Friday, July 18, 2014

You might have a big family if...

30 Signs You Might Have a Big Family...

1.  You realize that you have to get to get going planning your next grocery trip because you are down to only three gallons of milk in your fridge.

2.  You have multiples of major appliances - extra clothes washers, refrigerators, furnaces, etc.

3.  You drive a vehicle that sometimes requires having a special driver's license.  You hear multiple references to a "clown car" when you exit your vehicle.

4.  You have to attach extra paper to forms because there is not enough room to list all your children.

5.  You can't eat together in a restaurant unless you shove multiple tables together - on one of those rare occasions each year when you can afford to take the whole family out to eat.

6.  People count your children out loud when you pass them in public.  They assume your family is a daycare or church group.

7.   Unless you want to start baths before supper, you need to have a morning and night shift schedule for baths and showers.

8.   You seriously question the wisdom of purchasing a new toy, piece of equipment, etc. if "only" two or three kids will end up using it.

9.  Hand-me-down clothes don't get stored away, they just travel from one dresser to the next, to the next.

10.  Many people are afraid to have your family over for a meal (Hint - You can make pasta, its cheap.  And the kids can eat sitting on the floor with place mats or a towel picnic-style.)
11.  You can't legally stay in one hotel room - even a suite.

12.  Anytime you find cheap shoes, you buy them, regardless of the size.  Somebody will end up wearing them within the year.

13.  You fill an entire pew at church.

14. Your family qualifies for school group pricing at attractions.  You always feel cheated when family passes are limited to two adults and two children.

15.  You can easily meet your insurance deductible in the first half of the year.

16.  You truly believe your house is so quiet with "only" three or four kids home. 

17.  You have had at least one child in diapers for a dozen years or more.

18.  You start purchasing the industrial sized canned food - and you aren't having a party.  You see "family sized" packages of food and know you will still have to buy two or three.

19.  Keeping scrapbooks for each individual child up to date makes you break out in a sweat. 

20.  When trying to remember when an event occurred, you rely on the visualizing how many children were in the family at the time to narrow down the year.

21.  You have your children count off before traveling.

22.  Your grocery shopping is done not when you get everything on your list, but when your cart is too full to fit anything else.  Then cashier regularly shuts down the lane when you begin unloading your groceries.

23.  You have never actually converted that fancy crib into a toddler bed or twin bed, but instead just pass it down to the next child.  You constantly scan Craig's List for bunk beds and dressers - you can always use more.

24.  You think its cute when people say they have to wait to run the dishwasher because they don't have a full load.

25.   You really don't notice an extra two or three or ten neighborhood kids in your yard.

26.   You don't have room to sign every one's name on greeting cards.

27.  You need a heavier chain for your mother's necklace with all the miniature children represented.

28.  You run out of room on your kids' growth chart.

29.  You have to write down your kids' birthdays so you don't blank out when scheduling doctor, dentist, orthodontist, etc. appointments.  Bonus points if you have spent over an hour scheduling 15 or more separate appointments.

30.  Scheduling parent-teacher conferences requires military precision.

**Bonus sign - There is always somebody to snuggle with, talk to, fight with, play a game with, share secrets with, daydream

All of these accurately describe my family.  Have I missed any?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Sometimes our family eats popcorn and fruit for supper.  Not mixed together, that would gross.   But we will all sit on our big sectional couch (yes, we all fit) and eat popcorn and watch a movie.  Or like lots of families, we'll just pop some popcorn for a snack in the evening.  Mmmm. Popcorn.  Yummy and cheap.

We have a very well used air popper that we use.  Unfortunately, it takes forever and a half to pop enough popcorn for all of us.  And one of us - admittedly usually Ben - will have stand over the popcorn popper making batch after batch after batch, dodging scalding hot kernels that fly out of the machine un-popped..  This means he either misses part of the show and the rest of us don't really hear much while he is popping, or it we have to push bedtime back because we are waiting to start watching the show.

What to do? 

Why buy an enormous popcorn popper of course!  I finally broke down and bought Ben this monstrosity of a machine for his birthday/Father's Day present.  It was advertised as appropriate for a commercial setting.  Good heavens.  It is sitting, all tacky-like in our dining room because there is no other place to put it.

But boy does that thing make some good popcorn.  In just a couple of batches, we are done. This is yet another mega-sized addition to our lives (along with our sweet 15-passenger van shown here , our huge couch, our huge pots and pans, our huge table, and our huge menagerie of additional appliances.)

This is the exact model we got.  Look at all that buttery goodness.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Laundry Redux

Laundry has been the bane of my existence for several years now.  Some of you might recall my self-incriminating photos of laundry pile-up on this blog post .  After adding two children to the mix since these photos were taken, shockingly the laundry needing to be done has only increased. 

We have finally, officially given up on laundry.  At least laundry done correctly and thoroughly.  After seeing several laundry baskets piled up in the dining room waiting to be folded, sorted and put away, Ben just dumped all the clothes onto the floor.  Then he had the kids sort out the laundry, putting each person's clothes into individual baskets and the children (age 6 and up) were instructed to fold their own laundry and put it away.

Its things like this that make me so frustrated with my husband.  No, not out of his change to the system, but because he had the audacity to implement it first.  I wish I could claim credit for this organized chaos, but he beat me to it.  And jealousy rears its ugly head again.

Here is where the beauty of the system comes in.  We didn't check to see how well they folded the laundry or if they even did.  Without actually looking, slacker parents can "assume" their children are just really, really fast folders and did not, in fact, just shove clothes into random drawer and slam it shut.

Laundry today was finished in record time.  I think I'm going to love this new system.

If I don't check my kids' dresser drawers, I am going going to have to assume this is what they look like.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Now You See It, Now You Don't

I want you to look closely at the following pictures and see if you can see the difference.  Look carefully beyond her cuteness.  Notice anything?

Notice the stylish tights wound behind her back and on her hands?  This was my brilliant idea to keep her from pulling out her tube again.  She was able to pull off the socks we put on her hands.  I think I should patent this and make a bajillion dollars.  Or at least enough to pay some of her medical bills.  The tube tucked behind bows also helps keep it from being tugged out.

Look at that cute baby.  You can't tell me that she looks like she is suffering from "Failure to Thrive" anymore.

Well done!  You are right.  Her ng tube is now out.  My baby girl is now able to drink out of a bottle. 

Juliet partially passed her latest swallow study.  She still aspirates on regular liquids, but she can now tolerate thickened liquids without any going into her lungs.  She will be on thickened liquids for the next one and a half to two months for sure and then we will reevaluate to see if she can tolerate regular liquids.

What does this mean?

Remember how all of our mothers put rice cereal in our bottles to make us sleep better at night?  And do you also remember how mothers today are told to never put rice cereal in a bottle and don't start introducing anything other then formula or milk for the first four to six months or your child will grow up fat with food allergies, diabetes, eczema, and celiac disease if they are lucky enough to avoid (ironically enough) choking  on the bottle of death first. 

Goodbye feeding tube!

Well, we were told by medical professionals to put rice cereal in her bottle to make it easier for her to swallow without aspirating.  And not just a little either.  We have to put over 3 tablespoons in each 4 ounce bottle. The sludge is about the thickness of a smoothie.

Unfortunately, breast milk has an enzyme in it that causes the liquid to not thicken properly, so Juliet is on formula now.  And since I am hopeful that she will eventually be able to drink normally, I have to continue to pump to maintain my supply.  My freezer is being overrun with an apocalypse ready supply of milk - assuming that electricity is still running during the apocalypse.

Ironically, my schedule hasn't changed too much with this development.  Juliet throws up her whole bottle if she is laid down right after she eats, so we have to keep her fairly vertical for 15-20 minutes after she eats, and I am still pumping several times a day.  But, unequivocal progress is a wonderful thing.