birth stories · Mama · Uncategorized

Part 2: Jolie Charlene

I can’t believe I actually had the gall to this a summary.  This is legit longer than any actual birth story that I have read! For the 3 (optimistic estimate) of you who are actually still reading this, my apologies.  I have deceived you.

I clearly had to make a Part 2, though, bc how depressing would it be to end my birth story summary (lololol) with the words, “I saw a very blue, eerily quiet baby.”  Bad Mom Award Winner Forever.

I think about 20 minutes passed, of which I have absolutely no memory as I was flying high on the aforementioned anxiety medicine. Shaine was with Jolie in a different room so there’s no one to tell me if I started belting show-tunes or challenged the cadaver-nurse to a sword fight or whatever.  My best guess is I slept.  Eventually, they wheeled me into a room that blessedly held no trays full of knives and torches and other such instruments and I lay there for a few minutes until someone wheeled her in.  My baby.  My Jolie.

She’s in this little cradle thing and I reach my hand out to her and she actually (honestly, not making this up) reaches her little hand back out to me and it’s this wonderful, miraculous moment that I will never ever forget.  I ask the nurse if I can hold her, as I have literally not even touched her at this point, and she goes, “um, you’re kinda shaky.” Which is an understatement.  The uncontrollable flapping has ceased, thanks be to God, but now I’m trembling from head to foot, teeth chattering and all.  But still. Give me my baby, lady! She tentatively hands her to me and right away Jolie starts making this fishy-gulping movement with her mouth and I say, “I think she wants to nurse,” to which the aforementioned emotional robot/nurse replies, “She’s never going to nurse right now.  She’s way too groggy.” A statement I flatly ignore, pulling down my robe, and bam! Contact is made, baby nurses, and continues nursing for the next hour or so.  Casey 1, Robot Nurse 0.

The more I think about this birth, the more I realize how truly awful it was.  I spent the next 3 days in a recovery room with a handful of other newly made mothers, none of whom I saw even once as we were all separated by curtains. I was not once cleaned, given a way to brush my teeth (I couldn’t really walk due to the c section so I couldn’t get to a sink), or had any of the multitudes of sticky hospital pads attached to me removed.  When I was finally released to go home, I was still covered (covered) in dry blood from the labor and my husband had to get in the shower with me and scrub it all off as I had limited mobility from the C section.  The first night I spent in the recovery room they did not want to leave Jolie with me (still not sure why) so I told them to bring her to me every time she cried so I could nurse her.  I hate myself now for not being more assertive about keeping her with me.  This hospital was seriously over-crowded so who knows how quick they were to bring her me when she cried.  She could have cried for hours and I never would have known.  Also, there was no point in separating us if the reason was to let me rest after all the trauma as I can never sleep after I’ve had a baby and so I just laid there, alone (there was nowhere for Shaine to sleep and he was exhausted, having barely slept for 2 days), obsessing over the fear that someone might steal my baby.

I know, I know, it could have been worse.  We’re both alive.  I suppose I could have given birth in a pig pen underneath a bucking rodeo bull, but still.  It was hardly ideal.  Jolie has always had this grit about her, like she could survive anything.  Maybe her terrible entry into this world has something to do with that. Anyway, that’s my birth novella. Stay tuned for birth 2, which thankfully does not occur in a Soviet-era Russian hospital (aka Sacramento, CA).

jo birth

One hour


One week.


One year


2 years


3 years


4 years


5 years


6 years


7 years


8 years

So so so so so worth it.  My special angel.  My gift from God.  My Jolie Charlene.

birth stories · Mama

Jolie Charlene

Part 1


So, I was 23 when I had my numero uno and Shaine was one week shy of 21.  (yesiliketorobcradles.  Ask me again, pls.) We were basically 2 and 5 years old and were like, alright! Let’s have a baaaaaabyy! Woo hoo!  Well, not exactly, but, looking back now it kinda feels like that.  I was about 38 weeks and his mother, brother, and mom’s boyfriend flew in from OKC to CA to be with us, bc, surely I would be having this baby any day now.  Surely.  Welp.  Maybe not.  Let me tell you, having your in-laws travel thousands of miles to meet their first grandchild and then failing to deliver said grandchild adds no pressure to the whole experience what. so. ever.

So, the due date comes…and goes.  My in-laws come…and go.  Shaine’s time off work comes…and goes.  My sanity comes…and goes.  (We planned things well, didn’t we?) Baby girl still happily crushing my innards all the while.  A week past my due date and I go in to get the stress test where they check the baby’s heartbeat and level of amniotic fluid to make sure everything’s still a-ok.  Well, I guess her heartbeat was a bit lower than they wanted it to be so, a call to my husband and off we go to the hospital to finally evict our little baby squatter.  On the way to the hospital, ish got real.  Not as in I started to actually go into labor.  LOLOLOL, please. Don’t be ridiculous. No, ish got real like I realized, (maybe, unnervingly?) for the first time that I was actually about to become a mother.  Up to this point, I had ZERO experience with babies.  I didn’t really even have any experience with little kids besides my brother who is autistic and a Martian and in no way prepared me to deal with other, non-martian children (yes, I am allowed to say that.  He’s my brother, for crying out loud.) I looked at Shaine at one point on the drive down and said, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” To which he replied, like the sage that he is, “You better get ready.”

We get to the hospital and I’m checked into a broom closet that will surely, surely only be temporary (it wasn’t), and the doctor (nurse? midwife? janitor? I can’t remember) asks me about my birth plan.  Of course, OF COURSE, I was going have a completely drug-free, vaginal birth! Did I look like one of those women who selfishly drug their babies? And, no, the fact that this birth would be induced with large amounts of torturous Pitocin made absolutely no difference whatsoever.  Why should it? Pe. Shaw. This convo is taking place literally (and you should know I only use literally in its correct usage as a rule) as a woman down the hall is screaming and I’m all “what’s going on with her?” and the doc says she is having a natural labor also and this does not faze me AT ALL.  I’m just like, oh good for her!

Fast forward to an hour later and I’m hunched over while an anesthesiologist is prepping my back, praying that the needle will just freaking get in there and GIVE ME THE JUICE! At one point the nurse mentions the so-recently hated, currently-beloved and coveted-above-all-riches epidural might not work and she officially becomes my Most Hated Person for the next 20 min or so.

Hallelujahx5billion, the epidural does take, the nurse, along with every person who has ever wronged me in my life, is pardoned in my mind, and all I say for the next 3 hours, over and over again in my mind, is thank You, God, thank You, God, thank You, God.

I could bore you with the next 20 or so hours of nothingness (sleep, watch TV, pee in a bag, sleep, watch TV, pee in a bag) but let’s fast forward to the next day when I’m finally getting ready to push (still in the broom closet! I’m not even joking about this.  I mean, it probably wasn’t an actual broom closet but I’m positive it was not meant to be used as a labor and delivery room. It was literally (again, correct usage) the size of a broom closet and how my husband, mom, and sister all slept in there with me overnight defies logic (though it’s seriously the sweetest thing ever, right? I think they slept on the floor!).

(Side note apology: that paragraph belongs in the run on sentence Hall of Shame.  How many parentheses did I manage to squeeze in there?  So sorry you had to suffer through that.)

I push through a few contractions.  A few more.  A half hour goes by.  An hour.  2 hours.  The world turns.  10 women in China deliver babies effortlessly.  I push. I push. I push.  Nada.

Suddenly, a horrid buzzing noise goes off on the baby monitor and every doctor, nurse, and cafeteria worker in the hospital crams into my minuscule room at once.  An oxygen mask is pushed on my face and one of the multitudes of doctors tells me the baby’s in distress and I need to get a C section NOW.  I look over at my husband in shock and he is kneeling on the ground, praying his heart out, God bless him.  The crowd files out to get the OR room ready and I just start to bawl.  This was so NOT how my labor was supposed to go.  This was so NOT how I was supposed to meet my baby.  I was supposed to give birth naturally, easily.  This was supposed to be the first of many, many children I would give birth to naturally and easily.  My husband and I had wanted a large family.  We calculated that, God willing all went smoothly, we could manage to have at least 12 (!!!!) children before I went through menopause.  I knew you couldn’t have 12 children if you had c-sections.  I think I’d heard the max was 4.  I felt like such a failure.  I felt like I had let my husband down, like I was this lemon that he was stuck with the rest of his life when he should have married a baby machine instead.  Of course, he didn’t feel that way and was amazingly sweet and wonderful and affirming, but I was crushed.  I was also exhausted.  My body had been in forced labor for over 24 hours and I hadn’t been allowed to eat anything in all that time.  I was beyond done.

Enter Dr. Crazy Pants.  A doctor I have never seen before bursts into the room at some point during my breakdown, thrusts her giant hands inside me, and shouts (really! shouts! and laughs! I’m not making this up!) that a woman “my size” will never give birth naturally.  My mom kinda gives her the stink eye and says something like, cool it, lady.  This is a girl who wants a large family. To which Dr. CPants hoots, What?! Why?! I’ve got 2 and that’s too many! Then she whisks me away to OR.

I’m not 100% sure how C-sections go for those who are not in emergency situations, but for me they somehow fixed it so the epidural affected my whole body rather than just below my hips.  For some reason, this amount of epidural didn’t sit well with my system and my head and arms started flapping uncontrollably, which was as wonderful as you can imagine.  Dr. CPants is still there, haunting me, and has now started shouting, “LAWD JEEEESUS! LAWD JEEEEESUS!” I’m unsure whether she is cursing or praying but, honestly, neither explanation is very comforting.  They’re prepping me and pulling the big sheet between my face and horror show that will soon be behind it, when I feel a panic attack coming on.  I’ve only had one other panic attack in my life (while being forced to run the mile in high school on a 110+ day which I still maintain is straight up child abuse), but the feeling is unmistakable.  I’m trying to distract myself, to think of anything but the fact that my body will be cut open in less than 2 minutes so I desperately try to strike up a conversation with the closest person to me, who (I think?) is a nurse.

“Are you reading anything these days?” I ask in a scary, high pitched voice, pretending to be totally casual.

“Huh?” she says and looks at me like she’s suddenly realized I’m not a cadaver.

“Books!” I squeak.  “What books are you reading?” The panic in my voice is obvious.

“Uh…” Still looking at me like she can’t figure out how the cadaver is talking. “Medical books, I guess…” She throws me this little scrap of human conversation then goes back to sharpening knives or whatever else device of torture she’s planning on slicing me open with.

Thanks be to God, Shaine (who unlike some ppl actually has the skill of speech) is allowed into the room.  He takes one look at me and sees I’m spiraling.  “Tell me about the Hobbit!” I yell, right off, like the truly insane person I am. And Shaine, just like the absolutely heavenly creature that he is, says, without any weird looks or eyebrow raises or anything, “Once there was a wizard named Gandalf…”

Oh my gosh, I’m loling writing this right now because I’m realizing what a crazy, awkward, nonsensical birth story this really is.

I don’t know how far he got into the story bc I actually did have the dreaded attack once the smell of burning flesh hit my uncontrollably flapping head.  I remember someone showing me a very blue, eerily quiet baby then I think they gave me some anxiety medicine bc everything’s a little blurry after that.

To be continued…

birth stories · Mama

Birthin Babies

(Remember what I said about no g’s at the end of words in summer?  I was serious about that.)

So, my new hobby is scouring the internet for mom blogs and reading every birth story I can find.  Can’t imagine why.  And because I’m nothing if not a copy cat, I’ve kinda been feeling like I want to write my birth stories down too…buuuut, the problem with that is all my stories happened at least 2 years ago and I’m for sure not going to remember all the gory little details that I know you all are just dying to read (emiright?).

My solution is this: I’ll write a summary about each of the births! Yay!  I’m a genius, right? No one could see that coming, could they?  And then AND THEN when little bb boy is born, I will write his birth story down with every last mind-numbing detail that no one but me and maybe my mother could possibly ever care about.  I should add a disclaimer here, though, that, as I’ve made it my life’s motto to not undertake any task unless it be on a spontaneous whim (a very efficient way to live, btw), it’s entirely possible that I’ll have the boy (did I mention I’m having a boy? oh, 1000x? ok) and then be all, “meh, blog smlog,” thus maintaining my reign as World’s Biggest Flake.  We will see.

Alright, let’s get started! I think, in an effort to be a legit blogger, I’ll just put the links (links prove you know what you’re doing) below and you can click on the one you want to read.  Good?

Jolie Charlene

August 19, 2008


more to come…

family · Mama · personality types

7 Quick Takes

Again, yes, it’s been forever.  Again, sorry.

Ok, let’s just dive right in.

  1. Pregnancy Numero Cinco


Yes, I’m pregnant!  Yes, again! And, yes!  With a boy!!! I’m well into my 6th month actually and seeing as how I was talking about how I was not pregnant in my last post, it’s clearly been wayyyy too long between now and then.

This pregnancy has honestly been one of my toughest.  I don’t feel like I’ve done any of my pregnancies that gracefully but this baby has just sapped allllll my strength.  Thus far, we’ve made 3 trips to the ER for IV fluids and I’ve had to get 2 root canals.  TWO! (insert dying face emoji here). Let me tell you, hanging out basically upside down for an hour or so in a dental chair while pregnant (with a dentist who btw keeps pulling down his face mask and breathing his yucky man breath down your way too open mouth) is just delightful.  Just.

But, in some other key ways, this pregnancy’s actually been one of my most peaceful, too.  Mentally, I mean, not physically.  I’ve been told by large families that once you hit the 4 kid mark, things get noticeably easier.  I don’t know if I would agree that things have gotten easier (ahem, laundry, ahem, food), or if just have.  Normally, during my 3rd trimester, I’m freaking out about how the current baby is going to adjust and how we’re going to handle it financially and will my older kids be neglected, blah blah blah.  But with this little guy, the only thing I’m really thinking about is how awesome it will be to have a newborn again.  I honestly CANNOT wait to hold him and smell him and just cart him around.

2. Ages and Stages

Ok, I’ve said this before but I’m seriously in love with the 2-year-old stage.  Which I know is crazy bc it has this terrible rep as being just awful but I honestly find it to be the most magical, enchanting, cutesy patootsie stage ever.

Zoe has transformed from a demanding, Lt General of a baby to this sweet little counselor-tot.  She has this thing where, if any of us gets hurt or says they have a stomachache or whatever, she holds her arms out and says in this tiny but totally self-assured voice, “Come ere, come ere.  I got choo,” and then she wraps her arms around you and pats your back.  It’s the most precious thing in the world.  I could have a limb hacked off and be like, ok, I’m good, after one of her counsel seshes.


(Resistance is futile)

3.  Worries

That being said, 4: not my favorite age.  I’ve gone through this enough with my older girls to know that 4 just has bad juju all around it, but I re-heally find this stage challenging. Is it just my kids or are all 4-year-olds the most emotionally fragile people on the planet?  The list of things that make Ruby cry are endless and include everything from not being able to find her hat to not being sure if she has to go to the bathroom to thinking I’m giving her a stink eye when, in reality, something has gotten under my contact.  Anna, who is now 6, was the same way at that age and is pleasantly stoic now so I know that this is, in fact, a stage, but still, Ruby is def the child currently holding the title of Child I Am Most Worried About.  Check back in a few months when she is 5, fingers crossed.


(Don’t even think about borrowing one of those stuffed animals)

(Mom guilt add on: Ruby is honestly the sweetest child, who bursts into tears (shocker) whenever her sister puts roller skates on bc she’s afraid she’s going to fall.  I love her and her massive bleeding heart.  The constant breakdowns are just slowly killing me rn.)

4.   Books



This book has been awesome so far.  We’re about 3/4 of the way through it. It’s about a little boy with a serious facial deformity and how he and all the people around him cope with it.  It has chapters written from different characters’ points of view, like his sister and even his bully, which makes it even more interesting.

Full disclosure:  My 8-year-old LOVES this book.  My more sensitive 6-year-old has had a few nightmares from it, though, and has asked me more than once if there is any possible way for her face to suddenly become deformed.  Maybe best for older kids.

5. IN Parents. (Warning: if you are not a huge Personality Type geek, you may want to skip to number 6.)

I as in Introverted, N as in Intuitive.  If you were wondering if my Myers Briggs obsession is still going strong, wonder no more.  Shaine and I are both IN’s (I’m an INTP, he’s an INTJ).  IN’s are very very big about respecting other’s personal space, big on day dreaming, big on individuality, big on unconditional love and acceptance.  We pretty much hate being pushed into things by other ppl so make it a point not to do that to others.  I have generally considered this to be a plus, parenting-wise, and it’s probably not hard to figure out why 2 IN’s have embraced unschooling.  Lately, though, I was reading about ES’s.  They’re the opposite of IN’s.  Extraverted rather than Introverted, Sensory rather than Intuitive.  (An easy way to summarize the difference between an S and an N is to say an S understands the world through their senses while an N understands it through their thoughts.  An S experiences the mountains by climbing them.  An N understands the mountains by looking at them and thinking about them.) Anyways, as I was reading about ES’s I saw that their great strength when it comes to parenting is that they are engaging.  They play.  I am with my kids almost all the time.  And I think I am playful.  But I don’t really play.  I don’t like to play.  I like to watch them play, and I feel like I’ve given them enough siblings/free time that they shouldn’t really even need me to play.  But I know they want me to.  They want me to swim with them, to dance with them, ride bikes with them, etc.  And I’m not really very good at all that.   Tbh, I’m never going to be that mom who mountain bikes with the baby strapped on the back of her bike, but I’m trying to be at least a little more present.  Maybe, gasp, even swim with them every once in a while when really really all I want to do is sit and watch.


(Are you coming, Mom?


6. Grillin

Ok, this 7 Quick Takes is starting to feel like 7 Agonizingly Long Takes so let me just say I am married to the Grill Master.  Like, for real.  And we be grillin all the time these days.  Right now bb boy is feasting on carne asada tacos with grilled onions and tomato and, let me tell you, he ain’t complainin. (you don’t need g’s at the end of words in the summer, did you know?)

7. Spam


That’s all for now! See ya’ll later!



family · Mama · Uncategorized

Catching Up

Guys, I don’t know what it is but I’ve been running catch up alllll year. I mean, I’m not even pregnant!  I actually think I might be more productive when I’m pregnant as, in the in-between pregnancy stage, I always have a needy 1-year-old running around like an escaped chimpanzee from the zoo.


No pants, no problem.  (Yes, that is a hideous stain on my carpet, thanks for asking.)


Not seen: Anna climbing on the back of the couch to escape an attack by pictured drumstick in said needy baby’s hands.

Side note:  You might not know this if your husband’s not a drummer like mine is, and thus do not have dozens of drumsticks laying around your home, but they (drumsticks) are basically the most painful things on earth.

Ok, case in point of how behind I am this year:  We celebrated St Nick day on December 7th.  In case you don’t know, St Nick day is December 6th, but I was too whatever to get my crap together (AND Trader Joe’s sold out of golden coins AGAIN this year before I could get my hands on any.  I blame all this on you, TJ’s.) So, I lied, gulp, and told my kids that this year it was being celebrated on the 7th.  Going to Hell, fo sho.  It gets worse.  As I said, we were sans chocolate coins and I obviously had done ZERO planning so I had no holy cards or icons or religious whatever on hand, so we filled their boots with TROLL BOOKS.  Troll freaking books.  If you were wondering who gets the prize for worst Orthodox convert this year, wonder no longer.

(I would insert a sweet picture of their boots lined up here but SURPRISE I took zero pictures.)  (Help)

I probably don’t have to tell you I’m not doing a Jesse Tree this year, but I’m not.  I’m going to be honest with you for a moment here.  I know the Jesse Tree is like The THING to Christian homeschooling families everywhere, but…I don’t really get it.  No judgment.  If you’re into it, power to you.  But, I don’t know.  The cute little story, the Bible verse everyone is too distracted to listen to, the little camel/donkey/candle ornament to color?  Eyeroll forever.

Is this post too negative?  Probably.  Sorry, peeps!

Ok, I’m going to end this with some positivity.  Here we go.  My three fav things right now.  Why?  Because.

  1. Praise Babies.

Oh, Praise Babies, how I do love thee.  In case you don’t know, Praise Babies is kinda like a Christian version of those Baby Einstein videos where pretty pictures float dreamily by only worship music is played in the background instead of Mozart or Bach or whatever.  Said needy baby is determined to cling to my leg (or preferably, breast) every minute of every day besides the thirteen minutes or so she is napping UNLESS Praise Babies is on, and then I am free for a whole mind-blowing 35 minutes.  Guess what is playing as I am typing at this very moment?  Praise Babies, friends.  Praise Babies.

2. Having an 8-year-old.

(Side note: Do you guys have these little cartoon cars at your mall, too?  Bc my kids almost crash into innocent shoppers about 10 times every time they ride them. How is this legal?)


What?  You can hang up your own clothes?  What? You can empty the dishwasher?  What?  You can take your little sister to the bathroom at the restaurant?  What? You can basically be my own personal slave?  (kidding kidding)  But, seriously, my girl, I love every inch of your moderately independent self.  I always thought that I would love the baby stage the most and be kinda sad when my kids grew out of that and were official Kids, but I gotta say, official kid age has major major perks.  I still love the niblets out of the baby stage, but there is soooooo much to love about the older stages too, I’m finding out.

3. Instagram Stories

How lame am I?  Very very lame, apparently.  But, I’m addicted.  I love watching ppl’s little home movies.  Movies of their kids, their cats, their burritos, whatever.  Bring it on.  Oversharers of the world, I love you.

Welllll, that’s about it for now.  Another random aimless post brought to you by Yours Truly.  As it is fairly unlikely I’ll get it together to put up another post before Christmas, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas!!! right now.

Oh!  On the Christmas note, I’m going to add one more thing.  I would just copy the video and paste it here so you could watch it but, as I’m cheap and have the most basic of basic plans, WordPress won’t let me (cheers, WP):

4. Carrie Underwood singing How Great Thou Art.  Have you guys seen this?  It is A-MA-ZING.  I love it.  I weep over it.  It’s just…the best.  Do yourself a favor and goggle it now, k?


Christianity · family · Mama · Uncategorized

The Simple Post

*I wrote the following to myself because I can’t seem to remember it.  Maybe if I publish it, I’ll feel too much a hypocrite to forget it again.


The only thing children need is love.  If we want to prepare our children for what really matters, then we will love them unconditionally.  We will forgive them.  We will see the best in them.  What truly matters will always matter and the only thing that will always matter is love.  “The greatest of these is love.”  “Only love will remain.”

If it is possible to love too much, then we do not know God.  God loves when it is stupid to love.  God forgives when no one would forgive.  The reason we are alive, that we even exist, is because God loves when it is stupid to love.  Of course, I’m talking as a man.  Men think there is a line where love should not cross.  God doesn’t know about this line.


The thing that homeschoolers talk about, think about, obsess, blog and read about is how to prepare our children for the future.  But we forget that the future is God.  We can’t push love aside and take care of it after the scholarships are earned and the mortgage is paid. Those things don’t even exist.  Not really.  We will not be grateful if we forget love and pursue these things.  We will not say, “I’m so glad I took care of that.  Now I can bother with the religious stuff.”

If handwriting or math or saying, “yes, ma’am” is the focus of every day of my children’s lives then they will grow up and they will not know that God is love.  If the focus of every day of my children’s lives is coerced prayers and forced readings of Scripture and “keep quiet during church”, then they will grow up and they will not know that God is love.  And they will not believe me if I tell them, though they might believe it if God tells them.

If the only thing I did all day, every single day of my children’s lives was love and forgive them, that would be enough.  That would be everything.



family · Mama · unschool

Food and Stuff


I know, I know. I’m supposed to be writing Why, Part 3 (you didn’t know my conversion story had more sequels than The Land Before Time, did you?) but I’m going to take a break from that for a bit and discuss something a bit more unschooly.  (I love that that term is still so new my computer autocorrects it every time.  Get with it, Grammarly!)

There are a few articles circulating around Facebook about how totally awesome it is to be a “mean mom”(their choice of words, not mine).  We’re all somewhat familiar with these and, if you’re reading this, I’m guessing we have a similar reaction: something along the lines of “WHAT? whyyyyyy????” One article I read actually said, “If your child tells you you’re mean, take it as a compliment.”  I really really REALLY don’t get this line of thinking.  I mean, I guess it makes sense in an extreme circumstance, “No, Billy, you can’t go to the Black Mass tonight.”  “Awwww, Mom, why are you so mean!?”  But, honestly, if you’re at that point I think it’s safe to say you’ve already lost the battle.

*I personally think that if you wouldn’t dream of saying or doing something to anybody in the whole wide world other than your child, you probably shouldn’t say or do it to them either.  That’s just my IMO.*

Anyway, I could rant and rant and rant discuss a million points on which I disagree with these so-called “mean moms”, but I’m just going to elaborate on one today, as I feel I have a unique perspective on it.  In case you weren’t able to decipher the obscure title of this post, it’s the Food Issue.


You know what I mean, right?

The “no dessert until veggies are gone,” issue.  The “desserts are only for the weekends,” issue.  The “I don’t care how full you are, finish your hamburger,” issue.

I’m going to tell you something shocking.  I did not grow up in a house with the above rules.  This is going to make my mom wince a bit (Hi, Mom!) but I could have eaten bowls of pebbles all day and that would have been perfectly fine.  I remember days where I ate nothing but an entire box of Count Chocula, and other days of nothing but giant quantities of goldfish crackers.  I never NEVER had Halloween candy taken away before I was through with it, was allowed as many pieces of birthday cake that I desired, at any time of the day that I desired, and drank Diet Coke happily out of a baby bottle until I was waaaaaayyyy past the appropriate bottle-drinking-age (I don’t really get why there is a cut off age for bottles, btw…).


(My BFF)

No, I was not neglected.  No, my parents were not conducting a mini Super Size Me experiment on their unsuspecting children.  No, we were not unschooled.  So how in the world was all this culinary craziness allowed, you ask??  Well, I’ve thought about that and I think the answer is some mash up of a mom who didn’t like to cook, an autistic brother’s obsession with McDonald’s (we literally ate there, and (and this, I think is the real reason, the important reason) parents who were just not that interested in micro-managing their kids.

I have wonderful parents.  My mom and dad are two of my very best friends in the world.  Though they were strict in some ways (rolling eyes at mom equaled instant death), they mainly treated my sister and I like little adults.  I can’t ever remember my parents telling me to go to bed, or looking over my homework (unless I asked), or even to clean my room (my mom, who may be the cleanest person that has ever lived, would just tell me to shut the door so she wouldn’t have to look at the mess).  I do remember, however, long discussions about politics, talking late into the night about nothing and everything, and my dad (an incredibly smart man) asking my opinion over money matters at his business.  I don’t think it ever even occurred to my parents that they were supposed to be pestering us about all those other little things.  They saw as us intelligent, interesting people and treated us as such. (At least, it seemed that way to me.)

Ok, I’m going to conclude this post (which, I promise, was supposed to be brief!) with the inevitable outcome of children who are allowed to eat whatever they want, whenever they want: Morbid Obesity.

Just kidding.  No, really, when I went off to college and was blessed with the unspeakable joy of an in-house cafeteria (“You mean, there’s food here?  Like, real, cooked food?  All the time????”), I noticed most of my peers had NO idea how to eat.  My roommates and I would go off to dinner together, eat a nice meal, and then, a few hours later, they’d go back.  And eat another meal.  And sometimes again after that.  They’d also skip breakfast a lot.  I became the opposite of my parents, pestering them about their eating habits, (“You know it’s not a good idea to eat chicken strips and ranch at 2 am, right???”)  These were girls who’d had home cooked meals all their lives, who felt crushing guilt over each sesame seed that tumbled off their hamburger bun, who’d never been allowed double scoops on their ice cream cones, and who had no idea how to organize their meals on their own.  I, on the other hand, had been in charge of my own meals my whole life.  I knew what I was doing.  As an adult, I lead a very healthy lifestyle, eat healthy foods almost nearly close to all of the time, and the same could be said of my sister and my husband (a fellow childhood fridge forager).

So there you have it.  The experiment has been conducted and the guinea pig came out loving organics and spurning Flaming Hot Cheetos (most of the time).  Fear the unwanted crust of your child’s sandwich no longer!  I guess the moral of this post, as could be the moral of all of unschooling, is: relationship is more important.  Maybe its just me, but I can’t imagine how a relationship wouldn’t be damaged by a lifetime of forced feedings.  I’m not suggesting you go out and buy your kid a lifetime’s supply of Count Chocula (in true hypocrite’s fashion, I would never buy that for my kids), I’m just saying…the “mean moms” are wrong.  Forcing your kids to eat stuff they hate or reserving awesome foods for just some days is a bad move.  Honestly, its stupid.  Don’t do it.  There, my moral:

Don’t do it.

Also, enjoy food.  Food is good.

Also, nobody but lunatics only eat dessert on weekends.  You don’t want your kid to be a lunatic, do you?

Until next time.

Links · Mama · personality types

Personality Types

So, we’ve already established that I’m obsessed with Myers Briggs, though at present I’m a little confused over what my type is.  I was so so sure I was an INTP but then I thought, no, I’m probably more of an E than an I, so I must be an ENTP, but then Shaine was like, you are not a T, you’re an F.  So now I’m all confused…Is it possible I’m an ENFP? All these years I’ve thought of myself of an introverted thinker, but is possible I’m actually an extroverted feeler?  Could the sun set in the middle of the night and the sky be pink? Maybe friends, maybe.

Thrillingly, for this huge nerd right here, there are many more personality type thingys (that is their Latin name) out there in the university of Google. Such as!!! Enneagrams!  And Temperments!  Woo Hoo!

Not that I would ever obsess over anything, least of all myself (lies lies lies), I may be a personality type junky.  I can’t help it!  They are far from an exact science and I seem to change my mind about which type I am every week or so, but for some reason I’m hooked.  I’m a Cabo San Lucas Grouper and the Personality Tests are a boatful of drunk tourists. Get me?

Ok, I know you’re all dying of suspense, so I’ll just tell you: I think I may be a 7 on the Enneagram, which would mesh perfectly with being an ENTP.  I thought for sure I was a 5 which would mesh with an INTP but all the tests I’ve taken say, no, you’re not a 5.  I think the thing that trips me up about all this is I must view myself as a shy, reserved, deep thinker (i.e., 5, INTP) but I’m actually an obnoxious, pleasure seeking lush (i.e., 7, ENTP).  This is reflected perfectly in a conversation I had with someone who knows a lot about Enneagrams:

“So, what’d you score?”

“Well, I thought I’d be a 5 but I scored 7.”

“Hmm, what degree did you get in college? That should tell you something about your personality.”

“Oh, I dropped out of community college after about a year.”

Awkward silence.

So, I guess I’m that terrible kind of person that thinks they’re much smarter than they really are?  But, on the plus side, maybe I’m also more likable than I ever thought I was?  I don’t know.  Does it matter? No, probably not.  Ok, I just heard the whole blogging world sigh in unison so I’m moving on.

To the Temperments!  (You didn’t think I was done talking about the tests, did you? Neva)  The Temperments are much easier, in my opinion, to figure out as there are only four so their descriptions are much broader and I don’t feel the need to flip-flop every time I have indigestion or don’t get enough sleep.

Part of this obsession with typing comes from wanting to understand my children (it’s not all about me, I promise!) so I think I’ll describe the four types through them:


Jo – Sanguine/Choleric.  The most active of all the types (hold me, Jesus).  Sanguine types are fun loving, pleasure seeking extroverts.  Cholerics are quick tempered, strong willed types.  This is the type of child that will tie FOUR ropes of varying materials from your bannister (see above) so she can continue moving even while watching TV.  Jo’s main goal in life is to make people laugh, though, if she can’t pull that off, she’s also content with making people cry.  Whatevs.

anna(I did not make the above picture Godzilla gigantic and this pic small as a mouse on purpose.  I just have no idea what I am doing)

Anna – Melancholic/Phlegmatic.  Melancholics are sensitive, quiet, introverted thinking types.  Phlegmatics are calm peacemakers.  This combo is interesting as the two instincts are at a bit of a variance with each other.  Anna is the type of child who cries over something her sister has said to her, yet begs you not to be upset with the offending sister, and cries even harder if said sister is punished in any way.

If you can’t tell, Anna and Jo are complete opposites, which has the potential to create conflict, but actually has been a huge blessing in many ways.  Jo, left to herself, is a savage barbarian that belongs in a Roman colosseum while Anna is so prim she shrieks if an ant crawls over her toe.  In short, they NEED each other.  Jo brings loads of fun into Anna’s otherwise neat and tidy world while Anna makes Jo a bit more aware of ridiculous things such as manners and closing the door while you go the bathroom.  God knows what He’s doing, it seems.


Ruby – Phlegmatic/Sanguine.  Phlegmatics, as we’ve discussed, just want everybody to get along, and Sanguines want to have lots of fun.  I have no favorite among my children (no nope never), but Ruby is seriously so so easy.  As any parent of multiple children will understand, a child who’s main goal in life is getting along with everybody is a GODSEND (hallelujah hands emoji).  She also happens to think I’m pretty and awesome so, cheers to you, Rubes.


If your main hobby is not staring googley eyed at sleeping babies, then we can’t be friends.

Zoe- Choleric/Sanguine.  Oh, Zoe.  Zoe, Zoe, Zoe.   Should I say it again? Okay: Zoe.  I have never had an angry baby.  I’ve seen angry babies, sure, being pushed around in strollers by other, less competent parents.  But my children never acted in such a way.  Last said by me, about twelve months and three weeks ago.  This kid has such a temper!  I used to blame it on teething, and the kid does have an obscene amount of teeth (what baby has her back molars before age 1?), but I’m starting to come out of denial and realize that, yes, she actually is trying to bite me.  She seems to get over things quickly (thank you, friend Sanguine) but it can be a bit of a wild ride until she does.

How have  I rambled on so far down the page about personality types??  I should probably be embarrassed by this, right?  In case any of you are thinking, seriously, this is your Easter weekend blog post!?  Let me remind you that I am Orthodox so Easter is still weeks and weeks away for me, so ha! I promise you, whilst I am shopping for deeply discounted Easter merch in the following weeks, I will be constructing something of a bit more depth to lay on ya’ll.  Or, I’ll write about how much I love the show Parenthood.  You’ll just have to wait and see!

P.S. In case you were wondering (you weren’t? what?) I am a Sanguine/Phlegmatic (No, Parris, I am not a Choleric. No!) and Shaine, sweet, blessed Shaine, is a Phlegmatic/Melancholic.  I highly recommend marrying a Phlegmatic. They are thee best.

P.P.S. Yes, I am aware that I use an unwholesome amount of commas.

And, (not P.P.P.S., this is too big to be a P.S.) to all my non-Orthodox friends out there: Happy Easter!  Christ is Risen!

Mama · unschool · unschooling

New Things

These guys arrived the other day! Are they or are they not the ca-hustest things you’ve ever seen?   They’re Waldorf Math Gnomes: King Equals and his four serfs; Plus, Minus, Divides, and Times.  My girls are absolutely, ridiculously, over-ze-top in love with them, though, personally, I’m a little suspicious of their religious leanings.



(I just found them like this…) Actual time spent using them for mathematical purposes versus marrying them to each other is undisclosed.

Also, this!


Okay, Colloidal Silver is not new.  Uses of it can be traced back to Hippocrates.  But it’s new to me.  Zoe has had a terrible case of pink eye (the first case ever among our kids which just happened to befall us five days after I mentioned this fact to my husband.  Seriously, why?)  I tried every home remedy Dr. Google prescribes but nothing was able to save my sweet baby from the angry beast below.


(They love when I take pictures of them while they’re crying, btw.)

I was ready to hang up my Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman bonnet and actually take her to a real, licensed doctor (oh, the horror!) but decided to make one last ditch effort and buy the colloidal silver a friend of mine had recommended.  I am happy to report after one day’s application, she is almost completely healed! This morning was the first in many that she didn’t wake up with her eye glued shut looking like a slightly (a little more than slightly?) creepy Lalaloopsy doll.  I won’t say the pink eye is 100% cured quite yet, she’s still pretty goopy (you’re loving all these beautiful images I’m conjuring up, right?), but its much, much improved.

Okay, last but not least:


Yes, that’s right.  I’m an Oil Lady now.  Please enter your credit card info right below…No, just kidding.  I’m not selling anything.  But I am officially dabbing/rubbing/spraying/diffusing oils on every surface, human and otherwise, that I come in contact with.  I think my favorite use of them are the homemade cleaning sprays I have made.

Recipes? So glad you asked:

~Mulitpurpose (including glass) Spray: Half vodka (yes, vodka), half water, 10 drops tea tree oil, 10 drops lavender oil.  Seriously this, is thee best!  It smells amazing, cuts through everything (including olive oil and mold), leaves no streaks (even on my granite counters which everything left streaks on), and, best of all, doesn’t emit the scent of poison (see: Windex)

-Disinfectant Spray: Straight vodka, with about 25 drops On Guard oil (doTerra’s immunity blend).  I use it on toilet seats, clothing stains, the rim of my HE washer (am I the only one who cannot scrub the mildew off this thing?), and basically anything that my children touch, ie everything.

Vodka, who knew, right?  It makes so much sense, though! No smell, no stickiness, safe to ingest, antiseptic, and, as it tastes like death, there’s really no other earthly use for it.

Alright, friends, another riveting post completed.  Until next time.

P.S. Just in case you’re interested, I found the Waldorf gnomes on Etsy and the colloidal silver at (where else?) Whole Foods.


Mama · Uncategorized

Happy Days are Here Again

Sho…It’s been forever and approximately one day since my last post and I know that ALLLL of you have beside yourself with worry and grief over my absence, but Fear Not.  The Lady has returned.  (please please please note the sarcasm).

I touched on this a bit in earlier posts but I’m a wee bit (never say little when wee would work; one of my life mantra’s) torn over how I should style this blog.  Preachy McPreacherson or Let Me Tell You About My Boring Day.  If you’ve perused this blog at all, then you’ve seen all the muddy soapboxes cluttering up the place and can see which direction I was originally leaning.  But.  I don’t think I can keep that up.  I mean, its kind of ridiculous.  My oldest child is 7 years old.  Why am I telling anybody how to do anything?!  One of my biggest pet peeves is when I realize a certain blog I’ve been reading, that’s chock freaking full of parenting advice, is written by a mom of, like one 3 year old kid.  I mean, Gurl, (always with a u, always) give me a break.

PC moment: Yes, that mom may be the Albus Dumbledore of moms and could have gems and gems (pirate chests full) of wisdom.  That. Is. Possible.

Anyway, I’m think I’m going to start leaning toward the Boring Day Highlight Reel (everybody cheers woo hoooooo).  And, since I’m super spontaneous and full of that elusive edge every writer craves, I thought I’d tell you all about it before I actually did it.  So.  I guess that’s done now.

Actually, before I do that (this is the sort of blog that requires a lot of prep work), let me brush you up on the star players that will be featured on said Highlight Reel.

Okie Dokie (side note: I may or may not be a female manifestation of Ned Flanders) let’s start with the lucky first born who, prior to her birth, I actually expected to be perfect every moment of every day (cue hysterical laughter).


Jolie. 7.

Likes: 1. Kissing her sisters.  2. Tormenting her sisters

Dislikes: 1. Being alone, this applies to every conceviable situation.  Yes, that one too.  2.  Mom’s rice.  Any other presention of rice is fine.

Moving on.


Anna. 5.

Likes: 1. Ice cream (clearly). 2. Being alone (to the joy of above sister, as you can imagine).

Dislikes (you knew this was a page for Christian Mingle, right?): 1. Foods that don’t end in the word “cream”. 2. Driving anywhere that is more than 2 minutes from our home.


Ruby. 3 (who, judging from above picture may or may not be a pirate).

Likes: 1. Hopping, particularly into or on top of people. 2. Mommy and Daddy’s bed (forever and always. Never ever ever ever ever leaving) (ever).

Dislikes: 1. Mornings. 2. Every single article of clothing hanging in her closet.



Zoe. Almost 1.

Likes: 1. Boobs. 2. Small, potentially fatal objects.

Dislikes: 1. Not being held, for any reason whatsoever. 2. her sisters’ sheninanigan’s (because she will always be perfect and will never so much as dream of doing anything to upset her mother.  We have a pact.)

So that’s it.  Wait, oh yeah.

s and c

We live here too.  (It took a shamefully long to time to find a pic of only us together). He’s Shaine.  I’m Casey.

Thanks for stopping by and all that polite stuff.  I would type a witty yet surprisingly deep farewell paragraph here but the 3 year old pirate is screaming “I’m sorry!” at the top of her lungs which is officially my cue to go.

Clever farewell sentence HERE.

P.S. I don’t have some fetish for unnecessarily huge photos.  I just do not know how to make them smaller.