Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How To Deal With "Bad" Teachers

I guess this all depends on what you consider to be a bad teacher.

I know we have had our fair share of them. When one of my kids come home and complain about hating school, I try to get to the bottom of it before I call the school. Maybe it's not the teacher. Maybe it's because said child doesn't want to do the work the teacher is giving them or he's not interested in a topic that the child is being taught, or maybe one of my kiddos is having a hard time understanding the material and needs a little extra help. If you have kids like mine (other than Gitty, she's an exception), my boys' will not ask the teacher's for help. Therefore, the teachers' are doing a bad job and hence, they are bad teachers.

If the above issues are true, I first try to encourage the child to 1) do the best he can. 2) ask for help, from teachers, from friends, from us. If we can't help him, we may be able to find a friend who can help him. 3) if all of the above fails, I call the teacher myself and I work out a plan with them on how best to help my child succeed.

But if that teacher then places all the blame on my child, not understanding the position my child feels he is in, doesn't want ridicule or teasing from the kids......then I move on. Next, I speak with the guidance counselor and we discuss what options are available. No child should HATE school and if they do, it's the school's responsibility to fix that problem.

I have yet to need to have one of my children switched out of a certain teacher's class, but I know that day is coming and I'll deal with it like I deal with everything else. I will be what my Gitty calls, Mommy Bear! And I will do all that I can to make sure my children are able to succeed.

We have one child who doesn't like school at all. It's always the teachers or the kids or whatever, it is never his fault and no matter what steps we take to insure he does better, he never follows through. I'm thrown for a loop with this one as I fear he may be the one to drop out of school. I tell him all the time, "You need to stop letting those kids determine your future for you! It's up to you to decide who you are, not them!" But he doesn't get it and he probably won't until he's my age and realizes the mistake of quitting school. Had I stuck with it, our lives would have been so much different and better for that matter! I just wish I would have discovered my skill and passion for writting when I was younger, not now in my 30's.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Photobucket No one wants to talk about this, I know.........but, it's a part of life and if we don't want to walk around smelling, then it's a must. I think this is one of the biggest problems for most large families, the piles just grow and there never seems to be an end to the laundry pile. I swear, we have a laundry monster and he comes in at night and makes the piles bigger. I just wish there was a laundry fairy to come in and clean up the mess. Oh yeah, that's right, we do! It's me!

The one thing I learned with a family of 9 is you HAVE to do laundry every day. Even if you skip just one day, you are in trouble. Especially if your closet is a bit limited and it seems to be, the less clothes you have, the more laundry there is.....Why is that you ask? Well, because no sooner does someone wear something and it's right in the pile, there's not much reserve so you have to get what you DO have clean and as soon as possible.

I do between two and four loads of laundry a day, I strive for 4 by 4pm if I'm lucky. Then there's one big laundry day on Monday which sets everyone ready for the week. Sunday's I make sure that the school uniforms are done as we only have a few uniforms per child. I used to think I'd be a fan of uni's, but I'm not. You have to buy play clothes AND uniforms....personally, if the school requires them then they should have to buy them. Some voucher to spend at a store of your choice, kinda like how WIC works. In this economy we're lucky if we have the money to buy underwear for our kids let alone uniforms.

Okay, I'm off my soap box about that.

Socks......we have one big sock basket. Everyone gets colored socks. I hate how dingy white socks get, even when you use bleach and everyone's underwear are colored, so it only makes sense to be able to wash all the socks with the other laundry. Besides, I don't have time to be adding a sock load to my ever growing pile of laundry.

Wednesday's and Friday's are towel days and I do the kids bedsheets and mine every other Friday.

I was asked by Gitty today how we get all the stains out of the clothes. I told her it was magic! But really, it's all in the detergent. I know buying cheap is the thing right now and for most of us a necessity, but unfortunately, there's some places this girl can't scrimp and laundry detergent is one of them. I only use Tide, Whisk or All. It depends which one is on sale and for how much in comparison to the others and if it's beneficial if I have a coupon (which I rarely do). With those detergents and the right water cycle, I've only ever had to pre-treat formula stains and only very lightly.

The laundry is done, washed, dried and folded, socks thrown into the sock basket for everyone to dig through for a match.....I guess this is why everyone usually has mismatched socks on, but eh, it's the fad anyway. But who puts it all away. NOT ME! That's up to who ever the clothes belong to. I put my own and Hubs away, but not the kids. The little kids get help from the older kids and I put the babies clothes away. As soon as they can follow directions, they'll learn how to put their own clothes away too!

Oh and don't forget, every Friday the bathroom carpets get done too! Did I mention, I really, really hate laundry! And dishes too!

Until next time.....

7 kids 1 bathroom

*Gasp!* I can hear it now as many of you are reading this! Part of it is because you know what I'm talking about, the other part of you, couldn't even imagine.

The last home we lived in was small, three bedrooms (okay, one wasn't even a bedroom), living room, kitchen and ONE very tiny bathroom. So how did we manage.....there's actually a lot to say about this then one would think.

What do you do when it's 6am, everyone is trying to rush to the bathroom at once because everyone needs to go!!!! And not later, but NOW!!!!!

Smaller kids go first.....they're most likely being potty trained and haven't learned how to hold it yet. Anyone who is under the age of 5 gets to go first! Next......whoever gets in there first, gets to go. But only to go to the bathroom, grooming must wait.

While waiting, the waiting children could be eating their breakfast, getting dressed, making their beds, or patiently watching TV and waiting until everyone else is done.

Once everyone has had their chance to do their business......The person who has to be out of the house the earliest gets to go back in first.....brush teeth, comb hair and get out! If this particular person needs to "do" their hair or their makeup or something else.....put a mirror up on the back of the bedroom door. There's no reason for them to be hogging the bathroom so they can primp themselves up. Bathrooms are used for well, the obvious reason of course, brushing teeth and showering.....ONLY! Everything else can be done in their bedrooms or in the car or on the bus if need be. I can remember waking up late for school and having to do my makeup on the bus, it didn't kill me anymore than it'll kill your 16 year old daughter!

We've been lucky in the fact that everyone wakes up at different types, so it hasn't or hadn't been too bad.

Showers are only done at night and we alternate boys and girls. For example, M-W-F are girl's nights and T-Th-S is boy's night. We skip Sunday unless the kids have had a hard day at playing, then we just wing it! I shower during the day, always have. If I want a relaxing bubble bath, I wait until night time when the kids are in bed. But to be honest, bubble baths bore me......

How about the dreaded brushing of the teeth. This can be difficult, especially if you have kids that need to be in there at the same time. Well, one can brush in the sink, the other can brush in the bathtub and the other can go to the kitchen. Worse comes to worse, tell one of them to go use the gardening hose if they absolutely can not wait.

We have had times when one person or another just can't wait, so they've been told, 3rd tree to the left. There has only been one child on one particular day that used that advice as he really could not wait. Thank God our home was shaded by lots of trees where no one could see what he actually was doing.

Back to showers.....each child gets 10 minutes before it's time for the next one to get in. Right now the only one girl who needs to hold to that rule is Gitty as she's old enough to shower herself. But we bathe the younger girls ourselves as they are only 4 (almost), 17 months and 7 months. The boys', other than JP, is a little tougher as they'd stay in there all night if we'd let them!

I hope this helps some of you figure out your bathroom situation, if you are like how we used to be.

We now have two bathrooms and I wouldn't go back to having one unless I absolutely HAD to!

Night Time Potty Training

Photobucket It's almost your son's 4th birthday and he's the only kid on the playground not completely potty trained. Sure, he can go all day with going on the potty, can tell you he has to go when you are in public and uses it quite successfully at home for the last year.....but what about at night?

That's a different story. The bedtime routine still involves a night time pull up and your child seems to be the only one still wearing diapers to bed. The truth is, he's not the only child. About 10-13% of 6 year old children still wet the bed. You are not alone. And for all those people who like to tell you how horrible of a parent you are for it, tell them to stick it! You know your child, they don't and you need to do what's best for both of you!

I myself have had two such children. JP, who just turned 5 in September didn't get night time trained until November and we still have middle of the night accidents. Macie, our almost 4 year old still wears a diaper to bed. Some may call us lazy, that we aren't or haven't pushed the night time potty training enough, but that truly is not the case. Any parent knows, you can't push a child to go to the bathroom. They will do it when they are ready and not a second before that. Most of the reason for that's something they can control and you can't. You can try bribing them, but what good does that do? You are rewarding them for something they have to do anyway.....and when do you actually stop bribing and what happens when you do? Regression, anyone??

Before you do anything, have your child checked by his pediatrician. Most likely, he'll do a few tests on your child to check for a UTI (which can be ruled out, because he goes potty during the day) and/or his kidneys. As long as your child has no medical issues, you'll be sent home with reassurance that all is fine in the world and it's quite normal for your 3 year old to NOT be potty trained at night. Sadly, you'll go stop off at the store and pick up another box of night time pull ups for your child and the routine will continue for at least a little while.

But how and when do you step in and decide it's time to take control? Well, that's up to you, how long you are willing to wait it out, how hard your budget is taking a hit because of the extra diapers and other personal reasons you have.

For us.....JP was just over 5 years old and enough was enough. At this point we had 4 children in diapers, JP at night, Macie at night, Emmie and M&M all day and all night. Someone had to give up their diapers, so naturally we started with the oldest person in the house.

The fun began.....

Sippy cups were limited during the day. One with each meal and only half during snack times. If he wanted a drink in between, well he could have A SIP of water, but no more than that. Considering my children eat 3 meals and 3 snacks, he was not going thirsty during the day. The next thing we did was to take drinks away after 7pm. No drinks, except a sip or two of water before bed, after brushing his teeth. Then it was potty time, story time, prayers, tucked in and bed.

The next morning, he woke up running for the bathroom. Anyone in his way was getting knocked over. Of course this resulted in him waking earlier then his typical 8am schedule, but if it meant no more diapers, then I was okay with that. On very rare occasions JP does wet the bed. He still has nights, especially when he's overtired or if he sneaks a drink from one of his ever sympathetic siblings after he's already been in bed, but for the most part, he's completely potty trained.

I have to add here, limit soda and carbonated drinks. They are diuretics and it'll only set your child up for failure. Gatorade's and other drinks that restore electrolytes shouldn't be given unless your child is sick. These also will make your child have to go to the bathroom more than usual. And surprisingly, not much juice. The sugar seems to go through my JP......even if it is natural. Stick with water, milk and 1 or 2 cups of juice a day.

Now let's see if we can get his almost 4 year old sister to be the same way.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Crisis's Happen!

And quite often in this household! Let me just give you a quick run down of the last 30 days of  the type of crisis' we've dealt with.

David (my 16-year-old) fractured his wrist, surgery is needed, but finding an ortho who takes our insurance has proven to be a not so easy task. In the process of this, David developed Arthritic Lyme Disease in his right knee. His knee swelled up in a 24 hour period about 3 times its normal size. So back to the ER Hubs took David where they prescribed him pain meds and told him to follow-up with his pediatrician. The next morning he was seen by his ped and was immediately put on antibiotics for his leg.....

One week later, medications aren't doing their job for David, but I end up with an abscess that runs from my chin to my eye so off to Urgent Care Hubs and I go. I was prescribed antibiotics and a mild pain reliever and sent home. Hubs began calling dentists and of course, none of them take our insurance. At the same time, David has a follow-up on his knee, which is now, 2 times bigger than his first hospital visit. No more oral meds, now we have a picc line put in and David starts daily antibiotics through an IV for the next 30 days.

One week later, I end up with another abscess, the size of a golf ball on the other side of my mouth. Figured out it had to be from some medications I take myself. Discontinued them and what do you know, no more abscesses. It still took awhile for the pain and swelling to go down though, but once it did, I've been okay.

Gitty, our 9-year-old daughter ended up in the hospital during this time as well. She was having some health issues and needed to be monitored.

Last week AC slips in the shower and hurts his shoulder and elbow. Thankfully nothing was broken, just tender, but he landed himself in a sling anyway. I swear, the ER should just know us by name by now.
This week rolls around and David is to have his picc line removed, treatment is done. Except David's knee is no better and we are back to square one. An MRI report showed fluid on his knee. He is being seen at the ER, yet again and hopefully they can provide him with some relief. If not, I have no clue where we will go with this. I hope the doctor's have some better solutions than the one's they have been giving us.
We will overcome this, just as we have overcome all other things in the past. Thank God for blogging, it comes in handy during times like this! Even the dog knows something isn't right, he sits staring at me, once in a while blinking as if to say, "Again??" 
Until next time......

Monday Manderings ~ Birthday Parties!!

A lot of parents' groan when it comes to planning a birthday party for their child. A lot of thinking and planning has to go into it. Who to invite, what's the theme, will there be decorations and if so what kinds, what about food, how much, ughhh!!!! Most of the time before the big day is finally here, parents' are frustrated and gritting their teeth hoping the day is just right for their child. Speaking from experience, your child could care less about all those logistics, they are just happy to be having a party and it's their birthday! What more could they really care about?

Considering the fact that we have a birthday coming up next month, I thought this would be a good topic for my Monday Manderings. Okay, it's really not mandering.....I do actually have a topic, but that's okay, we can just go with the flow for now.

Our Macie will be turning 4 this year and I really want to do something special for her. I want to have an actual party. With balloons, a decorations and cake and some kiddie foods and goodie bags, and an extensive guest list that would include everyone that's part of her family to the famous Just Bieber....well not really, but he's popular and my 9-year-old adores him, so I threw him in there. But the truth is, I can't afford such a big party for her and besides, she doesn't have any friends as she doesn't go to preschool. But that's okay, she has 6 other siblings to join in on her party, a few of their friends, my son's girlfriend, Hubs and I have a few friends....ugh the guest list has to get cut down, but who do we cut out?

To begin with, if we are to invite siblings friends, then it can only be one friend a piece and that would only count for the older ones. Our guest list just went from 9 to 12 in a matter of seconds. Inviting our friends is a bit more tricky as most of them have at least 2 or more children, but hey, all we have to do is count the kids right? So, if we invite our friends we can add about 8 kids there, we're now up to 20.....see how fast that list can grow? So let's think in terms of what's the most expensive.

Probably food......but kids don't eat a lot at parties. All they care about is the cake! That's the honest truth and every parent knows it. If you really want to make the parent's happy, make up your own platters of lunch meats, cheeses and some crackers. If the parent's complain, tell them next year you'll do a bring your own dish party, that should shut them up for a while. Juice would be about the only thing I would offer. Soda and cake......forget it! Way too much sugar for a bunch of kids at YOUR home!

Decorations do not have to be elaborate. You can actually make a lot of them at home with some cardstock, construction paper, computer, markers, ect.....balloons are pretty cheap and if you want to add in some helium, you can always rent a tank, much cheaper than having the party stores do it for you. Next you'll need some ribbon for the balloon, that's pretty inexpensive too and some plates, napkins, utensils and you are all set. You really don't HAVE to go with the fancy plates, but if you wanted to and your budget allowed for it you can. And those bouncy houses? Why?? So a child can get hurt and you can be held liable? Unless you have every parent sign a waiver, you can really pass on this!

How about games, can always have your party at a park. This might cost a little bit of money, but then the kids can play while you hang out with your family and friends. Or you can do the traditional games of pin the tail on the "whatever character you use" and musical chairs, or you can ditch the games all together.

I found some great ideas here:Birthday Party Ideas. These are for little girls, but I'm sure you could search around their site and find some info on boys' as well.

Invitations can be bought cheaply or you can make them at home if you wish. A computer program and some cardstock is all you'll need. has an Invite to Event section now, so you could use this feature instead of sending out mass invitations to people. However you plan your child's birthday party, remember it's about your child first, your budget second and everyone else last. It's not about being the coolest kid on the block, or the most entertaining birthday party ever! One rule I've always heard, if you have a 4-year-old then no more than 4 kids should be at their party. I have never abided by this rule but I don't think it's a terrible one, especially if your budget is tight.

Oh and set a budget and don't go over it, no matter who says what to you! You know what you can afford, they don't!

One more place you might want to check out is They can be a bit pricey the larger your party is, but remember, you only need to buy themed products for kids. The adults can eat off of regular plates with regular forks, or worse comes to worse, they can use their fingers!

Keeping Your Marriage Alive

If you are a know how hard this is. Between work, kids, activities, conferences, assignments, homework, housework. Where is the time and how does a couple make time, especially if money is tight.

Date night! No matter what night works for you, spending a few hours out of the house away from the kids will do your relationship a heck of a lot of good. Make it a rule, no talking about kids, finances or problems in your marriage. Use this time to reconnect. Talk about work, what you've been doing, a project you've been working on, a movie you've just seen together. Dinner and a movie isn't just for brand new daters and couples, it's great for married couples as well. The movie will give you something to talk about while you eat. If your budget allows for it, go out somewhere nice like, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Red Lobster or some other fancy restaurant in your neighborhood. If your budget is tight, plan a picnic somewhere away from home. Here you can talk about all the sights and sounds around you. Be creative. The point is to relax and have fun. Feed each other, dance in the park together to no music, or turn your car radio up and dance to something on the radio or a favorite CD. You will be surprised what a difference one night a week or every two weeks or a month can do for your marriage.

Communicate! I really think a lot of marriages would not end in divorce if couple's could just talk to one another. If you have a problem with your spouse do not keep it bottled up. If you do that, one of two things are going to happen. You will either explode when there is too much tension, throwing everything off topic and the problem will not get resolved. You'll both walk away from the argument feeling frustrated and depleted. Or you'll get divorced.

The things we love the most are what we invest the most time in. If you loved your spouse enough to marry him/or, then 10, 20 or even 50 years down the road, you still love the person you married. But marriage is hard work and sometimes you need a little help. If you find your relationship is rocky, seek out counseling. If one of you isn't receptive, go get therapy for yourself. This will help you to learn better coping skills when the marriage gets tough and if there's improvement in you, that may be just enough encouragement to get your spouse to go with you. Please, whatever you do, don't agree to divorce if you haven't invested any time into the marriage yourself or in another context, invested any time into bettering yourself with in the marriage. It takes two to get married and two to get divorced, two to fight and two to make a marriage fail. You have to take responsibility for your own actions before you can place any blame on the other person.

Spend time as a family! There is nothing sexier to me then watching my Hubby being a Daddy. Watching how he interacts with his kids, how he plays with them, reads to them......anything he does to try to be a good Daddy is golden in my eyes.

And last but certainly not least........SEX! It's not about the quantity. I realize that with how chaotic life can get with having children, sometimes the average couple are too exhausted at the end of the day to even think about it. But there is always morning sex, or afternoon sex if your kids are in school or at friends....weekends are awesome too! If your budget allows, steal away to a hotel room for a few hours. It'll feel spontaneous and dirty and fun all at the same time! Also, if you can....take a vacation together, even if it is just for a night or two. Ask grandma or a friend or another trusted person to come watch the kids. Pitch a tent in a campground and spend some good quality time together.
Because that my dear friends is the important part.....quality, not quantity.
Until next time.....
Becca ♥