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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Today I found out that the little boy two houses down has been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (NOT the same as the animal variety heard of in past years). There's nothing you can do for it, as it's a virus. It takes about 7 to 10 days for it to clear up.

Both of my boys seem to have exhibited mild symptoms. Cameron had a fever, has complained of a sore throat and he now has a couple mouth sores. Plus he has been very lethargic these past few days, constantly in a daze. This is not like him at all.

Max has NOT been lethargic, but he may have had some mouth sores, screaming everytime he put a pacifier or his before-bed bottle in his mouth. He also had some spots on his bottom, and might have some on his feet.

If it's not hand-foot-and-mouth disease....he might have Foot IN Mouth disease.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I wonder if she has an invisible jet.

My friend calls her Superwoman without the costume. I call her Sara.

She comes three times a week to help with....well, basically whatever..laundry, dishes, lunch, the kids. Because of her, I can grocery shop without having to stop Max from putting everything in the cart, I can get my haircut without praying that Ella won’t scream her head off in her carseat, and I can go to a doctor’s appointment without having to stop my boys from opening and emptying every drawer in site. She can put Max to bed without the bedtime battle, she folds clothes so perfectly I never knew so much could fit in my drawers, she does the cutest things with Ella’s hair. All the while looking so beautiful and put together.

Monday she called in sick…panic set in…but I did survive.

Today she brought the boys to the Minnesota State Fair…an incredible feat. I’m so happy that now I don’t have to take the kids to this huge extravaganza of hot weather with thousands of sweaty people, miles of dusty roads filled with expensive food, overpriced rides, and smelly farm animals.

Thank you Sara!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Following her Examples

After almost 9 months of falling prey to her brothers’ affection/aggression, today Ella found her own little victim. My friends from Utah came to visit with their 4 ½ month old son, Zev. And although he was almost as big as Ella, because he’s half her age, he’s not so mobile. She took full advantage of this, hitting him on the head, poking at his eyes, trying to grab his ears.

All things Max does to her. It could have been worse. She could have done as Max did to her today and try to ride on Zev’s back like a horse.

I do hope in time, she learns to distinguish which of her brothers' behavior she should emulate, and which she should never attempt.

Monday, August 28, 2006

8 is Enough

People are always telling me that it's great to have kids who are close together in age....when they're older. Well, I'm waiting for the "older" part. My 2 youngest are 18 months apart, and so far, there really is nothing better about it. When people say to me, "Wow, they're close in age!" I often mumble something about not recommending it, as I blow out of my face the greasy strands of hair fallen from my ponytail. Hair that hasn't been washed in 3 days because it's hard to get a shower when your 8 month old puts everything and anything in your mouth, and your 2 year old will aid her in this endeavor.

But this weekend I was fortunate enough to experience how great it can be when kids are almost the same age. My 5 nieces from Detroit visited this week, ages 5, 6, 7, 7, 10, and it was wonderful taking them out together. I, singlehandedly, took them to an indoor playplace, the local town fair, and a new outdoor park. And except for the sheer cost of having to feed and entertain 7 kids, and still dealing with a 2 year old, it really was more fun than difficult. I continually had people comment, “Wow, you’re brave to bring them all by yourself.” But really, it was easier to take this crew than my usual 3.

In addition to our little outings, we had a lot of fun around the house and neighborhood. The girls played with playdough, hung out in the playroom and enjoyed the backyard playset.

They especially loved swimming in the neighborhood pool. Ella was completely spoiled by her cousin Elyce. Taking a break from watching movies, Granny was ready to go do some wine tasting. while Grandpa was engrossed in a book. When she wasn’t hanging out at the local Wal-mart, Auntie Phebe was showing us her bike riding skills. (In her defense, this picture was taken right after our wine tasting at the winery, so her judgment may have been impaired).

I was quite sad to see them go and do hope they can visit again soon.

And although I enjoyed having all the kids, I'm in no way planning on expanding my family. Eight is enough for the short term, but 3 suits me just fine for the long haul.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

outer space

Am I the only one who is notably sad that they have decided that Pluto is no longer a planet? I remember having to memorize those things in school, and because it was last, you never forgot Pluto. When reciting them, getting to Pluto was always your goal.

So what if those astronomers have discovered that it doesn’t actually meet the requirements of a planet. Those with Honorary Doctorates don’t actually meet the academic requirements to receive such a degree. Can’t we just give it honorary planet status and let it keep its name as Planet Pluto?

On another space note, the other day, Cameron was asking me if we could live on other planets. I explained that it’s too cold or too hot for humans to do such a thing. His response:

“Well then, being an astronaut is a dork job. Why would you even try to go to other planets if you already know it’s too hot or too cold to live there. That doesn’t even make any sense. That’s such a dork job.”

I should have explained that people thought the same thing about the Wright Brothers when it came to flying an airplane, but:

I didn’t feel like having to explain yet again all about what life used to be like a “long long time ago”…which only leads to more and more and more questions.

I somewhat agree with him, not about the dork part, but about the ridiculous nature of space travel. Especially when I think about the BILLIONS of dollars the federal government spends on space travel, compared to the amount spent on education. Now that truly is dorky.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

His promise

Yesterday Cameron was sick, so our plans of hanging out at the arboretum was cut. The kids, especially Max, were going stir-crazy all day being stuck inside. But Sara was here helping out, so it really could have been much worse.

Today we had plans to go to meet some friends at a really cool outdoor park with 4 levels of “chutes and ladders.” But Cameron still had a touch of a fever, and Ella looked and sounded horrible, with a raspy cry, constantly running nose and high-pitched screeches, so we had to cancel our plans again.

It was also incredibly dreary and cloudy this morning (and in the afternoon turning into severe thunderstorms).

And Sara was not coming today.

Needless to say, I was NOT looking forward to this day. I could not endure another day of screaming. And I was going to be forced to bring all 3 kids to the store with me because I was out of formula and diapers. My husband left for work this morning, with me sitting on the couch, looking like the world was going to end.

But it didn’t.

We went to Wal-mart, and the kids were miraculously good. I managed to snag one of those carts where 2 kids can sit facing each other in the front. Max and Cameron never did this before, so the novelty of it was exciting. They actually just sat still and cooperated. Not wanting to return home where major destruction would occur, I literally just carted them through the aisles of Wal-mart, as Max screamed out every item he recognized, or yelled, “Those?” wanting to know the names of everything he couldn’t recall a word for. They were loud, but they were good. We probably spent about an hour in the store, just wandering.

And on the way home Max fell asleep, so I didn’t have to do the bedtime battle to get him to take a nap. As a matter of fact, all 3 kids ended up napping at the same time. Which of course meant that I could catch some extra sleep myself. After an hour and a half, I woke up, and they were all still asleep. I actually had about 20 minutes of pure peace to myself. It was wonderful.

When the kiddos did wake up, the boys played so nicely with play-dough….making a mess, but a confined mess. And except for when Max fell off his chair, there were no screams to be heard. Max even made a little man, held him up to me and said clear as day, “Robot!”

Except for Ella’s sickly, teething crankiness, the rest of the day went nice and smoothly. Even bedtime was not a fight. And I was fortunate enough to capture this picture after the storm.

The Lord gave me well-behaved kids today, and the strength and patience to nurture all 3 of them. Prayers are answered.

Either that…or my Zoloft just kicked into high gear!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dishes, Dusting, Vacuuming, etc.

Among many others, one wonderful reason to have kids: CHORES!!!!

I can't wait until they're old enough when I can do what my mom always did. Every summer morning we'd wake up to a list of chores we each had to complete before we did anything that day.

I highly doubt Max will have such a smile on his face when he's old enough to actually use the duster properly.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Can I install an "invisible fence" inside my house?

Lately I’ve noticed that every time I tell my husband about one of Max’s mishaps, it always seems to begin with, “When I was changing Ella’s diaper, Max…….” (I really should stop telling my husband all of these events, as they only seem to confirm my parental incompetence).

Just this past week, the following happened while I was dealing with a smelly Ella.

Max decided that he was hungry. He went into the fridge, found a Tupperware bowl filled with spaghetti, dumped it into a bowl he retrieved from the pantry and brought it to the table. I caught him just as he was doing this final step. “What in the world are you doing?” I asked. He responded, as he sat himself down on his chair with the pasta bowl in front of him, “Dinner!” Thank goodness there was no sauce on the noodles.

Apparently I didn’t give him enough potato chips, so he climbed up on the counter, grabbed the bag of chips, filled his bowl to overflowing, then dropped the contents of the rest of the bag all over the floor.

Right when I was in the middle of a dirty doozy, I was suddenly overcome with a very strange feeling. I yelled down to Cameron in a panic, “Cam! Where’s Max?” “I don’t know,” he responded. “Go check and see if he’s outside” I hollered, trying to quickly clean Ella so I could prevent a true tragedy. And if God hadn’t sent me that feeling, who knows what would have occurred. Apparently, Max can now reach the garage door opener on the wall. He had managed to open the garage, get on his big wheel and make his way down our driveway. Thankfully Cameron caught him before he slipped into the street. Being a brand-new neighborhood, we have huge construction trucks come barreling by our house throughout the day. My heart was popping out of my chest as I scooped up the little monster, who was just grinning from ear to ear, proud of his accomplishment and almost escape.

Aside from tying a leash onto Max and taking him with me wherever I go in the house, I’m not sure what to do………maybe just never change Ella’s diapers?!?!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nose Candy

My husband was out of town on Saturday and then on Sunday he took Cameron fishing. By the time they finally returned, I was just totally done with the two year old tantrums. Trying to escape, I snuck out onto our front porch, opened a Mike’s, and plopped myself down in a chair. Melvin came outside and asked what I was doing. I told him I couldn’t take the screaming anymore. He sat with me for a few minutes before we heard Max’s cries through the windows behind us.

I just ignored him. Usually the screams occurred because Cameron was irritating him, or one of his toys was stuck somewhere, or he barely bumped himself on something etc, nothing to warrant my attention at that moment. But the screams persisted, so Melvin went in to check on him. Eventually he brought him outside to me, because usually all I have to do is lightly rub the hurting spot and Max is back to normal, running off to continue playing.

But this time my “magic mommy touch” was not working, and he wouldn’t stop crying. I asked where he was hurting, and he just pointed to his lip and nose. I thought maybe he bit his tongue or something, but I didn’t see any blood. There were no bruises or red marks on his face. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.

Eventually he stopped crying and starting playing around, but then suddenly he’d start the high-pitched screech again. At one point he sneezed, which caused more screaming, and then he sneezed again.

Much to our surprise, out came the culprit. There sitting on the tissue was a Cheerio, straight out of his right nostril!

The boy must’ve found one on the floor from breakfast and decided to hide it up his nose!

Cameron and I could not stop laughing. And Max finally stopped screaming…for the moment.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Technology Part 2

Many of you gave suggestions for printing my digital pictures. And I thank you for your ideas.

But here's my problem. I like for the pictures to look as perfect as possible.

I have not liked any "home printed" photos that I've seen. The color's not so nice...usually too dark. The photos are too shiny (I prefer matte). They just don't look studio quality. (If your experience has been different, please let me know which printer to buy).

I have sent my digital photos online to different places...Sam's Club, Kodak Gallery, Clark Color, and liked the results. However, since I like the pictures to look as perfect as possible, I feel like I need to edit and enhance each and every one. For example: here is an original photo that I took of the kids.

After cropping, removing red-eye, and enhancing the color, it looks like this:

I personally feel the 2nd photo is much better. However, this takes a LOT of TIME to do this to every single photo.

I've had every intention of making digital scrapbooks of vacations, birthdays, and other celebrations. But that too, takes so much time.

I'm even tempted to just go back to my regular 35mm camera, just so I can have the physical copies in hand.

Or maybe someone (hint hint) should just book me a hotel room for a weekend, with only me and my laptop, just so I can get all my pictures edited, printed, and in order.

Or maybe I just shouldn't be so picky.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I think I might be losing it.

Last night (or should I say this morning) at about 2:30 AM, I woke up on the couch with Max lying with me. This is not unusual. He often wakes up in the middle of the night and we end up snoozing in the family room. I had changed his diaper and given him a bottle of milk before we settled onto the couch. However, I have NO recollection whatsoever of any of this occurring.

And then today, I sat Ella down on the floor in her room while I went in search of a diaper. I was also talking on the phone at this time to my mom. And when I returned to Ella's room, she wasn't there anymore. "Mom! I lost Ella!" I cried out. For a brief second, I really thought I was losing my mind. However, I immediately found her in Cameron and Max's room. Cameron later confessed to coaxing her in there by taking the toys she was playing with and leading her through the Jack-and-Jill bathroom into his room.

I was born forgetful...but this is getting to be ridiculous!!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


While at Walmart the other day, Cameron saw a waterproof one-time use camera and asked if I could buy it for him. Knowing he was going to be fishing, and fearing he may break my digital camera, I bought him what he requested.

Before he started taking pictures I said, “Now you know, it’s not a digital camera. You can’t actually see a picture on your camera.”

His response, with an air of bewilderment, “Well, that doesn’t make sense!”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Why in the world would anyone want a camera like that, where you can’t even see the picture? That just doesn’t even make any sense.”

Well, it just doesn’t make any sense to me that I have albums filled with baby pictures of Max and Cameron, but since I started using a digital camera, all my pictures of Ella are in no usable order on a laptop that could probably crash at anytime.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Toy Rooms

Among other things, one of the reasons why we bought this new house and finished the basement was so that the kids could have a room for all their toys and clutter.

Below are two pictures of our kids' playroom. Every kids' dream...right?????WRONG! Not my kids' dream. I have to talk them into going to their space....or threaten them to get down their "or else!"

Nope, they'd rather spread all their toys and clutter in the family room, on the glass table in the living room,
throughout the kitchen,
in the foyer,

and in the ultimate No-No place... Daddy's office.

Honestly, sometimes more space only equals more mess!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Stationary No More

Ella is now officially crawling. I was in absolutely no hurry for her to be so mobile, so the fact that she was a month behind the boys in this development in no way concerned me. Now I'm going to have to constantly clean up Max's messes throughout the day (as witnessed in the picture above) because Ella puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, no matter how big or small.

But boys beware, all items are now fair game. So to Cameron, who cannot tolerate slobber of any kind on his toys, even from his darling little sister, if you don't want it wet, PUT IT AWAY!!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Home sweet home

On Saturday, Melvin wanted to go on a fishing trip with Cameron up at Breezy Point (about 2 ½ hours away). Then he thought it would be fun if we all went up as a family and rented a place for the night.

The owners in this place had an interest in geese. Why in the world anyone would mount a ceramic goosehead above the kitchen sink is beyond my comprehension!

Cam and Melvin went fishing yesterday, and then this morning Melvin went fishing alone. I am very happy that he’s finally doing something he enjoys that is not work. He needs to relax and have more fun. So if fishing is his hobby of choice…so be it.

However, during the 3+ hours that he was out on the fishing boat in the rain, I was in the “toyless” cabin with my 3 children, a drowning hazard just a few feet from our backyard. During this time, Max dumped out a bag of Chex Mix, and spread it across the coffee table so he could retrieve the pretzels more efficiently. He also filled a basket with toilet paper and poured his juice box into it. Later he found a brass goose container and squeezed half my tube of toothpaste into its “belly”. And at some point, he found a small castor kettle decoration, filled it with Ella’s rattles and a bunch of puzzle pieces he found in a cabinet, then mixed in a pile of wet wipes, soaking all the puzzle pieces. When he wasn’t finding so many “fun” things to do, he was feeding Ella puzzle pieces, screaming for a 3rd single-size box of cereal to pour in his bowl or pulling utensils out of the kitchen drawers, including knives, to use as back scratchers.

My husband is always talking about wanting to get a cabin on a lake. He can’t seem to understand why this does not excite me.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oh, to be five again.

My friend Libby was telling me about a conversation she overheard between my son Cameron and her son Ben. They were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Cameron said a doctor. When asked why, he replied, “Because they make lots of money.” But then he went on to explain that if you work in a store, like at the cash register, then you make even more money!

Ella has had a lot of gas lately. I have no idea why this is happening to her, but it is funny to hear such sounds coming from the prettiest little girl. Yesterday Cameron, Ella and I were hanging out in the family room on the floor. Suddenly, Cameron and I started to hear these little putters. We both looked at each other and then at Ella, who had the silliest little grin on her face, and Cameron and I just started cracking up, as Ella continued to putter little air pockets for a good minute. When she was all done, and Cameron was able to control his giggles, he said, “Mom, that sounded like fireworks!”

The other day Cameron asked me if I had lost all my little teeth, and I told him yes. Then he asked how much money did I get for them, “Like how many dollars?” he inquired. Oh no, I told him. I didn’t get any dollars..more like dimes and quarters. Actually, the most I ever got was 35 cents. He looked somewhat pensive. Then he said, “I wonder if you brush your teeth really well and they get white and shiny, I wonder if the more shiny they are, the more money you get. Like ten dollars, or eleven, or twelve or maybe thirteen. I really think the tooth fairy is one of those “lies” we should just never start telling.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Surgery Success

Max's surgery seemed to go very well yesterday. The doctor took out some scar tissue (or something like it) that was causing blockage in the tube. He informed me that no matter how many drops I tortured my son with, they would not have solved the problem. So the decision to "go back in" to fix the problem was justified.

Like last time, our experience with United Children's Hospital Day Surgery Center was incredible. From the time we arrived to the moment we left, we were treated with such wonderful care and concern. Max had fun with all the toys before surgery, and only complained 2 times that he was "hungy." When he woke up from the tube replacement, thankfully he was not in complete hysterics, like he was last time for over 30 minutes. He just was sniffling and snuggled up so close to me, as they lay a nice warm blanket (straight from the dryer) over us. I could have stayed like that all day with Max, as he gripped onto me, breathing deeply, clinging for my comfort. A wonderful moment......But that only lasted about 15 minutes before he was ready to go play again.

At home, he was his usual self, running around,as if he was in denial that our day began at 4 AM. However, he did take 2 naps today, once even falling asleep on my lap. Again, another wonderful moment.

And last night, for the first time in probably over a month, he actually slept through the night. No waking me up 2, 3 or 4 times for "bottle milk," "teltubbies," "se-ee-al," or "waaader."

And today, he was back to his usual self....insisting that eating breakfast on the floor was much better than feasting at the table.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words, messages, phone calls and prayers. It's so wonderful to know we're surrounded by such caring people!!!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


A few weeks ago I took Max to an ENT doctor to have his ears looked at again. This doctor told us that the tubes put in in January were now clogged, and Max would need surgery when we returned from vacation to have the tubes replaced.

Another ENT gave us ear drops to try first. Ever try to put drops in a 2 year old’s ears. It’s torture for all of us.

A couple weeks ago when we returned from vacation, due to his utter crabbiness and constant middle of the night awakenings, I feared Max had another ear infection. Off to the doctors we went, only to be told that there was no infection, but one of his tubes had cleared and the other one was still clogged.

The following week we went to the ENT who did his original surgery, who told us the same thing, and gave us more drops, hoping they’d clear up then other ear, and we could avoid surgery.

The next week Cameron had his 5 year old check-up, but Max still screamed, thinking he was going to get poked and prodded again.

Then Max had his two year old appointment, where we learned yet again, that only one ear had cleared.

This past Monday we went back to the ENT who saw that the ear drops did nothing to clear up the plug, and he scheduled surgery for Wednesday.

Today we had to go back to the pediatrician for a pre-op appointment, stating Max is healthy for surgery.

Tomorrow, I must have Max at the hospital at 6:15 AM to have his left tube replaced.

I hope this works. Because for one, I can’t take the stress of the ear drops anymore. Anything these days can set Max off., and he screams enough for the hell of it. To purposefully put him in a foul mood by dropping liquid into his ears 3 times a day might send me completely over the edge.

And two, I am just plain tired of all these doctor visits. Max knows the places so well that he starts to cry as soon as we pull into the parking lot. Then he refuses to enter the building, and if I have all the kids with me, I’m holding Ella, and Max, and a diaper bag and scooting Cameron along with me. We sit in the appointment rooms for way too long before the doctor sees us, during which time I’m trying to stop my kids from crawling all over the floor, emptying the drawers and opening and closing the medical waste trash cans. When anyone medical enters the room, Max immediately plugs his ears with his fingers. Then I have to practically lay on top of him so that the doctor can actually look into his ears. We’ve been to the doctors so often this past month that Max can now weave his own way through the hallways to get to the exit. Today I started to go the wrong way and Max stopped, yelled out, “This way!” and pointed to the correct direction.

And lastly, I just plain feel bad for the little guy. Although he can be so difficult at times, he can also be really sweet, loving and oh-so entertaining. Just the thought of my little boy enduring any kind of pain saddens me dearly.

Let’s all pray this works tomorrow. PLEASE!!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

More Messes

Things that Max dumped this weekend:

The bowl of cereal I had just poured for him, with milk.

The entire box of cereal.

Two large bins of books.

A bottle of bubble bath

A glass of water
The clothes in Cameron's bottom three drawers

A bowl of popcorn.

All the cash, credit cards, receipts, change, etc. in my wallet.

Later, when he came to me with my husband’s bottle of Listerine and said, “Drink please”…oh how I was tempted to pour him a glass!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Steps to Slumber

A few months ago I posted this picture of Cameron snoozing on the stairs.

The other day I caught my husband doing the same thing.

I've been having trouble getting comfortable and staying asleep at night. Maybe I just need to change my location.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pearly Whites

Cameron is incredibly picky. Not just with food, but with his toothpaste, also. There is ONE kind that he likes...Oral B Pooh Bear Blueberry. However, sometimes the store does not have this kind, so I try to find some cartoon character plastered across the front in order to distract him from the taste. Well, this does NOT work.

And now if you open the kids' bathroom drawer, you'll see SEVERAL rejected tubes. In addition to the Pooh Bear variety, there's the Colgate SpongeBob variety, Oral-B Power Rangers, Oral-B Princesses, and some toddler bear toothpaste.

Max , on the other hand. is not picky at all. He also HATES to have his teeth brushed. However, lately, he's decided that he will brush his teeth as long as I put EVERY variety of paste on his brush.

Whatever works.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No shopping at this mall

Previously the heat had kept us indoors. Yesterday, it was the rain. This morning the downpour continued, and I was not about to subject my house to yet another day of Max's destructive play. My back has actually been sore from constantly picking up and sort toys into their proper place.

Today we decided to go to the Mall of America to visit the Dinosaur Walk, which, surprisingly, we've never been to. I'm pretty sure we've left our mark on the rest of this local icon, so it was only fitting that we visit this newest attraction. Of course, I couldn't just take my kiddos, but offered to bring 2 of Cameron's friends. It was me, Ella, Max, Cameron, another 5 year old and an almost 5 year old. What was I thinking? you might ask. Basically just trying to pass the day without looking at the laundry piling up in my closet or the dirty dishes resting in the sink, or the pile of junk papers I still needed to sort through, etc.

We survived the trip, and only had a few difficult moments, one including Max's interest in toilet water while I changed Ella's diaper. The Dinosaur Walk was actually quite entertaining and kept the kids quite busy.

Searching for fossils was one of the highlights of the day.
Even Ella got in on some sand action...although she was more interesting in putting it in her mouth than searching through it for dinosaur bones.FYI: Nothing can capture a boy's attention like a shark. Even Max sat glued to his seat watching this massive creature and his enormous teeth (I have no idea why this was in a dinosaur display...but it was good for about 20 minutes of cooperation).
I lectured them beforehand that we were there to see the dinosaurs, NOT to go on rides. However, they couldn't risk a peak at the action. Three manly boys holding hands...some great blackmail for their teenage years.