Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The 7 similarities between IVF and Halloween

What do in-vitro fertilization (test tube babies) and Halloween have in common?

1. Dead bodies are everywhere.


2. The attire is scary.



3. Everything is shrouded in fog.

4. Both are detrimental to children.


5. They give sodomites easy access to children.


6. No pastor preaches against either one.

......hellooooo............helloooooo.............is anybody out theeeeeereeee.......

7. Pastor Anderson has preached against both.

The 7 sins of Halloween
The 7 sins of IVF

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hill-Billy

Just in time for Halloween, we found the following scary image...

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I think the only way to improve on this is to add Bush senior and Bush junior to the picture. After all, they are getting ready to continue to the Bush-Clinton dynasty that is about to go into its 6th term. Why have the same two families been in power for 20 years (soon 24)? I heard that they are actually even closely related just a couple of generations back. Spooky.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Ephesians 6:12

How to get a break

Here are tricks for Moms who desperately need a break. All tried and true!

1. Grab something to read, and lock yourself into the bathroom.

Turn on the fan so you don't hear any fighting, tattling, phone, etc. Obviously, if you have a baby, make sure s/he is in a safe place first. Even just 15 minutes of quiet time can do a lot for your morale. I enjoy reading baby magazines that are always being sent to me for free for a good laugh. The parenting advice in them is just so hilarious, plus all of a sudden my kids look like angels. ("What to do if your 6 year old likes to bite", "How to potty-train your 1st grader", etc.) The magazines always go in the trash the same day I get them, but I do enjoy reading them for comic relief in the meantime.

2. Send all the kids to go clean their room(s)

Even if they never pick up a single thing, they will suddenly play very contently with their toys because it beats having to clean up, and the last thing they want to do is draw attention by being loud and obnoxious. Of course, when you have had your break, you still need to follow through and make them clean up, or else they will never do it when you tell them to.

3. Take a nap

Little ones can be made to lie down with you (that way you can make sure they are lying down still and not getting into stuff), older kids can be told that if they don't play very quietly (i.e. puzzles) they will have to lie down, too.

4. Make them take a nap

In our house, everyone 4 and under must take a nap every day. No discussions about it. Older kids are supposed to do their schoolwork and Bible memorization quietly in the toyroom or schoolroom.

Disclaimer: None of our babies is ever put down for a nap and left to "cry it out". If I take a nap, it's at the same time as the baby is sleeping. Once kids get to be around 1 year old and understand that they are supposed to lie down quietly and sleep, they are punished if they get up or cry. Never really had much of an issue with that, though, because they lie down together and don't get to feeling lonely.

5. Get up early or stay up late for some alone time

I guess that's why I am writing this at 12:21 AM...

6. Dump the kids on your husband for a little while

My husband is VERY absentminded, so this works great. I can actually pass the baby off to him and he won't even notice most of the time. Then a couple minutes later I casually ask him to check the baby's diaper, and alas, it's dirty - what a surprise! While he is absentmindedly changing the diaper, I notice that I need to run to the store for x and I dash out the door, not to return for about an hour or more. Of course the house will be tore apart by the time I get back, because the kids also know that Daddy is in a world of his own and doesn't notice them pulling out every off-limits item in the house. But they are always all still alive, and I have had an hour of free time.

7. Send everyone to their room(s)

Tell them they may not come out until you call them. Don't use this too often or too long.

8. Take the kids to the playground

If the weather is not nice, you could go to a mall with a play land, or a library that has a play area. Keep an eye on the kids while you sit back and relax with something to read, enjoy a special treat, or talk on the phone with a friend.

9. Get used to the chaos, and learn to tune it out

The house can only get so messy. Rather than focusing on the temporal (housework), focus on things with eternal values, like winning the heart of your children by building strong relationships with them.

And what not to do...

- Plop the kids in front of the TV.
- Eat yourself sick from stress.
- Get a baby-sitter.
- Send them to school.
- Scream at them to be quiet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gremmer anyone?

Given the fact that English is my third language, it never ceases to amaze me how many people misspell the most commonly used words. My all time favorites are

their = "belonging to them"
they're = "they are"
there = "not here, but over there"

and

we're = "we are"
were = past tense of "are"

or

you're = "you are"
your = "belonging to you"

I am almost getting used to seeing these words being used interchangeably. For example, the company that delivers our bottled water recently sent us a letter informing us "You're monthly water bill is going up" and "We have never before raised you're rate." They went on to use "you're" instead of "your" about 4 or 5 times. It may seem like a dumb thing to even notice, but after all I am trusting these people to provide me with pure water and they don't even know the first thing about grammar. Maybe they don't know how to read a water test, either?

There seems to be similar confusion over the correct usage of the letter "s" at the end of a word. Correctly, one would add "s" to a word to make it plural (duck->ducks), " 's " to show that something belongs to someone (Mike -> Mike's), and only " ' " to show that something belongs to a plural word that already ends with the letter s (parents -> my parents' car).

Having said all that, I always find it amusing to browse craigslist.org for some bargains and coming across funny misspellings. Who really wants to buy a "dubble brest pump"? Or how about some maternity "cloths" - are they intended to be draped over the bulging midsection? I wonder if a "Whinnie the Pooh" walker makes children more prone to whining. When we were looking for a second fridge a couple of months ago I knew to search for "refridgerator" instead of "refrigerator", since the misspelling is used almost universally. On and on the list goes.

Notice I have not mentioned anything about punctuation, correct verb tenses, or anything else that one would expect to learn in elementary school.

My only question is why almost $1,400 of our property taxes this year went to the public schools in this city, or why according to their own figures the public schools in this state spend about $ 8,000 to $ 12,000 a year on each student, depending on how many they can diagnose with ADHD or another bogus disorder, thus categorize them as disabled and collect more funds.

Kids today may not learn spelling anymore, but many are able to work a DVD player or flip through their favorite channels almost as soon as they can crawl over to the family altar the entertainment center. Many adults can't spell properly, but most probably know off the top of their head how many inches their TV measures, and how much the newer and bigger TV costs that they wish they had.

And homeschooling is considered weird...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our weekend

We had a wonderful weekend with some of our favorite visitors. Friends of ours who live out of state were traveling through town and stopped here from Thursday night until this morning (Monday). They just had their first baby a few weeks ago, and we very much enjoyed getting to meet him. Of course, it made Miriam look huge by comparison. On Saturday our church organized a surprise baby shower for my friend and her little boy, and we all had a great time. They have visited here many times so it almost feels like they are part of our church.

Also, my husband's grandma who lives in Tucson, AZ, came to visit us over the weekend. She is the sweetest little lady, and she always has lots of funny and interesting stories. It was just great.

Today of course it was time to get back to our normal routine. I am so thankful that I am married to a man who will happily work 60+ hours a week (in addition to pastoring) in order for me to be able to stay home with our children. It was so much fun doing school work with them all today. In science, Isaac was listening in when I asked Solomon where animals get their food. Isaac piped up and loudly exclaimed: "The feed store!" They were all really very sweet today. I wonder whether the person last week who sent us a hate-filled e-mail with the subject line "stop breeding" over 100 times within less than an hour (until I blocked the sender) understands anything about the joy of having children.

Miriam's cut above her lip is healing very well. It is already looking much better than in these pictures, which were taken a few days ago.



Here she is with John and Isaac:


All four, from left to right: John, Solomon, Isaac, and Miriam


Thursday, October 18, 2007

What a week!

The last several days have not been the best. Here's a laundry list of all my little gripes.

I have been up every night working until midnight or later. In case you didn't know, I work from home as a translator for an agency in Chicago. The work is freelance, and it's entirely done from home. Basically, I translate documents (mostly medical articles) from German into English, and e-mail the finished document back to the agency. I only ever work at night after all the kids are sleeping. Honestly, I love this job, which is the only reason why I do it - my wonderful husband provides very well for us and I absolutely don't "need" to work for the money. I enjoy feeling like I am not only "Mommy", but also an adult with professional interests. Having said that, I have been kind of overwhelmed with work because I hate to say "no" when they need me.

Then two days ago Miriam decided to cruise along the bed, but unfortunately she slipped and hit the metal bed frame with her face. She slumped face down on the carpet in the "silent scream", and when I scooped her up and turned her to face me I saw blood gushing everywhere. My stomach turned and it was all I could do to **calmly** send Solomon for the ice pack (he watched the whole thing happen and was terrified). I had to blow into the poor baby's face several times to stop her from passing out (a trick I learned a few kids ago), all while trying to stop the bleeding, apply the ice, and assess the situation. Miriam basically had a 1 inch cut between her upper lip and her nose that was bleeding very heavily. I knew the ER wasn't an option since I was home alone with four kids, one of which had just woken up from his nap and wasn't even remotely dressed to rush out the door. I figured it would take me close to an hour to get ready and to the hospital (evening rush hour), all the while Miriam screaming in the car seat - surely that would make the wound worse. But I didn't want to call an ambulance out for this, either. What if they would whisk her off in that without me? I doubt they let 4 extra people ride along in the back. So there I sat on the bed wondering what to do. Thankfully, the bleeding quickly subsided, and I was able to see that the wound was long, but not deep, and that it was not gaping open very much at all. At first I debated going to the urgent care down the street for stitches, but when I called them they said that it would leave an ugly scar. I called my midwife for advice and she said to just give her some arnica. Of course, with 3 boys in the house that get hurt a lot, we are always out of that. But by now Miriam was smiling and giggling so I decided to run down to the health food store. I had just barely pulled out of the driveway when my "low tire pressure" light came on. Noooo! Thankfully I had quarters on me. So I pulled into the next gas station and started to fill the flat back tire with air. At that point, my skirt ripped along the side seam. To make a long story short, I eventually made it to the store and back, got the poor girl all fixed up, and all was well.

The next day, yesterday, my midwife informed me (in a very kind and loving way) that she was moving out of country and would no longer be able to attend my births. If you have never had a home birth with a midwife, you will not understand how traumatic this was to me. I felt like a good friend of mine had just died. I went to bed in tears, and am still just heartbroken about this today.

Right now, it is 1:30 AM. I have an appointment at 8:30 AM later today. Let's see, that's 7 hours from now, so I figure with getting ready and feeding everyone breakfast I'll get about 5 hours of sleep.

But even after the worst of days, I go to bed at night and find all of our children snuggled up to each other. Suddenly, my problems are so small, because I still have the most important part of my life right there with me. Almost every single night I think about how many mothers had to go to bed tonight after just losing a child, and I feel like the luckiest person in the entire world. Because I really am.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A little history quiz

Below are six quotations to test the political and historical knowledge. If you don't know the answer, make your best guess.

Be sure to answer all the questions before looking at the answers below.

Who said it?

1) "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
A. Karl Marx
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Joseph Stalin
D. None of the above

2) "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by
the few, and for the few...... And to replace it with shared responsibility for
shared prosperity."
A. Lenin
B. Mussolini
C. Idi Amin
D. None of the Above

3) "(We) ...can't just let business as usual go on, and that means
something has to be taken away from some people."
A. Nikita Khrushchev
B. Josef Goebbels
C. Boris Yeltsin
D. None of the above

4) "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give
up a little bit of their own ... in order to create this common ground."
A. Mao Tse Tung
B. Hugo Chavez
C. Kim Jong Il
D. None of the above

5) "I certainly think the free-market has failed."
A. Karl Marx
B. Lenin
C. Molotov
D. None of the above

6) "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most
profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched."
A. Pinochet
B. Milosevic
C. Saddam Hussein
D. None of the above


Scroll down for answers






Answers

(1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/29/2004 at a Fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer in San Francisco. Washington Post.

(2) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 5/29/2007 in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire. Boston.com.

(3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007 on The Sojourners Political Forum on CNN's The Situation Room. CNN.

(4) D. None of the abo ve. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007 on The Sojourners Political Forum on CNN's The Situation Room. CNN.

(5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007 on The Sojourners Political Forum on CNN's The Situation Room. CNN.

(6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 9/2/2005 in a speech in Syracuse, NY. Washington Post.


"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." - Isaiah 3:12

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cruisin' for a bruisin'

Miriam is no longer content to just crawl on the floor. After all, she has been doing that for one whole week now. Instead she decided to move on to cruising along the furniture. When you have tile floors, that is not a good idea. But she's learning fast and is getting better at catching herself, and also at calling for me when she thinks she is about to fall over. I'm usually right there to scoop her up at the last second. That, in turn, has made her more confident to not hold on to anything at all and stand there by herself completely unsupported, which is even more nerve-wrecking.

The look on her face in this first picture reminds me of my Grandma in Germany (Miriam's great-grandmother).






The videos below are VERY POOR quality, and they have no sound. As I said before, my nice new camera got stolen and I have not yet been able to replace it. Christmas is coming soon. (Honey, are you reading this?) Anyway, I figured it's better than nothing.






From what I have observed so far, girls are smarter, learn faster, and have better motor and verbal skills. BUT it comes at a very steep price of being opinionated, stubborn, and fussy. And she likes her Daddy more than me, at least most of the time.

Below is a picture of the three boys, taken today at the zoo. I heard several people exclaiming: "Oh, look, triplets!" One lady asked if they were triplets, to which I replied: "Yes, they are, they were just born 2 years apart each." She had a hard time believing that they were NOT triplets. It never ceases to amaze me how people don't notice the difference in height and appearance. But it's fun to get the comments.


By the way, that is NOT a necklace around John's neck. It's his cowboy string-tie that he insisted on wearing today in spite of it clashing with the rest of his outfit.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This week's update

Miriam can crawl perfectly now. She's fast, too. I worry about the tile being too hard on her little knees. She gets hurt a lot because she likes to pull herself up to standing using a chair or other piece of furniture, and then sooner or later she slips and hits the ground hard. It's nice that I can now leave her in the playroom with the boys watching her while I get some work done.

Here she is playing with Legos:



We just returned from another (short) trip to Southern California. We left after church on Sunday night and spent Monday at Legoland with Aunt Lisa. On Tuesday the kids and I stayed at the hotel while Daddy was out working. We went hiking on a trail that passed by right behind the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon doing schoolwork. We drove home that evening and got back to Phoenix a little after midnight.


We found this hitching post along the trail by a picnic area.

Mom survey

A dear friend of mine sent me this survey, and I thought I would post it on here to let everyone in on it.

1. How long have you been a mom?

Six years and 2 weeks if you start when our oldest son was born. But I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding or BOTH for six years and 9 months.

2. How many kids call you mommy?

three boys and one girl

3. When you were pregnant did you know what you were having?

Solomon: yes; Isaac: yes; John: no; Miriam: wanted to, but couldn't tell

4. How old were you when you became a mommy? 22

5. How long were you in labor?

Solomon, Isaac: about 12 hours; John: about 8 hours; Miriam: 24 hours (but only a couple of hours of "hard labor")

6. What's your favorite thing about being a mommy?

Going to bed at night with all my children cuddled up around me and my husband. I could lie there for hours just listening to them breathe and thinking about them.

7. What's your least favorite thing?

Noise. Dirt. Messes. Errands. Spanking. Laundry.

8. Do you want more kids?

As many as I can.

9. Have you ever taken your kid(s) on a trip?

Yes, we like to travel a lot. The kids and I have been to Germany three times. Plus, we have moved half-way across the country twice, which was interesting (to say the least).

10. How many times have you been peed on?

I have three boys. Any questions?

11. How many times have you been thrown up on?

Not that many. Solomon threw up on Isaac once when he got sick in bed, and Isaac did not like that at all. It was kind of funny to see his reaction, though.

12. Is (are) your kid(s) named after someone?

Bible names. Miriam's middle name Elisabeth is after my mother.

13. When is the last time you had a sitter (daddies aren't sitters by the way)?

Years ago. We never leave our kids with anyone any more ever.

14. When your kid gets in trouble, who is the bad guy?

Either one of us.

16. One thing you will not give up just because you're a mom?

Some semblance of order and normalcy.

17. One thing you did give up now that you're a mom?

Any kind of personal time.

18. Favorite kid show?

Our kids have never watched TV.

19. Favorite Snack:

Kozy Shack rice pudding, fruit, string cheese, goldfish

20. When the kid(s) are napping, you are?

Napping, doing laundry, teaching Solomon and/or Isaac, cooking, or cleaning. Most days I do a little of all those.

21. Where is/are your kid(s) now?

All sound asleep. Ahhh...

22. If I could do it over, I'd do this differently:

Have had Solomon born at home and not have had him vaccinated.

23. Did you breastfeed or bottle?

Breastfeeding only. I never even buy any bottles or formula. When the kids start solids, I teach them how to drink from a regular cup or through a straw (water and juice only). The kids are weaned around 20 months or so.

24. What are your children's current obsessions?

They change daily. Legos are still a favorite with all of them. Solomon loves pretending to be different animals, Isaac pretends to be a fire fighter, and John loves to drag all his toys around with him wherever he goes.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

How to have a clean house...

... in spite of your family.

- Put trash cans in every single room of the house.

- Put a hamper for dirty laundry in every bedroom and bathroom.

- Have a place for EVERYTHING, and put it there.

- Be merciless when it comes to de-cluttering. If you haven't used it in more than a few weeks, or if it's been broken and sitting around waiting to be fixed - toss it (or donate if someone else may want to use it). Obviously, there are a few exceptions to this since some items are only used around certain holidays, e.g. cookie cutters etc.

- Before buying anything, ask yourself: "Where will I keep this at home?" If you can't think of a place for it, don't get it.

- Use a little time here and there throughout the week to work on a drawer, shelf, or other small area that is getting out of control, rather than waiting to have an entire day to "clean the shed/garage/bedroom". Chances are the time will never come, and if it does, you will be too overwhelmed and discouraged to actually do it.

- Don't give in to the urge to leave the house just to escape the mess at home. You won't like it any more when you get back. Instead, clean one area and feel good about it.

- Have a strict policy when it comes to your children's toys, and enforce it. In our house, the rule is that outside toys must stay outside, inside toys must stay inside, and that no toys are allowed in the kitchen, living room, and dining room.

- Teach your children from an early age to clean up their own room. If they are old enough to take the toy out, they are old enough to be taught to put it back in its place. Provide lots of storage bins, and preferably label them. Many small bins for sorting are much better than one or two large toy boxes, since every child always wants the toy in the very bottom and will dump the whole thing out. For little ones that are too young to read, you can print clip-art images of various toys on index cards and glue them to the respective bins. Be patient, and praise them if they clean up without being told to do so.

- Avoid letting small, cheap toys into the house in the first place. The type that comes in a happy meal, or that you buy at the dollar store. They only ever seem to end up broken on the floor.

- Enlist the help of your children from early on. Teaching them takes time and effort, but it is an investment that will pay off.

- Try to keep the area that visitors see clean and tidy throughout the day. It will make them feel comfortable and welcome. Nobody said you have to show them your bedroom closet.

- Once the kids are down for the night, spend a half hour or so cleaning and tidying without any interruptions. Everyone loves waking up to a nice house.

- Give up trying to reform your husband. If his Mom didn't manage to teach him, you won't either. But think about it: Would you rather live with someone who always drops his laundry right in front of the hamper, or with a clean freak who is obsessed with making sure there is not a speck of dust anywhere?

Of course, these are just a few suggestions. You can find helpful books on how to de-clutter and organize your home at the library. The more members your family has, the more organized you will need to be, but you will also have more helpers. Making your house a relaxing, comfortable home is a great opportunity to show your family how much you love them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bumps and bites

Poor John has had a very rough week.

It started on Saturday when he cracked his head open on the bathroom sink right about the time we needed to leave for the church picnic. He came tumbling out of the bathroom in the "silent scream" (i.e. screaming so hard that he couldn't even take a breath), with blood running down his back and neck. Apparently, he had been jumping on the toilet, slipped, and hit the edge of the sink with the back of his head, right on a vein. The cut was close to 1 inch wide and gaping open, with the injured vein bulging and bleeding. Thankfully, I was able to get him to breathe by blowing in his face, so at least he didn't pass out. Then, I laid his head face-down in my lap and applied pressure. After a couple of minutes, I cut the hair in the area, cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide, put some goldenseal powder on the wound, and applied a butterfly closure. It didn't hold very well, so I put gauze on top and secured it with a bandage around his head. Poor John was very mellow for the next couple of days, but seems to be recovering just fine. The wound is already looking a lot smaller. I wonder how many thousands I saved by not going to the emergency room for a small stitch and some pain killers.





Then yesterday morning I noticed a big red bump on John's cheek when he first got up in the morning. I checked to see if it was a spider bite (the two characteristic bite holes), but it was too swelled to see. Then today he woke up with that whole side of his face swelled up, a black eye, and sure enough - an obvious mark from a spider bite. My guess is that it was a "wolf spider". I have been bit by them several times and it looked just like that. It swells and itches for several days and then goes away. At least it wasn't a brown recluse or a black widow, we have a lot of both around here. I noticed he also had been bit on one of his fingers, which was swelled to twice its size and was itching a lot. We will be getting the house treated for spiders this week.



Through all this, John has kept a great attitude and is happy and friendly as usual. What a little beam of sunshine he is! The picture below was taken BEFORE any of this happened.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Solomon's birthday

Solomon turned 6 a few days ago. For his birthday, I made his favorite breakfast - palacsinta (a Hungarian version of crepes). For lunch he wanted some "real American food" so we went to our favorite hot dog restaurant in downtown Tempe by the university.

His main gift from us was a "Darda" race track set. My brothers and I used to love playing with this when we were kids. He also got a cotton candy machine, some pj's that I sowed for him from fabric he had picked out, and some other small toys.









His birthday party was on Sunday afternoon; the theme was "Legos". We had everything Lego: invitations, games, ice cubes, decorations (fun Lego facts up on the walls), and party favors (candy that looked just like Lego bricks). I even tried to make the cake look like a Lego brick but I am terrible at frosting cakes and it came out looking a little rough.

Below are some pictures.







Of course, no birthday party seems to be complete without the guest of honor getting sick in the middle of the night from overdoing the candy, cake, ice cream, and sodas. At 2 AM, we woke to the all-too-familiar sound of a child being sick in bed, and had to clean the huge mess. Ah well, birthdays only come once a year, and we had so much fun at the party.