Friday, April 27, 2007

On the Agenda for the Weekend

Well.... looks like Montana might be having a legislative special session again.... $36,000/day. Wow.

So to, ahem, celebrate.... we are going to have a party. You're invited. The theme?

Engine Turtles & Tequila.

Sweet Boy is going to invite the Engine (Ninja) Turtles because we are having pizza and he tells me they like pizza..... he knows this because his Engine Turtle undies also have pizza slices on them.... go figure. I made pizza dough last night so it will probably be little mini pizzas and do-it-yourself toppings..... and margaritas in a bucket or milk in a sippy cup.... your choice.

Come on over.

Later this weekend we will watch Qubo.... Sweet Boy's term for Saturday morning cartoons.... regardless if they are NBC's qubo ones or not. He likes Scooby Doo and Batman... good thing they are on one of the two tv channels we get. Yes, we believe in the old-fashioned "Saturday Morning Cartoons" thing.... no cartoon network 24/7 animation at our house.... no sir. We are PURISTS. Saturday mornings mean cartoons and breakfast on a tray in front of the tv.... waffles, fried-egg and bacon sandwiches or cheerios. Yes. We are traditionalists.

Then maybe we will go to the swimmy pool for a while. That always makes for good naps. The nicer weather might make for a good weekend to play in the barn or maybe start doing some timbers for the flower beds. Ideally, I will make it through the whole weekend without going to town a single time.... perfection.

Yes.... a leisurely weekend at the homestead. I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Play Time At the Homestead

Sweet Boy’s newest thing is to play “Diego Animal Rescue” with me. Now, granted, without cable/satellite tv we could have prevented his exposure to the world of Dora but -knowing the only cultural things he will get from my side of the family include insanity & a really bad rez accent- we figure Dora is about the only chance the boy has of cultural exposure…. Especially now that Imus is off the air.

So we play animal rescue and, “Mama, you be’s the shark and I will rescue you” and we play and play, stopping only to sing along loudly when a song we like comes on the radio. (I take it back… cultural exposure includes singing along with Tim McGraw…. Loudly, in a gawdawful Southern accent.)

And while we are playing I sing, “Dora, Dora, Dora the Librarian” because that’s what Elle sings when she plays Dora and, like so many things Elle says, it sorta rolled around the edges of my brain until it became firmly lodged front and center… probably right in front of the part of my brain that knows where I hid that last bottle of really good tequila.

Except you kinda have to sing it (bright and pippy) like this, “Dor-la, Dor-la, Dor-la, the li-BRARE-ian” and I wish I could read music so I could write music so you could get the catchy, catchy tune and then it would be permanently etched on your brain too…. Like that time you accidentally saw your middle school math/pe teacher wearing nothing but a jock strap and knee-high socks with red bands around the calves…. Sorry, but I will never look at red bands the same way again.

And it goes along fine until Sweet Boy runs out of animals he knows (this takes a long, long time….) and he starts making up animals…. “Mama, you be’s a gur-lunga-lunga and I will rescue you.”

Um. Just what sound does a gur-lunga-lunga make and do they enjoy tequila??

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's not fun... It's an Obsession.

I may or may not be completely budget obsessed right now because I may or may not have had an UNBELIEVABLE cell phone bill last month. Oops. I promise to try to do better and love as I should. Amen.

I was going through the credit card bill last night. Here is my version of fiscal responsibility...

Me, standing at the (cleared-off-completely-every-night-for-2-weeks-and-it-might-be-making-me-crazy-because-I-can-see-how-insanely-pepto-colored-it-is) kitchen counter eating chocolate chips out of a jar and reading off the various things we've spent money on this month.

*** I need to clarify something here.... most money-management gurus will tell you to cut up the cards to get a handle on your finances..... The Homestead (please-Lord-tell-me-I-dress-better-than-Suze-Orme) school of fiscal responsibility says to have one bonus-earning card and put EVERYTHING on it... then pay it off fully EVERY MONTH. Otherwise you have to try to remember what you spent cash on and run around looking for receipts under the seat of your car and in the lint-trap in the dryer and, well, that just isn't conducive to uninterupted chocolate chip eating.

Hot Stuff is drinking caffeine-free diet pepsi (can I get an "Ick" here??) and complaining I know every dollar he spends and he has no idea what I buy.... like the $8 he spends every day for lunch at Bob's Valley Market. I remind him I take my lunch to work and he doesn't want to know how much I spend at Costco keeping him stocked with caffeine-free diet Ick and ham.

This month I spent $54.89 at Target... a record low. A little bit of Easter clearance & a few important things like baby gifts, dish soap and m&m's. I made up for it by spending $319.99 at Costco.... which totally freaked me out until I remembered about $100 of that was stuff I got for my mom with coupons and she gave me cash for it and I stocked up on diapers & wipes & dog food to donate to the Humane Society. Whew. $127.19 at the local grocery store. Two trips to McDonald's and one night of Jade Garden take out. We were pretty frugal this month.... I was trying to skim the last little bit of money needed to do our IRA's out of the family budget. Of course, there are a bunch of charges for food & drink when Hot Stuff was out of town for training and the state only reimburses at $23/day so we ate it on those expenses and he spends way too much on sunflower seeds, diet pop & eating lunch out but he tries..... and next month I'm going to have to justify the $80 I spent on couch and chair slipcovers ($80 shipped... Pottery Barn.... totally worth it) and $12 (You pay $10 and get a $12 card) for coffee drinks (Buy 6 and the 7th is free) not because I need it but because I want it. And we had $35 this month in movie rentals... but that just provides fuel for my "Let's get NetFlix" plan. Although I did discover the library has the entire "Gilmore Girls" series on dvd so that could keep me occupied for a good chunk of re-run season.

I also finally got it together and switched Qwest & Northwestern Energy to checkfree so I can say "screw you and your 41 cent stamps too" to the post office... at least until I mail Christmas cards. And I've started paying all doctor's bills by phone with the credit card because, well, I might as well get some reward points for that ear infection, right?

Does anyone know of a fabulous FREE rewards credit card? Currently we have an American Express Delta card that costs $55/year (which is just stupid) and I'm switching to the free Costco American Express points card but is there a better deal out there??

So that's the boring budget report for last month....


We went to the farm this weekend and, driving home on Sunday, we came upon a road block. Yes.... a closed road. With a cop. In North-Central Montana.

The deputy at the road block was pretty closed-mouthed about what was going on but he did mention he'd been called in at 7:30 that morning because officers had been on duty all night. And we'd already heard some gossip from a neighbor about a high speed chase.

The news is slowly coming out about a 13-year-old boy from Havre, a stolen car, a gas drive-off, high-speed chase, shots fired....

I'm going to go out on a limb here and call this another victim of the Virginia Tech shootings. Anybody with me on this thought process? According to the local gossip, the kid had some "issues with authority" and was "one to avoid." I can just hear the theme music, "Going Down in a Blaze of Glory" playing in his head as he was flying across those highway miles thinking about all the attention the Virginia Tech guy got.... maybe I'm wrong but.....

I pray for this kid. And the police officers. And all the other kids and families in these tiny communities. Just like I continue to pray for the families of the 33 who died in Virginia. Yes, I said 33. I pray for the shooter and his family just like any others. I think the bible part is "Love the sinner, not the sin." The reality part is..... both of these young men were somebody's little boys. I look at my own little ones, hug them tight and think, "What if...." What if something goes wrong in their brains? They ARE inheriting mental illness from both sides of the family..... Will I be strong enough and brave enough to see it and, more importantly, do something about it?

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm easy.

I'm very happy right now.

I got a new free travel wipes case in the giant box of Huggies wipes I got at Costco. A new travel case. I think I'll put it in Hot Stuff's car... no, wait, the other diaper bag..... Oh, I'm just not sure.... Yes, people, my life has come to this... glee over butt-wipe.

The Great Pickle Escape

This post is dedicated to Pickle.... may the escape be quick.

Remember that moment in baby school....the moment you realized the plastic thing with holes in it wasn't a spaghetti measurer with a jumbo measurement to feed a whole football team.... the moment you realized..... OH MY GOD.... THAT'S THE DILATION CHART. And then you suck it up and go ahead and have the baby anyway because, well, too late now... you're already knocked up....

Ok, this post is straight-up coochie recovery advice. For those moments AFTER the sweet bambino is home and the phone rings and you realize there is NO WAY you can jump off the couch to answer it. Here are things I've heard or done... in no particular order:

1. The frozen maxi pad. Spritz maxi with water, freeze, and, "aaahhh." My doc says this was his job when his son was born. Order pizza, be quiet, and make sure there was a supply of frozen mouse mattresses in the freezer.
2. Sit on your boppy. That sort of sounds like a curse doesn't it.... "No, you sit on MY boppy...."
3. That spray. The numbing stuff with the red lid (or maybe the lid is blue). Lidocain. In the first aide section. And it's great later for boo-boos.
4. The peri bottle. Don't leave that bad boy at the hospital... it makes a great tub toy later on too.
5. Plain old over-the-counter pain relievers.

Ok... that's all I can remember... anybody else?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Drugs or No Drugs

Just reading on Blogging Baby... er, Parent Dish..... about natural birth vs, well, unnatural I guess..... Ok, ok... medicated vs non-medicated.

Again.... I bang my drum and shout, "Everyone is different and even each child is different."

My first labor:

Woke up at 1:30 am. Hospital around 4:30 am. IV & interthecal around 6:40. No time for epidural. Baby at 6:58 am. (Shift change is at 7:00.... I don't recommend this.)

Interthecal meds (morphine? What the hell is in that?) made me Sick with a capital S-Ick. Headache and passing out whenever I tried to stand up..... literally.... for about 18 hours.

My second labor:

Woke up at 4:30 am. Hospital around 7:30 am. No time for an IV. Baby at 8:03 am. (Nice fresh nurses from 7:00 am shift change... excellent.) I still have the half filled out epidural consent form that Hot Stuff was working on when things got serious.

We already know the hospital is remodeling and the new maternity area is on the 4th floor.... which means Baby #3 (if there is one) will be born in the elevator. I just hope the nurses take me seriously when I tell them I'm, um, kinda fast in the labor department.... it must be the laughing and joke-cracking that throws them off..... with #2 they told me I had plenty of time and they put me in the "rule-out" room.... hah!

Now.... what was best for ME? Obviously.... labor #2 when I was up and showered by 9:15 am.... much better than passing out between the toilet and the tub like #1.

But what is best for YOU?? It's like Jimmy Buffett says.... "Only Time Will Tell...."

Houston, we have teeth.....

Thank the sweet little baby Jeebus for Hyland’s Teething Tablets. After three days and three long, long nights I remembered Hyland’s…. and it hit my like a can of V-8…. I had a bottle leftover from Sweet Boy’s youth….. in the daycare bag! Horray. I have no idea what is in those things but they work better than a shot of tequila and a warm bath….which I’d tried already anyway.

Truly. I know I talk a lot about how different kids are…. But I don’t remember Sweet Boy ever having this kind of trouble with teeth….. we’ve got it all…. Loosey-goosey poop, fever-then-gone, red cheeks, drool, chewing, clingy, gnawing, whimpering, crying, listless (so listless) and crabby (OH the Crabby)…. And it has been going on for days. I kept her home from daycare on Monday… mostly because I like our daycarista too much to subject her to Her Royal Crabbiness.

And the girl wanted her mama. For about 72 hours I was in constant contact with her…. She sat on my lap while I peed. She showered with me. She held my hand while she was in the car seat. She slept on my chest. I love a girl but by Monday morning I needed a little space.


I put her in the kitchen sink. Tossed in a few toys and kept the water warm. Happy baby. She splashed enough to soak the window & the floor (we call that “cleaning windows” and “mopping” at the Homestead) and we all managed to survive the day with a minimum of tequila.

And now. Now. NOW.

She has TWO New Teeth…. NOT the top center teeth… but on the outside…. Combine this with her love of hanging her head off my knees so she can look at the world upside-down and it becomes obvious we’ve been calling her Vampire Bat for three days now. Or Fang. Or Redneck Jack-o-lantern. Or Backwards Beaver. Poor Pumpkin. I have to remember to write this in her baby book……

Super Hero.

Overheard at our house…. “I’m Spiderman and Baby Sister is my pet Chubby Spider.”

Going to the Chapel....

At dinner last night Sweet Boy announced, “Jack & I are married.” Hot Stuff looked at me over SB’s head and mouthed, “I’m not sure I like where this is going….”

Jack is Sweet Boy’s imaginary friend. Mostly, Jack is a big boy who fights fires and knows how to fly…. Very similar to Sweet Boy except the “big” part…. So I, being the open-minded mama I am, asked, “Are you married to Jack?” and Sweet Boy responded, “Oh, no, mama… I’m married to (insert unintelligible noise that sounds like Gluhg-gluhoo). She’s my husband.” Can you tell we’ve been having many fascinating dinner conversations about relationships at our house?

So then I, preparing for that teenage time when I need to grill my children about where they go and who they are with, ask, “Who did Jack marry?” “Oh,” says SB, “Jack isn’t really married.” “So he’s single and not married… like Uncle Techno?” (Sorry, Brother, couldn’t think of a better pseudonym for you… Pyro? Psycho? Turbo? Dude?)

“Oh no,” says SB, “Uncle Techno is married.”


“…. To Auntie Wissa.”

Brother, you are so dead in the water on this one… she’s already ahead of you on the “bless us” list (although you are both behind Smokey… dad’s dog) and Sister & I will keep her and dump you if you break up….. You might as well get her a ring…..

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I admit. I'd never really heard of Imus until last week.... but now I gotta ask....

Does anyone else think he looks like an old lesbian??***

***Homestead ducks... but figures it is worth saying because when she mentioned it while talking with an old lesbian the old lesbian laughed.....

Another weekend, Another movie

Anybody seen "The Good Shepherd".... and, if you have, can you please explain it to me?

It's not that I was falling asleep (teething baby).
It's not that I was drinking BV&7up (teething baby).
It's not that the movie was almost 3 HOURS long and I wasn't able to settle down to watch it (teething baby).

I feel like I missed something really obvious while watching it. But there was no "ah-hah" moment for me. I never did get it. After several crucial-seeming scenes I'd look at Hot Stuff and say, "huh?" and he'd just pour me another drink or reach over and pat the baby sleeping on my chest.

So, anybody have a quick Cliff-notes style review of the movie for me???

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not in the running for 2007 either....

Yes, that is a huckleberry stem on her face from the fresh-made huckleberry ice cream my sister was feeding her. There goes mother-of-the-year AGAIN.


One of my biggest parenting regrets? No, it isn't the 3-diapers-in-24-hours rule or the insane amount of effort we've put into a simple swingset project..... I don't have pictures of me with my kids. I told Hot Stuff and he, being the go-to-it guy he is, responded:

** Thanks to Gunnar for blocking the privates in that middle photo so I didn't have to blur them out.

Maybe just a little Don King in the bloodline......

3 More Movie Reviews

1. Blood Diamond. Loved it. Although I've heard if you know what a real South African accent sounds like this one will make you cringe.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness. Jada Pinkett Smith is a lucky woman. Will Smith just might be on the short list of my favorite male celebrities.

3. Happy Feet. Ok, I didn't exactly sit and watch this one but what I saw was pretty cute.
For some reason opening a Dove promises chocolate with the message "Watch the sun rise" just isn't all that inspirational when you have a kid that doesn't sleep between 4-5:30am........

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Other Daycare Things....

Let's talk about crazy things we've seen while looking for daycare.....

Daycarista told me the story of another in-home care place with 14 kids and a house about the size of Daycarista's upstairs.... about 900 sq feet. The other daycare said they were licensed. Ya think?

My friend, K, told me about going to a daycare (with an appointment so they had time to tidy up if they wanted...) and sitting on the couch to interview. The place was knee-deep in toys (I'm sorry but if there are too many toys they just can't all be clean) and when she left she realized she'd been sitting in something very wet..... ew. (Aside for those who know... the daycare, oddly enough, was run by our former FIRST GRADE teacher... uh-huh. Crazy is as crazy does...)

I don't know much about daycare. I went with the recommendation of a good friend with three little girls, visited, fell in love and then begged for a spot. Initially we were turned down because she had another little one coming back in January (this was August) and wouldn't be able to handle that many little ones at one time. So I asked for coverage until January. Hot Stuff's job that year only had him working 10 months so he had January & February off and stayed at home. My plot worked, daycarista fell in love with Sweet Boy and just couldn't let him go. Ha-ha. I found out later she actually restructured some of her part-timers to 3 days a week rather than 5 half-days a week so she could bring in extra help on those three days and accommodate everyone.

I like all the other kids.... although there is only one other (part-time kindergarten) boy. But I like to think that will bring out Sweet Boy's feminine side. I've already learned "boy polish" is clear with blue sparkles.

Her rates are reasonable. Daycare for two kids (one potty-trained, one under 2) just went up $4 to $36/day.... which is cheaper than the state-subsidized care here in town. She feeds them breakfast, lunch & snack. She teaches them colors & letters. They read a lot and do puzzles and draw. They have cats, a dog, bunnies, mules, horses & chickens. The yard is giant and beautifully kept with a swing set and lots of nice play toys. They have a schedule and rules and know what to expect. They always come home smelling like sunscreen in the summer. They only seem to watch tv during the morning while they are waiting for all the kids to get there or for special occasions. The playroom is clean, clean, clean and Sweet Boy came home singing the clean up song and picking up his toys.

Daycarista really has managed to have a home that allows thinking adults to co-exist with a whole lotta little kids. There are lots of books and toys but things have a place and they get put away before the next set of toys come out.



Your blog link hasn't worked in, oh, a long time..... but I saw your comment the other day......

Why, yes, my eyes really are brown....


Even though the daycarista said I didn't need to do it..... overachiever that I am.... I wrote an eating plan for my daughter.... Read it and laugh..... It really runs out of me sometimes...

APRIL 2007

CHILD is breast fed at this time. Mother will provide breast milk (fresh and/or frozen). Milk to be given to the child via bottle or sippy cup at the discretion of the provider. CHILD has not been introduced to cow milk. Formula may be provided to CHILD at the discretion of the provider but the parents are trying to avoid this if possible.

CHILD eats most table foods at this point either ground, mashed or chopped as needed. She can be supplemented with jar/tub baby food as needed to meet her daily intake requirements at the discretion of the provider. CHILD is a good eater and will generally eat whatever is provided for her. There are no specific dietary restrictions or requirements for CHILD. She enjoys eating table foods and likes to eat what she sees everyone else eating. Things to avoid are the usual allergy & choking hazards for a child her age as discussed between the provider and parents. There is no family history of food allergy and no special allergy precautions are necessary. She has been introduced to wheat, egg yolks (but not whites), cottage cheese, yogurt & cheese. She has not been formally introduced to meat products as of the writing of this plan (although she has had some occasionally) but there are no set limitations regarding this and, most likely, she will be eating meat regularly in the next few weeks, prepared (chopped, shredded or ground) as needed. She has been introduced to most fruits and vegetables and this list is communicated verbally between the provider and the parents as it expands and changes.

CHILD drinks juice (watered-down) and water from a sippy cup and may be provided liquids at the discretion of the provider.

Mother will nurse CHILD as close to am drop off time as possible. Occasionally mother will stop by to nurse during the day but this will be communicated to the provider ahead of time so her regular bottle/cup feeding schedule is not disrupted. CHILD may be fed bottle/cup and/or solids throughout the day at the discretion of the provider with solid feedings following the general eating plan of the daycare as a whole (breakfast, lunch, snack). CHILD may or may not want solids for breakfast (due to nursing prior to drop off) and breakfast can be provided at the discretion of the provider. Any variations from this general plan will be discussed verbally by the provider and parents.