Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Our new life

Well, life is changing fast around here. Brandon started school yesterday. It was very exciting since we've been homeschooling the past two years. I had Timmy (Dad) take him on his first day because I was sick. He had an emotional moment when he choked up, missing his son. There's something about dropping your kid off at school for the first time that cuts at your heart when you realize how much you love your child. I'm glad Timmy is catching up on a lot of experiences he missed earlier in the kids' life.

Wolfie starts school next week.

I started loading boxes Monday. I also came down with a bad case of strep throat Monday. NOT COOL. I was sick as a dog. But I had to go in. I couldn't miss the first day of work. I could get fired for that. So I went and I survived. My trainer and I (Stacy) have a lot in common. Same age. She's married. Goes to a nearby church, nursing school. We know some of the same people. We'll have to keep in touch after training is over.

I'm doing OK at my job. Just OK. I'm used to excelling at everything I try my hand at. I'm not used to this mediocre stuff. When I told my husband that he said he didn't realize I was so conceited. hmmm. Anyway, they want me to be faster and more accurate. Hello. I can be one or the other. But I don't know about both. I guess I'm doing normal. I load 100 boxes an hour. But eventually they're going to expect 300 an hour. How am I going to triple my speed? We'll see.

So that's about it. I'll write about something else next time. Don't worry.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The job is going well

I spent the week in training. I haven't actually moved boxes this week like I was expecting to, which is very frustrating because I've cut the gym from my schedule. I really rely on my workouts to destress and clear my mind. So I'm feeling a bit bottled up. Tonight if I don't get a chance to work hard I'll just explode.

You can study for a dollar raise by memorizing a bunch of zip-codes and cities to be a sorter. I got the paperwork for it and memorized it in record time. (One day!)I'm doing Maine. I used association memory tricks for it. For example, one of the destinations is "Waterville, Maine". So I picture a water park with a big water slide for that one. Some of the cities that go to that truck are:
Hallowell Maine. That city name reminds me of "Halloween". So I picture a person in a Halloween costume going down the water slide. Another town that goes in that truck is "Mt. Vernon". I know that Mt. Vernon is the name of George Washington's home. So I picture George Washington at the top of the slide leaning over looking for his wooden teeth which have dropped out of his mouth. You see the funnier the picture, the better it works.

Another truck destination is "Pesque Isle Maine". The abbreviation for that is "PIS ME". For this I imagine a WWF wrestler saying "Don't PISS ME off!" All of the towns with a zip code starting with 047 go into this shipment. So I think - if I mess with this wrestler I'll die and go to heaven. Heaven rhymes with 7, which is how I know the zip code.

After a while the associations will fade, but the memorization will stick. Especially with the repetitive nature of this job. I'm thinking I could tutor people who want to learn too. I know some of the men struggle with learning.

I'm starting to come out of my shell. It's a very noisy atmosphere so you have to be loud just to be heard in this place. My flamboyant self is coming out. It's kind of fun. I'm starting to learn people's names, so that I can call out: "Hey, Juan!" or "What's up, Daniel?" The adult contact is very nice after being home with the kids the past few years.

I could become a manager in a few months (weeks?). I like the idea of more pay. And what a resume builder. I'll be paying attention to what they do and if I think I could do it.

As for our family, and the kids: this change has been one of the best things that ever happened to us. After years of staunchly defending stay at home moms (I still do) I am very surprised by all the good that has come of it. Really it comes down to: my husband becoming engaged in our family for the first time ever. Of course he's always loved us but we were always "something on the side" that he would squeeze into his schedule on a rare occasion. Now he has to be home every night by 5:30. Come September I'll be taking a college lab too and he'll actually have to pick the kids up from school on Thursdays and stay with them all night. The kids needed more of his attention. I needed a regular break from the house. He needed to get more plugged in. This job accomplished all that. Of course I'll have to take some time off from procreating. But our finances really couldn't have handled another one at this time.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A favorite story from my past

This is one of my favorite stories I like to retell to my friends.

When I was in high school I had a little crush on my chemistry teacher, Mr. Cody. The odd thing was that he was really old - like 65. But I could imagine what he was like when he was a young boy, probably a rebel and I was attracted to those bad boys. He rode a motorcycle. He had a really cool scar across his cheek. Plus he was smart. And I really liked the way he controlled the classroom. He always put the punks in their place and he could be funny and sarcastic. And if you did something he liked you could get a smile out of him and a gleam in his eye.

I had mentioned to my parents that I really liked Mr. Cody. They knew I had a little crush on him. So parent/teacher day rolls around. They take the tour of the school and spend a few minutes in each classroom. The next-to-last one was chemistry. They were excited to meet this "Mr. Cody", whom I had spoken so admiringly of. They were expecting to meet a young handsome man, when... Surprise surprise... They meet this old man. He couldn't possibly be Mr. Cody. But he was.

Ha Ha. That was a good one.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm in!

I got the job at UPS and I started training today. It's going to be a much better situation for me than the personal training job. We desperately need the health benefits. It's going to pay for my college. Plus everything else... the hours are right, the physical labor means I can cut the gym from my schedule. It's all good.

So training went well tonight. I came in as a "stand by" and they ended up needing one, so I got to stay and they sent the other stand by home. Thank the Lord for that too, because I was really nervous about getting the tuition waiver before classes start in September and I'm in now, so it's all set.

I'm still in awe of the setting. It's so dirty and rough and romantic. Ha ha. I know I sound silly. My husband warned me as I left not to sound too excited or everyone will think I'm crazy. I'm glad I get the chance to work at a low paying, blue collar job for a little bit. Everyone needs an experience like that under their belt.

I saw an old guy working there, maybe 60 years old. He was in such good shape. He had big muscles and no body fat. I was so impressed.

At the training they talked about eating healthy and the video specifically said to eat carbs. Our teacher said that when the Atkins diet was at it's peak people were fainting left and right. Ha ha. What retards going to a job like that without eating any carbs. :)

There were four other guys in my class and a lesbian. Me and her were the only ones answering the questions in class. We're on the same "team" for the training. We're the "Patriots". Well, it's all fun and games for now. I'll check back with you in a month and tell you how miserable I am.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tithing

It's 3:15 in the morning. ha ha. I drank tea tonight. I don't usually drink caffeine.

Anyway, I wanted to share my tithing story with you. My parents taught me to always tithe. I really see God's financial blessing when I do. The Bible doesn't say that you will receive FINANCIAL blessings necessarily. But the Bible does say "test me in this and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 1:6

On the contrary, when I don't tithe I often LOSE money. Literally. Like bills will fall out of my pocket. Again, this is TOTALLY not in the Bible. This probably doesn't happen to anyone else. I just think it's God's special way of getting my attention. :) Lucky me.

Anyway, money's tight around here as you know. The other day my husband gave me forty bucks and said "Everyone should have money in their pocket. Here's forty bucks for you." Well that was sweet. I was on my way to the gym so I put it in our "key" drawer and left. While at the gym, running on the treadmill, I got to thinking about what I'm going to do with the money. I thought about how I'm getting a job soon and I'll soon have a little money of my own too. I decided that I was going to hoard all my money, hide it in my closet, and save it in case I need it. This really isn't a bad plan, you see, because my life isn't always stable and our finances are very unstable. So as a woman and a mother I need the safety of a savings fund. But I also got a little greedy and decided that I wouldn't tithe either.

Well... Can you see where this is going? The next morning I go to the drawer to get my money out and it's gone. It's really really gone. My husband saw me put it in it the night before. He also thinks he saw Dimitri playing with the money at some point while I was at the gym. But alas. We can't find the money anywhere. And we've looked everywhere. So, God, I have learned my lesson. I shall tithe. Now can I have my forty bucks back?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Finding a job

I wanted to share with you the latest from my job search. As you know, I am taking a few classes at the community college this year towards becoming a nurse. I am also looking for a part time job in the evenings when my husband is home to watch the kids.

I first applied to the gym I used to work for as a personal trainer. The boss really liked me and wanted me, but corporate had to OK the re-hire. I waited and waited for a week or two with no word. I was starting to think I might not get the job. I started brainstorming other jobs I could do. I could waitress at Friendly's - it's low stress, decent money. I could work for Walmart - after all I spend all my money there anyway. What if I deliver pizza's for Dominos? Maybe I'd get a lot of tips if I put on my pretty smile. Then finally, I called the gym and got the bad news "I'm sorry, honey. They didn't approve your re-hire". Ouch. Rejected. That stings. But I feel a peace about it. God is in control. And I was starting to get excited about going somewhere else.

My friend suggested UPS. It's right near my house. So I applied. The pay is terrible ($8.50/hour), but I'm excited about the job anyway. I'll get money for college and health insurance for my family (my husband's company is cutting health insurance). So those are two very good reasons to work there. Everyone keeps telling me how horrible it is. You spend hours loading (or unloading)enormous trucks of boxes. It's exhausting, never ending, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, dirty, repetitive. The human resources guy who gave us the tour wanted us to be clear about the job. He kept emphasising how bad it was. So did my friend who worked there. I'm intrigued by their descriptions. How bad could it be? I'm excited by the challenge. I want to stick it out a full year and prove them all wrong.

So we took a tour of the facility. It was enormous. It was amazing. I've never seen anything like it. It was like the car factory in "8-mile". I've never worked in a blue collar setting before. It was just huge. There were people and boxes and conveyer belts and trucks everywhere. The boxes were going every which direction; up, down, back, forth. I was pleased to see a lot of women working there. I watched the people doing the job I would be doing. Moving boxes over and over. I asked myself if I could do that. I think I could. I'm athletic. I'm competitive. If I want to get something done I'll go gung-ho until it's complete.

I could understand the experssion "going postal". The boxes just keep coming and coming. You never get on top of them. It could drive a person mad.

The thought of getting out of the house for a four hour block of time and getting a workout during that time makes me giddy. I don't get a lot of breaks from the kids. To think that my husband would have to come home and watch them gets me excited. I smile when I think, if only these people knew, the money is just icing on the cake for me.

I thought about getting one of those hydration packs that hikers wear. You know, so I could just suck water whenever I need to. There didn't seem to be a place to put a bottle of water. In fact, if I ever moved up in the company and worked for health and safety as a nurse, I would require that all employees wear water packs.

I'm also going to drink protein shakes on my breaks. I'm going to eat really healthy. Between that and the workout I'm going to be ripped. My friend who worked there is SO ripped.

So I'm waiting for my call back from them now. And then I'll start training. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Everybody's growing up!

Two of my best friends simultaneously got engaged this weekend! (Not to each other). [Ruth Fulwider and Danielle Morin] I am so happy for them! A number of the kids I grew up with are getting engaged/married/having babies. It's very exciting. Since I became a wife and mother at 18 I was sort of ahead of the crowd. I've been waiting a LONG time to share this joy with friends. I get to be matron of honor for Ruth. :) I've never been in a wedding party and I'm SO looking forward to it. I can't wait to throw her a bachelorette party (something clean; don't worry Chester). Like I said, I was 18 when I got married. My bridesmaids didn't have a CLUE. They didn't throw any parties for me. It didn't really matter. I'm just saying, that's how young they were too.

It would have been lonely if none of my friends had kids all this time. But like everyone else, I made new friends too. Church is a great place to meet other families. And my husband's family is loaded with kids, and young parents. His sister was married and pregnant at 16! (In that order). I say it was an arranged marriage, but she claims that she "picked" him. It was somewhere in the middle of the two. Their marriage is a very good one. I think arranged marriages are awesome. I am always jokingly offering to arrange marriages between my boys and other young girls. I couldn't in this society though. And I suppose I should be very grateful that my husband bucked the pressure and picked me. I know there were lines of families waiting to arrange a marriage between him and their daughter.

My little brother married young too. Forgive me Ben, I can't remember exactly how old you were. 21? (You can add the age at the comments). I'm happy he found the love of his life young. That's how it should be. His is a romantic story, he went to the prom with his future wife.

I don't like how people are waiting longer and longer for marriage. This naturally throws off child bearing ages too, and you know how I feel about that. Is it the men who are shirking responsibility? Or is it the women too - wanting to climb the corporate ladder? I don't know. I think kids just go with the flow- it's expected of them to graduate high school, go to college, maybe a masters degree, start their career, buy a house, AND THEN get married. That puts them in mid thirtys when they tie the knot. That's awfully late. People should think through their life, rather then just letting it happen.

I've told my boys that I hope they get married young and make me lots of grandbabies. Having done it myself, I wouldn't have it any other way. Plus I've told them "No sex with anyone but your wife." I'm not naive about the hormones of teenage boys. I'd rather they marry young then screw around. Of course my eight year old loves to remind me that I had sex before marriage. (He was born six months before we got married). I just laugh and tell him that he doesn't have to make the same mistakes I did.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Acne

My best friend and I have been breaking out like crazy lately. We joke about wearing "burkes for Jesus". Ha ha. Or a veil. We're not really sure what's triggering it other than maybe the hot weather. (More sweat, oil). Anyway, it's been nice having her to commiserate with. We're both way too old for this. We've tried a lot of remedies including really serious stuff. We joke that by the time we grow out of the pimples we'll have wrinkles. (Not cool). I wish I had had someone like her to talk to about it back in high school. It's not so bad, knowing that someone else is going through it too. Back in those days I was really shy about the subject (what adolescent isn't?) Now, I don't really care. I guess that's a part of growing up. I never got help for my skin back then. Now that I'm an adult I'm really pro-active. I get prescriptions from my doctor. I also found that eating sugar triggers break outs for me. Did that stop me from eating cinni-sticks with my kids today? No. But at least I think twice about it.

So that is my post. I sympathize with all you other acne sufferers out there. And maybe you can sympathize with me. This will be my only post this week because I'm going on vacation til Sunday to a church retreat. It should be very relaxing and a chance to spend some time with my husband who works long hours usually. I'll report back first thing on Monday. :)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Breast milk for sick and premature babies

Here is an interesting article with my comments after:

A US firm is looking to commercialise breast milk by selling it to hospitals for the treatment of sick babies.

Prolacta Bioscience, a small company just outside of LA, also wants to carry out research to develop breast milk based therapies.

Breast milk, with it's minerals, digestive enzymes and antibodies, has long been credited with keeping babies healthy and boosting intelligence.

But experts say it would put pressure on mothers to sell their milk.

Until now breast milk donation in the US and UK has largely been confined to a handful of non-profit milk banks that collect milk on a local basis to provide it to premature and sick infants whose mothers struggle to breast feed.

But Prolacta is aiming to buy donated breast milk from independent milk banks and hospitals across the US, pasteurise it and sell it back to hospitals to treat low-birth weight babies.

It is also looking to supply it for babies with heart defects, who need surgery and are at risk of infection, and children who are being given chemotherapy for cancer.

And the firm wants to analyze the different components of breast milk - there are more than 100,000 although scientists only know what a few thousand do - to see if breast milk therapies can treat disease common to newborn babies.

Prolacta chief executive Elena Medo said: "To our knowledge this is the first and only facility of its kind in the world.

"Human breast milk is really an incredible therapy. Let's try to develop processes where we can preserve every bit of its nutrients and the potent antiviral and all of its diseases fighting properties."

But the Human Milk Banking Association of North America questioned the "buying and selling" of human milk.

It said introducing the profit motive might pressure women and medical institutions to provide milk to a bank regardless of the needs of their own babies.

Rosie Dodds, policy research officer at the National Childbirth Trust, said she could understand the concerns.

But added: "There is a need for more mothers to come forward to give their milk, the whole issue needs to be valued more. I can see both sides of the argument.

"However, I don't think it would work in the UK as it would prove too expensive for hospitals."



My comments: I think this is a FABULOUS idea. The two drawbacks in this article are silly. The first one, that women would feel pressure to sell their milk - Women will be given the option to sell their milk, but I'm sure the information wouldn't be presented in a pressured way. Any pressure they feel would have to be self inflicted. I don't see that as a huge problem and certainly not one that outweighs the benefits. The second drawback about the hospitals not being able to afford it, that may be true, but just because a treatment option is expensive doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it. Breast milk will certainly assist babies in getting better.

Now what are the positives?...

#1 Breast milk will become more highly valued in society. Believe it or not, there are still huge portions of the population that don't know that breast milk is better for babies than formula. (Many poor people especially). Breastfeeding rates in this country are still pathetic. By putting a dollar value on breast milk it will increase awareness for the good that breast milk does. When more people recognize breast milk as the preferable food source for babies, maybe more will do it.

#2 Sick and premature babies would have more access to breast milk, which would help them get better faster. Even if this were the only benefit, it would be enough.

#3 This may sound funny, but stay-at home mom's don't have a lot of income options. I'd love a way to make a few extra bucks without leaving my baby. Depending on what they pay, I'd jump at the chance to do it.


Finally, this last comment of mine isn't really about the pros/cons of the idea. I remember hearing stories of women whose babies were accidentally switched for a feeding or two in the hospital (one of these women were on Dr. Phil - maybe you saw it). Anyway, these women FREAKED OUT. They were so horrified. But the truth is, not too long ago, wet nurses were kept to feed the rich people's babies. Before formula was invented, the only way to sustain a baby when their mother couldn't was for another woman to breastfeed. It is not that weird of an idea. I thought these women totally over reacted. I understand there is a small possibility of disease transmission, but in today's hospitals they won't let you breastfeed if you have a disease you could give to your baby, so that's a pretty minute risk.

Maybe if this program were in place, women like that would get a chance to see that other women are PAYING for other women's breast milk.

I have my own stories of baby swapping. When my sister in law was engorged I gave her my baby to help breastfeed. Also, I've tried breastfeeding my own nieces and nephews. Ha ha. I know that sounds crazy in this society, but lighten up people. Breast feeding is so normal. And for all you squeamish people out there, you'll be happy to know that none of the babies were interested in the offers because they could smell that it wasn't their mommy. :)

Oh and since I'm on the topic, I was bra shopping yesterday for a special event. I needed a strapless. The problem was, I went in the store "empty" so I didn't quite fit the size I knew I would need. Frustrating. Can I get an amen from fellow breastfeeders?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My worst fear for world destruction realized?

What is my worst fear for world destruction? It is a pandemic flu that wipes out millions of people, similar to the flu of 1918. That flu had a death rate of about 3%. It traveled the world three times and killed 50-100 million people.

There has been a discovery of a flu virus transmitted from bird to human with a death rate of 55%. It is unusual for a flu to transmit from bird to human. Usually it goes through other animals first (pigs, horses). If this virus mutates to a more contagious form that can be transmitted from human to human, it will be unstoppable.
The question is, when it mutates to the more contagious form, how much of it's "deadliness" will it sacrifice? Will it sacrifice 100 fold? That would mean a death rate of only .5%. But that is a huge sacrifice. What if it only sacrifices 50% of it's morbity rate? Then we're talking about a death rate of 25%. Think about that. A pandemic flu raging the Earth, in the age of world travel (as opposed to the flu of 1918), and if you get the flu, you have a one in four chance of dying. (There aren't nearly enough vaccines to go around). I'm not trying to be an alarmist. The Bible says to trust in God in all things. We Christians are instructed not to worry. So my purpose in blogging this isn't to scare, only to raise awareness.

Worst case scenario, the mutation occurs, millions die, economies temporarily collapse. What's my plan? Well, first of all I'd probably go back to homeschooling right away. I assume everyone would wear face masks everywhere. And the minute this baby mutates I'm SO stocking up on beans and rice. Believe me, I've never stocked up on anything before. I don't worry about terrorism, I didn't worry about Y2K. I'm not a paranoid person. But, like I said, this is my one fear for world destruction. This is the one thing I really think could happen.

If it does, we'll deal with it. I'll still have my faith in God. I'm not "afraid", but I am watching this issue closely. If I were a policy maker I would be dealing with it more forthrightly, for instance guaranteeing the purchase of vaccines so that there wouldn't be shortages. Also, better funding for the CDC. But I'm not a policy maker.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Another sign!

Today at dinner, Dimitri signed "more". I was thrilled and just had to share with you. So baby sign language really works. He's picking up signs faster than words, obviously because the actual pronounciation is difficult at his age. I'm a proud mama.
 
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