Thursday, February 28, 2013

Totally Redeemed Myself

Any Dumb and Dumber fans out there?  You know the scene after Lloyd drives 400 miles in the wrong direction and he and Harry have a big fight and Harry goes stomping off.  Then in the next scene Lloyd comes driving up on a motorcycle.  Harry says "Just when I thought you couldn't be any go and do something like this......AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF".  That is how I felt today.

So, by now you should know that I am not a pack rat.  I hate to have things lying around, so I tend to throw things away.  Most of the time, the kids don't even notice if I throw away a certain McDonald's toy or school paper (as long as they don't see it in the trash can.  Parenting 101: NEVER LEAVE ANYTHING OF YOUR CHILD'S VISIBLE WHEN YOU THROW IT AWAY.  Bury it deep within the trash can where no little eyes can spy it.).  However, occasionally there is something that I have thrown away that is remembered a few months later.  The kids have learned where their missing toys go.

Today, Tanner and Jameson started playing superhero dress up (I love that boys play dress up too).  They went on the hunt for their paper masks that they got at a birthday party last July.  Sorry guys.....paper masks that are over 6 months old don't last at the Lord house.  They were thrown away long ago.  I told them to look in the toy box on the odd chance that they "made the cut", but to no avail.  They whined....."mom, did you throw them away?".  Got caught red handed.  Pretty sure I threw them away before Christmas when I was trying to make room for new Christmas toys that would need a new home.

Uh Oh.  Now what was I going to do.  I suggested that they make new ones.  Nope, not going to work.  Then I suggested that I could help them.  They immediately jumped on board that idea, because they know when mom gets involved they are off the hook.  So, I did what any good mother would do.  I asked myself "how can I make these masks quickly and easily?".  Yep, I Googled it.  And the first hit was "printable super hero masks".  Jackpot!

So here is the link for the Captain America mask, and here is the one for Iron Man.  These were super easy and quick and they are AWESOME (even kind of 3D)!  Some tape, scissors and 15 minutes and Viola!  Totally Redeemed!

I love being a stay at home mom and being able to do fun things like this with my kids.  Of course, I will be throwing them away as soon as they have outlived their usefulness!  But, now I know where I can make more!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Party of Five

This weekend we have the pleasure of having our nieces for the weekend.  They are 12 and 8 and are lots of fun to have around.  However, 5 kids is a lot!  They are very helpful and the kids are all pretty self sufficient, but man.....I have made a lot of food and done a lot of dishes this weekend!  Yikes.  I can't even imagine having 5 kids all of the time.  Hats off to you moms of 5!

Yesterday we wanted to have some fun with the kids so we took them to the sledding hill by my parents house where I have been sledding since I was a kid.  We got to make the first tracks!  The snow was perfect and the sleds were flying!  Sometimes the snow is too thick or slushy and the sleds are slow, but yesterday they were awesome.  Also, all the kids could go down (and more importantly up) the hill all by themselves.  First time in almost 10 years that I haven't had to carry a kid up the sledding hill.  I could hear the angels singing!  We flew down the hill for over 2 hours (with no crying!!!).  It was a good time indeed.

What good is sledding without a jump!

Our girls

McKenzie's "Shawn White" pose.

This is how pre-teens sled these days


They were flying!

Snowball fight

A huge train down the hill.  What a blast!

I made it into a picture!

Make that two pictures!

After our sledding adventure (and a ginormous lunch) the kids wanted to build a snowman.  So into the front yard they went.  This is what they came up with.  They named him Cowboys Underpants.  The underpants were found in the front yard amongst the snow.  Don't judge.  No clue how they got there, but to my credit I am pretty sure that they were clean.

Cowboy Underpants

Later in the day I was trying to find things to keep the kids entertained and I decided to make play-dough.  Thanks Pinterest for the idea and the recipe.  We made it with Kool-aid and it was so vibrant and smelled so good that I wanted to eat it (especially the Tropical Punch, that is my favorite).  All five of the kids LOVED it (even the 12 year old)!  The 8 and 9 year olds both whined when I made them finally put it away.  I think we will be pulling that out again today!

Then last night I had a stroke of genius.  I remembered one of my favorite meals as a kid.  So, with Ashlynn's help we made it happen.

When I was a kid (probably late elementary or early middle school age) my parents went to a Sunday School dinner with their friends.  They came home with the funniest story about the dinner they had.  They were pretty excited about it and thought that we would enjoy it as well.  So the next night, they treated us to the same dinner.  Needless to say, this dinner was repeated at many a birthday party with our friends at the Party Palace (aka Coombs house).

My server
Here is how it works.  You make a menu.  Here was our menu for last night.  It is best if you have 12 things on your menu because it is a three course dinner and it is nice to have 4 things to serve for each course. (if you click on the pictures, they will get bigger so you can read all of the writing).

Take note of the healthy items on the menu.  It is always candy bars.  You can choose whatever candy is your favorite.  We tried to keep the majority of our candy options dairy free so the 4 year old with milk allergies was not totally confused.  Then the kids got to choose 4 "candies" per course.  Here is what Jameson chose.

Then the real fun begins.  It is best if your serving area is separate from the kitchen area.  Not possible in our house, but it makes for more fun if your "customers/guests" cannot see what you are doing!  It is time to start preparing your first course.  You must have all of your dinner and dessert ready to go at the beginning of your "meal".  Now, you need the "cheat sheet".  This has your real menu and your candy menu side by side so that you can decipher the order.

Be sure to include forks, spoons, napkins and drinks as a part of your "menu".  It makes for a more interesting meal.  Make sure that you do not have anything on table as the guest will be given what they "order" for each part of the meal.  So no silverware or napkins on the table.  For ease, we used paper plates and used different ones for each course.

Now, let the fun begin.  The person may get some really silly things for their first course.  For example, McKenzie got applesauce, salad, spaghetti sauce and a drink for her first course.  Too bad she didn't order a spoon or fork!

For Tanner's first course he got noodles, bread, applesauce and salad.  Again, no utensils!  They love it!  It is so fun to watch their faces when the plate is put in front of them.

Course #2 for Makai: bread, a straw, a fork and applesauce.  Pretty sure he used the straw to eat the applesauce.

Course #2 for Tanner: ice cream, sauce, a napkin and a spoon.  He thought it would be funny to put the sauce on the ice cream.  And actually ate it (later admitting that it tasted pretty weird).

Jameson got bread, applesauce a napkin and a spoon for his final course.  He gave the dinner a thumbs up.

It is so fun for them to eat a mixed up meal (and eat ice cream before spaghetti) and it is just as funny for the parents to serve the crazy meal.  So next time you are bored at home (or are hosting some friends), you should try this.  It is a real kick in the pants!

*disclaimer.  After the mixed up meal, they were able to have whatever part of the meal they wanted again (except the ice cream and cone).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Diagnostic Advise

It has hit again.  The dreaded Strep has once again invaded the Lord household. 

After almost 10 years (wow I feel old) of parenting three children, I have learned to diagnois Strep with staggering accuracy.  My mom tells me that as children, my sisters and I loved to pass Strep back and forth to each other.  Apparently, it is hereditary.  Both my sister and I (and husbands and kids) have a knack for spreading the Strep germs.  In the infamous summer/fall of 2007 we had Strep over 20 times between our two families.  Thankfully, my sister and nephew got their tonsils out and we have not seen nearly as much strep.  However, at least once or twice a year, someone gets it.

This time, it is poor Tanner.  Of course, Strep has a way of invading the house at the most inconvenient times (not that there is every a convenient time to have this nastiness).  Last time it invaded the Luebcke house, Dan was on a 2 week trip to Poland and Julie was crazy busy trying to keep the household running and working and..... you know.  The infamous summer/fall of 2007 I got Strep the night that my father-in-law died in an accident at Lake Powell and then my 2 year old had it at the funeral 5 days later.  How is that for horrible timing?  So, when it hit this weekend while we are up at the family cabin in Fairplay, I can't say I am surprised. 

So, let me give you some sage advise from a woman who has had Strep A LOT and who is seemingly swimming in Strep bacteria.

The number one most important question that I ask people who are trying to diagnosis Strep is, "how did you sleep last night?".  What?  You mean it isn't "does your throat hurt?".  Nope.  #1 diagnostic took: your sleeping patterns.  If you have Strep, you feel like you can't get comfortable and you are literally awake all night long.  Tanner slept with me last night (after I suspected that he might have Strep) and guess what?  I am pretty sure that I was woken up (needing a drink, potty, tossing and turning, almost puking, etc.) every 15 minutes last night.  Torture.  I know that whenever I am questioning if I might have Strep, I just have to try to sleep at night.  If sleep avails me, then get to the dr. first thing in the morning.  If I slept pretty good......most likely not Strep.

Sign #2.  Once again.....not throat hurting.  Does your stomach hurt?  Usually nausea is a very good sign that you have strep (if accompanied by sore throat and difficulty sleeping- get to the Dr. ASAP).  Especially if you have stomach cramps but no diarrhea (and don't usually puke, but sometimes you do).  I have actually taken my kids to get a strep test without them having a sore throat.  The dr. or nurse always gives me strange look and then the "I'll just humor her" look and they do the test.  5 minutes later they come into the room TOTALLY amazed and apologetic saying "you were right, they have Strep".

Sign #3.  Does your/their breath smell really bad?  If so, straight to the dr.  I could always taste and sometimes even smell my own nasty breath when I had Strep.  And today when I took Tanner into the dr., she looked in his mouth and said, based on the puss in his throat and the way his breath smells, I can tell that this test is going to be positive.  Also, does their voice sound funny, like there is a ton of gunk in there?

Sign #4.  Is your kid being a whiny pill?  I mean, way more than usual?  My kids always turn into a weepy, whiny mess a day or two before the other Strep symptoms show up.  Strange I know.  Usually this is one of the hindsight symptoms.  Like after they get a sore throat, fever, bad breath, you start to they have been kind of a pill lately.

Sign #5.  Okay, now you can ask "does your throat hurt?".  If you look in the back of the throat and there are puss filled zit looking things (I know nasty), then you know what you are dealing with.  Usually they have to be pretty far gone in the Strep process for these babies to show up.

I will say that most time (at least 80-90%) I take me or the kids in for a Strep test it is positive.  It is because I have learned these tell tale signs. 

Here is the best part (or I should say one of many) of having a sister (especially one with Strep experience): if I am questioning if my kids have Strep I just give her a ring.  She says "how did they sleep last night?, Do they have a stomach ache?, how is their breath, did you look in their throat?  Are they talking funny?  And then she says "yes, take them in!".  Guess what?  It works both ways.  I do the same for her.  Sometimes it is just nice to have someone you can call for back up when you are doubting yourself as a mother.  If you ever need someone sisterly to call about Strep, give me a call (or just refer back to this)!

I hope all of you (and the rest of us) remain Strep free!

P.S.  I had a dr. once tell me that Strep is NEVER accompanied by a cough (and I have found this to be true).  So if they are coughing, save yourself the co-pay and guess that they probably have a sore throat from drainage from a cold.

P.P.S.  Strep gets way worse the longer you wait to get it treated.  SO DON'T WAIT.  It is an easy throat swab, a 5 minute wait for the diagnosis and then a prescription for an antibiotic and you are feeling SO much better within a few hours.  However, if you wait a few days before you go in, the recovery time is way longer!

P.P.S.S.  Don't eat or drink anything (including gum) for at least 15 minutes before they swab you or it can show up as a false negative.

Can you tell that I have a lot of Strep experience?

Monday, February 4, 2013

If I only had a housekeeper.....

I must confess that I have been watching a little too much Downton Abby as of late.  Who am I kidding, one can NEVER watch too much Downton Abby.  If you have not jumped on the is totally worth jumping on board.  It is a such a wonderful show with great character development and rich stories that are set in historical England.  I love a good story and Downton is full of good stories. 

Watching this wonderful story gets me to thinking.  What if I had Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson to run my household for me?  Would it make me a better mother and wife?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps not.

Are there any other stay at home moms that have the same problem that I do?  I can't seem to keep my house in order.  It doesn't seem to matter how much (or little) time I put into keeping my house clean, it just won't stay clean!  I am NOT a pack rat (in fact I seem to sway a little to the other side and throw too much out), but my house just seems to be overflowing with stuff.  Perhaps it is the three little people that thwart my efforts.  Part of that is my own fault.  I need to be a little better about teaching my boys responsibility and cleaning up after themselves.  Patience, however, is not a virtue that I possess and therefore, I find it easier to just do it myself.

I will say that it is getting a little easier.  My kids are starting to be more interested in electronics and less in toys.  It was refreshing/awesome (and a little sad) that my kids barely got any toys for Christmas this year.  And as it is getting time to start cleaning out the house and preparing for selling some things at the St. Philip Preschool Sale, I am purging the toys (go here if you want information about the sale).  I also cleaned out the sippy cup cupboard and got rid of all of the sippies except for one (for when little kids come to visit).  I have been waiting for that day for YEARS!!!  Those darn cups were the thorn in my side and every time I opened up the cupboard one or two would fall out.  But, when the time came to throw them away (they were too nasty to give away/sell) I found myself getting a little sentimental.  Crazy how that works!

I feel a little guilty saying that I need a house keeper.  That is supposed to be my job, right?  All I do is stay home and take care of the house and the kids right?  Wrong.  I am always going to meetings for room moms, women's minstry, worship team, preschool clothing sale, etc.  I also substitute, run a photography business, blog......and the list goes on.  But if I had a housekeeper would I be able to do more?  Would I spend more time with the kids?  Would I be less stressed?  YES!

However, my mind keeps coming back to the movie/book "The Help".  Those ladies were stay at home moms who had their "housekeepers".  Did they spend more time with their kids?  Did they spend any time with their kids?  They just filled their time with more stuff and meetings and causes (guilty).  Who ended up raising their kids?  The women who they looked down upon and didn't count worthy of using the same bathroom with.

So, I am thinking that as much as it would simplify my life, I am going to have to leave Mrs. Hughes at Downton Abby and chose to be content with my crazy, messy life.  I think that perhaps by having to roll up your sleeves and keep your house in order keeps you grounded.  It keeps it "real" and makes you appreciate what you have and makes sure you keep yourself in your life and not above your life.  (Side note: if I ever go back to work full time, it would be an amazing blessing to have a house cleaner come once or twice a month. I am not above a little help!)  I am going to make more of an effort to "play" with the kids too. 

Happy Monday Everyone!  I have to go do some laundry now.  And clean up the house.......again.  But maybe with some appreciation for what I have and a little smile on my face.