Monday, October 1, 2007

Blame the Atheist Part 1 The Pledge of Allegiance

Lately it seems that some in this country want to engage in a game of "blame the atheist". I will be writing a series of blogs examining some hot issues in this country concerning religious and political issues, starting with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The claim
Atheists are making a big deal out of nothing. They want the Pledge of Allegiance banned because it says "under God".

In Chicago, 11 year old Hubert Eaves, a black student refused to recite the pledge as a protest to Jim Crow laws, and state-approved lynchings. He stated, “I am willing to salute the flag as the flag salutes me,” Hubert was arrested for not showing respect to the flag.
During WWII, in The West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court held that students were protected from being forced to salute the American Flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. The students involved in that case were Jehovah's Witnesses, fighting for their freedom of religion.
At the height of the cold war, and American paranoia over Communism, the Knights of Columbus fought to have the words "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill adding the words "under God" stating,
In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.
The following exchange takes place between reporter Robert I. Sherman & George H. W. Bush during a press conference:
Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?
Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.
Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?
Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?
Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.
Two students are punished for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the American flag. Two atheist students? No, one Baptist student said his faith prohibits idol worship. The other student refused to recite the pledge, raising a fist of defiance in support of his friend, and was paddled for his actions.


In reaction to the September 11th terrorist attacks, Wisconsin passed a law requiring all schools to offer the Pledge or National Anthem daily. The Madison School Board voted to use only an instrumental version of the national anthem so that no student would feel pressured to vocalize the words of the pledge or anthem. Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum responded to this in a press release:
Most Wisconsinites are looking for ways to enhance our armed forces and support our country; some people are looking for ways to diminish our belief in God and country. It is disheartening, but in a free country you have patriots and you have the freedom for a few oddballs who place politics above patriotism.2001
Virginia state Senator Warren E. Barry tries to have school children forced into reciting the Pledge When other Senators object, Barry calls them “spineless pinkos.”2005
17-year-old Cameron Frazier is harassed and punished when he expressed his First Amendment right to not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Still think people are making a big deal out of nothing when it comes to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Do You THINK Before You Talk (Type)?

Do you ever think that you might be hurting someone's feelings when you expouse your .02 theory on ADHD, or any other mental disability? Really, you know one person who got the wrong medication, a misdiagnosis, or made a hasty decision, and you think you know everything?
Did it ever occur to you that people with ADHD are human beings, many of which have suffered their whole lives, not knowing why? Did it ever occur to you that people like us come from long lines of dysfunctional families, and just as we're relieved to finally know what's swirling around in our genepool, along comes some thoughtless jerk telling us we're making it all up, or we're looking for an excuse to take drugs?!
Did it ever occur to you the agony that parents go through, searching, striving, struggling to help their children? Did it ever occur to you that people HAVE tried everything else before putting their children on medication? Did it occur to you that these people might have a problem disciplining their children, because their children don't act like eveyone else's children?
Did it ever occur to you that teachers work their asses off for low-pay, and low-recognition, dedicated to the education of ALL children, and that they might know a thing or two about a child who is standing out like a sore thumb?
Did it ever occur to you that not all children with ADHD have behavior problems? Many are just inattentive, with memory and focusing problems. And many that seem to have behavior problems are just crawling under their skin having trouble sitting, paying attention, and completing their schoolwork?
So maybe your child was misdiagnosed, or you don't agree with a diagnosis your child got from one doctor, or a suggestion from one teacher. Get over it! You made your decision, you either chose to accept one teacher or one doctor, medicate your child, not medicate your child, and it went bad. Whose fault is it if you didn't get a second, third, or fouth opinion? And because it didn't go well for you, ADHD doesn't exist, or the teachers and doctors are pushing drugs, or ADHD is way overdiagnosed?
I've got news for you. ADHD is underdiagnosed as much as it's overdiagnosed. There are people out there who won't get help for themselves or their children, or who won't try medication, because of stupid people that won't mind their own business about other people's mental health, who spread stereotypes, and malicious misinformation!
How about this, you keep your mouth shut about things you are not going through, and have no clue about?! How about you find out the truth about ADHD, that medication is not a magic bullet for behavior, and that stimulants make non-ADHD people MORE hyper, and "zombie"-like behavior can be a temporary side-effect of medication. How about you just be supportive, and stop the judging, and hurtful remarks?
It's only a forum posting for you, a debate, a comment, but THIS IS MY LIFE!
I didn't go to the verge of destruction and back to read snide, thoughtless remarks about ADHD.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Journey To Homeschooling

I wrote quite a while back about how we began homeschooling. Shame on me for not continuing the story sooner.

3 weeks of school had gone by in Red's 3rd new school in 3 years. I had seen the classroom they had my son relegated to-a dingy 9 x 12 modular at the end of the school, with stained carpet, and sallow walls. Mrs. S. wanted to talk to me about Red's math. She felt he couldn't do 5th grade work. This is a child who could count handfuls of coins when he was 4 years old. This is a child who was once in the advanced math class. I couldn't understand it. "I thought the point of having small group instruction was so that Red would get more help." "I've got 2 6th graders doing 3rd grade math.", was Mrs. S's reply.

"And I want to leave my child here to learn?", I thought.

That was but one of the red flags that went up the first month of school. Red was coming home crying, miserable. I watched all sense of vitality draining from my child. The grand finale in this disastrous placement was going to Back To School night. For 30 minutes, my husband and I sat in the auditorium listening to the school principle extol the virtues of his school, referencing their shining PSSA scores.

Since I'd already met my son's special education teacher and seen his cell-I mean special ed classroom, I decided we'd go to the regular classroom, and meet the regular ed teacher. The teacher was very enthusiastic, going on about all the great things our kids would be learning this year in her classroom. While I listened, I scanned the room looking for my son's essay. All over the walls were essays the children had written to show off to the parents. I looked and looked, but could not find my son's. Finally I spotted it hidden behind a desk, hung so low on the wall, it was almost on the floor. When the teacher was done talking she greeted some of the parents individually. She chattered on with little Bobby's mom, and Susie's dad. Then I approached, extended my hand, and gave a warm smile. "Hi, we're Mr. & Mrs. K..., we're Red's parents." You would have thought I'd said, "Hi, our son's the leper in your class." The teacher cast her eyes down, her wrist went limp, and she hurriedly dismissed us to go talk with someone else. I had to grab back her attention to ask her about music lessons. I'd been wanting Red to learn guitar. "That's probably not a good idea, Red needs all the time he can get to work on his regular subjects. Guitar would be a distraction."

I had barely made it to the car as my eyes welled up. I felt like complete shit. I thought if one hour in this school made me feel like this, what was 6 hours a day doing to my 10 year old son! That is when I made the determination to get my son out of there, and teach him myself. I couldn't possibly do any worse.

Thank the Internet gods, that I came across some very helpful people who got the ball rolling for me. I actually enrolled Red in a public cyber-charter school. The first week was frentic. But little by little we made a lot of progress. I saw that spark come back to my child's eyes.

The next year, AJ joined us at home. Homeschooling proved to be quite a good formula for him as well.

Fast forward 5 years later, and I've got two happy, intelligent boys working to their fullest potential. They're not geniuses. I'm not into trying to prove anything to anyone else. What they are are independent free-thinkers. They're both talented musicians as well.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Some Random Thoughts

I try to teach my children to be proactive, thing long term, and to delay gratification. The fact that I have not learned to successfully implement these ideals has not escaped me. I'm trying to teach my children all the things my parents never taught me. My parents did not talk to me like a person. They talked to me like I was a silly, annoying child.

It's important to worry. But it's fruitless to worry about the little things. There are real things to worry about in this world, global warming, people's declining ability to think for themselves, and children starving in the world while Americans stuff Big Macs into their mouths.

I realize that I am judgemental. Anyone who tells you they are not judgmental is lying. We all judge, whether we use Judeo-Christian morals, or humanist ethics, we still judge. As I get older, I feel I am getting more open minded. I try to understand people, by questioning what they think or believe and why. If they become offended by this, perhaps it's because they have no good answers. Or, maybe our society is just screwed up, because we can talk behind other's backs, say "yes", when we mean "no", "no" when we mean "yes", & tell little white lies, but we can't speak our minds without getting people upset.

By the way, people that do speak their minds, do get their feelings hurt too. They're no tougher than anyone else. They just have this profound need for honestly and openness. If someone is honest and open with you, take it as a compliment. It means she trusts you enough to expose her inner ego, and that your response will be kind even when you think she's a bit off.

Don't assume...ask, at least then you can make an accurate determination if someone is being an asshole or not. Sarcasm is all in good fun, till someone gets hurt.

Love, love everyone. We are all connected in some way. When we hurt others, we hurt ourselves, rather than releasing our own inner hurts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Personal Statement

I am weird. I will not even try to deny it. Crazy, yes, I am crazy too. I've already been to the therapist, and I'm already on medication, so if you don't like the finished result, there's nothing I can do about it.

I am a momma bear. I can tolerate a lot of bullshit, but not when it comes to my kids. If you mess with my kids, watch out!
My kids are homeschooled. This does not mean that I think instiutionalized schooling is bad or evil. It means I believe that all the world's educational opportunities do not come in a box. I don't think my kids are geniuses, but I do think they are special.
And by the way, I am not a Fundamentalist Christian, in case you haven't figured that out already.

I am bisexual. This means I am attracted to men and women at a 50/50 ratio, not that I want to boink 100% of the population.

My husband waits on me hand and foot. He's also one of those rare guys that loves taking care of his woman, and with respect. He had some really good raw potential when I met him, and after 20 years, I've molded myself something quite useful. He's mine; you can't have him, so get over it!

I love cats. When I was a kid I wanted a cat so badly. My mom didn't. She said when I grew up, I could have 10 cats if I wanted. I settled for 5.

It is my goal to contribute 4 more free-thinkers into this world. I see more and more parents doing the same. I was hoping I'd see some balance between free-thinkers, and followers within my lifetime, but that Duggar woman just won't stop.

I do daycare in my home. I fell into this occupation by accident when my friend finally started catching up with me, and spat out some babies. Don't ever let anyone tell you that working moms aren't raising their kids. My friend works her ass off, and then does a whole 'nother shift at home. She has also made the oh so wise child raising decision of allowing me to help her.

Kids are wasting their time reading vocabulary workbooks. They should all just listen to Metallica, instead. The literacy rates in America would skyrocket.

As my kids get older, nothing is staying cleaner. The handprints on the wall are just getting higher, and the dirty shoe marks on the carpet are getting longer.
18 year old children are way harder to parent than 2 year olds. They've got the same mindset, but adult legal rights.

I am an atheist. It's not that I have anything against gods, but I don't have the time to worship them. With so many potential gods in the world throughout history, it wouldn't be fair to worship just one, and snub the others.

Dark chocolate is what I call foreplay.

Debating is fun. It's a great way to vent frustration, and force yourself to learn.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AJ's Trip to the Hospital

I've really been slacking off here. Ever since I found Cafemom, that's all I do. Mainly I debate with people. Anyway, about 4 weeks ago, my baby, AJ had an appendicitis. Of course he needed an emergency appendectomy.

Being that I was in denial when the doctor told me to take AJ to the emergency room, I drove to the closest one, Central M. Medical Center, not thinking that my son would need to stay in the hospital, and that they had no children's ward.

So the doctor came in, and let me know he thought he was capable of cutting open an almost 12 year old boy, pulling out a piece, and sewing him back up. I watched them wheel away my little boy. Dr. Mohamed, the anesthesiologist, assured me, she would take care of him. The surgery didn't take long at all. The recovery-now that's another story.

I stayed with AJ in his hosptial room for 4 nights, and only took a few quick trips home. I was afraid to leave him alone, because apparently, CM Hospital thinks it's perfectly OK to let a strange man go into your child's room, your child who is laying there almost naked, immobile, and shot full of morphine. This is supposed to be OK, because this man is volunteer clergy, even though I clearly stated that I am not religious.

It's a very strange experience, suddenly having to take your 11 year old son to the bathroom, spoon feed him, and wash him. It was like having a new baby again, only this one was really cranky, and yelled at me.

AJ's healed up nicely now. He only has a tiny scar. He's back to his old self, granstanding on stage at the School of Rock, belting out Nirvana, and rocking his drums.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Am a Proud Atheist

I am not an atheist because I am mad at God.
To be mad, I'd have to believe first.
Just because I am an atheist doesn't mean I'm immoral.
I just don't have your morals, or feel the need to push mine on anyone else.
I'm not an atheist because I am too lazy to go to church.
That's just one of the perks.
I will not stop being an atheist because you show me pictures of babies, flowers, and rainbows,
any more than you will stop being a believer if I show you a picture of a rabid dog, a bunch of thistles, or a massive flood that's killed thousands.
You do not need to feel sorry for me because I am an atheist.
I do not feel sorry for you for fearing God.
My life is not empty because I don't have faith.
My life is full because I have knowledge.
I do not have to prove that there is no God.
The burden of proof should lie on the one claiming something she can't see exists.
I should not believe in God, just in case...
There is a lot to lose if one puts faith in false hope.
I will not waste time waiting for heaven.
I will live my life to the fullest here and now, and try to make the world a better place.
When I say I respect your beliefs, and your right to practice them, I really mean it,
unlike some believers who will always think of people like me as doomed.
If you ask me why I do not believe in God,
I will ask you why you only believe in one god, and not all the others that could exist.
When you say there are no atheists in foxholes,
I say there are, and they're wishing that people could stop using faith as a reason to hate each other.
When you say "Only God can judge.",
I find it convienient that you and God always agree with each other.
When you use isolated Bible verses to prove your points,
I wonder why when I take isolated verses out of the Bible to prove mine, they're meaningless because they're "out of context"
When you ignore past atrocities in the name of the Bible as being the result of misinterpretation,
then I have to wonder how do you know it's not being misinterpreted now?
If you think I'll enjoy all your faith filled journal messages,
then please enjoy my message.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

In two more days I will be 39 years old. Thirty-nine years old! This is it, I'm reaching the pinnacle of the hill! This is my last year to fool myself into thinking I'm still young.

I really am quite young, relatively. I am much younger than many of my children's friend's parents. Guess that's something.

I don't feel like I'm pushing 40, but when I look in the mirror I am becoming less and less shocked by a line around my eye, or a gray hair poking out of my head. My husband says I don't have these, but I do.

I have devised a plan to cheat middle age, though. I have decided to live to 100, so for me middle age is still 10 years away!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What About Socialization?

If you're a fellow homeschooling parent, I'm sure you've gotten the question, "What about their socialization?" You could be standing in the middle of a party while your offspring are running around organizing a game of capture the flag, and they'll still say it! You could be at scouts, or music lessons, and you still get it!

So here are 10 answers to that inevitable question:

1. Socila-what? What are you talking about?

2. Well I am having a lot of trouble with shooting the spitballs, but we've got the noogies down.

3. Jesus and the Saints are all the socialization my kids need; the Lord said so.

4. Funny you should ask, my husband and I each took one kid and formed our own little cliques the other day! He's got "jocks"; I've got "goths".

5. Yes, I am very worried. Could you please have your little Joey come over and explain to my kids why Crazy Bones are so important to be buying all the time. My kids keep wasting their money on things like guitars, and recording equipment!

6. Now that you mention it, my son was saying how hard it is to get your son to play with him, what with all the school, the bus rides, homework...

7. Hey did I tell you my 15 year old was just picked to be a student assistant at his music school because his leadership skills exceeded those of the 16-18 year olds?

8. It's no problem, we got that new book, "Socialization for Dummies". Want to borrow it when we're done?

9. I put an ad up at the library to find other 11 year old kids to come to my house once a week and sit in chairs for an hour, and then I let them talk for 5 minutes.

10. They're not in homeschool to socialize! Oh, wait a minute, silly me! That's "You're not in school to socialize!"

Do you spend every day like this in the real world?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What's Going On?

I haven't posted for over a week, so this is what's been going on:

My boys were in a presentation of Pink Floyd's The Wall 3 weeks ago.

Last week DH and I went to Lancaster and made an attempt at a romantic weekend.

This past Saturday the boys were in a Best of Season show with two of their songs from "The Wall".

On Sunday one of the other music school families had an awesome pool party.

Oh, and I got a haircut.

I've been scrambling to get portfolios ready, trying to beat the heat, and keep order with the "borrowed babies".

Today everyone was just awesome. We packed everyone up, and went to the orthodontist. Everyone was very well behaved, and I only got spit up on in public a little. Afterward, we went to Toys R Us to find a ride on toy for Gio. His birthday was last week. He's officially 3!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Portfolio Time

"Enthralled with To Kill a Mockingbird"

We're wrapping up our school year here, and scrambling to put together portfolios to show the school district that we don't just sit around here listening to metal music, and blowing bubbles all day.

Homeschooling is a life style. It's not a classroom at the kitchen table where the kids sit for 6 hours a day. Oh no! Still sometimes I think maybe were not doing enough, and that my kids' porfolios are going to look something like this:

Reading- Does Guitar Magazine, or Ripley's Believe it or Not count?

Math- Lily had 2 dozen eggs. Red made 2-2 egg omelets this week, the 2 babies had 1 scrambled egg every morning this week for breakfast, except for on Wednesday when Gio stayed home. Lily made pancakes on Tuesday, which call for 1 egg per batch. The family ate two batches of pancakes on Tuesday. Dad made each of the 4 kids English muffin, egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches on Friday, and ate 2 himself. What happened to all the orange juice? I bought 3 freakin gallons of it this week!!

History- No, I do not remember the moon landing. I was in my crib sucking a bottle at the time.

Science- If AJ and the cat both jump off the roof at the same time, and AJ is wearing sneakers, and the cat is barefoot, but has a tail which creates more drag, who is more likely to break a leg?

Grammar- For the hundred-millionth time Blase and I want to take the train downtown.

Art? Oh god no, Jac, you can't draw on your sister's forehead with markers!!!

Gym- Why am I not in school officer? I am! The skateboard? Can't you see I'm doing PE?

Foreign language- "Dude", "Ghetto", "Whack"-common Wiggerese phrases.

Health- You damn well better not be sneaking out in the middle of the night and drinking, Cissy, or I'll knock you out!

Home Ec- How many times do I have to tell you to fold your g-damn laundry and get it off my couch, Lee?!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

One Fish Two Fish, Creek Fish, New Fish

AJ: Mom, I got a fish from the creek.

Mom: Put it back it'll die.

AJ: I've had it in a bowl for 3 days; it won't die.

Mom: Well it's gonna die; put the poor thing back

10 months later

AJ: Mom, I gotta 'nother fish.

Mom: From where?

AJ: From Mikey; he got 10 for a dollar.

Mom: Well don't put it in the same bowl as the other fish; they'll fight

AJ: I put them both in the big aquarium (the 10 gallon one in the laundry room that once held ever multiplying gerbils)

Mom: Why'd you put them in there? You have to have a filter in that big aquarium. You can't keep dumping the water out and re-filling it. They'll be dead in 2 days
2 days later

Issac the creek fish and Marvin the goldfish are happily swimming around in a 10 gallon aquarium, that we'd better go get a filter for.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Those Sexy Clothes

My husband thinks everything is sexy on me. Almost every day, he asks why I am wearing my "sexy" underwear, when he's going off to work.
I look down and say, "Why are these my sexy underwear?"

"Because they're red"

or "pink",or "black",
or "have hearts on them",
or "lace",
or "cherries",
or "stripes....."

One time my husband saw me at work at "Big Box Mart". I was bending over the counter scanning something at the cash register. Now he won't stop talking about me in my tan shorts and red vest.

Every day, my husband talks about how my ass looks in "those jeans"
or "those shorts"
or "those capris"

I wear nightgowns to bed, the "granny" type, and he thinks they're sexy "because they have buttons at the top." (so they can be unbuttoned and he can play with my breast)

All my shirts apparently "accentuate my shoulders"
or "breasts"
or "back"

If I actually wear something that most guys think is sexy, say a little black dress and heels, I'll be wearing his hands on my ass half the night too.

Honestly, some day I'm actually going to get a burlap sac to see if he says that's sexy!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is an incurable disease which affects the digestive tract. My daughter, Lee, has the most severe form of the disease. Her entire digestive tract's been affected, from ulcers in her mouth, down her esophogus, to her stomach, and throughout her intestines.

As with many Crohn's patients, my daughter also suffers from fistulas. Fistulas are large ulcers that bore their way into the tissue surrounding the rectum. Sometimes these fisulas cause abscesses. Lee has had 4 surgeries to drain such abscesses. Actually, I should say "to begin drainage", because they continue to drain for weeks afterward, which is very unpleasant.

Lee was getting Remicade infusions, which were working well. She had a dramatic decrease in symptoms for months. Unfortunately, during the last Remicade infusion, Lee had an allergic reaction, and stopped breathing. So she can't do any more treatments for a while, if ever again.

Lee's last hospitalization was due to a severe inflamation in her intestines. She was put on steriods for this, which bloat her up, and cause aggitation, and other nasty side affects.

So this is where we're at now. So, can you blame a mother for wanting to protect her daughter? Can you blame a mother for reasoning that maybe her daughter isn't thinking clearly with her insides turning to mush, and strong drugs coursing through her, and making her miserable?

Mothers have to make tough choices sometimes.

Update on My Daughter

My daughter, Lee, if moving back into our home this week. She seems very relieved. This will take a lot of pressure off of her. Now she'll be able to get her driver's licence, finish school, and find a better job. Actually all she seems to care about right now is redecorating the room she's going into.

Those that comment that I will drive her away don't know my family. We are very tight. And anyone who thinks my daughter has low self-esteem, doesn't know my daughter. Her thing is control. She, like so many other members of our family, likes to be in control. Consequently, she is drawn to weak people that she can dominate. I believe she needed an "out". I don't think she wanted the whole live-in boyfriend package, but she also doesn't want to lose her guy. She can still see him without living with him.

Lee got a little off track with her illness. She needs to get her confidence back and face her challenges, not run away from them. I think she is seeing that now.

Why do people who don't even know our family think I don't know how to handle my own daughter? I was a very young mother, and got married at 19, and my mother tried to stop me. I know very well how strong willed children can be. This is why I know what I'm doing.

Besides, who's going to have to pay doctor bills if my daughter gets sick? Her dad and I will! She won't be able to pay, and it's not like I'm going to just watch my daughter waste away.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Jac & Gio Under the Tree

Hey Baby, sure is nice here under this tree!
How about a little kiss?

How dare you! Don't even think about it, Mister!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And What About the Children?

I do sincerely believe that children are not given enough time these days to just daydream. Daydreaming is undervalued. In a society where new parents scramble to make geniuses out of their kids with Baby Einstein videos, and designer toys that were drafted by some developmental scientist in Sweden, one has to wonder how we as a society survived and flourished for so long on nothing but a rattle and our fists.

Really, some of our greatest thinkers and inventors were bored off their cloth-diapered asses as children. They were left alone for hours while parents toiled in fields, homes, and factories with not much for entertainment but the world at large around them. It was their world, all they knew existed, so they figured they'd better make the most of it.

By the way, I didn't mean to imply that these innovators' parents were negligent and physically left them unattended to fend for themselves. What I meant was that they weren't shuttling Jr. Genius around to Gymboree. They weren't plopping them in a musical chair that buzzed and lit up in front of a 60 inch big screen with surround sound so they could watch dancing shapes announcing themselves to soporific tunes. Parents were too busy then to obsess over their children's cognitive development, and thankfully great thinkers and ponderers flourished.

Oh I know parents mean well, and they want to do what's best for their children. I probably would have been drawn to those brightly-colored, whimsical playthings when my kids were little. Fortuitously this childhood consumer conundrum did not launch until after my youngest was already toddling around bashing his head in trying to keep up with his brother and sisters.

Furthermore, I am all for safety. I was quite the safety Nazi when my kids were little, but really a helmet on a tricycle? If your toddler has the ability to drive that vehicle fast enough to crash and cause a serious head-trauma, and you can't keep up with her, maybe she shouldn't be let out of the house!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You've Got to Have Friends

Why is it that most men maintain ties with the same buds for decades, and women let their friendships slip away into oblivian? There's college, the boyfriends, the husbands, kids, careers. They all put little roadblocks up on the highway of friendship, or at the very least some serious detours.

So your childhood pals, and highschool homegirls are gone; what do you do now? Where does an adult woman make friends? If you're a mom, you could try making friends with other moms. Might work, might not, might work for a while till one of the moms goes back to work, moves away, or starts dating the wrong guy, and you can't stand to see where she's headed.

Sometimes friends turn around and come back to you. You bump into each other at a concert, or you two have a mutal friend that reunites you. Time goes on, everything's great, and then the reason you lost touch in the first place rears it's ugly head, and once again, she's gone.

Women tend to come with an awful lot of drama too. You don't see men carrying on the way women do about being "soooo busy....", or ignoring their friends because they are making asses of themselves. No, men just say, "Hey, come over my freakin' house already, bring the kid with you." or "Hey dude, you're making an ass out of yourself; knock it off!"

Women also let some more serious things errode their friendships. One is infertile for years, while the other pops out baby after baby, year after year. Another is constantly dieting, while the other is trying on new bikinis. The marriage of one presents years of increasing bliss, while another's crumbles. One gets sick, and the other doesn't know what to say.
Whatever it is that makes it so hard for we women to make and keep friends, we need to knock it off, maybe even (gulp) take a lesson from the men. We need each other. We should be sharing our joys and woes, kicking back and getting silly drunk together, or even.........what?.......oh never mind. The point is love your friends, be open to the possibility of the treasure that lies within a new friend. Make time for your friends, because that is making time for yourself, truely indeed. That is recognizing that individual part of yourself that is not "mom", "wife", "Director of Human Resources", that is just you being you, and someone else appreciating it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I Must Be Doing Something Right

Wednesday night, I couldn't muster up the effort to make dinner. It was getting late. I was bummed because my husband, Randy, got called in to meet a customer at his part time job. As if 2 nights this week weren't enough to miss him, now we we were on our third in a row.

So, my two boys and I headed out the door and drove up the highway and into the "country" to this nice diner nearby Randy's job. We popped in, said "hi", found out his customer hadn't come in yet, and proceeded on to dinner at the diner.

The Rayanne diner is seperated into two rooms. One has a counter and booths, the other small tables of 4 all lined up in rows. This is not the place to go if you want an intimate dinner. We were seated right in the middle of a very crowded dining room full of seniors, families, and assorted "regular looking" folk.

Now it's always an adventure taking my sons out. They're not exactly the quietest kids. You think it's something taking toddlers out to a restaurant? The toddlers would be staring at my kids, maybe wishing they'd sit still, eat their dinner, and lower their voices.

Picture my two sons. "Big Red", as he's been dubbed in his crowd is 15, as tall as me and still growing, has a shock of long, curly red hair, and a comical demeanor. My little guy, AJ, who's 11, tries to keep up with his brother. He can upstage him sometimes, but usually comes across as the typical annoying little brother. AJ also has long hair, but it's mostly wavy/straight, and blond. Both my sons are real lookers- if I do say so myself. You just have to ignore that their hair is seldom combed well, they're often wearing ripped or spotty clothes. (Because those feel the best.) Also, as far as Big Red is concerned, the only color shirt one needs is black, as in a black concert shirt of a heavy metal genre. I don't know which one I like better-the Slayer shirt with the big Pentagram, or the Metallica shirt with the skulls.

I get a little self-conscious sometimes when I'm in a place like Rayanne Dinner-a place frequented by Mennonites and other conservative people. It's smack-dab in the middle of Mennonite country. I tell my sons to be discreet, lower their voices, watch what they say. Usually, we are quite liberal in the lack of censorship of our children's rhetoric. Big Red and AJ were doing their typical impersonations which are a combination of their friend's Bi-Polar dad, Big Red's former guitar teacher, and....

the two boys in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure?

Big Red, especially regaled me with the most hilarious stories which are something straight out of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, or The Sandlot. "You should really write all this down, Red; it's great material for a story". The stories are mostly of a PG-13 nature, and at that I am getting nervous that we may offend some of the other diner patrons.

Then I stopped worrying, enjoyed my children's zany conversations, and relaxed because all of a sudden I realized....

My 11 & 15 year old sons are babbling on to me-their mother! They were sharing their lives with me, as most boys that age would not. They knew I'd laugh, reprimand them, say motherly words to temper their musings, but they kept on chattering away. So we enjoyed our meal, and if we offended anyone sitting nearby, I'm sure we also made some other people chuckle. It wouldn't be the first time. More than once I've had a little old lady pass my table, and tell me what wonderful children I have. And if a little old lady can look at two long-haired, boisterous-yea, sometimes obnoxious boys wearing ripped pants, & black shirts with skulls and Pentagrams, and tell me how nice they are....

then I must be doing something right!

Friday, April 20, 2007


It seems like a lifetime ago-someone else's lifetime. The memories are not of me, but of someone else that I hovered over, observing, knowing the wrongness of it all. Even way back, before the blowout, I do not know that person. The memories are there, they're my memories, but I was a different being. Fractions of myself presented themselves, but the personage was irrational, with a fight-or-flight nature.

And Randy, who was Randy? He was my protector. He infantilized me, sheltered me from the trappings of adulthood. A mother-but not an adult, that's what I was. I didn't have to fill the car with gas, or pay bills, or do taxes. He enjoyed taking care of me, that's what he always said, and I, in my cynisim saw it as his way of controlling me. As long as I was dependent on Randy, I could never abandon him, the way his mother had so many times. And he-he let me mold him and control him in little ways, as he knew was my need.

As time grew on, my life became entangled in a relentless barrage of adversity. Motivation was not the problem, not at first anyway. No, it was the lack of inate ability to figure out what was the right thing to do in each drastic situation, and then do it. Of course, I think most people would lack those abilites traveling down my thorny path. That is when Randy slipped away, or was maybe pushed away. He could not relieve the pain I was going through, and could not quell his own demons.

That person, that incompetent, disjointed, hurt soul in me imploded. She died; she died of pain. Randy, shell-shocked, rose valiantly, taking charge for both of us. Led like a little child, by the hand, he resurrected that good part of me. We both were reborn. Then the toil began to become not what we were before the hurting time, but the mature loving couple we'd imagined we'd be way back in our genesis. And too, we fashioned new minds, hearts, and lips. Our minds were the minds of wisdom. Our hearts beacons to each other and our brood. Our lips became the passageway to freedom, whether they expressed passion or pain.

What do I do with the ashes of my doppelganger, whose memories I must contain? Can I wish them away into the wind? Or rather, should I keep them close as a reminder? I intern them to the deepest recesses of my being, for they can not be discarded.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wistfully Removing the Wallpaper

I moved to my current home in the Philadelphia Suburbs in 2000. That summer I had wallpaper hung in my dining room, and the matching border in my living room. There was also paper hung in the front hall, upstairs hall, and stairwell. I got a great deal on the paper; I was working at a wallpaper store at the time. The wallpaper hanger was expensive, but he did a flawless job. My beautiful rooms gave me great pleasure-for 3 days.
It started at the top of the stairs, sheets of paper were just peeling right off the wall. Could this be the heat causing this? To my horror, there was nothing wrong with the paper, or the installation of that paper, but with the origninal builder's paint from 1972. I was to find out later, that all of my neighbors had the same thing happen to them. The paper peeled off and took every layer of paint ever on the wall with it, down to the drywall.
So with great sadness, I had the worst taken care of immediately. The hallways and stairwells were stripped and redone. I was in denial about the dining room, as it still looked perfectly sound. Woefully, I watched as every time the heat swelled or grew very cold splits appeared in the seams of the wallpaper. Resentfully, I explained the situation to every visitor in my home that told me to just "Get some seam repair." Having worked in a wallpaper store, I was well aware of the existence and use of seam repair, but seam repair does not hold down 30 years of paint with vinyl wallpaper on top.

Finally the other day, I broke down and started pullling the paper off the wall. It was spontaneous, as most of my projects are. It started with vacuuming the dining room. I reached down and just pulled off a very loose piece. In about an hour, I had most of the facing of the paper off and had scraped off quite a bit of the old paint.

So now I am scraping the rest, which is just the paper backing, and agonizing over my loss. I still LOVE the pattern on that paper. York still makes it, but not in the cheery yellow I had selected. I'm not going to choose another color because A. My living room is bright yellow, and thank goodness, that border is still in tact & B. I bought a lovely yellow, red, and green couch, amazed that I had even found that color combination in a couch.

What's going up now? A mural. I couldn't find any paper I liked nearly half as much as what I had, so I went in a different direction. It's a quaint view of a Tuscan villa. People will probably think it's cheesy. I am afraid that I've run amok with the wallpaper and borders, but that's what happens when you sell wallpaper at 3 different stores in 6 years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Are the Women Doing the Laundry or the Men?

You know that nostalgic Clorox commerical with the women all doing the laundry? The laundry room changes through the decades as they show great-grandma, then the grandmother, then the mother doing the laundry.

Last night while DH and I were in bed this commercial came on.

"They all did the laundry....maybe even a man or two."

DH: Did they say "a man or two."

Me: Yes, "maybe even a man or two."

DH: "They couldn't have said that!"

Me: "That's exactly what they said."

DH: "The moms *did* a man or two?!"

Me: "You perve! They meant maybe a man or two did the laundry, aside from all those women who had to do it!" "They weren't talking about the women doing a man or two!"

DH: "Well I don't see how that statement could be taken any other way."

Me: (Turning over and rolling eyes in the dark), "That's how your mind works."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Piggy Movie = Moment of Silence

"PIGGY MOVIE!!!, PIG-GEEEE MOVIEEEE!!!!" G is hysterical, Jac is looking at me tentatively, binky in mouth, as if to say, "I'm good, just put on the stupid piggy movie if that's what he wants, as long as I get some quiet." I expeditiously scan the room for the VHS cassette of Babe. Most of my children's movies are on VHS. DVD's didn't become popular till my kids were out of the kiddie movie phase. It's still in the VCR, the last VCR we bought, a kid proof VCR that cost $99 and either was built much better than any other we've owned, or is still alive due to the fact that we bought our first DVD player not long after.

Babe is, in my opinion one of the best children's movies ever made-seriously. It is much more digestable than most of the crap Disney's churned out.

I blanket the moppets down one more time, and plead with them to stay laying down. I rush back to Jules to finish off her bottle. Wistfully I pray to the sleep gods to lull everyone under 3 into a short coma so I can monitor Holden Caulfield's Algebra.

"Why don't you let me just do it by myself, and then check it when I'm done?"

"Because if you do it wrong, you'll have to start all over."

We compromise; I watch HC do two practice excercises correctly, and release him to his room to finish.

Baby Jules, tanked full of milk is slipped into her portable baby swing, and rocks blissfully to sleep.

Now here I am, crashed in front of the computer-my lifeline-my sanity, enjoying these few moments of quiet, and debating on whether it's wrong to eat a yogurt, after the hash brown, Toaster Strudel, and 3 cups of coffee I've had this morning. Guess I should go for something more substantial, but that would take more effort.

Well, can't have nanny mom passing out, so I'm going to try and eat something decent now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

For Pete's Sake

My dear husband is seeing a therapist. I've been after him for years to go, but he had a major distrust of mental health services. Actually, Randy has trust issues in general, which is one of the reasons he's seeing a therapist.

So, today, Randy's therapist started Gestalt Therapy with DH. The therapist had Randy make up a name for the side of himself that causes conflict. Randy named his alter-ego Pete. Then Randy conversed with Pete. The conversation went something like this:

Randy: Pete, we need to talk. You've been causing a lot of problems between Lily and me. You're holding on to things that I've let go of, putting negative thoughts in my head.

Pete: Hey buddy, I've always been there for you; I've gotten you through a lot of bad times.

Randy: I know you have, Pete, and I still feel like I need you sometimes, but as far as Lily goes, I need you to back off a little.

And so on and so forth.

Personally, I think I have a word or two for Pete.

I think this Gestalt Therapy is a good thing. Randy has obviously found a good therapist. Many of the therapists I've been to did little more than just sit there and have me talk on and on. When Randy is done with this guy, I think I'll give it a go. There's still some unresolved issues I could deal with.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gio Likes to Push Buttons

I'm not used to this anymore. Little Gio keeps pushing the buttons on the TV, VCR, phone, computer, anything he can find.

Gio is also trying to push my husband's "buttons". It's taken 4 short days at my house for Gio's personality to appear. Gio is taunting my husband. First he took Randy's chair when he left the room, and proudly thumped his chest saying, "My chair." Then, since that wasn't enough, he stands next to me and says, "My girl." He's got the most devilish look on his face.

He really is a sweet kid, though.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Good School District Part 2-The Journey to Homeschooling

After a year of rangling, and a less than encouraging IEP meeting, Red was on his way to another new school. Red rode 45 minutes each way. He was in a mixed class of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, all with different DX's, lables, prescriptions, what have you...

Red was a "part-time" special ed student. Now let me explain to you what a P/T sped. student means. When the SD designed an IEP for my son that said my child would be in regular ed for 50% of his school week, I failed to realize that lunch, gym, music, and art would count toward that 50%. By the second or so month of school, it was recommended that Red do half of his science in his special ed class, after a few more months, they wanted him in there for math. Seems "regular ed" teachers don't have much patience for "special" kids.

To remind you dear reader, my son was in Emotional Support, because the lunk heads that evaluated my son found no prescence of any LD's. So, my son was with a potpourri of "interesting" children. One liked to sing lowly in class all day. Another liked to play hide and seek while changing classes. Others like to just constantly question the teacher out loud, at any given moment. My son must have been the star of the class, because he got a 20/20 on his behavior chart almost every day of 4th grade.

The teacher of the ES class my son was in was a dear, sweet, and probably gay gentleman named Mr. T. Mr. T was supposed to be my son's teacher for 3 years, basically the rest of elementary school. But no, the good old "Superior Suburban School District" had other plans. Seems they felt that it would be a good idea to move my son's ES class to another school, without their teacher, and cordially invited us to go "take a tour" to meet the principal and see the school. Oh, by the way, this generous invitation was sent out THE VERY LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. Nothing like being wacked with that kind of news right before summer vacation.

In case you aren't good with math, the change for the ES class meant that my son would be in his 3rd new school in as many years. I fought. I met with other angry parents. I called the newspaper. But what was I thinking; I'm merely just a tax paying parent.

To be continued again.....

My Monday with 3 Babies

" Borrowed Baby III" arrived yesterday. It's a boy, roughly 2o some pounds I guess. Gio will be 3 next month. He likes "cool cars" (Hot Wheels). He has an affectionate side; he spent a great deal of the day cozying up to Jules and giving her kisses on the head. Gio can hold his own in toy disputes. He likes to dance. He also has no problem making himself right at home.Yesterday was a really chaotic day for me. I had forgotten what happens when one puts two 2 year olds together! I'd say I handled things well, though, especially considering I had to strap the two 2 year olds, and the 3 month old into their car seats and take them to the orthodontist with Red. Instead of spending my lunch hour writing on the computer and chatting it up with Randy, I was scrambling to get everyone fed, changed, and ready to go out for Red's appointment. I anticipated the two 2's would take a nap by the time we got back home. They had other plans. By the time everyone left for the day, all I could do was zone for 15 minutes, then off to Big Box Mart for a 6 hour shift. I spent most of the night hiding behind my computer at work.

I learned something yesterday. I learned that 2 year old achondroplasic dwarf children can not be picked up the same way as average sized, typically proportionate 2 year olds. I went to pick Gio up, and his head started to dive. I hadn't realized how top-heavy he was! The center of gravity is entirely different. I've been picking up small children for years, so it really caught me off guard. Luckily I swung backwards and didn't drop the poor little guy on his head. Hmmm....I think there may be a physics lesson there.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Borrowed Baby Three

We've got a new baby. He's coming on Monday. 2 1/2 year old Gio was referred to me through Lee. He'll be here 4 days a week. He came over yesterday to meet us. He was a little shy at first. Then AJ pulled out the Hot Wheels cars and he started to warm up. Randy also "broke down his barriers", by laying on the floor and rolling a ball to him. By the time the visit was up, the boy didn't want to leave.

Everything is falling into place for our family. Randy's full time job is going well. He also has a Saturday and Monday night job selling used cars. I've got 3 children to take care of during the week for pay. It's a big turn around from this time last year. Being on track financially will be a big step into getting our family unit running smoothly.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Heart on a Sleeve

A heart on a sleeve

is a sensitive thing

It beats

for all the world to see

It bares and breaks

again and again

It aches; it aches

it can not mend

It bleeds; it disturbs

a discomfort to all

Cringes back with the pain

of all it can't solve

It wonders; it ponders

It braces itself

While others are safe

tucked away on a shelf

It waits; it longs

It reaches out

"Is anyone out there?",

one hears it shout.

A heart tucked away

is safe and secure

It hurts no longer

but loves

no more

It withers

and shrinks

away from malaise

The cavernous body

No longer ablaze

Monday, April 2, 2007

A Good School District-The Journey to Homeschooling

My family and I moved out of Philadelphia in 2000. We chose a home in a suburb with a "good school district". Aside from just wanting to get out of the city, we felt that our children, particularly Red needed services that their current parochial school could not provide. We actually moved in October, so I had to drive my 4 children back and forth to school, an hour each way for 3 weeks.

One child was in middle school from 8-3. Two were in elementary school from 9-3:30. And one went to kindergarten at the same elementary school from 9-12 noon. At the time, I was working two nights a week, and the weekends, so things were completely crazy. It's not easy packing up for a family of 6 to move, while shuttling children an hour away to school. I stayed up in my new neighborhood all day, since I didn't feel like driving 4 hours a day. After 3 weeks, I knew where the mall, libraries, fast food joints, and convience stores all were.

Now back to the subject of the "good school district". Well, this was my first experience with public schools, aside from nursery school & kindergarten. It was a big transition for everyone. My children's elementary school seemed quaint with it's small size. The teachers all seemed nice. Everything seemed great for the first few weeks.

It didn't take long before Red's 3rd grade teacher was handing me assignments that Red had not finished during the 5 hours he'd spent in her classroom. Having anticipated that my son might need some intervention, I asked for an evaluation. Red had been DX'd with ADHD, and had an evaluation done back in nursery school. To make a long story short, Red's 3rd grade teacher delayed the evaluation quite a bit playing tricks, because she didn't want her classroom being observed. Why is this? Red's 3rd grade teacher was that teacher that every school has one of, the teacher that's so bad that parents put in requests to not have their children in that class.

It took all school year till we finally got our evaulation and IEP meeting. An IEP is an individual education plan. Well, I don't know what yardstick they used to measure my son, because according to their evaluation, my son did not have a learning disability, so he must have an emotional problem. They thereupon referred him to emotional support, which they did not offer at his current elementary school.

To be continued....

Friday, March 30, 2007

Rescuing a Cardinal

Friday night after dinner, Randy and I suddenly hear "shrieking". It's one of the first signs of spring, Dog-Cat has caught something. We both got up to head outside & see what Dog-Cat had got a hold of, but we didn't have to go far.

Dog-Cat had brought his prey in the house.

It was a cardinal, a young one, probably just out of the nest. It was in his mouth flapping it's poor defenseless wings like crazy. Dog-Cat ran under the table and hunkered down so Randy couldn't snatch his prize. I reached down, grabbed Dog-Cat's tail, because I didn't know what else to do, and he let go.

The liberated cardinal started frantically flying around my living room, trying to get out. Poor thing tried to fly through my living room window-SMACK! I yelled for AJ to put the cats in the basement, as Randy and I scurried to open windows and doors, so the stunned fledgling could fly to freedom. It didn't take long; we herded the bird toward the door, and out he/she flew.

I can just see poor little cardinal back at the nest chirping, "You won't believe what happened to me!"

Ode to the Q-Mart

Someone invited me to go to the Q-Mart recently to buy fruit. Q-Mart is a big indoor/outdoor flea-market. There are food & produce stands, and all sorts of "flea-markety" things for sale. As I looked around the Q-Mart, I realized that I was standing in a white trash mecca. Now I'm not judging, afterall, I was in the Q-mart on a Friday night, so how cool am I?

So here as my ode to the Q-Mart is my top 10 list of white-trashy/flea-markety items.

1. Lamps with dolphin figurines, and fiber optic sprays of water
2. Tie-Dyed, large T-Shirts with really sexy, weeping Native American women on them
3. Life-sized porcelin dolls that look like scary children
4. Embroidered sweatshirts that say "World's Best Mom-Mom" on them
5. Boxes of cereal which were pulled off regular supermarket shelves because they are expired (DH swears it tastes fine)
6. Airbrushed car plates that say, "Joe & Mary" forever
7. Those metaly, swirly, thingies that are supposed to hang on a porch
8. Stuffed white cats, made with-real cat hair?
9. "Gold" ID tags
10. Anything with an angel

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Paused Today

I paused today for just a moment

a moment of stillness

from my hectic world

I heard the windchimes at my door

tinkling in the breeze

I felt the softness of my comfy couch

and the smoothness of the baby's cheek

smelled her sweet baby head

and the aroma of spring

I saw a boy absorbed in a book

and a little girl engaged in blocks

I sipped my warm coffee and thought

Life is good

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm Not Good With Ghosts

Yes, that's right; I'm not good with ghosts. This is because I get very attached to people, too attached for my own good. It's just too painful for me to let go of people, so I don't. Yes, I know how "psycho" this is. It's clingy, neurotic, maybe even "stalkerish". It can't be helped, once my complicated mind connects with another person's mind, the bond is hard for me to break, no matter how big the chasm in the relationship. What can I say? It's not that often that I click with someone in the first place!

This is why I know the wherabouts of, and have general information about what's going on in the lives of every person I've had any sort of close relationship with (It's a really short list, so it's not that incredible) I'd explain this further, but then I'd have to kill you.

Anyways, I can handle the whole "Lets be friends" thing. Shoot, I can handle "Let's be enemies." I could even handle, "Lily, would you just go fuck off, already!"

But I can not handle ghosts, people that just slip away for no apparent reason, or explanation, or without letting me explain myself. I have an intense fear about this. I could speculate on what's caused this fear. There's the best friend that dated my brother, broke up with him, and then stopped talking to me. And of course there's the fact that the same brother died very suddenly in a car accident, and disappeared from my life forever. But, whatever it is, the lingering memory of a person who brought joy to my life at one time or another, is just too hard to shake.

So you ghosts out there, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, can you try and work things out with me? I am extremely forgiving and non-judgemental. I'm big on recycling, rather than "dumping".

If not, could ya'll just be meaner? Could you just say, "Hey Lily, you're a fucking psycho. I don't like you, and I don't know why I ever did. Go away, crawl in a hole, and die!",

....if it wouldn't be too much trouble.

And yes, I am on medication, and I have seen a therapist!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Typical Day

I start my day at 6:15 a.m. I creep downstairs and open the door to greet a dad with 2 babies. The 2 year old, goddess bless her, goes down in a crib and right to sleep. The 2 month old sometimes goes back to sleep, and sometimes performs an intermittent performance of whines, snorts, and spit-ups for the next 2 hours.

At 8, I call out to my boys to get up, eat, and do whatever they have to do to get ready for homeschooling. I drink my coffee, flip through channels and find TV still sucks. But it wakes me up.

At 9, I either grab a bottle for the baby, or my younger son and his Pre-Algebra book, depending on who is ready to be serviced. Sometimes I'm doing both at once. Formula stinks, expecially when it's coming back out of the baby. I change the baby, pat her down, and lay her in a seat. I call up to Red and ask what he's doing. "Reading." OK, I'm tired and too busy, so I trust him.

At 10 Jac wakes up. I change her, dress her, and give her breakfast, which she can eat herself with not too much mess. Then I start language arts with the boys, if they're ready.

At noon Randy comes home and makes everyone lunch on most days, bless his heart. Then we sit in the "teachers' lounge" (the living room, which is off limits till 1).

The afternoon is Algebra, and History, and sometimes we get a little more in. Jac goes back down for a nap at 2 or so and usually sleeps till dad comes to get her at 3:30. Jules gets another bottle at 1, spits up 3, 4, or 5 times, and might sleep here and there for 15 minutes at a time.

At 3:30 both BB's leave. I dismiss my sons, who I've been struggling with to keep focused, and let them go off on their own.

Sometime between 4 and 4:30 I get ready for work. I put on some makeup, because if I don't my face will turn all red when my allergies start acting up at work. I do something with my hair to look presentable. Last, I throw together something to eat at work.

DH cooks dinner for us almost every night, and does Science and Spelling with the boys twice a week.

I start work at Big Box Mart at 5PM. I work till 11. My job is to sell window treatments and wallpaper, cut window treatments, downstock merchandise, check previous sales, and run around the store filling in where needed. The store closes at 10, but I've got to stay till 11 and clean up. It doesn't matter if my department is clean. If it is, I'm to move on to another department. Cleaning my department consists of vacuuming out the blind cutting machine, sweeping, dusting, taking out the trash, and "fronting and facing" the merchandise. I also have to tape back boxes and stuff curtains back into packages that rude people have opened. By this point, I've been standing on a concrete floor for the better part of 6 hours; I'm dirty, sweaty, and my head is buzzing.

I go home, eat something, clean up, and watch TV till I fall asleep, which is usually about 12:30-1am.

I do all this 3 days a week. I also sometimes drive my daughter to work, or go to a doctor's appointment, which is really a lot of fun with 2 babies that have to be accounted for.

On the nights I don't work, I'm usually vegging out in front of the computer to clear out my head.

I'm just trying to tough this out till June. The babies won't be here in the summer, because their mom is a teacher. (This woman has a hell of a day, getting 3 kids out the door, working with special needs kids in wheelchairs that wear diapers and have to be spoon fed, and then feeding, changing, bathing, and getting her own kids to sleep which is no easy task.)

I figure I'll work as much as I can at Big Box Mart during the summer, and then quit in the fall. Hopefully, between my DH and I, we can save enough money to buy carpet for the 4 bedrooms before I quit.

If I've gotten through my day with no major catastrophes, and I know where everyone is, I count that as a good day.