The Show Must Go On

10:09 PM Posted by Natalie

I'm pretty sure that many of the moms out here in the blogosphere have at least heard of, if not seen, the reality TV show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" which airs on TLC. The show chronicles the lives of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their 8 children, one set of twins and a set of sextuplets. I haven't watched regularly by any stretch, but I've caught more than a few episodes in the past. Although I didn't find Kate particularly endearing, I did like the fact that, as a parent, I could identify with much of what they were going through, even though I don't have multiples myself. The show seemed to be a hit.

I'm also pretty sure that, if you've watched or heard of the show, you've probably also heard the stories coming out recently about Jon's alleged infidelities and rumors of Kate having some kind of relationship with her bodyguard. Not only has Jon supposedly been having an affair with a younger woman, it has also been alleged that he's been inappropriate with some college girls. And in the middle of all this controversy are 8 small children.

When I did watch the show, I always marveled at all of the things this large family was able to do...going to an organic farm and buying their own side of beef, a ski vacation, and although I didn't actually see the episode, I saw the previews for a vow renewal in Hawaii. They apparently have a million-dollar home. Even in the episode where they got new carpet, it seems the carpet was also a perk. Wow, this reality show stuff pays really well, I guess. We haven't been able to afford to take our 4 children on a vacation, much less 8 of them. But how valuable are those perks when the cost is destroying your family? How much are those 8 little lives worth?

Apparently, it's all worth it in the end to Kate. I watched a video story online today about the most recent developments since their new season just premiered, featuring the couple discussing these troubling new issues. According to the reporter, whatever happens, Kate says the show must go on, even if it's just "Kate Plus 8".

8 little miracles that beat the odds can be yours for just the price of a few vacations, a nice house, some new carpet, and a side of beef. What a tragedy.

Wordless Wednesday: Grandpa's Girl & Mommy's Little Soldiers

9:00 AM Posted by Natalie

Decked out for Memorial Day:

Grandpa's Girl

Little Soldiers

Maybe it was nothing?

11:23 PM Posted by Natalie

It no longer hurts when I floss. Hmmm. I know that gums can get irritated from various things, but it sure reminded me of the same kind of pain I had where I had that root canal. I had had an infection in the tooth causing the pain. I imagine if I had an infection now, it wouldn't just go away. Either way, I've been meaning to get in and I know I'm overdue, so I'm certainly going to call anyway. (Yeah, it should've been today, but I was busy picking and booking the hotel for our anniversary this weekend! WAHOO!!! Lots more fun than booking the dentist, I gotta say. Ha!)

I sure hope it's nothing. One of the reasons I tend to put off going to the dentist is because I always have problems, and then I have problems because I put off going to the dentist...Ahhh! I just really don't want to hear anymore bad news, not even a cavity. The dentist we had before our last one had told me I had all these cavities. Okay, 10 to be exact. Yes, TEN. No, wait, ELEVEN! He filled 3, which became 4 while he was in there drilling. "Ooh, there's another one! Must've missed it." Swell. So that meant I had what, 6 or 7 left? The account lady was doing acrobats to try to work the schedule so we could split them all up and get as much insurance coverage as possible. Lucky it was almost the end of the year! Well right after I had gotten started with the fillings, Shaun's insurance switched again and we could no longer go to that dentist. At first I was perturbed because we did like that dentist and I would have to start all over again in the middle of my dental work. That actually turned out to be a GOOD thing.

First the news with Joey. According to the old dentist, Joey had 2 small cavities (his first). But the new dentist checked twice and said NO cavities. Interesting. Then came me. No, there were not 6 or 7 that still needed to be filled, there were 3. Wow, that's quite a difference! So I told Shaun, "Well, either that other dentist was a quack that was giving us treatment we didn't need or this one's a quack and our teeth are going to start falling out." It's crazy I tell ya! So, I just can't even imagine what my next check-up will bring with yet another dentist. I'm really afraid to find out!

Of course, Shaun doesn't even floss, doesn't go to the dentist regularly, and he NEVER has cavities. Now tell me how that's fair?


9:00 PM Posted by Natalie

I've had some really bad luck with my teeth over the years. It all started with being in braces for 3 years as a child and it's been pretty much downhill from there. Don't get me wrong, my teeth are nice and straight, but I'm not sure how much that's gonna count if I end up with false ones some day. Oy. I've got fillings everywhere, and when I was pregnant with Kyle, I had to have a root canal. Those are fun, let me tell ya. I'll admit that some of it has been my fault, but I think some of it is also some unfortunate genetics. And I've heard that having babies and nursing is hard on your teeth, too. So I got that little dental bonus, too. Times four.

So I'm really only a couple of months overdue for a check-up. I've been meaning to call the new dentist for weeks and today was going to be the day because, well, I have a problem. Great. No teeth have been bothering me, everything has seemed fine. Then a few days ago I noticed that when I flossed between two of my teeth that it hurt. Really hurt. It doesn't hurt otherwise, not even when I chew, but when I floss there, OUCH! And guess what? It's in the same spot as the other side of my mouth where I had to have the root canal done.

Of course, I got busy doing things today and totally forgot to make the call. Now I have to wait until Tuesday and stew over what lovely procedure may be awaiting me. If, heaven forbid, it would mean another root canal (which they'll have to tie me up and gag me for), Shaun will probably have me out on the street with a tin can. Please, PLEASE, don't let it be anything major. Stupid teeth.

I'm so happy!

11:52 PM Posted by Natalie

My FAVORITE reality show is back! I LOVE "So You Think You Can Dance" and have been waiting and waiting for the season to start. I've always loved dance. I took a little growing up, and I don't know if I had stuck with it if I would have been any good, but I love to watch it. So be prepared, I may have to do a weekly dish ;)

I could really use some advice....

8:40 AM Posted by Natalie

I know I don't have a lot of readers and even less followers, but if you're stopping by, I'd sure like to know what you think. You may have seen this post a few weeks ago about the bows I made for the silent auction at church. I started making bows a little over 2 years ago. I loved it pretty much immediately and started buying up ribbon and supplies. I sold a few on Ebay, but mostly I've made them for Lauren, sold them to family or friends, or given them as gifts. I had been on hiatus for awhile after we put our old house on the market, through the holidays, and with the move and everything. Making all those bows for the auction has sort of lit a spark again.

So I've been thinking about opening an Etsy shop. Back when I first slowed down with my bow making, other ladies were saying Ebay was slow. Then Ebay made a bunch of changes and raised fees which made even long-time sellers there consider leaving Ebay all together. Etsy has much lower fees and the listing lasts for up to 4 months, so it would give me time to build up an inventory rather than have a bunch of items to list at one time. The layout is simpler, which would probably take less time, and it's not an auction-style site, so I can hopefully avoid selling my items for much less than they're worth.

My dilemma is that I am wondering if it will be worth it. There are MANY sellers of handmade hair accessories out there, some who offer things that are even better than mine. I don't have any patented designs or unique hair accessory inventions. I am wondering how I would fit into that big market and set myself apart from anyone else so that my items would sell. And listing on a site like Etsy takes more than just making the items. You also have to take good pictures of the items, edit them, and post the listings. You also want to make sure you have nice packaging materials to send them in. At the same time, it still feels like something I would really like to do. Whenever I'm in Michael's or Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart or something, I cannot seem to keep myself from buying ribbon. It's like an addiction. Seriously. But would it be worth my time?

What there a full moon or something???

1:06 AM Posted by Natalie

Geez Louise. I'd really like to go to bed sometime tonight....

Earlier this evening, Kyle fell out of his bed. Then, sometime around midnight, I heard Lauren crying. I went in and she was all sweaty. So I got her a drink, took her pajama pants off, and laid down with her. Then I smelled something. "Do you have a poop?" I asked. (No, she is STILL not doing it on the potty.) I checked and saw a little bit. She hadn't gone today and I think she's constipated. So, I had to have her sit on the pot. At midnight.

While I had her in the bathroom, I heard crashing and banging coming from the boys' room. Went in to find Alec awake and asking for a drink of water. AHHH! So I got him his drink and told him to go back to sleep. Got Lauren all squared away and laid down with her hoping she'd fall asleep quickly and I'd sneak out. I only do this occasionally if she wakes up in the night like that. So I laid there and laid there, she'd fall asleep, and the slightest move would wake her up. She tossed and thrashed and I finally couldn't take it anymore. It was almost 1:00 a.m. when I left her room. She cried, I threatened, all's quiet.

THEN, I hear somebody's door opening. By now I'm like a madwoman. This time it's Kyle up for a drink of water. GO TO BED!!! I want to go to bed! So, I'm sitting here waiting to make sure everyone is down and out, because if they get me out of bed....

What Do You Think?

8:36 AM Posted by Natalie

I'm just curious what other people may think about something that has bothered me about the dress code at my boys' school. Of course, no matter how many of my cyber friends may agree with me, it's not going to change anything, but I sometimes like to know if my feelings are reasonable or not. My boys attend a VERY small, traditional Catholic school. So, of course there is a uniform, which is perfectly fine. But there are some things about their particular dress code that bother me.

The boys uniform consists of navy pants, white oxford shirt, black belt, navy or black socks, a tie (yes, a tie!), and black dress shoes. Now, I actually have two issues with this particular uniform. One is the tie. I HATE the tie. I mean, I don't really think it's necessary, but the real issue I have with it is that it's more work for the parents. We've had lost ties, broken ties, untied ties (they're the kind that come already tied), and it never fails that I will do laundry just to wash ties and then they will come home covered in who-knows-what the very next day. Yes, I just love to run an entire load of laundry just for a tie.

My other issue is the shoes. They have to wear black dress shoes to school, but they have to have tennis shoes for recess and PE. Now, that means we have to send a separate pair of shoes to school. So, both the boys end up having to have a number of pairs of shoes; their school shoes, their play shoes for school, nice shoes for home, and play shoes for home because their other play shoes are at school. And on days when they have PE, they also have to dress out, so they come home with those tennis shoes on. So then guess what happens? They sometimes forget to bring them back to school and they have to stand by the wall for recess if they don't have their tennis shoes. Today was one of those days, as Alec realized halfway to school that he had forgotten his tennis shoes. He's 6. Now the poor kid can't play at recess. (And somehow only one of Joey's dress shoes made it home yesterday. He better find the other one because I am NOT buying another pair!) Yes, I realize I am the mom and am supposed to help remember this stuff. But, you know, I have quite a lot going on, too. In my opinion, it would be just as acceptable for these kids to wear some nice black tennis shoes to school, eliminating the need for extra shoes, and the extra expense.

I brought the shoe issue up at the school meeting before the beginning of this year but was quickly shut down and put in my place about the shoes. Something about looking nice. Yes, I understand that, but who really looks at your feet? (Besides, you should see how these shoes end up looking after a little while.) I was actually a little surprised that I was the only one who said something as there are quite a few families with more children at the school than I have (including a few families with 10 children, so they might have 5 or 6 at school). I don't know how they keep track of all of those shoes! So, do I have a point here, or am I just a whiny mom that needs to get her act together?

Good Day, Bad Day

10:24 AM Posted by Natalie

You know what they say about the best laid plans....

(Who are "they" anyway?)

I'm gonna have to back up a bit here. My sister, my closest and dearest friend, has really been having a rough time of it lately. Well, more than just lately, more like for months now. Without going into too many details, she has lost a lot this past year, including her black lab, Lily. Lily did not pass away, but her soon-to-be-ex, who shall remain nameless and caused quite enough grief on his own, took her when he left. My sister is the one who took care of that dog, trained her, walked her, all the things that matter. Mr. Shall Remain Nameless only bothered when he wanted to show her off, and then he would act like he was the one that taught her how to do it all. Well, it was sham just like he was. But, he's got her and my sister hasn't seen her in at least 6 months. It has broken her heart. He doesn't deserve her. (Of course, I don't happen to think he deserves much beyond air and the occasional meal, but I suppose that's not a very Christian thing to say.)

And so, it went back to being my sister and Marge, her kitty. My sister got Marge when she was just a kitten back when she was stationed in Alaska in the Air Force. Marge is 16, and been through thick and thin with my sister. She has been a beloved furry friend, the one constant in her life no matter what else happened. She's the Alaskan Kitty, A.K.A. Dude. I don't think my sister can even remember when she wasn't around. But her heart has continued to ache for Lily, too, because when my sister gets an animal, it's a long-term commitment. She loves them as much as she can love them.

So, around last Thursday, a stray yellow lab turned up in our neighborhood. One of our neighbors held onto her while he posted signs and tried to find her home. She had a collar, but no tags. Days went by and no one came forward to claim her. So a lightbulb went off in my head and I pointed her out to my sister when she was here on Saturday for Alec's birthday party. We talked to the neighbor and he was more than happy to hand her over to my sister if no one claimed her by Monday, as he was planning to take her to the pound anyway. I thought maybe it was something that was meant to be, a new friend for my sister to love to ease her heartache a little. She wouldn't be a replacement for Lily, of course, but perhaps a dog that needed my sister as much as my sister needed her....a good match. I prayed and prayed no one would come along to claim her, I wanted my sister to have her. And no one did. Monday evening my sister took her home and named her Daisy.

She had gotten a vet appointment for both animals on Tuesday and we made a plan for me to go along with her to help with Marge and Daisy. Then we were going to go out to dad's house to have dinner and watch The Biggest Loser finale (while eating fattening dessert, LOL). It was a good plan and we were excited. Things kinda went downhill from there....

Marge was checked first and she had lost more weight for the third visit in a row. Not a good sign. She had had a bunch of tests done some months ago to see if they could figure out what was going on, but they had been unable to pinpoint the cause. She had not been showing any significant signs of vomiting, diahrrea, or anything like that. Keri has been giving her ice cream every morning, as well as cheese, chicken, and even tater tots to try to fatten her back up. Then the doctor spent a long time checking her little belly and I knew something was up. He wanted to X-ray her because he felt a tumor.

Then came Daisy. She looked good, no fleas or ticks, good teeth, etc. She's young, probably a year or maybe even a little less. She's not spayed, but my sister anticipated that. But then came the test results. Not good. Daisy not only had roundworms and whipworms, but heartworms. The intestinal worms aren't that big of a deal, but the heartworms take serious treament that cost a LOT of money (like over $800). We had anticipated the possibility of intestinal worms, but we hadn't even thought about heartworms. My sister was devastated. And then the news on Marge. It was a tumor, it was bad, and it's time for my sister to let her go. Seriously? If it wasn't all so awful, I would've thought we were being Punk'd.

So, to sum up, my poor sister lost her Lily, has been out of work for 6 months, her truck tires are shot, her air conditioner shot craps, the dog she wanted to take in and give a good home is riddled with worms that cost a small fortune to get rid of, and her cat has to be put to sleep. How much is one person supposed to take? I felt awful, just awful. After all, I was the one that steered her towards the dog in the first place. My sister sobbed. I cried. After we got the animals home, we decided to go to dad's anyway and try to relax a little. My sister decided she would not be able to keep Daisy, the cost just couldn't be justified. I told Shaun to contact our neighbor who had the name of another guy who had been interested in her. We weren't going to turn her over unless he was someone we knew would take care of her and get her healthy. Now for the good news....

Apparently, this guy rescues dogs all the time. Shaun called him and he offered that, if my sister would agree to keep Daisy and take care of her, he would pay to get her treated for the heartworms. He works with several vet clinics that give discounted services to people who bring in rescue dogs. Isn't that amazing? You see, there are still good people in this world. It will still be a lot for my sister to handle with the treatment, but with the cost part of it taken care of, I think it will probably be good for her to have Daisy to focus on. On the way home from dad's we both sobbed together. I just feel so bad that things keep happening to her that I cannot make better.

My sister brought Marge home yesterday so she could have just a little more time with her. She will be taking her in today to have her put to sleep. Dad is going with her, so that's good. Poor thing, she's so heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for her. And it's going to make today a little more difficult for me, too. Shaun is taking Rex to the vet and he won't be coming back. He's going to live with a guy Shaun works with. He has a bunch of land with a couple fenced acres where Rex can run. After the incident we had with a neighbor girl, we are concerned about the risk of him biting a child seriously, or even one of our own, and quite honestly, as a busy family I don't know if we are giving him what he needs. I know I've complained about him, but he's a good dog and I'm still sad. I think I've had enough sadness with the animals for awhile.

This is one of Keri's favorite pictures of Dude. She had just woken her up.

R.I.P. Marge, you were very loved.


10:01 AM Posted by Natalie

Today my little Alec turns SIX! It's so hard to believe. Well, it always is. He was such a little peanut when he was born and I used to call him "Little Face" because he looked so small. Now he's my bright-eyed, smart 6-year-old who ranks in the 98th percentile among kindergarteners nationally, and I couldn't be more proud.

He definitely has his own distinct personality that ranges from frustrating to absolutely endearing all at the same time. When Shaun's mom was in town and asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he told her he wanted a goldfish. With our approval, she decided to get it for him. So after school last Friday, Mom and Jim took him to the pet store to pick out a fish. They directed him towards the Bettas, though, because they are easy to care for and don't require a pump. I had a couple of those growing up and they are very pretty fish. But Alec had it in his head that he wanted a GOLD fish. And so it was. Despite efforts to get him to pick one of the more colorful and pretty Bettas, Alec came home with a rather plain, gold one. But he knew what he wanted and by golly, that's what he got ;) It doesn't surprise me in the least and Dave (that's his name) is the perfect fish for our Alec.

Unfortunately, this morning Alec got a most UN-happy birthday present. My skin is still crawling at the thought of it. After breakfast, he went to the bathroom to potty and brush just like every morning before school. A minute or two later, I heard him in there crying. I had NO idea what could be wrong, he had seemed fine. So I went into the bathroom to find out what the trouble was and he said, "There's a spider crawling on me and it won't come off!" I had a feeling what it was. Ewww. You see, now we're living in an area that's a little bit country in the city. We have wooded areas, you can hear tree frogs chirp and turkeys gobble, and you might see the occasional deer. Oh, and a dead baby copperhead in the road. (Yikes!) The other night, I saw a mouse scurry through the garage. Our neighbor mentioned a little while back about doing tick checks. And so, as I looked at where Alec was pointing, I knew right then what it was....a TICK.

Oh, this is SO not my thing, but Shaun was at work. I like the country, but I'm just a city girl, which makes this area perfect for me. Well, except for things like ticks and snakes and mice. I had a tick once when I was growing up, after I had come home from a stay in the country at my aunt and uncle's house. I had no idea what it was and was trying to pull it off. When I got it off, I had set it on the sink to see what it was, thinking it was some kind of scab or something, and it started CRAWLING! NOT cool for an 11 or 12 year old girl, I gotta tell ya. FREAKED me out! And so, there I was thinking back to that little piece of horror as I tried to get the blood-sucking tick off of poor Alec's belly. I made the mistake of mentioning the blood-sucking part to Alec and he wailed and said, "Oh no, I'm gonna die!" Oops. I said, "No you're not, I'm going to get it off you." I had to call Shaun to ask him the best way to pry the disgusting thing off. So I prayed while I used a hot pin to get it to come out a little bit and pulled, and thankfully, I got it off. Yep, still giving me the heebie-jeebies to write about it. It's just not right. Apparently, Alec had gone into the woods without asking, and against Joey's advice. I'm thinking he might think twice about that next time!

So, happy birthday to my sweet Alec! Sorry about the tick ;)

My blog is getting a makeover!

9:03 PM Posted by Natalie

It seems like as soon as I get things the way I want them, I'm ready to change them again! My friend Angie over at 5 Vinez Monkeys inspired me with her new blog design and I've decided to change mine to a similar layout. It's set up like a Word Press blog and I love it! While I still liked the old layout, I think it was starting to feel a little clostrophobic in here and the new one seems more open. (Plus, it eliminated my frustration over not being able to get my sidebars to go all the way down the page, LOL!) If you'd like to check them out for yourself, you can find the layouts here. Thank you, Angie, for sharing!

And, if you'd like to change your own blog, start a new blog, or are wanting to set up a website but need some help, Angie is the BOMB! She is the one who created my template, which I LOVE, and is also the design for the new layout (with a few of my own added touches). Check out her design website and see everything she has to offer. She does fabulous work and always makes sure you get just what you want and are happy with the result. Plus, you can help support a stay-at-home mom!

So, let me know what you think of my new "pad", and please excuse any goofiness you may encounter as I get everything organized. This is the first time I've done this, so I may have some kinks to work out along the way!