Thursday, July 28, 2016

When you're having baby number 10

I am no stranger to people acting shocked, outraged, or just unsure how to feel when I tell them the size of my family. They often ask questions or make some sort of rude comments they think are so witty. I mean come on, don't you own a TV? What does that have to do with having a baby? Do people really think we don't own a TV so we just have sex twenty four seven? I love having a large family that's why we have so many kids. I also love having four TV's in the house. These comments and questions started right around when I had number six and have just progressively grown more and more common and people have become more and more open about saying things. So here are ten things that happen when you're having number ten in list of least to most common.

1. People asking what church we go to because after all we must be holy rollers to have so many. 

We do attend church. I love my faith, but my faith does not dictate how many children I have, I do. I totally believe birth control is a great thing for those who want to limit the number of children they have. I do not think it's a sin or evil. Large families are not for everyone. 

2. People walk up to us and say, I wish I'd had more children. 

I really never know how to answer people who say this. I take it as a compliment. I always wonder though why they didn't. Some elaborate and say I wanted a lot of kids, but I couldn't have any. Those always break my heart. I'm sure some just stuck with the norm of 2.5 because that's just what's done. Having older children (17 and 18) I often wonder what my life would be like if I had stopped with them. Sure, I'd have a ton of freedom, but my house would also be so empty!

3. People I don't know recognize me.

I was signing my daughter up for Pre-k in a room with another mom. The woman do the paperwork asked me how many children and when I said ten the other mom was like oh you're Stephanie! I was just talking about you the other day with so and so.... ummmmm okay... I know you how? Apparently we must be the talk of the town! 

4. You never have to show ID at the school. 

There isn't a person at any of the schools who don't know who we are. We have upwards of four kids in any grade level at any time. The teachers, principles, even janitors know who we are. They know all about our kids and always seem to want to stop and chat. When I walk into one of the kids schools I feel like I am walking into Cheers!

5. Everyone who knows and loves us want to know when we will have the next one. 

I always want to say hey, let's get this pregnancy over with first. 

6. Are you done yet?

This is something I get from everyone from family to strangers and my answer is always the same. 
I have been done since number 5! I don't know how this keeps happening! 

7. They just must fall out when you sneeze. 

It's this question that makes me want to break out a chart and explain the birthing process to people who don't quite get it. Things still have to go through what they go through every time. If it was only that simple!

8. So how much do you get in food stamps?

REALLY!!!!!! Just REALLY!!!! 

9. I'll give you mine, you won't even notice another. 

Yeah..... first dude, you're trying to give your kid away. Also yes, I would notice, my kids are trained a certain way. They all look alike too!!

10. Are you getting fixed after this one?

Clearly I'm not broken, but your manners are ;)

To be completely honest though I do sometimes enjoy that look of shock when someone hears how many kids we have. Their mouths often gap open as they search for the right words (Even if more often than not they find the wrong ones). Overall most people are really cool about things or at least pretend to be. In the end though my family makes me happy and I could care less how nayone else feels about it as it's not their issue. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let me tell ya'all about my best friend (giveaway)

My daughter's always taking about her ride or die friend. I'm like what's a ride or die? I know my age was showing. Apparently it's the same as what I called my best friend aka my BFF. At my daughter's age my BFF's changed a lot as do hers. Friends come and go with the seasons, but sometimes a few of them stick around over the years and now for me, decades! I never thought the day would come I was have an s at the end of decade when talking about friendships.

My ride or die I met in Junior high. We were both a little awkward and odd. She was my partner in crime and the one who would have my back no matter what. To this day I know she still has my back. I say someone made me mad she will be the first to be like okay where you want me to hide the body. It's just the way we roll. She is my BFF.

We have never strayed far from each other in life. She stood by me as I had children and tried to put claim on a few of them. She was just blessed with her first baby girl after two boys and I cried for her. She has always been and will remain my sister from another mister. Speaking of sisters, her parents had accepted me as one of their own. I loved them with all my heart and mourned for weeks when they passed on. At me grandparents funeral she was one of the few people who I remember coming in and just hugging me. We know each other, she's my best friend after all.

She knows things about me that I will kill her if she ever tells my kids. She knows things even my husband never will. I think she knows things about me I don't even know, The funny thing is our paths led us in two different directions. I became Suzie homemaker, while she kept her free spirit. I am a born again Christian she's Wiccan. We have more differences than similarities, but I love her! She is my dearest friend!

When I think of famous movie BFF's I think of Thelma and Louise. I actually wonder if that's where the term Ride or die comes from. I mean we all know what happened there! I have been very blessed to have had my girl by my side for these DECADES! I look forward to racing the nursing home halls in our wheel chairs together. I love ya Belynda!

Now for the contest. I want to know about your BFF, your ride or die, your best friend! The winner will receive Thelma and Louise bracelets pictured below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This prize is a review item I received.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mosquito & Fly Repellent Incense

I was excited to get the chance to try these. I use natural products whenever I can for whatever I can. It's so much safer for my children and pets. There are quite a few of these sticks in this set so I can use them on more than one occasion. I use essential oils daily so I am thrilled that's what is used in the making of these. These oils include citronella and thyme, both which are know to repel and kill bugs.

The sticks come ready to use. I just stick them in the ground and light them. It's that simple. They let off a stream of scented smoke that forms an almost barrier around an area. They burn for a long time, providing long lasting protection. These will be great for using along the woods line at our fourth of July party.

I really love the concept of this product and I know these will become a must have for all our outdoor parties. They are simple to use and work. Those are the most important things! These would be great for picnics, camping, the beach. Anywhere there are bugs these should be!

Overall a great product.

I recommend this to anyone who has outdoor parties.

In received this to review. My opinions are my own.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cupids Arrow ~ Valentine's Day Natural Scented Soy

It's no secret that I am a candle junkie. I am that person who will spend an hour on the candle aisle at Walmart smelling each one. I am not ashamed! I was excited to get a chance to try out this beautiful Valentine's candle. It was listed as smelling like cinnamon, which is one of my favorites. 

The candle came wrapped securely so there wasn't so much as a smudge on it when it came. That's great because the label is so adorable. I love the cute little cherub taking aim. The candle was actually much bigger than the picture on amazon made it look. So that was a huge plus. 

This candle has been burning daily for three days in my house and it's only about half gone. It's listed as lasting 72 hours, but I feel it may last a bit longer than that even. The candles aroma fills my dining room even before it's lit. As soon as I took of the lid my senses were assaulted with the beautiful scent from this. It does smell exactly like cinnamon candy. 

Everything about this candle screams fun and Valentine's. It would be a perfect gift for a friend or a lover. I know I love getting candles from my husband! 

Here are a couple other great facts:
This is made in America. That's a huge plus for me. 
This is soy so it burns clean with no chemicals. I love that since I have kids and pets in the house. 

Overall an excellent product that is well designed and lasts a long time. 

I recommend this as a gift for Valentine's day. 

I received this to review. My opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

All cats go to heaven

In June of 2013 we welcomed a new baby into our home. Sure we thought he was a she and his original name was Ruby, but none the less we loved him. He was so tiny and young when we got him that his ears were too big for his head and that was why we had issues knowing she was actually a he. The kitten was part manx so he had almost no tail. This was by fat the oddest looking kitten I'd ever saw. I knew then and there he was going to fit in with our family just fine.

In the end when we discovered she was actually a he his name went from Ruby to Figaro. I always called him my handsome boy though, the rest of the world came to know his as Figgy, the odd little tailless cat. I can't tell you how many times we were asked what happened to our cats tail. Our son used to think it great fun to tell people he'd eaten the cats tail.
                                                                                                                                                          Figgy was a terrible kitten. He thought nothing was greater than terrorizing my older female cats. He
used to get into my back hall as well and attack anyone who tried to bring him back I'm not sure they ever gained any love for him at all. He was that kitten that could and would climb anything. The curtains, furniture, and even our legs. He was so funny when he'd get up on our screen door and just hang there. We'd hearing him meowing and have to go pull him off after he'd get stuck, He ripped holes in ever screen of our house to try and get out. It was the thing that eventually led us to allow him to be an indoor outdoor cat. Yep, he was a terrible cat and I loved him with all my being.

As he grew older we came to learn that all that disdestructionemmed from the fact Figgy was in fact a killer. This discovery was made at 3AM one morning when we heard a ruckus outside. My husband went out to the yard to find Figgy had a bunny pinned to the grund. Dave swears to this day the cat looked at him and in his eyes said it's you or the bunny someones going to die here tonight I suggest you walk away. Me I attempted to save the rabbit which must have looked funny with me in my jammies chasing the cat who was chasing the rabbit and Dave looking on laughing at all of us. We soon learned rabbit was his favorite thing to kill followed closely by moles.

As Figgy grew he became a sweet, loving cat. There wasn't a neighbor who didn't know him. He never was fond of a whole lot of adults, but when the neighborhood kids were out he was right there with them. He would follow us where ever we walked and sat as the kids colored with chalk on the sidewalk. He sat keeping watch when their bus was coming and he saw them off every morning. If he wasn't outside he was in the window making sure his babies were okay. That was my boy! Protecting the house and the family.

He was such a beautiful boy. I'd open the door at night and yell come on Figgy. Where's mama's handsome boy and you'd see him come running down the street for home. We had to bar him from being outside all night after an unfortunate run in he had with a skunk. That was the day I learned when giving a cat a deskunking bath wear gloves!

Just before Christmas Figgy wasn't acting right. He didn't go outside for over 24 hours. That wasn't at all like him. I was up getting the kids ready for school and Figgy threw up. No big deal cats do that. I was on the phone with my friend later that morning and he threw up again. This time after he hunched up like he was going to go to the bathroom on the floor. I yelled no Figgy and grabbed him. My beautiful baby boy collapsed in my arms and let out this scream that scared me. He never got up again. He just howled in pain. I rushed him to the vet and found out he was a very sick cat. He had a blockage and he couldn't pee. Everything had been backing up. Figgy was going to have to be put down.

I lost it. This was my baby, my friend. This was the protector of our children and home. He really was the king of the neighborhood, even if he was a little odd looking without that tail. The vet gave him some pain medicine so I could hold him pain free for a while. I told him how sorry I was, how much I loved him, and called him my handsome boy. I just sat there for twenty minutes that seemed like just five, petting my little buddy. What was I going to tell the kids? Even the vet cried as she put the shot into his little leg and he took his last breath in my arms. I'm not sure the exact moment he died as I just keep petting him and talking to him.

They asked me if I wanted his ashes and I asked them why I couldn't take him home? They said I could if I wanted. My husband said he was so glad I did. I'd promised Figgy when we left for the vet I was bringing him home and I kept that promise. My step dad dug his grave and we found a perfect stone to use as a gravestone. We plan to attach his paw print come spring. For now though I can look out my kitchen window, through the hole he ripped in the screen and see his grave. In the corner sun spot he loved so much.

So I have heard it asked do animals go to Heaven. The day Figgy passed I knew that answer. YES YES YES! How could they not? They love us, they care, the feel, they have a soul. Their bodies like ours are just vessels for that soul. I know now that Figgy is waiting for me. Another thing I'm sure of now... there's no mice left in Heaven, or rabbit, or moles, or leaves........

Friday, January 22, 2016

My daughter has ODD and that's okay.

We are all different people with different quirks, different personalities, and we all behave different. Some of us are boringly sane while others are what society calls crazy. I always thought of the homeless man walking down the street yelling at himself as mentally ill. Never would I have
imagined that mentally ill could come packaged as a beautiful six year old girl. I mean kids are just naturally sweet and playful, right? I learned really quick that mental illness takes all shapes and forms and this is my first time writing about it. I have a daughter with a mental illness. In fact I have two of them! It's been nearly seven years since I first heard the term ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and now I have a second child with it. You know what though? That's okay. Let me tell you what I see compared to what others see. Before I do that though I want to share with you the symptoms of ODD for anyone who may be dealing with similar situations.

WebMD lists:
Symptoms of ODD may include:
  • Throwing repeated temper tantrums
  • Excessively arguing with adults
  • Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
  • Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
  • Blaming others for your mistakes
  • Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Being spiteful and seeking revenge
  • Swearing or using obscene language
  • Saying mean and hateful things when upset
In addition, many children with ODD are moody, easily frustrated, and have a low self-esteem. They also sometimes may abuse drugs and alcohol.

My daughter has almost every symptom listed above. The temper tantrums are more like hours long bouts of her screaming in a way that sounds like an infant in a megaphone. Nothing calms her we have to just let her scream until she can't scream any longer. People who have seen this have been shocked. They think she's being bad. I know she's just so full of anxiety that she's overwhelmed and can't express it any other way. I'm just thankful she's not lashing out at anybody. When my older daughter was about six or seven she would hit, kick, spit, and scream at me. Devony will be violent sometimes, but for the most part she uses her sounds and voice to get the shock value she craves.

My girls are such masters at arguing they can sometimes stump me. That's when I do they because I said so response. That doesn't work with a child with ODD. I really believe they both have golden futures as lawyers. Leanna (My older daughter) will ask for a dollar when you agree she tries for two, then three, etc etc. Okay, so she'd make a good car saleswomen too. Devony at six is just learning her negotiating skills. They usually involve tantrums (see above paragraph).

I don't know if the reason they would be so mean to people was because they themselves were hurting. I know my six year old has separation anxiety from me. Oddly we've never been away from each other for even one night. Up until within the last two years I was sure my older daughter hated me. They are so different yet they are the same. The outcast kids, the kids everyone thinks are trouble, the kids no one wnats to play with. Then it hit me THEY ARE JUST LIKE I WAS! I admit I wasn't as mean or abusive as them, but I sure did have a massive case of ADHD! So I could only image what adding on the ODD part must be like. How sad they must be and the feeling of being left out. It hurts me to know deep down they are hurting and there's nothing I can do about it. That is the most helpless feeling I have ever had as a parent.

Society sees the child who just called her mother a bitch. I see the child who hasn't left my side since the day she was born. The child who suffers with a kidney conditions that cause terrible infections and painful testing. I see a child who can't sleep at someones house because she can't stay dry through the night. I see the child that still refers to me as her best friend. I see a teenager with dreams and aspirations. A young girl who struggles to fit in somewhere, anywhere.

We made the choice to medicate our younger daughter for her ADHD as she is in first grade and still doesn't know all her letters and numbers. She was in trouble everyday, or as she would say I was on red again. She is now just a shell of who she was before the meds, but she's functioning the way society feels she needs to. She goes to therapy every two weeks to learn how to conform. I pray she becomes like her older sister and with time, consequences, therapy, and love will improve without the medication.

If any of this sounds familiar to you because your child shows symptoms get help as soon as possible. Without it these kids are high risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Many become criminals. I know I talk a lot about society and how these kids are seen, but there are some issues that need resolved. Know you're not alone. I think that was the hardest feeling for me when Leanna was young. I just felt like a failure as a parent. Now I have a huge support system of other mothers with children like mine. Children who are hell to wake up and sometimes make it very hard to get close to. Mothers with bruises on their skin and hearts.

In the end an adult was once a child who was fought for or forgotten. I will fight because where society sees a mentally ill person. I see unlimited potential! I see a child with the whole world in her hands.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to survive raising teen girls!

I never thought this would happen. My girls were my buddies, we did everything together and they told me everything. Then the teens years came. My sweet little princesses lost their damn minds! It was like pod people had replaced the kind, loving, sweet girls with these mean, door slamming, screeching shadows of what they once were. Now I had to find a way for us all to live together and survive. Now if having one teen daughter wasn't enough I have two with one more inching her way toward the horrific thirteens. I had to find a way to get through. So here is a list of my coping mechanisms... I mean tips to survival.

1. When they start yelling I just walk away gracefully. I hold my head high walk into the living room, sit down at the computer and post about how they ate poop as babies! Cruel, yes, but very effective on making me feel better.

2. When they ask for money this is the best time to get work out of them. They ask for five bucks I ask for a clean toilet. I always get the clean toilet!

3. Hide any food you plan on eating for yourself. Teens have no shame. I once caught my daughters friend taking hobo shots out of my Pepsi! You know who you are!

4. Get to know their friends. Talk to them, learn everything you can. Most of all love their friends. This will make a huge difference if your child is ever in trouble, but also helps the other teens as well.

5. This is by far the most important of all the rules. LOVE THEM. Love them despite the fact that sometimes you'd like to smack the teen right out of them. Love them even when they think you are the most annoying person ever. Remember that in a few years they won't be home anymore and your going to miss the slamming doors and the stomping feet. Best of all one day in the future they will have a teen and that by far is the best justice of all.