Monday, December 10, 2007

1 life down; 8 to go

Stupid cat. Lucky cat. REALLY lucky cat.
'Our' outdoor cat (and I use the term loosely-he is a stray that I paid to have neutered and we feed him in the mornings) disappeared while I was in the hospital. We figured he'd found greener pastures or met his demise out in the wilds of TX. Fast forward to today.

Yesterday, Ian told me he heard a cat crying in our next door neighbors yard. Uh huh, whatever honey, that's nice. Today, he comes to me again, certain it's Blackie but he can't see him and asks me to come outside and see what I think.

I go outside and yes, there is a cat crying. It is coming from the neighbors. I look through their fence and no cat anywhere. Just an empty backyard and shed. I ring the doorbell, no answer. I let myself into the backyard because some cat, Blackie or not, is in distress and I'm a sucker. I determine to yowling is coming from the shed. There is no cat in the window or visible. Now I realize it is coming from UNDER the shed (which was built on a concrete slab) but I can find no way in or out.
I send Ian for a screwdriver and take off a vent cover. Lo and behold there is the cat but the hole is too small for him to get out of. He must have gotten under there just as they were finishing up the shed and was sealed in when they put the final baseboards around the outside.

We fed him and watered him and eventually I was able to pull him out with some maneuvering and finding the largest vent opening-which, of course, was the last one I tried. He is fine and now I have to watch for the neighbors to explain the footprints through the sand in and out of their gate. Thankfully, B. and M. are super kind people who, I am sure, will just be grateful that they were spared a rotting cat carcass under their brand new shed and there was no damage to their shed at all.

Update on me: I'm doing well. I get tired very easily. Ridiculously easy even for a pregnant woman. Heart still gets tachy but not too bad and I've been good and cut out caffeine. I see the OB tomorrow and will have a CBC to see if I am still anemic and I debrief with the GP on Wednesday. I made it to Mass yesterday for the first time since the beginning of October. WOW! It exhausted me but it was wonderful to be able to go again. We are weaning me off my Zofran pump. I've stopped the dosage where it is now for a few days at least, the nausea is breaking through and I'm afraid if I go much lower I'll start heaving again. For the record, I'm 16 weeks and change.

It's a crazy week here as our Reader's Theater performance is Friday evening. Katie and Jack both have major roles and a lot of responsibilty but I hear they are both quite good. I haven't been able to stay at rehearsals for three main reasons: Ben, Lucy and Bob the Bean.
My uncle comes on Thursday. The kids are thrilled someone from the family will be able to see their RT performance. RT is a pretty big part of their lives. Katie, Jack, Ian, Grace and Emma all participate.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sorry for the lag in posts...

I had a 6 day 'vacation' in our local telemetry unit. No one knows exactly what happened, just what didn't. No blood clot in my lungs, no bad infection, heart and lungs are fine. Chris did a great job being Mr. Mom, especially considering that he and the children had bad colds and Emma was throwing up.
My ending diagnosis was idiopathic tachycardia which means zilch. They found I'm anemic which my OB will follow up and my potassium was low which they supplemented.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hyperemesis in the news!

The founders of The Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation ( are being interviewed for two national news stories on HG this weekend. Jeremy and Ann Marie King will be on NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams Friday evening. The Today Show will have a follow up story on Saturday morning. Kimber MacGibbon will be interviewed at that time.

Please tune in to one or both segments so you can learn more about HG, and please also let your own friends and family know about these news stories so they can also tune in. Doing so may allow you to save a life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Emma and Ben today at one of Emma's favorite places in the whole world...the dentist. Really. No kidding. Emma absolutely loves going to the dentist and it's not like going to the dentist is all sunshine and roses for her, she has had significant work done (cursed with bad enamel unfortunately). She just loves the dentist and her staff. She talks, they listen, they get a real big kick out of her and she loves having an audience.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just in case someone doesn't know what the above image is, it's Bob. At approximately 12w5d gestation. Laying on his back, head on the left, legs sticking up on the right. This was from the nuchal translucency scan. NT is a simple screening tool for chromosomal defects. The area on the back of the baby's neck is measured. You can see it a little in this image, it's a dark line running down the back. Less than 2mm is normal, greater than that there is an increased risk of a chromosomal abnormality or heart defect. Bob's was about 1.5mm. Just fine. In no way guarantees that there is no chromosomal abnormality, just a piece of information. I am not willing to risk losing my baby to complications from an amnio so the screening tools are all we have to rely on, we've chose a very new maternal blood screen that is very sensitive in screening for Trisomy 21,18 and 13 and neural tube defects-there are only one maybe two labs in the whole country that do it. All that would change is where I give birth. The hospital my OB usually uses has no NICU, if my baby is suspected of having a problem I'll birth at the hospital with the Level III NICU.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've had quite a few people ask me why I do this. I could give the short and sweet answer, that Christopher and I are Catholics and follow the Churches teaching regarding marriage and children and accept children as God chooses to send them and that would be quite truthful and I could simply end it there.
I think a deeper look into my take on it might be useful (I speak for myself and no one else, every woman with HG copes or doesn't, in her own way).
Children are a blessing, a gift, something to be cherished. Anything worthwhile is worth sacrificing for. This period of illness is difficult but only lasts a short time. To bring another life into the world, another soul..can I not endure for a few months? Especially with all the treatment and help I receive. My grandmother had hyperemesis (although no one really called it anything back then). She could only eat oranges. She had no IV's, she had no zofran. All she had were the crates of oranges, which were the only food she could tolerate, that my grandfather brought her.
I know you are asking but what about the other children, what about your husband? It is difficult for them, I can't do much for them or with them and everyone has to buck and help. Is that a bad thing? To help someone else in their time of need, to witness someone willing to suffer for something bigger and better than themselves? To understand that one has to work and work hard for things that are worthwhile?
I am NO saint. I spend plenty of time crying that I can't do this anymore, that I'm tired, wishing I could just fall asleep and not wake up for three months. Remember to offer it up? I try....and fail. Then I have a good day, or hear the heartbeat or see Bob the Bean on an u/s, hold someone elses newborn, talk with Katie (bad HG without any treatment) or any of my children, think of all the mothers who have gone before and suffered so much more, especially the Blessed Mother, then, at least for a few moments, I can remember why I do this.
The night Lucy was born, after we were all cleaned up and moved to our postpartum room, she was sleeping on my chest. I had the lights off and the only sounds were the street sounds drifting up to the 22nd floor and Lucy's fast newborn breathing. It was then as I held her to my chest, just my baby and I, I offered a prayer of thanksgiving. "Thank you Lord for giving me this baby. She was worth every moment of suffering." With God, and faith and lots of pharmaceuticals I fully expect to be saying the same prayer again in May 2008. And if something happens, and I don't get a baby in May, then I will have to surrender to that too. I can choose to let my crosses crush me, or I can have the courage to pick them up and carry them.


It has been a good couple of days. ::fingers crossed:::: after a rough first part of the week we may have finally gotten the drug regimen down pat (max dose Zofran through pump, 25mg phenergan 3-4x/day and 25mg doxylamine 3x/day). I'm eating and occasionally drinking and haven't vomited in a couple days. \o/ Yay me!
I'm still running 1L of IV fluids every night, on bad days I'll run more. Bob the Bean is doing just fine. I see the maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doc on Monday. Routine visit because I am of advanced maternal age (AMA). We'll do a nuchal translucency, I'll refuse amnio, he'll probably try and talk me into an elective C-section which I will also refuse. Typical Karen meets highly interventionist doctor scenario. Only reason I am doing any testing is because if the baby is need of extra care it will change where I deliver. Hospital without a NICU vs hospital with a NICU.

An educational moment

Lifted directly from the Hyperemsis Education and Resources Foundation (

****Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. If severe and/or inadequately treated, it is typically associated with:

loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight (usually over 10%)
dehydration and production of ketones
nutritional deficiencies
metabolic imbalances
difficulty with daily activities
HG usually extends beyond the first trimester and may resolve by 21 weeks; however, it can last the entire pregnancy in less than half of these women. Complications of vomiting (e.g. gastric ulcers, esophageal bleeding, malnutrition, etc.) may also contribute to and worsen ongoing nausea.

There are numerous theories regarding the etiology of hyperemesis gravidarum. Unfortunately, HG is not fully understood and conclusive research on its potential cause is rare. New theories and findings emerge every year, substantiating that it is a complex physiological disease likely caused by multiple factors.

Diagnosis is usually made by measuring weight loss, checking for ketones, and assessing the overall condition of the mother. If she meets the standard criteria and is having difficulty performing her daily activities, medications and/or other treatments are typically offered.

Treating HG is very challenging and early intervention is critical. HG is a multifaceted disease that should be approached with a broad view of possible etiologies and complications. When treating mothers with HG, preventing and correcting nutritional deficiencies is a high priority to promote a healthy outcome for mother and child.

Most studies examining the risks and outcomes for a pregnant woman with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy find no detrimental effects long-term for milder cases. Those with more severe symptoms that lead to complications, severe weight loss, and/or prolonged nausea and vomiting are at greatest risk of adverse outcomes for both mother and child. The risk increases if medical intervention is inadequate or delayed.

The list of potential complications due to repeated vomiting or severe nausea is extensive, all of which may worsen symptoms. Common complications from nausea and vomiting include debilitating fatigue, gastric irritation, ketosis, and malnutrition. Aggressive care early in pregnancy is very important to prevent these and more life-threatening complications such as central pontine myolinolysis or Wernicke's encephalopathy. After pregnancy and in preparation of future ones, it is important to address any resulting physical and psychological complications.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum impacts societies, families and individuals. Recent, conservative estimations suggest HG costs nearly $200 million annually just for inpatient hospitalization. Considering many women are treated outside the hospital to save costs, the actual cost is likely many times greater. Beyond financial impact, many family relationships dissolve and future family plans are almost always limited. Women often lose their employment because of HG, and women are frequently undertreated and left feeling stigmatized by a disease erroneously presumed to be psychological.****

HEG is very real. It is NOT all in a woman's head, eating crackers and drinking ginger ale do nothing for HEG and usually make things worse. NO ONE chooses to feel this way. NO mother WANTS to fill her body with drugs while she is pregnant and be hooked to IV's and pumps all the time. Please be considerate when you happen to meet a mom that is suffering or has suffered with hyperemesis, it will be a pleasant surprise to her to hear genuine sympathy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Update on me

I had a PICC ( ) line put in Monday. IV hydration via peripheral IV's was just not working out, my veins stink and kept blowing and my home health nurse was having a harder and harder time finding viable veins to try. I have a double lumen PICC so I can run my Zofran pump through it (no more sticking myself in the leg every morning) and fluids. Having it put in, in a cath lab, was not something I want to do everyday but really wasn't bad. I walked into radiology at 2:40 and walked out at 4 and drove myself home. I am doing quite a bit better since I can easily run fluids whenever I need them and the better hydrated I am, the better the Zofran works and the more I can eat and drink on my own. The PICC will stay in until I can drink enough fluids on my own to stay hydrated. It may be awhile. On a good day I can drink 12 oz...on a bad day? 0-2oz. I can eat a little but am still dropping weight pretty quickly. I'm afraid if I don't stop dropping weight my OB is going to order more substantial fluids (TPN) which I don't really want to do as it is hard on the liver and my liver is a little iffy anyway.
The Bean, or Bob as Jack calls the baby, is fine. We got to hear a good, strong, fast heartbeat on Monday ticking away. Also got an 'official' due date of May 23rd.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yes, that is what you think it is

A baby ticker. Texan #10 is on the way. Due at the end of May. The blog has been neglected as I am fighting hyperemesis again. My OB ordered me a Zofran pump and it has helped immensely. I spent the better part of last Sunday at L&D getting rehydrated then the home health nurse came on Tuesday and started me on the pump and rehydrated me via IV again. The pump, which I wear in a case over my shoulder, gives me a continuous dose of Zofran 24/7 thru a small catheter in my thigh. I switch sites every 24 hours.

I have pictures from our trip to the coast. I'll try and get them up in the next few days.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Danger Boy is 4 !!!!

Ben turned 4 yesterday. We had a nice little family party and our neighbors came over for pinata breaking and cake. Here follows pictures of Ben and his party along with some gratuitous animal and baby pics just for the heck of it.

The outdoor cat---

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In Memoriam

Jill Christine
September 13, 1974 - March 18,1976

My baby sister would have been 33 today. The grief has lessened over the years. For the better part of my childhood I was almost obsessed with Jill and how and why she died. She died after an attempt to repair her heart defect. Even though the repair was technically successful Jill's heart was just too weak.

Now that I have a bunch of girls who are sisters I wonder what it would have been like to grow up with her. Would we have been as close as Grace and Emma? Would we have had things in common or been two very different people?
God sent us Jill for such a short time but what a blessing she was. She will be missed until the end of my days. It is a comfort to me and to the children to have a little saint in Heaven praying for them and watching over us all. And should I make it to Heaven, seeing her again for the first time.........

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Today's excitement

This is what was slithering around our front door today. Ian was about to step outside the front door and says, "Mom, it's a coral snake." as calm as can be. My response? "That isn't funny Ian!" "No Mom, really!!". I get up and look and there it goes right along the bottom of our front door, around the corner and over towards my garage.
OK, first things first. Shut the door. "Kids, do NOT open that door or go outside!" Next, shut the garage door. Here comes the outdoor cat. Grab Blackie and throw him in the house. Stop think. You are supposed to call someone to take these things away. Who do I call? Wait. Keep it from getting away. "Kids, grab me a bin!" dump out Ben's blocks and I go outside with a bin and drop it over the snake (about 2 ft long). Miss and land on him. Quickly pick it up and drop over him. Go back inside. (From the initial finding of the snake to dropping the bin was probably 2 minutes of less) Take a deep breath. Try and call La Vernia Fire Dept non-emergency number. No answer. Call husband. "Hon, we have a coral snake. Who should I call?" He tells me to let the cat get him. Ummm, no, I'm not taking the chance that the cat will either a) decide he doesn't feel like killing a snake today and let the highly venomous snake go on his merry way or b) get killed by the snake.
In the end the Wilson County Sheriffs Dept sends someone out. Turns out THREE deputies show up, guess there wasn't much happening today. When the deputy picked up the bin the snake turned out to be pretty much dead/dying from when I dropped the bin on him. Death by Rubbermaid! The deputy whacked him once on the head with his baton to make sure he was good and dead and then put him in an evidence bag to dispose of him. I'm sure the frazzled Yankee mom will be the topic on much laughter today.

P.S. The deputy asked if I wanted to keep it and put it in a jar of alcohol. Now I'm a pretty tolerant, cool homeschooling mom but I NOT that cool!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I've had visitors from:

Flags courtesy of ITA's
Flags of All Countries used with permission.

Mowing Musings

While mowing our yard yesterday (I can't call it a lawn, it's mostly sand and weeds) I realized something.
I was tooling along on our little John Deere. Ok, stop laughing. We own a riding mower, a John Deere, the exact one in the picture, complete with matching green trailer...and I use it. It's great fun! Anyway back to my story. I was in the front of our property where we have no trees. The sun was shining, gorgeous blue sky, puffy clouds and I said to myself "I really do like living in TX". It was very hard leaving our friends and family back East but we really have been very happy here.

I had another flat tire and it wasn't but 10 seconds before someone stopped to help me, turned out to be a neighbor who lives about half-mile up the street from us-the girls know his dogs. Now, a man stopping to help a lady with a car full of kids change a tire isn't all that remarkable. Get this. He tells me to take my groceries, the kids and take HIS TRUCK and take them all home. This guy only knows me by sight and I only know the names of his dogs and he's sending me off with his Supercab mongo diesel truck! I took my milk and the little girls and dropped them home. The girls thought it big fun to ride in a pickup :-)
Let's return to my adventures in mowing. As I'm doing some more work in the front Grace calls out, "Mom, the deer!" It's about 1PM and there is a doe walking down the middle of our street. Poor thing is probably the mother of the fawn that was mauled by dogs the other day, she's been acting a little mental ever since, can't say I blame her. So we watch her cruise through our front yard and neighbors and head into an empty lot. Sure we saw deer and wildlife in our other homes but not so up close and personal-we can hear owls and coyotes when we sit outside.
This weekend I got the rest of my plants in, played in the pool with the kids (another neighbor gave us one of the 14ft inflatable pools), finished taking down a felled tree without our chainsaw (yes, we have a chainsaw too-STOP LAUGHING), got it to the burn pile, mowed the lawn, went to Mass, watched football, had a nice visit with two neighbors, talked to another freind about Bunco next week and best of brace yourselves. It's a true Texas miracle.
We found good pizza. Almost makes you want to cry. No, really. C'mon a Jersey girl without access to decent pizza? I make my own, but it just is NOT the same.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pachelbel Canon in D

like you never heard it before.
This is so great....and right ON!

Friday, August 24, 2007

1 in 4 American adults.....

didn't read even ONE book last YEAR. This is pitiful. Sad.

>>One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.<<

Now I understand that not everyone has the luxury of staying at home with their children and homeschooling them, a lifestyle which lends itself to reading. Although I do not read for pleasure nearly as much during the school year as I do during the summer. Sept-June I'm lucky to get a non-school related book finished every couple weeks. During the summer? I'd say I average 2 books a week. While on vacation, I can polish off a book a day while Chris drives. :-P Even Chris who works 60+ hours a week, drives 40 minutes each way to work and works on cars and yard stuff every weeekend, manages to find time to read and he certainly isn't wasting his precious reading time with fluff.

Still 25% of American adults didn't read a SINGLE book. In 365 days? How many hours of TV did those same people watch I wonder in that same amount of time? Hmmm???

Thank heavens I'm raising readers. Even my boys who would rather chew glass than read fiction, devour non-fiction books, Ian memorizes them, I dare any of you to ask him a question about Naval aircraft...dare you :-)
Keeping Katie supplied with books has always been hard and it's just getting harder now that she can finish off novels in a day or two, and not brain candy but literature like Jane Austen. Grace is rapidly following in her footsteps (finished 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (abrdiged) and is starting and loving The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (abridged) with some fluff reading added in ) and Emma is hot on their heels-rising first grader, plowing her way through chapter books like Little House and Magic Tree House.

So please read to your children, teach them to read and more importantly stop reading my blog and pick up a book yourself!

Link to entire article:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Last hurrah...

We went to Sea World yesterday. My mom generously purchased season passes for us for a year so we are able to go fairly regularly although it still is a treat. This week is the last week the water park portion will be open during the week. I decided we'd go as a 'not back to school' treat before we start school (homeschool) next week. We'll be back to SeaWorld during the fall but doubtfully on the weekend while the water park is still open.
I can hear y'all now. "But wait, Karen, you have 7 children! How do you take them to Sea World and a WATER PARK by yourself?"

This is how it goes. First, I stuff them like foie gras geese all morning so the begging for $42 ice cream and $25 buckets of popcorn is minimalized because you are lucky to get a water bottle past the kind gentlemen searching your bags at the gate-I did manage to sneak a pack of graham crackers, bottle of water and bottle of apple juice in yesterday. HAH! Diapers and underwear make great contraband camoflauge.
Pile everyone in the BIG WHITE VAN and take off for the 45 minute drive to Sea World. Left with 7 children, determined to return with 7 children. Spend the next 45 minutes reassuring Ben (always interested in which direction we are going and what we will find), "yes this is the way to Sea World" which is then followed up by "I see ShamPu?!!" For some reason Ben cannot drop that 'P' and the big famous killer whale is known as Shampu in our house.
Head to the water park. The boys, as usual, are released to take on the world (watch out world), Katie chooses to go ride slides with Grace and I take Emma, Ben and Lucy to the little kids area which consists of a 3 story structure in a 9"-18" deep pool. Splashing, squirting fun! and I get to sit off on the side in 9" of water and watch Lucy splash while Ben and Emma run around and play. Then Ben and Emma and I (toting Lucy) head to let them do the little kiddy water slide (with life vests). Ben was less than thrilled with it but Emma loves it. Run into Katie and Grace there. Eventually end up with all the girls and Ben in the wave pool where we run into the boys (well before set meet time) everyone plays together while I watch Lucy splash in about 4" of water. Boys are done and want to go ride coasters. Leave Emma, Grace and Katie in wave pool. Take boys and Lucy to locker. Send big boys off to meet at 5PM outside Shampu stadium. Back to wave pool. Emma wants to ride big slides. Send Katie, Grace and Emma off. I watch Ben and Lucy play. Little boy comes up to me looking for his parents. I get him situated with a life guard and then spend the next 15 minutes watching the lifeguards try and help this little boy (5-6 years old) find his parents. Now, I admit it, I HAVE been unintentionally separated from my children, sometimes in crowded, scary situations but I can't fathom that this little guys parents (he gave a good description) were not also frantically looking for him. He was little and it was a WATER park. Anyway...on with our adventures.
We got to watch some F-15's (fighter jets) zip around the sky (Sea World is very close to an AFB)-Ben loved that. then BA-BOOM and it wasn't a sonic boom. Thunder.
They close all the pools and water rides (obviously). Good timing. I head to the locker, and like smart kids, the girls were already there. Emma, in tears, because it turns out she was too short (WAY) for the big slides. Go to the locker room, get everyone dry and dressed, hair brushed the time we are done the rain is gone. Out to the park.

Do some kiddy rides, go to the Shampu show. Meet the big boys there. Shampu was having an off day. We've all seen this show at least 5 times. We know how it goes down and we have seen quite a few mistakes/delays, including a new trainer getting so choked up during her "I always wanted to work with whales..." speech that she had to stop. This time right after the initial dramatic intro the whales had a sit down or would it be swim down strike. For about 5 minutes the trainers ran around like little ants trying to get the whales back out in the tank to do ANYTHING. The weather may have had something to do with it. Eventually all was well, enough fish was plied and the show moved on they're animals, not robots, this kind of thing is normal and expected.

Then the three big kids go off to ride the big rides that have been closed on and off due to the weather. I take the littles to ride the kiddy rides some more and what I believe was our 4th bathroom break of the day. Emma finds a new best friend and now we are moving from ride to ride with Grace, Emma, Ben and ???? all holding hands. Finally at about 5:30 (park closes at 6) the big kids show up again and we head out of the park. We go through the turnstiles and I am leaving with 7 kids, just like I came in with. See YOU thought I meant that I was concerned I would LOSE one, no I'm concerned that I'll ADD one. :-)

Just as we hit the parking Jack says "Hey, look the eye of Sauron", now if you have never seen Return of the King the reference is lost on you but suffice to say there was a BIG BLACK cloud over Sea World and heading towards the parking lot. We pick up the pace. Just as we get to the van the sky opens up. Everyone leaps in the van and I toss Lucy in, literally, good thing she bounces.... and shut the doors and run around to my side. I'm drenched by the time I get there, might have well as sat in the 'splash zone' :-). Someone gets Lucy in her seat and Ben in his and we are headed home.

All in all a smashing success. Everyone had fun, no one lost, no one gained. Minimal $$ spent and the park was EMPTY. We've been there when it is at capacity and 3/4 empty is much MUCH better.

We've got a party here Saturday and I'm supposed to start school Monday (and watch a neighbor child for a week..what am I THINKING). I am so not ready for ANY of it!!


I have a stat tracker on this blog. It shows me all kinds of nifty things like who has been here, how many times, where they linked from, if they used a search engine to find me, what keyword they used etc....... (I'm watching you!!)
So I'm checking my stats and see someone landed here after searching "how to eat refried beans" . So I google "how to eat refried beans" and my blog comes up first. Not a recipe, not a Mexican culinary site. Nope. A picture of Lucy covered in refried beans. How appetitizing for someone so unfamiliar with refried beans that they google how to eat it.
The wonderful world of the internet!

That Mom's blog!

The blog of the lady who wrote the ebay auction below. Hysterical. Very Erma...Bombeck that is.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Laugh for the day

This is the text from an active Ebay auction. For the most part I have my kids pretty well trained for the grocery store jazz BUT I rarely take all of them. I 100% know how this mom feels and she is so funny about the whole thing:

******I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.

You havenít lived until youíve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when theyíre having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when youíre peering into your fridge and thinking, ëHmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,í that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them ìThe Lectureì.

ìThe Lectureì goes like thisÖ

MOM: ìWe have to go to the grocery store.î

KIDS: ìWhine whine whine whine whine.ì

MOM: ìHey, I donít want to go either, but itís either that or weíre eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.î

KIDS: ìWhine whine whine whine whine.ì

MOM: ìNow here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.î

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, ìAre they all yours?î I answer good naturedly, ìYep!

ìOh my, you have your hands full.î

ìYes, I do, but itës fun!î I say smiling. Iíve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, ìDid you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!î

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, ìDidnít I tell you, before we left, that I didnít want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???î

ìNo. You said that you didnít want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didnít say anything about apples.î

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, ìAre all of those your kids?î

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, ìNope. They just started following me. Iíve never seen them before in my life.î

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, Iím tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of ìCan we getsî begins.

ìCan we get donuts?î


ìCan we get cupcakes?î


ìCan we get muffins?î


ìCan we get pie?î


Youíd think theyíd catch on by this point, but no, theyíre just getting started.

In the bakery, theyíre giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesnít like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (Thatís what moms do. We put our hands in front of our childrenís mouths so they can spit stuff into them. Weíd rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. Iím not sure why this is, but ask any mom and sheíll tell you the same.) Of course, thereís no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, ìWow! Are all six yours?î

I answer her, ìYes, but Iím thinking of selling a couple of them.î

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kidsí attention spans are spent. Theyíre done shopping at this point, but we arenít even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh ìchildî, also known as my husband. While Iím picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. Iím amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say ìinfluenzaî?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, ìCan we have candy?î What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a childís eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we donít even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, ìAre they all yours?î

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, ìNo. Theyíre not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because itís so much more fun that way.î

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't there's anything special about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.

Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, thatís my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, itís out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as Iíve received your payment. I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! *********

I am incessantly asked if 'they are all mine' and often 'do you run a daycare' and then of course the oh so clever folk who ask "don't you know what causes that? and "don't you own a TV?" and the ever snooty and appreciated "Are you done yet?"
Guess what folks. You aren't being original or funny every mother of many has heard it ALL before. I don't ask you personal questions, why do you think you can ask me? Once I got so fed up I looked at the person and asked "So what color is your underwear?" in response to a incredibly personal question. They just stared at me so I added "well, since you're asking me a very personal question I thought fair was fair."

I hope this mom sells her Pokemon cards for lots and lots of money and doesn't buy a TV :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Neat find!
Chris and I want to get new living room furniture. There simply isn't enough room for our family to sit all at once without more than half the family sitting on the floor. Complication: we have a cat. He doesn't scratch very much compared to many cats but he IS a cat and he does LOVE to climb. We haven't even addressed what happens when you are holding him and happen to walk past a sink. The usual solution? Declawing. Well, declawing is extremely painful for the cat-it is not just a pulling of the claw out of the nailbed like I thought-and which is bad enough-it is the amputation of the last digit of their toe- and can even cause them not to use the litter box....permenently. Ok, so now I have cat who may not be scratching my furniture but is now pooping and peeing all over the house. What to do? Soft Paws!! I found these nifty little vinyl covers that go over your cats claws. They go on with a type of super glue and stay on 4-6 weeks. It works out to around $5/month for these. I think it is a win-win situation. No painful, costly surgery for Pumpkin and my furniture and all of our skin, stays intact!!
Side benefit? They come in cool colors so you can make your cat the laughing stock of the neighborhood!
Doesn't he look cute!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


No, I'm not going to talk about homeschoolers and socialization. That's been done to death.
This post is about women. Yes, women. In today's world women have stopped connecting. In addition to the busy lives we lead we have continued the cliquish ways of high school. First, we become Mom and often lose Karen or Maggie or Sharon....somewhere along the way. Then we kind of tool along in the tide of dance mom's or soccer mom's or homeschool mom's or scouting mom's or Little League mom's....almost everything we do is tied to our children's interests or husband's work, our work or our hobby. When was the last time any of you, my 4 readers, got together with a group of women and just had a nice time. Not a meeting, not a birthday party for a child, not a husband or child in sight? Just a few hours of eating and talking. Even better, got together with some women that may lead a slightly different life than you do?
I do this every month. I've mentioned it earlier in my blog. There is a game called Bunco, it's a simple dice game. It's a TX tradition to have Bunco clubs. This is a group of women who get together and play. Sometimes it is done through a church or other organization, often it is 12 women who come together in their homes and play. I was fortunate enough to be invited to sub in a local club within weeks of moving here, and in a few months was invited to join. Some of us are tied in one way or another, there are a couple sisters, a couple homeschoolers, a few neighbors etc....but we don't ALL have anything in common except we all live in the same county and are women. Once a month we all gather at one member's house. She provides dinner. Then we all sit and play Bunco for a couple hours. Bunco requires 4 people to sit around a table and after every game, there is rotation so you are constantly changing who you are talking to. Bunco is a very simple game so you are able to talk and enjoy yourself while playing the game. It's amazing what 3-4 hours once a month just having fun and conversation can do for your morale.
I challenge my readers to think about this. Think about how they can get out and just be Karen or Joanne or Therese every now and then. Have a little fun. Talk. SOCIALIZE. There are lots of games that can be played to encourage socialization. Bunco, bridge, pinochle, any game with more than 2 people at a table that is quick and you can rotate.
Bunco rules are slightly different in every club. If you are interested in Bunco and how it's usually played:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Be not afraid!!

I love to bake. Always have. Ever since I was a little girl standing on the chair next to my grandmother making cakes.
Even as a teen I would experiment with recipes out of cookbooks instead of using a boxed cake mix.
I collect cake, cookie and goodie recipes like little girls collect stuffed animals. I still haven't mentioned that one item so many otherwise avid cooks and bakers avoid. That one ingredient that strikes fear deep in the heart of homemakers everywhere....
:::cue scary music::::

It's amazing how many people will deep fry a turkey ( ACK!! ), attempt Baked Alaska, bone a salmon....or any other manner of difficult cooking tasks but won't touch yeast breads.

It is NOT that hard and I find to be one of the most rewarding and appreciated items one can make, not to mention the $$ you save. A few tips. Use fresh yeast. If it is too old it won't activate well and your baked goods will be dense and doughy. Use good flour. Some people doesn't think it matters but I can taste the difference. I prefer King Arthur products. And when making breads a good high protein (bread) flour does help but all purpose will work.

Here is a good simple recipe to start:

Ciabatta Bread/Pizza Crust

I'm linking directly to my friend, Joanne's blog, as she has nice pictures of this recipe!

I enjoy making a sweet egg bread that I often turn into cinnamon swirl bread. I'd give the recipe but I don't have one. I eyeball it.
There are tons of great breadmaking websites on the net.

This is a friend of mine: has lots of wonderful recipes. It's my go-to place when I'm looking for most anything.

Happy baking!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Power of One....

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week ( )

The Power of One...

...drop of colostrum
...pumping call
...LLL meeting
...Leader working with a Leader Applicant
...feeding at the breast
...hour, the first hour of bonding

...hour, your baby's first hour
...milky smile
...answered email
...WBW Celebration
...event promoting breastfeeding
...look from your newborn as he or she is nursing for the first time
...mother told "You can do it"
...supportive Father

...Gold Standard, breastfeeding.
...Leader helping one baby at a time
...pebble of accurate information and its ripples in the community
...mother supported, encouraged, listened to, informed, enlightened

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More kitty pics

TEMPORARY additions
My Pumpkin-boy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Update on Jerry

Many of you know that this past June my father in-law's docs found a mass in his lung. It looked like a malignancy and acted like a malignancy on scans, they were unable to biopsy due to the location. Dfil smoked for many years. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck......
His first surgery was scheduled for July 11 th but was postponed in the 11th hour due to iffy bloodwork. He finally did have his surgery last week. The duck turned out to be a horse. The 99.99999% sure cancerous tumor turned out to be a fungal infection. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and considering the majority of this surgery is doing quite well.
Thank you for all the prayers, I will try to keep everyone posted on how he continues to do!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Space Camp

Ian went to Space Camp this past week and had a wonderful time. It wasn't THE Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, which he dreams of going to someday. It was Space Camp sponsored by the Challenger Learning Center. He and his fellow campers ran two 'missions'. One was Voyage to Mars and the other Rendezvous with a Comet. Ian served as Navigator for one and Medical Officer for the other. When they weren't working on their missions they did projects and crafts, talked with an astronaut (John Blaha) and toured the only standing WWI aircraft hanger still standing (which is also a museum now).
The camp was kind enough to provide all the campers with a CD of photos. Gee, how did they know that I blogged :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Worlds Most Tolerant Cat

That is what we have.
Pumpkin and Ben


As you can see, she is no worse for wear after her recent experience.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More reunion details

For those not 'in the know'...the family reunion was Chris' parents, their 8 children, 5 spouses and 46 grandchildren of the 62(?) grandchildren. That is who you see in the pictures. All first cousins or aunts and uncle to my children.
I'm not posting who's who to protect the privacy of my nieces and nephews. Anyone who may be wondering who's who can leave a comment or email me.


The much anticipated photos from the reunion....
this is what I have so far. Most snapped the night before we all left when it was realized most of the week had been spent chatting and not taking pictures. I've asked other family members to send me their pics so in a few weeks I hope to have a more comprehensive album. I also need to edit a lot of video (I took much more video than stills)
in the end I hope to have a nice DVD for all the family complete with titles, stills, video, music etc...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We're home...again...

Lucy was in the hospital. Nothing big. Just a bit of gastroenteritis that she couldn't handle without some IV support. She is doing very well now. Not womitin' and the diarrhea isn't bad at all. She is finally drinking again. Thankfully she was still breastfeeding and that helped her.
I'll give an official shout out "THANK YOU!!" to our pediatrician, and all the nurses. Lucy wasn't THAT sick in perspective to some of the other children there but all the nurses and PCA's were attentive and helpful and kind. Everyone from the nice person who was cleaning the room and talked to Lucy and brought her a toy from the playroom to the gray ladies who made toys for the children in the ER to the nurses who promptly came whenever her pump started beeping to the phlebotomist who had to wake us at 5AM for blood draws to her pediatrician (who kept me 100% in the loop and involved in decision making ) were all professional and caring. No one wants to be in the hospital but I couldn't ask for a better experience then we had and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others.

Quick note: WE NEED MORE NURSES!! All our nurses were running like madwomen the entire time. They were constantly trying to meet their patients and the physician's needs.

and an aside to parents and other people with loved ones in the hospital. Your nurses are not your slaves, use that call bell judiciously. Do whatever you can yourself including cleaning up after yourself and your child. Treat your nurses with kindness and respect, they'll appreciate it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sorry for the delay

We were at the family reunion in KY and have all been settling back in now that we are home.
I have lots of pictures and video to share.
Here is the finale of the amazing fireworks show my bil Matthew put on. This video was taken a good 200 yds from the show to give you some perspective of the scale of these pyrotechnics. Matt put hundreds of hours of work into this show, and would put most small, medium and even some large towns to shame. It was a 25 minute show, this is only the last few minutes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


So sorry for the lag in posts. Our wireless adapter has officially tanked. So there will be no pictures until we get a replacement.
My mom was here for a week for a nice visit and we scoped out some nice houses. No purchase yet, but hopefully this fall.
The two little girls are in zoo camp this week. This is Grace's second year and Emma's first and they are having a great time. The 160 miles per day I am putting on the van is killing the gas budget but it is only a week.
The kitten (now known as Pumpkin or Punkin or Kitty or Baby Girl) is doing well. She has settled into a nice little routine and she and Murphy are learning to co-exist. She is fine with him, he is being the PIB. He doesn't GET that he is 40 lbs, she is 4oz and he canNOT paw at her to play. He did get a doggie gold star night before last. He officially is 'scorpion spotter'. He found one in the upstairs hall and started barking (not unusual-he barks at everything) and growling (HIGHLY unusual-Murphy NEVER growls) send Katie to investigate and lo and behold he is 'alerting' to a scorpion, a big one. We think he must have been stung in the past and knows they are bad. He never barks at spiders or crickets or flies although he does 'play' with all of the above.
We are preparing for the big trip to KY for the Kuplack family reunion. We will leave June 30 or so and return July 9. It will be quite the production. We are renting a camping trailer and will be staying in the Little Rock area overnight on the way there and they way back and attempt to plug-in at my brother in-laws house in Crestwood. We should have all the adapters and extension cords necessary.


It looks like our beloved San Antonio Spurs are going to win (and possibly sweep) the NBA Championship. We've never been basketball fans, even living in KY (aka basketball country) but you can't help become a Spurs fan living in SA. First of all, they are the only top tier pro sport team SA has so everything is Spurs this, Ginobli that, Parker this, Duncan that. Second, they are a team anyone can really get behind. They generally play very clean, Gregg Popovich (coach) is a straight up guy, none of the players are ever in the news for paternity suits or drug and weapons possession, you don't have to explain to the kids why this supposed "role model" is in jail.....again. They play as a team. It's not "Superstar" and his Merry Men. (Although Lebron James is a great kid, who seems to have his head screwed on straight)

So it's 3-0 Spurs. Hopefully Thursday night SA will be partying as NBA Champs 2007!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

More cat


The wireless is working!! (for the moment)

I don't have time to be clever, I may only have a couple minutes before my wireless disappears into the techo-netherworld. I'm posting some pictures of Katie and Chris in Michigan and our new cat. Yes, cat. A little female named Pumpkin/Punkin. She is a product of one of our feral cats. She is about 6 weeks old, the runt and absolutely precious. We got her before SHE started acting feral and she is very affectionate, loves people even Lucy. Pumpkin and I match, we had to keep her!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

OM results!

SA-HERO placed 15th!! This is spectacular! They were competing against 37 other teams. Most, if not all, the other teams have been to Worlds before, some multiple times and it is unheard of that a team with 4 members who have never done OM before make it to Worlds let alone place 15th. They also beat the team that beat them at State by 5 places (but no gloating, that's not the OM way :-) )
Their buddy team from Poland WON their division of Tag 'Em with an ingenious vehicle made from CD player parts and refrigerator light buttons. No one understood why a team from TX was jumping up and down and screaming when a team from Poland won.
Katie had a phenomenal time. She has thank you's to send (I just have to make sure she actually SENDS them) to everyone who helped her and her team out.
I'll give her a place to post about her experience here. We are currently on dial-up but as soon as our wireless is back-up I'll upload video of the Rube Goldberg machine and hopefully the video of their performance at World's will be on Youtube soon. I'll embed it here when it is.
Thanks again everyone....until next year......

OM results!

First Holy Communion

Today Grace received her First Holy Communion!!
It was very stormy last night but by the time Mass was over this morning the sun had started shining (for at least a little while)
Some pictures from Grace's very special day!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dewdrops on a rose

A poetic description of a really inconvenient malady.


It looks for all the world like Ben has the chicken pox. He was exposed, the pustules match the description of what they should like at the beginning and he has a slight fever. It is NOT bug bites as I have sat there and watched these pop up over a matter of minutes/hours, if could be another viral illness but I'm not holding out much hope. The pictures don't do justice to the textbook look of the pox.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Team Blog

The OM kids have a blog.

OM Live streaming video

Tonight's opening ceremonies and a couple other cermonies will be broadcast live online.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RIP Cocoa

I know in the grand scheme and with all the awful things happening in the world the death of a dog is a small thing.
In our little world though the death of this dog is very very sad. We all loved him very much, he was a good dog. Our neighbor Mike had him before he even met his wife. Cocoa was his friend and companion.
Please pray for Mike and especially Martha who is feeling a lot of guilt over this tragic accident. Pray for my little girls who will be devastated (they don't know yet). Oh he was such a good boy, we'll miss him so very very much.

Thursday, May 17, 2007