Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Things

Or, things that should be old by now but are new for me. And , no I am not talking about any new technology. Though speaking of technology, for some reason blogger is not talking to my One Drive, and I am really not interested in sorting out any more petty squabbles and digging into 'he hit me first' stories that can, and do continue for days. So I'm going to ignore it until they sort it out themselves. Sadly, the internet is the loser as I can't post cute pictures of my super cute kids. But no pictures does not preclude me from poking the keyboard for a bit, as I actually have a few minutes  before somebody draws blood and I have to clean it up before the stain sets.(Hydrogen peroxide for all your children's activities. Works on urine too.)

Fiona is napping so I was going to read more of Fr Spitzer's book, but the 'atmosphere' is not conducive to thinking so I figured I could let the gelatinous gibberish that is my brain's offspring lately coagulate here for a bit instead. My apologies. Especially since I can't make it up to you with a (Fi)cture.

I really don't know how other moms find time to write. Or eat. Or brush their hair. I have yet to find a way to facilitate any independent, as in just me, activity that does not necessitate copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or new wall board. Or toilet seats.

Speaking of toilets, Shane, who was consoling a naked Malachi as he was pining for his brother's tape measure,   just leapt off the couch and exclaimed,

"What is that on your finger?!" Then proceeded to have the couch and  his, Shane's, pants sniff tested to make sure 'that' was not anywhere else. It wasn't. We, or rather Shane, scrubbed Muffin's hands and put a diaper on him. Apparently, he had used the toilet (yeah!) but still needs some help in the clean-up department.

I just stayed back and watched the whole event. I had been typing for three minutes so I figured some catastrophe was bound to happen any minute. It's not so bad when you can look at such events as a disinterested third party. Or highly entertained by it because its always fun to see people freak out about what you spend most of your day dealing with.  Not that Shane freaked out. He's used to it by now.

It also helps if you do get called in for the clean up. Yesterday I decided to get a jump on the clean up and went out to buy new toilet seats. (Sorry for the toilet-themed post. That's just a consequence of having little boys.) Also a consequence of said boys having difficulties trying to pee in that microscopic basin that keeps moving all over the room just as you lock on to it. Every visit to the bathroom is a like new game of Asteroids. So off to the hardware store I went to try to restore some decency to the bathroom. (You are welcome.)

I had no idea there would be so many choices in the toilet seat department. Also, I had absolutely no idea they made some with built in night lights! Seriously? I don't need another thing to keep supplies with batteries.  Of course I took a picture to show Shane.

 His response was,

"Really? That's so cool! Did you get one?"

Needless to say I did not get anything that would encourage more nighttime activity. Or boys guzzling gallons of water before bed to increase their trips in the dark. Just like 'free' time, sleep is a highly valuable and scarce commodity these days. But maybe I'll remember when it comes time to fill Shane's stocking.

He's earned it this year. Especially for taking care of the poo finger.

I was going to share our academic plans for this year but this post has taken me 5 hours, as many cups of coffee, twice as many diaper changes (for the kids), and  every other sentence I get questions like 'what's for dinner?' 'do you know where my book is?' 'what's the air speed of an unladen swallow?'

In a nut shell we are doing less. I signed the kids up for lots of classes and the week before we were to start I cancelled them all. Except two. The little kids are continuing piano, and as this is Audrey's last year for Drama and Trudy offered to take her to that, we kept that as well. But nothing early in the morning!

I can't believe I didn't so it sooner. As in years ago. It takes so much energy to leave the house with all, or even some, of the kids. And even though Shane's mom has been doing the driving most of the last couple years, it is still an effort to make sure everyone is up and breakfasted and has TWO shoes in the morning. Matching was optional. Plus, I was realizing that outside classes were taking up all the schooling energy I had and leaving us with nothing for the work I would like to be doing with the kids.

Add to that two toddlers, dentist appointments, grocery shopping, and occasional doctor appointments, I'm swamped. As energy is scarcer and scarcer these days and ignoring that fact turns me into exhausted,grumpy, none-fun mom, I finally felt it was time to speak up.

I brought it up to Shane a week before we were to start, bracing my self for the talk I had given myself every time I felt overwhelmed, and honestly, scared, by it all. He listened and then said,

"OK. I do think we need a more family centered and directed school year , not focused or restricted by what classes are available. And something that will not suck all your energy. Let's do it."

None of the,

'oh come on. Don't be such a wimp! My mom's been doing all the driving any way so its not really any effort on your part. This is what we are supposed to be doing now, for the kids.'     Which is what I had been expecting.

So the next day, I joyfully wrote cancellation checks to all the teachers and only had to rip up three of the five, for clerical errors. not sure if it was just the fact I had to write so many numbers that tripped me up or if I was just excited to be unsigning up for the stress that would have accompanied all the classes. Plus, knowing I would not have to do all the tuition checks again in a month was pretty exhilarating.   Either way, every time I realized it was not going to happen I was thrilled and over the next week felt more and more assured we were doing the right thing, planning the activities and subjects we would be doing instead. Shane felt the same way, so I must be right. And the first day of nonclasses while the other mom's were scrambling to get kids in cars and diaper bags and lunch bags packed, I was still in my pajamas drinking coffee. Not because I was being lazy but because we had the crappiest night of sleep we'd had in a long time with both babies waking up just before midnight and not going down again until 2:30am. But the entire time Kateri and I were tending to the babies , Shane still had work in the morning so I thoughtfully did not bug him, all I could think and rejoice about was the fact I didn't have to drag all the kids out of bed in a few hours.

I had always felt resentful of the schedule I had forced us into in years past. I felt a tension between what the baby(ies) needed and what participating in the kids' classes required i.e. being away from home all day. Camping out in the car for hours. Coming home exhausted at dinner time with no energy to cook or clean. Finally recovering just as the next week started. Looking back at those years I  think what an idiot I was. Or maybe that is just the Now Me imagining doing it. Maybe the Then Me did have more energy and a bigger brain. Definitely had better hair.

My definition of homeschooling has definitely evolved over the years. And I am sure it will continue to do so. Right now our plan feels a comfortable fit for the family. I'll share some more details on curriculum etc later. Shane took the kids outside to play so I want to use the time to get dinner going and if the post got any longer I think we would all die of boredom.

Oh, look at that! Shane, the peace broker, finally got things talking to other things, resulting in my being able to post a picture. This was from last week. My dad's sister, Sister Judit, was here visiting for a short time and we got to host her for lunch. She is a nun with the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart ofJesus  (see if you can spot her). She was previously in Hungary and before that Taiwan so it was great to see her here again. Now she is in California, they get sent wherever there is a dire need, so hopefully there will be more opportunities to see her.


Thursday, September 10, 2015


....just because its how its been done for years doesn't mean it's the best.

I thought the story of the girl making a roast for her mom was great illustration of this. The girl invites her mom over and decides to make a roast for dinner. Her mom is watching as the daughter takes out the roast and readies it for the oven. The girl takes a knife, slices off an inch from each end, and throws the scraps in the garbage.

Bewildered, the mom asks,

" Why are  you wasting good meat?"

Having seen her mom make roasts over the years, the bewildered daughter answers,

"Because that's how YOU always made roasts!"

To which the mother responds,

"Yes, but I only did that because my roasting pan was too small."

Speaking of Tradition, capital T, there has been a lot of buzz about Pope Francis' visit to the US, with people trying to predict what he will do and say to try and get with the 'in' crowd and modernize the 2000 year old behemoth of a Church. As if it needs to be turned   into a place where people can do whatever they feel like and still pretend to be part of the Catholic Church. Because, if not, someone might be offended  or feel excluded, or heaven help us, think about it and change their behavior. Why change yourself  when you can just re-write the Ten Commandments? Oh, that's so much better. Its so refreshing to be unfettered by the  Truth, given by, you know, God HIMSELF, and which the martyrs have been dying for years to protect and hand down to people foundering and struggling to find their way as best they can in this crazy world.

Yes, lets just rearrange the directions on our compass and see where it gets us. Well, spoiler alert, but guess what? IT'S NOT HAPPENING!

Here's the deal. There is Truth. If you accept It and promise to live by It to the best of your abilities, welcome to the Catholic Church! If instead, you would like pick and choose your favorites or throw out your non-favorites and continue to live like it's all optional, welcome to the 30,000 and growing other denominations. If you can't find one that's just right for you, don't fret. You can start your own.

 You cannot change Truth to fit your liking, comfort level, or wedding plans.

Abortion?- Killing is still  a no-no.

Contraception?- See above. Along with the teaching on sexuality, fertility, and people are not to be (ab)used as recreational, or occasionally useful means to whatever end I think will make me happy at this particular moment, but which has, in reality lead to a mutual disrespect for women and men, a devaluing of children, and the disintegration of the family. Happiness? Not so much.  Heartache, misery, abandonment, lack of respect and de-humanization of everyone? Just read the news.

There is a lot of confusion about freedom these days. In most people's minds freedom means freedom from. Freedom from responsibility, restrictions, morals, ethics, standards, and pretty much anything a person doesn't like or want to do. Sounds like a 2-year-old's fantasy playland. But, also like a 2 year old with no boundaries,  there are serious consequences. For society and the individual. And despite all the shiny rhetoric and glossy promises, you will be  a slave to so many masters you can't tell up from down. But you are free, man. To be yourself. In all your self-indulgent, self-destructive, egocentric ways. But someday you can get all upset about immigrants not having a place to go to escape real abuse. Like someone trying to KILL them. So, you know. You care. Obviously. And you can relate. Totally.

Perceived slights remedied with misguided  charity is all the rage these days. With disastrous effects.

If you need help figuring out what/how your testicles/ovaries were created for there is help. 'Gender reassigning', sterilization, putting on new clothes, demanding people call you by a different pronoun depending on your mood and a host of other 'solutions' will not help you understand who you and your place in the universe . Sex/sexuality is huge. So huge in fact, there are rules around it. To protect the person. The persons. And the person who might exist as a result. It cannot be manipulated without disastrous outcomes. That is how BIG it is. And that is why the perversion and misuse of it is so toxic. To all of humanity and to the struggling individual grappling with the understanding and implementing of their God-given sexuality.

Women wanting to be priests will be disappointed too. Again. As they are every time and always will be. Amen. Not sure if or why this might make it into a family-focused event, but disgruntled women seem to keep trying so it might.

Marriage will not be redefined to 'include' anything and everything attempting to mimic the first God-given sacrament.

Homosexual behavior  will not gain equal status with married behavior. Individuals with homosexual inclinations will be reaffirmed as people, deserving of love, respect, dignity, and their place in the world, as they always have been and just as every other person deserves as well. Also, not sure if/why this topic might try to make an appearance but everyone wants to try and steal the spotlight so it might happen.

Divorce will still be not-an-option. Just to clarify annulment is not Catholic divorce, but a declaration that this never was a marriage in the first place. Maybe one party was already married. Or was planning on not keeping their marital promises before they were even said, lied, to the other.

So I am sure there will be lots of disappointed parties to bemoan the fact that 'The Church hasn't changed in 2,000 years!!!'

And it won't in the next 2,000 years either.

In breaking with some tradition, we've decided to structure our school year a little, or a lot, differently this year. I'm hoping it will allow for more time for focused work at home and more energy for me to facilitate the work. It has already reduced a fair amount of stress felt in former years by the old way of doing things. And was actually suggested by my mom several years go. Slow learner, I guess.

I thought this article on melatonin and MS was super similar to this one, written by yours truly.

See, I wasn't making it up. There may have been lots more published in the past few months, but as my Surface is lately being occupied playing The Croods , or Despicable Me 2, I was not able to see the news feed Shane set up for me to peruse the latest templated articles. Not sure how much of a loss that is. But I'm a big fan of both The Croods (seriously a lot of life lessons  in this one) and Despicable Me 2 (what is NOT funny about yellow twinkles with that make sounds just like my 1 year old and have the same sense of humor as my 2 year old) so in the end I think I got a good deal.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Litany of Fi

It is heartwarming to see how much Malachi dotes on Fiona. At first I was a little sad his infancy ended so quickly, but seeing how he responded to a tiny baby, being not much more than a not so tiny baby himself, the was never any sibling rivalry. I am sure that will develop over time, like as soon as she is the same height, but until then he is the super protective, doting, older brother.

His morning greeting and exclamations upon seeing her have become a bit of a ritual. He sees her and runs over to give her a hug. Then says,

"Baby so cute."

Everyone present responds,

"Yes, baby is so cute."

"Why baby so cute?" Malachi continues.

If the attending persons are distracted by a hot sip of coffee or something and the silence is too long,  he is happy to  nudge them by stating the answer as a question.

"Because God made baby so cute?"

Coffee or other distraction finished, all present repeat:

"Yes. God made baby so cute."

If it is a special Fi(st) day, or if he just wants to use his favorite three letter word, so pretty much every time, he adds:

"WHY God make baby so cute?"

Then because they are all  movable Fi(st) days, there are a variety of appropriate responses. Depending on what cute thing she is doing at the moment.

Then Malachi pats her hair and gives her a kiss. Fiona picks up a f"oam Nerf sword and hits him on the head,  the benediction is concluded, and everyone is dismissed. Due to be repeated whenever Malachi feels moved by the spirit to do so. So every time he sees Fiona. Which we totally get as she is pretty much the cutest thing in the world.

It is refreshing to see how much he adores her, and sort of offsets his more rough (aka pooping on things that are not toilets) side.  We're still working on that. I got him big boy undies and he likes them. Not so much to wear. Yet. And he is pretty scrupulous about making sure the toilet seat is set to HIS seat when he empties the contents of his diaper into it. But it's not a vent so no complaining here. Baby steps.

Speaking of non-baby steps, Fiona  is learning a ton from Malachi, thankfully not the vent trick, yet, and her baby years are already feeling fleeting. It seems every day she is performing a new feat of awesomeness. Climbing up the stair railing? Got it. Opening doors? Thank goodness the doors to the outside were already gated. Climbing up the playset ladder? (I actually nailed that one. With repurposed rabbit cage wire walls to block the escape holes So even though I refer to them as 'the babies,  we really don't have a baby anymore. Which is bittersweet. I thought this really summed up how it feels to watch your babies grow. I am sure when I pack up all her baby clothes I will ache for my stinky Fi at the same time celebrating all her milestones and new found abilities. The 'roll it' part in her 3am pat-a-cake routine gets me every time. I have yet to video tape it, a hazard of not being the First Born, but now that I'm thinking of it and as she is just up from her nap maybe we'll give it a try.

Also, if you haven't, but wanted to enter, leave a comment here to get a chance at winning copy of Fr. Spitzer's new book, Finding True Happiness. I got a few more pages read and am looking forward to reading several uninterrupted, in like 5 years, pages. But so far I really like it and will probably write more about it someday.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happiness and A Book Giveaway!

My apologies for a very  late, very scattered, and very hurried post, but just like the mostly clean shirt Malachi is wearing today, this is the only choice.

I actually started this post the other day, 5 minutes before Fiona decided to start her "I will  now only ever nap for 45 minutes or as long as it takes for mom to decide she will attempt to write and only gets as far a making a latte. Or whichever comes first." It's one of my favorite phases, for sure and is surely just a short segue before  entering the never napping ever phase. My second favorite. But I gave each of the babies a plate of whipped cream and some utensils to play with to their hearts' content or until the whipped cream hits the chandelier. I think the latter will result in the former. And maybe I can hit post before then.

So yes, I said there would be  an opportunity to get an awesome book for free in the next week. And I think its been a sufficient amount of weeks since then.   here is the book. I have not finished reading it yet, for the same reasons the laundry is not done, this post is late, and my hair looks like it does.

(I would like to also point out Shane was gone hiking for a few days last week so things were pretty busy, and when he was home Malachi took his game up like 7 notches which included a bottle of syrup, some coffee, a rug, and some furniture. I was sure I was going to find a waffle and some bacon somewhere, as that would really round out the menu but I guess he couldn't find any. Everything, and everyone, survived and we are back to our version of normal for now.) And on to the book giveaway.

If you  were in the Seattle area some 20+ years ago, wow I feel old, you may have had the opportunity to hear Fr Spitzer, the author of the book,  in person. He taught at Seattle University and it seemed every few months my mom was making us get up at ungodly hours to go to the university to hear him speak on the four levels of happiness. I remember most of his talk, and being really tired, the coffee, and pistachio covered baklava. (So Level One, I know) I was 13, so.... um nothing. But I knew about the other levels. So that was something. I thought.

Fr Spitzer has recently put out a new book, an in-depth look at happiness.  What makes us happy and why? And why does or doesn't the happiness last? And what can we do about it? (For a brief overview of the Four Levels of Happiness go here. ) 
Three more volumes are planned for  future releases covering topics of transcendence, suffering, and evil. I say that because after reading the forward 4 times and going over it with my sister we finally figured the volumes 2, 3,4, all of which have titles and are referenced, are not available yet. I was super confused for a couple days.  But maybe that little bit of information will save someone the brain energy of sorting it out on their own.

 For a chance to win a copy of his book, leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win one.
I'll announce the winner here next Friday. I think I can remember that.

In addition to being a priest, philosopher, theologian, teacher, and astrophysicist he loves people and really wants to share with as many people as he can. He founded the and offers a host of resources available online. If you are interested in science, reason and how it all fits together it's the place to go. Shane has been going through   the Principles&Choices series with the bigger kids  and they finished the Science&God series and all they enjoyed them both quite a bit.

So this is not how I had planned to introduce the book and am not able to really do it justice just now, but if you or anyone you know struggles with happiness, or has difficulty finding purpose and meaning in life take a look at it. And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of the book, for yourself or a friend,  leave a comment.

Also, I have no clue why the font is all changing willy-nilly. Maybe it has something to do with the big whipped cream covered napkin Malachi just launched onto my keyboard. Shane's not home so I'm on my own in that department.    Time to pay the piper and clean up the kitchen. And the kids. And that will make me happy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Always Late To The Party And a heads-up on a giveaway!

So I realized a couple weeks ago that a couple weeks before that was NFP ( Natural Family Planning) awareness week. I'm not entirely sure why it needs a whole week to share the, what seems to be secret formula  1+ 1 = 3. But it lasted all that week. I knew because I  read all kinds of articles written by other people. Interspersed with taking care of our 6 kids. Naturally. And then on the heels of that week came Breastfeeding Awareness Week? Month? Day? I think today is sometime in August. That is about as exact as my day tracking goes. But again I was busy nursing my one year old who is nursing and  teething and wants to nurse more when she is teething. So again I had nothing to say.

Plus the part where Shane was gone and my Surface thinks it is the funniest joke in the world to change pages/windows/houses on me without notifying me first so I can save the three misspelled letters I've managed to force onto the screen with my left hand as I'm trying to nurse the one year old and get enough caffeine in me to make it until Shane returned.

But finally, return he did. And after 4 grueling, tear filled hours of commuting on a Friday afternoon to pick him up, the kids all swore they would never go to the airport again. Even I thought it was pretty bad. The traffic I expected. I did not expect huge swaths of the airport parking lot to be roped off while the happy little electronic sign lied to you saying there were 67 empty stalls on this floor. To which the kids would say 'finally' and we would drive around the roped off area to get to the tiny area which could and already did hold 13 cars could and did hold so it was onto the next floor. Until I finally had it with Fiona's screaming and pulled over to nurse her behind a sea of parked cars whose owners were lucky enough to have not been duped by the earlier promises of green pastures and closer spots and had hightailed it to the top of the garage. And were probably picking up their luggage and passengers already. And stopping for a drink before facing the labyrinthine sojourn home. Which sounded great at that point. But we were not even at that point. Actually at that point I texted Shane and said I would just pick him up outside the baggage claim. Then one of the kids said they needed to pee. Given we'd already been in the car forever I thought it would be best to stretch our legs a bit. So we drove around and around the concrete  snake coils that take you to the next level of hell, while Fiona, not happy with the snack interruption,  added the requisite soundtrack of wailing and gnashing of her 8, soon to be 24 teeth. And we found a spot.

Then elation like only a sea-lost sailor spying land could feel. Or maybe a woman in labor seeing the anesthesiologist about to deliver a syringe of relief might feel. I don't know. I'm sure there is a Natural Childbirth Awareness festival coming up soon. Maybe I'll catch that one. Or not. For sure not.

Shane was waiting for his fish, always waiting for the fish, when the kids spotted him in the terminal. I said hi to the other crew members. Who were hitching rides from another fishermen as one  wife was home with the babies, because- nap time. Wise woman.

Eventually, we finished limping home while Shane told us fish stories and the babies napped so they could stay up all night to celebrate their father's return and when we did, we got to snack on smoked salmon while making baked salmon with soy sauce and brown sugar and frying potatoes to go with it all. And some nice wine. So it was declared a victory and totally worth it by everyone. Though I held back on my pronouncement until after I got my nerves set back to almost normal when I had a hair appointment and  I got to  read the book I've been trying to read for a few weeks. Which is really good and I'll share it here next week and offer a chance to win a free copy because I'd like to give everyone I know or meet a copy or at least make them aware of it.  But I can't. Because, you know. Fish is expensive.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let Them Eat Fish

It has been abysmally hot here. For here. More like winter, if you live in the Sahara. But feels like the Sahara if you live in the Pacific Northwest. So warm we have discussed air conditioning. Twice. On hot, sticky, crabby days it seems the obvious thing to do. Then we have a cool morning and I put off calling an installer to come give a bid, which we already have a good guess as to what it would take as all our neighbors have been getting units installed and have been helpful in sharing information. But not inviting us over for dinner. Fine. But I also have bids for braces needing to be installed for two kids soon as well, and maybe in December there would be less of a rush on getting it installed (its a month-long wait right now) so until we hit the high 80s again I feel complacent with my myriad of fans running 24x7.

After a serious talk, Shane decided to head north, to Alaska. For real. Not to find cooler climes, but hopefully to find fish. He made lamb last week and no one was a fan. I caught the kids making paranoid faces at each other across the table like 'what did I just put in my mouth and how do I get it out without it touching my tongue again?' I was equally unimpressed the wooly flavor teasing my taste buds into rebellion and quietly signaled them to use their napkins to remove the offending source. So we later discussed and thought fish would be a more palatable staple to stock up on. All the kids love fish. We worked out the numbers and flying to Alaska with lodging and fishing trips, then flying home again seemed the most economical option. Depending on his share it might work out to about $300 a lb. Which is a really good deal for salmon these days. The brochure says. Of course there is the emotional cost of having him not home, but winter is coming and he needed to go. So off he went. With a few friends who are also supporting families. Who hopefully like fish.

I, for my part, made a hair appointment for myself, after he returns. And if today goes like yesterday, will need to add a massage for the following week-end. And every week-end for the next 6 weeks. Which I could get behind. And with the money we saved by catching vs buying fish I might extend them for the rest of the year! Thanks Shane!

Fortunately the kids are doing their best to keep me from getting bored. Fiona is continuing her mountaineer, or mountain goat, or Sherpa training. She learns quickly and Malachi has a ton to teach. I think if we get them both schooled in backwoods medicine, that doesn't sound quite right, whatever that's called so they can stitch each other with pine needles and spider webs and set broken limbs we'll be ok. I already had to block off the climbing wall on the play set, but apparently she can now navigate the ladder too. Climbing all the way up the slide was an obvious route to reach the second level which is full of large openings for the other ways-up, which can very quickly become ways-down. So we might have some handy-man work to keep us busy as well.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Now, On A More Serious Note

So I wrote  this after reading the umpteenth article on the latest MS research. They haven't changed much in the past I don't even know how many years. And I thought I'd give it a go. If if you want to try one yourself, it's really easy. Lead in with a catchy promise. (Don't worry, you won't have to deliver anything really substantial or actionable. Or you can even drop the bomb that the research has already proved fruitless if you like, in the last paragraph. Just string them along as for as many paragraphs as you can). Then you have a brief  bit describing the antagonist of your choosing and say how many people are dealing with the chosen malady and the current state of what can/cannot be done for those people. Next, what/how a new discovery was made and the possible implications it might have on future treatments, patients, stock prices etc. Occasionally the entire article can be written/sponsored by a drug company and is really just a long glossy ad. With models.

I do not hold anything against the drug companies, the researchers, or the doctors dealing prescribing the drugs. We're all doing the best we can and have families to feed. I know this is easy for me to say when I am not using my researchers or risking my reputation or entire business on exploring new frontiers of medicine. I'm just asked to risk various parts of my already limping along body and sometimes my life, if I choose to take the offered pills, with no guarantee they will help. Yes, decades of having never-to-be-realized promises dangled in your face can make one a bit cynical so I put it to good use and at least got some entertainment. If anyone wants to take a stab at it and get their satire on I'd be delighted to read your version. Email me or leave a link in the comments.

Sorry to read like a drug ad, but the serious note will have to wait until next time as the baby is up.
At least she delivers as promised.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ha Ha No!

 "Ha, Ha, NO!"
Which in Malachi speak, means whatever you are laughing at is definitely not funny.
Which I thought was a pretty clever use of language, coming from a kid who will readily wear a garbage can on his head, just for ha, ha. Or maybe it was to cover up the fact he was not wearing pants, which in my opinion makes this picture double ha, ha.
It has been unusually hot, not warm, here so diapers are pretty much optional for the babies these days.
The options being 'do I leave my diaper here? Or there?'
It makes for  fun treasure hunts, but it also discourages diaper rashes so we're not too concerned about it.
I had already declared it a big-kid-pool-free summer this year (with two toddlers I was not going to add any stress to our days)  and the heat did not cause me to relent.  Our last pool finally bit the dust so setting it up was not even an option. I did feel sorry for the kids. They were hot and crabby all day and every day. So being the thoughtful parent I am, I didn't do anything about it. Until they started playing what sounded to me it like the Spanish Inquisition all day long. So when the cousins came to visit I ventured out in the heat to get them a slip-n-slide.  Three different stores. No luck. Ordering one wouldn't come until after the weekend. Not wanting to face the kids empty-handed, I stopped by the hardware store and bought a $10, clear tarp. I considered black, to keep the water warmer, but thought it might be too much of a blot on the weed-infested landscape and Shane might actually notice it. Its on the other side of the yard, and so far so good. First we had to figure out a way to secure the corners with bags of extra mulch, of course. The hardware store only had metal steaks, and being the kind of parent who prefers to avoid emergency room visits at all costs, I passed, and we just used what we had.

It worked out pretty well. Until they started complaining about bruises from the hard, dry ground under the tarp. Its been unseasonably warm and dry for awhile. So it was REALLY hard.

 "Really, Mom? You think  a piece of plastic and some cold water will buy you a peaceful cup of coffee?"

So it was off the  dollar section for some air mattresses to cushion  their rides,

And some baby shampoo to add some speed. The shampoo had the added bonus of making everyone smell great and allowed us to skip bathtime. I think all together it added up to several hours of no fights,  plus quiet time in the house for the non-sliders. I am also hoping to get the extra bonus of the tarp acting as a magnifier and frying the bacon out of the weed bed underneath. I'll move it every couple days to spread the death but avoid the unwanted smell of decay that can accompany it. Making the entire yard unusable. Because, as Shane says, just like a trip to the grocery store with Muffin,  that would be 'none fun'.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

More New Research

Researchers Discover novel new ingredient in your daily cup of coffee might just maybe offer hope to millions of MS sufferers. 

A night janitor at  UST, University for Sciency Things, may have stumbled (quite literally) upon a  stunning discovery which may lead to new  treatments for patients with MS. Or not. But which will definitely lead to a fresh coat of paint in the biology lab. Sources report the janitor, Ken,  had the happy accident of tripping over a cord while vacuuming  and holding his thermos of black coffee, sending his drink splashing across the wall and across the papers of the head researcher's desk. The next morning Head Researcher, a tea lover himself, read the reports and concluded coffee may offer a benefit to people with MS and should definitely be looked into.

MS is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. No one knows exactly why or how the fatty myelin in brains and spinal cords of MS patients degenerates leading to nerve damage and various funky feelings and symptoms ranging from inappropriate laughter to inappropriate blog topics . And lots of other inappropriate things. MS affects many million people world-wide. You probably know someone who has it. Great Aunt Matilda didn't wear that cooling vest and sweet leg brace just to make a fashion statement.  Uncle Vern? Did he seem a little unsteady and slow at the last family reunion? Oh wait. Never mind. He  really was sauced. Moving on. The point is there are lots of events, fundraisers, and maybe even some orange(for MS)  t-shirts out there. So this article (and the 50-almost-exactly-the-same ones with no useful information to follow)  are important to all of us.

Researchers say it is too early to say for sure why/if caffeine could benefit  MS patients, and are quick to discourage anyone from self medicating.

" We really do not want to see people just going off all willy-nilly and  start chugging this stuff on their own.  Random, placebo-effect controlled trials with blind-folded doctors will begin  in about 10 years and in another 10 we should have some foggy idea of what may, or may not, be the back  end  of a rat.  It's really hard to tell when they have those soft pointy noses and those long pointy tails and you can't see a bleepin' thing. We realize a lot of patients, rats, and doctors and  will not be around by then and we are sincerely sorry. We are doing everything we can to minimize loss of life. Our new protocols, including making sure ALL the windows are closed, should result in keeping more doctors for the next phase. There is a  'dead rat quota' each trial must reach before we can start offing actual patients, and we are all about killing things by the book. Until then we encourage everyone to stay on their neurologist-recommended drug of choice," says Pharma4All spokesman Si De'fect.

(Disclaimer: Pharma4All is sponsoring the trial and will attempt to patent caffeine and stop all future research should it be proven to be helpful. If they are unable to get the patent granted they will drop all research into the  new area and focus on their current  therapy product lines, the inject able  Lumps4You, their new oral medication Nausea4Ever, and the still in the pipeline Itsnota2mer, which is up for FDA approval next fall.)

The research and trial findings  will first need to be peer reviewed. Si explains this is a very important step in new drug research.

"We feel it is  essential we all tell the same story. In order for this to happen, we will need to spend a  large amount of time reviewing the script over larger amounts of red wine and steak at a remote and exotic location. Most likely Tahiti."

"Last year a separate company, LimpBGone, made the realization that having legs did NOT, in fact,  increase, or decrease, your chances of developing MS. But it was not until they were all cozy together in the Swiss Alps, putting on skis, during peer review time, that they were able to notice they ALL had legs. And so did the MS patients in their trial. So you can see how crucial to the research process these trips are."

 Si also explained that though it was initially looked  on as a setback, the findings have undoubtedly lead to new trials, therapies, and at least forestalled any new research and money being wasted on such a 'dim witted' hypothesis. Most likely the 'eureka moment'  only  resulted in another trip to the hotel spa and a cold drink for the researchers. Which was not a bad outcome for many of the patients waiting for trial results.

"It could have been a lot worse. Had the research been  released prematurely, we might have had people traveling to far off places to get their lower limbs hacked off, without their doctors  approval or oversight, in a desperate attempt to lower their odds of landing in a wheelchair due to MS."

Thankfully, UST researchers are responsibly keeping quiet about their coffee  research until they know for sure what they don't know. At which point, a coin toss will determine whether or not the results should be released or if a trip to the Serengeti  would be fun first.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Face Is Up Here

Not that looks are important. We all know it's appearances that count. Unless you home school. Then you wear whatever  you can find and you can show your student ID card if the fashion police catch you.

Fortunately, the only social outing we had this week was to a homeschoolers' event so as long as we could run faster than the other sweatpants-snow boot-sporting kids we were safe.

Unfortunately, its been really warm here so snow boots were out of the question. Which was a bummer because Malachi has snow boots. In fact right at this  moment, snow boots are all that he has. He outgrew his regular shoes and his water sandals got left at the Grandparent's this weekend. Normally that would not be a problem as there is generally someone wanting to or needing to stay home from any errand we need to run. But everyone wanted to go to the much anticipated delayed-yearbooks-and-pizza-party.

So, also due to the warm weather, I decided socks would be just fine for Malachi. It must have been fate, because we actually found matching socks for him. Not so much for Fiona.

             Not that she cared at all. She was just as confident striding around the parking lot, as if she were wearing Jimmy Choo's, instead of her brother's mismatched hand me down socks. Socks rarely get worn out. Or worn period. There are plentiful, at least half of them. The other half have migrated to wherever it is kids' socks go. Thank goodness snow boots are  shoes AND socks in one great package.

 Shorts? Oh, he knows how to make shorts. He also has a t-shirt he made himself when the warm weather caught us by surprise. But he decided to wear his fancier one that day.
We got our books, pizza, and some treats and hid in the shade of a much-appreciated chestnut tree.
Then quickly hopped into the air-conditioned car. Where the kids reenacted  this scene from Eric the Viking. Please tell me this is how your kids get in that car too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


First, I need to mention that this post is sponsored. Sponsored by my mother-in-law who took the three middle kids over night. And to the beach. Fed them ice cream and treated them to a breakfast on the patio in the morning. And apparently took them shopping because I do not recognize Malachi's shirt here. Thank you. I'd also like to thank Fiona for taking a timely nap, right now, and my brother-in-law who is taking Cyril to some store to look for parts for the outboard motor he is refurbishing. So quiet time = brain space and maybe a post. It also means I have only myself to blame if this all goes South. Or North, if you live in the southern hemisphere. Do they say that? I don't' know.

But to today's topic. I've always been, or thought of myself, or pretended to be a bit of a hacker. Not computer hacker. Although sometimes I can get mine to turn the screen a real pretty blue for a long time. I don't know how to make it go away so its kind of a one-way trick and not one that impresses anyone that needed to use said computer. Soon. But that is what Shane is for. Among other things.

No, I'm more of a life with kids hacker. And mostly out of necessity. Need to keep the kids in the yard? grab those garbage cans, your neighbors too, and a rope, maybe some plywood for good measure and you won't have to check on the kids for hours. Neighbors and spouse might not be thrilled, but  children make everything worthwhile. If you live in a neighborhood with and HOA, this one will not work. E-mail me for some other options. Or have your husband build a fence. Though using this  hack  has shown to have the added benefit of hastening things to that end. If a real fence is what you're after.

I get my skills from my dad. He can make pretty much anything out of anything else and has always been a bit of a visionary. Water conserving toilets? Saw it coming. He was putting bricks in the tanks of our toilets 30 years ago. Sure we had to flush an extra 5 times but that brick make all the difference on the water bill. Sometimes we would come up with workarounds to his hacks and then,

"Hey, who took the brick out of the toilet?!"

And reminding us with each flush.

"Hey!! Stop that. You know water doesn't grow on trees!!"

Also, if he says 'a real pretty blue' you can hear his light accent from growing up in Hungary. Maybe he was foretelling my future  of blue screens. Visionary, I tell you.

So now you know where I get it from. Though I don't do welding or build log cabins or plumbing or wiring and a host of other things Shane has implored me not to so while he's at work. I'm kind of limited to objects I can move myself and duct tape. Or  taping two objects I can move myself together. With duct tape.

But it has been a quiet time in project land for me lately so I was thrilled when I found a small project the other day which  allowed me  to learn some new skills as well.  Shane? Oh, he'll get over it.

We have been having some unusually nice weather here the past couple weeks. As in, I am wearing shorts. In June. In Seattle. This never happens. I'm thrilled. However, Kateri's window had somehow developed a tear in the screen so I told her to keep it closed to keep the bugs out. Which is impossible at night after and 80 degree day.

I know you can get new screens at the hardware store, but that requires a trip to the store, and  probably with multiple children so why not just fix it yourself?

My first thought was my old go-to, duct tape. But I must have been doing a lot of projects lately because we were out. Even the kids' fancy Christmas rolls of it were empty.

So I thought of other patching material we might have around the house. Or yard. I remembered the $.99 strainer I picked up at the thrift store for the kids outside play. It would be perfect!

 Now I just needed a way to attach it, without the help of my favorite tape. Then I remembered the dark grey speck of something someone had accidentally gotten on an often used light switch. Three months ago. That was some pretty strong stuff. And I knew where to go to get some. I called my supplier.
                                       "Cyril, will you go in the garage and get me some J.B.Weld?"

Cyril mixed it up for me and we played with some different patching layouts for a bit. Then smothered the weld on and put the hand-cut custom made patches on top. But first we put down a layer of aluminum foil (have you ever heard a British person say aluminum? Is sounds like it comes from  something magical. Like a unicorn or something. FYI IMHO). The foil kept the screen from fusing to the table and interfering with  future card games, drawing, or sewing projects which Kateri currently uses her workspace for. We are responsible workers.

Then, since the screen and the patch were bent in different directions, we decided to use some books we found on Kateri's shelf to weight them down while the patch dried. Which takes a few hours. But will last a lifetime. Just ask to see the light switch sometime. Also, make sure to put more foil on top of the patch or you will have a book blocking your view. For a lifetime.

The next day, we  trimmed the patch a little and replaced the screen and, Ta-Dahhhh!

No more bugs.

I called Shane in to witness our work. He outwardly pretended to be nonplussed. But really he was SO plussed he was speechless.

Its nice to be able to show him all the clever things he never dreamed about me doing when we got married. But now I can show him and he is so thankful and realizes what a true gem of a wife he has.

I told him I would do it differently if I had to do it again. Learn as you go and all that. Shane complained of a mosquito bite the other day and I found another rip in a screen in the kitchen.
But we'll just keep that one closed for now. For some reason I can't find the JB Weld.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nani's MSBS

I never intended to take a long foray into medical blogging. Sorry if you are here looking for cute baby pictures. I hope this makes up for it. 

                                          She still really likes the fan. If she got her shoulder a little more exposed this could be a true 80s photo.

I promise to wrap it up soon, but fist a correction. The other day was INTERNATIONAL MS Awareness day. Not National. No idea how I got such an auspicious occasion pegged wrongly. Actually I have lots of ideas. They mostly start with "Mom!......" and end with "So what?"

Flippancy aside, I had considered this post's title as  a separate site to catalog some interesting things I've come across along the way to nowhere and which I might want to keep an eye on in the 'what is happening to my brain?' department. Along with some personal  updates for my records which are to date loosely kept in my head.  Which is not a super secure or reliably easy accessible location these days.

The latter reason I feel a bit funny about ( no one wants to hear about your hurty knee). But I've found over the years I appreciate learning  from other's experiences, research, experiments,  or mistakes. Why not add my own? And I'll promise to keep it clean, Though if you've read some of my kids' antics and you've come back, I think there is not much of a problem with what you can handle.

So first in the fascinating field of research, is this new discovery. Which could lead to new mechanisms for delivery and therapies for a host of diseases. Which is great news considering this study. Though technically previous studies would have put me firmly in the progressive and wheelchair bound camp  several years ago. So I take them all with a grain of  salt.

And when studies are given grants to study the prevalence of falls in the MS community, I kind of wonder about the seriousness of the researchers. Let's  take a group of people prone to balance issues, sensory issues, and feelings of not knowing where their limbs are in relation to anything else in the world and see if they fall down. A lot. Sounds like a prank more than a study. Wish I could get my hands on some grant money for a study or two. I'd find a way to work kiwi mojitos and white sand beaches into it for sure. And I would sacrifice myself for science and offer to be a guinea pig. (As the parameters of this study have not been set,  please do not send applications at this time. Donations? Why not?)

Its a fun game of extremes I often play. Something new will pop its head up and present  limitless rabbit holes of research and articles to follow. And for a second I feel a glimmer of, wait , what's that? Could it be, hope? And after weeks of excavating and spelunking I come up for air and realize, no. It was just the triple cream brie smooth talking, and now its gone. And all that's really left is a host of poisons that may or may not help me before they kill me. And the cheese rind.

But since we've come back to reality, we need groceries, and obviously more cheese. So then it's head down and back to the daily grind until the next shiny object  appears. Tune in next week for More of What Is Not Here That You Hoped Was and Most Likely Never Will Be. Amen.

Generally when I start these meandering journeys I  often get inspiration from Wheel Chair Kamikaze
Also when I come across something I don't quite understand, like most of it, I think 'I'll just wait until Mark explains it.' Sometimes it helps. Or I think it does and that's enough for me to go running to my neurologist asking for her thoughts secretly hoping it will earn me points in the 'sure her brain is atrophying, but she's still really sharp' department.  I don't know if it works or she silently adds points to my EDSS rating with each new discovery. Ignorance is bliss. I'm happy.

I am actually planning on picking her brain, ha ha, seems only fair, on the discovery of a  lymphatic network in the brain. Maybe she'll write back its old news, or junk news, or only pertains to mice and we're back to square one and mai tais.  Or maybe the discovery could shed light on how rogue immune cells get to the brain to attack the myelin. Not a porous blood brain barrier but a secret backdoor through the lymphatic system. But I still have my skepticism (I have  a lifetime supply) Are  the cells there to destroy the myelin, which has been the current thinking ,or to clean up what is already falling apart? Which has been bandied around for a little bit. But  since there is an Internet and no answer that has produced a cure, anything is  fair game in my book. Or blog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Did you know today is National MS Awareness Day?

Yeah. Me neither. No flowers or big delivery of any kind. We still get mail and Shane goes to work. Seems kind of pointless to me. Oh, and just for the record, last month was national MS awareness month. A whole month of  nothing special. While I'm on the topic, apparently the color code for MS is  ORANGE. Why not black? I look good in black. No one looks good in orange. I guess all the other colors got taken first. Its funny, to me, to color code maladies. I'm sure no one else wanted orange. Get a group of MS supporters wearing their snazzy shirts together for a barbeque and guess what it looks like?

Oh, Look! The convicts are here to clean the park! Come on kids, time to go home.

Fortunately, the news feed Shane set up for me to monitor mouse deaths (aka drug trials) alerted me to this important fact. So now I can.... do what I normally do every day.

Since we are on the topic, I had my meeting with Dr.S yesterday. I remembered most of the things I wanted to ask her about so that was a good start. I do have her email, in case I forget something, but have not gotten into habit of sending her links with a 'did you see this article?' attached. That might create a difficult line to walk between Dr/patient and victim/stalker. I would have so many questions.

First off, she has heard of Terry Wahl's and her diet. Like me, she is skeptical of one person's diet change becoming a cure. Going from wheel-chair bound to ambulatory would require  major nerve repair. As you age and/or disease progresses your body is less able to repair the damage and recoveries from relapses are less dramatic and just less in general. At least that is how the pathogenesis of MS has been observed so far. But since they do not know exactly why the damage happens in the first place, or the mechanisms by which they happen, I think there is room for lots of research and discoveries.

Just because something is not the result of a big expensive drug does not mean it didn't happen. So there is skepticism to be had all around. Most of the drugs out there are only about X% effective anyway for X% of patients (my statistic, so quote it loosely). Nothing has been found to reliably  make a huge impact on a huge number of people yet. So they just keep coming up with new expensive drugs to treat, or kill a few, patients.

We discussed my particular state and what might be helpful. She did not give me a 'free massages for life' gift card, but she did recommend seeing one of the therapists there to  help think through what lifestyle changes might be beneficial. So I might have another chance of winning a gift card.

I asked again about the exercise/gimpy legs correlation vs causation vs  whatever. She said it was just time. I was due for it.  Which would be great if I had a calendar and could plan. Wine tasting? Oh wait, my tongue is due to be numb that week. (That did happen and was one of the funkier episodes I've experienced) She said if there is a worsening that can be recovered from in an hour of quiet time, the activity is fine to do. If it takes a day or more, I might want to rethink what/how I'm doing things.

An hour of quiet time? I told her that sounded heavenly. Along with impossible.

Make breakfast: rest an hour
Garden: rest an hour.
Make lunch: rest an hour
Costco shopping: rest an hour.
Make dinner: rest an hour.

It probably didn't help that the night before my appointment Malachi was up and restless from 2am-7:30am and the whole house was woken up to smoke alarms going off when Kateri made hashbrowns for him at 5:40. Including Fiona, who then refused to nap until I got home from my appointment at 12:00. So lots of opportunities for quiet restful time in a day. Obviously.

I brought up all the new 'breakthrough research' reported in the headlines in the past couple months. Again, it was, 'Its all very interesting. We'll see how things go from here. It really comes down to trials and results. With humans. And years, and more years of trials.'

I brought up the micro biome, or whatever its called, research being done and it is still 'we're not really sure, but we're looking into it.' There is one trial specifically focusing on it, but it requires being on a particular drug, Tecfidera, which in addition to helping drugs get across the blood brain barrier, also allows non-drugs and potentially fatal particles to get to the brain. So not super exciting. Given that Fiona is still nursing Dr. S would not, nor would I ,be comfortable with any of the 2nd line drugs, which mess with the blood brain barrier and cross into breast milk. So it would be back to the older 1st line drugs. Meaning needles. Lots of needles. And scar tissue. And I'm not sure I could even get a needle in anywhere anymore due to said scar tissue. If I knew it might help, I might try and work them in, but after flunking the last two I'm not so certain they are worth it.

For now we decided to wait another 6 months, then regroup and see where Fiona is on the nursing timeline and I'll keep studying up on the  therapies she would recommend Tysabri, Gilenya, or Tecfidera. I don't know why she kept leaving out massages, like it wasn't even an option. I think I might just go to Canada and get one. I hear you don't even need a prescription up there.

So there it is. Just in time for National MS Awareness Day. Now you are painfully aware how difficult getting  a massage out of your neurologist really is. Thankfully, Shane is not a neurologist.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Down The Rabbit Holes

Warning: If you do not or have not dealt extensively with small children or are currently soon to be  embarking on said dealings,  move on. This post is probably not for you. If you have a sensitive stomach this post is not for you. If you have no interest in reading somewhat useless ramblings about trials, sciency things, and other peoples' (ok, my) current obsessions, you know what to do. Anyone? Bueller? Now that we've whittled down to a brave few, or none, here we go.

The first rabbit hole is actually a heating vent.

Malachi is still toilet "training". By training I mean he does what and where he wants and everyone else dons hazmat gear and tries to keep it together while cleaning up. So far everyone is responding well to the training.  If by cleaning up I meant grabbing some paper towels and lysol spray it would not be so unusual and certainly not worthy of a blog mention. Sadly, that is not the case.

He pretty much gets the brain-body-'ta-da' connection of things. So he's not clueless. Just gross. He mostly does not use the toilet for any other purpose than making fascinating toilet paper swirlys.  He is content with a diaper, which is fine with me. Except when he decides to empty the contents of the diaper himself. Which to him means removing the diaper and shaking its contents down an open heat register.  Why a heat register? I have no freaking idea. Kids are just gross and grosser still, and I probably looked bored so he prepped a little activity for me while I got Fiona to sleep or was contemplating a coffee or a shower or anything else that I would rather be doing. Instead of playing  'let's go fish for feces'.  I am so tired of that game. Just to set the record straight, he does not get rewarded for his antics. I don't know what he does get out of it unless there is some sense of self mastery in it. Why can't self mastery manifest in ways that result in oh, you know, USING A TOILET! Or tying a shoe. Even writing ABC on a piece of furniture. Why this?

 His favorite vent has a steep slope and a sharp turn, making retrieval of stuff, difficult and painful. And there  is this  natural instinct that won't let you just go whole hog in grabbing a rolling poo ball. But gentle feeling around can often result in pushing things farther. And that is one phone call I do not want to make to the heating company. I don't know why this is still a problem after six kids. It never gets easier. Routine, yes. Easier, no.

    Once we discover and 'event' I assign someone to dispose of the diaper and someone to keep the babies from the site while I suit up. Usually the kids will offer moral support and help in the form of huddling around saying 'ooh gross!' as I put my arm up to my armpit into the hole. And then if Shane is having a hard day I'll text him and say at least he was not getting this out of a vent. (Anything to elicit a sympathy foot rub) Don't worry, I won't show you. That's disgusting and would get me kicked off the internet. The Elders have their standards. Hopefully the NSA likes the texts. Or not. Serves them right.

But there is an end in sight. Summer is coming and he can run Lord of the Flies in the back yard. And on the off chance he might need just a little extra encouraging on chillier days, we ordered him this. As of yet it has not encouraged him to make dramatic changes to his toileting routines. I'm considering maybe adding some cute big boy undies but I'm not sure I want the extra laundry just yet.

On to a different dig site.

I have a neurologist appointment this week and have been gearing up by compiling a list of 20,000 questions. For an update- a little more feeling has returned to my feet.  So that is cool. The stiffness comes and goes and my legs get heavier with every stair until I've got 25lb weights on my ankles at the end of the flight. I have not ventured back to the elliptical but exercise is definitely one topic I'll bring up.

In my in depth research I did come across this gem. I can't wait until they offer weekly massages for everyone. That would certainly improve anyone's quality of life, or just general mood. A couple years back massage therapy was highlighted at an MS talk I went to, as the most beneficial alternative therapy out there. But that was all I ever heard. Nothing about replacing your $50,000 a year injectable medication with weekly massages.

When you start looking into new research, I think in any medical disease,  it appears they are always on the cusp of discovering a cure for XYand Z. Or getting closer to discovering the cause of AB and C. Seriously. Try it.

'Zebra fish help shed light on  mechanism of re-mylenation. May open door to new therapeutics.'

2 years later.

'7the grader with a microscope in her garage discovers cure!'

3 years later.

'Researchers  reverse paralysis in  mice with secret compound.'

As one neurologist said, "Its a great time to have MS."  If you're a mouse. Person, not so much.

Another interesting study was done  on Biotin, or B7, or vitamin H, and a few other names. Just to make looking things up more fun.

My favorite one of late is this one. Can't  wait to order my own cocktail some day.

"I'll have an antifungal, with a steroid. Neat."

At least the drugs in the last study are already existing compounds. So that should help speed things up. By about 20 years or so.

Ok. So I'm a little jaded when it comes to medical research actually coming up with new and helpful innovations. In a timely fashion. But when time=progression=sucky, time is of the essence. And time marches, or limps, on.

 I will bring up all these studies, and more, to my neurologist. And then I'll schedule a massage.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hooray! Age of Ultron is out! I'm so excited!

I will eventually see the movie too. Right now I'm excited because Shane called and said he'd like to take the big kids tonight. I said cool. How about a showing after the babies go to bed?

So they hung around until Malachi was in bed. I got Fi down. And now the house is eerily quiet. With the exception of the baby monitor and the new fan I bought. If it's too quiet I can't sleep so now all my kids are white-noise-addicts. Which works really well for babies with siblings who need to nap.

                                                  Fiona especially likes that she can push the power button herself.

At first I didn't know what to do. I originally planned on folding the mound of clean laundry trying to overtake our bedroom. And the kitchen floor could use a good mopping sans baby feet running through leaving prints.

Then I remembered a piece of ancient advice I heard as a new mother.

Remember to make some time for yourself.

Which is really the most ridiculous thing and really just means 'think of all things you won't be able to do for the next 18 years, or maybe ever.' Hello postpartum depression.

Thankfully I am not a new mother any more. In so may ways. So I could actually take the advice. I turned on the hot water, laid out my jammies, and took a hot shower. And then all I could think about was the scene in Psycho.  One down side to the sound muffling fan is that is also warps sounds.

Is that the baby? Did someone just knock? Who would call this late at night?

But before the hot water even thought about running out I was able to talk myself out of it and actually enjoy the foamy solitude. With my pink scrubby sponge. Not the same one I bought when I first tried to follow the same advice before Fiona was born. I knew what the new baby stage entailed so to psych myself up I went out and splurged on a $.99 body scrubby thing. I figured if I could make my shower a little more luxurious maybe I wouldn't mind so much the 50,000 other things I couldn't enjoy. I even got some relaxing shower gel. So for  $8 I could get a tiny spa experience every morning. Or once a week in the really early baby phase.

Then one morning it came to an end. I saw Shane in the shower and he picked up the scrubby off the shelf and rubbed a spot on the floor.

Horrified, I asked what he was doing.

"Oh, there was just something funky  so I thought I clean it."

"Umm. That's not a cleaning scrubby. It's a body scrubby.  You just cleaned something funky with the sponge I use to clean me ."

"Oh,  I thought it was for cleaning the shower. That's what I use for all the time."

"Well that is what it is for now!" and now the scrubby resides on the shower floor.

I went out and bought a new one. This one was more expensive ( $1.50) and had a little rubber suction cup on it. I showed it to Shane and told him this one is for me, not the floor. It was a preacher shade of pink, not sure how much that matters as he is a little color blind, but I thought color-coding might have positive outcome. He said fine but to keep it off the glass door where it would be too prominent and he might forget what it was supposed to be used for. Well the rubber suctiony thing does not like the tile walls and will only adhere to the glass door.
Which I explained to Shane and so far he's been able to resist the temptation to scrub the shower in the mornings. I did put an actual cleaning sponge on the shelf for him,  just in case. So far its working.

Speaking of "Me time", I  did schedule an outing for myself. To the dentist. I did try the hair salon first, but they were booked both attempts I made. So I was left with the dentist if I wanted some quiet time. I felt so stoked about it and actually wore jeans for the first time in I don't even know. I thought of wearing earrings but felt the pants were fancy enough and I didn't want the new dentist to think I got dressed up. Just to get my teeth cleaned. Which I did. She didn't seem to notice. Shane did, and told me I looked cute. Twice, before he left to work.

It  might finally be the time to get my old wardrobe out, if its not too outdated, and join the rest of the world in doing all the things I haven't' for the past three years. Maybe I can get a new outfit and Shane can take me to the movie. And buy me a new body sponge.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Life Rhythms

Which at the moment are definitely on the discordant and not super rhythmic side of the page. If my life was a piece of music it would a Bartok or Shostakovich, neither of which are my favorites. I'm waiting to get to some Dvorak or Smetana. But I guess we have to get through the opening pieces first to get to the good stuff. Which always really annoyed me at concerts. I came for the Beethoven, I don't want to hear a piece by a still-wet-behind-the-ears composer who doesn't like to match any two notes with anything else and makes me feel like a badly and hastily shaken martini.

In the mean time, we are at least cobbling together our version of not-too-crazy-any-more-at-least-for-this-second. Which has been mostly due to the babies sleeping when normal people sleep. Not swing shift and graveyard workers. Which has added a lot less crazy-zombie to our waking hours.

Not that it is new news, but our kids have been ridiculous sleepers. All of them. No on has napped past 2 years of age. All of them preferred really late naps resulting in really late bedtimes. As I was also pregnant for most of their toddler years I was just glad to get any break ever and let the funky sleep cycles play out every day. Which in turn made for more of them. If there was ever a pattern interrupter, it was a stomach flu or cold which left ever more ridiculous habits in its wake. Along with a boatload of dirty laundry.

To be fair, to me, because it's my blog, growing up we had some pretty weird routines of our own, necessitated by my dad's work hours. The years he worked 1st watch, my mom would keep us all up late so we would sleep in and stay quiet so dad could sleep. After that it didn't matter when he worked. We were sticking with the first schedule. As all of our kids have tried to do as well.

Over a family vacation of miserable sleep I finally got desperate and ordered this book.

I don't care for the cry-it-out method so it seemed a safe bet. I really liked the book, especially the part where she admits if she knew it was her last baby she would totally enjoy it and let the baby nap in her arms and everything else a sleep trainer would be horrified by. I feel a little late to the party, not trying to sort thing out until Baby #6, but better late than never. I ordered several other sleep books though. Some more on the science side.  I thought the information he presented was fine. All 50 times  it was re packaged and represented. Maybe because it was written by a  man I didn't feel like it spoke to the mom in me. So in the end most of what we employed was from Pantley's book and most nights things have gone well. Of course it helps that Fiona is over a year now. And that Cyril can get Malachi to bed. I am curious how things would have played out had I had my act together and started  routines earlier. A lot better I am sure. But we are where we are because we were lazy. I mean I was lazy. (Shane would still get up early and go to work.)Hopefully there is time to remedy the rest of the family so they can learn to operate on better schedules and we can break the generational sleep dysfunction gift. Which it really is/was.

Thinking back over it gives me the heebie-jeebies. I am so grateful to not be in new baby sleep absolutely no rhythm phase of life right now. Even thinking about writing Fiona's birth story takes me too close to insanity days than I care to get right now. But I will someday. But today is not that day. Especially since Fiona got up before 6 and now is napping which will throw off her later nap and I'll have to keep it short so we can still have a decent bedtime because Shane needs to get to bed so he can get up early to ride his bike in to work. Again.

Biking in has turned into a very doable rhythm, at least in the drier, if you can call 'well, at least its not flooding' drier. Which we do. Shane gets to fit exercise into his crazy-busy days and avoid nasty car commutes. Biking only takes about as long as it might driving in at the same time so it's a win-win. Luckily he can drive to the start of the trail down the hill and then its trail all the way there with a nice shower at the end. So no biking next to cars, which I really like.

 Fiona got wind of the early departure and has gotten up to farewell the troops the past two mornings. Which requires her to get up before 6am! But an 8:00 bedtime is totally worth playing for so I'll just enjoy the single-child mornings and try to get a little housework done. Which is next on my rhythms that need much more improvement list.

"See, I'm really helpful to have around at ungodly hours."
Actually, this wasn't that early. It was the weekend and she was helping Shane make me a latte. But it was too cute to not include. Hope your sleep is normal and restful. Like this.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Little Bit of Our Normal and Detinitely Not Normal

Not that I know what normal is. At All. But we can pretend can't we.
Last week, I somehow found myself home alone. With the just the babies. I can't remember how I let that happen. I feel like such a spoiled lightweight. I mean when the big kids were little, I did it everyday. Meaning I packed them up and we went to my mother-in-laws. Every day. I'd call Shane and tell him where he should come if he wanted dinner. I remember at one point he said to me,
"You do know we have our own house. Where we live. Right?"
I knew we did. But I also knew there was no one there to talk to whose diaper I didn't have to change. Or who could make me a cup of coffee and a scone. So down the road to Grandma and Grandpa's we would go. And that was how I survived the early years of being the sole toilet-trained person at home.
Maybe not the most impressive parenting strategy, but the early years are just a survival game. And I think it was a great strategy everyone should be able to have. I would ask Audrey what she wanted to be when she grew up and she was answer , " A Grandma!" It was a good time for everyone.
But back to my Lone Survivor Day. Actually it was only a few hours, but it felt like I'd been sliding down rocky cliffs and suffering constant ambushes without backup for a week. It started with Shane taking Cyril to an appointment. Which Malachi was very upset about . Having none of it, he broke through the gate Shane installed to keep him from escaping and headed right after them. Cyril noticed and jumped out of the truck to walk him back up the driveway where I was just headed with crying Fi, who also does not like to be left out of any social excursion beyond the confines of our house. I don't know who has been telling her tales of the great big beyond the front door, but she is into it and will take any opportunity of attempting to get there. Fortunately she has not been successful in breaching the gate though I'm sure its just a matter of time before Muffin gives her lessons.  
 I wrestled them back behind the defensive zone, if that works. Shane did not marry me for my love, or knowledge of anything sporty. Though, him being as big a fan as I am, I think I can say whatever I want. Then, being the clever wife that he may, or may not, have married me for, I picked up a scarf and tied the gate shut. Malachi was again upset at being thwarted and quickly went on the offensive by suggesting we foam sword fight. Somehow he had left his sword on the back porch so I would of course have to unlock the back door for him to get it. I couldn't carry both kids and either kid would bolt once the door was opened so I, na├»vely, opened the door and told him to go get it, while I held wiggly Fi back. And of course he went out the door with no intention of ever coming back. Peacefully. Or any other way. Eventually I bribed him with some promise of something to come back in. And quickly locked the door.
I searched my mental data base of things to do when the only thing both kids are capable of doing together is destroying the house and came up with this:
It worked for about 30 min, during which I had to remember the protocols for de-tubbing and dressing two kids both of which have the singular life goal of discovering just how much a toilet is capable of sucking down in one flush. Bing turned up no results to said query so I  winged it by letting them air dry a bit and then offering another bribe to let me get close enough to throw a diaper and some bit of clothing on them both.
And then I thanked the parenting gods when I heard the doorbell, heralding the return of the three older kids from their lessons. Again, thanks to Grandma Trudy for ferrying them.

 Speaking of Malachi and toilets, potty-training is going swimmingly. Meaning you can almost swim from one room to the other, what with all his 'accidents'. It's not that he doesn't get it.  Really he just has a penchant for peeing on most anything. But we can call them accidents, if that makes you/me feel more comfortable. I'm thinking it might be time to get him some big boy shorts. He could really use a new receptacle for his, umm, gifts. And I could really use more laundry to wash. apparently, he could also use some lessons on how to wear said shorts. Or maybe he's trying to start a new trend. Keep an eye out for it next Fashion Week.

If you can use a laugh, Shane took Cyprian shoe shopping but nothing in the store was his size so they ordered some through the store. Two days later, this arrived:

At first I thought these little ones were like a hood ornament for his tennis shoes box. But realized they had sent a little kids 4, instead of a big kids 4. Cyprian was not so amused.
Fiona, on the other hand, was thoroughly amused when Shane and I took her to dinner last night for a final Harrah!
Is that water really for ME?

Ok, Fiona. I think you've had enough.
Everyone's pants were wet by the end of dinner. We did discover in addition to the feel of cold water dribbling down her chin, she also likes beets, limabeans, mahi mahi, and raspberry sorbet. Not so much panna cotta.  Hey, more for mom. She also does not like nursing quietly and discreetly while not exposing mom to a room full of strangers. Not that knowing them would make it any less annoying or difficult to attempt while eating. That is where the Last Harrah comes in. Until she can use a steak knife. Which will probably also be soon, courtesy of Malachi.