Friday, July 30, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Moms


The things that we mothers (and aunts, teachers, grandmothers) say to children each day are some of life’s best comedy. But it’s no joke: Such is life as a mom! To celebrate that truth, and to give us an opportunity to commiserate and laugh together.

I read MckMama's blog quite a bit. I've actually been reading since Stellan was maybe 3 or 4 months old. I'm not really sure when I started, but I enjoy reading about the life and times of another Mom with *MSC (Many Small Children). Since I am expecting #4 in January, I will be joining Jennifer as a Mom of MSC very soon (Because I don't think 3 qualifies?). Anyway, she's come up with this new Out of the Mouth of Moms, and I find it really funny and interesting.

Here are a few of my gems this week:

*I don't care who did it,I need to know if the baby ate any of the gel out of the mousepad!

*Lily, please don't poop on the toybox again!

*Cat poop is not the same as playdoh, put it back!

*Yes, I heard you, I'm just not available right now, please leave a message at the beep-Beeeep.

*Oh my...I think I just threw up in my mouth a little, did you just eat your sister's booger?

*No, I don't think God would like to know that you hit each other all the time.

*How did your sister get this bruise on her butt? - No answer from them- funny how it looks like this star shaped toy you have in your hand...

*No, you can't get a tattoo for your birthday, you'll only be 7.

*No, you have to sit in a carseat until you are 8 years old and at least 80lbs, I don't care that your friends aren't sitting in them, it's the law, and I'm not going to jail.

*Yes, I'm sure it's the law.

*Because I read it in a book, because I'm very smart, 22 years older than you, and I can read.

*Fine then, I won't be your friend either, I will continue to be your Mother and keep you safe, protected, fed, and alive.

*Yes Ruthie, some day you will have boobies too.

*Lily, stop standing on that stool, you're going to fall and bust your teeth out.

*No, I'm certain your sister would not like you to punch all her teeth out.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Oh Fuuuuudge"

I'd like to send a shout-out to my carrier 38ck048310 that decided to blow up/break down/die in the middle of a 90*+ day today with 500% humidity. I love you man - not.

Why is it that every time we think we are FINALLY getting ahead financially that something always comes up? 2 years ago it was the tractor, we had finally gotten things under control and the John Deere decided to go kaput. Really!? Is this necessary? Now, it's this blasted A/C unit that was never big enough for the house anyway...still, give me a BREAK!

I hate being hot, and here I am, sitting in the basement SWEATING! Not to mention the A/C has run all darn day and still not cooled the house below 76 (it was set to 75!)! My electric bill is going to be outrageous, as if it wasn't already high enough. UGH.

Time for a cold shower...

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*PS. I love all my readers, but if you don't get the reference in the title of this blog, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scouting, it's not for the poor!

Charlie goes off to Boyscout day-camp with his Dad tomorrow. Chris and Charlie will be gone from about 8:30AM - 3:00PM depending on traffic, weather, etc...I'm excited for Charlie, but every the worrywart, he's concerned about everything. Here are some of the things I've heard over the last 24 hrs:

C- "Mom, I'm afraid to go to camp"
Me- "Why?"
C- "I don't want to get eaten by a Chicago Bear!"
Me- "Honey, those are football players, you know that, they don't eat people"
C- "Oh, they're not real bears? Then I guess I could go to camp"

Then there was:
C- "Mom, I don't want to go to camp again"
Me- "Why not this time?"
C- "I'm afraid I'll get shot by a bb-gun and all my blood will come out"
Me- "That will never happen. Your Dad will be there with you to make sure you don't walk where you shouldn't, and besides, bb-guns wouldn't hurt you that way"
C- "Are You SURE!?"
Me- "Yes!!"
C- "Absolutely positively sure??"
Me- "Yes! Now stop worrying and concentrate on all the fun you are going to have"

C- "Hey Mom, I'm not sure about going to camp"
Me- "Ugh, What's wrong!?"
C- "I don't wanna wake Daddy up"
Me- "You won't have to, I'm going to get up first and make you breakfast and send you on your way"
C- "so you have to get up early too?"
Me- "Yes, sort of"
C-"Oh, no, you're going to be GRUMMMPY!"
Me- "I'll try not to be, just think about all the fun you are going to have and all the new people you are going to meet. Don't forget to L-I-S-T-E-N to your Daddy and the other adults so you know what you are supposed to be doing"
C- "Ok Mom, I'll have fun if you promise not to be grumpy"
Me- "Deal!"

The last one was on the way to the Scout store this afternoon to stock up on uniform items. He will be wearing a scout camp shirt tomorrow and his swimsuit on Friday so he didn't need it yet, BUT, I decided to go ahead and get it now. I knew it was going to be expensive. Chris is an Eagle Scout, and I remember it was about $250 about 7 years ago when he went and bought uniforms and had patches put on and all that in Virginia. I prepared's what we got...

Left to Right: BSA Belt (Boyscouts, not exclusive to Tiger Cubs, should last through 2 years), Neckerchief exclusive to Tiger Cubs (Will have to get a different one next year), Neckerchief slide also exclusive to Tiger cub (Will have to get a different one next year), Socks exclusive to Tiger Cub (Will have to get different ones next year), BSA uniform shirt (I have to sew on all the patches, but the shirt it not exclusive to the Tiger rank and can be re-used), BSA uniforms pants that zip off to shorts (Also not exclusive to Tiger rank can be re-used), 2 Tiger cub t-shirts (He will wear camping, working, etc...with his pack - will have to get new shirts next year), Tiger Cub hat (necessary to the uniform and also will have to have a different hat next year).

Center>And this is what it cost us...

I can only re-use $56.97 of that $105.91 so just over 53% re-usage. Although, if Charlie grows much after I hem the pants that will knock off another $24.99 from that re-usage total. I'm going to have them hemmed a little long. He won't be hiking in them, and they are really only for meetings or big events that the pack might go to at his age/rank (Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball games and the like). Still, we are lucky and blessed to be able to afford these things. I cannot imagine a family that can't because I don't know of anywhere except perhaps EBAY (I should have looked there first!) that a less fortunate family would get uniforms afford-ably from. I still have to pick up some hiking boots, I will probably have to go to Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas, or Gander Mountain to get a comfortable, BREATHABLE pair!

So far scouting has already cost us $40-sign up, $40- 2 day day-camp, $105.91-uniforms and they haven't even done anything yet. No trash collection, no community service, no meetings, NOTHING. I'm hoping that my son will be out doing the community some good soon because I'm very frustrated that his friend only 45 minutes from here has already been out doing several things and learning formally about conservation. If I didn't believe so strongly in the values, relationships, and lessons that the BSA teaches to young men (And in turn the GSA for young ladies) I would be completely shocked and pull my son out of the program. However, I do believe in what it teaches young people and I also believe that any time parents spend with their children learning, teaching, and helping them grow is a good thing. I am willing to bet that Charlie will never forget his time in the BSA.

I have to go get a new sewing machine Friday so that I can sew on the patches. The Singer that I have is not up to sewing through the thickness and I would have tension, needle, and presser-foot nightmares,(not to mention it would TEAR the shirt!!!) so I told Chris I'm going to go invest in one that will serve our 2 main purposes: 1. Repairing cloth diapers which includes ripping seams, replacing and stitching elastic then sewing through no less than 5 layers of material (sometimes more). 2. Scouting uniforms which includes hemming pants, sewing badges, removing and replacing badges (sewing in places that might have more thickness than normal).I'm glad he doesn't ever complain or argue about these things. The cheap Singer just can't do it. In the end, it's just money, we have been blessed to have access to the program, and the funds to support it, and I'm certain that Charlie will have a fabulous time at camp! When we go on vacation in Mid-August I plan to have him camp out with Daddy at least one night (The rest of us will be in a cabin) so they can have some male-bonding time. Charlie is finally old enough that he realizes he can have special guy-time with Daddy! Hallelujah!

PS. If you know of anywhere I can get clear, durable thread, I'm all ears!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hello Moto

Dear Motorola,

Do you think it is possible that you could build a phone that would last forever like the Nokia 5165? The last 2 Motorola phones I've owned, Motorola Razr and V170 were complete weak pieces of trash. When the Droid came out, my husband insisted I get it because it had Google Maps built in GPS included in the Verizon service plan, and truthfully, I think he wanted to play with the Droid.

However, having owned the Droid for approximately 5 months I have a few complaints that I'd like you to correct.

1. The damn thing is heavy. It's like carrying a brick around in my pocket, and I am certain that if I threw it just right, I could kill someone with it. In contrast, the iphone is light as a come apple could similarly equip their phone without it weighing a ton??

2. Lately I've been having major overheat issues. I've not modified, dropped, or done anything to this phone besides take care of it and store it in my air conditioned house or have it in my air conditioned car and yet, it constantly stops charging due to overheating. I keep my house at 73* F, just how cool does it have to be to not overheat the Droid? Droid does alright, it overheats and shuts off in the middle of navigation that I'm depending on. Yep. Droid sure does. it also burns your leg if it's in your pants pocket when it goes into it's little overheat mode.It's all over the internet boards, so I know I'm not the only one having this issue. Figure it out, and recall it before I do throw it at someone. - Also, I don't want a free app to tell me the phone is overheating for no reason, I want it to STOP OVERHEATING FOR NO REASON. (for those who don't own one, the battery won't charge or hold charge if it overheats. The phone dies, shuts off, and will even shut off in the middle of navigation- even being held in front of the A/C! which isn't so convenient if you are in a strange city, state, or country and NEED the nav!)

3. Battery life. Seriously?! You can't surf anything without killing this thing.

4. The setting configuration is complicated, frustrating, and annoying. can you at least TRY to make your "smart phones" user friendly!?? Try, hire someone else if you have to because the first generation Droid sucks.

5. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY carries covers or cases for this thing. I've had to get them online because even the Verizon store near me doesn't carry them.

So far the only good thing about this phone are the free apps. I'm certain that soon there will be some horrible virus or something that will go out and destroy all our phones. That will be loads of fun.

Not Sure I Will Ever Trust You Again,
Annoyed Customer #1,000,000

PS. The start-up sequence with the pulsing red light like Kitt from night-rider is my favorite feature of this phone. Whoever programmed/thought of that rocks!

Truth be told, I'd rather have an iphone. You can get cute cases and covers everywhere, and it seems a lot more user friendly than the Droid. I really want a Psych cover, and they're only available for iphone and Blackberry - how fair is that!?? Also, like I said, it's heavy as hell. Don't take my word for it, stop by the Verizon store and see for yourself. Also, the apps, while they are not free, are way better. Better games, better music, better a lot of things. I don't know about battery life, but I haven't heard my friend that has one complain about overheating. So it has a lot going for it in my personal opinion. I almost wish I could just go back to the old Nokia, at least it lasted Chris 10 years! I'll be surprised if the Droid lasts me the 2 years until the contract renewal is up! This phone is a total piece of crap, and I'm afraid it's going to burn me.

Blinkie Graphics Generator at,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hotel of Horrors

This week we went on a business trip with Daddy. Yep, the 3 kids and I hopped into Daddy's work SUV and headed up to Bloomington, MN for 2 days of swimming at Holiday Inn express,and shopping and fun at the Mall of America.

When we checked in at the hotel Monday afternoon (7/5), everything seemed fine. We got up to the room, unloaded all the food and drinks I had brought for the kids, and then I went into the bathroom. I noticed there was no soap, so I sent Chris down for some. Much to our surprise, we were advised there was no soap, and no shampoo in the entire hotel. Somehow they had "run out" and their order "Had not arrived prior to the holiday weekend". Now I ask you, who's fault is this? Is it OUR fault? A family of 5 who had just traveled over 350miles and 6.5 hours in a car together and desperately ALL needed showers!? I called the Holiday Inn Express 800 number and complained. I could not believe (Because I spent several years working in hotels) that this had been allowed to happen. there was also no manager on duty because they had all gone out of town for the holiday and left the front desk staff with zero chain of command, and zero way to purchase soap and shampoo for the hotel. We were told by the Guest Services to purchase soap at a nearby store and we would be reimbursed when the manager returned Tuesday.

Monday night we went out to eat at a nearby hotel (Because this hotel also does not have a restaurant attached to it, or within walking distance) which was just great, I love getting 3 kids back into the car after they've traveled 6.5 hours in said car earlier in the day. We ate well, came back, showered, and dressed for the night. Unfortunately, our A/C went off sometime in the middle of the night, and the toilet decided it was going to start dripping and running about every 20 minutes - guess who was up almost all night? Yeah, Me. It was a total nightmare.

Tuesday AM the A/C had come back on, and I fed the kids breakfast in the room, then we headed down to the pool. The pool was freezing cold. It was so cold, Ruthie's lips were turning blue, and her teeth were chattering so loudly I could hear her across the room. She got out frequently to warm up, but Charlie decided he didn't care and toughed it out. Lily wasn't having it at all and was content to be wrapped in several towels and sit on a chair to watch her brother and sissy swimming.

Tuesday afternoon, we headed up to our room to get showered (Because I don't believe you should ever go into a public pool without an after-shower) and prepare lunch. I had Ruthie in the shower, and Charlie on the pot when the unthinkable happened - The power went out. Not only did the light go off out in the room, it was completely, utterly dark in the bathroom. Charlie immediately flipped out. I struggled to keep Ruthie calm so I cold rinse her as Charlie screamed and wailed about being afraid in the hotel in the dark. Also, since the power was out, so was the A/C - it was about 89* outside at this point. I quickly got Ruthie out and threw Charlie in just as the hotel water pressure went down to almost nothing. The shower sputtered and spit hot then cold water at Charlie until I finally decided to improvise and fill the ice bucket with water from the sink (Which was unaffected, so the shower head had to be broken). Lily was the worst, she thrashed, bit, and screamed for the entire 5 minutes of her shower. I got them all dressed, then I quickly jumped in for the oddest shower of my life - sputtering showerhead and all. I decided that the kids would have to eat the Lunchables I brought them since there was no power to make the easy mac. We also decided that since it was nearing 80* in our room that it would probably be cooler downstairs. As we made our way into the dining area we could hear people that must have gotten stuck in the elevators. This scared Charlie almost to death. The kids ate their lunch, and I listened to the front desk staff talking about how the power went off frequently.About 10 minutes later the power came back on. It had been off for just over an hour.By the time we made it up to our room, and everyone ate their easy mac I was finally able to prepare, we noticed the A/C still had not come on. I went down to the desk to complain about the A/C and noticed the pool was closed for dangerous chemicals...there goes my plan of taking them swimming in the freezing pool instead of sweating in the room with no TV! I asked if the kids would be able to ride the mall shuttle and when it would come. I was told the shuttle left at the top of every hour. TOP meaning 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 etc... right?

At 3:40 we prepared to go downstairs to wait for the shuttle. Chris had called to say he was on his way back, but we were going to go ahead and head to the mall and have him meet up with us after he was showered and changed. I looked out the window to check if he'd arrived to see the shuttle loaded and leaving the parking lot at 3:42 - so much for that. We waited for Chris and traveled to the mall together.

Tuesday evening when we returned from the mall and a delicious dinner at The Rainforest cafe, we noticed it was very hot and humid in our room. The towels from swimming earlier and contributed to the humidity, but the A/c was once again not working. I went down to the desk to see the same poor guy that was there earlier in a long sleeved dress shirt, long pants, and I would venture to guess an undershirt too drenched in sweat and looking like he could faint. I asked about the A/C and was told "We have been having problems with it all weekend going on and off, the guy was just here, it's fixed now" - Then I got $4 in quarters for the dryer so I could dry the swimsuits and towels and not have to travel with wet ones for 6.5 hours in a cramped, tiny SUV.I also made a note that the pool was re-opened and full of other guests, I guess their rooms were hot too. Luckily, the dryer worked like a charm on one 40-minute $2.75 cycle. Charlie went with me to the front desk where I bought all of the kids ice cream (Because our room was still SWELTERING) and to fetch the towels. He carried the ice cream. All night the A/C would try to kick on and then would quit. The room was unbearably hot and the toilet running didn't help. All I wanted to do was get out of there!

Wednesday morning we packed up, loaded the kids, and Chris went to check out. He spoke to the manager who offered him $10 of the $20.65 we had to spend at Wal-Mart on soap - Chris told her "No way" and she ended up taking $19.45 off the bill. Which is RIDICULOUS when their HOSPITALITY POLICY states that if you are unhappy with your stay that you won't be charged for it if they don't make it right. Well, they never gave us soap or shampoo, they never fixed the toilet, or the A/C, and I was very unhappy! We also encountered a road problem, Minnesota apprently did not want us to leave as the ramp to I-94 was closed with no posted detour. Great! We ended up getting our GPS's out (mine is on my phone) to find an alternate route. We caught every single light for miles, and if you have ever traveled with a child that gets carsick you know what that means - Vomit. We had to pull over and clean up Ruthie and then proceed onto the expressway miles, and about 35 minutes out of our way. By now Chris and I were both cranky and just wanted to get HOME.

Wednesday night, about 5:00PM and submitted another complaint to Holiday Inn Express. I told them how unsatisfied we were and that Chris who had stayed there numerous times in the past for business said he'd "Rather sleep in my car than ever stay here again". The manager was rude, un-apologetic, and all around poorly equipped to do her job, and I told them that also. After working in that industry as front desk, and moving up to sales management I can tell you that the old saying "The Customer Is Always Right" rings true. You should do everything in your power to ensure that customers are satisfied because you never know how many people they know - especially with the INTERNET and all. I also posted on every travel site I could my review of the hotel.

Thursday morning I received a call from the General Manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Bloomington, MN. He received a copy of my complaint and was very apologetic for both the shortcomings of his hotel supplies, and his staff. He also wanted us to know that $19.45 had been taken off the bill (Which is less than we paid, and oh, by the way, they took our receipt from Wal Mart) - which we already knew. He said that he hopes we will stay there again (NEVER, EVER AGAIN, we've already decided that) and that they'd like to see us again in the future (YEAH, RIGHT - he sounded really enthused here).

All in all, it was great being together as a family, even if we stayed in the WORST HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS - EVER! We were together, and we had some fun times. The kids can't wait to go back to Minnesota and go to the aquarium...I might need a Valium. We're going to try either the big Holiday Inn or the Radisson next time - IF there's a next time!

*Also, since this is a business trip, and a lot of times early-check-out fees apply, we could not up and leave the hotel without paying for the night somewhere else out of pocket which was the whole point of going with Daddy on a BUSINESS trip in the first place. Nobody at the HIE offered for us to check out and be refunded that first night, or we would have...again, had a manager been on duty, we would have left.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

A Challenge

What do you think of when you hear the word oil? Do you think of a gas pump, your car, the terrible ongoing spill in the gulf? Do you think of all the marine life that has died, or is currently dying? Although countless birds, turtles, and other marine life have already died, I am certain there will be many more to come. It is truly a terrible disaster that will affect not only the United States and it's shores, but it will affect the our entire planet negatively eventually. The global repercussions of this epic spill have not even begun to manifest themselves. It is going to be terrible, and it is still leaking thousands of gallons a day.

While the loss of marine life is certainly something to be remembered, what I see when I think about oil are all of the families that now have no way to support themselves. I imagine what life must be like for the fathers that go out in fishing boats, and crabbing boats, and even those that prepare this food along the gulf coast. All of these proud fathers that love and care for their families that now have no way to make a living for their families. These families have bills to pay, like all of us, and now, no way to pay those bills. Their children are hungry, and with no income they are struggling to provide enough food for them, let alone for themselves. It absolutely broke my heart when I saw the 800 families of Plaquemines Parish pulling up to receive boxes from Feed The Children. I thought it was wonderful that Feed The Children was able to step in and help these struggling gulf coast families, but if 800 families received donations, can you imagine how many hungry families did not? What about the fishermen that can't bear the thought of failing their families and deciding they are worth more to them dead than alive, and have taken their own lives? What about the families all along the gulf coast that make their living from tourism? The beaches are stained and closed, which only means less tourism for those areas as well. How many tourist areas do you think have another way to make the majority of their money? Having lived in a tourist town, I can tell you there aren't many other ways that these areas support themselves. Without tourism, these towns, cities, and residents are going to have a deeper recession than our country is already suffering through.

This is not about whether BP has done enough (because let's face it, they've only just begun), and it's not about whether or not President Obama, and our government has done enough. We all have blood on our hands, because our country's dependency on foreign oil is insatiable. This is about whether or not we, as individual Americans have done enough. I have decided that I am going to do my part to help conserve oil, and to also educate my children about the spill. Locally, I will make a difference. It has been difficult, but I have managed so far to achieve my goal and I have saved at least 40 gallons of gasoline in the month of June already.

Here's where the challenge comes in. I am not driving my car at least 3 of the 7 days of the week. Because I am a stay at home mother, most people assume this is an easy goal. It is not. I have errands to run like everyone else, and I have places I want to go and places my 3 children want to go. I do not leave the house unless I have at least 4 NECESSARY errands. I organize and plan my stops and make a loop through my town and the next one being careful not to double-back, zig-zag, or otherwise waste time, money, gasoline, and lives. It is a very conscious decision for me, and I am challenging you all to do it.

I am challenging you to do what you can to save marine life, and human lives. Set a goal, and achieve it to conserve oil and lower our dependency on oil. If you work a 5 day week, plan to leave your car in the garage on the weekend. Take a bicycle to the train, join a carpool, or find another creative way you can ease up on your oil dependency. We can all change something, even something you may small to make a difference can indeed be enough. I'm just a stay at home mom of 3 children, and I'm doing my part, however small to help conserve, what are you doing?

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