Friday, February 29, 2008

Dumpster diving anyone?

So the other night I was watching an episode of Oprah I DVR'd as I often do late at night after the kids have gone to sleep and before Craig returns home from hell eerrrrr work.

The episode was Entitled How far would you go and showcased a group of people who call themselves FREEGANS. Being a little crunchy, I was surprised at having never heard this term or knowing that these people existed in modern society.

The basic premise of Freeganism is the old waste not, want not adage. It encomasses a lot of ideas, "green" living, frugality, etc.

On the show they interviewed people who left very good jobs with above average incomes in order to simplify their lives and not be a slave to commercialism. Lisa Ling, the reporter who covered the story mentioned many times about how the more we make the more we want to spend. The people were shown dumpster diving for food. I was really surprised at all the good food you could find in a dumpster that people just throw away!

I know that is true for my family. 11 years ago we were young, with 2 kids and a baby on the way. Our COMBINED income the first year we were together was $7,000 and some change. Craig, at the time was a struggling sous chef working 2 jobs and I, a waitress at an upscale resort during the summer months. Our rent was I think about $350 a month. We shared a horrid little car, a Dodge Omni with almost no brakes. Our house was a 3 bedroom dilapitated structure that leaked air so badly in the winter you could feel the breeze from anywhere in the house. Craig and I slept on a waterbed frame with futon mattresses stuffed into it. We were poor to say the least. We received food stamps and heating assistance from the county. We didn't have a telephone, computer, or cable tv, rather a pair of rabbit ears on our 13 inch tv that provided us with 3 scratchy channels if the weather was right.

When Christian was about 6 months old Craig got a new job. It was a 45 minute commute but paid significantly better than the restaurant next door where he had worked for about 6 years. With the pay raise we were able to purchase a 1989 Dodge Caravan. The heater didn't work at first(ended up being a head gasket) and the sliding door fell off occasionally (no, i'm not joking it FELL the FRICK OFF) but it served us well. While we didn't dumpster dive for dinner, we had no problems picking up a dresser someone threw away, fixing it up, and using it.

After a few months the commute got to be a bit harsh and we moved into a beautiful 4 bedroom house in the town we live in now. We furnished it with furniture our family and friends gave away. Grandma's dining table, Craig's brothers recliner and sofa. Craig's parents bought us a 27 inch tv. Our rent here was $550 per month. Soon after we were able to purchase our first "nice" vehicle. A 1998 Chevy Venture EXT with all the bells and whistles. It was our first time financing anything and we felt "normal". We were getting closer to keeping up with the Jones'.

Over the course of the next few years we forged "ahead". With every pay raise came new opportunity. We finally were able to buy our very own home the summer of 2003. We signed on the dotted line and moved our stuff 5 blocks down the road to OUR house. Now that our credit was cleared up the trouble really began. Cell phone plans, first just one phone, then two...... then four (the 2 oldest kids had to keep up with the pee-wee Jones' after all). Every video game console that came out, we had it. We financed our truck, then a new car. We financed a computer, then a camcorder. We furnished our home with everything new. New furniture, new dining table (with granite inlays even), new everything. My kids wore nothing but brand name clothes, expensive shoes. We didn't just buy things, we bought the BEST.

Then the restaurant sold. The pay raises stopped coming. We realized that certain times of the year there wasn't enough work to pay for everything we had financed. Our way of life had exceeded our means. Trouble was coming and it was coming fast.

We made some hard decisions. We gave up our cell phones turning instead to one prepaid phone for emergency purposes. We paid off our computer and camcorder early to finish that up. We are working hard on paying off our vehicles to be done with that. Our next family vehicle will be a gently used 10 passenger van, our next car likely an older model compact. As much as it feels nice to have nice things, it will feel even nicer to have what we can afford. Not affording the "luxuries" in life doesn't mean we need to make more money, it means that we need to learn to be able to enjoy what we have.

We still like to have quality things when we can afford them but we NEVER finance anything. If we can't pay cash for it then it's not ours to have.

Some might say that if all that stuff made us happy we should just work more and make more money so we CAN afford them. The truth is, the stuff didn't make us happy, it made us miserable. Always having something better than someone else has, always having something to proove to somebody. That didn't make me happy. Being with my family made me happy. I was no less happy in that crappy rundown 3 bedroom house than I am now, in my 5 bedroom house, the difference is I just have more junk now. When we didn't have anything we were content with every little thing we had and when we did have more money we always felt the need for more, more, more. I want to be happy again like I was when we were poor-er.

We were lucky. Lucky we didn't get in debt further than we did. We are lucky we weren't one of the unfortunate souls who have recently lost their homes.

So, back to Freeganism. While I won't anytime soon be going dumpster diving for groceries, I will be happy with what I have, what I can afford and consume less. I won't get sucked back into the lie that says we have to have more more more in order to be worth something in this world. These people are definitely onto something and it's about time we all took a step back and listened to them.

Sorry if this post is a bit all over the place, the drugs made me do it (cold medicine! don't go sending me hate mail!)

Some more vacation pics

Our gorgeous room!


3 tired kiddos

A tired mama!

Walking to the waterpark

Craig speeding hehe

Hot tub fun!

Nekkid mayan dude

One tired dude...... time to go home

It's beginning to feel a lot like FLU SEASON

Despite all my efforts, dragging 8 people into the clinic for flu shots in November to force them to allow a nurse to stick a needle in their arms......... it found us.

Let me stop here and say that the flu, aka Influenza is NOT what you have when you have your head in the toilet or what you have when you are poopin for 2 days. THAT, my friends, is called GASTROENTERITIS......... I don't know how that ever got called the flu, but it seems the misinformed are everywhere. The flu, or Influenza is what you get when you feel like you've been hit by a bread truck at 40 mph. Your head hurts, your entire body feels like every bone in it might snap, you produce more snot than you would have thought humanly possible, you cough until a small rabbit appears from your lungs and you spike an ungodly high fever for days on end.

Now that we know what the flu is and isn't...

First Nate. It always seems to catch the little ones first, doesn't it? Last Saturday he started with the snot nose, then the slight cough...... on Monday night the fever hit and today he has a doctor appt at 1:30 because he's coughing his little brains out. I started on Tuesday night. Everyone else has niggly little symptoms that tell me this weekend is going to be a loooong one.

Last night, in MN another child died from the flu. a 12 year old girl. Scary stuff that puts me into panic mode and inhibits what drug induced sleep I might be able to accomplish, if I could just turn my head the perfect way so that I can breathe out of at least one nostril.

On top of that Hailey will be joining Nathan at the doctor's office. Not because of the flu, but because a couple weeks ago she hurt her ankle. It seemed to heal up and yesterday during phys ed it started hurting bad again and the teacher made her run anyway, so now she can't even walk on it. Joy.

And, I get to drive Austin to his grandparents this afternoon. That should be fun. At least we didn't have screaming banshee to watch today, her dad stayed home from work. WHEW

What was I typing again.......... I don't even know. Back to bed for an hour for me!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I don't wanna grow up, I'm a toys R us kid

So, I've gotten a little "into" this thing called the PS3. Normally I'm not a fan of modern day video games, they confuse me and make my head hurt. I am more of a Tetris kinda gal but I've been buying a few games for Craig's new machine and some of them are darn fun!

Right now I'm liking
Jackass: The Game and Call of Duty 4. The only downfall to Call of Duty 4 is it's so realistic if I play it too late at night I find myself having nightmares that usually revolve around my sisters prisoners escaping and coming after me with automatic weapons, I try to play in the daylight hours.

I haven't been able to do much else anyway since last Wednesday I stepped on the plug to the humidifier impaling my foot on the prongs, I'll spare you the gruesome picture. Almost a week of tea tree oil though and she's looking good! Almost like I didn't need stitches! (which I didn't get cause I didn't feel like going to the ER)

The weather has been rather nice here lately. By that I mean hovering right around freezing instead of in the negative double digits like we've spent most of this winter. I am really anticipating Spring so I can get out with my camera and go hog wild!

I think I mentioned a week or so ago that I was having some trouble with my new
Kodak 5100 all in one printer. Sorry if any of this is a repeat.

So a few weeks ago, right around the time I got my new Nikon D40 camera I also purchased this printer after seeing it on Celebrity Apprentice. The claim that it saves a ton of money on ink really sucked me in and I needed a newer photo printer anyway so I figured I'd jump on it despite some not-the-greatest online reviews. I got it home and printed about 100 pictures quickly and using probably 1/4 the ink I normally would have (ink is only $22 for BOTH black and color as well with this printer!). A couple weeks later I went to print some more pictures and it kept spitting the blank sheets out at me....... WHAT?!

So I called Kodak customer support and after waiting on hold for 40 minutes (on SATURDAY even) spoke with a nice gentleman who came to the conclusion my print head was bad, he'd send me a new one and a couple free ink cartridges. It should take 2-3 business days. GREAT!

6 days later having still not received my Fed Ex package, and worrying that I may have missed the delivery man I called Kodak back, this time only waiting on hold for 10 minutes or so. I spoke with a woman who spoke good enough english for me to understand most of what she was saying, but not all. She punches in my service number and name and a million other bits of info and can't find the order for the replacement in the computer! She assures me she will replace the order and have it rushed. Grand....

Yesterday I finally get the anticipated package from Fed Ex. I open it and install the new print head and new cartridges as instructed, fire up the printer and.......... It spits all my paper out. WHAT THE FRICK!

More than a little miffed I get BACK on the phone with Kodak. This time thankfully I don't have to wait on hold at all which was actually too bad since I had Taco's for lunch and right about the time the foreign man said hello my gallbladderless digestive system decided it was time to dump the contents of my lunch......... Yes, you needed to know that for any of this to make sense, I assure you. Ok maybe not but I felt like sharing the most intimate details of my life with you anyway.

Foreign Kodak man: Hello I have your first last name and address?

Me: Kat (ok there's more than that but as comfortable as I am sharing my bowel habits, i'm certainly not giving strangers over the internet my identifying information)

Foreign Kodak man: Ok what is problem you having?

Me: *grumbling tummy* I have a Kodak 5100 and it spits the paper out and they said it was the print head but I got the new printhead and it's still doing it........

I begin feeling the urge to do lamaze breathing as the pain in my gut is about to kill me. I KNOW I'm not going to be able to finish this conversation without some serious laundry issues later if I don't do something now. I run over to Craig, practically throwing the phone at him and bolt downstairs the the coveted bathroom.

I return (feeling much better thanks) and he tells the poor foreign kodak man that i will be returning to the call.

Foreign kodak man: Hell, I telling you husband to go to website. You at website?

Me: Yes

Foreign Kodak man: You see it says "downloads"? In dropdown menu choose your printer.

Me: Ok, I did that. Do I then click the "download now"? button?

Foreign Kodak man: No, you need second one, not first one, second one

Me: Ok, the first one is download Software, second is download FIRMware, I want firmware right?

Foreign Kodak man: Yes, not first one, SECOND one.....NOT FIRST ONE!!!

Sheesh, yell at me why don't you.....

Ok, clicking the second one, suppressing the urge to ask him again if it's the first or second one simply for my own amusement.

Foreign kodak man: Why I hear printer running?

Me: Well, I don't know what it's doing

Foreign kodak man: Printer needs to stop running

So I jumble around figuring out that the stupid thing is still trying to print the photo in the qeue (how the hell do you spell that word?) The problem is I can't make it stop, it won't cancel. So I figure the next best way to make the printer stop running is to turn it off right? Yeah, it won't turn off. So, I do what anyone would do, I unplug it and download resumes. After what seems like forever, it's done. I'm wondering how these kodak people don't lose their minds if someone has a dial up connection......... then again if they did, being on the phone would be a bit tricky anyway, no? Never mind.

So I tell him it's finished.

Foreign kodak man: Is printer connected to computer?

I assure him it is, I'm not THAT stupid... He instructs me to print and nothing happens.

Me: Nothing is happening. (Oh wait, I didn't plug it in! HA!)

I plug it in hoping he won't notice.

voila! PROBLEM SOLVED. 10 days, over an hour on the phone, and wanting to throw the thing out the window later all I needed was a stupid download. Oh well, I am keeping their print head AND the ink cartridges for my trouble. Watch me get a bill.

Lesson: Always ask if there's a download (and plug it in)

A couple vacation pictures for your viewing pleasure.



Saturday, February 23, 2008

Give them the tools and they will learn!

There is a lesson in everything. The trick is to let the lessons come from their ideas and give them the tools.

Making cookies. Who knew you could learn so much about math and science! But don't make cookies because there's a lesson, make cookies because cookies are yummy!

And Jacksen wanted to check the temperature on the roast (nevermind mommies messy hair)

And today they found daddies tape measure and figured out that our table is 54x54 . No prompting involved just a natural curiosity supplied with the tools they needed.

It is completely amazing to me how much children want to learn and how interested they are in the world around them.

And instead of trying to get all the vacation photos into one post (which obviousely I don't have time for or it would have been done by now) I'm going to throw in a pic with future posts

Here's NAte in the hotel sink being totally vain. If you want something to lecture me about you can take notice of his hand on the hot water handle..... oops. We noticed it before anything happened thank goodness. BAD PARENTS!


Ok that was silly

I don't know why I'm suddenly worrying about what people think or say. I've never really been that type of person before. I had a good sleep and now I'm back..... please disregard the previous post lol

I am working on something big. Bigger than big. HUGE big.

No, I'm not pregnant, that would be something small........ or big I suppose. But that's not it.

In the next few weeks I'll show it to you..... It's major big.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'm feeling rather suppressed here. Which is probably why my posts have become fewer and further between. I've been thinking lately about moving over to wordpress or something where I can password protect some of my entries, giving me a bit more freedom to use this blog as was intended but I just haven't done it I suppose.

I just get so frustrated sometimes with not being able to truly express myself. I sometimes feel like every word I type on this blog is scrutinized, taken out of context and made to be a personal attack on someone else. Why can't it just be what it is? Why can't MY blog just be about ME?

Maybe that's selfish but it seems reasonable. I don't mind people reading it, in fact it's a great way for people to keep up on the goings on in our lives since sadly we don't get to see or talk to friends and family often enough.

I guess sometimes I don't really know what I want. Tonight I'm feeling depressed and defeated and indecisive and frustrated about nothing and everything at once. Ever get like that? Where you aren't quite sure why suddenly you just feel beaten down? It's like life sometimes just catches up to me and stares me down. Tomorrow i'll be fine. Strange. I think I really have some demons to confront and sometimes late at night I get tired of running away from them and they start to gain on me a bit.

Sometimes I get tired of defending myself. I get tired of trying to live my life the way I see best and being told I'm doing it wrong. I guess if I want this to stop I'll have to just live with the same robotic principals (or lack thereof) as everyone else. I just think that would be failing my family and myself. Sometimes the weight on my shoulders is just very draining. Why can't the world just leave us alone?

The change

Hehe, if you didn't enjoy the previous post, my apologies. In this family we love a good prank so I hope you can see it was all in fun.

Why haven't I been blogging you ask? Well, because we are on the verge of a major family change. A change that we've been waiting for a long time.

No, I'm not pregnant! Since I know that's what you were all thinking.

We are becoming a family who no longer has a hierarchy. Craig and I (and probably most of you too) grew up in a world where adults are superior to children. We demand respect without feeling the need to return it, we lay down rules without feeling the need to explain them, and we treat our children as our followers when in fact, they are our leaders.

For the past 14 years we have run our household that way. We have made demands on our children, laid our agenda onto them and haven't taken advantage of the teaching that they have to offer us. Our family has turned into a "us against them" operation and we have lived with the result of that.

We have sent them to school in segregated classrooms and demanded they learn the "3 R's" in a robotic, scheduled way much like a production line.

We have 2 parts of our lives, the home part and the school part. As much as parents are involved in their children's school life, they are still outsiders looking in. This has created a grand canyon sized separation in us and our children. We don't know them and they don't know us.

This has all resulted in children who are resentful and have low self esteem and confidence and parents who struggle to maintain a sense of "control".

I'll start with the family changes. These changes have been most difficult for Craig and I since we have to "unlearn" a lot of what we were taught as children. I have always been a beleiver for baby-led care and learning. We don't let our babies cry it out, we allow them to learn the things they learn at their own pace and in their own way. We give them the tools to use, but we allow them to do the work. And you know what? Every (unless there is some disability I suppose) baby who is allowed to do these things eventually learns to walk, to talk, to feed himself. They know their needs will be met because we listen to their cries and comfort them and tend to them. This gives them a sense of security and confidence to crawl around the house learning about their world. We put up baby gates, outlet covers and cabinet latches to keep their world safe and if they get into something that could harm them we say "that's an owie" and remove the object from their reach.

Somewhere around the age of 2 or 3 though, something changes. We stop allowing them to freely investigate and learn from their actions and their world and we demand they follow OUR lead. It's no wonder that the "terrible 2's" emerge. Suddenly their world changes drastically, although it doesn't seem so to us. Why do we suddenly stop trusting in their inate ability to self teach? Why do we suddenly decide that WE can teach them more than they can learn by touching, tasting, hearing and seeing? We tell them what to do and when to do it so what they learn is not to trust themselves and that big people are more capable than smaller people and that big people are in "charge" of smaller people. Then we wonder why they push the smaller child down on the slide at the park.

This seems to become more and more true the older they get. "You can't" or "no" becomes a part of daily life. Children start to beleive that they can't and stop trying. They second guess their instincts because they are afraid of being wrong. In our attempt to make them good people we take away from them something that may never be regained.

We dont' do this out of spite or because we want to take something away from them. We don't even realize we are. We feel like that by demanding they respect adults that they will grow up to be respectful to others. We feel that by saying "no" when they want to do something we teach them that the world isn't always going their way and it's not always fair. We don't realize that instead we are creating kids, teenagers, and young adults who don't truly respect others because they have always been made to feel inferior than their elders. We teach them that the word no is a tool people use to get their own way in life at the expense of your fun and learning.

We also send them a very mixed message. We urge them to be individuals and free spirits, yet we squash their attempts to do so for the "greater good" of society. We send them to school to learn the exact same way as 24 other children in their class.

School. Traditional education makes little sense if you take into account the individual make up of children. Again it goes back to babies. Does every baby say his first word at 9 months old? No. Does every baby walk at 12 months? No again. Does every baby sleep through the night at 6 weeks? no. Why? Any pediatrician will tell you that it's because some 6 week olds are ready to sleep all night, and some aren't. Some 12 month olds are ready to walk, some aren't and that's OK! It is! Aside from a few parents most of us are ok with that and when our child learns to walk at 14 or 15 months we are no less thrilled with them. They learned it, it didn't harm them to learn it a little later. It certainly didn't harm them not to be assessed, reassessed, x-rayed to make sure their bones were formed right, whatever. By the time they are 4 you will never be able to pick out the child that learned to walk at 8 months from the child that wasn't ready until he was 14 months.

Yet the day we put our children in school that ALL changes. While it was ok for little Bobby to take his time walking when Susie walked early, suddenly it is a major concern that Bobby can't write his name and Susie can. It is alarming that Bobby isn't learning his ABC's and Susie learned them the first day. What we aren't seeing is that during free time, Bobby built a intricate castle out of lego's. Bobby can count to 20, but he can't WRITE HIS NAME!

Maybe Bobby learned to count to 20 by counting the lego's as he was building his catle. Maybe what Susie sees clearly on the chalkboard Bobby can't completely grasp unless he hears it said. Bobby and Susie are very different children....... but are expected to learn the exact same way. Susie got lucky in that her mind understands the way the teacher teaches. Bobbies mind learns a different way. That doesn't make him dumb, in fact he is probably extremely intelligent. But from that first parent teacher conference he is marked. Bobby failed. Bobby isn't doing well at reading. What does Bobby hear? That he's not good at writing and in his mind a tiny little post it is pinned up in the area of his brain where reading is learned. Every time, for the rest of his life, that Bobby goes to read something that post-it note starts to flash and whether he recognizes it or not, Bobby is, from that day forward a failure in reading in his own mind.

Bobby might have been a great reader if that wasn't taken away from him so early in life. If he didn't have to carry that post it note around with him for the rest of his life. Because Bobbies mind was learning to build castles and count at that very moment, he will struggle on some level with the written word forever. He may overcome it, he may not.

Did you know the average age for a child to learn to read is somewhere between 3 and 9? NINE?! Did you know that a previousely uneducated 17 year old can learn an entire curriculum of math from Kindergarten to 12th grade in about 2 months?

That 17 year old can do that because he is emotionally, socially, biologically, and mentally ready to learn math. Because he is previousely uneducated he has no negative post-it notes in his brain about math so he is able to fly through it and retain more than most of us.

Am I saying that you should just not let your children learn anything until they are a teenager and then cram it all in and send them out the door? Well no, that wouldn't make much sense. But allowing them to lead the way, allowing them to show YOU when they are ready is definitely a good thing.

Children learn all the time whether we like it or not anyway. Right now, for instance my 5 year old is walking up the stairs and counting the stairs backwards. HE already counted them forward to know there are 14. I'm not telling him to do math, I'm not making him do anything, and he doesn't even know he's doing anything but playing. He's not failing at anything, no one is better than him. We all learn from the world around us. As parents it isn't our job to shove information down their throat when we decide it's time for them to learn it, it is our job to let them learn through life, to make learning fun based on what interests them, and to try to slide some learning experiences in.

It's interesting. If I were to put a peice of paper in front of my 14 year old with simple subtraction facts on it, facts he could probably do with little effort he would likely protest, whine, and take an hour to do it. But if I take him to the cemetary and walk around with him trying to figure out how long each person lived he would thoroughly enjoy himself and would have done the same thing, learning more from it. That's our job, to find what interests them and guide them. Learning is a bit of a side effect.

So. As soon as it is confirmed that the state has received my documents my children will be removed from public school and we will begin homeschooling. Just TALKING about it has sparked a new interest in learning for all of them. The beginning of this week my daughter was told by her teacher that she "can't" read a book she was interested in because it was beyond what she could read. She is now halfway through the book and retaining much of it. Because it INTERESTS her! We have many things planned and are all very excited.

Austin, who hates math is looking forward to going online and making a cookbook for our family of recipes he'd like to make. Most recipes are for small families so he will have to convert the measurements to feed 8. He is excited about math because he loves to cook!

As far as family change. We will see our kids as equals. They are not less than us. If we want their respect we have to show it, just like anyone else. We will take the words "NO" and "Can't" out of our vocabulary. Does that mean our kids will get everything they ask for? No. Craig was a bit worried about this when I brought it up. When our son asks for a $50 game we won't say No, we will instead say Yes.... "yes you can have that game, lets figure out how you might earn the money to buy it". That lets him know his needs will be met, his interests respected, but he will have to work for it.

Some of you are going to read this and cringe, thinking in your mind of the kids you know who are running wild, disrespecting others and property because they didn't have rules, boundaries, and limitations. This my friends is a result of HANDS OFF parenting, also known as "let them do what they want and ignore it" parenting. That is NOT anything that resembles to me affective parenting. What we are doing is not hands off parenting. As a matter of fact it takes far more effort from us than our old way of parenting did! We watch, listen, interact with our kids. We talk to them and understand their point of view. Our kids learn respect by being respected and being understood. We are very much a part of their lives and education. Hands off parenting is neglectful parenting, these children grow up disconnected from their parents and crave attention and love wherever they can get it.

This whole thing is probably going to be more difficult for Craig and I than anything. Just today I dealt with a situation that tested what I've learned.

Jacksen and Autumn were having an arguement over a toy. I asked Autumn what happened and then asked Jacksen what happened and when I got to Jacksen and asked him to talk to me about it he yelled "NO!". Normally my reaction would have been to put him in time out until he was ready to talk but I bit my tongue, thought about it, and realized that he was allowed his opinion and he was allowed the right to not want to talk about it right at that moment. When he realized that his voice was being heard, and his opinion respected he opened up and told me that the toy he had was very special to him and Autumn had it and he didn't want her to play with it because if it got broken he would be very hurt. I offered the suggestion that maybe the toy could get put in his room until after she left for the day and he excitedly put it in his bedroom to play with later. He then told Autumn why he put the toy away, she understood and it was over.

Some may say I should have forced him to share the toy. Why? If something were very special to me and I were forced to let another person use it I would feel very hurt, scared and resentful. As an adult I would be well within my right to simply put the object away. So why isn't my child offered that same right? As you can see my parenting was very hands on. It was not simply allowing Jacksen to do as he wished or be a bully. It would have taken far less time and energy for me to put him in time out and give the toy to Autumn but I would have missed the entire point and Jacksen would have felt resentful, hurt, misunderstood and like his feelings didn't matter. Instead he felt empowered and like he mattered. Next time he will have the tools he needs to explain his feelings to Autumn a little better.

Ok, ttfn if you have questions please leave a comment!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


For months a dear friend of mine has been tormented in her home by a ghost. No one beleived them and they've been living with this night after night. Finally she decided to get out the video camera and get some proof so that someone would beleive her and not think she was just going nutso. I watch Ghost Hunters all the time and have a deep fascination for the paranormal however after seeing this I told her to get out of that house....... she is currently getting things in order to come up to WI and stay with us for a while until they can sell the house. I don't feel her son is safe. Tell me if I'm overreacting...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Living on a prayer

Yes, I'm still planning that vacation photo post. I hate dealing with pictures online. Speaking of pictures, it appears that my new Kodak 5100 all in one printer (you know, the one featured on celebrity apprentice to save you money in ink?) yeah, well it apparently has a bad print head now. It worked just fine the first time I used it, printed 160 pictures perfectly. Now it just spits the paper out atme. After 40 minutes on hold with Kodak I got to talk to a very nice (English speaking even!) gentleman who determined after making me fuss with parts of a printer I've never seen, that the print head is bad. They are sending me a new one and 4 new ink cartridges. Here's hoping it breaks down every month!

Did anyone watch Dr Phil yesterday? I admit, I'm painfully addicted. Maybe it wasn't the one that aired yesterday, I forget since I DVR everything I don't always watch it the same day it airs *shrug*. Anyway...

The name of the show was "Living on a prayer" and featured a couple with 7 kids. The husband had once had a multi million dollar business which went under in 2002. Since that time he's been struggling to find his place as far as employement and has tried a few businesses that didn't take off. He and his wife beleive that God is directing them. The family currently lives without gas or running water (they heat with a fireplace and catch rainwater in a large pool) and are on the verge of losing their home.

Watching this show I was completely torn. On the one hand I can so totally relate to them. Living life by what you feel God is telling you to do. Are they neglecting their children because they don't have worldly luxuries? Definitely not. I mean people lived a very long time without gas heat and running water. Just because those things are available to us now does that mean that to not use them is neglectful? I'm not so sure. It's not like he was denying them warmth and water, just getting them in ways that aren't the "norm" for our society. Is that really that deplorable?

The children, from the short clips they showed seemed extremely happy and healthy. Heck, they were jumping on not one, but TWO trampolines in the back yard. Dr Phil was telling the couple that he's lived in that kind of environment and he knows for a fact those kids aren't happy...

The faith they have is definitely inspiring. They had a pastor on there and Dr Phil himself was telling the guy that he is interpreting the bible wrong and blah blah blah, well I think that the words of the bible mean different things for different people so that bugged me.

Then he asked THE question.......... "Why do you keep having kids?" I was about to hit stop and delete rather than listen to Dr Phil blame 7 kids on that families problems but thankfully the question got redirected and seemingly forgotten about. WHEW!

I don't know. If you felt God were very clearly directing you in a path that the rest of society might not choose would you follow him or turn away? I guess that is the question. Whether or not the couple was hearing what God was saying correctly, you have to commend their faith.

I hope things work out for them and they find what they are looking for. I really do.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To my husband..

Vacation post and photos coming, I promise..... But for now

Happy Valentines day to the man I dreamt about as a little girl.

It's been 11 years since our first Valentines day and I can't begin to tell you how happy you have made me over the past 11 years. When we met, I already had a family, albeit an incomplete one. I remember before I met you, looking into my baby daughters eyes one night and promising her that she would not grow up without a daddy, that I would find her the best daddy on the planet. I never could have predicted that I would be able to follow through with that promise.

I will never forget the day after we met. I was at the grocery store and came home to find you on the floor playing with her. I walked in and saw that beautiful picture in front of me and knew then and there that I would spend the rest of my life with you if I had my way. I knew that God had brought me what I had asked for.

You were very brave to take us on. I was so young with 2 kids, hadn't yet figured out who I was let alone anything else. You came into our lives just when we needed you.

These past 11 years with you have been wonderful. We have had our ups and downs, we have in a big way grown up together. We have dealt with things that would have torn most marriages apart in a nanosecond. We have endured them together and I feel a sense of relief that you are the one who shares those memories, and even the pain with me. We have come out of every situation stronger and more devoted to each other.

When we got started I don't think anyone could have dreamed we would last. After all, on our wedding day we had known each other a mere 9 months. I knew the moment I saw you that you were my soulmate. People say there is no such thing but I know it's true. God sent you to me because he knew I would never survive the future without you.

The slight tremble in your nervous hands on our wedding day, Seeing your face light up when our babies were born, and noticing the tiny tear in your eye. How it hurts you every time one of them gets hurt, watching you give Shaylin her little manicures and combing her hair just like you use to comb yours only for me to giggle and fix it. The way you talk with your hands, your silly sound effects.... The hurt on your face when I'm in pain and you can't fix it for me. The way you let me sleep in almost every day because Nate gets up so much at night, even though I get more sleep than you anyway..... Seeing the real man under the tough facade when our Alex went home with Jesus and watching you so carefully place his casket in the ground, just as you carefully put the other children in their beds....... I love you for all of these things more than I can ever tell you.

I love and trust you with my heart and soul and because of you I've learned to wholeheartedly trust someone. It may sound cliche but you are truly my other half. We may be opposites in a lot of ways but that is how we each become "normal". You are my calm when I want to fly off the handle and you are my motivation when I just don't care.

I know our boys will grow up to be great men, husbands, and fathers because of the role model you are to them. I know our daughters will grow up to be strong, confident women because of the way you have shown them men should treat women.

I can't wait to grow old with you, to watch our grandchildren grow up and our children become parents. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life knowing I'm the luckiest woman in the world. You are the only one I want to cry to, to laugh with, to go to sleep each night and wake up each morning next to......... I love you!

Shania Twain- You're still the one

(When I first saw you, I saw love. And the first time you touched me, I felt love. And after all this time, you're still the one I love.)

Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday

They said, "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holding on
We're still together still going strong

(You're still the one)
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

Ain't nothin' better
We beat the odds together
I'm glad we didn't listen
Look at what we would be missin'


I'm so glad we made it
Look how far we've come my baby

Friday, February 8, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

So this morning while Jacksen was playing with his friend Autumn who I babysit during the week I decided to watch an uber sweet slideshow at Confessions of a CF husband and of course upon hearing the music Jacksen came over and demanded that we watch Alex's movie and I oblige. The mere first 3 notes of the song send Craig out of the room and off to the store and Jacksen and I watch and remember.

When it finished Jack went back to playing with Autumn and very shortly thereafter I hear this conversation..

Jacksen: God made us
Autumn: God made everything
Jacksen: I know

Autumn: God made everything and now he just watches us all day
Jacksen: No he doesn't
Autumn: uh-huh
Jacksen: No, he's in heaven
Autumn: I know. He just sits up there and watches us all day

Autumn: I wish I could see God
Jacksen: But you can't..... he's invistible
Autumn: No he's not, he's in heaven dummy

Gotta love 5 year olds.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I found my new addiction!

Ok, so I use to do Creative Memories scrapbooking wayyyy back before scrapbooking was the thing to do but I quickly got burned out. It was so expensive and I cringed everytime I cut up one of my pictures so I soon left the scrapbooking world behind........

But now I've found DIGITAL scrapbooking and OMG how fun! I did a page of Hailey last night I wanna show you. This should be the first of many!

Monday, February 4, 2008


I finally got my pictures printed so I took some time tonight to play with my new phot editing software I mentioned in the previous post. Keep in mind these photos are from my old camera, not my new one.
My mom's farm. I printed this to a 8x10 and am going to frame it for her kitchen wall.

More farm fun

And some of Nate. I can't honestly decide if this first one is cute or if it creeps me out

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Decisions have been made.

Craig is now on his second half of vaction. I kind of like it that he took it the way he did, instead of 2 weeks it feels like 3 weeks because he only worked 3 days last week, having had the previous week off and yesterday started another week off. It's so nice to have him home.

I bit the bullet and bought the camera I've been wanting, the Nikon D40. Although the kit lens is perfect for what the average person needs, I also purchased another lens that picks up where the kit lens leaves off in zoom. I figured I'd need it since I'm often struggling to get good shots of the kids at concerts, sports events and such. I also got a tripod and 2 premium SD cards, a 5 G and a 1 G. So I should be good for about 1,000 pictures at a time. I've really had my eye on a Digital SLR since they first started coming out, but couldn't handle the ginormous pricetags they came with. Thankfully company competition has allowed the prices to drift down into a range the average amateur photographer can wrap their head around.

I've been struggling for months with the decision to buy either this camera or the Canon Rebel XT. It was really a back and forth kind of thing and no one could really help since like I was told, it's like asking someone which is better: Ford or Chevy........ everyone has thier preference and none of it really matters. Nikon had a better lens, Canon had more on board editing features..... Nikon had a bigger LCD screen, Canon used memory cards I already own.... Nikon just looked more "classy", but Canon had won me over before with my G2. I was undecided still upon walking into Best Buy. It didn't take me long once there to figure out which one I wanted. The Canon just isn't very user friendly, and it doesn't feel quite right in my hand. As someone who is often chasing after kids with a camera in my hand I really wanted something I could get a firm grasp on. It didn't take long before the Nikon won me over.

Then of course I "needed" a good photo editing program. I've been using a combination of Picassa by Google and what elements are available without the disk in the Ulead program my friend had installed on my computer. The picassa was nice, but not full featured and the Ulead just dissapointed me over and over again with the cheapness of the edits. My friend has shown me pictures she has edited with the full version of the program and while the photos are very nice, it's mostly due to good photography. I just think the program takes something away from some really nice pictures.

I am not the type of person to make purchases on a whim so of course I researched the hell out of programs before walking into the store. Unlike the camera decision that was still stressing me out, I knew going in which program I was leaving with....... Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2. There really was no question. The only competition would be Adope Photoshop but why pay twice (or more) the price for a program with the same features that is more difficult to use?! Thankfully, God gave me more brains than money anyway. I haven't had much time to play with it since I've promised myself I will get the hundreds of pictures on my harddrive printed before I put anymore on this computer (I think I just printed number 89, lord help me) but the bit I checked out definitely seems fun! Definitely worth the $99 price tag.

Next week we are taking a couple days and going to the Dells for an overnight trip with my brother and his wife and kids and my sister. I cannot wait to just park my butt in a hot tub somewhere and leave my cares behind. Of course I'll have 6 kids to look after, but a girl can dream.

Anyway. It's almost 1am. I think I'm going to let my poor printer and my tired brain rest for a few hours before the kids are up demanding fruit loops.

Friday, February 1, 2008

But wait! there's more!

We had a message on the phone today from Christian's GI's office. The biopsies they sent to the Milwaukee research lab apparently show low lactose........ so we can add lactose intolerance to his diagoses.

More later