Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Seven things you probably don't know about me

Shelly tagged me forever ago. I think I've done this one before, but if I can't remember, I certainly can't expect YOU to do so, eh, Gentle Reader?

1. I'm really quite shy. Seriously. Especially on the phone. Arranging playdates for the kids is painful. I don't like to order pizza. I've gotten used to making doctor's appointments for the kids, but it hasn't been without its moments.
Even about the miscarriage last year, I picked up the phone to call... nobody. My readers knew more than my siblings. If my brother hadn't called to ask me to donate blood for his daughter's school, he wouldn't have known. And if my sister hadn't called while I was on one of the early trips to the hospital, she probably wouldn't have known.

2. Someday I'd really like to build my own dollhouse. With shingles and electric lights and the whole nine yards. Of course, by the time I have the space to devote to such a project, my grandchildren will be playing with it. But hey, it's a dream.

3. I was in a Rocky Horror Picture Show floor show group while in high school. I was Magenta and even had the false eyelashes.

4. I am almost completely unburdened by family traditions. Growing up,we had about two: Cedar Point was our summer vacation and driving around looking at the lights on Christmas Eve. So we don't have that "whose traditional meal is served this year?" problem. No family recipes being passed down, no certain activities that must be done as a rite of passage.
Unless you count being Catholic. Then I have lots.

5. I wore a tux to my senior prom. And I had the legs for it. (Still do.) That's my mom, my date, and me in 1989.

6. I attended Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, and Hank Williams Jr. concerts all in the same summer. With different people, of course. And the most fun was at the Hank Williams Jr., where I told my company this joke: "What does Yee-Haw mean? I have a beer in both hands and can't clap!" To which he responded, "You're right!"

7. I can't watch war movies. My dad took me to see Full Metal Jacket in high school and I almost threw up in the theater. (When? At the moment the sniper spun around.) But I did see Saving Private Ryan; I just couldn't speak for about fifteen minutes afterward. Glory makes me cry every single time and it's worse now that I have sons.
So I don't watch war movies anymore.
So finally, I got these up. It was tough to come up with seven things; after all, I kind of spill my guts here pretty regularly. What are seven things you aren't going to know yet?
And since it took me so bleedin' long to get this done, the rest of you are off the hook. Unless you want to; that's what comment boxes are for.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

A bit of advice.

Never, never, never, NEVER subscribe to a magazine with your real name. If you don't know this already, they profile it and sell it. To anyone you might share an interest.

Now, frankly, I don't mind so much that the Register has sold our name. I just drop those solicitations for every Catholic charity with a postage meter in the trash can by the front door, situated expressly for that purpose.
And my Parenting mag has sold my pseudonym to the March of Dimes and St. Jude's. I like the address labels, so it's... okay, I guess.

The problem comes when one has a change of heart. See, once upon a time, I subscribed to Ms. magazine. (Really.) It was back in my heady single-woman days, when they were completely subscription-supported and advertisement-free. I liked the international aspect of the articles, the support for abused women (not abusing, be nice). This was where I first read of honor killings and acid burns or dowry deaths. Yeah, more than 10 years ago.
Anyway, they went out of print for a while, then started selling ads to come back. I couldn't take it. The pages were filled with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc. ads and it made me sick. I really wondered if one had to be pro-abortion to be pro-woman and it didn't seem so. I've since found these folks and that helps.

So I just let my subscription run out. It's been a few years now and the brochures for environmentally-aware telephone service and suchlike have dwindled.

Until tonight, when PP called me by name on the phone and wanted to share John McCain's "real record about women's health."
I was polite. I didn't even interrupt the caller. I just informed her, "You're barking up the wrong tree, and have a good night."

[This isn't the first time I've gotten such a call. A few years ago, I got one about whether prescription coverage should be required to mean BCPs since it covers that magic little blue pill et al. I imagine her head is still spinning from my reply: "Well, women choose to need artificial contraception, men don't choose to need Viagra. But yeah, since the Pill is used for more than just that..."]

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fear the Ewok!

Yub Yub!

Mothers with daughters: HELP!

Short: What happened to beaded ponytail holders? You remember, the ones with a bead on each end and the metal clip thing in the middle? Goody used to make them and I can't find them anymore. I do NOT want those rubber band ones; they're still easy to find.

Long: Madeleine's hair works best in a braid. It's long and thick and wavy, so it tangles if not maintained. She complains when I ponytail it; it pulls too tight and is uncomfortable behind her head. So, I braid her hair.
Those rubber-band things are great for my hair, but the beaded ones are much easier for me to use on hers. I don't know if I'm shopping at the wrong stores, or they got recalled or discontinued because of the beads being a choking hazard, or they've just fallen out of vogue so stores quit selling them.

Thank you!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Someone is teething.

His favorite teether is Daddy's thumb. If that's not available, anyone's will do.

So far, he hasn't mixed up "eating" and "teething." So far.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My little McLaughlin group



"No television until chores are done, Rachel."

"No more goldfish, Rachel. Daddy's on his way home with pizza."

"It's time to come in, Rachel. Stay in the house."

"We got ice cream yesterday, Rachel. We're not getting any today."


"She's coloring in my picture! Take her chalk away!"

"She's playing the game wrong!"
"Madeleine, you're playing Hot Wheels. The cars are sentient and talking. You're ALL playing the game wrong."

And I was staving off a migraine.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Continuum of motherhood

None of my kids have ever had formula. They nursed until they were old enough for whole milk, then they went to sippy cups. We're still on that trajectory, and as I went to my very first La Leche League meeting this morning, I see it continuing.

When Lou was born, the lactation consultant happened to be in the room when I said none of my kids have ever had formula. "What would you tell a new mother?" she asked. "What wisdom after three would you give?"

I've had four months to mull it. Here it is.

It's a commitment, but it's on a continuum. The baby is still completely dependent on you just like he was before birth. Women give up their own medications, quit smoking, quit drinking, et cetera when they have a bun in the oven. A mom to be can't just trot out for a night of drinking and dancing, regardless of how cute maternity clothes are nowadays. The baby goes with you to that smoky, loud bar. You can't take the baby "off" to do it, either. That baby is always with you. What you eat, the baby eats.

Breastfeeding is just a continuation of that, except now you have diapers to prove it. It's just a continuation of their dependence on you, you nourishing them.

You see, I've realized that you never stop being a mother. You never stop worrying that they're getting enough rest, or spending time with the right people. Are they getting enough attention, enough love? Are they eating enough of the right things and not too much of the wrong?
I believe in my heart that my mother still worries about that for her own and we're all north of 35. I know I still need her. Yesterday, for example, at our niece's birthday party, she served as a sentient port-a-crib for Lou while Daddy and I searched at various times for various other children.

Breastfeeding is just the next phase after pregnancy; it's not in addition to. You make the commitment before they're born to see to their welfare. It doesn't end at their birth, school age, or voting age. It plain doesn't end.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Me and melanin

I'm not sure why I put "and" in the title; the two are not combined. Really. Dear husband jokes that I sunburn if I stand too close to the microwave and he's not far off. I've burned badly enough to blister here in Michigan--forget the tropics. I laugh when I see whatever medications list "increased sensitivity to sunlight" as a side effect. You already need a stopwatch for me to show sunburn; does this mean I should just wear a burqa and be done with it?

Anyway. It seems our children have inherited my complexion. Even Rachel has a cute smattering of freckles over her cheeks and nose. It has become de rigueur to get sunblock on before going outside in the afternoon. Last summer, or maybe the year before, some had rubbed into Dale's eyes. That stuff burns worse than shampoo, Dear Reader. Tears don't rinse it out as easily, either, especially the waterproof kind.
As I was slathering "liquid shirt" on my older son Friday, he asked me, "Mom, why do black people have protection in their skin?" This question came from the page on skin from the human body book he'd had me read earlier.
"That's the way they're made, honey." I didn't get into geography or mention the fact that they can sunburn, too.
Sigh. "I wish I was black."

I'd settle for a tan, frankly.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Reasons to Homeschool

My reply: 1936.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Mom, I want a hundred brothers."

Me, sarcastically: "Join an order."

You know what? I think we found one (or rather, one found us). The booklet we got in the mail has a photo of one driving a backhoe. He still has the construction thing going, so it got his attention.

And this just appealed to the Star Wars fan we've recently cultivated. He thinks they look like Jawas. But he knows they're not.
Just wait until he sees them tossing the pigskin around. It will really be over.
Seriously, I think we've found our new coffee supplier.


This is the Faith, in two minutes.

Heather insisted that I embed this here, and she was right to do so.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring has sprung.

Ever have one of those days where you actually get most, if not all, of your chores done? And the kids avoid fighting all day and none have a tantrum? And the baby does not have a blowout in his diaper? And your husband gets home on time and later goes out to get you an ice cream sandwich and brings home two gallons of milk? And the weather complies to get everyone outside? And later the baby is willing to sleep in his crib for hours while you finish those last-minute things like blogging?

Yeah, they really happen. We had one today.

I hung my first (and second) load of clothes on the line today. The kids played outside while I did, mostly; Lou supervised me quite merrily.

We had our first Park Day for the season and there were lots of kids there! Sunny and upper 60's and breezy. Nobody got really sunburned, either. It was gorgeous and the kids all got along. I need to start getting portable snacks again, as well as the juice boxes.

When departure time came, they all cooperatively moseyed back to the minivan toting their respective parcels--Madeleine had my chair and Dale, the water bottles. I had Lou and the diaper bag, after all.
A change in the weekly menu necessitated a trip to Meijer on the way home where all three of them stayed within five feet of me or the cart. I had promised them candy, after all; they knew I meant it.

Nobody argued about watching The Princess Bride when we got home, but Rachel fell asleep during it. Afterward, though, she was quite amenable to taking a walk with Grandma. They were so good that, when Daddy got home and the ice cream truck was coming, I ran outside with $5. I took his coffee mugs and sent him off with the kids.

Lou has started going longer between feedings, freeing me up to get back into my own rhythm. I got the meat loaf made and in the oven while he entertained (was entertained by?) Grandma.

Like I said, those days happen. I wanted documentation so I can remember it.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Whose idea was this?

I'm going to link or copy this to the original post, but I wanted this to be on top for a bit.

SIX sweet potatoes?!? SIX?! And the same number of apples?! Maybe if you're feeding your entire family reunion! What in Heaven was I thinking?!

I made it with two apples and a yam and a half, and it completely filled up my 8x11 baking dish. The butter was barely enough for that! The brown sugar, on the other hand, was probably a good amount.

On the lighter side, the kids liked it. We called it dessert that night.


Monday, April 07, 2008

I don't usually do this, but...

I have to ask. It's a political or current events question. This makes no sense to me, so if anyone can explain it to me, I'd appreciate it.

There's this guy who "claims the Sept. 11 terror attacks were an “inside job,” and he blames U.S. foreign policy for spawning the terrorism that carried out the attacks."

Okay. So, 9/11 was committed by the U.S. Government, but also the U.S. government's policy inspired it by its supposed terrorist actions?

Wait. Who did it again? It was us, doing it to ourselves, but the terrorists were getting even for... but they were cheering in the Palestinian territories and bin Laden was praising it...
My head is hurting...

Thanks, Mr. Spencer.


Taco soup--yum!

I just made this one for the first time. Since he bought the groceries this week, I ended up with more meat, but that's rarely a bad thing. Especially when you drain off the fat. And I'm really liking my Fix It And Forget It, where this came from.

Taco Soup
1.5 pounds ground beef (the wrapper said 1.63, but you might want less)
3/4 c chopped onion (it might have been more--I eyeballed it)
28 oz. whole tomatoes
14 oz. kidney beans
1 pound frozen corn
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
1-2 c water
Shredded Mexican cheese
taco, corn, or nacho chips

1. Brown beef and onions in skillet. Drain.
2. Combine all ingredients except cheese and chips in slow cooker.
3. Cover; low for 4-6 hours.
4. Serve in bows topped with cheese, with chips on the side.

This is one of those recipes that you don't need to have going right after breakfast in order to have it for dinner. It was really good, really filling.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Headline submissions

Read this article, then submit in combox. "16 stone," by the way, is 200 pounds. My ideas are these.

1. A story that involves both kinds of boobs!
2. Why do they make padded C-cup bras?

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My mother...again

I've described my mother as "an intelligent person with a mind uncorrupted by higher education." Meaning, she hasn't been educated out of her common sense. When I told her about spaghetti-strap (here's another) or strapless First Communion gowns, she made a familiar face.
"I'd rather she wore a dish towel."

And you thought his Hallowe'en posts were bad. Okay, they're worse, but you get the gist.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I promised you Apple Crunch.

It's kind of like a crustless apple pie. The kids haven't liked it when I've made it in the past, but maybe they'll grow into it.

Apple Crunch
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix apples with brown sugar in greased baking dish; set aside. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together in bowl. Add egg; spread over apples. (It gets a little crumbly when you stir in the egg--you may want to use two, which is much easier to mix in.) Pour melted butter on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

This is the dish you really want to peel the apples. And I think I'm going to make this soon; someone purchased canned yams instead of fresh sweet potatoes. We'll have enough left over to make last week's potentially yummy stuff.

UPDATE 4/3/08--They've come around. Made last night, it might last long enough for Daddy to have some after work today. If I watch closely.


Movie meme?

My husband has tagged me for a meme: "five critically-lauded movies that I happen to detest."

One slight problem. I've never listened to critics of movies and can't remember ones they've liked. Come on. If I listened to critics, I wouldn't have seen Howard the Duck, Night of the Demons, Highlander II, or First Knight at the theater.
Yep, more time and money than sense in those high school years. My husband describes my movie viewing history as "omnivorous."

Five movies the critics liked that I didn't? I can probably come up with the reverse, ones I think are great that nobody's heard of. And only one will be foreign.

1. Max et Jérémie. I saw this one overseas and I'd love to have it on DVD to watch it again. Noiret plays a hit man ready to leave the business, Lambert is the protégé. I'll admit, since it was 15 years ago, I'd probably want it with subtitles. My French is a tad rusty.

2. Real Genius. I know, my beloved, it's the free-spirits-versus-squares. Sort of. Youthful creativity overcoming old age corruption? At least it doesn't involve idealization of any ethnic groups.

3. Galaxy Quest. I've said I'm not a geek, but I speak it? Yeah. I have lived with these people.

4. Legend. Another I saw in the theater. It's pretty predictable, but to a 13-year-old girl, this was AWESOME. Remember the character in Dodgeball? "I like... unicorns." I could so identify there. Seriously. I wanted to BE Mia Sara, and I didn't even like Tom Cruise.

5. Some Kind of Wonderful. I think it's the least known of the John Hughes oeuvre, partly because it doesn't include Molly Ringwald. It offers hope to the poor, geeky girls. It reminds a girl she's better off alone than with an irredeemable jerk. And first kisses really can mean something.

Since I twisted it, I'm not tagging anyone. But at least I responded.

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When Interests Collide

Boy Child: "Mom, wouldn't it be great if there was a movie with the Muppets and Star Wars?"
Mother: "There is. It's called Spaceballs."
Him, incredulous: "Really? Can we get it?"

Anyone? I saw this back in the theater and not since. Is it appropriate for a five-year-old?

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