resist the light curls, the giant eyes, the devilish grins. Sure they can be taxing on our marriage sometimes, and we just look at each other like, "Oh my, what have we done?" But in actuality, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I know several of you are checking my site to see some updated baby pictures. Well, here's the problem (s).

1. My digital camera is still lost. I should just buckle down and get a new one, but I want a good one....one that has a good zoom and does not have a delay. This would require spending a decent amount of money on it. Therefore, I'd feel less guilty if I ask for it as a birthday gift than just spending such a large amount to replace a lost item. (Any suggestions for one I should purchase?).

2. My regular camera is broken. Monster Max pulled it off the counter top, dropping it onto the ground, causing the film to rewind and the back door to be permanently stuck. This was not a cheap camera to begin with, so I must find a shop to get it fixed (if it can even be salvaged). Anyhow, until I get around to doing that, the film will be stuck inside, with lovely pictures that no one will be viewing anytime soon.

3. My mom (who is here all month and has saved my sanity for now), has a digital camera I could use. HOWEVER, she has OVER 200 pictures saved on it. And even though all the pictures are downloaded onto her computer at home, and I also downloaded them onto my computer here, she is afraid to delete them from her camera. Therefore, EVERY TIME I take a picture and want to use it on my computer, I must wait until her camera downloads all 200+ for me to view. Then I must go through all those pictures and "uncheck" all those that have already been downloaded so they will delete from my computer. It's such a long process, and just not worth the end result. I nag and make fun of her all the time, but she still won't delete the pictures. But really, what's the use of a digital camera if you're not going to actually DO anything with the pictures?

So I do apologize for the lack of photos to share. Hopefully I'll get my camera fixed soon. Until then, just imagine the cutest little 6 week old, with bright eyes and lots of black hair and add the loveliest smile you've ever seen. That's my Ella Helene.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Neat Freaks

This past week I was in 2 houses of stay-at-home-mom's, and I as soon as I stepped foot into their homes, I just wanted to run back out the door. Their houses were PERFECT!!!! Perfectly decorated, perfectly organized, perfectly clean! There was no little "junk corner" in the kitchen, no piles of shoes near the entrance, no mounds of clothes on their laundry room floor.

Even their playrooms were spotless, with not one toy out of place. "Does anyone play actually play here?" I thought to myself as I scanned the clutterless environment.

My next thought was that my husband can NEVER come into these homes, because if they can keep such a perfect house, with 3 kids, then why can't I?

I was, however, inspired to go home and at least start cleaning up Cameron's bedroom. But of course, my cleaning spree was interrupted as Max and Ella woke up from their naps, and I haven't been able to get back to the task.

What I need to do is visit my friend S. Her house is clean, but it's certainly not perfect. I can walk in her door, lay my jacket on the stairs, step over the toys in the hallway and plop down in kitchen barstool, knowing my view will be of piles of papers and left-over breakfast dishes.

Now that's a standard I can live up to.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

grape juice

Know what I love about NOT being pregnant?

Being able to take a glass of wine to bed with me.

Cheers and good night!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dinner Delights

My husband says we should host a dinner party. I almost lost my dinner when he said that. Here is a typical dinner at our house:

We're all seated in our usual chairs, with Max in his high chair. After a couple minutes Max gets bored with his sitting and starts standing in his high chair. We tell him to sit down, and he just starts bouncing up and down. Or else he turns himself around, holding onto the backside of his chair and starts to sit on the tray part where his food is, with his usual mischievious grin. After I begin to take his food away, he settles back in his chair, screaming so he can get his food back. This happens at least 2 or 3 times before he decides he's done with his own food and either tosses it on the ground or tries to climb out of his high chair. Then he begins his "musical chairs" routine, where he walks around throughout the rest of dinner time, sitting on everyone's laps, eating from their plates.

At the same time, Cameron is picking through his food, finding every little "crunchy part" or "black stuff" that he doesn't like. I spend most of dinner threatening that he'll have no dessert if he doesn't eat, or he'll get no TV if he gets out of his chair again, etc. He then proceeds to ask how many pieces of everything he must eat before he can get up. And more times than not, he knocks over his drink and drops more food on the ground than he gets into his mouth.

And while all this is happening, Ella is usually screaming or I'm nursing her while trying to eat something myself.

Oh yes, let's have a dinner party.....that sounds like so much fun.

I reminded my husband what dinner is like at our house (since he's often not home to participate in the nightly escapades), and we decided that maybe wine and desserts might be a better option.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Someone just informed me that Max had Glue Ear, not Gummy Ear...my bad. They both start with G, both have a U in them; they're both sticky...close enough.


Max has added a new word to his vocabulary. Now he can say SpongeBob and Cheese. Woo hoo! Still no Mama, yet.


According to Cameron, it's just not enough anymore that I take my kids to these great indoor play places...places that didn't even exist where I grew up. After he was complaining how incredibly bored he was at home this afternoon, I informed him that tomorrow we were going to Eagle's Nest. His response, "Yeah, but is there going to be anyone there for me to play with?"


My undomestic abilities were quite evident in my Let's Dish Beef Stroganoff that I was bragging about in my last post. I guess when I assembled the meal, I put too much beef base or salt (or both) because no matter how much extra water I added to the meal, it still tasted like a saltlick.


Ella slept through the night last night. Max didn't, but one of two isn't bad.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Domestic Cheating

The other night for dinner we had Morrocan Tagine Chicken with Cous Cous. Tonight we had Honey-Glazed Pork Chops. Tomorrow night we're having Beef Stroganoff. Have I suddenly found my domestic gene?

Not at all. I cheat. Minnesota has a handful of places where you make and freeze your dinners. I usually go to Let's Dish in Woodbury. But there's a new one opening called Super Supers (there are a couple of these in New Jersey for those of you who might be interested). I'll be trying that one out in a couple of weeks.

Not only are the meals easy to make, but I don't have to think so much about what to cook.

This whole "gourmet" meal cooking system might actually work, if only I could remember to defrost the meal I plan to cook that night.

Friday, January 06, 2006

60% off

I must brag about my shopping experience today. Although I still have many pounds to lose from both pregnancies, I decided I needed to buy a few new items so I don't look like a total bum when I leave the house.

My mom (who's visiting for a month) and I fell upon a gold mine today. Hearing that Casual Corner was going out of business, I figured I'd check out their inventory before it dwindled down to nothing. I've actually never shopped there before, but any Going-out-of-Business sale is worth a look.

For $201 dollars, this is what I purchased:

1 winter jacket
3 pairs of jeans
2 sweaters
2 button-down shirts
1 suit jacket
1 scarf

When I got home, I refused to put these clothes away until I cleaned out all the maternity ware.
The end result, 3 big storage boxes of maternity clothes...winter, summer, spring and fall items...that I will never wear again. Any takers out there?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

All is well

We survived the surgery...mostly with flying colors. My plan to wake up Max at 5:45, right before we got into the car, didn't quite work out, as he decided that 4:30 was a good time to awaken. Four AM was the cut off time for giving him juice or water, so we couldn't appease his "signs" for juice or even water. I ended up packing up all the kids, and driving them around for 30 minutes while Melvin showered and it was finally time for us to leave.

Children's Hospital is the best. There was an incredible area for kids to play, and each staff member was incredibly kind. One came and spoke to us to explain exactly what they would do during the surgery, then the anestesiologist (sp?) spoke to us about putting Max to sleep. Then a nurse came and helped prep Max and took a picture of our family, then the doctor came and explained everything again. Each person was just so pleasant and explained everything so clearly and with compassion for our concerns.

I ended up taking Max into the pre-operative room. Because he was only getting tubes, he did NOT need an IV (thank you Lord), so I felt better about the forthcoming experience. Max sat calmly on my lap and played with a Mickey Mouse toy they had in the room. As they put the mask over his face, he didn't even struggle to get it off. He was mor interested in the toy and bubbles they blew for the couple minutes it took for him to finally fall asleep. I was so amazed by his cooperation that I didn't even break down when the took him away. I even thought to myself...wow, can I have some of this stuff for bedtime!!!

My mind, however, quickly changed when he woke up. When I went into the recovery area, they didn't even need to tell me what room to go to, as I merely needed to follow the sound of Max's screams. It took a LONG time to calm him down. For almost an hour, he just screamed and screamed and screamed wriggling all around in my arms. He stopped for a moment to take some Motrin, and eventually he settled down. Hearing your child scream for so long, even though you're holding him in your arms is quite heart wrenching. But once he snapped out of it, Max was back.

He fell asleep briefly on the way home, but if I hadn't been so exhausted from the whole experience myself, I wouldn't have even known that the little monster had had surgery that day. He was his absolutely normal self....causing as much "damage" to my house as always. I was quite relieved, knowing that the experience didn't scar him. But a tiny part was hoping he'd at least be a bit drowsy, or at least a little more low-key, preferring to cuddle up and just watch Barney with me, instead of emptying all the cabinets as usual. But that's Max for ya!!!

I'm relieved that the surgery is over. The doctor said he had what they call a Gummy Ear, causing him not to hear so well. It was as if he was walking around with ear plugs in his ears. So I'm hoping that now that it's all cleared up and he's hearing better, he'll start saying actual words...instead of going around saying syllables of Ba and Da, expecting me to guess what he wants. And once the words start coming, maybe the screaming will be lessened...maybe.

A special thank you to all who took the time to pray for us during this time. Your prayers certainly worked.

Below is a picture of Max today...being his normal self, eating a PB & J sandwich while trying to climb up the back of the chair.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Totally Tubular

Max has surgery tomorrow. Just tubes in his ears...but surgery nonetheless....where he gets put to sleep and all. I know it's pretty routine, and I had it myself when I was 5, but it still makes me incredibly nervous.

There are several things I'm nervous about, but a couple of things in particular. One is that he can't eat anything after midnight. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get him to the hospital without having breakfast. Luckily we have to have him there at 6:45 AM, so I'm hoping we'll just pick him up out of his crib and place him directly in his carseat without interrupting his slumber. Oh yeah, but this is Max we're talking about. One thing I can definitely count on is him waking up. But maybe he'll be so sleepy he'll forget that he's hungry.

What I'm mostly nervous about is the pre-surgery part. They have to put an IV in him. How that's going to happen, I have no idea, because I can't even change his diaper without chasing him around the room, and they're going to want him still to put a needle in him??? And then they're also going to have to lie him down to put him to sleep. Max does not lie down unless he's in his crib...period.

When we take him to the hospital, because it's so early in the morning, Cameron and Ella will be with us. But at Children's Hospital, I was told that the parents can go to the surgery area while their child is being sedated. Now I have to decide who will go with Max and who will stay with the other kids. Part of me wants to go back with Max because..well, I'm his mother and I should be back there comforting him. But the other part of me wants to be far from the room where my child will be fighting and kicking and screaming. Plus, if I have to hold him down or something, oh my, will it scar him for life? His mother, who's supposed to protect him from harm, is allowing other people to jab sharp object into him? And furthermore, when he actually does fall asleep, I think I'll totally break down in tears.

Not going back would be cowardly, but I might be useless if I do go back. My husband's the doctor, he can handle it...right?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ahoy mateys!!!

When you're going Christmas shopping with a 2 week old who decides that the middle of Sam's Club would be a good time to test out her vocal cords, you're main goal is to quickly load up the cart with any old toys and get out of that store so you can feed the baby and avoid anymore stares of other shoppers who look at you as if you're abusing the child because you can't stop her from crying at that moment.

However, in doing this, you don't really get the opportunity to read exactly what it is you are purchasing. So you might end up with what your 4 year old thinks is the coolest Pirate ship in the world, and he asks you almost every hour from the time that he opened it if you would help him put together the 200+ pieces to create the ships which are actually intended for children 8 years and older.

Thank goodness my mother-in-law, who is visiting this week, viewed this toy construction task as a challenge rather than a burden.

The end result, a very happy 4 year old.....until his 1 1/2 year old brother discovers it.