Connor is a high-spirited kid no doubt about it. The people who raised me said I was just like him. I hated their parenting style, so now I have to find solutions of my own. I HATE being big, mean Mommy all the time, I want to be able to show my child positive affection sometimes. I feel like I spend have my life threatening him, and the other hald bribing him. There has to be a better way. I just ordered "Raising a Spirited Child" and wanted to know if you had some favorite books you could recommend. Send me your advice, I need it. Calgon take me away!
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED being born in the 1930s '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright- colored, lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were okay.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes! After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video-tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS, and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts, and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

Yea, 2 fish died. We suck. The nitrite levels were really high. One fish died yesterday afternoon, the other one in the early evening. As soon as we tested to find out what was wrong we rushed to get some of the old water out and some new water in the tank. Connor touched the dead fish and flushed them down. He only cried when I would not let him play with the fish net.

"THE CIRCLE OF LIFE..." *flush*

Afterwards Jason and I were snippy with each other, he likened it to the high adrenaline levels after they call a code in the hospital. We had the adrenaline pumping, trying to save the remaining fish and the snail.

"Nurse, I need a gallon of fresh conditioned water STAT!"

"I'm pouring it in Captain, but the fish can't take much moRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRe."

So this is not unusual when starting a new tank, nitrite levels spike and then the good bacteria gradually builds. This is the reason though that you are supposed to let your tank run for an entire month so it can go through this cycle without killing the fish. Crap.

We checked the tank again tonight and replaced some more water. Another visit to Petsmart will take place. We have the testing kits and lots of fixing solutions: ammonia, PH up, PH down, nitrate and water conditioner, but nothing for nitrites.

Didn't I tell you not to let me get fish?
We had our buddies over for dinner this weekend and had a BLAST! I was excited to meet my friend's brother, who was visiting from Hawaii, and then at last minute they wanted to bring her Mom too. We all had such a good time! Jason and I were our usual crude "non-military-personality selves", as we can only let our guard down with certain people you know. Nicole's Mom and brother fit right in with our Beavis and Butthead brand of humor.

The kids got new Christmas toys. Connor got a "Darth Tater" version of Mr. Potato Head and was enthralled all night. I gave their daughter one of my vintage Padme dolls and she seemed pretty happy.

On Sunday Jason and I put the kids down for a nap and watched "Amazing Vacation Homes" On TLC for several hours. It is so fun to dream and plan what we want to do when the actual doctor money comes in. We are drawn to both the mountains AND tropical areas. Sounds like we need two homes. I love lazy Sundays like that. Those few hours we got to snuggle on the couch and dream about the future were so wonderful. Hours like that regenerate your spirit, problem is they come so infrequently because our pets and kiddos require so much of us. It was like a date, I swear.

I have been reading Julee's homeschooling website and am really thinking about it. We have more of a reason than most to homeschool because of the teasing Connor will get at school. He has three fingers on each hand, not that he won't knock you down with them before you could even notice, but eventually he will be teased. What if we took some of that out of the equation. Homeschooling might provide him with a better education and allow us more freedom in taking vacations and field trips! It is just an idea right now, but one we are seriously considering. What do you think?
My husband is on a really crappy rotation now, so you'll hear from me more often. He is doing an in-patient rotation which means he is taking care of people who are staying in the hospital and are critically ill, usually with multiple issues. Ick. He comes home exhausted, just drained and is not really home mentally you know? Part of him is always still at work. These are the rotations where a military wife earns her own medals for keeping the house together on her own. Just in time for Christmas. w00T.

All of my Christmas cards are out, so if you are one of the lucky people who know me personally, look for it this week, if you are the VERY lucky and know me as the sparkling on-line goddess I am, I'll be posting the picture soon. I am such a freak. Jason pulled a 24-hour shift yesterday so I drank a 20 oz. coke and stayed up all night to finish the cards. After midnight, while the kids were a-snooze in their beds, I dashed to the post office and back, a 5 minute round-trip. It is just so hard to do anything with the kids! I woke up feeling such satisfaction that all 46 hand-made cards were out!

Connor is napping, YEA! Jason is napping, Yea! Alanna is napping, YEA! I am alone so what do I do? Clean? Ha hahahahahahahah. No I blog. Procrastination is sweet. Here are some pictures I took this week.

Yes we got a fish tank, a ten gallon tank with 3 fish and a snail. We went to Petsmart to get other stuff and ended up with a tank, only to find out that you can't get a tank and fish on the same day. You have to set up the tank and let it run for a while first, then check the water levels, then add fish gradually. You know what we found out????? According to the fish experts and not just the dimestore dorks at the store, goldfish are members of the carp family and therefore they can get up to 12 inches long. By the correct measurement of inches the fish will be at full length, a ten gallon tank is big enough for ONE GOLDFISH.

Another revelation: the fish you see at the store are babies that will grow much bigger! I just thought they were full grown already. Duh.

I know what you are saying "they will only grow as big as the tank". No, they will just die because they don't have enough room to live. What kind of a responsible pet owner does that? What kind of message does that teach? Like keeping a plant in a thimble, the seed is small but it will outgrow that space quickly.

Ok, rambling aside. We got some small fish that will grow to be a bout 2 inches at full length, and a cool yellow snail. Connor LOOOOOVES his tank and even 2 weeks later, he is still in love with it. The tank is on his dresser (safe, sturdy, can't get to the wires or knock it over) and he begs me to pick him up and let him sit next to it. He talks to the fish and stares at them for hours if we let him. Oy.

Here is my princess. She is wearing the onesie that Tamora Pierce bought for her. Isn't she the cutest? *Sigh*
We have all donated money to charities to help Hurrican Katrina victims, but here is a way to help individual families on a one to one basis. Please check is out:

Been There Clearing House