Thoughtful Thursday: Vaccines
Thursday, May 31, 2007
We do not, in general, vaccinate our children anymore. My first (the one with all the neuro problems) was fully vaccinated. My second was mostly vaccinated, including the chicken pox shot. When I only had two boys at home, I worked at a crisis pregnancy center. The director happened to be chatting with us during a slow time, and it came out that she lost her first child to a vaccine related injury. She had an extremely difficult time opting out of giving her other children vaccines, as she was a military wife. She advised me not to vaccinate our children, and I wrote her off - maybe she had problems, but me, and my perfect children, shall do everything the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends and so we shall have a long and fruitful life.

Or not.

My third child, we had no insurance. We went to the local public health clinic where I was treated like such trash by the nurse, that I vowed never to go back there. She actually yelled at me, in front of my children, for telling them ahead of time that they were going to get "a pokey". Apparently, she preferred that I tell them they were going to get candy while she ambushed them with the needle.

In our family, however, we value honesty and I feel it is entirely appropriate for ME, the mother, to decide what and how much to tell MY children what is going on. And I didn't appreciate the three different advice sessions on birth control, including a quick aside that she could give me a Depoprovera shot and my husband would never know (since obviously, he is abusively keeping me barefoot and pregnant). I didn't appreciate her interfering with my marriage relationship or mother-child relationship.

But, again, I digress. This is not about personal dislikes. It is about why we don't vaccinate our children, which is for reasons not quite so petty.

With my fourth child, I was graced by God to find a wonderful family practice doctor. He went to my church. He was an instructor for the Couple to Couple league, and adamantly pro-life. He would deliver my baby, take care of the newborn, and give my husband a physical. I knew his wife and family, who were homeschoolers too. And, he didn't vaccinate his children either (he didn't tell me this, his wife did.) Hmmm... an excellent doctor, been through medical school, with eyes fully open... doesn't vaccinate his own kids. Food for thought.

Further investigation has convinced me not to give certain vaccinations, including the Hepatitis B vaccine to newborns less than a day old, to any of my children. Many are made from diploid cell lines created from tissues of aborted humans. The chicken pox vaccine may or may not be effective, as I found out when my daughter got chicken pox and the doctor insisted I bring my vaccinated son in as well, since the vaccine doesn't always prevent the disease! I had always considered it more or less a personal choice for our family, however, until 2005.

To put it quite bluntly, the benefit does not justify the risk in my opinion. Even avoiding the sticky ethical situation of aborted fetal cells (a separate post by itself!), there really haven't been long term studies about the use of human based tissue being injected into other humans. Remember how embryonic stem cells are touted as better than mouse cells, due to concerns about cross species contamination? (Or am I the only nerd who follows that nitty gritty detail of the stem cell debate?) Well, IMO, the chance of interspecies contamination is greater.

Let's take a look at a couple of vaccines with a quickie statistical guide - I'll link to the Vaccine Information Sheet (you know, the one the doctor gives you before he shoots you up).

- Diptheria, Tetanus (lockjaw), and Pertussis (whooping cough).
First, DTaP is only for children under age 7. Over that age, and you don't get the whooping cough vaccine any more. The sheet doesn't say why.

Risk of vaccine:
1 in 30 children will have their entire arm or leg swell, for up to a week (usually after the 4th or 5th dose). (3.3%)

1 in 14,000 will have a seizure.

1 in 16,000 will have a fever over 105 degrees.

Risk of not being vaccinated:

Hepatitis B vaccine:
Risks of vaccine (given to newborns at birth)
Warnings include, "People allergic to baker's yeast should not get vaccine" - but how would you know if your baby is allergic if he's less than a day old?

It causes a fever in 1 out of 14 children - not usually a big deal, but could be life threatening to a newborn.

Hep B is transmitted by body fluids - usually from needle sticks, drug use, or sexual activity. The risks of contracting it for a young child is quite small.

Risk from not being vaccinated:
(assuming the mother giving birth is not infected)
1.25 million people have Hep B. Assuming a US population (which is an old number, I think, but it's what I have to work with) that translates to .5% - one half of one percent of the population.

Then, when I was pregnant with baby #6. I had taken one of our other kids in for their checkup. The doctor sent the nurse in with shots without obtaining my consent or speaking to me about them at all. He just assumed, I guess. I told the nurse "No" and of course, Dr. came right back in to see me. I told him some specific concerns about vaccines in general, and the MRC-5 cell line in particular. He said he had never heard that objection before. Nonetheless, I said, we will not be getting any shots today. I asked him to write down the specific vaccines and the manufacturers. I mentioned offhand that I was Catholic and the Vatican had recently issued guidelines regarding the moral and ethic concerns of American vaccinations. The Dr. claimed Catholicism too - and said he had never heard of the Vatican statement. He seemed to imply that I was making it all up.

How a Catholic pediatrician could be ignorant of this document that hit the news with a bang and captured the imaginations of every conspiracy theorist pundit is beyond me. The doctor did mention that the vaccines were safe, citing statistics from the Vaccine Safety and Adverse Events Reports and CDC data.

Fast forward about two weeks. I'm at my OB appointment, and am offered a free flu shot. Now, we've all heard about how important flu shots are in general, and this year I was pregnant, working two jobs, and could not afford to get sick. Free is a good price for me, and I eagerly agreed, wanting to do the best thing for my baby. Appointment over, a quick stop from a nurse on my way out, and I was set.

I didn't even make it into the parking lot before I was sick. I was dizzy, shaky, and suddenly had a migraine. I felt nauseated. There was pink bullseye at the injection site - unusual for me.
I headed back into the clinic, where the midwife told me I must be coming down with something. I insisted on seeing the doctor. An OB came in, looked me in the eye (I couldn't stand at this point) and told me flatly that there was no way that it was related to the flu shot. There was no report of side effects or vaccine related injury made to the CDC. There was no treatment offered to me. I was told to come back if I got a rash (red, swollen hot tissue not withstanding). I ended up calling my husband to come get me and threw up all night - even though I had seen the doctor that very day and gotten a clean bill of health! I was FINE until the injection; within minutes I could hardly stand and was unable to drive. But there was obviously no connection, right? Just a fluke.

I'm not saying ALL vaccines are evil. I'm saying that, as a parent, I have the right and duty to decide what is, and is not an acceptable treatment for my child. I do not derive this authority from the STATE. It is not a privilege handed to good citizens. It is a God-given right.

We moved to SC one week before school started. I scrambled to enroll the children. In Colorado, if you object to vaccines, you simply fill in a form and sign at the bottom.

Not so in South Carolina. The school secretary, apparently never encountering this scenario, did not know what to do. So she sent me to the health department.

I arrive at the health department with 5 free-range children and a 7 month old in a stroller. There is no ramp or handicap access, so I haul the stroller up an uneven brick staircase. There are no signs, although there is a WIC nursing room. I wander for a bit, and find the information desk. They have no idea how to help me and send me back to the school. I insist on talking to someone, and am informed that everyone's at lunch until 1:30; we'll have to wait. Oh, no, I cannot make an appointment, it is first come, first serve. It is also 11:55.

We head to the waiting area, which contains three pop machines and two chairs, and about 10 people. (What happened to HEALTH department? Are THREE pop machines really necessary?) The waiting area is not a room, but rather a wall in the main hallway.


After an almost two hour wait, which I would not have put up with if I did not have to have my papers in order by the next day, we see someone. Who sends us to another department. Who leaves to find a nurse. Who comes out with the shots all ready to go.

Um. No. I need the form to fill out to object to the vaccines. After giving me the third degree, I am told I am not allowed to opt out of vaccinating my children until I've taken a class. By this time the kids are wild - she offers to give me the class right then and there. Hallelujah!
So, I sit through half an hour of propaganda and come away with this handy tip: if there ever is an outbreak of measles or something, I can get the kids vaccinated at that time for free. Now, at that point, the benefit may outweigh the risk and seems a viable alternative to me. I'm not dooming my children to a lifetime of polio risk; they can always get the vaccine later if they truly need it.

Great! Ok, I'm ready for my form now!

Not so fast.

I must take the form, fill it out with my children's full names and social security numbers, and then get the document notarized. I cannot just go to any notary public, though. I must go to the one who is employed by the school district. She's the only one who can notarize these forms.

Another stop at the education administration building. The elevator is out of order. Another trip upstairs with 5 children and a stroller.

Finally! I'm all set!

The next day, child protective services arrives to "check on us". The health department reported that I dropped the baby (even though she was in the stroller). My moving truck has not arrived, so I entertain them in an empty house. Yes, I say, we have beds. They'll be here Saturday. Yes, we have food (no pots, but we do have food). No, we don't need to sign up for Medicaid so we can get free shots.

3 months later, a WIC employee knocks on my door to offer me WIC services. Yes, they actually come to my house! I decline.

But I know I'm on a List. A list that will bar my children from their free and appropriate education if there is a measles outbreak or a kid gets whooping cough. A list that flags my house as the home of a weird, crunchy, granola nonconformist mommy.

The state of SC is graciously, for now, allowing me to decline injecting my children with human fetal cells, aluminum, and dead viruses. How benevolent of them!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/31/2007 09:52:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Real Estate Ads
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The First Spin Doctors Must Have Been Real Estate Agents.

Still haven't found a home. Still looking.

I've found that looking at my newspaper's ads online is much more user friendly than getting out the hard copy. No more black fingers. No more cats sitting on the listings. It has a great search filter, and updates daily so I'm not calling on houses that have been rented already.

Craigslist has proved to be a great resource as well - full of ads from people who couldn't be bothered with a real ad. I'm still looking for moving boxes over there in the Free category, they pop up pretty regularly.

I'm also able to check the classifieds for three different small town local papers, which update on Wednesday. I'm getting quite OCD about checking all these sites every day! Sometimes in the morning AND the evening!

The World Wide Web is Working for Me!

However, this recent foray into the real estate market has made me aware of the secret lingo landlords and agents possess, trying to pull the wool over innocent, newpaper-ad reading desperate potential clients, in a 1984 style Doublethink and Newspeak.

Handy Advertisement Translation:

Cute = small
Cottage = small
Cozy = really small
Country Living = Road not paved
Peaceful getaway = Road not paved, better own a 4x4 because not even the mailman ventures here.
Bonus room = You can no longer park your car in the garage, it's been carpeted.
Handyman's dream = Home Depot will own your firstborn if you purchase this house.
Gardener's delight = weeds
Country = paneled. And perhaps, small, if it is a country cottage.
As is = Get an inspection before any money changes hands. Then renegotiate.
Manufactured home = trailer
Pre-owned = trailer
Gently used = trailer (Yes, this was in a MLS description, and modified the noun "home"!)
Bricked in = trailer
Washer and Dryer will convey = They are Harvest Gold and older than you are
Starter home = We're back to small again!

My favorite ad so far? The one that breathlessly exclaimed, "Next to Swamp Sanctuary!" - that's right folks, apparently in South Carolina, living next door to Mr. and Mrs. Gator in Mosquito Central is a selling point!

**** UPDATED TO ADD ****
Some agents are a little too honest. I came across this description today:
"You won't be embarrassed to live here".

Now if that's not a stunning, compelling reason to buy, I don't know what is!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/30/2007 09:35:00 AM | Permalink | |
Two weeks after Mother's Day
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I found this wonderful tribute to homeschooling mothers. I got the link from Marigold at Just Me, who I know IRL at my old church.

The Beatrice Brigade - Homeschool mothers

BTW, Marigold really likes the Grocery Game, but I'm not sure it will work for me in a small town that doesn't have any stores who double coupons. What say you? Anyone tried it, loved it, hated it?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/29/2007 06:26:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, May 25, 2007

I've spent most of my online time this last week looking for a new place to live. I've scoured the newspapers (big city and three locals), Craigslist, realtor's websites, and anywhere else Google declares listings to be.

I've spent the last week having people laugh at me. Although it's not to my face, since I'm on the phone, it's still pretty rude. How can you respond to "Are you crazy?" in a polite way? My usual responses, whether acid sarcasm or gentle rebuke, remain unsaid, since, after all, I'm trying to get these people to let us live in their house. Mostly I just wait it out in silence, and then get back to the business at hand - how much deposit, how long a lease, etc.

I've already set the search parameters for more than twice our current rent with no luck. All I get is richer people laughing harder - like they'd rent out their nice executive home to a family with lots of small children!

Sometimes I leave messages, then wait for a call back. I dodge and weave to get to the phone before the voicemail picks up, then desperately try to shake off the small child begging for a drink of milk while covering the mouthpiece. I want the property manager at the other end of the line to think I have the quietest, most perfect children, or at least to not be reminded that children are, well, childish. Then after waiting out the laughter, the disbelief, and the inevitable "this house isn't for you", I hang up and find a drink for all three littlies. And I curse inside at the fridge with the door that only opens halfway due to incredibly poor kitchen planning. And I grumble about the cabinet that won't close all the way and accidentally set my notes in the inevitable pool of water on the countertop from the leaky sink. And then feel guilty for grumbling, because at least it's a place to live, even if I have to jerry-rig a duct tape contraption in order to get the bathtub to drain. And then the phone rings again.

Stop the ride. I'm ready to get off this roller coaster.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/25/2007 06:37:00 AM | Permalink | |
Critical PT Skill Acquired!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yes, we went to Target in our panties and Miss V went in the family bathroom all by herself. Soon we may throw caution to the wind and go for overnight!

Can't wait until I have only two in diapers!

I think I'm even happier than the little guy in the picture!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/23/2007 04:49:00 PM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Trusting God

It's time for Works for Me Wednesday again, and I thought I'd share something that definitely works for me: trusting in God's providence.

I was thinking about this recently as I answered some questions for Jennifer at Et Tu?, who is doing an interview series with "mega moms". It's hard for me to think of myself as someone qualified to give advice though - I think I'd be on the receiving end of a Titus 2 club, not the giving!

However, her question, and my answer, about having so many children close together really brought home the fact that we rely on God's providence - that He will provide what we need. This is not to say that He will provide brand new Reeboks and an iPod. But He will provide for our every need, and when we are generous with Him, He will be generous with us.

I really am amazed sometimes! A man my husband works with just lost everything in a kitchen fire. He's got three little girls, who wear the same clothing size as our little girls. We have so much abundance in people giving us their hand -me-downs, that I have two trashbags full of clothes to give them, and that's after going through and taking out clothes for our girls! I have another bag I need to take to Goodwill, full of boy clothes for a 7 year old. We have so many clothes given to us we can't possibly keep them all! Because we happen to be moving, I also gave them some dishes that I realized had been packed and unused for the last 9 months, and some towels and linens - things I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't been trying to pack up the house. His timing is perfect!

My husband also has very often experiences pay raises or promotions when new babies arrive. With Baby X, he was home on disability with pay (but well enough to do most things) and was able to pick up a lot of the slack - a lifesaver since we don't have a lot of family close by and Baby X got sick his first week home.

We are currently in a pickle, looking for a new place to live. What should turn up this week? $1000, from three different sources and totally unexpected. God does take care of us if you let Him!

Fully Rely On God - Works for Me! Visit Shannon for more tips!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/23/2007 08:35:00 AM | Permalink | |
All Things Are Possible
Monday, May 21, 2007
With God, all things are possible. He really delights in His creation!

This is a real picture - check out the article at National Geographic.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/21/2007 10:50:00 AM | Permalink | |
Barbecue Sauce
With everything else going on, plus the doctors orders for me to avoid caffeine because of Baby X (ah, the joys of nursing...) I thought I'd post about what I did last week.

I made Barbecue Sauce! It sounds intimidating, but it was ridiculously easy.

Long time readers of my blog know that Mr. R is on a special diet - no artificial colors, preservatives, BHA/BHT/TBHQ, MSG, or artificial sweeteners. And so, making things like barbecue chicken legs, becomes quite a challenge! It is getting almost impossible to find anything that does not contain either Red #40 or Yellow #5 (despite the fact they are banned in Europe).

I used Hillbilly Housewife's recipe as an inspiration (I often am "inspired" by recipes, then make my own half-baked version with mixed results).

I think I'm gonna keep this one - my husband dear has a very good friend in Texas whose grandfather's BBQ sauce was so legendary that the town still talks about it. When he would make the sauce, word flew through the grapevine and people would start showing up at his door with jars and bottles. Now I know why- even my first attempt blows Kraft Hickory Flavor away!

My recipe:
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
1/8 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. worcestshire sauce
2 big squirts of Brown mustard
Onion powder
Garlic powder
3-4 drops liquid smoke
dash of salt

Mix everything in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes.

That's it!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/21/2007 08:05:00 AM | Permalink | |
Baby X is Home
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Well, every test came back normal, and his blood pressure went down. We're back home but have to return to the pediatric nephrologist (kidneys) in 10 days, and take him to his regular doc in the meantime this week for a blood pressure check.

It's frustrating because they don't know what caused it, why it went away, and I can't check it at home - there are really no signs or symptoms to high blood pressure and you have to have a special cuff for infants.

We're home again!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/20/2007 01:28:00 PM | Permalink | |
My Baby is Sick
Friday, May 18, 2007
Baby X is in the hospital tonight. We had to drive him to Columbia today, because the pediatric cardiologist wanted to see him right away. They listened to him and gave him an echo cardiogram, and everything is fine (YAY!).

Then they took his blood pressure, which was crazy high (133-140 systolic, over 100 is too high for a 6 week old baby). The nurse, and then the dr., took it 6 times and then sent us over to the nephrologist (kidney dr.). He took it and got 128, and admitted Baby X to the hospital. The docs over here say that the two main causes of high blood pressure in a baby are kidneys and heart - and we've already gotten the heart cleared so they are looking at kidneys now.

Had some tests, and Baby X has low sodium and now his blood pressure is too low (59). Had a renal ultrasound and doppler to measure blood flow to the kidneys too, haven't heard about those yet.

They aren't sure what is going on yet, but I am here at the hospital at least until tomorrow and husband dear had to leave us and head back home.

We were planning to fix the car (it died on Monday, so husband dear has been taking the Catholic Sports Car aka Minivan to work, leaving me carless), pack, look for a new place and mow the yard this weekend... now our plans are to wait, wait, and wait some more.

That's all for now, but I'll be updating as I can (looonnnnggg stretches of nothing to do here in this room, so maybe it will be frequent! Who knows!)

The children's floor of the hospital is a sad place, but everyone is very friendly!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/18/2007 08:05:00 PM | Permalink | |
He is Ascended!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Don't forget to go visit Our Lord today!

It's a Holy Day of Obligation!

Art by Garofalo, 1520


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/17/2007 10:59:00 AM | Permalink | |
Overheard at Our House
This warmed my heart....
"Whee! Mommy, I'm a dancing princess! Whee!" - Miss V, age 3, twirling in her pleated skirt
This set me on fire...
[KerTHUNK plink, KerTHUNK plink KerTHUNK plink ]

"Hey Mom, no matter how many times I throw this glass, it won't break!"
- Mr. P, designing his own scientific glass breaking protocol

"Hey, P, try throwing it against the ceiling!" - Mr. R, participating in the experiment


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/17/2007 10:19:00 AM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We looked at a house for rent last night. It only had three bedrooms, but it's bigger than our current house. It's on a huge lot that is fenced in all the way around, had a garage with an attached (and air conditioned) workshop, and huge bedrooms. The master bath even had two sinks and *shock* *gasp* storage for towels, etc. Three beds is actually good for us, because we have 3 girls and 3 boys. Right now we have a 4 bedroom, but it's hard to split the kids up. Our oldest boy technically has his own room, but every chance he gets he sneaks in to have a sleepover with his borhters. The 3 girls already share. Of course our little nursling sleeps with me!

The owner had lived there for 18 years, but has several rental properties and just built himself a new, better house. It seemed perfect for us - a little more than we wanted to spend, but lots of room for the kids to run, a huge dining room (for our big table!) , and a screened in back porch. There was even a cat door and a porch swing.

The kids were with us and had fun running in the yard while we talked... and talked... and talked to the owner. He's chatty but nice and I think he really liked us, since he took the For Rent sign down (and took our check!). He said he grew up in a family of 5 kids and it was so much fun.

We put down the deposit on the spot and planned a move in of June 1 - just over two weeks from now.

Half an hour later, the owner shows up at our door. His partner, he explained, didn't want to rent to someone with so many children. He handed my back our deposit check.

We talked a little bit, and he decided to see if they would take a slightly larger deposit. He asked if we'd be willing to pay more per month, but I said no. The rent is already just over $1000 a month - if we're going to end up paying $1200-1300, we'll go rent in one of the newer neighborhoods that come with pool access and a gym. There's several of those communities around here - a slightly farther drive for husband dear, though. And they probably won't want to rent to us either.

I hate renting. It stinks to begin with, but add small kids in the mix and no one wants you to live in their house (but really, if you have a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs, you have to expect families with kids are going to apply!)

Please pray that we find housing before our move out date!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/16/2007 08:53:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Kids Art Supplies

My kids like to draw, color, paint, and especially cut.

I have a great way to keep all of their stuff together, but out of sight (and also out of mind) - drawers.

Sterilite makes several sizes of translucent drawers for organizing, and their model 2023 will hold 8 1/2 x 11" paper.

I put the paper in one drawer, coloring supplies in another, and scissors, glue and a hole punch in the third. The hole punch is excellent for hand strength, hand eye coordination, and the all-important pincer grasp! Put dots on a piece of paper and encourage your child to punch them out. It'll keep them busy for hours - or at least long enough to make that important phone call.

It also gives us a quick and easy place to put all those stubby pencils and crayon bits when we are cleaning up. The drawers are stored on a shelf right next to the kitchen - and they pull out so the kids can carry their colors to their work area.

Here's what they look like in our playroom, (in the upper right corner) right by the doorway to the kitchen. I made picture labels and drew a pair of scissors, a picture of crayons, etc. for my prereaders.

Works for Me! Visit Shannon for more tips.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/16/2007 06:29:00 AM | Permalink | |
National Wear An Apron Day
Monday, May 14, 2007 today!

From The Kitchen Madonna:
Press Release

Right now, women across the United States and the blogosphere are searching thrift stores, ebay, and their mother's linen drawers for aprons to wear May 14th. Some are making their own. Wearing their aprons inside and outside of their homes, Apron Moms will celebrate their pivotal role in making a house a home.

As the search for domestic bliss continues, a search that includes cleaning and decluttering, cooking tasty nutritious meals, educating children, and the care and feeding of husbands, women will celebrate the difference they make in the lives of their families. They know an apron is like a uniform that conveys authority, unconditional regard, and motherly wisdom all at once. Apron Moms know aprons are about cooking and cleaning but they are also about emotional availablity, hospitality, and femininity.

On Monday, May 14th, apron wearing women will drop children off at school, go to the post office and groce
ry store, and greet their families at the door wearing their aprons. Some will go to their work outside of the home. But regardless of where they spend most of their day, they will post pictures on their blogs of the places they boldly wear their aprons.

There will be a virtual cocktail party at 5pm CST to giggle about our experiences, to toast the internet's role in bringing us together, and to plan next year's Apron Mom March on Washington.

The devil very well may wear Prada but authentically feminine women wear aprons!

For further information, please email the Kitchen Madonna at

So let's tie one on!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/14/2007 06:53:00 AM | Permalink | |
No Wonder I'm Tired
It's 7 am on Monday, and I've already accomplished enough to fill a day.

I've fed 6 out of 7 children and a cat

Shut down a carwash going on in the cat bowl

Made Coffee (this is the important step)

Changed diapers

Tortured Insisted an 8 year old wear socks, then put his socks and shoes on him by force

Written two teacher notes

Signed 3 pieces of paper

Reassembled a toddler booster seat

Met two buses with three children, three backpacks, and a coat (despite the 85 degree forecast)

Made bread (okay, dumped stuff in the breadmaker and pushed a button, but still, there were 9 ingredients involved!)

Planned dinner

Removed smooshed banana from the couch

Gathered one load of laundry from various floors in the house

Braided two pigtails

Kissed one owie

Conversed on the following topics: Was the author of the Magic Tree House books inspired by The Time Machine or did she rip them off? Why don't we put glue in bread? (It's gluten, dear) What are socks good for? Does Baby X resemble Lex Luthor or Superman? (Lex is bald, too, dear), and a general discourse on the merits of choosing from the Treasure Box vs. getting a sticker at school.

And blogged about it.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/14/2007 06:44:00 AM | Permalink | |
Mama Says...
Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day is my day off, so I'll let others do the talking!

"An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest." -- Spanish proverb

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
-- Agatha Christie

“He who takes a child by the hand takes a mother by the heart.” Danish proverb

Happy Mother's Day

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/13/2007 12:33:00 PM | Permalink | |
Not a Hero
Friday, May 11, 2007
I just have a couple of things to say on this whole "Al Sharpton/Mormon" debate.

1. Mormons do not believe in the same God as traditional Christianity. That is not bigotry, it's a fact. The Mormon god is one of many, and what they hope to one day become - an exalted man.

2. Al Sharpton is calling for "a dialogue of reconciliation between the Mormon church and the African American community." Um, Al? YOU are the one they have a beef with. Leave all of the other African Americans out of it.

3. Why was Al Sharpton debating Christopher Hitchens, anyway? He is such a sad man. What could a man who testified to the Vatican that Mother Theresa was a fraud and didn't really care about poor people possibly have to say about the presidential elections that would have any merit?
(Here's a quote from Hitchens, regarding Mother Teresa: She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.
If that's such a great cure for poverty, why are 700 million Chinese still living in poverty? Although, there is some kind of twisted logic there... we'll eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people)

4. Why do we care about Al Sharpton, anyway? Why is he on all the news channels, all the time? Has he ever had anything constructive to say?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/11/2007 03:10:00 PM | Permalink | |
A Hero
Father of 3 dies while saving boys from drowning.

This is what our military is made of. Pray for him.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/11/2007 12:45:00 PM | Permalink | |
On This Day....
Byzantium was renamed Nova Roma (New Rome) but everyone calls it Constantinople. (Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it, I can't say, maybe they liked it better that way!)

Luxembourg won independence and becomes the smallest European country. (Less than 1000 sq. miles of industrial development and French speaking Germans. A secular government that doesn't even allow you to ask what religion others are, yet recognized certain religions in certain regions as state-sanctioned. They are a monarchy, and the royal family's official photograph involves Levi's. Luxembourg, you schizo little nugget of contrasts, you!)

The royal family of the Grand Duchy (© SIP/Lola Velasco)

Israel joined the United Nations. (Just another reason why I'm an amillennialist. It's been two generations already!)Irving Berlin was born. (He could barely play the piano and had a machine to transcribe his music, but managed to win an Oscar for composing and wrote "God Bless America". This really is the land of opportunity!)

Salvador Dali was born. (Even Wikipedia has spin, reporting that he "reverted to Catholi
cism", from what, it is unclear, but his buddies were Marxists.)

My sister was born!

Happy Birthday!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/11/2007 07:22:00 AM | Permalink | |
A Note to My Husband
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Husband dear,

I know you are full of interesting and true stories. I love hearing you tell stories. It's one of the reasons you got a second date with me.


The story about the 22 foot python that ate the neighborhood's cats and took 6 men to wrestle it out from under the porch? Not such a good bedtime story. Especially during the thunderstorm that is predicted for this evening.

Let's just put that in the same category as the story involving skinny dipping, swinging from vines, and the train, ok? And never tell it again.

Your wife.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/10/2007 08:16:00 PM | Permalink | |
Out of School

It's Confederate Memorial Day:

May the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace, Amen.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/10/2007 12:47:00 PM | Permalink | |
I Can't Believe I'm Blogging About Paris Hilton
...but it seems I just can't get away from her, as she has popped up on every single newscast, day and night.

There is a petition to the governor of California (Mr. Terminator himself) floating around cyberspace. It has an anemic 900 signatures.

It pretty much sums up Paris' side of the story though - here are some quotes:
She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives.
(Who wrote this? I checked - nothing there yet saying this is a hoax. But how can it be real?)
Hilton is notable for her leading roles on the FOX reality series The Simple Life and in the remake of the Vincent Price horror classic "House of Wax".
(Seriously, is this a joke? Is this petition put out by The Onion?)
Please sign to tell The Honorable Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of the State of California, to think about the welfare of this young woman who has made a mortal error and deserves a second chance like so many others in our great nation have been served with after a mistake they have made.
I especially love the last part... she deserves a second chance.

Yes, she was given a second chance, called probation. She blew it. She violated her probation and was caught driving not once, but twice for having a suspended license (Jan. 15 and Feb. 27). She never took her alcohol class, either. She's crying that "he told me I could" - 'he' referring to her publicist. She is a 26 year old adult.

She should have just used a chauffeur.

If ever someone needed prayers, it's Paris Hilton. Spiritually abandoned by her parents, who neglected to teach her right from wrong, form her conscience, or hold her accountable, adrift in a life with a lot of money but nothing of substance. Pray that she gets some gifts of wisdom and prudence, at least. Maybe she'll have a meaningful encounter with a jail ministry - better pray for those guys, too.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/10/2007 08:48:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Spin Twice, Dry Once
Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We've lived in a series of rentals for the last 10 years, and one thing they've all had in common is old washers and dryers. You know the ones, they are missing the bleach dispenser and come in Harvest Gold or Avocado? I've also had clotheslines, but in some places (this current house included) I can't use them.

We do a lot of laundry. A chronic problem was that the dryer not only took longer than the washer, but often I would have to run the old decrepit dryer twice. Now I know the trick!

First, I don't use the largest load setting on the washer. I use the medium size or next to largest setting. Supposedly, this makes your washer last longer anyway. Then, after it's done washing, I turn the knob back around to the spin cycle. I've found that one wash + one spin just about equals the time the dryer takes.

Spinning the extra water out really helps to dry out the load - and I'll only have to run the dryer through one cycle (maybe one and a half for jeans/towels). Running an extra spin cycle uses a ton less electricity than running the dryer, too. Another trick: put a clean, dry towel in the dryer. It will help absorb the damp air adn your load will dry faster.

Another saver: if you have an older, top loading washer, use half as much detergent. More laundry detergent does not equal cleaner clothes! It actually works as a surfactant allowing the water to break down the dirt. These washers are not as efficient, and they probably aren't even rinsing all of the soap out of the last washing you did. The new laundry soaps are more efficient as well. You might experiment a bit to see how much you actually need - with my current set I need about a third of cap instead of a whole one.

Works for Me! To see other great tips, visit Shannon!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/09/2007 06:42:00 AM | Permalink | |
Godly Offspring, or Gaia Killers?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The post-modern thought in Britain is that children are bad for the environment.

This guy is a Professor of Family Planning (what a job - it's not like it's rocket science) and he thinks that:
"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child."
No, I can't make this stuff up!

I don't get it. The replacement rate is 2.3 children per couple. This will hold the population steady - not even growing. If we are not even replacing our population, what ecological disasters will arise from abandoned property and industrial complexes? Who's going to do the maintenance? Why would we want to limit the number of fortunate, wealthy (in relation to the rest of the globe) educated people with resources - resources to stop poverty and starvation and educate others? Are the Peace Corp, Catholic Relief Services, and other organizations suffering from too many volunteers? Have you ever heard them say, "We could eradicate infant mortality in Ethiopa, if only we didn't have so many people helping and had fewer donations? Too many cooks spoil the broth after all!"

If anything, I think limiting family size is detrimental to the environment, as it divorces us from the natural processes of life. We become jaded, and children become a commodity. If we can decide to kill an imperfect, or just inconvenient, baby, then how will we develop a responsible attitude of stewardship towards God's creation? If an animal or forest is inconvenient, why shouldn't we just get rid of that, too?

These are the attitudes we are fostering and will have horrible ramifications as we pass them from generation to generation. Our children and grandchildren will remember that life is not sacred for its own sake, because God created it, but only as it benefits us right now.

In addition, the estrogens and hormones in our water are wreaking havoc with fish and other wildlife. Seems women take birth control pills, excrete excess hormones into their urine which gets flushed, and right now we don't have a way to get those hormones out of the water before it hits nature. It's Ortho-Evra pollution.

Starry Sky Ranch stirred up a similar debate last month with this post. My comments are a little snippy - sorry for that!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/08/2007 09:10:00 AM | Permalink | |
Moving Right Along
Monday, May 07, 2007
Aaargghh. We have to move. Again.

We moved in in August of last year, so we are 9 months into our home. We paid our rent this month, and our landlord informed us that they've sold the house and we need to move. Our lease stipulates 30 days, but they *might* be able to stretch it until July 1. (Our lease does stipulate 30 days, we are on a month to month, but it is 30 days written notice, which we have not received yet but our landlord claims will be in the mail soon.)

We had no idea they were even thinking about selling the place and getting out of the landlord business; the house was never actually placed up for sale, and it has never been shown. When we moved in, we were planning on staying for 18 months- 2 years, and the landlords were quite happy with that - they wanted a long term renter. Husband dear and I suspect they sold it to one of their adult children - the other houses in the neighborhood languish on the market for 6 months to a year, and suddenly our landlords have a buyer, without a showing or inspection? Sounds like family to me!

So we are now forced to look for a house, hopefully with a month-to-month lease as husband dear's job could end anywhere from 4-18 months from now. I hate looking for a new house. It is all but impossible to find a rental when you have 7 small children, even though technically it is illegal to discriminate. I find myself doing semi-unethical things, like taking two children far apart in age with me to see the houses... and letting the Realtor assume those are my only two. (I'd tell them we had 7 if they asked though). I might say things like "My son attends XXX elementary", and leave out that two more children attend XYZ Elementary while I have 4 more at home. It all comes out when we sign the lease, as you always have to list the names of all residents, but at least I can get people to show the houses to us.

Otherwise, it's like the scene in Cheaper by the Dozen, when Steve Martin is calling up nanny services. "Yes, I have 12 children... hello? Hello?"

We did get a killer deal on this place. The owners were friends of my husband's father; they were also Catholic and willing to rent to a family that is, shall we say, open to life. They rented to us for a very, very affordable price. It looks like our rent is going to increase by about $500 if we try to rent a smaller house in the market right now.

I'm not picky, actually. These are my minimum requirements for a home:
Yard with fence
Washing machine hookup (I don't even need a dryer. Give me a rope and I'll be all good)
Fridge and stove (we don't own one, and we can't buy one right now, especially if our rent doubles!)
3 bedrooms - okay, worst case scenario, two bedrooms. We lived in a 750 sq. ft apartment with 2 bedrooms, and 5 children before.

Although, truthfully, those aren't even minimum standards, as we have lived in motels with no kitchens and no English speaking neighbors (we got the migrant workers special), and two beds instead of bedrooms. Yes folks, you can feed a family of 6 (at the time) with nothing more than a crockpot and a bathtub to wash dishes in!

We have lived in some doozies of rentals. So, as I embark on my search for a new home, here's some advice to landlords:

Please do not paint the kitchen and bathroom with white, matte finish paint and then complain about grease spots behind the stove. Additionally, if you did not use any sort of primer underneath the paint, don't be surprised when the paint falls off the walls. It's not our fault. (You really think we climbed up to peel paint off the ceiling for kicks?)

If you tell us you will finish fixing up the house after we move in, and then neglect to put in baseboards, door jambs, or door stops, the walls will not be perfect when we move out.

If the only bathroom in the house is carpeted, and the toilet seal leaks causing a squishy, stinky floor, putting a clear plastic office chair mat over it is not a permanent fix.

If you decide to finally finish work around the house, showing up unannounced during cold and flu season on a weekend with the intention of turning off the water for minor repair work is not a good idea.

If you have a bug problem, and they are actually falling out of the ceiling into the kitchen, hire an exterminator. Your tenants don't care if they are just ladybugs and won't hurt anything, and the fact that "at least it's not roaches" doesn't matter.

Renters do get tired of white walls. However, painting the small, windowless bathroom black is not a helpful color change. Adding a sponged faux finish in dark gray actually makes it look worse and more depressing. Don't be offended when the tenants call it the Darth Vader room.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/07/2007 09:36:00 AM | Permalink | |
They've got it all wrong
Friday, May 04, 2007
BBC is running this story:

Natural Contraception Effective

The article goes on to detail the Sympto-Thermal method (STM) of ovulation prediction (Natural Family Planning.)

This is not contraception. Contraception is deliberately interfering with the natural sex process in order to avoid pregnancy. It is a sin. Choosing to not have sex, is not contraception.

Food for thought - how can they say SMT works, but abstinence doesn't? Findings did show it was more effective at preventing pregnancy than barrier methods available OTC.

Then again, the study has yielded this gem:

The lowest pregnancy rate was found among women who abstained from sex during their most fertile period, as defined by STM.
No kidding...

Some links to Church teaching on contraception:
Scripture References
Church Fathers views
Modern Popes elaborate
Humanae Vitae

Really, this subject is too long and rich for a blog post. Any questions are welcome in the comment box though!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/04/2007 11:45:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday Fun: A Little Quiz

From the Roving Medievalist... - Rome of the West

Traditional Catholic


Radical Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


New Catholic


Liberal Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

You scored as Traditional Catholic. You look at the great piety and holiness of the Church before the Second Vatican Council and the decay of belief and practice since then, and see that much of the decline is due to failed reforms based on the "Spirit of the Council". You regret the loss of vast numbers of Religious and Ordained clergy and the widely diverging celebrations of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, which often don't even seem to be Catholic anymore. You are helping to rebuild this past culture in one of the many new Traditional Latin Mass communities or attend Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. You seek refuge from the world of pornography, recreational drugs, violence, and materialism. You are an articulate, confident, committed, and intelligent Catholic.

But do you support legitimate reform of the Church, and are you willing to submit to the directives of the Second Vatican Council? Will you cooperate responsibly with others who are not part of the Traditional community?
I'm not sure how, exactly, I'm 90% Traditional Catholic, and 64% Radical Catholic. Then again, there's always been a slightly schizophrenic quality about me.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/04/2007 11:04:00 AM | Permalink | |
Recycling the Mama Way
How to properly recycle a fallen log into a thing of beauty:

This is from Mepkin Abbey, a local Trappist monastery.

How NOT to recycle a fallen log, unless you enjoy comforting terrified children at all hours of the night:
Seriously, this was someone's toy?!!!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/04/2007 09:43:00 AM | Permalink | |
Blogroll update
Thursday, May 03, 2007
So I finally signed up for Technorati and claimed my blog. It was not the exciting, Oklahoma Sooner experience I hoped for, but what are you gonna do?

I think I found everyone that links to me and updated my blogroll... but if I missed someone, please let me know in the comments! Also, someone sent me an email asking me to link, but I don't remember who it was and I accidentally deleted it... drop me another line and I'll put you on.

You all will be happy to know you're hanging around in a popular place in Bloggetyville. My Technorati rank is 91,000 WOO HOO!

I love standing out in a crowd.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/03/2007 08:30:00 PM | Permalink | |
Working to Protect Human Rights...
Unless you are less than 9 months gestation. Then we'll freely discriminate based on gestational age and ability.

Amnesty International is not prolife, and intends to interfere with sovereign governments who do not recognize the "right to an abortion".

Lifesite article here
US Catholic Bishops respond, here.

What, you say? Isn't that the group who opposes torture, gets involved in Texas execution protests, and promotes this quote:
Everyone, everywhere has the right to live with dignity.
Yep. Them.

A direct quote from their Campaign for Human Dignity:
Pregnancy is not a disease, yet one woman dies every
minute and many more face long-term debilitating ill-health
as a result of conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The causes of these deaths include unsafe abortions, lack of
comprehensive and accessible emergency health care and
early marriage. Almost all of these deaths are preventable, and
the vast majority occur in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.The
consequences pass to future generations as children drop
out of school to take on the role of parents, carers and
breadwinners. People living in poverty do not have equal
access to health information, sex education, essential health
services and medicines.This denies them the right to control
their reproductive lives and to protect themselves from
potentially deadly diseases.
We all know what "controlling reproductive lives" and "essential health services" means in the context of pregnant women, don't we?

It is truly a shame, because it many of AI's other stances (against torture, for basic health care, against the repression of the poor) are laudable. However...

They also are dedicated to the global adherence to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let's review parts of that quasi-socialist manifesto, shall we?


Now, although throughout the UDHR, it claims that:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. (Article 3)
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (Article 5)
They are interpreted in light of Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. (emphasis mine).
Oh, and a few other problems I have with the document:
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (Article 23:1)
This has become a big problem in Italy, where it is so difficult to fire someone, even if they are incompetent, that employers are not hiring anyone! It is a big problem for college graduates over there, who are unable to find work because once the employer hires them, they pretty much will be with the company for life, too big a risk for most employers.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. (Article 24)
Paid holidays are a good thing, generally, but I don't think employers should be forced to offer them by international law. Employers should be legally bound to pay for work done. Everything else is a benefit used to attract and keep a workforce.

Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. (Article 26)
The problem with this is that compulsory, free education is being defined as a human right, and in European countries, homeschoolers are already being prosecuted for interfering with their own children's "right" to public school, even if the children want to be taught at home, and even if they are learning more or far ahead of their state-taught peers!

H/T to Radical Catholic Mom for the heads up.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/03/2007 02:40:00 PM | Permalink | |
The Last Mimzy

Has anyone seen this movie? What do you think?

I haven't seen the movie, but I thought it would be something the kids would like. However, after reading some interviews with the writers, I'm not so sure. I have picked my screenplay back up, dusted it off, and am setting to work, and I'm just now catching up on my industry reading.

The Last Mimzy is based on a 1940's short story by Lewis Padgett, the pen name for a couple of people who wrote short stories for the pulps of that time. Unfortunately, the story the movie is based on ("Mimsy Were the Borogroves") ends rather suddenly (the kids disappear into the alien world. The End!) so the original writer (Bruce Joel Rubin) of the screenplay was pressed into service not only to adapt the work, but to give it a suitable Hollywood ending. That was 8 years ago, and the project languished as a few other writers were brought in to give it a try.

Finally, Rubin hit on a winning formula: Buddhism. It seems that in Eastern philosophy, toys have a metaphysical meaning and are not just playthings; they are linked to reincarnation in some way. What that way is, I don't know, as I have not studied it extensively (or even bothered to check Wikipedia). The movie was purposely written to incorporate as much of this Eastern Mysticism as possible.

I just checked the review of the film on the Focus on the Family site, and they picked up on those elements as well.

Any thoughts?

BTW, "Mimsy", originally from the Lewis Caroll poem The Jabberwocky, means "miserable and flimsy". I think I've found a new word for Happy Meal toys!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/03/2007 06:50:00 AM | Permalink | |
30 Day Challenge Update
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
30 Day Organizational Challenge, hosted by Laura the Org Junkie, ends today!

The Reveal...

Which sounds more glamorous than it actually is.

I was working on our playroom/schoolroom/office. This room is actually supposed to be the dining room, and is off the kitchen and the living room. It's one of the rooms in the house where I spend the most time.

Here's my desk before: (Wow, I actually forgot how bad it was, even though it's been like this, more or less, for 9 months!)

Play area before - kind of neat, but not utilized well and boring:

And after:My husband actually purchased that large black box in the corner - it's a CD organizer and also holds flash drives and such. He's been inspired too! The purple Trapper Keeper next to it is my household notebook, and my coupon box. The black 'purse' hanging off the shelf is the holder for the digital camera - I can actually find it now. The pile of papers on the left... I probably should have removed those, but I thought that would be cheating! The children have been bringing home lots of papers since it's the end of the year, and my office day is Monday, when I'll deal with those. And yes, that is an old peanut butter jar full of rubber bands on my desk... and yes, we do use it every day for our Geoboard!

Laura and visitors, here are my answers because inquiring minds want to know:

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

The hardest part is other people, and realizing I can only be responsible for and control myself. I am in the process of teaching the children to replace their activities before getting new ones out, but that is a never ending process. There are a few things that I would still like to see changed, such as another shelf mounted on the wall, or the turtle tank cleaned out before I post pictures, but I have accepted that I can't do it all and that it is unfair to nag husband dear to do it on my timetable. The trouble with martyrs is, someone has to die in the process!

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

I have a desk day scheduled (every Monday); previously, I spent that day trying to dig out my desk. It was never really cleaned and organized to begin with, so if I managed to catch up on my filing, I spent time going in circles, moving a pile from point A to point B in order to clean, or setting up a jury-rigged system "for now". Spending time to think through all of the things I need to have easily available and making a thoughtful plan has really helped in that area!

I now have a basket for bills to pay - I used to put them in a pocket in my household notebook, but I was the only one who could find them, which didn't work out so well when husband dear needed to pay the bills. The hanging basket contains mailing stuff. Previously, I had my stamps filed in our cabinet - after finding the kids had created the world's most expensive wall paper in the bathroom using "Love 37", I decided I needed to hide them. Envelopes didn't file well, so they were in a box in a different filing cabinet. We got a nifty address label dispenser and address stickers with my last check order, and that ended up in a plastic shoebox of miscellaneous office supplies. Pens around here are catch-as-catch can. The checkbook might be in my purse, might be somewhere random from husband dear's shopping, or may be on the dashboard of the van, which drives me crazy. It's all in one place now, the wicker hanging basket. Now, I just got a book of checks out separate from the actual checkbook - who cares if the checks I write "on the run" are out of numeric sequence from the checks I write for the water bill?

My shelf and bill system now:

I solved several problems that are helping to keep me organized:
Permanent home for household notebook, and coupon box.
Trashcan (I realized after a couple of weeks of maintaining the desk that I really needed on in here.)
Bills/Mail station
Kids' money storage (Their allowance was in plastic sandwich bags all over the desk)
Toilet Paper (hey, this about my personal needs. In this house, that includes a roll of toilet paper which is as versatile as duct tape. I use it for kleenex, napkins, to wipe up drink rings from sweaty glasses, to wipe of my schedules in my notebook, and to erase evidence of children's fingers on my computer monitor.)

I've actually maintained things for the last two weeks. I didn't have room for a trashcan before, but now I've removed a cardboard box of paper ordered from Office Depot, and a box of CD's and computer cables still packed from our move (last August!) I have room for one. And room for my feet! Bonus!

Under my desk NOW:

3. What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

Three bags of trash! I also made FOUR trips to the bathroom to put away children's Tylenol, hairbrushes, sunscreen, thermometers... I really do spend a lot of time at my desk taking care of everything! It made me realize that my bathroom was disorganized, contributing to my desk disorganization. So I have worked on correcting that problem as well.

In the upper right corner of the "Before" picture, there is a large cardboard box. The box held packing peanuts, in case I needed to mail a package. I last mailed a package... oh, I can't even remember when!

4. What was the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?
It does not have to be perfect to be functional; and functional is much better than inconvenient perfection.

5. Now that you have completed the PROCESS, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life?
It already has! Instead of digging through a pile to find something, I know where it is. It is also easier to keep the children out of the office supplies, since I know where they are. Clearing everything out and replacing the things I need was very effective in cutting the "invisible clutter"! This was especially effective in the schoolroom/play area, where I put away the infant toys and work that the children were no longer interested in. I replaced the plain white containers with more interesting, colorful ones, too. It's not boring anymore!
I can better monitor the children's learning and playing, because I removed activities that were not appropriate for their grade level. Also, they can find their workspace!

I purposely organized the school shelves with different containers, even though having everything match would look much nicer, to help encourage the children to be more independent. Now I can say "Put the blocks in the yellow basket", or "The Lincoln Logs go in the white tub." Again, functional is not "perfect", and that's okay!

I also was able to make this space a little prettier, which does wonders for my organization motivation. I bought some cute fabric and covered the bulletin board.
I also bought some baskets to match at the dollar store and picked out bright colors instead of my usual black or neutral.
The orange really stands out! I often read blogs while I nurse the new baby, and the baskets hold baby supplies, so I don't have to disturb him and walk across the house to get burp cloths and such. I'm not sure he likes orange, though!

I also have a home for my writing books, which hopefully means I will write more often! They used to be in my bedroom on a bookshelf, so if I needed to look something up, I would walk all the back there. Then, while I was there, I'd look more stuff up (to save myself a trip later), get sidetracked, and spend half an hour reading instead of rewriting my draft. Alternatively, I would bring the book to my desk and never see it again.

Check out the other entries for more inspiration!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 5/02/2007 06:33:00 PM | Permalink | |