Saturday, December 30, 2006

Doctor's visit

The checkup at the doctor's office earlier this week went well and it turns out that we may find out the gender of the baby fairly soon!

The girls went with me and were really excited to hear the baby's heartbeat.

Since I'm over 35, my doctor's office is going to send me to another doctor's office for a more advanced ultrasound designed to detect problems more likely to crop up when a woman my age is pregnant. I have already made up my mind not to allow any invasive testing and really not to accept anything just because I'm told I need to do it because of my age, but the nurse practitioner assured me that it's just an ultrasound, and besides, the gender of the baby will probably show up on this one.

We had an ultrasound when I was 18 weeks pregnant but the little one, for the first time in his or her life, refused to move and reveal any telling information. I wasn't disappointed not to discover the gender, especially since the doctor could see how healthy the baby is. (So there!) I was thinking that we may have another ultrasound later on in the pregnancy, but as it turns out it may be sooner than later.

My doctor's office will make an appointment (and clear all the paperwork) with the other doctor's office and let me know when to show up. So for now we just keep waiting ... and growing!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another tooth gone!

My daughter lost her second tooth tonight, the second tooth she's lost in three days!

She didn't snatch this one out herself like she did the one night before last. She said she wanted it to "fall out naturally." (Good grief.)

Her dad got after her with a string and that didn't work so finally he grabbed it, saying he was going to count to three and snatched it out on the count of one. She stood there and looked at it until I started cracking up (the whole scene really was funny) and then she started bawling.

She recovered from the whole thing quickly, and proceeded to go around the house flashing grins at everyone.

Monday, December 18, 2006

First tooth gone!

My seven-year-old daughter lost her first tooth tonight! Good thing too, because I was getting tired of being ordered to look into her mouth to watch her wiggle a barely-moving tooth.

She was just sitting there while we were practicing our ASL together after our family Bible study and snatched it out. I actually heard it come out.

Now she has another loose one right beside it!

She was really wanting to lose some teeth. Most of the kids her age have a mouthful (or several) permanent teeth and she has all baby teeth. She was 12 months before she cut this tooth that came out tonight or any of her teeth, so we expected the teeth to be "late" coming out.

Now we'll see how long it takes for this next loose one to come out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Little seamstresses

My daughters made this quilt and pillow this evening with my mom! Neither one of them have ever sewn anything before.

My seven-year-old daughter grabbed these squares and a needle and thread and started sewing them together. She had NO HELP with the exception of me threading her needle. After she had handsewn all the squares together, she sewed them together on the machine with my mom only operating the foot pedal. My daughter did most of the work on the backing and the binding too.

My five-year-old daughter handsewed the three sides of the little pillow then turned it, poked the corners out, stuffed it, and sewed it closed on the machine with my mom just operating the foot pedal.

My mom and I thought this was pretty good work for two little people who've never sewn anything before!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ultrasound today!

We had the ultrasound today. It's a ...

BEAUTIFUL HEALTHY BABY that wouldn't cooperate so we could determine the gender!

Everything looked great and saw every body part except the telltale part we were looking for. We got a great look at the nice big round head (like daddy), along with the beating heart, spine, hands, legs, and feet. That little baby just wanted to lay face down with its legs curled up underneath it!

Afterward someone told my husband I should have had coffee or some chocolate before we went in for the ultrasound to get the baby hyped up. Normally I do have coffee first thing but the appointment was so early I didn't have time to make any!

I'm 20 weeks tomorrow according to my LMP but the ultrasound has me at almost 21 weeks. I think it's because this is going to be a BIG BABY! My two other children were a few ounces over eight pounds as well.

The next doctor's visit is Dec. 27 for a regular checkup, so maybe they'll tell me then when they can do another ultrasound. This office may like to wait until later in the pregnancy to do the second one.

My children were so excited to find out what the baby is but they weren't very disappointed that we weren't able to find out. We did go around telling everyone we were going to find out today, so it'll be funny to have to tell them we couldn't make it out.

We have a lot of people wanting us to have a boy -- and wanting us to want a boy, but we honestly do not care -- so they'll have to wait a bit longer to find out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Got my ring back!

Good news ... I got my wedding ring back this evening! I dropped it (actually it was my engagement ring) Sunday afternoon in the car, and it got stuck up under the metal track under the seat that lets you move the seat back and forth. My husband and I tried to no avail to retrieve it by poking our fingers in every imaginable spot under the seat. Finally he decided he'd have to take the seat out.

This evening after work he got started on the project. First he went to the store and bought two vacuum cleaners (I would find out why he needed those later) and went out to the garage with his lovely little helpers. A little while passed, and the next time I went out there (laundry room's out there, too, and of course there is always much to be done there) he presented the ring to me. This time he did not have as much of a smitten look on his face as he did 10½ years ago when he gave it to me the first time, and he made sure to tell me getting to it required a lot of work! I was just elated to have my precious ring back.

The vacuum cleaners came next. Actually one was for the carpet inside the house and one of my daughters and I tried it other. The other was a shop vacuum for the purpose of shampooing the carpeting in the car. What's the point of taking a seat out of the car if you don't shampoo the interior while you're at it?

Now I've got a clean car AND my beautiful antique white gold wedding set intact on my left ring finger! Hooray!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wedding ring gone!

I've lost my wedding ring!

Well, actually it's my engagement ring and I actually do know where it is but it's firmly stuck under the seat of the car!

I took my rings off in the car yesterday to get the hair grease (from fixing the girls' hair) from around my ring finger. I dropped my engagement ring in between the seat and that thing where you put your stuff in between the two front seats.

I could see it but the more I tried to get it the further it went down. Finally it got wedged under the track that allows you to move the seat back and forth.

My husband and I both tried to find it but we can't. Looks like we're (he, that is) is going to have to take the seat out to get to it.

It's so aggravating because I haven't been able to wear these beautiful rings in about five years because of the weight gain from my second daughter. I've been wearing just a plain band that I call my "fake wedding ring." I finally got them resized for our 10th anniversary in August and now I loose one.

For the time being my "fake wedding ring" is back on my left hand. I hope it won't be too long before we can get the seat taken out so I can get my beautiful ring back where it belongs.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Another Student of the Month

My four-year-old daughter, who is in public pre-kindergarten program has just been named Student of the Month for October!

She gets to sit in a special place — on the cafeteria stage at one of the specially decorated tables, no less — for lunch one day next week, and her parents are invited to come eat with her.

It's really exciting for her — and for all of us — because her sister was the Student of the Month for second grade last month. My four-year-old preschool child kid was a little upset because she wasn't Student of the Month as well. She had gotten a time-out, though, so I told her if she'd keep being good with no time-outs she'd eventually get to be Student of the Month. So she did.

The school has character words they work on each month, and the Students of the Month are chosen based on their display of these character words. The word for August and September was "respect," so the respect exhibited by my seven-year-old second grade daughter was a factor in her being chosen Student of the Month for August-September.

The word of the month for October was "responsibility." My four-year-old daughter has been talking a lot about this word and what it means. For instance, she told me it was her responsibility to help me do things around the house. I take it she's been exhibiting some responsible behavior at school.

We're proud of our girls for these accomplishments!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our crazy adventure

This is a true story about the crazy adventure my family has had in the last 24 hours. This story is so crazy you probably won't believe it — you probably won't even be able to read it all — but I'm going tell you anyway.

The short of it is that we have spent the last almost 24 hours with no electricity because we thought the power company shut it off, but all it was was a blown breaker.

Here's the long story. My kids were on the computer at 6 p.m. yesterday and I was fixing their supper when everything electric in the house totally shut down. I finished fixing their supper and we ate while I silently figured that the electricity had been shut off since I hadn't paid the bill, which was due two weeks previously. It was nearly $200 that I did not have and wouldn't have until the end of the week. Mind you, none of the other utilities for this house or our other one we are trying to sell have been paid for this month.

After we finished eating, I went through my bills as it was getting darker in the house. I indeed found an unpaid electric bill due Oct. 5, but surprisingly I found a shut-off notice with a disconnect date set for Oct. 17, the day before. It evidently came late last week when I was going to the hospital an hour away every day while my father was recovering from serious heart surgery. The envelope hadn't even been opened.

My husband came home to total darkness with me trying to herd the kids in the tub and to bed before they stumbled in the dark and hurt themselves. Now he's the one that always thinks the bill hasn't been paid when something shuts off, and he's almost always wrong, but this time he wasn't. He was slightly miffed, not at me but at our bad financial situation brought on by unexpectedly having to keep up two houses on our income that can barely support one. I was expecting a couple of checks by the end of the week; if both arrived they should have been enough to cover the electric bill and maybe even the rest of the utiltities, but one of my checks sometimes doesn't come until Saturday.

I wasn't upset about the situation — you can only do what you can do — until he brought up the fact that the one good car we have is in the garage, the door of which is, of course, electric. I was supposed to be somewhere for work the next day. The car he's been using to get back and forth to work is parked outside but we decided it wasn't reliable enough to get me to my work and back in time to get the girls from school. I realized that I just wouldn't be able to get to my work for the next day, but maybe something would work out for Friday, when I was supposed to go to the same place.

We turned in early, all snuggling in the same bed and thankful that the weather was nice and we didn't need any air. It had been hot during the day but cooled off that evening and we were very appreciative.

We got up early the next morning with the alarm on my cell phone piercing the darkness. A few minutes later everyone got dressed by flashlight, which was rather exciting until, of course, the batteries wore out. My husband and I dropped the girls off at school and he brought me back home with plans for me to walk to school that afternoon and walk the kids back home.

It had started raining by the time I got back home, and there wasn't much for me to do in a dark, dreary house. No computer, no phone, no coffeepot, no nothing but waiting for the mail to run, hoping there'd be a check in the mail. I tried to do a few things but finally the darkness and the pattering of the rain took over and I went back to bed. My cell phone rung at almost noon. My husband decided it was too cold for us to do any walking this afternoon. He came after me during his lunch break and I took him back to work.

I checked the mailbox after I got back home, not really expecting a check and if it actually came, I didn't think the amount would be enough to cover the electric bill plus the reconnection. I nearly had a heart attack when I opened it and it was $200!

After making a trip to the bank, I hustled down to the utility payment office to pay the bill plus the reconnection, and the teller only took the amount for the bill. I explained to her that I needed to have service reconnected, but she said we weren't in her records as disconnected. I let her know that our service indeed had been shut off at 6 p.m. last night and I wanted it turned back on. Again she said we weren't down as disconnected and they don't turn anyone's service off after 3 p.m. every day. She suggested that perhaps it was a breaker.

Immediately I called my husband and he told me where the breaker box was. I flipped the main switch and you won't believe it, but every light in the house came on!!!!

Now, I was glad to have electricity back but aggravated that all it was was a stupid breaker switch that we could have flipped last night! We didn't know though, since that had never happened at this house before, and of course we had the dreaded shut-off notice with a disconnect date set the day before to add to it.

You live and learn I guess. That is one crazy story if you ask me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Big city driving

Driving in the "big city" sure is frustrating after coming from a small town where nobody is in between you and where you need to go. Especially so is this true when you're trying to get your children to school on time and you have to cross a busy road that everybody in town takes while trying to get to where they need to go on time.

But, thankfully, I'm about to figure out how to drive in the "big city." The two keys I've finally figured out are:

1. Be patient.
Yes, it should only take two minutes to go two miles but you must remember that in the "big city," two bazillion people are going that same way, as opposed to only two others in a little town.

2. You cannot make a left hand turn.
There is just no way to cross two lanes of horrendously busy traffic at one time. Just figure out a route that involves only right hand turns, or be willing to turn right and then left and turn back around to the way you want to go.

Sounds like I'm making progress here. The first month of taking my children to school (HOW HARD COULD IT POSSIBLY BE TO TAKE YOUR CHILDREN LESS THAN A MILE TO SCHOOL???????????????) was just a blood pressure-raising fiasco. I have finally figured out the two keys and the trip to school involves a lot less blood boiling on my part.

Today I was all prepared for the crazy traffic and went the new way (the one where you attempt to cross only one lane of traffic at a time with first a right hand turn and then a left) but there was hardly no traffic!

"Where is all the traffic?" I wondered out loud and then realized it's a holiday today. Not one that calls for school being closed, but one that lets just enough people off work so that making the short trip to school isn't so anguishing for me. That and my newfound keys, that is.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A day with the girls

Today was a girls' day at my house. My two nieces came to visit along with their mom and grandma (my sister-in-law and mother-in-law). They all spent the night with us and my nieces spent this morning with their two cousins, my two girls, while their mom and grandma went to a doctor's appointment.

We spent the morning watching television, eating, and getting dressed for going outside. They had a ball playing together until they all left a little bit after lunch.

Afterward my two girls took a bath and the three of us piled in bed for some reading time and a very long nap!

Though my nieces only live an hour away (in our house "back home") it's always a special treat to see them!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Student of the month!

My seven-year-old was named the Student of the Month for second grade for August-September at her school!

The character word for August-September was respect, so she was chosen for displaying respect toward others. She also sets a good example in class for behavior and academics. (When she gets home she's so tired of being good and smart and so sometimes she turns into someone else altogether!!)

One of the perks for being student of the month is a special lunch, which was today. She got to sit at a decorated table on the stage in cafeteria where everyone could see her. Her dad couldn't come eat with her because he got stuck at work, but I did. We had our picture made together, and today she brought home a copy of it.

We're really proud of her and all her hard work! She's not only setting a good example for her fellow students but also her sister, who now wants to be the pre-kindergarten Student of the Month!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Working up to the big day and living through the aftershocks

The realization has hit me that being pregnant is rather akin to preparing to move. Being as we just moved and I'm in the early stages of my third pregnancy, I feel that I am qualified to point out the similarities.

The thing is that with both of these major adjustments in one's life is that it's just the precursor to the REALLY big adjustment — having a new baby, another child to care for, around; or trying to get settled into your new home and community and learning all the ins and outs of important things like where to pay the bills, where a good doctor for the kids is, and all that important stuff.

But these two life-changing situations have something else in common: after the big day not too many people are concerned with how you are getting along. Most of the inquiries about how things are going come before the big day, while you're pregnant or while you're trying to get ready to move.

Sure, you think you're going nuts sometimes and wish the whole thing would just be over and you appreciate the concern, but you feel like a dropped hot potato sometimes after the real thing happens and nobody's much interested anymore!

It's not that people don't care, they've just moved on (it took you long enough, after all) and you're stuck with the end result!!! Boy, what a deal.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Big news!

As if moving away from my hometown for the first time ever this past summer wasn't enough to turn our lives upside down, we got some surprising and exciting news exactly a week before our 10th wedding anniversary — we have another baby on the way!

The girls are beside themselves with joy while their father and I are still trying to get used to the idea. It's been a while since we've done this -- our younger child will be five in November -- so we're out of practice, out of the loop, and pretty much put ourselves out of the baby business when I gave all our baby stuff away to keep from moving it when we relocated.

The girls want a little sister, my husband and I don't care, and all our friends and family back home want a boy this time. We'll find out this winter and then begin the process of choosing names and obtaining something for the poor little thing to wear.

There hasn't been any sickness at all, which is wonderful, and the little one-inch baby has a ravenous appetite. I'm officially eight weeks along so if I were going to be sick it would have happened by now.

One thing's for sure, we are in for some excitement come next April and for a long time afterward. We're looking forward to it. Mostly.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Missing home

Never before have I missed home, never really had to even though no one in my family except me lived where I was raised in over a decade. I missed them but never missed home, until now.

We moved a whole hour from our home in Eastern Arkansas to Central Arkansas this summer, and there are many similarities, being that it's so close. The people are pretty much the same, friendly and respectful, and that has made the adjustment a lot easier for me.

I don't see anyone I know when I leave the house, though, and I really miss that. There's no one to wave to as I drive down the street. I don't know the children at school, I didn't go to school with their parents, and I didn't even go to that school.

Sometimes you take these things for granted when you are surrounded by them, when they are all you know, and then when this reassuring daily life isn't there anymore, you take notice. You even miss it.

It sure is tougher to get from one place to the other. Back home, in the small town of nearly 4,000 where I was raised and lived 35 years, it's a snap to get anywhere. You zip down the street to get to the school, you hop on the interstate to get to your next job.

Not so here in the "big city" of 60,000, not quite 250,000 if you count the adjoining twin city of 180,000. Traffic is everywhere; it's nearly impossible to cross the street just to drop the kids off at school not even a mile from the house. The places where you need to go are spread out further, too.

The place where I'm from is full of its idiosyncrasies, but something about it being home just makes me miss it. Thankfully it's only an hour away so we can visit fairly frequently.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Life explained

On the first day, God created the dog and said: "Sit
all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone
who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give
you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said: "That's a long time to be barking. How
about only ten years and I'll give you back the
other ten?"

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said:
"Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh.
For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for twenty years?
That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I
give you back ten like the dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said: "You
must go into the fi eld with the farmer all day long
and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk
to support the farmer's family. For this, I will
give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said: "That's kind of a tough life you want
me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and
I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said:
"Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this,
I'll give you twenty years."

But man said: "Only twenty years? Could you possibly
give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the
ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave
back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that is why the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.
For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Family time

We moved into our new house a few minutes from my husband's job to have more family time. I have been delighted with the results these past three weeks, but my family informed me, in their nice little way, that they want to see more of me. That is, more of me NOT at the computer. They didn't come out and say it that way, but I got the message loud and clear.

They're right. I spend too much time at the computer. Some of it is working and some of it isn't, but too much of a good thing is definitely not a good thing.

To remedy this situation before it turns into a problem, I plan to implement something similar to my work schedule for computer use. That is, from about mid-afternoon until after the kids go to bed is time spent with the family, mostly away from the computer.

There are no hard and fast rules with this, but I try my best to get the bulk of my work done in the mornings and after the kids go to bed. This same routine ought to work for computer use as well.

I'm putting it to use starting today, and hopefully everyone will be happier with my decreased use of the computer while everyone is up and around.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Making ourselves at home

For the last three weeks (has it REALLY been THREE weeks?) we've been super busy trying to get settled into our new home and getting back to our normal routine. It's been exciting and we're quite enjoying it.

We have more time now together as a family, which was the main reason for the move. With my husband being only 10 or so minutes from work, we see a lot more of him, and most days we eat at least a meal together, sometimes even two. That was very rare for us at our other home.

We have taken up learning American Sign Language as we are attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses with the ASL group near here. It's something my husband and I have both always wanted to do, and we felt that this would be an excellent opportunity for our children to learn a foreign language, and of course so we could talk with more people about the Bible. It's going really well and we are learning new signs just about every day, and most certainly at every meeting.

We are still trying to sell our other home and are having some work done on it. We've been back there (or at least my husband has) every weekend since we've moved to work on it or just to get more stuff. There is something odd about that. Before we moved we spent many weekends over this way, either househunting or doing other things related to moving, and now that we are here, we keep going back to the other house every weekend.

Another odd thing about the work is that we always wanted to do things like paint our house and do other aesthetic improvements but never had the time or money. Now it seems that I have the house I always wanted now that I no longer live there. Just within the last couple of months we pulled up most of the carpet I detested and replaced the floor and flooring, and then moved into a house totally carpeted!

I've stayed busy with my writing work and of course have taken the girls with me. We've also done some fun things like go to the movies and explore new places available here in the "big city" where we now live.

We really like our new home, our location, and the fact that we see more of each other. More good things await us in our new surroundings!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Life-changing experience coming up!

Our lives are getting ready to change drastically! The big move is coming up this weekend!

Today is the girls' last day of school, as tomorrow, the actual last day of school here, we will be at our new home getting our phone/cable/Internet hooked up.

Moving takes place on Saturday, and we'll have some help on both ends, so that's good. The settling in and getting back to our routine will be all our own job, though.

I'm looking forward to it all!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Awards day!

Today was a special day at school, one in which my daughter and pretty much everyone else in school were honored for their good grades and behavior. It was the "Good Behavior" assembly for the first graders, and my daughter earned her fourth good behavior ribbon (one for each of four nine-weeks grading periods).

For receiving four good behavior ribbons, she also got the coveted "Gold Medal" award. The school really drums this up and all the students are so very proud to receive the gold medal!

My niece, a second grader, received awards for being on the honor roll and for her excellent behavior at the school, although her time there has been very short.

Afterward I went back to class with my daughter and read a couple of my favorite books to the class, and then I had lunch with all three of my girls, my two daughters and my niece.

Once everyone arrived home we took photos of the award-winning girls and put their ribbons and medals in a safe place.

Congratulations, girls!

Monday, May 15, 2006

We give up on the bus

Our perfect bus-riding scenario is no more and it looks like bus-riding is no more. I give up!

For the majority of this school year, things just went so smoothly with the bus. My first grader caught the school bus right around the corner and my preschooler got on the van to head start about 30 seconds later. Wonderful. I was back in the house before 7:30 a.m., alone to brew coffee and get my day started.

It started falling apart when the head start reduced its enrollment back in March, and of course my child was one of the ones who had to go. We put her in the pre-kindergarten program at the local public school where her sister attends, and that went fine all except for the fact that I have to drive her to school myself and sign her in.

My morning routine was severely interrupted but I adjusted well. I get the six-year-old to the bus by 7:25 a.m. so she can eat breakfast at school and then drive the four-year-old to school by 8-8:10 a.m. before they go to breakfast at 8:15 a.m. Fine.

The whole thing was blown to bits when the time changed. I have had trouble getting up on time ever since then, and of course that makes it hard to get to the bus on time.

What we have done many mornings since then is feed my daughter and my niece — I have since acquired another child to get back and forth to school — breakfast at home and then take them all to school at the same time. We walk my first grade child to her class, then my second grade niece to her class, and then get the preschooler to the cafeteria before her classmates and teacher go to the pre-k building right before 8 a.m.

Things are a little rushed with this routine but that's still my fault since I love to lay in the bed and hit the snooze button.

I thought I had it all under control this morning. My two older girls and I walked out to the bus stop at 7:27 a.m. (the bus usually comes between 7:28-7:31 a.m.) to see absolutely no children there. The neighbor kindly informed us that the bus had already come. Rats! So we went back in the house for our new routine. The girls ate cereal and fruit for breakfast while I got the four-year-old ready for school.

I got everyone dropped off with seconds to spare and decided that with just two weeks of school left, we may as well just forget about the bus.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Time to start packing!

We're moving in two and a half weeks and I haven't packed a thing. It's time to get going on it! I finally have some boxes to work with, since my husband has been bringing some home from work and some friends brought a few big ones over the other night, so I no longer have any excuse to put it off.

I got some good advice from some friends last night. When I pack something up I should write on the box what room it goes in and what's in it, and when we take it to the new house we should put the box in the proper room right away. That way things are where they go right off.

That's some pretty good advice, given that when we moved into this house we had hardly anything other than some clothes and a few boxes of sentimental things. I had a few towels and dishes but that didn't take anytime to put away. It's now ten years down the road and we have accumulated quite a bit of stuff that we have to deal with now.

I better get to it, then!

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Monday, May 08, 2006

A proud moment

My four-year-old daughter was just tandem nursing her baby dolls. Now that really made me proud. It's an understatement to say I'm a breastfeeding advocate, but even I didn't tandem nurse, or breastfeed two children of different ages at the same time. I was five months pregnant with this little girl when I weaned her sister, who was two years old (24 months) at the time.

It's interesting that my daughter was just doing this. About an hour before that happened I had just discovered a website that advocates formula feeding. I was rather aghast until I located an article on the site that extolled all the benefits of breastfeeding. Even formula feeders promotes breastfeeding! That's wonderful!

The article on this site — which I won't link to since I don't want my blog leading to a site supporting something I don't care for — listed the pros and cons of both breast and bottle feeding. Interestingly, the advantages for breastfeeding outweighed the disadvantages. It lists eight advantages and five disadvantages for breastfeeding. The disadvantages were trivial things like frequent feedings and limiting caffiene intake.

Also very interesting is the fact that the disadvantages of formula-feeding outweighed the advantages, right there on the bottlefeeding website. The article named four advantages for bottlefeeding — things like being able to eat what you want and leave your baby with others, which you can also do while breastfeeding but I don't particularly support much leaving of a small baby with others for extended periods of time either. The disadvantages were significant and were mostly health concerns like the lack of antibodies in artificial milk.

I am so glad that the website advances natural feeding although it is designed to support formula-feeding families.

Of course my daughters don't know all of this but I'm sure they will come to realize it. For now they remember what I did and and pay attention to all my pro-breastfeeding comments in their own little way.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Parenting 101

Craig Harris writes about how to come to a happy medium in raising our children in his piece on Parenting 101.

It's a lot easier said than done, that not going overboard one way or the other. Harris says we ought to be neither permissive nor authoritarian, but balanced authoritative parents. How I do try!
Now THAT'S parenthood

A New Jersey couple just gave birth to their second set of naturally-conceived triplets!

It seems that the couple were told several years ago they couldn't get pregnant. Sharon and Rich Fontana proved that wrong when they had their first set of triplets two years ago. They've added three more to the family for a total of six children — there's one little girl in the bunch — all two and under. Check the story out.

I'll just think of them when I get frustrated with my two big girls who are six and four!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why God made moms

Some second graders were asked to answer the following questions about their mothers. I asked my first grade daughter the questions and put her answers in all caps. This is really cute ...

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He Just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother & not some other mom?
1. We're related
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.
HER STYLE OF CLOTHES (giggle, giggle).

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Monday, May 01, 2006

A sobering realization

A very sobering realization just hit me. I'm a young and energetic — most of the time; tonight doesn't count — 35-year-old woman. By the time my mother was my age she had birthed eight children; two more were to come in the next seven years.

Can you believe it? A 35-year-old with EIGHT children? It's mind-boggling. I was 11 years old at the time; there were eight children born in 11 years. Oh, my word. We went on to become 10 children in 18 years; there was a considerable slowdown with the last two. I was 14 when the next one was born and was 18 and graduated from high school by the time the last one came along to my 42-year-old mother.

It just gave me a whole new perspective on 35 and boy am I happy to be living in the perspective that I am. Being 35 with EIGHT children just doesn't seem very young for some reason. Even a young 42 seems quite aged with 10 children. My dad was quite the young man himself back then, being only 11 months older than my mom.

I had something to say on this subject a while back but this age realization really hit hard. I'm sure glad I'm a young 35 with two children, that's for sure!

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

One more month before the big move!

We only have one more month before we make the big move! We're waiting until school is out to move into our new house.

One hard part is over since we have signed on the dotted line, but the next hard part, that of actually getting all our stuff to the new place, has yet to be done. We have 10 years worth of accumulated junk and not much room to put it in, since the house isn't any bigger than the one we are currently living in.

A lot of things we are going to sell and we're coming up with some ways to save space. One thing we're going to do is put drawers under the girls' beds for their clothes instead of having dressers sitting out taking up space. We are going to do something similar in our room, except the drawers are probably going to go in the closets.

For the bathrooms we're going to put those toilet space-savers up and I'll probably get the same type of containers as we're using for bedroom drawers, only smaller, to store things in the bathroom.

If anyone has any good storage and/or space-saving ideas, please let me know!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The doctor is IN

Mr. Living the DAD Life and I have teamed up against the Terrible Case of Ringworm and it seems to be working. It's not something that clears up overnight but we're optimistic about the progress.

She started on prescription antifungal and antibiotic medications this time last week, and I had already been treating it topically with tea tree oil (which is highly antifungal and a natural substance to boot) and antifungal cream. A few days ago we added to our cleaning routine hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar. Her beautiful black hair is turning red and even blonde in some spots in the back! I can't believe it but that'll just have to be okay. We also started putting baking soda on it at night to pull out the infection, and it's really working.

A few days ago we went to the health food store and got a few medicated shampoos for scalp conditions and an herbal supplement that contains black walnut and other herbs. We washed her hair with the shampoo and added the herbal supplement to the treatment routine. I almost immediately noticed a difference with the herbal supplement and am very glad the young man at the health food store recommended it. He too had suffered with ringworm and he knew just what to suggest.

I kept her home from school for two days so I could treat it during the day as needed and so that it could have that much more exposure to the air. It started draining on its own and drying up yesterday so I was really glad. I sent her to school today so I hope all is still as well as it can be when she gets home.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


We took our little cat family next door this past Saturday since we were going to be gone for the weekend and then taking care of business — buying our new house! — on Monday.

Getting them over there was a feat in itself. The mother had moved them out of their box in the laundry room and put them over by the washing machine. If they weren't going to have to go anyway, they sure were on account of that. I just put them back in their box and took them next door. Next step was getting the mother cat over there, and that didn't go very well since the neighbors have several dogs, both inside and outside the house. After several scratches and some help from the neighbors, we got her back together with her babies.

Things went well at the neighbor's house over the weekend, I was told. The mother cat allowed another cat (her friend boy) and the dogs in the box and a child was allowed to play with the kittens, but she didn't care for another one of the children to even be in the room. At least she didn't try to move them all over the house.

The neighbors brought them back yesterday morning, and I just set the box out on the carport. The mother cat immediately started trying to move them back into the house, and she got one little one in the house. I put it back outside with the others, and she put it in between the wood and screen door. After a while I put it back where it belonged, and she left them in the box then.

During the night it stormed and turned chilly, so my husband put a towel (one of the good ones, of course) over the box for warmth. They're still outside, all together, warm and cuddly.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Filling out school applications

The girls will be going to new schools in the fall so this week I'm filling out applications for them to go to the public elementary school right around the corner from our new house.

It's unbelievable all the paperwork needed to enter school these days. For the child who will enter second grade, there is a one-page sheet mainly for information purposes and a lunch form disclosing family income to apply for free/reduced price meals. Of course they need to see proof that she has been immunized, but that is all simple enough.

The time-consuming part is applying for pre-kindergarten for the other child. They need to see shot records, social security card, Medicaid/Arkids1st card, proof of residency, proof of income, and the meal form. I guess I should be used to it since we needed all that to apply for head start here; they also had to have proof of physical and dental examinations.

I'm trying to get all this in this week; the older child will get into school of course, but it's the younger one I'm worried about. We are probably over income for this program, and she doesn't have any factors like speech problems or low birth weight that would give her preference. She IS four years old, and that is one thing in her favor.

Well, at least I can say I tried!

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Monday, April 24, 2006


It's finally official! We are moving! We closed the deal on our new house today and will be moving after school is out.

This has been a long time in coming. My husband has been commuting to the city where we are moving for the last 12 years. That's an hour one way, five days a week. Because of that and a few other factors, we decided about a year ago that we needed to move, and started house-hunting several months ago.

Less than a month ago my husband looked at this one with the realtor and immediately liked it. He told me about it that night and the next day emailed me a photo with the message, "Let's buy a house!" I knew he was very serious since he hardly ever emails me! We made an offer that next day and it was accepted that weekend. He worked on the financing and all the particulars of buying a house and we finally got it all wound up today.

Now we must concentrate on selling this house and getting it cleaned out to move!

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Saturday, April 22, 2006


A friend of mine built this pond and stocked it with these pretty Japanese koi fish, and another friend snapped the photo. It took our Creator, a waterscaper, and a photographer to make this beautiful work of art. I love it! Plus it's a lot more pleasant than what I've been talking about the past day or so!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Taking matters in my own hands

This might be a little gross for you with weak constitutions. Consider yourself forewarned.

I talked to a certified natural health professional today in my line of work and asked her about that bad ringworm spot on my daughter's scalp. (Man, I'm starting to itch right now.)

The first thing she said was, "Do you have a cat? Ringworm comes from cats." Well, yes, as a matter of fact we do. There's a whole family of them in my laundry room. The nurse and nurse practitioner we've been seeing about these spots have asked about cats but didn't make the proclamation so bluntly. Sometimes I need to be hit in the head so I can understand things. Hopefully when we get the cats out of the house for the weekend so we can go somewhere they'll stay gone.

This ringworm spot she has on her scalp is also infected. (I told you this was going to be gross. It's going to get worse before it gets better.) She's on a prescription antibiotic for the next several days and a prescription antifungal for the next several weeks. The natural health practioner gave me some good ideas of things to do along with the medication.

The first suggestion she gave me was to give her garlic, a natural antibiotic. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew that but it didn't come out when I needed it. As far as treating the spot, she recommended cleaning it first with hydrogen peroxide, then putting apple cider vinegar on it followed by tea tree oil. I actually cleared up a bad ezcema spot on the back of my daughter's neck like that a couple of years ago so I know how it works — very well! I had been putting tea tree oil on it and an antifungal cream with tea tree oil on it, but hadn't used the peroxide or vinegar.

She also said I need to break open a black walnut capsule and put the contents of it on her sore, but I don't have any of those lying around. I do have everything else, though. Since she's on prescribed antibiotics the alternative health advisor recommended giving her a probiotic, which I had already been giving her since I know from personal experience how rough it can be after the antibiotics kill all the good bacteria along with the bad.

Talking about treating the ringworm spot was one thing; I knew this procedure wouldn't be fun in actual practice. After school I doctored her up with the peroxide, vinegar, and tea tree oil and then once the crust that covered the sore was soft I gently removed it, hoping all the while I was doing the right thing. My child cried and carried on as normal when I'm doing her hair, partly from genuine pain and partly for theatrical purposes.

After I had the spot cleared and cleaned to my satisfaction, I had her lie with her back to a fan. That was for two reasons: to soothe her burning sore and so the air could keep it dry. Before she went to bed I repeated the entire process in an abbreviated version. I hope it's doing okay in the morning. At least I hope it won't be any worse, because that would be gross!

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More bad news

sore on my older daughter's scalp kept getting worse — she's been seen twice about it and my younger daughter was seen a couple of times, too and was given the diagnosis of pityriasis when I thought she contracted ringworm from school — so I took her back to the doctor AGAIN this week.

We got bad news. It is for sure a fungus (AKA ringworm) on her scalp that has caused her so much trouble lately. She's had a few other spots but for some reason it's just way worse on the scalp. When ringworm gets in the scalp it doesn't respond to topical antifungal creams — I've been using mostly tea tree oil and an antifungal cream with tea tree oil in it — and an oral medication is necessary. On top of the ringworm she has an infection in that same spot!

We got two medications, an antibiotic to take for about a week for the infection and then an antifungal medication that she's going to have to take for weeks. I'm so disappointed about all this medicine because I don't like my children to take synthetic substances like this because it upsets the body's natural processes. Antibiotics are a two-edged sword because they get rid of the infection but they also kill the good bacteria that the body needs along with the bad. She has been taking a probiotic for a while now so I hope it's built up enough in her body to keep things from getting out of whack.

She has had so much trouble with her health lately — mainly with allergies and her colon — and I'm so frustrated. I feel like I did everything I could to ensure her health — took care of myself when I was pregnant, breastfed her for two years, tried to maintain a good bacteria balance both inside her body and in the environment, feed her healthy foods as much as possible, and all that stuff — but still we are faced with all this.

Sometimes I feel like all my diligence was for nothing, but then I realize that it really wasn't. I did the best that I knew how and got a beautiful, bright, and mostly healthy child out of it. I just really wish we could get all these health situations under control.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

That looks familiar!

This mother cat who has carved out a living space for her new family in my laundry room is starting to get annoying — I love cats but I don't really like her because she's just so, well, annoying — because she wants to take over the entire house.

I understand that she needs a break from the little ones, who just while away the day and night sleeping in a pile and hardly ever make a peep — for now — but she just pads around rubbing her neck glands on everything. We didn't want the cat family in the house anyway but since they're here she's supposed to either be in the laundry room with them or outside.

Though she is extremely bothersome, we do have motherhood in common and she did something familiar a little while ago. She had been outside for a while so I opened the door to check on her. She was trying to get in the house through her custom hole in the screen door but of course the wood door was closed. She was glad to see me and went in to her babies, well, after rubbing her neck on a few things.

They were all sound asleep on top of one another, but she just jumped right in there in the box with them and started licking them. Those little things were sleeping so soundly they didn't respond to all the licking, so after she got one or two to stirring, she just laid down on the rest of them. That woke them up!

The familiar part wasn't her laying on her babies to wake them up but I do recall having to wake my little dears a few times so I could get some relief. My mantra always was "Let sleeping babies lie" but sometimes lactating mothers need a little help!

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Kittens in the laundry room: Day 2

The wee ones in my laundry room are doing fine today, healthy as they can be as they are getting lots of love, care and good milk from their mom. I'm growing to tolerate the mother cat more as I guess we have something in common now — motherhood.

My little ones got right out of bed this morning to greet their little babies. The girls are so cute because they keep counting the kittens to make sure all five of them are there. As soon as they get home from school they'll be right back in there with the cats.

I introduced the new residents of my laundry room to what actually supposed to take place in there — doing laundry! I started the dryer last night and the babies didn't flinch. Their mom was a tad worried but she soon got over it. Running the washer this morning was a little more frightening for her, I guess since it involved the running of water, but she didn't make too much of a fuss although she was scared at first. Again the little ones didn't mind at all.

It's a good thing I did laundry all day the day before they were born but it's going to start accumulating again. I'll need my laundry room back or at least will need to share it.

We're in a quandry as to what to do with the cats. They're too little to go outside but we don't want them in here. We're heading off for the weekend and are thinking of asking the neigbors to take them for a few days. We'll take it from there after that. In the meantime we'll just indulge in the fascination of having newborn kittens in the house!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Newborn kittens in the laundry room

The outside cat had kittens in my laundry room late this morning!

I'm thrilled they're here and all the cats are okay but I DID NOT want them in the laundry room. She made a tear in the screen a while back and has been working on it, coming in the house every chance she gets. She somehow got in the house without me knowing it, probably when I went out to get the mail.

Her friendboy was outside looking for her like crazy this morning so I knew she had the kittens. He was looking for her up next to the house so I was looking around the house. I figured she wouldn't go far. I was coming back in the house and SHE JUMPED OUT THE DOOR sans kittens in her belly. Oh my goodness!

I went right in the house and looked in the laundry room and there they were: five little kittens. Two are black, two are tabby like her, and one is a mix of black and tabby. I got her back in the house and back with the babies to make sure she was going to take care of them. Careful not to touch them, I put a pair of socks over my hands to move them around and get them off the laundry. Thankfully it was just old kitchen towels.

The neigbors, who had been watching her with me for about two weeks, heard the news for me first. They came over and put her and the kittens in a box (they made sure the mother cat was okay with all of that first; I was scared to touch them and most certainly to move them) in the laundry room.

My little girls are just fascinated with them and keep going in the laundry room to check on them. At one point early this afternoon the four-year-old came out of the laundry room with a tiny black kitten wrapped up in a washcloth. I can't believe the mother cat let her do that. I nearly freaked out and put it right back. I just don't want to take the chance on the mother not taking care of them although she is doing a good job.

I set her up in the laundry room with a food bowl and a litter box and fretted about her using it but she finally did!

Now the big problem is my husband doesn't want cats in the house. I called him at work and told him. He flipped out! It was hilarious! He'll be all calmed down by the time he gets home tonight and the girls will be very attached to the kittens.

He actually likes the mother cat for some reason and I never have, which is odd for both of us. I don't like her because she's annoying AND she tore a hole in my screen. My husband feeds this cat faithfully every day and makes sure to let me know when we are out of food. I gave her some canned food, no less, that I had left over from another cat I liked.

Here's MY problem: how am I supposed to do laundry now? They are right next to the dryer and my laundry room isn't very big!

Well, that cat has worked so hard to get in this house and I have worked so hard to keep her out, and it's obvious the better woman won.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

A great Friday indeed

The weather is perfect, the children are quiet, and it is turning out to be a really great Friday.

Many people already consider this to be a good Friday and have their minds on Jesus Christ this time of year, and our family is no different. We attended the Memorial of Jesus Christ's death this past Wednesday at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

On the night before he died, Jesus Christ instituted the Memorial of his death. Using wine and unleavened bread as symbols, he commanded, "Keep doing this in remembrance of me."

We were privileged to be among the 77 who attended locally; my husband even delivered the evening's speech explaining how Christians benefit from the death of Jesus Christ and the importance of not only observing the Memorial each year but of taking action to share this with others.

A very enlightening timeline of the last days of Jesus' life here on earth can be found here.

I hope everyone has as wonderful a Friday as I am!

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What a lazy day!

The kids are out of school today so we didn't even bother to get up this morning. That set the tone for a lazy, restful day at home.

The girls got up around 9 a.m. and for some strange reason didn't bother me whining about something to eat. I smelled baby lotion and tea tree oil in my sleep, but no one bothered me.

I finally got up around 10 a.m. and all the damage I found was a washcloth with lipstick or something like that smeared on it. The four-year-old had greased her hair down with baby lotion but I didn't find any overturned bottles of tea tree oil, so that must have been their father dousing himself with that earlier in the day! I went up to the front of the house and found two little girls quietly munching on apples and watching fuzzy educational television.

I brewed a pot of coffee and sat checking my email, message boards and a few blogs and then finally got around to getting dressed and having breakfast around 1 p.m. I have some work scheduled for today and I really need to get some housework done, but at this rate, I won't get to any of it until bedtime!

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Friday, April 07, 2006

A beautiful family

My daughter brought home from school yesterday a little package from Colgate that contained a toothpaste sample and a coupon. Imagine my delight when I saw on the page with a toothpaste coupon a photograph of a Caucasian mother with her beautiful biracial black-white child!
I heartily applaud this company for using this photograph of a family that looks like mine.

There are so many beautiful multiethnic families in this world but we are often overlooked in advertising and other materials. It is so refreshing — albeit surprising — to see a photo of a family that looks like mine in magazines, advertising materials or anything, for that matter.

I have contacted this company through their website to praise them for the use of this photograph, which I have posted below. Here is a
photo of my family as well.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kids sick, again

My children are home from school sick again and I'm getting frustrated with all these illnesses and weird symptoms and strange rashes we've been dealing with since winter started.

Today it's a sore throat, cough, fever, runny nose, and a little stomach ache, mainly on the part of the older child. The younger child has what you call "sympathy illness" although she'll probably come down with a fever tomorrow. They both stayed home from school.

At the urging of my husband and my sister-in-law, I took my older daughter in to the doctor's office today. She was tested for flu and strep throat but doesn't have either one. It's just something that needs to run its course, I was told, and I had figured that anyway.

While we were there, I had the strange rashes they both have looked at. My younger daughter broke out with them back in December and since I thought she had ringworm, I kept her out of school. They kept popping up in random places like her temples and the back of her neck so I had her tested then. The diagnosis was pityriasis, skin rashes that go away in a few weeks or months and that are not contagious.

Interestingly enough, my older daughter came down with these same rashes in the same spots, only hers are worse since she has trouble with her skin. I've been treating both of them with tea tree oil, which is antifungal, antimicrobal, and anti-everything else bad. A trace of fungus showed up in the test done on my older daughter's rashes, so I was given a prescription for an ointment.

We've also been to the doctor in the past few months for other things like allergies and colon troubles. I'll sure be glad when we get all of this worked out.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

School breakfast fiasco

Our school morning routine was turned upside down today and boy, do I ever feel like a loser mom! Normally I get up after 6 a.m. and get the girls up at around a quarter to seven so my first grader can catch the bus to school at 7:25 a.m. in time to eat breakfast there. My preschool daughter must be taken to school at around 8 a.m., and she eats breakfast around 8:30 a.m.

This morning I just couldn't get up, I guess because of the time change. I decided to feed my kids breakfast at home and then drop them off at school, both at the same time. I got them up, got them dressed, and went to the kitchen to grab some cereal and there was none! There was no bread to make a quick sandwich either.

I looked at the clock and realized that if we hurried, my older daughter still had time to get breakfast at school. I combed their hair and we dashed out of the door. We got there just in time to see the cafeteria close up for the morning.

Oh man, what to do? I assured my daughter that she would be okay since they eat lunch before 11 a.m. before I dropped my other daughter off with her teacher. I felt so guilty walking back out to the car and realized that even a lunch as early as 11 a.m. would be a long time in coming to a little six-year-old who had eaten no breakfast.

When I got home I sliced up some apples and fixed her a bag of cheese and crackers, thinking all the while that I should have done that when I realized there wasn't any cereal instead of rushing them off trying to make it to school before the cafeteria closed. I put the bag of apples and the bag of cheese crackers in one of their little backpacks along with a small bottle of water and went back to school.

I had my daughter summoned up to the office, and we sat there for a few minutes munching on apples and crackers. She was glad I had brought something up to her, and delightedly put the little backpack on with snacks for later and went back to class. I felt better knowing that she had eaten and vowed not to let that little fiasco happen again.

She was so sweet about the whole thing. She didn't complain when I left her at school with no breakfast and didn't fuss when I came back with some. That afternoon after she got home from school I gave a better apology, to which she answered, "It's A-okay, Mommy."

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